How handwritten notes generated a 30% lead conversion rate

Communication technology feels irreplaceable, but is it comprehensive? One thing your marketing strategy might be neglecting, specifically when it comes to customer acquisitions, are the basics. The things that connect humans and make them feel good. Like personalization of handwritten notes.

Perhaps the way forward isn’t digital. Maybe it’s time to revert back to analog thinking. Learn how handwritten notes can improve your lead generation.

Companies rely on marketing now, more than ever

Technology has made communication faster, cheaper and easier. This is precisely why companies have become so reliant on digital marketing campaigns. It is an inexpensive way to attract new leads and retain loyal clients.

But, increased access to technology creates a big problem. Noise. A lot of it.  And, it’s impossibly difficult to cut through.

Two of the leading outbound email services in the U.S., MailChimp and Constant Contact, frequently publish their internal metrics. MailChimp reports that businesses in “Professional Services” have a 21% average open rate. Constant Contact reports a 16% average for the same industry.

While these open rates may be considered average for the industry, 16-21% can be a low figure depending on how many subscribers are on your email list. Worse, the average conversion rate for email marketing is less than 1%.

If you have 5,000 members on your list, it would be average to reach only 800 people, and convert maybe 8.

This begs the question, are our current digital campaigns giving us the best response rate possible?

Is marketing as effective as we hope?

Every business uses digital communication.

For that reason, consumers and business owners feel overwhelmed by messaging. No one wants to be constantly sold, so the reaction is to ignore the contact entirely.

“90% of C-suite executive say they never respond to cold calls or email blasts.” (HBR 2012)

For a marketer, it is increasingly difficult to get the attention of decision-makers and consumers.

Another obstacle marketers face are spam filters. With improved machine learning, spam filters have become smarter. The less marketing materials making it to a prospect’s inbox, the more devalued digital communication becomes.

In fact, WordStream estimates that nonprofits lose about $15, 000 USD, each year due to spam filters blocking fundraising campaign emails from prospects’ inboxes.

Furthermore, many countries are imposing strict regulations to limit cold calls and emails.

Did you know it’s actually illegal to send cold emails in most European countries? For instance, in Germany sending B2B or B2C cold emails is illegal without a prior opt-in.

So now, your biggest challenge is to not be silenced. And to stand out whenever possible.

You won’t do that by following the same steps as everyone else. How can you differentiate?

Being different is noticeable

“You can’t sell digital marketing with digital marketing alone,” says Benjamin Leiberich, founder and CEO of manufaktur34

After facing challenges from his client acquisition methods, Leiberich realized he needed to change his approach. Leiberich remembered a handwritten letter he received shortly after starting a new company.

The note read, “Dear Mr. Leiberich, I wish you all the best and a great start at your new job!”

This note was handwritten by the recruiter who placed him. While he had no personal relationship with the recruiter, Leiberich still kept this handwritten letter on his desk for his entire tenure at the company.

Think about that for a second.

Assuming Leiberich stayed with the company for at least four years —the current average— that’s about 1460 days of looking at this handwritten letter. If Leiberich needed a recruiter again, the author of this note is likely to come to mind.

Had the pleasantry been delivered by email, it’s likely Leiberich would have forgotten about it a minute later. Or perhaps he wouldn’t have opened it. But it didn’t. Leiberich kept the note. In a visible place, nonetheless.

This simple gesture inspired Leiberich to try a similar approach regarding customer acquisition. He wrote 20 handwritten letters and sent them to prospects. This effort generated striking results:

  • 8 leads
  • 6 leads turned into new customers
  • Which equals a 30% conversion rate

This experiment outperformed his traditional digital marketing methods, which was largely based on email marketing. Imagine how much lower your cost per lead would be if you could convert 30% of your prospects.

Invest in your customers if you expect them to invest in you

Handwritten notes are different. They are unexpected. But, they cost more than an electronic message.

Still, the investment is well worth it. Handwritten notes aren’t going to break the bank. Rather, like any good investment, handwritten notes can help you generate money.

You can almost guarantee your customer will open the letter. And perhaps keep it around for a while. When you take a little more time and invest a bit more money, it is noticed. It shows your prospects that they are more than just another email address in a database.

When it comes to handwritten notes, quality over quantity

Think about your experiences with cards or handwritten letters. How do they make you feel? Warm, happy and special are a few adjectives that come to mind.

This is what makes them effective when capturing the attention of your prospects.

Handwritten letters aren’t as scalable as e-mails and must be created with more thought. The message must be specific to the recipient. For example:

  • Inviting clients or prospects to a webinar you’re hosting
  • Introducing yourself to a new prospect
  • Thanking a client post-purchase
  • Remembering important milestones like a client’s birthday, the holidays, etc

You may not be able to send as many handwritten notes as you can email, but handwritten notes show you care about connection and the personal touch. And, from a new business perspective, this analog approach does something a digital approach struggles to do, it evokes an emotional response.

It’s all a balancing act

So, should you ditch your digital acquisition methods and focus solely on handwritten notes?

Of course not.

A handwritten letter can’t replace successful B2B demand generation campaign. And, it won’t be the answer to all B2B demand generation challenges in the digital age. But, it can be an effective addition to your custom acquisition efforts.

It’s tempting to keep looking forward to the next new thing. We have become so accustomed to digital communication that in some ways we’ve forgotten about the effectiveness of more classic methods.

It’s important to remember, true success in customer acquisition needs both digital and analog elements.

What are you waiting for? If you haven’t already, try sending some handwritten notes today.