politicians direct mail and digital marketing

Election season is upon us, as evidenced by the many signs in yards across America.

Today’s politicians work harder than ever to keep up with technology. Even the president has his own Twitter account. Still, as easy as digital marketing might make reaching voters, the most successful campaign will incorporate direct mail, too. In 2015, more than $150 million was spent on direct mail during the August election cycle. Digital marketing spending for political campaigns was less than half that at $70 million. In the state of Tennessee, $10.6 million was spent on direct mail, and we haven’t even begun the November presidential election push.

Reaching Every Demographic

Voters over the age of 45 still show more comfort with direct mail than with email, social media, and blogs. These voters are still out in force, too. Over half of those who turned up to vote in the 2008 presidential election were baby boomers. The complete marketing arsenal for anyone seeking office today should still focus very heavily on postcards, pamphlets, and brochures filled with information the voters need to see, in addition to a hard-hitting digital campaign that supports and completes the information shared in mail pieces.

Baby boomers aren’t the only citizens who seem to prefer the postal mail approach, either. Generation X and Millennials may be constantly connected through social media, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that these demographics trust direct mail more than other marketing tactics. Introduction to a candidate via direct mail may stick with them longer than a Facebook post. That’s why you should pair a direct mail campaign with your social marketing to increase your candidate’s chances of being recognized and remembered--and perhaps even followed.

It’s important to note that not all voters have access to Internet often enough to keep up with the latest issues and the politicians’ platforms. Others ignore emails that don’t come from someone they personally know. After all, Norton states that 72% of all email received could be considered spam. Without a direct mail campaign, reaching these voters who can’t or won’t follow digital marketing efforts would be impossible.

Including Digital Marketing

The wisdom of direct mail for political candidates can’t be denied, but avoiding digital marketing efforts would be a bad move. Statistics that show how many emails are marked as spam can be misleading. You want to consider them when building any campaign, whether direct mail or digital. It’s important to note that email marketing may not reach as many people as a piece of direct mail, yes, but that’s simply for the first touch you make.

So, how can you incorporate digital marketing into your political campaign? With your first direct mail piece, share the places the candidate can be found online. This includes a website address, social media accounts, and other informational sites. A QR code is one way to track the recipients who receive that mail and respond by visiting the website. Providing a Personalized URL is another way to keep up with potential constituents.

Now you have a system in place that helps you determine which of your direct mail recipients have followed up to see what your candidate has to say. How can you keep in touch? This is when you discard those notions about email spam statistics. You’ve laid the foundation for name recognition, and that will eliminate your worries about your mail ending up in spam or trash folders. People are much more likely to open emails from names they recognize.

The USPS defines “political mail” as any sent to promote candidates, referenda, and campaigns. It also says political mail is just as popular now as it’s always been, though technology has helped to segment voters for optimal results. Will you join scores of other campaigners this year and reach your voters with direct mail?