Ok, you have done everything you need to do to produce a quality catalog and they have been printed. How do you get them into your customer’s hands? In this article we will talk about catalog distribution.

If you are going to distribute your catalog in the most common method, by mail, then you will need a mailing list. Maybe you already have a list of customers you are mailing the catalog to or maybe you need to purchase a mailing list that targets a specific demographic or geographical area.

There are mailing lists that are targeted by zip code, by income, by the fact they are homeowners, by if the people on the list have children, and even more specifically targeted categories like homeowners who have lived in their home more than five years, etc.

You can easily find lists by searching the web, but be careful. How new is their data? When was the last time they updated their data? Is the company you are buying the list from reputable? These are questions you need to keep in mind before purchasing a mailing list from anyone.

There are also catalog distribution services who already have all of that information and who can handle all of the distribution for you. Having a professional catalog distribution service do this for you can help you avoid costly mistakes.

The post office can give you rates depending on the size and weight of the catalog you want to distribute by US mail. Something I hope you kept in mind when printing your catalog is durability. The post office has to process all mail including catalogs, then it is handled by other people, then the postman, before it ever gets to your customer.

So if you do not have at least a durable cover for your catalog, you may want to have them wrapped before mailing them out to protect them from damage. You want your customer to see your well-designed catalog before any damage occurs.

There are other ways to distribute catalogs as well. Of course if you have a retail outlet or store, you can offer your customers or walk in traffic a catalog. If you have foot traffic going by your store all the time, you can set up a display outside of your store with catalogs for them. You would be surprised at how many people it will bring inside to shop.

You can talk to friends who also have stores and shops, your beauty shop or barber shop, convenience stores even. People will pick up a well-designed catalog that looks like it has something they might need. Everyone loves to shop and a catalog is the easiest way for them to shop.

Be creative, keep catalogs in your car so you can hand them out to people. When you stop somewhere you might want to ask the store owner if they mind putting some of your catalogs somewhere for their customers to pick up. Obviously if you sell anything similar to what they sell it’s not a good idea to ask them.

Last but definitely not least is offering your catalog through your website, ezine, or newsletter. If you have a website, you simply put in a form for a visitor to fill out with their name and address and mail them a catalog. Websites seem to be impersonal to many people. The offer of an actual catalog sent to them from your website will also give them more confidence to buy not just through your catalog but through your website as well.

If you already have an ezine or newsletter you mail out to website visitors, offer your catalog to them as well. Here is why. Yes these people already may be buying through your website so sending them a catalog is costly. However, you have to keep in mind when you send out one catalog to one person, many people may end up browsing through it. They distribute your catalog for you in effect. They may not show everyone your website, but they will share their catalog.

I hope this article has helped you with your decision about how to distribute your catalog. There are other methods depending on your budget, the number of catalogs, and the people who you want to send them to. The most common way is to use the postal service. Professional distribution is more costly, but they know how to get your catalog in the right hands and can track the mailings and have other advantages.

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