Why Your Business Will Benefit from Issuing a Physical Catalog

Catalogs might seem like very old news, but they’re still one of the best ways to reach your audience. When you have a printed catalog full of your products and services, or can even present them in a portfolio format, you have more marketing power than your competitors.

If you’re looking to get a leg up on the competition, here’s why a catalog will help you achieve that goal.

1. Catalogs are a small, affordable marketing investment

Every marketing strategy you can invest in has value, but catalogs are surprisingly affordable compared to other promotional approaches. That’s because the more you print, the less you pay per unit.

You no longer have to locate a local print shop and pay it a large sum of money to get something printed. With a print-ready PDF file, you can print catalogs affordably online and have them mailed directly to your home or office.

Since print marketing has a higher response rate than digital marketing methods, creating a catalog remains one of the cheapest marketing investments you can select.

2. Physical mail gets results

Catalogs are a wonderful way to utilize direct mail marketing. Contrary to what you might believe, direct mail is not dead; it’s alive and thriving in just about every industry.

Have you considered adding direct mail to your marketing campaign? If not, you might be surprised to learn that it’s more effective than digital marketing.

According to statistical studies, direct mail marketing generates five times more sales than email marketing campaigns. The average campaign generates a response rate between 0.5 and 2%, while more sophisticated ones may result in a response rate as high as 4.4%.

Although print catalogs won’t lead to automatically healthy results, they should give you an advantage in your industry, especially if your competitors aren’t using this approach. To optimize your results, you may want to hire a marketing specialist to coordinate and execute your overall strategy.

3. People save catalogs

Not everyone will flip through your catalog and call or place an order – and that’s okay. When you’re dealing with physical mail, especially a catalog, many of your sales will come after some time has passed.

Unlike unsolicited emails that get ignored, marked as spam, or trashed, people often save the catalogs they receive in the mail. If you reach your target market, there’s a significant chance the recipients will hang onto your catalog(s) until they’re ready to buy.

It’s always possible, too, that people will pass your catalogs to others they believe would be interested in them. Whether they get saved or passed along, catalogs have a longer lifespan than postcards and definitely thrive longer than emails and PPC ads.

4. You can recover your costs with ads

Of course it costs money to print and mail catalogs to your target market. In addition to printing and postage, you may have to invest in access to mailing lists and hire someone to stuff the envelopes.

Since catalogs have numerous pages, you can recover your printing and distribution costs by selling ads throughout your publication. Granted, you don’t want to clutter your catalog with too many advertisements, but you can sell a few spaces to related businesses in order to recover some (or all) of your costs.

5. People love catalogs

When you have great products, some people look forward to receiving your catalogs in the mail. When you produce a new one, you’ll be in good company with dozens of familiar companies that have sent out catalogs for decades.

For inspiration, check out this list of 57 brands that send catalogs to customers through the mail. The brands include such icons as:

· Bombas 
· Bonobos 
· J. Crew 
· Karen Kane 
· L.L. Bean 
· Lands End 
· Nordstrom 
· Ryu 
· Title Nine 
· Sharper Image 
· Home Depot 
· Plow and Hearth 
· Wayfair

For inspiration, join some of the mailing lists for catalogs in your industry and see what other firms are doing. Study the layouts, the graphics, products, price points, shipping options, and third-party ads.

Use those other catalogs for inspiration to create your own unique design ideas. Ultimately, you’ll probably want to hire a professional to create your catalog pages since those will have to be ready for print.

Your customers will love your catalog

When you start using catalogs in your marketing campaigns, your customers will look forward to seeing your publications in the mail. If you’re still undecided about this, you could try it for a short period of time before deciding whether to make catalogs an ongoing part of your marketing strategy.