Direct Mail and Marketing Tips


What’s the Best Way to Reach Voters in the Mail?


The best practices associated with political campaigns have changed dramatically over the last decade. The emerging role of digital media is profound. Campaigns must embrace tools such as websites, email, social media, mobile, and more daily. The landscape has become much more technical and complex from a marketing standpoint.  Still, one thing that has not changed is the importance of direct mail (yes, good old USPS mail) in the campaign mix.

The US mail reaches every voter in America unencumbered by SPAM filters. 

The US mail has the potential to add legitimacy to any campaign. A campaign piece in the mail makes any candidate/cause “real” in the eyes of voters.

US mail has the ability to target voters by age, income, gender, party affiliation, and a hundred other attributes. It is possible for campaigns to target the exact voter they want to embrace and persuade. 

41% of Americans of all ages look forward to checking the mail each day (mail moment).

When using the mail, just as with digital tools, there are some things to consider.

The majority of cost with direct mail (~70%) is postage. We want to minimize the cost of postage, while still reaching our target voter, at the precise time required to influence their vote. With the rise in mail-in ballots, which have only become more prominent based on Corona quarantine rules, we need to reach voters early and often.

There are three basic types of postage we can use: First Class, Standard A (Marketing Mail), or EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail).

First Class mail is the most expensive form of postage and is usually associated with the fastest delivery times (3 days anywhere in the continental US is pretty common). If the USPS cannot deliver the document they will return it so the database can be updated. This is the class of mail most often associated with bills, statements, notices, and personal letters. Pre-sort discounts are available for larger mailers – to assist our political customers, every job that goes through Zairmail is pre-sorted for accuracy, deliverability, and postal discounts.

Standard A is usually less expensive than First Class mail. The savings usually runs ~$.10/piece. However, it takes a little longer for delivery (7 – 10 days in the US is common) and there is no return service if the piece is not deliverable.  If we can plan in advance, it often makes sense to use Standard A, and save on postage.

With campaign mail there is one more important benefit to consider. If campaign mail is sent using Standard A, and it is flagged when submitted, the USPS will treat it as time sensitive mail and prioritize it. That means faster delivery times, at lower cost to campaigns and candidates.

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) is a program that allows campaigns to blanket entire region or neighborhood with an identical message. The campaign selects (postal) carrier routes, produces a campaign advertisement (usually a flyer or postcard), and delivers it to the post office. There is no addressing required. The USPS will deliver the campaign piece to every household on the carrier route(s) selected. This is very similar to the old “door hanger” campaign piece.

This approach can (greatly) reduce the cost of postage; however, the number of printed ads required is usually much greater, which increase printing costs. The formats available with EDDM are more limited and personalization is not possible. The information that is sent will also be available to every voter on the carrier route – there is no privacy or targeting.

Given these options, what form of postage should we choose? 

If you are reaching out with a personal communication to a close group of supporters (e.g. an invitation, a newsletter, a personal letter, …) then First Class postage can be an ideal choice. The quality of service is exceptional (predictable) and the touch can have a personal feel to it.

If you are trying to reach a larger group of targeted voters who may still be undecided then Standard A (campaign mail) is probably the way to go. The cost of postage is lower, campaigns receive priority delivery, and targeting/personalization is still possible. 

In the case of primary elections, where voters may be required to select a candidate based on party affiliation, there really is no reason to touch every voter – it only makes sense to touch voters who can support your cause. This can still hold true in a general election campaign. If you know that voters will not step across the aisle to vote for a candidate or cause, no matter what you have to say, then it is better not to exhaust your resources on them. The best bet is to focus on the voters that are most likely to support you.

Finally, if you are trying to reach a larger group of voters, regardless of party affiliation or demographic, and they align with a carrier route, then EDDM can make sense. However, it will need to be a generic message that plays well for every voter along the carrier route. 

We all want to get the biggest bang for our buck, and the best possible outcome for our cause.

Choosing the right form of postage can minimize the cost of putting ballots in the box.

We are currently offering a Free Zairmail Analysis of the most cost-effective mailing programs for your individual circumstances. So whether you’re a political candidate running for the vote, a new small business or a large established firm, we can advise the best approach tailored to you. Within this, we will look at EDDM, First Class, and Standard A as well as making the best suggestions for the type of mailing campaign that would work most effectively. There is never a one-size-fits-all when it comes to marketing and much less when we consider direct mail marketing specifically. 

If you choose Zairmail to support your campaign we can promise to give you that edge. Our pricing is the complete ‘in the mail’ price which includes, processing, printing, addressing, mailing, postage, and tracking. There are no other setup charges or hidden fees. If you are sending postcards, we apply a UV coating for no additional charge to give a real professional feel and prevent scuffing in the mail. 

If you can tell us exactly what you would like to mail, we would be happy to work up a quote for you. We also have a price match guarantee, so if you can send us an invoice or quote, we can work from that for you. This will allow you to get the quality and service of Zairmail at the best possible price.



About the Author

Wilson Zehr is a Direct Mail Industry Expert, Direct Marketing Specialist, and CEO of Cendix (, the leading provider of Web-to-print solutions that increase sales both online and offline. He is also the founder of Zairmail (, the company responsible for many "industry firsts" in direct mail.


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