Turn your campaign mailers into votes | SnailWorks
June 21, 2022   Karen Bartram

Design Strategies for Optimizing Your Campaign Mailers

What’s the best way to get your campaign mailers noticed? Good question! Political direct mail is one of the best and most widely used methods to reach your target audience, and your competition knows it too. With other candidates lining the mailboxes of your potential voters, it’s an absolute must to stand out from the crowd.

Functional Elements That Get Results

Think outside the box, but inside the mailbox. Standing out starts with considering where your campaign mailers end up. You know that, at the very least, other candidates are using registered voter lists to send out their mail. That’s a good start, but it’s far too broad to reach the right target. Before you begin sending your mailers out, here are few things to consider:

Schedule your campaign wisely - Make your outreach program work for you. A general tip would be to start by introducing yourself as a candidate, then pick dates to send follow-up pieces to build interest and reinforce your message. Lastly, make a closing argument as election day draws near to seal the deal.

Use brokers - List brokers can provide additional data from second and third parties to give you more accurate and diverse information, such as consumer preferences. Making use of cookies, email addresses, and education and occupation info, you can target your voter more acutely than your competition.

Timing is everything - Mail no later, or earlier than, 90 days before an election, as voters become more involved closer to the end game. Also, consider your drop date – the day on which your mailing leaves the printer and arrives at USPS. Be sure to leave 2-5 days of wiggle room before it reaches voters.

Design Elements That Get You Noticed

Campaign mailers aren’t always the most attractive, but they’re still one of the most trusted and effective communication tactics for political candidates to employ. Direct mail needs to capture your audience’s attention and drive desired actions – in this case, voting for you. Believe it or not, visual enhancements can have a massively positive result on getting you noticed, remembered, and possibly even voted for. How accessible the information is laid out, the size of the card, and even the graphical elements can all affect how well your political direct mail is received. Here are some tips to enhance the look of your campaign mail to maximize its impact on potential voters.

Use engaging, authentic, and inspirational photos - High-resolution photos are an obvious choice, but have you considered more candid shots? Authenticity sells, especially when it’s coming from a political candidate. Your face is the face of the campaign, so put the best one forward.

Create a strong call to action - And we don’t just mean “Vote for me!” Focus on when and where your mail will be viewed, and what specific action you want voters to take at this stage of your outreach program. Since not all voters are as aware as you may think, maybe try something along the lines of “Register by this date” or “Vote on this date.”

Include stamps of approval - Consider what criteria your voters are looking for and supply qualifications if you have them. Certifications like an FSC seal can be greatly beneficial for succinctly sharing your stance on environmental awareness, for example. Another good example is a Union Stamp for union-approved working conditions in your organization.

Keep copy simple - And as short as possible! Remember to promote benefits, not features of your candidacy. Background information is great for giving context in the introductory phase, but unimportant later on, unless it better qualifies the candidate. Voters want to know “what’s in it for me?”

Consider other paper materials - As previously mentioned, anything that can set you apart from the competition is worth looking into. Of course, cost is a consideration also. Test different card sizes, material types, and other features, against a more cost-effective method like postcards.

Proofread everything - A mistake on your campaign mailer is a stain on your reputation. While this can be true for any brand that prints a typo – it’s especially true for political candidates.

Test your design and make improvements - Don’t waste time or money implementing these suggestions if you can’t reliably track the results. Every campaign is unique, and the best way to improve upon your last mailer is to know what’s already working, and what’s not.

How to Monitor Your ROI From Campaign Mailers

Wondering what your ROI is like for your campaign mailers? You should be. When we think of ROI, we tend to think of dollars and percentages, but that is not necessarily the case with political campaigns. Your return is measured more in name recognition and creating advocacy for your candidacy. Without software or specific tactics to accurately track your political direct mail, it can be difficult to measure the impact it’s having on your target audience – or whether it’s reaching them at all. With steep competition, you naturally want to ensure you’re being seen and heard. How many supportors are you acquiring from the mail you sent? And what makes your snail mail stand out from the rest? Great questions! There are several ways to keep tabs on the success of your direct mail campaign, but some are more effective than others for campaign mailers. Because voting doesn’t happen all year round, you can’t use a time-isolation technique to measure your “before and after” results, which would typically be the easiest method.

A more applicable way would be to use trackable phone numbers. A uniquely generated call-forwarding number can track the voters who call in for more information - doubling as an opportunity to convert them over the phone. But what about those who don’t call – should you count them out? Certainly not! Millennials and Gen-Zers avoid calling entirely if possible, so you’re much more likely to reach them with a trackable URL or QR code instead. These are simple enough to implement on a direct mail piece, and are worth the additional cost. Consider who you’re trying to reach and make sure that you’re speaking their language – both literally and in terms of how you approach them.

An Easier Way to Track Your Political Direct Mail

Mail tracking is a powerful tool for measuring ROI and is recommended for any campaign, especially political mail which is more difficult to monitor. SnailWorks is a mail-tracking company that provides the best analytic reporting available to monitor the delivery of your political campaign mailers. Get specialized ballot tracking, political direct mail tracking, feedback reports, and more! Bridge the gap between you and USPS to get step-by-step guidance from beginning to reporting. Contact us to make your next campaign mailers the most effective they can be.