The Lost Art of Letter Writing


Today is National Handwriting Day, yet another faux holiday* in a crowded field of made-up ‘national days.’ Silly as it seems, this day of recognition has relevance for solo practitioners, small businesses and even member-based nonprofits that struggle to be noticed by clients and prospective customers amid the daily deluge of emails and social media posts. According to DMR, a website that curates digital marketing data and statistics, the average office worker receives 121 emails each day. Forbes reports U.S. internet users are exposed to somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 digital marketing ads each day.


By comparison, a 2018 survey of 2,000 adults in the U.S. found that a third of respondents had not received a handwritten note in over a year, and 15 percent reported more than five years had passed since they last received handwritten communication.


What’s this have to do with National Handwriting Day? One word: opportunity.


Take some inspiration from this silly national holiday and seize the chance to make a memorable impression on your audience. Grab a pen and a notecard and write an old-fashioned, personalized, handwritten message to a customer, a prospective customer, a business partner—anyone whose attention you’d like to capture for a brief moment in today’s information overload world.


Handwritten messages are not a scalable approach to marketing, and they certainly can’t be easily automated. You can’t monitor click through rates, and Google Analytics has yet to figure out a way to track snail mail interactions. But can you think of a better way to humanize your marketing? A few moments of your time can go a long way to garner long-lasting trust and appreciation from the audience you’re trying to reach.


Remember that survey of 2,000 people who rarely receive handwritten mail? Sixty-one percent of respondents said they would look favorably on a business or company that sent them a handwritten note. Why not ad your company to the list?


*EDITOR’S NOTE: For the record, today is also National Rhubarb Pie Day, Measure Your Feet Day and National Clashing Clothes Day—a holiday my 17-year-old celebrates regularly. Bonus points if you can work one of those holidays into your handwritten note.