Your campaign door card is the most important tool you’ll have when you start walking neighborhoods (except for your own smiling face, of course). In fact, many voters will probably see the stuff you drop at their doors more that they’ll see you, so it’s worth focusing some time on the design and message of your literature.
Printing companies offer a lot of different “droppable” literature designs that you can choose from: postcards of various sizes, door hangers, full-page glossy fliers and more. I’ve even seen candidates use massive, two-and-a-half-foot tall door hangers that are designed to catch the attention of residents and leave an unforgettable impression. (Personally, I think those kind of gimmicks just tick off voters because they’re harder to stuff in the garbage.)
In order to save money, save time and reinforce your campaign story points, my recommendation to local candidates is simple: design your mailers so that they can also be used as door cards.
The larger your individual printing orders are, the more the price goes down per piece. An order of 1,000 postcards might be 10 cents per piece, but an order of 5,000 could run you half that price per piece. If you’re printing out multiple orders of differently designed mailers and door cards, you could end up wasting hundreds of dollars. Designing your mailers so that they can also serve as door cards is a simple solution.
Ultimately, the size and quality of your mailer/door cards are going to be dictated by your budget. If you can only afford to print out smaller, less expensive pieces, then that’s fine. The most important thing is that you’re getting out and leaving something at voters’ homes, regardless of the quality.
Still, if you have the funds available to do so, I suggest that you follow these literature design rules in order to make your door-to-door efforts as effective as possible.
1. Make Them BIG.
No, I don’t mean “two-and-a-half foot tall door hanger” big. I mean you should print out the largest postcards possible that can still be sent out via bulk mail . . . and that means 6” by 11”.
Some first-time candidates balk at the idea of handing out such large door cards. They think that smaller, simpler postcards will convey a more modest message to voters and “won’t bother them as much.”
Remember, though: regardless of what you hand out, residents are probably only going to look at it for a few seconds before they throw it in the garbage. A tiny door card – with tiny text and tiny photos and a tiny candidate name – simply aren’t going to be read and remembered like a 6” by 11” door card.
2. Make Them Thick and Glossy
Don’t cut corners on the quality of your mailer/door cards. Thin, easily crumpled paper will simply get wadded up more quickly by voters and slam-dunked into the trash.
Printers don’t charge as much as you might think for thick, high-quality postcards (in fact, as technology improves and competition increases, it’s getting cheaper every year). Some printers will even add a glossy finish to your postcards for a very small additional fee. Take advantage of these options; it will make your campaign look more professional, make your message more memorable, and will increase the lifespan of your literature.
3. Make Your Name Stand Out
I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen campaign literature that includes the candidate’s name as a tiny, barely noticeable afterthought. Don’t make this mistake. Remember: your name – and the story points associated with it – is the one thing that you want to stick in voters’ minds.
Obviously, handing out a door card with ONLY your name on it, void of any other information, would be silly. Give sufficient space to your messaging or story points . . . but, when it’s time to okay the final design, make sure that your name is very prominently featured (and unmissable) on your literature.
And yes: that means both sides of your literature. Many voters only look at one side of your door card before throwing it away.
4. Use Color and Photos
One of the best ways to make sure your door cards end up in the garbage – without being read – is by skimping on color and photos.
Make sure that your literature is as engaging and interesting as possible in order to catch the attention of voters. That means using color and photos (preferably photos that include people’s faces, which are more likely to hold the eye of readers). You don’t need to add a collage of jumbled images . . . but a single, engaging photo for each of your story points is ideal.
5. Limit Text to the Bare Minimum
I’ve mentioned this numerous times already, but I’ll say it again: the more you write, the less they read. Don’t give in to the temptation to hand out resume-style campaign literature that features long lists of your accomplishments and experience. Voters simply don’t care, and they aren’t going to read it all.
Instead, limit yourself to no more than three story points on a single piece of literature . . . and preferably less. A piece that focuses only on your family, for example, would be extremely effective. Devote subsequent pieces to other story points, and you’ll have a great recipe for a memorable, successful campaign.