To begin, a little thought exercise: When’s the last time you saw someone else’s handwriting? (We’ll wait.) Odds are it took you a few seconds to track down that answer.
Next question: When’s the last time you read an email? Presumably, that one took less time to answer. Email is currently one of the most popular forms of communication, whereas communicating via handwriting is rare by comparison. In fact, handwriting has become somewhat of a novel concept—why spend the time handwriting something when you can just type it?
Ever since we’ve entered the age of computers (and tablets, and smartphones, and intelligent personal assistants named Alexa), handwriting has become less and less necessary, and therefore less common. It is for this very reason that handwriting has become an incredible marketing tactic when it comes to enhancing direct mail campaigns.
Receiving something that’s handwritten feels special and unique and worthy of attention (which is exactly how you want people to react to the message you’re sending).
There are several places within a direct mail campaign where you can include handwriting in an effective way. Here are some options to consider for your next mail send.
While many companies focus on fine-tuning the message within the envelope, many overlook how important the envelope is in and of itself! Once the envelope containing your message has been successfully delivered, it is the only thing standing between your message and the recipient. That’s why taking the time to be thoughtful about a mail piece’s exterior is equally as important as crafting what’s inside. Nothing says “Open me!” like an envelope with a handwritten address. It also implies that the contents are from a personal connection or have a more personal intent, which increases the chances of the piece being opened.
Adding a signature to the message you’re sending stands to deliver a strong message about your business; adding a personalized signature seems to say “We pay attention to detail and we value forming a personal connection with you.” This is one of the easiest ways to incorporate a handwritten touch, and it can go a long way in the minds of your audience. Go the extra mile by adding a handwritten call-to-action or friendly postscript message (e.g. “I’ll see you there,” or “Thanks for your consideration.”)
If you can’t write a note on your actual mailpiece, adding a small note to your overall send is a great way to add an eye-catching, personalized touch. It shows the recipient that you took some extra time to connect with them and that you really want them to pay attention to what you have to say. People tend to respond positively to this kind of gesture, regardless of what the message itself says, because the thinking behind it speaks volumes. Plus, a bright-colored sticky note demonstrates an added layer of attention and personalization, which will go a long way in the eyes of the beholder.
If you’re including a return envelope within your direct mail send, this is another great opportunity to incorporate a handwritten touch. Consider pre-writing your address on the return envelope; it shows the recipient you’re targeting that you’re sincerely interested in hearing back from them (so much so, that you were willing to take the extra time to hand prep the return envelope.) It also shows that you’ve done a favor for the recipient, which may encourage them to reciprocate it by giving their response.
This kind of strategic thinking not only helps with your brand’s perception in the eyes of its target audience, but also with overall response rate.