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Rock the Vote promotes seasonal sweepstakes via SMS

Nonprofit Rock the Vote recently sent out a text message that enticed opted-in subscribers to enter its sweepstakes campaign.

The SMS message encouraged users to answer a poll for a chance at winning a free t-shirt. The message was sent on July 3 and required participants to opt-in to an email program in order to enter.

“We ask users to opt-in to our e-mail list after responding to an SMS message in order to make sure that they are receiving election and voter registration information from us as best and quickly as possible,” said Caitlin Maguire, marketing manager at Rock the Vote, Washington.

“If our demographic is not near their mobile device, then there’s a chance that they’re near their inbox,” she said.

“We can also create more complete profiles for our users when we have a range of information about them, including e-mail addresses and mobile numbers. This allows for not only more communication with them, but also the capability to narrow down the type of messages they would be most receptive to according to their location, gender, age and more. The more detailed the users’ profiles are, the more succinct and successful our marketing and reporting can be.”

Text to win
The Rock the Vote SMS campaign asked opted-in consumers what city the Declaration of Independence was signed in with a list of cities that users could text back.

Consumers who answered the question correctly were prompted to enter their email address. Users who won the t-shirt were notified via email.

Additionally, once sending their email address, consumers were sent a welcome email. The email encouraged users to register to vote and included links to upcoming projects and campaigns.

Rock the Vote’s SMS campaign is a great example of how marketers can use a SMS database to their advantage to drive email sign-ups.

In this case, giving users an incentive – such as a prize – for participating gives users an incentive to not only enter a sweepstakes but also give their email address because there is a clear, upfront value.

The nonprofit’s target demographic is aged 18 to 29, meaning that a large portion of its users most likely are comfortable being communicated with via mobile.

Collecting votes
Rock the Vote has been doing a lot in mobile recently to gear up for the upcoming election with the goal of getting youth registered to vote, particularly around QR codes.

Most recently, the organization overhauled its mobile bar code initiative with a new landing page and a grassroots campaign that encourages users to place QR codes anywhere to get young consumers registered to vote (see story).

Additionally, Rock the Vote also rolled out a line of QR code-enabled t-shirts that link to a voter registration landing page as well as social media links (see story).

By using a mobile database for quick polls, it keeps users actively involved in a program, which can lead to high response rates and lower opt-out rates.

“We use mobile not only for contesting or polling, but also in all of our voter registration and election pushes,” Ms. Maguire said.

“Through mobile, we will alert our users to important election information personal to their locations and send them links to register to vote from their mobile devices,” she said.

“Mobile is extremely integrated into our programs and all of our work. Our target demographic is constantly using their mobile phones, so we want to make sure that they quickly and easily receive all of the information they need in order to successfully participate in upcoming elections.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York