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September 29, 2021

Direct Mail Holiday Tips to Deliver More ROI

This holiday season, consumers plan to spend an average of $998 on items such as gifts, food, decorations and other holiday-related purchases for themselves and their families. For some retailers, the holidays can account for as much as 30% of annual sales.

AdWeek reported that over 95% of retailers say their most effective campaigns are during the holidays. The challenge is cutting through the whirlwind of other marketing noise this time of year. In this post, we've curated direct mail tips that will deliver results and ROI to your holiday campaigns. 

Increase response rates

Many marketers focus on email marketing as a primary channel to reach customers during this busy season but direct mail response rates are 5-9x higher than any other advertising channel and open rates can reach as high as 90%. You can see why marketers are doubling their investment in direct mail during the holidays and in the future as it's the gift that keeps on giving.

Combine direct mail and digital for holiday campaigns

Over 90% of retailers agree that multichannel, omnichannel marketing is key to their business success.

When digital and direct mail are combined, marketers see an average of:

40% conversion rates

68% increased website visits

63% increased response rates

60% increased ROI

39% increased traffic to a physical store or business location

Complementing your other digital marketing channels with direct mail is a win-win. Each tactic benefits from the other and keeps your brand top of mind during the busy holiday season. You can use direct mail to drive customers to your brick and mortar locations and/or to your website to make holiday purchases. 

Check out this holiday gift guide email example from Wool and the Gang. Imagine if the brand also sent a direct mail postcard to individuals who opened the email with an offer of a percentage off or free shipping on a gift guide item.

Build awareness that leads to conversions

Direct mail can set the tone for your holiday marketing campaigns. A direct mail campaign can help build awareness at that critical purchasing moment. A well-timed offer or promotion that arrives in a consumer's mailbox can motivate them to make a gift purchase or a purchase for themselves. Did you know 54% of people tried a new product or business in a six-month period because they received a mailpiece?

Look what BarkBox, the dog subscription brand sent to its email subscribers. Just think how you could use direct mail to complement this piece and drive more dog lovers to give and get a subscription for the holidays.

Personalize direct mail just like email

Consumers expect relevant, timely offers that are tailored to their likes and needs so there is no better time to get personal than the holidays. Everything you can do with email marketing you can do with direct mail, including powerful personalization and customization. Go beyond just using the customer’s first name and remind them of what they purchased last year as a prompt to purchase from you again this season. Including an image of the item is an excellent reminder of what they've purchased.

You can go a step further and add a PURL — a Personalized Uniform Resource Locator as your holiday direct mail campaign. A PURL is a limited-time custom website address designed with personalized, customized content. If used creatively, it can be an enticing holiday offering, and a great way to measure responses and calculate ROI on any campaign. PURLs/online tracking is the top response rate tracking method (53%) according to the most recent ANA/DMA Response Report.

PURLs can:

1. Make your campaign more enticing because they include a recipient’s name with a holiday message

2. Alert you when a direct mail piece drives visitors to your website

3. Establish a profile of the visitor’s tastes and preferences. 

Ready, aim, retarget

High shopping cart abandonment rates can be a real struggle especially during the holidays when the competition is greater than ever. The average? A whopping 88%. If you’re not reaching back out, you’re likely to lose the sale forever. To give your PURL even more power, add a remarketing code to your PURL. Here's how it works: After a recipient views your mailpiece and visits the personalized landing page, you can tag them with a cookie so that they receive an ad later while browsing the internet, redirecting them back to your website to help drive conversions.

Adding direct mail to your retargeting strategy can help you take advantage of a less saturated channel.

Standout in the mailbox with large formats

Ever notice how excited people get when they see a big box wrapped with an oversized bow? It’s the same with direct mail. During the holidays, use large format postcards. Using an 11”x6” card will stand out in mailboxes packed with holiday cards and other mail, plus you get more bang for your messaging bucks.

Image courtesy of Jen Langman

Reward loyal customers

Making a customer feel appreciated is a fantastic way to keep them coming back but many marketers only use direct mail to acquire customers. Lob’s State of Direct Mail Report shows that 60% of direct mail volume is split evenly between customer acquisition and customer retention. The remaining 40% of direct mail is used for customer win-back campaigns, customer advocacy, and referral campaigns. 

This holiday season, try broadening your campaigns across the customer lifecycle to add more value and ROI. Keeping customers engaged ensures your brand stays top of mind, can reduce churn, and encourage customers to spend more with your brand.

Increase customer lifetime value 

The holidays are a natural time of year to add value to an existing customer relationship. Direct mail has a 13x (130%) higher response rate than email, which triples if the customer has already bought from you. Send upsells or add-on offers to increase customer lifetime value and increase revenue.

A recent USPS holiday season case study showed how a retailer used a self-mailer that featured all of their brands and had coupons for free shipping and $10 off select purchases. By pairing the direct mail campaign with email, paid search, and direct website traffic, the result was a 13-35% increase in orders.

Send gratitude

This holiday season, remember to send your loyal customers some gratitude. Send personalized holiday cards as a gesture of kindness. GivingTuesday is a day dedicated to gratitude and giving and falls on November 30, 2021. Use GivingTuesday as an opportunity to give back on behalf of your customers.

Check out this example from Brookfield Zoo, a zoo in Chicago.

This adorable image could be a direct mail postcard with the goal to drive donors to make a donation. With Lob, you can automate your donor acknowledgement letters or postcards in a way that is personalized and saves time and money. We donate and discount our product for nonprofits through our social impact arm, Lob.org. If you are using Salesforce as your CRM, you can also leverage our native Salesforce integration, Vezzla | Print & Mail

Use technology to send direct mail more efficiently

Software is displacing traditional mail house and agency relationships. Companies that use technology to automate direct mail campaigns have higher return on ad spend (ROAS) and profitability than their competitors.

Lob allows you to tap into the power of intelligent direct mail for your holiday campaigns. Lob integrates with your CRM, data, and marketing tools to reduce the operational impact of running a direct mail campaign, allowing you to run them in the same way as digital campaigns.

Lob's flexible integrations allow you to leverage your own data to create mailing lists, or team up with one of our partners to create or append prospect lists. Lob makes it easy for you to scale a personalized seasonal direct mail campaign, as we generate them programmatically. 

Traditional printers have long lead times and manual inputs, which slow down your timeline and have you thinking about the holidays in July. Lob has a two day in-the-mail SLA, allowing you to quickly create relevant holiday campaigns that scale. We intelligently route mail production across our network of global print partners, to ensure that your mail will be home in time for the holidays.

For more holiday direct mail tips get our free guide: Your Guide to Holiday Direct Mail: 7 Tips for Successful Campaigns

This blog provides general information and discussion about direct mail marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.

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