Lifecycle of a Political Mailpiece

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Knowing exactly what to expect from creating a mailpiece for your political campaign can be daunting. So to answer all your questions, we sat down with our Director of Mail Production, Katie Painter, to learn more about these specific processes and get her first-hand expertise on all things mail. 

1. On SpeakEasy’s site, it says my piece will drop seven days after final files have been approved – what exactly constitutes a “final file”?

“Final files” is a fancy way of saying that your mailpiece is ready to be printed – meaning that the creative (art files) and data (mailing list) are in perfect condition. More specifically, it means all of the copy has been proofed and approved by the candidate or their campaign team, and by our team. SpeakEasy takes great pride in taking the time to triple check the copy and mailing data on all of our clients’ mailpieces.

A great way to prevent delays in your production timeline is by having a minimum of 3 people proofread your mailpiece, but not only for language and grammar. Make sure that all proper names – including endorsers and place names – are spelled correctly. Ensure that your financial disclaimer is printed according to the regulations of your race and does include any errors. For example – the return address on your mailpiece must match the physical address of your campaign’s financial filing paperwork. Lastly, a very important tip is making sure all your images are high resolution –specifically 300+ plus DPI. Click here to find out how you can check the DPI of your image, so that they appear crisp and clean when printed. 

Not triple checking all of these components are some of the most common mistakes we see here at SpeakEasy that can delay the production and drop date of a mailpiece. Click here to read about more proofing tips and tricks. 

2. What happens to my mailpiece after I deliver my final files to SpeakEasy?

SpeakEasy utilizes our nation-wide network of union printers and mail houses to produce all of our direct mail. First, we transmit the files to the printer, who generates a press proof for our review. We ensure that the formatting, colors, and cut lines are all perfect. 

We then receive an “inkjet proof”, which is a small run of your mailpiece with a handful of addresses from your mailing list. After receiving this inkjet, we check the addresses against the mailing list that you provided or pulled, to be certain that it’s going to go to the destination of your selected voting base and nowhere else. After that, the printer produces and addresses your entire run of pieces, the mail house applies postage, and then your shipment is sent to your local USPS sorting center for distribution. We understand that direct mail is an important investment of your campaign budget, so the SpeakEasy team is on hand for every step of this process to deliver your message to the right voters at the right time. 

3. If I want my mailpiece to be in my voters’ mailboxes at least 7 days before my election, how soon should I ship my mail pieces out?

You should definitely deliver the final files to SpeakEasy no more than two weeks before your Election Day. We suggest sooner rather than later, especially during a general election when the volume of US mail is at an all-time high and deliveries can often be delayed. SpeakEasy is committed to your mailpiece hitting mailboxes before your election, which is why we have cutoff dates for direct mail to ensure that your piece isn’t hitting mailboxes after polls have closed. 

4. Why should I print my piece with a union as opposed to a private company?

This question is central to our values here at SpeakEasy. Printing with a union shop is especially important for Democratic/progressive candidates and causes – there is a long history of cooperation and solidarity between the Democratic party and the labor movement. The reason you should print with a union printer instead of a private company is because you can guarantee that you are working with a business who treats their employees ethically and are not only receiving benefits, but also working in a safe environment. Printing with a union shop is a way to “walk the talk” of Democratic and progressive values. SpeakEasy is very proud to only print with union printers and mail houses. 

Bonus question: What is a union bug? 

A union bug is a stamp that only the union can provide. This stamp lets your voters know that you produced your mailpiece with union labor. 

5. In this new and evolving digital world where social media is king, is it really that important to keep sending mail to voters?

The short answer is yes. According to a recent post-election survey by the USPS, physical mail has the highest return on investment of any kind of political advertising for several reasons. First, it is much more affordable than TV ads, therefore making it much more accessible for candidates up and down the ballot. Second, people trust what they receive in their mailbox and report higher levels of trust in printed advertisements when compared with other forms of persuasion. According to the same USPS survey47% of political voters said that political mail had an impact on their voting decision. 

At SpeakEasy, we believe that mail is a crucial element of any campaign’s media mix, which is why it is so important for a campaign’s brand – including their mail, digital, and social media – to be cohesive in aesthetic and message. It not only increases your name ID but also your credibility. The more you coordinate all the advertising for your campaign, the more memorable and effective your campaign will be.

Do you have any more questions about any part of the mail lifecycle? Shoot us an email at [email protected]. We are always here to help!

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