Texting has gained wide adoption this cycle as a tool to help boost turnout. Part of the appeal is that it’s relatively low cost and can spark “personal” conversations with voters, which may prompt them to take action.
Campaigns looking to reach Election Day voters with a GOTV peer-to-peer text program need to start this weekend, and don’t stop at one message. At least that’s the advice of John Gibson, a partner at the GOP phones firm FLS Connect.
With these old-school voters, he advised, “you would do a more traditional 72-hour text program –maybe the Saturday before Election Day and Election Day.”
But what should last-minute text messages say? Some practitioners have been mocking the “boring language” in the texts that have been landing on their mobile screens. To help energize your text GOTV program, here’s what some consultants advised.
Appeal to Millennials.
Some voters, like Millennials, fret over their credit scores. In fact, 83 percent of them were actively trying to improve their score, according to research compiled by Stones Phones. The same survey, which was done by Discover Financial Services, found that 66 percent of Generation Xers were also focused on building their credit. As a result, the Democratic phones firm recommends linking voting with having a higher credit score.
“Learning that better voters have higher credit scores makes low-propensity voters more likely to vote,” Stones Phones said in a recent email.
Make sure to reply.
Replying to the voters who text you back after receiving your message is key to running a successful program, according to Hustle, the Democratic texting vendor.
The company’s own data shows that 20 percent of voters replied a second time after getting a response to their message within 20 minutes. “Text conversations need to be a quick back-and-forth to build genuine conversations,” the company said.
But Hustle warns not to text voters at odd hours when there isn’t staff available to reply. Instead, set “hours of operation” for when texts are sent and can receive replies.
Trust your data.
For Democratic campaigns, Hustle advises to communicate responses, including all opt-out requests, if a voter has moved or changed party affiliation, or voted early, back to the VAN. That will ensure that voters aren’t getting spammed by the campaign.
Meanwhile, Gibson noted that campaigns should consider focusing their text GOTV program on only reliable voters. If they know a voter is reluctant to go to the polls this November, consider moving them into a live, voice-calling universe if the budget is available. Voice calling cell phones, he recently told C&E, “is still king.”