8 Blunders To Avoid When Creating Catalogs

31 03 2009

Blunder #1 – Giving all products equal billing
All of your products should have their dedicated layout space, but give your bestselling products center stage. Use a half page or whole page close to the front when printing catalogs for your bestselling items and give your not-so-popular items an eighth or a fourth of a page near the back.

Throwing some of your not-well-known products onto a page that has a best-selling product is a great way to inform readers of a product they might have skimmed over if it was on a back page. By mixing bestsellers with up-and-coming products, you’ll find greater visibility equals more sales.

Blunder #2 – Using headlines to describe products
The headline should be used as a catchy way to pull people into the page, not just as another place to describe the item. It’s boring to re-read the headline on a page in the first descriptive paragraph of a product.

Blunder #3 – Making your contact info hard to find
Put your phone number on every page so customers don’t have to search for it. Also include your Web site address. The footer is a popular place for both of these items. Be sure your complete address, phone number, fax number, email address and Web site address are on the back of the catalog as well as on the order form. This makes it convenient for the customer to reach you.

Blunder #4 – Forgetting discounts
If you have an item on sale in your store, consider matching the discount in your catalog. Some catalog marketers actually do the opposite to boost catalog sales and make an item on sale through the catalog only. Whatever your discount, make sure it’s prominently displayed on the cover of your catalog.

Blunder #5 – Cluttering pages
If you put too many products on a page, your design will look cluttered and the page won’t be appealing to look at. If people turn the page because they don’t want to take the time to look through all the graphics and text, you can lose major sales.

Blunder # 6 – Forgetting to include a call to action
Make sure you tell the customer to fill out that order form and mail it in right away or to call you to get a special discount. If you don’t tell customers what to do, they won’t do anything at all.

Blunder #7 – Incomplete product descriptions
Your product descriptions should be as complete as possible. The copy should include colors, materials, exact measurements – only things the customer needs to make an educated decision. This isn’t to say you can’t use persuasive words or fancy product details, but leave the “I” statements for the testimonials.

Blunder # 8 – Not writing for your catalog’s purpose
If your catalog is a mail-order catalog in which you expect people to pick up the phone or immediately mail in the order form, you’ll need longer copy that is very detailed. You’ll want to make sure you provide complete product information and specs so the consumer can make an educated decision. A catalog that is used as a sales aid can be shorter and afford a barebones, just-the-facts type of tone. With this purpose of catalog, your salesperson has probably at least mentioned the products, if not gone into great detail about the products in person, so the reader doesn’t need a detailed recap.

By avoiding these 8 blunders while designing and writing your catalog, you’ll come away with a clear catalog that is organized and appealing to your customers.

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