When was the last time you received a hand addressed envelope? Not digitized font, but real handwriting. Whether you receive a hand addressed envelope, a handwritten card or a letter with handwriting inside, genuine handwriting is a rare and precious find in most mail boxes, which makes it a wildly effective marketing tool.
There is a lot of marketing noise out there, making it a challenge to effectively reach your target audience. They are inundated by e-mails, voicemails, podcasts, blogs, TV ads, radio ads, print ads, and other messages. So, how do you stand out? How do you make yourself, your organization, or your services memorable?
If you want to capture attention, build customer loyalty and improve your return on investment, consider adding handwritten mail campaigns to your marketing mix.
Here are seven reasons why you should use real handwriting to reach your customers:
1. Keep Your Message Out of the Trash
If you send out any mailings, you likely spend a lot of time crafting the perfect message. Yet, if your mailings wind up in the trash can before being opened, your letter is useless. To increase the chances of your envelopes being opened, try hand addressing the outside envelope. Since real handwriting is rare in our digital age, handwritten envelopes capture the attention of your audience and increase the odds of your mail being opened by 300% or more.
2. Tell Your Audience How Important They Are
When you pull a handwritten card out of your mailbox, it's impossible not to think “Wow, this person must really like me!" That hand addressed envelope is likely the first piece of mail you'll open. Real handwriting will let your audience know that they are important to you. Rather than simply laser printing their name from a database, real handwriting shows that you took the time to pick up a pen and write their personal information.
3. Go Beyond Your Customers’ Expectations
Most people have heard the legendary story of how Nordstrom department store allowed a customer to return snow tires even though the store didn't sell tires. According to the tale, since the Nordstrom return policy was so customer friendly, the sales associate chose to accept another company's merchandise before turning away a loyal customer. Whether the story is true or not, it goes without saying that Nordstrom has built its reputation by going above and beyond what there customers expect of them and providing top-notch service.
Genuine handwritten mailings are not only an unexpected surprise for your customers, but they show that you value them. Chances are your competitors aren't using real handwriting in their marketing. While others are relying on email or bulk mail, you can send a warmer and more personal handwritten message to your audience.
4. Use Your Marketing Dollars Wisely
There are endless ways for us to spend our marketing dollars. The challenge is in finding the right marketing mix that brings results without breaking your budget. A handwritten mailing is an effective tool for any marketing plan. Since real handwritten mail can dramatically improve your chances of being opened and read, your direct mail response rates will be significantly higher. Higher responses mean higher return on investment.
5. Be Memorable During Holidays & Special Occasions
Isn't it fun to receive a hand addressed birthday card in the mail? The minute you see that envelope, you know the card is especially for you. Chances are your customers feel the same way. Special occasions are an ideal time to connect with your audience. If you keep track of your customers’ birthdays or anniversaries, consider sending them hand addressed cards. Or, perhaps it has been a year since a customer last used your services. Why not send them a hand-written reminder card? In addition to personal occasions, holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day and Fourth of July are ideal times to send hand addressed greetings. It is often the personal touches that separate you from your competitors. People like to know that they are more than just another name in your customer database.
6. Send a Sincere Thank You
Many of us remember our parents forcing a pen and card into our hands and demanding that we send handwritten Thank You cards to relatives after receiving a gift. Why? Because it was (and still is) the proper and polite thing to do. Why should the rules be any different in business? When your customers give you the gift of their business or time, they deserve a handwritten Thank You in return. One of the most effective ways to encourage loyalty from your customers (and repeat business) is to say “Thank You. " A hand addressed Thank You card demonstrates that you care about your customers.
7. Add a Powerful Punch to Your Messages
You can spend weeks trying to write the perfect letter for your audience. But your efforts will go to waste if your call-to-action goes unnoticed. Not only does your letter need to be well written, but most of all, it needs to be read. Real handwriting draws your readers’ eyes to your mailing's most crucial points. Not only does handwriting look different from the printed text in your letter (thus, catching their attention), but it also adds an unexpected human touch. Handwrite your postscript message or underline key points in your letter with an ink pen. Handwriting can guarantee that your readers won't miss the most important part of your message.
The next time you want to effectively reach your customers, send them a handwritten mailing. Real handwriting is more personal and eye-catching than bulk mail or electronic marketing, and can dramatically improve the success of your marketing efforts.
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 .