How marketers can use handwritten notes to drive more revenue with David Wachs of Handwrytten

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Welcome to another episode of 3-Minute Marketing, where we interview the world’s top growth marketing leaders and turn their insights into 3-Minute TED Talks for your listening pleasure.

Today’s guest is David Wachs, CEO and Founder of a unique outfit called Handwrytten, a company that allows users to write and send automated, handwritten notes. David has been running Handwrytten for eight years, but prior to that he was the founder of a text messaging company that sent over one million texts a day for brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Sam’s Club, and OfficeMax.

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I’ve wanted to get in the habit of sending handwritten notes for awhile now. So my question for David was, “How can marketers use handwritten notes to drive more revenue?”.

Show notes:

  1. While building up his text messaging company, David realized he was part of the problem. Everyone started getting thousands of text messages a month. The average person gets 100 emails a day and spends 24% of their time managing their email inbox.
  2. Emails and text messages don’t stand out. When you receive a handwritten note not only is it opened and read, it’s kept and savored.
  3. By integrating with HubSpot, Zapier, Salesforce, and more, companies can send out handwritten notes in the same automated fashion they send emails and text messages.
  4. Robots write your notes in a Pilot G2 ballpoint pen at scale.
  5. If a customer has a bad experience, companies can utilize win-back campaigns to apologize. One company realized this strategy worked so well that they messed up intentionally to be able to follow-up up with an apology letter.
  6. Coupons have a 15-18% redemption rate when you mail a handwritten note with them compared to 3-4% otherwise.
  7. Automotive dealerships see a 27% increase in customers coming through their doors when they advertise with handwritten notes as opposed to a printed letter.
  8. Use discount code PODCAST on for $5 in credit, enough to send one handwritten note to someone.


– You’re listening to Three Minute Marketing, where we interview the world’s top growth marketing leaders and distill their knowledge into actionable bite size insights. Now here’s your host, Chris Mechanic

– [Chris Mechanic] Welcome everybody to episode 39 of Three Minute Marketing where we’re all about brevity. We like to drop just big, deep insights in very short periods of time. Today’s guest is David Wachs, who is CEO and founder of a really cool little outfit called That’s written with a Y and it’s basically like automated handwritten notes, which is really interesting. Welcome to the show, David, excited to have you.

– [David Wachs] Thank you so much for having me on, excited to be here.

– [Chris Mechanic] So today I want to talk about handwritten notes. It’s something that we, I mean I’ve been doing here and there for some time I’ve always wanted to create a habit of it. Talk to us a little bit about handwritten notes and some different ways that marketers could benefit from ’em.

– [David Wachs] Absolutely, and to start that let me give you a five second spiel on my background. So you kind of have some context here. I’ve been doing handwritten for eight years now prior to that, for 10 years, I ran a text messaging company that we built up from nothing. And in the end, we’re sending a million texts a day for Abercrombie at Fitch toys, Sam’s club, Office Vax, very big brands. And what I realized is that I was kind of part of the problem because everybody started getting thousands of text messages a month. The average person gets a hundred emails a day spending 24% of their time managing their email inbox. So what really stands out? Well, none of that stands out. That’s all a chore, but when you receive a handwritten note not only is it opened and not only is it read, but it’s kept and saved. Just some examples. We have a piano tuner based in Pennsylvania that when they send out a handwritten note they only do it once a year because you only need your piano tuned once a year. But when you get your piano tuned they follow up with an automation through our platform to send a handwritten note. And then a year later when he is back to tune your piano again that handwritten note is still standing on the piano. So not only is it opened and read but it’s kept on display for a year on the most prized possession of that person’s house.

– [Chris Mechanic] Wow.

– [David Wachs] So we help businesses automate this, it’s a software platform. We integrate with Zapier and Integromat and Salesforce and HubSpot and all these other platforms we’re coming out to Shopify integration. All those integrations do is help you get out handwritten notes in the same automated fashion as you do emails and messages, we do this with robots that actually write your notes in pen in a pile two* Paul point pen at scale we’ve got 175 robots doing that.

– [Chris Mechanic] Wow, so what are some different ways that marketers could deploy these or use them in that flows?

– [David Wachs] Absolutely, so we have win back campaigns. So if your customer has a bad experience, you send them a handwritten note, follow up apologizing and thanking. We have one customer short on time so I can’t get too much into it, but they realize, gee these win back campaigns work so great. Let’s just screw up with everybody intentionally, follow up with a handwritten note and rise all ships which is what they did. So they actually raised the lifetime value of all customers, by bringing ’em through this process. coupons have a 15 to 18% redemption rate online when you mail a handwritten note with a coupon compared to three to 4% redemption rate.

– [Chris Mechanic] Wow.

– [David Wachs] And then we have automotive dealerships that are telling us that sending these handwritten invitations to come into the dealership are 27 times, 27 times more effective than a printed letter. Even when you count for the difference in costs it’s still seven times better ROI.

– [Chris Mechanic] Wow, that’s, it’s amazing. Better, well, that’s our time here for today. I just have just one quick thing on the last the automotive dealership, better performance in terms of what was it in terms of just like the-

– [David Wachs] Driving people to the dealership. So they send out these letters inviting people back in to think about trade in, trade up and the printed letter they used to send, these letters have… The handwritten note comparison has 27 times greater response to the printed note.

– [Chris Mechanic] Oh my goodness, 27 times! That’s like two almost three original magnitude, that’s amazing, okay, very cool. Well, we got to wrap here, stick around David. If you guys enjoyed this, please drop us a like or a comment, share with your friend, David where can folks find out more about you or Handwrytten?

– [David Wachs] Sure,, H-A-N-D-W-R-Y-T-T-E-N .com. Click on the business tab which will allow you to request free samples. So you can just see how amazingly realistic these look and they pass the smudge test. And you also, you know if you want to try it out yourself, use discount code podcast When you sign up, for $5 in credit, that’s enough to send one handwritten note to yourself or someone else.

– [Chris Mechanic] Oh, that’s great. All right, we’ll definitely include that in the show notes. Thank you, David. And you stick around guys, if you like this, David and I are going to continue jamming for just a few minutes in the bonus footage, which you can find probably somewhere around this video, or if you’re watching this on the website, it’ll start in about five seconds. for Handwrytten today and we’re HubSpot users how do I go from like signing up on the website to like triggering a message to be sent out via HubSpot?

– [David Wachs] Yeah, as we were chatting before HubSpot is kind of a two two-legged beast. One side is HubSpot CRM and there we directly integrate, however, with the HubSpot marketing platform cloud, whatever it’s called I recommend using something called Integromat which is kind of like Zapier but a little bit more robust in its capabilities. And the one thing you could do with Integromat is you can do timed activities for Zapier is very much real time. Somebody hits the stage, do this, Integromat, you can kind of set up, okay do this every day for the new customers or whatever.

– [Chris Mechanic] Awesome.

– [David Wachs] So what you would do is you would go to You sign up for a free account, if you-

– [Chris Mechanic] We do have HubSpot CRM, by the way.

– [David Wachs] Okay.

– [Chris Mechanic] So we probably wouldn’t need the Integromat.

– [David Wachs] Okay, so for CRM, what it is is you install the handwrytten plugin into handwrytten HubSpot CRM. It adds a button to your HubSpot screen to the contact screen. So you’ll have all the contact information, their address their name, all that stuff, your activity, timeline or whatever that’s called the activity listing. And then on the right hand side you’ll have a button that says, send handwritten note. And when you click that, it takes you into Handwrytten. I kind of want to redo it because what it does is it pops up a window and then inside that window is handwritten. So you lose a lot of real estate. We’re going to work on that.

– [Chris Mechanic] Yeah.

– [David Wachs] But, and then when you send the note it’s the standard handwritten process. There’s two benefits, however, number one, you don’t have to reenter all the address information. It, it carries over from HubSpot. So that’s nice. Number two, it, after you send the note it gets recorded back to the timeline so that all that data is collected and you say, oh I spoke to him on Tuesday, sent him an email. Wednesday, sent him a handwritten note on Thursday. That’s kind of the benefit. It’s rather limited compared to some of our other integrations that we have. We have a very robust integration just due to the nature of HubSpot. We were kind of not given as much leeway there to build out something as robust, but that’s what it does currently. And then if you need any more functionality you can use Integromat to do that as well.

– [Chris Mechanic] Cool, and I’m really not trying to make this like a big product but I am actually quite interested in integrating this into our own campaigns but how do you get my handwriting sample? Do I write like the clear or the quick brown Fox jumped over the lazy dog five times or something?

– [David Wachs] Yeah, so on our website, we have about 30 available handwriting styles that are available to anyone. And I have my personal favorite, it’s like Joyful, Jennifer, Tenacious, Nick, there’s 30 of them there. And so the most cost effective way is to use an existing style. We can, if you want to take it a step further for $250 one time fee, we can replicate your signature. So you could have it in that joyful Jennifer style but then signed off with your swooping signature whatever you want there. For a thousand dollars we can replicate your handwriting. And that is a very time consuming process for our designers that takes them a full week. But what it is is we give you a full packet. It’s like being back in kindergarten you have to do all your letters three times, then after write sentences like the quick brown frocks, and there’s all these goofy sentences you have to write. It is a preschool, kindergarten, first grade packet you have to do maybe 10 pages. We then take all that information, we design your handwriting style because in that we take into account ligature combinations. So how do you do two LS together, two Ts together, two O’s. How do you connect those? O’s do you connect those O’s? We also randomize the characters, so not all ours at the beginning of the word look the same or the end of the word, we randomize everything in between to make it look really very natural. So we need a lot of samples of your handwriting to make that happen. We’ve got about 300 or so clients that take us up on the option to do their own handwriting, it’s really up to you. And when you do it, it’s just for you or whomever you a sign has access to that handwriting. Nobody else can see that handwriting in our system.

– [Chris Mechanic] Got it.

– [David Wachs] And I will say, you know I’m pretty used to seeing joyful Jennifer come off the robots, it looks good but I’m used to seeing it. When I see, you know, somebody’s special handwriting come off I’m baffled because you know, I see the robot doing it, and then I look at the end result and I’m like, I, would’ve no idea that was written by a robot. And now what we’re doing just to give you a glimpse in addition to varying the… Well we randomize the characters, we do all the ligature combinations, all that. We vary the line spacing. So you’re not going to write perfectly across. You’re going to, some lines are a little higher, some lines a little lower. And then we vary the line left margin on a line by line basis. So you don’t always start at exactly the right spot at it’s a very subtle jutting in and out of your handwriting. We don’t make it crazy. We want it to look realistic, but we do jut it in and out. Now what we’re doing, we’re very excited about is what we call line level warping in which case every single line takes a slightly different shape. So, you know, most lines you’ll write. Maybe if you’re, right-handed, you’ll kind of write up as you write just a little bit right up, but every line might go up a little bit differently. So we are taking it account all that warping to make it look truly perfect. And we’re very close to rolling that out. I just sent out samples to my team yesterday so.

– [Chris Mechanic] Now is it mostly B2Cs that are your customers, or do you have a lot of B2B customers?

– [David Wachs] Mostly B2B, we don’t-

– [Chris Mechanic] Mostly B2B.

– [David Wachs] We don’t focus on the B2C. There’s no money in it. You know, we want volume. It’s the only way we’re going to grow this. So we work with luxury brands, like leather goods companies out of Italy. We work with car dealer ships, car dealerships are a big part of our strategy. We work with realtors, of course, and mortgage brokers, of course, political campaigns, nonprofits kind of runs the game

– [Chris Mechanic] I see, so I would consider those B2Cs, I meant basically, are your customers B2B or B2Cs?

– [David Wachs] Oh, I see, yeah, I mean, in the end everybody’s a human, everyone’s a customer, but yes our customers are businesses and their customers tend to be consumers. However, our biggest client overall, I don’t know it’s a solar panel installer. So their sales people are writing, I guess they’re consumers also. Yeah, they’re sending thank you notes to people they’re installing solar panels or talking about installing solar panels. So yeah, I mean, in the end I think everybody is a customer.

– [Chris Mechanic] Yeah, and I think that there’s a lot of obvious applications like in B2C settings, like at an automotive dealership we have like, probably about half of our business, maybe a little less than half is B2B, mostly, you know either software or some kind of technology or or maybe professional services where, you know.

– [David Wachs] We work with, oh, I’m sorry. Yeah, we work with banks that send out notes to their customers. We work with, and those customers are commercial banks, commercial customers. We work with a company that sends out swag to other companies. So, you know, thank you so much for being our client at you know, IBM or whoever their client is. They send out swag they include a handwritten from us with all that swag. So we do work with businesses too. It works both ways. It’s always easier to come up with B2C examples than B2B, but it certainly works both ways.

– [Chris Mechanic] So B2Bs are hot on account based marketing. They have been for several years and account based marketing is basically a fancy way to say like good, proper sales and marketing. You know it’s where your marketing efforts are aligned at a-

– [David Wachs] Right

– [Chris Mechanic] You know, universe of prospects and not just brought out to everybody, but I could see this as a killer addition to an ABM sequence, you know so a typical ABM sequence might be like, you know email them day one, you know friend them on LinkedIn day four, you know day seven call and leave a message, whatever.

– [David Wachs] Yep.

– [Chris Mechanic] But I could see an application and I think it would be really cool actually, where a note goes out, like a handwritten note goes out as part of the prospecting effort and it could even be customized at scale. Like for instance, you could have a landing page template that works pretty much for any process with a few variables. So like you go to, you know,

– [David Wachs] But Mechanics

– [Chris Mechanic] Question mark equals whatever.

– [David Wachs] Yeah.

– [Chris Mechanic] And it’ll display this page where the headline and the subhead maybe custom for web mechanics but the rest is, that would be pretty sick, I think.

– [David Wachs] Yeah, you know, we do it as part of our, you know a lot of our customers are businesses.

– [Chris Mechanic] Right?

– [David Wachs] So we do that. You go to our website, you request samples, you then get put in our drip campaign where you’re going to get the sample kit. You’re going to get a handwritten note, you’re going to get emails, you’re going to get phone calls, you’re going to get LinkedIn. So we do, you know exactly that, and it seems to be pretty effective. For trade shows a very B2B approach. If you plan on tending trade shows, it works phenomenally well. We go to trade shows not to have a booth but to get the attendee list and then meet with those attendees in the bar or whatever. But we don’t even need, we were at a trade show in Palm Springs called eTail prior to COVID. And we sent out a handwritten blast to all the attendees there. We had so many meetings we had a cut meeting, short, you know?

– [Chris Mechanic] Oh my.

– [David Wachs] Which isn’t great, you know? And you’re like, Hey, you want to close with us? I’m sorry, you got to go to this next meeting. But the handwritten notes certainly are phenomenal for trade show.

– [Chris Mechanic] Gotcha, so did you send the handwritten notes ahead of time before the trade show?

– [David Wachs] Yes, yeah, yeah, getting the attendee list with their full mailing address is pretty critical. We’re going to NAD, the National Automotive Dealership show, and the quite honestly, the only reason we got a booth is booths are cheap right now. And they include the free attendee list. So the attendee list is more valuable to us than the booth itself.

– [Chris Mechanic] Right, you should just have one of your robots manning the booth.

– [David Wachs] We’re bringing a robot. Yeah, we’re bringing a robot. It’s not like Elon Musk’s optimist subprime, but but yeah, we’re bringing robots.

– [Chris Mechanic] Nice, nice, all right. Well, that’s just about time, I want to be sensitive. I know you’ve probably got a hundred things going on but we really enjoyed this and I personally will go and check out Handwrytten, I’ll probably do that.

– [David Wachs] Please.

– [Chris Mechanic] I’ll use the what’d you call it? The discount code podcast but I’m also going to request the sample kit just to experience your own flows.

– [David Wachs] Please yeah.

– [Chris Mechanic] Cause I imagine you guys have tested that to the hills. So I’m curious to see.

– [David Wachs] Yeah and if there’s anything I can do for you or any of your listeners please reach out to [email protected], would love to chat with you all. And thanks again.

– [Chris Mechanix] Absolutely, I expect you’ll probably get some emails.

– [David Wachs] Thanks.

– [Chris Mechanix] All right, thanks a lot, David, we’ll see you soon.

David Wachs

David Wachs CEO and Founder

Chris Mechanic

Chris MechanicCEO & Co-Founder

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