You know the feeling you get when you receive a hand-addressed envelope in the mail? It's likely the first thing you'll open because it stands out amidst the stack of ordinary mail you get on a daily basis. The envelope is more personal and more interesting. The fact that someone put pen to paper for you captures your attention.
We live in a wired world. It's more convenient to send an email or text message than a handwritten note. The Harvard Business Review refers to this as "the natural evolution of communication."
Yet, when you're in the business of creating a personal connection with a customer, a handwritten note makes a world of difference.
A Brief History of the Handwritten Letter
According to the ancient historian Hellanicus, Queen Atossa (daughter of Cyrus the Great and mother of Xerxes), authored the first handwritten letter around 500 B.C.
Ever since that first "epistle," handwritten letters have had a special place in history. There's King Henry VIII's famously penned love letter to Anne Boleyn. Winston Churchill's written refusal to make a deal with then-Nazi Germany. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail." The list goes on.
“In an age like ours, which is not given to letter-writing, we forget what an important part it used to play in people’s lives.” — Anatole Broyard, American writer, literary critic, editor
Why a Handwritten Note Makes a Difference
The handwritten letter has become something of a lost art. Electronic communication has, for the most part, taken over, but handwriting still holds a place close to our hearts. Take the greeting card industry as an example, where business is still booming. In the US alone, consumers buy approximately 6.5-billion cards each year, amounting to roughly $8 billion. Almost 70% of people say a handwritten letter in their mailbox would mean more to them than a text, tweet, or Facebook message.
Doesn't it make sense to apply the same principle to some of your business handwriting? Whether you're sharing an offer, announcing a new service, or thanking customers for their support, few communications are as engaging and powerful as the handwritten note. Let's look at the reasons why.
A Handwritten Note Shows You Care
When you take the time to compose a handwritten message, you're showing that you care. Writing a letter or note by hand may take a bit more time, but the benefits will far outweigh the effort it takes.
For example, Donors Choose, a nonprofit organization that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects, conducted a study to show the ROI of gratitude. What they found was that first-time donors who received a handwritten thank-you note were 38% more likely to give another donation.
You'll Stand Out From the Crowd
When you put the right words on paper in your unique handwriting, you'll not only get noticed, your readers will remember you. After all, there are over 200-billion emails being sent and received each day. The average corporate email account sends and receives over 100 emails per day. A handwritten note will help you stand out from the crowd.
Besides your business handwriting, think about what kind of paper you're using, too. The message is more important than the medium, but why take the time to write a thoughtful message, then rescind on its importance by scrawling it on cheap paper? Put some time into the texture, weight, and color of the paper—something you feel suits your business's personality.
Build Customer Confidence and Loyalty
When your customers see how much you care, in turn, they'll likely do more business with you, and promote your product or service.
The Oregon Entrepreneurs Network cited five examples of business handwriting. These were handwritten thank-you notes received by customers of various companies, both large and small. In each case, the customers were so delighted by a response, they took to their personal blogs and social media channels to express their feelings of joy.
Don't underestimate the positive benefits of feelings.
According to Help Scout, about 70% of buying experiences are based on how a customer feels. So make them feel good. Otherwise, you stand to lose that customer. About 68% of businesses have lost a customer because they felt neglected.
Take Your Customer Service to a New Level
If it isn't feasible to send a handwritten thank-you note to every customer, try sending one to your best customers or clients and see what kind of positive reaction you get. By segmenting high-value customers, you can improve upon an already positive relationship.
There are other ways to segment with your business handwriting, too.
- Customer birthday months.
- Customers who celebrate specific holidays.
- Those who have written to support your business.
- Repeat customers.
- Lapsed donors/customers.
A Handwritten Note Helps Drum Up New Business
There are lots of different ways to attract new business contacts. One is to give potential customers something for free, like a small gift associated with your business (like a free sample).
Whatever item you choose, add a personal touch with your business handwriting by including a handwritten note. It may seem like a small gesture, but it demonstrates that their business is important to you—important enough to include a personal message.
Business Handwriting: Don't Forget to Thank Your Own Employees
During his time as the CEO of Campbell’s Soup, Douglas Conant wrote 30,000 handwritten notes to a wide variety of employees at all levels within the organization. According to a Harvard Business School article, it was part of his strategy to turn the company around.
When he joined Campbell's in 2001, the company was in turmoil. Employee morale was low and engagement needed a boost. Conant championed a two-year leadership development program that included homework and reading assignments. Within three years, 300 of the top 350 leaders left. They weren't cut out for the level of commitment he was looking for. For the ones who remained, Conant turned to business handwriting, delivering handwritten messages to recognize their efforts. These notes were so well received that he began to do this for employees at all levels until he had written 30,000 notes to 20,000 different employees.
As a result, he felt a change in the work atmosphere. He determined that he needed to reach his employees on four levels. People needed to:
- Make a living.
- Feel loved.
- Feel like they were part of something special.
The result was an improved, powerful culture that helped Campbell's progress in the workplace and marketplace. The company achieved a Gallup Employee Engagement Index of "world class" status.
Expressing Gratitude is Good for You
Every time you send a handwritten note to a customer, it's an act of gratitude on your part. So whether it's you or a customer service employee writing the note, that gratitude leads to certain psychological benefits, like feelings of wellbeing and reduced depression. Over the past 20 years, studies have shown that people who regularly practice gratitude feel better. They're happier and healthier.
And a happy workplace is a productive workplace. According to a study by the Social Market Foundation, happy employees can be as much as 20% more productive than unhappy employees. If you're a salesperson, it's even greater at 37%.
Digital Handwriting Emulates Real Handwriting
When you don't have the time to write a large volume of correspondence by hand—and who does?—consider digital handwriting as an effective alternative.
In an age of digital marketing, the handwritten note has become something with more value attached to it. It stands out among all the emails and texts we receive on a daily basis. When it shows up in your mailbox, it cuts through all the bills and other marketing messages. It somehow finds its way to the top as your most interesting piece of mail. It creates a human connection and it has the potential to create a customer for life.
As a business owner or marketing professional, you need to understand the importance of business handwriting. After all, you're in the business of keeping your current customers and attracting new ones. You might be sharing a promotional offer, announcing a new product or service, or just thanking customers for their support. With Simply Written, business handwriting is easier than ever. Our patented technology mimics the natural variations of real handwriting.
Start today and create connections that last a lifetime. Fill out a simple form with your contact information and area of interest, or request a free printed sample to see our technology for yourself.