Prospecting is important when seeking new buyers.  But how much are you willing to spend on prospecting?  After all, it’s kind of like gambling wouldn’t you say?  But unlike gambling, business isn’t all about the luck of the deck.  It’s about strategy.  It’s about creating your own hand.  In order to do this you must be willing to invest in your prospecting.


We all know that renting outside names will grow your house file fast and efficiently.  But there are other effective methods of reaching out to new buyers.  Diversifying your efforts is a cost effective way to gain prospects and supplement renting names. Here are just a few ways to add prospect names to your house files:


Use Technology to Your Advantage

We understand that catalogs can utilize multi-media marketing by incorporating things such as Augmented Reality and QR codes in order to make print more technically motivated; however, how do we use this growing beast to gain new prospects as well as reach out to old ones?  Here are three forms of technology that can help you prospect to a larger and more diverse audience:


1)      Social Media Promotions

If you have questioned the power of social media consider Esterban Contreras’ book Social State  “If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world.”  That was 2012. Social media continues to grow in popularity each year.  If you want to study the social behavior of your consumers and promote to them on an emotional level, running promotions on social media is the way to go.


2)      Product Video’s

We posted a blog not too long ago Five Solid Reasons Why You Should Use Video.   In that blog we address YouTube stats.  The increase of the amount of people watching video doubles each year.  The YouTube app on smartphones has become crucial to most consumers, and if you type a topic into Google, the first thing to pop up almost every time is a video.  If you want prospects to find you, make a video.  Make it well and you’ll have a higher conversion rate.


3)       Blogging customer relevant information

Jay Baer wrote in his book Youtility ( a great read, by the way, if your interest lies in social media marketing):  “What if instead of trying to be amazing you just focused on being useful What if you decide to inform rather than promote?”  This category is rather self-explanatory and has been covered in other blogs, however, blogging targeted information does two things: first, it brings in new prospects who are interested in your line of product and who are information hungry; and second, it creates loyal lifelong buyers who know they can depend on you to give them what they need, not just sell them what they don’t.   Oh, and by the way.  Bauer’s book started as a blog.  Click here to see the blog.

Sportsmans Guide Refer a Friends Promotions Example


 Remember Word of Mouth? Use Referrals

Word of mouth has always been a fast growing medium for marketing.  That is one reason why social media is so effective.  But how can we be sure that we are gaining new prospects this way?  Here are some ways to increase your house files through word of mouth:


1.)    Referral Promotions

You may be wondering what a Referral Promotion is; and, if you are I’m glad you’re here. See this example from the The Sportsmans Guide.  This is an extremely effective way to capture e-mails and eventually grow your house file.


2.)    Send a ‘Gift” promotionFaceBook Give a Gift Promotions example

The send a gift promotion is also very effective and can (as can the ‘Refer a Friend’ promotion) be used cross mediums.    FaceBook is one of the best ways.  I’m sure you’ve seen it “Recommended gifts.”   It’s not just a good, fast, way to make a sale, but it’s also a great way to gain sales from new prospects.


3.)    ‘Send’ Product Recommendations

Amazon is great at this.  They have a section where shoppers can post reviews.  They also give recommendations based upon the items that others have purchased within that category.  There are other ways to actively implement this strategy.  “Share this product,” description with a friend.  This technique expands beyond product descriptions and recommendations.  Think blogs, webinars, websites, etc. See below image from Sears:


Sears Social Share Photos Example


Team Up with Other Marketers

Forming alliances with other marketers is a strong way to communicate a message to consumers; but, unfortunately, is not always given its rightful place at the prospecting table.  Not only is this a great way to get your name out, but it is a great way to gain new insights and ideas as well as measuring up the competition.  Here are three more ways that communicating with outside sources can help you gain new prospects.

1)      Participate in databases (such as, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, as well as other organizations such as the DM Associations, are all good ways to get your name out to a broader audience.  For a small fee, these companies will handle all the promotion and prospecting for you.


2)      Send bulk copies of catalogs to stores that sell your product

This is kind of an obvious crutch.  By sending your catalogs to other retailers who may be interested in buying your products or who sell your products already and ask them to give out your catalog per purchase, you can target more buyers who have already decided that they like your product.


3)      Send catalogs to relevant businesses with waiting rooms

Again, little explanation is needed for this category.  People are more often tempted to read material while waiting.  Frequently they will read what’s provided.  So, if you have a hair or makeup product catalog, perhaps sending your catalogs to a beauty salon wouldn’t be such a bad idea.


The amount of prospecting for new buyers has gone way down over the past couple years and especially since the recession.  But, playing it safe doesn’t mean that you’re safe and in the universe of cataloging, most are hurt more from not prospecting than they are from the overall investment of prospecting.   When times are tough, these are all cost effective ways that will help you prospect for new buyers and continue to grow your house file!