Kent Sanders | Unlock Your Creative Potential

Unlock Your Creative Potential

How to Say Thank You in a Way They’ll Never Forget

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What if told you there was a way to say thank you that would make a lasting impression—something that is simple, inexpensive, memorable, and personal? Would you be interested?

I bet you would. It’s the simple yet powerful handwritten note.

The Lost Art of Handwritten Notes

Handwritten notes have become a lost art form. Electronic forms of communication like email, texting, and social media have become more prevalent over the last couple of decades. As a result, almost no one wants to deal with the hassle of sending handwritten notes.

Electronic communication is certainly convenient. But convenient is not always best. A handwritten note sends a personal message that sets you apart as someone who’s willing to do what most people aren’t.

For many years I’ve made a habit of sending handwritten notes. I often send them to students to let them know I’m praying for them. I send notes to people who write a guest post for my blog, as well as friends who run a guest post of mine on their blog or have me as a podcast guest. I try to send a note to anyone who helps me in some special way or needs encouragement.

Whether you’re saying thank you or just encouraging something, the process for doing it is the same. I like to make my own stationery and add a couple of special touches.

It’s Cheaper to Do It Yourself

Here’s the obvious question: Why would you make your own stationery when you can have it professionally made by a local or online printer?

The answer: It can be much cheaper to do it yourself.

It costs approximately 20 cents per note card when I print them myself. That includes paper, printer ink, and envelopes. If my research is correct, it costs at least two to three times that much if you have note cards professionally printed.

Let’s dive into the supplies you’ll need, and then get into the process of making the stationery.

What You’ll Need

Logo: I want to keep my “branding” consistent across all forms of communication, so I use my blog header. If you don’t have a logo (or don’t have one you like), this might be a good time to redesign it or have one made for you. (I recommend Thumbprint Creative for your graphic design needs.)

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Template: I created a stationery template in PowerPoint, and I just print it every time I need more stationery. You can download it here, as well as a version for Keynote here. (Just replace my logo and info with yours.)

Color printer: I use an Epson WF-2540. It’s an inexpensive printer that gets the job done.

Paper: You’ll want something a little thicker than regular printer paper. I use Southworth Business Cover Stock (65 lb.). It has 100 sheets per package, and I get two note cards per sheet.

Paper cutter: I use my wife’s scrapbooking paper cutter, similar to this one. The downside is that I can only cut one sheet at a time, but it only takes a few minutes to cut and fold a couple dozen sheets at a time after printing them.

Envelopes: I use 6¾ size envelopes like these.

Here is the finished product:

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Special Touches

For extra impact, add a special touch or two to your stationery. It needs to represent your personality and message. There are two things I often add to a thank you note.

A Skeleton Key

My life mission is “to help people unlock their God-given creative potential.” It’s also the central message of my blog. A while back I was searching for a little something extra to add to thank you notes and I thought a skeleton key would be cool. It represents my message of helping people “unlock” their potential, and it’s a fun throwback to something vintage.

Skeleton keys are a bit expensive unless you buy a huge quantity of them on eBay or somewhere online. These are the exact ones I buy at Home Depot. They’re about $1.00 each.

After I write on the thank you card, I tape the key inside use Scotch Matte Finish Magic Tape. I use this specific kind of tape so the recipient can easily remove the key without ripping the card.

The only issue I’ve had is that the card will occasionally get mangled because the key pokes a hole through it during automated postal sorting. This hasn’t happened often enough to make me want to stop doing it, but it if does I’ll have to find something else unique to include in my thank you cards.

Here’s what it looks like when the key is included. (By the way, I don’t address people as “Friend” when I send a note. It’s just an example.)

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A Wax Seal

Lately I’ve started to use a wax seal on many of the cards I send out. Modern envelopes obviously don’t need a wax seal to keep them shut, so why use one?

The reason is because it’s something fun and unique, and represents who I am. I use red glue gun sealing wax (which matches the color of my logo design) and a standard-size low temperature glue gun.

After squeezing out a dollop of wax a little less than the size of a dime, I stamp it with the letter “K” using a round wax seal stamp. Sometimes I use a square stamp that I purchased here. Both stamps leave an impression in the wax that echoes the capital “K” in my blog logo.

The wax seal is a unique touch that helps keep my branding consistent. Plus, my son Ben likes to be the official “stamper” when I send out a set of cards. 🙂

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Is It Worth the Hassle?

I know this all sounds a lot of work. Is it worth the expense and hassle?

I truly believe it is. If you want to make a lasting impression (no pun intended) and expression your appreciation in a unique way, a handwritten note will do the trick. If you can add a special touch that represents your brand and personality, so much the better.

It costs about $2.00 per card including all the supplies I need to restock (card stock, envelopes, skeleton keys, tape, sealing wax) and postage. (It only needs one first-class stamp.) If I spend $100 per year and send 50 cards, that’s 50 people who will remember that I went to the trouble and expense to send them something memorable. I’d say that’s a pretty good investment.

The key to following through with handwritten notes is to make it convenient for yourself. I make a bunch of stationery at once and keep all the supplies in the same place. The longest part of the process by far is writing the notes and addressing the envelopes.

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You don’t need to do all the fancy stuff I’m doing to make a great impression. Even a plain handwritten thank you note will stand out because it’s so rare.

I hope this encourages you to start sending handwritten notes if you don’t already. It’s a great way to let people know that you care about them and appreciate them. Even if you use generic stationery from a store, it will make a great impression. A plain card you actually is always better than an awesome card you intended to send, but didn’t.

Do you send handwritten notes, and do you include anything unique inside?

About Kent Sanders

I help people unlock their God-given creative potential. I live with my wife and son in St. Peters, MO. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or YouTube.

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  • I love to sent postcards from all over the world. If you want one 😉 http://www.jacquelineduplessis.com/postcards/

    • Yes, would love one! Just signed up at your site.

  • Love this idea! Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Thanks Dan, very much appreciated. One is coming your way.

  • Hi Kent,

    I love this post! I do send handwritten thank you notes on a regular basis, but I have not included anything inside. that is a neat idea. I have a site dedicate to thank you note writing! http://www.tonsofthanks.com

    • Heidi, thanks for commenting. I appreciate the kind words. When I was a kid I was fascinated with a set of skeleton keys my grandfather gave me. He has built his own house, and the lock on his shop door used a skeleton key. When I decided on my tagline being “unlock your creative potential” I thought it would be fun to include a key in thank you cards. But surprisingly, they are kind of hard to find in local stores, except for Home Depot and Lowe’s (they are about $1 each but I think it’s worth it because it’s memorable).

    • By the way, really like your site. It’s a great niche and very needed.

      • thanks Kent! Jim Woods shared your article with me. I have purchased your book but have not read it yet.

        • Thanks for buying it – I hope you enjoy it and would love to hear any feedback when you have a chance!