How To Start A Mail Order Business


by Richard Glanville

The Mail Order business is not a business of itself, but is another way of doing business. Mail Order is nothing more nor less than selling a product or service via advertising and the offers you send out by mail.

Therefore, to start and succeed in a mail order business of your own, you need just as much, and in some cases, more business acumen 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 fledgling 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 patience, and persistence as well.

Mail order is over saturated with plans, directories, sales materials 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 the 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 dropshipping 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 8 x 11 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. 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 own 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 dropship for you, keeping your customers names 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 advises 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 with single book circulars to feature), and another advertising a list of related products or titles available to your customer.

Once you start receiving orders from 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 lists over 400 titles for your customer to choose from. These catalogs can be ordered in small quantities, and you may rubber stamp your name and address on each one before mailing. These catalogs are also available, for larger 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 that 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 return 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 to back this up, you'll need a supply of envelopes for your acknowledgment and follow-up offers. You can purchase imprinted mailing and return reply envelopes from your local quick print shop; but for better prices, and with the thought in mind of keeping your costs in line, it's best to shop around for the best prices. Generally speaking, you'll find the lowest prices offered by those printers who do business by mail. Look for "printing by mail" advertisements in all the mail order publications you come across. Write to them for a price list and a sampling of their work.

In order to be properly equipped to run your mail order business properly you are going to need a good supply of envelopes (both normal size and large), shipping labels and letterhead paper.

You will also need access to reliable business partners for circular printing, typesetting, graphic layout and design, copywriting assistance, booklet printing, hardback book printing, business cards and poster printing.

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.

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 which states that all you have to do is send your materials out to a fresh opportunity seekers list. I 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 of building a mail order business.

Certainly Premier responds to all these inquiries, 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 your orders. Customer complaints are the last thing you want, and poor service leads to 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. I 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.



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About the Author

Richard Glanville publishes the "Status Report" which provides a complete multimedia online learning experience to anyone interested in making a serious online income from the comfort of their own home. Subscribe today by sending a blank e-mail to publisher@statustron.com



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