AOH :: DISKCAT.TXT|
Put your catalog on a disk and make huge amounts of money!
PUT YOUR CATALOG ON A DISK AND MAKE HUGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY!
By Pat Flanagan
If you're involved in any type of business where you sell products or
services, you should know that you need to sell more than one product to be
successful. Of course, there have been exceptions, like the Pet Rock, but
those are few and far between. You see, if you only sell one product, you
need to find those prospective customers that want that one product. Add a
second product, and you've opened the door to customers who want it, but
not your first product. Add a third, and you have more prospects, and so
You can present your products or services through separate ads or flyers,
but it's really more efficient and professional to have a CATALOG. That
way, your customer can see all you have to offer in one place, instead of
one ad here, another there. Having a catalog will increase the orders you
receive, since your customers have more choices and you can show them
everything in one mailing. There's just one problem...
Catalogs are expensive.
If you're thinking of putting together even an eight page catalog, call
your local printer and ask for a price. Get a quote on 1,000, since you'll
want to have enough. My best printer would charge $150, which would be 15
cents per catalog. Then, you have the mailing cost, which would be 52
cents. You're now up to 67 cents per catalog. Add in the cost of getting
the name to send the catalog to, and you could be over a dollar per
catalog. That means over $1,000 to print and send out all your catalogs!
Worse news to come... you won't get rich from an eight page catalog. If
you really intend on making it in your own business, you'd better offer at
least 20 related products or services (or a combination). That way, you
can hit a specific group of people and have a good chance of getting a
decent return. But if an eight page catalog would cost over $1,000 to
print and mail, think about a 20 page catalog! Printing alone would be
$375 or more!
You can reduce your printing and postage costs significantly by having your
catalog printed on a web press on newsprint. The only problem with that
is, you need to print a higher quantity to make it worthwhile. Figure on
at least 10,000.
There's an easier, less expensive way to do this...
PUT YOUR CATALOG ON A DISK!
A 5 1/4" 360K IBM-compatible disk will hold around a 70 page catalog, if
you do it right! 70 PAGES!!! The higher storage disks will, of course,
hold more! Your customer will receive your disk catalog, put it into their
computer, and will be able to view full descriptions of your products and
services on their screen. They'll even be able to print out an order form!
Right away, let's look at costs. For a 360K 5 1/4" disk catalog, the disk
will cost 10 cents (that's right, only 10 cents - I'll reveal the source
for this low price later in this report). Next comes postage - 52 cents.
You're at 62 cents. Your cost for securing the name to send your catalog
to is the same as above.
You might be thinking, great, this saves me a big NICKEL! BIG DEAL! Well,
it IS a big deal, and I'll tell you why.
One cost that I didn't figure in is storage. If you have a bunch of
catalogs printed (especially if you had 10,000 or more newsprint catalogs),
you're going to have to put them somewhere. With a disk catalog, you can
copy them as you need them. No need to have 1,000 made up in advance,
unless you really want to!
Also, keep in mind the storage capacity of the disk. If you wanted a 68
page printed catalog, whew, it would break you, unless you have pretty deep
pockets. A dime will get you one on disk.
Finally, consider this... you have 10,000 of your fantastic catalog
printed. You start mailing them. All of a sudden, you discover you have
to change the price of one of your products. Or, the source for a product
dries up. Or, you want to add a new product or service. TOO BAD! You're
stuck with the catalogs the way they are. With a disk catalog, NO PROBLEM!
You make the change on your master copy, and all subsequent catalogs are
See the advantages? You can sell your products just as well with a disk
catalog as with a printed one. In fact, people will keep your catalog
around longer, due to it's uniqueness (disk catalogs are just starting to
So, how can you get your own high-powered order-pulling disk catalog?
Well, two ways... you can make one yourself, or you can have an expert put
one together for you, saving you the time and effort. I'll explain how
it's done, and then you can make the choice.
First, you need to write your product/service descriptions. Use any word
processor that can save documents as "ASCII" files. These are plain text
files that can be written and read by most word processors, or directly
from DOS (by typing "TYPE (ASCII filename)"). You'll want to apply all the
principles of successful marketing copy writing in your descriptions.
Center them around the benefits the customer will receive from your product
or service. Don't list features, list how the customer's life will be
better because of the features. Don't worry about length, you have plenty
of room on your disk! Also, you aren't constrained by how many words will
fit on the page, because your catalog will be viewed on the screen, and
will only be printed if the customer desires to do so. Save each of your
descriptions as a separate ASCII file.
After you have your descriptions typed and saved, you can assemble your
catalog on disk. You will need some sort of program to let your customers
choose which product they want to read about, and to display and print it.
The best programs I have found, which I use on my disk catalog (and on this
report disk) are "MooMenu" (a menuing program) and "See" (a text file
viewing and printing program). These programs are public domain (they are
free to copy and use), and they work together extremely well. Another
option is to use the program "Writer's Dream," a shareware program designed
for producing books on disk. I'll use the MooMenu and See programs for the
example to follow.
First, you need to make a menu of your products and services. This is the
"table of contents" the reader uses. With MooMenu, you construct your menu
with your word processor. For each menu selection, you start with a
letter, then the name. For example, "A. The Super Widget." Then, on the
next line, you would type an execution command that would direct your text
viewer program to display the appropriate text file. For example, "SEE
WIDGET.TXT". This command will not appear on screen with the menu. Do
this for all your catalog items. You will have plenty of room on your
screen, so you should plan out an attractive heading that shows the name of
your catalog, the issue or date information, and your business name and
Now, create your order form in the same fashion. Type it on the screen in
your word processor and save it as an ASCII file. Don't forget to put your
name and address, as well as any ordering and shipping information you'll
need from your customer, on the form.
If you have more products or services than will fit on a single screen, you
will need to create a second sub-menu that will be called from your first
menu. For example, your second menu screen might be called "MENU2.MOO".
You would put a selection on your menu, such as "More Products & Services".
The next menu command line you'd type would be "MOO MENU2.MOO". The MOO at
the start of that command tells the MooMenu program that you want it to
display a new menu. The second menu functions like the first.
For an example of a menu of this sort, look at my disk catalog, which is
included on this report disk, as well as the report menu itself.
When your menu is created, save it as instructed in your menuing program.
My catalog disk contains a "batch file" (a group of commands) called
"GO.BAT" that starts the program. Here is what the batch file looks like:
MOO1 1 %1
IF ERRORLEVEL=3 MOO$%MOO%
The first two lines keep commands from reading out on the screen, so it's
blank. The third, fourth, and fifth lines are used by the MooMenu program,
and have to be there. The last line puts the reader back at the root
directory after exiting.
The customer inserts the disk, types "go" and presses return (like you did,
with this disk). The menu then appears. The reader can either press the
letter corresponding to the item they wish to read, or they can move the
onscreen cursor with the arrow keys to the item they are interested in. If
they would like to print the description, they can press "p" while the
description is loaded and it will print. To leave the description and
return to the menu, they would press the escape key. It's fairly simple
and requires little or no instructions to the reader.
Assembling your catalog on disk doesn't require a bunch of glue, cutting,
pasting, typesetting, printing, or any other of the hard-work jobs that
traditional publishing requires. All you have to do is copy your
description files onto a disk, as well as your menu file(s), an dyour
menuing and displaying/printing programs. I'm able to fit the MooMenu and
See programs on a 360K disk and still have room for around 70 pages of
text, so you shouldn't run into any space limitations. Then, produce a
label for the disk, either from a professional printer or a laser or dot
matrix printer (I do mine on a laser printer and they come out
beautifully!). That's it!
You've now reached the production/distribution stage. Copy your disks,
label them, and send them out! Here are some money-saving ideas that will
help your cash flow:
+ Try with all your might to keep your shipping weight under one ounce.
It's easy to do that with a 5 1/4" disk, as the disk, sleeve, a
cardboard stiffener (a 5" x 5" square of stiff cardboard that protects
the disk) and a lightweight envelope weigh just a hair under one ounce,
in general. Shop around for the right envelope. I use 6" x 9" white
24# catalog envelopes. 3 1/2" disks will automatically cost 52 cents to
mail, due to their weight.
+ Don't use disk mailers. They're heavy and expensive. You can send your
disk in a regular envelope if you use a cardboard stiffener. Mark on
the outside of the envelope in the largest print possible, "HAND CANCEL
ONLY - DISK ENCLOSED - DO NOT BEND!" I feed my envelopes through my
laser printer, which prints my return address and the hand canceling
phrase in large white on black letters along the bottom of the envelope.
I've only had one damaged disk the whole time I've been doing this!
See, it's cheaper in the long run to send another out, than to spend
five times as much on the mailer itself, and at least twice the postage,
on every single disk mailed.
+ If you have room left on the disk, consider adding an informational
report or reports that would be of value to your consumer. This will
increase the likelihood that the customer will keep your catalog for a
longer period of time.
(By the way, here's that source for inexpensive disks I promised... CRAZY
BOB'S (yes, that's actually their name!), 50 New Salem St., Wakefield, MA
01880 (800) 776-5865. I order my disks through them, and they're great!
At the time this report was written, you could get 100 5 1/4" 360K disks
for only $13 (13 cents each); 1,000 disks gets a price break to $99, or
only 9.9 cents per disk! They have all storage sizes of floppy disks, and
they also carry used disks, which they guarantee fully, and are much
cheaper than new disks! Call them today for their catalog and current
THINK YOU CAN DO THIS?
If not, don't feel bad. Unless you're comfortable going beyond just using
a program on your computer to actually construct one, you may not want to
spend hours upon hours trying to do this by yourself. If that's the case,
I'm here to help!
By now, you've probably seen MY disk catalog, contained on this disk. (If
you haven't looked at it, please exit this report and take a look now...
you can pick up where you left off after that). Would you like your
products and services featured in a catalog like this? I bet you would.
At the risk of sounding like I'm tooting my own horn, I know what I'm
doing, and I can put together a successful disk catalog for you. Here's
what you need to do:
Send me a description of what you'd like your catalog to be like. Let me
know how many products and services you'd want in it. Let me know if you
have the selling copy already written, or if you need me to write it. If
your selling copy is already written, is it on disk or paper (I'm an
expensive typist!)? Finally, let me know if you'd like a plain order form
with your name and address at the top and lines for the customer to write
their order on, or if you'd like a checklist type order form, which can
help bring in more sales.
When I receive your information, I'll evaluate it, and will send a detailed
quote. It won't be cheap, but it won't break your budget, either. Then,
you just need to let me know when you're ready to start!
* IMPORTANT NOTE: Putting together a disk catalog DOES take a good *
* amount of time, even for a seasoned veteran like myself. For that *
* reason, I have to limit the number of catalog jobs I take on at *
* one time. It's first come, first served here. If I can't get to *
* your catalog right away, I'll let you know when I'll be able to *
* produce your catalog, if at all. *
But, don't let the others pass you by! If you want your own disk catalog,
you need to let me know right away. Gather together the information I
noted above, and send it immediately to:
PAT FLANAGAN PUBLISHING & DESIGN
540 IMUS DRIVE
MISHAWAKA, IN 46545
I'll review it, and will let you know how we can work together on this
project. Don't delay, because this offer is only open to a limited number
Isn't your business worth devoting whatever it takes to bring it to its
full potential? A catalog can do this. Take the first step now, and enter
the big time!
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