Starting a Successful Mailing Company

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WHAT SHOULD BE IN A LARGE MAILBOX:

Three to four mail-order magazine or circular issues with an offer or article of interest to prospective mail-order sellers. The Big Mail Dealer has delivered the circulars.

Do you take pleasure in reading Mail Dealer publications? Do you like working with new mail-order dealers and people looking for opportunities, and do you appreciate ordering and getting “Big Mail?” If you answered “yes” to these questions, you might find success and satisfaction in launching a “Big Mail” business.

What follows are detailed instructions for establishing a massive mail service. I’ll teach you how to get the word out about your business and show you how to make the most of the Big Mails that come your way. I will explain how to use and keep track of commission circulars, including where to find many of them for free.

I’ll show a simple trick that will get you a lot of free advertising and where to get a free mailing list that will create a lot of new customers for you if you’re willing to put in a little work to get them. We’ll also discuss co-publishing and circular mailing (you’ll learn how to get people to pay you cash to mail their circulars for them!).

However, I feel the need to issue a warning before we proceed. Big Mail sales are not as simple as they appear. Sell Big Mails takes a lot of time and effort. Furthermore, it is NOT a panacea for financial woes.

In all likelihood, you won’t see any financial gain for a few months. You’ll need to put in more money than you receive. You can learn much about selling Big Mails and boost your earnings in exchange for a modest financial and time commitment. You will learn things that are impossible to know anywhere else. And if you’re observant, innovative, and ambitious, you may grow your mail-order firm into a wealthy one.

Read on if you’re still with me (which I hope you are)!

To begin, get a copy of the most recent issue of MAIL SALE ADVERTISER or POPULAR ADVERTISER and sit down with at least twelve Big Mails. After that, make it a daily ritual to order a Big Mail.

After that, set up a time every day to STUDY them. The study, I implore you!

Fill your head with as many different concepts as possible. The mail-order industry is an exceptionally innovative and inventive field. Imagination is like a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.

Get yourself a notebook. I propose that you split it into four parts:

* References to Commission Circulars
* Where to find cheap printing
Mailing List Leads (Hang on to those circulars other dealers have been paid to send out; I’ll explain why in a minute.)
* Clever concepts.

My notebook is a loose-leaf notebook into which I scotch tape flyers, coupons, and other ephemera I collect.

Get your hands on as many mail order catalogs and circulars as possible and read them thoroughly. DO NOT LET ANY IDEA GO TO WASTE! Get started ordering TINY QUANTITIES of the “commission circulars” that grab your interest. (never attempt a sale simply because of the high commission rate.)

Two very practical steps need to be taken once you have decided to begin selling Big Mails.

1. Get a custom stamp made with your name and address. Check that it is COMPACT enough to fit on commission memos.

2. Start using YOUR NAME when you market yourself and open a checking account in YOUR NAME. If you follow these steps, depositing the money your customers send you won’t cause any problems at the bank.

Your next move should be to advertise in no less than SIX mail-order periodicals or ad flyers. You won’t have “camera-ready” advertising to submit initially, so you’ll have to select magazines that allow handwritten material. The following is an example of what your ad should say:

FREE mailing of Commission circulars worth 25 cents! (your full name and postal code)

An advertisement with fewer words, like this one, is more likely to be read.

You have probably already decided which periodicals and advertising pamphlets you will use. No problem! However, I recommend you begin by placing ads in at least one of the following:

Promotional Material Sender
Well-known Ad Agency
Catalog Is Being Sent Out To You
Quick Advice

These periodicals use letterpress, so they’ll even format your ad for you! They come out on time every month, and nearly everyone who is into mail order reads them.

You can include 50-100 copies from each publication in your Big Mails because they are all CO-PUBLISHABLE. Documents you purchase will list your name alongside other publishers. If you sell any advertisements or memberships, you will receive a commission of roughly 50%. If you consistently send out copies, you can usually make back the cost of advertising through subscriptions and advertising revenue. In this method, you can have completely free advertisements.

Each advertiser sends copies to his clientele or mailing list, with YOUR ad included in every single one of those copies. The printer is also sending out hard copies to everyone on his subscription list, so expect to start getting requests for Big Mail and quarters around ten days after your address appears in the magazine. You can use the fact that some sponsors are slow to mail copies to your advantage. Two or three months after your ad runs, you’ll start getting orders.

CIRCUITS OF THE COMMISSION

It would help if you had a starting supply of “commission circulars” long before you start collecting orders for your Big Mail, as they should be included in every Big Mail you send out.

Products and services advertised in commission circulars (typically 3×6″ or 81/2×11″) include rubber stamps, name-address labels, magazine samples, mailing lists, envelope samples, catalog samples, drop-ship samples, printed circulars, formula books, mail-order plans, magazine subscriptions, name listing services, pen pal clubs, and many more.

Mail-order distributors can get wholesalers’ commission circulars at no extra cost. To brand himself as the official provider, the dealer completes the “Order Form” section and sends them out to potential clients. If he mails frequently enough, he will receive orders, and when he does, he will keep his commission, which is typically around 50%. After that, he delivers the remaining funds and shipping label to the wholesaler, who then uses the dealer’s label to ship the order directly to the end user.

It is possible to make money as a Big Mail Dealer by selling commission circulars, but only if you are careful to choose brochures that appear to MAIL ORDER BEGINNERS. You will quickly learn that gift items and general merchandise are rarely appealing to people who are ordering Big Mails, unless you are offering them on a wholesale basis. (Safari boots, transistor radios, hunting knives, automatic can openers, $15.95 necklaces are great; they can be offered by mail…but not to mail order beginners!)

If you put in the time and effort, you can earn much extra cash by including high-quality commission circulars in your outgoing mail. Put a few hundred of each commission circular through its paces. If it fails to pique anyone’s interest, scrap it. Put one in every envelope you send out, just in case it brings in some business. When you find a circular that “pulls” or gets a lot of responses, have copies printed with your name and address on them. (in many cases, the response rate for printed circulars is FIVE TIMES that of a stamped version.)

Don’t send out flyers with lousy printing. Circulars in the 6×9″ and 8 1/2×11″ sizes tend to do better than 3×6″ circulars, although some 3×6″ circulars pull surprisingly well.

In response to your ad (beginning with COMMISSION CIRCULARS MAILED FREE), you will start receiving commission circulars. Test all the handouts you receive, and promote the winners while dropping the losers.

Even if you don’t object to this, some customers will…and some of your customers may be minors. * Adult Offers (pornography). Even if you don’t object to this, some of the customers will…and some of your customers may be minors.

It’s unlawful to advertise “Stuff and Address Envelopes at Home..Send a $1.00 for your Starting Kit,” and people have been found guilty of selling them despite the ineffectiveness of the plans they include.

Be wary of any circular promising you $20,000 in 60 days provided you send in a dollar and “follow the instructions, etc.”; such letters are unlawful.

A final word of warning: there are roughly 40–50 standard folios that have been floating around the Mail Order Business for the last twenty years. These folios are EXCELLENT, well written, well printed, and their advice is absolutely valid. However, it is a waste of time trying to sell them to mail-order beginners because most of them already know where to get them at wholesale prices!

IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO THE TRUTH!

I recommend starting a new looseleaf notebook and dividing it into three parts to help you organize the many products you’ll be selling as a Big Mail Dealer:

Information Circular No. 1 From the Commission
2 Shared Publication of Data
3 Timeline for Ads

First, whenever you get a fresh batch of commission circulars (sometimes you’ll get two or three different kinds in one package), sit down and go through them; then, tape a sample of each circular into your notebook and label it as follows:

* Dropshipper’s Full Name and Address
Drop-shipper payment amount *
* Where and how to get more circulars (Can I get them with
printed with your name and address?)

Co-publishing details: if you receive a “Fact Sheet” from a magazine’s publisher, affix it to your notebook using scotch tape; if not, write down the following information:

New advertising, subscriptions, etc. — How much to forward and printer’s name and address

Here’s a straightforward system for keeping track of the “closing dates” (the last day on which a publisher will accept advertising for his upcoming issue) so that your adverts can run indefinitely:

Get a sheet of regular notebook paper, label it with the current month at the top, and number the lines from one to thirty-one. (Use one bar per day.)

If the deadline for Mail Sale Advertiser is the 15th of the month, but you want to mail your ad on the 5th (always send your ads in TEN DAYS EARLY), then next to the number 5, you should write the code letters “MSA.” If you check this sheet every day, you will never miss a deadline again.

If you advertise in five magazines or five hundred, this approach (or a version of it) will help you remember every deadline. Before you ship your ad, turn to the page for the following month and make a notation of that month’s closing date.

DISTRIBUTED COPYING

It’s simple to get started. When you renew your Big Mail Ad, send another ad like this. (As co-publisher, your ads cost half the advertised price!) Once your Big Mail ads begin appearing regularly, you will begin to receive regular orders for them.

100 250 500

3×6 .50 1.25 2.25
6×9 .60 2.50 2.50
9×12 1.00 2.00 4.00

You should verify the ads running Circular Mailers and charge around the same rates. Offering discounted prices will not attract more customers and is not reflected in the examples.

Unlike other forms of advertising, the return on investment from a circular mailing ad is nearly always immediate. (Interestingly, several dealers have tried to run a combination of Big Mail and Circular Mailing ads. They do work half as well as TWO SEPARATE ADVERTISEMENTS!)

Send an attractive sample mailing to consumers as soon as you have a circular mailing order, and include the MOST RECENT editions of various mail order publications.

Then, until you’ve mailed all his circulars, include one in each Big Mail you send out. Afterward, send him a note of gratitude and inform him that you’ve finished mailing his brochures. Express your optimism that he’ll get some orders as a result of your mailing.

Never overstate your mailing capacity (in either personal letters or advertisements) and keep in mind that circular mailing relies on REPEAT clients.

HOW TO POST ADVERTISEMENTS WITHOUT PAYING

An excellent strategy for convincing the editors of mail-order magazines and ad sheets to run your ads is to offer to provide 100–200 copies of their publication in exchange for free printing of your ads.

Get out a clean sheet of paper and type the following.

If you’re a publisher and you’d want to run any of these ads in your publication, I’ll send you 100 free copies (200 with co-publishing rights) and they’re all camera-ready for your use.

Then, using rubber cement, adhere multiple copies of each ad to the sheet (if the ads were printed on colored paper, bleach them first by pouring a little clorox over them until the color vanishes, then rinsing them with water and drying them on a flat piece of cardboard).

Include one of these circulars in every mailing once they are pasted up (camera ready) and printed on white paper by your local instant photo offset printer; you will be astounded by the response.

WHERE TO FIND FREE, QUALITY MAILING LISTS

You can quickly and easily quadruple your business with some targeted direct mailing if you advertise frequently and receive a lot of reaction from your ads.

Let’s say the printer just delivered your copies of TIMELY TIPS, and you look at yourself and realize that you still need to mail 14 copies of the previous month’s issue. So, let’s say you sit down and put together 14 SPECIALIZED mailings, and in each letter you include:

The most recent case of TIMELY TIPS
Send out two sets of the paid-for circulars.
The new FREE MAILING FOR FREE ADVERTISING with three copies
circular.

Create a mailing list from all the large packages you’ve been ordering and send them to:

Each time you get Big Mail, look through all the circulars and see who paid the dealer to mail them. If it’s one of those companies, THEY WILL ALSO PAY YOU if you give them a sample mailing.

When you receive an announcement for a new newspaper, send a sample mailing and include your Free Mailing for Free Advertising circular to increase the likelihood of receiving several free advertising.

Keep track of new sponsors you find in mail order periodicals and ad pages; you’ll be astounded by how receptive they are to your mailings.

Every time you get new mailing copies, send out the remaining copies of the previous month’s issues to the groups mentioned above, and you’ll see your mail-order business develop at a rate you never imagined.

SO, WHAT DO YOU DO NEXT?

The answer to that question lies entirely within your own mind; I have no idea what your limits are. However, if you are ambitious, prepared to develop your creativity, and willing to explore with new ideas, then the sky is the limit!

Don’t let anyone tell you that selling Big Mails and sending circulars is only for novices; there are thriving mail-order dealers who have been doing so for over twenty-five years!

It’s up to you to decide the fate of your mail-order business, but I do hope you’ll keep your ads running and add new publications to your advertising list so that it can continue to grow.

I hope you will remain enthusiastic about the mail order business…I hope that ten years from now, you will still enjoy it and be even more active than you are right now.

For me, mail order is about so much more than generating money; it’s a way of life, and I wish the same for you.

2004 DeAnna Spencer. All rights reserved.

DeAnna Spencer is a virtual assistant who maintains a blog for small business owners and helps them manage a successful company by providing low-cost administrative support.

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