Sometimes, it's the people with a little bit of campaign experience who have the worst advice. "Why don't you have more signs up?" You'll never win without the most signs." or "In this town, people don't like slick campaign pieces. They won't vote for anyone who uses consultants to design fancy mailers."
Those statements are all toxic to a good campaign. well-meaning maybe; heartfelt. They may feel this way, but they are not running your campaign. At least I hope they aren't. Let's take these statements apart:
"I never vote for candidates who send a bunch for mail!" These people wouldn't have voted for that heavy mail candidate anyway. If their candidate sent "a bunch of mail," do you honestly think they'd turn around and vote for the other guy, the one with little mail who has views they don't agree with? No. Mail works. It gets your message across to voters in the most visceral, physical way. Even if they toss it upon receipt they have to handle it and to glance at it enough to see, and register, your name, maybe even your three priorities listed below. Not mention your nicely designed logo and professional, but friendly, photo. Do it two or three more times, and you cement the relationship you started with that person. If they don't vote for you, they were never going to vote for you anyway. But if they don't know you, you've introduced yourself and told them why you would make the best choice.
"If they call at dinner time, I just hang up." Sure, but not before hearing your name. Or if they let it go to voice mail, they may hear your whole 30 second spiel. They'll be getting other calls at dinnertime too. And since everyone's dinnertime is slightly different, you can't always miss the dinner hour, without running into kid's bedtime, their favorite TV show, or even their own bedtime. Call when it works for you and your volunteers, so long s you keep it short and on point, they'll get the message.
If there are several people running, it's even more important that you step away from the crowd and get seen and heard. All of these techniques are necessary to a winning campaign. The rule of thumb is you "touch" the voter 7 times, in small campaigns and large. In the mailbox, on the phone, at the door. If they come to a debate, that's great too, but most won't. You have to meet them where they live. Everyone has a mailbox, or a post Office box they check every day. Use it to your advantage.