Catalog Prospecting in 2017

There are many ways to prospect and build your catalog house file in the new year. Dingley believes that both print and technology are key complimenting components to help grow your business. Let’s explore this together in greater detail.

Your catalog is one of the most powerful direct marketing tools to drive consumers to your website. It can increase brand awareness and helps showcase a good portion of your products and services. The type of paper you use, the cover design and interior layout, are all big factors in how your company is perceived.

Some less expensive options for prospecting include email, letter rate or lower page count catalogs, social media, and Facebook ads. Each of these can play an important part in building your house file. It’s a multichannel universe and neglecting any of these avenues can mean missed opportunities.

With email you can reach a huge audience very quickly. To do this you should first develop a strategy to collect email addresses. One approach can be to use a direct marketing consultant, such as Lett Direct. These folks find prospects who are interested in your products and services by modeling your existing customers and finding similar geographic and demographic matches. Other ways to garner email addresses include creating web-based sign-up pages for your newsletter, using pop-ups on your website home page, attending trade shows/networking events, retail store clerks asking for them during checkout, and finally asking your call center team to collect emails during phone calls. Have you thought about developing a reward program internally that incentivizes employees for collecting email addresses?

Lower page count catalogs are another way to build relationships, target intelligently, and to take advantage of seasonal marketing opportunities. Unlike full catalogs, these can be created in days instead of weeks or months. Think about developing a campaign that nurtures an ongoing relationship. Don’t count on a single low page count catalog to win over new prospects quickly, it should be about building trust or reliability. Like a full catalog, these low page catalogs can use intelligent data to target prospects. In today’s technology-based world, you have access to data that can pinpoint specific people based on demographics (i.e. – age, sex, buying behavior, etc…). Even targeting B2B is easier with firmagraphic data (i.e. – sales revenue, age of company, number of employees, etc…). In the B2B world knowing if the owner of a company is male or female can help you speak to them in the right voice, so change your marketing message accordingly. And finally, if your business is seasonal, why not send out a low page count catalog before mailing your full catalog to let folks know about products/promotions/programs that are just ahead. Maybe a prospect is getting ready to buy a product you sell, but they don’t realize that you’re having a big clearance sale coming up next month. Think of it as a direct mail teaser to build excitement.

Social media is here to stay! We’ve heard this over and over for the past 5 or more years, but it’s true! Build your social media platforms and results will follow. Having a dedicated staff member create content and monitor your social media channels can build your following and show how important your customers are to your business. Pinterest is an excellent visual social media platform. It gives both your business and community an avenue for sharing your products and promotions. Pin coupon codes, guides, videos, trainings, and of course your merchandise. Twitter shoppers look for deals, reviews, and gift ideas. Create strong call to actions with deadlines. Consumers respond better if they feel like a deal is about to expire. Tweet pictures and videos, and consumers will do the heavy lifting for you … sharing! This is the power of social media when done right. Create a sign-up call to action on your Facebook business page. This gets folks interacting with your page, and also helps capture email addresses. Check out Facebook’s Custom Audiences and lookalike ad targeting tools. These tools help integrate social data with behavioral and demographic information which means you can reach your target quickly and easily to drive results. If you haven’t explored these tools yet, please take a moment to do so, even if your Facebook following is not as strong as you’d like, we think this is a “must do” for 2017.

We hope you found this article informative and helpful. Keep on the lookout for more blogs throughout the year. Good luck with prospecting and growing your business in 2017.

About the Author: Jim Gibbs

Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Dingley Press. Jim has been with Dingley since 2002 and lives in Maine near our Lisbon, Maine plant location.