Most entrepreneurs have, at some point, considered mail order and, indeed, it can be very lucrative.
But there is a way of making it even more lucrative by restricting your operations to one of the most lucrative parts ever.
Mailing out direct ads can be big business.
A big business that can be yours if you decide to sell through the post in this fascinating way!
A mailing business couldn't be simpler.
All you do is select a suitable product - you can start with just one.
Then produce an effective, high impact mailing to sell it.
Post off the mailings and just wait for the orders to flood it!
All the best of mail order without the frustration and difficulty of preparing press ads that general mail order dealers have.
The sheer success of mailing is based on a simple unwritten law.
Basically, you can find a minimum response rate for your product in other words, a guarantee that so many mailings will produce so many orders.
This way you can be virtually sure that if you mail so many circulars, you will make a set and firm amount of sheer profit!
Mail order at its best!
The attraction of this branch of mail order is that you can often set your own income.
Make so many mailings - get so much back!
Mail order traders usually rate their response on a per thousand basis for comparison. Some good products sold by mailing have been known to sell 200 out of 1,000 - i.e. out of 1,000 circulars sent, 200 orders resulted. A huge profit! By comparison, a poor mailing might only make 10 sales per 1,000 probably a loss.
So, you are probably safe to bet on 50 orders per 1,000 mailings.
It may well be higher, but work on a mere 5% return, and you're sure to profit.
Knowing what sort of response to expect can enable you to plan for profit.
The amount you sell must cover all your costs - and profit - so set price levels accordingly.
Usually higher priced products are best.
Just imagine you have prepared a 1,000 mailing at an inclusive cost of about $645.
From that you obtained 50 orders for a product at $60.
That's a take of $3,000 - ample to cover your costs and with plenty of profit left over!
Next, assume you could repeat your example over hundreds of thousands of mailings.
The sheer profit potential, almost guaranteed, is easy to assess.
For success with mailings, it is vital to choose the right product.
It is usual in the trade to "test" several before homing in on the most successful.
Products should be those that are frequently sold by mail order.
Don't try to be too different.
They should be attractive, and exciting, and just "begging" to be bought.
You should also be able to obtain stocks, handle them - and pack and post easily. The most important criteria in product selection is the eventual selling price. This should usually be high, though this does not mean sales will be low.
If you are only making 3%, 4% or 5% sales, it should probably sell at no less than $40 per item. Larger amount, perhaps up to $200, would be ideal.
Also make sure your product offers a good profit margin.
Anything less than 60% would be unsuitable - up to 99% is not unknown!
If you can't meet these standards with a single item, try "lumping together" several in one mailing.
Do remember there are no "right" or "wrong" things to sell.
There are thousands of possibilities - and people do buy by mail order running into hundreds of dollars each order.
Just do be sure to inexpensively test products until you find one that really works.
Your direct ad is, of course, vital, and you may want to experiment with different approaches.
A mailing expert or writer could be used for this, but you can prepare it yourself.
All the best direct ads center around a brochure.
This should be on colored paper, and, ideally, illustrated and worded attractively.
Support this with a sales letter (always on white paper).
This should introduce and explain your product as well as convincing the reader to buy it.
Use high impact wording to make them want - and make them order immediately.
Each mailing should include a return order form to make buying really easy and a return envelope which is prepaid through the Post Office Business Reply Service.
The cost is usually repaid several times over. It is best to put the printing of your mailing in the hands of a high quality printer. Obtain several quotes first.
Poor quality literature is definitely a false economy.
Some printers will print all your requirements and also pack and seal it into envelopes to save you a lot of time and trouble.
For best results use good envelopes.
These should be printed with an eye catching slogan to really grab attention.
Your next job is to post your direct ads - and this can be quite a technical operation.
For a start, you can't just mail anywhere.
You must mail to recognised mail order buyers.
The names and addresses of such people can be rented from list brokers.
There are many firms, but try several to find those with the best lists.
Rented buyers names can usually only be used once for one mailing and most brokers will supply their names printed onto address labels.
This makes your job really easy.
Before mailing circulars contact your local post office.
Sometimes there are special introductory postage discounts and bulk mailing of several thousand envelopes qualifies for some free postage.
It's probably best to release your mailings in batches to produce a steady flow of orders.
Experiment with the actual day of posting, which hence effects the day of receipt.
Mailings received on a Monday are often less successful - but those received on other days can either do well or extremely well.
Test and see!
People who do best in mailing give little regard to order handling. Yes - it should be prompt and careful, but you should give most time to preparing and mailing circulars.
If you can, take payments on trust and post orders by return within 7/14 days at least.
Always enclose details of additional products when fulfilling orders.
Past customers are highly likely to buy again.
Also keep addresses of past customers - mail new offers to them as they are launched.
Again, they are likely buyers.
Nothing is better for business than a delighted customer, but if you do receive complaints, it's best to make a full refund.
That customer may well remain loyal!
The whole future success of direct mailing sits behind giving good service and getting repeat orders.
If you can attain this you won't need to spend much on advertising in future.
Studying your market and results obtained are crucial to the success of mailing.
Basically, the idea is to maximise successes for a huge overall gain.
If you send enough mailings, you are sure to be able to tell which are most successful.
The business is really a continual testing process.
Try with different approaches and different methods. Try different products - different prices - different wording.
All these things can combine to make either a disappointing result - or an outstanding success.
This is just the same procedure used by the "millionaire" type mail order venture. Some mailings you make are bound to be less than satisfactory, but the trick is to monitor and record results carefully so that you can spot such mailings - then cut your losses.