With the upcoming Holiday Season starting to appear on marketers’ radar screens, a traditional idea from the past might be worth bringing back: sending handwritten thank you notes to loyal customers. But here’s a twist: Instead of waiting until after a sale has been made, those in the know are sending thank you’s as a pre-emptive move now. The idea is to jog previous customers’ memories about your business, and hopefully prompt them to make a return visit. It's a way to subtlely boost your marketing communications efforts and build goodwill at the same time.“Handwritten notes … cost something, mean something, and have permanence in a way emails and text messages don’t,” said business author John Coleman, quoted in the Harvard Business Review. “They let the people in our lives know we appreciate them enough to do something as archaic as pausing for 15 minutes to put pen to paper, in an attempt to connect and sustain a relationship with them.”
The only perceived drawback in this process may be the time involved, but even that is no longer an obstacle. Simply Written is a business communication service that helps companies enhance their relationships with clients via an innovative technology that can “hand-write” your message in a digital format for fast, easy thank you notes. The end result is a personalized card or message that is indistinguishable from traditional handwriting.
Taking the time to send a handwritten thank you note to a business contact as part of ongoing marketing communications should be thought of as an opportunity as opposed to an obligation; it’s a chance to reconnect with someone you did business with. A thank you message of any kind should go out soon after a transaction has been completed, but even sending one as a “reach-out” a few months later will also serve a purpose. It lets the recipient know they’re remembered, and that’s key.
“Because handwritten notes are so much more personal, not to mention more rare, they're very much appreciated,” networking expert Susan Dench said on the American Express Open Forum blog. “It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be heartfelt. People don’t necessarily remember what you say, but they always remember how you made them feel.”
When creating your message, there are a few points that should be kept top of mind, so that your handwritten note comes off as truly sincere:
- Keep It Short: Two or three lines should do it. Thank the customer for a recent transaction or their past business. Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to send the latter, as it reminds them of your business ahead of the holiday season, without an overt sales message.
- Personalize It: Besides using the recipient’s name on the address, be sure to include it in the greeting as well. Resist the temptation to send the same “Dear Friend” note to everyone as a way to save time. It will backfire on you. And when possible, always reference something in particular about the transaction to drive home your message. That “personal touch” will go a long way toward keeping you top of mind.
- Avoid the Hard Sell: Tempting as it might be, this is not the place to push your business. Including any kind of sales message will dilute your original intent and disappoint your reader. Simply use a thank you note to express gratitude. The recipient will get that message, and more.
- Stay Real: When sending a thank you note, be honest. If you really DO appreciate their business, that message will come through in your words. “The beauty of a well-crafted handwritten note is that it can show deeper investment and appreciation than a simple thank-you can”, Harvard Business Review’s John Coleman noted. “In a world where so much communication is merely utilitarian, these simple acts of investment, remembrance, gratitude, and appreciation can show the people who matter to your life and business that they are important to you.”
One major department store had been sending handwritten notes to the top 10% of its customers before using Simply Written. Now the company has quadrupled its volume of messages to its best customers, resulting in higher ROI and engagement. “Our handwritten notes and holiday cards sent from our store managers consistently get rave reviews from our customers,” the CEO commented. “Nothing replaces the personal touch of a handwritten note…”
Everyone can now reach out to their client base with a personalized message referencing a particular business encounter, all while conveying a warm, personal feel. As Writer Molly Thompson noted in the Houston Chronicle’s Small Business section, “Business owners may believe their marketing efforts are complete once they get customers in the door, but taking that extra step of acknowledging their importance to you may make the difference in keeping them loyal for the long term.”
For more ways that Simply Written can help you reach your customers, click on the link below.