The Mail Order Beginner's Business Guide
by Brent Chilcher
The "Mail Order" business is not a business of itself, but is another way of DOING business. Mail Order is nothing more or less than selling a product or service via advertising and the offers you send out by mail.
Therefore, to start and succeed in mail order business of your own, you need just as much, and in some cases, more business than you would need in any other mode of business.
Remember too there are "good guys" in mail order, and there are "bad guys", just like in any other business. So, your best bet for a "proper start" with the greatest chance for success is after a thorough investigation of the products being offered and being sold; an analysis of the costs involved to get a fledging mail order operation off the ground; and a good "sixth sense" of what your potential customers will buy. You'll need a great deal of practice, and persistence as well.
Mail Order is over saturated with plans, directories, sales material, and products that have been around for ten, fifteen, twenty years and longer. Many of these materials were not that good in the beginning, and yet they're still being sold as "quick secrets to wealth and fame". This is part of the reason for the "junk mail" reputation of mail order.
Just a little investigation on your part will show that most successful people doing business by mail are always on the alert for "new products" and they quickly add these products to their own sales inventories as they become available. This is a "must for success" rule, regardless of whether you do or don't produce your own products.
It's almost impossible to gain much success with a single product...report, booklet, book or manual. The best way is to search around for a number of related products, then, after arranging "drop shipping" deals with the suppliers of the products you want to include in your listing along with your own self-produced product, make up a "catalog listing". It is best if this is a single 8x11 sheet of paper, printed on both sides, listing the titles of the reports and/or books you have available, including your own, with a "tear off" order coupon at the bottom.
One of the best programs available in mail order today is offered by Premier Publishers. This company offers you a variety of circulars, with an order coupon on the bottom of each circular. At present, they can provide six different circulars, listing over 100 different low-cost reports and manuals, such as the report you are reading now. The circulars are grouped according to price range and subject matter of the reports described in the circular. There is an open space on the order coupon for you to insert your name and address. After inserting your name, you can take or send the circular to the printer of your choice, and have copies printed in the quantity you need. The next step is to insert these circulars, along with one of your own product circulars, in all your mailings. Premier Publishers allows you a full 50% commission on each sale of items on their circulars. They will drop-ship you, keeping your customer's name confidential, and in no way encroaching upon them. In addition, discounts up to 80% off the retail price are available to you when you are ready to carry your own stock, and buy reports or books in quantity.
This is what you need for a "money-making" start in this business: a full page circular advertising your own product, plus another full page circular listing products or titles related to your primary offering. Premier Publishers advise you to send two full page circulars; one advertising your own product (if you don't have a primary product of your own, they'll furnish you a single book circulars to feature), and another advertising a list of related products available to your customer.
Once you start receiving orders form this mailing, you must immediately acknowledge receipt of the orders and follow up with other offers. The "follow-up" offer is where most beginners fail. Either they don't have follow-up materials to send or they just don't send out these follow-up offers. Here again, Premier Publishers can provide the material for the follow-up. They can supply you with a 24 page Unique Books catalog, which list 400 titles for your customer to choose from. These catalogs can be ordered in small quantities, with your name and return address already imprinted. To follow-up after receiving orders from your customers, simply write a short note, thanking your customer for his patronage, and advising him when to expect to receive his order, and then include a follow-up offer, such as the book catalog, in the mailing. And that's how you will build your business, and attain success in mail order.
But, let's get back to the beginning and help you to learn what it takes to succeed in mail order. Don't believe those ads that tell you it doesn't take any money. First off, you are going to need envelopes: #10 mailing envelopes with your name and return address imprinted in the upper left corner. You'll also need a return reply envelope with your name and address on the face of the envelope with each #10 envelope you send out. These can be either #6 or #9 return envelopes. Ask your printer or office supply store to let you inspect samples.
To realize profits of any consequence, you'll need to send out at least a thousand, preferably five thousand letters per mailing. And back this up, you'll need a supply of envelopes for your acknowledgement and follow-up offers. you can purchase imprinted mailing and return reply envelopes form your local quick print shop; but for better prices, and with the thought in mind of keeping costs in line, it is best to shop around for the best prices. Generally speaking, you'll find the lowest prices offered by those printer who do business by mail. Look for "printing by mail" advertisements in all the mail order publications you come across. Write them for a price list and a sampling of their work. For envelopes, we suggest you contact any of the firms listed on the next page for their current prices.
Speedy Printers 23800 Aurora Rd Bedford Hghts, OH 44146
Pittman Printing 1135 Merrill Ave Potervilles, CA 93257
National Press Inc. 527 W Randolph Chicago,IL 60606
Mahair Sales 415 Morris Bridge Rd Zephyrhills, FL 33599
FOR EXTRA LARGE ENVELOPES
Envelope Converters, INc. 4815 Metropolitan Ave Brooklyn, NY 11237
Gray Arc 882 Third Ave Brooklyn, NY 11232
FOR ORDER-MAILING ENVELOPES
New England Business Svcs 500 Main St Groton, MA 01471
U.S. Box Corp 1298 McCarter Hwy Newark, NJ 07104
YOU'LL ALSO NEED SHIPPING LABELS
Label Center 308 Washington ST Louis, MO 63101
L & D Press 152 W 42nd St New York, NY 10036
Labon of Hollywood Box 54386 Los Angeles, CA 90054
C&J Fox & Co. PO Box 6186 Providence, RI 02940
FOR LETTERHEAD PAPER: Try your local commercial printers first, and then contact the following for the best prices:
National Engraving Co. PO Box 2311 Birmingham, AL 35201
E.M Printing CO. 187 Conklin Ave Brooklyn, NY 11236
FOR CIRCULAR PRINTING:
Stephen Gaffney 110 Ashburton Ave Yonkers, NY 10701
White Oak Stationery PO Box 429 Colesville, MD 20904
J.E Thomas Ent. PO Box 253 Detroit, MI 48221
FOR TYPESETTING & GRAPHIC LAYOUT/DESIGN
Fitch Graphics PO Box 76850 Atlanta, GA 30328
Graphics South 1348 Kings Hwy Shreveport, LA 71103
Stern Graphics 335 Great Neck Rd. Great Neck, NY 11021
FOR COPYWRITING HELP
Lee Howard PO Box 1140 Clearwater, FL 33517
Grafix-One 947 Hickory RD Hillsdale, MI 49242
FOR BOOKLET PRINTING
Champion Printing PO Box 148 Ross, OH 45061
Speedy Printers 23800 Aurora Rd Bedford Hghts, OH 44146
Dinner & Klien PO Box 3814 Seattle, WA 98124
FOR HARDBACK PRINTING
Harlo Printing Co. 16721 Hamilton Detroit, MI 48203
Automation Printing PO Box 12201 El Cajon, CA 92022
IF YOU NEED BUSINESS CARDS
Paul K. Alexander 14504 Lanica Circle Chantilly, VA 22021
Nancy Jo Laub Stelle RR #1 Caberry, IL 60919
Caprice Printing 401 Cossen Elk Grove, IL 600007
Ben & Sons Press 3513 W Lawrence Chicago, IL 60625
As you can see, the mail order business is very closely tied in with the printing business. Unless you have your own printing plant, always shop around for the best prices and keep your "production costs" in line.
For a complete listing of firms with products available on a drop ship basis for sale by mail, send $7 to the distributor who supplied this report. Ask for item #629, American Drop shippers Directory.
Once you've gotten your envelopes ready, and your circulars made up, you'll need a potential customer list. Again, don't believe the advertisements and "free" advice that states that all you have to do is send your materials out to a "fresh opportunity seekers" list. We have found that the best prospects are those people who have purchased similar or related items.
Here again, Premier Publishers can help out. They generally receive 2,000 new names each month. These names come from Premier's national advertising...people who are interested in new ways of making money...easier ways to build a mail order business.
Certainly Premier responds to all these inquires, but they do not offer the same items the various dealers and distributors are offering. Premier offers their mailing lists for rental. Write for current description of names which are available.
When selecting a supplier to work with in the mail order business, always be sure they are quick to fill orders. Customer complaints are the last thing you want, and poor service leads to a dissatisfied and lost customers. Always be sure your supplier "protects" your customer list, and always make sure he goes that "extra mile" to work with you, and not just for his own profits. This is the kind of service you want from your supplier.
Finally, you'll need to consider advertising the different offerings you have for sale. We suggest that you start small with a few experimental ads in your local paper or shopping news. Then you can move on to the bigger publications such as GRIT, CAPPERS WEEKLY, BUDGET ADS, FAMILY TRAVEL LOG, INSIDERS, AMERICAN BUSINESS, SPARE TIME, MONEYS WORTH, etc.
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