The world of political campaigns has changed, as Americans of all ages and backgrounds have adapted to virtual communications, online shopping, and QR codes faster than we ever could have imagined. Direct mail continues to play an important role in this rapidly evolving media landscape, with a 68% increase in spending on direct mail campaigns in 2020. Research conducted by The United States Postal Service with participation by the American Association of Political Consultants gives us deeper insight into how to use direct mail as part of a larger campaign strategy to reach people where they are, as they are, in order to inspire action.
Provide Information that Educates and Informs
“I would say that the mail gives you the pros and cons. It’s a little bit more even leveled where you have a better idea of what the candidates bring to the table,” says one of the younger surveyed voters. Just over half of Americans view mail as more trustworthy than political ads they see online and on TV. And 2 out of 3 Americans say it’s easier to understand who is sponsoring a mail piece than other types of political advertising. One of the older surveyed voters shares, “I would keep around, too. Keep it on the counter and I could reference that name and if they opposing candidate came in, I could weight the options by actually reading it.” People notice direct mail because it’s physically present and seen as more informative – it has the potential to be referred to repeatedly.
Reinforce Messaging to Drive Action
48% of Americans say the mail they received drove them to search online for more information about a politician or campaign. QR codes allow people to easily visit a website on their smartphone. 27% of Americans visited a website based on a QR code or website link found on a mail piece. Integrating direct mail with digital, email, and text – deployed in a sequence to emphasize key messages – drives action. Direct mail allows for targeting and a more descriptive narrative, while digital, email, and text allow for more immediacy and responsiveness.
Build an Authentic Connection
People respond positively to targeted messaging in direct mail pieces when it’s done authentically in a culturally relevant way. “People would send the literature that would have their picture on it, their accomplishments, the issues that they were for and what they planned to do… I found that to be most effective with me,” shares an older voter. Many said that direct mail felt more personal than other forms of political advertising and appreciated mail pieces that addressed them by their name. “Having a hard copy is just nicer… I feel like you have to put more effort into actually sending somebody a piece of mail versus a spam email,” explains a younger voter.
Make It Memorable
Attention-grabbing photos, graphics and layout that are relevant to the recipient and delivered at key times during an election are imperative to increasing direct mail’s visual appeal and memorable impact. 7 in 10 Americans say mail impacted their opinions about candidates. “I think there is something to actually picking up something and having to move it to the recycling bin – you’re going to look at it,” shares one younger voter. “It’s this big thing that says a politician’s name… maybe it has some mental imprint.” Half of all Americans say that mail was the most memorable form of political advertising they saw in the recent election. Among Black Americans, that number rose to 61%—and with Hispanic Americans, it rose to 64%.
Make the Connection
“You really need to be smart about integrating your direct mail with other tactics to talk to voters,” explains one of the political consultants. “We made sure that our direct mail was synced-up with our digital campaign; we were using text messages, that there’s some coordination, as much as we could possibly get.” Connecting a political mail campaign with digital channels in a streamlined, seamless way is called Political Power Up. This is not a replacement for digital marketing strategies. This is a MAIL CENTRIC product that utilizes digital platforms for maximum impact of direct mail campaigns. Learn more by scheduling a free demo today; contact email@example.com.
Source: A Joint Study by the United States Postal Service and American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) from November 2020 through February 2021.