While the benefits of direct mail pieces is often debated as to the full extent of their usefulness, some facts and tactics have and will remain true for the foreseeable future. A paper by University of Alabama professor Dr. George Hawley released by Voter Gravity identifies several ways to accomplish measurable success with direct mail efforts.
The report highlights these findings:
1. Direct mail that uses social pressure may increase voter turnout
By pressuring people based on their voting history, your odds go up in convincing them to vote next time. You can even give them the voting history of everyone in the household (though, it’s not quite as surefire a method because some house members may have moved, passed away, etc.)
2. Direct mail may weaken the effectiveness of your opponent’s attacks
By preemptively defending or addressing a topic you know your opponent is going to harp on, you can greatly discredit future efforts of his to attack you on those points. By striking first, you can often strike the hardest.
3. Direct mail may shape vote choice
Studies have shown that, while direct mailing might not get someone to change which party or platform to vote for, it can change the choice of candidate the voter picks. This is especially useful in primary elections where candidates might have similar values.
4. People find direct mail annoying, but it often works anyway
Many direct mail pieces will end up in the trash whether you want them to or not and, furthermore, most people have a strong distaste for mass, targeted mailings. All that said, it doesn’t stop them from sending in donations or seeing your name anyway.