"No contact" campaigning doesn’t need to come at the expense of making personal connections with voters.
Direct mail, television, radio, digital advertising and phone banking are continuing to play a larger role in campaigns amid the global health pandemic, and determining the right media mix in these final months, weeks and days before the general election will play an important role in developing a winning campaign strategy.
During uncertain times, it can help to have a tried and true method of connecting with voters. No other form of political advertising matches direct mail’s exceptionally long track record of delivering political communications directly to voters’ doorstep and, now more than ever, we need to reach voters where they are: at home.
To help campaigns adapt their communications strategies this election cycle, the United States Postal Service® and the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) released an election guide — Connecting to Voters: How to Deliver a Personal Touch During Times of Uncertainty — that includes expert tips supported by both qualitative and quantitative research from the past few election cycles.
As part of this work, immediately after the 2018 Midterm Election, the Postal Service conducted a survey of voters in Florida and Ohio. These insights can give campaigns an edge as they prepare for the final push before Election Day:
Mail enhances political advertising across channels.
Using targeted mail as part of a broader media strategy can reinforce critical campaign messages – making digital ads and TV spending more effective and impactful. Half of surveyed voters said they would search online for more information about a campaign after receiving a political advertisement in the mail. In addition, 56 percent said political mail reinforced the TV ads they’d seen in support and/or opposition of a candidate.
Mail establishes credibility with voters.
Trust is hard to earn these days, as voter skepticism about media runs high and political polarization runs deep. And, with many in-person opportunities for voters to engage with candidates no longer taking place this fall, it’s critical for campaigns to earn the trust of voters by sending their messages through a credible source. Our research shows that direct mail is more believable than radio ads, telephone calls and, notably, all forms of digital advertising and communications. When asked to rank the credibility of political advertising techniques, more than half of survey respondents (57%) chose direct mail as the most credible.
Mail is a powerful tool to engage Millennials and non-White voters.
Younger generations and non-White voters are key demographics that many campaigns are trying to reach. Our research revealed that these groups find direct mail to be a particularly influential form of political advertising; 60 percent of Millennials, 62 percent of African American voters, and 54 percent of Hispanic voters reported that mail was impactful to them when making a voting decision, compared to 36 percent of White voters and 41 percent of all surveyed voters. Additionally, 67 percent of Millennials said mail drove them to go online to seek out more information about the campaign – one-third higher than the responses of all surveyed voters.
For additional insights on how direct mail can help maximize a campaign’s impact, download the Postal Service’s latest whitepaper at DeliverTheWin.com.
*Statistics are sourced from the Connecting to Voters: How to Deliver a Personal Touch During Times of Uncertainty whitepaper and The Media Mix: Integrating Mail to Influence Voters whitepaper. The voter survey was of 821 Florida voters and 803 Ohio voters immediately after the midterm elections (November 6-11, 2018) with the results weighted using standard techniques for exit poll data.