Political Direct Mail: Make Your Point
All Things Political

Political Direct Mail: Make Your Point in 20 Seconds or Less

A resume alone won’t get you elected. You need to clearly communicate your thoughts and persuasively sell people on your ideas.

After you introduce yourself to the electorate with your biographical direct mail piece, follow up by laying out your vision and plan.

Think of your direct mail as giving a speech, but in writing.

Political direct mail should be concise and actionable.

  • Stick to one or two main messages.

    Keep your points on a macro, not micro, level. One reason behind this is that voters won’t read large blocks of text. Additionally, too many details give your opponent an opportunity to nitpick your plan, putting you on the defensive.

  • Always have a call-to-action.

    A good way to provide more information without overwhelming your audience is to drive voters to your website or ask them to contact you via email. Once at your website, they can find more detailed explanations as well as ways to sign up to support your campaign.

  • Make sure your message is targeted to your audience.

    Another benefit of direct mail is that you can target your audience with a precise message. Certain demographic information can be obtained from a voter list, including but not limited to age, sex, race, and average income based on zip code, allowing you to send a tailored message to a specific audience.

Remember: Direct mail allows you to put your message directly in the voters’ hands. Research outlined in this Forbes article showed that this “physical media” leaves a “deeper footprint in the brain” and that this proclivity transcends the age demographic.

Give careful consideration to your words.

What are the hot button issues in your area? Can you tie your election into national themes? Ideally, if you can afford it, you should pay for a professional poll conducted by a research agency that will help you test your message’s impact with voters. Wilson, Perkins Allen Research, Baselice and Associates, Inc., Pollmakers, and NorthStar Opinion Research are a few examples of professional political pollsters.

Alternatively, a grassroots campaign, or going door-to-door, gives you an idea of what is important to people. Use your grassroots efforts as a live poll for information. Then create your direct mail campaign to strengthen your grassroots campaign message.

Voters can be broken down into three camps.

The Scanner – Will look at your pictures for 1 to 10 seconds, then throw it away.

The Skimmer – Will look at your pictures and read the headers/captions of your piece for no more than 10 to 20 seconds.

The Studier – Anything beyond 20 seconds and you have someone that will actually read the text on your mail piece.

A good political mail piece is written to target all three audiences. Quality pictures that convey a message for the scanner, strong headers for the skimmer, and good copy for the readers are essential. A good rule of thumb is that your text should always reinforce your images, not the other way around. So always write your copy/text to complement the visual message you are sending voters.  Doing so will enhance the effectiveness of your direct mail piece.

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