Most candidates will design and send out direct mail pieces to reach constituents. The direct mail campaign is the final push to reach voters before Election Day.
The direct mail is a significant part of your campaign. It's the only thing a great many voters will ever know about you. How do you know if the direct mail pieces your consultant designs are any good?
Here are a few questions to consider in evaluating your direct mail pieces:
1. Is it consistent with the theme of your campaign?
Consider the theme of our campaign. Are you talking about jobs? If so, does the piece reflect that you have a plan to create jobs?
2. Does it express one big idea?
Determining how much information to use is difficult. Use this as a guide: how much information can the voter get from picking up a piece at the mail slot, walking across the room, then dropping it in the trash?
That's about all the time you'll have to get your point across. Stick to one big idea for each mail piece rather than trying to fit everything in. If you have more you must say on the subject, put it on your website.
3. Is it compelling?
This is tough to judge. Political ad makers get paid because of their expertise in this area. You want an unbiased opinion as well.
The campaign staff and the candidate are too biased by the daily fluctuations of the campaign. They can't view a mail piece through the eyes of an average voter. Take the piece to a few friends who follow your race through the newspaper and ask for their initial impressions. And make sure they are friends who will be honest rather than spare your feelings.
4. Is it true?
Be sure to fact check your mail piece. Are the claims you make about yourself and your opponent true and verifiable? It's becoming more common for local newspapers to "fact check" your pieces themselves. You may spend a lot of wasted money by not being truthful. Don't open yourself to a newspaper article pointing out that you aren't truthful.
5. Is it legal?
Last - but not least - be sure to check on the public disclosure requirements for your mail. More than likely, you have to include a disclaimer that says who paid for the piece. Check with your local county auditor or secretary of state to find out what the legal requirements are.
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