Because postcards can be produced quickly, they are an excellent and inexpensive way to respond to the personal and professional attacks —attack ads— that are often part of a political race. These attacks should never go unanswered.
Whether a candidate needs to respond to an opponent’s negative comments or help voters understand who they are and what they stand for, a postcard campaign is a fast, easy and effective way to communicate.
Compared to creating a television ad, a postcard is uncomplicated and inexpensive. The best postcards consist of a few, well-chosen words, bright appropriate photography and, for consistency and continuity, the candidate’s campaign colors and logo.
Postcards are well-read. The U.S. Postal Service says postcards get people’s attention, mainly because their message is right there, not hidden within an envelope. That, combined with the fact that postcards are inexpensive to print and mail, make them a popular and effective marketing tool for political campaigns.
A postcard series could be used to show that respected leaders support a candidate. For example, if you are running for a city council seat and have the support of a popular former mayor, the director of the local United Way and a retired police chief, you could ask each of them to talk about why they support you and use those comments as the basis for a series of postcards.
By doing research about what negative points your opponents may use against you, you can prepare responses and use them in a series of postcards to discredit your opponent before they attack or use them to refute an opponent’s claims when they do attack. Either way, as most coaches say, the best defense is a good offense. Identify likely points of attack and outline an effective response to each. If the time comes to put your postcard campaign to use, you will have a rough draft of the copy for your series of postcards ready to go.
Edward Everett, the featured speaker when the national cemetery at Gettysburg was dedicated later wrote to Abraham Lincoln and said, “I wish that I could flatter myself that I had come as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.” Like Lincoln, write memorable copy. Deliver it in easy-to-understand paragraphs or as bullet points. Test your postcard and copy among several readers. They should be able to absorb the message in 5-6 seconds. If the type size sends readers off to get their reading glasses, cut the copy and increase the type size.
Find ways to personalize your postcards. Use a person’s name in your message to them; variable data printing makes it easy to personalize. If yours is a local race, use photos of your town that resonate with its citizens–a public park, a historic landmark, the annual 4th of July parade.
Even though postcards get the most attention of all forms of direct mail (as well as email), it takes more than one mailing to drive home a message. Repetition is the key in marketing anything, from groceries to a state senator.
In marketing, experts agree that for a message to be better remembered, it must be heard multiple times. Try mailing 3 different postcards, within a few weeks’ time, to reinforce your point. If your budget is limited, you can do more mailings by better targeting your list based on demographic profiles or voting history.
Once you have your postcard copy fine-tuned, you can use it in other ways: carve out 180 character segments for tweets, post part of your response to Facebook or in a press release, use your headline and pared down points for a billboard. You can slice and dice and mix and match your postcard copy in many ways.
As we’ve pointed out in the past don’t send mailings to all residences or all registered voters but instead to likely voters–those who have voted consistently in the past. Voter records enable you to target voters by age, gender, voting history an other factors. Talk to them about issues that matter to them, being clear and concise could win you a vote on election day.
If you’d like to talk about using postcards to strengthen your political campaign, give us a call.
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