As children we watched our parents get mail everyday, and somehow that seemed special (we did not realize the percentage of mail that was advertising or bills). On the rare occasion that we got a card or letter it was awesome. I believe that getting snail mail is still cool.
In business there is awesome power in the handwritten note. When someone takes the time to mail a letter it shows a level of intent and effort above that of a text or an email. The tools we use to communicate are always changing, but there is something about a card in the mail that makes people feel special and makes them think better of the sender.
I recently got a question from my friend Patrick. He is an awesome person who cares a lot about people. He has decided to send more notes, and after attending a conference recently he found that not everyone he met had their physical address on their card. He wanted to reach out and show them they mattered more than a digital blast, but was perplexed about the new trend not to list all contact information.
I've been trying to write to many of those I met this weekend, but I'm finding 75% of the people don't have a mailing address on their card or website...
My question--in these situations do you just do an email? Anything else you do here?
I was surprised because my lack of addresses. Do you ask for mailing addresses in those cases?
He brings up an interesting point. What do you do when you want to show someone the "extra love" and they block you by not having this information available?
This is becoming a bigger issue, as it is more common these days for people to just put a single point of contact on their card (phone, email, or Twitter). Larger companies still put their locations on cards, but many solopreneurs have eliminated this option. It is common for people to work from home, thus they do not feel comfortable about putting their location out to the world (which is why I have a PO Box).
I believe it is important for people to make it easy for others to contact you in the way they see fit (make it about the other person's convenience, not you own), but most of the advice given these days is to instruct people to contact you the way you want to be contacted. A good friend's voicemail used to instruct callers that leaving a voicemail was not what he preferred, and then instructed his callers to send a text. That never seemed like the friendliest greeting.
After I meet someone if I want to send a note, and there is no address, I will often try to visit a person's website and see if they have a physical location listed. Beyond that I do not want to be a stalker (I know some people who do more detailed searches and find home addresses online, but that can be creepy). In my email I sometimes add "I intended to send you a handwritten note (because you are worth the handwritten level of a note!!), but your address was not listed on your card".
Another option is to email them or message them via social media and ask for the address. In a way this is a "spoiler alert" about your intention to mail a card, but I think that is okay if the person is really worthy of the extra effort.
In the end, try to send a handwritten note, but if you can't find the address, go with the email. Just remember, many people get 300 emails per day. It is not the best way to stand out or show them that they are a priority.
What do you think? Leave a comment, send an email, Tweet, leave a FB message or mail me a letter (which ever way is your favorite).
Oh, my address is PO Box 12793, Austin, TX 78711
Have A Great Day.