Handwritten Notes for Business – Best Practices

Marketers are challenged with creating unique and genuine personalized experiences at every step of the customer journey in-store, online, and beyond. When leveraged appropriately, handwritten notes can be the perfect medium for standing out from today’s avalanche of digital noise to create lasting connections with customers.

Having helped businesses send 1 million+ handwritten notes over the past 3 years, I’ve had the chance to see some of the best practices in action.

Here are a few of those learnings: 

Personalized outreach is key

The top-performing handwritten note campaigns all have one thing in common, they started off with a specific audience and a clear goal in mind.

We often see companies use handwritten notes to increase in-store sales within a certain time frame. The companies that consistently enjoy the most success leverage their CRM to specifically target past customers who have made purchases within that time frame before and personalize outreach with as much data as possible.

Some of the key data points from your CRM that can help personalize handwritten note campaigns include; First Name, Last Name, Last Purchase, Last Purchase Date as well as understanding which channel they prefer to purchase from. 

Understand when handwritten notes make sense

Handwritten notes are not the right choice in markets where consumers purchase primarily on price.

Handwritten notes perform best in verticals where brand loyalty and differentiation are incredibly important. Especially within the luxury goods space, the uniqueness of handwritten notes can make all the difference in retaining and engaging your customers in a memorable and lasting way. 

Pay attention to the details

One of the key differences between direct mail and handwritten notes is the physical weight and aesthetic of a pen-written note. We all know what direct mail feels like, and customers treat messaging from those campaigns accordingly.

When sending a handwritten note campaign, it’s important to consider the paperweight/thickness, stationery design, and delivery option to convey your brand’s look and feel. A handwritten note, with first-class postage addressed in pen to a specific recipient, is going to have a much higher likelihood of being opened then a digitally printed, faux handwritten piece of direct mail. 

Test, measure, refine, repeat

The businesses that have the most success with incorporating handwritten notes into their customer retention and loyalty initiatives are constantly measuring the success of each campaign. They experiment with multiple message contents and list segments to maximize impact.

Being that handwritten notes don’t have as clearcut a path to attribution as a clickthrough on an email CTA, we often recommend starting with benchmarking handwritten notes against existing outreach initiatives.

If you can see a cohort that received handwritten notes spent 10x over a specific timeframe against a similar email segment, you now have a baseline hypothesis to investigate and test further.

Whether you are already using handwritten notes in your marketing initiatives or preparing for your first campaign, you’ll gain a much better understanding of potential impact if you follow these two simple steps:

  1. Write and mail a handwritten note to someone you care about.
  2. Ask your recipient what feelings and impressions they had once they received the note.

We often hear people say they were surprised and delighted to receive handwritten correspondence. That’s the experience and emotion the very best handwritten campaigns generate at scale.