Politicians Use Group Texting… Should You?
This political season, we’re watching as Trump and Biden fight it out for the top office. I don’t remember a more contentious political season in my life.
But, I promise you no politics in this article, just cold hard facts.
First I want to point out something amazing…
Politicians all across the nation are using text marketing to spread their message. They see the power of the technology and they’re using it in great (and different ways!)
Recently we did a case study on how texting was being used in local elections… and not just for political office. We had one group of HomeOwner Associations using texting in their elections.
Check out that article here: Use Text Marketing to Get Elected…
Biden & Trump Both Texting
Since I’m in the texting industry, I wanted to see what these politicians were doing right and wrong. Then share my thoughts with you.
So, I did what I had to do, I signed up for both Biden & Trump’s texting alerts.
Biden Texting Alerts
First, let’s look at Biden.
Here’s what I like about Biden’s promotion of texting… it’s at the TOP of the sign, and it’s easy to read.
There’s no question he’s putting his focus on connecting through texting.
As you can see, instead of texting his Keyword, I simply texted the word YES… and then I waited… and waited… and waited.
This was a big Failure for the Biden text alerts. They’ve not set up an auto response for NON-Keyword messages.
Why is this important?
What happens if your follower mis-spells your keyword. Or worse… what if they spell your keyword right and the AUTOCORRECT feature changes it!
This is something they need to fix.
After waiting a bit and not getting a response, I texted in the word “Biden” and that got me a response. (Clearly they have a number of keywords set up… and BIDEN is one of them!)
It makes me wonder what would have happened if I’d started with the word “UNITED”… would I have received a different message?
Anyway, too late now.
I love Biden’s auto responder. First, they follow the best practice of “STOP to quit”, and noting “Message&DataRatesMayApply”. They even sent a link to the “Terms” for being on the texting list. Those are industry best practices and I’m happy to see them in action.
NOTE: If you run a business, work for a non-profit or send any type of text message – follow these best practices like Biden does!
The other thing I love about Biden’s welcome message is the request for my Name and Zip Code.
This makes sense as I’m sure the Biden team is segmenting all of their followers… This gives them great leverage in connecting with voters on local level issues. I assume they’ll connect about when voting opens, mail in ballot deadlines, and the like!
What I found great was after texting back my Zip Code, I got a follow-up message asking how I could help.
Here’s why I love this follow-up text… one they’re asking for me to help, and connecting with me by giving me an option. Best of all, I get to pick how I get to help.
They set up a simple survey!
This is a simple survey that anyone can set up in their texting system. What you do is use your Keywords “A”, “B”, “C”, and “D” all replying with different responses. Better still, you can use these responses to segment your list even further.
I was curious about the donation option, so I texted back “D” to Donate and I immediately got a message with a link to donate.
When I clicked on the link the donate page loaded fast, and was mobile optimized.
The only problem… there were too many options!
The donate page had 7 different donation levels plus an optional type in your amount donation… there was an option to make it a weekly donation. PLUS I could sign up for an account to make the payment… or use paypal… OR continue with a different payment option.
Holy overload Batman!
One final confusing bit – the donation went to a group called ActBlue. I don’t know who they are? Is that Biden’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee? Where exactly is the money going?
So many questions with that one!
Ok, here’s my last critique for the Biden text alerts.
After saying I’d donate – by Texting back a “D” to their survey question… I wondered what would happen if I changed my mind and wanted to help in another way.
So, I typed in “C” and hit the send button… And nothing happened.
Apparently, I can only pick one way to help the Biden Campaign. If I were running the campaign, I’d let people pick as many options as they wanted and add them to each and every segment.
It’s a small oversight, but it’s an example of how Biden may be missing out on connecting with his strongest supporters.
Ok, Let’s look at Trump’s Text alerts.
Trump Texting Alerts
If you went to a Trump campaign rally, this is what you’d see:
So right off the bat, Trump’s call to action is small and buried in the middle of the poster. If you ask me, he should make the “Text TRUMP to 88022” much bigger and make it more prominent.
Now, I know Trump used texting in his first election. As a result, they already have a massive list of numbers to text… so that may be why they are not giving it more prominence.
Anyway, that’s something I’d change right away!
Once again, I started the Trump text alerts by texting the word “YES” instead of his Keyword.
Much to my delight I got an instant response. Trump’s texting team set up the auto responder for ANY keyword. Well done!
If you notice the first message is asking for clarification and making sure I want to get these text alerts. That’s a good practice, and by having the subscriber text back the correct keyword, you’re sure they’re correctly segmented.
The follow-up auto responder from Trump is even simpler than the one Biden used. He only asks for my Zip Code… no name required.
Why is this important?
Subscriber compliance is often low. By asking for the most important data first, he’s sure to segment the subscriber correctly.
I’m 100% certain the Trump team is using the Zip Code data for more targeted communications.
However, that auto responder only has the “stop to end” disclaimer listed. The link for terms and the “Message & Data rates may apply” don’t show up until the next message.
It’s not a huge deal as they’re still following best practices… but I’d always recommend sending those disclaimers in the first message.
Now, this is where the two candidates diverge.
Remember, Biden at this stage, sent a survey on how to help.
Trump does something totally different. He sends a link to “get voting details”.
I clicked the link… then I smiled. Trump used this link to send people to a squeeze page. It’s a mobile optimized page that is clearly run by the Republican National Committee. On this page they ask for my first and last name.
This is when the sneaky stuff started.
I thought it was strange the form didn’t have a “Submit” button.
I started adding my name and magically, some additional form fields showed up.
Much like the Biden Donate form, the Trump Squeeze page became overwhelming. They wanted my mailing address, city, state, zip, email, phone (didn’t they already have that?) and my Date of Birth (What the hell?).
Now this was crazy, the Submit button (which was just a big arrow) didn’t show up until I filled out every part of the form.
Do you know how dumb that is?
By forcing people to give you all the data, you elevate the risk of them giving you bad or fake data. For example I’d never give out my birthdate on a form like this… I didn’t know what I was signing up for.
After clicking the button, I quickly realized what they were doing.
The Republican National Committee page forwarded me to a website where I could register to vote, request a ballot, and even look up my voter registration!
Who Wins the Political Texting Wars?
As I write this, I haven’t been on either political text alert list very long… so I’m eagerly awaiting the next round of messages.
I don’t know if they’ll start texting daily, weekly, or just around the election.
But when I find out, I’ll let you know.
When it’s all said and done, both politicians are using texting in unique ways, and I only expect more from them on the texting front.
So, who wins this political race?
Why? Because you get to see first hand how major political parties with big money are using texting to connect, communicate, and drive responses from their texting lists.
Best of all, they aren’t doing anything you can’t already do for your business or organization.
Full disclosure neither the Trump nor the Biden campaigns use Betwext.com for texting. We do have other local and regional political groups who use Betwext for communicating with their supporters.
Remember to get out and vote!
Using Text Messaging For Your Organization
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