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Planning Your Mail-Order Catalog

resources imageMail-order catalog marketing is an incredibly effective and efficient way to run a business. Mail-order catalogs are so successful that many companies engage no other marketing techniques, relying only on catalog response. If you've never sent a mail-order catalog, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all of the resources that must go into a successful campaign. You can alleviate your fears with a little bit of intelligent planning and some project management aptitude. Here's how to plan your mail-order catalog the easy way:

Define your products and your audience

You must identify what you're going to sell, and who you're going to sell it to. This is a crucial first step, because you need to channel your identity through your catalog so your customers relate to you. Your audience dictates the market, so you have to offer products they want to buy; you dictate how you differ from the competition, so you also have to work to establish an identity that's appealing to your customers.

Set up your supply chain

Whether you're purchasing bulk wholesale, liquidation wholesale, or drop shipping, you need to make sure your supply chain is in order before you can develop your catalog. Pay attention to shipping costs, times, etc., and make sure you apply these fees to your products.

Design and copy

resources imageHire a designer to lay out your catalog and a copywriter to write product descriptions, call-out boxes, sales features, testimonials, case studies, informative articles, and anything else you're going to include in your catalog to add value or facilitate the transition from browser to customer. You might also need to hire a photographer to take product photos, depending on your supply chain.

Print and mail

You'll need a highly targeted mailing list comprised of your well-defined target audience. You'll also need to print high-quality professional catalogs so you have credibility with potential customers. Full-color catalog printing always beats black-and-white catalog printing, because customers want to see in vivid detail what they're ordering before they buy. You can compare options such as saddle-stitches and Wire-O catalog binding and generate your own mailing list using the tools at PsPrint.


Marketing strategy is ongoing, so you're not finished when the catalogs are mailed or even when orders are fulfilled. Go back to your mailing list and compare demographics with orders so you can determine who buys what from you. Record everything from customer demographics and products to offer, copy and page colors. This will help you tweak future mailing lists and catalogs to generate more sales. Direct mail-order catalog marketing isn't difficult when you take the time to plan your campaign - all you're really doing is matching products with customers who already want to buy them. Can it be any simpler than that?