Practical Plans for Mail Order Beginners

Below are six simple, practical plans that will enable you to start and build your own money making mail order business. These plan have made money for others, and they will make money for you – If you will REALLY work at them!

PLAN #1 – SELL BIG MAILS. The easiest way to start selling by mail is to advertise and sell “Big Mails”. To get started, co-publish at least three Mail Order Magazines and several ad sheets. Use an ad like this: BIG MAIL – $1.00 – Commission Mailed Free! (Your Name and Address)

When someone sends you $1.00, send him one copy of each magazine, one copy of each ad sheet, and one copy of every commission circular that you have in stock. If you advertise regularly, and fill each order by return mail, you will soon by selling ads and subscriptions, as well as merchandise offered on the commission circulars. You can expand by regularly adding to your list of magazines and ad sheets. There are some dealers who advertise in more than 100 Mail Order Magazines every issue. If you are willing to work, you can do the same thing!

PLAN #2 – SELL DIRECTLY FROM ADS. If you are selling merchandise which is used by Mail dealers and Opportunity seekers, such as rubber stamps, information directories, envelopes, labels, mail order manuals, sample copies of opportunity magazines, etc., you can make money selling them directly from ads in the Mail Order Magazines. If you buy the merchandise in quantity, you can ship orders directly to your customers yourself. Otherwise, you can use the drop-ship method.

To be successful, you must schedule REGULAR FOLLOW-UP MAILINGS to your customers offering more of the same merchandise or items that are closely related to it. Do this consistently, month after month, and you will be amazed at the number of checks you will have to deposit in your bank account!

PLAN #3 – MAKE SALES THROUGH CIRCULAR MAILERS. If you have a good offer – one which really appeals to opportunity seekers – have your printer set up an attractive 3 x 6 circular and then pay circular mailers to mail them for you. Your circular will only pull if it offers something that mail dealers and opportunity seekers want and need.

Ideally, 3 x 6 circulars distributed by circular mailers should offer “leader items”, items which are appealing, useful and priced right (never more than a dollar or two-even less if possible). The purpose of the circular is to attract new, steady customers for your mailing list.

You should plan to make regular mailings to each person who purchases your leader item. It is the REPEAT business which makes Mail Order Profitable.

If you send 200 circulars to mailers every day for thirty days, you will have 6,000 circulars in the mail at the end of the month. If you send 500 a day, you will have 15,000 circulars in the mail at the end of the month! There are mail dealers who rely entirely on circular mailers to find new customers for them. Some of them distribute as many as 100,000 circulars every month!

PLAN #4 – SELLING THROUGH COMMISSION MAILERS. This plan is similar to Plan #3 except that you do not pay mailers to mail your circulars. Instead, you print a good commission ad on the backs of your circulars, leaving a blank space for the commission mailer to rubber stamp his name and address.

The mailer stamps his name on them and includes them in his mailings. When he receives an order for them, he keeps about half of the money as his commission and sends you the other half to drop-ship his order for him. You will probably make a small profit from his sales, but your real profits come from the circulars which he is mailing at no cost to you. This method is a little more complicated than Plan #3, since you have to stock merchandise and fill drop-ship orders – but in the long run, it is cheaper than paying mailers to mail your circulars.

You can give your circulars away free, you can ask mailers to pay their postage for them, or you can run ads in the Mail Order Magazines like this: COMMISSION CIRCULARS! 100 – $1; 500 – $3 We drop-ship for half.

There are literally hundreds of people looking for good commission circulars. This can be a very effective way of building up a very prosperous Mail Order Business – if you have the stamina to work at it!

PLAN #5 – GET PAID FOR MAILING CIRCULARS. Start by studying the mailing rates of other mailers in the Mail Order Magazines and then create a similar ad for yourself. Start small – advertise in lots of 100 and 250. Later, as you gain experience, advertise for circulars in 500 and 1000 lots.

Besides your mailing ad, you should also run an ad like this! BIG MAIL – – FREE! Postage Appreciated.

Soon after your mailing ad appears, you will start receiving small packages of circulars to mail – each with money in them! (Be sure to send a sample mailing to the mailing customer. It is the only way you will get more circulars to mail!) You will also get letters with stamps in them. Use the stamps to mail the circulars which you have been paid to mail.

As soon as you get more requests for Big Mails than you have circulars, increase the number of your circular mailing ads. If you get more circulars to mail than requests for Big Mails, increase the number of your Big Mail ads.

If you stick to your mailing copies of magazines in which you are advertising in your Big Mails, you will sell enough ads to pay for your own advertising. And if you include commission circulars in the Big Mails, your sales from them will be “pure gravy”. Circular Mailers soon learn that there are dozens of ways to make money in this business – if they keep their eyes and their ears open!

PLAN #6 – BECOME A “COMMISSION MAILER”. The first thing you should do is sit down and order SMALL quantities of commission circulars from about twenty or thirty different dealers. Most will charge you about $1.00 per hundred. A few will supply them for just the postage. Once you have done this, order at least one new batch of commission circulars EVERY DAY! (You will find them advertised in the Mail Order magazines or you can buy lists of commission circular suppliers from most dealers.) Also order 100 names of opportunity seekers from two or three different dealers.

It will take two or three weeks for your circulars to start arriving, due to present day third class mail service. As soon as you have about fifteen different circulars, start mailing them. Set a daily quota and stick to it. Five letters a day is 150 letters a month, 33 letters a day is 1,000 a month!

When orders come in, forward the order to the drop-shipper IMMEDIATELY! Then acknowledge the order and let your customer know that his order is being shipped to him direct from the supplier VIA THIRD CLASS MAIL. With your acknowledgment – INCLUDE SOME MORE CIRCULARS! I cannot over stress the importance of this. Your customer likes you and your offers – give him the opportunity to buy something else from you. He is your best source for more business.

Orders will be slow – very slow – in the beginning, but don’t get discouraged. Initially this is a slow business, and the only ones who succeed in it are those who have the patience to persevere.

When you find a customer, send him a new mailing every month for at least three months. (That is why you should be ordering NEW circulars every day!)

Once you find a circular that “pulls” – order more of them. If possible, order them with your names and address PRINTED on them. (They will almost always pull more than rubber stamped circulars.) Eliminate circulars that do not produce orders, but keep mailing the ones that do. Eventually, you will develop a mail order “package” that will be irresistible to your prospective customers.

As your customer list grows, you will soon discover that your mailings will become productive (providing that you mail to your customer regularly). A “customer list” will always pull more than a cold list. Making the first sale is certainly the hardest. Commission mailing is difficult in the beginning. Most beginners do not stick with it log enough to give it a fair chance. If you will stick with it – you can make money mailing commission circulars. It takes determination and a willingness to really work at it!

Direct Response – The Fast Track to 6 Figure Freelance Copywriting

Why is freelance direct response copywriting so lucrative? Because it drive immediate sales. And if you can show that your writing will get people reaching for their credit cards, you’ll have no shortage of work.

It’s not complicated. Companies that depend on making immediate sales from direct mail packages and ads are very good at doing the math. They know how many sales they need to see a good profit from their investment.

As a result, they place enormous value on the skills of a good copywriter. In fact, I can’t think of any other situation where the value of the writer is so completely appreciated.

In direct marketing, the writer is king or queen. Decades of testing have shown that the words can make a huge different to response rates and sales.

And there’s more good news. In fact, a number of pieces of good news:

1. Companies frequently outsource their direct marketing copywriting work to freelancers. How come? Because they are looking for the best. They’ll keep trying people, and paying them well, in their search for someone who can write a package that will perform just a little bit better.

2. There is always a shortage of good direct mail copywriters. It’s hard to believe, seeing how profitable this work can be, but there are just never enough good writers who can create great work.

3. There are new markets just begging for strong DM copywriters. There are plenty of industries that have been depending on direct response for decades: finance, health, magazines, cable TV, collectibles and more. These guys are always on the look out for new writers. AND, there’s one new industry that is literally starved of good direct response writers…the high tech industry, particularly in the B2B area. If you have an interest in high tech, here’s a niche that will drive you to that 6-figure income very, very quickly.

If you already have strong direct response copywriting skills, be sure to do some research in the high-tech area.

If you want to get into direct mail copywriting, but don’t know where to get the best training, I would strongly recommend you check out my review of this course – Michael Masterson’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. Just click on the link below…

The Beginner’s Mail Order Business Guide

No claim is made that the steps outlined would be successful for someone else. Each individual should obtain whatever professional advice may be
necessary for his particular operation. INTRODUCTION The following is designed to provide a check list for new entrants into the mail order field. Each mail order business is different, but there are common elements that apply to most mail order businesses, as well as some specific characteristics that may vary from business to business. The following suggestions were developed to assist you in avoiding costly mistakes. Apply the various points as they relate to your specific business. COMPANY NAME * Select a short, easily remembered name.
* Unless you are using your own name, it is required in most jurisdictions that a trade name is either registered with the county or the state.
* Before you spend money for printing material, make sure that the name you choose is not already registered to another company. You can usually conduct a name search with an office of the appropriate jurisdiction by telephone.
* You may consider using a name that describes your product. COMPANY ADDRESS * Most newly established mail order businesses will operate out of their home until the volume of the business requires larger space.
* Most mail order businesses prefer not to use their home address as their company address. If you do, you will advertise your home address in regional and national publications. You have two other choices, a Post Office Box(POB) or a postal box located in a commercial enterprise which rents out mail boxes.
* A POB is generally the least expensive, both to rent and for advertising purposes. (See below) Some mail order operators claim that it reduces business because people do not trust a POB address. Yet there are just as many mail order operators who disprove this notion. The decision is yours.
* If you rent a mail box in a commercial enterprise, your box number usually becomes a suite number in the address.
* Almost all publications will charge you a full word charge for each component of your address, except the Zip Code and State which is counted as one word, Example:

Information Books, 300 Main Street, Suite 611, Centerville,
Md 20910 Or:
Information Books, Box 1000, Centerville, Md 20910. * The first address is counted as 9 words, the second one as 6 words. Since advertising costs anywhere from 50 cents to $10.00 per word (classified advertising) you could save a substantial amount of money at the end of the year if you use a post office box. TELEPHONE * Some mail order companies do not show their phone numbers on their stationery, others do. It gives the customer some comfort to see a telephone number, although he may never use it.
* You can show your residence phone number in the appropriate printed material, or you can obtain a business listing for your home.
* The residence phone is fine, for starters, if it is answered in a professional manner at all times.
* If you plan to sell higher priced ticket items, however,
(over $15.00) a business listing would be advantageous since a prospective customer may pick up the phone and check with the information operator whether “Company X” is listed. BASIC SUPPLIES * Be conservative and frugal in your acquisition of items that you feel are needed. It’s always wise to start small, and as inexpensively as possible, and as you build profits, you can
buy more and better items.
* The basics are a good quality computer, Business stationery, business envelopes (#10’s), and return envelopes, either #6 or #9 is fine. All items should have your business name and address
imprinted on them.
* You will also need some mailing labels and some miscellaneous office supplies. PRODUCT * If possible, choose a product or products that people need
on an ongoing basis.
* Be sure the product is of acceptable quality. Know the
product before you sell it.
* If feasible, choose an item that is not widely available
from retailers.
* Develop a line of merchandise. It is rarely possible to make money with just one or two items. The availability of a line of related products is paramount to mail order success.
* The more specialized your products are, the easier your marketing becomes.
* If you are selling books, for example, it would be impossible, except for a very large company, to sell all types of books. You may decide to specialize in books pertaining to sports, and may want to go even further by zeroing in on football or baseball. SUPPLIERS * Your suppliers should provide you with reliable, quality,
and reasonable pricing.
* Since you probably should provide some type of a money back
guarantee (30 days is standard) you should expect the same guarantee from your suppliers.
* When buying from out of town suppliers, be sure to include the shipping charge in comparing prices to local suppliers. DROP-SHIPMENTS * Under a drop-ship agreement which is available from many suppliers for a variety of products, the supplier ships your customers’ orders directly under your shipping label.
(Suggested reading: “American-Drop-Shippers Directory”.)
* It is customary that the supplier guarantees not to include any of his promotional materials with the shipment; or to use your customer’s name for any future mailings.
* Drop-shipping arrangements are suitable for people just getting started. It allows you not to have to carry a costly inventory.
* As your business increases and you develop a sense of what sells well, you can stock limited supplies of certain fast selling items, and continue utilizing drop-shipments for slower products. Eventually, as your business flourishes, you can carry an inventory of everything you sell.
* Handling your own shipments is advantageous for the following reasons: It cuts down on your shipping expenses, it decreases the shipping time, and it allows you to include promotional material directly with the shipment.
* When you do utilize drop-shipments, be sure to send your customer a note that his order is being processed and he can expect it by, or around a certain date.
* It is unnecessary to make your customer aware of the fact that the item is being drop-shipped. Include some promotional material with your letter or note. PRICING * Buy at a price that allows you an adequate mark-up. In setting your prices, allow for all costs:
* Cost of product, shipping cost and postage, bank charges including credit card charges, wrapping, bad debts, rejects, refunds, etc. In addition, the other normal overhead costs need to be considered,. Lastly, there is the substantial marketing cost for advertising, and for printing of
promotional items. (See following paragraphs)
* Your prices of course, have to be fair and in line with your competition.
* It is not necessary that you make a big profit on each and every item. the real profit in mail order comes from follow-up orders.
ADVERTISING, PRINTING COST, AND POSTAGE. Over 80% of your total expenses are in this area. Watch these expenses very carefully. ADVERTISING EXPENSE * Start with classified ads. As you test them and know what
is successful, you can switch to display ads.
* To test an offering and a specific ad, run it once in a specific publication and you should get a reading that could be very positive or very negative. It might also be inconclusive. If that is the case, simply run it again.
* It is best to test an ad by running it in different publications.
* Advertise in publications that advertise similar products.
* If you have a sure seller, buy larger space.
* Special interest products should be advertised in special interest publications.
* Keep on changing the ad and offering until you are satisfied
it is right.
* Examples of changes you can make are: size of ad, copy,appeal, special gimmicks such as discounts, free gifts or reports, etc.
* Remember that a given ad can be 20 or 30 times more successful than another ad advertising the same product. It pays, therefore, to continue testing until it is just right.
* Repeat a successful ad until you no longer get a satisfactory return.
* The conventional advertising cost is 15% of sales or more in
mail order.
* To evaluate your advertising cost, think in terms of cost per inquiry. This is calculated by dividing the number of inquiries into the cost of the ad. that cost may vary from about $$0.80 to $2.00 or more.
* Be careful when you allocate advertising funds to small mail order publications. The ad may appear to be very inexpensive. However, a $15.00 ad that gets no response is a lot more expensive than a $150.00 ad that gets over 100 inquiries.
* Stay away from those publications that have no news or editorial content, and also those that have poor printing quality.
* There are a number of quality mail order publications, but it takes time to find the right publication for your product. ADVERTISING COPY * Write tight copy.
* Write as you speak. You are generally appealing to a mass market.
* Prepare your copy carefully. It must fit your specific medium.
* The emphasis should be on YOU rather than I, the company.
* Be sincere and don’t make unreasonable claims, but remember that you are selling.
* Try to convince the reader that you are reliable and
* Give simple specific instruction.
* Key all ads to test their effectiveness.
* Check and double check, and have someone else check your ad to make sure everything is correct and easy to understand.
* Watch where your competitors are advertising.
* Experiment with new publications.
* It is generally considered impossible to sell something that costs more than $2.00 – $3.00 direct from either a classified ad or a small display ad. This is because there just is not enough space to convince someone to part with $10.00 or $20.00, for example. It takes a full page ad to do that.
* If you use an agency, use one that specializes in mail order, even if it is located out of town. RESPONDING TO INQUIRIES * Each inquiry you receive in response to an ad should be answered via First Class, if at all possible, within 24 hours.
* The contents of the envelope going to the prospective customer should contain: a circular, promotional flier, or mini-brochure, a sales letter, an order form (the order form can be part of the circular), a return envelope, and other appropriate information, such as a fact sheet, a free report, etc.
* In general, circulars should be limited to one 8 1/2 x 11 page.
* A sales letter, on the other hand, can be as long as it takes to say everything you need to say to a prospective customer in order to sell him the product.
* Sales letters should have an attention getting opening. The idea of the opening is to get him to read the rest of the letter. POSTAGE AND SHIPPING COST * Answer inquiries to your advertising immediately and via First Class Mail. Use Bulk Mail for future mailings.
* You can save a great deal of money by getting a Bulk Mail permit. Mail must be sorted by zip code. Get more specific information from your Post Office.
* Keep your mailing lists clean – updated.
* Utilize all of the various mail classes, such as Printed Mail and Book rate.
* Compare costs of shippers other than the Post Office.
* Guarantee return postage.
* Watch your shipping weight. A fraction of an ounce can make a big difference in a large mailing. PRINTING COST * Very large printers will not be interested in your business. Very small ones, quick printers and instant printers although convenient, are generally too expensive. Their equipment is not large enough to be competitive.
* There are many medium sized printers that will give you good pricing and quality printing. Often they have the capability to help you with layout and design.
* Don’t hesitate to use out of town printers. If you live in a high cost-of -living area, you can probably save a substantial amount of money. Many of these printers advertise in mail order publications.
* Utilize the promotional material available from your supplier.
* Until you know what sells, print small quantities, even if it is more expensive.
* Use colored paper for your promotional flyers to spice up your offer. Use white paper, blue or black ink for everything else. CUSTOMER PAYMENTS, REFUNDS AND COMPLAINTS * Accept money orders and checks.
* Some mail order companies state in their material that they will not ship for 10 days to 2 weeks when payment is made with an out of town check. This may be an unwise practice because, it can create ill feelings with your customers. NSF checks are rare.
* An increasing number of mail order companies accept credit cards – Visa and MasterCard – for payment. It is generally felt that it does increase sales.
* If you cannot obtain a credit card merchant agreement with your bank work through a credit card clearing house. A number of these companies advertise in mail order publications. Since these companies generally charge between 6-9%, it may be wise to set a minimum amount such as $15.00 for credit card orders.
* Remember, “the customer” is always right. An argument won,is usually a customer lost.
* If you receive an order with an underpayment, ship the order and bill the customer for the difference.
* Make refunds on overpayments quickly.
* Most mail order companies offer a 30 day money back guarantee. Some offer 90 days and even more.
* It is unwise to offer money back guarantees on items priced very inexpensively, for example, a $3.00 report. RECORD KEEPING * As in any business, it is important to keep records.
* You need records to tell you what is going on in your business; to evaluate both your revenues and your expenses.
* It is also required by law that you keep certain records.
* Keep especially good records of your advertising expenses so you can evaluate your advertising on an ongoing basis. MAILING LISTS * It is recommended that you do no direct mailings, except to your own list of customers and inquirers, until you have
thoroughly tested a specific product through advertising.
* Stay away from inexpensive mailing lists, under $40.00 -$50.00 per 1000.
* Avoid mailing lists whose owners make unrealistic claims.
* Work with a list broker who wants to see your product before he will rent you a list. Lists are rented for one time use.
* Lists from professional list brokers rent from $60.00 and
up, per thousand names.
* The general consensus is that you need to mail a minimum of 1000 names to get a fair reading. 5000 names would give you a more accurate test.
* Buyer’ names are better than names of inquiries.
* The best mailing list is your own list of buyers. Second best is your own list of inquirers. FOLLOW UP * The most important factor in mail order is FOLLOW-UP
Substantial profits can be generated from this segment, if it is properly handled.
* You can generate a lot of sales by including promotional material when filling orders for customers. Other orders are generated from mailings that are made to former customers, as well as individuals who inquired about an offer in the past.
* Send out regular mailings to your customers. At a minimum,
four times per year. However, you can send out mailings as often as every 6 weeks or so, if you have a new product to offer.
* As you build your mailing lists and you send out regular
mailings, your orders will start flowing in. RESEARCH AND EDUCATION * Whether you are new to this field or not, to stay on top, you must continue your education by reading books and reports on mail order and subscribing to mail order publications.
* Always be on the lookout for new products you can offer your customers.
* Study the advertising of your competitors. Request their
material and study it.
* Study all mailings you receive. Continue to learn about mail order by reading, experimenting, and talking with other mail order operators. Have patience. Success will not come overnight. It takes time to build a successful business. Start slowly and expand your business from your profits. Good Luck!