Do you remember the last time you received a hand addressed envelope? If you're like most people, that handwritten mailing was the first piece you opened. In our digital age, real handwriting has become rare and unexpected. Regardless of your industry - whether it is financial sales, professional services, non-profit or retail, handwritten mailings are an effective way to capture the attention of your customers and have been proven to increase direct mail response rates by 300% or more.
A growing number of marketers are using real handwriting when they send out mailings like holiday greeting cards, thank you cards, product announcements, prospecting letters, and fundraising requests for donations. Not only are these handwritten mailings eye-catching, but they add a human touch that is absent from most direct mail campaigns.
If you want to improve your direct mail return on investment by using real handwriting, here are a few tips to keep in mind while you plan your campaign:
1. Hand Address the Outside Envelope
You can hand write any part of your mailing. However, if you're looking for the biggest bang for your buck, be sure to hand address the outside envelope. Since this is the first thing your customers will see, a hand addressed envelope will greatly increase the chance that your customers will open and read your message. Plus, when you hand write someone's name, you are telling them that they are important to you. This extra personal touch can be very effective.
2. Don't Bother to Handwrite Your Return Address
People like to see their own name and address handwritten. They're not so concerned about yours. Save yourself some time and effort and focus on handwriting the mailing address. You can either omit the return address altogether, or use a pre-printed envelope with your organization's information.
3. Include a Handwritten Call-to-Action
So they've opened your envelope - now what? Although you've crossed one of the biggest direct mail hurdles, the ultimate goal of your mailing is to receive a response. A handwritten call-to-action is eye-catching and adds an extra personal touch that makes it more enticing for your recipient to respond. Keep this message short and sweet - at around ten to twenty words. Clear, concise messages are always more effective.
4. Outsource to a Company that Specializes in Handwritten Mail Campaigns
You probably have better things to do with your time than to hand address envelopes. There are companies out there that specialize in handwritten mailings. You simply send them your mailing list and any special mailing materials you wish to use. They'll address your envelopes, insert letters or cards, handwrite personalized messages, and apply a first class stamp.
The next time you want to reach your clients, go back to the basics and use real handwriting. With a little planning, you can send powerful handwritten mailings that are personal, effective and improve your direct mail return on investment.
Kathy Hrach is Co-founder of Write On Results , a marketing agency that uses real pens and real writers to hand address their clients’ mailings for improved direct mail response rates. She also writes the monthly Pen & Paper Marketing E-newsletter .