The handwritten word I mean in this instance. Today I received an actual handwritten letter through the actual post. And it was wonderful, really brightened up my Monday! In business terms, it created meaningful engagement.
In today’s digital-first world, it’s easy to forget the power of personally written words. Too often we rely on faceless email, on texts, and on messaging via Facebook or Twitter to communicate.
But can social media and email communication be that meaningful?
It’s tricky because I’m not suggesting the only way to truly communicate with your customers or even your colleagues is to hand write them a letter…we’re not living in a Jane Austen novel after all. And the digital age has clearly brought us so many benefits. But it does occur to me that so many have forgotten the power of a well-crafted and personalised communication.
When was the last time you put actual pen to actual paper? (The irony of typing that sentence into my Mac keyboard is not lost on me). When did you contact a friend or loved one, in writing, just because? That is what I received from my friend and former colleague who I have not seen or spoken to in years, and yet we are in regular touch via Facebook.
So it occurs to me that perhaps, just perhaps, there is a lesson here. A lesson that could be applied to business. I have a couple of small businesses I’d like to approach to see if there is anything I could do to help them with their marketing and communications. They are businesses I have long admired as both a customer and observer. I have observed their values and philosophy of doing business in a certain way, and for me, that is always the best starting point for a healthy and valuable working relationship. So instead of the usual Twitter follow, the FB like, the email and/or phonecall to their office, I shall adopt a more proactive and personal approach by writing a letter and sending it in the actual post.
What shall I put in this letter? Well, that’s TBC at the moment. But I know it needs to strike a personal chord with the recipient, it needs to resonate with something that is important to them. I need to be able to demonstrate I can solve a challenge or problem, or I just need to share some knowledge and expertise that will help them. But most of all I need to surprise them, in a good way. And sending a letter for their personal attention might just do that.