A creative way to increase direct mail responses...
When you are sending letters to a list that you feel would respond better to a hand written letter, but don't want to sit and write each one, you can use a custom font to provide the same results. The alternative is to write the letter and then photocopy it, but then you are unable to merge in prospect information into the letter using a mail merge program like Word, or RealProspect.
So, I did a quick Google search and found a custom font that looked very similar to my handwriting. I just downloaded it and installed it on my computer, then wrote my letter template using this custom font. But to make it look like I really hand wrote the letter, I set the font color of my letter template to a royal blue just like a blue pen would look. I also increased the font to 16pt and printed on a manila colored paper using an inkjet printer. The blue ink slightly bled around the text like a real pen does because of how the inkjet printer applies ink to the paper. For some reason the manila colored paper makes it look really like it was handwritten, but on white paper you can kind of see that it was printed.
I used the letter templates feature in RealProspect to merge in the prospects first name into the greeting and the prospect property address into the letter, and I wrote the letter as if It was specifically written and sent to that prospect. I did not put anything on it that looked or smelled like it came from an investor, or a company for that matter. It looked exactly like a personal letter without any company names or letter head. Just a greeting, a body, and a signature.
Then I used a 6 x 9 manila colored envelope and I actually printed the prospects address and my return address on the envelopes using the same font, color and inkjet printer. Its amazing how much it really looks like it was hand addressed when you use the inkjet printer with blue colored text on a manila colored paper. I even showed it to a few people before I sent it to see if they could tell it was printed, and they all thought it was hand written.
So, I sent the test to a few hundred prospects in a specific neighborhood that I'm targeting, and I got an overwhelming response rate. I'm not sure what the total response rate will be because I'm still getting calls 3 weeks after I sent out the letter... and I only sent 300 of them!
Needless to say, this is a cool little trick to increase responses without much work other than loading paper into the printer. =)