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What Political Campaigns Can Learn from Text Marketing

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December 2, 2021
Anna Davies
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Reading time about 4 min

With elections nearing, political campaigns on the local, state, and national level are once again regularly texting likely voters. From donation solicitation to reminding voters to head to the polls or mail in their ballots, 2020 has been dubbed “the year of the text message” by campaign experts — a trend exacerbated when Covid-19 made fundraisers and door knocking all but impossible.

Still, while your phone may be pinging multiple times a day, campaign offices can learn a lot from the way businesses have been connecting with customers over text. Because while text is quick and convenient, too many messages cause voters to tune out — the last thing any politician wants, especially when the countdown to the election is on. Here, what political campaigns can learn from businesses.

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2020 has been dubbed — the year of the text message — by campaign experts.

Personalization is Everything

As automated texting and AI technology gets more sophisticated, it’s not enough to just personalize a text with a prospective voter’s name. List segmentation and targeted messaging is essential.

Asking someone who has donated multiple times to donate again can feel demanding unless the campaign has something additional to offer, such as access to the candidate, merchandise, or a compelling reason why another donation from the voter is so essential. Segmentation also allows campaigns to vary messaging across contact lists, so people aren’t getting the same old message day after day.


1-on-1 Chat Brings Volunteers to You

For local government races1-on-1 Chat can be the twenty-first century equivalent of old-school door knocking. It allows the campaign to answer questions, share enthusiasm, and hear concerns firsthand from voters.

Your initial text should feel equivalent to a campaign speech  — it’s getting your candidate’s name and platform out, but it can only go so far to reach the heart and vote of your constituents. 1 on 1 chat lets voters reach the campaign office directly, allowing you to share information, recruit volunteers, and connect to the voters who truly care about the campaign.

2020 voting button

Segmentation Helps Your Campaign Pivot Quickly

Missteps look bad for any business, and can make or break a campaign. That’s why businesses understand how essential it is to segment contact lists by zip codes or neighborhoods, so they can be sensitive to the needs of residents at that moment in time.

The same mindset should be applied for political campaigns. If a geographic region is facing recover from a natural disaster, it’s bad form to text asking for donations. Instead, the campaign can act as a resource, sending texts to people in that zip code directing them to local resources, information, or volunteer opportunities.


Texting Encourages Engagement

Sure, the vote matters, but political campaigns can have fun and check the pulse — and enthusiasm — of their base by engaging in text-to-vote functionality. This can help your campaign see what issues voters care about, what they want to hear more about from the candidate, and can even be used for more lighthearted engagement, such as recommending products to stock in your campaign’s merch store. 


Businesses Understand What Their Audiences Want

From announcing promos to giving updates on store hours and special events, businesses know that the best way to keep an audience engaged throughout a text marketing campaign is to connect on multiple levels. There’s only so many times a campaign can solicit donations or share platform initiatives before an audience tunes out.

Strong business campaigns study text marketing and see how customers react. Do they look for validation, exclusive offers, or candid, off-the-cuff content? Are they optimistic or pessimistic? By identifying psychological factors which affect your audience’s thinking, you can use those learnings to create a campaign that truly connects with your base.


Text Marketing Provides a Clear CTA

Complicated platforms belong on a website — not in a text block. Businesses know that texts can enhance engagement and share key messages. The best political campaigns have clear, to the point messages that make it easy for voters to want to take next steps, whether that’s to donate, watch a new campaign video, volunteer, or share the message. Long, meandering messages will quickly lose the attention of an electorate.

Whether red or blue, local or national, political campaigns can all take a pause and learn from businesses who have perfected text-based marketing.


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