People enjoy getting mail. Studies show that nearly every American checks the mailbox each day, and most of those people are a bit disappointed if there isn't anything in the mailbox. Receiving physical mail is an experience people look forward to, unlike having their Smartphone ding at them every few minutes with spam email messages.
That's why direct mail is still a valuable tool for political campaigning. As the 2016 election approaches, you'll probably be handling a lot of direct mail. To ensure all of your political mailings meet USPS standards follow these points for a seamless and efficient political project.
1. Include Nationwide Union Bug Certification
You'll need to have a Nationwide Union Bug Certification on your mail pieces. A union bug is a tiny stamp or label on the print piece, representing quality assurance and union-approved conditions in the workplace. Having that union bug in place is especially important if you're sending mail for the Democratic Party. Your target audience may look for that small stamp, which sends a positive message about your political candidate's partnership with the American workforce.
Goodnews: We are a Nationwide Union Bug Certifed company.
- Add the FSC Certification
Another small marker or graphic that you might want to include on your mailers is the FSC Certification. This indicates that the printer you used is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The appearance of this logo on your political mailings lets recipients know that your candidate or your party cares about the environment and about their responsibility to use Earth's resources carefully.
- On-Site USPS Verification
Want to save time and money? Use a direct mail solution that offers on-site USPS verification. This means that your mail pieces don't have to be transported to a USPS location for weighing, measuring, and verification. They can be checked and cleared for mailing right at the mail facility and then transferred directly to the Post Office for final processing.
- Drop Shipping
Your political mail project might be mailing to a few different cities or states. If this is the case make sure your direct mail provider has the capability to drop ship. This is a huge advantage because the mail provider transfers the mailing to a postal facility that is closer to the final destination before delivering it to the USPS. Drop shipping works to your advantage in two ways. One way is because the further down your project is entered the postal service process, the greater the postage discount. Finally, your project will end up in your audiences’ mailbox faster because it bypassed your mail vendors local Post Office, local Sectional Center Facility (SCF), and the local Bulk Mail Center (BMC).
- Remember the Red Tag
All of your direct mail pieces should have Tag 57, a bright red tag that designates the lot as a political mailing campaign, or PCM. It's not something you need to include in the design of your piece, but you should be sure to have your mail service include the tags after printing. Tag 57 helps the post office quickly and easily identify your pieces as part of a political mailing.
- Choose the Upgraded Voter Registration Lists
Make sure that you are reaching the right people. It may be tempting to pick a cheaper list option and save money, but if you invest extra money anywhere, it should be in upgraded, up-to-date voter registration lists. You want to be sure that your carefully designed pieces are going straight to your target audience. After all, you are paying for every piece and you want to know that as many as possible are landing in the right hands instead of in the garbage can. Select a mail service that offers up-to-date, high-quality voter registration lists that are carefully curated for quality.
- Ensure Data Security
Before you start the direct mail project, check with your direct mail partner of choice about their data management processes. You want complete security for any sensitive data that is involved in the processing of the mail piece. Choose a provider with data backups, strong security, and reasonable data safety protocols in place.
- Pick a One-Stop Shop
When you're dealing with campaign funds and political mailings, try to keep all the processes within the same provider. Instead of outsourcing parts of the process, keep it all in-house. From the art proofs, pre-flight, data processing, to the printing and mailing, trust one reputable print shop with everything. It will make life simpler for you, and it will minimize the potential for confusion and chaos with the mailing.