It’s not too late to run a direct mail campaign ahead of Christmas, but if you do, you need to act quickly. There are many things that you need to consider before you can even think about printing and sending out those mailers. That being said, it’s still possible to turn a DM campaign around relatively quickly. Just follow the steps below and you’ll be good to go!
Step 1 – Define your goals
It’s no good going into your Christmas DM campaign without knowing what it is you want to get out of it. So, the first thing you need to do, before you even think about designs, or offers or who you’re sending it to, is to define your goals.
Are you looking to provide information, for example about events, delivery dates, or Christmas opening hours? Do you want to drive traffic to your website, or footfall to your premises? Are you aiming for orders? Or do you want to reward loyalty or thank your customers for another great year?
It may be that you want to do all of these things, but if that’s the case then you’ll need to split them up over a few different campaigns to make sure you’re targeting the right messages to the right people, at the right time.
Step 2 – Information
Naturally, the information you include on your Christmas direct mail will reflect the goal of the campaign. As such, if you’re simply providing info such as Christmas opening hours or delivery dates, this will be the main focus of the piece. You’ll probably also want to include contact details on there too. If your goal is website traffic, then a bespoke URL will help you keep track of visits generated by your Christmas DM (a great offer never hurts either!). If you want people to visit you in person, provide a full address and a map. And if you’re saying thank you to your loyal customers, a thoughtful festive gift, Christmas card or exclusive offer is a great way to reward them.
You’ll also need to make sure you clearly include your business name, that the wording of any offers is also clear and unambiguous (include any T&Cs applicable too), and that you include contact details and social profile information.
- store info
- landing page
Call to Action (CTA)
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Your call to action is what’s going to encourage your recipients to, well take action. So you need to make sure it’s clear what you want them to do. Whether it’s get in touch with you, visit your website, visit a store or enter a competition, give clear instructions, and let people know what will happen if they act on them (e.g. “Get 50% off now!”). Ideally, if you can, include a sense of urgency (which shouldn’t be too tricky – there’s not long until Christmas after all!).
The best direct mail campaigns are those that integrate with your other channels. This ensures that customers see a consistent and cohesive message across all your marketing, which helps reinforce your brand and increase your audience. With that in mind, depending on your campaign goals, try incorporating the following into your Christmas DM (not all at once of course!):
- unique URLs
- QR codes
- coupon codes
- links to social media
- “As seen on TV” messaging (if applicable)
Research has shown that up to 84% of recipients would open a DM if it was personalised, and, assuming your lists are clean (which we discuss later), you should have plenty of relevant data to go on when it comes to your customers. Not to mention that people expect personalisation these days. Try personalising your Christmas campaigns to really make them feel valued. Some ways to personalise your DMs are:
- purchase history
Step 3 – Choose your format
There are so many different types of DM that you could send out, from brochures, catalogues and Christmas cards, to more involved pieces that encourage the recipient to interact with them. Examples of this include Smart’s tiny Christmas decorations and Greenford Printing’s Pantone Pannetone. Again, this will depend on what you want to achieve with your campaign, and it’s worth bearing in mind that the more involved the piece, the more it’s likely to cost, so you can save money by keeping it simple!
Calendars (advent or otherwise), 12 Days of Christmas offers and even just simple coupons are all likely to receive great responses in the lead up to Christmas.
Step 4 – Designing your Christmas DM
At this time of year, the world and his wife are sending out marketing emails and DMs, so you really need to make sure yours stands out. Keeping things on brand, being clear and concise with your copy and including incentives to open/respond to your Christmas DM campaign will help it to stand out from the crowd.
When it comes to colour, red, green, white and gold are all traditionally associated with Christmas here in the UK, but other colours are creeping in and now you will often see a lot of blue, purple, pink and silver too. The colours you choose will depend on your brand, and the colours of your Christmas campaign overall.
The main thing is to convey the information you need in a clear and visually appealing way, so work closely with your designers to make sure they have everything they need, and make sure you get plenty of feedback from your team (if possible, run some designs past family members too). So keep things simple – don’t over-use fonts, images, textures or copy.
Step 5 – Getting the timing right
Campaigns can be turned around in under 24 hours, however that doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels until December.
Don’t forget that you’ll need to make sure you have enough stock available (if applicable) to meet demand, so you’ll need to factor this into your timings. In addition, you may want to send out a follow-up to your campaign as repetition helps to jog memories and makes it more likely that people will respond, so allow time for this too.
If you send your Christmas DM campaign out too late, there’s also the danger that people will have already finished their shopping or be out of funds, so it’s better to get in as early as you can.
Step 6 – Sending to the right people
You can design the best Christmas DM ever, complete with fascinating interactive elements/great offers/all the information a customer could ever need but if it’s not going out to the right people, your campaign is never going to succeed. This is where making sure your mailing lists are clean comes in. That means getting rid of any old, duplicated or deceased records.
And, as mentioned above, sending personalised messages helps your campaign stand out, makes it more likely that recipients will open your mailer, and makes them more likely to take action from it. So make use of the data you have.
Step 7 – Printing and postage
As with design, when it comes to printing your Christmas DM, you need to make sure it stands out. The envelope/packaging is key here, so it needs to be high-quality, colourful, and most-importantly, give the recipient a reason to open it.
When it comes to printing your DM itself, consider the paper and the effects, but remember the fancier you get, the more expensive it’s likely to be, so if you’re looking to keep costs down, it’s best to keep it simple. That being said, different textures such as foil and embossing can add a certain flair to Christmassy DMs, so you need to decide whether you’re willing to accept the cost.
As for postage and printing, it pays to do your research and shop around for the best price. Outsourcing the production of your DM campaign to a dedicated print or mailing house can save you money, so it’s worth bearing this in mind. It’ll take some of the pressure off you too!
There are many ways you can save on postage, including bulk mail discounts and taking advantage of a range of tariffs and discounts. These can be accessed through Downstream Access (DSA) providers such as Citipost Mail, who collect and distribute your mail but hand it back over to Royal Mail for the final delivery process which in the short run, can help you save large bulk mail savings.
It’s not too late to put together a terrific Christmas DM campaign. While this may sound like a lot, realistically, there is still time to do all of this. You should already have a clear idea of your goals, now it’s just a matter of making them a reality. If you’ve followed the steps above, your Christmas DM campaign is sure to be a winner!