People who believe catalogs are a thing of the past obviously haven't taken note of the successes of IKEA and other companies that have used them to an advantage. When created effectively, the products can boost revenue and product awareness and be used as a customer retention tool. Perhaps the less noteworthy company catalogs fell into a common trap that staggered growth and benefits related to the catalog. Don't let this happen to your company. Here are four mistakes that'll stifle your business catalog from reaching its maximum potential. 

1. Use it to reach new clients
Sending out a well thought-out catalog with the goal of getting new people interested in your business is the biggest mistake to make, according to Entrepreneur. It's a big financial investment with uncertainty of return. Instead, distribute a catalog to your existing clients. You'll end up wasting fewer copies on consumers who may never buy your product. Ultimately you'll be able to spend the extra cash on enhancing your fewer catalogs. Focus on customer retention, as it can turn out to be a more worthwhile endeavor. For example, Entrepreneur pointed out that when a company sent out catalogs to people who'd already used its services, 30,000 copies would generate about $450,000. In comparison, the company that sent catalogs to new and existing customers, just about broke even and didn't make a profit. 

2. Think it's not a piece of content marketing material
When creating a paper product, professionals are not wrong to believe it should align with the brand and tone of the company. In fact, it might be a bit jarring for someone to receive some reading material on health care that's peppered with jokes. However, this doesn't mean that the catalog has to follow a strict outline. The catalog can be considered like any other piece of content marketing. According to AdWeek, one of the best things a company can offer through its content is perspective. Keep up with what's trending by designing a catalog filled with material that's interesting, unique, newsy and informative. Pages should contain a variety of products and information about the company's field of expertise. 

3. Designing a product that's just like any other catalog
Going through the motions and creating a product that's just like all the rest, because that's what's always been done, is basically ROI suicide. How many people receive a catalog that has pictures, prices and upcoming sales? Probably everybody. Do something different. Just because many places are sending out a very formatted catalog doesn't mean you have to follow suit. Put work into it, like you would any other investment. Look into hiring a memorable photographer or a graphic artist. Your company doesn't have to take one on full time but you can find someone to work for you per diem. There are ample options to find the right people to put together your product; select them wisely.

4. Try to save money by printing it at home
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should – this applies to printing catalogs and other materials at home. Sure, plenty of state-of-the-art printers allow you to do your office work from home but it doesn't mean it can supplant a professional service. If you weren't a writer but you owned Microsoft Word, would you type up your own blog posts that'd be viewed by thousands of people or let someone with writing experience handle it? The same logic should be applied to your printer. In the end, writing your own pieces will get the job done but hiring the right people will make it magic. 

In short, treat your catalog like something you want to be proud of. It has the potential to make your business money and keep you customers coming back – just continue to give them a reason to.