How to Make Your Political Direct Mail More Credible
By Paul Bobnak | May 14, 2020
Believe it or not, the word “credibility” can be used to describe “political direct mail.”
It’s easy to understand why people can be skeptical, if not cynical, about trusting political communications. We live in a world of hacking and “fake news.” Trust in a candidate seems elusive at best.
With direct mail done right, you can position you or your candidate as trustworthy, and help voters feel more comfortable with considering your candidate and then voting for them.
To build or strengthen the foundation for this relationship, here are a few tactics you can try to get voter buy-in.
1. Compare with the Competition
Voters are going to ask, “Why should I vote for you?” when they receive your mail. One possible answer is to talk about how you or your candidate stands out against the competition.
Talk about your background, such as education, government, business, or nonprofit experience. This gives the public something to measure against other candidates. It also lets you be authentic, to tell your story, before your opponent can fill in the blanks for the public and identify you as something or someone you’re not.
Also, lay out facts (with references) on your opponent’s record and proposals. Helping the voter do some candidate research homework also lets you frame yourself, and your opposition, to your best advantage.
2. Use a Professional Design
Your mail should make the best possible impression about your candidate, once you’ve gotten their attention in the first place.
This means including these elements:
- easy-to-read fonts,
- crisp, high-resolution photos,
- no cheap or dated graphics, and
- no spelling, grammatical, or factual errors.
Also, use white space and short headlines – when you’re not showcasing content (see below) – to let the voter’s eyes and mind focus on the candidate and the message. And make sure no one misses your call to action: when (and how) they can vote in the election.
Taking care of all of these elements shows that your campaign pays attention to detail.
3. Deliver Authentic Content
Content, whether it’s long copy, photos, illustrations, or infographics, stands apart from messaging focused only on the candidate. It’s a chance for you to be authentic (there’s that word again!), like a friend or neighbor, someone whom your audience can relate to on a more human-to human level. Your objective here is simply to help, without expecting anything in return from them, at least in the short term.
For example, you can provide vital information on coronavirus resources or how to get job and business assistance.
Use your personal story, as well as tips, checklists, or quizzes, to let your expertise as a curator or creator of solutions shine brightly, and connect with the voter.
4. Highlight Your Endorsements
People respect outside or independent authorities. They convey legitimacy on your candidacy. Look for ways to proudly call attention to your industry association memberships, awards, and professional accreditations.
For example, a union bug is an emblem or label on the mailer that represents quality assurance and union-approved conditions in the printer’s workplace. Your target audience might look for it because it sends a positive message about your political candidate’s partnership with the American workforce.
Similarly, an FSC symbol indicates that the printing company is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. It ensures that products – like the paper used in the direct mail piece – come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.
Again, for many audiences, this shows that your campaign (and the company it chooses to print its mail) align with their values.
5. Run Testimonials
Word-of-mouth – the experiences of other people who know your candidate – can be a gigantic factor in persuading your prospect to act. This is why testimonials are a time-honored technique in so many direct response channels.
But be careful. Their stories need verisimilitude. They should not only be real, but sound real, from people that your voters can easily identify with. Even better – they should say different things about the candidate’s character, experience, or message.
6. Provide Social Proof
Let’s face it. An impressive multi-channel presence is an important part of your candidate’s brand identity in today’s world. You want to demonstrate a consistent, seamless experience of your brand. Putting icons for your social media on your mail is simple enough. But there’s an additional step toward credibility that you can take.
Look for ways to include verified testimonials about the candidate from those online platforms – ones undoubtedly used by your voters – on your mail piece. This can be an especially powerful tactic for political campaigns with an active two-way social presence.
Wrapping it Up
Keep in mind that direct mail is not always perfect. No communications medium is. But considering the saturation of inboxes, social posts, and the never-ending parade of pop-up and banner ads, direct mail is a tangible way to achieve trust.
Working with other channels, as well as playing to its unique strengths, direct mail can provide a unified experience of your candidate to your voters.
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! Contact us or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.