Handwritten Direct MailClocking in at #41 on the Entrepreneur List of 100 Things You’ll Need to Know About in 2013 is “Handwriting = Hieroglyphics.”

Yes that is true. You do not see a lot of handwriting around these days, which is precisely why we recommend using it to break through the myriad of advertising messages a consumer sees every day. Handwritten envelopes are simply more likely to get opened.

“In this day of email overload…you’ll open a hand-addressed, hand-stamped letter first, right?” asks Polly Traylor in an article printed in Deliver Magazine. “Marketers are figuring out that in many cases, personalizing their direct mail pieces (with handwriting) can result in greater response rates and increased sales.”

Polly supports her theory with a story told by John Schulte, president and chairman of the National Mail Order Association who previously worked as the advertising and marketing director at a bridal gown store. He sent hand addressed and signed direct mail letters to newly engaged women with an offer to receive a free gift in the store. The campaign resulted in an amazing 20% response rate and customers stated they opened the letter because it was hand addressed. “They thought that was special and reflected that we were really interested in helping them,” he said.

Ms. Traylor also suggests attaching a sticky note to a direct mailpiece. She points to a campaign that included a handwritten sticky note affixed to the mail insert, which boosted the response rate from 1-2% to 4.5%!

At Digital Dog Direct we offer several ways to add that extra personal touch to your mailings. We have the ability to personally hand address each envelope, note, and signed letter in a campaign to your prospects and customers with beautiful penmanship.

For mass mailings, we can also print very realistic calligraphy fonts. Yes, many consumers may realize that they are computer generated, but statistics do show that fonts appearing to be handwritten can achieve higher open rates than a typical inkjet digital font.

Research across the board finds that nearly all hand-addressed direct mail gets opened and it gets opened first. People take just a few seconds to decide which mail to open. The hand-addressed personal touch can give your mail piece that special bump to the top of the open pile.

In fact, in an article, “How to Get Them to Open Your Mail,” Daniel Dawson, President of Home Rentals and Rent To Own, states that the best direct mail campaign he uses includes a hand-addressed envelope and hand-written letter. “We experience a 99-percent open rate and, on average, an 8-percent to 10-percent response rate,” he says.

Your entire mailpiece does not need to be handwritten. Placement of handwriting in key areas like the address, your signature, and a personal note inside the mail package will work well and may boost response rates by 5-10%.

Digital Dog Direct recommends handwriting for:

  • Fundraising Requests
  • Greeting Cards
  • Introductory Letters
  • Invitations
  • Reminders
  • Sales Letters
  • Thank You Notes
  • And more

Handwriting just may well be today’s hieroglyphics, but in direct marketing, that can be a good thing. Who can avert their gaze from hieroglyphics whether in an archeological ruin, a museum, or even in print? The art of handwriting may be fading, but when used in marketing, handcrafted lettering can be a very attention-getting tactic.

Get more creative thinking or tips to make the most of your next direct mail campaign.