Underestimating the other candidate and campaign sign strategy

Underestimating the other candidate and campaign sign strategy

Underestimating The Other Candidate Podcast Notes

I recently received an email from a candidate that they weren’t planning on raising any money for their local judge race. At the time, there was only one other candidate in the race and this candidate would have easily beat that other candidate.

But now, other candidates have entered the race including some serious challengers. Now, the early advantage that the candidate had is lost because they didn’t capitalize on it.

Candidates should be running for elected office like their opponent is a top tier candidate regardless of whether that candidate is in the race or not. When candidates raise money and work hard early, they keep other qualified candidates out of the race and they get an advantage over other possible candidates because they have started first.

Also, a candidate’s future constituent deserve a strong campaign. They should be informed about you as a candidate.

Taking the election for granted isn’t just about fundraising but it’s about all forms of campaign outreach including campaign yard signs. While you can still win if you are second best with campaign signs but the rest of your campaign is superior to the other candidate, it’s the overarching principle that you should be striving to be the best candidate you can be to win your election and present yourself as someone who will dedicated their elected office because they have demonstrated their desire for the position through a strong campaign.

The medium is the message with campaign signs

The medium is the message with campaign signs

Medium is the Message for Campaign Signs Podcast Notes

“The medium is the message” *Marshall McLuhan

Television and Other Video

There is a lot of communication going on at many levels

  • Body language
  • Other visual communication
  • Voice inflection

Radio and Other Audio

  • The voice’s tone and inflection
  • Other ways to use audio to communicate

Direct Mail

Challenging and complex

  • Text
  • Images
  • Audio clips on the direct mail itself
  • QR codes to connect with the web and multimedia

Campaign Signs


  • Not a lot of space
  • Add candidate’s name
  • The office the candidate is seeking

The medium is the message.  With yard signs, you are limited by space and, therefore, can only communicate the most basic information about the yard sign.

In addition to the words on the sign, think about how twenty colors compares to two colors on a sign.  If the medium is the message and the yard sign, as a medium, can’t hold complex ideas, perhaps using only one or two colors on the sign is the best option.

Stacking yard signs to get voters’ attention

Stacking yard signs to get voters attention

Placing yard signs with a coordinated campaign or otherwise working with a slate of candidates. When you are working with a couple of other candidates, there is a strategy that you can take advantage of. This is similar to another strategy, to post two or three campaign yard signs near each other, but goes the other direction.

Take the entire tickets campaign signs and stack them on top of each other. Take a 2×4 or some other piece of wood and put several signs on top of one another.

It’s tough not to notice several campaign lawn signs on top of one another.

Oftentimes, if your volunteer put in the effort to assembly the signs, you might be able to get the best spot among the other yard signs on the 2×4.

Consider other things as well:

  • Make sure that you are following laws relating to coordinating with other campaigns
  • Also, be sure that you are following any local sign ordinances. Some prohibit signs of a certain size.

Remove Campaign Yard Signs After the Election

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Campaign Trail Yard Signs Podcast Notes

It’s important for campaigns to remove campaign signs from the road and instruct private property owners to remove their signs following an election.

If you’ve won your campaign

  • First impressions matters. Seeing a yard sign after the election might be the first impression that a constituent has for you as a newly elected official.
  • In many districts, you are violating the law by not removing the sign following an election.
  • Demonstrate that you care about how the community looks by removing campaign yard signs.

If you’ve lost your campaign

  • You’ve built up a good reputation in the community. While you didn’t win, there might be another election down the road or you are going to stay active in the community in another way. You probably aren’t feeling particularly motivated, but take down your signs quickly for the sake of a future campaign or your reputation more generally in the community.
  • Possible legal mandates and caring about the looks of your community also apply if you have lost the race.

It’s okay to take a day to celebrate your victory or lick your wounds but soon thereafter, remove your campaign lawn signs.

How to save money on campaign sign wires

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Campaign Trail Yard Signs Podcast Notes

Don’t order more or less signs than what you need so that you don’t have to reorder signs. See how many campaign yard signs does your campaign need.

Contact your political party or former candidates to find campaign sign wires. Depending upon how long the signs have been stored or how many times they have been used, the sign wires might be unusable. For the most part, however, you can bend the signs back into shape and clean them off so that you can get the signs back in working order.

Don’t use sign wires at all. Depending upon what kind of sign that you chose, you can go to Lowes, Home Depot, or an independent lumber yard to get packs of wooden stakes that are often less expensive than the wires. There are some downsides to this method though.

* If you are using corrugated plastic sign, you will need two signs to be able to see the message on either side. Using a wooden stake is best if you have one sided Coroplast signs.
* Plastic bag signs are going to be more difficult because they aren’t sturdy. You can put some cardboard in them to make it a little more sturdy but for the most part, this is going to be tough.
* Cardboard signs do work with wooden stakes just be sure to carefully putting it on well.

Customizing stock campaign yard signs

[audio:https://www.campaigntrailyardsigns.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Customizing-stock-campaign-yard-signs.mp3|titles=Customizing stock campaign yard signs]


Hello and welcome to another episode of the Campaign Trail Yard Signs podcast.  Today we are talking about ideas that you can tell your supporters who are distributing on volunteer time or putting campaign signs on their own individual lawns.

This is something that as a campaign you’re probably not going to want to do because it takes some time, it is an extra thing.  But anybody who is requesting a yard sign or if you have a volunteer who is nuts about yard signs.  There are such people; I’m sure you have come across them already.

Something that you can do to put them to work or put a little extra pizzazz into what a campaign sign can do for you is in fact that to add some pizzazz to the sign.  Tell people who are putting your signs on their private property to decorate the sign in any way shape or form.  Doing this is just going to add extra attention to your sign.  The whole value of a yard sign to increase your name recognition as a candidate, so anything that you can do or that individual property owner can do to bring attention to those yard signs is going to increase the effectiveness of the sign to do what it is good at doing, which is increase your name ID among voters at large.

I’m going to offer some specific suggestions but you can just tell supporters to get creative with their own signs or you can offer a list of these suggestions and adding your own.  Hand out a sheet when you hand out a sheet about campaign yard sign laws and that type of thing, which you can go to our blog or check out the campaign trail yard signs articles on goarticles.com you’ll learn more about yard sign distribution laws.

But some of the suggestions that I have for your supporters to think about to kind of pimp their yard signs and to bring more attention to your name and the office that you’re seeking is to a) put garland up.  Some people are starting to break out their Christmas and other seasonal decorations.  Putting garland around the yard sign will bring attention to it.  When headlights go passed something like that it’s going to reflect a little bit.  Likewise, other holiday decorations are going to work.

(This was prerecorded.  At the time, people were starting to put decorations up!  I haven’t seen any here in May quite yet!)

If you got Christmas lights and you’re able to string them in and put some electric around there.  Or any type of lighting.  If you got a spotlight on your yard sign, that works out well.  You do want to check your local ordinances about lighting and what kind of lighting that you can out in your private property.  Usually, it’s not a problem but some municipalities have light pollution regulations that you need to keep in mind.

But for the most part, your supporters can put Christmas lights around it, can put a spotlight around it, can put those lights that are usually put around pathways, you can light them up and put them around the yard signs to make sure the sign is visible for 24 hours a day.  Or at least for most of the day until the solar power runs out on some of those!  For anything that you are plugging into the grid, such as a spotlight or that type of thing, that you can keep going 24 hours a day to bring attention to them when no other sign is going to be visible.

Or just sort of customize the sign.  What kind of constituency group is interested in it?  Maybe you have a strong following among sportsmen.  Well, encourage those individual sportsmen to go to the store, pick up some markers, pick up some posterboard, or even if they have some Coroplast, corrugated cardboard, something like that and write “sportsmen for.”  Adhere that to the yard sign.  Something custom, something homemade, something do it yourself like that, is really going to have an impact and is going to draw peoples’ eyes to that yard sign when they might have otherwise missed it.

This has been another real quick Campaign Trail Yard Signs podcast.  Good luck on your campaign and good luck on your campaign yard sign distribution!

Cresting your candidate lawn sign strategy on Election Day

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Today we’re going to talk about something really important for a lot of campaigns and I’ll use an example of this phenomenon in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary.  I was out in Iowa supporting Howard Dean for president.

You could tell about two weeks out he was getting a lot of positive reaction at the doors.  This was one of my first campaigns volunteering day in and day out.  First presidential campaign I mean.  I was out there knocking on doors, making phone calls, and you could tell there was a lot of really positive reception a couple of weeks out, but then things started to turn.

And with each day, the reaction that you were getting on the door and on the phone and from other volunteers was that the mood was getting sour for Howard Dean.  By the time the Iowa caucuses happened, John Kerry had won and the reason why was Howard Dean crested his campaign a couple weeks too early.

Ideally, you want your campaign to crest on election day.  You want the most support that you’ve ever gotten on election day.  Sometimes you hear in political circles you hear “if the election were held today who would you vote for?”  This is a common question in public opinion polls.  For Howard Dean if the caucuses were held maybe two weeks before they were held they might have won.  But they weren’t and you don’t want that to happen in your campaign either.

Because if you crest too early or never even gotten to that point of cresting, you’re at least leaving a lot of votes on the table and perhaps losing the race because of it.  What that means for your yard signs strategy: you want to make sure that your yard sign distribution is slowly building.  Have a strategy to it.

By the time election day rolls around you want to have delivered all of the signs that you wanted to deliver, when you wanted to deliver them, and where you want to deliver them.  If you don’t have a strategy behind what you’re doing with yafd signs or other aspects of your campaign, you are going to crest too early or never crest at all.

That’s why it’s important to have a some sort of strategy by where you are going to strategy yard signs in the district, how you are going to do it.  Know what your campaign yard sign budget is, spend that money, and then distribute those signs in a way that is going to maximize their value and isn’t going to crest too early or you’re going to leave votes on the table by not cresting late enough.

That means if it’s election day and you have a stack of yard signs in your basement or campaign headquarters, you didn’t do the distribution you needed to do to crest on election day.  The converse is true; if you have run out of yard signs two months before the election and you’re forced to reorder them, turnaround time is slow because you are in the heat of the election season, and you maybe needed some changes, or you had to skimp on how you are doing the yard signs now, then you’ve crested too early with your yard sign strategy.

So it’s important to be giving yard signs out in a methodic manner in a way that makes sense for your district and your campaign.  Good luck with this strategy.  Take these tips to ensure that you are going to crest on election day and not after.  Good luck!  This has been another episode of the Campaign Trail Yard Signs podcast.

Coroplast yard sign shapes

[audio:https://www.campaigntrailyardsigns.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Coroplast-yard-sign-shapes.mp3|titles=Coroplast yard sign shapes]

Welcome to the Campaign Trail Yard Signs podcast.  We’ve got a real quick one for you today.  Thanks for much for tuning in.  This is a real quick tip for you.
First, what we are going to discuss here real quick is what kind of shapes that you want for your yard signs.  Anything that you can do that is unique, that’s different is going to draw more attention to your yard sign.

The cheap and quick way no matter what kind of yard sign substrate that you are using, which is the coroplast the fold over or the plastic bag yard signs, is using extremly small or extremely large yard signs. So if you are doing traditional rectangle shaped yard signs; if you do it big or you do it small it’s going to stand out from other yard signs as an anamoly.
If you have decided that Coroplast or corrugated cardboard is the best option for your campaign.  Of course, if you haven’t done it I recommend checking out my ezine articles on ezinearticles dot com that are related to campaign yard signs substrate and I got those on the Campaign Trail Yard Signs blog as well.  So you can take a look a look at them on the blog that you’re listening to right now as part of the podcast.

Take a look at that, figure out what you want.  If you want corrugated plastic, you’ve got a lot of options as far as the shapes and sizes that you can do.  I have seen teachers who are running for school board that have an apple shaped yard sign.  People have had yard signs that are the shape of their state or district.  Otherwise, indicate the office that they are running for.  Candidates that are running for judge have had yard signs in the shape of all kinds that are related to legal issues whether that’s the scales of justice or other things that are related to the legal profession.

You can do that with your campaign.  That’s something to think about if you are using Coroplast.  The one quick caution that I have before you go ahead and make your own custom shape yard sign is not to look like a traffic control device.  In nearly all states and localities it is illegal to make a yard sign in the shape of a stop sign yield sign or any other type of traffic control device.  If you are going to do Coroplast and you are going to do something creative with the shape of the yard sign and it isn’t killing the budget to do so, great, go ahead and do that.  Just remember that one caution that you shouldn’t be making yard signs that look like traffic control devices.

Thanks for much.  Good luck in designing your yard sign and good luck in your campaign