5 Tips To Get Maximum ROI From Saying "Thanks"

You know it's important to say thank you. Here are some easy ways to express gratitude—and have it impact your bottom line.

red stamp postcards

Erin Newkirk admits that she too, has been guilty of touting the value of handwritten thank-you notes at the expense of actually sending them.

Except that unlike the rest of us, Newkirk was actually at the helm of one of the first online greeting card companies, Red Stamp. Founded circa 2005, before Facebook was a regular part of everyone's daily life, the company aimed to be an online "social secretary," acting as a reminder service along with offering high end occasion cards sent through its website. "Our twist was that for an additional fee, we would hand-write and send cards on behalf of our clients," says Newkirk.

By focusing on physical cards only, Red Stamp Cards lost its way, explains Newkirk. So the company did a hard pivot (though it still offers paper options for those who prefer it) to serving up e-greetings via mobile. Launched in September, Red Stamp’s app is approaching half a million downloads, testimony to the rising tide of consumers eager to send greetings on the go. 

A far cry from texting, these e-messages deliver thoughtful dispatches in a polished format, with the added punch of immediacy. For those sending thank-you notes for business, this is particularly powerful because, as Newkirk puts it, "expressed words of gratitude are more important than the paper they’re written on anyway."

She does recognize that communicating at this pace is fraught with potential pitfalls (ever hit "reply all"and send something to unintended recipients?) and with that in mind, Newkirk offers Fast Company some pointers on modern etiquette for virtual correspondence, and tips for businesses to get maximum ROI from a note of gratitude.

Just Do It

thanks from redstamoDon't be overwhelmed by blank space. Every note you write can be broken down into three easy-to-pen parts:

 

  1. Revisit what prompted the note. This gets to the meat of your message. For example: I was very appreciative of your expertise/time/etc.
  2. Relive an important/highlighted part of the exchange such as: Specifically, because of your expertise/time/etc., we were able to do this or that.
  3. Reveal what comes next. Wrap up your note with how you will get in touch or your plans for moving forward. For instance: Next time, coffee is on me, or, I'll follow up with your promised deliverable.

 

Make It Personal, Stay Professional

Be yourself, but filtered. Always err on side of being gracious and the tone will follow. 

Then, put yourself in your recipient's shoes. Are they casual, formal, or traditional? Do they pride themselves on their technical prowess? That, too, will dictate the tone of the note, the salutation, and how you deliver it (social post, e-greeting, or paper note). You should also use personalized stationery. You can then add your social media profile/team/company photo, include your logo, and list your accolades in your signature line. 

Digital is perfectly okay as long as it’s personal and timely. It is truly is the thought that counts.

Don't Lose Them at Hello

Beware of the temptation to hastily press SEND. Real-time correspondence is powerful, but if you don't get key information correct, you'll lose them at hello. 

Try to avoid anything that might be polarizing. One big faux pas is the use of stationery or paper that displays hobbies, pets, or photos of the family. Stay away from emoticons. There are ways to be light and convey tone without them. 

Using someone’s name is a powerful way to connect, but presents potential pitfalls. Take a moment to check the spelling of your recipient's name. If you get it wrong it’s an immediate turnoff, and they’ll think this is not a personal note even if you spent an hour crafting it. 

Read through your note with a critical eye for typos. Reading out loud helps you hear the tone even better than a quick and silent scan. 

Be Fearless 

Don't be afraid to reach out more than once. Everyone wants real-time feedback, and waiting a couple days for mail is torture. You will be rewarded for timeliness and you can follow up later with a real postcard and a slightly different twist.

There aren’t many occasions you shouldn’t reach out. To express sympathy, go back to keeping the recipient in mind. Let someone know you are thinking of them as soon as you can. "As a small business owner myself, if I client I have lost someone it’s appropriate to reach out with a digital note," Newkirk says. Then be prepared to follow up with something a little less on the fly. 

Think Non-Traditional Holidays

As Valentine’s Day approaches, Newkirk says it’s a great time for businesses to send greetings to valued clients. Instead of disappearing into a mound of formulaic greetings around Christmas and New Year's, sending a note on a non-traditional holiday such as Valentine’s Day can help a business stand out from the competition. "It’s an excellent time to send a business greeting that’s still warm and personal," says Newkirk. However, leave the Xs and Os for the object of your affection.

Always

Speak from the heart. Be warm, be natural, and be conversational.

On Red Stamp, it's free to send an e-greeting and $1.99 for a postcard—and you can't beat the ROI of showing you care.

[Images courtesy Red Stamp]

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12 Comments

  • Jamall

    This is a very good article. Thanks for writing it. I am with Thankster.com and we help people businesses send thank you notes to clients in the mail. We do all the stuffing, addressing, stamping, etc. Please check it out and let us know what you think. Thanks for writing this once again. 

  • Vikrama Dhiman

    Thank you for posting. Great article.

    We have recently just started our customer experience engagement strategy at Online courses on WizIQ and are looking for ways to open ourselves to users more. Saying thank you not only expresses gratitude but also tells them that their action was important. One of the things we try is to make our emails personal. Having a person send these emails rather than a bot is important as is taking just that extra effort in seeing whom to send what email. "That extra" helps.

  • Cedricj

    Employees intuitively know when gratitude comes from the heart. 

    When it is not just a communication "technique" and comes from a genuine concern for the welfare of each person, the biggest ROI is an inspired workforce that will move heaven and earth for its leaders.

    cedricj.wordpress.com
    Inspiring leaders to inspire others

  • CoachDonnaStott

    The value of 5 thank you notes every day... every single day... was taught to me by my first Manager/Mentor Bobbie Boehmer. I'd say my first couple of dozen sales probably happened due to that great advice. Don't have enough business? Start sending 5 a day. Today.

  • Rosemary

    Appreciation is one works magic in any business venture. After a succesful sale it is important that one just says "Thank You".

  • Marcus Jellerson

    It seems a bit mercenary to me to think of saying 'thank you' in terms of ROI.  Thanking your customers, coworkers, and contacts is just good manners, sound business sense and good networking -- those who are helping you today may need your help tomorrow and vice versa.  I would also point out that the article focuses on digitally thanking your clients when Ms. Dishman could have included thanking one's coworkers which 1) has its own internal ROI, 2) is equally important, and 3) should be tailored to what motivates them -- a digital 'thanks' may well not cut it. 

  • Kevin Donlin

    Great stuff! Simple, powerful, proven.

    In a world where your prospects and clients are bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages daily, a simple "Thank you" in a note can help your business stand out -- and get ahead.

    When you mail a handwritten thank-you note to prospects and clients, they see you as thoughtful, memorable, and trustworthy:

    1. Thoughtful, because you took the time to buy a thank-you note, hand-write a personal message, address the envelope, affix a stamp, and drop it in the mail. (An instant message via Twitter can't compare.)
     
    2. Memorable, because people will smile and remember you favorably when reading your thank-you note. Lots of people keep thank-you notes in a desk draw for months or years. (An email can't compare.)

    3. Trustworthy, because if you are detail-oriented enough to get a thank-you note in the mail the same day you meet with a prospect or make a sale to a client, people will think you can handle the other details that come after the sale. (Not saying "Thank you" can't compare.)

    Here's a link to an article I wrote on this concept - The 39,900% ROI of a Simple "Thank You"

  • Rosemary

    Very true. Thank you are two magic words that work wonders in any business. They open more opportunities and refferrals from your clients.