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The Power of Personal Notes
By Veronika Noize, the Marketing Coach

There are many things you can do to develop a great reputation, establish rapport with clients, colleagues and prospects, and get top-of-mind awareness in your target market--certainly too many things to list here. But few things are as effective (and inexpensive) in accomplishing all of those objectives as personal notes. As a devotee of personal notes, I've even been known to go so far as to call personal notes one of the three "magic bullets" of marketing.

I'm not the only person who is a true fan of personal notes. As a matter of fact, any marketing "expert" worthy of the title will tell you the same thing: Personal notes wield a power that can have an awesome impact on your business.

But how and why, you ask?

It's really not that complicated. Personal notes demonstrate more interest, more care, more attention, and more effort than most other forms of communication. Email and phone calls are nice for casual communication and information sharing, but nothing says esteem like a personal note.

And unlike phone calls and email, personal notes appear to be more important because it is obvious that the sender took more time and attention to get the message to you than would have been spent on an email or simple phone call, and because they arrive like gifts.

Gifts? Yes, as in wrapped presents. Like a gift, a personal note is almost always something nice, something worth keeping, or something to brighten one's day. Like a gift, it is very flattering and pleasant to receive one unexpectedly.

Like a gift, there is a moment of anticipation when the envelope is received because the contents are a surprise. Is it an invitation? A note? A card? Who knows? But expectations are aroused in a way that they are not by the ringing of the phone or the new message icon on the computer.

And so your recipient opens your envelope, and pulls out the card. She sees at once that it is not a greeting card but something else, something different, and so with anticipation and curiosity she opens the folded card and reads the hand-written lines. She smiles as she remembers her participation in the event that sparked such gratitude or good will in you that you were moved to take the time to sit down and write that personal note. Her feelings toward you warm as she places the card on her desk to remind herself that somebody somewhere thinks well of and appreciates her, no matter what happened to ruin her day on the way to work this morning.

And then later, when out of the blue someone needs the services of someone like you, she remembers you, and although she knows several people who do what you do, she suggests you as the preferred option. After all, she has a relationship with you, thinks well of you, and would like to reciprocate the kindness you showed her by acknowledging her just a couple of days ago with that lovely note.

So is sending a personal note manipulative? No. It is a gracious way to further a relationship, and it never hurts to have lots of friends, particularly in business. If you know nothing else about marketing, you probably know that people do business with people they know, like, and trust. And since you probably don't have the time or inclination to invite every person you meet to join your Friday night poker game, sending personal notes is a great way to slowly develop those professional relationships without adding yet another social obligation to your calendar.

Bottom line, personal notes are a great way to develop a business relationship in an appropriate and well-mannered fashion.

The Do's of Personal Notes

  Hand-write your message. And yes, penmanship does count!

  Make the message clear and sincere. It need not be stiff or formal, but it does need to be appropriate.

  Use colorful, whimsical and creative cards if they reflect your business and/or professional personality.

  Always use a stamp when possible, rather than a metered tape for postage. It looks more personal, and less like stuffy business correspondence.

  Send notes for all kinds of reasons: thanks, anniversaries, appreciation, reconnecting, meeting someone at a networking event, and so on.

  Keep track of what types of notes you send and to whom, especially if you're using templates to help you find the right words.

  Use company courtesy cards for attachments, rather than personal notes. For example, if you're sending a copy of an article, it's fine to paperclip your company's courtesy card with a short note from you to the article. But use a folded card when not including an attachment; it's more personal.

The Don'ts of Personal Notes

  Don't use a personal note as a sales letter. Use letterhead for sales letters, and personal notes for personal notes.

  Don't send cards with preprinted messages and blank spaces for the recipient's name and your signature. It looks horribly bulk mail-ish, and completely contradicts the connotation of the personal part of your personal note.

  Don't use a postcard without an envelope. It's the envelope that makes your note so precious, and a folded card inside is best.

  Don't limit yourself to your company stationery. After sending two of those to the same recipient, it begins to look like your marketing strategy and not a personal impulse prompted your note.

Want some ideas about what to write? Take a look at my Top 10 Reasons to Write a Personal Note (And What to Say).

Read more articles or view Top 10 lists.

Veronika (Ronnie) Noize, the Marketing Coach, is a successful Vancouver, WA-based entrepreneur, author, speaker, and Certified Professional Coach.  Through coaching, classes and workshops, Ronnie helps small businesses attract more clients. For free marketing resources including articles and valuable marketing tools, visit her web site at www.VeronikaNoize.com, or email her at Ronnie@VeronikaNoize.com.

The Power of Personal Notes Copyright 2003 Veronika Noize.  All rights reserved.

"I help small businesses attract more clients."
~Veronika Noize, the Marketing Coach

Veronika Noize LLC
The Marketing Coach
PO Box 87952 · Vancouver, WA 98687 · USA

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