Printed catalogs are an excellent way to put your products in front of consumers to grow your customer base, build brand awareness and most important—increase revenue. Kurt Salmon, a global consulting firm conducted a survey of women ages 18-30 about print catalogs. They found that 86% of them have purchased an item after seeing it in a catalog. Also, consumers have a higher level of interest and engagement with printed material and they read at a rate as much as 30% higher versus digital text.

8 Benefits of Printed Catalogs

1. Increased Revenue
Printed catalogs can significantly increase sales by easily pointing consumers to offers and special promotions. It may be on your website for convenient online ordering, or to one of your physical locations. 

2. Consumer Engagement
Billions of printed catalogs are distributed in the US each year, with roughly half the recipients viewing it as a positive advertising medium. Many of your potential and existing customers prefer to shop with catalogs, because they can view it at their convenience and save it for future ordering.

3. Multichannel Marketing
A print catalog is a great way to promote your website and point them to your social media channels. How-to videos and other posted digital content can motivate more sales and increase brand credibility. 

4. Product Enhancement
Exceptional photography coupled with product information such as descriptions, specifications and pricing make your products more attractive to your target audience.

5. Comprehensive Shopping
There is no limit to the size and scope of a printed catalog. You can present your complete line of products in a single catalog. Consumers can drill down to the specific product or products they are interested in, and see other items they were not aware of previously.

6. Consumer Retention
If a consumer has an interest in your products, they tend to keep the catalog for future reference and ordering. It means that your products and brand will be viewed multiple times, which increases the opportunity of multiple sales.

7. Targeted Distribution
Developing catalogs targeted to specific customer segments based on their purchase history is highly effective in increasing the probability of sales. Multiple versions of a catalog can be printed together or “ganged” with little to no additional print cost.

8. Higher Brand Loyalty
A catalog has an inherent level of worth and credibility with consumers. A company that distributes a printed catalog is displaying a confidence in their product line.

Catalogs for Direct Mail Campaigns

Catalogs can be large (the famous Sears catalog of old) because they are usually comprehensive and cover entire ranges and sometimes even all the stock items a company offers. However, they range from slim standard US letter-sized catalogs and pocket-sized booklets to large oversized formats that look and feel more like glossy coffee table books. Similarly, some catalogs are printed in full color while others are printed in black and white when appropriate to reduce printing costs.

When planning a catalog for a direct mail campaign, it is prudent to consider postage costs before making a decision in terms of the paper stock and catalog size. For instance, a custom size catalog might be exactly what you want to promote your brand, and unusual dimensions will certainly grab the attention of those at the receiving end. But a custom sized catalog will add to mailing costs.

While the US Postal Service (USPS) doesn’t have a category for catalogs, standard postage will usually fall into one of their other categories, depending on the size and format chosen. For example:

  • Machinable letters:
    • The maximum size for machinable letter mail is 11½ inches long x 61/8 inches wide and ¼ inch thick.
    • The maximum weight for machinable letter mail is 3½ oz.
    • Note that machinable letters are eligible for presort prices, non-machinable letters aren’t.
  • Booklets that have a bound edge (or spine):
    • The height must be between 6 ins and 3½ ins.
    • It should not be longer than 10 ½ ins or less than 5 ins long.
    • Minimum thickness is 0.009 ins and the maximum is ¼ in.
    • The maximum standard weight for booklets is 3 oz.
  • Some catalogs may be posted as parcels:
    • The minimum standard parcel size is 5 ins in length, 3½ ins in height, and 0.007 ins in thickness.
    • The maximum size is 12 ins long, 9 ins, high, and 2 ins thick.
    • The maximum weight is 70 lbs.

Choosing the Best Size for Your Catalogs

The most common standard catalog sizes are based on US letter sizes:

  • 11 x 17 ins folded to 8½ x 11 ins.
  • 8½ x 11 ins folded to 5½ x 8½ ins.

Multiple flat sheets are then bound together to form the catalog. The various pages are laid out on larger sheets for printing, to minimize wastage.

Catalog Formats

Catalogs, like booklets, are designed with multiples of four pages. This is because each sheet is folded in half and has a back and a front. This can be confusing to the layman because when the catalog is formatted (or paginated) for printing, the pages won’t appear to run logically. For instance, if there are a total of 16 pages in the catalog, pages 1 and 16 will be printed opposite one another, while page 2 will be printed on the same sheet as page 15. Pages 8 and 9 will be printed together.

But don’t worry. The sales team at Wallace Graphics is here to guide you through your next mail catalog campaign.

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