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How To Segment Target Voters in Texting Contact Lists

Find out how campaigns use voter segmentation to curate communication with their voters.

Illustration depicting contacts getting filters by color lanes. The image begins with a bunch of dots or icons representing contacts that are all multi-colored and mixed together. In the middle of the image is a funnel or filter representing the act of uploading, and at the bottom of the image is an organized line of contacts pooling into their respective “lane” or list.
April 1, 2024
Chloe Mulliner
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Reading time about 12 min

During election season, you’ll probably receive political texts on your cell phone and some political pamphlets in your mailbox, and you might even have a canvasser knock on your door to talk politics with you in person. But have you ever stopped and wondered how those campaigns know you exist and how to contact you in the first place?

Well, there’s a good chance your name landed on a voter contact list. Campaigns acquire these lists with voter contact information that they then use to segment their audience and curate engaging messages that they hope resonate with individual voters.

Our guide below delves into everything from voter contact lists to voter engagement tactics to help you understand this political communication strategy.

 

More on Segmenting Target Voters In Texting Contact Lists

If a campaign wants to connect with its voters and persuade them to cast ballots on election day, it needs a voter contact plan. This plan involves knowing who to contact and how to contact them. To achieve this, the campaign needs to build a list of contacts, segment them by certain factors, and customize their interactions.

Below, we’ll address everything from voter segmentation to engagement tactics campaigns use to motivate and mobilize their voter base.

 

Understanding Voter Contact Lists

Before a campaign reaches voters, it needs to know who to contact. That’s where a voter contact list comes into the picture.

What is a voter contact list? A voter contact list refers to a group of constituents a campaign intends to text, call, or visit in person. Think of it like a phone directory, but in addition to providing their names and phone numbers, the voter contact list might also include their home address, age, political party, voting history, and precinct, among other demographic data.

But a campaign isn’t just automatically given a voter contact list. So, where do they collect this information? There are several avenues for gathering voter data, including purchasing data from state and national voter files, reviewing public records, and collecting data from polls, surveys, and targeted social media ads.

 

Benefits of Using a Voter Contact List

Creating a voter contact list provides a campaign with a group of people to communicate with regarding the upcoming election. So, what are some of the benefits of using a voter contact list?

A voter contact list prevents the campaign from blindly contacting random people, as it provides a roadmap for communication. Because voter contact lists usually include more than their contact details, such as their voting history or demographics, campaigns can use this information to understand and appeal to their voters. We’ll unpack this more when we address voter database segmentation later.

Another benefit of using a voter contact list is that it can help campaigns stay organized. They can monitor who they’ve contacted, who they still need to contact, and who has been receptive to the campaign’s outreach efforts. As long as the campaign monitors engagement, they can use that information to inform future outreach strategies.

Furthermore, a voter contact list can help a campaign personalize its outreach efforts to mobilize the individuals on that list to volunteer, donate, register to vote, and cast a ballot on election day, which are every campaign’s priorities.

How Voter Database Segmentation Enhances Outreach Effectiveness

Once a campaign builds a voter contact list, it can blast messages to its constituents, right? Not exactly. A campaign must first focus on voter database segmentation to have an effective outreach strategy.

 

Exploring Voter Database Segmentation

So, what is voter database segmentation? It refers to categorizing voters so a campaign can tailor its messages to specific voter groups based on their data.

To start, a campaign should segment its voter contact list into three categories: supporters, swing voters, and opponents. Next, it should segment them further, determining which are regular, sporadic, and consistent non-voters. This information can be extremely telling, as a campaign’s message to a regular supporter will look very different than a message to a sporadic swing voter.

With a better understanding of the voters’ voting history and behaviors, the campaign can further segment its voter database to categorize its voters. For example, it might segment voters by age or location so the campaign can customize messages based on that data to make them more appealing and relevant to individual voters.

 

Advantages of Voter Database Segmentation

How does voter database segmentation enhance outreach effectiveness? It helps campaigns create personalized messages more likely to resonate with voters, increasing the chances of mobilization.

After all, when voters receive a text with relevant information that pertains to them, they’ll feel more inclined to engage with it. For example, the campaign may segment its voters by location and send each group a customized message with information regarding their polling location on election day. 

So, now that the voter conveniently has the precinct’s address and hours of operation in their text inbox, it might encourage them to show up and cast their vote when they otherwise would have stayed home.

As you can see, voter segmentation helps inform the information the campaign should send its voters. In other words, it helps create targeted content. 

But how exactly does voter segmentation contribute to targeted messaging? Voter segmentation contributes to targeted messaging because it helps campaigns identify specific subsets of voters with shared characteristics or interests and send curated content based on that information. The more the campaign knows and understands its voters, the more it can customize its messages to appeal to their interests, preferences, and concerns.

Think about it this way: a campaign has a voter contact list that includes voter ages. Since one of the candidate's platforms involves Medicare, the campaign has decided to make phone calls and texts focusing on that issue. However, because Medicare only affects those 65 years and older (or those nearing that age group), it might not make much sense for the campaign to discuss this issue with voters in their 20s and 30s. 

Therefore, the campaign would want to consider segmenting its voter contact list and only sending Medicare-focused messages to those in a certain age group, helping to ensure its content is relevant and delivered to the appropriate audience.

Voter Contact Strategies

Once a campaign has segmented its voter contact list, now it can begin reaching out to voters.

What are some effective voter contact strategies? Some effective voter contact strategies involve sending text messages, making phone calls, canvassing, and creating targeted ads.

Illustration of a smartphone wearing a crown

 

Texting

Texting voters is one example of a direct voter contact strategy. Campaigns can send political text messages to voters' mobile phones using their voter contact list. This is a viable way of reaching voters because SMS texts have a 98% open rate, which helps ensure campaigns get eyes on their content.

Campaigns use text messages to send information regarding candidates and election day. Still, they can also use it to send polls, invitations to events and registration drives, and even fundraising requests.

 

Calling

Calling voters, also known as phone banking, is another tried-and-true voter contact strategy. In this case, campaigns use the phone numbers in their voter contact lists to call voters directly to engage in conversations about politics.

A campaign volunteer usually follows a script that provides information about a candidate and asks whether the voter plans to cast a ballot on election day. This allows the voter to ask questions and learn more about the campaign.

 

Door-to-Door Canvassing

Door-to-door canvassing offers an avenue for in-person voter contact. For this strategy, campaign volunteers head to neighborhoods and knock on voters' doors to speak with them about a candidate. Like phone banking, door-to-door canvassing allows campaign volunteers to provide the voter with persuasive messaging and ask how they plan to vote. This one-on-one contact helps voters familiarize themselves with the candidate and their policies.

 

Targeted Advertising

While campaigns might not be able to have two-way conversations with their voters via targeted ads, this kind of advertising can help them deliver their message to the right audience.

Again, if a campaign were to consult its voter data on its contact list, it could use it to help tailor its ads to voters on social media, such as Instagram and Facebook. For instance, the campaign could customize its ad to reach voters in a certain age group, share interests that align with the candidate’s policies, or live in a specific area. Instead of sending a generic ad out online and hoping it will resonate with its voters, the campaign can curate messages based on their segmented voter categories.

Voter Engagement Tactics

Aside from some of the aforementioned voter contact strategies, you might wonder how to improve voter engagement.

Voter engagement involves more than getting a voter to pick up a phone call or read an ad. It’s about getting voters to listen and interact with the conversation or content, which can help gain their support and motivate them to take action, whether that’s registering to vote, casting a ballot, volunteering for the election, or even sharing their political preferences with a friend or neighbor.

So, what are some voter engagement tactics to consider? Some voter engagement tactics to consider include creating educational campaigns, hosting community events, and mobilizing volunteers.

 

Creating Educational Campaigns

A big part of campaigning involves educating voters about the candidate and their political platform. To persuade voters to support the candidate, the campaign must ensure they understand their background, voting history, issues, and goals.

To do so, campaigns might use a voter contact list to text voters an infographic, blog post, or video clip showing where their candidate stands on certain issues. This kind of informative, interactive messaging engages voters as they explore the content to form their opinions about politics.

For instance, maybe a campaign wants to send a group of undecided voters information about a candidate’s environmental policies. Rather than messaging them a big chunk of text detailing the candidate’s eco-friendly goals and initiatives that might be dull or difficult to sift through, they could text them a short video clip of their candidate touring a wind farm to showcase the party’s stance on wind energy.

Chances are, voters would be more inclined to interact with, digest, and even remember the information in the video clip than if they were only to read a lengthy text on the same topic.

Woman with microphone at a political townhall

 

Hosting Community Events

Campaigns can also use their voter contact list to invite voters to in-person events. For example, the campaign may host a town hall debate or registration drive for unregistered voters. These community events cultivate an environment where voters can learn more about the political party, candidate, and election as they interact and engage with campaign volunteers and like-minded voters.

To see this action, let’s say a campaign decides to host a live Q&A with their candidate at the community center. The campaign could segment its voters who live within a certain driving radius of the event and text them an invitation. 

Furthermore, the campaign could follow up with those who have RSVP'd, requesting specific questions to ask the candidate. Not only does this help drum up interest in the event, but it also helps get voters more engaged and involved in conversations about the upcoming election.

Illustration of a smartphone announcing a volunteers needed message

 

Mobilizing Volunteers

Another way a campaign can increase voter engagement is by getting them involved in the campaign itself. After all, volunteers are what keep campaigns afloat, and enlisting their help can further spread the word about the upcoming election.

For this voter engagement tactic, campaigns can reach out to the supporters on their voter contact list and invite them to get involved. Campaigns can even encourage volunteers to help with their voter contact methods, like texting, calling, and canvassing!

To master this voter engagement tactic, a campaign might text its voters a link inviting them to add their names to a volunteer list to receive additional information. Or, the campaign could text them an invite to an in-person volunteer orientation in which they could learn more about volunteer opportunities. 

The more volunteers a campaign can muster, the more support it will receive.

Importance of Voter Contact Management

Now that we’ve covered voter contact lists, voter database segmentation, voter contact strategies, and voter engagement tactics, let’s move on to voter contact management.

What is voter contact management? Voter contact management oversees and monitors the campaign's interactions (or attempted interactions) with its voters. This helps a campaign track the effectiveness of its outreach efforts and prevent it from over- or under-contacting key voters.

For example, it might involve monitoring how many times its volunteers have texted a voter and how many messages the voter opened. If that voter ignores all outreach efforts, the campaign may need to consider a different strategy or remove the voter from their contact list.

 

Streamlining Voter Contact Management Outreach Efforts

How can voter contact management streamline outreach efforts? Voter contact management can streamline outreach efforts by helping organize and monitor voter interactions. Instead of randomly texting or calling its voters here and there, voter contact management helps the campaign learn more about that interaction and determine if and when to schedule a follow-up.

Based on the campaign’s interaction with its voters, they can further segment them into categories. For instance, of those who have received a text message from the campaign, those who opened it and interacted with it might go in one group, while those who ignored and didn’t open the message might go in another. This information can help influence how and when the campaign will contact those voters.

Remembering that there’s a fine line between engaging with voters and pestering them, voter contact management can help campaigns maintain that line.

 

Discover How EZ Texting Can Enhance Campaign Outreach Efforts

As this guide suggests, text marketing can be a viable way to reach voters. If your campaign wants to boost engagement rates and increase communication with voters, turn to EZ Texting. Contact us today to start your free 14-day trial and get ready to enhance your campaign efforts.

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