7 Tips For Successful Catalog Marketing

The catalog can be a great sales and marketing tool for your organization. It has the ability to list and showcase many of your hottest products, and may have room left over for short articles or a brief company history. Before you head to the catalog printing phase, you should have a catalog marketing strategy.

Here are some catalog marketing tips that will prepare you to achieve your marketing goals.

1.) Get your catalogs into the right hands

Since catalogs are a more expensive endeavor than other forms of print advertising, it is important to give your catalogs to a market that wants to buy your products or services. Your catalog mailing list should be streamlined to weed out recipients who are unlikely to make a purchase. When you are selling to a niche market (such as bird watchers), it is even more important to match the catalog with the average niche recipient.

2.) Include the most popular products

Since each catalog is a product showcase that may be viewed by multiple people, it is important to focus on popular products or new products that your marketing team predicts will be hot sellers. The exception to this rule is when you want to sell off unpopular inventory that is gathering dust at the warehouse. In that case, you may want to heavily discount the merchandise and list it in the catalog.

3.) Use multiple calls to action

A catalog typically has enough space for plenty of calls to action. There might be order forms along with invites to visit the website and shop there. A call to action to visit the retail location can also be a good idea. Some people use catalogs to look at the products and learn about them, but they use a non-catalog method to make a purchase.

4.) Include customer testimonials

If you have the extra space available, including customer testimonials prior to catalog printing is a great way to show potential customers that your company deserves loyalty. Select testimonials that are not too boring and yet not so wild that the focus is lost.

5.) Give the best offers

Catalog recipients should have the best offers that are possible. An accepted special offer on one product may entice the buyer to add one or more non-discounted purchases. Offering free shipping for a minimum purchase amount is an excellent method to stimulate purchase behavior.

6.) Collect marketing data

It’s a good idea to study past catalog efforts of your company and make conclusions based on that data that can help for the next catalog issue. Be certain to adjust for new factors such as economic conditions and changes in customer preference.

7.) Test catalogs against each other

It can be a wise strategy to send out two versions of the same catalog if you are uncertain about a particular design choice, such as whether to include an order form and which products to use. Based on the responses from each catalog, you can tell which design is more popular.

The Secrets To Increasing Your Response From Your Direct Marketing

There’s a lot of skepticism and questions about direct mail and more specifically about whether direct mail still works or not.

A few of the things to consider when you’re thinking about sending direct mail is whether to use a live stamp or not? Should you use a live stamp or is it OK to use stamps.com or something similar? What about using the machine in my office? The answer is you want to use a live stamp every time. Every single time!

You’re trying to make your mail look as personal as possible. Let’s face it, does your brother send you a birthday card using stamps.com? Probably not – he probably uses a live stamp. You should too – use live stamps. It looks more personal when you use a live stamp. And, the bottom line, for your business is that it gets better results.

When you know you get better results with something, you don’t always have to ask why. Just do it. And, make sure you always do it – not just sometimes, or when it’s easy or convenient… do it all the time.

Here is another tip for you regarding stamps. A crooked stamp will out pull a stamp that’s sitting at a 90 degree angle. Does grandma go get her level to make sure the stamp is on exactly right when she sends you something in the mail? No, she just slaps it on, and you should too. Don’t worry about the stamps looking just so and being perfect – none of us are perfect and the stamps on your envelopes don’t have to be either.

Another thing to remember is that two stamps will out pull one stamp. It might be a little more work to put on two stamps instead of one, but if it doubles your results, do you really care?

It’s all about the return on your investment. It’s all about what happens on the backend – the sale. It doesn’t matter if it takes a little more work up front, if the result on the backend is better.

So, remember a crooked stamp out pulls a stamp at a right angle on the envelope. Second, two stamps out pull one. If you are doing direct mail and you’re using live stamps, like you should be, make sure they are crooked and use two, or more, stamps, not just one.

You should definitely be using direct mail in today’s market – and in every market really. There is no question direct mail works… you just have to make it work for you and your business.

Harry Potter Marketing – Part 2

As I said last week, marketing action plans are like magic wands that produce wondrous results if you know how to use them.

Once you’ve created the foundation for your plan, your next step is to develop the actual action steps.

I went to the new Harry Potter movie last week and it validated my theory: Exact steps get predictable results. Harry found a book of magic potions that had been altered by a student (The Half Blood Prince).

The Half Blood Prince had made copious notes in the margins of the book with his tweaks or improvements on the potion formulas. Harry followed these directions to the letter and got better results than any of his classmates.

The lesson here is that even if you are given a plan, you have to test and tweak it yourself. It’s all about the details.

So let’s work on a marketing action plan for Speaking Engagements.

Step One – Target Market: Identify and contact ideal organizations that could host your talk. Make a list. A LONG list and be persistent in contacting them all.

Step Two – The Outreach: Ideally, call these organizations by phone and tell them that you have a talk on “Growing Your Business in a Down Economy.” Make it results oriented. If they are interested, they’ll ask for more information.

Step Three – Written Materials: Send a “speakers kit” by mail or email as mentioned in last week’s eZine. Make sure they look professional. Lots of benefits and no typos!

Step Four – Follow-Up: Call or email a few days later to see if they got the materials and if they have any questions. If your topic is current, interesting, and valuable you’re likely to book some talks from this approach. Again, contact many organizations.

Step Five – Prepare the Talk: There have been books written on this so all I’ll say here is write out the whole talk, create an outline for participants, and practice it out loud several times. I am not a big fan of PowerPoint.

Step Six – Promote the Talk: This is the job of the organization but you can help them by writing the copy for their announcement. Make sure it includes all the benefits that people will receive from the talk.

Step Six – Give the Talk: Make it exciting, dynamic and fun. Engage the audience. Do an exercise or two. Make three or four “pithy points” instead of giving a long laundry list of ideas. Make time for questions at the end.

Step Seven – Call-to-Action: This may be the most important part of the talk. Find a way to collect cards for follow-up after the talk. My favorite way: “Here’s an article I’ve written that covers the key points from today’s talk. Who would like a copy? Great, please give me your business card and I’ll send it to you.”

Step Eight – Follow-Up: After the talk, send a pdf of the article to everyone who gave you their card. From there you can make offers for your service, invite them to speak to you, etc. Don’t leave out this vital step or you’ll get very few new clients for all your work.

OK, that’s a pretty detailed step-by-step marketing action plan. You can produce similar plans for networking, social media, joint ventures, direct mail, etc.

The difference between a marketing action plan and most marketing activities is that it’s systematic. One thing leads to another. From initial contact to final follow up, you have a direction and a purpose. You are proactive, not passive.

But remember, no formula will do it all for you. You design the steps the best you can and then test and tweak until you can produce a consistent result every single time.

The More Clients Bottom Line: Just like Harry Potter’s potion formulas, marketing action plans follow a definite sequence. That’s the key. If these steps are followed randomly with no clear intention to produce a result, you can be certain that they won’t.