Every election cycle brings different approaches to make a candidate’s campaign extremely successful.
The year 2016 took the political world by storm through the extensive use of social media for Presidential campaigns. However, 2020 shifted form and was dubbed ‘the election of the text messages and phone banking.’
The good news is this: text messages and phonebanking are here to stay. With a 98% open rate on text messages and the ability to have meaningful conversations at scale via calls, these communication methods are only gaining popularity as we prepare for the next election cycle.
We’ve compiled a list of ways in which you can use and leverage phone calls and text messages for your political campaign.
How elections benefit from texts and calls
Texting and calling software have revolutionized how election campaigns are planned and executed, voters are contacted, and the elections are won. Texting and calling solve the following purposes in an election campaign:
- Spread the word
- Rally your troops
- Send election-related reminders
- Reach a younger demographic
- Run fundraising campaigns
- Help voter identification
- GOTV – Get out the vote
- Manage internal communications.
In this section, we look at each use case in detail and also cover texting and calling software features that you can use for each of them to make a much more informed decision about how you want to conduct your campaign.
A big part of winning an election is ensuring that your supporters turn up! To do that, you need to send regular election-related reminders to your target demographic, letting them know about your campaign. Here are a few reminders that you can share:
- Who you are and which election you are contesting
- Date of voter registration
- Election date reminders
- Policies you are supporting.
Text and call tools to consider for sending reminders:
- Mass texting and voice broadcast allow you to share regular, timely reminders. These tools are perfect for one-way communication. Share your messages with thousands of people at the click of a button with these two tools.
Spread the word and review your campaign
Creating awareness is usually the first step for any successful campaign. Do people know you exist? What do you stand for? Campaigns generate awareness for their cause and candidate by sending out texts and initiating calling campaigns.
You can spread the word and gauge people’s responses to your campaign by conducting surveys with these communication methods. You can add a short survey over a call or encourage people to respond to your text messages with feedback.
You can continuously improve your campaign while conducting it by including political surveys. Additionally, surveys allow you to conduct voter identification at early stages.
Text and call tools to consider for spreading the word and gauging responses:
- Peer-to-peer texting is a great feature to engage your target audience in a two-way conversation, ask survey questions, and record their responses.
- CallHub’s calling software increases the agent productivity and calling speed while also recording responses while speaking with potential voters. This way, you can quickly spread the word and identify how people are responding to your messaging and campaign.
- Leverage the power of voice broadcast in spreading the word and using the in-built Press-1 functionality to record responses instantly. You can set up a small survey at the end of your broadcast message to gain insight into how your message was perceived.
Rally your Troops
The best way to conduct your campaign is to utilize your resources in the best possible manner. A door-knocking campaign is one of the best ways to reach out to your voters. However, if you are short on volunteers or time, it can stretch you thin. Including calls and texts as outreach tools can vastly improve the process and save valuable resources.
Using a combination of outreach methods can help maximize how your volunteers can support the campaign.
Text and call tools to consider for saving time and rallying your troops:
- Use autodialers to automate the call dialing process. Now, your volunteers can spend time speaking on the phone instead of dialing numbers manually, or dealing with answering machines. They can also enter call details onto the calling software instead of keeping track of it via cumbersome excel sheets.
- Use peer-to-peer texting through which one volunteer can start conversations with hundreds of people simultaneously and carry out personalized, individual conversations.
Reach a younger demographic
Text messages are the best tool to reach out to younger millennial and Gen Z demographics. 75% of millennials prefer text messages. As the popular saying these days goes, “If you can text it, then do not call,” leverage the power of text messaging to appeal to a young but increasingly important voter demographic.
Here are some texting features to reach out to young voters:
- Mass texting: A short, simple text message sent at one go to thousands of people? It sounds like a perfect, easy way to stay in touch regularly.
- Peer-to-peer texting: You do not just want to reach out to young voters but also actively engage them in conversation about your policies and let their voices be heard – they have a lot to say! Peer-to-peer texting is your go-to for two-way conversations.
- MMS texts: Want to share an event invite, ask people to join your rally, or share your posters? Do it through MMS to make your message a lot more appealing. In fact, MMS has a 15% higher click-through rate than SMS and decreases opt-outs by 20%.
Fundraising involves appealing to voters, lobbyists, and activists to support your campaign to boost policies they would like supported. While traditionally, fundraising happens through events like private dinners or fundraising rallies, virtual fundraising has gained popularity of late.
This involves nurturing confirmed supporters and getting them to donate high amounts or promoting your fundraisers, asking for micro-donations.
You can send out text messages with links to donation pages encourage them to help you fundraise by either spreading the word or donating themselves. You can try a more personalized strategy for high-value donors by identifying them and making calls for donations.
Here are some tools to help you fundraise:
- If you plan to ask for donations via text messages, it may be a good idea to look for a software with a link shortener feature. To save costs, you can shorten your donation links and fit it all within one text message. Moreover, you can track who clicked the link and use these statistics as a follow-up or furthur nurturing campaign.
- List segmentation is a great feature that allows you to segment your contact lists based on age, income levels, location, etc. You can use this feature to identify and target high-value potential donors for your campaign.
You’ve decided to run for office for the first time but are struggling to figure out who exactly will vote for you? This is an exhaustive identification process, but it can be made a lot easier by using calls and texts to carry out surveys or outreach campaigns to identify potential voter groups, interests, and other criteria that could lead to your win.
In addition to the survey features we mentioned earlier on in the article, you can take a look at more tools that will aid the voter identification process:
When you run a door-knocking campaign, hold a talk, or a rally for votes, you can share a keyword and a 5 or 10 digit number to opt-in to your SMS communications. Interested people text the keyword to your number and initiate conversations with your campaign.
With an SMS opt-in campaign, you can collect voter details like first name, last name, age, gender, location, etc. This image demonstrates how:
GOTV- Get out the vote!
Get out the vote campaigns focus on two primary goals:
- Driving voter registration.
- Getting as many people as they can to the polling booths.
The first GOTV campaign focuses on first-time voters and guiding registration processes. This may include applying for a mail-in ballot, voter registration, checking for voting eligibility, and accounting for people who have moved.
The second one focuses on getting confirmed supporters to the polling stations to increase your candidate’s number of votes.
Both these campaigns benefit from the use of calls and text messages.
Calls and texts may not necessarily be used only to reach voters during an election campaign. Another important way to use it is to drive internal communication and coordination.
Firstly, coordinating with volunteers and next, coordinating between campaign staff is important to a campaign’s success.
You can use your text and calling software to improve internal communication. You can divide volunteers into groups and assign them to different staff members who can stay in constant touch.
Here are some features to help internal communications:
- Assign volunteers to different managers through your software system so that the work is divided and constantly monitored. It prevents miscommunication within your campaign.
- Schedule reminder text messages to volunteers and staff members for important announcements, updates in campaign strategy, tasks for the day, etc.
Additional tools to look for in your texting and calling software:
- Dynamic caller ID: The dynamic caller ID feature assigns a local caller ID to your calls and increases the chances of voters picking up your calls. For example, if you are running a campaign for people in Texas, your caller ID will reflect a Texas code.
- Patch-through calling: Patch-through calling allows your agents to connect voters via a call to the candidate. It supports direct communication and increases faith in your campaign if voters can speak to the candidate.
- Link tracker: Using the link tracker, you can gauge your contacts’ interests better by understanding which links they click on, what they view, what they do not view, identifying connections who click on your link multiple times, and more.
- Texting through call software: You can send text messages from your call center software as follow-ups after calls, reminder texts for rescheduled calls, reaching out to unanswered calls/contacts, and more.
- Tags: You can add tags like ‘positive,’ ‘answered,’ ‘uninterested,’ etc., at the end of each call, depending on how the call went. Tags help agents keep track of previous conversations with a contact to make further progress with them.
Texting and calling have turned out to be essential supporting features of a successful election campaign. Including them in your campaign strategy and leveraging their multiple uses can create unparalleled value in the run-up to the elections.
Feature Image Credit: Christina Morillo