Get Personal with Direct Marketing and Make More £££

It’s a treat getting a proper letter through the post, something from a friend or loved one. But if you’re anything like me, years of keyboard use has wrecked your handwriting and penning anything longer than a postcard actually hurts. So it’s good to see a canny new invention, a cutting-edge handwriting robot designed to help you express yourself “in the way you want.”
The machine lets you choose from a pre-set suite of beautiful handwritten fonts classified as either messy, stylish or formal. You can even use fonts inspired by the handwriting of Sigmund Freud, amongst other luminaries. If you have $199 spare the robot’s creators Bond will mimic your own handwriting. For $499 they’ll get their handwriting experts to help you improve yours before setting it in digital stone.

A/B testing handwritten envelopes – Direct marketing 101

Back in my old direct mail days we did rigorous A/B personalisation testing. We achieved dramatically better response and conversion levels when we ‘hand-wrote’ names and addresses on our outer envelopes. Of course they weren’t actually written by hand, we lasered the information onto the mailing piece using a specially created handwriting-like font. But it looked real.

What about genuine handwriting?

One time, working with a Blue Chip luxury brand, we actually tested real handwriting. We paid a team of mailing house staff with attractive writing to hand-address 5000 envelopes, testing them against 5000 with ordinary lasered delivery details.
Hand writing the addresses worked incredibly well, improving response by enough decimal points to make the difference between a bog-standard ROI and an excellent one. The respondents felt the letter was genuinely personal. More of them opened it in the first place. And more of those who opened it actually bought the product.
Obviously the extra cost of hand-addressing the envelopes had to be factored into the ROI. But the fact it was a luxury product with a high unit cost meant the extra money we spent was financially worthwhile several times over.

Still handwriting envelopes for a better direct marketing response

Now and again I send out a mini-direct mail campaign to local businesses who might need a freelance writer, usually just tens of them, carefully targeted. I always handwrite the envelope and hand-sign the letter. When I send out a postcard mailing I handwrite the postcards too. In my experience the rewards are worth having. If you’re not sure, AB test hand-addressed envelopes against a segment with typed or printed addresses and see for yourself.
PS. Stamps tend to boost response, too. An envelope with a stamp stands out amongst all the franked outers – which are usually bills – and is much more likely to be opened.
PPS. We tested a yellow envelope one time. It pulled double the response of a plain white one. A white envelope with a red corner flash worked better than the plain white envelope but not as well as the yellow one.  These are all things that’re worth knowing because they help you make more money from your marketing. But you won’t know until you test them…
PPPS. If you’re not testing different digital marketing approaches to win knowledge and improve roll-out response and sales conversion, why not?

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