Demonstration Session

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

2:00pm – 3:00pm

Jim MacGregor, National Association of REALTORS

From apps and responsive design to crowd-sourced advocacy video, mobile puts hightech advocacy tools in the hands of your supporters. Learn how to build your own app or leverage third-party solutions to create your own mobile advocacy toolkit.

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The mobile advocacy efforts of the National Association of Relators (NAR) use both mobile app engagement and text message campaigns. With 1.2 million members from all over the country, the NAR utilizes best-in-class strategies to equip their member base to engage on their mobile devices. Jim MacGregor, Managing Director at NAR, shares insights from the organization’s process to using mobile platforms for advocacy.

Relator Action Center App

Things to kept in mind when building the app:

Audience/Stakeholders: Who is the app for?

  • This app was for the NAR member base – realtors. The NAR created one of five major apps for the realtor community. This app was created specifically for advocacy and investment.
  • At the time of the app build, the NAR team used internal research to determine the usage statistics for their advocacy base – 45% were on mobile primarily, 51% were using desktop. Now after the app build, the NAR Audience has over 45% using mobile primarily and only 36% use Desktop.

Features: What’s your wish list? Ask your stakeholders what they desire in the app.

  • The NAR kept both their members and state/local associations involved throughout the entire app building process.

Communication: Keep your stakeholders engaged throughout the entire process.

Important Action Points for the App

  • Increase the ease of entry for your user.
    • The NRA designed action that was embedded into the app. This made it easier for the member user to click thru to the advocacy content.
    • Note: Push notifications help increase engagement for campaigns that have several calls to action, like this one.
  • Additional notes to keep in mind for app builds:
    • Make sure the CTAs allow the user can easily execute the action without leaving the app.
    • Make the purpose of the app – the “hook” – very clear to the user.
      • Note: Because the NAR membership has a high device turnover, having an app made it difficult because the user would have to re-download, re-engage, etc. multiple times to stay engaged with the organization.

Text Messaging

  • The NAR has 108,241 Text Subscribers for its advocacy text alerts.
  • One significant “pro” to using text campaigns? Phone numbers don’t change. This allows for better retention, especially when engaging an audience with high device turnover.
  • Recent NAR Text Campaign Metrics
    • 94,000 individuals received the text.
    • 19 % click through rate
    • 5% action rate
  • In 5 to 10 minutes, the NAR got a 19% click through rate and half of those people take action.
  • Text message campaigns have a 98% open rate and generally have a 4-hour lifespan.
    • Of the 1.2 million NAR members, about 100,000 of them are active in taking action through the text message campaigns, which is a great testament to the usefulness of appropriately organized text campaigns.
  • Text Campaign Strategy
    • Always isolate the individuals that have already taken action to avoid losing members on your list.
    • State your purpose upfront with text campaigns and keep to them – if you’re only going to do a text campaign for votes or advocacy asks, state that and refrain from reaching out to that group for other asks, such as fundraising or marketing engagement asks.
      • The NAR only allows state and local associations to use the text campaign lists. Other departments of the national NAR office are not in order to maintain the integrity of the text campaign asks.
    • Content should be short and sweet – keeping the scrolling time to a minimum in order to keep the user engaged.
  • Multi-Platform Campaigns
    • The goal to hit voters as many times and on as many platforms as possible in order to achieve those actions.
    • NAR uses text campaigns first and may follow up with an all-hands approach, after that uses particular platforms and target audiences to complete actions.
    • Combined CTA campaigns utilize both the national association’s efforts but also the state/local association efforts.
      • Campaign toolkits help support the state/local associations in pushing through the CTA campaign to their members.
      • NAR also publishes a national plan in order to enrich the state/local level associations and to coordinate between all of the CTAs and groups that are targeted for the member engagement.
      • Shortcodes are useful in mobile campaigns.
      • The NAR used shortcodes for their Broker Involvement Program, which allowed real estate brokers to engage by using a short code leading to a sign-up page for the program.
      • Using an integrated platform to define and execute your campaign goals is essential. The NAR uses Mobile Commons and Blackbaud for its text and email campaigns.
    • Social Media Integration
      • Twitter is always used for member education asks, but not for all campaigns.
    • NAR does not use social engagement for much CTA engagement; however, the state/local level associations are using social media in a more grassroots effort.

Additional Notes

  • The NAR found it was much easier to get buy-in for the reasoning behind using mobile campaigns. The difficulty came with getting buy-in for the cost of the campaign tools.
  • Having data on mobile and text campaign usage works well in creating consensus in moving forward with these tactics at your organization.