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Best Materials for Direct Marketing and Door-to-Door Canvassing

Direct Marketing Toolkit

Direct marketing is an important and valuable tool for many businesses and organizations that are focused on specific geographic areas, or are attempting to reach a small local community. One of the most effective methods for reaching a targeted audience when conducting a direct marketing campaign is canvassing.

Canvassing involves an on-the-ground approach, a team goes out into the community and attempts to directly engage with customers by speaking to them and providing printed information about their organization. While verbal communication skills are a must in this approach, well thought out and designed marketing materials are just as important since they are what you are leaving behind as a representation of your company.

Choosing the right marketing materials to have on hand for a canvassing campaign is often dependent on what your organization’s goal is. Whether your objective is to entice customers, promote your non-profit organization or establish yourself in a community as a real estate agent, we have some proven suggestions for what to take with you on your next canvassing campaign.

Rack cards

Rack cards, also known as palm cards, are a great way to focus your message on a specific audience’s needs by providing them with the information they can use most. By analyzing your competitors or similar organizations materials you can design your rack cards to be more eye-catching and compelling.

Similarly, by carefully selecting the locations at which you plan to leave the cards you can get an idea of the type of people who spend time there and base a design loosely around this information.

Political rack cards are often called palm cards or pocket-cards and are very popular thanks to their low cost and effectiveness in providing concise information. For a candidate’s canvassing team, it is important to be able to hand a voter something of value when trying to earn their vote. A rack card can serve as a brief summary of a platform, plan-of-action and candidate background that is easily distributed in a variety of situations.

Whether for a business, political candidate or a non-profit organization rack cards only need a few pieces of information to be an effective direct marketing tool. Images, a brief call to action or informative text can easily be included as well as quick direction to your website for a more comprehensive overview.

You can also include information on how to access your business or organization's social media, QR codes and any other pertinent contact information. Rack cards are kind of like the ultimate business card, just with 10 times the space for information.


Brochures can be one of the most effective and versatile leave behind materials your business or organization can create. Easily produced at a low-cost, brochures contain a wealth of information in a small package and are worth your consideration when deciding what materials to choose for your canvassing campaign.

Brochures serve as an excellent supplement to your canvassing message that can reinforce your core ideas and visually promote products or services to your audience. Perfect to serve as a leave behind, a brochure can also be passed along by customers providing your business with wider distribution of your information increasing the efficacy of your canvassing efforts.

Door Hangers

No matter how effective your canvassing team is, they are going to run into businesses that are closed or homes that are vacant. The door hanger is one of the most effective tools to leave behind and let occupants know that you were in the neighborhood.

Door hangers are small cards with a hole and hook at the top that make it possible to hang them from doorknobs or handles. The most obvious example that comes to mind is the ‘Do Not Disturb’ door hanger at hotels, but door hangers are utilized by a variety of businesses and organizations thanks to their brief and compelling call to action.

More than any marketing material, door hangers are guaranteed to reach their intended audience since they are placed somewhere consumers cannot ignore.

The simple design and included contact information are crucial to making the recipient pay attention to your message. You can include things like coupons and a map to your location in your door hangers design to make them more attractive and eye catching.

Yard Signs

We have all seen yard signs during political season, but they can serve a number of purposes beyond this most obvious example. Non-profit organizations can offer yard signs to homeowners or businesses as a show of support for their cause during their canvassing efforts. Other organizations can provide them to donors during fundraising efforts to draw more attention to their campaign within a targeted community.

It is important to get permission to place yard signs on private property. Because many individuals and businesses may feel passionate about their support of an organization or cause, yard signs are a great canvassing tool that will spread your message long after your team has left the area.


Canvassing is an excellent way to introduce yourself and your organization to the community. Including a newsletter in your efforts is an excellent way to bolster a community-focused marketing strategy by providing useful information.

Depending on what your business or organization focuses on, a newsletter can be an excellent way to inform the targeted audience of both your services and your ties to them and their community.

A perfect example could be real estate, where an individual could be marketing him or herself as the neighborhood realtor and include community events and information relevant to homeownership. Delivering a newsletter can be extremely impactful and help you become a well-known name in the neighborhood.

Non-profit organizations and political groups can put together informative newsletters to give out during a canvassing operation that include upcoming events and updates on their progress.

Since newsletters can contain a great deal of information and images they are an outstanding supplement to a canvassing campaign. All of your important contact information should be included and supporting businesses or partners can be easily promoted, strengthening your existing business connections.

Depending on your distribution numbers, you also have the potential to take on community business advertising which is a great way to generate revenue and offset the cost of printing your newsletter.

Direct marketing through canvassing can be exceptionally effective when done correctly. Having high quality marketing materials to pass on to your audience is a great way to show your ideal consumer you’re serious about your cause or customers. Face to face introductions are a keystone to successful canvassing and leaving behind something of substance to remind your audience of who you are and what you represent makes the efforts that much more effective.

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