Creative Marketing Solutions: Fresh, Effective Strategies for Attracting Clients and Customers from Marcia Yudkin
  Free Newsletter Consulting Coaching Products Seminars About Us Home
  Publicity Ideas InfoMarketing Site Review/Redesign Copywriting Get Published Affiliate Program
     
Ø Publicity for Profit: 18 Case Studies of Media Coverage, yours free with a subscription to The Marketing Minute

Each Wednesday, receive a free tip on creative marketing
   Email address:

Your email address is kept private!

Ø Learn how to become a marketing consultant in 10 weeks

Ø Recommended resources

Ø Contact us

 

 
 

How to Create Your First Product Catalog

by Marcia Yudkin

When you’re shipping any tangible items to customers, whether it’s CDs, books, course manuals, electronics devices or cosmetics, it’s time to create a product catalog to enclose with the order. The catalog takes advantage of customers’ buying momentum. They open your shipment and feel happy to see what they ordered. That positive feeling leads them to flip through an enclosed product catalog in a good mood, inclined to buy more. All in all, the catalog helps set up a dynamic where you and the customer are building a long-term relationship instead of transacting a one-time sale.

Likewise, if you sell services, a catalog helps you earn extra revenue from each client. Why simply recommend items they need in the course of implementing your advice when you can earn a commission from vendors you present to clients? This strategy doesn’t require you to keep any inventory, since you can forward orders to the vendors, who fulfill them for you. 

Overwhelmed by Having to Describe 17 (or 1,777) Products? 
Never be brain-dead again when it comes to making items sound distinctive and tantalizing.  This how-to manual and brainstorming guide comes to the rescue, with the keys to effective product descriptions for print or online catalogs or sales pieces.  Catalog copywriting made easy.  

Don’t have additional (or any) products yet for a catalog? No problem! Simply find products that have a thematic relationship to yours and that have an affiliate program. For instance, if you’re a financial planner, go to sites like affiliateguide.com or associateprograms.com and find affiliate programs for other financially related products like budget organizers, commercial or real estate loans, a course on how to raise capital, custom-designed checks and more that you can offer in your catalog. 

Five Steps to Creating Your First Catalog

When you’ve decided on the products for your catalog, follow the steps I recently took to make my first catalog a reality.

1. Create a rough mockup. Because of the size of the products I most often ship, I decided on a 7” by 8½” format, which is legal-sized paper folded over and stapled in the center. A 8½ by 11” format would have required me to use larger shipping envelopes than I’d otherwise need. With eight information bundles, which each needed one or two pages of descriptive copy, along with an order form, front and back covers, etc., I figured a 20-page catalog would give me sufficient selling space. 

After folding five sheets of legal-sized paper to the size of my 20-page catalog, I penned in “front cover” on page 1, “table of contents” on page 2, “blank” on the back cover and on page 19 just before that, “order form” on pages 17 and 18, and product names in the middle according to which products I thought needed a two-page selling spread and which could be sold on one page.

Master Information Marketing - From Product Creation to Sales
In seven step-by-step lessons, learn the easiest, most profitable ways to begin packaging and selling what you know. Move from making money only when you're working to enjoying while-you-sleep income. Launch Your Information Empire course details.

2. Create product descriptions. For most of my products, I already had product descriptions at my web site that I edited to fit my catalog layout. For one new product, I created copy from scratch for the catalog, then reversed the adaptation process so that I transported that copy to my web site as well. In a few cases, a lot of fiddling was required to make the text fit the available space. 

Where you have too little copy to fill your layout, insert tips, testimonials, excerpts, photos, graphics, quotations from famous people, special catalog offers or other sidebars. These help make your pages look more visually varied, in addition to plugging up blank spots.

3. Finish the “front matter.” I put numerous teasers on my front cover and a more traditional table of contents on page 2, which also contained my bio and contact information. Many catalogs begin with a letter from the founder or company president and his or her photo. Be sure to make this section both inviting and informative, suitable both for first-time buyers and for long-time customers.

4. Create the order form. This can be much more challenging than you’d imagine, because it forces you to anticipate not only all the information you need to fulfill orders, but also everything any type of customer needs to know to place their order. For instance, did you make it possible for people order more than one of each item? Some people have a billing address and a different shipping address. You might need to charge some customers sales tax. And what about rush shipping?

I placed my order form on a right-hand page and all the ordering policies, such as shipping fees and guarantees, on the left-hand page beside it.

Eradicate Wordiness - Guidelines and Exercises for Practice  
Learn how to get your point across in one page or how to satisfy a strict word count for magazine or newsletter editors.  Find out how to identify and cut repetition, eliminate excess verbiage, make your point fast and convey a wealth of facts in a small space.  My longwinded clients asked for this!  Become more concise.

5. Get it printed. Though I proofread the catalog several times, I started with a few hundred made up at my copy shop so I could correct any mistakes that turned up. At my local copy shop, the catalogs emerged from their machine folded and stapled for just 81 cents each. When I’m ready for a bigger print run, a print shop should be able to reduce that price.

Now when I ship products, I’m not merely fulfilling orders. The enclosed catalog invites new ones. And with its prices ranging from $147 to $897, just one or two bounce-back orders more than pay for all the catalogs I’ve printed so far. I only wish I’d gotten this done sooner! 

Copyright 2007 Marcia Yudkin.  All rights reserved.

Learn more about Marcia's comprehensive information marketing course.

Read other articles about information marketing.


 

 
   
Inspired! by Marcia Yudkin
Publicity Ideas from Marcia Yudkin
Copywriting Techniques from Marcia Yudkin
Web Site Makeovers from Marcia Yudkin
 
  © 1999 - Creative Ways - Marcia Yudkin.  Privacy policy:  We never share your e-mail information.  Period.