Defining a Framework for “Valuable” Constructive Feedback


Framework for Valuable Constructive Feedback

TL;DR: A prospect forgot their info in signup funnel. We asked for the info with an automated message. He responds using this framework for valuable constructive feedback:

  • Be Specific
  • Identify Problem
  • Recognize Intentions
  • Positive Reinforcements
  • Create a Desire for Solutions
  • Suggest Multiple Solutions

Now for a background story on constructive feedback…

When prospects signup and don’t include a phone number or provide a fake number, we send an automated message asking them to update the phone we have for them.


Overall, this is a successful campaign. Lucky for us, one recipient left valuable constructive feedback. I annotate the content below, so you won’t miss anything if you skip reading this image.



The first item of valuable feedback:

I love MailLift and its concept, and I LOVE the hustle of this tactic to both get the email opened, and (presumably) get someone on the phone. So… the feedback below is 100% intended to help you improve and succeed, not as some type of “gotcha” opportunity.

Tyler let us know from the start he is on our side, wants to help, and understands the goals behind the object of constructive criticism. He captured our interest and set the stage for a receptive audience.



Don’t send a message of this type from your ESP (Infusionsoft). I say this because I’m guessing you’re often marketing to marketers like me, and a “personal” message with an unsubscribe link will be sniffed out as anything but personal by your audience, not to mention that being personal while still achieving scale through automation is what MailLift’s entire model is based on, so you’d better be great at it.

While I’d say this isn’t right 100% of the time, Tyler is correct. Our customers are top marketers and sales teams for some of the largest brands and enterprises, and they see right through the automated messages through the ESP we use (Infusionsoft).

Most feedback emails stop here after offering positive reinforcement (explaining what we are doing right) and identify a problem. But Tyler continues with the two missing attributes of valuable and constructive feedback most leave out.

First, he explains why MailLift’s actions are is likely a problem for MailLift, rather than just an inconvenience or problem for him. Second, as you will see below, he offers a multiple solutions.


In 2016, there’s plenty of super cost-effective ways to still automate personal emails in a less tacky way (without using your ESP), while still maintaining the open/click tracking that I’m sure you love. is a good option, as is

I understand that this isn’t a small shift, so in the near term, if you must use Infusionsoft, put 20 hard returns after your sign-off. This will push that telltale address line and unsub link well off of most screens (especially on mobile, which is where most of your recipients are reading your message anyway).

At this point, I started writing a message to Sujan Patel at when I realized the email Tyler sent me is gold and that I should the share the content with you (readers).

And the constructive feedback continues with temporary solutions if we don’t make the switch to ContentMarketer or Outreach.

Put a space between your first and last name in your signature. Just another dead giveaway that this is automated… people don’t screw up their own names without a reason. Imagine if one of your writers botched one of your clients’ signatures in one of their handwritten notes… the personal touch of the note turns into smelling fishy in a hurry, and all of a sudden your client is worse off than if they’d sent no such note in the first place.

Tyler suggests a solution before the problem this time, which is okay because he’s shown respect. Again he is helping me relate to a problem, understand why the problem affects me more than him, and offers a solution.

Now there isn’t much I can add as the rest of the message goes on without being redundant. But since I’m guessing everyone is curious what was said, here is the rest of his feedback:

Love the subject line. Clear attempt at something a person would really send another person, which is huge for open rate. One thought: if you were to actually directly send me this message via gmail, would you really use title case (capitalizing every word) in the subject line? No way. That’s something brands do, not people. Look through your inbox at messages between yourself and friends/coworkers. Whatever you find, that’s the level of formality/informality you’re looking for. Test out sending a batch using sentence case (or even all lower case if you want to get real causal) against a control of the title case like you sent me. Guessing this could boost your open rates.

I don’t have a use for MailLift right now, and it’s not on my roadmap for awhile as my side hustle business is still in its infancy, so you can hit an extended snooze button on the follow up for me for now.

Now, go forth and sell the hell of out of MailLift – just be smart about it!


One more time, here’s the framework!

Framework for Valuable Constructive Feedback:

Handwritten Note Integration with AutopilotHQ

Add a handwritten note to your followup process by sending handwritten letters to prospects, opportunities and customers from Customer Journeys. Set a template, select recipients, then customize any other details and a real person will write and send the letter.

Automate Handwritten Letter

MailLift‘s handwritten letter integration is one more reason business’ choose AutopilotHQ over competitors.

AutopilotHQ - Seiyonne Suriyakumar Review

Let’s get started!

Grab MailLift Account Information

Go to MailLift’s Dashboard and log in or signup to access the dashboard. Once logged, click on the Integrations tab. Don’t worry, you won’t have to write a single line of code.

Inside the Integrations tab find and copy the MailDrop Key.

maillift key photo

This MailDrop Key is the unique email address for you to send MailLifts and is tied to your account. When you send emails to the MailDrop Key, our system is told to handwrite the message in the email. We will explain at the end of the guide how to use MailDrop more.

Remember to keep your MailDrop key secret.

Create AutopilotHQ Journey

The MailLift/AutopilotHQ integration uses email notifications to MailLift to automate handwritten letters. Log into AutopilotHQ, click on Journeys and create a New Journey.

AutopilotHQ - Select Journey

I recommend selecting Start from scratch when choosing you New Journey. This guide will be using AutopilotHQ’s Start from scratch journey.

AutopilotHQ - Create New Journey

If you haven’t already, name the Journey located at the bottom left of the journey canvas.

AutopilotHQ - Name Journey

Select a trigger from the list and drag the trigger into the canvas.

AutopilotHQ - Select Trigger

For our example, we will be using the List Trigger.

AutopilotHQ - List Trigger

Other popular triggers for MailLift include

AutopilotHQ - Popular Triggers

After choosing your Trigger, click on add shapes

AutopilotHQ - Select Action

From the Action list, click & drag the Send Notification shape onto the Journey next to your chosen trigger

AutopilotHQ - Show Action and Trigger

Hover over your Trigger and drag the arrow to the Send Notification Action to connect them

AutopilotHQ - Conditions

Click on the Send Notification Action’s exclamation mark then click on New Notification

AutopilotHQ - Alert

Create AutopilotHQ New Notification

Name your new notification & select the email option before clicking on Continue

AutopilotHQ - New Notification

Choose a subject and copy & past your MailDrop key from the 1st step

AutopilotHQ - Name Notification

Copy and paste the following template text into the editor and edit it with your message. Edit the yellow section to include your campaign body, the green section with your return address and the orange section for any special notes.

AutopilotHQ - Compose

Subject Line

--Lead Owner-- - --First Name-- --Last Name-- - Welcome Handwritten Letter


--Lead Owner--
--First Name-- --Last Name--
--Mailing Street--
--Mailing City--, --Mailing State-- --Mailing Postal Code--
Hi --First Name--,
Fill in the rest of your message here. Use any merge fields, just like you're writing an email.
--Lead Owner--
Pen Color: Blue
Envelope: Blue Envelope
Stationery: Logo on Standard Bifold
Writing Style: Gender Neutral
Postmark Perfect: Austin, TX
Drop In: Two of--Lead Owner--'s business cards

MailLift works best when everything is in text (our writers write text, not HTML).

Composing the letter body in HTML and then copying it over to text is a recommended practice because it avoids accidentally overwriting work before saving.

Publish the Journey

Select the Publish option. This approves the template for use in AutopilotHQ.

AutopilotHQ - Publish

Publish your Journey.

AutopilotHQ - Publish Journey

Next Steps

Now that you’ve integrated MailLift with AutopilotHQ, look at our other guides for growth hacking and scaling personal touch with creative handwritten letter campaigns.

Win sales with handwritten letters

AutopilotHQ is a tools we love here at MailLift. If you have any tips you’d like to add to this post, reach out to our team and we’ll attribute the suggestion to you on our blog.

If you liked this post, you might like: Holiday Marketing Ideas.


Integrating MailLift with <> MailLift Drip

Here are the 4 steps to send and track MailLifts from

Step 1. Go into your settings, select Your Email Templates followed by New Template.

new template

Step 2. Create your template using the following Subject and Body, with the Template’s Name being anything you want.


{{}} via — {{}} — Thanks for Choosing {{}}


123 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
{{}}, {{lead.primary_address.state}} {{lead.primary_address.zipcode}}


Thanks for working through the details of starting with {{}}. The team's already voiced how excited they are to get started with {{lead.display_name}}. 

If you have any questions down the road, let me know. I’m here to make your life easier! :)

Thanks 100x for choosing {{}},

- {{user.full_name}}

Pen Color: Blue
Stationery: {{}} Logo on Standard Bifold
Envelope: Blue Envelope and White Pen 
Writing Style: Gender Neutral  
Postmark Perfect: San Francisco 
Drop In: Two of {{user.full_name}}'s Business Cards

Step 3. Add your MailDrop key by going to MailLift’s Dashboard and selecting Integrations.

maillift key photo

Step 4. Take your MailDrop Key and place the key in your email. Do not leave the original email or the prospect will receive the letter request instead of the letter.

maildrop in

Set a reminder to followup in 7-10 days. That gives you good padding for the USPS to deliver your letter. Marketing

That’s all! As you can see, sending MailLifts from is fairly straight forward and completely trackable.

tracking maillift in

If you liked this guide, you might like: Using Zapier to Trigger a MailLift

The Sales Hacker’s Guide to LiveChat

LiveChat isn’t for every page but is definitely for every business. I wrote the Sales Hacker’s Guide to LiveChat because most LiveChat guides (and other generic live chat guides) are support focused and I needed a guide on how to use live chat to increase sales. Collected below are 9 sales hacks you won’t find setup in your standard LiveChat account. Minimal code required.

1. Hide “Powered by LiveChat”

We know adding the “Powered by” is a SaaS growth hack, but does leaving the tag add any value to your users? With LiveChat, you may remove their branding with two lines of CSS. Go into your settings theme section and add the following code to your CSS:

#powered {display:none;}
@livechat-mobile {#powered {display:none;}}

LiveChatInc Custom CSS

2. Enable Facebook Login

Why Facebook login isn’t turned on by default, I don’t know. Facebook Login makes chat more accessible and user friendly. To enable Facebook login for LiveChat go to your pre-chat settings, make sure the pre-chat survey is enabled, and select the Facebook icon on the right.

LiveChat Facebook Login

3. Remind Agents to Tag Chats

Sales and customer support agents will only do what they are guided to do. Make tagging chats easy and your team will begin tagging so you can run your reports later. Enable the option to remind agents to tag chats under the tab settings. This will add a short message reminding agents to tag chats after each finished conversation. Once enabled, you’ll find tagging becomes part of the workflow overnight.

LiveChat Tags for Support Sales

4. Add FullContact for Sales Insight

Knowing demographics and social attributes around new leads help you service and close leads. What I use most is the LinkedIn information when FullContact finds the link. To integrate FullContact into LiveChat, go to the FullContact integration page and click Install App. Once you install, go to the FullContact page for developers and copy your API key. Free accounts get 500 lookups per month. Enter your API key here and you are set.

FullContact in LiveChat

5. Show Account Details

Adding a logged-in user’s account details is easy with some Javascript. In the example below, I pass the users name, phone number, and subscription to the agent’s chat view. You can add items like knowing if the credit card is active, seeing the date the users signed up, or linking to their contact record in Salesforce or any CRM by adding a new line to the following script.

var LC_API = LC_API || {};
LC_API.on_after_load = function(){
var custom_variables = [
{ name: 'Name', value: firstName lastName},
{ name: 'Phone #', value: phoneNumber},
{ name: 'Subscription', value: subscription}

6. Track Success with Goals

This one straight to the point. Go to the Goals section and click on Manage to setup goals. Goals are available in the Reports tab under Chats. Click on Add a goal and configure your goal. Goal examples include updated billing information, added new subscription, downloaded case study, or clicking the ‘Buy’ button.

7. Use Friendly Chat Colors

Even more straight to the point than tracking success with goals is using friendly chat colors. While I lack the hard science to back up using the same color as iMessage (#1E93E7), I think this blue is much more inviting than LiveChat’s standard color.

live chat colors

8. Hide Chat by Default

This guide is about setting your sales team up for success. I’m not going to dive into this, but if you are using chat for both sales and support check out URL roles for agent routing.  If you are not using chat for support and following this guide to use live chat for increasing sales, turn off chat by default and only use LiveChat when you have agents online and available.

If you have a 5% or higher conversion rate on capturing leads, be extra cautious with live chats. Using chat to close more sales requires you to be careful not to hurt your existing inbound efforts. Examine your metrics and only show LiveChat after a visitor would likely signup. Don’t add unnecessary distractions.

If your conversion rate is 2% or less, forget about being cautious, sign up for LiveChat right now and start having proactive conversations with your visitors. Maybe you’ll learn why your conversion rate is low.

To hide LiveChat’s chat box, go into your settings theme section and add the following code to your CSS:

#livechat-compact-container {display: none !important;}

9. Using Greetings

According to one report, visitors invited to chat are 6.3x more likely to convert into customers than the ones who don’t chat; 61% of those customers convert within the first chat. Here are a few walkthroughs of MailLift’s greetings (which you’ve likely encountered by now).

We set the greeting “Any questions? Here to help 🙂 to appear to first-time visitors who visited 3 or more pages over the last 40 seconds, but haven’t visited our dashboard (so users that haven’t registered with MailLift) and users not currently on our blog.

Live Chat Greetings Template

Another greeting appears on our pricing page after 15 seconds and is our highest instigator of new chats and new sales. In the first day of using LiveChat, this is the greeting that helped our sales team close a sale that paid for a year of LiveChat.
Pricing template livechat

The next example shows how we used LiveChat to fix a hole in our funnel – international sales.  With 20% of our traffic being international and overseas, most international visitors assume MailLift doesn’t ship internationally which is 100% incorrect. We are handwriting letters and postmarking the letters for customers around the world from Canada to England, Australia, Hong Kong… the list keeps going.

How does live chat fix our international perception? LiveChat Greetings.England Postmark Perfect

If you run Adwords, try using ‘current page address containing the string‘ with your url parameters (in our case ‘Salesforce-Integrationpromo‘) to trigger a custom message.

You can add more greeting triggers based on:

  • first-time visitors
  • returning visitors
  • a visitor searching for a specific keyword
  • the visitors spending a X amount of time on your site
  • a visitor clicked a referring link to your website from another website
  • a visitor from specific countries, states or cities visits your website
  • somebody visitors a specific page or pages on your website (you can also pick the order of pages visited)
  • when certain conditions specified in your website code are met (such as a user downgrading a subscription)

10. Two Time Saving Shortcuts

Here is a tip from LiveChatInc’s own Jacob Firuta:

“Let’s say you are using the web app and you’ve just received a new chat. Instead of moving your hand to your mouse for the umpteenth time, switch to the chat by pressing Ctrl + Alt + ]. After you respond, get back to the previous chat using Ctrl + Alt + [. It’s that simple.”

Keep in mind for Mac users the shortcuts are a bit different. Switch the chat by pressing CMD + Option + Arrow Keys.
Photo by

My personal favorite LiveChat shortcut is ‘search’: CMD + / on Mac or CTRL + / on Windows.

Why? Because CMD + / is instant access to all past archives and customer conversations which I find very helpful for pulling up hard to find information.

11. Using Tags for Marketing Automation

Follow MailLift to see our upcoming tip this Friday on using LiveChat Tags, Zapier, and AutopilotHQ to create custom followup campaigns for prospects from LiveChat (March 4th 2016)!

Next Steps

Miranda Hobbs
Miranda Hobbs

Set clear goals and objectives for your sales live chat and make the greetings helpful for your ideal customer.

Before using LiveChat I tried Olark, Intercom, and Zopim. I recommend you trial LiveChat for 30 days if you are not already using a chat client.

If you have any suggestions to make this post more valuable or questions, reach out anytime on LinkedIn or at

If you liked this post, you might like: 3 Reasons Handwritten Letters Win Sales.

3 Reasons Handwritten Letters Win Sales More Business

Handwritten Letter for Sales
Example provided by MailLift

The importance of gifts and letters was a sales lesson my dad taught me when I was just a kid, rolling around with him in his car to client meetings. He’s in commercial real estate and it’s a competitive field. Hungry brokers were calling on businesses daily, hoping that today was the day some business owner was ready to buy or sell a building.

He, too, was calling. However, he took it a step further: he’d butter up gatekeepers with flowers, handwrite letters to prospects after showings, and send a hyper-personalized gift to clients after the deal. He made every call count by going the extra mile. It got him deals, referrals, and a small amount of notoriety.

I send handwritten letters too. It worked twenty years ago. I can tell you with confidence that it works even better now. It turns out personal touch and attention to detail won’t be going out of style anytime soon.

“…handwritten letters helped me earn $212,000 in business between 2014 and 2015 by assisting in new speaking gigs, co-webinar opportunities, clients, and partnerships.”

Here are three reasons handwritten letters close more business more often:

#1. Most sales people are bad at their jobs

Let me know if you’ve ever encountered this salesperson. They give you a templated pitch to get the appointment, a templated presentation during the meeting, and then send templated email follow-ups afterwards. Their CRM puts your first name in the email and the salesperson hastily throws in your logo right before the appointment.

However, if you think that “Thanks for your time {Contact.FirstName},” is the best way to follow-up with a client whose business you’re trying to win, you’re not trying hard enough. You’re just like everybody else, sending the same emails and getting the same results. At that point, it really is a numbers game. You just hope the client happens to pick you.

My dad made the same amount of calls as everybody else – he just made sure each call counted.

My goal is to communicate to the client that I am one of the 5% of sales people that are good at their jobs. I want them to feel like I’m a professional, that I care about their business, and that they’re in good hands. One of the easiest ways to do that is with follow-ups that are just slightly better than everyone else’s.

partnership letter template
When I leave a sales appointment, I immediately handwrite letters personally addressed to everyone in the room, customized to their titles and questions. There are more and more decision-makers in business these days. I’ve sent as many as four before, all of which I wrote on the way home on the Caltrain 30 minutes after the appointment.

One time I wrote a letter to the kind woman at the front desk for freeing up a conference room for us. Don’t forget them: they actually run the place.

I send letters with two-day shipping (“time kills deals” – Dad) and I assume the close. I’m not “thankful for the chance” because we will be working together. I thank them for their time, mention something that particular person said, and tell them that I’m excited to get started with them.


#2. Sales is (still) relationship-based

The value you promise to provide is what got you in the door. But step into your prospect’s shoes. Everybody promises to provide value! At this point, it’s only a promise. How many times have they heard this song and dance before, only to get burned?

I think it’s instructive to assume that every client you deal with has been burned at least twice by vendors similar to yourself. My clients have told me that previous vendors did not:

“deliver on their promises”

“care about the client’s business”

“listen to what really mattered”

“communicate enough (if at all)”

“employ experienced professionals”

#2-#5 above can easily be taken care of with a physical letter. If you don’t have a great value prop, consultative approach, and references, you probably need more help than what’s contained in this post.

ben childs appreciation card

A letter is the sign of a vendor who is focused on a lifelong partnership, rather than on a transactional exchange of money. It’s so easy to show that you care, listen, and are professional. Of course, that’s only a promise as well, but the minimal amount of effort will convey to the client that maybe, just maybe, you’re the vendor they’ve always been looking for.

I don’t know how many referrals my dad got with thoughtful hand-addressed letters and personalized gifts, but it was a lot. More than just referring an effective service, his clients were sharing a relationship with a trusted advisor.

Case in point: A company brought us on and the marketing manager told me my letters were what finally sold the team. Within a month, the marketing manager accepted a position at a different company and immediately called me. Why? She told me that she could tell that I cared and her team needed someone that they could trust after going through their last vendor.

She didn’t even wait to see the results we got at the original company! I was already a trusted advisor.


#3. I get full undivided attention

How many times a day do you get cold-emailed, retargeted to, or pre-rolled? We all know it works (we do the same!), but the hope is that you’ll get the right person, at the right time, in the right mood to even notice your ad. Yet display ads only get clicked on 0.06% of the time and 33% of internet users find them completely intolerable.

Win sales with handwritten letters
Example provided by MailLift

In 2016, a classic handwritten letter has become a novelty. It interrupts prospects’ patterns of dealing with sales reps and, for a brief moment, puts a smile on their face. When someone’s reading my letter, they’re actually reading my letter. It’s not on one of their three monitors, lost in another tab, or, most importantly, on their phone.

In that moment, there is no competitor that can match your share of voice. No email that cements your message with a multisensory experience. No phone call that’s guaranteed to brighten someone’s day.

I learned from my dad that there will always be hordes of hungry sales people out there competing for potential business. How many presentations have your prospects taken and forgotten this month? Do you think you’re the only salesperson they’re dating?

If we accept that as truth, then standing out has never been more essential or more powerful. I’m the person that follows up professionally. I’m the person that cares about the prospect. I’m the person that they remember, even after hundreds of pitches.

There’s an expression that I think is applicable here: the medium is the message. Think of it this way: I’m going to try and write as great of a message as I can in my letter. However, that message will rarely overshadow the fact that I’m sending an actual physical handwritten letter to someone. It speaks volumes to everything I’ve said in this post, regardless of what I write.

That thoughtfulness is more than I could ever say, and in that sense, the medium is the message. That message wins me more business, more often than my competitors.

If you like this guest post, you might like Josh Braun’s guest post on how Hugo Boss engages customers quickly with handwritten notes or to learn more about MailLift’s handwritten letter services.

6 Handwritten Direct Mail Ideas to Impress Customers


Sure, you could send more email blasts. You could put together another round of direct mail pamphlets to stuff in your customers’ mailboxes – ultimately stuffing them in your customers’ trash cans. Or, you can do something a little different. You can do something unique that will help you stand out from the rest. Don’t stick with unimaginative sales techniques out of habit. Instead, try some of these handwritten direct mail ideas to impress your customers.


handwritten direct mail, mail, direct mail, letters, impress customers

1. Holiday Gifts

A handwritten holiday card is sure to impress. Now, add a gift and you’ll WOW the pants off of ’em!  The gift doesn’t have to be extravagant. A gift card is an easy way to show appreciation. Maybe some chocolates from a great chocolatier near your office? How about digital photo frames for their desks so they can display pictures of friends and family?

Use Case: Send a $5 Coffee Shop Gift Card for National Coffee Day (September)

Beat the holiday gift rush by sending something in September (or any time of the year for that matter)! A gift card is simple because it fits right inside your letter. Plus, who doesn’t love free coffee?!

handwritten direct mail, mail, direct mail, letters, impress customers


Letter Template:

Hey Nick,

I know you’ve been busy doing great things at Smith and Co.! Take a little time out to enjoy a latte. Or, get your quick caffeine fix with espresso before getting back to work. Either way, enjoy some coffee on me. You deserve it.


Rodney Ellinbreck



2. Asking for Referrals

Don’t be shy! Ahandwritten direct mail, mail, direct mail, letters, impress customerssk for referrals. If you’ve done a good job, your client won’t hesitate from passing along your contact info or giving you some names.

Asking for referrals in person or on the phone works well. You can work it into conversation. For example, when someone thanks you or gives you a compliment, go ahead and say “Thanks! I’m happy you feel that way. Is there anyone else you think could benefit from working with me?”

But, if you didn’t get a direct answer from them or if you forgot to ask, you can reach out through mail. An email isn’t a great choice for referral requests because it doesn’t take any effort on your part. Use a handwritten letter instead. When you do a great job AND you show you care by taking the time on a personal letter, your clients will feel even more impelled to give you that referral.

Read more about this here: Get More Referrals by Asking

Use Case: Send Handwritten Letter Thanking Your Client AND Asking for Referrals.

You’ll start out showing your gratitude. Then, you’ll slip in the referral request. And, you should assure them that their referrals will  have positive experiences too.

Letter Template:


I want to thank you again for your business. Working with you was such a pleasure. I’m glad we set you up with our software to make your life a little easier.

If you know anyone else who could benefit from working with me, I’d appreciate you passing along my name. I’ll make sure they have an experience as good as yours.

Reach out if you need anything.


Lucinda Backus

P.S. I included a few business cards as well.


3. Reactivating “Dead” Leads

Haven’t heard from Jim in awhile? Did Karen stop responding weeks ago? Can’t seem to get in touch with Martin? Consider sending them a handwritten letter.

Some people are turned off by constant voicemails and a steady stream of incoming emails. A handwritten note is a great alternative because it shows you still care, but it isn’t overly aggressive.

Use Case: Provide Helpful Information to Leads You Lost Early

If you lost a lead early in the funnel, they might just need more information. Create awareness with helpful info. Consider sending valuable stats or printing and including interesting articles from which they might benefit.

Letter Template:


I saw this article and thought you might find it interesting. It gives some helpful information on financial planning in your 30’s and 40’s.

If you want more information, feel free to give me a call (555-555-5555) or send an email to I’m happy to help.

-Ken Calit


4. Prospecting

Finding new leads…it’s an essential component of any successful sales strategy. You can use referrals, host events or seminars, reach out via email or direct mail OR you can cold call. However, cold calling can be a daunting, even frightening, task.

How can you make cold calling a little easier and more successful? Well, Drew Hendricks, a contributor to, suggests turning cold calls into “warm calls”:

“…[Y]ou can use LinkedIn, or any other means of networking with prospects, to make an introduction. It could be a brief email to introduce yourself and your company, which also mentions that you’ll be calling in a couple of days. By doing this, you’ve already broken the ice and have already established a connection with your prospect.”

Use Case: Pre-Call Touch to Target List of Prospects

How many times have you sent prospecting emails but received zero responses? You can assume those emails were left unopened or went right into the trash.

Maybe you’ve had the experience of leaving voicemail after voicemail to never have your calls returned.

Handwritten handwritten direct mail, mail, direct mail, letters, impress customersTry something different. Try sending a handwritten letter as a pre-call touch. You’ll start your relationship off right by showing effort. You’ll have a chance to introduce yourself and what you have to offer.

You can even mention that you’ll be giving them a call in the next few days. This way, the prospect will be much more likely to answer your expected call . They’ll know it’s coming and they won’t be taken off guard.

Letter Template:

Hey Matthew,

I came across your company and thought you could benefit from working with TruSaaS, Inc. I’m looking forward to learning more about Reith & Partners Advertising and how we can help you be even more successful.

I’ll give you a call later this week and we can chat more. In the meantime, feel free to check out


Corbin White

Read more about a positive experience Dave Kahle, speaker and author, had in Pre-Call Touch: Creative Way to Make Prospecting Appointments


5. Event/Conference Invites

We expect wedding invites to be handwritten. We expect it because we’re personal guests, and we want the bride and groom to show some effort. We want to feel special.

The same concept can work for business events and conferences too! Handwritten event invites make the invitee feel special…and I’ll say it again, we all want to feel special.

Use Case: Personalize Invite With A Short Handwritten Message Asking to Meet

If you can swing it, add a handwritten component to the actual invite message.

Even if you can’t handwrite the whole thing, MAKE SURE the envelope is hand-addressed. Nothing says “your attendance doesn’t really matter to me” like a computer printed envelope.


Letter Template:

Directly on the invite, you can add something like this:

Hey Lou, looking forward to seeing you there. Between sessions, let’s get together to chat. Call or text (555) 555-5555 and we can meet up.

– Rasin Subhi Naser


6. Shipping Swag

handwritten direct mail, mail, direct mail, letters, impress customers








People love handwritten letters. People love swag. So, why not put them together for a doubly dynamic duo.

Use Case: Send a T-Shirt to New Customers After a Purchase.

Do you want to show customer appreciation AND get free advertising? Send a t-shirt to new customers.

Don’t have awesome t-shirts to showcase your company brand? Check out Startup Threads! MailLift and Startup Threads will work together to get your t-shirt sent out WITH a handwritten letter. With personalization AND wearable swag they’ll actually want to wear, you’ll delight your customers for sure!

 Letter Template:

Hey Sara,

Thanks for your purchase!  We know you’ll love your new office furniture! In fact, you’ll love it so much you’ll probably wear this t-shirt every day just to spread the word.

Ok…you can wash it once in awhile.


The Wood Bold Furniture Team

And one more time, 6 use cases in 30 seconds:


Find New Job Quickly With Handwritten Letters

(Below is how one man was able to find a new job quickly with handwritten letters; however names have been changed to preserve anonymity)

When John lost his job, he did something very unusual. 

This unusual strategy led to

  • 30+ Meetings with Powerful Influencers in his field
  • A new job within 3 weeks
  • A $30,000 raise from his last job

It only took John 5 minutes on the computer and 3 phone calls.

Startup Stock Photos

Below are 2 ways to replicate John’s success and find new job quickly

#1. Is the EXACT approach John took. It’s hands off, and fully automatic. 

  • Cost: $2950
  • Time: 1 hour of work, turnaround time, 3-5 days
  • PreRequisites: None

#2. Is the CHEAP approach. It’s hands on, and takes a lot of work. 

  • Cost: $270 (Save 1700$ bucks!)
  • Time: 100 hours of work, turnaround time, 1 month
  • PreRequisites: Patience, Good Handwriting, 100 hours of free time

Note: John had 300 contacts on Linkedin, and that’s the number we will be working with when it comes to all the price and time calculations.


#1. The Hands Off Approach

  1. Export your Linkedin Connections as a .CSV File  (10 Second tutorial Here)
  2. Open this template and save it in your Google Drive
  3. Fill in the template with your information
  4. Copy and paste this message into an email addressed to

Hello Abby

I would like to send handwritten letters to 300 contacts. I have a spreadsheet with their info but I will need address look ups. Each letter has 113 words and I would like it written on a Crane and Co. TriFold Card. Please call me at {Your Phone Number Here} 

-{Your name here}

4. Wait for Abby to call you; answer any questions she may have.

5. Email Abby your letter template (She will have asked for this)


Your letters should be sent to their recipients within a few weeks. Now just wait for the phone calls and emails to roll in. This is how John was able to find new job quickly.


#2 The Cheap Approach

  1. Open this template and save it in your Google Drive
  2. Fill in the template with your information
  3. Visit and order 350 sheets of this Stationery and 400 of these Envelopes. 250$ (There are a few extra than strictly neccesary to cover any mistakes)
  4. Visit and order a pack of these pens $20
  5. Export your Linkedin Connections as a .CSV File  (10 Second tutorial Here)
  6. Open your Linkedin .CSV File in Google Docs, look up the business address for each contact and copy it into the “Business Address” column in the spreadsheet. (Estimated Time: 5 minutes a contact x 300 contacts = 20 hours)
  7. Visit your local post office and buy 310 forever stamps $155
  8. Wait a week for the stationery and envelopes to arrive
  9. Assemble your stationery, envelopes, letter template, contact spreadsheet, and begin writing the letters and addressing the envelopes. It’s reccomended you spend a max of 4 hours a day handwriting. (For letters of this length, 4 hours is the magic number before error rates skyrocket and morale plummets. Trust me, we’ve tested it ) (Estimated Time: 20 days/80 hours)
  10. Seal and stamp the envelopes
  11. Take them to your local post office and send them.
  12. DONE!

This is the slow way to find new job quickly


MailLift makes large scale handwriting jobs like this possible and easy. The DIY option on the other hand, shows just how much of a nightmare it is without MailLift.

Trends in Direct Mail: Solid State Shipping

FullSizeRender.jpg copyUpdated: February 12th, 2016

What are the new trends in Direct Mail?

Solid State Shipping

Solid state shipping is the practice of sending dimensional marketing collateral through the postal mail with no packaging or envelope. The message and postage stamps are applied directly to the solid state object shipped.

Want to solid state ship a Ping Pong paddle?

Write your message, return address and shipping address on the paddle, and take it to the post office where it will be weighed, and then stamped.

No packaging necessary! No packaging means you don’t have to worry about open rates. This is one of the cutting edge trends in direct mail 2016 for increasing cold connecting and adding unique touches for your marketing demand generation.

Benefits & Research on Solid State Shipping

The statistics backing sending dimensional objects through the mail for demand generation and increasing response rates are compelling:       

Research from Baylor University shows that dimensional mail has 20 times the penetrating power and boosts demand generation by as much as 75% over flat direct mail.

According to the Direct Marketing Association’s Response Rate Report of 2009: Dimensional mail averaged the highest overall response rate, at 5.49 percent, of any direct response medium.

Marketing Campaigns for 2016

Along with each marketing/demand generation campaign are sources to purchase recommended solid state marketing item, pre written copy prepared for you as a template, and price estimates for each campaign.

Prospecting with a ‘Message in a Bottle’


You built a solid list of prospects and email isn’t enough. Maybe you’ve already tired direct mail. Since people rarely follow call to actions in standard direct mail, how would the right segment respond to a message in a bottle?

Here’s where to buy shippable bottles for this campaign at $3.41 per bottle (shipped).

Prospecting Template

934,434,834 to 1

Those are the odds you’ll find a message in a bottle washed up on shore. Those are also the odds of finding a traditional service provider whose key focus is customer happiness. {{company}} is untraditional. No hidden fees, no cancellation cost, and local 24/7 customer support.

{{}}, call me at my personal cell at {{}} for a free week trial.

– {{}}

Reactivating Dead Leads with Handwriting on Boomerangs


Granite Medsystems reactivated 47% of their dead leads from a reactivation campaign placed with MailLift. With a high average customer lifetime value, they rave about their handwritten reactivation campaign’s success.

We’re going to replicate their success, using boomerangs! It may seem unusual to send a boomerang through the mail, but sometimes unusual is just the unique touch you need when the lead or opportunity is not responding.

Here’s where you can buy cheap bulk boomerangs at $2.92 per boomerang (shipped). MailLift also offers this service for a flat rate. Click here to contact us.

Reactivating Dead Leads Template

Hey {{}},

We talked a few weeks back about {their.goal} and how my team at {{company}} can assist, but I have not heard back from you. Here’s to hoping you’ll be like the boomerang! Yeah boomerangs leave, but they always come back.

Call me at{{}} to chat!

Converting Prospects to Workshop Attendees with Coconutsenhanced-23690-1396192283-1

Alpha Graphics got a 20% conversion to in-person workshop by doing what? Sending coconuts.

Alpha Graphics reached out to 200 “high value” prospects hoping to see a 20% response rate of which they planned to sell on a workshop. They offered a chance to win one of two gift cards ($150 and $50) if they respond to the coconut mailer.

The coconut campaign had a response rate of 46% of which 41 prospects attended the workshop. They also reported increased new revenue by 25% over the next six months.

The price varies between $8-$17 shipped depending on distance, weight and coconut type.

Converting Prospects to Attendee Template

 Hey Bonnie!

Put on your Hula Skirt and pour yourself a Pina Colda; We want to hear from you! We’ve put together a year-end survey to get feedback from AlphaGraphics’s most valuable customers (You) Here’s your personalized link!

– Nick

Bonus: 6 Marketing Ideas

Solid State Shipping Services

Utilizing trends in direct mail takes work. To outsource this to a company that over a 1,000 business trust, visit or contact us via email.

How Hugo Boss Engages Customers Quickly

Josh Braun, is VP of Customer Happiness & Success at Basecamp helping Basecamp be even more awesome in the areas of customer success, churn mitigation and growth. Josh writes about sales on his blog SalesJunkie.

Building relationships, thank you note, importance of customer relationship

It was the mannequin wearing a dark blue wool and silk suit that drew me into the Hugo Boss store in Boca Raton, Florida.

But it was Dawn, the stylist that kept me there. After answering a few questions, she showed me a suit, helped me try on the jacket, explained why it was the right choice for the occasion and responded to my objections without sounding sales-y.

“Don’t worry about it sweetie,” Dawn said. “We’ll see Matt in alternations next and he’ll take care of it. Relax Josh. Want some wine?”

It was a fantastic shopping experience.

Five days later I received this handwritten thank you note from Dawn:

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 3.21.29 PM

Wow. Typically, when I’m asked for my contact information at checkout I get a catalog, but Dawn used this information to create a wow moment. It’s the only time I’ve experienced this level of customer service at a retail store.

Worth it? You bet. Not only did it strengthen my relationship with Hugo Boss (you should see my closet), but I’ve also shared Dawn’s note on social media and at my speaking engagements which often have audiences of 150 people.

In the fast-paced world of multitasking and digital communication, a handwritten thank you note is like taking a deep breath. It slows things down –– even for just a minute.

Regardless of the product or service you sell, you’re in the relationship building business. Period. And few things come close to building relationships more than a handwritten thank you note.

Handwritten thank you notes are also a great way to differentiate yourself from the competition because so few people send thank you’s let alone handwritten notes.

If you’d like to try this “low-tech” method of thanking your customers, consider sending a handwritten thank you note as a simple touch to make a prospect smile or after:

  • Getting a referral
  • Giving a pitch
  • Winning a sale
  • Losing a sale
  • Having an initial phone conversation
  • A face to face meeting

If you liked this post, you might like: 6 Unique Use Cases & Templates for Direct Mail.