How to Send Campaign Robocalls
How to send campaign robocalls is a science. It’s an automated process that can deliver your messages to thousands of people at once. You only need a phone list on a spreadsheet (like Excel), a recorded message, and of course, a provider like Monarch Broadcast Messaging that has the equipment and capacity to deliver your message. Our job is to help you, step-by-step, get your calls out to the right audience, with the right message at the right time.
Many candidates utilize robocalling to get their targeted message out quickly and inexpensively. Here are some tips and best practices you should consider before you send campaign robocalls.
What is Robocalling?
Robocalling is the system of sending pre-recorded phone messages to live voters or leaving a message on their voicemail. Robocalling is a very powerful medium and, if not done properly, can be very intrusive — so much so that it actually becomes counter-productive. If you haven’t properly planned your robocalls, you run the risk of sabotaging your own campaign. Be careful and follow the rules.
Why Do Candidates Send Campaign Robocalls?
Robocalls can be very effective because the technology can delivery important messages to a targeted group of people very quickly. Competing forms of media like television and media are very expensive and cannot target voters in specific districts or neighborhoods. In fact, most television and radio ads are delivered to people who don’t vote or who don’t live in the district. Fortunately, for just pennies a call, robocalls can be delivered directly to registered voters. In other words, you can direct your message to prime voters and don’t have to waste resources chasing people who probably won’t vote. Better yet, you can deliver alternate messages to different groups of voters. You can send one message to senior citizens and another message to young adults.
In summary, here are the reasons why the practice of sending campaign robocalls has remained on the short list of preferred campaign tactics:
First, when you send campaign robocalls, it’s one of the least expensive ways to deliver a targeted message to voters. Calls can be sent to voters who are most likely to show up at the polls at a fraction of the cost of television, print and mail.
Second, there is virtually no ramp up time in getting robocalls out. It is an ideal way to respond to last minute attacks, or to get information to voters during the last days of the campaign.
Third, some speculate that the people who complain about automated calls are most likely not going to vote anyway. In fact, some candidates believe the calls have been partly, if not largely, responsible for their victories. Some candidates also believe that negative calls against them, have been responsible for their defeats.
10 Ways to Achieve Success with Your Robocall Campaign
We’ve send millions of robocalls on behalf of hundreds of candidates or their advisors, so we’ve learned a few things along the way. Here are
1) The biggest advantage of robocalling is that, as opposed to radio and television, the calls can be directed to individuals who actually vote. Furthermore, voter listings can be isolated into subgroups and specifically targeted messages can be delivered to each distinct group. For instance, you may want to generate a different message to send to senior citizens and come up with another one for individuals living in a specific community or city.
2) Send out calls during the day when most people are not home. You don’t want to intrude on peoples’ lives or routine. 70% of the homes are vacant during the day and you can have your message programmed to be left on voicemail or an answering machine. Recipients can listen to the message at their convenience, when they are more attentive. There is nothing worse than delivering a message while dinner is being prepared, a child is exhausted and crying and the parents are frazzled.
3) Inform us of the Caller ID number you want voters to view, using a phone number that is associated with the campaign. That number will receive a lot of calls since many voters will call back wondering who called them. The best practice when it comes to robocalls is having your Caller ID number go to a recorded greeting that identifies your political campaign and allows them to leave a message. Please know that some people will call and ask you to remove their number from your list.
4) Before you send campaign robocalls, it’s also important to work within the law. Political robocalls are regulated in some states, and totally banned in others. That’s why it’s critically important that you abide by the letter of the law. Generally speaking, the federal government and most states permit political robocalls. However, you cannot deliver robocalls to mobile phones, anywhere. At Monarch, we will automatically scrub out mobile numbers from your list to stay in compliance with regulations. If you do need to reach mobile numbers, you should consider using another service in conjunction with robocalls – ringless voicemail – which delivers messages to voicemail systems and never rings the phone. A little known fact among the electorate is that candidates are permitted to robocall phone numbers that are on the country’s “Do Not Call” list. Individual state laws regarding robocalls vary. Federal law mandates that the pre-recorded messages must identify who made the call and also include the identifying address or a legitimate phone number.
5) The old KISS rule applies — Keep It Short and Simple. Try keeping your message to 30 seconds or less. Be sure to thank the voters for their support and remind them to vote. It’s important that you identify yourself. Unless you are responding to a last minute attack, try to keep your message upbeat and thank the voter for their support.
6) Spend time and thought in preparing your message and planning your robocall campaign. 99% of the candidates throw a robocall campaign together at the last minute and rush through the process. An efficiently managed robocall campaign should be well thought out, but will be well worth the effort. Be sure you have an effective, appropriately formatted list put together (using Microsoft’s Excel program) and schedule a consultation with Monarch – it’s free and we have a lot of experience in guiding campaigns. In most cases, voter phone lists are public information and obtainable from local and/or state election boards.
7) Many candidates wait until the day before election to send their robocall. The problem is that all the other candidates do the same thing. Voters get infuriated that they are being bombarded with so many calls all at once. Don’t get lost in the last minute scramble for votes. You’ll make more of an impression delivering a message a few days before everyone else is in a mad rush.
8) Limit yourself to two calls within the last few weeks of campaigning. Remember, other candidates may be using robocalls as well and you don’t want to annoy potential voters with too many calls. Voters can tolerate a call or two, but not 10 calls on the day before the election. This is a very powerful technology and can be abused. Use it sparingly.
9) As with any other form of political advertising, robocall service providers require payment in advance. We will estimate the cost of your job in advance and charge your credit card, adjusting with an immediate refund credit or addition charges when we determine the final cost. Costs can vary depending on the quality of your list. For example, you aren’t charged for undeliverable calls — bad phone numbers, disconnected lines, and busy signals, no answers or retries — so it’s hard to say ahead of time how many calls will actually get through. As a rule of thumb, you can estimate that about 75-80% of the calls will get through, either to a live person or with a message left on an answering machine.
10) Candidates are advised to beware of robocall services that use the Internet for placing calls. Utilizing the Internet makes the reporting capabilities woefully insufficient. You’ll need rock solid, hardwired, fiber optic capabilities to insure your messages are sent out on time and delivered reliably. This is one reason why you should give our experts at Monarch a call today. You will find out how our experience, technology and creativity (yes, we can help you write your script at no cost) can help you enjoy a victory on election night. We’ve helped hundreds of candidates with the best customer service in the business, and we stand ready to serve you as well.
The Big Mistake Candidates Make Sending Robocalls
The biggest mistake: Lack of planning! Ironically, candidates and their managers will spend weeks and months preparing radio and television commercials, but robocalling is treated as a last-minute afterthought. The robocall is just thrown together with little or no planning for the script and no thought as to when the calls should run. Because of these circumstances and misuse, political robocalls have become the bane of the electorate and the cause of great frustration. That’s why robocalls can backfire and produce the opposite results of what you are hoping for. For example, robocalls in the early morning or during the dinner hour are sure to upset potential voters. It’s best to send calls during the day and attempt to leave as many messages on voicemail as possible. This way the voters can listen at their convenience. You also should not plan on sending out more than two messages during the entire campaign. More than that can be overkill, and just annoys potential voters. Ideally, your robocall campaign should be finalized and ready to go at least a week ahead of time.
Overall, you can successfully send campaign robocalls as part of your campaign if you approach the medium carefully and considerately. There is a fine line between bothering the voters and getting them information that will inspire them to get out and vote. If you follow the best practices and all Monarch can offer to help you with your robocall needs, you will be on the right track in your campaign.
For more information on how Monarch can help, give us a call at 888-387-8636 and we’ll give you some ideas on how you can set up an effective robocall campaign. Or click here to go to our product page: http://www.monarchbroadcast.com/political_robo_calls