As a competing business establishment, it is important that you provide old and new customers alike of a clear view of what you offer. A catalog is a good tool to use in advertising your products and services to potential customers as well as update your loyal clients about what’s new.
Aside from that, it is an effective tool to present brand information to customers in an organized and appealing manner. That way their interest about the brand can be piqued; because of this, positive actions can be made toward the business. Catalogs, as old-fashioned as they may seem, serve the purpose of sharing information to customers about the brand and what they offer, at the same time advertise the brand to potential new customers.
A catalog can either make or break your chance of enticing potential customers to check out your brand. Marketing/Advertising goals can be achieved when a catalog is created with customers’ preference in mind. It is important that its contents are presented in a systematic and flawless manner. With that said, you need to be familiar with the necessary elements that should be included in your catalog. Hence, here is a list of the elements of an effective catalog:
1. Front cover: The front cover of a catalog is an important element that should be given ample attention. Since it is the front cover, it is the first thing that a customer sees; therefore, it is important that it should be attention-grabbing and at the same time informative. It should be designed in a way that it presents all the information it will take for the customer to get to know the brand as well as what it has to offer.
2. Thumb index: The thumb index are the marked grooves found on the side of the catalog. It helps the customer to easily skim through the pages of the catalog since it aids in the systematic arrangement of all the contents. However, a thumb index is not necessary, but it is a great tool that can help for easy reference. Through a thumb index the customer can easily jump through the page he/she wants to see.
3. Introduction pages: As the customer opens your catalog it is important that they can immediately read background information about the brand and what it has to offer. Including introduction pages in your catalog ensures that the customer has an idea on what the contents will be. Aside from that, this ensures that there is an initial advertisement about the contents so that customers’ interest is boosted and their mind is conditioned to skim through and choose.
4. Table of contents: A table of contents ensures that a chronological arrangement of what is inside the catalog is presented to the reader. This lets the reader easily locate the number of the pages where they are interested to look into. It will also ensure that the customer sees a clear overview of what can be inside the catalog helping in a better overall reading/scanning experience.
5. Product presentation: Since the catalog presents information about what the brand has to offer, it should have a clear and comprehensive product presentation. There should be a high quality image for each product, and a brief yet convincing product description. Aside from that, it should have the product name, stock keeping unit or SKUs/item numbers, category and subcategory, description, attributes, prices, barcodes, etc.
6. Final pages: The final pages of your catalog can be utilized for final advertisements and additional notes. In some cases, final pages are used to display the prices or codes for each item found inside the catalog. Final pages allow you to end the catalog in a good note rather than somewhat leaving the customer hanging.
7. Back cover: In order to tie things up perfectly, the back cover of your catalog must have the same or relative design as the front cover. It can include a company logo or brand image that will make the flow of the design more flawless.
Creating a business catalog requires that you do intensive research and plan strategically. You need to make sure you have everything accounted for, from your target customers’ preferences down to accountability of your products and services. Most importantly, you need to make sure that your products and services meet the standard and expectations that have been set by your visual presentation. With this in mind, here is a guide on how you can create an amazing and effective catalog:
1. Get to know customers: Before you start making your catalog, you need to have to get to know your customers first. Research about what they would prefer when it comes to how products are presented, when they want it to be distributed and so on. You need to understand what marketing strategies works best for them so that you can ensure that your effort in making the catalog will be fruitful and successful.
2. Formulate a plan: After you have conducted your customer research, you can proceed to formulating a plan that you can follow and refer to once you starting the process of actually creating the catalog. You plan must be strategic; make sure you take into account what you gathered from your research. For example, your plan can have where you start the creating process, e.g. start by making an outline for the catalog, a timeline for the photo shoot sessions, when to start the layout and editing process, and so on. The plan should help you be accountable for the time you spend so that the catalog can be published and distributed on time.
3. Choose a format: Since you now have a plan, you need to make sure you choose a format for the catalog that best suits your brand image as well as what you need to present to the customer. Make sure you choose a format that will allow you to present your products more comprehensively but still with the consideration of what best works for your customers. For example, if your target customers are mostly the teen and middle age, it is best to invest and focus on making an online catalog since that demographic are mostly glued to their phones and laptops. Remember to choose a format that works for the customers and at the same time benefits you.
4. Incorporate essential catalog elements: Essential catalog elements should be included to make sure you are able to provide a comprehensive view of everything that you have to offer while also improving user experience. Since you have knowledge about the elements such as the front cover, thumb index, introduction pages, table of contents, product layout, final pages, and back cover, you can efficiently incorporate it in your own catalog.
5. Organize elements and contents: Aside from the elements, however, you have contents that you need to include, e.g. the images, descriptions, other advertisements, etc. It is important to make sure that everything is organized within the catalog for a coherent presentation. If you are making a travel catalog, the contents and elements must exude travel and a sense of wanderlust. Aside from that, both elements and contents must be harmoniously combined in order to make the catalog more effective.
6. Ask for constructive feedback: Once you have already followed through the outline, laid everything out from the images to the content, and have already printed a prototypes, you need to ask constructive feedback not only from your colleagues but also from people outside the company, e.g. partners. Through this you will gain a sense of awareness on what you need to remove, retain, and improve. Doing this ensures that you distribute a good quality output as to not disappoint your customers.
7. Proofread and edit: After making sure you have changed things up considering the feedback and input from others, you still need to make sure that there are no errors and obvious mistakes. Double-check if there are errors in the layout, images, texts, and so on. Proofreading ensures that you present your brand as a flawless and efficient one, and it helps customers avoid confusion should they get their hands on a copy of your catalog.
In order to ensure that your catalog is effective, here are additional tips your can refer to:
Since technology and the internet is used for almost everything nowadays, it can also be used in making a multipurpose catalog. Hence why there are two major types of catalog: print and digital/online. To help you understand these two types, description and a short explanation is given below:
It is important that you choose the right size for your catalog so that you can present all the necessary information without sacrificing image quality and size, and other layout and design aspects. Hence, here are the commonly used catalog sizes that you can choose from:
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about catalogs:
A catalog is important because it helps companies assert their identity in a sea of competitors and reinforce brand awareness. It is both a marketing and sales tool since it helps advertise what the brand has to offer while disclosing deals and sales that will encourage the customers to buy from the brand.
No one can be pinpointed to create a catalog since creating it is a team effort. It needs collaborative effort in order for it to be effective and successful. This means that the sales, marketing, IT, and graphics teams are all involved and should work hand in hand during the process of creating the catalog.