Six Steps To Staying In Touch Using Handwritten Notes
We bet that when you reach out to your database, you’re likely using email, social media, and text messaging to stay in touch. And it’s easy to understand why—these methods are mostly free, fast, and waste no ink. But are these approaches having the impact you need? Mailchimp’s research team released email marketing statistics revealing that within the real estate industry, only about 20 percent of emails are actually opened. If you’re hoping that those emails will make lasting impressions on your database, you may need to get creative on how to make your message stand out from the other emails, text messages, and DMs. It may be time to go back to a classic: sending a handwritten message.
Handwritten notes create a personal connection that digital communication often lacks, showing that you genuinely care enough to take the time to write out a message to your recipient. According to NAR, physical notes are more likely to be read, retained, and shared with others, as compared to digital messages that may get lost in overflowing inboxes or never even opened. When you make a habit out of using handwritten notes for keeping in touch with your database, you engage them in a way that feels authentic and special. We’ve put together some ideas for how to use this method effectively. Just follow these six steps:
1. Use Quality Materials
Whenever you touch your database, it’s important to ensure you clearly and consistently represent your integrity and standards. Handwritten notes are no exception. Invest in high-quality stationery that aligns with your branding and marketing materials. High-quality doesn’t always have to mean high cost. There are affordable online programs you can use to design your writing materials.
A growing trend is to add an extra item to your missive, such as a sticker or enamel pin. This bonus could be a business card referral for a service they’ll find useful, or even recycled confetti as a way to say congrats or happy birthday—be creative! Just be mindful of what your recipient would like.
2. Get Organized
If you’re not used to writing letters, it could be overwhelming to know where to start or even how to begin. One system to help you remain organized is to first print out a list of contacts and their mailing addresses, as well as a unique and relevant detail about each contact that you can mention in your note (we’ll discuss this later). You can start with a segment in your database or you can choose your list of recipients based on special occasions, such as contacts who celebrate a particular holiday or have just moved into their first home. Set aside a wide desk or table. From left to right organize the following piles:
1. Pens, markers, and/or stamps
2. Blank notecard paper or cards
3. Envelopes and items you may want to add, like confetti or stickers based on special occasions (know your audience with this one)
4. Postage stamps
Then go through your assembly line, taking the time to write out a sincere note to each of the contacts on your list.
What if your database is huge and you want to optimize the timeliness and consistency of this routine? You can leverage this part of your activities. Luckily, there are several online programs that can handle this entire process for you, from writing your notes to sending them all on your behalf. If you have to do it yourself, time block it into your schedule along with your other database lead generation activities.
3. Keep It Personal
Now let’s dive into what you should write. A handwritten note is usually appropriate in one of four situations—
1. Special occasions (anniversaries, holidays, birthdays)
2. “Thank you” notes
3. “Nice to meet you” notes
4. “Welcome-to-the-neighborhood” notes
As you can see, none of these topics are about announcing an upcoming open house or promoting your services. These notes are meant to be heartfelt and personal. You can use these topics to help determine the tone of the message and how you want to address the recipient.
Keeping all this in mind, when you write a note you want the voice of the message to align with how your recipient sees you. You should be professional, but friendly. When you have a strong relationship with a recipient, you’ll feel confident enough to use humor or write in a way that the recipient understands and expects. If you’re just building a rapport with someone, then you want your note to impress upon them that you want to get to know them more.
4. Be Concise And Clear
Your recipient should be able to quickly grasp your main points and appreciate the gesture. They won’t want to pin an essay to their bulletin board. So, your message should feel focused and be easy to read.
One of the best ways to keep your message concise is to not overthink what you’re going to write. In fact, you can make a profound difference with just a short sentence. In Robert Cialdini’s book Influence: The Power of Psychology, he shares the story of car salesman Joe Girald. Once a month, Joe wrote a simple message to all of his clients—“I like you.” He credited the loyalty he receives from his clients to this practice. Handwriting a note takes time and effort. Use this opportunity to say what needs to be said.
Another easy way to keep your message concise is to remember who you’re writing to. It’s likely to be another professional who may have a busy schedule. By keeping your message short and sweet, you can grab their attention and make your impact last longer.
5. Add Value
Here is where you want to use your best judgment as to what (if any) relevant market updates, property listings, or helpful tips you’d like to share with the recipient that they may find useful.
Remember that special detail you added to your recipient list? As you’re writing your note to the recipient, include that detail as well as a something that provides value.
Maybe one of your clients just celebrated the first anniversary of their home purchase. You can send them a note wishing them a happy anniversary, as well as an offer to pay for their first gutter cleaning. This offer won’t break your budget, but it will keep you top-of-mind for any repeat and referral business.
Being able to provide a sincere note that directly speaks to the recipient’s situation means that your note is not just another piece of mail. It’s something for them to keep, pin up on a wall, or share with someone else who will also find value in what you’ve offered. Your note becomes the gift that keeps on giving, and who would want to toss away something so important?
6. Follow Up
Once you’ve sent out your note, don’t let the conversation end. Use it as a steppingstone to initiate further communication, either by including a call-to-action—like subscribing to your newsletter or giving you a referral—or by following up via phone or email.
Transforming this process into a regular routine can make it enjoyable. You’re sending good tidings to people who might not be expecting it. Brightening one’s day with this unexpected gift can deliver more than just a message—it delivers a promise. It’s a promise that when they’re in touch with you, they can expect a certain standard and quality that is unmatched.
Embrace the power of handwritten notes to engage and convert leads, strengthen relationships, and ultimately, grow your business.
How do you like to create and send your handwritten notes? Let us know! Please share a comment on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter if you’d like to learn more about building meaningful relationships with your contacts.