Handwritten Fonts Aren’t as Effective as Real Handwriting

Handwritten note that says "call me" with a black and white pen

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Traditional direct mail response rates are low, and you need innovative ways to stand out to potential customers and maximize the return on your investment. Handwritten fonts, or fonts that look like human handwriting, may seem like a great solution—they give the effect of personalization but can still be printed quickly and easily.

Unfortunately, most consumers can readily tell the difference between genuine handwriting and a printed, cursive font. There’s a small advantage to using handwritten fonts over standard printing, but it’s nothing compared to the dramatic jump in response rates seen with real, hand addressed envelopes and handwritten direct mail.

Hand addressing mail is more costly than just printing envelopes, and customizing each mail piece will make your direct mail campaign more expensive. Consider these questions to decide if genuine handwriting is right for your business:

Are you looking to build long-term relationships with prospective leads?

Many direct mail pieces aren’t necessarily focused on building customer loyalty. If you’re sending a flyer for a one-time event, a going-out-of-business sale, or services that customers only need rarely, then developing a personalized marketing campaign with genuine handwriting probably isn’t necessary to get your message across.

However, if you’re looking to develop a sustained relationship with customers or donors, then you want them to have a positive experience every time they interact with your brand. Real handwriting is a great way to engage—it shows the customer that you’ve taken time and care to personally communicate with them. People are far more likely to respond if they think a real person is available to talk with them and appreciates their business.

This is especially true if your company is a nonprofit organization and relies on monthly donors. Donors are giving away funds without getting anything in return, and they expect to be treated as valuable contributors to your organization. Communications that look and feel personalized are more likely to encourage someone to donate again.

Is your target audience likely to respond to a handwritten communication?

Handwritten mail really shines when you’re offering products and services to families, homeowners and older people. These customers are looking for help making substantial decisions, like where to apply for a mortgage or how to switch healthcare providers. If you want to stand out to these consumers, you need to make a solid connection with them. A handwritten note offering to walk them through their options can go a long way towards earning their business.

Handwritten fonts may still get noticed, but it’s only genuine handwriting that implies that you look forward to working with them. If you’re a professional that relies heavily on networking, like insurance agents or realtors, then personalized handwriting can help you make an impact in an otherwise crowded marketplace.

Do you need to maximize the impact of your high-volume campaign?

Many marketing professionals turn to handwritten fonts because they’re mailing a very large number of pieces. It seems impractical to handwrite hundreds of thousands of envelopes, notes and letters. But this is where handwritten mail can really make a difference, and it’s not hard to do if you work with a company that can handle large campaigns.

Customers know when their mail is part of a mass mailing, and it can make the mail piece less effective at grabbing their attention. Mail pieces that reach a very large number of people are generally geared towards a wide audience and may not contain the specific information that a consumer needs to make a decision.

Genuine handwriting signals to the reader that, even though they may need more information, this company values their business and is eager to speak with them. They are much more likely to check out the website or call for more information if they’re prompted by a handwritten note. Handwritten fonts just can’t achieve the same results. As long as you’re working with a company that has the capacity to take on large campaigns, then adding genuine handwriting to your mass mailing is a great option to improve response rates.

Ready to add real handwriting to your next direct mail campaign? Click here to check out Think Ink’s services.