Make Your Holidays Merrier with Direct Mail Marketing

Last updated: November 14, 2018 | By Kayla Border

The holiday season is the busiest time of year for many retailers and 2018 is no exception. The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts holiday retail sales could reach $720.89 billion this year, a 4.8% increase over 2017.

According to the NRF, holiday shoppers spend $967 on average throughout the season:

  • $608 on gifts for family and friends
  • $218 on decorations, food and candy
  • $141 on non-gift purchases for themselves

Although shoppers are spending more, they’re conscious about saving more as well. 73% of holiday shoppers say sales and price discounts are a top factor in deciding where to shop this season.

Holiday shopping also starts long before the holiday season. A recent report by Natural Insight found 27% of consumers start their shopping prior to Thanksgiving. Let’s explore how direct mail can help you reach holiday shoppers at each stage of the consumer buying process — awareness, research, consideration, purchase and retention.

1. Awareness

In the first stage of the buying cycle, a consumer has identified a need and recognizes your business can fulfill it. If you’re waiting until December to begin advertising, you may be missing the mark. By running a direct mail campaign consistently in the months leading up to the holidays, your business will be top of mind for consumers when they’re ready to buy.

2. Research

Once a consumer has identified a need, they begin gathering information. Larger direct mail pieces like flyers and circulars can inform consumers of specials, sales and value propositions that can alter their perception of the best option for their holiday shopping needs.

 3. Consideration

Today’s consumers spend more time than ever comparing their options. Use direct mail to clearly highlight what sets your business apart from the competition. Keep in mind that price isn’t the only influence in purchase decisions during the holidays – convenience and special promotions can sway shoppers too. Offer extended store hours during the holidays, free delivery on holiday catering packages or a free gift with any purchase over a certain amount.

4. Purchase

When a consumer is ready to make a purchase, a strong offer can seal the deal. Consumers’ inboxes and newsfeeds are flooded with digital promotions during the holidays. Use direct mail to break through the digital noise and drive more responses. With a response rate of 3.7%, direct mail gets a higher response than email, paid search, online display and social media.

5. Retention

After the holidays are over, it’s time to think of ways to re-engage your customers and keep their business throughout the year. Increasing customer retention by as little as 5% can lead to profit increases of 25-95%. Use a heavier cardstock option for loyalty programs and redemption tracking. Build stronger relationships by offering these loyal customers special promotions during the next holiday season.

7 Direct Mail Tips for Holiday Campaigns

Direct mail is a great way to reach more holiday shoppers and boost your sales, but only if it’s done correctly. Create a successful campaign with these seven tips:

  1. Don’t wait

    Promoting your business throughout the year, even during traditionally slower seasons, keeps you front of mind with potential consumers. So when they’re ready to buy, you’ll be at the top of the list.

  2. Target the right audience

    Even the most well-designed ad won’t generate a strong response if you aren’t reaching your audience. Through a targeted direct mail campaign, you can reach the right customers in your neighborhood based on their location, income, age and more.

  3. Use different formats to stand out

    Consumers get more mail during the holidays. A colorful, thicker ad featuring your business and your offers will instantly capture attention. Larger formats are also a great way to showcase your deals and promotions.

  4. Don’t forget digital

    82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store. A digital marketing solution lets you reach consumers throughout every stage of their purchase journey.

  5. Include a strong offer

    A strong offer helps shorten the time it takes a consumer to make a decision and builds response over time. Make it clear what the customer is getting from the offer, so they can quickly determine if they’re interested.

  6. Fly solo

    The holidays are a great time to offer seasonal promotions and events. Dial up your 1:1 marketing by sending a timely postcard targeted to specific consumers in between your regular mailings.

  7. Track your response

    If you’re not tracking your campaign, how will you know if it’s working? By tracking every call, click and print from your offer, you’ll be able to set a performance benchmark for future holiday campaigns.

You’re swamped during the holidays, so why take on even more? Work with an expert to make sure your direct mail ad has the most compelling headline, offer and design for your industry. With 50 years of experience, Valpak can help you create holiday marketing campaigns that will rise above the rest. Contact us today to get started.