A number of years ago, I was in charge of a graduate school admissions office.

During the three years I oversaw the operation, I hand signed every letter — a few thousand each year — that left the office. Every letter to a prospective student who requested information. Every letter to an admitted student. I also added a small note to the bottom of each.

I signed each letter with blue ink. Why? It catches the eye and provides a burst of color against the black type. It also tends to say to the reader, “This is authentic.”

Some people thought I was wasting time. An autopen signature or a scanned copy would suffice. People didn’t care, they told me.

But people did care. Several times during a semester, students would come in the office and thank me for the personalized note at the bottom of the page.

The institution I worked for prided itself on its reputation for treating students as individuals — not simply numbers. I felt that signing each letter by hand was just one more way for students to realize we saw them as individuals, that they weren’t just a name in a database and on a form letter.

One time, a student told me that our school’s personal touches (via letters, phone calls, etc.) helped her choose to attend our institution over a competitor.

I understand that there are certainly times when you can’t personalize everything. Many things need to be mailed in bulk simply to get the message out quickly to your audience. However, you should always be on the lookout for the opportunities to add the extra touches to your church marketing mailings that let people know you care about them.

Here are some hints for you to consider:

  • Sign your name to each letter. It takes less than five seconds to sign your name legibly. Go ahead. Time yourself.
  • Emails are quick and easy but handwritten notes are received as gifts and oftentimes kept.
  • Don’t misspell a name. My wife’s name is Corinn, but she often sees “Corrin” or “Corinne.” Misspellings happen, but the perception is a lack of consideration on your part.
  • Most marketers personalize their materials but you should personalize your correspondence with details.

“Thank you, Kim, for all your hard work in the office.”

“Kevin, it was so nice to meet you and your family last Wednesday at the Open House. Thank you for visiting. If I can answer any questions for you, don’t hesitate to call me.”

“Julie, thank you for your call about our writing program. I have called the program coordinator and she should be reaching out to you next week.”


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