Create Political Direct Mail That Makes An Impact
By Paul Bobnak | June 11, 2020
The pause in in-person election campaigning — thanks to the coronavirus pandemic — means that your political direct mail has a golden opportunity.
Political mail always had one job: to persuade voters to go to the polls (or to send in their ballots) for you. But, to get to that step, it first must meet a difficult challenge that hasn’t changed like the rest of the world: it must attract and keep their attention.
Other communication channels are busy 24/7 with sending commercial and nonprofit messages that try to get people to open their wallets, minds, and hearts. With an election nearing, your political opponents are also adding to the clutter with their own emails, texts, ads, and, yes, direct mail as well.
You can no longer risk damage to your political campaign by not using direct mail at all.
What can you do to make your direct mail piece noticed, so that it’s remembered, and then, acted upon?
1. Mail a Large Postcard
OK, maybe it doesn’t technically meet the USPS definition of a “postcard.” But a jumbo card — one that measures 6”x11” — really stands out to voters when they receive it. Having only two sides means you don’t have much room for details, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Use those limits to your advantage to create a hierarchy of text and images. Along with smart use of white space, use short headlines and text fragments. This lets you center your prospect’s attention on a simple but powerful message or narrative.
2. Provide Help
These are difficult times. As a candidate for office, you can certainly mention the health, economic, and social crises affecting the nation and many communities, and your solutions for them.
But let’s face it: people need help now. So, do what you can right now, right there on your mail piece. Talk about existing community resources that provide assistance. Share tips on how people — your current or future constituents — can deal with the insecurities they might be feeling. All of this builds credibility with the voter.
3. Target Voters with Data-Driven Segmentation
Because data is the king of direct mail and a crucial factor in its success, you must use it correctly. There’s certainly a time for generic election messaging, such as when you’re introducing, or re-introducing, your candidate.
But you can also segment your political database and send mail to groups of voters based on an incredible variety and combination of data points. Working with a credible data supplier, you can zero in on specific audiences whose values and profiles better align with yours. Design mail pieces that speak to these attributes by highlighting your experience, issue positions, and specific proposals.
4. Reach Out Early — and Often
Before the start of this year, several states had added or extended vote-by-mail options for voters. Along with early voting, this was all to make the process more convenient and accessible. Now, in response to the coronavirus epidemic, more governors and legislatures have moved to offer this alternative.
What this means is that the voting timeline has been expanded for millions of people accustomed to a traditional campaign season. Due to the unease and uncertainty over the safety of voting in person, more Americans will be voting earlier. Because they’ll be deciding sooner, you should get into the mail in a big way during the summer months.
Pay attention to state voter registration requirements and deadlines — many are changing frequently as the result of COVID-19 — and put your direct mail to work sooner, rather than later.
5. Create a Clear Call To Action
Don’t be subtle. You and your candidate can’t afford it!
Just tell your voters what you want them to do next, and keep it short. Some examples:
“Go to www.[CandidateName].com for my full plan on saving endangered species.”
“Register by [date].”
“Vote on [date].”
Also, show them how!
Provide clear instructions, like your campaign website or phone number, for more information or a map showing the physical location of their polling place.
As we already noted, vote-by-mail will be a new thing for millions of Americans this year. Where it’s now an option, first, make sure that your voters are aware of it and second, what the rules are for completing a ballot and mailing it back in to be counted.
Wrapping it Up
Most direct mail gets pitched into a recycling bin or trash without so much as a second thought. Even as marketing strategy evolves from “spray and pray” to data-driven, your mail must ultimately answer a big question all voters (and consumers) have: “What’s in it for me?”
With in-person campaigning strictly curtailed because of COVID-19, your direct mail can do a lot of heavy lifting in identifying, educating, and energizing core supporters and independent voters like in 2020.
Mailing.com has worked with many campaigns over the years. We mailed 10 million political pieces in 2018 alone.
Thanks to our on-site USPS verification, your mail can be checked, cleared, and transferred to the Post Office without unpleasant surprises. You’ll save time and money, and have peace of mind.
We’d be happy to provide the expert guidance that you need to run a successful direct mail campaign for your election! Call us at 800-645-6659 or reach out at email@example.com.