Most of us are most familiar with simple forms of direct mail. Flyers, post cards and single page documents are the most common items we find in our mail boxes. However, in 2010 alone, nearly 13 billion catalogs were mailed in the US, and they remain a popular form of direct mail. Here is what you need to know.
Catalog Design Takes Time
If you plan to use catalogs as a part of your direct mail strategy, you should bear in mind that it can be time consuming to design and layout your catalog, particularly if it’s the first time you are using this type of marketing. Be sure to plan well in advance, and make sure that you double and triple check everything. While typos on your regular mail can be embarrassing, they could be detrimental if they’re made when inserting pricing in a catalog.
Catalog Printing Can Be Expensive
If you choose to print your catalogs using a standalone printing service, be prepared to get vastly different pricing, depending on who you ask, and what type of printing they offer. Variables like page count, paper quality, binding and the type of printing used can affect these costs, but even budget printing services can cost several dollars per catalog for an eight to ten-page booklet. You will be paying shipping costs to get them to you too, so make sure that you factor that into your calculation.
Mailing and Other Costs Still Need to be Added
In a Forbes article examining why digital companies are turning to direct mail catalogs as a marketing strategy, mailing costs were pegged at several thousand per campaign, and project managing the process at several thousand more. They also considered the cost of list rental, which added another several thousand to the price tag. The solution, for those looking to do this type of marketing cost effectively, is to look for a company that handles all elements of a direct mail campaign in house, to limit the number of hands on the project, and to cut costs.
Catalogs Are Effective Marketing Tools
No matter the costs involved, and whatever the hurdles involved in printing catalogs and mailing them out, there is no denying that they are a great marketing tool. Ikea still sends out hefty catalogs on a regular basis, and even e-tailers like Amazon are using this method of marketing to boost online sales. Catalogs are tactile. You can make notes on them, or check off items of interest. You can show them to your spouse or a friend to get an opinion easily, and they’re easy to refer to over and over again. These are, frankly, some of the most effective direct mail pieces out there, and if you can get the process right, the returns can be enormous.
As old fashioned as you may think catalogs are, they’re still one of the best marketing tools out there, and using them to promote your products makes sense. If you work with a company that can handle all aspects of the process for you, you can also find cost effective ways to take advantage of this.