Get Out the Vote with Effective Text Messaging Campaigns

For voters, Election Day is a way to perform their civic duty. For those involved in political campaigns, Election Day marks the long-awaited culmination of tireless efforts to drive support of the candidates and causes they care about.

More and more, these tireless efforts involve SMS campaigns, especially as COVID has transformed GOTV efforts. Text messaging has proven itself a powerful tool for educating and mobilizing voters in recent elections. In fact, studies have shown that using SMS for get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts leads to statistically significant increases in voter turnout.

Of course, if you’re involved in campaigns, you know that the election season never ends. Before you know it, it’ll be time to plan your next GOTV campaigns.

Here are a few tips for getting out the vote!

1) Start planning your GOTV messaging ahead of time.

While Election Day isn’t until November, an effective GOTV text campaign starts sending months in advance. To maximize voter turnout, you’ll need to send information about voter registration deadlines and dates to request and return absentee ballots, along with reminders to vote as the election draws near.

That means your planning will need to start well before these deadlines. Make sure your text message copy is written and approved in advance to ensure you can engage your mobile list at the times when it matters most.

2) Hone the tone of your text messaging.

For political campaigns, finding the right tone is a balancing act. Too formal, and you come across as cold and unengaging; too informal, and you could alienate your audience or obscure your message.

Focus on writing clear, conversational, and engaging copy for every step of your text messaging campaigns.

3) Segment your mobile list to send the most engaging messaging in a timely fashion.

As you learn about your SMS list and gather data about your subscribers, use this data to segment your list. That way, you can send the most relevant messaging.

For instance, mentioning specific issues in your get-out-the-vote messages can often help persuade people to vote. However, the issues that mobilize voters in one district may not be as relevant to other districts. Likewise, issues that engage voters of a certain age may not resonate with voters in other age cohorts. Tailoring your messaging based on a voter’s location or age helps ensure that you send the messaging that’s most likely to move potential voters to take action.

4) Help your mobile list make a plan to vote.

For low-propensity voters and first-time voters, the voting process can seem daunting. To ensure your mobile list makes it to the polls, use your text messaging campaigns to make Election Day as easy as possible.

One way to do this is by using SMS to show recipients where their polling place is. You can create a broadcast that asks people to reply with their address in exchange for the location of their polling place. As Election Day approaches, send follow-up messages that help them ensure they have a time in mind for going to the polls, as well as a way to get there. Once they have a plan in place, you can drive further voter engagement by encouraging them to get several of their friends to vote as well.

With a plan to vote in place, your subscribers will be more likely to follow through. The same goes for you: when you have a plan for your campaign efforts, you’ll be more likely to see success.

To learn more about creating effective GOTV text messaging campaigns, view our Best Practices on Effectively Integrating SMS within your GOTV Strategy on-demand webinar.

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