Running a Small Catalog Business: How to Plan & Trust Others
10. Promote promote promote. Ruma’s constantly promotes to its housefile customers by sending gifts to its best customers, sending out monthly e-mails and timely postcards, giving out Boston Bruins hockey tickets to its best customers, sending them Valentine’s Day gift baskets, and sending them cards and candy on St. Patrick’s Day, among other promotions.
In addition, Ruma’s staff makes up to three phone calls to customers who’ve bought baskets over the past year.
11. Test test test. “We’ve placed an ad in the Boston Globe and discovered the results weren’t positive,” Ruma said on the merits of testing before investing too much in any marketing programs. “We also placed on ad in Clipper magazine and results there weren’t positive either.”
12. Track track track. Ruma’s order-takers ask customers how they heard about the company upon taking orders. The company also meticulously tracks e-mail campaigns, uses different toll-free numbers for different ads, such as in the Yellow Pages.
13. Be creative. Listen to what customers want. In Ruma’s case, the cataloger asks them what they want for new gift baskets. Research what others in your business are doing. Doing this kind of research led Ruma’s to create organic, kosher, sports-themed and pet gift baskets.
14. Plan ahead. In deciding to increase its catalog page count to 40 pages this year, Ruma’s enhanced its baskets, introduced new baskets costing less than $40 and used a food designer for catalog photography this year.