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Readings 4

June 1, 2011

Katie Harbath’s article “Trend to Watch in 2012 – The Rise of Mobile” talks about how to and why should people actively use mobile in campaigns. Harbath points out people should quit thinking mobile is only about text messaging and it doesn’t raise money in campaigns. Even though FEC recently decided that campaigns can’t do fundraising via text massages, Harbath still thinks if there’s a one-click pay method, which also should meet FEC’s requirements, mobile could be very useful for political donations just like last year Amazon already had $1 billion purchases via mobile phones.

Undeniably, text massaging is very important in campaigns, but it can’t be only about that. Harbath suggests people need to expand their views on mobile using in campaigns because now it’s more about mobile browsing and all kinds of apps. She uses one of Morgan Stanley’s estimates to point out smartphone is a trend and then uses data from their National Republican Senatorial Committee Web site to demonstrate the site traffic from mobile is obviously on the rise since the launch of an iPhone app in May 2010.

In the article, Harbath mentions her experience at NRSC using pushes to their iPhone app subscribers is very effective especially towards the end of election. She suggests people should take advantage of how useful pushes are nowadays. For instance, pushes could be silent so they won’t annoy the receiver. Also, pushes are able to provide links to allow people to take action within the app.

Another piece of advice Harbath offers in the article is to customize your campaign Web site for varies mobile devices and test different versions of mobile pages to figure out what works best for visitors.

Michael Stein and Katrin Verclas’ strategy guide “Using Mobile Phones in Advocacy Campaigns” also talks about using mobile to promote campaigns. Case studies around the world in this guide suggest that we can adopt varies practices such as SMS, ringtones, short codes, fundraising and forward-to-a-friend to make the most of mobile promoting.

Here are some useful tips offered by experienced campaigners in the article:

  1. Send out follow-up text massages at the end of each campaign;
  2. Remind people to forward the massage to their friends;
  3. Text massaging copy must be brief;
  4. Only send out massage when you have a specific, actionable item to communicate.

The guide also offers a list of lessons learned about best using mobile campaign at the end. Here are the lessons and some takeaways:

  1. Understand your audience. People need to custom the campaign content for mobile audience and do some research to find out if the targeted audience are ready for it.
  2. Work with a mobile vendor. A mobile vendor can help with all the technology problems to ensure the promoting goes well.
  3. Plan your mobile strategy early.
  4. Have a clear call to action. This is the most effective way to get people involved in the campaign.
  5. Identify your needs.
  6. Get creative. Be open to experimentation and also be honest to the audience that you’re still in the trial phase with this campaign tool.
  7. Gather as much data as possible. Gathering data can help to understand what work and see the progress over time.
  8. Share your date.
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