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Retail garden centers and greenhouses were not on the list. The Michigan Farm Bureau, which has been “the voice of Michigan agriculture” for 100 years, knew exactly what that meant: growers could lose an entire year of income. Up to $700 million in retail sales and more than 9,000 jobs were on the line. The Farm Bureau took action, asking thousands of its members to email the governor and ask for a change. Because the organization used text messaging to contact them, the campaign saw a whopping 32-percent conversion rate. Fully a third of its membership took action—and they got a swift response. In less than a month, the governor issued a new order declaring retail plant sales were essential infrastructure. When your team needs to energize a campaign, there are few things more powerful than text messaging. The ability to text a loyal group of supporters and move them to action in real time is the very definition of rapid response. For companies, associations and nonprofits that want to modernize communications, boost impact and increase performance metrics, text messaging is an essential tool. “For most advocacy programs, text messaging is the most potent weapon available,” said Jeb Ory, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Phone2Action (acquired by Quorum). “When you need to move the needle, text messaging is the lever that effective organizations use to get the job done." Email remains the workhorse of advocacy communications, and that is not likely to change anytime soon. Yet veteran advocacy professionals know that it is getting harder to get people’s attention every year. Noise increases. Inboxes are full. Performance numbers drop. Text messaging is powerful medicine for a program that is dependent on a low-performing email list. Text is the most personal form of communication available outside of the phone when it comes to reaching your audience. Texting a dedicated group of advocates, all of whom opted in to receive messages, with an urgent appeal can generate dramatic results. Phone2Action began offering text messaging in 2013 and hundreds of organizations have used the platform to send millions of messages since then. Our data paints a picture of a modern communications channel with performance numbers that are far higher than email. Maximum Penetration. While the average advocacy email has an open rate in the teens, the open rate for text messaging is 99 percent. When you use text, your supporters see and read your message. Faster Response. More than half the action generated by a text campaign takes place in the first seven minutes after the message is sent, making them ideal for rapid response and increasing the sense of urgency that drives an impactful campaign. Higher Conversion. While the average conversion rate for email is in low single digits, conversion rates for text messaging are often two or three times as high. Double-digit conversion rates are routine. During the height of the advocacy boom caused by the pandemic, when 52,000 people were taking action on our platform every day, text continued to cut through the noise. Conversion rates almost tripled, growing from an average of 6 percent to 16 percent. Broader Reach. By combining text messaging with keywords and shortcodes, such as “Text SOA2020 to 52886,” an organization can reach beyond its list. Using this approach through social media, virtual events and advertising can be a great way to acquire new advocates. During the pandemic advocacy boom in 2020, acquisition among associations using this approach grew by an average of 533 percent. The average number of new supporters per campaign grew from 40 to 260. Indeed, stories abound of organizations using text, keywords and shortcodes in unique ways. The NAACP famously put a text campaign on a billboard in New York City’s Times Square. “Text messaging is a high-velocity tool,” said Brittany Schrager, Customer Success Manager at Phone2Action. “When organizations really want to improve performance and get people active, we recommend text. The reason is simple: it delivers.”

Building a Text Program

Most of us consider text a part of everyday life. And why not? The first text message was sent in 1992, making it a 30-year-old technology. American Idol took text, shortcodes and keywords mainstream in 2002. But it wasn’t until the last decade that it became an advocacy tool, embraced by organizations that were seeing email metrics decline and wanted a way to increase performance. “We needed to ramp things up,” said Christopher Masak, senior associate director for advocacy at Alzheimer’s Impact Movement. “We needed the ability to come at legislator in different ways. We needed to be more nimble.” AIM implemented text in 2018 as part of a larger effort to modernize its advocacy program. Fast forward 18 months and the organization created a text list of more than 12,000 supporters, which enhanced its capability to mobilize. During that time, more than 35,000 AIM supporters took action, making almost 200,000 connections with elected socials.

Designing Your a Text Pilot Program

Run Text and Email in Parallel. Text is almost never used as a replacement for email. Rather, it is an augmentation, and many organizations manage text and email programs side-by-side. The American Heart Association, for example, could reach about 240,000 supporters by email and about 60,000 via text last year. While both mediums serve the same goal-to mobilize advocates—they are different tools with different uses. Get Professional Help. For starters, you will need an advocacy platform that offers text messaging (not all of them do). You will also want an experienced advisor to help architect your program, someone who has run hundreds of text campaigns and can keep you from making costly mistakes. This kind of support is most often found through your vendor, the folks who run the platform that provides your text capabilities. If your vendor will not help you create a text program and provide on-demand support along the way, find one that will. Having an experienced hand in the mix will make the entire exercise more effective-an more comfortable. Build a Text List. Like your email program, the heart of your text operation will be a list of advocates who have opted in. Unlike email, that opt-in is mandatory. Text messaging is covered by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal law that says sending unsolicited texts can result in heavy fines. To avoid that, everyone on your text list must opt in and consent to receive messages. This is accomplished by a campaign designed to drive opt-ins. Organizations that have been collecting advocate phone numbers will have an advantage here. For the rest—and there are many—the opt-in campaign will also gather phone numbers. Create a Quality Mobile Experience. Unlike email, text messaging is a mobile-only communication. Nobody will be responding to your texts on a desktop. That means the experience you provide, from landing pages to the thank-you screen, must be optimized for mobile. They must look good and be easy to use, even for someone one-handing a phone on the metro. If you are using the right advocacy platform, this will be taken care of for you. The same advocacy software that allows you to send texts should be able to make your campaigns and advocacy efforts full mobile-friendly experience. Use Keywords and Shortcodes. Using keywords (short, memorable phrases) and shortcodes (easy-to-remember, five-digit numbers) in a call to action (e.g Text SOA2020 to 52886) can greatly expand the utility of your texting program by allowing you to operate outside your list. They can be used on social media, at events and in advertising to drive campaigns, recruit supporters-even grow your text list itself. Use Text Carefully. While every organization uses text differently, most organizations use it only for their most important  campaigns, at least until they build up some experience and learn how their audience responds. Sending too much email is a bad idea, but it is a common and sometimes forgivable sin. Sending too many texts could result in a backlash, complete with complaints and unsubscribes.

Think Text is Too Intrusive? Think Again

Some organizations worry that text messaging is too intrusive, but the truth is quite the opposite. At the heart of every text program is a list of advocates who have voluntarily provided their mobile number and asked to receive messages. These are often an organization’s strongest supporters. They want to be contacted so they can take action. Of course, it is always important to respect people’s time and text should be reserved for only the most important campaigns. But with hundreds of organizations using text messaging, the idea that it is too disruptive can safely be dismissed. “When organizations create a program properly, there’s nobody on a text list who does not want to be there,” said Brittany Schrager, Customer Success Manager at Phone2Action. “This is a great way for organizations to communicate directly with their most enthusiastic supporters.” [post_title] => The Transformative Power of Text Messaging [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => power-of-text-messaging [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-02-01 15:59:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-02-01 15:59:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=8245 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [queried_object_id] => 8245 [request] => SELECT wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts WHERE 1=1 AND wp_posts.post_name = 'power-of-text-messaging' AND wp_posts.post_type = 'resources' ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC [posts] => Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8245 [post_author] => 43 [post_date] => 2022-02-01 15:47:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-02-01 15:47:39 [post_content] => Just days after the U.S. declared the pandemic a national emergency, the governor of Michigan signed an executive order declaring which industries were essential and could remain in operation. Retail garden centers and greenhouses were not on the list. The Michigan Farm Bureau, which has been “the voice of Michigan agriculture” for 100 years, knew exactly what that meant: growers could lose an entire year of income. Up to $700 million in retail sales and more than 9,000 jobs were on the line. The Farm Bureau took action, asking thousands of its members to email the governor and ask for a change. Because the organization used text messaging to contact them, the campaign saw a whopping 32-percent conversion rate. Fully a third of its membership took action—and they got a swift response. In less than a month, the governor issued a new order declaring retail plant sales were essential infrastructure. When your team needs to energize a campaign, there are few things more powerful than text messaging. The ability to text a loyal group of supporters and move them to action in real time is the very definition of rapid response. For companies, associations and nonprofits that want to modernize communications, boost impact and increase performance metrics, text messaging is an essential tool. “For most advocacy programs, text messaging is the most potent weapon available,” said Jeb Ory, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Phone2Action (acquired by Quorum). “When you need to move the needle, text messaging is the lever that effective organizations use to get the job done." Email remains the workhorse of advocacy communications, and that is not likely to change anytime soon. Yet veteran advocacy professionals know that it is getting harder to get people’s attention every year. Noise increases. Inboxes are full. Performance numbers drop. Text messaging is powerful medicine for a program that is dependent on a low-performing email list. Text is the most personal form of communication available outside of the phone when it comes to reaching your audience. Texting a dedicated group of advocates, all of whom opted in to receive messages, with an urgent appeal can generate dramatic results. Phone2Action began offering text messaging in 2013 and hundreds of organizations have used the platform to send millions of messages since then. Our data paints a picture of a modern communications channel with performance numbers that are far higher than email. Maximum Penetration. While the average advocacy email has an open rate in the teens, the open rate for text messaging is 99 percent. When you use text, your supporters see and read your message. Faster Response. More than half the action generated by a text campaign takes place in the first seven minutes after the message is sent, making them ideal for rapid response and increasing the sense of urgency that drives an impactful campaign. Higher Conversion. While the average conversion rate for email is in low single digits, conversion rates for text messaging are often two or three times as high. Double-digit conversion rates are routine. During the height of the advocacy boom caused by the pandemic, when 52,000 people were taking action on our platform every day, text continued to cut through the noise. Conversion rates almost tripled, growing from an average of 6 percent to 16 percent. Broader Reach. By combining text messaging with keywords and shortcodes, such as “Text SOA2020 to 52886,” an organization can reach beyond its list. Using this approach through social media, virtual events and advertising can be a great way to acquire new advocates. During the pandemic advocacy boom in 2020, acquisition among associations using this approach grew by an average of 533 percent. The average number of new supporters per campaign grew from 40 to 260. Indeed, stories abound of organizations using text, keywords and shortcodes in unique ways. The NAACP famously put a text campaign on a billboard in New York City’s Times Square. “Text messaging is a high-velocity tool,” said Brittany Schrager, Customer Success Manager at Phone2Action. “When organizations really want to improve performance and get people active, we recommend text. The reason is simple: it delivers.”

Building a Text Program

Most of us consider text a part of everyday life. And why not? The first text message was sent in 1992, making it a 30-year-old technology. American Idol took text, shortcodes and keywords mainstream in 2002. But it wasn’t until the last decade that it became an advocacy tool, embraced by organizations that were seeing email metrics decline and wanted a way to increase performance. “We needed to ramp things up,” said Christopher Masak, senior associate director for advocacy at Alzheimer’s Impact Movement. “We needed the ability to come at legislator in different ways. We needed to be more nimble.” AIM implemented text in 2018 as part of a larger effort to modernize its advocacy program. Fast forward 18 months and the organization created a text list of more than 12,000 supporters, which enhanced its capability to mobilize. During that time, more than 35,000 AIM supporters took action, making almost 200,000 connections with elected socials.

Designing Your a Text Pilot Program

Run Text and Email in Parallel. Text is almost never used as a replacement for email. Rather, it is an augmentation, and many organizations manage text and email programs side-by-side. The American Heart Association, for example, could reach about 240,000 supporters by email and about 60,000 via text last year. While both mediums serve the same goal-to mobilize advocates—they are different tools with different uses. Get Professional Help. For starters, you will need an advocacy platform that offers text messaging (not all of them do). You will also want an experienced advisor to help architect your program, someone who has run hundreds of text campaigns and can keep you from making costly mistakes. This kind of support is most often found through your vendor, the folks who run the platform that provides your text capabilities. If your vendor will not help you create a text program and provide on-demand support along the way, find one that will. Having an experienced hand in the mix will make the entire exercise more effective-an more comfortable. Build a Text List. Like your email program, the heart of your text operation will be a list of advocates who have opted in. Unlike email, that opt-in is mandatory. Text messaging is covered by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal law that says sending unsolicited texts can result in heavy fines. To avoid that, everyone on your text list must opt in and consent to receive messages. This is accomplished by a campaign designed to drive opt-ins. Organizations that have been collecting advocate phone numbers will have an advantage here. For the rest—and there are many—the opt-in campaign will also gather phone numbers. Create a Quality Mobile Experience. Unlike email, text messaging is a mobile-only communication. Nobody will be responding to your texts on a desktop. That means the experience you provide, from landing pages to the thank-you screen, must be optimized for mobile. They must look good and be easy to use, even for someone one-handing a phone on the metro. If you are using the right advocacy platform, this will be taken care of for you. The same advocacy software that allows you to send texts should be able to make your campaigns and advocacy efforts full mobile-friendly experience. Use Keywords and Shortcodes. Using keywords (short, memorable phrases) and shortcodes (easy-to-remember, five-digit numbers) in a call to action (e.g Text SOA2020 to 52886) can greatly expand the utility of your texting program by allowing you to operate outside your list. They can be used on social media, at events and in advertising to drive campaigns, recruit supporters-even grow your text list itself. Use Text Carefully. While every organization uses text differently, most organizations use it only for their most important  campaigns, at least until they build up some experience and learn how their audience responds. Sending too much email is a bad idea, but it is a common and sometimes forgivable sin. Sending too many texts could result in a backlash, complete with complaints and unsubscribes.

Think Text is Too Intrusive? Think Again

Some organizations worry that text messaging is too intrusive, but the truth is quite the opposite. At the heart of every text program is a list of advocates who have voluntarily provided their mobile number and asked to receive messages. These are often an organization’s strongest supporters. They want to be contacted so they can take action. Of course, it is always important to respect people’s time and text should be reserved for only the most important campaigns. But with hundreds of organizations using text messaging, the idea that it is too disruptive can safely be dismissed. “When organizations create a program properly, there’s nobody on a text list who does not want to be there,” said Brittany Schrager, Customer Success Manager at Phone2Action. “This is a great way for organizations to communicate directly with their most enthusiastic supporters.” [post_title] => The Transformative Power of Text Messaging [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => power-of-text-messaging [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-02-01 15:59:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-02-01 15:59:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=8245 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 1 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8245 [post_author] => 43 [post_date] => 2022-02-01 15:47:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-02-01 15:47:39 [post_content] => Just days after the U.S. declared the pandemic a national emergency, the governor of Michigan signed an executive order declaring which industries were essential and could remain in operation. Retail garden centers and greenhouses were not on the list. The Michigan Farm Bureau, which has been “the voice of Michigan agriculture” for 100 years, knew exactly what that meant: growers could lose an entire year of income. Up to $700 million in retail sales and more than 9,000 jobs were on the line. The Farm Bureau took action, asking thousands of its members to email the governor and ask for a change. Because the organization used text messaging to contact them, the campaign saw a whopping 32-percent conversion rate. Fully a third of its membership took action—and they got a swift response. In less than a month, the governor issued a new order declaring retail plant sales were essential infrastructure. When your team needs to energize a campaign, there are few things more powerful than text messaging. The ability to text a loyal group of supporters and move them to action in real time is the very definition of rapid response. For companies, associations and nonprofits that want to modernize communications, boost impact and increase performance metrics, text messaging is an essential tool. “For most advocacy programs, text messaging is the most potent weapon available,” said Jeb Ory, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Phone2Action (acquired by Quorum). “When you need to move the needle, text messaging is the lever that effective organizations use to get the job done." Email remains the workhorse of advocacy communications, and that is not likely to change anytime soon. Yet veteran advocacy professionals know that it is getting harder to get people’s attention every year. Noise increases. Inboxes are full. Performance numbers drop. Text messaging is powerful medicine for a program that is dependent on a low-performing email list. Text is the most personal form of communication available outside of the phone when it comes to reaching your audience. Texting a dedicated group of advocates, all of whom opted in to receive messages, with an urgent appeal can generate dramatic results. Phone2Action began offering text messaging in 2013 and hundreds of organizations have used the platform to send millions of messages since then. Our data paints a picture of a modern communications channel with performance numbers that are far higher than email. Maximum Penetration. While the average advocacy email has an open rate in the teens, the open rate for text messaging is 99 percent. When you use text, your supporters see and read your message. Faster Response. More than half the action generated by a text campaign takes place in the first seven minutes after the message is sent, making them ideal for rapid response and increasing the sense of urgency that drives an impactful campaign. Higher Conversion. While the average conversion rate for email is in low single digits, conversion rates for text messaging are often two or three times as high. Double-digit conversion rates are routine. During the height of the advocacy boom caused by the pandemic, when 52,000 people were taking action on our platform every day, text continued to cut through the noise. Conversion rates almost tripled, growing from an average of 6 percent to 16 percent. Broader Reach. By combining text messaging with keywords and shortcodes, such as “Text SOA2020 to 52886,” an organization can reach beyond its list. Using this approach through social media, virtual events and advertising can be a great way to acquire new advocates. During the pandemic advocacy boom in 2020, acquisition among associations using this approach grew by an average of 533 percent. The average number of new supporters per campaign grew from 40 to 260. Indeed, stories abound of organizations using text, keywords and shortcodes in unique ways. The NAACP famously put a text campaign on a billboard in New York City’s Times Square. “Text messaging is a high-velocity tool,” said Brittany Schrager, Customer Success Manager at Phone2Action. “When organizations really want to improve performance and get people active, we recommend text. The reason is simple: it delivers.”

Building a Text Program

Most of us consider text a part of everyday life. And why not? The first text message was sent in 1992, making it a 30-year-old technology. American Idol took text, shortcodes and keywords mainstream in 2002. But it wasn’t until the last decade that it became an advocacy tool, embraced by organizations that were seeing email metrics decline and wanted a way to increase performance. “We needed to ramp things up,” said Christopher Masak, senior associate director for advocacy at Alzheimer’s Impact Movement. “We needed the ability to come at legislator in different ways. We needed to be more nimble.” AIM implemented text in 2018 as part of a larger effort to modernize its advocacy program. Fast forward 18 months and the organization created a text list of more than 12,000 supporters, which enhanced its capability to mobilize. During that time, more than 35,000 AIM supporters took action, making almost 200,000 connections with elected socials.

Designing Your a Text Pilot Program

Run Text and Email in Parallel. Text is almost never used as a replacement for email. Rather, it is an augmentation, and many organizations manage text and email programs side-by-side. The American Heart Association, for example, could reach about 240,000 supporters by email and about 60,000 via text last year. While both mediums serve the same goal-to mobilize advocates—they are different tools with different uses. Get Professional Help. For starters, you will need an advocacy platform that offers text messaging (not all of them do). You will also want an experienced advisor to help architect your program, someone who has run hundreds of text campaigns and can keep you from making costly mistakes. This kind of support is most often found through your vendor, the folks who run the platform that provides your text capabilities. If your vendor will not help you create a text program and provide on-demand support along the way, find one that will. Having an experienced hand in the mix will make the entire exercise more effective-an more comfortable. Build a Text List. Like your email program, the heart of your text operation will be a list of advocates who have opted in. Unlike email, that opt-in is mandatory. Text messaging is covered by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal law that says sending unsolicited texts can result in heavy fines. To avoid that, everyone on your text list must opt in and consent to receive messages. This is accomplished by a campaign designed to drive opt-ins. Organizations that have been collecting advocate phone numbers will have an advantage here. For the rest—and there are many—the opt-in campaign will also gather phone numbers. Create a Quality Mobile Experience. Unlike email, text messaging is a mobile-only communication. Nobody will be responding to your texts on a desktop. That means the experience you provide, from landing pages to the thank-you screen, must be optimized for mobile. They must look good and be easy to use, even for someone one-handing a phone on the metro. If you are using the right advocacy platform, this will be taken care of for you. The same advocacy software that allows you to send texts should be able to make your campaigns and advocacy efforts full mobile-friendly experience. Use Keywords and Shortcodes. Using keywords (short, memorable phrases) and shortcodes (easy-to-remember, five-digit numbers) in a call to action (e.g Text SOA2020 to 52886) can greatly expand the utility of your texting program by allowing you to operate outside your list. They can be used on social media, at events and in advertising to drive campaigns, recruit supporters-even grow your text list itself. Use Text Carefully. While every organization uses text differently, most organizations use it only for their most important  campaigns, at least until they build up some experience and learn how their audience responds. Sending too much email is a bad idea, but it is a common and sometimes forgivable sin. Sending too many texts could result in a backlash, complete with complaints and unsubscribes.

Think Text is Too Intrusive? Think Again

Some organizations worry that text messaging is too intrusive, but the truth is quite the opposite. At the heart of every text program is a list of advocates who have voluntarily provided their mobile number and asked to receive messages. These are often an organization’s strongest supporters. They want to be contacted so they can take action. Of course, it is always important to respect people’s time and text should be reserved for only the most important campaigns. But with hundreds of organizations using text messaging, the idea that it is too disruptive can safely be dismissed. “When organizations create a program properly, there’s nobody on a text list who does not want to be there,” said Brittany Schrager, Customer Success Manager at Phone2Action. “This is a great way for organizations to communicate directly with their most enthusiastic supporters.” [post_title] => The Transformative Power of Text Messaging [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => power-of-text-messaging [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-02-01 15:59:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-02-01 15:59:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=8245 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 1 [max_num_pages] => 0 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => 1 [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => 1 [is_robots] => [is_favicon] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => b78e9905f7ac25a5ebc7efe4391f88b3 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )
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The Transformative Power of Text Messaging

The Transformative Power of Text Messaging

Just days after the U.S. declared the pandemic a national emergency, the governor of Michigan signed an executive order declaring which industries were essential and could remain in operation. Retail garden centers and greenhouses were not on the list.

The Michigan Farm Bureau, which has been “the voice of Michigan agriculture” for 100 years, knew exactly what that meant: growers could lose an entire year of income. Up to $700 million in retail sales and more than 9,000 jobs were on the line.
The Farm Bureau took action, asking thousands of its members to email the governor and ask for a change. Because the organization used text messaging to contact them, the campaign saw a whopping 32-percent conversion rate. Fully a third of its membership took action—and they got a swift response. In less than a month, the governor issued a new order declaring retail plant sales were essential infrastructure.

When your team needs to energize a campaign, there are few things more powerful than text messaging. The ability to text a loyal group of supporters and move them to action in real time is the very definition of rapid response. For companies, associations and nonprofits that want to modernize communications, boost impact and increase performance metrics, text messaging is an essential tool.

“For most advocacy programs, text messaging is the most potent weapon available,” said Jeb Ory, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Phone2Action (acquired by Quorum). “When you need to move the needle, text messaging is the lever that effective organizations use to get the job done.”

Email remains the workhorse of advocacy communications, and that is not likely to change anytime soon. Yet veteran advocacy professionals know that it is getting harder to get people’s attention every year. Noise increases. Inboxes are full. Performance numbers drop. Text messaging is powerful medicine for a program that is dependent on a low-performing email list. Text is the most personal form of communication available outside of the phone when it comes to reaching your audience. Texting a dedicated group of advocates, all of whom opted in to receive messages, with an urgent appeal can generate dramatic results.

Phone2Action began offering text messaging in 2013 and hundreds of organizations have used the platform to send millions of messages since then. Our data paints a picture of a modern communications channel with performance numbers that are far higher than email.

Maximum Penetration. While the average advocacy email has an open rate in the teens, the open rate for text messaging is 99 percent. When you use text, your supporters see and read your message.

Faster Response. More than half the action generated by a text campaign takes place in the first seven minutes after the message is sent, making them ideal for rapid response and increasing the sense of urgency that drives an impactful campaign.

Higher Conversion. While the average conversion rate for email is in low single digits, conversion rates for text messaging are often two or three times as high. Double-digit conversion rates are routine. During the height of the advocacy boom caused by the pandemic, when 52,000 people were taking action on our platform every day, text continued to cut through the noise. Conversion rates almost tripled, growing from an average of 6 percent to 16 percent.

Broader Reach. By combining text messaging with keywords and shortcodes, such as “Text SOA2020 to 52886,” an organization can reach beyond its list. Using this approach through social media, virtual events and advertising can be a great way to acquire new advocates. During the pandemic advocacy boom in 2020, acquisition among associations using this approach grew by an average of 533 percent. The average number of new supporters per campaign grew from 40 to 260. Indeed, stories abound of organizations using text, keywords and shortcodes in unique ways. The NAACP famously put a text campaign on a billboard in New York City’s Times Square.

“Text messaging is a high-velocity tool,” said Brittany Schrager, Customer Success Manager at Phone2Action. “When organizations really want to improve performance and get people active, we recommend text. The reason is simple: it delivers.”

Building a Text Program

Most of us consider text a part of everyday life. And why not? The first text message was sent in 1992, making it a 30-year-old technology. American Idol took text, shortcodes and keywords mainstream in 2002. But it wasn’t until the last decade that it became an advocacy tool, embraced by organizations that were seeing email metrics decline and wanted a way to increase performance.

“We needed to ramp things up,” said Christopher Masak, senior associate director for advocacy at Alzheimer’s Impact Movement. “We needed the ability to come at legislator in different ways. We needed to be more nimble.”

AIM implemented text in 2018 as part of a larger effort to modernize its advocacy program. Fast forward 18 months and the organization created a text list of more than 12,000 supporters, which enhanced its capability to mobilize. During that time, more than 35,000 AIM supporters took action, making almost 200,000 connections with elected socials.

Designing Your a Text Pilot Program

Run Text and Email in Parallel. Text is almost never used as a replacement for email. Rather, it is an augmentation, and many organizations manage text and email programs side-by-side. The American Heart Association, for example, could reach about 240,000 supporters by email and about 60,000 via text last year. While both mediums serve the same goal-to mobilize advocates—they are different tools with different uses.

Get Professional Help. For starters, you will need an advocacy platform that offers text messaging (not all of them do). You will also want an experienced advisor to help architect your program, someone who has run hundreds of text campaigns and can keep you from making costly mistakes. This kind of support is most often found through your vendor, the folks who run the platform that provides your text capabilities. If your vendor will not help you create a text program and provide on-demand support along the way, find one that will. Having an experienced hand in the mix will make the entire exercise more effective-an more comfortable.

Build a Text List. Like your email program, the heart of your text operation will be a list of advocates who have opted in. Unlike email, that opt-in is mandatory. Text messaging is covered by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal law that says sending unsolicited texts can result in heavy fines. To avoid that, everyone on your text list must opt in and consent to receive messages. This is accomplished by a campaign designed to drive opt-ins. Organizations that have been collecting advocate phone numbers will have an advantage here. For the rest—and there are many—the opt-in campaign will also gather phone numbers.

Create a Quality Mobile Experience. Unlike email, text messaging is a mobile-only communication. Nobody will be responding to your texts on a desktop. That means the experience you provide, from landing pages to the thank-you screen, must be optimized for mobile. They must look good and be easy to use, even for someone one-handing a phone on the metro. If you are using the right advocacy platform, this will be taken care of for you. The same advocacy software that allows you to send texts should be able to make your campaigns and advocacy efforts full mobile-friendly experience.

Use Keywords and Shortcodes. Using keywords (short, memorable phrases) and shortcodes (easy-to-remember, five-digit numbers) in a call to action (e.g Text SOA2020 to 52886) can greatly expand the utility of your texting program by allowing you to operate outside your list. They can be used on social media, at events and in advertising to drive campaigns, recruit supporters-even grow your text list itself.

Use Text Carefully. While every organization uses text differently, most organizations use it only for their most important  campaigns, at least until they build up some experience and learn how their audience responds. Sending too much email is a bad idea, but it is a common and sometimes forgivable sin. Sending too many texts could result in a backlash, complete with
complaints and unsubscribes.

Think Text is Too Intrusive? Think Again

Some organizations worry that text messaging is too intrusive, but the truth is quite the opposite. At the heart of every text program is a list of advocates who have voluntarily provided their mobile number and asked to receive messages. These are often an organization’s strongest supporters. They want to be contacted so they can take action.

Of course, it is always important to respect people’s time and text should be reserved for only the most important campaigns. But with hundreds of organizations using text messaging, the idea that it is too disruptive can safely be dismissed.

“When organizations create a program properly, there’s nobody on a text list who does not want to be there,” said Brittany Schrager, Customer Success Manager at Phone2Action. “This is a great way for organizations to communicate directly with their most enthusiastic supporters.”