The ultimate guide to handwritten marketing

Post by James Nightingale
Robert Van Den Bergh
The ultimate guide to handwritten marketing

In an era where everything is digitized and accessible with the click of a mouse, writing letters by hand is archaic and a big waste of time. Marketing has evolved in the past 20 years, changing the way businesses approach advertising.Two decades ago digital marketing was a secondary, if not a tertiary component of the marketing mix. In 2020, digital marketing is the starting point of any campaign. Marketers lost the need to spend valuable time on personally writing letters, slowly making handwriting something of a lost art.

Fortunately, a few years ago, California-based DIY hardware manufacturer Evil Mad Scientist decided to revive the spirit of handwritten marketing. They created a robotic pen plotter with one purpose: to guide a pen along a surface. Starting from a simple concept, companies worldwide rushed to develop a business model around this invention.This solution proved to be difficult and expensive to scale, so the need for a superior technique grew.

Scribeless, a pioneer in the industry, decided to take advantage of Artificial Intelligence and developed a solution that offers faster turn-around times at lower costs per unit. This is how handwritten marketing made the digital leap.

What is handwritten marketing?

Handwritten marketing is a common practice in industries where personalization and luxury are highly regarded. Proprietary software is used to guide the pen plotter to produce personalized letters for clients and high-value contacts. These robot-based solutions try to mimic the intricacies of human writing while keeping the costs of production low.Commonly, handwritten marketing is used by sales and marketing teams aiming to keep a close relationship with their customers, improve customer loyalty, and improve open rates. Depending on the campaign, the paper sizes range from A4/letter, A5/half-letter, and A6/postcard.

Reasons to use handwritten marketing

Now that you know what handwritten marketing is, let’s see what it can do for your business.

1. It’s a memorable way to get your message across

Every day, consumers and professionals get bombarded by promotional emails, digital ads, and meeting invites. Between 2014 and 2018, the average business professional received approximately 90 emails a day! That is one every 16 minutes. It’s becoming incredibly difficult to get your message across in this digital clutter. Going back to basics, handwritten marketing focuses on the personal aspect of sending letters. It is a known fact that handwritten envelopes get open rates of up to 98% while only 42% of recipients either read or scan the printed direct mail that they receive. This means handwritten marketing will offer you a much better Return-On-Investment.

2. It’s a powerful way to extend your brand’s personality

Most handwritten letter service providers offer a wide range of personalization features. These usually include a range of handwriting styles that mimic human writing, and several ink colors to match your brand. On top of that, some handwritten companies even let you add your own logo in the header, edit the footer, or add a back image.Scribeless is one of the most versatile solutions on the market and has been built from the ground up to be completely customizable. Choose from over 50 handwriting styles: from graceful and grand to choppy but charming. You can even have your notes written in your own handwriting!Handwritten marketing needs to be an integrated part of your marketing strategy so there can’t be limits when it comes to personalizing the note to meet your brand guidelines.

3. It’s an effective way to cut through the marketing noise

Most direct mail letters are printed on regular office paper, which makes it cost-effective but not results-effective. Written on premium 110 # (300 gsm) paper, the handwritten note is supposed to cut through marketing noise with its authenticity and thickness. The quality of the paper is a reflection of your brand. It is supposed to set a standard of excellence and demonstrate your company’s keen attention to detail.Moreover, thicker handwritten envelopes are perceived as very personal correspondence, only to be opened by the intended recipient. The printed direct mail letters, however, tend to be opened by other people in the organization. This is particularly relevant for enterprise businesses where assistants or secretaries are tasked to sort through mail to prevent wasting their manager’s time with marketing correspondence.

4. It’s an affordable way to target & convert high-value leads

The principle behind direct mail campaigns is linked to the cost of production. The average response rate for direct mail is somewhere around 5.3% which means that for every 5 replies you need to send 100 letters at a cost of $2.00 each. This campaign would cost around $200 so the cost per reply is $40.On the other hand, the average response rate for a handwritten campaign is 25% at a cost of $2.50 per letter. This makes the cost per reply $10, four times lower than a direct mail campaign.From an ecological point of view, a handwritten campaign could reach the same results as a direct mail campaign with up to 5 times fewer resources, thus making it both cost-effective and eco-friendly.

5. It’s a personal way to build strong customer relationships

Human psychology dictates that a gift is much more valuable when someone offered their time to create it. This is why a handwritten note received by a customer will not only make them feel special, but they will associate their positive reaction with your brand. More than just being impressed themselves, their friends and colleagues will also have a good impression of your company.Adding your brand’s character and using a handwritten style that reflects your company’s ethos makes clients perceive your relationship as something more than just business. This is why handwritten marketing helps customer retention rates improve and reduces the chances of your customers leaving you for your competitors.

The importance of handwritten notes in customer relationships

1. Express gratitude which boosts customer lifetime value

Saying a simple Thank You might go a long way. In a digital era, human interactions are increasingly rare, and a handwritten note can be the difference between a one-time client and a returning customer.To ensure long-term growth, a good rule of thumb is to focus on under-promising and over-delivering. Acquiring a new customer costs up to five times more than retaining an existing one. This means that keeping your current relationships strong is an efficient way to keep your lead generation costs low.Moreover, a survey conducted by Evergage shows that marketers have a favorable attitude towards personalization, with 70% saying personalization has a strong or extremely strong impact on improving customer relationships. Enforcing that idea, a Marketo report shows that more than 85% of customers expect personalized digital experiences.Sending personalized handwritten notes not only builds stronger customer relationships and boosts your Return-On-Investment, but it also improves your company’s customer lifetime value. This can make the difference between a successful company, and a struggling one.

2. Makes them feel special which improves customer retention

The worst nightmare of any sales professional is losing a client. There’s nothing scarier or more daunting than seeing a long term customer, that you’ve been nurturing, switch over to the competition. This does not only have a negative mental impact on your sales team, but it also costs US businesses $136.8 billion per year.Simple changes in the way you do business, such as focusing on building better lead nurturing campaigns, can help convert your clients from one-time shoppers to loyal customers. Handwritten marketing helped Hyatt Hotels boost repeated bookings by 18% and eXp Realty experience 91% growth in customer re-engagement, just to name a few successful campaigns. Furthermore, studies also show that loyal customers are five times more likely to repurchase and seven times more likely to try a new offering. There’s clearly a huge opportunity in growing your business by focusing more on existing clients rather than chasing down new ones.Focusing on retaining customers helps keep your team’s spirits high while keeping marketing costs low.

3. Recognizes their achievements which helps with upselling a client

Many sales and marketing professionals fail to understand the true difference between cross-selling and upselling. Cross-selling involves encouraging a customer to purchase a product or service that complements a primary product. Think of fries to your burger or rims to your new tires. That’s cross-selling.On the opposite side, upselling refers to convincing the customer to purchase a version of the product that is more expensive. This could be a VIP cinema ticket over a standard one. Understanding the difference is vital if you want to direct your sales efforts in the right way. Upselling is 20 times more effective than cross-selling when it comes to online purchases. A handwritten note uses the power of personalization and human interaction to push your customers to upscale their purchase. This increases the Return-On-Investment while managing to improve your customer relationships.

4. Feels personal which helps reduce customer frustration

Like saying Thank You when a sale goes well, saying Sorry when something goes wrong can make all the difference between a loyal client and a lost customer.American Express reported that 33% of customers are prepared to switch providers after just one instance of poor customer service. That places a huge burden on the customer-facing side of the team.Learning to say Sorry in a way that is personalized and both meaningful and genuine will help you build much stronger relationships.

5. Looks authentic which prevents being labeled as marketing

One of the most difficult areas to master in direct mail marketing is how to get your letter past the company’s gatekeepers. The role of the gatekeeper is usually performed by team members such as executive assistants, receptionists, or secretaries. Their job is to screen calls, mail, and visitors, and deflect those that they believe are not worth the company’s time.These gatekeepers are basically the ones who decide whether a campaign is a success or a failure.As most direct mail marketing materials are digitally printed, even using a printed stamp, it’s a fairly easy job for gatekeepers to filter them out. One main advantage that handwritten has over direct mail is the impression of authenticity found in the handwriting on the envelope and the traditional glued stamps. These imply importance and make handwritten marketing notes practically impossible to filter out.That is why handwritten marketing enjoys up to 98% open rate, making it twice as efficient as its direct mail counterpart.

How to integrate handwritten marketing in your strategy

Like any other business looking to grow, you will need to have a clear idea of your current position, your desired position, and how to get there. Follow these steps to learn how to make handwritten an integrated part of your marketing strategy.

1. Evaluate your current marketing & sales performance

Everything starts with a clear understanding of your marketing performance. There’s much more than just the number of visitors on your website, so dig in to find some advanced statistics. Use these formulas to understand how well your marketing and sales are working.

Return on Investment

This metric represents the ratio between a profit or a loss made on a marketing investment. Think of how much you spend on a marketing campaign (investment) and how much you get out of it (revenue).The example below shows an investment of $1000 in a handwritten marketing campaign, and a $5000 return in sales. This means your ROI is 400%.

((Revenue - Investment) / Investment) * 100 = ROI %((5000 - 1000) / 1000 ) * 100 = 400%

Customer lifetime value

One of the most important metrics of a growing business is the Customer Lifetime Value, or the CLV. This basically tells you how much a customer spends with you until they stop using your service. It uses the amount your average customer spends over a period of time, the average time a customer uses your service, and the amount you spent on converting the average customer.

Average Customer Spend * Average Lifetime - Cost of Acquisition = CLV$500 * 6 - $300 = $2700

Lead to Customer conversion rate

Understanding what percentage of your leads go on to become customers can help you identify points of friction in your lead management system. This is calculated by dividing the number of customers by the number of leads. Multiply the result with 100 to get the rate.Let’s say you aim to target 1000 leads with a handwritten marketing campaign. If 100 leads get in touch with you and buy your product it means your conversion rate for that campaign is 10%.

( Number of Customers / Number of Leads ) * 100 = Conversion Rate %( 100 / 1000 ) * 100 = 10%

2. Find the points of friction in your lead management system

Check your lead management funnel to see where your leads seem to drop. Usually, the funnel is made of 6 stages that a lead has to pass through to become a customer: visitor, lead, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, opportunity, and customer.From one stage to another, calculate the conversion rate to understand where most of your leads lose interest. Here’s an example.

(Marketing Qualified Lead / Lead ) * 100 = Conversion Rate %(500 / 1000 ) * 100 = 50%

3. Target the right part of the lead management funnel

Depending on the area of the funnel where your conversion rate is particularly low, you will need to find the underlying issue and address it.

Lead management funnel

TOFU - Top Of Funnel

An issue here probably involves building awareness about your company or the problems that you try to address. Try explaining more how your product meets the needs and wants of your target audience. Examples of how handwritten can help in this segment include sending handwritten notes to introduce your business, or handwritten notes targeting their needs.

MOFU - Middle Of Funnel

This section of the funnel is linked to teaching people how to choose a solution to fix their issues. Here’s where you try to convince the audience that your product is one of the best on the market. Sending handwritten notes explaining some of your products features, or handwritten invitations for a free trial could work well for you here.

BOFU - Bottom Of Funnel

The last part of the funnel is where you talk about your product and why it is the best solution of them all. If you see low conversions at this stage, it means you have not given enough reasons as to why you are the best solution for them. Try sending handwritten invitations for a demo session. This will give you time to understand your lead’s fears and address them directly.

4. Decide what are you looking to achieve in the short & long term

Make handwritten marketing work for you by establishing achievable results. To make sure your goals are clear and reasonable, use the SMART framework.These are the questions you need to answer to create concise goals:

Specific - What do I want to accomplish?

Measurable - How will I know when I achieved the goal?

Achievable - Is it realistic for me to reach the goal?

Relevant - Is it worthwhile to reach the goal?

Timebound - How long do I have to achieve this goal?

Example: I want to sell 500 computers by the end of 2020.

5. Choose if this is a one-off campaign or a recurring one

There are two ways you can build handwritten campaigns. In one-off campaigns, handwritten letters are sent only one time to a list of select addresses. Recurring campaigns use dynamic address lists that are updated to send several handwritten letters over time.To make organizing campaigns easier, Scribeless seamlessly integrates with Shopify, HubSpot, and Zapier. You can use Zapier to directly connect with over 1000 apps. This means you can create actions based on e-commerce and CRM triggers, saving you a lot of time and resources.

6. Design a template that will represent your brand’s personality

Your handwritten marketing campaign needs to compliment your current marketing efforts and be consistent with your brand guidelines. From logos, through colors, right down to the handwriting itself. Follow these steps to make the most out of your branding:

Upload a back image to complement your message
Upload your logo & add your details in the footer

Choose your handwriting style

Examples of effective handwritten messages

If you find yourself staring at a blank page, you can use one of our helpful templates to get the ball rolling.

1. Inspiration to write the perfect Thank You notes

Dear CLIENT NAME,

Let me take this opportunity to thank you for choosing PRODUCT NAME for COMPANY NAME. We are really proud of our service, and look forward to working together for many years to come. If you have any questions about our product or service, we invite you to call us at PHONE NUMBER, and we will be happy to assist you. Once again, thank you for your business.

YOUR NAME from COMPANY NAME

2. Clever messaging to boost customer loyalty

Dear CLIENT NAME,

This is a letter to let you know that we really appreciate having you as a customer. We hope you love what we have to offer, and if there is anything that would help improve your experience, then please let us know. We are always looking for new ways to please our customers.

Kindest regards,

YOUR NAME from COMPANY NAME

3. Boost event attendance with these invitation messages

Dear CLIENT NAME,

EVENT NAME will be taking place on DATE  at LOCATION and we would love for you to attend! Come enjoy a day of WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED and make some memories you won’t forget. Contact PHONE NUMBER to RSVP.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME from COMPANY NAME

4. Personal messages to boost fundraising campaigns

Dear CLIENT NAME,

We are looking to raise AMOUNT but we can't do it without generous donations from companies such as yours! By sponsoring us, you will receive INCENTIVE, and with your help, we hope to make this year one of our best yet. Thank you for your time and we hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME from COMPANY NAME

5. Effective designs for customer re-engagement

Dear CLIENT NAME,

We haven't heard from you for a while. A lot has changed since you've been gone and we've got a lot of new stuff that we think you'd love to see. Here's DISCOUNT on us, so please get in touch and let us know you're alright!

All the best,

YOUR NAME from COMPANY NAME

6. Follow up a meeting with this persuasive message

Dear CLIENT NAME,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with us. It was great to finally speak with you in person and we appreciate the ideas that you brought to the table. We hope that you enjoyed the discussion as much as we did and if there is anything else we can do for you please don't hesitate to ask.

Kind regards,

YOUR NAME from COMPANY NAME