Get Started Today!

[Advertising][Business Start-Ups][General Business][How-To][Inspirational]
[Internet Marketing][Mail Order][Marketing and Sales][Personal Finance][Trade Directories]

 |Previous Manual| |Home Page| |Next Manual|

Business Manuals

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

various services.


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,

D.C. 20202.


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

of capital.


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

only 4.5%.


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

longer letter.


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

solid information.


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

Inside," etc.


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.


|Best Buys| |Ordering Info| |Join Mailing List| |Business Links|

|Free Business Manuals| |Email Us|