Product Catalogs the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread, Really?

‐ February 3, 2016

Have you ever wondered why printed product catalogs have remained a marketing tool even when so much of the world has gone digital? Isn’t it cheaper and easier to put a PDF of your company product catalog on your website? Yes, it probably is easier and cheaper, but is it more effective? Does an online catalog produce more sales than a printed product catalog for a business? That depends on the business model, target customer and the products you are selling.

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Why are printed product catalogs still around? The answer is easy…because they sell products. Usually people feel more comfortable holding and reading something, than scanning through an online PDF. It makes your company more tangible. Today anyone can put up a website and plop a PDF on the site, but it does not mean that the company is reputable or will stand by their products. On the Internet the crowd of your potential competition is so immense that anything you can do to put your company in front of the prospect directly and without competition interference will make the difference in closing more sales.

It is also about how many times you can touch an prospect at the height of the their interest. Mailing a printed product catalog is another way you can reach out and touch your prospect.

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Here are a few tips for creating a product catalog that will increase your sales and not break your pocket book:

  • Use the basic principles of AIDA. Attract Attention, build Interest, create Desire and Ask for the order often.
  • Include a commonly asked question section to address common questions and objects.
  • Provide detailed information, high-quality product photos, and policy guidelines as well as contact information. You can also include a QR code or a link to your website for more information.
  • Feature your best-selling/most popular products in the upper right corner, where the eye is naturally drawn when flipping through a catalog.

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  • Cross-sell products using suggestions in product copy, call-outs, or by placing companion products together.
  • Portray a consistent brand image through the use of your company logo and corporate colors that are visible through all print materials, website, etc.
  • Include call-to-action inserts that can be easily updated for seasonal sales and offers.
  • Include a mix of customer testimonials that give readers a customer-centric insight into your products.
  • If you have a frequently changing product line, consider a mini-catalog that offers a brief overview of your product line with colorful product photos to pique interest.
  • Make sure your phone number is easy to find. You may want to direct people to your website to order, but many people like to talk to someone.

The last tip I can offer you is to invest the money and hire a professional graphic designer. Do not try to save money and do it yourself. Professional graphic design will generate ten-fold your sales from your product catalog over the money you save by trying to do it yourself.

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