How to Start Conversations
As you begin to create your texting campaigns in ThruText, you may wonder what you need to say in your messages and how to best collect data on the responses you receive. Here are a couple of tips that are universally applicable for your texting campaigns:
- Keep messages as short as possible, but don’t make them too dense. Nobody wants to have to work to understand what you mean, but at the same time super long texts are likely to be ignored. Moreover, at 160 characters, there is a chance that carriers will split your message into segments of 160 characters each and there is no way for us to control the order those texts are received.
- Avoid using links in your initial message as that raises the risk that a carrier marks your text as spam and fails to deliver it to your contact. If you must use a link be sure to send a secure link beginning with “https://” as opposed to “http://” or just “www.”
- Do not use bit.ly shortcodes, those raise massive red flags to carriers and have a high risk of making them mark your text as spam. If you do use a shortcode, it is best to obtain one from a domain you own (e.g., your campaign website) or a google shortcode.
- You can use foreign accents and characters in your texts. As long as you can type it, you can text it but be aware that they will impact your character counts and can break your messages into multiple segments.
- Utilize the 'Survey Questions' feature. Collecting data on the conversations you have over ThruText is critical to measuring the success of your campaign, sending follow up messages and for targeting on future campaigns.
Below are some sample scripts for various scenarios you may end up texting.
The goal of ballot chase is to track down voters who’ve received a vote by mail ballot and remind them to turn in their ballot. The basic principle here is quickly ascertain that they have received a ballot and to inform them where they can drop it off or (if they have not yet received one) tell them what they will need to do to obtain one, if legally entitled to one.
Hey %FirstName%, it's %SenderFirstName% with the Bartlett Campaign. Your ballot should have come in the mail by now, have you received it yet?
- Yes, has received - Great! Be sure to mail it in before Election Day so it gets counted!
- Yes, has received (alt) - Great! Be sure to mail it in before Election Day, the nearest drop box to your address is %BallotDropLocation%
- No, hasn't received - Okay, some ballots are still in transit, if you haven’t received it by next week please let me know! When you get it, be sure to mail it in by Election Day!
The goal of a GOTV text campaign is to maximize your voter turnout. To that end, studies indicate that simply providing accurate precinct-level polling location data as well as the operating times will be better for increasing turnout. Asking open ended questions will increase engagement, but has no impact on turnout.
Hey %FirstName%, it's %SenderFirstName% w/ the Bartlett Campaign. Just texting to remind you that Election Day is Tuesday! Based on the address where you’re registered to vote (%StreetAddress%) here’s your polling place: %PollingLocation%, %PollingLocationAddress%, %PollingPlaceCity%. Polls close at 8pm!
- If Yes - Great! [Something motivational: e.g., We expect a lot of people to vote. Or this election could swing the balance in the Senate]! Do you know when you will vote and how you will get to your polling location?
- Already Voted - Thanks for voting! Can you take a moment to text five friends and remind them to go to the polls?
- Not Voting - I’m sorry to hear that. What are the issues you care about?
- Voting For Opposition - Got it. Thanks for letting me know. Have a nice day!
- How Did You Get My Number? - We got your number from the list of registered voters, which is publicly available information.
The goal of an event recruitment text campaign is to maximize turnout at an event. Your guiding light here is engagement, you want to ask open ended questions to get buy in from your constituents and then provide the event details in a follow up message (ideally created as a recommended reply). You can later launch a follow-up campaign to remind RSVPs of the event, standard practice for many campaigns is to recruit 7 days out, then follow up at 3, 2, and/or 1 day out from the event.
Hi %FirstName%, %SenderFirstName% here with the Bartlett campaign. There’s a great campaign event on Thursday near you in %City%. Are you interested?
- Event Details - The event starts at 7pm at 123 Main Street. We’ll get the updated strategy on the campaign, and a Q&A with the candidate. Can you make it?
- RSVP Yes - Great! I’ll mark you down as a YES so organizers can expect you. Please spread the word and feel free to bring friends!
- RSVP No - No worries, we’ll keep you posted about other ways to get involved in the future. In the meantime, we’d appreciate a like/share on Facebook! LINK
The goal of volunteer asks is to recruit volunteers to schedule a shift for your event/phone bank/texting campaign/etc. Volunteer asks are also about engagement with a friendlier audience of known supporters, so don’t be afraid to go for the hard ask in the initial message.
Hey %FirstName%, it's %SenderFirstName% w/ the Bartlett Campaign, we’re working hard to put Josiah over the top but we can’t do it without you. Do you think you’ll be able to support us by volunteering?
- Yes - Will Volunteer - Great! We’ll be phone banking tomorrow and Thursday evening, and doing a block walk Wednesday evening and Saturday and Sunday afternoon! Which works best for you?
- More Info - We phone bank in the evening on Tuesdays and Thursdays and canvass on Wednesday evenings and in the afternoon on the weekend. Would you like to join us?
- No - That’s fine, hope you can make it some other time! We have opportunities every day of the week!
- Volunteer Commitment Confirmation - Great! Thanks for your support! See you on (date)! Be sure to bring (walking shoes/phone/headset/other)!
The goal of a fundraising campaign is to raise money for the Campaign. Unlike most texting campaigns, you should not include a hard ask in the initial message as it can be alienating. The initial message should ask something more generic such as for “support.”
Hi %FirstName%, this is %SenderName% with the Bartlet campaign. Thanks to supporters like you we’ve been able to bring our message across the state! Do you think you’ll be able to support us?
- Yes - Support - Excellent! Do you think you’ll be able to help us out with a gift of %DonationAmount%?
- No - That’s okay, would you be interested in helping us by becoming a volunteer?
- Yes, donate - Great! Thank you for your support, %FirstName%, you can post your donation here: LINK
- No (alt) - That’s okay, thanks for your time!