Sep 02, 2010
The Early Bird Gets the Worm! 4 Holiday Mail Planning Tips You Can Use Today
Everyone knows a few of them: those people who have all of their holiday presents bought, wrapped, and tagged well before Thanksgiving. For those of us who wait until Black Friday to begin holiday shopping, the month-long frenzy of finding just the right gifts for everyone on the list is made even more maddening by thoughts of those pre-planners, sitting at home relaxing by the fire.
Yet shopping early is actually quite common. According to Google, 44% of consumers begin their holiday shopping in the summer.
But - here's the catch - most retailers don't begin advertising to "holiday" shoppers until much later in the year. That means an incredible opportunity to capture market share if you begin your holiday marketing now. These four tips will get you on your way.
Tip 1: Make a plan for the whole season, starting now. The most successful direct mail campaign is one that is well planned (as they say, success favors the prepared). Build a four-month direct mail calendar to run from September through December. Map traditionally "hot" holiday dates like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Free Shipping Day. Then think about when you can mail across that four-month period - both to promote those "hot" holiday dates and to drive business every other day as well.
Once you've identified the dates that you'll send direct mail, think about creative mailers that will drive repeat business, reward your loyal customers (and early-bird holiday shoppers) and entice new customers to try you out. Think about a series of mailers that tie in to each other - repetition boosts response rates.
Once you've identified when you'll mail and what you'll mail, you can schedule it all with Click2Mail - up to 180 days in advance. So you can plan your entire holiday mail campaign today, set it up in our system, and then turn your attention to other aspects of your business. (It's just another way that we make mail easy.)
Tip 2: Reward the early bird. It's easy to understand why getting holiday shoppers in the door early is good for business. For one, you get to ring up sales now rather than maybe ringing them up in November. But you also get three extra months to market to those people as repeat customers rather than prospects.
So create a mailer that offers a special discount for those who shop in September. (See this month's article on the power of coupons to boost ROI.) Or publicize a special week with "early birds get the worm" free gift wrapping on all purchases over a certain amount.
Tip 3: Explain why shopping now makes more sense. In addition to your enticing "early bird" offers, there are a host of other reasons why shopping now makes sense for your customers. It's less stressful to shop before the holiday rush; there is often more inventory to choose from; and customers can take advantage of sales that might not be around when demand is at its peak. Explain those reasons to your prospects, perhaps with a "Why shopping now makes $en$e" mailer.
Tip 4: Infuse some holiday spirit into your mail, no matter the weather. It can feel kind of bizarre when retailers start breaking out the Christmas décor even before kids are yelling "Trick or Treat!" But with a dash of creativity, you can design an early holiday mailer to really stand out - in a good way. Think about Santa in a swimsuit: "He's not checking his list yet, but you can be, and buying gifts at 15% off!"
Of course, we think that there's always some good reason to mail. But the data demonstrate that targeting "early" holiday shoppers can really pay off. For more about planning your holiday mail campaign, check out It's Time to Start Planning Your Holiday Mail! 5 Keys to a Great Holiday Direct Mail Campaign.