Ideas for Small or Start-up Catalogers (1,131 words)
Idea #5—Add Another Mailing to Your Best Customers
Unless you're already mailing at least eight or nine times a year to your best customers, add another mailing during your most productive season. Even if it's only a re-mail with a cover change, you may spin off enough profit to fund more prospecting, or allow that profit to drop to the bottom line. Don't mail everyone—just those who can produce an acceptable profit percentage.
Idea #6—Put a Communication in Your Outbound Packages
The most exciting time in which you contact your customers is when they open their catalog packages. Most of us who order by mail love the moment when the UPS driver arrives, or when we come home from work and see that brown box on the doorstep. Take advantage of this moment by talking to your customers when they are happiest. At a minimum, give them another catalog, sale insert or order form. But why not put a nice note inside telling them how much you appreciate their business? Welcome new customers to your business and say "Thanks!" Even inserting third-party offers can be beneficial if they're relevant to your customers.
Idea #7—Test, Test, Test
Testing is the lifeblood of any direct marketing operation. Make sure you've set up a program to test something in every mailing you make. Test paper, timing, number of contacts, new products, new product categories, cover concepts, repaginations, offers, page count, etc. You won't know what opportunities you're missing if you don't test. But make sure you know up-front what you're testing, what your hypothesis is, and what will happen if the test is fruitful. Don't bother testing something if you can't roll it out. Also, make sure you construct the test so you can read the results cleanly. Don't test more than one variable at a time or test something that has subjective results. For example, if you don't understand the difference between the cover concepts, cover tests can be a disaster to read. If the execution is different, such as using a lifestyle shot on the cover but using two different models, you won't know how to translate the results in the future.