3 Holiday Catalog Mailing Tips

Image via Flickr user Vee Dub

A great marketing tool this holiday season is a direct-mail catalog. Most marketers rely on e-mail to communicate holiday sales. This means that customers e-mail inboxes will be inundated with marketing messages.

Why not do something different? And send a catalog mailing to customers? I can tell you that response rates for mail are still much higher than for e-mail, just because there’s more room in a customer’s physical mailbox than there is in their e-mail inbox.

Here are some tips for sending a holiday catalog mailing to your customers.

1. Go retro with illustrations
Ever since the AMC show “Mad Men” rose to fame, the 1950s and ’60s are new again. Take inspiration from vintage catalogs and use illustrations to depict your wares. An illustrated catalog can will really stand out in today’s photo-heavy offerings. Many graphic designers double as illustrators, so there’s a chance you can get one person to work on the entire project. For inspiration, check out the Flickr group Vintage Advertising, or the blog Vintage Catalog Advertisements.

2. Insert calls-to-action
The only way to make a catalog work for your business is to include many calls-to-action throughout. A call-to-action is the copy that tells the customer what the offer is and what to do next, such as “Order before December 15 and receive 15 percent off your total purchase.” To compete with  e-commerce sites, you may want to offer free shipping, or free shipping on orders of “x” amount of dollars or higher. Also, be sure to include every ordering channel that you have available, including telephone, online, in-store or mail-in. The key is to make a valuable offer to customers  that is easy to act on.

3. Segment the mailing list
Businesses can create different versions of a catalog to reach different types of customers. If you have demographic information, such as age or gender, or even past purchase history, then that’s enough data to personalize the catalog creative. Decide which customer information you are going to focus on, then break down the mailing lists into different segments. For the female customer segment, maybe there’s a product or image you can put on the cover that will more likely appeal to women. Or, if you know a person has purchased a certain mobile device, you can put accessories for that device on the front of the catalog. By making different versions of the catalog that  appeal to different audiences, the catalog will resonate more with customers and the chances of a purchase will increase.