Because postcards can be produced quickly, they are often part of a political race. Whether a candidate needs to respond to an opponent’s negative comments or help voters understand who they are and what they stand for, a postcard campaign is a fast, easy and effective way to communicate.
Quick and easy to produce
Compared to creating a television ad, a postcard is uncomplicated and inexpensive. The best postcards consist of a few well-chosen words, professional, appropriate photography, and for consistency, the candidate’s campaign colors and logo. A graphic designer who is familiar with political races will have examples to show you so that you can decide on how you want your postcards to look.
Postcards get a great response
Postcards are well-read. The U.S. Postal Service says postcards get people’s attention, mainly because their message is right there in front of the recipient, not hidden within an envelope. That, combined with the fact that postcards are inexpensive to print and mail, makes them a popular and effective marketing tool for political campaigns.
Let supporters speak
A postcard series could be used to show that respected leaders support a candidate. For example, if you are running for a city council seat and have the support of a popular former mayor, the director of the local United Way, and a retired police chief, you could ask each of them to talk about why they support you and use those comments as the basis for a series of postcards.
Plan ahead for opponent’s attacks
By doing research about what negative points your opponents may use against you, you can prepare responses and use them in a series of postcards to discredit your opponent before they attack or use them to refute an opponent’s claims when they do attack. Either way, as most coaches say, the best defense is a good offense. Identify likely points of attack and outline an effective response to each. If the time comes to put your postcard campaign to use, you will have a rough draft of the copy for your series of postcards ready to go.
The three C’s of communication
Keep your message clear, concise, and consistent. Deliver it in easy-to-understand paragraphs or as bullet points. Test your postcard and copy among several readers. They should be able to absorb the message in 5-6 seconds. If the type size sends readers off to get their reading glasses, cut down on the copy and increase the font size.
Personalize with voter names
Find ways to personalize your postcards. Use a person’s name in your message to them; variable data printing makes it easy to personalize. If yours is a local race, use photos of your town that resonate with its citizens–a public park, a historic landmark, the annual 4th of July parade. Remind voters that you know who they are and what they love about their community.
Create a series
Even though postcards get the most attention of all forms of direct mail (as well as email), it takes more than one mailing to drive home a message. Repetition is the key in marketing anything, from a sale to a state senator.
In marketing, experts agree that for a message to be better remembered, it must be heard multiple times. Try mailing 3 different postcards, within a few weeks’ time, to reinforce your point. If your budget is limited, you can do more mailings by better targeting your list based on demographic profiles or voting history.
Rearrange and reuse your message
Once you have your postcard copy fine-tuned, you can use it in other ways: carve out 280 characters for tweets, share part of your message to Facebook or in a press release, use your headline, and pared-down points for a digital ad. You can slice and dice or mix and match your postcard copy in many ways. The more times voters see your message, the more likely they are to remember you and what you stand for.
Hit target audiences
As we’ve pointed out in the past don’t send mailings to all residences or all registered voters but instead, to likely voters–those who have voted consistently in the past. Voter records enable you to target voters by age, gender, voting history, and other demographics. Speaking to them about issues that matter to them could win you a vote on Election Day.
If you’d like to talk about using postcards to strengthen your political campaign, give us a call. Our experts are always available to answer questions.
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