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Every campaign should do its best to avoid texting complaints. Here’s a few expert tips for texting in a 10DLC world.
Running a peer-to-peer (P2P) texting campaign in a 10DLC world means that, more than ever, avoiding recipient complaints should be one of your top priorities. 10DLC is confusing and constantly changing, but the one thing we have been told consistently by carriers and aggregators is that enforcement of some 10DLC regulations will be tied to recipient complaints. This is especially true of any new enforcement related to opt-ins. (We have more on the subject of opt-ins and 10DLC in this support article.)
Given this context, we’ve put together some best practices to help you avoid complaints and reach your intended audience.
Telecom carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon have no easy mechanism to tell whether P2P texts are sent to opted-in recipients. So if carriers want to monitor opt-ins more closely (to be clear, we don’t know yet how much they want to do this), their monitoring will be tied to when they receive complaints about unwanted messages.
We don’t have visibility into the complaint process because it happens at the carrier level. But our understanding is that complaints happen when a cell phone user gets an unwanted text message and then complains to their carrier, either by flagging the message as spam, blocking the caller, or calling customer support. Those complaints then filter back to the aggregator (e.g., Twilio or Bandwidth), who get in touch with GetThru and ask us (and you) questions about the messages, including whether they were sent to an opted-in number.
It’s worth noting that Android and iOS are making it increasingly easy for customers to flag messages as spam.
Here are a few best practices we’ve seen the most successful texting campaigns employ over the years. Whether you’re doing a check-up on your campaigns to ensure you’re up on the latest with 10DLC, or you’re a new organizer wanting to start off on the right foot, these tips are for you:
With P2P texting, it’s crucial that you train your texters to opt-out anyone who is asking to be left off your list. No one should ever have to ask twice, and in all honesty, they probably won’t; instead, they may just decide to complain to their carrier.
The best way to keep opt-out rates low and minimize complaints is by texting a well-targeted universe of recipients. It doesn’t help anyone when time and texts are spent on recipients who aren’t likely to support your candidate or cause, so use the voter contact tools and best judgment available to you to start with a defined list.
Be thoughtful about who you want to text, what you want them to know or to do, and what your communication needs will be throughout your efforts. Plan in advance and time things out so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute and texting people every single day.
In your initial message, let your contacts know who you are. It could be something as simple as “Hi [Name], this is [Volunteer] with the Bartlet campaign. The election is in two weeks, and Early Voting starts today! Can we count on you to vote?” We believe that messages from anonymous sources are more likely to generate complaints.
The wonderful thing about peer-to-peer texting is that it's built on the idea that authentic conversations can facilitate so much good! Your recipients may have questions about your organization, how you are funded, or want to know more about an issue or candidate, or want to confirm that a real person is messaging them. Use the Recommended Replies feature in ThruText to ensure that your volunteers and staff have the most accurate information at their fingertips to respond to inquiries in a timely manner. Additionally, for questions or information you expect to provide across several texting campaigns, take advantage of the Global Recommended Replies feature to swiftly add the same replies or survey questions across all your campaigns with the click of a button.
If you’re working as part of a coalition or in a similar service area as another organization, work together to ensure you’re not each sending the same text several times to the same recipient. For example, there are many organizations that do Get Out the Vote campaigns each election cycle — plan ahead of time with allied organizations to ensure you’re not overtexting the same recipients.
Text messages feel more intimate and personal than any other outreach tool. That’s the whole appeal of P2P texting! It’s also something you should remain respectfully aware of, especially in the context of 10DLC. Following the above best practices will help ensure you send as few unwanted messages as possible so that you can keep making the biggest impact possible!
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