Friday, April 29, 2005

Happy Arbor Day (in Connecticut, USA) and Greenery Day (in Japan)

When was the last time you got a card on Arbor Day?
Not very often, right? Now, how many cards did you get for Christmas?
Which type of card would stand out from the crowd?

In Japan, April 29th is "Greenery Day"and it marks the start of "Golden Week" which is a weeklong holiday. "Greenery Day" is a day that has been set aside for nature appreciation.

If you do a search on the internet for "Greenery Day" you will find a number of Greenery Day cards that you can send, but I can't remember ever receiving an Arbor Day card. Why do you think that is?

As I was thinking about the idea of an Arbor Day card, I started wondering why landscaping companies don't plan their marketing efforts around Arbor Day? It seems like the perfect time to write a handwritten note (along with a coupon for a free lawn analysis or such) to potential new customers. The fact that the note is handwritten will assure that that it is opened (versus a mass mailing that gets immediately discarded) while the free offer/coupon, along with some nice handwritten words, will get homeowners to call for an appointment !

What a perfect way to start the dialogue with potential customers !

The landscaper's handwritten words could be based on a curbside observation of the homeowner's property* ... like, "We are often in your area doing work for your neighbors and if you would like some help cleaning up the fallen branches* or ideas on greening up your lawn*, please give us a call."

Be sure to stay away from negative comments like "You need to get rid of the ugly weeds and garbage in your front yard. They are an eyesore and your neighbors are talking about you." This would be a sure way to turn off your potential customer (even if the observations are correct).

Be sure you try to stay "on the customer's side" so that they see you as someone who can help them, not someone attacking them. If you are "on their side", you will be seen as someone who can make their life easier and more enjoyable.

Handwritten notes certainly have a place in business ... you just have to look for the opportunity that fits your particular business.

Happy Arbor Day! (CT)
Happy Greenery Day (Japan)

Write On !

Dave Wheeler

Friday, April 15, 2005

Something you should know ... about handwritten notes

Follow the link below to a brief but insightful interview with Margaret Shepard, the author of "The Art of the Handwritten Note".

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The dilemma of the handwritten Sympathy Card

The stepdaughter of a former co-worker passed away recently and I had the opportunity to sign a card from all his former co-workers. A number of people had signed the card before it got to me so as I was trying to figure out what to say it occurred to me that this is probably the reason many people do not think to write a personal note... they can't think of something "off the top of their head".

It is a shame that most people give up at this point since a handwritten note conveys a much deeper feeling than a preprinted card with a simple signature.

What is the answer? Well, I have a couple suggestions.

First, think about the person you are sending the card to and see if any memories come up. They don't have to be "perfect", they just have to give you the feeling of connection to the person. Once you have this "connection", use it to express your feelings both about the person as well as how it makes you feel at the moment. For example:
"I will always remember how he helped me get decide on a college. His advice and listening were just what I needed and I will miss him. My deepest sympathy for you loss."

This works well for someone you know, but as I said, the card was for someone else's loss so I had to try a different approach. What I decided to do was use the combined mental capabilities of the complete world to come up with some appropriate words .... in other words, I searched the web for three words: sympathy, loss and quote. This led me to a site called quotegarden, (see link below):

I was able to read through the quotes, find one that expressed something similar to what I wanted to say and re-wrote it slightly to meet my situation. The re-writing was such that I did not have to present it as a direct quote. I used, "An old saying goes ..." and then added my condolences at the end. Simple, yet it should also make them feel at least a little bit better at this difficult time in their life.

A handwritten note is not that hard to write. Make the effort and I think you will find it is worth it !

Write On !

Monday, April 11, 2005

Impact of a Handwritten Note ....

I am always amazed by the impact of a handwritten note. So few people write them that they have an incredible effect on the people who receive them as shown in the following excerpt from a blog by a young lady in North Carolina:

... You know what? Yesterday, I got a letter from [Boston Conservatory] in the mail--a general followup letter that was sent to all the "called back" auditionees--and on the bottom of my letter was a handwritten note from Michael Nash, the guy from the callbacks. He wrote: 'thank you so much for your sweet note. you sure deserve this letter. my best wishes to you in whatever path you choose.' I could've cried... he's the dean of the conservatory. THE DEAN! and he wrote me the nicest note there. I've just decided that I love theatre people!

Just one example of the power of a handwritten note !

Write On !

Dave Wheeler

Friday, April 08, 2005

First NoteWordy Card Released !

It is official !

The first NoteWordy Card has been released !

It is based on a painting by Wheels titled, "Brush on Canvas" or as others have called it, "Artist's Brush". The card has a brief vignette (very short "story" or commentary) on the back and, like all NoteWordy Art-Cards, it is a limited edition print run. Only 115 of these cards were printed and there will be no additional runs, so if you miss out .... well, you don't want to miss out!

Here is a link to a picture of the painting that inspired the NoteWordy card:

As always, we look forward to hearing what you think about this card and any ideas you have for making the experience better !

Write On !

Dave Wheeler

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Questions for

I've received a number of questions regarding NoteWordy Art-based notecards and thought I would use this blog to start answering at least a few of them...

"I've heard that NoteWordy Cards are "limited-editions".
How "limited" are they and how do I know that more won't be printed?

First, the term "limited edition" means different things for different products. A limited edition automobile might be one of only 5 or 10 cars (of course they cost hundreds of thousands of dollars each so it is easy to see why the market might be limited too).

On the other end of the spectrum, I recently got a "limited edition" bottle of Mountain Dew soda ("Pitch Black flavor" in case you were wondering) and I would be surprised if there were thousands if not tens of thousands of this product produced.

In between these two extremes are a wide range of "limited-editions"... comic books are around 10-20,000 per print run, Beanie-babies are only limited when they "retire" a design so there are probably thousands, if not millions produced while Hugh Macleod (cartoon artist & marketing guru) will soon be launching a limited-edition of only 200 T-shirts with his art. (Check out Hugh at

Speaking of the art world, artists often make "limited edition" prints of their art but there is very little stopping them from re-printing the image with a slight change and calling it another limited edition.

This is where NoteWordy Cards are unique. Of course the cards are produced in limited numbers. The first 4 cards are limited to less than 115 cards. There are also less than 40 pre-release draft prints created (not included in the numbered editions) that are used for promotion or as give-aways. These pre-release cards typically are not complete in some way. For example, the story on the back might not be included or the graphics are somehow different. All pre-release cards are marked as pre-release samples and/or "Bongo Cards".

The real reason that NoteWordy is different from other art prints is that NoteWordy Cards also OWNs the legal rights for the artwork "when printed as a stand-alone image less than 5x7 inches". NoteWordy requires artists to register their work by filing a copyright and then assign this portion of their overall copyrights as part of our process. This assures that the edition is truly limited while also still allowing the artist to produce larger prints if the particular work of art becomes popular, as it can when featured on a NoteWordy card !

Please let me know if this answers the question for you or if you have other questions about NoteWordy cards or note writing in general !

Write On !