by Ralph Weirton
Pen pal clubs are very easy to start, and can provide a very comfortable "by mail" income for the sharp operators.
The best way to operate is via monthly newsletter, and listing of new members. We've found that a simple one page, typewritten sheet is all you need to get started. This should be, or should include a quick run-down on what your members are up to. ie: Janice C is planning to vacation at Tahoe next month; Lisa S is attending night classes for a real estate license; John R. is thinking of changing jobs-he wants something more involved in advertising sales; Bob L. is setting up his own Carpet Cleaning Service; Dave A. is wanting to move to Denver...
This kind of reader membership involvement will get your "newsletter" off to a running start, and keep your members loyal to you because of the "gossip" you pass along in each issue.
You follow up your "gossip story" with either a question and answer session or letters from readers a-la Ann Landers or Dear Abby. Complete the newsletter with a short story on how to meet men or women, what to say and how to develop a friendship. The back page, or extra page, is then a listing of men and women--including a short description of each, and their addresses--wanting to correspond with or meet people with similar tastes.
You'll need a typewriter, paper, and names of people interested in writing and receiving Pen Pal letters. You can quickly secure a start with names answering ads (classifieds) placed in local papers, and several out-of-town papers you are familiar with, and by checking your news stand for the magazines that carry such ads--it won't take long to get a basic "100" to begin your operation.
You should have letterhead and imprinted mailing envelopes and return envelopes 1000 of each for $100.
Next, make up a sample copy of your newsletter, and an application sales letter that will explain your membership fee of about $10 per year for the newsletter, plus $1 per month each time you carry a member's name & address in your "correspondents wanted" section. Be sure to ask for reports on what members are doing, and encourage them to bring up to date from time to time---this keeps the "personal touch" gossip supplied.
Now, you send out your newsletter samples, with your sales letter/membership application, to the list of names we've supplied you with, or you may have purchased from other sources.
At the same time, you should run an advertisement in as many small mail order publications, with names and addresses of publishers, order Directory #3709 for $3 from your distributor. your ad read something like this;
Pen Pal Listings! nationwide circulation! $1 to: Your name, address & zip code.
Tom's pen Pal letter! Monthly club news and membership listings! $1 to : your name, address & zip code.
Of course, you'll want to keep records on all your members, and continue to up-date the listings you carry but basically that is all there is to getting started. You could even run ads of this kind in your local newspapers expect a good response. We definitely recommend that you send for sample copies of other Pen Pal bulletins to see how they operate and what ideas of theirs you can adapt for use in your newsletter. By all means, become a "browser" and look thru all the magazines related to pen pals and mail order introductions every time you pass a magazine display rack.
Be sure to get your newsletters out regularly, and don't stop advertising. keep up your efforts to sell as many issues of each publication as you can, expand your membership list, and get as many new listings for each issue as you possibly can.
Something you might want to consider--3 back issues of your publication for 3 dollars, or as a free bonus to all new subscribers. You could carry this idea as a free bonus in your advertising, and as a special offer in your newsletter.
You might also want to expand your income potential by offering booklets, books, tapes, motivational and informational. As the dealer who supplied this report to give you all his listings.
By keeping good records of all the mail you receive, you can also sell or rent name lists of people who have responded to your offerings to other mail order dealers. Real opportunities exist for sales mentioned in the paragraph above---the opportunities limited only by your imagination.
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