Whether your business is large or small, you need marketing to get the word out about your products. For most companies, printed product catalogs are the best way to build your brand and engage your customers.
Even in today’s digital age, printed catalogs are customer favorites that lead to more recognition and higher sales. Here’s a guide to getting the most from printed product catalogs.
Fun Facts about Printed Product Catalogs
- Printed product catalogs are an excellent return on investment (ROI) for your marketing dollars. Studies show that most shoppers make a buying decision after reading a catalog.
- It is easy to update catalogs when you change your marketing campaign.
- Many people share printed product catalogs they like with other people, which means you get more customers for free.
- The best way to use printed product catalogs is as part of an overall marketing campaign that includes a website and online ordering.
Printed Product Catalogs Create Customer Engagement
While most people don’t appreciate a cold marketing phone call, printed product catalogs are a no-pressure way to reach customers. Most people welcome printed product catalogs because they enjoy flipping through the pages and taking a temporary mental break as they imagine buying and using the products in there.
Studies have found that most people spend about 15 minutes reading a catalog. That’s a lot better than the average website ad or TV ad, which most people find intrusive and quickly ignore.
If printed product catalogs can hold their interest, they’ll spend even more time lingering with the pictures and stories it tells. Most people keep a printed product catalog in their house for about a month, which gives them many opportunities to pick it up and look through it again. People enjoy reading them because they allow these buyers to dream.
A good catalog is aspirational, which means it gives readers something they aspire to be. Maybe that customer secretly dreams of being a fantastic cook, an excellent hostess, an effortlessly chic person, or someone who appreciates rugged adventures. A well-designed, well-written catalog can make that customer feel that they can become that person just by buying those products.
How High-End Printed Product Catalogs Do It
To get a sense of how successful printed product catalogs create engagement with their customers, check out catalogs that take their time to invite the reader in with a story.
For instance, the J. Peterman Company catalog is famous for the detailed, imaginative copy that you’ll see on its high-end products. The description of a Captain’s Sweater invokes being in the Norwegian Sea during a World War II sea battle.
The sweater isn’t even mentioned, but there are many descriptions of a long, cold night. You get drawn into the story because it’s thrilling, and then you realize that the thick, warm sweater would be just right on a night like that.
Here are some other examples.
- Harry & David: Two brothers in Oregon launched a lucrative mail-order fruit catalog in 1934 that is still going strong today. The early catalogs wrote about pears “so big and juicy, you have to eat them with a spoon,” and offered the first fruit-of-the-month club. Today, the company is known for its gift baskets and its two high-end retail stores.
- Horchow Collection: Originally named the Kenton Collection, this is a set of catalogs published by luxury retailer Neiman-Marcus. The catalogs are more like magazines. They feature full-page spreads and gorgeous settings, and they also provide detailed, magazine-style information about the products.
- Blink: This catalog allows architects, interior decorators, and others to find artists. It is a marketing tool for artists who want to pitch their work to businesses. Blink comes out once a year. It is a beautifully produced catalog with almost no text, which is fitting for a catalog aimed at visual artists and those who employ them.
Digital Catalogs Don’t Create That Same Engagement
Most digital catalogs don’t create that same connection with customers because they are purely focused on showing as many products as possible at once.
The typical online catalog has very little copy and lots of pictures. Each product comes with a price, a bulleted feature list, and ordering information.
That’s fine for an online experience because buyers don’t treat these ads the same way they treat printed product catalogs. They don’t use them as an escape. That doesn’t mean you should do away with your online catalog, however, because even people who like reading printed catalogs usually do their ordering online.
They read printed project catalogs to learn about the products and make their selections, but then go online when it’s time to place the order.
To recap, here are some tips from high-end printed product catalogs to use on your own:
- Use high-quality photos that show the products being used.
- Write copy that tells a story.
- Don’t jam too many items onto one page.
- Use full-page spreads.
Printed Product Catalogs Turn Browsers Into Buyers
Printed product catalogs produce more buying decisions than TV ads, websites, email ads, or radio ads. Direct mail and catalogs evoke positive feelings in people, even if they don’t order anything right away. They keep the mailers for several weeks.
Studies have found that printed product catalogs work best when they’re combined with other forms of digital outreach, including e-mail advertising and online stores.
E-mail advertising is an easy, affordable way to reach customers quickly. Make it part of your overall strategy, add print catalogs, and watch your sales go up.
Get Them to Order
How do you help people make that final decision to pick up the phone or go to your website to order? Successful catalogs have content that helps customers feel a connection to your company. Here are some tips for getting that connection:
- Write detailed descriptions of ways to use the product.
- Describe how the product was made, for instance, what inspired it, where the materials come from, or who came up with the idea.
- Include stories about the employees and owners of the company.
- Detail the ways your brand stands out from your competitors.
People Prefer Printed Products
Even in this digital age of e-books, most people who read prefer to buy traditional, printed books. There are many reasons for this, and they’re similar to the reasons people prefer printed product catalogs.
People like reading printed material. They are unlikely to throw out a catalog right away, but they have no problem clicking off a website or turning down a TV ad. Like a book, a good catalog is enjoyable to read.
You can sit in an easy chair or glance at it while you’re walking into your house. If you put it down, you can pick it up again later. You can slip it into a purse or briefcase to take with you. It doesn’t require an electronic device or a battery to read.
People like the tactile sensation of turning pages. A catalog may not be a book, but it has that same appeal.
Our Brains Are Wired to Prefer Printed Materials
Our preference for paper isn’t just about the way it feels. We have much better recall of things we read on paper than things we see on a screen. That’s why most teachers still recommend that their students take notes by hand, even if they’re using online learning materials.
According to studies done by the U.S. Postal Service, printed product catalogs “trigger activity in the brain (ventral striatum) that is responsible for evaluating the value and desirability of featured products, which can signal a greater intent to purchase.”
Our brains are wired to prefer paper, so why not take advantage of that with a catalog? Give your customers a good reason to remember your brand name.
Here are some tips you can use based on this research:
- Make sure your brand name is featured prominently in the catalog.
- Combine catalog mailings with an online store and other digital outreach.
- Give catalog shoppers the option to order online easily.
Catalogs Are an Essential Element of Your Marketing Campaign
Today’s market demands a multi-tiered approach to reaching customers. You need both digital and print advertising to ensure you’re targeting the right customers in the right way.
In this approach, a visually attractive, well-written, professionally printed catalog is essential. Spend time developing this type of catalog because it will pay off in more brand awareness and higher sales.
Get Those Catalogs Printed
Professional printing can make your catalogs look their best. At Dazzle Printing, we print catalogs for all types of businesses. Call us today to learn more about our catalog printing.