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How SMS Will Help Elect The Next US President

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US voting

The power of SMS is transforming the US race to the White House, with candidates using SMS campaigns to make direct appeals to voters.

Harnessing the reach and immediacy of texting, political candidates Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and Hilary Rodham Clinton are targeting people where it matters most – on their smartphones.

Forget email and fancy apps. The personal appeal of SMS is being used to great effect in the presidential campaign now hotting up in the US. According to the The New York Times, US electoral campaigners are side-stepping the saturated social media and email markets in favour of a far more direct approach.

How is SMS marketing being used by presidential hopefuls?

  • Bernie Sanders. On the most important night of his 2015 campaign for the Democratic nomination, Sanders gathered around 100,000 of his supporters into homes across the US. His camp asked followers to text the word ‘work’ in a show of support – and received nearly 50,000 responses within hours of putting out the call.
  • Ted Cruz and Hilary Rodham Clinton. Both presidential front-runners kicked off their nomination campaigns in 2015 by asking voters to contact them by text and throw their support behind their bid for the White House.
  • Rand Paul. Aides to the Kentucky wannabee reached out to supporters via text, asking them to sign petitions during an hour-long Senate speech about the National Security Agency surveillance program in May 2015.

How does SMS help candidates in their bid for the presidency?

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With the world awash with smartphones, political aides are choosing to place their messages in the palms of voters’ hands.

Not only are their texts more likely to be read than emails – which too often go straight to the spam box – SMS marketing campaigns enable candidates’ teams to collect mobile phone numbers and build them into a valuable database of supporters.

Candidates are also using texting to whip up crowds ahead of political events, and to reach a younger audience less engaged with politics.

How is SMS being used to target the Australian electorate?

Concerned about the low rate of voting enrolment among young people, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) launched an online campaign to boost enrolment ahead of the Australian federal election on 7 September 2013.

At the time, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) reported almost half of 18-year-olds and one-third of 19-year-olds were not enrolled to vote. The AEC chose texting to recruit potential voters, sending out 70,000 SMS messages encouraging them to enrol and cast their vote.

The beauty of SMS campaigns

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You don’t have to be a political candidate or electoral commission to take advantage of powerful marketing through SMS. Mobile marketing platforms with a range of smart features can effectively reach a target audience and significantly boost your brand reputation.

Claudia Klein
Claudia Klein
Claudia Klein is the Marketing Manager for Oxygen8 Australia and regular blog contributor for Oxygen8 Group. With a MA in International Relations, she’s always been passionate about the power of communications. She gets excited about mobile engagement and fitness bodybuilding, so when she’s not available on her mobile you’ll most likely find her at the gym. She loves to listen, learn and do things differently.

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