Definition of yellow letter marketing
Yellow letters are a widely proclaimed marketing technique that boasts a 10-15% response rate. The premise is to handwrite a letter in red ink on yellow paper offering to buy or sell a product or service. Since this technique uses invitation style envelopes and live stamps, most recipients will open and read it rather than identify it as spam to be discarded. Also, since the letter is handwritten and personalized for them, it helps to create a report.
Material and cost savings
Single / fixed cost items include a printer and word processor such as Microsoft Office or openoffice.org (free download). As long as it supports mail merge, any word processor will work. Also, we will use a digital scanner. Since we will only use it twice, you might consider borrowing from neighbors or friends rather than buying your own. You will also need your complete marketing list with name, property address, and mailing address. To create these lists, you can use an online service such as listsource.com.
A do-it-yourself campaign can provide significant cost savings over many online yellow letter services. To give you an idea of the savings, a 1000 letter online campaign can cost $ 1.40 per letter, totaling $ 1400. Doing it yourself can be as cheap as $ 650 with a savings of $ 750. Note that I did not set the purchase price of raw materials, so you can beat it by buying in bulk or finding a better deal. These items can be picked up at prices similar to those shown below at any office supply store such as Walmart, Staples, and Office Depot.
- The color ink at $ 25/250 letters is $ 0.10 per letter
- Invitation style envelopes (4 3/8 x 5 3/4) at $ 8.38 / 100 envelopes en $ 0.08 per letter
- Yellow writing blocks (8 1/2 x 11) at $ 10.88 / 600 sheets en $ 0.02 per letter
- First class stamps (for return service) are $ 0.45 per letter
- The total cost per letter is $ 0.65 + taxes
First, I must say that this is a non-trivial amount of work. If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve put in a solid 30 hours from start to finish to put out my first 700+ card campaign. Now that I have more experience with the process, I could cut it in half for a campaign of similar size. You definitely need to consider the cost benefit before you start. With that said, this is a great option if you’re focused on keeping your marketing costs low, just starting out, or on a tighter budget. You can multitask while printing and refill envelopes while watching TV. Given the savings, there is certainly room to outsource this work to someone looking to earn some quick cash. Alternatively, you can use this technique until you have closed a few deals. After that, your time is more important and you may prefer to use an online service.
1. Create a custom font
If you haven’t heard of fiverr.com, prepare to be amazed. The premise of the site is to purchase various services for $ 5. Go to the site and search for “source” and choose one of the service providers that has a good rating. Here is the workflow:
1) They will send you a template that you need to print.
2) The template has several boxes for you to provide samples of your handwriting, including AZ, az, and special characters.
3) Once completed, you will need to scan the page and provide them with the resulting image file.
4) They will create your source and return to you in a day or so.
5) When you receive the font, you can install it on your machine by following its instructions. Now you can create and print documents using your handwriting!
A couple of things to keep in mind:
1) Try to introduce some variability in your font by using a less than perfect letter; things like left, right, up or down that justify some characters and varied character sizes.
2) Make sure your font has a consistent slant so that the sentences you write flow well.
3) Try a thinner pen, such as a ball point pen, and keep it handy so you can combine it in the future.
4) This pen does not need to be red, as we will introduce the color later.
Simply put, try not to make your font perfect or it will have obvious characteristics of computer generated fonts such as comic sans (regular character spacing, all characters aligned perfectly, no errors).
2. Creating your yellow letter template
Write, print and review sample text in your new font. If your source is credible on its own, you can skip step A and go to step B. If it looks too synthetic, you can try step 1 again (for an additional $ 5) applying whatever observations you have. Otherwise, you will need to complete steps A and B to create your yellow letter template. In any case, your finished product will be something like the following where [XXX] and [YYY] they are automatically populated with data from your marketing spreadsheet.
I am a real estate investor and I am interested in your neighborhood. I see you have a house in [YYYY].
If you are interested in selling, call me at 555.555.5555. We’ll pay the closing costs and …
A) Creating the basis for your template
The basis of your template will be a scanned image of a yellow handwritten letter. To do this, I suggest that you first create a printout of your yellow letter using your custom font. For the printed letter, be sure to leave room for the salutation (i.e. Dear [XXX] from above) and a full line for the property address (i.e. [YYY] from above). You will also need one sheet of your yellow pad and one sheet of blank printer paper. First put the yellow paper on the table. Then overlap the printout so that the text matches the lines on the paper. Finally, put the blank sheet of paper on top so that you can copy the printed version with your handwriting. The purpose of this step is to match the font accurately but to introduce additional variability to make the result more readable. You may need to adjust the pages several times to make the resulting copy match the line spacing of the yellow paper. You may get better results if you use a window so that the sunlight lets you see the lines on the yellow paper and the letter you are copying by hand.
The next step is to scan this document with your scanner and create an image file that you can put as a background in your word processor. The best setting for the scanner is text mode (this preserves contrast by removing dust and other impurities). Also, set the scan dimensions to 8.5 “x 11” so that the resulting image fills the space in your word processor and lines up perfectly with the lines on the yellow paper.
Open the image in your favorite graphics software and change the font areas from black to red. Finally, paste this image into your word processor and set it to be placed behind the text.
B) Configure the mail merge
We have the basis for your Yellow Letter. Next, you’ll need to add the greeting and property address placeholder fields so that the mail merge can substitute unique values on each page. To do this, you will reference your spreadsheet containing the name, property address, and email addresses of your target campaign. For example, your greeting will say “Dear [XXX]”where [XXX] is the field that refers to the specific column in your spreadsheet. Using red text and its font, you can write this text and place it in the correct position relative to the background image or other text.
Mail merge is a long enough topic to suggest that you do a quick search to find the many online resources (Google and YouTube) for setting up mail merge in Microsoft Word and Openoffice.org. Also, if you are using Openoffice.org and you notice strange printing behavior, you should take a look at the solution that is needed if you print an odd number of pages.
You should now try to print on your yellow paper. Most likely you have alignment problems; These can be addressed in a number of ways:
1) Try adjusting the font size of the blank lines above your text. For example, you will have some blank lines before and after the greeting. Adjust the font size of these lines up or down to scroll the next text.
2) A less demanding method would be to adjust the top margin so that the text area moves up or down.
3) You may need to adjust the spacing between paragraphs or characters to match your work.
4) Remember that the image in step 2A can be adjusted up or down to align correctly.
5) Lastly, try adjusting the view (or zoom level) to 100% and then keep the yellow page on the screen to see how close you are.
Make any necessary adjustments and try again. A couple of mistakes if you have an inkjet printer:
1) Do not overfill the paper feed as the page alignment changes as the number of pages is reduced.
2) Raise the paper feeder stopper to prevent it from moving when the printer removes the paper.