Did you know that gratitude is good for your health? In fact, studies have linked gratitude to improved physical health, stronger social relationships, more positive emotional states, higher self-esteem, and even better sleep. For business owners and brand managers, the benefits of gratitude don’t stop there. Nearly 70% of businesses have lost a customer because they felt the company was indifferent to them. The simple act of expressing thankfulness to customers can make a big difference for retention—and for profits. But to nurture leads, retain customers, and earn referrals many brands make major thank you note mistakes. Here are seven to avoid:
1. Spamming Every Customer with the Same Thank You Note
The goal of a business thank you card is to strengthen your brand’s personal relationship with a customer. However, to connect with a large customer base, many companies send the same untargeted message to thousands of recipients. This is a big mistake. At best, these messages confuse recipients and have them wondering “Why am I being thanked?”. At worst, these notes backfire making customers feel like they’re being treated like a number rather than a person. This can hurt the customer relationship much more than it helps it.
While there’s nothing wrong with sending a high volume of thank you notes to customers, make sure these notes are relevant. Marketing Automation software can help you get the best of both worlds. Use Marketing Automation to deliver thousands of unique thank you messages in a single direct marketing campaign. These messages can be personalized to include more than just the recipient’s name. The graphics and message can be tailored based on market segmentation and personal data. The technology exists and can be simple to use when it’s properly developed—why not make the most of it?
2. Stalling Before Sending
Direct mail marketing campaigns can take time to create and deliver. Thank you notes are no exception. But the more time that elapses between action and reaction, the more confused recipients may be when they receive your thank you note. Here, trigger marketing campaigns can help by sending messages immediately after a customer completes an action (like renewing a subscription or purchasing a product).
Keep in mind that there are different ways to say thank you. Direct mail, email, text messages, and even personal phone calls; the format you choose should vary depending on the occasion. To decide which to use, put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. How would you like to be thanked?
3. Writing Thank You Notes by Hand
There’s certainly something to be said about the handwritten note. In 2014, Forbes covered the success of tech accessory company HEX. The brand credited its quick rise to success largely to one marketing tactic—sending over 13,000 handwritten thank you notes. While the strategy helped them build a strong and loyal following, it took a lot of time and manpower to accomplish. Plus, the practice drastically increased their likelihood of human error—and misspelled names and grammar mistakes don’t look good in anyone’s handwriting. Writing thousands of notes by hand also isn’t a scalable practice, and as businesses grow they’ll struggle to continue communicating this way.
Luckily, digital handwriting from Simply Written can help. Digital handwriting is different from script fonts. Our technology captures 25 glyphs per character and selects each glyph based on the surrounding letters to mimic the natural variations of handwriting. Best of all, thank you notes created with digital handwriting can be created within seconds (no hand cramps required!)
4. Striking the Wrong Tone
What you say matters. How you say it matters even more. Yet countless sales reps and marketing managers ruin relationships by communicating with the wrong tone. So, what exactly is tone? Put simply, tone is the attitude a writer conveys towards their intended audience. Strike the wrong tone and your recipient might describe you (and your brand) as:
Ideally, thank you messages should brand you as these descriptors instead:
When looking to define your own voice, look to your company’s mission or value statement. What kind of experience do you hope to create for customers? Remember, it’s much easier to “hear” the tone of a message when you read it aloud. So, close that office door and try reading through each message first. Does your writing sound natural and sincere? Are you speaking your audience’s language? Try swapping out word choices to refine your tone.
5. Sending Thank You Messages in a Single Format
Do you always send your thank you messages through email? What about direct mail? Are you sending social media messages or remarketing through digital ads? If you’re saying “thank you” only one way through one platform or medium, you’re missing out. Studies have shown that businesses that adopt omni-channel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to business that don’t.
Thank you messages should function like a gear in your omni-channel machine. Consider saying “thank you” for different things through different channels. A message thanking a newsletter subscriber for signing up works great via email. A new customer who just made their first purchase might be wooed to buy again through a direct mail thank you card featuring digital handwriting. Creating multiple touch points helps keep your brand top-of-mind. Why not use your thank you messages to achieve this goal?
6. Creating a Connection Barrier
The purpose of a thank you note is to express gratitude. It’s hard to do that when you’re asking for something. If your message pushes for a sale, subscription, review, referral, etc. the spirit of gratitude might get lost. Worse, you and your brand may come off as unappreciative or pushy.
However, while thank you cards or emails shouldn’t ask for favors, they should always offer a way to connect. Recipients are unlikely to return a handwritten note with one of their own, so make sure to share more than your return address. Incorporate your company’s web address into your card design or include social media handles and email addresses. These won’t just make it easy for customers to connect—it’ll also support your omni-channel efforts. Customers who follow your Instagram account or visit your website form a stronger connection and can be remarketed to in the future. So remember—build a bridge and make it easy for them to cross.
7. Ignoring Envelope Design
A thank you note can’t have an impact if the recipient never opens it. That’s why it’s important to use compelling design to stand out from the mail pile. Postcards with eye-catching graphics are a great way to grab attention. Brightly-colored envelopes can also do the trick.
To boost open rates, try delivering thank you cards in greeting card sized envelopes. Address them using digital handwriting technology. It’s rare to receive a hand-addressed envelope these days, so this simple design decision will catch customers’ attention.
Remember that each thank you note you send should help build and strengthen your relationship with the recipient. As you design and deliver thank you messages, ask yourself “What would I think if I read this message?” Sometimes simply swapping roles is enough to give you better insight.
Do you send thank you notes to your customers and business contacts? Which of these mistakes do you think is the most important to avoid? Share your thoughts in a comment!