Getting started with Opt-In Text Messaging

September 11, 2017 - 6 minutes read

If you’ve been to a campaign rally or event, there’s a good chance you’ve come across an opt-in text messaging campaign.

A sign board or flyer that says “Text “CHANGE” to 55555 for updates.” acts as the boarding point to get subscribers into your text messaging lists.

Opt in text messaging gives political campaigns, advocacy groups, and nonprofits a cost effective and wide reaching platform to engage their audience. This includes campaign updates, volunteer requests, and event invites which can be instantly sent out to thousands of subscribers using text messaging. Because of the regulations governing how campaigns reach out to people on their mobile phones, the opt-in process becomes mandatory for text messaging campaigns. Campaigns cannot simply go out and buy mobile lists and start texting the people on the list. They need to receive the permission of the contact before sending out text messages.

How to start an opt-in campaign

Your opt-in text messaging campaign needs to have its own keyword and a short code or long code to act as the Caller ID.

Eg. In “Text “CHANGE” to 242643 for updates.” the keyword is “CHANGE” and the short code is “242643”.

Long code — A unique 10-digit phone number that’s tied to an area code.(E.g., +1-315-683-3649)
Short code — A 5 to 6 digit number that can be used nation wide. For example, CHANGE (242643)

You can set the keyword of your choice when creating your opt-in text messaging campaign and rent a short code or long code from your text messaging service. Once you finish setting up your campaign, you can go ahead promoting your keyword and short code. When people text in your keyword to the number, they are automatically added to a phone book for subscribers.

How to build your opt-in list

Your keyword and short code should be promoted across all channels where you have an interested audience. Your social followers, email/newsletter subscribers, event attendees, and organization members are your most ardent audience and have the highest chance of subscribing to your to your opt-in campaign. Share call to actions to join your text messaging list across all these channels. You can ask the help of partner organizations who work in a similar space to promote your campaign and also include the CTA (Call to Action) on any print material (flyers, billboards).

Exclusivity

A simple call to action may not always do the trick. Give people a significant reason to join your list. What exclusivity can you offer to your text messaging subscribers that is unavailable to others? The commonly used to terms to signal that exclusivity is “be the first to receive campaign updates”, “for latest volunteer opportunities”, or “be the first to receive event invites”.

Phrasing

Use simple language in your opt-in call to action. Keep your CTA short and to the point to ensure that people can see it and immediately absorb the information and the ask.

Text “VOLUNTEER” to 525252 to get updates on volunteer opportunities for Change Organization.

Features of an opt in text messaging campaign

Data collection

Following the opt in, you can immediately engage subscribers with follow up messages that collect relevant contact data through SMS texts. Send follow-up messages asking for their name, email, zip code or any other metrics that you want to collect. If you are hiring volunteers, you can have another follow-up text asking if they’d like to volunteer. Just remember to not overwhelm your subscribers with too many questions to avoid having them ignore your messages, or worse yet, unsubscribe from your campaign.

Integrations

Software integrations ensure that your opt in campaigns work seamlessly with your other software tools. Integrations with platforms like NationBuilder, Action Network, CiviCRM, and others ensure that opt in data from your campaign is synced with your constituent and donor management software. Syncing your opt-in text messaging campaign data with your CRM ensures that you can run multi channel outreach campaigns. Subscribers who are interested in volunteering can be added to separate lists, contact data can be automatically added to your main database, you can assign tags to contacts, and multiple other functions that are afforded because of integrations.

For further information on how to get started with opt-in text messaging, check out our How to or reach out to us at support@callhub.io.

Get started on your opt-in campaign, here.

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