How to Effectively Market a Local Candidate

The practice of marketing candidates for political office dates back more than 2,000 years to ancient Greece and while they certainly did not have social media vehicles with which to spread the word, they did use signs and related media and that method is still highly effective today.

Campaign signs are affordable, simple and effective ways to reach a large number of today’s mobile voters. People move around constantly and an array of signage-based marketing options are available for marketing candidates, including banners, yard signs, posters with catchy graphic design, and campaign, election, and political car magnets.


Do Political Campaign Yard Signs Really Work?

Does a yard sign plunked in your front yard promoting Sam Jones for mayor actually convert passersby into voters? In a word, yes. Name recognition is the name of the game in politics and for any candidate, all attention is positive attention. That said, a key goal in any campaign is to familiarize the public with a candidate’s name via the most visible and effective means possible.

Consider a study conducted by a pair of Vanderbilt University students who staged several prominent signs for an imaginary school board candidate for a local grade school. The signs were posted near the school on a busy street used by about half of the children’s parents. Just a few days after the signs went up, parents were surveyed about the election and results revealed that parents who saw the signs were 10 percent more likely to vote in favor of an imaginary candidate. It was a simple but very effective and telling approach to prove the theory that campaign signs work especially well to build brand awareness which in this case is all about names.


Leveraging Information Shortcuts

As busy as people are these days, it is common for them to take shortcuts to reach decisions on everything from choosing a brand of laundry detergent to a new car. Political candidates fall into that same process. Your family, friends, and co-workers can have a significant impact on who you vote for and political signage is effective at reinforcing already-strong social influences. Indeed, yard signs have the ability to spread information between people like a high school rumor, even if no political discussion ever took place.

While cheap signs stuck in your neighbor’s front yard might not ignite stalwart confidence in a particular candidate, signs are effective tools in connecting you to that name. Your trust in your neighbor is the foundation a candidate needs to eventually get your vote. Campaign offices know this and then tailor signage to leverage people’s personal networks as very powerful voter motivation.   

Interestingly, although campaign signs are as ubiquitous as house flies during presidential elections — they can still be effective. Although most voters have made up their minds before election day,  spotting a candidate’s sign in someone’s yard could sway some votes just by last minute name recognition. Local elections, such as sheriff, city council, mayor, school board, and others will very likely benefit from name recognition generated by signage.


Are Yard Signs Worth the Cost?

Running a political campaign is an expensive endeavor and while at first glance it may seem the usual avenues—phone calls, direct mail, and canvassing—are cheaper options to bring people to the polls, signage comes in at a much lower cost.

Keep in mind that to be less expensive than the current lowest cost alternative, you would need at least five campaign signs to generate one positive vote.

So, how many signs do you need? A candidate’s goal is to gain maximum visibility and name recognition and the quantity of signs needed to make that happen depends on the geographic size of the voting area and density of constituents. The best strategy is to post signs on permissible property in areas seen by the most legitimate voters. Signs are unlikely to completely persuade people but they will remind supporters to vote.


Benefits of Moving Signage

Custom magnetic signs are another effective option to increase candidate recognition. If you have magnetic signs clinging to both sides of your car and you’re stuck in traffic, a lot of people around you will see those signs. Even just roaming around town in the midst of everyday errands is a huge bonus for candidate visibility.

Not only are car magnet signs very affordable and easy to use, it is a reusable marketing tool (adjusted to meet candidate profiles of course). Many people use their personal vehicles for business and magnetic signs make it easy to remove and install as needed.