Struggling to increase your catalog or mail response rates?

All of us are struggling these days with finding new tactics to increase our catalog response rates?   With postal rates increasing, we have all been working hard to reduce our catalog costs, but how many times can we trim size, cut paper weights or cull our mailing list?   What new tactics are there to help increase mail and email response rates to help us offset those higher postal costs?  Here is one idea.

Many B2B catalogers have tested sending an email announcing the arrival of a new catalog. I have seen some success with these programs, especially when the email is well targeted, relevant, properly executed and contains a compelling offer on the new catalog being received

In addition to email, I have seen some testing with guided voice mail.   What happens here is that the mailer leaves a voice mail message for the catalog recipient in advance of the catalog being received.  Ideally, it is short and personal.   Something like, “Hi, this is Terry your sales rep at XYZ company and it’s Tuesday, August 2nd.   I wanted to let you know our new catalog is on the way to you and has a great offer on page three.  For our best customers like you, we are doubling that offer if you order by August 15th.  Make sure you take advantage of this limited time offer.” You get the idea.  This particular message tests the “curiosity factor” (What is the offer on Page 3 anyway?”)   Other offers you might test would be more specific and detailed, but make sure they are relevant, timely and as personal as possible in a mass voice mail.    The tactic only works when you have direct line telephone numbers with voice mail and you leave the message overnight so the recipient hears it first thing in the morning.  It also is best if each assigned sales rep do a recording to help it be more recognizable or personal.

There are a number of companies out there that offer this service/technology.  Once such company I recently became aware of is   You may want to take a look at their website for more information.   Look at the case studies as they are illustrative of how to use this tactic. 

This also has application in outbound telesales where actual connect rates are hovering around 15% of calls made.   Good telephone sales reps these days are very good at making voice mail presentations, maybe even followed up with a personalized email.   When you have a new product announcement,  major price change or other important news guided voice mail can be useful.  Check it out.

If anyone has been doing something similar and would like to share their results or ask me a question about it, I would be more than happy to hear from you.   

Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ or (954) 383-5221

Comments or questions are welcome.

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