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5 Tips for Better Holiday Marketing

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The holidays are coming and so is the busiest buying season of the year. For many businesses, this is “make or break” for their year and a strong showing in the fourth quarter is critical. What are you doing to ensure a successful end of year for your business? Here are five, easy to implement tips to help you make this holiday season a success.

Start Marketing Now

Tip 1: Start marketing now to capture early holiday business when there is little competition.

Conventional thinking assumes that consumers don’t really start their holiday shopping until after Thanksgiving. This may have been true in the past, but the online shopping revolution has changed the rules of the game. Research shows that online spending starts to increase as early as the beginning of October and many large retail chains are starting their sales before the Thanksgiving holiday to compensate. One thing is clear: consumers are ready to spend before November. With so many businesses still subscribing to the old way of thinking and waiting for “Black Friday” to start their promotions, marketing early (both online and offline) presents an untapped opportunity for your business.

Mail Early, Mail Often

Tip 2: Mail early and hit your customers multiple times to give them every opportunity to buy.

While others are waiting, start marketing by getting your mail out now before the mail-stream starts to get crowded with your competitors’ pieces. By getting your mail in their hands early, you can mail multiple times over the next few months, giving your customers plenty of opportunities to buy. The common mistake here is waiting to see how the first mailer performs or trying to time the peak. With production and delivery times stretching out during the busy holidays, you won’t have time to react. Plan accordingly and make sure your promotions are lined up beforehand to ensure that all of your mailers get out.

Sell on the Web

Tip 3: Market aggressively to your online customers.

It’s no secret that online shopping has been booming over the past few years and all indications are that it will continue to grow. Online shoppers spent $175 billion in 2007 and will surpass $200 billion this year. By 2012, online shopping is projected to grow to $335 billion. (Source: Forrester) Additionally, online shoppers are affected less by a slow economy than general consumers. Given the current economic conditions, you can’t afford to ignore this profitable sales channel. With great offers such as free shipping, discounts, or even value-add services such as gift wrapping, converting online sales is an easier task this time of year.

Drive Online Sales With Direct Mail

Tip 4: Target online buyers effectively with direct mail; it makes a great one-two punch with email.

Good e-marketers will tell you that one of the best ways to maximize online traffic and sales is using direct mail to target shoppers and drive them to the Web. Email is great – if you have opted-in addresses. If you don’t have them or want to make sure you hit your entire customer list, direct mail is the ideal way to accomplish this. Early this year we launched our QuickStart Marketing Series – a collection of “how to” marketing kits for various types of promotions – and by far our most popular has been the Website Marketing Kit. Seasoned marketers know that you still have to reach buyers with a solid combination of traditional and online marketing communications. Modern Postcard can help you target online buyers and get more of them to your website.

Think Beyond the Holidays

Tip 5: Don’t just market before the holidays – make sure you get your share of post-holiday business.

Take a cue from the big boys – post-holiday sales are always popular, whether it’s people exchanging unwanted gifts or spending holiday cash they received. Reaching your customers after the holidays with well-timed mailings will help you liquidate the last of your year-end inventory or start getting ready for next year with New Year’s promotions. Think of your direct mail as a smart investment strategy – you don’t want to be trying to time the market. Promote consistently both before and after major holidays to ensure that you’re staying top of mind with customers whenever they’re ready to buy.