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As we pass the six-month mark of being out into the real world with our product, we also achieved an interesting milestone…our first chance to use "Texting for political purposes.” instead of just texting for business.
This story is rather remarkable. It’s a story of a 34 year old farm kid from the Midwest who entered the pool for the libertarian party against former Governor and Presidential candidate Gary Johnson and the very well known John McAfee and Jesse Ventura. Dozens of other names you probably have never heard of signed up to run for President. I would imagine most of you reading this blog may never have even heard of Austin Petersen, founder of the online magazine “The Liberty Republic.” No? You don’t know Austin? You don’t know who the “Freedom Ninja” is? Well…I didn’t either, but I was about to find out.
Texting Base engaged with the Petersen campaign with a little luck…I reached out to Austin personally and he put me in touch with Ashley Edwards in his campaign. I knew right away, this was no kid…this was a candidate who “got it” and wanted to leverage new technology to set his campaign apart. That’s exactly what ended up happening.
On our first call we decided his URL for his web address “petersen2016.com” was too long. Austin immediately proposed and scooped up ap4lp.com…and that “ap4lp” became a piece of Libertarian history. The hash tag “#ap4lp” still pops up daily in my newsfeed.
During the campaign a few things happened, the first is that Austin turned 35. If you didn’t know, you can’t be President unless you are 35. The second thing that happened, is an unknown young man and his campaign led by Tony Stiles-almost outworked, out charmed and took the Libertarian nomination for President with the campaign slogan “Taking Over Government To Leave You Alone”.
No…Austin did not end up winning, he came in second place to Gary Johnson.
Gary Johnson: 53%
Austin Petersen: 21.875%
John McAfee: 14.1%
The 35-year-old farm kid with an online magazine beat John McAfee…famous multi-millionaire.
How did he do so well? Quite simply he outworked everyone else in his own Millennial-style way. Austin leveraged social media video and texting to catapult from relative obscurity into almost stealing the Libertarian nomination from a heavy favorite.
Here are a few things we did with Texting Base:
1) Invited people by state: Austin traveled all over the country, and Texting Base has geo located groups. We invited all the people local to Austin’s events to come by and meet him…and these events became momentum drivers.
2) Announcements: Anytime Austin was on TV, we would let people know to watch. The hash tags from his loyal users trended on Facebook and Twitter and a buzz started to grow.
3) "Fundraising”: This was the key role of Texting Base. When we joined with the Petersen campaign, the fundraising goal was $10,000. That amount was achieved almost immediately and the goal kept rising. The eventual number was $150,000…15 times the original goal. That’s amazing for a Libertarian candidate! Most Libertarian candidates are lucky to raise $5k.
I am extremely pleased that every blast netted money for the campaign, and the responses were almost entirely positive.
This was an incredible experience, and we learned a lot. One thing that was great to see is just how well "Texting Base works for fundraising”. It’s one thing to help structure communication, but when your product rakes in money at a high rate, you aren’t ever going to be looked at as a cost.
I would like to thank Ashley, Tony and Austin for giving us an opportunity to work with the campaign…and as a young rising star in the Libertarian Party, I have no doubt we haven’t heard the last of Mr. Petersen!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eric Beans is CEO of Texting Base, Inc., out of Orlando, Florida. Texting Base is a marketing automation platform which allows businesses to personalize group text messages.
Prior to Texting Base, Eric was the first US employee of TechSpan which became Headstrong. Headstrong sold for $550M to GenPact.
With a group of partners in 2005, Eric started Premier Mortgage Capital, Inc., a nationwide state charted Mortgage Company that grew to over 2B/Year in originations.
Eric is the author of "Changing The World Through Texting Software.”
Eric is a speaker, inventor, investor, and longtime entrepreneur.
Texting Base does not offer legal advice-please consult an attorney before starting to text for business purposes.