Alternative Media for Catalog Prospecting The Right Formula (1
n Within a chosen medium, consider what other advertisers are doing. Is your competition present? Call non-
competitive advertisers who are repeatedly present in your chosen medium and ask about their results.
n Consider timing in conjunction with your offer, and the offer must be considered when choosing the media.
Create the Right Offer
The first decision to make when creating your ad is whether to ask prospects to request a catalog (two steps) or actually buy a product (one step). The price of your products often will determine the appropriate method.
Either way, create your offer with the answers to these two questions in mind: "What do I have to offer that will motivate a prospect to act immediately?" and "How can I convince prospects they'll be missing out on something special if they don't act immediately?"
Creating the perfect offer is the most difficult component to creating a successful alternative media prospecting campaign. The offer must be simple and easy to understand (and easy to represent), and you must give prospects an easy and safe method for responding.
For a two-step offer, remember that the word "FREE" (notice the all caps) is the most attention-getting word in the English language, and a catalog can be offered for free. However, you may find your response is high and conversion is low. To rectify, either charge for your catalog with a credit toward a future purchase or, if your price points are on the high end, indicate pricing somewhere in your ad. This will decrease response, but prospects will be more qualified.
Developing a one-step program is more difficult but can be more profitable. The payoff is a more qualified prospect and a method that may even pay for itself. Consider the following when choosing to highlight one product that will entice profitable prospects to your catalog: