Brilliant Direct Mail Piece to Get Out the Vote [Photo]

A couple weeks before the November election here in the U.S., I received a direct mail piece I thought was worthy of sharing.

The piece was not in favor of any particular candidate. Rather, it’s purpose was to get the vote out.

If you were in charge of such a piece, what would you write? Would you try to show how important the election is? Would you try to talk about how we have a responsibility to vote?

This particular piece did neither. In fact, it uses less than 150 words. Yet it’s more effective than just about any other approach I could think of.

Here’s how they did it (click for full-size):

Direct Mail Piece Gets Out the Vote

Notice how the focus of the piece is on the Vote History Audit. The first person listed is the recipient. The rest are my neighbors.

This is a “name and shame” approach. People receiving this will presumably feel guilty if they do not vote.

This “guilt factor” is enhanced by the second-to-last paragraph, which says:

As a further service, we will be updating our records after the expected high turnout for the Tuesday, November 6, 2012 election. We will then send an updated vote history audit to you and your neighbors with the results. [emphasis added]

If you have not voted in the past, you will want your neighbors to see that you are now fulfilling your civic duty. If you have voted in the past, you will want to maintain your good record.

Readers of this letter will feel as if they have no choice but to vote.

But notice, too, the flow of the letter. It begins with flattery and then uses the Vote History Audit to transition to an appeal to your vanity — the desire to look good in front of people. Voting makes you look good in the eyes of your neighbors.

If this letter were a game of volleyball, the flattery would be the “set” and the appeal to your vanity would be the “spike.”

All in all, an excellent piece.

-Ryan M. Healy

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like,, and

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