Traditionally, presidential candidates would enlist volunteers to go door to door to persuade people to vote for the candidate. However, this wasn’t a very effective method due to the labor required. With new technology and software available today, presidential candidates can now reach many more people directly on social media or email marketing. However, neither of these two channels promise very high read rates—email marketing hovers around 20% open rates and social media algorithms often show posts to less than 5% of a candidate’s followers.
Enter: text message marketing. With 99% open rates, text message marketing bypasses social media algorithms and email filters, empowering presidential candidates with a direct channel to communicate with their subscribers in real time. In this blog post, we discuss nine SMS strategies that presidential candidates use to win the 2024 election.
9 SMS Strategies Presidential Candidates Use to Win Elections
1. They Grow Their Subscriber List
To use text messages to rally supporters to vote for you, you must first get them to opt in to your subscriber list. That’s where your short code and keyword come into play. A political candidate chooses a keyword that supporters can text to a specific short code to get on the candidate’s subscriber list. All presidential candidates must adhere to this opt-in process regarded as consent for marketing purposes. People in the political space know that elections aren’t always won with huge margins and a small number of votes could swing an election. This is why growing your list of subscribers can help you increase the number of votes you receive come Election Day. A study conducted by Tech for Campaign found that people who received reminders to vote via SMS were 1 percent more likely to vote. That number may not seem substantial, but it could be just enough to help you win.
2. They Promote Their List Everywhere
There’s no point in having a text message marketing campaign when people don’t know about your list. Don’t be shy about promoting it. Include your short code and keyword in all your marketing materials so more people can see your opt-in and subscribe. Remember to offer an incentive. It doesn’t have to be big, fancy, or expensive. Your opt-in incentive can be something as simple as access to exclusive content or early announcements—anything that will entice your supporters to subscribe.
3. They Use MMS to Impress
With SMS messages, you have a limited number of characters with which to get your message across. A great way to work around SMS character limits is to use MMS messages. Including images or videos in your messages is a fantastic way to make an impression and convey your message without worrying about character limits. Including a video or photo also helps build trust and rapport with your supporters. Considering including a video from your political candidate, a picture from a campaign rally, campaign gear for purchase, or a snippet from your latest campaign ad, press conference, or debate.
4. They Use Strong CTAs
People need to know what to do next. You need to tell them, or they’ll close your text message and forget about it. If you want to inspire your subscribers to act, your call to action (CTA) is crucial, especially when asking supporters to vote or donate. Be sure to include a strong CTA in all your texts. Be concise, direct, and include action phrases like “Donate Now” or “Register to Vote”.
5. They Humanize the Messages
People support people; no one likes to feel like they’re getting texts from a bot. If you want to connect with your supporters and encourage them to vote or donate, take the time to humanize your text messages. Personalization is an excellent way to make your subscribers feel like you’re talking directly with them. Merge tags in software like Tantago make personalization easy by automatically replacing the tag in a message with the subscriber’s name or location.
6. They Segment Their List
Segmenting your list is invaluable for your text message marketing campaign. Not only does it prevent you from spamming your subscribers with too many messages, but it also helps you target your messages more effectively. Highly targeted messages will get better results since you can make your CTAs more relevant. Relevant CTAs can help increase open rates, click-throughs, and donations. You can segment your list in a few different ways, such as segmenting by demographics, geolocation, and actions like donation activities. This could be especially important in close elections or swing states when raising a few more donations or securing a few more votes is the difference between winning and losing the election.
7. They Measure Results and Then Improve
The key to a successful marketing campaign is analyzing your performance and making improvements based on your results. If you want to rally your supporters and gain votes, you’ll have to track factors like open rate, click-through rate, and donations. Tracking these metrics will help you create a text message marketing campaign that will resonate with your supporters. When you track your campaign engagement, you’ll be able to see how well you’re doing and where you’ll need to make adjustments to improve.
8. They Grow Their Campaigns with Donations
Election campaigns are costly. Donations help cover operation costs, including candidates’ and staff members’ salaries, advertising, political consulting, travel expenses, and office supplies and equipment. To put things in perspective, Joe Biden and Donald Trump spent $1.3 billion combined during the 2020 elections. Historically, the candidate who spent the most on their campaign won the election. One exception was the 2016 election, where Hilary Clinton spent $765.5 million, while Donald Trump only spent $450 million. The bottom line is that presidential SMS fundraising is an integral part of your election campaign.
9. They Keep Supporters Updated
Keep your supporters engaged and up to date with election-related developments. Your election campaign’s goal is to raise awareness about who you are and what you stand for, and ultimately, get people to vote for you. Communicating your stance on political issues, sending out announcements, and reminding supporters about registration deadlines are all crucial to a successful election campaign. A get-out-the-vote (GOTV) campaign is a great way to encourage supporters to vote for you.
These are some of the strategies that presidential candidates have used to win an election. You can combine these strategies to use text message marketing to its full potential and maximize your campaign efforts.
Start Text Messaging Your Supporters
If you’re ready to reach more constituents and enhance your Republican or Democratic fundraising for the 2024 election, we’d love to learn about your campaign and share how the Tatango SMS marketing software can help. Our SMS marketing and political texting experts are standing by. Contact us today.