In your own book, blow-ins (cards inserted into a catalog or magazine) are another way to make a special offer. In a spin-off or even another company’s book, it’s a way to build your housefile.
Kotowski warns: “A blow-in card won’t turn a dog of a product into a winner …” but selling on a blow-in card may up sales of a slow seller significantly.
For his part, Madyda notes that blow-ins can sometimes allow for regional selectivity not possible with package inserts. He notes that, “As long as the program owner feels it’s not competitive, they’ll let [other catalogers] in.”
Marilyn Black, president of Warminster, PA-based direct marketing agency Marilyn Black & Associates, says blow-ins are inexpensive but “can fall out on the way in from the mailbox.” You get what you pay for: Make sure the ROI justifies the means.
If you’re looking to generate inquiries by blowing in to others’ catalogs, again, she says, the demographic match is key.
For instance, religious-products merchants could try a local religious newspaper, offering regional specificity. One of Black’s clients has enjoyed tremendous success with targeted newspaper inserts, also known as free-standing inserts (FSI) and “preprints.”
Great for product and list testing, e-mail is also cheap for frequent use—which keeps you in the customer’s thoughts.
It works especially well for limited-time offers.
Thaddeus Wawro, copy director at Olson Kotowski and Co., who also participated in the catalog-conference presentation, offers this tip for making e-mail work for catalogers: Use proven direct mail teaser copy in the subject line and incorporate editorial copy in text or HTML e-mails to distance yourself from spam. Including editorial copy may even get readers to forward your e-mails, he notes.
Mini-catalog Self Mailers
As for sale-promotion mini-catalogs with limited product, Kotowski says they are “down and dirty” and cheap to produce.