101 Ways To Increase Mail Order Profits
1. This publication is not meant to be a manual on How To Operatea Mail Order Business. It's purpose directly and simply, is to provide you with numerous tips, sources, and ideas, that will save you money, time and effort in conducting your mail order business. If read carefully, we are sure you will find it of much value in this regard.
2. A mail order business will succeed, if the price at which the item (goods or service) is offered seems to be lower, all things considered, than the customer can obtain it for elsewhere.
3. A mail order business will succeed if, the offer is unique or exclusive or appealing for any number of reasons that create or satisfy desire upon the part of the purchaser.
4. A mail order business will succeed if, the customer does not know where to obtain the goods or services and is attracted by the offer in the advertisement which fills a need or creates a desire.
5. Regarding paper size: The most common size is 8 1/2 X 11. The offer may either be sent in a number 10 business size envelope (if you are mailing less than 3 or 4 sheets of paper) or 9 x 12 envelopes for heavier mailings. Odd shape envelopes may be attention getters, but they have to be custom made, and the time and cost are very high.
6. The quickest and best way to get a specific answer to any question pertaining to postal rules or regulations is to inquire at your local post office.
7. Use the YOU approach in your copy. Regard the customer as a friend. In a study on successful direct mail copy, it was found the most frequently used word was "you" the second most successful word was "your".
8. Use colored paper for additional appeal of your offer. Your sales letter should generally be white, grey or ivory. Circulars, brochures and order forms will look nicely in a variety of colors such as: ivory, gold, light pink, blue, green and canary. The ink color should generally be black. You may wish a second color, such as red or blue for additional effect, for headlines, book titles, etc. This can be done for a small additional charge.
9. Have printing done in moderate quantities. While printing is substantially less expensive in larger quantities it is best to print in smaller quantities until you are quite sure you will be using the offer for some time. This may take a few months of trial and error.
10. Whenever you spend money for printing get at least 2-3 quotes. Your best bet will most likely be a small or medium size printing company. If you live in a large metropolitan area consider to get your printing done out of town. You will see many ads of mail order printers in the mail order publications.
11. Try a direct mail newsletter, most people read them. Newsletters
keep customers up-to-date and interested. You can speak in a sales
pitch, but be subtle.
12. Test mailings. 1,000 is a fair test.
13. Your business will grow quickly if you serve your customers at
every opportunity. Keep good records on your customers. If you are
starting out and do not have a computer use small index cards.
14. Do not discard the envelopes of your inquirers but sell them.
The going price is between 5 and 10 cents per envelope. Mailing list
companies will acquire envelopes in most any quantity. They will
generally stipulate that envelopes are less than 90 days old.
15. If you publish a newsletter or ad-sheet, contact other publishers.
If your circulation is equal to theirs, many will be glad to exchange
an equal amount of ad space with you.
16. For your various mailing needs call or write to the Office of
Consumer Affairs, Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza West S.W., Washington,
D.C. 20260. They offer several informative and free publications.
17. About colors: According to research men will prefer these colors
in the order as shown: Blue, red, violet, green, orange, white and
yellow. And women are thought to prefer the following colors in order
of preference: red, violet, blue, green, orange, white and yellow.
18. It is interesting to note that three of the largest general mail
order companies began at a time of need, grew as a result of aggressive
merchandising policy, and by a process of adaptation to new conditions
remain as leaders of their field.
19. An up to-date typewriter (a computer and a word processing program
is even better) is absolutely indispensable in the operation of a
mail order company. Business letters that are handwritten will brand
the sender as an amateur, and create a poor impression on prospective
20. If you mail to business firms, it'll pay you to take the trouble
to get the names of individuals in each firm. One mail seller found
that letters addressed to business individuals pulled four times
as many orders as letters addressed to the company themselves.
21. How do you address your mail? Tests indicate that individually
typed envelopes or hand written envelopes for certain types of customers)
will out-pull labels every time.
22. Write to: Dinner & Klein, 600 S. Spokane St., Seattle, Wash.
98134 and request their free catalog. It has handy instructions in
how to prepare a catalog as well as prices and information on their
23. Tack circulars of your best circulars on public bulletin boards
that are provided in
your community, such as grocery stores, coin operated laundries,
24. Ever try filling in the person's name on your form letters? A
test pulled 18 orders with
the person's name typed in, and only 14 orders without the fill-in.
25. The primary aid of all advertising is to create in the reader
a desire to own what you are selling. To be successful your advertising
must be compiled to contain these four essential elements. It must
attract attention, stimulate interest, arouse desire, call for action.
26. Two-page letters pull best when printed on two sides of a single
27. Try dividing your mailing list into onetime buyers and repeat
buyers. Mail follow-ups to the repeaters about every 4-6 weeks, but
mail to the one - timers only about every 3 to 4 month. You'll get
the most for the least out of your list that way.
28. Want to offer a premium? Many mail sellers do. A sample is your
best bet, if you
can do it. In a test, a sample pulled 153, while a booklet pulled
100, a related novelty
pulled 86, and a special service offer pulled 24.
29. "Publications Relating To Small Businesses" list dozens of low
cost publications of interest to small mail order business. Write
for a free copy to - U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington,
30. To get an idea of the scope of mail order selling, look carefully
through the advertising section of any craft magazine, also general
and trade publications, farm
magazines, mail editions of the large metropolitan journals and dailies,
country weeklies, and notice the wide range of offers.
31. Articles widely sold over store counters are not generally suitable
for the small mail
order dealer to handle.
32. Need wholesale book suppliers for your offers? Here are two excellent
Wholesale Book Sources, #420 - $12 or
Book Dealers Dropship Directory, #445 - $12. Order from your Distributor
- add $2.50 for shipping.
33. When mailing First Class postage, you will know the results of
a test within two or three weeks. The same test by bulk mail will
take about 8 weeks or longer.
34. Free information on Mail/World on becoming a distributor for
thousands of items: novelties, gifts, etc. Mail Order Associates,
Inc., 120 Chestnut St., Montvale, NJ 07645
35. It is good business judgement to proceed slowly and test an offer
on a small scale before striking out with any considerable amount
36. Using poorly printed and cheap looking sales literature is one
of the serious and often fatal errors into which mail order beginners
frequently fall. Prospects, often accustomed to buying through the
mail, can spot the work of an amateur who is not careful to employ
sales tools up to standard quality.
37. Free 40 page printing catalog and price list from: Lelli Printing,
2650 CR 175, Loudonville, OH 44842.
38. Always remember to incorporate that magic word "Money Back Guaranty"
into your sales literature. It gives the purchaser confidence that
he can get his money back if he is dissatisfied with his purchase,
and consequently makes the order much easier to obtain. Statistically
there are very few returns in mail order buying.
39. One way to make money is to keep yourself from unnecessary spending.
This is because every dollar you keep is tax-free, that is, you have
already earned it and paid the tax on it. So a dollar saved may be
$1.35 or so earned.
40. What is the most magic word in all advertising? FREE!
41. The HEADLINE is responsible for 50% of the returns obtained from
42. The advertiser's reply to an inquiry should always address itself
specifically to the needs and wants of the prospective buyer. Forget
about talking about you and your company. It's called selfish marketing
and of no interest to the reader.
43. Novice mail order advertisers typically make the error of spending
more to get people to express interest than they do to satisfy the
44. "Starting and Managing a Small business of Your Own." This informative
is available FREE from - Small Business Administration, 1551 L st.,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20516.
45. Books are the ideal mail order product. Here's a few of the reasons.
Books carry a high markup. Books mail at a special low postage rate.
There's no spoilage with books.
46. Interested in becoming a distributor for a wide selection of
over 400 books on business, careers, self-improvement, how-to and
general interest? Discount of up to 75%.
Write for free Distributorship information to: Roblin Press, 405
Tarrytown Rd., Suite 414, White Plains, NY 10607
47. Ordinarily it is not the product offered that makes a successful
mail order operator, but the selling plan coupled with the energy
and determination behind it.
48. Small business loans. Aid for independently owned small businesses
which are unable to obtain financing in the private credit marketplace.
Contact - Director, Office of Financing, Small Business Administration,
1441 L St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20416.
49. Are you using professional artwork in your display advertising?
If you aren't maybe that's why you're not getting the returns you
wished for. Artwork is important as this test shows. Advertising
with artwork pulled 12%, the same advertising without artwork pulled
50. If you have an offer that sells well to college students or military
personnel call American Passage - 800-727-7243. Request free Directory
of College Newspapers and Directory of Military Base Papers. You
can advertise in very large University publications for very little
money when compared to national publications.
51. A reply card with a shaded background out-pulls the same card
without the background by at least 5%.
52. Letters run off on a printer and sent First Class can average
one-third more returns than a printed or copied letter sent via bulk
53. A mail order project should be planned and established as a sound
business, not a fad or passing fancy. Mail order work is not something
to be undertaken by anyone just because he imagines he wants a business
of his own.
54. A catalog is not recommended for the beginner, after he gets
established and adds to his line, he is in a position to contemplate
a small catalog.
55. Even the simplest mail order enterprises are susceptible to chance.
A necessary talent in the mail order business is the ability to observe
what is happening and what is likely to affect demand.
56. Long letters or short letters? A four-pager sent out by one firm
pulled almost 5% while their old one-page job pulled only 3%. If
your present one page letter isn't producing, it may pay to try a
57. New Mail order products bring fortunes to small operators. Free
interesting information from - Mail Order Associates, Inc., 120 Chestnut
Ridge Rd., Montvale, N.J. 07645.
58. Besides the outlay of stationary, circulars, and advertising,
you must have enough money to put in a products in order to give
prompt service on orders. It is, however, generally recommended to
utilize the drop shipping services of a supplier in the beginning
stages of a new business.
59. It is a very good practice in going through trade papers and
other literature, such as circulars, to watch carefully for articles
and services offered and to file away these tips for possible future
reference. Call this your "idea" or "swipe" file.
60. A manual costing less than a dollar in quantity to publish often
sells for ten dollars or more. The buyer is just not purchasing so
much paper and printing, but presumably years of a writer's skill
and experience, the recording of which required tedious hours, days
or weeks to make ready for study for people who want to learn.
61. "Women's Handbook, How S.B.A. Can help you go into Business."
This informative publication is available FREE from, Small Business
Administration, 1551 L St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20416
62. One of the ways a mail order operator succeeds is by moving faster
and more surely than its competitors. To do this requires information-
quicker and better information than is available to rivals.
63. When you put up your own product, on a small scale to start,
the cost of materials is not of paramount issue. If your product
is worthy of making or putting together, it can be priced high enough
to be within competition and yet be a very good value to the customer.
64. Offer a free premium or bonus if the customer orders by a specific
date. Get the customer to act NOW!
65. The masses of the people have never demanded equality of
fortune, and indeed understand it to be impossible; but they have
always insisted, upon equality of opportunity.
66. The Federal Trade Commission has a rule requiring mail order
purchases be shipped within the time stated in the company's printed
or broadcast offer. If no time is stated, shipment must be within
30 days after the company receives the order. This is often referred
to as "The 30 Day Rule".
67. For an update in current Mail Order Laws & Regulations order
publication #4039 - $4.00. Order from your distributor.
68. When the telephone is combined with direct mail, it can result
in an increase in your response by 2 to 6 times, or more. Inquiries
generated by advertising and direct mail can be handled for quick
response while interest is still alive.
69. If you are in a position to take orders by phone you can significantly
increase your business by accepting credit cards as a payment option.
Your best bet to get a bank to
grant you credit card merchant privileges will be with a small bank.
If you are unable to find a bank you may want to consider a clearing
70. " Let's Do Business." This informative publication is available
FREE from - Publications Service, Veterans Administration, 810 Vermont
Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20420.
71. In preparing sales literature if one has no writing gift, outside
aid must be secured. Without it, all is lost.
72. Learn something about selling with catalogs. Write for free details
and samples to - Specialty Merchandise Corp., 6061 DeSoto, Woodland
Hills, Calif. 91365.
73. "International Mail Imports." This informative publication is
available Free from - Public Information Division, Customer Service,
1301 Constitution Ave. N.W. Washington, D.C. 20229.
74. Save up to 70% and more on all your office supply needs. Multi-page
catalog listing several thousand items, literally everything you
need in mail order. Free on request from - Quill Corp., 100 Schelter
Rd., Lincolnshire, IL 60069-3621.
75. Keeping your mailing list up-to-date will save money in postage
and printing and make your mailing more effective.
76. A new mail order business can be operated without the assist
of a computer, but as the business grows, a computer will save time
and make your business more profitable. This is especially true when
it comes to managing your mailing list.
77. Many spare time operators make money year after year with a how-to'
item, exclusively prepared. The classified columns and display advertising
sections of the craft magazines are replete with such offerings.
78. Although inquiry advertising is expensive, it provides more
reliable lists than most other methods. Since every prospect secured
through inquiry advertising has already revealed an interest in the
product, aggressive efforts for sales have an excellent chance of
79. Buyers lists, to be of any value, must be kept up to date. When
any person appears to be of little or no value as a prospect, his
name should be purged from the list. Most
mail order companies will drop the name of a customer if no purchases
have taken place in the preceding 12 months.
80. Before printing, prepare an accurate dummy of your mailing for
weighing purposes. Include all pieces. Be sure the weight comes within
the one-ounce postal limit. The smallest fraction of an ounce overweight
increases your postage costs.
81. Don't be frightened by early mistakes and losses, expect them.
What you learn from them might be the very essence of your later
82. " The more you tell, the more you sell" is an old advertising
maxim which is worth remembering. Go easy on gimmicks, give the reader
83. Location of a mail order business is of little importance. Many
have been started in spare time from a persons own home. Nor is age
or gender of any significance. Also, elaborate facilities are unnecessary
as would be in the operation of a store.
84. Location as pertaining to the part of the country, large or small
city, street address, etc. is also of no importance. There are many
highly successful mail order companies operating from small towns
that have no name recognition for most of the population.
85. Even a commonplace product can be sold to advantage when promoted
with a sound merchandising plan, especially when given a new twist.
86. Use a teaser on the envelope to get the prospect interested right
away. Try something like " Save 50% on.., or "Special Free Offer
87. Make it easy for a prospect to order, include an order blank
in all your mailings. Remind the prospect to " order now." It's the
call to action.
88. Have you tried advertising in card deck mailings to test response
over conventional promotional methods. Many dealers are finding these
89. Study, study, study. There is a lot to be learned in up-to-date
books on mail order, and in trade periodicals and trade association
bulletins. Modern business is complicated. There's always a lot to
know, and surprisingly enough you can find it out if you just try.
90. Be enthusiastic. Your enthusiasm is a big part of getting a customer
excited about a purchase - the positive energy you generate will
rub off on customers.
91. Review your list maintenance procedures to be sure that address
changes and other corrections are made expeditiously and duplicates
are removed. Excess and undeliverable mail at the new rates could
be a major expense.
92. Newsletters have proven themselves to be effective promotional
vehicles. Because they tend to stand out from ordinary direct mail
pieces (" junk mail" to the layman."
93. Most of the experts agree, a two-time buyer is at least twice
as likely to buy again as a one time buyer. So mail to these more
94. By using lightweight paper you might squeeze four instead of
three pages into an envelope for the same postage. When circumstances
permit, print on both sides of a sheet.
95. Don't overcontrol your operations. Keep control systems straight
forward, allowing room for experimentation, risk taking and managerial
96. The only things in which the prospect is interested in is what
your product is going to do for him and what are you going to do
for him. What's the price, and why should he order now.
97. Desktop publishing, converting typewritten copy to a highly professional
look may be worth considering.
98. The more your sales-letter looks like an actual letter, the better
it will work. Don't be "done in" by advertisement writers who do
not understand this principle.
99. Your sincerity about this product establishes a prospect's trust
in both the product and the purchasing experience itself - if you
believe in the product, the prospect is much more likely to buy it.
99. Take advantage of special postal discount rates such as "Special
Fourth Class" rate for books, film, recordings, etc.
100. Make a careful comparison of parcel post and UPS rates for heavy
packages. UPS will be most cost effective in distances of 1,000 or
less miles, and they will generally more
101. When people feel they have been treated well and helped to make
a good buying decision, it's a cinch that they'll recommend your
service or product to their friends.
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