How to Fundraise for a Political Campaign when you Aren’t Known
Considering direct mail for your political fundraising campaign? American Politicians are no stranger to political mail. Politico reported that during the 2014 election cycle, they spent nearly $150 million sending out direct mail. That’s a lot of mail!
You may be wondering why politicians are choosing to spend so much of their advertising dollars on this particular avenue. There certainly are more choices than ever when it comes to advertising, but sending strategic direct mail campaigns continues to prove to be successful. According to a 2011 study conducted by researchers from Yale University, Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania, direct mail is likely more effective in races with candidates who are not well known, rather than in a presidential contest where voters are better informed about the issues.
While social media often goes ignored, and emails hit the spam filter, direct mail is guaranteed to reach the target audience when they check their mailbox each day.
If you are a politician who needs to raise funds for your campaign, direct mail is an excellent tactic to get your name in front of voters and campaign supporters. We’ve put together some of our best tips for meeting your fundraising goals through a direct mail campaign:
Fine Tune Your Targeting
Choose your target
Think you know your target audience? When it comes to fundraising for your political campaign, you’ve got to be certain that you’re hitting the right audience. Make a definitive decision on whether you’re targeting all of your constituents or a list of previous donors. The audience you choose to market to will determine how you communicate with them via the direct mail piece.
Saturation Mail in the Early Stage
If you decide to cast a wide net and target all addresses in your district, your message will be much broader. This can be effective in the early stages of your campaign and in generating name recognition. Be sure to communicate your “elevator pitch” on these direct mail pieces. An elevator pitch is a short, one-minute version of what you would say about your campaign platform to somebody on the street (or in an elevator). This information can be helpful in forming an emotional connection with your target audience.
In the early stages, use a saturation mailing strategy. This means sending mail out to 75-95% of addresses in a targeted geographic area. This strategy allows you to foster brand awareness and reach the most amount of users possible.
Targeted Mail for Donations
If you are targeting previous donors, or community members who are more likely to donate, your message will have to be much more direct. This means using a direct call to action, giving the individual clear directions on exactly where to donate. By being direct, you decrease the chances that your reader will lose interest and increase the chances that they will be able to remember the important information.
Include a direct mail budget
The first step when considering cost is to make sure that your political advertising budget includes direct mail advertising. Whether you’re running for a small town city council position or mayor of a major city, this is not to be overlooked. Costs for direct mail advertising can vary, so there are several factors to consider including the format of your mail piece and the quality of the paper, the urgency and the schedule of your mailing, the extent of your content, and the amount being mailed out.
See also Pricing for Your Bulk Mail Project
Choose cost-effective options
You’ll want to get a return on investment for your time and money. In this case, your ROI can be an increase in your donor base, amount of dollars donated, the level of engagement of your donors, donor retention, or a multitude of other outcomes. To get the biggest return on investment for your direct mailer, be sure to choose cost-effective options like postcards. Utilize both sides of the postcard to give your target audience the essential information.
Key pieces of information that should always be included on your political mailer are:
- Candidate name
- Event details
- Campaign platform elevator pitch
- Photo of the candidate
- Campaign logo/visuals
Conduct a survey
Additionally, research your target audience deeply by asking your constituents directly or conducting a survey, or access existing surveys and studies. How do they prefer to receive mail? The more relevant you are to their lifestyle, the higher your return on investment will be. This survey will also be able to aid in determining which issues your constituents care about. Take this information into consideration when developing campaign copy and imagery.
Mail to the Right Users
Purchase a high-quality mailing list to ensure your campaign is going to real addresses of individuals who care about what you have to say. Using or purchasing an out of date list can cost your campaign a big chunk of change.
A bad mailing list can increase the cost of direct mail by a staggering amount. The costs of printing, processing, mailing, and postage increase if duplicate addresses are not found and eliminated from the outset. And if addresses are not verified for accuracy, many pieces may not be delivered at all. That’s why it’s important to use an accurate, up-to-date mailing list every time you mail.
Design for Delight
You have one chance to make a great first impression and delight your audience. A well-designed direct mail piece can speak volumes. Design your postcard in a way that communicates your overall brand. By just looking at your postcard, and not reading anything, your recipient should understand what you are all about.
Additionally, these direct mailers need to stand out among the clutter. Stay away from white and use any images or logos that are used across your campaign advertising. Integrating your campaign with consistent visual elements will allow voters and donors to easily identify you around town.
In conclusion, direct mail for your fundraising campaign can drive meaningful results. If you’re in need of fundraising for your political campaign, be sure to consider your messaging, design, and the format of your direct mail piece before sending it over. These small steps will improve results significantly.
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