Winning Political Elections with Postcards
3 Simple Steps to Success and a New Job (or another stint in your current one!)
By Joy Gendusa firstname.lastname@example.org
You call it “campaigning.” I call it “marketing.” Either way, we’re talking about the same thing: getting the word out and generating real-life results. In your case, those results are votes, and you don’t have the luxury of a long-term business plan. You need your marketing to work right from the very start, with minimal (or NO) trial and error. This time crunch sets political campaigning apart from commercial marketing and makes postcard marketing the perfect fit
Here’s why: Postcard marketing is proven to get results. Simple as that. I’ve worked with over 63,169 businesses and hundreds of political campaigns, so I have the hard data to back up that claim, too.
Since time is of the essence in your situation, I’m going to introduce you to what I call the “Big Three” of postcard marketing. Execute these three correctly with your mailings, and you can start putting votes in the bank.
Let’s get to it.
#1: POSTCARD SIZE
With direct mail (and most marketing strategies in general), you follow a set pattern: attract attention, generate interest, and call to action. A couple different factors go into the “attract attention” part, but by far the most important is the size of the postcard. A larger postcard is easier to see and as a result, it captures more attention. If you mail a larger card, more people will notice it, and more people will read it, which increases your chances of turning them from “maybes” to “yeses.”
Your vendor should provide you with options for the size of your postcard. If they don’t, find someone else. Standard sizes include: Small (4x6), Medium (6x8), and Large (6x11). The size you need can be decided by answering these questions:
- What kind of marketing volume is there amongst the candidates in your race?
a. Not much (Lucky you! You can lean towards a smaller card.)
b. Light to Moderate Amount (Probably a medium card is your best bet.)
c. Moderate to Heavy Amount (Definitely spring for a large card.)
- Do the other candidates also mail postcards?
a. No (You can lean towards a smaller card.)
b. Yes (You need a large card.)
- How well do the voters know you?
a. Not at all, really (Definitely go large! You need space to introduce yourself.)
b.. A little background info (Medium should do the trick)
c. I’m “the man” in my district (Small reminder cards could work.)
For MOST of you, the answers were probably: B, B, A. Based on that, I strongly recommend a large postcard. You simply don’t do yourself any favors by taking a shortcut here. You need the maximum impact from your cards, so you need to put yourself in the best position to succeed.
#2: POSTCARD DESIGN
You don’t have the time (or probably resources) to waste a mailing. There are ten design elements that MUST be on your card to ensure success the first time:
- Clear Headline
- Supporting Graphic
- Color that Pops
- Intriguing Sub-Headings on the back that lead into benefits
- Enticing Offer
- Your Name and Logo
- Contact Information – website, phone number
- Return Address
The first three elements handle the “attention grabbing” portion of the interchange. This is where your reader decides whether or not to continue reading the postcard. If these elements fail to get and keep attention, you’re pretty much toast. Ensure headlines are crystal clear and of interest to the voting public.
Elements 4, 5, and 6 convince the reader to take the action you want them to take. (i.e. vote for you, sign up for your newsletter, etc.) Sub-headings must pull the reader into the body copy, which MUST be packed with voter-related benefits. They need to clearly understand and visualize how life would be better with you in office. And not the general population’s life – THEIR life. Then you can seal the deal with an offer for free campaign gear or updates, etc.
Elements 7-10 give the reader the information they need to respond appropriately. Note that element number 8, the call to action, is especially important. You have to tell people exactly what to do next, or they will simply do nothing.
#3: MAILING LIST
So those first two sounded important, right? They are. But #3 is the MOST important. A great mailing list will produce fantastic results even with a so-so postcard design. A bad mailing list is guaranteed to ruin even the most perfect design.
In order to find the right mailing list, you need to identify who your “ideal voters” are. Are they independent-leaning democrats? Housewives? Successful business people? Under-30s? Over-60s? Whatever your ideal voting bloc (or blocs), those are the people you want on your mailing list. No more, no less. The specificity you can get with mailing lists is incredible, too; don’t be afraid to get specific.
PRO TIP: Targeting specific voting blocs with a postcard that caters to their specific interest is the absolute best way to promote your candidacy. Come to people on their terms, talking about their interests (and how those things relate to YOU).
If you want to win, be sure you nail the Big Three with your mailings. Check out these case studies of campaigns that won with postcards for inspiration. Then, go write your own success story! Good luck!
Joy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of PostcardMania, a fully-integrated marketing firm specializing in direct mail. She used postcards to grow PostcardMania from just a phone and computer to a $22million enterprise in less than a decade. Connect with Joy on Google+.