The government shutdown was a painful challenge for many individuals and businesses here in Washington, DC and nationwide.
During a crisis like the shutdown, it’s crucial for associations, advocacy groups, non-profits and businesses to communicate with their key audiences in a channel that follows them everywhere: their text message inbox.
Not only is it vital to interact closely with their key supporters and clients, but smart organizations are also constantly trying to grow their reach and occupy their supporters’ and clients’ awareness.
We know from 2018 that voters are ready for real, immediate, two-way conversations with the organizations and candidates they support. During the shutdown, we encouraged our clients to begin their text conversations with a simple question: “What are your thoughts on the government shutdown?" or "How is the government shutdown impacting you and your family?”
The magic of texting is that over 90 percent of texts are read within five minutes, so if you craft the outgoing copy correctly, you can quickly engage hundreds or thousands of people in real, individualized conversations. Depending on the interactions and once enough information was collected on their opinion of the shutdown then our client’s agents — our name for the volunteers or staff who send the texts — could suggest an appropriate call-to-action (CTA).
Sometimes it was to sign a petition to let an elected official know they supported their stance, or it was to sign up for updates regarding developments concerning the shutdown from their association or business. We also helped people make a direct phone call to their elected officials (in general people spent almost a full minute leaving a message with the constituent services official).
We even had individuals taking surveys where they could share their opinions about how the association or business should deal or help with the effects of the government shutdown. All via thousands and thousands of personal texts. The long term value added is turning cold prospects into newly engaged supporters. That’s what a text from a human being (equipped with the right data, platform, and targeting) can do.
Since advocacy groups and nonprofits don’t need an opt-in if they’re using a reputable peer-to-peer (P2P) texting service, these clients could grow their audience and supporter base by engaging new people on a hot button topic.
Texting allows groups to maintain a consistent two-way conversation while gathering even more information on supporters’ priorities. More importantly, they have also grown their relationships. Now, these organizations can better deliver the right message and CTA to the right individual.
These organizations can now go to a deeper well of supporters for more constituent calls to Congress, more fundraising asks, or other CTAs during their policy fights.
The next few weeks are sure to consist of more maneuvering and machinations on Capitol Hill, and campaigns, associations, and businesses will have to move quickly to keep themselves in the conversation.
Spencer Sullivan is VP of partnerships at RumbleUp & uCampaign.