If there is one part of political campaigns that you hear differering opinions on, it’s campaign lawn signs. You can’t get around the debate where one person proclaims “yard signs’ don’t vote” and another is demanding yard signs in triplicate for every home.
How should your campaign handle signs? Well, it’s important to put campaign signs in context with the rest of the campaign. Determine where your campaign is going to excel and where you are going to take shortcuts. Your campaign might be focused on direct mail and radio while another campaign is heavy on canvassing and phone banks. Likewise, figure out where yard signs will fit into this mix. There are a number of methods that work.
Political Lawn Signs for Polling Places and Requests
The minimalist order means ordering enough signs for polling places and for people who request them directly. Determining how many signs to order is more art than science except for the number of polling places. I’d consider ordering somewhere between ten and twenty five signs per precinct depending upon the candidate.
Campaigns that have a strong field and direct mail campaign can successfully use this sign strategy.
Polling Places, Requests, and Strategic Locations
This builds upon the last strategy adding strategic locations. Strategic locations are more often than not on private property. They include people who just have a great location at a busy intersection and also community and political leaders whose public display of support will carry weight with other voters in the area.
Political Signs for Supporters
This is a big jump from the previous strategy, but this can be incredibly effective. This is best for local campaigns. Here is a case study. I’m using fake names. Bob Smith was part of the minority party running for a local office. He was known in the community but still opted for a strong use of yard signs. Essentially, if they were a supporter he pushed hard for them to put a sign in their yard.
Other than yard signs his only expense in the campaign was photocopying a homemade literature piece that he took door to door accruing more supporters and putting signs on their lawn. He reached a tipping point where there were so many signs in the community that people knew who he was when he reached the door.
Despite being outnumbered by more than 4:1 by the majority party he won his election to local office.
Plan a Yard Sign Strategy
The moral of the story is to plan a strategy. Don’t haphazardly order a handful only to decide later on that you should have ordered thousands or vice versa. When you are planning out your TV, radio, direct mail, and direct voter contact incorporate yard signs into the planning process and choose a strategy that’s going to work best for your campaign.