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October 18, 2018

Tips for Enhancing Your Professional Business Letters

Does your organization send out dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of business letters each year?

Do you need to generate more polished, professional letters but lack the time and staffing to create them?

Despite the digitalization of so much business communication—emails, chatbots, instant messaging, and the like—there are many instances when a more traditional method is necessary. Whether it’s for official records or to personalize the customer experience, business letters often play an essential role.

The problem? Creating these documents can quickly drain valuable resources. Processing requests, collecting personal data, customizing templates...these seemingly simple tasks can become surprisingly time-consuming.

Thankfully, there are ways to simplify and streamline the process of creating outstanding business letters.

Why It Pays to Automate Business Letter Creation

To get a sense of just how easy it can be to produce impressive business letters en masse, consider what happened at the University of Michigan.

Each year, the campus’s event staff sends some 5,000 formal letters on behalf of international students whose family members will need to apply for visas to attend graduation. These letters have to go out. Without them, many graduates would be without guests at commencement.

For years, staff relied on manual processes to get the job done. Each time the office received a student request via email, staff would manually draft, print, and mail another letter. Employees were spending hundreds of hours to get the job done, and students were waiting as long as four weeks to get their letters.

Then the team discovered a way to automate document creation, and brought that turnaround time down to less than a day.

So, how did they do it? Let’s take a look.

3 Essentials for Automating Professional Business Letters

The best way to streamline the process of creating business letters? Automation. Having a reliable document generation method can reduce manual errors, save time, and improve communication with clients, customers, partners, and prospects.  

When automating workflows, there are several key steps to follow. These rules apply whether you're creating employee offer letters, college acceptance letters, new customer welcome letters, or pretty much any letter to be used for business purposes.

1. Collect the right information

Every effective business letter has a dose of personal data sprinkled in. It may be as simple as a name and address or, if your goal is to connect with people on a deeper level, as detailed as mentioning specific interests. As a first step, decide what information you’ll be including in your letters. Then set up an online form to collect complete and accurate data.

At a minimum, you’ll need these essential elements for most letters:

• First name
• Last name
• Street address
• City, state, and zip code

If you’d like to tailor your letter to each individual, consider adding a field or two for personalization. For example, you might ask recipients to provide any or all of the following:

• Business name
• Job title
• Interests
• Biggest challenges

Using a drop-down menu or checklist of choices for the last two in this list will allow you to weave in references based on each individual’s specific needs. For instance, consider the real estate inquiry form that asks respondents to select their top priorities when house hunting. Options might include “family-friendly amenities,” “natural surroundings,” and “low traffic.” Depending on responses, the real estate agent might then customize the letter with a sentence telling the recipient: Based on your interests in family-friendly amenities, we’ll prioritize neighborhoods that fit this specific need when recommending potential homes.

2. Build a stellar template

Next, you’ll need a template to ensure every letter you send consistently communicates your desired message. When writing your letter template, look for opportunities to easily tailor wording to each individual. Building on the example above, the real estate template might open with an introduction such as the following:

Dear {$FirstName} {$LastName},

We’re thrilled to hear that you’re interested in purchasing a home in {$City} and can’t wait to begin working with you. Based on your interests in {$TopInterest}, we’ll prioritize neighborhoods that fit this specific need when recommending potential homes.

As a general rule of thumb, adding two or three specific details to a letter template intended for clients or customers can be very beneficial.

3. Sync the two with a form document creator

Once you have an online form and letter template, it’s time to merge the two. By connecting your web form to a Word document or other format, you can fully automate the entire process.

Many businesses use an automation tool to create this workflow: As soon as a recipient hits your online form’s “submit” button, information is sent directly to a form document creator. The document creator then uses that data to fill in your letter template, and within minutes, staff has a fully-formed letter ready to be quickly reviewed and mailed—or, in some cases, to be sent automatically.

In Conclusion

Anyone can send an email or offer live chat. But if you really want to wow partners, prospects, customers, and clients, business letters are the way to go. And with automated workflows, it’s easier than ever to develop a system for sending polished, personalized letters within minutes.

Ready to automate your business letters?

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