Postalgia Blog

5 Easy Ways To Market Your Small Business Using Handwritten Notes

By: Ilan Mann

July 13, 2021

Handwritten notes are a tried-and-true method of communicating with new or prospective clients. Writing a customized handwritten message demonstrates there is a person behind the scenes at the heart of your business. Because personalized, handwritten messages are a forgotten craft, they are very effective. Consider: when was the last time you received a handwritten letter instead of an email or a Facebook message? Those posts may be highly efficient, but a handwritten card transcends the transitory nature of our digital…

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Four Handwritten Letters From History That Had A Big Impact

By: Ilan Mann

July 12, 2021

Around these parts, we are big believers in the power of the written word. In fact, our whole business model centres on the belief that handwritten letters can change your business, non-profit or charity. Now, in the age of email, text messages and 140-character tweets, the idea of letters having a significant impact on issues of the day might seem quaint. But throughout history, correspondence has been a powerful means for shifting public opinion and influencing world events. From the…

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How To Reach Out To Inactive Donors

By: Ilan Mann

July 7, 2021

Donors who are inactive or have lapsed may appear to be a lost cause. These contributors haven’t given to your nonprofit in a long time; why would you spend money attempting to entice them to do so again? The truth is that many inactive donors don’t see themselves as inactive or are even aware they are inactive. It is important not to assume that just because a donor hasn’t given in months or years, they are no longer interested or…

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7 Most Common Business Thank You Note Mistakes

By: Ilan Mann

July 2, 2021

It’s common knowledge that a thank-you note is an essential part of business etiquette, but believe it or not, there are many ways to do it wrong. As we have written about here and here, there is nothing more effective than a handwritten thank you card when it comes to winning new clients and increasing sales in your business. And in today’s digital age, sending a printed note is even more important. However, many business owners don’t take advantage of…

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Delight Your Donors With A Handwritten Note

By: Ilan Mann

June 26, 2021

When was the last time you received a personalized handwritten letter in the mail? According to recent statistics, it’s pretty rare. Based on data from the Postal Regulatory Commission, the average American receives only ten pieces of personal mail per year. We (the royal we) just don’t send mail that much anymore. So when anyone gets a handwritten note, it is by definition extraordinary. Why not take advantage of this fact to delight your target audience? Why send an email…

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9 Ways To Use Thank-You Cards as a Marketing Tool

By: Ilan Mann

June 12, 2021

We all understand the importance of making a good first impression. But too often, we forget to create a clear and memorable conclusion at the end of an interaction with a customer. It’s important for small business owners to understand that a customer’s experience at the end of a transaction lingers in their mind for days or even weeks after the transaction is completed. To ensure a positive, memorable end to an interaction with your business, you want to end…

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How One Company Built A Business With Thank You Notes

By: Ilan Mann

June 4, 2021

You know that feeling when you receive a handwritten thank you note in the mail? It’s like an instant boost of happiness and appreciation for someone who took their time to send you something. Well, one company has taken those feelings and turned them into a business model. Here at Postalgia, we just love case studies. They aren’t merely a theory on what will work; they are tangible and replicable. We know that handwritten notes work to build customer relationships:…

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6 Tips For Realtors On How To Craft The Perfect Prospecting Letter

By: Ilan Mann

May 12, 2021

One of the most challenging parts of being a realtor – what separates the greats from those who are scraping by – is the ability to attract listings. If it seems like the top agents are the ones always getting the new listings, that’s because they probably are. Leads turn into clients, who in turn blossom into referrals. Every “For Sale” sign that turns into a “Sold” sign the best possible advertisement for your brand, seen by thousands of people…

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Are Handwritten Notes Dead?

By: Ilan Mann

May 6, 2021

In an age where we have lost the art of human interaction and replaced it with a keyboard, few things are as important as sending a handwritten note or letter. Technology has made sending a “thank-you” easy as pie: all it takes is one click or swipe on our phone screens to send that message…but what does this say about human interaction? In today’s fast-paced world where technology provides us with everything we need at just the push of a…

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How You Can Make Small Donors Feel Important

By: Ilan Mann

April 20, 2021

We understand that large donors are often the primary focus of non-profits, charities and other organizations that rely on donations. Given the potential amount large donors could contribute to meeting your fundraising goals, sometimes you might feel like the large donations are all that matter. However, you might be better off focusing your efforts on a broader spectrum of donors than the 15% that make over $100,000 per year (U.S. figures). Why? Because large donors are notoriously hard to convince….

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Handwritten Notes for Realtors: How To Maximize Client Touchpoints

By: Ilan Mann

April 16, 2021

The real estate industry is a tough one, and the competition for clients can be fierce. But there are many ways to set yourself apart from competitors that don’t involve spending money on listings—and handwritten notes are a great way to do just that. Whether writing thank-you cards after an open house, after an initial meeting or a note after the house has been sold, adding a personal touch will help you stand out in a competitive market. This article…

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5 Reasons Why Handwritten Notes Are Powerful

By: Ilan Mann

April 12, 2021

Technology is omnipresent in our lives. We live on our phones, use laptops to do work, and communicate through social media. But there’s something about a handwritten thank-you note that can’t be replicated by digital communication. Research shows that up to 100 instant messages can be sent by one person alone each day, with corporate email and text accounts receiving a massive amount of messages each and every day. We are so used to this daily deluge that we quickly…

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Six Things to Avoid in a Handwritten Thank You Note

By: Ilan Mann

April 4, 2021

When you receive a handwritten thank-you note from someone, it’s one of the most thoughtful gestures that person could make. It shows that they took time out of their day to write something just for you. The same goes for your clients. Writing a handwritten thank-you note to clients is a great way to show them how much they mean to your business or organization while creating a deeper personal connection.  Unfortunately, many small business owners often don’t write thank-you…

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Four ways handwritten letters can get you more priceless referrals

By: Ilan Mann

March 20, 2021

The folks who say “the best things in life are free” have never been to Disneyland. But, they’re on to something when it comes to business. Entrepreneurs love nothing more than free advertising. No advertising works like a referral. Social Media Today drops some key stats that reveal why. 60% of marketers say that referral programs generate a high volume of leads. 54% say that referrals have a lower cost per lead than other methods. And marketers rate referrals as…

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Three ways to frame choices and get better answers with direct mail

By: Ilan Mann

March 12, 2021

Every day, people make decisions. We make those decisions of our own free will. Or do we? Consider: you walk into a grocery store to buy a carton of eggs. We want to buy one thing: that carton of eggs. But then we pick up a loaf of bread, primed by a bright yellow “For Sale” tag that tells us the loaf is a steal. Then we notice a chocolate bar at eye level and grab that too. We’re home-free…

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Bring back pen pals!

By: Ilan Mann

March 12, 2021

Imagine meeting your best friend for the first time, after sixty years. That’s the story of Canadian Dolores Baily and Australian Lyn Carpenter. They started corresponding at age ten through a school pen pals program. They haven’t stopped writing since. They bonded over their mad love for the Beatles. They sent photos and little gifts to each other. They got through the teen years together. They celebrated marriage, had kids—writing letters to each other all the time. And in 2019,…

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The Revenge of Analog

By: Ilan Mann

October 20, 2020

Life is moving online—so why are so many of us going offline? The Revenge of Analog explains why. If you’re a literary junkie, you know there’s been a quiet civil war raging among the community of book-lovers. At the core of this conflict is a sacred question—would you ever peruse a book using an e-reader? Is a book really a book if it isn’t on paper? On one side are those who appreciate the practicality of their Kindles and Kobos….

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How writing letters can fight pandemic depression

By: Ilan Mann

October 14, 2020

Life-giving responses to COVID-19 can include: Physical distancing; Mask-wearing in public spaces; Handwritten letters; or, All of the above. The answer is four. Yes, actually. Handwriting letters to loved ones can make a big impact in the era of COVID-19—especially in addressing the health crisis offshoot of the virus, the depressing effect of social isolation. We all know it first hand after too many draining Zoom calls: the threat of loneliness is very real. One study published in the academic…

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These six attributes explain the power of direct mail

By: Ilan Mann

October 12, 2020

Is direct mail dead? It’s the question on marketers’ minds. At the very least, it’s the question they’re Googling: with 167 million results for the search “is direct mail dead?” So, is it? Let’s just say you shouldn’t wait around for the funeral procession. In 2018 alone, Canada Post delivered nearly 8 billion pieces of mail and parcels—almost 32 million items delivered daily. Direct mail isn’t going anywhere. Its place in the wider toolset of marketing and sales channels may…

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Turn e-commerce into an IRL relationship with handwritten letters

By: Ryan Hartzman

October 2, 2020

E-commerce is everything for entrepreneurs in 2020. The NASDAQ estimates that by 2040, 95% of purchases will be facilitated by e-commerce. But we are already seeing that shift happening now. Consider: An Adobe report found that American consumers spent more than $50 billion on their smartphones during the 2019 holiday season—accounting for 84% of the holiday season’s spending growth that year. E-commerce represents an amazing growth opportunity while also being plain scary. Why? Two words: frictionless and spontaneity. E-commerce sales…

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12 Tactics for Using Handwritten Letters in Your Sales Funnel

By: Ilan Mann

September 24, 2020

Sales funnels. If you’re an entrepreneur or salesperson, you’ve heard the term enough to make your ears bleed. Yes, those YouTube ads by teenage sales “gurus” are torturous. (“Here’s how my 15-year old daughter made six figures in two months as an Amazon reseller,” she says. Ok, Karen.) But they’re right about one thing—you need a sales funnel, and well-defined tactics for every stage of the funnel, to succeed in your business. But first, a quick refresher on sales funnels….

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Gratitude is a Business Strategy

By: Ilan Mann

September 18, 2020

Gratitude: you might know it as a hashtag, or an Indigo mug, or a word your mom has crocheted on her wall. What you may not know is that gratitude is also a business strategy—because a grateful business is a business that customers return to again and again. Consider a 2017 research article entitled Undervaluing Gratitude: Expressers Misunderstand the Consequences of Showing Appreciation. In it, researchers Amit Kumar and Nicholas Epley demonstrated how we often assume expressing gratitude will be…

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Long Live the Concierge – Personalizing the E-Commerce Customer Experience

By: Ilan Mann

August 11, 2020

The transition for the brick and mortar storefront has been hugely exciting for a whole host of reasons: The need to pay top dollar to rent space in a mall or heavy-traffic area, hire full-time staff, and catch window shopping customers eyes with immaculately curated glass displays presented an impossible barrier for most aspiring brands and entrepreneurs to overcome. The e-commerce revolution has democratized the economy in a way thought impossible 30 years ago, using technologies that were unthinkable 20…

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Should You Ask For Donations When Saying Thank You?

By: Ilan Mann

June 10, 2020

“Dogs look up to you, cats look down on you. Give me a pig! He looks you in the eye and treats you as an equal.”  – Sir Winston Churchill  Recently a friend remarked that she doesn’t like cats, because they only show you affection when they want something – food, attention, etc… Dogs, on the other hand, may be driven by the same innate motivators, but they are less transparent in their self-interest, and so their affection seems credible,…

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Call Me Maybe (But I’d Rather You Didn’t)

By: Julean Burger

May 12, 2020

If you were to ask Millennials or Gen Z (defined as those born between 1980 and the early 2010’s) how they feel about receiving phone calls, they would likely rank the experience as one of the biggest inconveniences you can thrust upon someone. It’s a notable difference between generations, one that I especially notice with my father, who calls me several times during the day with small pieces of information that could easily be delivered over text – and while…

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Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and Metrics

By: Ilan Mann

May 11, 2020

Mark Twain popularized (and attributed erroneously, ironically, to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli) the adage that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. This week, my brilliant friend Jason shared with me a piece in The Correspondent entitled The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising. He in turn got it from Dr. Michael Burry’s twitter feed (of Big Short fame). It’s important to me that everyone receive their due credit for bringing…

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Opportunity Knocks… And then Mails

By: Ilan Mann

April 30, 2020

Politics has changed drastically these last few decades in so many drastic ways, it’s tempting to pinpoint one or the other as the secret to a candidate’s success or failure: For Obama it was allegedly the use of social networks, for Trump it was supposed to have been his use of spectacle to dominate the media narrative, etc… One thing that is clear, going back to Teddy Roosevelt’s use of the whistle stop, FDR’s mastery of radio, Kennedy’s understanding of…

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The Illusion of Transparency

By: Ilan Mann

April 29, 2020

The illusion of transparency is one of the most common causes of misunderstandings and missed opportunities  between people, between companies and their customers, between nonprofits and their donors, etc… The illusion of transparency is on display any time you say or hear thing like “you know what I meant,” or “how could you not understand how I was feeling?” Here’s one of my favourite games to illustrate the illusion: Find a partner, and as obviously as you can, but without…

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Getting Out The Vote with Handwritten Mail

By: Ilan Mann

April 28, 2020

Suppose that you are running for class president, and there are 100 eligible voters. If all the voters have to vote, your job is to persuade 51 of them to vote for you. Suppose that your opponent is popular amongst 60 of the eligible voters, and you have the support of 40. You really have your work cut out for you! That is how we usually think of politics – in terms of persuasion. While that may be the nature…

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Write a Personal Donor Birthday Card in 7 Seconds

By: Ilan Mann

April 23, 2020

Dear Samantha, Congratulations on turning 58 years young!  I wanted to wish you a happy birthday on behalf of myself, Sandra, and all of us at The Riverdale Hospital Foundation!  I hope this birthday is extra meaningful for you with the knowledge that you’ve had such a huge impact on our neonatal care program.  Hoping to see you at our hoops for heart fundraiser in June!  Sincerely, Jerry P.S. Please give my best to Craig and Emily!    Imagine composing…

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“The Things We Think and Do Not Say”

By: Ilan Mann

April 21, 2020

At the beginning of the great sports movie Jerry Maguire, the eponymous sports agent, in the throes of a night of inspiration, writes a mission statement, called The Things We Think and Do Not Say, and distributes it to all of his colleagues. In it, he proposes a radical idea: actually caring about their clients. If for whatever reason, you haven’t seen the movie, do yourself a favour and remedy that. It will have you at “hello.” Most of the…

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The Nonprofit Stewardship Cycle

By: Ilan Mann

April 20, 2020

Just as customer engagement is becoming an increasingly important metric for profit-driven businesses, donor stewardship is playing a larger role than ever in nonprofit management. The “why” of retention, loyalty, and donor engagement should be obvious to most, but in case anyone needs convincing, I’ve discussed some of the reasons here, here, and here. According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals report, the donor retention rate in the US was 45.1{c5c42d2e0b68f182649ca85478c9eaed180e8fe94e932f32b8af828d359c4a57}. That means that in the US, at least, you…

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Part Five – Jumping Off A Bridge

By: Ilan Mann

April 18, 2020

This is part five of an ongoing series about consumer behaviour. You are strongly encouraged to read at least part one here and part two here before reading this post. You can also read part three here and part four here. System one and system two evolved for reasons that may not appear obvious to us, but are apparently deeply rooted in what it took to survive for most of human history. System 2 can develop theories around the best…

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Part Four – The Extra Large Medium

By: Ilan Mann

April 16, 2020

This is part four of an ongoing series about consumer behaviour. You are strongly encouraged to read part one here, part two here, and part three here before reading this post. Thinking Fast and Slow, the seminal book by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman about his work with his late research partner, Amos Tversky, is full of mental tricks, riddles, illusions, and “ah-ha” moments designed to make you question whose side your brain is really on. In the first chapter, he…

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Part Three – The Availability Bias and Priming in your Mailbox

By: Ilan Mann

April 15, 2020

This is part two of an ongoing series about consumer behaviour. You are strongly encouraged to read part one here and part two here before reading this post. Let’s recap a few insights: We don’t have the mental capacity/energy to focus on doing every task slowly and methodically. That’s why we evolved a system for quickly making everyday complicated calculations without overloading our brains. That system calculates things inaccurately, but usually within the ballpark. Those calculations usually manifest as feelings,…

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Part Two – The Irrational Consumer

By: Ilan Mann

April 14, 2020

This is part two of an ongoing series about consumer behaviour. You are strongly encouraged to read part one here before reading this post. If all of your customers were perfectly rational, and could instantly calculate with a high degree of accuracy the trade-off between the value you are providing, and the price that you are asking in return, all of marketing would be as simple as the following: Find the people for whom the value is highest Communicate that…

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Part One – This is Your Brain on Loyalty

By: Ilan Mann

April 13, 2020

This is part one of an ongoing series about consumer behaviour. What follows may seem like an esoteric or purely academic post in a blog that is normally about marketing, but nothing could be further from the truth. Traditional marketing focuses on the customer or client as a self-interested, rational consumer, and expresses value to them strictly in those terms: Goods and Services (Value) in exchange for Money (Price) Which is why most advertisements are expressed in one of the…

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Keeping Your Friends Close: Retention, Retention, Retention

By: Ilan Mann

April 10, 2020

Like most suburban kids, I never really understood the proverb, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Why is a bird in the bush worth anything? A bird in the hand sounds like a lot more trouble than it’s worth. Is the bird a pet? Is it a friendly bird? I was not envisioning a friendly bird. As unattractive a prospect as “a bird in the hand” sounds, the lesson that the proverb is trying to…

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5 Tips for Writing a Personal Letter

By: Ilan Mann

April 9, 2020

A few years ago, a client of ours – a large charity – goofed up and sent a handwritten thank-you card to a donor, and another to her husband, for the same pledged donation. Instead of a negative response, they got a grateful phone call from the first-time donor, who told them how much they appreciated being thanked individually, but that the nonprofit organization should feel free to send one tax receipt and one copy of all future communications for…

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The Bus that Nearly Flattens You

By: Ilan Mann

April 8, 2020

You’re jogging across an intersection when a city bus turns the corner a little too fast. You jump out of the way and narrowly avoid being run over. Okay – I’ll admit that it’s a morbid beginning for a blog post about marketing. But if it’s jarring, it only further illustrates my point. There is a pervasive fiction in the marketing world that marketing materials are subject to a law of increasing returns. This is sometimes represented as some variation…

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How to Catch the Attention of a Goldfish

By: Ilan Mann

April 7, 2020

If commonly cited statistics are to be believed, it’s a miracle that you clicked on this article. If it took you more than 4 or 5 seconds to read that first sentence, I can’t be expected to hold your attention to the end of this one. If you’ve made it to this – the third sentence – it was nothing short of a herculean effort that got you here, because according to conventional wisdom, average human attention spans are down…

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Turning Donors and Customers into your Fundraisers and Salespeople

By: Ilan Mann

March 1, 2020

Every fundraiser or salesperson knows that the easiest people to turn into donors and customers are already part of their network. A lot of the reasons why prospects are hesitant to buy or donare, or why they stop donating and buying, are mitigated by them knowing you personally. Your passion is contagious, they hear from you often, and they trust you – so they trust that their money is in good hands or that they’re getting a good product. But…

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Why Donors Stop Donating

By: Ilan Mann

February 16, 2020

Donors are the lifeblood of any nonprofit organization, and their value cannot be overstated – but it can be calculated. Many fundraising and nonprofit professionals like to think that their job is different and distinct from that of people who work in sales and marketing – and in some ways it is – but the truth is that like any other business, your non-profit cannot survive without its customers: your donors. And just like any other business, your average donor’s…

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Why Thanking Your Donors is So Important

By: Ilan Mann

February 13, 2020

I am always shocked to hear non-profit professionals tell me that they don’t thank their donors. The logic goes that people open their hearts and wallets to charities and non-profits because they want to help a good cause, and doing so is enough reward in and of itself. While it’s true that selflessness and a drive to better the world is the primary motivator of many gifts, fundraising professionals who take that approach will notice their donor base dwindling, and…

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How to be Great at Gratitude – 5 Tips for Brilliant Donor & Volunteer Thank-you Cards

By: Ilan Mann

February 10, 2020

So you’ve decided to send thank you notes to your donors and volunteers. Good call! There are few combinations of words more powerful than “Thank You.” Letting someone know that their gifts or deeds not only contributed to a good cause but also inspired personal gratitude in the recipient is the simplest way to ensure that they feel unreservedly good about the time or hard-earned dollars that they’ve parted with. Now that you’ve decided to undertake this simple but important…

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