99% open rates are unheard of in the digital age–until now! Enter: IgnitePOST. Perfectly time the writing and sending of a handwritten note that personalizes and enhances the buyer’s journey. This effective relationship marketing super strategy can be done, at scale, with robots holding ball point pens that can even mimic your own handwriting.
Whether you’re a nonprofit looking to thank smaller donors, an ecommerce business trying to surprise and delight, or a subscription service desperately trying to extend LTV and reduce churn–this relationship marketing tool sets you apart from your competition and builds real rapport.
Our “Maverick Marketing” guest today is Arian Radmand, founder of IgnitePOST. Listen to or watch this episode to learn about how to leverage where technology and old-school tried-and-true meet!
Want more niche marketing insights from Marketing Mavericks?
This episode is Part 2 in a multi-part series on interesting people doing unique things in marketing. To continue learning on this niche, visit:
• Part 1: Marketing Apprenticeships | The Biggest SECRET WEAPON for Marketing ROI with Brandon Church
Watch the Podcast Interview on Handwritten Notes for Relationship Marketing:
This episode on relationship marketing and personalized handwritten notes covers:
Note: These timestamps correspond to the video version of the episode
00:00 – Engaging Customers with Handwritten Notes
– Sending personalized handwritten notes to customers significantly impacts their engagement.
– Timing these notes perfectly aligns with the buyer’s journey for optimal effect.
– This relationship marketing works great for nonprofits trying to raise more money, surprising and delighting customers in e-commerce, and increasing customer retention and nurturing long-term relationships in insurance.
01:45 – Arian Radmand’s Entrepreneurial Journey to Founding IgnitePOST
– John introduces Arian Radmand, founder of IgnitePOST, which specializes in creating handwritten notes using robotics technology.
– Arian discusses his educational and professional background in software engineering.
08:30 – From Steph Curry to Postcards
– Arian describes his transition from Coach Up to establishing IgnitePOST.
– Everyone is crushed by too many digital notifications, advertisements, and more — how can your brand stand out and truly connect with their customers?
– Social proof, reviews, and recommendations from others are incredibly important.
10:41 – The Innovative Technology and Process Behind IgnitePOST
– Part hardware and part software, IgnitePOST helps brands produce authentic handwritten notes.
– Real pen usage and the variation in penmanship for authenticity.
12:00 – How Timing Personalization Works to Surprise and Delight
– IgnitePOST lets you create a crafted moment at the right spot in the customer journey.
– You can then use other marketing channels to reinforce that connection.
13:20 – Subscription-Based Business Example: Pure Plates
– Owner noticed that the typical drop off (or “churn”) of subscriptions at 6 months.
– IgnitePOST set up an automation at month 5 to send a handwritten note from the owner with a 20% off for next three months of subscription.
– This jumped customers over the churn point and made them feel special and VIP.
15:00 – How Can These Handwritten Notes Look Real?
– Handwriting can be based on your own handwriting sample.
– Robots use real pens to write in real ink from real pens, which create indentation on the paper.
– Handwriting includes variations so it looks more realistic.
18:58 – This Episode is Brought to You by The Agency Guide (TAG)
– TAG helps matchmake brands with proven, vetted marketing professionals.
– Consulting is pro bono!
– Visit TheAgencyGuide.com to learn more.
20:00 – Handwritten Notes Work Across Industries
– Handwritten notes are most effective in industries like e-commerce, insurance, and non-profits.
– Relationship-based industries find this form of relationship marketing integral!
21:10 – Non-Profit Example: WVIAMedia
– The “forgotten middle” of donors are often overlooked by non-profits.
– WVIAMedia did a reengagement campaign with the handwritten cards and got at 40% response rate to the outreach.
23:30 – How Handwritten Notes Help with E-Commerce and Amazon Sellers
– Sellers need consistent, fresh, positive reviews.
– Handwritten notes can help as a post-purchase follow-up to get more reviews and repeat purchasing on their owned channels.
27:02 – Integrate Handwritten Notes with Other Marketing Channels
– Using human Psychology, where should they be sent in the customer journey? Peak-End Rule
– Comprehensive marketing campaigns leveraging SMS, emails, and acknowledgement of purchases or other behaviors.
31:56 – Handwritten Notes Example: Insurance Industry
– Attention, reviews, retention, and referrals.
– Card stays on your coffee table for a long time
29:43 – Service Offerings with IgnitePOST
– Different levels based on your company’s needs and budget
35:32 – Wrap Up
– Get a free card sent to you: IgnitePOST.com
Take Action Now!
About Host John Bertino and TAG:
A decade spent working for marketing agencies was more than enough to know that there are too many bad agencies and not enough objective marketers within them. John launched TAG in 2014 with the mission to provide brands unbiased guidance from seasoned marketing professionals at little or no cost.
TAG advises brands on marketing channel selection, resource allocation, and agency selection to ensure brands invest in the right marketing strategies, with the right expectations, and (ultimately) with the right partners.
TAG represents 200+ well-vetted agencies and consultants across the United States and Europe.
John’s professional background and areas of expertise include: Marketing Planning, Earned Media, SEO, Content Marketing, Link Acquisition, Digital PR, Thought Leadership, and B2B Lead Generation.
About Guest Expert Arian Radmand and IgnitePOST
CEO and President at IgnitePOST, Arian helps brands prevent churn and grow revenue with robotically handwritten notes, without adding any overhead to their team.
IgnitePOST helps brands create magic moments with real pen and ink handwritten notes. Cut through the digital noise to delight customers by automatically sending personalized cards by direct mail to create unique buyer journeys.
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Transcripts of Relationship Marketing for 99% Open Rates with Personalized Handwritten Notes at Scale
Note: This transcript (of the video version of this episode) has been provided to assist you in finding extra information specific to your needs and goals. We have used AI to help us condense parts of the dialogue to make it most susccint but have not edited it line by line for grammar, spelling, punctuation, or spacing. Please forgive errors. Feedback welcomed at email@example.com.
John Bertino: [00:00:00]
What if you had the time and resources to send every customer a handwritten thank you card? What if you had the flexibility to send the same handwritten note at the perfect stage of their buyer’s journey? No brainer, right? Well, now you can. In our next episode, we sit down with Arian Radmand, founder of IgnitePOST in Boston, Massachusetts. IgnitePOST makes the power of hyper-personalized marketing through handwritten notes a reality for you. We’re talking pen and ink. Your handwriting on cardstock just like this one. This looks pretty good. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.
If you’re selling on Amazon, you want customers coming back to you directly for their second and third purchases. Right? You got to surprise and delight. You need to build the relationship. You need to increase customer retention. Handwritten card.
Are you a nonprofit trying to show a little love to those often overlooked small and mid-level donors? Handwritten card.
If you’re in a relationship business like real estate insurance. Handwritten card.
With IgnitePOST it’s all possible and can be done at scale. Arian is about to tell you exactly how in this next episode. Look, I know what you’re thinking. How do you keep delivering such amazing niche marketing content? I know, right? So don’t be silly. Smash the like button, subscribe, and we’re just going to inject that niche marketing content right into your bloodstream, dominate your niche every niche with the Niche Marketing Podcast. Let’s do it.
And we’re back with another episode of the Niche Marketing Podcast. I’m your host, John Bertino, and super excited today to be here with Mr. Arian Radmand. Arian, welcome to the show.
Arian Radmand: [00:01:50] Thanks so much. This is awesome.
John Bertino: [00:01:58] All right here. Stoked to have you. All right. All right. So for those that don’t know who you are, please give a quick introduction on yourself. Where do you come from? How’d you end up here? Wife? Kids? Give us some of that.
Arian Radmand: [00:02:10] All right. You know where to start. Start at the top. So, my name’s Arian Radmand. I’m the founder and CEO of IgnitePOST. Yeah, I’m super excited and stoked to get into that. So we’ll talk about what that is in a bit. But I actually grew up in New Jersey, so not too far away from where we are right now.
So, Hamilton Township.
John Bertino: [00:02:25] Hamilton, yeah, that’s where they have the Grounds For Sculpture, an amazing sculpture park. We love Grounds for Sculpture. All right, Hamilton, New…
Arian Radmand: [00:02:35] Jersey. So, born and raised there. And then I currently reside in Boston, Massachusetts. So, Ignite’s based up in Boston, technically, our offices are in Davis Square, which is in Cambridge. But I moved up there to go to college, went to Boston University. My background’s in software engineering, so I got a job up there and stuck around, really love the area. And so, about life and kids, I have a lovely fiancee, Nokia.
John Bertino: Wow. Congratulations.
Arian Radmand: Thank you. Thank you. So, we’ve got a wedding coming up in about three months.
John Bertino: That’s fantastic. Great. No kids and I take it no kids yet. Okay. Eagles or Patriots?
Arian Radmand: Eagles. A man for all the Philly sports teams, despite being up in Boston for almost 20 years now.
John Bertino: That a guy. Follow baseball much?
Arian Radmand: I do. You know, hockey is my main sport that I really follow. But yeah, definitely a huge sports fan. My previous company was a sports company, so we’ll dive into that.
John Bertino: Tell us about your previous company. Actually, before we get to the previous company, tell us about how you got into business for yourself in the first place.
Arian Radmand: [00:03:37] That’s a great story. So, I went to school at BU. After I graduated, I was working for a company called Lime Brokerage, doing software engineering, making high-speed trading software for algorithmic traders. It was a whole new world for me but really exciting.
John Bertino: Trading finance guy.
Arian Radmand: Yeah, which is interesting. Knew nothing about finance, was a software developer, but it was really exciting. Joined that company, about 30 people total, there for about three years, and we ended up building and patenting some of the trading platforms there.
And then we ended up getting acquired by a West Coast security firm called Wedbush Securities.
John Bertino: Yeah, sure. I’m familiar.
Arian Radmand: Yeah. So, that was a really fun experience. Seeing the direct impact of my contributions on the business’s growth and being part of that acquisition was incredible. Afterwards, I was motivated to start my own thing, having been a software engineer and not an owner previously.
John Bertino: What year was this?
Arian Radmand: This is probably around 2011. I immersed myself in the Boston startup ecosystem, attending meetups and events, which is very vibrant. Through networking, I met Jordan Flegal, who became my co-founder at CoachUp, a sports coaching marketplace.
John Bertino: Sports coaching marketplace?
Arian Radmand: Exactly. Jordan was working as a private basketball coach and saw a gap in the market for a service that could connect athletes with private coaches across various sports. We combined our skills, he in sales and marketing, and I in technology, to launch CoachUp.
John Bertino: Is CoachUp still around?
Arian Radmand: Yes, it’s still doing well. Starting with nights and weekends, we built the MVP, went through Techstars, and raised funds to grow the business. It was an all-encompassing experience, from coding the platform to raising capital.
So my role evolved from being engineer number one, building the MVP, to recruiting and building the engineering team, managing it, and then as CTO, running the development team. Eventually, we brought in an executive team to take over. From starting as two guys with a computer to growing the business to about 30-35 people, raising around $17 million, and having Steph Curry as the face of the company was an amazing journey.
John Bertino: [00:08:22] That’s fantastic. How did you transition from working with Steph Curry to creating handwritten postcards?
Arian Radmand: [00:08:38] That’s a great question. The consistent theme in my career is personalization. With CoachUp, it was about connecting people for personalized coaching. After CoachUp, I looked at what would be crucial for brands in the future, predicting digital saturation and the need for authentic customer connections. This led to IgnitePOST, which focuses on creating meaningful customer moments through real pen and ink handwritten notes, integrating with brands’ systems for timely, personal engagement.
John Bertino: [00:11:33] How long have you been doing IgnitePOST?
Arian Radmand: [00:11:35] We started IgnitePOST in 2019. It feels like launching two different startups with the pandemic.
John Bertino: [00:11:45] Can you expand on the significance of timing with these handwritten notes?
Arian Radmand: [00:11:58] Timing is crucial. We aim to enhance digital strategies with personalized, tangible moments. For instance, with Pure Plates, we identified the churn point and introduced personalized notes to extend customer retention. This approach not only strengthens customer loyalty but also improves their lifetime value and company revenue by making them feel valued.
John Bertino: [00:14:54] How do you ensure these notes look authentic?
Arian Radmand: [00:14:59] Authenticity is key. We use real Bic ballpoint pens for the genuine feel and ensure variations in penmanship. It’s essential for each note to feel personal and sincere, using robotics to scale this genuine touch.
It was crucial for us to ensure that when someone received one of our cards, they could not only see but also feel that it was genuinely written with a pen, including the indentation marks. This authenticity is vital. We also introduced what we call penmanship variation.
All handwriting styles we use are derived from actual handwriting, allowing for the replication of someone’s personal handwriting upon request. This service is optional; customers can choose from our existing styles or opt to have their handwriting digitized and used.
John Bertino: [00:17:01] My handwriting might actually deter customers, given its quality. Perhaps a refined version of it could work.
Arian Radmand: [00:17:10] Many people share your concern about their handwriting. Our approach ensures that the handwriting style used is natural, with variations in letters to mimic true handwriting, avoiding the uniform appearance of a typed font.
John Bertino: [00:17:26] So, you’re saying that variations in letters like ‘a’ are intentionally included to mimic the natural inconsistency found in real handwriting, distinguishing it from computer-generated fonts that lack such variation.
Arian Radmand: [00:18:05] Exactly. When replicating someone’s handwriting, we analyze natural tendencies and variations, such as how double letters are written differently than single letters, to incorporate these nuances into our handwriting models, enhancing the authenticity of the penmanship.
John Bertino: [00:18:39] The sample you sent me was impressive, particularly the variation in the lettering, like the double ‘f’ in “staffs,” which clearly demonstrated the personalized touch of your work.
[00:19:01] Discussing industry verticals, some seem to benefit more from this personalized approach. Could you highlight which sectors have seen particular success with your product?
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00:20:02:22 – Arian Radmand: Yeah. So actually, the challenge is that it works in so many different verticals. The challenge is really focusing and figuring out where we can provide the most value. The areas we work most in, especially seeing the most customers, involve a lot of brands in the ecommerce space. So, anyone selling a physical product online represents a huge contingent of our customers.
We also work a lot in the insurance space and with nonprofit higher ed fundraising, which is another significant area for us. These are probably our main pillars. The interesting thing is it works well for basically anybody that has a customer and is in a relationship-based industry.
So, it’s almost everybody under the sun. But we specifically try to focus and build the product for those couple of industries so that we can dive deep and really create effective automations and features that help those businesses and industries move forward the most.
00:20:59:04 – John Bertino: Okay. It’s interesting you bring up nonprofit because we’re looking to do some additional content in that space. Can you think of a specific example of a nonprofit you worked with where your service was just what they needed?
00:21:11:19 – Arian Radmand: Yeah, we worked with a customer called Via Media, an affiliate of NPR. The biggest thing about nonprofits I’d like to highlight is what I call the “forgotten middle” of donors. Let me explain what that means.
Typically, the top 1% of donors get most of the attention from directors of annual funds and stewardship directors, as they make the biggest donations. Naturally, you allocate most of your resources to what gives you the most return. However, the “forgotten middle” is the middle portion of your donor base. For example, I donate to Boston University annually but have never received a thank you note from them.
BU, if you’re listening, why haven’t you sent me a thank you note? But seriously, there’s so much potential in that middle section that often gets overlooked, but it represents a huge opportunity.
00:22:17:06 – John Bertino: Tag them on social?
00:22:18:03 – Arian Radmand: Absolutely, call them out. But that’s the point, focusing on that middle section is crucial, and for Via Media, reaching out to them with one of our cards got a 40% response rate, which is astounding.
00:23:13:22 – John Bertino: That’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?
That’s a great example. How about ecommerce? Is there a specific Amazon tie-in? Many businesses on Amazon are trying to move their buyers to direct purchases through their website due to the high costs on Amazon.
00:23:54:23 – Arian Radmand: Absolutely. In ecommerce, a major use case for us is the post-purchase experience, especially in generating consistent, fresh, positive reviews. For Amazon sellers, we recommend a post-purchase experience that’s separate from the unboxing experience to really make an impact and encourage customers to leave a review after they’ve had time to experience the product.
One of our goals for Amazon sellers is to create such a positive experience that customers come directly to them for their next purchase, bypassing Amazon and its competitive environment. Developing that relationship and directing them to the seller’s own ecommerce site or marketing channels for future purchases is key.
00:26:12:25 – John Bertino: That’s true. There’s something special about receiving a package in the mail that excites us, more so than buying something from a store. It’s like tapping into that childhood excitement of opening a gift. However, the impact of a thoughtful follow-up, like a review request, is more profound if it comes a bit later, allowing customers to truly appreciate and use the product first.
Integrating personalized touches like handwritten notes with other marketing channels, such as email and SMS, is a thoughtful strategy. How does this work in practice beyond timing the sending of these cards?
00:27:22:20 – Arian Radmand: It’s about understanding human psychology. When we collaborate with a brand to identify the best moments for personalization, our system allows them to send an email, which we then convert into a handwritten card order. This capability opens up many possibilities for creating memorable touchpoints throughout the customer journey.
We work with brands to map out the customer journey, looking for opportunities to introduce surprise and delight. One principle we follow is the peak-end rule, focusing on creating memorable moments and ending on a high note, which people are most likely to remember.
Our approach includes using all available tools to create these moments, such as sending a VIP note after a third purchase and following up with personalized messages, to nurture long-term customer relationships.
Our service is divided into self-serve and managed offerings. The self-serve option allows anyone to use our API and integrations to send notes. The managed service is more comprehensive, where we work closely with brands to map out the customer journey, automate the process, and continuously improve based on KPIs.
00:32:01:02 – John Bertino: Let’s explore the insurance sector. How are your cards used effectively in this vertical?
00:32:09:21 – Arian Radmand: In insurance, handwritten notes are valuable across the customer lifecycle for acquisition, retention, and referrals. It’s a relationship-driven industry, and personalized notes at key moments, like policy renewals or after signing up for a new policy, strengthen the connection between the insurer and the insured.
We also see success in sales prospecting and relationship building in insurance, with handwritten notes serving as a unique touchpoint that can stay on a client’s mind for months, encouraging follow-ups and referrals.
00:35:30:07 – John Bertino: Thank you for sharing these insights. For those interested in learning more or trying out IgnitePOST, what’s the best way to reach you?
00:35:42:07 – Arian Radmand: The best way to contact us is through our website, IgnitePost.com. We offer free samples written by our robots for anyone interested in experiencing our product firsthand.
Thank you for having me. It was great discussing how personalized notes can significantly impact customer relationships and business growth.