Guest post by Kas Andz.
Business professionals tend to get worn down by the incessant flood of emails, automated messages, targeted ads, and the coldness of digital communication. Sending handwritten letters instead breaks the robotic monotony and makes business communication more personable.
Transactions using handwritten letters in business-to-business (B2B) communications makes proposals more noticeable and friendlier, and thus more likely to succeed. It is a wise strategy to include handwritten letters in B2B marketing alongside digital tools.
The Nitty Gritty
B2B marketing today of course requires efficiency and speed; hence the need for electronic tools and automated systems employed to publish information and execute transactions. It’s a highly competitive arena where optimization is money.
There is also a place in B2B marketing for non-digital communication. Some more important or emphasized pitches, offers, or negotiations utilize physical printed mail. These letters can be efficiently mass-printed and most of the mailing process is automated.
Although direct it is slower than digital and generally involves only minimal personalization, it does get more attention than email and it gives the recipient a little more value.
There is, however, a game changing strategy in making B2B transactions stand out and have higher success chance; one that is most personal: using handwritten letters.
C-level executives and other business decision makers are extraordinarily busy people with limited time to devote to perusing sales letters and marketing emails. Consequently, no matter how carefully crafted, many B2B sales letters and emails go unread, unclicked, or get trashed after a brief skim.
Deliverability is also a significant concern with email. While it’s almost certain a recipient will at least see a physical package or letter, your email may end up in their spam or promotions folder, never even glanced at.
Sending physical printed letters adds some credibility to your message, though business professionals may still view these as templated, repetitive, “junk mail.”
There is a way around this problem of neglect–a very simple, non-digital strategy that is attention-grabbing, personalized, and authentic. It is simply getting a piece of paper and writing a letter and sending it. Though it may sound like a step back in to the 1970s (or even the 1870s), its unexpected distinction makes it effective.
Handwriting letters in B2B marketing and sales is very different from what’s out there right now. The vast majority of marketers use strategies focus on digital strategies: cold email, automated email marketing, ad retargeting, etc. Handwriting takes it offline—to something that everyone has done at some point.
Handwritten letters get noticed. In this digital age where people are constantly being added to email lists (often without permission) and blasted with pop-ups and blasted with pointless notifications, a handwritten letter is actually now pattern interrupt.
The use of handwritten letters reinforces a business to business relationship just by making things a bit more personal.
Handwritten letters, as opposed to emails and machine printed ones, do not look like just another commercial promotion. Automated mails and other non-manual communications are too often inauthentic, unpersonalized, and spammy. Selling and advertising and have become annoying.
So, when a marketer or sales professional really wants to grab attention, it is a good strategy to make it personal. Convey a sense of mindfulness to the content and importance to the receiver.
A Manual-Digital Cocktail
Of course, handwritten notes have their place (and their limits) in B2B communications.
Email and digital systems are powerful tools when scale, automation, and timeliness are essential. Though cold emails and targeted ads lack the warmth and personal touch of handwritten notes, they provide much broader reach and flexibility.
Company messages can be a mix of handwritten, print, and digital. Handwritten letters are most effective for sales proposals, special messages implemented just for relationship building, and account-based marketing (ABM). If the message requires associated memoranda or documentation of terms and condition, that information can be included as attached printed file to a main handwritten letter while being emailed as “soft copy.”
It’s best to reserve the use of handwritten letters for the right messages. Overuse risks its uniqueness and authenticity. To be special, it has to be kept special.
The personal touch of handwritten letters can also be (somewhat) translated in automated systems. Response-driven emails can have content that exhibits genuineness.
Get Creative, Innovate, and Expand
The best way for a company to do handwritten communication campaigns in-house. Pick the staff with the best penmanship to write the actual notes. But when the operation requires more hands, there are craft people for hire. Research some guidance and tips for writing these letters.
Letters must be written with a firm and friendly character and have to remain professional while somewhat informal.
The tone and styling of handwritten communication can be carried over to digital tools. Digital communications don’t need to (and shouldn’t) seem robotic.
Companies can automate response-driven emails in this manner. Your website should combine compelling content with tools to build your opt-in email list, and welcome new subscribers with an automated (but friendly) message. These tools, when used alongside personalized handwritten letters in B2B, can grow a company exponentially with integrity.
Kas Andz is the Director and Founder of Kas Andz Marketing Group an award winning, full scale marketing and automation growth agency helping e-commerce brands with marketing. KAMG works with a worldwide portfolio of clients, using everything from LinkedIn, software automation and CRO to take their businesses to the next level.