Enhancing your political campaign’s mobile messaging strategy: Using broadcast SMS for efficiency and compliance

6 minute read

You’ve already developed a robust SMS messaging strategy. You’re driving significant results and donations from your text message campaigns. Peer-to-peer messaging is a critical part of your fundraising, voting, volunteer mobilization, and growth strategy. 

Does this sound familiar? 

If it does, you likely already know that the 2024 election season will be very different for the world of peer-to-peer messaging.  

After heavy use of P2P messaging for the 2020 U.S. election, many mobile phone users were frustrated not only by the sheer number of messages they received, but also the fact many did not agree to be contacted in the first place. 

Understandably, mobile carriers knew they had to improve the mobile experience of their users. Mobile carriers made changes – particularly focused on P2P messaging to cut down on unwanted messages, and now all private companies need to register their ten-digit long code number (10DLC) withThe Campaign Registry. 

As part of the registration process, organizations will also have to prove that most of their audience is opted in to receive messages around this campaign. And this is where peer-to-peer campaigns hit a snag. While everyone you message should be opted in, we know that historically P2P messaging did not follow this incredibly important compliance rule. 

These compliance regulations also mean there are a number of consequences for organizations that do not register their 10DLC or send messages to individuals who did not opt-in, such as large fees, slower send rates, or potentially have their campaigns blocked all together.  

Additionally, there’s the hidden cost that comes from using an unrecognized 10DLC. Many people have come to immediately distrust any SMS message that comes from an unknown 10DLC number. This distrust means you are likely losing out on many audience members who are leery of your message being a scam.  

What does this mean for your peer-to-peer strategy? 

It means that relying on peer-to-peer messaging, or P2P, to fuel your mobilization, fundraising, and get out the vote strategies has become more difficult. 

Requiring an opt-in means organizations such as political groups and campaigns may need to rethink their entire SMS strategy. It also means that your mobile audience lists will likely be smaller, and that the volunteers that help run your P2P strategy are trained on compliance and how to opt individuals out of campaigns when requested.  

What it doesn’t mean is that your peer-to-peer strategy has to be done away with, it’ll still be a key part of your campaign. However, there are ways to modernize your mobile messaging strategy while expanding your reach and following compliance regulations.   

So where do I go from here? 

Supplement your peer-to-peer mobile messaging with broadcast messaging, or A2P, to reach more of your supporters in a shorter period of time and automate how you communicate with your audience throughout your busy campaign cycle.  

How can I upgrade my mobile messaging strategy?

1. Get on the broadcast messaging train with an A2P solution

A2P solutions, or application-to-person, are powerful mobile messaging platforms that can broadcast an SMS or MMS message to thousands or even millions of supporters with the click of a button. Your digital team can set up a single campaign to reach lists of all sizes, whether it’s an urgent message to your entire list of subscribers or a donation ask to a highly targeted group.  

You can also set up automated supporter journeys that trigger messages after certain actions are taken or conditions are fulfilled. This leaves your digital team with more time in their day to get creative with outreach strategies, take on rapid response campaigns, educate your supporters, and keep your fundraising engine humming.  

Worried that it will take away the personalized nature of your P2P approach? A2P solutions can personalize every text you send, whether it’s using their name, location, the causes they care about most, or their specific voting plan. And by segmenting your audiences you can cater messages to what those supporters care about most, thus helping them know you’re listening.  

2. Drop 10DLC and get a dedicated short code.

Historically, organizations balked at using short codes because it provided a less personal experience. But those days are in the past. Advancements within the SMS industry mean you can replicate a P2P experience using A2P SMS messaging software (see our point about personalization above)! 

Also consider that a short code is part of your political brand. One of the most common barriers for organizations to make the switch from 10DLC to a dedicated short code is price. And, we get it, price is a barrier to consider. However, you need to make sure you compare the up-front cost of a short code with the long-term cost of using 10DLC. And once you kick your new mobile strategy into high gear, the return on your investment will be multiplied with the growth in donations.  

 3. Develop an on-going strategy to grow your SMS list.

Once you’ve got your broadcast messaging solution ready to go, it’s time to set a strategy for growing your SMS list, or, improve your existing one. A good starting place is to make sure that all the places you ask for an email opt-in, you also ask for SMS. Here’s a quicklist of tips for growing your SMS list. That said, no matter which way you promote your SMS program, be sure your audience can see the value in becoming an SMS subscriber. 

 4. Plan out your supporter outreach strategy

Whether you’re just launching your digital strategy or you’ve got one going already, take some time to plan the next quarter out with your team (even better if you can do more)! A few things to think about while you plan your strategy: 

  • Map out a welcome campaign to begin educating your supporters and learning about what they care about most 
  • Create guidelines on how often to engage your supporters without becoming intrusive or spammy 
  • Think about how you want to tap into your data to segment targeted groups for more personalized outreach 
  • List the topics you’ll want to educate your supporters on, major events you’ll need to rally around, and how you’ll get your supporters to register to vote  

5. Set up an automated journey

Get your first automated message flow started, it could be as simple as a welcome campaign for new subscribers, sharing information about your platform and resources for them to learn more, register to vote, or sign up to volunteer.  

Automating portions of your supporter engagement strategy means more time for your digital team to tackle the challenges that come their way. Plus, you can help support your volunteer’s P2P efforts with an always-on mobile messaging campaign.   

Ready to get started? 

If you’re interested in learning about the real cost of your P2P messaging program and how you can upgrade your text program with broadcast messaging,chat with one of mobile strategists. We’ll be able to take a look at your exact situation and help you map out a new strategy to going into the 2024 election. 

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