Political Direct Mail 101: The Campaign Basics | SnailWorks
March 11, 2022   Karen Bartram

The Fundamentals of Political Direct Mail in 2022

Direct mail is still used for political campaigns for many reasons: it works, it’s cost-effective, and according to a survey conducted by the USPS, it’s the most credible form of political outreach.  A simple way for your constituents to become familiar with your candidate and where they stand on issues, direct mail can also be measured, which is a huge advantage if you know how to use it. That said, your political direct mail strategy should also include as many USPS resources as necessary for the best ROI and response rate. As mail tracking experts when it comes to political mail, we will share all the best practices for campaign managers and all the programs that USPS offers, and show you real-world scenarios on how to use these resources to benefit your campaign.

Political Direct Mail Basics

It all starts with the lists. The beauty of direct mail as a whole is the ability to target your mail recipients. The more accurate your list, the more successful your mailing will be. When you have detailed information such as voter history, ideology, and more complex voter profile information (that can be sourced from consumer data), your mailing can help persuade undecided voters and get them to the polls. Creating different versions with alternate messaging and images offers a way to micro-target your list even more.

Smart campaigners know about the tools that deepen engagement. QR codes, URLs, and PURLs (personalized URLs) offer voters a chance to learn more information easily (via mobile) and appeal to their voting priorities. The most advantageous factor is the measurability and the availability of data that tells you how well the pieces are doing merely by the traffic generated.

By far, political direct mail can benefit most from mail tracking. The USPS offers programs that provide data about where campaign mailing pieces are within the mail stream, providing insight and the opportunity to use that information to further benefit your campaign.

Informed Visibility®

The United States Postal Service offers direct mailers a secret weapon. Informed Visibility is the “heart” of mail tracking and provides powerful data to commercial mailers. Because this data can be challenging to comb through and rather tedious, SnailWorks takes the data and creates concise, easy-to-read reporting, giving mailers detailed information about when and where their mail is, and offering a chance to react efficiency. This helps political campaigns manage their mailing operations and provides campaign managers with crucial information to adjust and modify their marketing efforts as needed.

Some common-use case scenarios for mail tracking are:

Message Arrival – Is there a campaign event happening soon? Does your message need to arrive by a certain date? Your mailing data can confirm the arrival of your direct mail piece by the addressee, giving you the peace of mind that your message was received on time.

Delivery Issues – By working with the Postal Service, you’ll be privy to information about delivery problems, giving you a chance to respond and correct any issues early in the process and getting your message out to voters without any further delay.

Marketing Coordination – By knowing when your political direct mail piece will arrive, you can coordinate other marketing efforts, such as canvassing, social media, telemarketing, and voter registration reminders, creating a more powerful, coordinated initiative.

The Icing on the Direct Mail Cake: Informed Delivery®

A great way to enhance your political direct mail efforts, Informed Delivery offers new ways to make a significant impact on your campaign mailings. With more than one in four households subscribing to Informed Delivery, users get a black and white preview of their mail that day, as well as the chance to see a full-color digital ad, adding another chance to connect with your campaign. Informed Delivery ads increase awareness, response, and add value to your direct mail campaign – it’s a major win for political campaign managers.

Share Mail®

The USPS Share Mail program allows campaigners to use the mail to include postcards or letters within their mailings, to then “share” with others, without a postage stamp. Campaigns only pay for the pieces that are actually mailed without having to obtain a postal permit. These pieces can be pre-addressed or left blank, depending on the use of the service. Share Mail can be utilized for candidate support and correspondence, reply cards, and several other marketing support pieces for political campaigns.

Reply Mail

A favorite among direct mailers, reply mail is a simple way for fundraisers to solicit campaign funds. By including a preprinted and uniquely coded return envelope, donors can easily contribute to a campaign, while political mailers track the number of respondents. This data can be useful in determining which mailing effort was most successful in soliciting contributions.

The political direct mail landscape can be cumbersome, especially with the continual updates to the Postal Service. As  mail tracking experts, the SnailWorks team serves  as your valued partner in your political mailings. Our mail tracking solutions offer insight into what works best for your campaign. Contact us to make your next political direct mail campaign more effective and efficient.