INFORMATION ABOUT MARKETING

High Frequency Marketing
PR & Media Relations in Spanish - Website positioning

GET YOUR PRODUCT LISTED AND SOLD THROUGH MILLIONS OF MAIL ORDER CATALOGS

An average mailing by a small, one person mail order company is

generally about a thousand pieces, and many such operators

rarely mail more than a hundred pieces per week. If you know

your conversion statistics, you know that the order return on

mailings is about 1% to 2% when using a rented list of names, up

to 5% or more when mailing to your own customer list.

Using those figures, the response rate would be about 2 orders

from a mailing of 100 when using a cold list, and about 5 to 10

orders when mailing to your own customer list for each 100

pieces mailed.

Contrast this to a major catalog mailing house such as Miles

Kimball, Hanover House, Lillian Vernon, Johnson-Smith or L.L.

Bean, each of whom might consider a mailing of six million

pieces a month or every few months.

Keep in mind that these are catalog merchandisers - mass

mailers, not manufacturers. Not publishers. Mailers!

They BUY what they sell from somebody. It could be from you!

WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING FOR?

Catalog houses are owned and operated by extremely sharp people

and they are highly selective in the products they choose for

inclusion in their catalogs, so to even be considered, your

product must pass some pretty rigid tests:

1. Since some catalog companies specialize in a certain type of

merchandise, they will choose only what they think their

customers will buy.

2. Virtually all of them will want to test-market a product

(possibly only a hundred or so) before making a complete catalog

mailing. If the test shows promise, they will purchase a large

quantity (1,000 to 5,000 or more) for their roll-out mailings...

and continue to purchase such quantities as long as the product

continues to sell.

3. Catalog mailers want to deal as close to the original source

as possible, such as inventor, the patent owner, copyright

holder, manufacturer or publisher. The reason for this is simply

that these are people who can offer them the largest discount on

quantity purchases. If you are merely one of many dealers who

had to purchase the product from a wholesaler who purchased from

a distributor, who purchased the product from the manufacturer,

you would not be in a position to offer the lowest price to the

catalog company.

4. The item in question should be new and unique, not something

that's been around for years. Naturally, it should be a good

mail order item.

HOW YOU CAN QUALIFY FOR ACCEPTANCE

First and foremost, you must look and act the part of an

established, professionally operated business. This means you

must have printed stationery with a company name that coincides

with the products you are offering, and all correspondence must

be typewritten.

If that seems trite and elementary, you would be surprised to

see how many companies receive scribbled hand written notes on

ruled paper with wording such as "I would like you to include my

product in your catalog." Sorry, it just doesn't work like that.

Even if you are not the actual inventor or manufacturer of the

product you are selling, you can qualify to have it included in

a large mailers' catalog where everyone can profit from it.

Imports are very popular catalog sellers, for instance, so if

you locate a new item from overseas, you can arrange to become

the U.S. distributor. Yes, it means a sizable investment for

stocking inventory, but if you have faith in what you plan to

sell, it should be worth investing in.

Before offering it to any catalog mailer, however, it would be

in your best interest to test-market the item yourself. You

certainly don't want to offer a "loser" to a major catalog

mailer. You'll want to be sure this is something that will sell,

so everybody is happy with the deal.  Perhaps even more

importantly, it will bond your relationship with the catalog

companies and they will be eager to do business with you the

next time you come up with a new product.

PRICING YOUR PRODUCT

This is crucial. A price that's too high means it will not be

accepted; priced too low and you will not make a profit - no

matter how many are sold.

Keep in mind that some catalog mailers specialize in low priced

($10 or less) items, while others have geared their sales to the

higher bracket of $50 or more. When making a list of catalog

houses to approach, check their catalogs for prices of their

current merchandise.

There are three basic levels of retail prices:

1. The pre-established price by owner or manufacturer

2. Actual dollar value based on production costs

3. Perceived value by prospective buyers

If you are not the primary source for your product, the

manufacturer may have already set the retail price along with

distributor and wholesale discounts, so you will have to work

those figures in any deals made with catalog companies.

Assuming you have pricing control (granted by the original

source, or you are the originator) you can set the retail price

according to the production costs which can be a 5-to-1 or 10-1

ratio. If the item costs $1 to make, you can set a retail price

of $5 or $10 on it, depending on what you think it is worth to

the consumer.

SIMPLIFY YOUR PRICE STRUCTURE TO COMPANIES

The most common price structures  are usually set in various

quantities like dozen or gross; or, 100, 500, 1,000, etc. Don't

use these price structures when trying to interest catalog

companies in your product. Right from the start, give them your

rock bottom lowest possible price.

For examples, if your usual prices are:

100 @ $4.50; 500 @ $3.75; 1000 @ $2.75 and 5,000 @ $1.95

give them your 5,000 quantity price no matter how many they

order for their original test. Even if they only want 100 for

testing, give them your $1.95 price - but be sure to tell them

this is your lowest price that is for regular 5,000 quantity

purchases, so they know they're getting the good deal.

TIME TO CREATE YOUR PROMOTIONAL PACKAGE

Company buyers are busy people, so you'll want to make your

presentation quickly, clearly, and distinctly, eliminating all

fluff and extraneous material or wording that might  tend to bog

things down.

Here's what you'll need:

Descriptive folder or flyer about the product (Information sheet)

Glossy photo of the product

Possible advertising copy (although they will probably re-write

it)

Terms of your sale, including freight charges

Brief cover letter

(Optional) Sample of your product IF it is small, light weight,

inexpensive, and if you think it will impress the company.

Send this mailing package via First Class Mail!

How many of these promotional packages should you mail? Only you

can answer that question, but here's a tip: Don't expect only 10

or 12 to produce much response  for your product. It might

require 50 to 100 or even 500 such mailings before you begin to

see worthwhile results. Of course, a lot depends on the product

itself and whether it is for the general public or restricted to

a more selective audience.

Whenever possible, try to determine what type of merchandise

each catalog house offers before sending them your offer. If

they cater only to men and your product will be used primarily

by women, why waste time and money? The same would apply to a

low priced item such as $5 offered to a catalog house whose

clientele happened to be sophisticated or wealthy people

accustomed to buying merchandise in the hundreds of dollars.

Match your product with the catalog company's line as closely as

possible.

HANDLING THE BUSINESS

If your product is a good one and if you have made a good

impression in your promotional materials, sooner or later you

will get an order for a trial quantity.

Fill the order promptly. Use sturdy boxes and have your own

shipping label (printed with your company name & address) on

each carton, typing the catalog company's name and address with

the customer's shipping number above the name.

SELLING ON CREDIT

Unlike the conventional mail order business, selling to catalog

houses is not a cash-with-order type of operation. It's

conducted on credit, so you'll need invoices to send to your

customer after shipment has been made. There are a few

variations of credit terms, but the best for you will be

"Payment due EOM or 2% discount within 10 days. "EOM" means end

of the month following the date of shipment.

Use your best judgment whether you will ship prepaid or bill

your customer for the shipping charges.

HERE'S A FINAL TIP

If you can get some free publicity for your product along the

way, it can help you reach catalog houses in addition to

bringing you additional sales.

Check magazines that are read by the type of people who will use

your product and look for departments such as "New Products."

Many magazines carry such a department under different titles.

Send a publicity package to the editors which will include the

glossy photo of your product, News Release that tells who will

be interested in the product and why, and a brief cover letter.

If you get a few magazines to accept your offer, they will give

you a mention in their New Products department. This will in

turn bring you a few or a few hundred orders, depending on the

circulation of the magazines and how much demand there might be

for your product.

More importantly, it can link you up with some catalog houses.

They often scan magazines looking for new products to be

featured in their catalogs. Thus, instead of you contacting

them... they will contact you.

The end result is that it can bring you many retail orders as

well as attract a few catalog house buyers who will ultimately

sell your product in their catalogs.

If each catalog house mails 10 million catalogs a year, and your

product is featured inside, I shouldn't have to tell you how

many products can be sold this way. Better stock up now!

 

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