Catalogs.com Best Practices & Guidelines for Success

How do I get my leads?
Most Effective Use of Your Catalogs.com Leads
Tracking
Opt-In Email
e-Mail Best Practices
Click Traffic
Special Offers
Expert Advice Links
Patience Pays


1) HOW DO I GET MY LEADS?

Catalogs.com’s on-demand data transmission process allows you to pick-up your Catalogs.com customer lead data anytime you want.

After your listing on Catalogs.com becomes active, we will send you an e-mail containing your link and login information to Catalogs.com’s on-demand data transmission Internet page.

You can get your data in Excel or Comma Separated Text formats. Each time you pick-up your leads, the file you create is added to your pick-up history. You can retrieve old files from the history section at any time in the future. We also give you the ability to open your lead data in an Adobe PDF format that allows you to print directly to Avery 5160 address labels.

E-mail Notifications

We will be sending you an e-mail notification on Mondays and Thursdays as a reminder notice if you have leads that have not been picked-up. This e-mail notice is only a reminder, however, we recommend that you pick-up your customer leads daily or as often as possible. Leads are available for pick up anytime, whether you’ve received the notification or not.

After you log in

When you log in to pick-up your leads, you will have two options: "download new leads" and "view history".

The "download new leads" link only gives you the new leads that you have not already "picked up". The "view history" link gives you the past leads that you have already picked-up.

Administrative Changes

If you need to change your password, login e-mail address, or wish to add another person to the notification list, please call us at 954-659-9005 or e-mail: service@catalogs.com.

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2) MOST EFFECTIVE USE OF YOUR Catalogs.com LEADS

Importance of quick Mail-Out response time

When you get your leads from Catalogs.com, you should mail out your requested catalog immediately (preferably by first class mail). Studies show that the faster a prospective customer gets their requested catalog, the more likely they are to make a purchase. Prospects who request a catalog and get it 4 to 5 weeks later become cold prospects and are much less likely to make a purchase or even remember requesting your catalog.

In addition, other studies show that 50% to 70% of prospective customers who receive a print catalog use it as a reference when they make online purchases. So the importance of getting your catalog to a prospect quickly is increased if you also have an Internet e-commerce website.

Catalogs.com/DHL Express Fulfillment & Delivery Program

Catalogs.com considers it so important that prospective customers receive requested catalogs quickly, that we have formed a partnership with DHL Global Mail that allows us to mail your catalog out within 24 hours of when the prospective customer requests it.

This service delivers your catalog to the prospect typically within 2 to 6 days, with less than 4 days being the average delivery time (this is often faster than first class mail turn arounds). The DHL - Catalogs.com partnership is allowing Catalogs.com merchants to take advantage of this Express Fulfillment & Delivery Program for less than first class postage rates and avoids your administrative time and expense in processing your catalog requests.

Please contact the Catalogs.com Express Fulfillment department at 954-659-9005 to learn more.
Here's a link to a presentation about the Catalogs.com/DHL Express FUlfillment Program.

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3) TRACKING

Proper tracking of leads

The most effective way of tracking the performance of the customer leads your company receives from Catalogs.com is by matching back the customer name or address. Whenever a customer makes a purchase by mail, phone, fax or Internet, the name, address or e-mail address of the customer who made the purchase should be matched with your prospect database.

Using catalog source codes or offer codes alone to track sales is not very effective since customers often forget or decline to use them.

That’s why the best way to track is by using a combination of match back and source/offer codes. However, keep in mind that even with the use of proper tracking tools, many sales go undetected, as in the cases where requested catalogs are passed along to family, friends & co-workers, or when customers purchase directly from the catalog's website or purchase using a different name or address than the one used to request the catalog.

The following story describes how Hanover Direct found success with its tracking and matching back: read more

Google Analytics Users:

When using Google Analytics to track traffic to your website from Catalogs.com, you'll need to set up a "campaign" in the analytics program dedicated to Catalogs.com. Special links will need to be created that correctly identify Catalogs.com as the source of the traffic. You can create those links with Google's URL Builder Tool here.

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4) OPT-IN E-MAIL

Use of opt-in e-mail addresses provided in Catalogs.com leads

Every prospective customer who requests a catalog from Catalogs.com must fill out a request form and provide their name, physical address and e-mail address. Our catalog request page states that the prospective customer will be receiving your e-mail newsletter when they sign up to receive your catalog. These e-mail addresses are opted-in to you, and may be used freely as long as your e-mailed newsletters comply with all regulations and have a clear opt-out option.

Importance of quick e-mail response time

When you get your leads from Catalogs.com, you should e-mail your prospective customer immediately with a welcome e-mail, newsletter or special offer. Studies show that the faster a prospective customer is contacted, the more likely they are to make a purchase. Prospects who request information and are not contacted in a timely manner become cold prospects and are much less likely to make a purchase or even remember requesting your catalog and newsletter.

E-mail campaigns are a very effective tool in reinforcing your brand and may significantly increase the longevity and effectiveness of your catalog mailing. Print catalogs augmented with e-mail campaigns and a robust e-commerce web site work together to significantly increase your overall conversion.

If you do not have the time or expertise to design and execute an effective e-mail campaign, we recommend using a professional e-mail company. We have used a service called Vertical Response and find them to be a good solution to easily, cheaply and legally perform e-mail campaigns for us. They are completely web based, provide tools and templates for e-mail design, and perform a thorough inspection of each e-mail campaign to ensure it meets with all regulations and laws regarding commercial e-mail transmission. They also handle all opt-outs for you, so administration of your e-mail campaign is quick and easy.

Vertical Response contact information:
Maria Valentine
VerticalResponse, Inc.
631.243.4373 - direct
866.681.6004 - fax
maria@verticalresponse.com
www.VerticalResponse.com

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5) E-MAIL BEST PRACTICES


E-mail Do's & Don'ts

Q - How many e-mails should I send before my prospects are removed from our mailing program?

You should keep e-mailing subscribers until they opt-out

As long as you have a clear opt-out policy (make unsubscribing easy, taking no more than two clicks, and honor opt-out requests immediately) you should keep e-mailing subscribers until they opt-out.

Email marketing is still #1 in terms of your marketing ROI. It has the highest conversion rate of any online marketing channel and it’s the most personal, direct way to reach someone

First of all, pick up your Catalogs.com e-mail lists frequently. Don't let them get stale.

Send Email Frequently

After sending around 4 emails per month, your unsubscribe rate falls dramatically.

That means if you’re already sending one email a week (which you should be), then you could even increase that (if you wanted to based on they types of products you sell), and your unsubscribe rate wouldn’t go up significantly.

You should test the frequency of your e-mail by doing A/B testing. Send more frequently to a segment of your list and track open rates & conversion. Settle on a frequency that suits your business.

Some prospects may not need your product right now, but if you have decently designed, informative, attractive e-mails, the subscriber might delete them but not opt-out.

When they have a need for your product and you have a good offer, they will purchase from you.

.

Never make an email opt-in mandatory for a customer interaction.

Q - What Types of offers have you seen work best

Incentivize or give deals and offers to get people to remain opted-in.

Free shipping without conditions alleviates purchase anxiety

Percent discounts without a threshold

Dollar off discounts with low threshold

Free coupons or trial offers

You can also use content incentives like online catalogs, webinars, whitepapers, contests or kits.

However just like your subject lines, stay away from sales-y words like “demo” or “consultation”.


Q - How should I design my e-mails?

Keep your e-mails interesting and engaging

Send more visual emails. Give people images they can click (like a Groupon email) and they can read more on your website if they’re interested.

Create A Powerful Subject Line

Tell the reader what they’ll get from opening your email.

Beware of sales-y jargon or high pressure words that are supposed to create urgency. It seems people are sick of them. Subject lines with words like “consultation”, “solution”, etc. usually perform poorly.

Subject lines are shrinking.

Shorter subject lines are desirable, due in part to the way lines fit within a vertical mobile device screen (longer subject lines get cut off in the mobile inbox)

Personalize e-mails

Another great tip is to personalize emails wherever possible. You’re going to see better results anytime you can add the person’s name, or their company name in the subject line.

Send Visual Emails

88% of people say they like emails from companies to be in HTML. Some people might assume plain text might be better because it’s more personal. But the data doesn’t lie.

Placing key messaging points above “the fold” is less crucial.

With subscribers reading emails from desktops, phones or tablets, we can’t declare a certain marker as the “fold,” or the place at which a subscriber will have to scroll down to see the rest of your email. We’re also seeing innovative design moves that play with the fold, pulling the reader’s eye down in creative ways that entice scrolling. While it’s still important that subscribers can grasp the point of an email with just a glance, we’re backing away from old best practices designating a certain line on the email as the fold.

Experiment with Action Based Buttons & Calls-to-Action

The actual Call-To-Action text you use will impact your conversion rate.

You might need to test different words and phrases to see what works best for you. One tip is to try using action-based phrases like “Sign Up” or “Get Started”. This should coincide with what the reader is expecting to do.

Otherwise use something non-committal like “Click Here”, or “Go”, which perform better than “Submit”, “Download”, and “Register”. The word “Submit” in particular is one of the worst performing phrases you can use (even though it’s the default for most).


Q - What are the best days and times to send my e-mails?

There are various days and times to send, and not send e-mail campaigns

Send emails in the early morning.

An email campaign puts together multiple emails to tell a story over time. When it comes to email marketing, you can never know for sure if a customer will see your email message or whether your offer or promotion was received at the right time. An email campaign increases the chance that your customers see a relevant product offer at a time when they’re considering a purchase.

The Best Performing Days and Times

Click Through Rate (CTR) is higher on Saturday and Sunday

Unsubscribe rate is higher on Tuesdays

Experiment sending emails on weekends.

Click Through Rate (CTR) is higher from 4:00 AM – 8:00 AM

Unsubscribe rate is the same

The Way Subscribers Read Email

Regardless of what device your subscribers are using, email viewing is different from browsing online or reading a magazine. Subscribers aren’t necessarily looking for anything in particular, and the imperative to engage them is as great as ever.

Q - How can I increase the relevance of my e-mails to increase my conversion rate?

Increase Relevance with Segmentation

You can easily increase relevance through segmentation.

You can separate your email subscribers into smaller, more targeted groups based on their interests, actions, and other attributes.

By examining the buying patterns of past customers who open e-mails and the success of previous e-mail campaigns, divide your list into subsections bases on past behavior and send e-mails containing content relevant to that segment.

Previous customers who bought product should be shown related products in their e-mail.

Upgrades to products they've already purchased

Accessories to products they've already purchased

Similar products


If your business is seasonal or cyclic, send those customers e-mails geared to their season or cycle.

Seasonal products could be segmented

Gardening products & seeds

Wedding related products

Clothing

Hunting and Fishing

Pool & yard

Costumes & Novelties

Food Gifts

are just a few examples of viable customer segments.

General segmentation could include:

Male oriented products

Female oriented products

Teen oriented Products

Geographic segmentation

Age Segmentation (if you have that information)

are just a few examples of viable general segments.

Whatever attributes you can find about customers who buy from you should be used to target specifically designed e-mails to those buyer segments.

Q - How can I pick the best types of e-mails to send to prospects and buyers?

Track your e-mails carefully

Aggressively track bounces, undeliverables, unsubscribes, opens, site visits from e-mail campaigns and ultimately sales from each e-mail campaign you send.

Use a reputable, white-listed e-mail delivery company to send your e-mails. The company you choose must be able to provide you with the statistics mentioned above and hold historical data so you can compare different campaigns over long periods of time. At least several months.

Ongoing Testing

Perform A/B testing by sending different versions of your e-mail design to each half of each segment you e-mail to and compare results.

If significantly better results from the same segment come from one or the other of the test e-mails, you should analyze each e-mail design and incorporate the features of the best performer into your next campaign.

Every business is different and will find through testing which e-mail methods work best for them. Also hold in mind that with the advent of mobile devices and tablets, e-mail best practices will change fairly quickly, so keep abreast of new developments by subscribing to various e-mail newsletters from online marketing magazines and the DMA.


The Most Important Thing

Have an e-mail campaign in place and use it to your advantage.

To reiterate -

Email marketing to opt-in customers is still #1 in terms of your marketing ROI . It has the highest conversion rate of any online marketing channel and it’s the most personal, direct way to reach prospects and customers



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6) CLICK TRAFFIC

Proper tracking of click traffic

An important component of Catalogs.com’s service is to provide your website with links and click traffic. Catalogs.com drives a tremendous amount of traffic to our merchants, and we want to make sure that you can track the clicks and the sales generated from that traffic.

We encourage all of our merchants to provide us with a tracking URL. We also suggest you invest in a good web analytics software package that lets you know where traffic and sales are coming from.

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7) SPECIAL OFFERS

Effective use of special offers

Another important component of the Catalogs.com program is Savings Certificate offers. Most merchants on the Catalogs.com website have a special offer for shoppers. The best converting special offers are free shipping or a dollar amount or percentage discount.

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8) EXPERT ADVICE LINKS

Here are some useful links to organizations, newsletters, articles and tools that will help you institute and maintain best practices.

DM News
www.dmnews.com

Direct Magazine
www.directmag.com

The Direct Marketing Association
www.the-dma.org

Catalog Success
www.catalogsuccess.com

"Catalogs Drive Online Sales" (article)  Read

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9) PATIENCE PAYS

Depending on your product line, price points and selection, you should allow for a minimum of 3 to 6 months before you can start effectively analyzing your results.

As with any successful direct mail and e-mail campaign, we all know that shoppers do not always buy on the first mailing. That’s why it’s important for you to re-mail your catalogs and re-email your newsletters on consistent intervals and monitor your results.

Remember the results of your Catalogs.com program are highly dependent on how effectively you use all of the tools referenced above. However, equally important is the quality and selection of your catalog, your website and your overall company service.

As a valued Catalogs.com client, we invite and encourage you to use our expertise to help you make your marketing efforts more effective. Call us anytime with questions about marketing, website design effectiveness, search engine optimization tips and any other questions you may have. We're glad to help. Your success is our most important goal. Call us at 954-659-9005.

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