With every election cycle, campaigns are challenged with breaking through the noise and resonating with voters, and 2022 will be no different. Local races – such as the 2021 Virginia Gubernatorial race – have transcended state borders and have garnered national attention. While campaigns have used multiple advertising channels to reach voters in the past, this is no longer enough to get voters to act – to make an impact, campaigns ought to integrate channels as part of their broader campaign strategy.
To learn more about changes in voter behavior and preferences in campaign messaging and political advertising, the United States Postal Service® commissioned our most comprehensive research to date, conducted in the months following the 2021 Virginia elections.
This research included post-election surveys of Virginia voters and offers a comparison to post-election data following the 2017 Virginia Gubernatorial Election and the 2020 National Election.
Our new report – The Direct Mail Effect with Voters: A Guide from the 2021 Virginia Elections on How to Effectively Build Integrated Campaigns – gives insight into timing, tailoring and targeting direct mail effectively for political campaigns for 2022 and beyond. Top takeaways for campaigns include:
Effective Timing of Direct Mail Generates Engagement
Mail still inspires action with voters, and 2021 saw direct mail generate higher levels of engagement among Virginia voters than in 2017, with 75% of voters in 2021 reading mail pieces upon receipt, and direct mail prompting 63% of voters to discuss the race with friends or family members.
When timed correctly, direct mail can lay the groundwork for broader campaign messaging because of the trust voters place in mail and the ability direct mail has to drive voters to take action. Almost two-thirds of surveyed voters said they were driven online to fact check information, presenting a new avenue for campaigns to drive engagement to other platforms.
Voters Have a Unique Experience with Mail – and Remains an Influential Messaging Tool
Voters have a unique experience when they open their mailbox and sort through their mail, with 57% of surveyed voters stating direct mail was the most memorable form of political advertising the past election cycle, seven points higher than 2020. Campaigns can leverage the memorability and reliability of direct mail by incorporating helpful information into mail pieces. When used effectively, direct mail can be a helpful source of information for surveyed voters – with almost two-thirds (61%) of surveyed voters agreeing that direct mail is one of the most persuasive political advertising channels.
Voters Value Authenticity – and Personalization of Direct Mail Key
As voters get information from an increasing number of sources, direct mail remains unique in its ability to be used to precisely target voters by demographic, making it an ideal advertising channel for personalized messaging. And voters are receptive to personalized messaging – 85% of Hispanic voters agree that when targeted authentically, direct mail had an impact on their opinion of candidates, with 74% agreeing personalization increased the memorability of mail.
Read the full findings on how to leverage direct mail through timing, tailoring, and targeting direct mail as part of the media mix to reach people where they are, as they are, and inspire action. Learn more about other direct mail insights, best practices in direct mail design, and navigating operational support at www.deliverthewin.com.
*Statistics are sourced from “The Direct Mail Effect: A Guide from the 2021 Virginia Elections on How to Effectively Build Integrated Campaigns” white paper. The research includes post-election voter surveys and focus groups as well as insights from a political consultant survey and in-depth interviews.
Jim Richard is a 25 year postal employee with over 35 years of sales and marketing experience. Jim has been working with political campaigns for 12 years and currently serves as the USPS National Political Mail Strategist to leverage the power of political mail for winning elections. Jim also works within Sales Enablement to build campaigns, sales tools and collateral for leveraging mail’s multiple touchpoints in a Customer’s Purchase Journey.