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CS: You then still attribute the majority of your sales to the catalog?
RH: Yes. If I look at the top revenue sources using Google Analytics, 35 percent of the revenue is coming from people who accessed our site directly; 33 percent is coming through Google organic search, and when I do the tracking back on that, most of them are going to Google and typing in “Hodges Badge,” “Hodges Badges,” “Hodges Ribbons,” “Hodges Badge Company,” “Hodges Badge Co.,” “Hodges Awards.” They seem to know what they’re looking for. Pay per click is 8 percent, so not a huge portion of the revenue. People seem to know what they want.
That’s what’s weird about this business. If I send you a catalog and you’re not holding an event, the chance of you ordering a ribbon is essentially zero. That’s not like if somebody sends you another clothing catalog and you flip through it and go, “Hey, that shirt’s pretty cool. Maybe I could use one of those.” Either people have an absolute need for our product, or they have absolutely no need for our product.
That’s always been the difficulty in sourcing lists. There’s no list of people who recently decided to hold an athletic event. The list that we mail that performs the best for us is all the people who ordered from us last year, who haven’t ordered this year, but it’s at least 45 days before their event. We send them a catalog and a letter that says, “Hey, you ordered from us last year. We thought maybe you could use a copy of the catalog.” That performs better than anything else we mail.
CS: What role does the catalog play in your overall marketing efforts?
RH: The catalog is still very much front and center … because of our difficulty in knowing ahead of time who’s going to be having the event and who that person is who’s going online. Like most other catalog companies, I assume, we’re tying to do that multichannel mix. To make sure the Web site is there, make sure we’re easily searched for what we feel are the appropriate terms, and yet still get the catalog out there and have it be the lead thing to get in people’s hands.