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 ken@calit.com. 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 Forbes.com, 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 trusaas.com.


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 Abby@MailLift.com

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 Crane.com 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 Amazon.com 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.

Direct Mail Marketing In Real Estate: Handwritten or Print?

direct mail marketing for real estate, direct mail for real estate,


Direct mail marketing in real estate can be hugely successful and cost-effective if you know when to use handwritten and print direct mail.

Handwritten letters can have higher open and response rates while direct mail will let you use visuals and graphics. While one is personal, the other is more eye catching. You want to have a good mix of being on the top of their mind and to build a relationship and trust.

So, here are tips on when to use handwritten letters and when to use print mail as part of your direct mail marketing in real estate. (Link to download templates at the bottom)

Handwritten direct mail marketing in real estate:

Targeted marketing: If you are running a targeted direct mail campaign, think about using handwritten letters. If your campaign is targeted, you want to make sure it is as personal as possible. Plus, using handwritten letters will ensure higher open rates and higher conversions.

Special Occasions: Instead of the usual greeting card that every one of your competitor uses, send a handwritten note on the special occasion. It will have a stronger impact and will help build close personal and business relationships with them. A few ideas:

  • Take some candid pictures of them when they first sign the papers or move into their house. Save one or two of those pictures and send them on their first month, six months or first year anniversary with a handwritten note of course.
  • If they have young kids, on their birthday, send them a handwritten birthday note along with some helpful information for their toddler.

Referrals and Repeat customers: Referrals and repeat customers require a personal touch. You don’t have to create a new message every time you write to one of your customers and referrers. But, sending a handwritten card to thank them can go a long way  in providing a personal touch and strengthening your relationship.

After print mail campaign: Use handwritten letters to connect with people  who have responded to your print mail or flyer.

Events: To make it personal, use handwritten invites rather than postcards. Create your own events and have your own seminar. As Jason Van Steenwyk says,

Seminars can take a lot of planning, but people will line up to speak with you after the event if you do it well – and the crowds will usually be relatively free of competing agents.

Print direct mail marketing in real estate:

Non-targeted Lists: If you are sending flyers to a list that is not very targeted, it’s best to use a printed flyer. Printed direct mail can be cheaper to send out. Plus, non-targeted lists, generally speaking, have a much lower conversion than targeted lists. So, you do not want to waste your precious marketing dollars on a list that is not going to convert well.

However, your non-targeted list is still good because you can build a super-targeted list by marketing to them wisely.

To build a targeted list from your non-targeted list, insert a link or call-to-action (email or call me) in your direct mail piece. Your call-to-action should be a link to a landing page that collects emails so you know who on your list is possibly warm and considering taking action. Here is a good example of a landing page…

real estate CTA, real estate direct mail templates,

In your case, your landing page can offer an e-book download about market information for sellers and buyers or even a free consultation. Just keep it easy for yourself, you don’t want to spend a lot of time without further qualifying your prospects.

Create a separate list for those who responded to your print mail. Follow up with a handwritten note to start building relationships with these qualified prospects. Use a mix of print and handwritten direct mail.

Buyer & Seller Tips: Sending tips to your prospects can be a good way of staying in touch with your customers. While they may not convert directly, it will definitely keep you in front of your customers. This is best sent as printed direct mail since it will let you fit a lot of information on a single sheet. Here are a few ideas on info you can send out:

  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • Home equity
  • Mortgage shopping

Neighborhood Information: People are always curious about the market value of their property, their neighborhood and the city. Once a month, send them your analysis of the market and statistics of their area or the city in general.

For example, when a house in a prospect’s neighborhood is sold, send them print mail with visuals. Add a call-to-action, and if they respond, follow it up with handwritten letters to start building a relationship.

Tip: Your handwritten letter or note should always have your phone number under your name.

Direct mail marketing in real estate, just like email marketing and sales, needs perseverance. We can’t give up too quickly.

Research shows in 2007, it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8 attempts. (source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group)

However, the average salesperson only makes 2 attempts to reach a prospect. (source: Sirius Decisions)

So, being consistent and persistent becomes highly important if you want to be successful.

You can’t just send out one direct mail piece and expect it to work. You have to be persistent and consistent. It’s a long term game with long term effects.

Our copy and letter writing experts have put together handwritten direct mail templates specifically for realtors. Written with best practices, they make it easy to get more yeses from your prospects.

If you liked this post, you might like: Direct Mail for Real Estate: 11 Free Templates

How To Write Handwritten Notes Like Richard Branson

handwritten notes, thank you notes, richard branson

Handwritten letters are making a comeback and  it’s here to stay. Just last week Richard Branson wrote about why you should write thank you notes.

Small and large businesses like iContact and Grasshopper are sending it to their customers. Even large companies, whose leads are worth over $1 million each, are using handwritten letters to boost their sales opportunities.

But the hardest part is figuring out what to write in these notes; how to make it personal yet impactful.

These 14 essential quotes on handwritten notes will get you started. Don’t worry it’s simple and easy to apply.

Basics of Good Handwritten Letters

“Letters are something from you. It’s a different kind of intention than writing an e-mail.”

Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves aside, this is pretty good advice. When we send handwritten letters, we write them as if we are writing an email. But they are more like a gift. Think about it, receiving letters has a similar reaction to receiving a gift — it makes people curious. And a good letter is cherished just as much as a gift. In short…

“All a good letter has to do is make you feel special.”

— Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo video game) written by Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka, and Toshihiro Kawabata

So, why would you send a “Thank you for your time” type of letter. It’s like gifting your spouse a pair of white socks in a pretty little box. You are just opening the door to disappointment.

People might not necessarily remember what exactly you said in your note, but they will definitely remember how you made them feel. So…

“Making the extra effort to say thanks in a genuine, personal manner goes a long way. It is pleasurable to do, and it encourages more of the same good behavior.”

Richard Branson

And it’s true. Studies show that writing your thank you’s boosts happiness, and lowers boredom and negative feelings. It does not take much to write one and makes both the sender and the receiver happy.

Alright, so you see what a good handwritten letter looks should look like. Now, here are the fundamentals of writing a good note.


Elements of Good Handwritten Letters

handwritten notes, thank you notes

“I consider it a good rule for letter-writing to leave unmentioned what the recipient already knows, and instead tell him something new.”

Sigmund Freud

As simple as this sounds, this is the hardest to do and it the most common mistake we make when writing a handwritten note.

Handwritten notes should build on your previous conversation. It should move your relationship forward or strengthen it. I

“Now everybody who knows anything at all knows perfectly well that even a business letter does not deserve the paper on which it is written unless it contains at least one significant phrase that is worth waking up in the night to remember and think about.”

Eleanor Hallowell Abbot

Okay, not literally. But it goes back to the same point as making someone feel special. Special does not always mean romantic. A business letter or note should contain statements that are thought provoking. That’s what makes it memorable. So, if you don’t have a phrase that is worth waking up at night, here are couple ways to check if your letter is worth mailing,

“Letters have to pass two tests before they can be classed as good: they must express the personality both of the writer and of the recipient.”


This is the basis of every letter. It is personal communication focussed on just the two of you, unlike your twitter or facebook updates. So, make sure the letter reads like you and does not seem like it can be written anybody. Make the most of it because this is one time they are not going to be distracted by emails or other conversations.

A good way to make sure the letter reads like you is to forget about grammar because…

“Grammar is the grave of letters.”

Elbert Hubbard

Notes and letters are supposed to be personable. Trying to stick to grammar rules is going to make your letters sound stiff and unrelatable. If it’s any consolation, there is no grammar police to come arrest you.

So, keep the tone conversational.

Humans Written Is Better Than Robot



“Normally, I can tell the fake, printed-font “handwriting” of a marketing missive from ten paces away. That stuff looks barely more human than Comic Sans, and it’s printed in laser toner instead of ink from a pen. Handwriting, it seems, is the next Turing Test.”

— Clive Thompson


Effects of Good Handwritten Letters

“Sending a handwritten letter is becoming such an anomaly. It’s disappearing. My mom is the only one who still writes me letters. And there’s something visceral about opening a letter — I see her on the page. I see her in her handwriting.”

Steve Carell

This is the difference between a handwritten letter and any other form of communication. Anything typed will look the same barring any differences in fonts. Whereas in a handwritten note, apart from the content, handwriting, texture and colors say so much about a person sending the letter.

 “While it may seem old school to have a live telephone conversation, meet in person, or send a handwritten note, sometimes they are the best forms of communication and the only way people (your clients, reporters, etc.) may ever get to really know and ultimately trust you”

— Jessica Kleiman and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper, Authors of Be Your Own Best Publicist

People like feeling and sensing physical objects. For example, people believe a brand of water is safe to drink because their caps clicked when opened they bottle. Try it yourself, jot down all the things that made your feel pleasant or unpleasant based on how something sounded, looked or felt in your hands. It’s surprising how many decisions we make just based on our sensory perceptions.

James Beshara, CEO and co-founder of Crowdtilt (crowd funding for groups of friends), understood this really well. He wanted to have a real world touch with his customers. So, he sent out 1000 handwritten letters to their first 1000 campaign administrators on their site. This gave customers a lot of trust and faith in them, even when things went wrong with their service. Like Beshara says, if you wait for something to go wrong with your service to make that first personal contact with your customer, you have already lost.

“A handwritten note is worth more than a $100 gift card but probably not more than a $200 gift card.”

Ross McCammon

Handwritten note makes all other forms of appreciation personal. They are motivating in a work place especially if they are having a bad day. You can give extra bonuses and all the perks, but nothing builds trust and engagement like a note of appreciation.

Notes can make perks go much farther. They can have a direct impact on your revenues. Best Buy found that a 0.1 percent increase in employee engagement increased $100,000 in operating income of each store per year.


Start (Small) By Sending These Handwritten Notes

“Tell someone what a huge difference he or she made in your life. Reading your note will make a huge difference in that person’s life—and in your relationship.”

— Jeff Haden

People inspire you every day. You might not know them personally, but you are definitely learning and making life changing decisions when you read someone’s articles or when you talk to them on twitter or facebook. It’s good to get inspired, but it’s easy to forget about building relationships with those who inspire you. Letting them know how they made a difference is great to way to start and they love hearing about it.

Go ahead and send them a thank you note. Be specific in how they made a difference and what you are going to do next. Then when you have followed through, send them a note again. Thank them and tell them more about the results it brought you. Close the loop. People like helping who will actually follow through and take action. If you want to build relationships or even want them to be your mentor, then keep them updated.

You should do the same for your employees and team members. Appreciate and thank them, but be specific because…

“It’s one thing to say, “I appreciate what you did today. Thanks a lot.” That’s a soap-bubble comment. Pretty while it lasts, but gone in seconds. It’s general and vague. When you thank them for something specific, that’s Velcro. That’s a thanks they remember because it sticks. You hook your gratitude to something the employee did. For instance, an employee just handled a difficult phone call with a customer really well. Thank them for that specific activity.”

— Joey Faucette

You are probably struggling to find time getting work done, but it is just as important to recognize each team member. Douglas Conant, wrote about 30,000 handwritten notes to his employees throughout his 10 years as a CEO at Campbell. That means he paid attention to each individual’s personal contributions. A pat on the back does more than just feel good. It builds trust and is an invaluable tool.

And if you are in sales or manage clients, here is a creative way to use handwritten notes.

“A handwritten note may not be the best way to arrange a meeting or confirm that a parcel arrived, but it can be surprising more efficient than phone tag for a lot of messages.”

— Margaret Shepherd, Author of The Art of the Handwritten Note.


“Staying top of mind has a direct correlation to the number of opportunities you get from your network.”

— Patrick Ewers

So, if there is one habit you should build, then make it this: Write one handwritten thank you note every day. If you already write handwritten notes, tell me why you write them.

You have come this far, that means you read the whole article. Here is a video of more ideas to ponder:



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