The holidays represent a huge sales season for many companies, but such a bountiful take also means heavy competition. One way to beat your competitors is to take advantage of direct-mail marketing. While your competitors are focused on newspaper inserts and, likely, online advertising, you can use direct-mail to reach customers one-on-one with tangible marketing materials that offer measurable response. The following lists five powerful direct-mail holiday marketing tools you can use to reach customers this year.

1. Catalogs

Long a staple holiday marketing tool for retailers, catalogs have thinned out in recent years in response to increased postage costs – but that doesn’t make them any less effective. Customers still love to browse holiday catalogs, and often use them to identify what they want to buy before going online to make purchases.

Make your catalogs more effective by including coupon codes customers can enter at checkout, which will also help you track response and conversions.

2. Postcards

If catalogs aren’t in the budget, postcards can prove to be worthy alternatives. Showcase your best product or a sampling of your product range on your postcards, then invite your customers to see your full catalog online. Again, a coupon code can help motivate response and allow you to track ROI.

Postcards are also great for service businesses; a carpet cleaner, for example, might send a postcard with a discount coupon for pre-holiday party cleanings. In addition, EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) postcards are perfect for blanketing your local market with minimal investment.

3. Booklets

Booklets, particularly how-to booklets, can help you establish credibility in the marketplace. A great how-to booklet serves as a valuable reference to your customer base and also drives traffic to your store, online or off. You can use booklets to showcase your products and services while offering your customers direction.

A good example: a discount store that sells holiday decorations could print and mail a booklet on how to decorate one’s home for the holidays. The booklet could be packed with creative holiday décor ideas, peppered with the products needed to make homes beautiful for the holidays.

4. Holiday cards

Holiday greeting cards are perfect for sharing season’s greetings with your customers. They’re unexpected and appreciated, and can foster customer loyalty – especially if you personalize them with a handwritten note.

You can also use holiday cards to deliver special VIP customer offers – a steep discount, for example, available only via the coupon code you include in your holiday cards.

5. Calendars

Want to give your customers a gift they can use year-round (and you can use to market your business for the next 12 months)? Calendars are excellent direct-mail marketing tools because they’re useful and you can place strategic advertisements throughout each month to drive traffic to your business.

Make sure your calendars are relevant to your customers and your business, and be sure to distribute them as early as possible to beat competitors to the punch.

All of these direct-mail holiday marketing tools can help you grow your business during the holiday season, yet many will be ignored by your main competitors. Reach your customers on a more personal basis – and where your competitors are lacking – and increase sales with these powerful direct-mail holiday marketing tools.