Ep 112 – Power of the Handwrytten Card with David Wachs
How do you thank you donors? And does it happen just after they've received their gift or do you thank them various times throughout the year? Sending a thank you card that is personalized and handwritten can make a major impact and set you apart from the other organizations your donor may be giving to.
In this episode you'll learn:
→ why a handwritten card is so well received.
→ dos and don'ts for your thank you card campaigns.
→ how automation can help.
Want to skip ahead? Here are some key takeaways:
[13:29] Do's and don'ts with your campaigns. Don't overdo it and send cards too frequently. Do find appropriate anniversarys like birthday's, donor anniversary, etc to send cards to. Do make it personal and address it to them individually. If you can add some personal tidbits that's even better. Don't address it to “Dear Donor.”
[19:54] Automating can help ensure that you don't miss or forget to send your cards. This can be using a service to automatically send out cards or it can be setting automatic tasks so that you're reminded when it's time to send out cards.
David's latest venture, Handwrytten, provides scalable, robotic solutions that write your notes in pen. Used by businesses in all industries, Handwrytten changes the way brands and people connect.
Prior to Handwrytten, David founded Cellit, a leading mobile marketing platform. With clients including Abercrombie and Fitch, Walmart and more, Cellit was sold in January of 2012.
Both Handwrytten and Cellit were on Inc. Magazine’s Inc 500 list of fastest growing companies.
David is a speaker on marketing technology, has been featured in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, and is a contributor to Inc. Magazine. Learn more at https://handwrytten.com
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Hey everybody, Sami here with another episode of the digital marketing therapy podcast. And you know me, I love a good way to say thank you. There's so many ways to say thank you. And I feel like it's something that's not done enough just, you know, a sign of appreciation, a way to say I appreciate the gift that you gave or even just to be like, I know what your birthday or it's been a year since you gave us a gift. And we still appreciate everything you've done, whatever it is, I love me a good, thank you.
And I totally get that we are oftentimes strapped for time strapped for, you know, the ability to get it done. All the things that are on our to do list that are running us in 50 million different directions, but I still believe Thank you. It's great. And there's nothing better than getting a handwritten card in the mail. A card that just says thank you a card that, you know, says I took time out of my day or I you know, made the conscious effort to send this to you. So that's what we're going to talk about today, the power of the handwritten card and a surprising way that you might be able to automate it and still add that personal touch.
So David Wachs is my guest today. And David's latest venture handwritten, provides scalable robotic solutions that write your notes and pen used by businesses in all industries handwritten changes the way brands and people connect. Prior to handwritten David founded
Cellit, a leading mobile marketing platform with clients including Abercrombie and Fitch, Walmart and more. Cellit was sold in January of 2012. Both handwritten and Cellit we're on Inc. magazine's Inc 500 List of fastest growing companies,
Davids a speaker on marketing technology and has been featured in The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal and is a contributor to Inc magazine.
We talk a lot about just the power of a handwritten note the good old fashioned joy of having that letter show up in your mailbox, the power of of the open rate with that right and how exciting it is to get that in the mail. And just different ways that using technology can help you automate that experience. So I think you'll enjoy this episode. I hope that it sparks some fun ideas for you as you get going in your thank you campaigns and up leveling them, and ways to maximize your teams and your volunteers.
Okay. But before we get into it, this episode is brought to you by our digital marketing therapy sessions. And I apologize, you're probably hearing a cat in the background right now, anyway, are digital marketing therapy sessions are 30 minute sessions that you can book with me to go through whatever it is that you might need, integrating your technology, taking a look at your website, giving you feedback, whatever it might be, and you can book your time with me at the first click dotnet forward slash office hours. I hope you'll take advantage of this. So we can take a look at what's going on in your business and how we can keep your organization moving forward. But for now, let's get into the episode.
[CANNED INTRODUCTION] You're listening to the Digital Marketing Therapy Podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. And each week, I bring you tips from myself and other experts, as well as hot seats with small business owners and entrepreneurs to demystify digital marketing, and get you on your way to generating more leads and growing your business.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Hey, everybody, I am so excited to have David Wachs here today from Handwrytten David, welcome to the podcast.
[DAVID WACHS] Thank you so much, Sami. It's truly a pleasure to be here.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] I love saying thank you to folks, I don't think we say thank you enough. And so I'm just curious how like, why is this kind of the foray that you wanted to go into? And why is saying thank you such an important part of what you want people to be doing?
[DAVID WACHS] Yeah, great question. You know, I think thank yous are so underappreciated by businesses. You know, today, in today's day and age, whether you're selling a product or a service, thanks to the internet, there's infinite alternatives to what you, you, you're selling, I don't care if you're the most unique snowflake out there, there's still alternative products that can accomplish the same goal. And, you know, if you're, if you're a product selling on Amazon, somebody could search and find one of 10,000 other products that do the same thing, or on Alibaba or Etsy or whatever else. And if you're a service people can find similar services on Yelp or G2 crowd or whatever else. And because of that, when they decide to choose you, you need to be thankful for that, you know, there there needs to be I think, you know, there should be appreciation, full stop.
And the reason I say full stop is there should be nothing, you know, I believe that that's enough. You shouldn't ask for anything in return. It's not like what's the ROI for thankfulness? I think that's, that's a bad attitude, right? Like You should be thankful. Full stop. Just that's it. you're thankful. Thank you for your business. I truly appreciate it. The ROI will come but don't ask for the ROI, just be a good person person, and be thankful for having the opportunity to serve that client and the fact that they chose you out of this infinite pool of options.
At the same time, people, and this kind of gets more into why handwritten notes, when I started the company, seven years ago that I did a lot of stats gathering, then and I apologize that I haven't updated that too much. But I think the situation's only gotten worse. Back then the average office worker was getting about 150 emails a day, they're spending about 24% of their time just managing their inbox. And then you add on text messages, and I used to be in the text messaging business, so I was part of the problem. But you know, the average person receives 1000s of text messages a month and hundreds of emails a day, and then you now you add Twitter and Slack, and Facebook, and WeChat, and, you know, Instagram, all these other electronic forms of communication. And it all just kind of becomes noise. And it seems insincere, even the most personalized Thank you, you know, with no, you know, no, as I'd say, MailChimp, best quality, you know, it just looks like you pounded out in your Gmail or whatever. Everybody knows those can be automated, right. And so even the most personalized email does not have the same impact, as what is perceived as an automatable. Although it is automatable, such as handwritten notes.
So when you send somebody a handwritten note, what you're really doing is giving the gift of time and focus. You can't pat you can't write a handwritten note while doing 100 other things, it also takes you five minutes of time, you know, starting from getting the stationery, getting the pen, crafting the note, putting in an envelope writing the address sticking a stamp that's easily easily a five minute effort, if not more. So people really I think, appreciate that you've dedicated five minutes, which doesn't sound like a lot, but these days it is have your undivided attention to thank somebody for their for their business. And I really think that's, you know, that's what people see past the paper and they see into the time it took you to write it. And I think that's that's why it's so powerful.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Well, and to your point, that dedicated time to looking at it, because who doesn't love going to the mailbox and you all of a sudden you see a card in there, that's not junk mail, that's not a bill that's not you know, and then you open it and like you're going to take the time to open it and look at it.
[DAVID WACHS] Absolutely. I call it desert because you know, you get you go to the mailbox to get your mail. And there's like 50,000 bills and junk mail pieces, and you're like, oh, a handwritten note. And you keep that for the end, or at least I do. And then I filter through all the bills. And then I'm like, now it's time to sit down and open this handwritten note and figure out what, you know, what they were sending me and all that. And since the average person only gets two or three of these a month now, they really stand out. Yeah, and it's a complete, you know, what's old is new again, I like to say,
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Yeah, well, and you know, what has the trend that has been going on for a while, to your point of, you know, you say it more eloquently than I do, I always tell my clients, like you're not special, but like, they can shop wherever they want, or they could donate to whomever they want. It's the people are continuing to go back to the companies that makes them feel special, make them feel engaged, and make them feel like they're, you know, an insider or or, or valued.
[DAVID WACHS] Actually love, you're not special, I'm gonna totally steal that. Because it's true. You're not there's, there's, you know, I like to say, you know, 100, my company is I like I believe is the largest in the world and the best in the world. That's not to say there aren't a million alternatives. Those alternatives are the few other hand writing companies out there, plus laser printed cards, plus sitting down and writing your own plus having people you know, hiring a bunch of people to write the cards for you, you know, a bank of interns or whatever. So regardless of the solution, there's always alternative products or ways to do it. And you're right, nobody's special, we all can be replaced. And so really thanking people for choosing us, and giving us the opportunity to prove our mettle, I think is I think, I think it's huge.
We work with a lot of car dealerships, and they're always Oh, what's the ROI of this? What's the ROI of setting thinking? I'm thinking, you know, you just bought a $75,000 car. You're worried about $3 and change to send a handwritten note, you know, right. How much are Why do you need, you know, let's say the ROI is 10 let's call it 1,000% or call it 10,000%. So you get $300 of value back $300 On a $75,000 car, you know, does that really move the needle for the dealership? So it's like, it's it shouldn't be about the ROI it should be about doing the right thing.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Well, I think with a lot of marketing, unfortunately, the ROI can be really hard to track. But I think about if I send a card if I okay, if I bought a car and I received a thank you card, handwritten thank you card from those salesperson, which is typically felt like a kind of smarmy like, we just have to get through this process. I need this car. So I'm just going to deal with this whole process that I don't like, if I actually got a handwritten card from somebody. I mean, obviously, I'm not going to be buying a car probably right away next year. But I'm much more likely to refer that dealership to a friend of mine who might say, Hey, you know, we're thinking about buying a car. I really like your car. Where'd you get it? Like, heck, yeah, I'm gonna be much more likely to share that contact, because that makes the whole experience much more personal to me.
[DAVID WACHS] Yeah, absolutely. That allows you to stay top of mind in a much less invasive or salesy way. For you know, with these car dealerships, we say you should really reach out. By the way, I don't know if you can hear it, that there's all of a sudden a swarm of birds on my window. So I apologize if there's a lot of noise. You'll hear at some point, Oh, my gosh, so so you know, where was I? Oh, yeah.
So So with these car dealers, we say, you know, you should really consider sending notes twice, two to four times a year. And those could be time for an oil change, you know, it's a great opportunity to, to, to trade in your car, you know, and then a birthday and a holiday. And just four touch points. You know, when I receive a handwritten note, not only do I read it, but I keep it. So there's an opportunity there to stay on the desk or on the refrigerator, or on the bookshelf of your customers. And then, you know, maybe the next time in four to six years, or whatever it is, they'll think, gee, you know, I like dealing with that car dealership, they did me right. And they thought about me, you know, I'll consider all at least consider them.
And then, you know, another example, we have a client, that's a piano tuner. So they're in your house once a year to tune your piano, you only need your piano tuned once a year. So that's it once a year. And then after tuning your piano, they send their customer handwritten note, when they're back in that house a year later, that handwritten note is still often standing on the top of the piano. That's awesome, though. So, you know, are you going to do that with me? Are you going to print out an email and scotch tape it to your most prized expensive possession? Are you going to take a screenshot of a text message? You know, are you going to save that slick, marketing piece and Val pack or whatever, and no, but a handwritten note holds this unique place in people's hearts, they're willing to not only keep it, but put it on display in their fancy room, as I call it, you know, when I was a kid, my parents wouldn't allow me in the room with it with the piano. So, but they put these notes on display in their fancy room. So it really does have a unique, some unique advantages there.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] So let's talk about some do's and don'ts with thank you cards like what is you know, when you're because I can imagine with nonprofits, like maybe you're sending it out right after they donate, and you're sending it out on their birthday, and then maybe you're sending another one out on their giving anniversary. So like, they're all going to have different kinds of stories behind them. So what are kind of some best practices when it comes to what you put in these cards that you send out?
[DAVID WACHS] Well with nonprofits, and we work with a few like Team Rubicon and ACLU branches and stuff like that, but what we found that works is a, you know, don't overdo it. So you don't want to send out handwritten notes every, every month, it should be after a big gift or an anniversary of a gift. Or if you have a large pledging campaign. We've sent out handwritten notes with return envelopes in them for donations on occasion. I would say really, with with nonprofits, it's really that simple. Don't overdo it. And then also remember to do it for birthdays. And for the holidays. Obviously, you want to stay top of mind those two times a year so it's kind of not that different than a car dealership and that you know if you can find two to four times a year to get in front of this client, that's enough. It's not going to be like your email campaign where you're blasting every week or every month, right.
You know, the other things to consider are with hammer, you know, often if you're doing this manually, this comes naturally but if you're automating you have to think about this. You know, keep it personal. So obviously address the person so it's not dear donor, it should be dear. If you can include some unique facts in there that are unique to that person. Like you know, we saw you donated last year during our Thanksgiving Giving campaign. So at least that way they, they there's little snippets of personality in there or, you know, thank you so much again, for your donation of $50. Last year, we'd love if you were to up it to 75, this year, whatever that is, you know, those are very, very easy to do with us, and, you know, obviously manually as well. those are those are really, really the things that I'd also recommend doing a hand addressed on envelope too.
So because quite frankly, the envelope, as you know, if you get a hand handwritten envelope, it has like, nearly 100%, open rate that the stats I've seen are three, three times greater open rate than printed mail. But everybody I know always opens handwritten envelope. So just make sure you hand address that envelope to we recommend handwriting in the return address. But that's really, you know, that's personal preference.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] So even that over like a sticker that you would put on there that has your logo on it, handwriting it,
[DAVID WACHS] We just think it's more personal. I mean, we have, unfortunately, with nonprofits, we do work with a number of nonprofits, we don't have a ton of great, we don't have a ton of great stats with any of our clients, because we're pulled out of the loop. It's not like an email campaign with a click tracking. So results, they say, Yep, it's working, keep going. And they don't, they don't like a lot of their secret sauce with us. But we've seen a lot of our clients do.
A lot of our nonprofits do hand write return address envelopes, we've seen others that that laser print the return address on the envelope, you know, sometimes if it just says the name of the person that wrote the note or or was the quote unquote, sender of the note and not the nonprofit name, you might get a little bit of a higher open rate just because like, oh, who is Sami, let me open up this piece of mail from her. So there's so there's that. We have other clients that, you know, and again, this is worth doing A/B testing? Should it be a generic thank you card? Or should it be a personalised one with a logo and a photo and all that stuff. That's worth A/B testing. And then with Team Rubicon, we also have pieces of stationery. So it's not really I mean, they do cards with images of the work they've done and stuff like that. But then they also have other cards that are just, you know, from the desk of the director of charitable donations or whatever. You know, that's printed on the card. So it looks like a little piece of stationery. So that so when somebody receives that it seems extremely personal, because it's not coming from this box of thank you cards, it's coming from the personal stationery of selling so. So we do a lot of that, too.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] That's so interesting. And so because one of the questions that I also had was, you know, typically when you give a gift, the nonprofit will send you like your traditional tax receipt that's half by 11. And so I would also think that maybe sending something in a card size versus an eight and a half by 11. Even if it's handwritten piece of paper, like just the change in size of the envelope would probably make an impact on you know, oh, well, I'll just throw this in my box of things I need to deal with that tax time versus I'm going to open it because there's something different in here.
[DAVID WACHS] Yeah, we've never done that. I guess it would be possible. You know, it would be it'd be a little bit of logistical work as we'd have to, you know, marry up the right tax document to the right, handwritten note, but it's certainly doable. But yeah, I mean, there, you also want to make sure you know, those tax documents usually say important tax document and closed and then those immediately go in the tax document drawer, you know, so if you were to do that, you'd probably want to print that on the envelope, at least, you know, so it's a tax document and close plus a special thank you. Or, what we have, I believe we've done is we write in the note your tax document will be arriving shortly. So it's a second touch point, you know, you get the handwritten note in one, and then you get the tax document in another so you know, you that's certainly an option.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Yeah. So I feel like I can hear nonprofits or just any company saying like, there's no way that I can start to handwrite all of these cards like this is going to take an entire person and then how are we going to manage tracking? Like, who's coming in and now it's this person's birthday, and now we have to send them this anniversary gift like logistically it feels a little overwhelming. So um, I know you mentioned earlier, there's lots of different ways to kind of get these cards out but you know, what are some best practices you've seen from the automating side of, of getting these cards out?
[DAVID WACHS] Yeah, honestly, automating works better than manual because when it when it becomes a manual task, it becomes a chore And then it doesn't get done. We work. I know this isn't a nonprofit example. But we work with a perfume brand. And we handle their handwritten notes for their online sales. So if you're to buy this cologne online, don't get a handwritten note from us. If you go into a department store and buy the Cologne, you're supposed to get a handwritten note from the department store clerk that sold you. But they're too busy merchandising and dealing with customers and you know, closing up the cash register to ever get around to it. So automating does a much, much better job of ensuring compliance to ensure that everybody gets it. So I would recommend automating across the board, we handwritten just to quickly get into what we do.
We write handwritten notes for brands for nonprofits. But we use robots to do it. So here in our facility, we currently have about 115 robots. We're actually on path at 100 more this year, each robot holds a real patent. They're built by us. And they write in the handwriting style of your choice. And currently, we have 25 available styles, but then people come up with their own styles too, which are private just to them. And then we can replicate signatures and all the rest. So that's kind of the technology behind the actual writing. But then we have technology for the automation.
We tie into Salesforce, HubSpot, and Shopify, which probably isn't useful for your listeners, but then we also tie in to sync spiders Zapier Integra mat, and integrate Li which are kind of used to just be Zapier and then all of a sudden Zapier has all these competitors. But these are kind of integration middleware platforms that allow you to very easily automate things that otherwise would be difficult to automate. And if I, if I didn't work for handwritten, I would work I would love to work for Zapier because it's just the coolest thing. We use it a ton around here.
But you know, we tie into a lot of the donation platforms. So let me pull up a list of those. And this is all through Zapier. But we tie into those, the one we don't do is Blackbaud, because they don't seem to tie into anybody right now. But we tie into give and Rev. And in platforms like that. So that when somebody gives a donation, it's automatically that person is automatically sent a handwritten note or on the anniversary of their donation, you know, you know, to your point, or when they've registered with your nonprofit but never donated, you know, there, there's a lot of points when we can automate the sending of those notes. And we can do everything that we mentioned in the best practices, you know, on handwrite, the envelope, put a real stamp on it handwrite, the note insert dynamic mail merge fields, for lack of a better term, personalize the name, you know, all of that is fully automatable. And worst case scenario, if you don't want to do that, you can always upload spreadsheets to our system. We have a lot of clients that do that, too.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] So to your point that you said earlier, you could run a handwritten campaign that says like, hey, if anybody gave up to $75, ask them to increase their gift to 150. If anybody gave between, you know, 76 and 150, ask them to up their gift to 300.
[DAVID WACHS] Exactly. And that would be very easy to do. And then you know, there's so Zapier is one tool. We have a full API if if people are willing to invest their time and programmer money to integrate, so if they want a full direct integration, they can do that. And then there's another thing called Integra mat, which is kind of like Zapier, but it allows the one use case that it's really good at that Zapier isn't is uploading to like an FTP site for all your listeners, I know what that is. Yeah, I'm sorry, if I'm starting to speak, you know, different language but but you know, sometimes it's easy just to dump a file to a FTP site and then assume it's handled. And then Integra mat makes integrating an FTP site with handwritten, dumb simple to and we do that for a lot of clients, they don't even have to do it. So with a lot of these car dealers, for example, they'll dump their data to an FTP site. We've already set up all the flows to send out automated notes for them or birthday reminders or, you know, whatever, whatever the case may be. We just say okay, well, we'll just do it for you, as you know, because we want your business type deal.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] That well, I love this so much because so basically like the organizations can come to you and say, Okay, here's the three different or whatever. Here's the use cases where we want these to go out automatically. Here's the copy that we're going to give you and each of those cards and then they pick out what the card of the stationery that they want or do they give you the stock cards so that you can print on them, like how does that work? So that so that they can get kind of that branding on? On? On Point?
[DAVID WACHS] Yeah, great question we there's two ways to do customized cards in our system.
So number one is you can just log in a handwritten, and there's a, you can go to the customizable cards category, and you can customize a flat five by seven card. So it's really like a little piece of stationery. And you can put your logo on the back or a photo of your team on the back, or you know, a project, whatever. And then on the front, you just have your logo at the top. And then we right below that. So it looks like a little five by seven stationery. That's what anybody can do. If you wanted to do like a bulk order with us or do pre pay in bulk. So you're kind of making us quote unquote, larger commitment. Although we do this for people as low as 500 cards. So it's really not that big of a commitment, we will design a custom will work with you to print your custom design, and that can either be folded or flat, full bleed, handwritten, now has it we have our own full digital print shop here. So it's no different than ordering your cards from you printing or Yeah, whoever we have our own digital print shop here and we print cards in house, cut them, you know, trim them to size, their full bleed and then score them. And so from one stop shop, you get a really nice, thick piece of stationery with your logo, folded flat, landscape, portrait, whatever. And then we write inside of that.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] And I think the thing that I like about this so much like I don't know how the other companies have have done this, but like what intrigued me the most was the fact that you have these robots that are using a real pen. Because I have gotten cards and letters in the mail that are meant to look handwritten, but you can clearly tell that they're just printed. And while I appreciate the effort, it just kind of gets lost on you. You're just like, Okay, well, you know, like they tried.
[DAVID WACHS] There's, there's one and I don't want to mention names, but on the back of their cadr, it's laser printed, it's a postal handwritten, the handwriting looks like brush script, which is what your, you know, Windows 95 computer used to do, you know, if you dusted that off, it would like it was just laser printed, it completely didn't look real. And then I think the worst part about it is on the back of the card, instead of just saying, you know, so and so branded card, you know, like, whatever or your company name on the back or whatever. It's, it has a receipt on it. So it says from so and so to so and so gift card included. I'm like that looks so insincere. I'm amazed this company is still around, and they're actually a huge company. But yeah, to your point, I've seen the exact same thing. And people often ask us, why do you write in pen? Why not just couldn't you just laser printer, and you know, the laser printing is getting pretty good, you can still tell the difference, you can still tell that the toner lays on the page different than a pen follows the bumps and crannies of of, of the paper. And then also sometimes we do right on people's very, you know, for working with a high end luxury brand, they might send us some boss stock or stock that's foiled or something that we can't even feed that through a laser printer. So you know, there are different use cases and finally, the smudge test.
And you'd be surprised how many people do this. But whether you're a car dealer, a nonprofit or a travel group or whatever, and you send somebody a handwritten note, they're like, Wow, did they really send it and then they'll lick their finger and try to smudge the ink. And they're surprised that it does much, you know, and then, you know, so we've had customers we've had our customer clients, customers call them in tears recently. Because I think it's COVID related. And personal touch.
Yeah, it's I you know, it was a, it is a furniture brand. And they said they had customers calling in tears. Thank you for the handwritten note. I said, Well, you know, I think that's COVID related, because people are so isolated. Now. Anytime you reach out to be personal.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] You know, it's even more impactful when we work with organizations on a multi channel approach, right? Like you don't ever like Yes, I'm a huge fan of email marketing and email automation. I think that it's a fantastic tool. And to your point, you know, that's something you're sending them weekly, you're sending them monthly, whatever, but you're in there, you're in their business all the time. But even now, more than ever, the impact of the personal phone calls and the handwritten notes make all the difference in the world. Just going back to the original thing that you talked about, like how do we make people feel special, and that's never going to go with it's never going to change? You know, I often think about, you hear these stories of these couples that were writing letters back and forth. During World War II, because, you know, that was the only way of communication and it always just seems so romantic and nostalgic and like that, that that feeling is still there.
[DAVID WACHS] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. The other thing that, that we've kind of teamed up or not really teamed up yet, but we're kind of mutual fanboys of each other, I'd say they called bonjouro, which is very male. And the reason is, is because it, it, it accomplishes not the same thing, but similar things in that it creates a unscalable user experience. So when I send somebody a video mail through bonjouro, or any other platform, and for those of your listeners that don't know what that is, it's like an email, but it includes a video clip inside of it. And that video clip is is from the sender to you. And so what happens in that is that is, quote unquote, on automatable, because it's for me, taking time out to talk directly to you. So I feel like all these things, video, email, email, text messages, bulk mail, handwrite notes, they should all be considered part of your overall outreach strategy. I, you know, I couldn't agree with you more, I don't think handwritten notes really replace anything other than maybe an occasional junk mail piece or something. But yeah, you know, they don't really replace anything at all.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Um, what are some kind of unique ways that you've seen people use handwritten cards as kind of a touch point,
[DAVID WACHS] We have one clients, they're not in the nonprofit space, but it doesn't, you know, it doesn't really matter. They've been sending their customers and or, you know, it could be donors, face masks, and then with those, we fulfill that for them. It just fits in an envelope. And then with that face mask as a handwritten note, we have a lot of winback use cases. So you know, if we haven't heard from you, if you haven't donated in a while, you know, here's a hand you know, please get a handwritten note basically asking, you know, now's the time, we need your money more than ever. So we've seen stuff like that we have a pet care company, or, yeah, it's like pet food, pet product company. They send birthday hats, like little cardboard, birthday pet hats with elastic on them on your pets birthday, so that, you know, you can take a photo of your pet when this birthday hand. Of course, the birthday hats totally branded with the pet brand name. But what it does is it's a nice little Hey, happy birthday card to your pet. And then the people Instagram those pictures and tweet them and it creates a little viral effect.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] That's so smart.
[DAVID WACHS] And we have a lot of clients doing the viral effect. But you'd be surprised just sending people handwritten note, sometimes these days generates a viral effect. We work with a company called vinyl, the nypl their record subscription box. And people like when you get your record subscription, you get a whole bunch of hands you Well, every time you get your record subscription, you get a handwritten note, people post these Instagram all the time for inbox, and again, I don't know, you know, maybe for sending out care packages or something like that. Oh, actually, we worked with a veterans group. And they received a handwritten note from a veteran saying what a great job they're doing. And they asked us to duplicate it to send it out to all the troops. Oh, wow, we it was the largest duplication job. Usually, what we'll do is we'll take what you write into handwriting style, and we'll put what you write in that handwriting style. But in this case, we copied exactly the note and rewrote it every time. And it looked crazy good. And then we sent out 10,000 of them to troops, so they could each have a copy of this impactful note, which was interesting.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] That was like taking the testimonial and mass producing it. So it was still a very authentic message. But they got it the handwriting of the person who sent it.
[DAVID WACHS] Exactly. Yeah, that's really cool. Yeah, it was it was it was really interesting. Um, those are kind of the big ones in the nonprofit space.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] I'd say it's funny that you brought up vinyl. And I'm sure it's probably the same company but we had Paul chambers on a couple episodes ago who's the co founder of WUBTA, which is a subscription trade association. And he mentioned vinyl for some of the unique things that they're doing to kind of add VIP and add on sales. So go back and listen to that if you want to hear a little bit more about their use case and how they are creating kind of some fun stuff within their membership program. So that's cool that they're also then sending a separate card.
[DAVID WACHS] Yeah, yeah, they it's crazy because the car Get so every day we receive their order. We overnight the cards to them, they get inserted in the boxes. It's to me, it seems like a logistical nightmare, but they've been able to do it. Yeah. And their founder, Nicole is just a great guy. So he was one of our early clients and as stuck with us for about five years, I believe.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Yeah. And I think it all goes back to we talked with nonprofits about treating their donors as customers, not donors. Yeah. And making them feel special, like you would want to feel special, if you bought a pair of shoes, or you bought, like you said, the perfume or what have you. Because that's the way I think you can really set yourself apart and keep people coming, coming back for more. So um, you know, we've always encouraged people to write handwritten cards. But until now, I hadn't found a company that I felt was going to help automate in a way like what you guys are doing. So I think it's a super cool way to innovate, and then also just to be a disruptor. So vinyl is trying to be a disruptor and do things a little bit differently. So how can you think about ways that you can do things like this to show up in people's lives when they need it? And keep and have that ROI come back to you, even in ways you probably can't even measure?
[DAVID WACHS] Well, I have one, one. I mean, I completely agree, I have one use case that isn't really nonprofit, but, you know, maybe it'll screws, and they'll figure you know, get your mind moving. We have a client, they are a speaker subscription box, they're a snack subscription box, for offices, so they'll send your office, you know, and we get it here. And it turns out to be an insurmountable amount of granola and jerky and all these nutritious snacks. And what happened was, is occasionally they'll screw up a box or forget to send you a box, I think is the more common case. So then they send a box to you with a handwritten note that says we're so sorry, you know, for our mistake, you know, they own their mistake, which I think is a huge thing people don't do huge thing, I was just on a podcast talking about owning, you know, the power of screwing up. And so they they own their mistake. And they said, Here's your box, we've thrown in additional snacks to make up for it, we hope you forget, you know, continue to use us. And what they found is the user or the customers that have a bad experience, but was followed up with a handwritten note and in an apology box, and all that have a higher lifetime value than customers they never screwed up with. So what did they do, they then turn around and screw up with everybody to raise the lifetime value of everybody on purpose on purpose.
So it's one of the craziest things, but it brilliant. So everybody has this win back or this, you know, fall on the sword experience where they, you know, that raises their overall loyalty and lifetime value and average revenue per customer. So you know, it's possible to do something like that in nonprofits as well, whether you promise them a piece of swag and it comes up late, or you send them the wrong swag, or you miss a dress a note or whatever it is. And then you follow up with an apology and an overall apology. And, you know, there's opportunities anywhere,
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] There's a couple of lessons here that I love so much, and one being we tend to not do things that are outside our box, because we're afraid of it not being perfect. And so this is just a great example of people don't expect perfect, it's all in there in the remedy, you know, like you go to a restaurant and they bring you the wrong food. It's like your tip is not dependent on did they screw up your tip is how did that server then handle that situation? Absolutely. Absolutely. Other example to that is like you look at somebody like Amazon, like they must screw up 1000s of times a day because of their sheer volume. But similarly, because you know that experience is going to be it's going to be so easy to get that return they're going to refund the money like you know what's going to happen, you know how they're going to take care of you when they ultimately do screw up that you still are going to be dedicated to what they do. And how they and buy from them.
[DAVID WACHS] Yep. Yeah, I I you know, I came up with the whole framework on screwing up it's like over apologize, remedy the issue and come up with a plan for never having it happen again. It's but but the you know, the owning it and over apologizing is the most important part. You know, I've been in situations my wife and I were starting a dog product. She was starting a dog product company and I was helping her and we had a PR firm involved and they screwed up and their response because I guess maybe you know, I'm aging myself here but what's kind of this? millennial snowflake flake responsive? No, no, it's because you didn't provide The data are you did, you know, it was pushed back as opposed to owning the mistake that they clearly made. And it could ruin that relationship have, they just said, you know, we screwed this up, we're so sorry, we're gonna make it right by doing X, Y, and Z, that would have solved it and probably have the effect that the snack box had. Yeah, our house just got flooded, we, we had a what I thought was a routine plumbing thing go on, and that we left the house, we left the plumber with the babysitter and came home and our house was flooded. I was livid. But the company, you know, they immediately resolve the problem and save themselves from getting a one star Yelp review. You know, and I, in that case, I can't say I'm gonna be a customer of theirs for life, but I didn't give them a one star Yelp review, which is also, you know, you don't want to, you know, you want to you want to mitigate any responses that the donor or the customer might have as well.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Well, and I think just to kind of, you know, round this out and get your final thoughts, I feel like to your point, the, the way that we treat our customers, when they don't ask for it, when we've screwed up, when we are just, you know, wanting to fill them in on what's going on, as opposed to asking for something all the time, like those little touch points, whether they be a card or something else, really just kind of express this is who we are, this is how we treat people. This is how we care about the people that are in our network. So continue to care about us. I think all of those things make make an impact. Absolutely. Yeah. Is there anything else that you would like to share about kind of the impact of handwritten cards or different ways that people have used them?
[DAVID WACHS] Well, we work with a, and I don't think it's technically a nonprofit. But it's highly sensitive, it's a end of end of care for pets, so you know, you get your dog euthanized in your house, by this company. They're they're pretty big company they got that's all over the nation. And then they send handwritten note, follow up, you know, thank you, again, just thanking for the opportunity to assist you in that difficult time. And so, you know, the trust we had to build with this company, so they trust us to know that we're not going to screw this up, because this is really sensitive stuff. Absolutely. You know, that's, that's been an interesting, interesting process. So, but other use cases, for nonprofits, I mean, one thing that we do, or can do is we can work with some of the and I'm sure your nonprofits already do it, but work with some of the database providers to find mailing addresses that meet certain criteria. And then we have other database providers that can tell us if those you know, the probability of those residences, buying new homes or having life events or whatever we've, we can then target those with outbound handwritten note campaigns, we typically don't do a lot of outbound handwritten note campaigns, simply because it's expensive. Yeah, you know, if you're selling like diamond rings, maybe there's an ROI on it. But if you're, you know, if you're doing something else, it can be quite costly. But you know, just so we will work with you or, you know, the client or whatever, to try to figure out ways to target this, Hone this so that we're not wasting their money and putting a bad taste in their mouth for it. But, but there's been some of that too, but I think over the overarching use case for what we do is really donor engagement, you know, once they're a donor, not donor acquisition.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] Now, I think that mean, I mean, I could see doing that if it was like you were right by school and you were trying to target, you know, families for maybe an after school program or something. And so a handwritten note might make that trust feel a little bit more. Like, oh, let's check this out. But yes, I agree with you. I think for donor retention, it could be way more impactful. Well, I loved a lot of the the, my wheels are spinning with some of the things that you brought up nonprofit or not. I think there's so many different ways that this can be utilized. If people want to find out more about handwritten and how they could potentially connect with you. How do they do that?
[DAVID WACHS] Yeah, please reach out to us. You can contact me on David at handwritten it's H A N D W R Y T T E N so handwritten with a y. Or you know, we're at handwritten on Twitter. We're on LinkedIn, Facebook, all the all the typical places. I recommend you know, just so that you know for yourself, you know, you see for yourself how real this all looks. Visit us handwrytten.com and go to the business tab at the top and order a sample kit. If we also have a page if you go to market resources, page for nonprofits, and you can kind of read up there too. We are going to be adding some case studies shortly for nonprofits focusing on some University clients I didn't even touch on here, but University clients and Team Rubicon and that type of thing. And then if you want to give it a try, just sign up and use discount code podcast and you'll get five bucks, which is enough to send a friend or loved one a handwritten note and see if you can trick them.
[SAMI BEDELL-MULHERN] I love that. I'm going to try that. I'm going to try to trick somebody and see what they think. Well, thank you so much. And we will link up all of those into the show notes at thefirstclick.net/podcast so you can check on all of those resources out. David, thank you so much for joining me today.
[DAVID WACHS] Thank you, this has been a true pleasure.
[CLOSING] A big thank you again to David wax for joining me on this episode. I am so fascinated by the robots that he has his facility and can't wait to go check them out sometime. You can get access to the show notes for this episode and the coupon code that he put in that he mentioned at the first click dotnet forward slash podcast. But for now I hope you'll rate and review wherever you listen and I will see you in the next one.