I've been working with political candidates for 9 years now. Over the years, I have learned a great deal about what candidates need to run a campaign, what voters like to see from a campaign, what tricks work in a campaign and helpful tips to use in a campaign. On an average day, I talk to ten candidates in active campaigns-some incumbents and some newcomers. I learn a lot about trials, fears and concerns that candidates endure during a run for office.
So, I thought I would share some knowledge. I get asked a lot of questions and am solicited for a lot of advice. I am going to give some tips on products that will work for just about any campaign. I'll also share some guidelines to use when ordering campaign materials. This information is a collaboration of thousands of campaigns that I have worked with in some capacity. Surely, someone will gain something from this.
What size sign should I order?
There has become a standard size for yard signs. The most common size and type for the average campaign sign is the 18'x24' corrugated plastic sign. These yard signs can be used for 90% of political campaigns. However, rural areas, with expansive highways and back roads may want to consider larger signs. These yard signs are usually 2'x4' to 4'x4' in size. The general rule is if traffic is going 30 mph or less, the 18'x24' sign is perfect. Any faster and you'll need to use a larger size.
How many yard signs should I order?
The number of campaign signs you should order is not an exact science. But, there is a simple formula that has proven to be very useful. You should order one yard sign per every thirty registered voters in your coverage area. So, if there are 30,000 registered voters in your area, you should order 1,000 yard signs. In addition, it is not a bad idea to order at least 10% more than this number. Inevitably, some of your campaign signs will get damaged, lost or possibly stolen.
How do I design my campaign logo?
A lot of new candidates stress out about their campaign design. The truth is campaign logos should be very simple. Also, there are plenty of experts in the printing industry that will design products at no charge. Many printers have an online sign design tool that allows you to 'play' with text, fonts and clip art to create your own design. Or, you can simply pick from a library of pre-designed templates. The process of choosing a campaign design should really be near the bottom of your campaign concerns.
What is the best handout to give to potential voters?
There are numerous knick-knacks that a candidate can handout while door-knocking or at parades. But, most of these are no more than budget-busting trinkets that will end up in the trash can. You need an item that will be used and possibly shared, but won't drain your budget. This is why notepads are an ideal handout. Nobody throws out a perfectly good notepad. Often times, notes are written on a sheet and handed to someone else. That is immediate, useful exposure. Think about coupling
notepads with an imprinted pen.
I don't have time to go door-to-door. How else can I reach voters?
First off, it is a bad idea to skip out on door knocking. Voters absolutely like to see the effort that going door-to-door shows. However, if this just isn't an option, look into automated phone calls. These are 30 second recorded messages that get placed to registered voters in your area. All you need to do is get the phone list from the County Clerk or Board of Elections and record a short message through a voicemail recording system. You dictate the day and time that these messages go out and your work is done. Auto call placement is also the cheapest means of reaching a large number of people.
These are just a few of the common questions I encounter when speaking with candidates. Each campaign has different needs and is in different situations which require different campaign materials. But, the core of each campaign is basically the same-reach as many voters as possible, spend the budget wisely, convey a good message and put forth the necessary effort.
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