The election cycle is ramping up: Walk outside and you’ll see yard signs and door hangers. Check your mail, and you’ll find a postcard from a local candidate. Political advertising is everywhere in our neighborhoods and local businesses, and it’s all vying for attention. How do you plan to stand out this season?
A lot of time has been invested in crafting your message, designing your graphics, and analyzing the numbers to target your demographic. Now you need to make sure that your print marketing materials give your campaign the edge over your competition. If you’re part of the local election circuit, these are the three print marketing must-haves that will help you stand out and campaign effectively this year:
According to the Direct Marketing Association, direct mail pieces create up to 80 percent more return on your investment than their digital counterparts, which makes direct mail ideal for raising funds or promoting an upcoming event.
Direct mail can include many different kinds of materials. Each has marked advantages, so deciding on which type of direct-mail piece works best for your campaign will depend on a number of factors, including budget, whether your primary need is to introduce yourself to your constituents, or better inform them about your candidacy, and what stages of campaigning you’re currently in.
- Postcards are simple but powerful. They’re eye-catching and serve a dual purpose: They are an effective way to visually introduce yourself and your brand on the front, while using the back to talk about your positions and causes more in depth. With postcards, you can also take advantage of EDDM, an amenity provided by the U.S. Postal Service that allows you to send your direct mail campaign to every household in a specific neighborhood for a reduced price.
- Personalized letters and letterheads are crucial in the early stages of the campaign, as they give you the opportunity to outline your campaign platform and introduce yourself to your constituents for the first time.
- Brochures are useful for discussing your campaign and your causes in detail—just as with letters—but brochures can be designed so that they are visually appealing and accessible. This makes them incredibly effective at giving voters the information they need in a convenient and easily readable format.
Grassroots Advertising: Yard Signs, Bumper Stickers, And Buttons
Of course, any political candidate knows that engaging in direct mail is simply not enough when running for office. Especially in local campaigns—and even in large-scale campaigns—rallying your loyal supporters to help you spread the word about your candidacy lends your campaign vital credibility.
The most effective grassroots efforts begin with yard signs. An attractive sign placed in a yard at a busy intersection in your district significantly improves your name recognition, which makes any of your following efforts—direct mail or otherwise—more powerful.
You won’t convince many voters to lean your way simply by reaching out to them only once. But if they see a yard sign that’s followed up by a letter explaining your stance on popular efforts, and perhaps an event invitation where your constituents have the chance to meet you, your chance of gaining votes increases significantly.
Download our FREE campaign success checklist now.
Other types of grassroots efforts have proven similarly effective, especially bumper stickers and buttons. The key is to take charge of the production yourself, and get those materials to your supporters. Voters who are on the fence are more likely to take up the banner for you when they don’t have to worry about getting the materials on their own. At the same time, your most loyal supporters (who will likely use print materials to stump for you either way) can now do so with a coherent visual identity that increases your recognition among your constituents.
Event Support Materials
Political campaigning comes with a simple truth: constituents will almost always vote for the candidate whose name they recognize, and whose policies and personal history they know the best. It’s one of the reasons why personalized letters are such effective direct mail pieces. Fostering familiarity is also what makes support events so important to the success of your political campaign.
Events can be organized in several different ways, with the primary goal being to network, to rally, and to inform. Meet-and-greets, donor dinners, and town hall meetings are some of the most popular and most effective types of events. In order for the event to successfully achieve its goal, it needs to be organized and supported by a set of coherent, well-designed print materials.
Start with the event invitation, which, depending on the type of event, can be sent out to mailing lists or EDDM. Budget permitting, you may want to consider event tickets, even for events that are open for the public, giving your audience a feeling of exclusivity and increasing your attendance.
One your audience arrives, you will want to carry through the visual identity by including a set of vinyl and retractable banners around the venue. These banners can serve to highlight individual campaign issues or simply display your slogan on a large scale to help your audience remember what you stand for.
At the event, you can encourage grassroots efforts by handing out yard signs, bumper stickers, buttons, and even door hangers. When it’s over, it never hurts to send a letter to your audience thanking them for their attendance and letting them know other ways in which they can help your campaign.
In the end, the success of your political campaign depends on consistency. All three of the above print marketing must-haves allow you to spread the word about your cause strategically and successfully. Through direct mail, grassroots advertising, and event support, you can effectively introduce yourself to your district and increase your voter base.