Persuading a voter to support your campaign has varying levels of difficulty depending on the scale and stake of the election you’re running in. Gaining voters is one thing. Approaching someone rooting against your campaign with the goal of changing their mind is a completely different discussion.
How does one change someone’s mind? Especially when it comes to politics, opinions and debates become personal and foundations become impossible to move. When people make up their minds, it seems like the end all be all. When it comes to a political campaign, how do we combat this immovable mass of people who don’t support?
Marketing is getting more creative, and with every step that marketers take, people find a way to avoid being marketed to. People try to stay in their own lane, unbothered by differing opinions or challenging thoughts. With today’s technology such as email marketing, text message marketing, social media marketing and even more, people live philosophically blinded by a mental tunnel vision.
This is why marketing needs to be more personal. People no longer want to be another statistic that advertisements target. Marketing must be personal, and it must make a practical impact. Each voter is different. So with every voter interaction, you must be intentional. SMS marketing gives you the opportunity to do that by collecting data to give you different voter profiles.
When collecting contact and data tactics, there are generally three types of voter profiles you’ll come across. Just like in person on the campaign trail, you’ll encounter people who support you, don’t support you, and people who haven’t decided altogether. Below, we’ve outlined each of these voter profiles. Keep reading for some sms connect tips for taking your connection with them to the next level.
The Likely Supporter
The likely supporter is someone who is already aligned politically with your platform. They might be loyal to the party you’re running for, or even familiar with your campaign. Usually, they will respond positively to outreach from your campaign in most platforms. If they don’t respond positively, it might be because you’ve already got their vote. They don’t see a reason for further engaging with your campaign if they feel that they’ve given you what they think you want.
This is why it’s important to take advantage of drip campaigns and event planning with sms. Supporters don’t want to be marketed to. They want to feel valued. After finding out that they’re a supporter, create a purpose for the interaction. Ask for their help volunteering, donating, or even for more information about themselves to collect demographic data.
You could even offer to give them further information about your platform. Just because they support you doesn’t mean that they don’t have questions or concerns about the election and your place in it. Direct them to your website for more information, and even tell them how electing you will benefit them in ways that they haven’t already considered.
Don’t treat supporters as just another voter to check off of your list. See and understand the value in their support and create a long-term relationship with them that will only strengthen your campaign.
The Undecided Voter
The undecided voter is usually more likely to be open to your outreach. They might express a little bit more interest in your campaign’s platform than even the likely supporter. They crave more information. You should always make a point to be open and listen to every person on your contact list. With an undecided voter however, there’s a bit more at stake.
Each voter, whether they’re decided or undecided, has a certain set of morals and belief systems that influence their decision making. Through SMS, allow them to express their concerns and questions about your campaign and give them the information that they crave. Send them links to your content so they can expand on their research even past your text conversation. Refer them to testimonies of people in support of or involved in your campaign.
Be sure to invite them to different campaign events to show them what you’re all about. While SMS is an amazing tool to gain votes, it’s also a segue to get voters involved in other areas of the election. Whether it’s voting, volunteering, donating, attending events, or canvassing, the fight doesn’t stop with the text message alone.
The Negative Responder
During the 2016 presidential election, the New York Times published the story of a man who went door to door in Los Angeles, having conversations with strangers about transgender rights. Even if they, on a surface level, agreed with his point of view, he continued the conversation to ensure support for his cause. When confronted by people with opposing views, he responded with an appeal to pathos. The canvasser cited his own personal story and asked that the strangers apply it to their own lives.
Since the canvasser was out in the field campaigning gay and transgender rights, the article took note of the conditions in which each voter was then persuaded. The article outlines a study observing “that though both gay and straight canvassers were effective at the door, only voters contacted by gay canvassers remained persuaded nearly a year later.”
The negative responder has likely already made up their mind about your campaign or their own stance on the cause, and will be hard to convince. They might even be slightly annoyed that you’re approaching them in the first place; however, all hope is not lost.
All in all, people are more likely to change their minds when you bring your platform home. By home, we mean tugging at their heart strings. Try introducing them to real people who your platform stands for and introducing them to its reality. If part of your platform is to help homeless people, then show testimony of a person suffering in homelessness. If you advocate for childhood cancer research, let someone affected by this use your campaign to share their story.
Of course, your campaign can also forge these connections by canvassing. Going door to door to have real life conversations with people about the issues you stand for creates a huge impact. Gathering volunteers who have a personal connection with your platform and stance will give you a leg up. They can always approach opposing views with honesty and genuine conversation.
Where does SMS fit into all of this, you might ask. As mentioned in our previous blogs, text message marketing for political campaigns is a wildly expansive and effective way to get into contact with potential supporters. With the ability to place yourself in the inboxes of countless people, your campaign gains momentum with just one hit of the send button.
That being said, you won’t always meet people in support of your cause. These people, in sms marketing language, are negative responders.
How should you move forward with negative responders in the SMS format? You don’t have the advantage of speaking to anyone face-to-face. You have to work a little harder to turn it around. It all starts with applying pathos to your initial text script. Before sending the text message in the first place, understand that you will be reaching out to people with already established opinions. Just as the canvasser for transgender rights applied pathos to the strangers he met, your campaign should consider applying pathos to your greeting.
A Solid Greeting
Take your key topics and find a way to make them hit home and appeal to people’s emotions. As discussed in our last blog, combining content and sms marketing is an excellent way to help people feel empathy. If you provide a link to a website with testimonials, or even include a testimonial in your initial text, you could nudge a negative responder in your direction.
Remember to engage in conversation with negative responders, but not in a confrontational way. Since sms connect has live operators, our service will give your campaign the ability to do this. Ask negative responders questions and listen to their concerns. Make them feel heard, even if they don’t agree with you. This might make a more positive impression on a negative responder than if you were to debate politics with them through text message. It’s not a good look, and most importantly, it just doesn’t work.
All in all, humans crave fulfillment and emotion. Appealing to voters with these motives in mind will give you a better response than any emotionless plea for votes.
In conclusion, changing a voter’s mind is a slippery slope. Sometimes, you can’t change minds; but also, maybe you shouldn’t look at it that way. The main goal is to create a meaningful dialogue that will plant seeds. No voter is going to admit defeat to you in one conversation. They won’t stop arguing to admit that you’ve convinced them. Plant seeds to the supporter and the undecided voter to become involved in your campaign. You can plant seeds in the dissenter, so that your pathos sticks with them, and one day they’ll give you a vote.