“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”
- Mark Twain
This quote describes my own journey with hand written notes. I often intent to write them. I sometimes actually write them. And I occasionally send them. Months later I will find the note in an envelope, addressed but unstamped. Sitting in my desk drawer. Sigh... That didn't do a lot of good, did it? Does anyone else do this, or is it just me? It makes me feel so guilty!
I'm using the transition to self-employment as my nudge to write - and send - more handwritten notes. I'll do this for business and personal reasons. On the personal side, who among us doesn't take special pleasure in receiving a note in the mail? Don't get me wrong - I like receiving texts and messages from friends. It feels good. But there's something special about a note. I'm going to make the effort to send "just because" notes.
But I will make a special effort with my business. As I've been researching how to best grow this business, I'm seeing a few trends. Over 2/3 of customers make a purchase based on how they feel about a business. Over 2/3 have stopped using a business because they feel neglected. Wow!
My first instinct is to send a note to each of my customers. But I do have to be realistic... with the price of postage, a note will eliminate almost all my margin. But I can write to those who make repeat purchases. And my business customers spend more - I can easily justify a note.
As I brainstorm occasions for sending cards beyond the standard birthday, anniversary and other major milestones, these come to mind:
Appreciation for help in networking
Thanking a customer for their order
Congrats to a small business mentioned in local news
Welcome and thank employees (when I grow my business enough to have employees!)
These thoughts are what led me to offer customized notecards for small businesses. I use a company's name, logo or tagline as inspiration when I look for images in my personal photography portfolio. I use that image and create a notecard incorporating the information from the company. I'm using all the graphic design lessons I've picked up from decades in corporate marketing!
Pairing a beautiful image along with their logo or company name helps a small business to generate positive associations. On its own, a handwritten note tells the recipient that the business owner took the time to reach out. Using a customized notecard appeals to additional senses - the tactile feel of the good paper cardstock, the sight of the beautiful image - to help build those good feelings.
I have a thought on where I'd like to take this part of my business. I'd love to work with manufacturing companies to capture images of their products to be used the same way. Wouldn't this image make a cool card?
If you own a small business, I'd love to help you by creating custom notecards. And for my friends... I encourage everyone to send handwritten notes - just because - whether you use cards from me or from elsewhere. Who knows, you may even receive a card from me someday. (And if it's dated 3 years ago, you'll know I found it unsent, in my desk drawer!)