The upcoming holiday shopping season is expected to be strong again this year with the average consumer expected to spend $1,000 or more. Many businesses have reopened, but continue to struggle with staffing shortages and supply chain issues. While we understand that some businesses may still be recuperating from their pandemic losses, hiring direct mail for the holidays is a great way to boost your holiday sales and end the year on a positive note and set you up for success into the new year.
The key is to keep things cost-efficient without sacrificing quality. There are plenty of ways to leverage cost-effective direct mail campaigns to try to make up sales now. Here are some tips for hiring direct mail to deliver cost-effective marketing messages this holiday season:
Holiday Marketing Tips for Brick-and-Mortar Stores
- Keep people updated on how you are operating.
Your operations may continue to change throughout the holiday season. Sending a postcard or other piece of direct mail with general information about your business and a URL for a dynamic landing page that you are able to update on the fly is a great way to keep people informed.
On the postcard, make sure you include information about things like where you are located, what your website and phone number are, and what your store hours are. If you are in a position where you can offer discounts, be sure to include one on the postcard.
Some examples might include free or discounted shipping, a percentage off a large order, etc. The goal of the discount here is to encourage people to buy from you and spend more money when they do so.
On the landing page, it is important to make sure that this page is updated at all times. If your store hours change or how people can order from you and/or receive their purchase, it is important to lay everything out on this page.
- Partner with other businesses.
If you are a small local business, see if you can partner with other businesses around you to send messages together and encourage people to shop local and support your community.
You might know other business owners personally, or you can reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce for a directory or to see if they have any ideas for getting everyone’s messages together.
In this example, you might consider teaming up for a postcard or other mailing that you can all share messages on and split the cost.
We worked with businesses in Lewiston, NY in the past to produce a mailing called “Around Town,” where 10-12 businesses joined together to purchase ad space on a self-mailer that was mailed to everyone in the immediate area.
This program allowed many businesses to try direct mail for the first time, in a way that was less cost-prohibitive than their own separate mailing. Once the value of direct mail was proven, the businesses may have considered expanding to their own solo campaigns.
- Embrace your website
Creating and updating websites can be a costly expense. While it may not make financial sense (or there isn’t enough time) to implement a brand new website right now, taking the time to update what you can on your existing website – or quickly creating one with basic information on Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, or any other similar sites – will go a long way toward keeping your customers informed.
3 Gift Ideas to Market to Local Shoppers
As mentioned earlier, persuading consumers to shop locally is a great way to support the community and make it flourish economically. Need more reasons to shop local? Data shows that local retailers return 52% of their revenue back into the local economy, compared to just 14% for national chain retailers. Money circulating through the local economy benefits everyone who is a part of each transaction. This holiday season, you can package your products as gifts. Gifts are an effective marketing tool. Learn what your consumers’ “purchasing maps” are and how you can maximize them during this holiday gift-giving season.
To reach these consumers, it is important to understand where your business fits into their “purchasing map,” meaning where the consumers live and shop, as well as where their families and friends live and shop.
- “Local to me” gifts.
Send a postcard or other direct mail piece to consumers living within a designated radius around your store and encourage them to send “local to me” gifts.
For these consumers, talk about gifts that travel well, like non-perishable food, home décor, clothing, and any other items that they can buy and ship across the country to bring something local to them – a piece of their home – to their family or friend’s home.
“Local to Me” Postcard Example:
- “Local to you” gifts.
Leverage social media to share as much information about your different products, services, and sales offers as you can on your social media channels.
Be sure to share information on buying from out-of-state – local consumers that already love your brands can share this information to their own pages and encourage their family and friends to purchase “local to you” gifts that support businesses that are local to the recipient. Sometimes family and friends that don’t live locally are hoping for a local gift this holiday season.
“Local to You” Social Media Post Example:
- Gift card purchases.
Whether they are “local to you” or “local to me,” gift cards are a great gift for local shoppers because they are easy to send in the mail or electronically. gift cards. In Western New York, small local and independent businesses are working together to incentivize people to shop locally with their Shop Local 716 gift card program.
Holiday Marketing Tips for Online Retailers
- Drive traffic to your website with direct mail.
These past few years have been a truly difficult for so many retailers. With the rising cost of retail products, this holiday season most shoppers are looking for great deals and taking advantage of them by shopping around. If your website traffic needs a boost, send out a direct mail campaign introducing people to your business since direct mail shows the best ROI of any channel.
One benefit of doing this is to establish credibility and prove that you are a “real” company – with so many spam and phishing efforts out there today, people can be suspicious of brand new online retailers that they have never interacted with.
Taking the time to print something on paper and send it to them adds a layer of trust that you may not be able to achieve with email marketing and social media along.
Whatever you do mail them, it is important to make sure that you are ultimately leading people to your website, where hopefully your online inventory is updated.
This is important because it ensures that people are aware of what is in stock and what is not, so they do not experience any frustration trying to order something that you are out of.
Moving people to your website from direct mail also allows your other digital marketing efforts like digital retargeting to kick in.
- Spend a little extra on social media posts and display advertising.
As we alluded to in the first point, direct mail pairs well with digital marketing efforts. It is often an important activation point for the online experience.
In addition, providing multiple touchpoints for people to respond is important.
- Consider adding discounts for larger orders and/or free shipping.
As with brick-and-mortar stores, if your online retail business has the capacity to offer discounts, consider adding coupon codes to your direct mail for free or discounted shipping, large orders, etc. The goal is to incentivize people to spend more money with you.
- Set appropriate expectations.
With supply chain disruptions being common the past few years, lead times for production and delivery may be delayed for many retailers and packages are taking a little longer to get through the mail.
Including this information on a direct mail piece will help set expectations upfront, so there are fewer surprises to the consumer if something will take a long time.
Once they place an order, try to make sure they have an estimate on how long it will take to get to them and provide a tracking number whenever you can.
The Bottom Line
After a particularly challenging past few years, holiday sales are critical for the survival of your business.
Hopefully, these points will help you drive sales during the December holidays. By doing so, you may put yourself in a better position to hire more people or marketing campaigns in 2023.