After months of dedicating yourself to developing a fantastic catalog — research, photography, compilation, editing, printing — the time inevitably comes to set your investment free.

Your catalog is released into the postal wilds with no training wheels, and no chances for do-overs. Even with a highly vetted mailing list and a successful marketing strategy in your corner, this experience can be riddled with anxiety.

And with good reason: As we all know, a lot can happen in the mail. From minor rips and tears to all out loss, you may not ever know exactly in what condition your investment arrives to your customers’ mailboxes (or if it arrives at all).

This is why seeding your mailing list is so valuable.

Planting the seeds

To “seed” your mailing list is to add people you know who will report back to you about your catalog’s arrival. You can include your own address, friends, family members, and even business partners and vendors.

Scale your seeding depending on the size and regional coverage of your mailing. The more pieces you’re sending — and the farther they’re going — the more names you should plant on your list.

The key is to send each catalog to a large cross-section of your mailing region, and then to follow up with each seeded recipient after every send to learn when your piece arrived and in what condition.

Of course, if you’re not comfortable inundating your personal Christmas card list with catalogs, or if your mailing list is very large, then there’s always U.S. Monitor or Hauser Decoys. As Entrepreneur explains, one of the biggest perks of using a professional seeding service is they provide you with seed names, give you the ability to track your mail’s arrival, and get reports on the condition of each seeded piece. If you’re exceptionally curious, they’ll even send your catalog back to you so you can see exactly how it fared for yourself.

Reaping the benefits The real reason for this extensive mailing follow-up is to provide you with the information you need to make changes to your catalog. After all, you put a lot of time, energy, and money into getting your mailings out the door, and you want assurance that they’re making an impact on arrival — not falling apart. Making small changes to your binding, finishing, and print size or quality could make a difference in how they fare.

The best and simplest way to avoid mass mailing failure is to work with a quality printer. Not only can The Dingley Press ensure your catalogs are being printed and packaged in the most effective ways possible, but we also guarantee you’ll be impressed by our ultra-efficient co-mail and distribution channels. We take quality seriously — just ask your “seeds” after the next mailing!