B-to-B Insights: Standout Performance
Sensible organization, crisp photography, bold graphics and powerful copywriting are a few of the keys to a successful B-to-B catalog. But experienced catalog marketers also use dozens of sales-boosting gimmicks that have little to do with the basics of salesmanship or good copywriting. All we know is that these tricks of the trade work—and that’s reason enough to use them.
Here are 10 tips that can help improve your B-to-B catalog, and in their simplest form, improve your direct mail:
1. Include a letter. To add a personal touch to your product catalog, write a personal letter to your customers from the president of your firm. The letter can be printed inside the front cover or run off on letterhead and mailed along with the catalog. You can use this type of letter to introduce the catalog, explain your ordering system, state a company philosophy, stress your company’s dedication to service and quality, or alert the reader to new, discounted and other special offerings. Whatever your message, adding a letter to a catalog often increases readership and sales.
2. Bursts. Often used by cereal-makers to alert children to the prize inside the box, the burst (a star-shaped graphic with a copy line inside) also can draw a reader to special items within a catalog. Bursts can highlight price-off deals, free trials, guarantees and quantity discounts. Use bursts and other special graphic techniques—such as underlining, color or boldface type, fake handwriting—sparingly. Overuse dilutes their effects.
3. Last-minute specials. Insert a sheet into your catalog featuring items added to your product line or discounted at the last minute. This can be a pull-out or panel on the order form. Tell the customer these bargains were included just in time for mailing, but too late to print in the catalog. This insert generates additional sales because people like to be “in” on the
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.