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What I Learned Sending 1,000,000 Handwritten Notes
How long does it take to send one million handwritten notes? Well, in my case, it took about three years.
I started Simply Noted back in 2018 after a favorite professor in my MBA program inspired me regarding the power of handwritten notes. In an offhand comment, he mentioned that handwritten notes have much higher open rates than emails. I realized how effective they could be for marketing, and a company was born.
Three years later, today in fact, we reached our millionth card mailed. To celebrate, I made sure that it was a thank you card, mailed to the professor that started my journey. You can read more about my millionth card here.
Over these three years, I’ve learned at least as many lessons. Below you’ll find a discussion of five of the most important, along with thoughts from our customers. Enjoy!
THE RELATIONSHIP IS KING
The number one thing I’ve learned over the last few years building the company is that nothing — and I really do mean nothing — trumps relationships. Strong relationships are the heart of business, whether you’re cultivating loyal customers, vendors you can count on, or devoted employees. When you concentrate on building connections first, everything else falls into place.
How do I know this? Well, I’m a businessman first and foremost, and I’ve found that the employees and customers that stick with me, even through hard times, are those that I’ve built relationships with. Because they care about me (and vice versa,) they also care about my company. It begins to mean something to them beyond their purchases or a paycheck.
Beyond that, a million handwritten notes don’t lie. The vast majority of the notes I’ve sent for businesses and individuals around the world were focused on improving relationships. Whether they’re thanking someone, wishing them well, celebrating their birthday, or just sending love, these handwritten notes exist to build connections between people. And when you build relationships, you build your business and your life.
One of our customers in the dental industry summed things well when we asked why they send handwritten notes to their patients. They said, “Our clients love when we send them handwritten notes. We often receive a handwritten note back. I guess it is the law of reciprocity. Since we started consistently sending handwritten notes we have seen an 18% improvement in churn rate.”
LESS IS MORE
When it comes to written communications, you don’t have to say a lot to make your point. Too much fluff crowds out your sentiment. The most effective notes I’ve seen limit their messages to between two and four sentences. Longer than that, and you risk losing your audience’s attention.
With all but close friends and family, you generally have seven seconds before your recipient’s focus begins to fade. This is an important lesson for businesses that often send notes to customers. To maximize your impact, be direct, be sincere, and most importantly, be brief.
During a recent conversation with a long-time customer in the auto industry, I asked them for their thoughts on the perfect card, and their response echoed my sentiments. “In today’s day and age, people are inundated with digital outreach,” they said. “If you want to say thank you in a meaningful way, it has to be handwritten and make it short and sweet. Simply Noted allows us to do this as genuinely and efficient as possible.”
SEE ALSO: How to Incorporate Empathy Into Sales
CONSISTENCY AND TIMING MATTER
Would you agree that a birthday card loses its value if it arrives a week after someone’s big day? Of course, because timing matters. If you send someone a thank you card for a favor they did a month ago, they might assume you didn’t care enough to be more punctual. Handwritten notes are most effective when they arrive on time.
Consistency is essential, too. Sending handwritten thank-you notes to your customers when projects conclude is an excellent way to bolster the relationship and open the door to future work. But if you don’t send them consistently, you’ll likely miss out on opportunities.
That’s why Simply Noted emphasizes automation. We offer several powerful integrations, including leading CRM packages, automation tools like Zapier, and a custom API. Our most successful customers use these tools to automate handwritten cards so that they never miss an opportunity to deepen their relationships. With Simply Noted, you can send high-quality, handwritten notes with perfect consistency and timeliness.
I really love what one of our customers said about this topic. They’re busy real estate professionals, and they lean heavily on handwritten notes. They said, “I would love to have the time to sit down and write each client a thank you card, birthday card, and anniversary card, but it is just not realistic. That is why we love working with Simply Noted; they help us build those lasting relationships through handwritten notes automatically.”
SEE ALSO: How to Build a Business without PPC
Handwritten notes are most effective when they express honest emotions. They can be an effective marketing tool, but their sales content must be subtle and subservient to their emotional appeal.
Imagine if someone sent you a birthday card and did nothing but talk about themselves. Would you feel touched or confused?
Always lead with appreciation, and make sure your notes focus on your recipient. Some of our eCommerce and business include coupon codes in their handwritten notes to regain or upsell their customers. This is an excellent way to sneak a bit of self-promotion into your cards. As long as the bulk of your card celebrates your recipient, you can end with an understated sales message.
How can you use handwritten notes in your business? Let’s look to a friend in the insurance industry for inspiration. “We 100% use handwritten notes to say thank you and send happy birthday cards,” they told me. “We want our clients to know that we are thinking of them and appreciate their business. Simply by doing this, our clients refer their family and friends to us. Handwritten notes are our best tool for growing our business.”
SAYING THANK YOU IS FOR EVERYONE
From the most chipper to the grumpiest among us, from Fortune 500 companies to small, local businesses, from commercial and individual customers alike, they all know the value in a sincere “thank you” — and we’ve seen them all.
There’s always a good reason to send someone a handwritten note. There’s simply no better way to reach out and express your emotions from a distance. Handwritten notes hold a close place in most people’s hearts, and with Simply Noted, you can send them quickly and without the hassle of putting pen to paper. Our automated handwriting machines use real ballpoint pens and industry-leading smart font technology to produce handwritten results indistinguishable from the real thing.
And I should know. As of today, I’ve sent a million handwritten cards now for people just like you. Give us a try!