Ask an Expert – Do Handwritten Notes in Business Help Your Bottom Line?
I asked Elizabeth Cottrell to weigh in about the use of handwritten notes in business. Are they antiquated? How can they help your business? How do they work? Elizabeth is a freelance writer and an evangelist for handwritten notes. She is the founder of Heartspoken.com where she explores ways to strengthen life’s four essential connections: with God, with Self, with Others, and with Nature. If you share an interest in note writing, you’re invited to join her Facebook group.
Here's what Elizabeth has to say about using handwritten notes in business.
Technology has fueled a remarkable rise in entrepreneurship and online businesses in the last 20 years. I love discovering a cool, new digital tool that can help me serve my clients and readers more easily or effectively. But as social media platforms and other marketing channels have become more and more congested, your message can disappear in the daily bombardment of impersonal white noise aimed at your clients, customers, and fellow professionals. Don’t overlook the handwritten note as a powerful way to build relationships and stand out from the crowd.
If your first thought is to dismiss this as too old-fashioned, think again. Successful business leaders of companies both large and small include handwritten notes and letters in their arsenal of highly effective communication tools. Click To Tweet A physical card received in the mail creates a much stronger connection with the sender than an emailed message. When it’s written by hand, the human element is even stronger. Handwritten notes in business feel so much more authentic. I’ll bet you remember a handwritten business note you’ve received in the past that made an impression on you.
Research has clearly shown that we humans are hard-wired for connection. If ever there is a lesson we’ve learned during the covid19 pandemic, it is how much we miss being together in person. Handwritten notes are special, because beyond the actual words, they signal that you cared enough to take the time to send a personalized message.
When should I write a personal, handwritten business note?
Thank you notes are the most common, but even these can vary widely. Here are some examples of how to use a handwritten note in your business.
- Thank you for your business.
- Thank you for your purchase.
- Thank you for your time.
- Thank you for introducing me to _____.
- Thank you for referring me to ______.
- Thank you for considering my proposal.
- Thank you for helping out in our _____ project.
There are other business reasons to touch base with a personal note, too.
- Here’s an article I thought you’d enjoy.
- I want to introduce you to _____.
- I just read this book (or saw this movie) and wanted to tell you about it.
- Congratulations on your new job (or other milestone events such as birthday, retirement, promotion, award, etc.)
- Expressions of sympathy or concern
- Welcome to the community (or to the Rotary Club or the Lions Club)
Include personal details whenever possible so the receiver will know how special your note is. While business etiquette calls for thank you notes in response to sales or acts of kindness, I try to also write notes out of the blue, especially when I can offer a genuine and sincere expression of appreciation or acknowledgement of something going on in the recipient’s life. I’ve made some lovely and loyal friends, for instance, by writing to authors or speakers whose work I admire.
Tips for creating handwritten business notes
Does it have to be handwritten?
No, and of course there is a place for email in your communication toolkit. But there’s something unique and special about a letter in the mail, and when it is handwritten, it offers an even richer personal connection. Whenever you can, at least add a personal note to your typed letters or to a pre-printed card. That personalization immediately elevates it from a piece of mail headed for the trash to one that is likely to be re-read and remembered.
Make sure it’s heartspoken
Sincerity is critical in using this tool, and it must never be used as just another sales gimmick. Handwritten notes are noticed because they are received so rarely. But to be most effective, they must be part of a truly customer-centered and heart-centered philosophy that focuses on providing value and solving problems. Pay attention to your clients and prospects and listen to them carefully. When you do, you’ll have thoughtful and memorable ideas for what to say in your next note.
Take action! Make a list of your most important clients and prospects, and get ready to wow them with a personal, handwritten note.
Tips from Sue
Coincidently, I've always used handwritten notes in my businesses. One tip I'll share is that having a good pen and notecards handy, along with stamps and return address labels, really helps get the job done. To avoid lines at the post office I order stamps delivered to my office a few times a year, and buy a variety of designs. You can find gender neutral note cards on Amazon (my affiliate links) or cards that show designs like these or like these.
Pilot G2 gel pens are my favorite pens to write with that are reasonably priced. They glide over the page no matter the paper quality. (I prefer a fine point, but you can also order points that are wider.) While you can buy many different colors for handwritten business notes I prefer black or blue. If you've never tried writing with an actual fountain pen, you might try the Scriveiner to see if you like that type of writing.
I'd be curious to hear if you have used handwritten note in your business and how you feel it's had an effect, so leave a comment below. And if this article is helpful for you please hit one of the social share buttons to the left and share it with others. Thank you!
Connect with Elizabeth
Connect with Elizabeth on social media at the links below.
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