by Kevin Johnson
Have you placed your display ad in a national magazine with over 20 million readers, then waited for the orders to pour in? But the days go by and there is little or no responses? Perhaps you receive only three or four inquiries and only make one sale. What was the cause of this catastrophe? Is it because your product does not have mass appeal, or is the magazine 100% wrong for the product you are offering?
The reason for all mail order advertisements is to get inquiries and sales. If you know there is a definite need for your product and others are advertising similar items, month after month, in the same media, then admit it... Your ad is no good! People are by-passing your ad and when they turn the page you have lost them forever! Your ad or circular must stop them in their tracks. How do you do this? There are three best ways to get their attention. With a headline, a picture or illustration, or a combination of both. And what should you say in your headline? Subconsciously, readers are always looking for some excuse to quit reading an advertisement, so you must say whatever is necessary to force them into the subhead and body of your message!
This can be done in many different ways. Most people are interested in news so if your product is newsworthy you can use such words as.. NOW!.. AT LAST!.. NEW!.. GET! If you are giving information or offering a free incentive, the word "FREE" is a great word for the headline. Use the word "WHY" in the headline and they will read the subject and perhaps the body of your copy to see if the "why" pertains to them. Use words that indicate your message has great benefits for them.
If your product is a book or report that tells how to do something, "HOW TO" is usually a good start for your headline, or if you are offering a choice "WHICH" fits the requirements for one of the key words in your headline. To hold the attention of impatient people use words that indicate they will be able to read the rest of the message easily and without delay.
Words such as "Fantastic", "Unbelievable", etc., should be used sparingly or the reader may believe the article is just a big "come-on' with little value and not worth wasting their time reading! Using words asking for advice, or giving advice will often appeal to the reader, depending of course on what is being offered. For that matter, you don't have to use "canned" words. Just prepare copy to fit your offer using your own creative ability. See things from your readers' point of view and work up your presentation accordingly.
If the headline is not read, then you might as well forget about the rest of the ad. If the headline doesn't stop them, your ad or circular is just money down the tube regardless of how great your product may be or how good the ad appears. You must use the headline to attract the reader with words that appeal to their wants and desires. Words that practically force them to read the rest of your message.
In the body of your copy develop the information about your offer in a logical sequence, point out the benefits, tell how and where to order and finally call for action, NOW! To make the copy more interesting, you can Capitalize a few of the key words and sentences. If you are offering something free you can often short-cut the ad by using just a headline, a picture, and a subhead, without the need for detail.
You can give specific facts about your product and the benefits to the prospect or, with certain kinds of offers, a better approach may be to keep the offer a mystery; keep them guessing. Some products such as books, reports or money-making programs can be sold using the mystery method if the price is not too high. Written testimonials are a valuable addition to your sales message. A 100% money-back guarantee is a must.
At the lower right hand corner of your circular include an order coupon. Make it simple and easy to follow and let them know that their order will get immediate attention. Put your telephone number on the coupon so the prospect will not have to call the operation to find out if you are legitimate.
Your Own Circular Program!
The time has come to prepare your own circulars when you have acquired or developed your own product, have "latched" on to an exclusive, or have found an item with sufficient markup to produce a reasonable profit.
In starting an ad sheet or circular venture it is generally possible to have others pay a substantial amount of the cost and expenses! This can be accomplished in several different ways.
Advertise in mail order trade publications that you will print and mail 1,000 3x6 circulars (approximately 2 3/4 x 5 1/2), for $5.00, or a one-inch or 40 word classified or display ad for $2.00. Paste up the ads on an 8-1/2x11 sheet so that after printing each sheet can be cut into six circulars. Ads for your own product are printed on the back side.
Hopefully you will receive sufficient response to get $25 or $30 in orders. If you can hold printing and ad costs to $25 you will now have 6,000 circulars with your ads on one side, prepared and ready to mail At no cost to you!
Your ads printed on the back of the circulars are commission ads paying others 50% for orders they get for your product, which you drop-ship to their customers.
You will mail these circulars in bulk to circular mailers and opportunity seekers, who send you the postage for a free supply.
Perhaps one inch or so of the 6,000 circulars will carry an ad for the 3x6 circulars or the $2.00 ad offer. Another inch of space can be used to offer free commission circulars upon receipt of a stamped, self-addressed envelope (SASE). The larger the envelope and the more stamps, the more circulars they will get.
This will leave 6,000 circulars with 3 or 4 inches of space in which to advertise your own product (commission ad). If you send these circulars out, printed in the right combination, you may discover Perpetual motion!
It is well to test other size circulars (5-1/2 x 8-1/2); 8-1/2x11, etc.). However when you get larger than 3x6 you may well consider that you have your own ad sheet going. You can cash in on the additional sources of revenue and other benefits to be derived from a good ad sheet!
Important Facts in Your Circular Programs!
Your ads soliciting for 3x6 or $2.00 ads may get little or no response. You must be prepared to print something along with only one measly ad that may dribble in. You have advertised for, and accepted your customer's $2.00 so you must print it within a reasonable time. Maintain a flexible position with all your circular programs. Be prepared to vary, substitute, add, delete, change, etc.
You have your own regular ad on a circular with your name and address printed on one side. ON the other side you have prepared a good commission ad, leaving space for the dealer's stamp. You send a batch to dealers and mailers, at their request, then sit back with great expectations. Again, nothing happens. Why? Perhaps the mailers did not send them out! Generally though, when they pay to get them, even if just postage costs, they will mail them. However, maybe some of the mailers just realized that unless they mail these circulars to out of the circle prospects, they may not be the ones to get the orders? After a couple of weeks of "Nothing", if you start getting orders direct at the mailer's price instead of retail, you will know that the buyer has "Gone Around" your mailer. Your printed name and address on the one side vs. your mailer's rubber stamp on the other has tipped off those operating near the edge of the inner circle with mail order experience and know-how. They know who the prime source is will try to go direct!
This makes a deplorable situation. Under these circumstances you have no way of knowing which mailer is entitled to the commission and of course you have not received enough to pay a commission anyway. You can send the money back and ask the party to submit the order again through your dealer but neither one of you will ever hear from the party again.
Your mailers and dealers must be protected all the way. When such things happen your program must be changed to eliminate any "unfair situations". Some unscrupulous enthusiasts will cut out the address of your Co-publisher, paste it as the return address on the envelope and enclose their own ad with one-half the ad cost. It is apparent that your Co-publisher "got another order" until you notice that your Co-publisher lives in Florida and the envelope was "Stamped" in California!
There are many little tricks that by themselves seem immaterial, but when they are multiplied a million fold across the country they become a matter of deep concern for all of us in the mail order industry.
How to Prepare Your Own Copy!
With but a minimum knowledge of the Graphic Arts and few basic tools and supplies you can make your own "Camera Ready" originals.
The "Original" may be typewritten copy, hand lettering, drawings, newspaper clippings, printed material... Just about any good sharp black copy on white paper. Most anything, except copyrighted materials, can be reproduced by offset printers at a very reasonable cost.
Simply layout and paste up the material in the form you wish the finished work to appear. (Normally your finished copy will be printed only as good as the original; however the printer can often "clean" up the original, but at an added cost.)
If there is an offset printer in your local area, you can use a simple roll-on waxer very conveniently for the paste-ups. If you must sent the paste-ups through the mail, a glue stick or rubber cement that sticks firmly is recommended. Use the cement sparingly!
When glossy photographs are involved, they must be "screened" before the printing process. This is done by the printer, and of course, for an additional charge. Increasing or reducing the size of your copy can also be done with the printer's camera.
On typewritten work be sure you have a good ribbon, preferably a carbon ribbon which leaves clean, sharp letters. Don't erase except with a typewriter equipped with an automatic erasing device or in a manner that does not leave smudges. (These can easily be "wiped out" and cleaned up by the printer but you ought to hear him when he gets poor originals).
Headlines can be best prepared with Rub-on transfer letters or with a strip printer; unless you have a typesetting machine, MacIntosh computer with a laser-writer printer, or equivalent!
Be sure the paste-ups are straight and in alignment. Only one side of a sheet is to be used for Camera ready copy. Leave not less than 3/8 inch margin on all four sides. You can use regular bond paper. If you have a good copy of a form that has been printed previously, use it. If a few changes are necessary, they can be readily pasted over the originals. Use white touch-up liquid to cover errors or blotches.
If you are producing a magazine or circular with several pages, determine the additional cost for such work as binding, cutting, stapling, etc. You maybe able to save substantially by doing some of these jobs yourself with the purchase of a minimum of the right kind of equipment.
Perpetual Money-Making Circular Program!
They continue to come! The endless "money-making bonanzas"! Now there's the one called "Perpetual Circular Program", supposedly an endless money-making system where everyone wins. This "typical" plan consists of a list of 10 names, number from 1 to 10, indicating what each has to sell and their address.
In order to join the "Perpetual Circular Program", you send 50 cents to each of the individuals listed, plus a large self addressed stamped envelope, which will be returned to you with their advertised offer. Then cross off the name in the number 1 position and re-number the list 1 through 10, adding your name in the number 10 position. (Sound familiar).
Next you are supposed to re-type the list and print at least 100 copies. Send a copy to each of the ten names (advertisers) and the remaining copies to names of your choice, by mail or in person.
In turn, these businesses are supposed to do the same, and as your name moves from the #10 position to the #1 spot, they state that you could receive up to 12,000,000 requests. Assuming a 5% return from all the mailers, you would receive $240,000 based on 30 cents profit per request??!!
By keeping the advertisers at ten, to ensure growth, they think the ads seem reasonable, at least less speculative than lotteries or fluctuating investments.
Also, to help ensure continuation of the "Perpetual Mail order circular" you can print your own mail order ads on the back.. Another way to get your ads to new sources.
Even though this plan may first appear to be merely an advertising program wherein you receive full value for your $5.00 (50 cents x 10), it is a pyramid scheme dependent on continued participation in order to produce the results it dictates. Therefore, it appears to be no more than just another of the endless illegal chain letter schemes that all of those who have been in the mail order business for a short time receive every day of the year.
However, you can always check out this type of plan with your local postmaster. If it should happen to be legal it could be a good money-making proposition. Your postmaster may tell you that it is illegal, even though he probably doesn't take the time to really check it out properly.
If programs similar to this are illegal, or even if they appear to be against the law, don't touch them. These kinds of propositions never produce any money anyway. They only cost the participants' time and money, and could cost a lot more in the event the postal authorities follow through and prosecute.
All Profit Ads - You Keep It All!
A number of mail order dealers publish information "folios" which they will send your customers free for a stamped addressed envelope. They provide the ads which you circulate over your own name, usually asking $1.00 or $2.00 retail. Although called "All Profit", they are really 80% commission ads or circulars. (It will cost you a first-class stamp to send the order with a stamped addressed envelope to the source, who then stuffs the envelope with the order plus ads for some of their other products.)
The source for "All Profit" ads hopes your customer will then order something from them. Their ads cost them only the labor of stuffing the envelope and printing of materials.
Send a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to the various sources for samples of their all-profit ads and circulars together with full details of their offerings.
You will find numerous mail order dealers who offer the "All Profit Ads" in most every mail order ad sheet and mail order ad magazine.
Be sure to give them a test before blowing your money as most of them are good only for acquiring name lists, other mail order contacts, general information and for education in mail order methods... Not for direct money-making activity!
Publishing Your Own Ad sheet
When you have accumulated sufficient knowledge from preparing your own circulars and from co-publishing magazines and ad sheets of others, you may want to become a publisher. You have learned the going rates for various size ads depending on circulation, etc. Start with 1,000, the minimum circulation for an ad sheet. Think up a good name for the title! Something different! Something unique! An interesting title will often mean the success or failure of your ad sheet venture!
Have your first ad sheet printed on both sides of an 8-1/2x11 sheet, 20# paper, folded in half to form four 5-1/2x8-1/2 pages. Use enough space for a good title, ad rate information and editor's comments. Make it Co-publishable or simply an ad sheet whereby each advertiser gets a few mailing copies, with the balance sent out by yourself or by paid mailers. As an incentive, print a couple of your offers as commission ads. Prepare and insert editorial material and articles of interest to the mail order dealers... Solicit and offer free ads for your next issue.
You will lose cash flow on the first few issues, but at least you will be getting your own ads circulated and your ad sheets out before the public. If you have a clean, nicely printed publication with the right unique and interesting title, you will start receiving ads and after the fourth or fifth issue you should have it filled with paid ads, along with all of your own advertising.
As an example, if your rate is $4.00 per inch, you can still sell approximate $100 worth of ad space after allowing for all the space you need for title, rates, etc. Cutting this in half to allow for co-publishers 50% rate leaves $50 to pay for the printing and mailing. If handled properly your own ads will ride free from that point forward.
Constantly build up your customers' name list. Keep it up to date. This list is a valuable asset if properly maintained.
As your list of advertisers and co-publishers grow larger and larger, you can add more pages and continue to expand until you have a number one mail order magazine producing reasonable profits!
16 All Profit Ads and Their Information Sheet!
Run any of the following ads over your name in any publication, ad sheet or circular. When the orders come in, send the customer the answer shown, or just circle the answer on one of these information sheets and mail it to them. (This gives them the rest of the ads and answers free as a bonus).
You can have your local printer print a batch of these sheets in volume, or just have a few copies made as needed to fill each order, using this sheet of the original camera-ready copy. Or these sheets may be obtained from Prime Publishers, 1460 Boulder Ave., Crescent City, CA 95531 for $4.00 per 100 sets, prepaid to you!
Ad 1: "How to sell your old telephone book for 50 cents a page! Information $1.00."
Answer: Run the next ad (ad 2, below) over your name and fill the order yourself with the pages from your own telephone book.
Ad 2: "A page from my telephone book with names & addresses! 50 cents."
Answer: Fill the order yourself with your telephone book!
Ad 3: "One inch all-profit ads and the information they sell, Only $1.00!"
Answer: Fill the order with one of these ad sheets.
Ad 4: "How to get swamped with orders for you big mail! Information $1.00."
Answer: Run the next ad (ad 5) over your name and address.
Ad 5: "16 All-Profit ads free in my big mail. Rush this ad and $1.00."
Answer: Slip one of these sheets in your Big Mail and mail it to them.
Ad 6: "Gross $100.00 from a $4.00 investment. Information $1.00!"
Answer: Send $4.00 to Prime Publishers, 1460 Boulder Ave., Crescent City, CA 95531 and ask for 100 of these all-profit ads and answer sheets (100 prepaid to you for $4.00). Sell them for $1.00 each!
Ad 7: "Start your own "Turn Key" Mail order Business! Rush $1.00 for information!"
Answer: Write to (place your name and address here if you have "Turn Key" mail order plans or programs to offer) for free information on their "Turn Key" mail order programs. Send them the full information about your programs OR, if you have none available, send them one of these sheets.
Ad 8: "Name of a firm who will put you in business for only $4.00. Rush $1.00!"
Answer: If you can put them in business with one of your programs for $4.00, or convert this ad and answer sheet to a $4.00 program for them, place your name and address here. (As mentioned above, you can always refer them to the name and address of Prime Publishers if necessary).
Ad 9: "16 ads you can run over your name and keep all the money. Full information for only $1.00!"
Ad 10: "Stuff 100 envelopes and Gross $100.00. Rush $1.00!"
Ad 11: "How would you like to receive 100 letters a day, containing $1.00 in each one?"
Answers to ads 9, 10, 11: Fill orders with one of these ad sheets. (You can have your local printer make as many copies as you need" or you can get them from Prime Publishers at $4.00 per hundred sets.)
Ad 12: "100 Circulars mailed with ours in our big mail. $4.00!"
Ad 13: "Letters remailed 75 cents each."
Answers to ads 12 and 13: Perform the above two services yourself.
Ad 14: "How to Destroy the desire for cigarettes. Completely tested, proven... $2.00."
Answer: Before breakfast take 1/2 teaspoon each, of Rochelle Salts and Cream of tartar. Also chewing Ginseng root and swallowing the juice helps.
Ad 15: "How to destroy the desire for liquor... Tested and proven... $2.00!"
Answer: Mix Gold thread herb with Golden Seal in tea. This creates a violent distaste for alcohol. Grains of spices added to liquids helps also.
Ad 16: "How to get free postage for life. Details $2.00!"
Answer: Advertise a good pulling mail order plan and at the end of the Ad put" "Rush $1.00 and one or two first class stamps."
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