As the 2017 general election season approaches, the final push is an imperative moment for campaigns.
“Mail can be used in the closing weeks to seal the deal,” said one Republican political consultant as part of an interview series with members of the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) to assess the impact of political direct mail. “There’s more meat and substance with mail. You can sway those undecided voters toward the end.”
Here are four insights that may help campaigns squeeze the most value that they can from their direct mail outreach:
1. Use mail to drive voters to action.
When it comes to learning about candidates and issues, and even making decisions on how to vote, voters say direct mail is a key factor in their decision to act. According to the recently released joint study from the USPS and the AAPC, Voters and Mail: Five Insights to Boost Campaign Impact, 66 percent of Millennials (voters ages 18-34) and 52 percent of non-Millennials said that political direct mail motivated them to search for additional information about that candidate. What’s more, 57 percent of Millennials and 54 percent of non-Millennials said that political direct mail helped them make a decision on how to vote.
A Democratic consultant from the interview series agrees: “There’s a large body of evidence that mail is the single most cost-effective way to get low propensity turnout voters to come out and vote. Especially in non-presidential years.”
2. When it comes to election deadlines, voters prefer direct mail.
Increasingly, voters across the country are choosing early and absentee voting. According to Voters and Mail, almost two-thirds (63 percent) of registered voters in the United States say they have either voted early in-person or by absentee ballot at some point in their voting history.
Registration dates vary by state, so they can be hard to remember. Therefore, it’s not surprising that voters say they like direct mail to remind them of these deadlines. In fact, according to Voters and Mail, 81 percent of U.S. adults prefer direct mail when they didn’t know about an absentee ballot deadline, and 69 percent wanted direct mail when they didn’t know about a voter registration deadline.
3. Voters want direct mail for candidate positions and contrast.
As we approach election day, voters are often inundated with messages from numerous media channels – from TV ads, to radio, to social media posts, to phone calls and more. However, voters also have preferences on how they receive messages from certain channels. Research helps USPS identify which messages can make the most impact through direct mail.
Among registered voters, Voters and Mail found that 82 percent of registered voters want campaign mail to address a candidate’s position on the issues. Likewise, 74 percent of voters indicated that they were interested in campaign mail that contrasts the candidate with their opponent on the issues, and 73 percent were interested in campaign mail that illustrated the candidate’s voting record on past issues.
4. Millennials find direct mail important for state and local elections.
With fewer national elections this year, there is increased emphasis on state and local races. With that in mind, it’s important to note that Millennials – an important voting demographic – find political direct mail useful for state and local races.
According to the Political Mail and Millennials white paper released by the Postal Service, Millennials found direct mail to be key in helping make a decision about races at the state level (82 percent) and local level (80 percent). However, direct mail also remains important to Millennial voters for national campaigns (76 percent).
As this year’s elections come to a close, the Postal Service is always looking for ways to be a productive partner with campaigns. If you have an inquiry about direct mail, want to talk to a direct mail coordinator or need help designing a political mailer, please contact us. When it comes to reaching voters, political direct mail continues to be a winning choice.