Delivering Authenticity

How to Effectively Leverage Direct Mail to Build Authentic Connections

Direct mail can foster connections and build relationships, creating a lasting impression that goes well beyond Election Day.

This joint white paper with the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) represents our most comprehensive research to date and includes both quantitative and qualitative insights from Americans and political consultants.

Learn how this snapshot of public sentiment taken in the aftermath of the 2020 election provides a strategic roadmap of best practices for using direct mail as part of a larger campaign strategy to reach people where they are, as they are, in order to inspire action.1

Provide Information that Educates and Informs

Authenticity is built on trust, transparency, and believability — and the findings show that direct mail is a very effective tool for connecting with potential voters.


Americans trust direct mail vs. other political advertising


of campaign consultants believe direct mail was the most effective type of political advertising for educating potential voters.

Most Americans believe direct mail is more factual than other forms of political advertising.

Overall trust in political mail vs. other sources

  • Mail vs. Online
  • Mail vs. TV
  • Mail vs. Other

Voters take action when they receive information on political candidates or ballot issues in the mail. They often read it upon seeing it, save to read for later, and search online to learn more about the race.

Maximize Your Impact

Most Americans perceive mail as more balanced in tone than other forms of advertising, such as TV ads. Keeping this in mind in your direct mail communication, while summarizing key facts in a scannable way, may make a difference in the overall authenticity of your campaign.

Reinforce Messaging to Drive Action

Direct mail’s distinctiveness can reinforce information encountered online and drive action — in our focus groups, several Americans said they used mail pieces as a starting point and turned to the internet to learn more about a campaign.


of Americans visited a website based on a QR code or website link found on a mail piece.


of Americans say the mail they received drove them to search online for more information about a candidate or campaign.


Americans say the mail they received during the 2020 election cycle reinforced information they saw on TV or in online ads.

Maximize Your Impact

People are likely to use direct mail as a starting point before turning to the Internet or social media for more information. Campaigns can maximize direct mail’s reach with tools that take direct mail from a physical media experience to a digital one, such as QR codes and Informed Delivery® Service.2

“The QR code was one of those [tools] that helped us. That was part of the toolbox we used… to limit the amount of information we needed to put on a piece of mail… [voters] could click and use it to get to a site that had more information… It allowed us to increase our engagement.”

— Republican Consultant

Build an Authentic Connection

Direct mail provides a way to reach people in a way that’s relevant and personal to them. People respond positively to targeted messaging in direct mail pieces when it’s done authentically in a culturally relevant way.

Most Hispanic Americans surveyed appreciate bilingual mailings — receiving mail in both Spanish and English. This was true among speakers of both languages. However, they emphasized that the mail pieces needed to feel authentic and resonate with local Hispanic communities, or the use of Spanish could come across as insincere.

hello / hola

Direct mail was shown to have a strategic advantage compared to one-size-fits-all channels such as TV, or where targeting is limited, such as digital and social media.

Older adults reported being less active on social media and, therefore, more likely to turn to direct mail for election information. And younger potential voters said direct mail is more personal and specifically appreciate that it shows more effort than email or digital advertising.

Many focus group participants recalled that direct mail felt more personal than other forms of political advertising and appreciated mail pieces that addressed them by name.

“You know, as an African-American woman, I make sure that we portray African-American families right… because I know the target audience of a majority of my clients, I take extra special care to make sure that it looks like what our target audience is going to look like and that it resonates with them.”

— Democratic Consultant

Maximize Your Impact

Direct mail that’s relevant and true to who people are is a solid strategy for today’s campaigns. The use of authentic and relevant micro-targeted messaging at strategic points of time throughout an election cycle can make a lasting impression and foster relationships with diverse audiences.

Make it

Direct mail can make a memorable impact on Americans long before Election Day. Enacting more targeted messaging at strategic points can turn a good political campaign into an outstanding one.


Americans say that mail was the most memorable form of political advertising they saw in the recent election.


of Americans say that mail is harder to ignore than TV ads.

If mail they received was visually appealing, Americans were more likely to:


Read it


Share with friends and family


Put it on their fridge


Make a

Maximize Your Impact

Attention-grabbing photos, graphics and layout that are relevant to the recipient and delivered at key times during an election are important to increasing direct mail's visual appeal and memorable impact.

Many participants in the focus groups were able to think back more than six months and articulate, in detail, the types of direct mail they received.

A Winning

An intentional mail strategy can be a winning strategy for campaigns at all levels for maximum reach and effectiveness. Campaigns should consider direct mail’s role in achieving their campaign’s purpose. The strength of direct mail lies in its ability to segment and target messaging to foster relationships that start before election day and are the key to making an authentic and lasting connection.

Put substantial thought into how your mailing will achieve its purpose.

Appeal to your target audience.

Pay attention to the whole mail piece, going beyond words and content.

Focus on careful planning and timing.