8 Useful Tips for Catalog Design

A catalog design is more than using a collection of colorful pages. One needs to be creative and attractive enough to start an interest among prospective users and buyers. Your service or product selection may be a good choose but if the catalog design is not good; your sales are likely to go nowhere. A good catalog design creates a buzz that forces users to buy the product or the service even if they do not really need the product or the service. Below are simple tips that can make your catalog design better and more attractive for the users.

1. Ensure your catalog reflects your brand identity

If your store looks different than your catalog, which is totally different from your website, then you have a big problem. Customers must enjoy the same brand experience everywhere they shop. Therefore catalog design demand more than just using your business colors. When you translate your brand personality across all media, you assure your customers that they will receive the same service and quality wherever they shop. 

2. The catalog should be clear and simple

A clear and a simple catalog design will assure that customers are able to shop for products and services easily. An uneasily created product catalog design would fail to bag sales.

3. Understand your customers

Knowing who your customers are is essential for choosing your merchandise, designing your photographs, describing your products and developing your mailing list. Understanding your customers will also help you determine the image your present.

4. Page Layout

Always keep in mind that product is the focus of catalog designing. Remember to place the products in the catalog design in a format that the viewer can easily identify what is being sold and at what price. Always ensure the products and the prices are visibly noticeable

5. Think in terms of the whole catalog, not the pieces

A common mistake that many people make is focusing on what goes on the page and not the visual impact of the whole catalog. This can lead to boring lookalike spreads. Always focus on the design of the whole catalog.

6. Make the catalog attractive

Another common mistake that people make is making the most expensive service or product the biggest object on the page. Remember that the goal of catalog design is not to sell just one product, but to make the whole catalog sell. When you make the editorial concept of the catalog more attractive and interesting, many people will spend more time with it, and this will make more things in the catalog to sell.

7. Do not make catalog pages too complex

If you make your products with complex propping, you will actually confuse the reader. Therefore when presenting complex photographs, reduce the number used and make them large enough to be clear.

8. Remember to include an order form 

Since a lot of actual ordering is done by phone, some catalog designers think that an order form is unnecessary. However, recent research has shown that customers like a printed order form to be able to list and consolidate their purchases and also get the information they need.

The Nitty Gritty about catalog printing templates

Catalogs can organize the marketing and promotions of a company. A well designed catalog can be presented to partners, clients and investors to showcase the company’s visions, goals and ambitions. Many companies are using catalogs instead of PowerPoint presentations to attract the investors and to display the achievements and milestones attained by the company in terms of production and customer satisfaction. Creating the perfect catalog template is not a complicated task, but it is not easy, either. To draft a catalog, one needs to have experience in graphic designing and drawing skills. If you have the experience, you can go the DIY way and if you do not, it is wise to take the help of a professional printing company.

Why use catalog printing templates?

You can find a plenty of catalog templates on the Internet available in varied designs, sizes and color combinations. Whether you are taking help of a professional or doing it on your own, it is recommended that you download and use these templates because designing a catalog from the scratch can be a very time-consuming and demanding task. It can take forever to design even one page of the catalog, if you are not a trained layout artist or do not know much about graphics. Therefore, rather than wasting your precious time in doing what you do not know, get a head start with the templates available on the web. Most of these templates are designed by expert artists and usually available free of cost. These template makers cover almost all major industries.

The catalog templates can easily be customized to fit your needs. In order to use them effectively, one does not need to have great experience in graphics or drawling. All you need is an eye for beauty and a sense of placing the texts with images in an appropriate manner. These templates can significantly change things for a person who is in printing business by cutting down the production time and allowing him to use this time in taking up more orders.

You can find a wide assortment of catalog printing templates in accordance to your industry. Most of them are available free of cost and can be customized. You can also go for the detailed templates designed by professional artists to woo your targeted audience. The different structure and framework will allow you to use information very creatively and get the best out of it.

How to choose the best catalog printing templates for your needs?

Usually, the catalog printing templates are available in several different patterns and frameworks, out of which the user is supposed to choose from. Nowadays, many artists are experimenting with the colors to help it appeal to a wider audience. You can now change the colors, styles and patterns in accordance with the brand, products and concept or you can just choose the one that is a perfect fit for your brand. Choose templates that present the message you want to send out and do not just blend with it. Remember that some time and thought put into selecting the right template can go a long way when it comes sending the message out in a most effective manner.

Once you have decided on the template, you can download it and enter the description of your product or service by just clicking at appropriate places. You can also rearrange or recolor some of its element to give it a personal touch and highlight the main points. With little patience and adjustment, you can create a perfect catalog template in just a few minutes. You can also browse through the internet for catalog printing templates that let you make adjustment in terms of size and design. However, the template can be adjusted to a certain extent only. The basic framework will remain the same but you can change the appearance with the help of Photoshop tools to make it suitable for your brand. Though this may require little extra time, it is far easier and cost-effective than creating the entire template from scratch.

Why invest in premium templates?

You will find a plethora of catalog templates that are generic and available free of cost; however, hundreds of other people have already used these templates. Chances are that your target group comes across similar templates at least twice a day. So, if you want to approach your target audience or investors professionally and want to be seen different from others, you should invest in premium templates. If you are in printing or graphics business, it becomes even more important to be seen creative as well as innovative. These premium templates are unique and sold to only one customer. They are available at reasonable rates and hence, can be used by emerging businesses too.

How to Design a Product Catalog

Making a product catalog is an effective way to expand your customer base and to expose your customers to all of the amazing products that your company offers. A catalog has the potential to reach those customers who will never set foot in your store. As long as you know what to include in your product catalog and present it in an organized and visually-appealing way, you will be able to transform your catalog from an idea to a tangible advertising tool in no time.

  1. Make sure you have all of the ingredients in place before beginning any design steps. The content you’ll need before you make the catalog includes images of the products, a list of products and product features, and a list of other content that needs to be written, such as information about the company, customer testimonials, and any other information that will help your customers make the right decision.
  2. You may be tempted to take your own images to save money, but unless you yourself are a professional photographer, it’s best to hire a professional to take images for you. Your product photographs are one of the most important aspects of the catalog since this is what customers will see first. An appealing image will encourage customers to read the description and, hopefully, make a purchase.
    • If you have photography skills and feel comfortable taking the pictures yourself and own a digital camera, set the camera on the highest resolution and follow product picture protocol: use individual, not group pictures of products on a light background, add a drop shadow to make the products leap off of the page, and upload them at no lower than 300 dpi.
  3. Know your product features. Before you write the content about each product, you’ll need to know all of the technical specifications of each one. You can also assign item numbers and prices, including original and discount prices. You may also want to jot down any benefits that come to mind while sorting through your products. Though you may want to tell readers every little thing there is to know about each product, you should only give them the information that will help them make a decision. You can direct them to your website if they want even more information about the product.
  4. Choose an appropriate size for your catalog. You should pick a convenient size for your catalog to be when it’s closed. Depending on where it will be used, whether it’s on an airplane or on a desk in a waiting room, you’ll need to consider the most convenient size for your product so your customers aren’t overwhelmed by an overly-large catalog or aren’t frustrated by a catalog that is too small to let them clearly see the images and information about the products they are considering.
  5. Choose the right amount of pages. Your catalog needs to be long enough to give your customers all the information they need, but short enough to keep their interest and to not bog them down in extra details. Don’t forget about a table of contents, any products that may be featured on an entire page, and additional informational pages, such as the company history.
    • Make sure that your pagination is consistent. You can make it easy for customers to find your website address and number by putting them on each of your two-page spreads. You can list your phone number on the bottom right of each page and your website URL on the bottom left, or do the reverse. You can also place one on the top or one on the bottom.
    • Be sure to keep the page count in 4 page increments since printing companies print 4 pages on an entire sheet of paper (2 on the front and 2 on the back).
  6. Keep each description short, between 50-150 words. You will want to include the features of each product, but be sure to tie small benefits into each feature. And don’t forget about a core benefit. For instance, the grip features of those golfing gloves will provide a more stable hold on the club, but more importantly, customers can golf on a pro-level when wearing these gloves (core benefit). Help customers select the right item as you are writing about the products, describing what they need to know about them, from price to weight or dimensions.
    • If you’d like additional writing help, you may consider hiring a copywriter.
  7. When you’re copywriting, you should use short, easy-to-read sentences and paragraphs that avoid overly technical language. Each section of your catalog should have a cover or introductory page that shows a person using one of the products in the section, along with a short article about the benefits of the entire product category. Your content can also include a brief history of the company to make your readers feel more comfortable with your products.
    • You should also create the order form if you will accept faxed or mailed orders.
  8. You’ll need to plan which content will appear on each page. Be sure to place similar products together. Additionally, you should place products that go together near each other as well. For example, if you’re selling upscale men’s dress shoes, you may place shoehorns that will keep the shoes intact for a long time on the same page, because customers who consider nice shoes may be looking for this as well. This is also a great way to show customers something that they didn’t even know they needed.
    • To organize your content effectively, you’ll need to not only have product sections, but an introductory section at the front of the book, an educational section if you want to include articles, as well as a section for return and warranty information. You can intersperse articles throughout the catalog so that buying your products is never far from the customer’s mind.
    • Make sure to use consistent typography and designs so your customers aren’t distracted. However, you should make it convenient to find a specific section by color-coding the tops, bottoms, or sides of the pages of each section.
  9. Use powerful fillers. When you’re trying to reach a 4-page increment, you may need to use some filler pages in your catalog. Make these fillers promote the purpose of your catalog — selling products. Including the history of your company will help customers be more comfortable buying your products. So will customer testimonials and guarantees. Anything that will put a customer’s mind at ease and legitimize your company will help you make the most of extra real estate.
  10. Create an impressive cover. The cover will be the first thing your potential customers see and it will make or break the success of your catalog. If your cover does not capture attention, the catalog may get thrown in the trash before a customer even opens it. Including feature items, any specials or discounts, and stunning images all encourage a consumer to flip through the pages. If your catalog is seasonal, go with a theme that matches the time of year or an upcoming holiday.
  11. Although creating the order form can be a bit tedious, keep in mind that a customer may give up on buying that one-of-a-kind lamp because the form is too confusing. Including a customer service number will give customers a way to contact you if they get stuck. A perforated form that is addressed makes mailing the order much easier for customers as well. Don’t forget necessities such as a quantity option and both shipping and billing address options. If your customers can also order the product online, let them know that this is an option.
  12. It’s important to create a mock-up of your product catalog before you order hundreds of catalogs and realize you’ve made some organizational errors or visual mistakes. This process will keep you from wasting time on redoing page layouts, and it will give you a sense of what your catalog will actually look like. Unless you have a graphic design background, you should hire or meet with a professional to find the best way to lay out the pages in your catalog.
    • You will discuss your budget, the printer you will use, any tear-out order forms, and the images you want to use. Once you or your graphic design expert will have a sense of these components, you can find a way to lay out the information, and a way to place as many products as you can on one page without crowding them.
    • You can use shapes or other placeholders to represent the images you will eventually use. Once you have everything ready, you can even use the real images, proof the catalog, and have potential buyers take a look at it to get some suggestions before you take it to your printer.
  13. If your catalog is only 4 pages, you could try printing it yourself, but a professional will take less time and ensure quality results. Plus, a commercial printing firm will take care of issues such as page implementation (page order) and creep (outer pages coming out shorter than the inner pages when folded together). A printer will also be able use a much more durable binding technique. Some printing companies even provide mailing services for your convenience. Just make sure to find a printer that you can trust for reasonable prices and professional quality.

Elements of Effective Catalog Design

One may think that a physical catalog isn’t necessary anymore in this digital era, but guess again. A professionally designed and printed catalog can be a vital lead-nurturing tool. When you meet someone face-to-face for the first time, whether it be at an event, trade show or an initial sales meeting, you take the time to learn about each other’s businesses. But what happens after you leave? A well-executed catalog design will remind your prospect of the services you offer and, most importantly, what sets you apart from the competition.

In an initial contact, a catalog can be more effective than any other marketing asset because it’s immediate. Your prospect won’t necessarily take the time to visit your website after an initial meeting. Since the brochure is right in front of them, it will often intrigue them to learn more about your firm and then visit your website.

A professionally designed print catalog is especially important for small businesses. It builds credibility by conveying important messages about the value of your product or service. It helps to build your brand, and positions you as a legitimate business in the minds of prospects and customers.

To connect with readers, every catalog needs three essential design elements:

Attention-grabbing cover. Chances are your prospects have very short attention spans. If your catalog cover doesn’t immediately catch their eye and pique their interest, they won’t open and read the rest of the brochure. To get the attention of your target audience, combine a visually appealing design with an attention-grabbing headline that addresses a powerful benefit for your customers.
Compelling content. You care more about your business than your prospects do; they aren’t interested in a detailed history of your business. Instead, they want to know how your product or service can help them save time, lower costs, get more sales, or run their business more effectively. Focus your content on the problems and challenges your customers face and how you solve them better than your competitors. Use graphs, charts or images to help support your content, and convey your message more quickly.
Powerful call to action. The primary purpose of a catalog is to move people to the next phase of the sales cycle. Do you want them to visit your web site? Pick up the phone and call for a free estimate? Contact you via email to receive a downloadable white paper? A good call to action tells your readers exactly what you want them to do. It also stands out from the rest of the copy so that readers can’t miss it.

From a visual standpoint, a catalog needs to appeal to your specific audience. For example, if you serve a more conservative market, edgy or trendy design elements might look clever to you, but they don’t reflect the mindset of your readers.

At the same time, consider the image you want to project as a business. Most B2B firms use a matte finish on their catalog because it looks more distinguished and professional. Retail companies tend to use glossy finishes, as they make product pictures and images stand out more.

Your design and layout of inside pages should work well with the content. Use benefit-driven headers and sub-headers to catch the reader’s eye. Include plenty of white space to make the catalog easy to read.

Make sure the catalog visual elements – color, imagery, font, logo, etc. – align with and support your brand. Consistency of brand image is a key ingredient in earning your prospect’s trust.

Finally, never shy away from a professionally designed catalog because of cost. When done well, the return you receive will far outweigh the money you invest in growing your business.

Catalog Marketing Ideas For Printed Catalogs!

I’m going to share some catalog advertising and marketing details with you! Catalog advertising and marketing truth: 25% to 30% of clients begin studying someplace aside from initially! Interesting, however how can we use this data?

Well, we appear to design catalogs with the whole lot in logical order from the entrance cowl. We clarify issues, inform them who we’re and stuff like that in the beginning of every catalog. While there’s nothing unsuitable with this, and I’m not suggesting we alter it, what I take note of is increasing it.

What if we had been to scatter extra data all through the catalog? Info on who we’re and what we’re providing in addition to to maintain reminding them of why they need to purchase from us, not our rivals.

That heat and fuzzy stuff you often put at first of your catalog: Letter From The President, Guarantee, Photos of The Employees, and Photo of Your Building. We ought to attempt to scatter extra of this all through the remainder of your catalog. Especially your highly effective Guarantee! (What, you do not have a robust assure? Contact me proper now!)

This assure needs to be on quite a few your pages and now known after which in your copy! It’s wonderful many gross sales are made not solely as a result of there’s a assure, however as a result of it’s highly effective, I surprise what number of gross sales are misplaced as a result of there isn’t a assure or as a result of it’s a adverse one?

Wonder what number of extra returns you’ll get if prolong the size of your assure? Or even drop the time restrict? By how a lot can a assure improve your catalog response?

So, let’s do our promoting on each web page of our catalog. Then regardless of the place somebody begins studying, they are going to be offered. Too many catalogs are boring. While they could have a pleasant letter originally of their catalog, the remainder of the pages are chilly. Gee whiz, step one in promoting is be pleasant.

I could also be getting off the topic somewhat right here, however it’s onerous to carry me again… I really feel that the best catalog is one which units a pleasant, useful tone that is carried over to each a part of the catalog.

Don’t simply have a letter initially, after which ignore them all through the remainder of the catalog! This similar particular person that’s making an attempt to be pleasant within the letter ought to be there in all of the copy all through the catalog with the identical pleasant useful tone.

Guide them, level out issues. When writing copy, do not restrict the dialog to simply this product. “Remember that crimson gown we have been on web page H, would not this go nice with it?” or “Of course this can look nice on you and please take a look at the purple belt on web page 23 that appears to be made only for this gown” Use your catalog to guide them, assist them, make them really feel appreciated, flip them into mates so they may need to order from you and hold coming again!

When you might be executed studying this, remember to click on on the “EXAMPLES” navigation button on the prime to see how I’ve finished this in some catalogs I’ve created.

While we’re discussing letters from the president, ensures and stuff like that, I’ve seen too many catalogs (particularly S-to-C) that muddle up the primary few pages with boring stuff.

I wish to see a big, highly effective letter from the president on the within entrance cowl and perhaps your assure and a photograph of the employees. But no ordering information or different stuff on the following web page. Let them see what you’re providing earlier than they get bored and depart.

Use web page B to begin promoting your strongest merchandise. Show some nice stuff popping off the web page. That’s what they got here right here for, give it to them! Maybe use this web page for bargains, clearance gadgets, new releases or one thing particular like that. Make it thrilling, have these merchandise attain off the web page and seize that prospect!

CATALOG MARKETING FACT: N out of 10 advertising and marketing executives say plenty of footage are probably the most useful function a catalog crossing their desk can supply.

Did you catch that? Yes, even a B-to-B catalog wants nice wanting photographs and loads of them! If that is so necessary, why is it that almost all O-to-C catalogs are downright boring?

And there’s extra to it than simply placing numerous product pictures in your catalog, make the content material of the images fascinating after which deliver the layouts to life and make them thrilling. Use border edge remedies. Drop shadows, overlap photographs, have the images overlapping different components and increasing off the pages edges!

When you’ve a variety of comparable product images on a web page with all of them about the identical dimension, it’s boring and none of them will get seen. The reader will simply go on to the subsequent web page or internet catalog. Just take one of many pictures and make it bigger than the others. Play up this product and ensure it will get seen. Now that you’ve grabbed their consideration, they will even take a look at the remainder of your merchandise on that web page.

Have you observed how boring the product images in S-to-C catalogs are? Just a shot of the product. I wish to see folks utilizing the merchandise, demonstrating them, bringing them to life! You can be amazed at this is able to do on your earnings! Do you bear in mind all these Viking Office Products catalogs that had giant images of the CEO holding merchandise, pointing them out to you, or handing them to you? That stuff works! Most people would like to purchase from a human than a useless catalog. So deliver your catalog to life!

And now for one of the highly effective promoting issues you are able to do… use picture captions! Somewhere in my “CATALOG FACTS & FIGURES” report I’ve talked about that share that it could possibly increase gross sales for a product. Take my phrase for it, it really works!

This is such a good way to get your message throughout. It’s human nature, they see the photograph and look beneath it to learn what it is about. The information present that the very first thing the take a look at on a web page is the picture and quantity P is the picture caption. That’s why is so essential to place your catalog copy underneath every picture.

Don’t make them attempt to match the copy to a photograph by matching up a letter or quantity someplace else on the web page. So typically this accomplished by people extra desirous about a pleasant web page design than making a sale. Be prepared, have your descriptive and promoting information proper there, that is your alternative to make a sale, do not blow it.

CATALOG MARKETING FACT: The A most distinguished areas in a catalog are: B. Front Cover, P. Back Cover, O. Center P Pages, A. First P Pages Inside the Front Cover.

OK, I’m certain you’ve got realized this already. Interesting although what number of catalogers aren’t taking full benefit of many of those highly effective areas. I’ve seen so many again covers which might be simply wasted area. And what number of instances have you ever opened up a catalog to heart and located boring stuff there? This is the spot for a robust P-web page unfold that can knock-their-socks-off!

CATALOG MARKETING FACT: 33% of selling executives need catalogs to be extra particular to their enterprise.

It is smart, the extra your C-to-O catalog is tailor-made to every sort of enterprise with particular covers and duplicate, the larger your gross sales.

A pal of mine produces a catalog stuffed filled with his scheduling and planning merchandise. He takes benefit of this by utilizing a unique cowl for every phase his prospecting catalogs are mailed to. For occasion, if he is mailing to automotive sellers, the quilt exhibits his merchandise be used at a automobile showroom. Sure, it is much more work, nevertheless it pays off!

CATALOG MARKETING FACT: A examine primarily based on 224 folks over F years, confirmed that when utilizing a serif typeface in junk mail and catalogs, sixty seven% confirmed good comprehension in contrast with solely 12% when sans-serif is used.

Making a catalog simple to learn and observe is so essential. When we begin utilizing kind kinds and graphics foolishly, we’re liable to harm our outcomes. Our first consideration must be what makes it best for that potential buyer to learn and perceive.

You want them to learn and be satisfied by you are your catalog copy to be able to get that order out of them. Remember, it takes a effectively thought out format simply to get that reader to start out studying our copy.

There are so many little issues that may get them to surrender and transfer on, akin to small sort, sort in exhausting to see colours, designs beneath the copy or kind made to type a particular form. That’s all it takes.

CATALOG MARKETING FACT: Copy that provides the reader useful recommendation will get 75% extra readership than copy that simply offers with the merchandise.

Not solely are you going to hook extra of them, however they may notice you’re an skilled within the subject, purchase extra from you and in addition preserve that catalog round loads longer.

A good instance of that is the PC Nametag Catalog which accommodates assembly ideas.

CATALOG MARKETING FACT: Adding suggestions, strategies and concepts to your catalog copy and aspect bars will increase response and catalog retention. One cataloger examined this and confirmed a 50% improve in response.

OK, after studying the earlier merchandise, you had been in all probability saying “Yeah, seventy five% extra readership, however did it enhance outcomes?” So that truth is for you!

CATALOG MARKETING FACT: 25% of Tonquish Creek’s (cataloger of police & firefighter associated items) revenues come from commerce reveals.

Is this an extra income you might be passing up? Does your corporation lend itself to selling at commerce reveals? Don’t simply sit there, go the place your clients are, irrespective of the place that could be!

CATALOG MARKETING FACT: Computer Discount Warehouse gross sales are rising at 60%. Their secret? “We service the hell out of our prospects and supply them with superior merchandise and costs.”

Making essentially the most of your clients will payoff. But do not simply mail them extra catalogs, Communicate. Treat them identical to they’re particular, as a result of they’re. Put collectively a finest buyer membership for them. Hit them with customized letters, newsletters, postcard reminders and extra.

CATALOG MARKETING FACT:A private letter together with your catalog can enhance response by as a lot as 25%.

When sending out a catalog in an envelope, put a letter in there, make it highly effective, give them a particular provide, bonus or low cost coupon. If you are not utilizing envelopes to mail out catalogs to new requesters, contemplate it. The letter can actually enhance your response. And do not restrict your self to that 25% determine, strive for one hundred%! Come up with a fantastic provide and a strong letter. Need concepts? D-mail me at DancingWolfBooks@aol.com.

CATALOG MARKETING FACT:Gymboree (youngsters’s clothes & toys) on mailing of first catalog bought a H% response from an inventory of their retail prospects, B% from exterior lists.

Your clients are at all times your greatest wager. Although prospects out of your retail retailer may be exhausting to guage. If they don’t seem to be mail order patrons, they’re onerous to transform. Consider a mailing that additionally encourages them to come back again to the shop, not simply order from the catalog.

That B% from outdoors lists would not look too good. I’d take a better take a look at that number of lists. Watch out for these checklist brokers, they often have you ever mailing to a broad group of picks. Try totally different sources, equivalent to checklist buying and selling.

CATALOG MARKETING FACT:A giant cataloger started publishing a catalog of extra objects calling it their “Outlet Catalog” it was printed on newsprint, tabloid model, with crimson as a 2nd coloration. It’s greatest success was when mailed to lapsed prospects, reactivating H% to 10% of those previous clients.

It pays to be totally different and take a look at completely different strategies. Your clients might get uninterested in the identical previous catalogs. Plus it is very important appear to be you sound. What did I simply say? What I imply is in case you are speaking large financial savings and closeouts, appear to be a reduction catalog, use low cost paper and warehouse-wanting design.

Plus, this brings up one other level, do not quit in your clients with out a combat. It might not be that they give up shopping for, it is in all probability since you stop promoting. (Hey, I like that one, I’ll grasp it on the wall with a few of my different nice sayings.) Try various things earlier than you hand over on that buyer… perhaps a catalog in an envelope with a particular letter and low cost coupon.

Even strive placing them in your “Best Customer Club.” (If you need them to be good clients, making them appear to be good prospects might assist. Well, it made sense to me. If all the pieces else fails, ship them a particular private letter and ask them why they are not shopping for from you! (Tell them about your ravenous youngsters.) Their response will likely be fascinating and enlightening. I’ve seen these letters disgrace quite a lot of outdated consumers into shopping for once more.

CATALOG MARKETING FACT: Back within the eighty’s Fingerhut examined mailing to its buyer record 30 instances per yr as a substitute of the standard 20 instances. After one 12 months they discovered that it produced higher gross sales with out diluting the profitability.

As I at all times say: “Don’t be afraid to mail too usually, simply be afraid of not mailing sufficient!” Many catalogers have sophisticated methods of mailing to clients based mostly on their shopping for historical past. The finest prospects could get a catalog each week.

Also contemplate smaller specialty catalogs mailed to prospects who’ve purchased this sort of product prior to now. For instance, Computer Discount Warehouse might mail out an H or 12 web page catalog or publication type mailing providing a sure choice of software program, and even push only one merchandise.

5 Distinct Qualities of the Best Catalog Printing Companies

Catalog’s certainly create a powerful marketing channel for large businesses to reach out to thousands of customers every month. Mid-sized and small businesses can also use the catalog marketing method to generate more orders and sales. A well printed mail order catalog will not only attract new customers, it will also provide information that will increase the orders from old customers.

The first step towards successful catalog printing is to locate a reliable printing company. You must find a company that has sufficient experience in printing your company’s type of catalog. In this post, we will be discussing some of the most important qualities that the best catalog printing companies should have.

Excellent Print Quality

The ability to provide premium quality work, in as many print formats as you need, is the first quality you should look out for. You can ascertain the level of quality that a catalog printer can provide by requesting for samples. Make sure you request for samples with different types of folds, covers, binding and die-cuts. If the printing company cannot produce high quality samples, there’s no reason to build a relationship with them.

Prompt Delivery

Catalogs are usually released on a monthly basis. So they must be printed promptly and be ready for mailing by a specific date every month. Therefore, the printer must have a strong sense of urgency and the ability to consistently deliver your job on time. Any catalog printing company or vendor that cannot provide timely work will eventually become a liability to your organization.

In order to know how effective the company’s delivery system is, you should test them with a small job that does not have a very urgent deadline. Remember that when you start the actual catalog printing, the delivery period will also include the time for mailing. For a more accurate assessment, you can consult references who have been dealing with the printing company for a reasonably long time.

Competitive Prices

The service fees charged by top rated printing companies for the same type of catalog will be similar. However, you should focus on the breakdown of the total cost. This will help you to know how the prices of a particular vendor compare with others. Therefore, you should request for quotes from at least three top-tier printers. Then ask for a detailed breakdown of the service fees charged by each company. You may be amazed at the differences in the way each company allocates fees to various activities, raw materials and services.

Up-to-date Printing Technology

The easiest way to assess the equipment and production methods of any printing company is to visit their plant. As you take this tour, you will be convinced about their corporate culture and capacity to meet your expectations. When you meet the people who will print, bind, and mail your catalog, you will discover several things that you can’t easily know by simple phone conversations. For instance, you can easily observe the level of coordination, cleanliness, and cohesion among the workers in the plant.

In addition, you will know if they have the right equipment to print your catalog to your specifications. Preferably, you should opt for a printer that specializes in printing catalogs rather than general book or magazine printing. A specialist will be more creative and will be able to provide other value added services that are directly related to the success of your catalog marketing programs.

Efficient Logistics and Mailing Management

Apart from printing your catalogs in an efficient and cost effective manner, a top-notch catalog printer will offer good logistics and efficient mailing processes. This is very vital for the prompt delivery of the catalogs to the end user every month. For example, the company you work with should be able to serve as a mailing list manager, a postal consultant, and offer catalog delivery tracking. They should have a well maintained database that you can use to monitor the effectiveness of your catalog marketing campaign. Some companies even provide co-mailing partnership opportunities that will help you to lower the cost of your catalog mailing when it is scheduled along with the mailing of other clients’ catalogs.


Selecting one of the best catalog printing companies for your business is a very important process. You should also take time to call up references and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of any company you plan to work with. However, you should also realize that dealing with catalog printing company is like building a relationship. So you should be prepared to accommodate a few unpleasant occurrences once in a while.

10 Rules for Exceptional Catalog Design

Rules of Excellent Design for Catalog Printing

1) Appeal to lifestyle desires

Appeal to what makes a person buy

Sometimes people buy to fill a need but most of the time people buy because of want. They buy something they want because they envision feeling better, more satisfied after they have exchanged their hard-earned money for the product or service you have to sell. The art of creating the desire to buy is appealing to the customer’s desire to attain a particular lifestyle. Show the customer the lifestyle they can attain and desire and you will sell more product.

Images, copy and page elements

Therefore, orient all the elements of your catalog around conveying lifestyle. Do this at all levels. Your catalog might have an overall lifestyle theme while the individual products might have modifications or even mini-lifestyle themes of their own. The text and copy should not only describe the product in sufficient detail that the consumer can make a buying decision but it should tell the reader how this item will help them achieve the lifestyle they want.

2) Design for the audience

Tailor your catalog design to appeal to your audience. A business-to-business catalog (B2B) should be very different than a business-to-consumer (B2C) catalog. Catalogs for young people will have a different look than a catalog for older folks. Make the style of your catalog match the style desires of your audience. You will gain more affinity and hence more sales.

3) Make the product the centerpiece

A rule of thumb in catalog design is the larger the product photo the greater the product’s sales. To this end we generally strive to maximize the size of the product’s image, especially in conjunction with each product’s profit value – the more total profit a product generates the larger the product photo should be. Then support the product with compelling copy.

Some catalog companies attempt to save money on photography and printing by grouping items together in photographs. This often results in poor sales because in such a photo no product stands out to draw the customer in. It is better to show items individually or in very small, related groups. We prefer to show most products with no background and with a subtle drop shadow. This allows the product to stand out from the clutter of the page. Then we add lifestyle shots with a subtle background to add variety to the design and convey lifestyle moods.

4) Use great product photos

The Pitfalls of Scrimping on Product Photos

Creating a catalog is expensive and we all want to cut costs when possible. However perhaps the single most important catalog element – the product photo – tends to be the place where clients cut first and it hurts their success every time.

In some industries and with some vendors you can get excellent photos of their products for use in your catalog. And so can your competitors. However most supplier images are just not that good in the first place. Almost all lack clipping paths requiring labor and expense at the catalog design side to use them well. This reduces the perceived savings of these free images. Plus your catalog will not have a unique look all your own.

About half of our new customers began life as a web-based company and the images they’ve created so far are low resolution web images. Other times the images received from the supplier are web resolution images. These images are not acceptable for print catalogs! They are less then 1/4 the resolution and have no clipping paths. If you use them your products will be blurry, the design will suffer and so will your sales.

The third way clients hope to save money is by taking their own photos. The physical process of shooting the photograph is but about 1/3 the cost of preparing a digital image for use in catalog design but is most important to the resulting quality of the finished image. We highly recommend using a volume product photography service such as ourselves or one of the many others available. If you feel you must do your own photography we provide an article with suggestions on making the best photograph possible but be prepared to pay extra at the design side to prep those photos for printing.

What a great photo will do

A great photo is “worth a thousand words” but a poor photo can persuade a customer to not buy your product. Don’t risk it by scrimping on good photography. It would be better to show fewer products on fewer pages to save on printing than to cut your sales with poor photos.

5) Put important items on the outside edges of the page

Readers typically look to the top right first then sweep across the page to the other side. If they don’t see something compelling they’ll flip the page. Therefore put your most appealing products (which are typically your products that generate the most profit) on the outside top corners. Make these elements strong – larger in size – than the remaining products on the page spread.

6) Use opportunities to cross sell

Suggesting companion products can increase sales another 5-15%. Take every advantage of cross selling in your catalog. You can do this in the product copy or with call-outs, or by placing companion products together on the page.

Between your website

An advertising rule of thumb is multiple forms of advertising run simultaneously will result in greater response than the same forms of advertising run separately at different times. Take a retail store running some television ads and some radio ads. If they did a promotion with the television ads one month and a promotion with the radio ads the next month, they will have less impact than if they ran the same promotion on both television and radio at the same time. In essence one feeds off the other. The same holds true with your catalogs. Take advantage of cross media merchandising by promoting your website in your catalog and your catalog on your website. Post your print catalog in pdf format for people to download.

7) Use consistent type styles and limit their number

Limit the number of fonts and/or weights to 2 or 3

To keep a clean and consistent look use no more than 2 to 3 fonts throughout your catalog. Further, keep text spacing and placement next to images consistent. Use the same style of text consistently for common elements such as product name, product description, etc.

Keep fonts to within your style and function – don’t get too fancy unless your style requires it

Choose fonts that are easy to read and whose style matches the lifestyle you wish to convey. Be careful with fancy fonts. It is easy to reduce readability, the professional look and perhaps translate into printing issues if the font is low quality.

Type should be secondary to product photos

Once again the product is the centerpiece and much of that is due to the product photograph. The text should support the reader to make a buying decision and not take away from the impact of the photo.

8) Keep the style consistent from issue to issue reinforcing your “brand” image

Once a successful look has been established resist the urge to change. REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) has kept a rustic border theme for the last 5 years. The look of their catalogs and sale promotion catalogs is easily recognizable by their customers and has created a brand image. One advertising rule of thumb is when you are tired of the look of your catalog (because you’ve seen it over and over again) your customers are just starting to recognize it as your look. Protect your investment by keeping your theme for several years and if you decide to change, do it in small increments over a long time. Repetition brings brand identity recognition and brand recognition brings acceptance and sales.

9) Give products the space they need – and analyze the results

Give your top sellers more space than your less important items

When first designing your catalog give your items that generate the most profit – the most total profit over time, not necessarily items with the most profit margin – more space in your catalog than lower profit items because the rule of thumb is the more space a product has in your catalog the greater the sales will be.

For instance take two items. Both sell for $5 and make a profit of $2.50 for each item sold, but product A made you $5000 in profit last year while product B made only $2000. Therefore product A should have more space and exposure in your catalog. And here’s why: let’s say giving more space to a product will increase sales 10%. If you give product B more space you might increase profits by another $200 but if you gave product A that space it would increase profits by $500.

Analyze the results

About two months after your catalog has been distributed analyze the profit results using square inch analysis. With this analysis you calculate the total cost of the catalog (design, printing, mailing) divided by the total square inches of available selling space. Then figure how much each product cost to show in your catalog by multiplying the cost per square inch times the amount of space each item received in the catalog. Compare this cost against the total profit earned on each item. For the top 20% of most profitable products give them more space in your next issue. For the bottom 20% give them less. By doing this repeatedly you will continue to optimize your catalog costs and maximize profits.

10) Design for economy

The new Slim Jim advantages

The 2007 postage rate increases have created a dilemma with traditional Standard size catalogs and an opportunity to keep costs down using the Slim format called “Slim Jim”. Rates for standard catalogs rose 40% while for letter rate only 9%. Because of the extreme disparity the Slim Jim format will net a savings of 15-20% for the same physical printed space over the Standard format.

Standard catalog formats are more economical.

Formats such as a standard full-size, slim-jim or digest-size catalog in whole signature page counts tend to be the most economical catalog designs to print and mail. Spend time with your printer and the Postal Service to determine an efficient trim size.

Not only do standard catalog formats save money, they also tend to “fit” better. This is both a positive and a negative. A catalog design that is too unusual in format may not fit the customer’s environment and may get disposed of fairly quickly. On the other hand a standard format may come across as plain and boring, not getting the notice you desire.

16-page count increments are more economical.

Heat-set web presses print in signatures of 16 pages. Printing in even signature page quantities, such as 16, 32, 48, 64, etc., will provide the most pages for the dollar. If you can’t hit increments of 16, then the next best option is increments of 8 pages. This would include page counts of 8, 24, 40 and 56.