CallHub Guides

Collective Texting Starter Guide

All about Peer to peer texting and how it works on CallHub's Collective Texting product

Peer to Peer Texting

Introduction

Nobody wants to be part of a marketing campaign. Everyone wants individual attention. But when you’re an organization with limited staff and a huge list of people to contact, replacing names on a templated email can be the only plausible solution.

While personalization was making strides, people got better at recognizing when they were just another name on a mass email list. And they got better at ignoring those messages. The simplest solution? Have staff members individually message all your contacts, not perfectly tailored templates; personal messages with a rough-at-the-edges authenticity that people can relate to.

And a medium that embodies that authenticity? Texting, plain and simple.

Text messaging is light on your budget and strong on returns. A look at the statistics for SMS open and response rates clearly puts it above other forms of communication.

Text messaging is light on your budget and strong on returns. A look at the statistics for SMS open and response rates clearly puts it above other forms of communication.

99%

Open Rate

90s

Average Response Time

32%

Response Rate

The back-and-forth involved in sending a message and responding to replies forges a personal connection that’s difficult to emulate with email. Door knocking takes a lot of time and energy, and calls too can be restrictive because an increasing number of people are switching from landlines to cell phones. Where a text can suffice, why lose time waiting for someone to pick up?


 

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Take a GOTV campaign. A voter who doesn’t know his polling location has only to send a text to receive instructions.

Merge tags i.e { }, are replaced by values stored for that contact in your CSV file.

Hi Melinda, can you help find my polling location?
Sure {first_name} 😀 Your polling location is {poll_location}. Polls close at 7pm.
Thank a lot!

 

 

Take an event invitation. Assuming your email invite is seen and read, a lot of people will treat it as a mass, impersonal invitation and move on to the next email. But when the invite comes as a text on their phone, as part of a personal message from an actual volunteer, people are more inclined to respond, even if it is to say that they cannot make it. That back-and-forth, albeit two texts long has just forged a personal connection between your organization and a supporter.

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The issue with texting was about practicality, or, the impracticality of handling thousands of individual conversations in a short timespan.

That’s where Collective Texting comes in.

Get started with Collective texting




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02. What is Collective Texting and Peer to Peer Texting

What is Collective Texting

Like Prince Adam’s transformation into He-man by the power of Castle Greyskull, Collective Texting is the power-up to normal text messaging. While He-man got super strength, texting got improved scalability and data management. Meaning, you now have the ability to seamlessly manage thousands of individual person-to-person conversations.

The premise is simple, your organization volunteers engage in one-to-one conversations with thousands of contacts, mobilizing supporters for events, providing instructions on how to vote, gauging voter sentiments on issues, raising funds, encouraging them to take action etc.

Collective Texting is built on the concept of peer to peer messaging to allow your volunteers or agents to manage multiple conversations hassle-free.

 

Take action

Getting people to take an action like calling their rep or signing a petition is made easier with a volunteer answering queries and having an actual back and forth conversation with them.

Hey John, this is Melinda again with Hope Society. 58% of surveyed voters oppose the repeal of the Clean Energy Act. Do you agree with them?
Yes, I do!
Glad to hear that! Can you ask your rep to pledge support for the bill? You can visit bit.ly/dac for talking points or call your rep right now at (251) 546-9442.
I’m making the call right now.
RSVP to events

Contacts who respond positively to an event invite are RSVPd then and there.

Personalize everything

Poll locations are easily conveyed.

Hi {first_name}, your poll location is {poll_location}.
Pre-saved replies

Pre-saved replies and automatic data entry allow for quick responses.

Hi {first_name}, this is {agent_name} from Hope Society. The address for tomorrow’s meetup is {event_location}. See you there!
Ask and answer

Voter sentiments are logged on survey forms during conversations.

Fundraise

Faciliate donations by including links to your donation page into text messages.

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How it works

Collective Texting

How it works

Recruit volunteers

The campaign manager uses an embedded form to recruit volunteers into CallHub. These volunteers then engage in one-to-one text message conversations with the people on the uploaded contact list. Using Collective Texting, a single volunteer can text around 1000 contacts in the span of an hour.

Create Collective Texting campaign on CallHub

Create a Collective Texting campaign and assign these volunteers to it. Create a survey or import one from your CRM. Volunteers logging into CallHub see the initial text message pre-filled on their chat box. All they have to do is keep hitting ‘Send’ till all the initial texts are sent out. Once the texts are sent, the agents start conversations with the people who respond. The manager or the volunteers themselves can save frequently used replies for faster conversations. When the contact responds with a frequently asked question, the volunteer simply selects a saved reply, editing it if required and hits send.

Analyze and report

All details of the conversation are logged then and there on survey forms and any event RSVPs are updated. The campaign manager can access the results of the Collective Texting campaign within the Reports section in CallHub or have the data flow back into a CRM like NationBuilder, Action Network, or NGP VAN.

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Advantages

Advantages

Collective Texting is built to ensure seamless campaign management for administrators and personal conversations at scale for text bankers.


Personalized conversations at scale

Record survey responses on the fly

Use the survey form to capture the details of every conversation. The survey form on the agent screen lets volunteers record the details of each conversation while they are having the conversation. Details about who agreed to attend an event, how a voter feels about your candidate, or pledges to donate are recorded then and there.

Save frequent replies as templates

When you’re sending out thousands of texts, stands to reason that there’ll be more than a few that are alike. To save text bankers the trouble of retyping messages, managers (or your text bankers themselves) can create pre-saved replies that text bankers can view and select on their chat screen. The next time a volunteer has to send out voting instructions or an event address, the simply choose a pre-saved reply and hit send.

View interaction history across campaigns

Winning an election or supporting a cause is not a one-day affair. Your text bankers are engaged in multiple campaigns across time, inviting people to rallies, taking surveys, soliciting donations and more. While volunteers move across campaigns, it pays to have context for each conversation. The History section shows volunteers the entire history of their conversation with each contact across campaigns. Did a contact tell you they’re interested in volunteering? Make sure and make the ask again during your next conversation.

Personalize your texts

Hey Jon! This is Melinda from the Hope society. We're organizing a rally next weekend to support clean
energy. There's a party after. Want to come?

Sounds like fun! What's the address?

Great, it's at Marleybone, from 3 - 8. See you there!

You will and I'm bringing friends.
We’re holding a rally this Saturday 21st March at Baker St, Marylebone at 11am to support clean energy. Reply ‘Yes’ to RSVP.

YES

Which text exchange looks more personal? I’m betting you chose the first one. Bring in every small detail about contacts into Collective Texting to personalize texts for individual contacts. Generic Merge Tags in your texts are replaced by contact information pulled from CSV files or integrations with your CRM.

Establish a local presence

A short code or even an out of state number puts people on their guard. To make it easier for your volunteers to get conversations started, create a local caller ID for your text bankers. Your volunteers can be spread across the country, but contacts will still see a local caller ID on their screen when a text arrives.

 

Campaign management made easy

Ensure TCPA compliance

Your volunteers are manually hitting the send button for every text, with texts going out from a ten digit number. This ensures TCPA compliance, letting you legally text anyone you have a number for whether they’ve opted in or not. All things considered, your campaign will receive better response rates and engagement from people who’ve opted in to receive texts. But for campaigns like GOTV efforts where you’re texting people off the voter list, Collective Texting is your biggest ally.

Segment your contacts

Effective campaign outreach targets the right people. The first step to creating a targeted campaign is segmenting your contacts into categories. Collective Texting Tags let you categorize contacts based on interests, donations, political affiliation, supporter levels, volunteering experience or any other classification of your choice. Did a contact accept your event invite? Tag them with ‘RSVPed for March 1 rally’ for follow-ups.

 

Get access to detailed reports

It’s up to campaign managers to train their agents and establish guidelines for how to engage contacts. Detailed reports on agent activity and conversations make that job a lot easier. Ensure adherence to guidelines with access to all text banking conversations and detailed reports on all agent activity.

Create teams for your agents

Birds of a feather flock together. But since your text bankers aren’t all from the same feather, segment them into teams to optimize your campaign outreach. Group your in-house text bankers and text-from-homers into separate teams. Same with volunteers of different skill sets. Add your new text bankers to a ‘newbies’ team and assign them to smaller campaigns, gradually bumping them up to your pro text banking team.

Recycle your volunteers

Engaging your audience is a multi-channel effort. Text messages and phone calls, all form part of a cohesive strategy that makes your campaign outreach effective. Use your recruited CallHub agents across calling and texting tools for that seamless campaign flow. Your volunteers can make voter identification calls one day and follow up with identified supporters over Collective Texting the next, all without breaking a sweat.

Ensure conversations don’t hit a standstill

Campaign managers have to deal with the fact that not every volunteer will follow through on their commitment to support the campaign. Maybe they were busy, changed their mind, or couldn’t get off from work. Forget the reasons. What matters is that your campaign still engages everyone it wants to reach at the time they had to be reached. For all the volunteers who signed up and didn’t participate, for everyone who stopped sending texts, simply reassign conversations to your active volunteers to keep your Collective Texting campaign on track.

Avoid spamming your contacts

Not everyone will appreciate getting your texts, no matter how personal. But that’s fine and it’s important that we ensure that contacts who don’t want to be contacted are not contacted. Collective Texting recognizes when contacts respond with keywords like STOP, UNSUBSCRIBE, CANCEL and automatically opts them out from future messages. If required, volunteers can carry out the opt-out themselves with a simple button click.

Filter your responses

Each Collective Texting campaign brings in loads of data about your contacts. Use filters to sort through your data and find the exact results that you want. Find out exactly how many agreed to donate or attend your rally or even the number of newly identified supporters.

Recruit text banking volunteers

The distributed system that makes Collective Texting possible relies on volunteers i.e text bankers having person to person conversations with contacts. Use the volunteer sign up form available in your admin account to recruit text bankers. Embed the form on your website or share a link to the form via email or social media to let volunteers sign up to become text bankers.

Nurture Volunteer leaders

Nationwide campaigns have a hard time managing activities across states, making sure all the cogs of the wheel turn in unison. Local leaders ease the load on the primary campaign office by delegating responsibilities to different people spread across different locations. ‘Sub-Accounts’ in Collective Texting lets the campaign manager have unlimited accounts each with its own admin under one parent account. So while you manage data and campaign funds from the parent account, local leaders focus on getting the message across in the best possible way.

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Tips & Best Practices

Tips and Best Practices for your Collective Texting campaigns

Train your volunteers

While the basics of texting are evident, you want your volunteers to be up to speed on the specifics of the Collective Texting platform. Things that seem evident after a few uses may not seem so for first-time text bankers. Hold a training session or create a training video for all your first time volunteers. Get them up to speed on using the product and drive home general guidelines like the importance of finishing their assigned batch, responding to every text, and having heart-to-heart conversations.

Manage volunteer numbers

A single text banker can send around 1000 texts in the span of an hour. Taking an example, if you have 10,000 contacts in your list, a good bet is to have 10 volunteers sending out texts and handling responses over the hour. Or you could send the texts with 5 volunteers spreading the campaign over a 2-hour shift. Just take care not to overwhelm your volunteers. Leave them enough breathing time to handle responses.

Budgeting

With just 1.6c for an outgoing text and 1.2c for an incoming text, Collective Texting is definitely light on the pocket. To give you a better idea of how much a texting campaign will cost, let’s take the example of a 10,000 strong contact list. The initial outgoing text to 10,000 contacts will cost you $160. Plan for a 30% response rate with 20% positive responses and 10% negative or neutral responses. Assuming your positive responses average out to 4 texts per conversation and negative or neutral responses average out to 3 texts per conversation, this brings the total cost of your campaign to $268. Keep in mind that depending on the number of contacts, actual number of conversations, and country, this number will vary.

Write scripts to cover FAQ’s

When creating your Collective Texting campaign, include scripts for volunteers that address the most common questions or responses. Some of them being:

“yes” response

“no” response

Who is this?

How did you get my number?

Don’t text me.

I’d like more information.

Having a go-to script lets your volunteers manage responses much quicker than if they had to think and type out the response. Now, they simply choose the script, modify it if required, and hit ‘Send’.

Embrace emojis

Emojis are fun, personal, and are pretty good at capturing the mood of a situation 👋. And that’s exactly the kind of message you want to send out to your contacts. That this isn’t a robot sending you this message, it’s an actual person taking time out of their lives to connect with another individual. While many of your volunteers won’t need the reminder, let them know that it’s okay to not stick to the script, to add a bit of themselves to every text message. Let them embrace the emoji 😀.

 

Spend time on your initial text

Your initial text message lays the foundation for every future conversation. It’s the most important text in a Collective Texting campaign, the one that can either bring home the cake or rot away as spam. But this shouldn’t scare you. Most people ask themselves three questions when they give a text the once over, three questions that are easily answered.

‘Is it meant for me?’ i.e. Are they just another name on a list, or, is this text meant specifically for them

‘Who is this?’ i.e. Do they know the person sending the text

‘So what?’ Now that they’ve read the message, what is the next course of action

Address these concerns in three simple steps — personalize, identify, and prompt.

Personalize your message for each individual contact

Identify yourself and your organization

Prompt them with a call to action or a question

Something to the tune of,

Hey Ethan, this is James from Hope Society. We’re holding a rally next Saturday at 3pm to support the clean energy bill ✊. There’ll be snacks and drinks 🍕. Want to come?

 

Pro Tip: It’s always advisable to text people who’ve opted in to receive your texts. If you’re texting people directly from the voter list or from a bought list, you’re bound to get a lot of, “Who is this?” and “How’d you get my number?” responses. But for campaigns like GOTV or rapid response where the priority is reaching the maximum number of people in the shortest time frame without breaking any rules, Collective Texts wins the cake. Just remember to make your texts personal and ensure that you have enough volunteers to handle conversations.