Home Society & Culture Election Year: How to use Direct Mail in Political Campaigns

Election Year: How to use Direct Mail in Political Campaigns

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According to the latest statistics, over 46 million people registered to vote in the 2024 UK general election.

In addition to television/public appearances, door-to-door canvassing, and a social media presence, direct mail is an effective means of connecting with voters.

It’s estimated that marketing campaigns that integrate direct mail along with digital media can see a whopping 118% spike in response rate.

Jon Beasley, Technical Director at Washington Direct Mail, said: “Many may not know every candidate standing in a general election or by-election is entitled to a free service through Royal Mail. This enables you to send one communication via Royal Mail to all eligible constituents on the electoral register.

“This provides a unique opportunity to deliver a tangible, tailored message directly into the hands of voters.”

Here’s how best to leverage the direct mail service for political success, with some examples of how and how not to do it.

A data-driven approach

Direct mail houses possess the expertise, knowledge and technology to deliver political results. To begin with, you should consider a data-led approach.

84% of people say they would be more likely to read mail personalised to them, so ensure you zone in on individual constituents rather than a generic ‘The Homeowner’.

Direct mail houses can segment your data to ensure you are targeting the correct voters and that the design/copy of your materials meets their needs accordingly. For instance, certain demographics, especially older voters, are accustomed to receiving campaign messages via direct mail.

Consider legal compliance

Thanks to recent GDPR marketing legislation, control of personal data has now returned to the consumer.

This means you need to remove any constituents who opt out of receiving direct mail.

Remember, all election campaign materials must also contain an “imprint” indicating which party or individual is promoting the material.

The power of personalisation

75% of people can recall a brand immediately after seeing direct mail, compared to 44% who viewed a digital ad. This uptake can be increased further by personalising your messaging to your voters.

With this in mind, take time to address your mail campaign to prospective voters to build trust and authenticity.  

If successful, it’s estimated that direct mail stays in the home for 17 days and may even end up affixed to fridges or notice boards. This means there’s ample opportunity for your message to make its mark.

Distinguish your message with copy and design

Invest in professional design with eye-catching visuals, concise text, and a cohesive layout. The human eye is trained to look at pictures first, so place positive images that attract your prospective voter.

Couple this with a clear, concise copy that addresses voters by name and references local issues.

Remember to include a relevant call to action, whether it’s compelling voters to vote or attend a rally.

Notable successes and failures

The best examples will address specific issues pertaining to local neighbourhoods within each constituency. You may employ compelling storytelling supported by stats to map the impact of policy upon ordinary lives.

Frame policy proposals within the context of real-life experiences and strategically time your mailings to coincide with key events in the electoral cycle.

Bad practices may include generic flyers lacking personalisation or relevance, cluttered pamphlets with an overwhelming amount of text, or negative campaigning that focuses on smearing political opponents instead of emphasising one’s strengths.

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