The Direct Mail Effect with Voters

A Guide from the 2021 Virginia Elections on How to Effectively Build Integrated Campaigns

Direct mail is a vital piece of the communications puzzle – it is a highly customizable messaging channel that inspires trust with voters.

This joint white paper with the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) includes insights from a 2021 post-election survey in Virginia as well as comparisons to similar surveys conducted by the Postal Service following the 2017 Virginia Gubernatorial Election and the 2020 National Elections.

The insights serve as an overview of what voters think about when viewing political advertising as well as a guide for how and when they want to receive messaging. Through timing, tailoring, and targeting, a path is provided to a more effective and efficient use of direct mail as part of an integrated political campaign.

Prioritize Timing and Sequencing

The key to effectively using direct mail with other advertising channels is knowing how to optimize them to work in sync while leveraging each channel’s strengths.

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When to Send Direct Mail

of surveyed voters said direct mail increases awareness of which candidates are running.

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Sequencing Outreach & Messaging

of surveyed voters said that direct mail provides a helpful starting point to learn more about candidates and their positions on issues.

What Has Changed?

Mail Still Inspires Action with Voters

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Search online to learn more about the race after reading the mail piece

  • VA Voters (2021)
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Look at websites and sources mentioned in the mail piece

  • VA Voters (2017)
What this Means for Campaigns

In a time when trust in public institutions seems to be waning among the American public, the trust that voters have in mail can lay the groundwork for campaign messaging on other channels.

Tailor and Refine Messaging by Channel

Voters want their messaging to be refined by advertising channel – and campaigns can leverage the reliability of direct mail by incorporating helpful information into mail pieces.

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Voter Relationship with Mail

of surveyed voters still check their mailbox at least 5 days a week.

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Impact of Messaging in Mail

of surveyed voters found direct mail pieces were easy to understand.

What Has Changed?

Direct Mail Still Has “The Credibility Factor”

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Voters Who View Direct Mail as the Most Credible Advertising Channel

  • VA Voters (2021)
  • VA Voters (2017)
What this Means for Campaigns

Direct mail continues to show staying power for voters using it as an election resource, and campaigns can combine the messaging voters want to receive via mail pieces with broader messaging across other political advertising channels to pack a highly effective one-two punch.

Customize Targeting with Authenticity

Voters value customized, authentic engagement from campaigns – and direct mail’s ability to precisely target voters by demographic makes it an ideal advertising channel for personalized messaging.

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Personalization of Direct Mail

of surveyed voters think it is important to personalize messaging in political campaigns.

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Impact of Direct Mail in Shifting Voter Opinions About Candidates

  • All Voters (2021)
  • Hispanic Voters (2021)
Targeting the Right Voters, The Right Way

Direct mail should be customized by demographic – but with authenticity. For example, if targeted messaging is leveraged successfully with Hispanic voters, there is a 20% increase in impact.

What Has Changed?

The Resurgence of QR Codes

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Voters Who Visited Campaign Website Using QR Codes

  • National Voters (2020)
  • VA Voters (2017)
  • Millennial Voters (2017)
What this Means for Campaigns

As voters get information from an increasing number of sources, direct mail can be used to not only precisely target voters by demographic, but to also cross-pollinate with other political advertising channels.

Want more actionable insights to leverage direct mail as part of integrated campaigns?

DOWNLOAD THE FULL WHITE PAPER