The winter holiday season is one of the biggest times of the year for consumer shopping. As the weather gets cooler and people prepare for trips and family events, shopping for gifts and other holiday items comes into sharp focus for many consumers.
Did you know, though, that consumer behavior changes significantly during the holiday season? According to Adweek, the holiday consumer goes into shopping with a lot more intention than during other times of the year. Normally, an average shopper might visit a store multiple times before deciding on an item. Average yearly shoppers are also more likely to hold a particular affinity for certain brands.
Holiday shoppers, however, know what they want! Holiday shoppers are more likely to be affected by price and inventory options than by brand allegiance.
Not only that—holiday shopping also begins a lot earlier than we might imagine! In Epsilon’s 2015 holiday shopping outlook, they noted, “18% of consumers already started their holiday shopping as of June 2015.” It gets even more unexpected, however: 36% of those shoppers began their shopping in the first quarter of the year!
Direct mail can help you reach these intentional, decisive consumers during the holiday season. At each stage of the consumer buying process—Awareness, Consideration, Comparison, Purchase, and Retention—direct mail can be a great tool to influence the consumer decision.
Let’s take a look at how direct mail marketing can boost your holiday campaigns throughout the consumer buying process.
Direct mail helps you stand out
At the awareness stage, direct mail can help show the consumer you’re unique. Yes, we live in a digital world but there’s a downside to that, as well: email, mobile, and social marketing are all instant, but are easily lost in the clutter and can be soon forgotten. Direct mail can help you stand out because it’s more memorable and there is less competition.
Direct mail gives consumers options
At the consideration stage, consumers are looking for the best choices available to them. Direct mail pieces that inform the consumer of specials, sales, and value propositions can alter their perception of their best option for their holiday shopping needs.
Direct mail makes comparison shopping easier
Many businesses use direct mail to create marketing pieces that clearly compare their product or service to a competitor’s, in order to clarify the benefit to the consumer. Moreover, direct mail is an influential, attractive medium by which you can continue to engage comparison shoppers, stay top of mind, and even exploit the mere-exposure effect.
Direct mail can be delivered at the perfect time
You might think digital is the best way to get into the hands of the ready-to-buy consumer, but that’s not necessarily true. If timed right, a piece of direct mail can land in a consumer’s hand the day they need to make their purchase, like when they’re buying last-minute gifts.
Direct mail can help you retain new customers acquired during the holidays
While email can be lost in an oversaturated, stuffed inbox, direct mail stands out when you’re trying to re-engage existing customers. In fact, Target Marketing’s annual survey indicates direct mail is being used more for customer retention year over year.
Direct Mail Facts and Figures
You might be surprised to know that direct mail response rates are actually growing. Since 2004, direct mail response rates have increased by 14%. Believe it or not, in that same time period, email marketing response rates have decreased by 57%! Direct mail response rates are even increasing for the younger crowd, rising 8.3% for 18 to 21 year-olds between 2012 and 2014.
There’s more opportunity than ever for direct mail marketing during the holidays, as well: Holiday “creep” isn’t only in your imagination. The holiday marketing season is getting longer and longer, making it even more important to plan earlier to promote earlier–and more often.
7 Direct Mail Tips for Holiday Campaigns
It might seem like direct mail is more affordable when you use a standard envelope or postcard, one or two colors, and bulk mail, but is it if the consumer doesn’t see it, isn’t inspired by it and it’s discarded within minutes? Successful direct mail campaigns seize the consumer’s attention right out of the box.
- Use a larger or unusual size, go full color on a heavier paper stock and mail 1st class, or at least Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
- Talk to your printer about how to save money by coordinating print runs, quantity discounts and using existing overrun paper stock
- Print two or three direct mail campaigns all at once for added savings
- Make sure you have provided the necessary information on your direct mail piece! Name, address, phone, website, social media, coupons or QR codes, applicable sale dates, expiration dates, etc.
- Providing codes to enter on your website is a great way to gather additional data, increase website views to boost ranking, and inspire toward purchase
- Create urgency with comments like “limited time only” or “1st 100 customers will receive X”
- Multiple “touches” with a direct mail piece only amps the impact and chances that the consumer will become a customer, so try to send more than one direct mail piece
Direct mail can be a fantastic boon for your holiday marketing. Holiday shoppers know what they’re looking for, and with the right direct mail strategy, you can reach them at the perfect moment to close the holiday sale.
Get Started Today: If you haven’t mapped out your holiday marketing strategy yet, now is the next best time. Consider direct mail as part of your overall strategy and begin developing content and graphic designs as soon as possible. Also, secure your mailing list and method and speak with printers about how you can save money during the printing process.
Need help? Valpak has been a leader in direct mail marketing for over 40 years. We can help you create holiday direct mail marketing campaigns that will rise above the rest.