At SMS Connect, we believe that connection is the most important part of a campaign. That’s why we specialize in text messages, because it’s the most convenient way to connect with people in this day and age. However, we do acknowledge that some of the most important work done on a campaign is in person.
Whether your campaign is big or small, making pit stops is always necessary on the campaign trail. In a literal sense, pit stops for gas are obviously required, but pit stops to meet potential voters and supporters is crucial to your shot at the office you desire.
If your team is running a national race, you’re probably planning stops at vital states. If you’re running in a state election, you’re most likely hitting a good mixture of big cities and smaller working-class towns. If you’re trying your hand at a local election, you’re most likely visiting schools, clubs, popular local businesses, and anywhere that can get you some buzz.
All in all, if you’re traveling to greet and meet potential constituents, you and your team are doing it right.
According to Vice, face-to-face interactions are the best and most effective way to win over voters; at the bare minimum, it’s the most effective way to get them out to the polls at all on voting day, regardless of how they cast their vote. It’s all in the nature of human interaction; seeing someone in person can develop a unique connection between the voter and the message. The nuances in conversation and tone of body language can create a lasting impact on a voter. Real life conversation is more memorable. You’re not just scrolling past a campaign’s ad, you’re getting to know a person who represents the candidate.
However, what you might not know is that there’s more than one way to canvass. In 2019, we no longer need to see people face-to-face in order to develop a connection with them. Technology has given us a multitude of ways to make even wider and more creative connections. And while some of these methods aren’t necessarily called “canvassing,” they embody the general essence of canvassing.
The traditional and public impression of canvassing is people going door-to-door, gathering signatures and talking about their candidate. To an extent this is true; this is a part of what canvassing can look like. However, soliciting votes isn’t necessarily the core of canvassing.
At the least, the main purpose of canvassing is to bring your candidate’s message to the people. There are obviously many ways that your team can make this happen; but what sets canvassing apart is its reliance on people from your campaign networking and making connections with voters, in order to gain you support.
Just as with anything else, you’ll need a good team of motivated supporters to create the canvass dream team. The ideal canvasser is someone who’s outgoing, friendly, not intimidating, and easily self-motivated.
The job isn’t for quitters. This is mainly because the average canvasser faces a lit of rejection on a daily basis. Just as every traveling salesperson and even telemarketer experiences on an hourly or even minutely basis, the average canvasser will face a lot of rejection. Some of it will be polite, and a good chunk of it will be specifically un-polite. Either way, canvassing, whether it’s via mobile phone or in person, takes a special person to deliver your special message. Canvassing takes a truly special person, who truly believes in your campaign and idea.
While we agree that this personal, and more specifically in-person interaction is vital, we can’t help but think to the future and innovate ways that canvassing can be made digital and mobile.
While the traditional nature of canvassing is naturally mobile, the future of canvassing is through that device on your desk or in your pocket. Yep, that’s right. Cell phones are the future of canvassing, and it’s because of their convenience and ease of use. The canvasser will be able to stay in their home, cover more bases in a shorter period of time than traditional canvassing, and do it in a safer scenario than traditional door-to-door canvassing.
Text Message Canvassing
Nowadays, a person can connect just as much over text message as they can through having a real life conversation. In some cases, people can even fall in love over text.
While you’re not literally trying to court followers, you can encourage canvassers to reach out to potential constituents via text message. Especially if you live in a small town, text message canvassing can be as easy as a canvasser reaching out to his or her connections around town, which can include friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and pretty much anyone in their contact list.
It all starts with opening up the floor for a conversation about your candidacy. Then the canvasser can expand into a full on, in-depth conversation about the issues; although the conversation is in a text message, it’s still among people who vaguely know each other. The text message conversation becomes more than just a one-way reach-out effort. The interaction as a whole becomes a valued conversation about the issues that will impact both parties; and your canvasser technically doesn’t need to leave the house.
Text Message Marketing
Not to be confused with text message marketing, text message canvassing is all a volunteer service. However, text message marketing can create the same effect as canvassing, which has been proven to win elections time and time again. Especially when using a service like SMS Connect to disperse your political campaign text messages, some companies offer real life agents that can send text messages to potential voters. These live agents have the ability to engage in conversation with people in your contact list, thus mimicking the canvassing process for an extremely cheap price.
Actual canvassing relies on people to volunteer for your cause; text message marketing can give people this same type of impression, but has the potential to be ground-breakingly more effective. Drip campaigns can be utilized in a text message service to keep up a long-term relationship with voters, something that a lot of canvassers don’t even do. Drip campaigns are messages scheduled to be sent long after the initial conversation. The goal is to keep your campaign at the forefront of a voter’s mind.
Telemarketing/Telephone Call Canvassing
With actual telephone calls, your canvassers have a leg up because phone calls allow them to express the nuances of every day conversation. With the ability to effortlessly convey tone and more room for verbal expression, telephone call canvassing is another effective way to canvass without knocking on doors. Ringtones and text tones are the new doorbells. Especially with today’s increased caution surrounding answering doors and general physical human interaction, telephone call canvassing is a safer way to canvass.
Making phone calls is not only safer for the potential voter, but for the canvasser as well. Who knows what people could be lurking behind each door. With a phone call, a significant amount of stranger danger risk is eliminated. Not only that, but many canvassers will begin reaching out to the people who already exist in their contact information; this will guarantee a more meaningful conversation about your campaign, regardless of the outcome of the conversation. Not to mention, they can request a list of other people who might be interested in a phone call. This chain of connections can help your canvasser reach out to people that they may not encounter if going door-to-door.
In a telephone call, the canvasser can gain access to the telephone number of someone who might actually be interested in entering a conversation about your campaign. This type of system eliminates dead leads from your canvasser’s list, therefore they won’t have to waste as much of their time reaching out to people who might reject, or be a lost cause.
The Future Is Now: Text Messaging and Mobile Phone Calls are the New Canvassing
Many people, maybe even without realizing it, canvass every day as elections near. Making connections to people they know via phone interactions is something that’s already embedded into the way that we live in the 21st century. The biggest difference lies in intentionality. Canvassers can be twice as productive using the technology that they use on a daily basis if they make it a point to canvass. Using the devices that we already use on a daily basis, canvassing can be revolutionized.
The only question left is, will your campaign be looking ahead when it comes to canvassing? Will you be ahead of the curve, or caught playing catchup after all of your competitors have moved to mobile canvassing? The impact is real, and the impact is immediate. So next time you gather with a group of canvassers, ready to promote your message, give them these tidbits about mobile canvassing.
not only will they be able to contribute to your canvassing efforts, they’ll be contributing to a movement that will reshape the way political canvassing is done.