Data & Audience Insights, Direct Mail Products

Top 7 Holiday Marketing Ideas for Direct Mail

Holiday marketing and shopping often determines whether a company will have a profitable year. This year is no different. The economic recovery following the pandemic means that more people have more money to spend.

However, it’s a different world now than last year, or even the year before.

Retail industry observers noted that the 2020 holiday shopping season began earlier than ever before as stores rolled out campaigns well before the traditional Black Friday promotions. This was mostly due to fears of crowding shoppers into brick-and mortar stores. But because it worked so well, expect the same to happen this year.

This means that you have to get started now – if you haven’t already – on your planning your direct mail holiday marketing. Here are some holiday marketing ideas to implement in 2021.

1. Oversized Direct Mail

Let’s say you send out the same type of mail piece for all of your campaigns throughout the year. Normally, that’s fine – in a mailbox with a normal volume of promotions.

During the holiday season, though, there’s much more competition for your customer’s attention, both online and offline. With so many distractions and pressing needs, a larger-than-normal mail piece stands out.

Some possible options:

  • Larger envelope sizes – mailing a #11 envelope instead of a #10
  • Heavier stock paper for smaller, higher value target audiences
  • Jumbo postcards – mailing an 11”x6” card with more room and white space for your holiday messaging

2. Postseason Direct Mail Campaigns

As I mentioned earlier, the holiday shopping season will be longer this year than ever before. Plan on jumping into the mail well before Thanksgiving and Black Friday to reach shoppers who want to get their lists taken care of early.

But when the holidays are over, you can extend the season several weeks into the new year. Reach out with promotions like:

  • End-of-Season Special
  • Winter Sale
  • End of Year/Happy New Year
  • Season Closeout/Inventory Reduction Sale

3. Multichannel Deals

Your brand should have high visibility in digital channels, such as email, web ads, and social media. Customers expect that in today’s marketplace. But to exceed their expectations, as well as to set yourself apart from your competitors, your direct mail should work across multiple channels.

Here are a few examples:

  • PURLs – point customers toward landing pages with customized offers.
  • Informed Delivery – these campaigns give consumers a digital sneak preview of their incoming postal mail.
  • Retargeting mail – website visitors who abandon shopping carts – and there will be lots of them – can be targeted with special offers and incentives based on the pages they visited. A simple postcard reminds them of your brand.

4. Customer Rewards

Depending on who you talk to, keeping an existing customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times cheaper than acquiring a new one.

Now, this is true any time of the year. But during the holidays, you have an opportunity to reward your customers for their loyalty.

To get started, you should segment your customers using the RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary) model. Your best customers have bought the most recently, buy most frequently, and spend the most money. Ranking them by quintiles (groups of 20%) lets you prioritize what customers should get more of your attention.

Perhaps you already have a rewards program that you actively promote in your mail. With data-driven offers, you can incentivize loyal customers to spend more and earn discounts, points, and other member benefits.

5. Thank You Notes

When was the last time you said “thank you” to customers?

Sure, maybe it’s been a while. But a lot of people really appreciate a simple acknowledgement of a purchase to feel valued and important.

It doesn’t have to be much to make an impact – a small postcard will do nicely. Coming during the holiday season, it impresses customers, and gives them even more of a reason to continue buying from you. Speaking of which – feel free to include a ride-along offer.

6. Personalized Messages

In keeping with the theme of this post, personalizing your communication with customers is yet another way to make them feel wanted. During an often bottom-line holiday season, that’s important.

Personalization is about more than a customer’s name; it’s about the profile you’ve built on them. With Variable Data Printing (VDP), your holiday marketing campaign doesn’t have to look mass-market. Instead, your offer, pricing, and even images can all leverage the data you have on hand to speak to that customer or prospect 1-to-1.

7. Use Holiday-Inspired Copy

Maybe it’s cheesy or sentimental, but people really do pay attention to words that get them into the mood for holiday shopping! In your headlines and sales copy, sprinkle in cheerful words and phrases such as: “thankful”, “jolly”, ‘’tis the season”, “winter wonderland”, etc.

Also, if appropriate for your brand, use festive graphics and pictures featuring candy canes, Christmas lights, trees, turkeys, snowflakes, sweaters, and so many more to call attention to your offers.

Wrapping it up

With all of these tips in mind, you can get the most out of your direct mail. In what’s sure to be a long season of crowded email inboxes, this is an opportunity to really stand out to your customers.

At, our data and printing services teams stand ready to work with you on your holiday marketing campaigns.

Drop us a line or call us! We’ll help you put together a complete and cost-effective direct mail campaign to accomplish your goals quickly and mail with confidence for the upcoming holiday season, and beyond.

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