Taking the plunge into print catalogs? Many companies are, including some formerly digital-only brands that are now turning toward catalogs to grow their sales.
It’s a smart business move. Catalogs offer the highest ROI for any type of printed direct mail, and are second only to telemarketing across all channels, according to Christine Alexander of DreaminginCMYK who cites statistics from the DMA 2012 Response Rate Report.
But be warned. There are nine errors that new-to-cataloging firms make, according to Susan J. McIntyre of RetailOnlineIntegration.com:
1. Targeting too narrow a market segment. Make sure your catalog speaks to more than just your raving fans.
2. Not enough copy. “A ‘clean’ design is trendy, but you can’t sell without words. Tell readers why your product is better than others of its kind,” says McIntyre. “Without enough ‘sell’ in the copy, response drops.”
3. Drop the consistency. Don’t bore your audience with the same layout on every page. Put some time and energy into a compelling design that engages.
4. Don’t neglect your brand story. It’s not just for prospecting, but for the customer catalog as well. Don’t assume they already know it.
5. Making cover devoid of marketing. Sure, it’s beautiful, but does it sell? Balance creative design with a compelling marketing message that lures the reader inside.
6. Not being clear. “Don’t assume your fabulous but unclear layouts and copy will inspire readers to go online to figure it all out. Most won’t go … or buy,” she advises.
7. Assuming you can keep a customer forever. Segment your customer list scientifically and pay close attention to your response rates. Not every customer should get every catalog every time.
8. Dropping customers too quickly. Don’t be too quick to drop that customer who hasn’t bought in a while though. It may be worth the investment to talk to a circulation expert and get a good game plan together for when to keep and when to drop a customer.
9. Building a monument to your personal taste. McIntyre says it best: “The very fact that you own or run a catalog business makes you different from most people. It’s highly unlikely that there exist enough clones of your personal taste to support an entire catalog.”
It’s great advice from a real industry veteran. Happy cataloging!