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How to address envelopes for business announcements

Q. I have recently started my own business and have business announcement cards to send out. I am a landscape architect, and I will be offering my professional services -- focusing on high-end residential architecture and design. I have accumulated a lot of business contacts from my previous job over the years including past clients, vendors, and other design professionals.

I have several questions regarding how to address the envelopes: Is it best to print the names and addresses on the envelopes digitally or by hand? I am usually very personal and hands on, so I would typically go with the hand-printed addresses, but I don’t want the recipient to view a handwritten address as unprofessional. Also, how do I address envelopes for past clients? These announcements will be sent to a home address. Do I include Mr. & Mrs. or is it better to leave the title off since this is a business related endeavor? If I’m sending to another business professional, do I include the name of the business first and then in care of or vice versa? With or without titles for the individual? Your help is greatly appreciated!!!!

A. D., Nashville, Tennessee

A. You’re on the right path. Because your new business is very much about you, the personal touch expressed by handwritten addresses on the business announcement envelopes is an appropriate way to go. I also think that hand-addressing the announcement plays into the recipient’s natural curiosity about what was important enough to warrant the effort of writing the address by hand. Finally, I see a difference in tone between a proposal or business letter and an announcement. All that said, it is important to remember that your handwriting represents you, and the image it conveys is important. Given that you are in the design field, I am assuming your penmanship is clear, strong and probably even has that look I associate with an architect’s writing. It’s amazing how many people comment to me, “My handwriting is terrible.” If that’s the case with you, then the printed envelope is the way to go. In any case, do not use printed labels, even the ones printed on clear backing, as they are less personal.

Address the envelopes using titles, first names and last names. If you know someone well, you can use the more familiar first name on a personal note that you can write on your announcement card or include separately. By the way, personal notes are a great way to engage the people you are sending announcements to. If sending the announcement to the home address of a former client, you do not need to include the significant other unless, of course, they are in business together. Finally, put the individual’s name on the first line and then the business name on the second line.

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