The elements of a traditional campaign have largely been shelved in 2020. Instead, the playbook is being written in real-time as the coronavirus has disrupted daily life in myriad ways.
For political candidates, this means the standard ways of making personal connections with voters – like fundraising events and door-to-door canvassing – may be challenging to execute during this time of social distancing.
To help you find a way to navigate this strange and uncharted landscape, the United States Postal Service has developed an election guide – Connecting to Voters: How to Deliver a Personal Touch During Times of Uncertainty — with expert tips and both quantitative and qualitative research we have conducted over the past few election cycles.
Here are four tips to win in November:
1. Introduce the Candidate to the Voter at Home
This year, more than ever, candidates need to reach voters where they are: at home. Direct mail is unique in that it can deliver campaign messaging directly to the voter’s doorstep. Even before they were shut in by the pandemic, our research indicated that most surveyed voters checked their mailbox nearly every day. And almost of half of the voters we surveyed (46 percent) said they would read direct mail with information about candidates or ballot issues upon seeing it.
2. Establish Trust with Voters
Earning a voter’s trust is key to earning their vote. Most voters believe that direct mail delivers believable, factual information. More than half (58 percent) of surveyed voters say they are more likely to trust positive claims about candidates made in direct mail than other types of advertising. Direct mail is more believable than radio ads, telephone calls, and, notably, all forms of digital marketing and communications, according to our research. Only television can even compete with direct mail when it comes to trust among voters.
3. Inform and Influence Across Platforms
The political consultants we surveyed said it is increasingly possible to synchronize the timing between direct mail and other types of communications, which makes a significant difference in a campaign’s effectiveness. This is why direct mail is a powerful part of an overall integrated media strategy to influence voter decisions. Half of voters surveyed say direct mail motivates them to go online to search for more information about the candidate and the campaign, while more than half (56 percent) said it reinforces the impact of TV campaign advertising.
4. Spark Voters to Cast their Ballots
Campaigning this election cycle may look different than any other cycle before it, but the mission remains the same: reach voters, identify supporters, and get them to vote. Many political consultants and election experts anticipate a significant increase in voting-by-mail, early voting, and potential changes to in-person polling locations. Two out of every three surveyed voters said they don’t feel comfortable going to the polls, and, for these voters, it is essential to arm them with information on how they can vote early. Above all else, a campaign must inspire a voter to be motivated to cast their ballot – however that may look this year.
With so much uncertainty, one thing is clear: there will be an election. Candidates must run campaigns with thoughtful planning and increased flexibility. Such preparations should start with direct mail. Aside from its truly historic track record of delivering success, recent technological advances have made direct mail even more effective in reaching voters in a timely, impactful way.
Read the full whitepaper with additional insights on how direct mail can be effective this election cycle – and also learn more about the Postal Service’s latest tools, technologies and innovations that can maximize direct mail’s impact – at DeliverTheWin.com.
*Statistics are sourced from the "Connecting to Voters: How to Deliver a Personal Touch During Times of Uncertainty" whitepaper. The research includes post-election voter surveys in five states, a consultant survey from this year, and consultant tips and testimonials.