10 Strategies for Successful Holiday Direct Mail Marketing

Holiday direct mail marketing strategies

10 Strategies for Successful Holiday Direct Mail Marketing

It's 2022 and people are starting EVEN EARLIER than usual!

For the first time in history, holiday sales are predicted to rise above 1 TRILLION DOLLARS in the US this year!  Are you prepared?

Capitalize on the busiest shopping time of year by increasing your marketing efforts this holiday season. The earlier you get your message out to consumers the better your chances are of attracting new consumers and loyal customers to your business.

You’ll give your business a boost for the following year as well. Capture their attention with a carefully planned and executed holiday direct mail marketing campaign. Let’s take a look at ten easy things you can do to improve your marketing campaigns this holiday season.

1. Use Oversized Direct Mail

Help divert consumers attention to your message and offers

Capture consumers’ attention and show them just the important information. Such as, who you are, why they should shop at your store, and what specials you have. The oversized mailer helps divert consumers’ attention away from other mail pieces like standard postcards and letter-sized mailers. Once you have their attention, hit them with stunning graphics while giving them just what they need.

77 percent of consumers sort through their physical mail as soon as they get it.

Ashley Oversized furniture mailer

2. Use House Lists To Improve Response

Increase your ROI by sending mail to your current customers

Sending your holiday direct mail marketing mail pieces to new prospects is a great way to build a customer list. However, sending to your house list (a list of customers you’ve built using current customers that have purchased from you) is a fantastic way to increase your response rate. If a customer has already purchased from you and had a positive experience then they are probably willing to purchase from you again. People typically go with what they know and what they’re comfortable with. Remind them that you’re still around and that you want their business again. Retaining current customers improves your bottom line because you spend less money doing so rather than converting new prospects.

You spend less money getting a customer to return than trying to convert a consumer into a new customer.

3. Incentivize With Offers & Gift Cards

Give them an incentive to shop with your business

Part of what makes direct mail so fantastically appealing to marketers is that it gives them the potential for multiple impressions compared to email. If your message is compelling, and your gift card and/or offers are highly enticing, then it’s possible that your customers will put a gift card in their wallet,  leave it on their kitchen counter or put it on their fridge. 

Your customers might not go running out to use them right away. However, if they’re interested they will keep your mail piece in their home instead of throwing it away. Essentially, you have given them a constant reminder of your business. There are plenty of different types of direct mail you can improve with offers.

Killer 2 3D Mailer

4. Don’t Neglect The After Season Shopping

Consumers will still be purchasing after the season is over

The Holidays are a perfect time to push products and incentivize offers. But, don’t forget that shopping doesn’t stop after the Holidays are over. Plan for the late-gift-getters and the vacation-takers to give your business a small boost while others are ramping down. Planning to do so with your holiday direct mail marketing campaign will help you capitalize on the holiday rush long after it has passed.

New customers given gift cards by relatives can be turned into loyal, returning customers with the right in-store experience. Focus on customer service during the week between Christmas and New Years.

5. Lift Response With Spectrum’s Easy Omni-Channel Solution

Spectrum Mail Plus integrates your mail with online channels

Instead of just sending out a traditional solo direct mailing, Spectrum Mail Plus combines your direct mailer with seven digital technologies to create omni-channel direct marketing to digital advertising that increases your ROI by reaching your target audience on multiple channels simultaneously.
It’s easy! All you need is a website or landing page and a Facebook/Instagram account. Spectrum does all the setup and serves ads on your behalf.
Holiday Omni-channel marketing campaign

Increase your average marketing campaign RESULTS by 23-46%

Direct mail pieces are mailed to your target market. This tried and true marketing medium yields marketing RESULTS by delivering your well-designed message right to your prospect’s mailbox.
Then, your Spectrum Mail Plus omni-channel marketing campaign touches your audience simultaneously across the web while tracking engagement – including visits to your website.

Most sales are made between the 8th and 12th impression! Perfect to hype holiday sale events and promotions!

6. Combine Direct Mail And Email

Give your holiday campaign a lift

Consumers are more likely to make a purchase when they’ve been introduced to your brand multiple times. The more a consumer sees your holiday direct mail marketing message, the more confidence they have in purchasing from you. Make a memorable introduction with your direct mail piece and follow up with an email to the same list or geographic area. Creating a campaign that tells the same story multiple times in multiple mediums allows you to use repetition to your advantage. Remember that a message will stick with a consumer the more its repeated.
winter sale email and direct mail program example

Remind them with social media ads

If you want to go the extra mile you can always implement a social media ad campaign. Social media campaigns are great especially when consumers are spending 35 to 50 minutes a day on Facebook alone. Make sure you’re making the best use of your marketing budget by spending it where people are already looking.

Social media users spend around 50 minutes per day looking at content.

7. Reward Loyal Customers

Making a customer feel appreciated is a fantastic way to keep them coming back

Reward a loyal customer to keep them coming back. It’s easier and cheaper than sourcing new prospects. If a current customer has already had a positive experience with you they are less likely to seek out a new store or retailer. Even a small gesture like offering 5% off the total order is welcomed by your customers. Consider using personalized direct mail to make it more impactful.
Personalized Flyer

8. Start Early

The more time your marketing message spends with consumers the better

If we’re being honest, we all notice when a retail location starts putting out Christmas decor way too early. It’s not even Halloween yet, but, the Christmas decorations and gifts are already taking up half of the seasonal aisle. What if we said that’s not a bad thing? Hear us out! Consumers don’t want to wait until the last minute to make all of their holiday purchases. Typically, they want to get everything done as early as possible to avoid the mid-season rush and the large crowds.

Just because you’re prepared doesn’t always mean your customer is

Unfortunately, no matter how well prepared they are, there’s always a few (hundred) people who are rushing to buy gifts and cards the day before Christmas. Shops give their customers a chance to avoid major headaches down the road by putting out holiday material early. Get your marketing message out early as well to make the customer aware of their ability to start shopping.

Starting early gives your marketing message more time to sit with your customers. Sending them one piece of direct mail is rarely enough to get them to buy, especially long-term.

Another reason to get things done early is that a consumer will need that time to make a decision. Slowly and subconsciously they need to start to decide that they’re going to make some holiday purchases. If you’re an auto shop offering a winter tune-up you’ll need to do something similar with your marketing. Make people aware that they can get a tune-up and winterize their vehicle before they get caught in that first blizzard of the season.

9. Convey Emotion

Consumers respond well to emotion so show a little in your collateral

Using power words like “FREE” and “ON SALE!” use to be enough to catch the eye of a consumer. While that may still be true to a degree, it’s just as important to appeal to the sentimental side of your customers. Consumers don’t want selly words and flashy text. It will catch their attention, but, after you do so, you should talk to them as a friend. Create an emotional connection with your customers to build your business and establish trust in your brand. A touch of heart or human emotion will get a lot further than “BUY NOW!”
all metals holiday mailer card

10. Send A Thank You Card

With no agenda and no pressure show gratitude towards your customer so you’re the first place they shop

Thanksgiving isn’t a major buying holiday. We all know Black Friday is right around the corner though and is one of the biggest buying days of the year. You can utilize Thanksgiving as a way to send your loyal customers some gratitude. Send them a personalized holiday card with a small no-strings gesture of kindness. Use this as the first opportunity to set up the marketing messages you’ll be sending in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Thank you card kit

Thank your customers and show your gratitude for them. It will go a long way when you’re ready to hit them with the offers and sales.

So What Is The Best Holiday Direct Mail Marketing Strategy?

There is no one tip on this list that’s going to significantly boost your marketing campaign beyond all others. However, the combination of all of these strategies is sure to help you succeed. Using all of these tips will help create a campaign that really speaks to your customers on a personal level. It will also make you more memorable during this highly competitive time of year.

Send early, send often, and stand out!

The takeaway here with holiday direct mail marketing is to be the first on customers mind. So send early and send often! Make sure when your customer sees your message throughout multiple channels that it’s consistent, includes special offers, conveys emotion, and also stands out. Making sure you touch on these main points is key to a successful holiday marketing campaign.

We’re here to help.

Whether you are current client or new to direct marketing, our marketing experts, experienced in your specific industry, will help you utilize these tips to create the perfect holiday direct mail marketing campaign.

Direct Mail Response Rate Report 2021

direct mail response rate report

Direct Mail Performance

Direct mail still delivers the highest return on investment!

direct mail response rate report

ANA DIRECT MEDIA RESPONSE RATE REPORT 2021

Direct mail coupled with other marketing platforms tops the list with 112% ROI!

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has released its long awaited 2021 Response Rate Report (membership required) that once again reinforces direct mail ROI as the highest of all channels they studied. Once again proving direct mail is the most effective marketing solution.

As has been reported over and over, all marketing channels (email, social media, paid search, digital display, sms, and direct mail) have seen independent success as standalone efforts, depending on how they are focused.

Leveraging a multi-format offering across multiple production platforms, direct mail ROI topped the list at 112% ―a stronger return than from any other channel!

That may explain why nearly half (46%) of study participants said they planned to increase their use of direct mail in the next twelve months.

The partnering of direct mail with other channels continues to prove to be the catalyst of increase response.

Looking to increase your direct mail marketing campaign response by 23-46%?  Learn more >

ROI of Campaigns by Medium

Study participants who sent letter-sized envelopes to prospect lists through direct mail reported the highest ROI of all media in 2020 (112%), followed closely by SMS (102%) and email to prospect lists (93%).

ANA RESPONSE RATE REPORT 2021 | HIGHLIGHTS

  • Direct mail ranks fifth for usage in marketing campaigns, averaging 38 percent across all industries. The industry segments reporting the strongest use of direct mail for marketing campaigns were Automotive (70 percent), Travel and Hospitality (53 percent), and Financial Services (52 percent).

  • For respondents who track direct mail response rates, over half use online tracking capabilities (59 percent), such as Personalized URLs (PURLs). The use of codes or coupons ranked a distant second (29 percent), followed by call center or telephone inquiries and matchback (25 percent).

  • The top reported purpose of direct mail by B2B and split B2B/B2C marketers was to generate leads. However, the primary purpose among B2C marketers was equally divided between making a direct sale, driving traffic to retail locations, and engaging prospects/customers.

  • B2B marketers were most likely to report the use of “house” (customer) mailing lists, whereas B2C and split B2B/B2C marketers were most likely to use a combination of “house” and “prospect” lists.

  • The most popular direct mail format sent to “house” lists was letter-sized envelopes. None of this study’s B2C participants used oversized envelopes. B2B and split B2B/B2C marketers were the most frequent users of dimensional mail.

  • The mail format that produced the best ROI to “house” lists was postcards (92 percent). The mail format that produced the best ROI to “prospects” lists was letter-sized envelopes (112 percent), the highest of all media types. Other notable mail formats to prospect lists include dimensional and oversized envelopes, both of which eclipsed the 90 percent ROI threshold.

  • For direct mail sent to “prospect” lists, 39 percent of respondents reported the primary purpose was to engage potential prospects.

  • The most popular direct mail format sent to “prospect” lists was letter-sized envelopes. Split B2B/B2C marketers were the most frequent users of letter-sized envelopes to “prospect” lists, followed closely by B2C marketers who send postcards.

  • Regarding future use, 46 percent of this study’s participants plan to increase their usage of direct mail in the next 12 months

DIRECT MAIL FORMATS - NEW DATA

Direct Mail coupled with other marketing platforms tops the response list with 112% ROI!

Based on the DMA’s “Direct Mail Response Rates 2003-2018”, House List response rose 125% from its 2015 levels and Prospect Lists (acquisition) rose 400% for the same period.

Average direct mail ROI ranges from of 85% to 112% depending on direct mail formats and list usage.

Preferred by more than half of marketers, the letter-sized envelope is the most used direct mail format for both house and prospect mailings. Postcards are a close second, with 49% of marketers using the compact format when mailing to house lists and 51% when mailing to prospects. House lists receive oversized envelopes 21% of the time and dimensional packages 19%. When mailing to prospects, dimensional packages (29% of direct mail mailings) are 3% more likely to be used over oversized envelopes (used with 27% frequency).

Speak with a Spectrum marketing expert to discover which mail formats, lists, and mailing programs will deliver the highest predicted ROI for your specific business and industry.  Contact Us >

Woof Meow Mailer in hands

EMAIL - RESPONSE RATES

Open Rates on Informed Delivery Emails in Comparison to Prospect/House Emails are NEARLY DOUBLE

Response Rate Report participants reported average email open rates of 32% when sent to prospect lists and 37% when sent to house lists.

While both of these figures are up compared to results reported in 2020, it is notable that they significantly lag the open rates for Informed Delivery emails that are consistently north of 60%.

The open rate for Informed Delivery email is impressive — 64% to 80%.

Informed Delivery from Spectrum Mail Plus

Spectrum can easily add Informed Delivery to your next direct mail campaign.  Learn more >

Most Used Mediums

The study revealed that email was the most used medium in all campaign types (B2B, B2C, and split B2B/B2C), averaging an 82 percent usage rate among respondents. Social media came in second at 74 percent. Beyond email and social media, the report included overall findings for paid search (51 percent), digital display advertising (42 percent), direct mail (38 percent), and SMS (18 percent).

  • Most respondents came from small companies with annual revenues of $25 million or less (56 percent), 24 percent from medium-sized companies (between $26 and $500 million in annual revenue), and 20 percent from large companies (over $500 million in annual revenue).
  • Sixty-five percent of respondents reported revenue growth at their organizations in the most recently completed fiscal year.

Future Marketing Channel Strategy

Nearly 80% of ANA respondents plan to continue or increase the use of direct mail.

At least half of those surveyed plan to increase their use of email, paid search, social media advertising, and SMS over the next year. Social media advertising usage is the least likely to decrease. In the future, DTC participants are most interested in learning more about QR codes, organic search, and live chat technologies for direct marketing use.

How Direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketers are using direct mail

Among DTC marketers, the intent of a direct mail campaign is equally divided amongst making a direct sale (17%), engaging prospects (17%), engaging customers (17%), and driving traffic to retail locations (17%).

Customer communication (12%), lead generation (8%), and brand awareness (4%) are also among top priorities for DTC mailers.

Most DTC direct mail campaigns include a combination of prospect and house lists. 

75% of DTC marketers prefer postcards when mailing to prospects.

 When mailing to house lists, letter-sized envelopes (61%) are used most frequently.

Industries using direct mail marketing

Automotive is the number one industry using direct mail (70%), followed by travel and hospitality (53%), financial services (51%), and retail (48%). Nearly half of marketers use the offline channel for B2B products and services (42%), financial services/insurance (41%), and health care (40). Consumer products and services (36%), technology and communications (31%), and publishing/media/entertainment (29%) complete the top ten mailers.

RESPONSE TRACKING

Online tracking, such as Personalized URLs (PURLs), is the preferred response rate tracking method by 59% of respondents. Codes or coupons (29%), call center or telephone (25%), match back (25%), and linked sales transactions (20%) follow. Derived or calculated (13%) and list coding (8%) are the least used response metrics.  Learn more about how to track your mail campaigns here >

All this makes print more powerful than ever for marketing.

Haptics, the neuroscience of touch, holds that being able to touch something makes us feel differently about it — we place greater value on it. Thirty-six percent of people report having brand recognition after seeing a piece of print; just 18% report brand recognition after seeing a digital ad.
brand recognition print vs digital
65% of consumers say mail lifts their spirits

There is also digital fatigue.

Digital advertising fatigue can also contribute to increase interest in direct mail marketing. According to a study by Sappi, 65% of consumers agree that mail lifts their spirits. Households receive on average just two pieces of mail per day, versus 157 email messages. Plus, with 7 in 10 white collar workers in the U.S. still working from home, mail is a welcome distraction. It’s part of the reason the USPS is consistently ranked as the most popular entity in government.

Mail is more important than before the pandemic and could offer the physicality missing at retail.

The pandemic has affected shopping behaviors, notably retail shopping which means the mail is a new source of information and inspiration.

Woman reading mail

ADDING A ONE - TWO PUNCH FOR IMPACT

Direct mail isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. It plays well with digital communication.

There’s a 28% increase in conversion rate for marketing when direct mail and digital ads are used together as a one-two punch. And consumers say they prefer to receive direct mail and digital over any other media, including social media.

Those facts suggest that if your retail marketing strategy has defaulted to digital only, you’re missing an opportunity.  Don’t miss out >

DIRECT mail plus retargeting

  • 96% unique visitors leave your website without purchase/signup

  • 26% will return to your site to take action after being retargeted with display ads

  • Use mail to get them to web and retargeting to get them to return. Explore the technologies available that tie together your physical direct mail and digital.

Design Tips

You have five seconds to get your mail opened or ditched. Let your design team bring you more impactful ideas that are right for your specific audience.

  • Make it highly visual; we process images 60,000x faster than text
  • Use either real handwriting or a handwriting app for a more human, genuine feel
  • Employ the envelope back as a billboard and the flap side as address side
  • Be creative with paper stocks, dimensions, inks and folds. If your potential customers value sustainability, choose eco-friendly paper stock
QR Code Interactive Mailer

The increased level of direct mail response in the last 3 years represents a remarkable reversal of the previous trend and underlines the fact that something truly amazing is happening in this traditional channel.

Don't miss an opportunity to enjoy a superior marketing ROI!

ANA

*All relevant data has been pulled from this year’s ANA Response Rate Report 2021. (Source: ANA Response Rate Report 2021)

SPEAK WITH A MARKETING EXPERT TODAY!

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