When is the last time that you received a hand written note, invitation, or request from someone that you do business with on a regular basis. In this world of email and web based communications, the personal touch has been lost. Several studies have been done in recent years that have more than proven then benefit of a handwritten note.
Robert Cialdini wrote about his findings in a book titled Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive. The book describes the perks to a handwritten note using a survey mailed out in three different formats. The formats included the following:
1) A printed letter.
2) A printed letter with a handwritten message.
3) A printed letter with a handwritten message on a Post-It note.
According to the article written on the MarketingProfs blog, the response rate was a mere 36% for the plain printed cover letter. Adding the handwritten note improved the response rate by one third to 48%. The Post-It more than doubled the response to 75%. A second test to examine the possibility that some magic in the Post-It note itself was responsible for the higher response rate included cover letters with a blank sticky note attached. That approach generated only a slightly higher response rate of 42%.
The author of the blog Neuroscience Marketing goes on to say, "It seems that what is causing the boost is a “reciprocity” effect. The recipient recognizes that the sender apparently put some personal effort into the mailing, and is more likely to reciprocate with some effort of his own. Indeed, the recipients who received the handwritten Post-It note were not only more likely to respond, but they also responded more promptly and answered the questions more thoroughly. And, as suggested by the 1989 Maheux study, adding a “Thank you!” and initials to the note further lifted the response rate in yet another Post-It test."
So, as you look at your marketing plans for 2009 make sure you are making an effort to get personal!