How to use handwritten media to get noticed

Filed under Columns, Marketing

By Lidia Varesco Racoma, Guest columnist

Lidia Varesco Racoma

Lidia Varesco Racoma discusses the merits of handwritten correspondence

It can be worthwhile for a small business to take a break from social media and focus on “handwritten media.”

Being an avid user of social media, I realize its benefits for small business—but I also believe that staying connected with clients and prospects requires a more personal approach such as handwritten communications.

With daily business communications mainly taking place electronically, it’s nice to get a card in the mail—especially when mailboxes are stuffed with holiday catalogs and bills. A handwritten card or note is a visual representation of the time and effort someone took to reach out to you—a concept that is difficult to convey online.

Fellow graphic designer Stefanie Gehrig agrees. “Handwritten notes get noticed. People seem genuinely touched,” Gehrig said. “I don’t have a lot of face-to-face time with clients and it creates another layer to our sometimes strictly business relationship.”

Since I started my graphic design business ten years ago, I’ve been sending a specially designed holiday card and desk calendar each year. I include a personal note, mentioning something that I’m grateful for (such as new projects, fast invoice payment, etc.) Many clients post the calendar on their office wall, prompting them to stay in touch. Some have even contacted me in advance to make sure they get a calendar! In addition to expressing my gratitude, there’s the added bonus of staying top-of-mind and creating brand awareness for my business.

On the flip side, I’m always pleased to receive holiday communications from my clients. As small business owners we work hard all year, so it’s nice to receive personal recognition and gratitude from our clients. I especially appreciate cards that are signed by the entire team—it’s a personal touch that can’t be communicated via email.

Feeling too busy during the holidays to send a card? Do it after the holiday rush. I have several clients who take advantage of less-hectic holidays such as New Year and Epiphany to send holiday communications. In addition to standing out, your card may arrive faster when the post office is not overloaded.

For example, Tracy Dillard, a sales associate with Koenig & Strey Real Living in Chicago, sends a New Year card to clients and prospects with a handwritten note, even hand addressing the envelopes. After each mailing, she inevitably receives several phone calls from clients. Some of her clients have even saved a collection of New Year cards over the years. The custom-designed and handwritten cards allow her to personalize and strengthen business connections—and set herself apart in her competitive industry. What more can you ask for?

Art director & graphic designer Lidia Varesco Racoma of Lidia Varesco Design in Chicago is such a fan of handwritten communications that she created a line of greeting cards and stationery especially for small businesses available at lsvgreetings.com.

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