Sunday, 9 July 2017

Direct Mail Campaigns Can Drive Holiday Sales

Direct Mail Campaigns Can Drive Holiday Sales

Growing businesses need solutions to gain traction amid heavy competition, and direct marketing campaigns can provide a marketing win that could help your business stand out.

With today’s focus on email marketing, it can be easy to overlook the power of direct mail. But think about your own inbox and how overwhelming it can become. That’s where a physical piece of direct mail can stand out. In fact, a survey by Epsilon showed that 77 percent of consumers sort through their
physical mail as soon as they get it.

usps holiday schedule

While building loyalty is crucial to all enterprises, it’s a common growing pain in any industry (see Figure A below2). Business owners need new ways to engage customers, and reaching customers with a compelling timely message during the holiday season is a smart strategy to accomplish this.

Direct mail may be a savvy pivot from tactics many of your competitors maybe using. During the holiday season, most business-to-consumer brands are entrenched in competitive sales and aggressive pricing, but either of those can drive down profit margins. Even though slashing prices to stay competitive can keep companies afloat during the holidays, it’s a short-term strategy. The advantage of a direct mail campaign is that it can show consumers a commitment to their journey toward a happy holiday season.

The advantage of a direct mail campaign is two-fold: likelihood of consumers opening their mail around the holidays, making it an ideal time to increase the odds of your message being read. And, you’re likely to reach consumers right at their point of decision, providing a ready answer to a holiday challenge.

Make it Worthwhile: Determine Your Goals Now

Direct mail could easily provide a robust return on investment as long as it’s executed with a clear, actionable message. Many smaller businesses can benefit from adopting a more corporate outlook, especially when it comes to creatively allocating marketing dollars. While it may seem like an extra expense for a small-to-medium-sized business during crucial sales times like the holidays, this marketing investment could pay off when your brand focuses on presenting solutions to current—and potential—customers.

The type of holiday messaging your brand uses will likely depend on what you need to accomplish and how that dovetails with what you offer consumers. For example, if your budding enterprise is pushing for more digital engagement, consider adding QR codes that instantly connect customers with valuable digital content. Or, include a coupon for a discount on an online purchase, which will drive sales while encouraging customers to engage online.

tracking usps

Send a Clear Message to Your Customers

A key to successful marketing is often reaching consumers during their decision-making process and influencing those decisions by offering something valuable, whether it’s a discount or a solution to a shopping dilemma.

A direct mail campaign can help build awareness during the key holiday purchasing season. Direct mail can help familiarize customers with your brand. Even more so, it can help drive trial purchases when you offer customers something of value in your direct mail piece.

Direct mail can be the tipping point between considering and making a purchase, and having that first successful interaction with a brand can help build loyalty. Once customers have had positive experiences with a brand, those same customers are more likely to consider that brand for similar purchases in the future.

Your direct mail campaign should ideally reach customers at the critical juncture when they are evaluating options but before they make a purchase, and a strong holiday message that conveys value and commitment to their personal successes and happiness is the perfect way to help close that gap.

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The holidays present a wealth of opportunities for businesses, but competition is fierce. Marketing channels are inundated. Customers are flooded with offers from countless brands. Cutting through the noise is crucial for success. In this case study, we’ll shine a light on a national retailer that pivoted its marketing strategy to incorporate direct mail and saw a dramatic lift in its holiday business.1

Planning for a Strong Performance

As the holiday season approached, the retailer searched for ways to increase its average customer spend. Having several eCommerce brands under a single umbrella—fresh flowers, gift baskets, popcorn, gourmet foods, and sweets—the company was ready for the season of giving, but it wanted to boost its sales. At first, it explored traditional channels. A cornerstone of holiday marketing is sending single-brand catalogs, so the retailer sent them to both previous and current customers.2 It also considered e-mail and other digital media, but they presented a challenge during the holidays. With e-mail open rates and click-through rates down during this critical season, it was time for another solution.3 So, the company set its sights on direct mail.

Doubling Down on a New Channel

united state mail hold

The retailer decided to roll out a robust direct mail campaign that would bring its family of brands together for the first time in one self-mailer. Hoping to increase loyalty and encourage purchases across its many brands, the company sent the mailer to customers who had previously purchased from one or more product lines. Designed with six panels, it featured all the brands and included coupons for free shipping and $10 off select purchases. It worked. With direct mail part of their omni-channel strategy, the individual brands experienced a 13% to 35% boost in orders, with average customer spend increasing by $1.50 per order. Thanks to unified brand marketing, each company also enjoyed a lower cost per order. Needless to say, the campaign was a success.

Ideas Worth Implementing

The retailer got a lot right when it came to direct mail. When leveraged strategically, direct mail can bring value through sales, brand loyalty, and more. Here are a few ways companies can pursue their business goals:

Think Beyond the Catalog: While this print piece is a cornerstone of holiday marketing, it’s an expensive investment for small to medium-size businesses. Direct mail presents a simplified, economical way to deliver some of the same information in a more digestible form.
Print Multiple Offers: Consumers actively seek out sales and coupons during the holidays. Mail can be used to communicate a number of different promotions. By including more than one offer, businesses may be able to strengthen the potency of their direct mail.
Synergize with Other Channels: Email, paid search, and direct website traffic often drive sales for online retailers. By creating a campaign that pairs one or all of these channels with direct mail, companies could increase their marketing reach and boost the campaign’s memorability.
The holidays are an exciting time. Consumers and businesses go full speed ahead in search of the best gift and the most effective marketing campaign. With some focus, one retailer was able to incorporate direct mail into its marketing mix and grow sales as a result. By seeking out the perfect medium and messaging—tactics any business can mimic—the company set itself up for a happy holiday season.

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