Did you know catalog marketing is still an effective solution to attracting new customers and boosting sales? You see, one might think that catalog predominance has faded in response to the rise of e-commerce which “took its place” as the primary way to browse and shop without entering a store.

However, as the digital marketing space becomes crowded with banner ads, inbound marketing, and social media campaigns, catalogs continue to fill a unique role in direct mail and experiential marketing. Businesses using catalogs as a marketing channel have discovered that customers still enjoy flipping through pages and that time spent pouring over the season’s inventory inspires larger and more reliable online orders in the near future.

But just boosting sales isn’t enough. You can do more than a simple annual catalog and your sales can turn over even faster with the right innovative catalog marketing approaches.

5 Catalog Marketing Best Practices: Getting Innovative!

News flash: If you want to get your customer’s attention and drive sales fast with your catalog marketing, it’s time to get innovative. The good news is, you can implement some creative practices that are working today amid an ever-changing digital marketing era. Here are five tips to consider:

1) Provide Online Rewards for Catalog Shoppers

Unsurprisingly, the Order-by-Mail options in every catalog have drastically fallen in use, but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t shopping with your catalog! Modern shoppers enjoy flipping through the pages and exploring products in an offline physical way. But when they’re ready to buy, they hop online and get the same listed products through your website.

So why not reward your customers for the conversion actions they’re already taking?

One innovative way to turn catalog sales around fast is to offer online rewards for catalog shoppers. Provide special codes inside the catalog for special discounts or package-deals so that catalog shoppers experience a unique reward when they convert their page-flipping to online purchases. You might even consider building a loyalty reward points-system with bonuses for shoppers who sign up for catalogs and then make purchases using catalog codes.

What you invite shoppers to do with their reward points is up to you.

2) Embrace Holiday Cheer with Seasonal Catalogs

catalog marketing best practices 2019

Everyone knows the power of a Christmas catalog. Shoppers have never stopped needing pages to peruse for inspiring and low-cost gift ideas when holiday shopping for friends and family and your catalog is no exception. Printing a Holiday Season catalog (in the Fall for plenty of shopping time) is a great way to promote sales.

But don’t neglect the other seasons and their annual shopping sprees. Summer catalogs are a fantastic way to celebrate the coming warm months with your customers. Use your pages to invite readers to fantasize and shop for their summer vacations months in advance with your summer inventory arranged in beautiful vacation scenes.

Fall catalogs can be perfect to catch the Back to School wave of shopping or get spooky as customers gear up for their favorite autumn holiday. Spring catalogs might promote home cleaning and decorating or adventurously reaching for new goals as the northern hemisphere begins to warm up.

Whatever your customer base celebrates and shops for, consider a themed seasonal catalog to celebrate with them.

3) Release Special Edition Themed Catalogs

Speaking of catalog themes, never forget what we learned from the magazine industry: themed editions sell like hot-cakes! Consider the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated or the Wedding edition of fashion or cooking magazines.

So if you sell sporting goods, consider a special Hunting or Extreme Survival Camping edition. If you sell dresses, what about a Prom Night edition? Sell home goods? Try a Parent’s edition.

Special editions are the highlight of the magazine world, and they can make your catalog editions hot as well. The key is to know your inventory and your audience and choose special edition themes that will have your readers flipping through the pages again and again. Of course, the right special edition themes for each brand will be unique so use your own industry insights to decide what you will feature.

4) Sponsor School Fundraisers and Community Groups

Look back on your own memories and you may realize that most catalogs that pass through young hands are for school fundraisers. Students of all ages competitively sell items out of catalogs to fund their Band, Choir. Theater troupe, Sports team, or Scouts group every year, and your catalog could be in their hands! Sales are never faster than when eager children are begging their parents, teachers, and parent’s coworkers to buy something so they can win a prize.

catalog marketing best practices

To be the catalog featured in school fundraisers, you’ll want to put together a sponsorship program. Your products will get out there and get sold, while you share some of the proceeds with the school group and offer a selection of prizes to kids who sell the most.

This is a fantastic way to make your brand a fond landmark in thousands of childhood memories and boost your seasonal catalog sales.

5) Target Specialized Catalogs Based on Customer Interests

Another way to use niche marketing and/or small batch catalog specialization is to target your customers uniquely by their interests and shopping history. For brands with a large and diverse inventory, you might make special editions of your catalog focusing on specific niches and product selection. Then send these special editions to customers who have wish lists or past shopping that matches the theme.

As an example, let’s say you’re a home goods brand and you have 20,000 customers who exclusively buy kitchen items, and do so consistently. Sending a beautiful kitchen-edition of your catalog featuring breathtaking food spreads, recipes, and images of your products in-action are more likely to generate sales than sending them your all-in-one catalog full of products they have shown no past interest in.

Catalogs Designs Generate Online Sales

The modern catalog is new and different from mail-order catalogs of yore. Using these techniques, you don’t have to wait for torn-out back pages marked in smudgy pen. A good catalog can turn around into online sales the same day it’s received or months later when it’s happily rediscovered in a kitchen drawer. For more great insights on how to turn your catalog marketing into a selling machine, contact us today!