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It’s Time to Start Planning Your Holiday Mail! - 5 Keys to a Great Holiday Direct Mail Campaign

Oct 27, 2009

 POSTED BY PAOLA PISCIONERI: More retail sales are made in November and December than any other month.  It only makes sense, then, for you to contact your customers and prospects before (and during) the holiday season, so that they shop with you (and not someone else).  Even if you're not in retail, the holidays are a perfect time to contact your clients and prospects, if only to say "Happy Holidays." 

To get you started this year, we've set out 5 easy keys to help you plan an efficient, effective holiday direct mail campaign.

 Key1: Brainstorm creative ideas all year long

The smartest holiday planners shop all year long for their holiday gifts.  So should you be thinking all year long about your holiday mail campaign.  Have a designated file for holiday mail ideas that you and your team can contribute to all year round.

In the fall, gather your team together and pull out the file.  Use it as a starting point for a brainstorming session.  Involve your whole team (including marketing, sales, and product development) in the process to generate the most relevant, effective ideas.  Make it fun - think about holding a contest for the most creative holiday mail idea. 

Key 2: Plan ahead

It can take several months to develop an effective campaign (especially if it's your first), so get started now.  Remember that as holiday sales begin to pick up in early November, you'll become too busy to think about your direct mail.  With Click2Mail's easy planning system, you can create your mailer now, then schedule a mail date up to 120 days away. 

As you plan your mail campaign, think about whether you'll do a single mailing or a series.  If you're doing a series, when will your first mailer go out?  When will the series end?  Working backward from your first mail date, create a schedule of deadlines for
all of the tasks that the campaign requires. 

Key 3: Develop a consistent "concept"

Whether you're sending a series of mailers or just one, your "concept" should be consistent within each mailer (in terms of copy, design and layout that all work together) and across the series, to reinforce your key message(s) and build your brand identity.

And whether you're in retail or services, "soft sell" mailers, just to wish your clients and prospects a safe and happy holiday season, can go a long way to building loyalty among your current clients as well as converting prospects to new clients - which, of course, ultimately boost your bottom line.

Key 4: Stay valuable and frequent

The most important key to an effective direct mail piece is to offer something of value.  Whether it's a coupon for a special discount or a tip that will make your customers' lives easier, your mail should "help" its recipients in some way.  For example, make buying decisions easier by offering gift suggestions by gender, age and budget.  Suggest "you might also like. . ." items (if you sell clothing, for example, suggest complete outfits).   

While there's no secret answer to the "How often should I mail?" question, you certainly want to mail often enough to stay at the front of your prospects' minds.  That's especially difficult during the holiday season when mailboxes are overflowing.  At the same
time, you don't want to "fatigue" your list by mailing too often.

Key 5: Target particular customers and prospects

Even if your mailer offers a valuable discount and stands out from the rest of the mail, if it's not relevant to its recipient, it will likely end up in the trash.  To stay relevant, your pieces should be targeted.  Segment your mailing list (into "Mothers and Wives"
or "Grandparents" or "Budget Shoppers" for example) then match those segments to product categories ("Gifts for Men" or "Gifts for Kids" or "Gifts Under $50").

If you need to purchase a mailing list that can be easily segmented, Click2Mail can help.  We'll have you up and running with a targeted list in just minutes on line.  Click here for help finding a list.

As you embark on your holiday direct mail planning, be sure to take notes of what you do - and what works and what doesn't - to make next year's holiday mailing that much easier.  And remember, we're here to help.  Feel free to call us at 866-665-2787, or e-mail us at
http://click2mail.com/support