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Conquer The Campaign Trail with $1,000: A Guide to Text Marketing for Elections

Learn how a small investment can win big for your political campaign

Illustration of hands holding up dollar bills, with a political-themed backdrop or near ballot boxes
May 22, 2024
Kathleen Crampton
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Reading time about 13 min

Political campaigns can do a lot with $1,000, from ordering merch to hosting a local event. But did you know that you can run your campaign text marketing for just $1,000?

Keep reading to uncover the benefits of text marketing, how $1,000 can work for your SMS campaign, and strategies and best practices for getting the most out of your investment.

 

Why Text Marketing Reigns Supreme for Political Campaigns

Campaign text marketing is the answer to your voter outreach questions. How do you reach a wide audience for a reasonable price? Text marketing. How do you communicate quickly with your contacts? Text marketing. How do you drive engagement and mobilize voters? You guessed it — text marketing.

As you can see, this marketing channel makes connecting with voters easier, quicker, and more affordable than ever. Still, are you wondering what the top benefits of text marketing for political campaigns are? The top benefits include high engagement rates, direct reach, affordability, and real-time communication.

 

High Engagement Rates

Captivate voters by sending targeted messages that resonate with them. With personalization strategies, you can boost click-through rates and increase the likelihood of contacts interacting with your text messages.

 

Direct Reach

While SMS marketing for political campaigning isn’t the only way to directly reach voters, it requires the fewest resources and reaches people more quickly. For example, in-person canvassing and phone banking are direct forms of communication, but they require more volunteers or staff, and constituents often feel bombarded. Email marketing can also be effective, but with lower (and slower) open rates than text, it’s not the channel for quick communication.

 

Affordable

SMS is a cost-effective channel because it requires fewer human resources (aka volunteers and staff), has a high open rate of 98%, and a click-through rate of 32% (compared to 10% for emails). It can be utilized on one of the many affordable text marketing platforms.

 

Real-Time Communication

Respond instantly to text inquiries and mobilize voters efficiently with two-way texting and AI automation for effortless customer service-oriented communication.

Interested in diving deeper into some of the statistics mentioned in this section? Check out our article on the differences between SMS and email marketing.

Image of a person in a campaign volunteer office working on a laptop

Crafting Your $1,000 Text Marketing Campaign

First, answer your burning question: Can I run a political campaign with just $1,000 through text marketing?

Yes, you can run a political campaign with just $1,000 through text marketing, and we’ll tell you how right here. But remember that this guide focuses on a $1,000 text marketing campaign and doesn’t include what you might spend on other channels, like email, social media, door-to-door canvassing, or phone banking — all important parts of any political campaign communication strategy.

Use the following as your guide for campaign text marketing that won’t break the bank.

 

Determine Your Text Campaign Size

Your budget-friendly political text message efforts begin by determining the size of your campaign. In other words, how many contacts do you plan to have, and how many messages will you send each month as part of your marketing strategy?

Many text marketing platforms base their pricing tiers on a few factors: the suggested number of contacts, the maximum number of messages that can be sent monthly, speed, and deliverability. This means you need to choose the plan that fits the size of your campaign. For smaller text campaigns, spending only $1,000 is completely feasible, but if you’re running a large, perhaps national, campaign and need to send thousands of texts per month, $1,000 probably won’t cut it. The more texts per month and contacts you have, the higher the price, generally speaking.

The key takeaways are (1) getting an accurate look at the size of your audience and (2) determining the approximate number of SMS messages that will be sent monthly. This will inform the pricing tier that you can choose from your text marketing platform.

 

Find the Most Affordable Text Marketing Tools

Once you have a clear idea of your campaign size, it’s time to research affordable SMS marketing platforms. Here are some things you should look out for as you search for the best texting solution:

  • A free trial so that you can test the platform before purchasing.
  • Various pricing plans for meeting your SMS needs within your budget.
  • Unlimited contact list growth tools, like keywords, QR codes, and signup forms, to continue expanding the number of your SMS subscribers for greater reach.
  • Conversational texting capabilities to ensure that your campaign can connect with voters.
  • Automated features for seamless workflows and to save your staff’s time

EZ Texting has all of these and many more. From two-way texting to AI Compose and even helpful guides for using our features, we make it easy for campaigns like yours to reach audiences with relevant content, mobilize voters, and realize success — all at a price that works for you. Check out EZ Texting’s transparent pricing tiers based on your campaign size, many of which can be used for just $1,000 across your marketing timeline.

Beyond a text marketing platform, you should also determine what digital political campaign tools you’ll need to manage your marketing efforts. These could include campaign management software for managing your outreach in one place, a website builder for directing contacts to your website via text, voter data file software to support contact segmentation, and event management and fundraising tools. Look for tools that you can use for free, like fundraising and event management sites. Then, you’ll have more money for other tools, like a website builder and campaign management software.

Text Marketing Strategies for Political Campaigns

Now that you’ve determined the size of your campaign, choose your text marketing platform, and selected a pricing tier that fits your $1,000 budget, uncover the tried-and-true strategies for your outreach efforts via text.

What are some effective text marketing strategies for political campaigns? Effective text marketing strategies for political campaigns are defining your goals, determining your target audience, crafting engaging and actionable messages, leveraging automation, and tracking your efforts.

Define your goals

Determine your target audience

Crafting engaging and actionable message

Leverage automation

Track and analyze

 

Define Your Goals

It’s important to first identify your objectives for the campaign overall, as well as individual text blasts at different intervals throughout the campaign. For example, are you a political candidate campaigning for an elected position? If so, the goals for your campaign text marketing are likely to fundraise, persuade voters, and ultimately win the election. Or perhaps you’re running marketing for a political organization. In this case, your goals might be to fundraise, persuade voters, provide resources, and get out the vote. Of course, these goals might be similar or different depending on the nature of your political efforts. Still, it’s crucial to clearly define your overall goals and the goal of each marketing push along the way to better inform your strategies.

 

Determine Your Target Audience

Next, you’ll want to pinpoint your audience to determine the types of messages you’ll send, the frequency, and the content. This is essential in any marketing campaign or voter contact plan, whether you’re communicating to customers or voters. Your audience is the center of your outreach efforts, so understanding who they are, what they care about, and how much nurturing they’ll need is crucial.

This is where voter segmentation comes into play: dividing contacts based on demographic data, location, voting history, and certain characteristics, like issues they care about. Hard data, like demographics, location, and voting history, can be obtained from voter data files, while concerns and preferences can be acquired through survey feedback and one-to-one text conversations.

 

Craft Engaging and Actionable Messages

Knowing and segmenting your audience is a major step in SMS marketing for political campaigning. It helps you tailor messages to specific groups, connecting with voters in a more personalized way through content that resonates with them and a text frequency that meets them where they are in their journey with your campaign. The more your contacts resonate with your text outreach, the more your campaign text marketing efforts will pay off.

But you might wonder, “How can I personalize my text messages to increase engagement and conversions?” You can personalize text messages to increase engagement and conversions by

  • Including the contact’s first name makes them feel like more than just a ballot. 
  • Mentioning relevant, local issues. 
  • Asking for feedback via surveys or polls helps voters take an active role and provides your campaign with valuable data. 
  • Scheduling texts according to how the person has interacted with your campaign, sending the right messages at the right times. 
  • Incorporating conversational texting to create deeper connections with voters.

These tips are part of texting strategies that work with voters to personalize their experience with your campaign and boost voter engagement.

But speaking to voters’ personal experiences or concerns is only one part of the puzzle. You also need to motivate action through persuasion and strong CTAs that drive conversions (which, in the case of campaign text marketing, might be donations, event RSVPs, getting out the vote, and so on). Whether you focus on positive or negative persuasion tactics, ensure that the intent of your message and your call to action is clear.

Leverage Automation for Efficiency

One of the best text marketing strategies for political campaigns is leveraging automated features. When you’re on a tight budget, you need the right tools at your fingertips to do some of the heavy lifting for you — without high overhead. That’s where automation can help.

Your text marketing platform should have automation features to make your SMS campaign run smoothly and help you persuade and inform voters at the right times.

Automation can streamline your marketing team’s workflows by triggering messages to be sent according to a specific cadence or based on certain actions. This means that instead of manually texting voters, your team can schedule messages or set up automated triggers, allowing them to turn their attention to other campaign tasks. Similarly, instead of assigning a fleet of staff and volunteers to manage text replies, you can simply set up an AI feature like AI Compose to generate auto-replies according to the type of text inquiry.

SMS marketing automation tools can assist with event reminders and confirmations, fundraising pushes, and sending specific messages based on the voter’s previous interactions with your campaign. Automation features can save money, increase productivity, and ensure voters get the right messages at the right time.

 

Track and Analyze for Continuous Improvement

Political campaigns on a budget need to ensure that every dollar is working. Monitoring the performance of your campaign text marketing investment is especially important.

Some key metrics to track can help you understand how your SMS strategies are doing: click-through rates, donations, event registrations, survey feedback, response rates, opt-ins, and opt-out rates. If one or a few of these metrics don’t align with your goals, it’s time to tweak whatever isn’t working to optimize your strategy and get better results. For example, if you haven’t reached your fundraising goal despite robust text marketing efforts, try changing the CTA, the time you send messages, and/or both. Conduct A/B testing to see which adjustment performs best.

As you can see, tracking metrics and assessing feedback are surefire methods for understanding how your investment pays off in real-time. After all, you shouldn’t have to wait until Election Day to know if your efforts were successful.

Many text marketing platforms include analytics and reporting tools in their pricing plans, making it easy to include this task in your daily or weekly operations — all within your $1,000 budget.

How to Measure Text Marketing ROI for Political Campaigns

So, you’ve launched your $1,000 text marketing campaign, but you want to ensure that your investment will produce successful results. Chances are that you’re wondering, “How can I measure the ROI of my text marketing campaign?”

A simple example of calculating the ROI of your political SMS campaign is a fundraising push. To determine the ROI, add up your campaign’s text marketing investment costs, including your platform’s monthly subscription price and additional costs per message (for example, SMS vs. MMS). Then, subtract that cost from your total donations for that time frame. That’s your ROI.

While you might think that ROI is always cost-oriented, the caveat with text marketing ROI for political campaigns is that it doesn’t necessarily need to be tied to a dollar amount. Your ROI will align with your text marketing campaign’s goals, whether fundraising, getting out the vote, persuading contacts to vote a certain way, identifying supporters, etc. Some things can’t be directly connected to a dollar amount or a conversion during a political campaign (like voter sentiment), and some are difficult to measure until Election Day (like getting out the vote). But remember that effort can be an equally important part of ROI as cost.

Text Marketing Tips to Remember

Here are some high-level tips to remember for text marketing.

 

Be Compliant

Compliance isn’t just one of the best practices for text marketing politics; it’s a necessity. So, if you’re wondering, “Are there any legal restrictions or regulations I need to be aware of when using text marketing for political campaigns?” the answer is yes, there are legal restrictions and regulations you need to be aware of when using text marketing for political campaigns.

Follow the guidelines in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which include gaining consent with opt-ins, providing contacts with a way to opt out, and only sending messages between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Additionally, some states have more restrictive privacy laws than others, so ensure that your text campaign abides by those laws.

 

Don’t Spam Your Contacts

Implementing campaign text marketing doesn’t mean texting voters all day, every day. Bombarding voters with too many messages can lead to frustration and, ultimately, opt-outs. Avoid this by limiting texts to approximately one per week, depending on the nature of the campaign. For example, as Election Day nears, your get-out-the-vote reminders and informational messages might need to increase in frequency.

 

Get Personal

We’ve touched on personalization throughout this article, but we’re reiterating it here because it is crucial to your political text marketing efforts. Impersonal texts don’t convert—relevant ones do. Make sure that you are leveraging microtargeting techniques to segment contacts appropriately and send messages with meaningful content to the right audiences.

To recap, what are some common mistakes to avoid in political text marketing? Some common mistakes to avoid in political text marketing include not maintaining compliance, spamming your contacts, and not getting personal.

 

Launch Your Text-Powered Campaign Today!

You can start realizing the benefits of political campaign text marketing today. Get started with your $1,000 text marketing campaign by signing up for a 14-day free trial with EZ Texting, so you can test before you invest.

FAQs

Yes, you can use text marketing alongside other campaign channels. You should take a multipronged approach to reaching voters by leveraging social media, email, phone banking, and door-to-door canvassing. This will provide voters with a seamless experience with your campaign and get your message in front of more people.

The best practices for using text marketing ethically and legally in political campaigns include only using voter data from trusted and reputable sources, obtaining opt-in consent, respecting opt-out requests, and complying with applicable laws and regulations like the TCPA.

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