Campaign Corner: How can I make my direct mail better?

The Campaign Corner series looks to give three tips about commonly asked campaign issues. Do get in touch if you have any questions you would like to suggest.

Today’s Campaign Corner question: We’ve started doing a lot more direct mail in my local party, partly because there are so many shared houses and blocks with one letterbox. How can we make our letters better?

Direct mail is a very important and powerful tool, as long as you remember it’s about quality as well as quantity:

  1. Make the letters neat: first impressions count whether you are a letter or a human. If it is a letter to go in a window envelope, get the windowed envelopes first, measure where the window is (there is quite a lot of variation between different manufacturers) and then lay out your letter template so that none of the header or letter itself ever appears in the window. Otherwise the first thing your letter says to a recipient is, ‘we’re sloppy, lazy and not very good’.
  2. Open with something of interest to the reader: ‘hello, I’m a politician and I want to talk about politics’ isn’t nearly as good as ‘hello, I want to talk about local school places’. Make the start of the letter about what is of likely interest to the voter and it will get their readership (no aromatic special effect required).
  3. Have one message leading to one action: as with emails, direct mail works best where any one letter is trying to get one message over and get people to take one action. Mixing in more messages or more actions dilutes the impact of the letter and usually results in less being done and less being understood. The action may have options – such as ‘here are reasons to help my campaign’ followed by several choices – but the focus of the letter should be on one point which can then be followed up by one action.

Want to know more about local campaigning? Campaigning In Your Community by myself and Shaun Roberts should be right up your street. It’s available for only £4 from ALDC and you can read an extract for free here. More on using direct mail well is also in 101 Ways To Win An Election.

Previous Campaign Corners have included:

You can read them all here.

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