In this day and age, the evolution of technology and what we are able to accomplish from behind a screen or with a tap of a finger baffles me. I sometimes recall the night in college when I first learned what Facebook was (remember when you needed a college e-mail address to join?!). Social media, e-mail marketing, and apps are all integral parts of growing a thriving business, but what about some of the more traditional forms of communication?
In 2010, I cashed in my life-savings to open a Bikram Yoga studio in my hometown. Teaching yoga was (and still is) my passion, and I couldn’t wait to bring the yoga to my community. A business-person I was not, and budgeting part of that life-savings for marketing, advertising, and promotion never even crossed my mind.
After an expensive and long build-out, I opened my doors with a very thin cushion of cash reserves. I had maybe a month’s worth of expenses at best. I was everything those first six months: from teacher to front desk staff to cleaning lady to president of the company (well, I was after all, wasn’t I?) but being the technologically-challenged person that I am, I had only very simple and traditional techniques to grow my business.
The Hand Written Note as I call it was something I started from Day 1. I was so grateful that one, then two, then three people decided to come to my studio and – gasp! – pay me their hard-earned money, that I wrote them a thank you note. It went something like this: “Dear so-and-so, just a quick note to welcome you to Bikram Yoga Natick! You did great in class and I hope to see you again soon. Thank you so much for checking us out.” Boom, that was it. I developed carpal-tunnel syndrome by writing all those notes but it was worth it. (And don’t worry, the yoga helps relieve my symptoms).
Fast forward five and a half years later and we are still sending out our Hand Written Notes to every new client. I still write them! Some business people would probably call me crazy for not delegating this task, but to be honest, I like it. I’m even more grateful all these years later that people spend their time and money in my place of business. Sometimes I scroll down my weekly list of new clients to write to and I don’t recognize all the names. When that happens, I owe it to those people to write them the Hand Written Note.
Does this take time? Absolutely. Would an e-mail be quicker? Without a doubt (new students do receive an automated welcome e-mail too, but the way). But that’s just it. There’s nothing automatic about a Hand Written Note. Sitting down, grabbing a pen, looking up the address, finding a stamp all take effort. And the response? Well, it’s overwhelmingly positive. Clients say they hang their Hand Written Notes on their refrigerators, that they’re touched we thought to write, and that they only mail they get delivered any more are bills! This genuine display of gratitude continues to help grow and enhance the business’s community.
As the studio has grown, we’ve added additional marketing efforts. We hold events, offer workshops, and run promotions. Some work, some don’t; yet when you have a business practice that stands the test of time day after day, month after month, and year after year, never let it go. Technology will change and evolve and improve over and over again but the simplicity of pen and paper will never go out of style.