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Geez, why would I ask this? It’s really none of my business. Or is it? Such a personal thing! EXACTLY! My point is this: Letters work.

I’ve been in and around Direct Mail for over 20 years. Most of the clients with whom I’ve worked believed postcards pulled better than letters. Their reasoning? “People don’t have to take something out of an envelope.” But letters do something that postcards never can…they create the illusion of personal communication. People see a postcard and they know, immediately, that it’s an advertisement. There’s no suspense, there’s no build-up of anticipation. Yup, it’s kind of hard to hide the intent with a postcard, where it’s right there for all to see.

A letter, on the other hand? Especially if it’s in a hand-written font? People don’t know who it’s from. They see the return address, but that doesn’t register with members. They wonder if someone cared enough to send something so personal. Even after they know it's not from a friend or loved one, they still feel it's personal. What does this equate to? The letter gets opened and it will probably get read. If the message is sincere and resonates, you’re maybe on your way to a new customer. I'm not saying people are fooled. They're usually smart enough to know the difference between a letter from a friend and one from you or me. But the illusion is real, regardless.

There’s no right or wrong answer to this, but you may want to test it by support. Try out a letter, in a handwritten font, that’s also in an envelope in that same font. Have a unique response mechanism on it, so you can track the results vs. your other direct marketing. How will it do? Give it time to generate the response. (DON’T GO TO COSTCO IF YOU’RE BUYING FOR ONE)

Before you leave this post, pick one person you want to connect with…not a prospect, but a friend. Write them a letter. It doesn’t have to belong. Once they receive it, ask them how it made them feel. You might be surprised at the result!

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