What is Political Direct Mail?

In a highly digitized world, email and targeted ads online may seem like the best way to go for marketing and political campaigns. But it turns out that direct mail is still one of the most effective political campaigning methods.

In a highly digitized world, email and targeted ads online may seem like the best way to go for marketing and political campaigns. But it turns out that direct mail is still one of the most effective political campaigning methods.

Below, we’ll explain exactly what direct mail is, give a run-down of its different forms, and share a few of its advantages when it comes to political campaigns. 

What is direct mail?

Direct mail is a tried and true marketing method for many professionals, from business owners to politicians; despite the reputation it may have for being “junk mail,” it’s actually a highly trusted campaigning tool. 

So what exactly is direct mail? It’s a low-cost form of direct marketing in which advertisements are sent directly to targeted addresses through a delivery service, such as the United States Postal Service. 

These addresses often come from mailing lists, which are either generated by the mail marketers themselves or acquired (often for money) from another source. 

The United States Postal Service also offers an Every Day Direct Mail Service, which allows campaigners to send direct mail to entire routes and zip codes rather than individual addresses. 

Types of direct mail

When running a direct mail campaign, you have a few options. First, there is the matter of choosing between shared and standalone direct mail.

  • Shared mail allows multiple campaigns to advertise on the same piece of mail
  • Standalone mail means that one piece of mail is advertising for just one business or campaign. This allows for complete personalization. 

There are also several direct mail advertising mediums to choose from. These include:

  • Letters - This is the traditional route when it comes to direct mail, and also one of the most personal mediums. Letters often appear less like junk mail, possibly increasing their likelihood of being read.Their ability to be highly personalized makes letters a good option for targeting very important or valuable prospects. 
  • Postcards - These are a simple, cheap way to run a campaign. There are a few advantages of postcards over letters, including the fact that they don’t need to be opened by the person receiving them; however, their smaller size means you’ll have to make sure to make the most with effective words and eye-catching designs.
  • Self-mailers - Self-mailers are a cost-effective form of direct mail made up of a single piece of paper, which can be folded into booklets, leaflets, brochures, and more; think of these as something between a postcard and a letter. Announcing your political campaign with a self-mailer is a great way to get the word out and reach future voters. They’re also great for new restaurants and businesses preparing to open or launch. 
  • Coupons - Coupons are pieces of direct mail that are used to spread the word about particular products and encourage customers to purchase goods or services at a discount. 
  • Catalogues - Catalogues are magazine-like forms of direct mail that are made and sent to display the products and services that a company offers in a colorful, eye-catching format. They typically receive high engagement rates. 
  • Samples - Free samples are a great way for businesses to showcase their products. This is one of the advantages that traditional direct mail holds over the newer email marketing methods. Samples give a business’s targeted audience a taste (sometimes literally!) of what they have to offer. 

Benefits of using direct mail during a political campaign 

Direct mail may seem like a dying marketing method, but it still stands as one of the best ways to run a political campaign. Here are a few reasons:

Direct mail is effective and trusted by voters

No matter what connotations direct mail has, the statistics show that it’s one of the most effective ways to run a political campaign. 

In a survey by the United States Postal Service, 68% of surveyed voters ranked direct mail as one of the three most credible forms of political outreach–that’s higher than TV, home visits, and digital ads. 

Direct mail comes with less competition

These days, everyone is turning to digital ads and email campaigns. Think about it: people see dozens if not hundreds of ads every day on social media. But how many postcards do they receive in the mail? Using direct mail to campaign gives you a chance to stand out from the crowd.

Direct mail is targetable and can provide a bigger reach

There are many ways to target your ideal audience of potential voters or consumers with direct mail. Whether you generate your own mailing list, target a specific area using Every Door Direct Mail from the US Postal Service, or purchase a mailing list, you choose the people you want to reach. Plus, compared to digital ads, it allows you to reach demographics that may not be on social media. 

Direct mail is interactive, personalized, and memorable

There’s something to be said for a form of advertising that voters interact with directly. Seeing an ad on a screen is one thing, but pulling a physical brochure out of a mailbox makes the interaction more tangible and memorable; it offers more of a personal touch and human connection to potential voters, and it can even evoke nostalgia. 

Overall, there are tons of reasons to utilize direct mail for your political campaign. The array of options, voter trust rates, and efficiency may even give digital ads and emailing a run for their money!

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