Direct Mail and Politics: ready for the Mid-Terms?

Direct MailEvery four years, the entire country pays close attention to the presidential election. Between presidential terms, however, elections take place that are just as important to the nation: the mid-terms. If you or someone you represent is trying to get elected to the legislative branch during the mid-terms, grabbing the attention of voters will be key to your success, and direct mail can be a very powerful tool in your campaign. The impressive results campaigns get from direct mail and politics have been proven throughout the history of the nation.

In a world where your average person is constantly bombarded by all sorts of advertisements, getting people to listen to the message of your campaign can be a challenging task. People are used to ignoring radio ads, television spots, and especially emails and Internet ads. Most people, however, pay close attention to what’s in their mailbox. By grabbing someone’s attention while they go through their bills and other correspondence, you may be able to convince them to find out more about your campaign.

Finding Your Target Audience

Before you can design, print, and mail your campaign materials, you need to decide who you’re going to send your mailers to. Some campaigns have the resources to mail postcards or self mailers to every single home in their district, but that may not always be the most efficient way to get results. As an incumbent, you may already know the demographics of your core supporters, and getting them to participate in the process early can produce great returns.

If you’re running for office for the first time, or running for a higher level office, you may be discovering your target audience for the first time. In this case, you’ll want to find individuals and families in the area who will be most receptive to your messaging. For example, if a big part of your platform is maintaining services like Medicare and Social Security, you may want to focus many of your resources on retirement communities and neighborhoods with an elderly population.

If you’re not interested in creating a mailing list yourself, valuable information about mid-term voters may be available from third parties for a price. Full service direct mail companies like Caldwell can help you create the perfect mailing list based on previous campaigns in the area. A common strategy is to buy a generic mailing list and make adjustments to it as needed.

Design Ideas for Your Mid-Term Campaign Mailer

When someone picks up your campaign’s mailer, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention before your print ends up in the junk bin. You have a lot more to work with in a real mailer than the subject line of an email, but that doesn’t mean you can waste any of the space available on your prints. Your campaign’s mailer can make someone want to learn more about your campaign by appealing to their emotions, financial needs, and even political ideology. Some of the more popular ideas for direct mail and politics include:

  • Three tiered self mailers that highlight key campaign ideas
  • Postcards with voting date and location
  • Newsletters that contain important information about your campaign
  • Surveys that collect information about what voters want

There are many different effective ways to get the attention of more voters, so there’s no reason to limit yourself to just one strategy. In fact, combining direct mailers with Internet marketing techniques can really boost the effectiveness of your campaign. Always include email addresses, websites, social media accounts, and phone numbers with your mailers so that your targets know how to get in touch with you if they like your ideas.

Print Your Mailers On Time

Congressional districts usually have more than half a million people in them, so you’re mailing campaign may be quite large. That means it’s important to work with a printing company that can produce your mailers quickly without cutting corners or making mistakes. At a full-service direct mail company like Caldwell, high-tech printing equipment is used to create mailers at a very fast pace while producing professional results.

Variable data printers are one of the most exciting tools for mid-term campaigns because they allow for personalization. By customizing certain graphics and text on your mailers, you can create unique pieces that are specifically tailored to get a response. While this form of printing can be a bit more expensive than uniform prints on an offset printer, the response your political campaign might get from personalization may be more than worth the cost.

The Logistics of Your Direct Mailing Campaign

In the weeks, months, and days leading up to both the primary and general election, every member of your staff will be busy coordinating events, phone banking, and canvassing. This makes it very difficult to find personnel who can do the physical work of sending your mailers out to the post office. Even if you have a few people available to do the work, their effort would probably be much more valuable doing something else. That’s where the full services of a company like Caldwell are a huge advantage.

By printing, storing, and mailing your campaign materials from a third party location, Caldwell can keep your offices free of clutter and confusion during the most important parts of the election. While the logistics of your direct mailing efforts will take place off site, you’ll still have complete control over every aspect of its strategy, including any last minute changes you want to make. The smoother your direct mail and politics campaign goes, the easier time you’ll have with every aspect of your election efforts.

Testing Your Campaign

Ultimately, the only thing that counts for your mid-term campaign is getting votes, but you can still evaluate the effectiveness of your direct mailers before election day by paying attention to a few important metrics. First, in order to measure the response rate, you need to include unique identifiers with each round of mailers you send out. This can be a unique string of numbers or letters easy for the recipient to see. When your target visits your website, sends an email, or requests more information, ask for this identifier so that you can find out what percentage of your targets chose to respond to your campaign.

By testing the response rate to your mailers before voting takes place, you can optimize your strategy. Even the most successful direct mail and politic campaigns can use a tweak in design or targeting to get the highest return on investment. When it comes to something as important as earning the vote of a citizen, guessing is one of the last things you want to do. That’s why the next section may be the most important part of your direct mailing efforts.

Get Out the Vote

VoteWhile there are certain groups of core voters who will show up to the polls every election, getting most people to cast their votes during the mid-terms can be a challenge. Mid-terms have the undeserved perception of being less important than presidential elections, so your campaign may have to put extra effort into your “getting out to vote” effort. Direct mailers can help you do this in several ways:

  1. Send out postcards with election information a week or a few days before the election takes place. People live busy lives, making it easy to forget important events, like the midterms. By sending out a friendly reminder of when to vote, you’ll improve their chances of showing up. Including transportation information can also help.
  2. Encourage early voting through a newsletter or informational pamphlet. A variety of factors can prevent voters from getting to the polls on election day, including long lines at their polling location, bad weather, personal issues, and employment conflicts. By securing votes through absentee ballots or early voting, you can guarantee a certain baseline turnout no matter what happens on election day.
  3. Recontact recipients who showed even minimal interest in your campaign. Just because your candidate’s message resonated with a citizen is no guarantee you’ll get that person’s vote. People are much more likely to vote if they feel like their vote matters, and the best way to enforce that feeling is to show the voters you noticed them. A simple message that says, “thanks for your support,” or “here’s how we’ll work for you,” can really go a long way.

Whether you’re running for a seat on the city council or in the United States congress, you’ll find that direct mail and politics is a match that can help you achieve victory. Find out how you can reach more voters and get them to the polls with a direct mailing campaign by speaking with the direct mail and politic professionals at Caldwell today.