Catalog Marketing: One Old Tactic Proven to Double Your Sales

It’s easy to forget about all of the traditional marketing options available to eCommerce stores. Are you missing out on a proven marketing channel? Maybe! One tried-and-true method you’ve might have forgotten about is catalog marketing.

And we’re not just talking about electronic catalogs either. While fewer catalogs are being sent today than at their peak in 2007, they’re still a significant factor in eCommerce marketing. Companies sent almost 10 billion catalogs in 2016, and, according to the Data & Marketing Association (DMA) and the US Postal Service, they’re more effective at capturing attention today.

The Catalog Marketing Renaissance

DMA’s senior vice president of content and marketing said that the response to catalogs increased by 23 percent. Now, retailers like Neiman Marcus and e-tailer Wayfair use direct mail catalogs as part of their omnichannel eCommerce efforts. [3 Tools to Deliver an Exceptional Omnichannel Ecommerce Experience

But direct mail isn’t the only way to add catalog marketing to your strategy. Electronic catalogs, or e-catalogs, are another option, and the wisest choice might be a multichannel approach.

The Benefits Electronic Catalogs

Electronic catalogs offer many advantages over print catalogs. They are easier to design, proof, and revise because you don’t have to worry about how the digital format you proof will look when printed.

Since they’re not printed, they’re cheaper to produce. They also allow for more engaging content formats, like video and URLs. And those URLs make it easier to move customers towards a purchase since they can send shoppers right to product pages.

A US Postal Service (USPS) study found that participants were more attentive to digital ads than physical ads.

The Benefits of Print Catalogs

Print catalogs have their own advantages. For one thing, while the USPS study found that participants were more attentive to digital ads, they spent more time with physical ads. The study also found that participants were more interested in and emotionally engaged by physical ads.

Print catalogs are also more likely to remain visible somewhere in recipients’ homes for a period of time, improving brand awareness.

How to Launch a Catalog Marketing Campaign

Whether you choose to go with e-catalogs, print catalogs, or the best of both worlds, you’ll need:

  1. A mailing list
  2. A catalog
  3. A delivery method

The rest of this article will cover how to go about each step.

Build Your Mailing List

You probably have a list of emails and mailing addresses already for your existing customers. You can grow your list through some of the tactics we covered in our email acquisition guide.

The fastest and most affordable way to do it is through website visitor identification. Website visitor identification matches your website traffic to the names, email addresses, and mailing addresses in a third-party database. Then it sends that data to your CRM.

You’ll get the lead even if the visitor doesn’t convert on your website.

It can also be set to automatically send emails, postcards, or both. It costs $0.24 per record, which includes the email address and the mailing address—but not the postcard (if you choose to send one).

Right now, you can get 100 free leads when you sign up.

Design Your Catalog

Adobe Photoshop, Canva, and other software solutions provide product catalog templates, but getting the design right is critical. So if you don’t have someone in-house, you’ll want to work with an agency.

In addition to knowing that you’ve got experts working on the design, you’ll have a team who can help you test different items, formats, and other elements to optimize your catalog.

An agency can also help you develop circulation, retention, and reactivation strategies, along with running hold-out tests to see what percentage of sales should be attributed to your direct mail efforts.

Deliver Your Catalog

If you hire a catalog marketing agency, they’ll help with this. Your e-catalog can be easily delivered through your email marketing platform. If you’re not working with an agency, all you need to do is find a catalog printing company that also handles mailing.

Get in on the Catalog Marketing Comeback

Catalog marketing is on the rise, and it’s an affordable channel to experiment with, so why not start today? You can combine electronic and print catalogs as part of an omnichannel strategy that delivers a seamless experience to customers while building your brand.