Believe it or not, Mail is still king when it comes to mass communications to voters during a local election.
Not sure about that? Then why is your mail box full of campaign mail in the weeks leading up to an election?
And where will people be getting their absentee ballots?
In the mail of course.
As so much of our lives goes digital and online, you as a candidate should not forgo sending mail to the voters.
But what types of mail should you be sending?
From my experience there are four kinds of mailers candidates that want to win their elections should be sending.
Letters can be powerful during an election – especially personal and targeted letters.
Sending letters to the voters of your district and addressing it to them by name – not only in the address but in the salutation – is a great way to be introduced as a candidate.
The letter can either come from you or from a credible third party that’s supporting your candidacy.
Older voters grew up in a time when people wrote, sent, and received letters.
Sending them a letter is something they are familiar with, and they don’t get as many as they used to, so it’s a nice touch.
But they are not the only voters that letters work with.
Younger voters like Millennials and Generation Z don’t receive a lot of letters.
A letter will jump out and can make them feel special and connected to your campaign.
You don’t have to send a lot of letters, maybe only one.
However, when everyone else (including you) is sending out tons of glossy flyers, one of the best ways to stand out as a candidate is by sending letters.
2. Glossy Brochures
A big glossy brochure that is full color, filled with pictures, and contains information about you and why you’re running is a good mailer.
You can convey a lot of information both with the visual elements and with very tight and concise text.
(BTW: If you need more information on glossy mailers, be sure to check out the 7 Rules for Winning with Glossy Mailers article.)
Brochures are also a very good piece to send out early in a campaign, say more than a month before your election.
In the last thirty days there’s a lot of mail arriving at voters homes.
They don’t have the time or the interest to read them all.
However, if you send out a big glossy brochure 6 or 8 weeks before Election Day, there’s a good chance you’ll be the first candidate in the mail box and you’ll make an impression before your opponents.
Your brochure should contain four pages, but be on one piece of paper.
Generally you’ll print a brochure on a 17″ x 11″ sheet of paper and fold it down to 8 1/2 ” x 11″ for mailing.
That gives your brochure a front, two inside pages, and a back.
That’s all you need to convey the necessary information about you and your campaign to the voters
Don’t be tempted to send out multi-page brochures.
No one reads them and they are a waste of your money.
3. Jumbo Postcards
Like brochures, jumbo postcards are full color, contain plenty of pictures, and have very concise text.
And by jumbo I mean at least 11″ x 8 1/2″ in size, possibly bigger — but check with your mail house as to what size is too big.
You want your postcard to stand out in the mail box and not be lost amid all of the other junk mail.
Since you only have two sides to convey information to the voters, you need to do all you can to make the text of your postcards very concise.
In many cases you’ll only want to tackle one subject and that’s fine.
Postcards are also great for attack pieces because negative mailers should be as tight and focused as you can make them.
In the last four weeks before Election Day, jumbo postcards and letters are the mailing types I recommend that you use.
You may think that you can save money and possibly do more mailings if you do smaller postcards that are half that size or less.
Please don’t do that.
These small postcards won’t jump out to the voters, will get lost in the junk mail, and way to easy to throw away without even looking at them.
4. Personal Notes
Personal notes take a lot of time, but every one you send is incredibly valuable.
When someone sends you money, send them a personal handwritten note.
When someone endorses you, send them a personal handwritten note — even if they are not a VIP type of endorsement.
Send as many personal handwritten notes as you can.
If someone puts your sign in their yard, send them a thank you note.
If someone meets or comes to an event, send them one — even if they don’t endorse you or give you money.
Those personal notes will make a giant impression on people and can pay off dividends in endorsements, contributions, word-of-mouth campaigning, and votes in the future.
Few candidates take the time to send them, so when a person gets one from you, it will really stand out.
But more importantly, you’ll stand out as a person of class and character.
And I think we all agree, we need more candidates and elected officials of that caliber in office today.