Direct Mail 101: Don’t Send the Ugly Sweater of Holiday Cards
The holiday season is a great time to create a deeper connection with your leads and customers. It’s a perfect opportunity to let your contacts know that you’re thinking of them, make them feel special and build on your relationship. And to that end, direct mail is a useful instrument.
But like any form of direct mail, there are good practices and not-so-effective practices (to put it lightly). How can you avoid sending the “ugly sweater” of holiday cards? What are the different ways that you can use mailers to connect with your audience and share the holiday spirit?
Follow the recommendations below to steer clear of standing out for all the wrong reasons.
Learn how hyper-personalized direct mail converts offline prospects to online customers:
Be Sensitive to the Holidays
Don’t make the mistake of assuming. Not everyone celebrates the same holiday. Unless you know that your prospect or customer celebrates Festivus, you won’t want to include a Feats of Strength image or air you grievances. Unless your contact is a Costanza, it would be a Festivus miracle if your contact wasn’t confused (at minimum).
Most of the time, Christmas- or Kwanzaa-celebrating individuals won’t get upset or offended if you wished them a “Happy Hanukkah.” But it’s always best to play it safe with a “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” If you know with absolute certainty that your lead or customer celebrates a specific holiday, by all means, feel free to appropriately personalize their greeting.
No matter how your contacts celebrate during this time of year, the majority of us will spend time with family and friends and take time away from work. So be sensitive to your prospects’ time. Don’t hound them for a sale. Share joy and warmth and wish them the best instead.
Hyper Personalize and Avoid the Canned Blast
How special do you feel when you see a card that you weren’t expecting, especially from someone that you work with or with which you have a business relationship?
“Dear friend” is a bit of a letdown compared to a personal message. Embracing personalization in your marketing efforts, especially during the holidays, is a point of differentiation. If you’re going to take the time to send a holiday card to your prospects or customers, make it personal and special.
Enthusem provides customers with personalized templates for the holidays. We are able to pull in LinkedIn images and company logos into holiday themed mailers. Check out some examples below:
Now, you don’t have to handwrite a card for each of your contacts. After all, time is a relative scarcity around the holidays. But you can easily hyper-personalize and scale your holiday cards. Personalization done right should be fast and efficient while making your recipient still feel special.
Steer Clear of the Stale by Incorporating Video
Almost no other medium engages consumers like video. At every opportunity you get, you should include video to capture your prospects’ attentions. One of those opportunities is surely the holiday season.
Consider leading your direct mail recipients to a landing page that includes a video that provides an even more personal touch. Effective videos can be quick and easy to make, too. You could create a video in which your entire team or gives greetings to your prospects or customers. And this personalized touch doesn’t have to be recorded individually for each person you’re sending it to (unless you want it to be, of course). You can easily record something that feels personal, but is efficient and scales to your entire contact base.
Consider Including a Special Offer
You may not operate in an industry in which Black Friday and holiday deals apply, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer a beginning of the year deal or something of value.
Think about a “gift” you could offer your audience that they would find beneficial. This could be a:
- Gated piece of educational content
- Webinar series you usually charge for
- Discount if they make a purchase by the end of the year
- Add-on feature for the first few months of the year
Though you don’t want to emphasize selling over well wishes, the holidays don’t have to be a time when all sales come to a halt. Think of unique ways to help close deals in a time where it might be slower for your industry. As long your prospect finds value in what you’re offering, they won’t be put off by its mention.
Provide directions for how a prospect can redeem your deal or content piece within your direct mail piece (a link to a landing page, for example).
Break Away from the Normalcy of Online Marketing
If you don’t focus your marketing efforts on direct mail throughout the year, you may wonder if using direct mail during the holiday season makes sense. But think: if you typically run email campaigns and seasonal ads, using direct mail during the holidays can help you stand out even more.
One of the most effective uses of direct mail is as a component of a larger, automated marketing system. You could set up a trigger in your automation workflow that cues the sending of personalized card if someone takes an action on your website or email.
Rather than relying on a relatively-manual process, marketing automation programs give you the power to set up your workflow on the front end and sit back and watch as your system does the rest of the work. Perhaps you decide to send a holiday card to any contact who visited your services page. All you have to do is create the card. Your marketing automation platform will take care of the rest.
This offline component to your marketing efforts often provides the personal touch and thoughtfulness that leads to an eventual sale.
Bring the Cheer This December
If you know your audience like you should, you’ll know when to play it safe and when you can provide as much personalization as possible.
No matter what your customers celebrate, people appreciate kind gestures. And direct mail that lets your prospects know you’re thinking about them helps you build stronger relationships. The holiday season is the perfect time to connect with your prospects and keep you top of mind.