Handwritten Letters and Envelopes

30 replies
Hello There,

I have developed a product that can generate handwritten documents. Those documents can be later printed and used as 100% genuine handwritten letters or envelopes for offline or direct mail marketing purposes. The product works great, doesn't use fonts, thus providing really high quality result, and is capable of handling large batches (10+k documents per day), but we do have very little customers as we have potentially wrong niche and wrong target audience.

As strange as it sounds, being Europe based, is not easy to try to acquire US based customers. I don't know the latest trends over there, and even though I thought that Real Estate Agents would be my perfect target group, it turns out that most likely I am wrong.

I turned to this form for two main reasons really:

1) To get your feedback for who should be our target audience. I know it sounds strange, but I would appreciate every tip on this matter. Maybe Layers, Sales persons or... Anything that someone think it could helpful.
2) To possibly find someone who is already doing direct mail marketing in the US who might be willing to try my services and if that someone found them useful, we could discuss collaboration or something like that.

I still am new to this forum and I don't know the rules, so I keept myself from posting links from the website etc, so this post is not treated as marketing to my servies, but if anyone is interested, I would gladly discuss everything directly on in the comments.

Thank you all for taking the time to go over this thread and respond.
#envelopes #handwritten #letters
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  • Profile picture of the author Emerson Tarley
    Hi,

    i think that your software could be useful for direct mail marketing agency, because they could use it to make their letters appear more personal and handwritten.

    Direct mail is usually something made only by big agency or corporation because it's more expensive than email marketing and usually it also target a much old audience
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    • Profile picture of the author aleksandar+il
      Thank you for the response. Indeed direct mail marketing agency can be potential clients, but as you said for yourself they are big corporations and they are difficult to reach, even more difficult to catch their attention.

      Ideally, I would start small and grow from there.
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  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    Originally Posted by aleksandar+il View Post

    ............ I thought that Real Estate Agents would be my perfect target group, it turns out that most likely I am wrong.
    What makes you say that most likely you are wrong?

    Have you tried to get interest in that area?

    What happened exactly?

    Then we can help you.
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    • Profile picture of the author aleksandar+il
      I have tried, and found clients, just not as much as I was hoping to. Then I learned that also real estate agents are not really independent business owners, but they have to be associated with an agency and most of the time, the agency take care of the marketing part.

      Very few would go with their own marketing strategy and be experimenting with the handwritten letters as part of their campaign.

      I had and still every now and then have real estate agents as clients who would place several orders, and then, will get pretty much similar response from them that that was their attempt to do something on their own, but the agency will do better marketing for them. After all, they are real estate agents and not necessarily marketing gurus, so they will lose interest in experimenting and making campaigns on their own.
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  • Profile picture of the author mu2pilot
    There are several services in the U.S. that have this capability.

    handwrytten.com
    bond.co
    felt.io
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    • Profile picture of the author aleksandar+il
      [DELETED]
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      • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
        Originally Posted by aleksandar+il View Post

        Thank you for your answer.
        Indeed those and even few more.

        And my website is: DELETED!
        Self-promoting your website violates forum rules.
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      • Profile picture of the author aleksandar+il
        To the admin: Can you please remove my link from the previous comment or remove the comment completely. For some reason, I can't edit my comment, probably because it was already answered or...

        My intention wasn't self-promoting, and I have already stated that in the original message,
        I still am new to this forum and I don't know the rules, so I kept myself from posting links from the website etc, so this post is not treated as marketing to my services, but if anyone is interested, I would gladly discuss everything directly on in the comments.
        , but as a response to the posted links by mu2pilot I thought it will not be breaking rules if I share my website.

        Apologies for breaking any rules. I still haven't found time to go over the rules of the forum, I was excited to get feedback and thoughts of the experts here.
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        • Profile picture of the author Tony Marriott
          Admission upfront: I don't know what "market or niche" would be best for "hand written" letters. In fact my personal thought is that a printed letter is simply easier to read and looks more professional. I can't say that a hand written letter from anyone trying to sell me something would improve the chances of a sale.


          But that's just me.


          So a generic response to your question........


          I would start to make a list of people you believe would respond well to a handwritten letter. i.e. NOT Estate Agents but Home buyers.


          If you can identify the "end clients" then you can look to see what industries are interacting with those end clients. These then become your target market.


          You say you have some clients. That's great.


          If you could get one of your clients to run some split tests on printed/handwritten letters and show a positive (income wise) result it will be much easier to convince others to try it.


          Saying "you know how much more value a hand written letter is over a printed one" (especially if they don't) is not a convincing argument.


          But "I 'll show you the proof that using our automated handwritten service will increase your sales by 23%" may just get a prospective client to stop and consider.


          Beyond that it's just trying different possible client markets. Use mail and email campaigns to contact and test response.
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          • Profile picture of the author aleksandar+il
            You gave me few interesting perspectives and few ideas that I can try. Thank you a lot. I appreciate your input.
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  • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
    And why wouldn't someone just use a nice handwriting font? What am I missing, here?
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    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

      And why wouldn't someone just use a nice handwriting font? What am I missing, here?
      It usually looks like a font and has very small breaks between the letters and/or the end of each letter doesn't flow correctly into the next letter.

      I got a letter about a year ago for what OP is describing, it was very difficult to see it was a font on the outside of the envelope. After I opened the letter it was obvious junk mail. I only remember the letter because the envelope was staged really good.
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      • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
        Originally Posted by yukon View Post

        It usually looks like a font and has very small breaks between the letters and/or the end of each letter doesn't flow correctly into the next letter.
        Not if you buy high-quality fonts. All of my 'script' fonts look this good.

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        • Profile picture of the author mu2pilot
          Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

          Not if you buy high-quality fonts. All of my 'script' fonts look this good.

          Even though your fonts "flow", it doesn't look handwritten.
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          • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
            Originally Posted by mu2pilot View Post

            Even though your fonts "flow", it doesn't look handwritten.
            Right. Because you can actually read what the words say. It works for me and have never had any comments from anyone, either way. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

            Waste you money if you so choose. That's totally up to you.
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            • Profile picture of the author mu2pilot
              Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

              Right. Because you can actually read what the words say. It works for me and have never had any comments from anyone, either way. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

              Waste you money if you so choose. That's totally up to you.
              So, your proof is "it works for me and have never had any comments..."?

              The topic of this thread is "Handwritten Letters and envelopes".

              You posted an example of what you're using. Great! You are free to use whatever you wish.

              My only comment was that your example does not look handwritten. It looks like what it is, machine printed.

              There is nothing wrong with that! It just doesn't look handwritten.

              There are cool sites that use handwriting machines that write cards and letters with pens. Some of them are virtually indistinguishable from a handwritten letter. Some of them aren't all that great.

              I ordered cards for 5 of the top services. One of them was very, very difficult to tell between their machine written card and a handwritten card. The other services were pretty good, but there was too much repetitiveness in the font and you could tell that the card wasn't handwritten.

              Even your $100 font is easy to tell that it is machine printed.

              So who's wasting $$ now?

              LOL
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              • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
                Originally Posted by mu2pilot View Post

                So who's wasting $$ now?
                Yeah, that's me. More money than brains. There are worse fates in life. You gotta have it to be able to waste it. :-)
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        • Profile picture of the author yukon
          Originally Posted by OptedIn View Post

          Not if you buy high-quality fonts. All of my 'script' fonts look this good.






          The upper case letters are obviously a font.

          A better font would have more variation, like multiple versions of each letter slightly altered because nobody writes like your example. Each instance of each letter is the exact same.

          It would probably do pretty good for the outside of an envelope but not a long sales letter.
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        • Profile picture of the author aleksandar+il
          The image above is little difficult to analyze because of the nature of the font.
          Anyway, as it is shown in the image below, a typical font will have all the letters (eg: aaaaa) looking the same while with our approach, they all look different, giving genuine look to the final result.

          I haven't actually heard and I don't know if a font can do something like that. And to get some idea, how much would you pay in general for a great font? And what if anything would keep you away from a solution like mine?
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          • Profile picture of the author yukon
            Originally Posted by aleksandar+il View Post

            The image above is little difficult to analyze because of the nature of the font.
            Anyway, as it is shown in the image below, a typical font will have all the letters (eg: aaaaa) looking the same while with our approach, they all look different, giving genuine look to the final result.

            I haven't actually heard and I don't know if a font can do something like that. And to get some idea, how much would you pay in general for a great font? And what if anything would keep you away from a solution like mine?


            That bottom example of letters is exactly what I was talking about.

            There's slight variations and even went a step further where it shows different shades of ink like when writing on paper, the pressure of the ink pen will be different throughout the entire content.







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            • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
              Originally Posted by yukon View Post

              Right. I want my letters to look like they were handwritten by a third-grader. Cut me a break. lol
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          • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
            Originally Posted by aleksandar+il View Post

            And to get some idea, how much would you pay in general for a great font?
            I have regularly paid more than $100 for a font family. Like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. You want to pay $9.99 for 1000 fonts? Well, that's out there.

            And what if anything would keep you away from a solution like mine?
            See my previous post.
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            • Profile picture of the author aleksandar+il
              Everyone has own taste, if I can say something about the font you shared in the image in the previous comments (just honest opinion not unpolite push back against you) it is too hard for my eyes to read.

              Anyway, the idea with my system is not to produce calligraphy, nor to use fonts however great looking they are, but instead as realistic handwriting as possible (even if that looks like written from a third-grader to you

              Joke aside, we have several styles available that you can check below, and while individual letters like the image from my previous comment don't say much, when placed in a document or envelope it doesn't look that bad (or at least I hope). Anyway, check the images and please give me your feedback. Since you seem to have a picky taste, I am interested in your feedback especially

              Style 1
              Style 2
              Style 3
              Style 4
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              • Profile picture of the author OptedIn
                Hi,

                You need to quote at least a small portion of the message you are referring to or use @OptedIn so we know who you are directing your comment toward.

                Originally Posted by aleksandar+il View Post

                Everyone has own taste, if I can say something about the font you shared in the image in the previous comments (just honest opinion not unpolite push back against you) it is too hard for my eyes to read.
                I totally agree, but I was using that font simply as an example for spacing. It's not a font I would use as it only comes in bold. There are numerous other fonts, much better suited to the task.

                Anyway, the idea with my system is not to produce calligraphy, nor to use fonts however great looking they are, but instead as realistic handwriting as possible (even if that looks like written from a third-grader to you
                Well, then - you have achieved total success. :-)

                Joke aside, we have several styles available that you can check below, and while individual letters like the image from my previous comment don't say much, when placed in a document or envelope it doesn't look that bad (or at least I hope). Anyway, check the images and please give me your feedback. Since you seem to have a picky taste, I am interested in your feedback especially

                Style 1
                Style 2
                Style 3
                Style 4
                Style 1. Huge gaps between individual letters. Looks like a ransom demand. :-)

                Style 2. The only thing this will produce is a headache. Horrific looking.

                Style 3. So bad that it doesn't deserve a comment. Just plain dreadful.

                Style. 4. I don't know what to say other than I am obviously NOT your intended market. From a business standpoint, these are simply unacceptable. They are one-step above scribble - to my eye.

                Not trying to be hurtful, but I do realize that sometimes the truth does hurt and I am sorry. It was NOT my intent and I believe that if people are honest, they would concur with by critique.

                If one of these - from any sample you have shown - arrived at my mailbox, after just looking at it and before reading a single word, it would be deposited in my circular file cabinet. They hurt my eyes and they hurt my brain.

                Better to compose an original letter, get copies made and add the salutation by hand on each one.

                Additionally, when I get anything relating to business, I want it presented in a professional business manner - even when it's the SPCA asking for a donation. Receiving a handwritten plea won't change my level of giving, because I am going to automatically assume that it's not truly handwritten and the attempt to make it look like it is, is nothing more than deception. I don't see that as a 'plus.'

                That said, I have very out-of-the-ordinary views on most things and if you ask 100 people a question and 99 give you the same answer, I'm more likely to be the outlier with an answer that is at the other end of the spectrum.

                I certainly do wish you luck and I'm assuming that you already know there is a market for this or you would not have devoted so much time and effort to developing it.

                Not that I expect you would, but please don't allowing my thoughts to sway you in the least. I am only relaying my thoughts - not how I believe others may find your product viable for their business needs.

                Cheers.
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                • Profile picture of the author aleksandar+il
                  You need to quote at least a small portion of the message you are referring to or use @OptedIn so we know who you are directing your comment toward.
                  OptedIn I thought that replying to your comment is enough, but we can use both methods combined if you will.

                  Style. 4. I don't know what to say other than I am obviously NOT your intended market. From a business standpoint, these are simply unacceptable. They are one-step above scribble - to my eye.
                  haha I feel like being part of X-Factor and standing in front of Simon Cowell, but I really appreciate your honesty.

                  Now regarding the business potential of it, there is definitely some space for it on the market. Not highest demand and not a product that will earn me million dollars, but with the proper effort as I have seen before, we can achieve a success.

                  Thank you
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    How long have you been marketing to real estate agents? See it through; seems like a perfect match to me.
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    • Profile picture of the author aleksandar+il
      The system is fully functional for more than 4 years. I haven't been done some extensive marketing because I didn't have some big marketing budget.

      But every cent spent on marketing had only Real Estate Agents as the only target group.

      As mentioned, I am not completely out of clients, and they are all in the real estate, but far from enough for this to become my primary source of income, it is just more like side income at the moment.

      That's why my item No 2) I mentioned:
      2) To possibly find someone who is already doing direct mail marketing in the US who might be willing to try my services and if that someone found them useful, we could discuss collaboration or something like that.
      Because even though we have developed this system, it doesn't mean we are great at doing and scaling the business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Davey Hogins
    No kidding? Sounds like a really interesting concept, but I'd probably use it.
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  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    Real Estate investors, not agents already use them,
    which makes a better audience.

    If you can get it in the hands of Ron Legrand
    for him to trial it, you'll likely fail spectacularly or
    profit wildly!

    Going to be dependent on beating what he is already using.

    He popularized it through the whole re industry,
    therefore he would spread what you have through his large network
    of re investors.

    Here he talks about how to set it up for
    the investor and he gives out the printer and mail house
    that he worked with to get it looking right.

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  • Profile picture of the author ecomhustla
    If there are competitors that are making money, then researching them is the first place to start.

    I recall seeing a similar business "Felt" on Shark Tank, which received 225k investment from Kevin O'Leary, targeted at his wedding/greeting card/gift-giving market. I believe they have had to incorporate an app and physical products as well (cute crafty envelopes, paper, greeting cards, photos and frames, etc.) to make money in that market.

    Handywritten seems to also be going for the greeting/thank-you card market.

    Inkly seems to also be in the same niche as Felt and Handywritten.

    Bond.co seems to be positioning itself as a customer-engagement strategy for marketing, including real estate. They seem to have corporate and university clients as well who may be using their product for direct mail, employee engagement, soliciting donations, etc. This seems more in line with your strategy?

    LetterFriend seems to be going for the same markets as Bond.co -- corporate marketing, employee engagement, etc.

    Hope this helps!
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    • Profile picture of the author aleksandar+il
      Thank you for your thoughts.
      I will have to research your mentions, as I have only heard about LetterFriend, but your input is really appreciated.

      Thank you.
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