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How Much Does Political Direct Mail Marketing Cost?

Author: Ashley Smith

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Direct mail marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach potential voters. It’s also one of the most affordable.

Unlike TV advertisements, direct mail campaigns can be targeted to specific groups of voters. For local campaigns, send mail exclusively to voters in your district. Or, purchase a mailing list by party affiliation, age, income or education level. Use the lists to create mailings that highlight certain issues for families with young children and other issues for senior citizens.

Direct mail campaigns cost far less than TV ads. And voters can walk away from a commercial, but they’ll always check the mail.

Political Direct Mail Marketing Average Costs

Direct mail, also known as bulk mailing, comes in a variety of forms. There are standard letters, greeting cards, fliers and postcards. Most political direct mail comes in the form of fliers or postcards.

The goal of political direct mail marketing should be one of the following:

  • To introduce the candidate to voters and provide biographical information
  • To explain the candidate’s positions on important issues
  • To collect campaign donations
  • To recruit volunteers
  • To point out why the opponent is not a good choice

Direct mail marketing companies most often charge on a per-piece basis. Factors that influence the price include the type of mailing you select, the color choice, how quickly you need the mailings delivered, the number of recipients and the type of list you purchase.

Generally, direct mail marketing begins at around $.30 per piece and ranges up to $2.50 or more. On the low end of that range, you can purchase a simple letter or a small, black-and-white postcard. On the high end, you can get almost any type of mailing you want. Postcards, which are popular with campaigns, usually cost in the range of $.50 to $.90 each. That includes design, printing, full color and postage.

Tips for a Successful Political Direct Mail Marketing Campaign

Your campaign’s direct mail competes not only with direct mail from other candidates, but also all sorts of bulk mail, including catalogs, credit card offers, and business fliers and advertisements. It needs to be eye-catching to grab a potential voter’s attention.

Political direct mail should be designed for the 90-plus percent of people who will simply glance at the mailing before throwing it away. It’s OK that most people will only take a quick look - as long as your mailing gets the point across quickly with powerful graphics, pictures, strong headlines, and concise bullet points. You can also drill down by offering more details for people who are interested in reading more, but keep in mind that most people aren’t.

Political direct mail should include all or most of the following:

  • Big headlines and bullet points
  • Eye-catching but tasteful graphics
  • A flattering photo that shows you in action on the campaign trial
  • A color scheme that is attractive, but not over the top
  • Text referring voters to your website, Facebook page or Twitter account

Don’t start a direct mail campaign until you can afford to continue sending mail on a regular basis through the end of the election. There’s no point in getting your name out there early if voters won’t remember who you are a few days or weeks before the election. It’s a good idea to send a piece of direct mail at least once every two weeks, although once or twice a week is better if your budget allows.

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