Dear Friend for Catalog Results,

No, I haven't really lost my mind! Please read on...

Do you realize how much time and money has been put into supermarket marketing? Do you realize how much they’ve learned about shoppers from it? Plenty. So today let’s see if we can take advantage of all that to make our catalogs more responsive.

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #1:

 A Department of Agriculture study concluded that it is how far shoppers walk, and not the time spent shopping that determines how much money will be spent.

 Now how does this relate to your catalog? Could it be that more emphasis is needed to keep those potential buyers moving through your catalog and looking at products on every page? And how can we do this?

 Start with grabbers (little handwritten notes, boxes with information, even something like a sign) that will get their attention and refer them to items on other pages that will go with or enhance what they are currently looking at.

 You can also include a message in the copy block explaining where they will find what they need to compliment the item that now has their attention.

 For items displayed on the cover, be sure to explain where they will find it. And make your table of contents more interesting, exciting and easy to follow with a small illustration of what type of products will be found inside.

 Are there any more ways to speed that prospect through our catalog? There probably are if we think about it a little longer. But in general, making our copy, design and graphics as exciting, fun and entertaining as possible will payoff big! There’s nothing like boredom to stop them dead in their tracks.

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #2:

 Did you realize that most supermarkets steer shoppers immediately into the produce section? That’s because in this section customers can feel and smell the food, unlike the meat section where items are hermetically sealed in plastic or the snack section where the products are locked up in bags. The smell of fresh fruits and vegetables gets a shopper’s mouth watering, and of course, the best customer is a hungry one. This also gives the effect of a bounty of freshness — as if you were entering a true open-air market.

 Now let’s focus back on your catalog. What products do you offer that will get your customer’s mouths watering? Items that they can almost touch, smell and taste? Items that will make them hungry for the rest of your offerings?

 Since we can’t use scratch and sniff in our catalogs (besides what would software or furniture smell like?) how can we still emulate this idea? If you are offering gourmet foods, you could use descriptive, flowery catalog copy that describes the tastes. 

 Here’s a great catalog marketing idea: Since we are easily influenced by others, showing someone tasting your products (only if you are selling edibles, please). Seeing someone bite into a big juicy apple may be just as good as actually handling and smelling the product. The fragrance of cosmetics could also be described in flowery terms and even showing someone smelling something, or being effected by a girl wearing the perfume!

 So let’s take our most appetizing and exciting catalog products, no matter what they are, and display them prominently and as enticing as possible, and as close to the beginning of the catalog as you can. This should get your prospects excited and their mouths watering for the rest of your products. Go ahead, display them right, describe them emotionally and show someone using them. This is a great formula for catalog results.

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #3:

 If your supermarket manager is on the ball, as you enter the produce section, the first items you will see are the apples. That’s because they are the most popular item in the produce section, almost twice as popular as oranges and bananas.

 Do you do the same thing with your catalog? Placing the most popular items in the front of your catalog and maybe even on the cover?

 Another idea is tell your customers which items are most popular. A box listing your top ten products will make these items seem more interesting and may call attention to an item they missed. Actually, this is another way to call attention to items on other pages as we were covering in item #1.

 It just occured to me that... You want a catalog that sells. so show people buying your products! This may seem odd, but have you ever noticed that products in a store seem more appealing when others are interested in them?

 Actually, if I had a store, I would hire a couple of people just to go around and look interested in the merchandise, start playing with and make loud comments like "This is really Great!", "I can rally use this!"

 How can you picture people interested in your products and using them? I'll bet you can come up with some great, imaginative ideas!

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #4:

 Store brands carry a higher profit margin than name brands, so these are placed to the right of the name brands. Simply because most people are right-handed and it will be easier to grab the store brand. Plus we tend to read from the left to the right.

 How can this secret give you a catalog that sells? While your customers aren’t actually picking up your products, you will find that products on the right half of a page and right-hand pages get more attention. Maybe placing the most profitable items to right?

 This idea can also help you increase the response of your ads by proper placement. An ad on a right page will always outpull one on the left.

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #5:

 How can you convince a shopper that doesn’t need an item to not only buy one, but to buy several?

 You are walking down the supermarket aisle, you’re in front of the sugar. You don’t need any sugar today, but the sign says Domino’s five pound bag is on sale for $1.29. You’re still not convinced. Then you notice that there’s a limit of four bags per customer. So you start thinking that this must really be a good deal if there’s a limit! Off you go with four bags of sugar in your cart, sugar that you really didn’t need to buy today.

 Does it work? Will it work in your catalog? Consider taking several items you have on sale and placing limits on them and see what happens.

 A study in Psychology and Marketing found that people are more likely to buy an item that has a limit, just as kids want candy when they are told they can’t have it. And for some odd reason, shoppers are also more likely to buy an item when it is marked “limit four” than “limit two.”

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #6:

 To grow brand sales, you can increase the range of situations it is used in instead of other products. Increasing the number of situations your product is used in can have dramatic effects on sales. An example of category expansion would be “Pepsi in the AM” — A few years ago, Pepsi pushed to have people drink cola in the morning instead of coffee. Arm & Hammer sales have skyrocketed since 1969 when they changed the marketing focus of baking soda. Instead of being a baking product, it was marketed as a multi-use household necessity. 

 There are certain items in catalogs that your customers may be able to use more than one of. Often when I’m writing catalog copy, I try to increase multiple sales by putting in a discount price for buying more than one. You may not see this often, but it does work.

 Now take it a step farther, stur their imagination, tell them why they may need more than one. Give them additional times to use or new ways to use it. Tell them how they can use this item instead  of something else they may be using. Our catalog buyers are like sheep, you have to lead them, tell them why they need more then one, tell them to go ahead and buy more while they can save big bucks!

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #7:

 A customer might normally buy 2 or 3 cans of soup without giving it any thought. In effect they “anchor” on the number 2 or 3 when they decide how many to buy. If you could increase that number through marketing, purchase amounts would rise as well.

 Four studies across 89 supermarkets and 259 adults showed promotions that introduced high external anchors had a strong effect on the number of goods purchased. Multi-Unit Pricing (3 for $3, rather than $1 a can), Purchase Limits (limit 4/person), and Suggestive Selling (buy 10 so you won’t run out) all three increased how many of a product a person bought from 30% to 105%.

 Just like everything else in your catalog, we must concentrate on the little things, little things that will have big effects. Word everything to make the most of each offer. Don’t forget, the main purpose of your catalog is to sell, not just display items!

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #8:

 Because the best viewing angle is 15 degrees below the horizontal, the choicest elevation on any aisle has been measured at 51 to 53 inches off the floor. Studies have shown that toothbrushes, if placed at eye level, will increase in sales by 8 percent.

 And where would eye level be in your catalog? I would assume along or slightly below the center. So, if all this is accurate and can be translated into catalogs, our most profitable items should placed along a horizontal strip going across the center of each page, but more to the right side of each page or on right pages.

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #9:

 Experts in shelf management have determined that juice is best located in a special horizontal bin at the bottom of refrigeration cases.

 Is this just because it is easier to remove these big containers by lifting them up instead of pulling them towards you? Or do consumers like to see big bulky items along the bottom? I don’t have the answer to this one, but I prefer to see larger items along the bottom of catalog pages, it just seems to be more natural and better balanced.

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #10:

 A study of 460 adults showed that comparing your product to products within the category you want to enter can increase usage of a product. If your product is similar to what’s in the category, showing differences makes the ad more believable. If your product is different, emphasizing similarities will make the ad more believable.

 When two products are similar, ads emphasizing differences rather than similarities generated higher belief ratings (72% positive versus 64%). When two products are relatively dissimilar, ads emphasizing similarities rather than differences generated higher belief ratings and importance weights 74% versus 67%).

 As an example, if Clorox is looking for consumers to replace powdered cleaner with their bleach, Clorox should emphasize similarities (disinfecting power, convenience) rather difference (clean smell, bleaching power).

 Consider the products in your catalog that you feel are just as good or better than those being advertised nationally, or are very popular in a competitor’s catalog. Go ahead and mention those competing products in your copy to grab some of their business, but do it the right way.

 When you compare your product with other products, it evokes certain attributes and traits. The key is you want your product to be seen as different, but not wildly so. If your product is seen as too similar to what you are looking to replace, the consumer will see no need to switch. If the product is seen as too dissimilar, it will not be viewed as a viable alternative. Have you ever tried using copy and ads that compared your products or catalog to your competition, or do you just wait for everyone to realize that your products are better than those that are selling so well?

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #11:

 Probably the most well-known supermarket layout theory is put milk at one end and bread at the other in order to force the shopper to trek the length of the place.

 Interesting, but would it work in your catalog? Maybe placing your two best sellers at both ends of your catalog? But it’s not like a market, they can take a shortcut and go right to the back of your catalog. The best bet is to make each page of your catalog so exciting, interesting and fun that they will gladly get involved in each page without even realizing it. And of course little teasers getting them to go to another page work well. 

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #12:

 Turns out you will sell more soup if it’s shelved out of alphabetical order: How much? When soup is alphabetized, sales drop exactly 6 percent.

 You may have different thoughts on this, but I’ve found that in catalogs, the easier you make it to find a product and order it, the more you will sell. Although you could always throw in little items that are completely out of order, if done properly, just to spice things up a little. I’ve helped a number of catalogers increase sales by arranging products in the right order so that everything went together well. Of course I always try to play up the pages they can go to and find products that will go with or enhance the one they are interested in. 

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #13:

 Shelf placement can dramatically effect how one product can enhance or take away from another. While Tang might be negatively compared with canned fruit juices (lower juice content), it compares favorably when placed next to powdered sugar drinks like Kool-Aid (more nutritious).

 This may give you something to think about. Just how well do all products on each of your catalog pages go together?

Powerful Catalog Marketing Idea #14:

 The supermarket is designed to make you feel omnipotent by astounding you with options. But it’s mostly show. Dazzled by a plethora of international cheeses, most customers retreat to the familiar - American, Swiss, mozzarella.

 Could it be that we stick too closely to our square inch analysis? Sure, get rid of those dogs if they aren’t pulling their weight. But what if we added a few products, never expecting them to make money, but using their presence to boost the image or sales mood of the catalog, in turn increasing overall sales? 

 Maybe a market won’t sell a lot of the expensive gourmet cheeses, but does including them make the market a more exciting place to be? (By the way, I located a rather expensive cheese that’s imported from Sweden. It’s made with vodka and peppercorns. Worth trying, if you can find it.)

 While the addition of certain slow-moving items may boost the overall image of your catalog, I believe that many shoppers, especially catalog shoppers are looking for something different and exotic, and these slow-movers may eventually turn into best-sellers!

 Neiman-Marcus became famous for their holiday catalogs with the extremely extravagant items. Is there something that you could add, not expecting to really sell any and then capitalize on the publicity? A few years back, Sharper Image was offering a fiberglass climbing mountain for something like $15,000. They got a lot of publicity from it. They didn’t expect to sell many, but just wanted to do something interesting and make the catalog more exciting.

 What crazy item or items could you add to your catalog that would get you a million dollars worth of free publicity?

 PARDON ME? Remomber back in 2001, when President Clinton was leaving office and he issued (or sold) all those presidential pardons? The news coverage never ended. So, deciding to make a political statement, I started issuing presidential pardons for the common man. 

 The folks who couldn't afford the million bucks for a pardon, like Marc Rich could order one from me for only $6.95! These were personalized with their name and were beautufully printed on parchment. With the actual official pardon wording, a beautiful shot of the White House, a fake President Clinton signature, but a realistic presidential seal, they looked more authentic than the more expensive ones my competitor, Mr. Clinton was offering.

 Everyone loved them! A lot of politicians, judges and military officers were buying them. Someone in a federal prison ordered one. Not sure if it got him out.  I was having fun, selling them through a website and on eBay. Then it snowballed. It hit the wire services. FOX TV sent a limo out for me and put me on FOX News & FOX & Friends. (I just kept holding up a pardon for the camera and giving out my website URL every couple of minutes.)

 Radio stations picked it up and a bunch of radio interviews kept me busy, Neal Bortz played it up on his talk radio program and put a link from his website to mine, which gave me more orders than anything else.

 The moral of this story is do something crazy and you'll get a million dollars worth of publicity (or maybe they'll just lock you up!)

Want to see these pardons? CLICK HERE!

 Here’s another idea: It wouldn’t hurt to throw in an expensive item in each of your product categories, not only to make your catalog look more interesting, but to make your regular products look cheaper! That’s right, when you first see an item, you may think it’s expensive, but what if you then see one that’s priced three or four times higher? You go back to the original item and grab it quick thinking it’s now a real bargain!

 Your friend for powerful catalog marketing secrets,

Gil Carlson

  P.S. I hope I’ve given you a few things to think about. Carefully studying these ideas just may allow you to go beyond some of my conclusions and come up with some great catalog marketing ideas tailored to your specific catalog products. 

Gil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideasGil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideas
Gil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideasGil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideasGil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideas
Gil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideasGil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideasGil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideasGil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideas
Gil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideasGil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideasGil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideas
Gil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideasGil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideas
Gil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideas
Gil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideasGil Carlson in a supermarket checking out marketing ideas

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