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Money Making Secrets Renting Profitable Mailing Lists

As an entrepreneur involved in the selling and promotion of products by Direct Mail, you should already know that the most important aspects of your mailings have to do with the sales letter and circular you send out, and the mailing lists you use. Assuming you already have a well-designed, order-pulling sales letter or circular, let's focus our attention directly on the problem of finding mailing lists that produce profitable orders.

Common sense dictates that without a good mailing list the time and money you spend for market research, advertising layout, and the development of your direct mail marketing plans will only end up as wasted effort. In other words, unless you get your offer to the buyers, you might as well save your time and money.

In order to reach the most likely buyers, you must first identify the members of your target audience. This is not as difficult as it might first appear. It is simply a matter of recognizing that automotive items will appeal to car-owners, household gadgets will sell best to homemakers, etc. However, regardless of how easy it is, targeting prospects is often the most overlooked part of the
beginning entrepreneur's plan. If you don't know who you're trying to sell a product or service to, your product or service is going to be pretty hard to sell. Without a target buyer in mind, you will never know what approach to use in presenting your product.

Once you've narrowed your prospective clients, next consider the competition your product or service faces. If there is a limited market - with few people who would stand in line to buy - and you are competing with similar products supplied by other companies, you're going to have to either come up with a strong "hidden angle" or else face defeat before you even begin. Targeting your buyers and analyzing the competition are the two keys to success in selling
anything via direct mail. You must pin-point exactly who your buyers are, and present your offer to them with an angle not being used by your competition, concentrating all your sales efforts only on your most-likely prospects.

Assuming you know who your most likely buyers are and that you've got a winning sales presentation and a product or service these people will stand in line to buy, then your only problem is getting the message to the buyer. Do not think you'll save money by renting or buying inexpensive mailing lists from the advertisers in the ad sheets and mail order publications that flood your mailbox. You'll waste a lot of time and money with these lists. The lists offered by most mail order dealers are compiled from ad sheets, mail order publications, and the incoming offers received by the list agent. These people also sometimes compile mailing lists from the unresponsive customers on their personal mailing lists. Some even compile their rental lists directly from the telephone/city directories. Others work one of the envelope stuffing schemes to compile their rental lists. These schemes offer commissions to people who pay to join their envelope stuffing program, and then sell or rent the names of the people who join their program. The people who join the program are advised to compile lists from any number of sources, send out an advertising circular, and receive a commission for each incoming order. The names of the buyers are then compiled into another list, and sold by the promoters of the program to some of the larger list-brokers as bonafide mail order buyers.

Anytime you see an offer for a list of fewer than 1,000 names from a small mail order operator, you can almost certainly count on a list that's (1) Up to several years old; (2) Filled with names of people who have moved, and thus undeliverable; (3) Packed with the names of other mail order sellers, and (4) Part of a very small database of names that is being used continually.

Never buy a mailing list - only rent. Names that are purchased cannot be controlled. They may have been bought and sold several times, never having been checked for deliverability nor the prospects' interests in mail order products. Mailing lists rented from reputable companies or brokers, on the other hand, are generally compiled by the rental company itself or their supplier, and are backed by guarantees of deliverability. Larger list companies must maintain strict control over their lists to insure their reputation in the business. Negative comments spread by unhappy clients will destroy a list company's business. Thus, reputable brokers make every attempt to insure the
list you are renting is comprised of recipients who will feel favorably disposed towards your product or service.

Before renting a mailing list from anyone, use the same common sense you use in deciding upon a doctor, lawyer, or auto mechanic. The best thing to do is to take a note pad and pencil to your public library. Ask the librarian to let you look at the Standard Rate Data Service Directory pertaining to mailing lists. Within this voluminous directory you'll find the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of virtually all the reputable mailing list brokers in the
country. In the listing, brokers describe the different lists they have available for rental, what kind of buyers the lists are made up of, and the date the list was last cleaned - that is, the last time all the names on the list were verified relative to the correctness of addresses. Select a half dozen or so of the list brokers handling the kinds of lists that are made up of buyers of products or services
similar to yours. Jot those names and addresses down on your note
pad, and then go home and call them on the phone.

When you contact the list broker, tell them about yourself, what you're trying to sell, how much you're asking for it, and your long-range plans. Almost all of them will want to see a sample of your mailing piece, and more often than not, a sample of your product as well. Don't be afraid to talk with these people. They're in business to help you, and if they direct you to a list that doesn't make money for you, they figure you'll not buy from them again. Thus, it's to their benefit to see that you get the right list for your mailing piece and offer. Most of them will even critique your mailing piece and offer, suggesting improvements when appropriate, and will act as a consultant to see that you realize a profit through their services.

Once you and the list broker have decided upon the mailing list best suited to your offer, you generally will be required to rent a minimum of 5,000 names. The going prices will range from $40 to $100 per thousand names. Expensive? Not really. Consider this: if you pay $350 for 5,000 prospective buyers, and end up with 500 buyers of a $20 "How-To" manual that you've written, your total expenses might work out as follows:

List Rental $ 350
Sales Literature $ 285
Bulk Postage (5,000 pcs. ) $ 990
Book Printing (500) $ 1,000
Mailing Supplies $ 130
Book Mailing $ 525
Total Expenses $ 3,280
Total Income $10,000
TOTAL PROFIT $ 6,720

Not a bad profit for a mailing of only 5,000!

So you see, the important task is to get your offer to your most-likely buyers. The fastest and least expensive way to do this is to work with a reputable mailing list broker and forget about all the "wheel-spinning" within the circle of mail-order operators. As long as you deal with small mail order individuals - small-time dealers and advertisers - you'll never achieve anything beyond a busy, hand-to-mouth existence in the business.

The greatest reason for most of the entrepreneurial failures in the mail order business is simple: the beginner tries to cut corners by using something less than the most productive mailing lists available. The years are littered with people from all walks of life who could offer good products and services, but failed to get their ideas off the ground. For the most part, these people tried to save money by compiling their own mailing lists, advertising in all-seller mail
order publications, or only sending their offers out to mail-order operators found in the ad sheets or to lists purchased from advertisers in these publications. In almost every case, the entrepreneur's efforts were totally wasted, and ended in heartbreak and great financial loss.

You can succeed starting from scratch! But, before you begin - before you jump in and reach for your own mail order fortune - be sure you arrange all the odds in your own favor. Anything less than the rules stated within this report will surely be a waste of time and result in failure.

Remember: Your product has to be something you can buy or produce
n finished form for pennies, and sell for dollars. There has to be an eager market for your product or service. You must project a professional image of yourself as the company or supplier in all your sales letters, circulars, advertising, and dealings with your prospective buyers. And you must know who your buyers are, and concentrate all of your efforts to reach those people with your offers. Best of Luck!

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