Thanks-Giving = Thanks-Getting: 21 Small Business Profit Boosters (#2)

Thanks-Giving is Thanks-Getting

In the United States, we're celebrating Thanksgiving. In our tradition, this means expressing our gratitude for the bountiful harvest. It is a long-standing tradition, steeped in the mythology of the birth of our nation.

For many people, it is one of the very few times of the year they pause to truly reflect on what they're thankful for.

In keeping with the idea of giving thanks, I'm about to suggest a simple strategy of thanks-giving that can also have a “boomerang effect”; by giving thanks, it's possible to get thanks back in return. In the form of dollars in your bank account.

Which leads us to Tactic #2 in our 21-part series. Here's the tactic…

Get out your trusty list of all past customers.

Even the ones who only spent a few dollars with you.

Now send each one of them a hand-written thank you note.

Yes, I said a hand-written thank you note.

Not one printed by computer, using a handwriting font.

Not a photocopied “hand-written” note. No, I'm suggesting you send each individual customer a short, quickly-written, perhaps even a little tough to read… hand written note. (HINT: I never said you personally had to write each one; just that it be written by a human hand.)

“But That Will Take Forever!”

I can already hear the protests that this is much too time-consuming.

I beg to differ.

Follow my reasoning: which has more impact on you… a computer printed note (which you can always detect, right?), or an obviously hand-written one?

My questions are a setup, of course. We all know that hand-written note is magnitudes more important and attention-getting to each of us.

How important do you think it is to create those emotions in your customers?

If you can reach a large number of your past customers, and grab a little piece of their attention, and make them feel a little special… do you think that's likely to result in new or repeat business? Do you think it's possible that they will recommend you to their friends and loved ones? Do you think it's possible that when one of your competitors starts marketing aggressively to this customer, they'll remember that handwritten note from you?

Now, if you simply stop with the thank-you note I don't think your results are going to be very outstanding; although I do predict you'll get some business if that's all you ever do. But here comes the real power play…

How To Follow Up Your Thanks-giving Note With a Thanks-getting Note

The timing on this nextmaneuver is crucial.  If you wait too long, it won't work nearly as well. Within two days of sending the thank you note, send a marketing communication.

My suggestion is this marketing communication be simple and to the point. It might say something like, “as an added thank you for being a loyal customer in the past, I'd like to make you aware of a special opportunity right now…”.

The keys to this tactic working  are:

  1. The fact that the first note is genuinely handwritten.
  2. The proximity (in time) of the second note to the first
  3. The words “added thank you”. Because they evoke the memory of the thank you note.

Mess up one of those variables, and your results will diminish.

Is this groundbreaking?

Is it earth shattering?


But it will work. The hand-written note will stand out from among all of the “fake” thank you notes your customers are getting from other businesses. Trust me. You're going to be on a whole different level.

If you send a marketing communication within 48 hours of your customer receiving your hand-written note, your marketing communication will be at least seven times more effective than it would have been on its own.

Many of your past customers will thank you for your personal attention-and they'll thank you in the form of new business.

Tomorrow's profit booster: Bobby Fischer marketing.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • Hi Ray,

    First, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    I'm grateful for the service you give to all of us
    who eagerly consume what you willingly share.

    This poignant post, along with the first in this
    series, points out the value of the simple things
    business owners and managers can do that are
    so often overlooked or taken for granted in our
    culture of just buying more ad space to try to
    grow a business.

    These are indeed “secrets from the lost art of
    common sense marketing”, a phrase that was
    used as the title of a book and a newsletter many
    years ago that taught similar techniques.

    I look forward to seeing the balance of the gems
    in this series.

    Your friend in and out of the trenches,

    @MichaelMillman ~ Twitter

    • The people who are “just buying more ad space” are not faring so well these days, I think.

  • myideaguy


    Excellent post and I love the detail you provided in how to follow up after the thank you note.

    Even though it's something we have thought about, the reason it's so effective is because so few people will actually take the time to do it.

    Great job Ray – looking forward to the rest of the series 🙂

    All the best.


    • Thanks Stu… as you know, I value your opinion greatly.

      It's really about listening to, and caring about, what your market wants and thinks.

      I've noticed your business pushing out more in this direction — Instant Business Answers is a good example of your responding to what your market really wants from you.

      Keep it up!

  • Doug (Downunder)

    Hi Ray,

    In my last post I said I would watch this series with interest –here I am..

    By the shortage of comments on this article it appears the bulk of readers see the written word as of little consequence in cyber selling ; however the point you make has real significance to the “intention” word — May I enlarge as follows :-

    In my bricks & mortar coaching I impress this mantra upon my students— ” Your prospect s don't care that you know until they know that you care” — This can be solidly brought home by reversing the situation — putting one's self in the prospects “shoes” — feel the road through their moccasins !! Totally appropriate in any form of ethical selling !!

    The appropriate handwritten means of expression carries one's “energy” which can be acknowledged by the unconscious mind of the recipient (given that it is engaged).
    The phrase “in good faith” springs to mind.

    I 've added “Downunder” to my sig.because I am located in Australia — More later.

    • I don't find the “shortage of comments” particularly troubling.

      First, because the initial post in this series was bound to get the bulk of the comments.

      Second, because today is one of the biggest holidays in the US — Thanksgiving Day. Only on Christmas Day will there be fewer people a their keyboards.

      Glad to hear from our Oz contingent!

  • Ray,

    You are dead on again as usual.

    Both in regards to personalization (hand-written notes) and the need for constant and regular contacts with our customers & prospects. Fact is, one letter or card per year just won't have much of an effect.

    Personalized cards, postcards & notes are very powerful not only in acquiring new customers, but in retaining, reviving and growing existing and inactive ones.

    Form letters or anything resembling a boilerplate letter will not “reach” your customer on a personal level, it just won't reach his heart. It very likely may even p*ss him off.

    That personal connection just isn't there.

    Think about communications you've received from your vendors, suppliers, service professionals, etc. If you get a form letter in the mail asking for your business (or for repeat business) there's a high probability it will end up in the round file. Realtors and mortgage professionals, while well-meaning, are notorious for this.

    Yet, consistently send (at least six times per year is recommended) personal notes of gratitude or appreciation to ALL of your customers & prospects and magic will start to happen. They will reward you with more business and, even more exciting, more referrals.

    Nothing beats a referral from a happy customer or associate for this simple reason: IT COSTS YOU NOTHING TO ACQUIRE THIS CUSTOMER! Of course, there are many reasons why we should work on getting more referrals, but this reason alone is priceless (no pun intended).

    Just think if there were a system that could enable business owners to follow-up with customers on a regular basis with personalized hand written notes…and allow them to schedule these mailings to be sent out in a time-sequential order of your choosing, throughout the year. Automatically. Talk about dominating your market…

    Now, there is.

    Thank you Ray, for the privilege of contributing to your tremendous source of marketing knowledge. I'm always a better marketer (and business person) after reading your articles.

    For that, I thank you. Until next time…

    Best always,