Attention Internet Marketers, Start up Your Catalog Engines Like This…
Whereas the overwhelming majority of Catalog Success magazine readers are, first and foremost, print catalog marketers, our e-newsletter and Web site reach myriad marketers, from brick-and-mortar retailers to wholesalers to pure-play Web merchants. I devote this week’s column to the pure plays looking to launch a catalog channel.
Oftentimes, non-catalog companies hesitate to break into the business because they lack the expertise or the internal time and resources to get the job done. But there are some fairly quick and easy ways Internet marketers can break into the catalog business.
For starters, follow the 40/40/20 rule. Put your efforts into choosing the right merchandise and offer (40 percent) to match up with the right mailing list (40 percent). After you’ve done that, the creative (the last 20 percent) is just a means to an end — a way to communicate your message (offer and merchandise) to your audience (list).
Here’s another hint: All of the resources you’ll need to start your catalog can be found. There’s plenty of vendors looking right now to help you build your catalog business, and you can easily tap into their expertise. You can even outsource the whole thing if you want.
That said, follow these five steps:
1. Insert a catalog into your outgoing product shipments. This one’s a can’t-miss venture. I’ve never seen a bounceback catalog not work. The psychology is simple: When people have just purchased from you, they’re likely to order again. So to properly set up a bounceback catalog, look at your seasonal order forecasts and print enough catalogs to insert into each shipment.
2. Generate catalog requests. Add a catalog sign-up page to your Web site and start collecting catalog requests. Add the catalog requests to your print run for the bounceback you just created and send them a catalog. If the response is satisfactory, send them a second catalog the next time you print up a catalog.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.