Authentic Communication with your Donors

INTRODUCTION

The nonprofit sector is in the business of people-helping-people. What better motivates people-helping-people than being authentic!?

This blog contains vital information about maintaining authentic communication with your donors. The 3 main takeaways are: Be true and consistent, attend to your donors, and create personal experiences. Adding personalized and specific details to your communication methods will make all the difference.

 

BE TRUE AND CONSISTENT

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All nonprofit organizations have a cause that they are passionate about. Before you communicate with your donors, you need to establish a set of values and beliefs that your organization follows. Make sure when you set up those values, you are being true to yourself and to your cause. To have authentic communication, you need to BE AUTHENTIC.

Once you identify your core principles, you must represent them in every message and any form of communication. You may not be popular with everyone, but at least you will be showing community members that you are true and consistent. The main point is to stick to your set of values and beliefs, but there are more Principles for Authentic Donor Communications that Build Relationships.

 

ATTEND TO YOUR DONORS

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Make sure to put effort into focusing on your donors. Remember, without your donors you can’t support your cause! Maintain relationships with donors by consistently communicating and creating opportunities to connect with them.

There are various ways to stay connected with your donors and maintain authentic communication. You can schedule regular meetings in person or virtually to provide the opportunity to interact with them. This is the time to have discussions about your organization’s progress and get the opinion of the members. You can ask questions like: Why are you passionate about the cause? What is your preferred method of communication? How would you like to take action?

You can also connect with your donors by sending them information via digital and physical communication methods.

 

WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR DONORS

Social Media
Community Events
Newsletters
Impact Reports
Thank You Notes
Website Blog
Google Forms Questionnaire

 

The main focus should always be on your donors, so you can build authentic relationships.

 

CREATE PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

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To keep up with authentic communication, you can create personal experiences! How do you do that? Well, make sure to keep donor profiles and use their names when sending emails, newsletters, donation cards, impact reports, and postcards. It is also important to consistently send messages to donors and volunteers to let them know your organization is working hard for the cause.

A little bit of effort goes a long way, especially when you want to create personalized  experiences. Emails and text messages only go so far and are often overlooked, so it is important to seek other forms of communication. Sending handwritten note cards and direct-mail packages addressed to specific donors, tells your members that you value their support.

 

CONCLUSION

To summarize, figure out what your nonprofit is passionate about helping, stick to your values and beliefs, focus on including your donors, and organize personalized experiences that show your donors how much effort you put in.

BONUS TIP

Put the effort in and delight your donors with a handwritten note!

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Increase Donor Loyalty With Our Best Practices

One of the advantages that nonprofit organizations have is that often donors are looking for authentic personal connections with the nonprofit. Donors want to feel connected, like they are a part of something bigger, and feel like they belong.

As a nonprofit, one of the best ways to increase donor loyalty is by showing up. These days virtually can be almost as effective as in person. Donor loyalty is driven by human connection, which means personalizing your communications with them will ensure that your donors reach out to you again in the future.

This article will discuss how to increase donor loyalty by utilizing these 8 tools.

Challenges With Donor Loyalty Today

Put yourself in the shoes of your donors. You have finally selected a nonprofit organization whose mission and values align closely with your own. To begin, you choose to donate $100 to them. While your contribution may not be a massive donation, it’s still a significant contribution to the cause.

A week goes by following your donation, and you’ve received no response from the organization. Another week goes by, and still, there has been no response. You’re disappointed in the organization at first, but eventually, you simply forget about the whole thing.

While you may have forgotten about the whole ordeal, the critical thing to remember is that you will never give again.

Don’t let your nonprofit organization follow this path. Here are the top 8 ways to increase donor loyalty with our best practices!

Top 8 Ways to Increase Donor Loyalty

Even though nonprofits have notoriously stringent budgets, you’ll be happy to know that it doesn’t take much money to increase donor loyalty. Here are the top 8 ways to increase donor loyalty with our practices.

1. Connect With Your Donors Regularly
As previously mentioned, the primary method to increase donor loyalty is by staying connected. By regularly engaging with your donors, you are helping to build upon the emotional connection between them and your organization.

Some of the ways you can stay on top of your connections include:

Building a website
Updating your website weekly
Sending out newsletters
Provide video content
Post engaging content on social media

You should take the time to research your donor demographic’s preferred method of communication and hone in on developing those areas of your marketing efforts. And remember, don’t just post boring things. Find ways to engage directly with donors and personalize your efforts as much as possible.

2. Donor-Stewardship
Donor-stewardship is the process of building a relationship with your donors after they make a gift. The main aim of stewarding your donors is to encourage them to donate again. Creating a relationship with your donors will make them feel loyal and increase future fundraising.

Keep in mind the donor pyramid and varying levels of engagement within it. The different levels within the donor pyramid include:

-Occasional donors, volunteers, and event participants
-Annual and recurring donors
-Major gift donors
-Planned gift donors

3. Offer Opportunities for Your Donors to Get More Involved
Remember that your donors can contribute to your efforts more than simply donating money. Always have opportunities for your donors to get more involved with your organization, even if they don’t have the funds to donate at this time.

Here are a few different ways you can get your donors more involved with your organization:

  1. Set up a donor advisory board
  2. Ask donors to like and share social media posts
  3. Host new donor onboarding sessions
  4. Organize informal focus groups
  5. Send out surveys to donors
  6. Create a group chat on social media

4. Thank Donors in a Personal Way
It doesn’t matter what the size of the donation is. Any contributions your donor makes towards your cause should always be thanked. Believe it or not, thank-you mail can make or break a relationship with a donor.

While it can be challenging at times, writing thank-you notes to donors is a great way to show them that you appreciate them. Luckily, with the help of services like Postalgia, you can get the job done quickly and easily.

Postalgia will pen your individualized donor thank you notes on your letterhead with high-quality card stock, taking care of all details, including the address verification, postage, and mailing.

Many of us have grown accustomed to receiving countless messages by email, social media, and text every day that these days, a handwritten note is rare. Therefore, sending a handwritten thank-you card or letter makes your organization stand out and instantly creates a unique and personal connection with the recipient.

Penned by robots but remarkably human, our handwritten letters, notes, or cards to your stakeholders are written using genuine ink. We’ll print and mail these personalized handwritten donor thank-you notes for you for the ultimate convenience.

5. Develop Trust
Another surefire way to increase donor loyalty is by developing trust. To help promote confidence in and amongst your organization, consider interacting with donors face-to-face. There are plenty of different ways to help build trust in your organization. Some ideas might include:

-Hosting an in-person event for supporters
-Hosting a virtual event
-Invite donors to tour your offices
-Ask donors to join your team for a hike

6. Get as Personal as Possible
The perfect world for the nonprofit organization allows you to have a one-on-one relationship with every donor. Unfortunately, that’s not the most realistic expectation for most nonprofits.

Still, you can personalize your content as much as possible by tracking and measuring all of your interactions with donors. Some critical information you should constantly be tracking includes:

-Motivating factors
-Donor demographics or segments
-Preferred communication channels
-How new donors are driven to your organization

7. Remember It’s About Relationships, Not Donations
Instead of focusing your efforts on more donations, change your mindset to instead increase donor loyalty. Rather than funds being the ultimate end goal, you want to view your relationship with donors as an opportunity to make a more significant impact in the long run.

The more you have a two-way relationship with your donors, the more invested they will be in the growth and success of your organization.

8. Create a Donor Loyalty Program
Although you want to thank all contributions to your cause consciously, significant donors need to be thanked with a bit of extra care. Create a donor loyalty program to help maintain the momentum of your top supporters. Ideas for programs might include:

-Branded gifts
-Networking opportunities
-Special tickets to events
-Member-only events
-Exclusive member-only newsletters

Conclusion
The best ways to increase donor loyalty are linked to personalizing the experience. Getting to know your donors, what they like, and what you can do to maintain your relationship with them are critical components of the donor-stewardship.

After all, it’s about PEOPLE. There’s more to building donor loyalty than the basics, of course, but if you start doing these 8 things, you’ll be off to a good start.

Postalgia can help you deliver that personalized touch by creating physical media such as newsletters and fundraising campaigns and also produce beautifully handwritten personalized thank you letters to donors at scale.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Finding Your Next Major Donor is as Easy as 1,2,3…4,5,6

Whether you’re running a venture-backed Startup company, a Fortune 500 telecom giant, or a mission-driven non-profit organization, you need more resources – usually cash – to build your team, grow your reach, and scale whatever it is that your organization does best.

In the context of charities, foundations, and philanthropic organizations, if you were to ask anyone who works in a fundraising capacity what their top goals are for the month, the quarter, or the year, they might answer that they are working on stewardship, donor engagement, transitioning one-time donors to monthly donation programs, or acquiring new donors, but it all boils down to one thing: Money coming in.

That boils down to a few different elements of your broader fundraising strategy:

Acquisition – How are you acquiring new donors who have never given before?
Solicitation – What is your approach to raising money from current donors?
Monthly Giving – Are you turning your one-time donors into monthly donors?
Reactivation – How are you reactivating lapsed donors?
Legacy Giving – Do you have a program that allows your donors to make an impact after they’ve passed on?
Major Giving – Can you move donors into higher and higher giving brackets?
Stewardship – How do you keep donors connected so that they stay donors?

Many fundraisers correctly focus heavily on soliciting existing donors – after all, the most likely source of new charitable dollars is past givers who are already connected to and inspired by the mission of your organization.

But donor churn – your donors deciding to stop giving to your organization – is an inevitability, not a hypothetical. Excellent organizations may experience lower levels of donor churn than the industry standard, but with The Association of Fundraising Professionals Fundraising Effectiveness Project pegging 2020 retention rates at 43.6%, that means that you can expect to keep fewer than half of your donors year over year if you run a typical fundraising operation.

Of course, the longer a donor is with your organization, the less likely they are to stop giving (hence the importance of monthly giving programs and stewardship), and a big chunk of the almost 57% of donors that didn’t come back in 2020 were first-time donors themselves (more than 80% of first time donors made one gift and never returned).

But that doesn’t change the fact that you need to replace the donors that you’re losing every year with fresh, new additions to your donor base.

So, without further ado, here are 6 tips to growing your new donor base:

1. Survey your current donors

Before you embark on an involved, time-consuming, and/or expensive process of attracting new donors through what you assume is the way to do so, it is worth asking your existing donors a few simple questions:

How did you hear about our charity, non-profit org, or foundation?
How long after did you donate?
Did you have any involvement with the organization before donating?
Why did you decide to donate to our organization?
Were you asked? If so, by whom? How? Through what channel?
What was the process like when you gave your first gift?

If you have candid conversations with some of your best donors, at different giving levels, ages, and years of involvement, you’ll find strong patterns start to emerge.

If your charitable organization is like most, you’ll find that many of your donors have a personal connection to your organization, had involvement with the organization before giving, give for similar reasons, and were asked to give in similar ways.

This crucial first step will give you a good idea of where to look for new donors, and help you in the next step as well…

2. Create a donor profile for digital advertising

Once the patterns in your donor stories have begun to emerge, you should be able to create a donor profile.

A donor profile could include demographic, geographic, ethnic, religious, professional and income information, all of which can be used to target acquisition campaigns.

For example, if you are fundraising for a children’s hospital in the downtown area of a major metropolitan city, you may discover from your donors that they are mostly suburban parents of 2 or more children, working as professionals (dentists, lawyers, accountants, etc…).

3. Create issues or opportunities-based campaigns

One of the most important things that you will learn from talking to your existing donors is what moved them to donate in the first place.

Deciding to give money is a big step for many people. Chances are that for every donor you have, you have thousands if not tens of thousands of people who support your mission in non-financial ways, even if just quietly and privately in their own minds.

You’re probably asking yourself what good that does you – a non-profit organization with mouths to feed and a mission to undertake.

But today’s donors are yesterday’s activists who were the day before’s volunteers who were themselves quiet supporters the day before that. As the proverb goes, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

In this case, it’s very difficult to fundraise from anonymous supporters that you don’t know exist, but approaching strangers and asking them for money is likely to get more doors closed in your face than not.

Asking for small expressions of support, however – like “sign this petition” or “click to email your congressman” are not big asks. What they do, however, is help you build a list of people who are supporters of your cause, and may one day financially contribute to your philanthropic endeavors. You now have the names, email addresses, and possibly addresses and phone numbers of people who support your organization enough to put up their hands and self-identify. That list is worth its proverbial weight in gold.

4. Turn stakeholders into activists

Speaking of building lists, chances are that many of your donors had interactions with your organization as non-donors before they ever cut a check.

If you’re fundraising for a school, certainly your alumni are a great place to start; but what about their parents and grandparents? If you’re a hospital foundation, studies show that over 80% of grateful patients feel good about donating to the hospital at which they received treatment, to say nothing of their relieved and grateful families.

The people that you helped are not the only stakeholders in your community.

Congregants, community members, teachers, and volunteers of all types often go on to become amongst the most prolific and involved donors in any charitable organization.

5. Create volunteer opportunities, community events, and open houses.

That’s why creating volunteer opportunities is one of the most powerful long-term acquisition strategies that you can pursue. Nothing binds a supporter to a nonprofit organization’s mission like giving their time and energy to the cause.

Ironically, giving in this way makes donors and supporters more invested than receiving does.

Bringing people together through volunteerism, showing off the good work that your organization does, and creating community through causes that people are passionate about takes a lot of work, but the result is that you will attract people who are much more mission-driven, much less transactional, and much less likely to leave after giving once.

These mission-driven people will make up the beating heart of your donor base. They are exactly who you want to make up the core of your organization, and you’ll wish that you could clone them.

6. Have your current donors bring a friend

The next best thing, however, is to have them bring like-minded friends, family members, and colleagues along for the ride.

A lot of fundraisers are afraid to ask their donors for anything other than money; their mentality is that if the donors have already given to the organization, the last thing that you want to do is impose on them in a way that risks alienating them by making them feel put upon.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Your donors are along for the ride for a reason. They are the most passionate believers in the work that you are doing, and nothing makes them feel better than having more opportunities to help in ways that don’t make them feel like they are only viewed by you as a source of more and more money.

Giving them opportunities to bring in friends – especially to community-building events – would be welcomed by your donors as a new and unique way to contribute.

And just like that, your fundraising list just got bigger.

Putting it all together

Suppose you’re fundraising for a  hospital foundation. You speak to your current donors and see patterns start to emerge. You learn that most of your donors are parents with young children, living in one of the suburbs of your city, working as young professionals. You find out that they donated because they’re passionate about combating childhood cancer, something in which your hospital excels. You learn that many of them were asked to donate after being solicited by an existing patient – a loved one, friend, or colleague. Now you have a donor profile.

You use that information to create a targeted digital campaign. The message: a former patient asks parents to please sign a petition calling on the state government to invest more in combating and treating cancers that affect children. For every signature, a major donor will donate a dollar to your hospital foundation.

You collect supporters through that campaign, and add them to your existing lists of stakeholders (which you may have at the ready, or may need to build). In addition to fundraising off of this large, curated list in future direct mail and digital campaigns, you also advertise volunteer opportunities: “Come volunteer with kids in the cancer ward.“

New faces turn up to your volunteer opportunities. You send out a direct mail piece to all existing donors, inviting them to come to a community event to raise money for a state of the art pediatric cancer treatment center, and to bring a friend, because every dollar given by a new donor will be matched by a major gifts donor.

Somewhere on your list, whether it’s one of the petition-signers who now receives your community newsletter, a new volunteer who is moved by the hopeful faces of smiling children, or someone whose colleague brought them to a fundraising gala for the first time to have their first donation matched, is your next million-dollar lifetime donor, just waiting to shake your hand and to thank you for giving them the opportunity to change lives and make a difference.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

Top 6 Non Profit Marketing Ideas

It is crucial for marketing and communications professionals to have a marketing plan, even if the budget is low. Marketing plans set goals, develop tools for communication, define the mission, and generate an effective strategy for approaching and engaging donors.

Nonprofits often have limited marketing funds, but no matter the budget size, good and strategic marketing is the most effective way to increase awareness and raise funds.

Challenges with Nonprofit Marketing Ideas Today

The biggest hurdle for nonprofit marketing ideas today is that most believe that a large budget is necessary to be effective. While having a marketing budget is important, much can be done with a small budget.

Here are the top 6 nonprofit marketing ideas that will help boost your marketing footprint today!

Top 6 Nonprofit Marketing Ideas

A giant marketing budget is not necessary in order to be effective. For nonprofits, this concept is especially true. Here are the top 6 nonprofit marketing ideas.

 

1. Build a Website and Update it Weeklyunnamed (13)

Your website is your first impression to donors, volunteers, employees, and supporters. It provides information about your cause and purpose, as well as statistics and stories.

Maintaining a weekly blog on your website will help keep your audience engaged with your nonprofit’s news and success stories. Fresh weekly content also increases your relevance to search engines and brings in new visitors which is the best low cost way to increase awareness and find new donors.

2. Send Out Newsletters

Donors always like to know what’s new in your nonprofit. Thankfully, you can share nice and exciting content, your monthly successes, numbers, etc., by sending out newsletters. A very convenient way to create a newsletter is to draw much of the content from your weekly blog content.

This can be done via email, or for increased engagement, Postalgia can print and mail your newsletters directly to your donors.

 

3.  Engage Your Audience with Video Content

Videos are visually stimulating and dynamic. They can boost your audience engagement because they can be educational, emotional, and easy to share. As a nonprofit, you can make testimonial videos. Building trust is the key to donations.

Content marketing is all about building trust and long-term relationships. Provide people with exciting and valuable information instead of selling to them.

Additionally, Google loves videos. Videos boost the time spent by site visitors. The longer the site has been online, the greater the trust it gains from search engines and the more relevant it appears to search engines. Video-embedded websites are 53 times more likely to appear first in Google searches.

 

A cool app to make easy videos is Vidyard.

 

4. Have a Social Media Marketing Budget

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Promoting posts on social media is an often overlooked yet effective way to increase your views without breaking the bank. No matter the size of your organization, it can be helpful to designate a specific amount to promote your cause on social media. Your presence on the Internet will be established, and you will reach a broader audience. You can acquire 1,000 views for under $10 on most social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube). When a  post gains a bit more traction with an account’s followers it is a good sign that it will be worthwhile to boost views with a small post promotion.

 

5. Post Engaging Content on Social Media

 

Your organization can use all its social media channels to raise awareness for upcoming events and raise funds for your cause. Increase social media shares by posting visual content such as video, images and breaking news. Posts visual representations of data tend to be more virally shared than text alone. You can also create contests or polls that allow your followers to vote.

A regular schedule of events gives supporters something to look forward to consistently, so their involvement remains high. In addition to bringing new people into your organization, events are also opportunities to introduce them to your cause.

 

6. Thank Your Donors in a Creative and Original Way

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Thank-you mail can make or break a relationship with a donor? Writing thank-you notes to donors is a great way to show them that you appreciate them, but it can be challenging.

By using some sample thank-you donation letters or a service like Postalgia, you can get the job done quickly and easily. We will pen your individualized donor thank you notes on your letterhead with high quality card stock. We take care of the address verification, postage, and mailing.

Show sincere appreciation and leave a good impression next time by saying thank you to donors, volunteers, and suppliers with a thoughtful, handwritten message. Penned by robots but remarkably human, our handwritten letters, notes, or cards to your stakeholders are written using genuine ink. We’ll print and mail these personalized handwritten donor thank-you notes for you for ultimate convenience.

What’s more original than a handwritten letter? These days, a handwritten note is rare because many of us have grown accustomed to receiving countless messages by email, social media, and text every day. A handwritten thank-you card or letter not only stands out but also instantly creates a unique and personal connection with the recipient.

Show your appreciation with handwritten donor thank-you notes.

 

Conclusion

The best nonprofit marketing ideas boil down to having a plan in place regardless of the budget size. Getting to know your donors, what they like, and what they would like to see is key to growing your marketing reach.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

The Benefit of Thanking Your Customers

Gratitude. It’s such a simple word to say. In reality, it has so much meaning. And it means different things to different people. It can even anchor your business strategy. One thing about gratitude, though, is that it takes practice. The more you practice offering thanks to those you interact with, the happier and better satisfied you (and the recipient) become. That’s good for your business – and you.

Showing gratitude to others is one way you can make them feel appreciated, which is something that offers surprising rewards if you’re willing to initiate. In fact, the art of thanking others can be what sets you apart and builds loyalty among customers, donors, and employees alike. Here’s what you need to know about thanking others, the psychology behind it, and how to maximize its value for your business.

How You Benefit From Gratitude

Gratitude isn’t just about your customers, it can offer big benefits for you. Thanking someone is a small thing that breeds enormous results. The more frequently you practice thanking others, the more thankful you feel about your own life, at least according to Harvard Medical School.

As you take on a grateful mindset, you’ll begin feeling thankful for more and more things. If you have trouble verbalizing gratitude, you might begin by creating a gratitude journal or writing thank-you cards to people in your circle. The more you practice these actions, the easier it will be to offer your thanks to your customers and tell people around you that you are thankful for them.

In business, this isn’t only for customer appreciation. You can show appreciation for employees or even individuals (even vendors) who have given their money, time, and talent to support your business.

Psychology Of A Thank You

Thanking your customers will make a huge difference to your bottom line if you leverage the power of expressing gratitude. in addition to the personal benefits that practicing gratitude and thanking others offer, you’ll enjoy the benefit of more loyal customers.

Why? One big factor is that offering and receiving thanks is actually less common than you’d think. According to a recent study published in Psychological Science, most people underestimate the value of saying thank you – so they don’t do it.

Researchers discovered that when people thank someone, they underestimate the positive sentiments that their statement of appreciation elicits. That might explain why some individuals don’t express their gratitude more frequently.

In several experiments, participants picked someone who positively influenced them and anticipated how the recipient would react to receiving a letter of thanks. The researchers sent letters to the recipients of the thank-you letter and asked them to evaluate the individual thanking them.

According to the survey results, those expressing gratitude significantly underestimated how positively the recipient would rate them. They notably underestimated the competency rating, indicating that looking silly or inept might be a significant barrier to expressing thanks.

What Does Cultivating Gratitude Mean for Businesses?

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop.

When you thank your customers, employees, and others you come in contact with, it makes them FEEL good. If you do it consistently, those good feelings become something they associate with you and your business. They will seek out those experiences over interactions with other people because of how your company makes them feel.

In other words, it creates loyalty.

People will often turn down higher-paying jobs if they feel appreciated and valued in their current jobs. The same holds for customers. They will drive out of their way and across town to do business with a shop or store that makes them feel appreciated rather than going to one nearby that does not.

Even with e-commerce businesses, customers will return time and again to websites that make them feel appreciated rather than going to those that make them feel like a nameless, faceless number instead of a valued customer. The way you make people feel matters. Thanking them is a crucial method for making them feel valued and appreciated by you and your business.

Practicing Gratitude in Business

When you make people associated with your business feel appreciated, they will be much more loyal to your business than those who do not. This means expressing gratitude is an incredible way to build loyalty for your business.

Here are a few ideas on how to make your customers feel appreciated:

  • Add bonus items or small extras to packages when delivering items.
  • Offer free products or samples to customers.
  • Start a loyalty program that provides discounted or free items with repeat purchases.
  • Provide discounts on future purchases.
  • Offer employee appreciation benefits.
  • Spotlight customers, employees, etc. in weekly newsletters or social posts.

Another easy way to express gratitude is with a handwritten thank-you card. It may seem like a simple gesture, but it makes an impression on your audience. In fact, a handwritten thank-you note carries far more weight than you may realize because:

  • People don’t deliberately say thanks all that often.
  • A handwritten thank-you card is more likely to stand out in the mail.
  • Handwritten cards are more likely to be read and remembered.
  • The fact that someone wrote the information makes gratitude appear more authentic.
  • It’s an easy method to show customer appreciation. And we can make it even easier for you.

Because you practice gratitude, show appreciation, and give thanks, you continue to enjoy the mental health and physical benefits that being grateful provides. Plus, you enjoy the benefits of loyalty from your customers and employees. It’s a real win for businesses and individuals from all walks of life.

Of course, you can thank your customers and employees in many ways. But the most important thing is to actually thank them. More importantly, show them you are grateful for their business and be thankful for things each day as they happen. Do this consistently enough, and over time you will enjoy greater customer loyalty as your business grows.

Want to level up your direct mail? Contact us.

5 Easy Ways To Market Your Small Business Using Handwritten Notes

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 inboxes and provides something substantial and meaningful.

Let’s take a look at some fantastic ways you may utilize handwritten notes to promote and develop your small business.

Thank Them For Their Business

It is important to start with the fundamentals. Thanking your new customers or clients for their business is a simple gesture that shows them that you appreciate their decision to choose your company.

A thank-you note should convey this sentiment in writing, using a pen and paper (and even a robot!) instead of an electronic form of communication. Your gratitude can go a long way in developing a lasting relationship with your customer. As we outline in this article, make sure you send your thank-you note in a timely manner; otherwise, your customer may forget about the transaction (and you).

Send Personalized Birthday Cards

What could be a more unique and personalized opportunity to reach out to your customer than to commemorate their birthday? Recognizing their birthday by sending them a handwritten note will help create familiarity with your clientele, which can later translate into a deeper, long-term relationship.

Sure it may take a little extra effort, but it’s worth it to make your customer feel appreciated. Too few businesses send handwritten cards, let alone cards that aren’t directly related to a sales transaction. So you are sure to stand out by following this approach.

To keep track of information specific to each customer such as birthdays, choose a reputable Customer Relationship Management platform to help automate this process. By using a CRM, you can keep all customer contact information in a single place so that you can easily send out birthdays and other critical time-sensitive messages to your customers.

Send a Note After a Networking Event

Regular networking is excellent, but incorporating a strong follow-up is even better. When you meet someone at an event, make sure you send that person a quick note a few days afterward, which will reinforce your connection.

This approach is an easy way to connect with someone who may not necessarily realize that you can add value to their business while developing a deeper relationship with them than the initial (and often casual or shallow) connection made through the networking event.

They will also appreciate that you took the time to continue a conversation in another way. A handwritten note will help them remember you and your company when they eventually need products or services, allowing you to gain even more value from networking.

Write a Handwritten Note of Encouragement

We all go through tough or challenging times. So when someone reaches out to you during a particularly difficult (or otherwise notable) situation, you are sure to remember it. If you notice someone standing out – for whatever reason – be sure to send them a note of encouragement. This gesture will let the person know that their actions haven’t gone unnoticed and are appreciated by others, including you.

When someone is outwardly positive, acts with integrity, or stands tall in the face of a challenge, you should use that opportunity to let them know that they aren’t alone. Sending a personalized, handwritten note or card to a person who has demonstrated confidence or positivity can greatly influence the way they view themselves, their business – and you.

Prospect A New Target Area

We’ve talked about prospecting elsewhere on this blog. When you are looking to build your business in a new territory, you have to get the attention of potential local customers. What better way to do that than with a personal note or card?

Again, this is an opportunity for you to stand out from other potential competitors who haven’t taken the time to create and send a handwritten note to people who live or work locally. This handwritten letter should include helpful information about your business, how you will be of benefit to them, and a brief description of your products or services.

A handwritten letter to local businesses or households is an excellent opportunity for you to introduce your business to influential community members who can help you establish relationships with even larger networks of neighbourhood people and businesses.

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These are just a few ideas on how to market your business to new or potential customers. As we have seen with so many of our clients, a handwritten card can be an effective way to continue building strong relationships with current customers and prospects alike.

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to market your business, contact us today. We’ll be happy to discuss what we can do for you to help grow and expand your customer base.

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7 Most Common Business Thank You Note Mistakes

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 this key business practice to the degree that they should. There are many reasons for this that we will discuss in this article, but today I want to focus on the most common business thank-you note mistakes.

While we are big fans of thank-you notes as a general rule, misunderstandings over proper etiquette and even when to send a card can weaken or even harm customer relationships. To avoid the seven most common thank-you note mistakes, read on.

Not sending the note soon enough

The sooner your company sends a note after any transaction or touchpoint, the more likely it will be read and remembered by the person who received it. It might seem like a small thing, but in today’s busy world where people get hundreds or thousands of emails every day (and forget most of them), this simple step can make all the difference.

If your company is in the habit of sending thank you notes more than 72 hours after every job or transaction, chances are that many recipients will forget who sent it and why. The sooner a personalized note arrives, the higher its impact – especially if they received hundreds of other generic emails, text messages and memes in between.

Sending a generic note without any personalization or connection
We get it. A form letter is easy to replicate and send out. Just print and mail. If that’s all the company is doing with a thank-you note, it may not cut it. Sure, a form letter might work for the first few customers who receive it, but after that, recipients will see it for what it is: an automated gesture to boost your business’s sales without any genuine care or connection behind it.

Instead, make sure your thank-you note is tailored to the individual. Personalization will inspire a response and have recipients seeing your business as an interested party in their lives, not a faceless vendor sending out blank cards for marketing purposes. Include as many details as you can, including the customer’s name, a mention of the product or service and the date of the transaction.

Making The Thank-You Note All About You

The intended purpose of a thank-you note is to make customers feel appreciated, especially if you already provided an exceptional product or level of service. However, what you want to avoid is making them feel like they are getting an advertisement from your business.

That means the focus of the thank-you note should remain squarely on the customer, not on your company. Sure, you should acknowledge the importance of your products and services – indirectly. But a thank-you note is not an opportunity to brag about what makes your company great.

Instead, think of this: if someone did something nice for you (e.g., bought a product or service from you), would you want that person to talk about him or herself the whole time? Probably not. The same is true for thank-you notes: make sure they focus on the customer and their needs, not you.

Going On Too Long

When it comes to thank-you notes, less is more. You want to keep your thank-you note short and sweet – preferably less than 200 words. Long paragraphs and multiple pages are too much, even for a wonderful customer. If you feel that you want to say more than you have room for in your note, that’s okay. Just send a shorter thank-you note and explain that there will be more follow up in the future.

Remember that every touchpoint creates an opportunity to strengthen (or weaken) the impression your customer has of your company – and you. So make sure that every word of your thank-you note is carefully chosen and adds value in some way.

Not Saying Anything Of Value

This is related to the last point. When you are sending a thank-you note, you should still be doing it for a reason. A good thank-you note can communicate a lot in few words. Use this as an opportunity to communicate what is important to you: trust, quality, originality, customer experience or meaning – to name a few areas.

This is an opportunity to express the values you hold dear and the beliefs you stand behind. If you’re not saying anything of value, then your customers probably aren’t getting anything out of reading your notes.

Writing An Email Instead Of A Handwritten Note

I doubt you are surprised that the team behind Postalgia would recommend handwritten notes. But admitted bias aside, there is value to sending your customers a physical, handwritten piece of mail.

There is a sense of appreciation and care that can just come through in the touch, feel and use of an actual thank-you note. It’s tactile. It feels good to receive it. It takes effort to send it. It’s memorable.

While email is generic and unremarkable, handwritten notes are the opposite. So if you have the time and ability to send a thank-you note in person, then your customers will appreciate it. Not only does this show that you care – which is what a thank-you note is all about – but also that you took the time to put effort into their appreciation of your business.

Forgetting to send out thank-you notes altogether

Lastly, one of the big mistakes is not sending out customer thank-you notes at all. This is a big no-no. Your customers deserve to know that their business means something to you.

If it just slips your mind, then make sure you get on top of things as soon as possible, preferably within 72 hours of the customer interaction, as per tip number one. And don’t tell yourself that they “won’t care”. They will.

Instead, think of the thank-you note as an opportunity. With just a few words, you can express gratitude for their business and all the ways it truly matters to you. Be genuine, be brief, and be grateful. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just focus on what’s important: your customers’ happiness.

Wrapping Up

Sending thank-you notes is a powerful tool for deepening your relationship with your customers. But it is important to do it right. By avoiding these seven mistakes, you can help ensure that you get the most out of this important activity.

Of course, the most important step is resolving to include thank-you notes as a key part of your sales process. Are there any other examples of common mistakes that you see small businesses make when writing their thank-you notes? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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