For obvious reasons "inbound marketing" has become a fundamental strategy across all business industries and as research shows, marketing overall contributes on average about 20-60% of leads, including traditional outbound marketing campaigns such as email-marketing. The rest is still generated by the sales team outbound efforts, and that's mostly a huge challenge in today's digital world.
Technology has made communication faster, more efficient and easier than ever. But with that ease comes a big problem. Noise. Lot’s of it. People are overloaded with messages making it harder than ever to get the attention of decision makers.
“90% of C-suite executive say they never respond to cold calls or email blasts.” (HBR 2012)
Digital communication is fast, easy to use and very cheap. But therein lies the problem. It’s easy and so cheap that everyone does it. Contacting prospects via email or LinkedIn is relatively easy, cheap and scalable. Which is why everyone does it, although it's actually illegal to send cold emails in most European countries anyhow. Take e.g. Germany, based on UWG (German Unfair Competition Law) cold contacting via email (B2B or B2C) is illegal if they haven't opted-in. This just as a side note about those "limitations".
It’s led to us constantly filtering out the trash looking for what’s valuable. The end effect is a devaluing of the content of digital communication.
“The subconscious mind can process 20 m bits of info per second. The conscious mind only 40 bits.” (The Biology of Belief by Dr Bruce Lipton)
When it comes to capturing the attention of a decision maker, your biggest challenge is to stand out. You won’t do that by doing the same as everyone else.
WHAT IS VALUABLE & DIFFERENT GETS NOTICED
Evolutionarily speaking, humans are programmed to notice what’s different. It helps us make sense of the world and also can mean the difference between life and death. In the business world, it’s survival of a different kind. Benjamin Leiberich, founder and CEO of manufaktur34 realized something important. “You can’t sell digital marketing with digital marketing alone.”
After facing challenges getting responses from his digital client acquisition methods, Ben remembered a handwritten note he had received years before from the recruiter who placed him, shortly after he started in a new company. It was a simple handwritten card saying “Dear Mr Leiberich, I wish you all the best and a great start at your new job!”. It stayed on Ben’s desk for his entire time at this company. Had it come via email, he would’ve forgotten about it a minute later, but this one remained on his desk for the entirety of the time he worked for this company. This simple gesture stuck with him and he decided to apply the handwritten note approach to his own customer acquisition.
From 20 handwritten letters sent to prospects, he generated 8 leads, and turned 6 of them into new customers. That 30% conversion rate massively outperformed his traditional digital marketing methods, mostly based on Email Marketing (Conversion rate <1%).
Effective? Absolutely. But obviously a handwritten message isn’t a sufficient condition for successful B2B demand generation campaigns or even the panacea for all the B2B demand generation challenges in the digital age. To make your message stand out from the crowd, the content must be relevant for the recipient and the message must be clear, concise and to the point (up to 400 characters).
But once the relevance of the content is given…..what is it precisely about handwritten notes that make them so effective?
ROI of handwritten romantic campaigns
SHOWING THAT YOU CARE BY MAKING AN INVESTMENT
Handwritten notes are different. They are unexpected. They are uncommon and they are a lot more expensive than any electronic message. When you receive one, you remember, you hold the manifestation of that investment in your hands. This is what makes them powerfully effective in capturing the attention of your prospects. They are remembered. They are also tangible. They can be touched, held and put on your desk. They are somehow romantic, and that means something in todays optimized world. From a new business perspective, they open up doors in a way digital alone simply struggles to do. But it’s not just that they are different. There are two other key aspects that make them effective. Aspects that at first glance may be seen as a disadvantage.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Compared to sending an email, sending a handwritten note isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s significantly more expensive. Secondly, they take time. From composing, writing, sending to delivery, they involve a lot more effort than digital options (though Pensaki actually could help you to simplify that process). Handwritten notes (normally) don’t scale and don’t fit so neatly in the efficient scaling so common in the modern world. But that’s precisely why they work. Apart from standing out, you demonstrate to your prospects that you value quality over quantity. You care about connection and the personal touch. The fact you take a little more time and invest a bit more money demonstrates that you value your prospect.
They show your prospects that they are more than just another email address on a database. All of these factors generate the most important thing… an emotional response.
IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANCE
So does that mean it’s time to ditch your digital acquisition methods and focus solely on handwritten notes? The answer is… of course not. Though undoubtedly effective, handwriting will never replace email as a communication tool. It won’t compete with SEM or replace a full scale ad campaign. But it is a powerfully effective addition to your custom acquisition efforts (among others) that you may not have considered. As technology progresses, it’s tempting to keep looking forward to the next new thing. We have become so accustomed with digital that in some ways we’ve forgotten about the effectiveness of more classic methods.
True success in customer acquisition comes from a balance of digital and analog.
A seamless mix of the two worlds. And if you haven’t already, why not try sending some handwritten notes today?