Top 10 Creative Catalog Promotion Ideas
Written by: Lindsay Shugerman
Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Looking for some new and exciting catalog promotion ideas?
New ways to get people to request your catalog, or pay more attention to it once it’s in their hands?
Here are our top ten creative choices for making that catalog something everyone wants to read.
10. Where’s the mascot?
Take a clue from the popular Where’s Waldo series and other “find it” books, and let readers win discounts or special deals if they can find the mascot in the catalog. Hide it well, then offer clues on your website or Facebook pages to increase engagement.
9. Mistakes get you money
Plant errors and typos throughout the catalog, and then use social media to let people know that the first to find each mistake wins cash or a gift card. Limit it to one prize per winner, and keep a tally of errors found and winners on your blog, website and social sites.
8. And the story goes on….
One of the tricks old magazines used to keep people buying and reading their magazines was to include a piece of an ongoing story in each issue. Readers got hooked and eagerly waited for the next installment.
Why not use this same trick in your catalog and other marketing pieces, with a part of the story in your print catalog, the next chapter in your online catalog, then another in the next paper catalog, and so on. You can even work in some of your products or services if you’re really creative!
7. Scavenger hunt!
Offering prizes is a tested and proven method of promoting a business. But having customers searching your catalog for the items guarantees they’ll see everything you have to offer.
The nature of the prize, and the specific rules are up to you. Consider using an outside contest management company to avoid any changes of rigged or fake contests — that kind of publicity a catalog never needs.
6. From the video to the catalog and back again
Video is a huge part of the marketing mix these days, so use it to your advantage. Send paper (and online) catalog readers to videos to see your products in action, to watch assembly instructions, or to see real people using what you sell.
Not only will it increase engagement, you’ll get an SEO benefit from the video, and that could spell more traffic for your website.
5. Tweet the treats
Twitter is the ideal venue for quick messages and real time updates, so use it to offer short term discounts and daily specials. Drive followers to the online version of your catalog, or to web pages highlighting items from your paper catalog.
4. Let the customers write the copy
Your customers’ opinions carry a lot of weight with prospects, so why not ask your customers to write some of your catalog copy? Run it as a contest, or simply invite readers to submit their own product descriptions with the understanding that some may be used in the catalog. Give credit to the chosen writer, and you’re guaranteed to have a loyal follower forever.
3. Real people, real products
Years ago, LL Bean used its own staff to model the clothes. G. Neil, an HR company, still uses staff throughout their catalogs and promotions. But what about using your customers? Let customers enter to model your clothes or show your products in action, then use some of those shots in your next catalogs. Not only will the proud models check out their page, they’re sure to order extra catalogs to share with friends, family, coworkers and classmates.
2. Think outside the page
Who says a catalog has to be all made of paper? I once received a catalog on a Viewmaster disk, with the slide view included. Another catalog, a paper one this time, arrived in a mailing tube. The catalog itself was printed on a scroll. Paper yes, ordinary and easy to ignore, no. Something I shared and talked about? Absolutely!
1. Shout it from the mountain tops
When it comes to your catalog, there’s nothing wrong with self-promotion. Send it to your local newspaper business reporters (and the national ones, too, if your distribution goes that far). Give it to friends, family members and your buddy at the gym. Leave copies in hospital waiting rooms and among the freebie newspapers at the local diner. Mail it to leading bloggers in your niche market, with a request that they give you feedback. (Not asking them to promote it is ironically more likely to land you a mention.)