Political Mail wins elections. That’s a fact.
However, to win with Political Mail you must follow some basic rules.
Copy – Short and to the point. With Political Mail, you are not writing a book.
Hire a professional copywriter that has experience doing political work.
A professional political writer or political consultant will know how to present your winning message to the voters.
Over the years, I have seen a lot of really smart people do dumb things with political mail. Because they are smart they are convinced they know how to run their own campaigns.
Highly educated people are sometimes the worst candidates.
I have often seen these folks attempt to write what is essentially a “White Paper” for their political mail or press releases.
One time I ran into a guy that was running for Congress.
He just happened to be a college professor and produced, mostly by himself, an 8/12 x 11 folded self-mailer that was solid text on the inside.
The professor skimped on quality photos and graphic design, he had the graphics created by a student, and just wrote his opinion on ALL the issues.
His mailer was ugly, full of copy, unreadable and he lost.
One of the best examples was Kathleen Brown’s (Yes the daughter of former Governor Pat Brown and Sister of Governor Jerry Brown) 62-page book that was created for her campaign.
Brown’s book was costly to produce for a campaign that was running out of money.
No one seemed to read her book and she lost her election in a landslide.
We all have a lot to say about the issues, but voters do not want or need to hear everything you have to say to make a decision.
Voters just want to know what you are going to do for them and they are not going to spend a lot of time figuring out if you are their candidate.
Make your political mail, easy to read, memorable, and to the point.
Also, no misspellings. Hire a professional editor. If people are looking for a flaw this will be a big one.
Years ago, a friend of mine was running a school board race.
Out of eight pieces of mail, there was one minor misspelling. Trust me it was really minor.
The opponent found the misspelling to build a case that my friend’s client was illiterate and had no business serving on a school board.
My friend’s client still won, but it definitely caused some grief in the campaign for a few days.
Spare yourself these problems they are a headache you don’t need.
If you can afford it hire a professional.
Political Mail: Don’t skimp on graphics.
Spend a few dollars and hire a competent professional graphic artist that has political experience.
A good consultant should have people they work with on a regular basis.
Have professional photos taken of you, your family, and anything else that might be relevant to your message.
Again, a good consultant should have people they already work with.
Make sure your photos are relevant to your message.
Are you running on a law and order platform? Might be a good idea to include photos of you with law enforcement.
Don’t be like the college professor that had a student create his graphics.
Good graphics are akin to the physical attraction between two people. Looks are generally not the deciding factor in choosing a lifetime partner, but they definitely draw you into the situation.
Political Mail: Always Target.
At The Campaign School, we are firm believers in targeting YOUR Winning Message.
Targeting your message is the most important thing you can do to win on Election Day.
If you have the wrong message, the wrong images (which counts as part of your message) going to the wrong people, it will not be received well.
Spend time figuring out who YOUR voters are and what they want.
Craft all aspects of your political mail accordingly.
Don’t create graphics and copy just because you like it or it is something you always wanted to do. It all needs to support your message.
Make sure you have a reasonable expectation of it working before you do it.
Political Mail: Control Postal Service Delivery.
If you know when the mail is delivered, you will know how to check for it and be able to figure out quickly if there is a problem with delivery.
Controlling when your mail hits will also allow you to coordinate your message, communicate time sensitive and relevant issues, and capitalize on significant events.
If you know absentee voters are receiving their ballots by Saturday ,make sure they have a piece of mail by Wednesday or Thursday so they will have time to review it before casting their ballot.
The best way to do this is through the postal services Direct Delivery Unit. A good consultant working with a competent mail house can pull this off.
Working with the postal services Direct Delivery Unit or DDU will cost you more money at your mail house, but this will be offset by the savings in postage.
It is complicated, but a good consultant working with a competent mail house can pull this off.
With DDU, you can literally be almost exactly certain what day your mail will arrive. Sure it is more expensive but it works.
Political Mail: Always coordinate your mail.
Coordinate your mail with other activities and get more bang for your buck.
If voters get a piece of mail a few days before you and your volunteers knock on their doors, they will most likely be more receptive (assuming you targeted your message properly).
Same with phone calling, fundraising drives, press conferences, and other campaign activities.
Coordinating your mail allows you to create a repetition of your message with the voters.
Political mail that is coordinated over a period of time keeps you and your winning message in front of the voters in a much stronger fashion then if all your mail showed up on one day.
A lot of people tend to hold and review junk mail over the weekend (yes political mail is junk mail). You might want to consider this when coordinating your mail program.
A final word on Political Mail.
The bottom line with political mail is to plan a strategy to be implemented over the course of your campaign.
Political Mail is not cheap so if you are already spending money on it spend a little more and do it right.
Seek professional help if you can afford it.