Political Direct Mail Cost by Margo Scott Dunn

By at March 30, 2016 | 10:45 am | Print

Political Direct Mail Cost by Margo Scott Dunn

Margo Scott Dunn 2016

Political Direct Mail Cost: How do I Reduce Campaign Mail Costs?

How much does political direct mail cost? Printing, mailing and postage costs are the major driving factors but the cost of creative, strategy and design can also effect the cost per piece. Political Direct mail costs vary anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the format, quantity, density of the targets’ delivery area. Most of the time when someone asks me about direct mail costs for a political or advocacy campaign, I ask him or her how much the budget is. This is not because I was trained as a used car salesman, but because so much of what we are able to do these days is scalable to fit a range of budgets. Here are some important things to consider to reduce direct mail costs for your political or advocacy direct mail program:

  1. Gang printing. You can reduce your direct mail cost when you print 2 or more pieces of mail together this is called gang printing. You direct mail cost saving will Depend on format, to get the most efficiency on a printing press and create some economy of scale. Printers will give you a discounted rate for making their presses run more efficiently. It takes some planning and coordination, but this will reduce the cost of  direct mail and the savings are totally worth the time and effort.
  2. Enhanced Carrier Route (ECR) sorting. Your mail house will be able to help you figure out the best best way to sort your list to reduce the cost of direct mail.  Just a note, If you are not using a political mail house or any mail house for mail you should.   Basically ECR, is sorting your mail by the route individual mail carriers take to drop off the mail. The USPS passes on savings because you’ve sorted the mail for them. Your mailing needs to have enough volume to cover multiple homes in one route; so hyper-targeted, low quantity programs might not qualify.
  3. Try a different format. While it’s important to get your mail noticed, that doesn’t mean it has to be a 17 x 22, tri-folding piece with a sound chip (though that would be fun to do!). You can play with sizing to not only cut down on printing costs, but postage as well (for instance, sizing under 6 x 11 generally means you are eligible for letter-rate postage).
  4. Target your universes. In this era of vast individual data, there is no excuse for blanketing a district with mail. Using a commercial data vendor, or your subscription voter file, to carve up universes most likely to be receptive to your mail’s message will create a mailing list that’s smaller than you may be used to, but full of the folks you need to get results for your program. The more precise you get, the lower the cost of your political direct mail, the more money you can save.

Margo Scott Dunn, Senior Account Manager and Marketing Manager, The Campaign Workshop; a full-service political consulting firm that specializes in direct mail, print and online advertising for issue advocacy, candidate and ballot initiative campaigns. Margo’s passion lies in finding where advocacy and progressive politics align, and she tailors all of her campaigns with that in mind.

The Campaign Workshop            1129 20th Street, NW Suite 200                 Washington, DC 20036



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