Magalog sells gardening book effectively

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Magalog sells gardening book effectively
Magalog sells gardening book effectively

In these days of shrinking budgets and climbing costs, many businesses have moved toward smaller direct mail formats. However, that isn't the case for Jerry Baker, author of several "tips and tricks" gardening books.

I had to smile when I saw Jerry's big 36-page magalog sitting there in my mailbox in a sea of postcards and cheap flyers. This mail piece uses classic direct marketing techniques to engage and tease the avid gardener into wanting his book.

The two primary techniques here are "fascinations" and loads of copy. Fascinations are basically teasers which appear to be specific and "fascinating," but which reveal very little. For example, "Houseplants thrive, even when sunlight is scarce! Grab the aluminum foil, and see page 15." It makes you curious, but you have to read more to find out the secret.

The other technique, loads of copy, may not seem like a technique at all. But it's a proven way to boost reader involvement. The more people read, the more likely they are to buy. The magalog is an ideal "reader" format that holds a person's attention with interesting information.

Key elements of the classic magalog include strong cover copy, an integrated sales letter to connect with the reader and introduce the offer, a relentless series of promises about what the product will do, a compelling offer (in this case, a 21-day free preview), a solid guarantee, and an easy means of response, which is usually a reply card.

The front of the piece even throws in basic personalization near the top. There's nothing fancy about this, but it's prominent and they spelled my name correctly which seems to be a challenge for many mailers these days.

I can't help but think this catalog is a throwback to an earlier era, but that's a compliment. So many mailers today make marketing decisions based on personal preference or misplaced concerns over company image. Jerry knows that his customers just want to solve gardening problems, so he focuses on delivering that information. It's smart and to-the-point.

It's not the solution for everything, but it still works for information products.

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