Print is Powerful
LYNCHBURG, VA, July 5, 2012 – Catalog Design - Using Product Placement and Page Layout to Maximize Sales and Catalog ROI
By Chanie Pritchard, guest contributor for Evan Carmichael
A catalog is a highly specialized marketing collateral piece that, when designed and produced correctly, will drive customers to complete their purchase with your company over other alternatives. By presenting a tempting display of appealing products in a clear, carefully considered fashion, your catalog can become one of the most powerful calls to action in your sales arsenal - particularly when paired with a niche marketing strategy.
Catalogs are easy to modify and update, can be used to test new product lines in a given market, and are an economically viable alternative to hiring an expansive (and expensive) sales staff. And unlike many other forms of sales collateral, customers come to expect a certain level of product detail in catalogs, which allows you to maximize the impact of your sales copy for an engaged audience.
A successful catalog must be impeccably well-designed, and most importantly, needs to be tailored to convey your company’s image in a way that is relevant to your audience. For example, a catalog intended to sell modern gadgets and electronics should present an appearance and image vastly different to one intended to sell baking supplies.
The Printed Product
You’ve invested a lot of time, consideration and planning into the effective design and layout of your catalog. Please, PLEASE do not just go with the cheapest print company you can find. You’ll regret it. Trust me.
Be sure to choose paper stocks that are suitably thick, and that feel nice against your skin. A thin, harsh uncoated stock looks cheap, feels rough, dulls colour, bleeds ink onto your hands and generally will not represent your company or products well. Use a proper cover gloss stock for your cover, and a nice gloss stock for the inner pages. 100pt is ideal, but 80pt is also acceptable given the paper feels and prints nicely.
And remember, your catalog is going to be delivered through the mail. Unless you’re packaging the catalog in a sealed plastic coating, it is going to be subject to some potentially harsh weather conditions. Keep this in mind when choosing your paper options.
Catalogs come in all shapes and sizes. The standard sizes are cheaper to print, and for most applications are perfectly suitable:
• Standard full-size (8 3/8″ x 10 7/8″)
• Slim (6 1/8″ x 11 1/2″)
• Digest-size (5 3/8″ x 8 3/8″)
Unique sizes will attract attention, and can be highly effective in building a unique brand image and moving product. However, moving away from the “standard” sizes will add as much as 25 percent to the cost of production. So you would need to evaluate whether the extra investment is worth it for your particular company.
Printing in increments of 16 pages will be the least expensive option, as heat-set web presses print in 16 page signatures. This means that your catalog would be 16, 32, 48, 64 pages long, and so on. The next best option is to design in page increments of eight.
If you can afford to print your catalog in color, it will invariably make a better impression, and will generate at least 25% more sales than a black and white catalog right off the bat. Colour sells - no question. That said, as with all other elements in your catalog, colour schemes not related to your actual products should remain consistent throughout. You can also use different colours to represent different sections in the catalog.
Bring it all Together
Successful collateral design uses a lot of consumer psychology in addition to professional design theories, and catalogs are no exception. Take advantage of what professionals have learned about how consumers think, react and attach to concepts and visual elements. Consider how the reader’s eye crosses the page, capitalize on primary focus zones, and present your products in the best way you possibly can through use of layout, colour, type, and texture.
When a catalog takes on a personality of its own and becomes something the customer enjoys, then it has achieved a positive brand image. No other kind of marketing collateral targets a niche audience quite as well as a thoughtfully designed and produced catalog, which can either serve as your primary sales vehicle, or as an excellent companion to an online or physical brick-and-mortar shop.
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