Did you know there are over 7 billion mobile phone users worldwide? This number includes people using both smartphones and basic feature phones. When it comes to reaching a mass audience, it's a no-brainer to tap into a channel that all mobile phone users can access – SMS.
SMS messaging works over a cellular network, enabling you to reach potential voters through a native app on their mobile phone, regardless of whether they have internet access.
In this article, discover nine ways to use text messages for a political campaign and get tips on crafting impactful SMS content.
Nine ways to use political text messaging
You might be wondering, "Can political parties send text messages?" It's a good question since political campaigns are often conducted through social media, flyer drops, and – where the budget is substantial – radio or TV broadcasts. The answer is YES, providing consent has been received in advance from text message subscribers.
Political SMS marketing allows you to contact voters and convey some of the key policies from your manifesto in a personal way. Here are nine effective political text message use cases:
1. Announcing political campaigns to the people
SMS messages are ideal for introducing yourself (on what feels like a one-to-one basis) to voters. In your content, you can state your agenda, goals and ideas and how you plan to achieve them should you win on election day.
It's easy to include web links to important resources, like your campaign website and social media channels. And adding images to your political texts can hammer home specific points for greater impact and understanding (effectively turning your SMS campaign into an MMS message).
2. Urging people to vote
Most adults are busy individuals, and some may forget to register to vote. Text messages are useful as reminders to encourage would-be voters to get their names on the electoral roll. A good way to do this is to stress that voting is every adult citizen's civic responsibility (whether you win or lose).
3. Raising funds
Political campaigns need financial backing; getting the word out to the masses is costly. Not only is text messaging an affordable marketing channel, but it's actually a popular and fruitful method of fundraising. Be sure to write persuasive copy and include a call to action asking people to contribute to your campaign (don't forget to include a link where subscribers can donate.
4. Advertising open positions at campaign offices
As a political candidate, you'll always be seeking fresh new talent to join your campaign staff. With political text messaging, you can put a call out for a speechwriter, pollster or funding coordinator, etc., and fill these campaign roles with skilled staff that already support and believe in your policies.
5. Despatching urgent announcements
Rallies, meetings and debates are crucial in letting people hear your voice and enabling you to set out your manifesto. These are perfect opportunities for convincing potential voters to back you as the candidate representing their political interests.
Of course, you'll need to get your audience along to these events for them to witness your campaign speeches and support your ideas. So it's essential to send announcements and reminders in advance. For online events, you can easily share a clickable link in your text message.
Political texts are also useful on election day to keep voters up-to-date on how your campaign is progressing.
6. Calling for volunteers
For those people who are unable to support your campaign financially, why not ask for their time? Volunteers are often happy to help with various campaign trail activities, like door-knocking and canvassing, replying to correspondence and delivering leaflets.
With political text marketing, you can drum up volunteers and then continue to use SMS to keep in touch with them. Text messages are quick and effective for both parties.
7. Declaring political views on current affairs
Texts are great for letting citizens know where you stand on current affairs – your message will be delivered in real-time, helping you to remain an active and authoritative voice in your community.
Why not include a survey link or create a poll to gauge which matters are important to voters and whether your manifesto is being well received? You can also allow people to contact you by text about a specific issue they want you to resolve.
8. Sending reminders on election day
Give locals a nudge to make their way to a voting station on election day with a well-timed text message that also cements your presence in voters' minds. Include a map link showcasing all the community polling stations so voters can easily identify their nearest one.
Reminder texts are often used to get people along to important events like elections and can reduce no-shows at scheduled meetings too.
9. Thanking supporters, donors, volunteers, and voters
No matter the outcome of your campaign, it's important to thank everyone who's been behind you – general supporters as well as your campaign team. A short and sweet thank you text is a simple and effective way to express gratitude.
Check local laws before sending political text messages
Getting messages out to voters is essential in any political campaign. However, local laws and rules apply regarding contacting people for this purpose. And these laws vary depending on your country.
In the United States, FCC rules state that campaign calls and texts are exempt from the Do Not Call List. However, the rules of the TCPA, specifically concerning robocalls and robotexts (which use auto-dialling systems), must be followed. This generally means that the recipient must consent to receive these types of calls/texts. Likewise, in the UK, the ICO states that consent must also be given for political text marketing.
Why sign up with a political campaign texting service?
Text messages give you access to a vast audience. When you join forces with an SMS provider, you can literally reach millions of people with a single text message (known as bulk texting). And there are many other benefits:
Efficient contact management – easily collect phone numbers and manage subscribers with opt-in and opt-out tracking. People who opt out are automatically added to your blacklist, so you won't mistakingly contact them again.
Data analysis – monitor the performance of your campaigns with delivery, open and response rate metrics.
Better targeting – segment your audience based on data insights and improve your campaigns' effectiveness.
Automate SMS workflows – send a welcome message to new subscribers or an event reminder text on autopilot.
Crafting political text messages for impact
Delivering a clear and compelling political text messaging campaign is vital every time you contact voters. Follow these tips for success:
Set the tone – in the early stages of engagement, tell subscribers how often you'll get in touch.
Personalise your messages – address voters by name to grab attention and create a connection.
Be honest –always be transparent and authentic (it's what everyone wants from their local politician!)
Include strong CTAs – in every message, tell voters what action you want them to take after reading.
Use the features available to you – such as media attachments and web links, where necessary.
Allow opt-outs in every message – it's law in most countries that you allow SMS subscribers to decline further text messages from you.
Win over voters with political text messages
Political SMS marketing allows you to reach a mass audience quickly and conveniently. It's ideal for introductions, encouraging electoral registration, advertising job roles and volunteer opportunities, and drumming up support for rallies, debates and on-the-day votes.
As with any political campaign, you should create a clear and compelling message every time you contact voters to drive home why they should support you. A text message service like Messente can help you spread the word, manage contacts and automate specific campaign messages to save you time.
Discover more about Messente – register for a free account to see how the platform works.