Email is great for fast communication, but it often lacks personalization, personality, tone and emotion. It's hard to feel grateful, moved or impacted by an email, no matter how authentic the sender was with their intentions and kind words. When you truly want to make an impact with a sincere thank you or other follow-up, look beyond email for interesting ways to make an impact outside of the inbox.

After A Job Interview

Before I started my own consulting practice, I frequently interviewed candidates for jobs in my corporate roles. A few candidates never followed-up, which spoke for itself, but the majority sent a fairly formulaic follow-up email thanking me for the opportunity and saying they hoped to hear back soon. After a long day or week of interviews, they all start to sound the same.

But one candidate completely blew me away. The same day as the interview, I received a handwritten card delivered to my desk, thanking me for the opportunity, mentioning specific things we had talked about in the interview, and sharing her phone number for any follow-up questions I might have. I later found out that she had brought the blank note card with her, wrote it down in the lobby immediately after the interview, and asked the front desk to deliver it upstairs.

Needless to say, she stood out from the crowd. She demonstrated that she cared deeply about making a good impression, that she thought in advance about how to do that so she could come prepared, and that she took the time and effort to do something that could have been done with a simple email. She got the job.

Thanking Clients, Customers & Partners

I travel a tremendous amount to speak at conferences and do corporate workshops on brand storytelling. With more than 110K miles traveled last year, the venues, hotels, events and more can start to mush together. But the organizers, events and venues that I remember most fondly are those that go the extra mile to show their appreciation in interesting and delightful ways.

"Delight and customer service are often used as synonyms, but I believe there is a key difference between the two," Jessika Phillips, of Now Marketing Group, which focuses on relationship marketing as a path for growth. "Customer service is something you have to do, but delight is something you do because you want to!" After I taught a class for Phillips' Magnet Marketers course, she delighted me with a  Sugarwish, which allowed me to pick my favorite candy as a thank you.

Several conferences have offered useful customized speakers gifts to show appreciation, and one conference sponsor gave speakers a handy "speaker emergency kit" with things we might need in a pinch, like stain remover, breath freshener and band aids. A few conference hotels have even delighted me by having a handwritten welcome note or gift basket with local snacks in the room when I arrived after a long flight. One corporate host gave me some locally grown flowers to take home.

When it comes time to decide which conferences to attend and where to stay, you can bet that extra effort and thanks will come into consideration!

Any Other Time You Need To Say "Thank You"

It doesn't have to cost money to show your appreciation for clients, customers and anyone else. Simply putting in some extra effort into your thank yous and follow-ups will show you care. You can do this for free, with things like handwritten notes, emailing a photo of yourself holding up a personalized "thank you," and more.

"I want to stand out from the usual and be remembered fondly, so I always try to add a little extra," says Jon Butt, of Marketing For Owners. "For example, every interview guest on the Marketing For Owners Podcast receives a very personal video from me the day after our chat, thanking them along with a special tip on how to make the most of their interview with their own audience."

"It's very obvious that it takes me some effort to do this," he says. "That makes it all the more memorable and, judging by the kind messages I get back from my big-name guests, it works."