Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Political Direct Mail 'Tricks' Don't Need to Get Dirty

Political direct mail can use proven "tricks" to grab attention of donors and voters--and they don't have to be the dirty variety that generate more bad press and offense than dollars and support. A recent Target Marketing magazine article by Paul Bobnak, director of Who's Mailing What! direct mail monitoring, highlighted some recent political mail successes--and faux pas--to help campaigns with winning creative. First, Bobnak cites an example of what not to do: a recent matching gift appeal mailer from GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. The Cruz team used a No. 10 envelope similar to official Senate mail to constituents, an address window showing a security-like "check," and an envelope promise of "check enclosed." It's a common financial offer trick and not illegal (once opened, the recipient will see "no cash value" written on the check), but it still risks unnecessary confusion and offense in a political setting. Bobnak suggests some alternatives that can work well without the negatives of the Cruz gambit. For example, use a teaser or envelope tag line that personalizes and speaks in the candidate's authentic voice, such as "The NSA Hasn't Read This..." on Rand Paul's 2016 Senate campaign mail. Color images and oversize mailers work well to stand out in the mailbox, such as Martha McSally's congressional bid with a eye-catching four-color photo on a 6"X11" envelope, showing the combat-pilot-turned-candidate in front of an A-10 warplane. Front-end premiums create engagement for retail, charity and political campaigns, too; Bobnak cites the fundraising package from the Democratic National Committee, which adds a free door-to-door campaign kit to the standard letter, donation form and BRE, including a big sheet of stickers, a couple of door hangers, and a wafer-sealed outer envelope that folds out into a handy "Vote Democrat" poster. For visual examples, go to http://www.targetmarketingmag.com/post/dont-like-ted-3-smarter-ways-get-political-direct-mail-noticed/

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