If ever there was a lazy way to easy profits in mail order it has
to be the concept of letting someone else do all the work for
In theory, it works like this:
You send a camera-ready circular or ad to someone who advertises
a print/mail service and they will print and mail it (along with
many others) to 1,000 to 25,000 names on their own list. You
simply pay a one-time charge while they do all the work. Now,
multiply this by 5, 10 or more such services and you could (still
theoretically speaking, of course) have several thousand of your
offers in the hands of prospective buyers within a few weeks.
The problem, is that it doesn't work that easily, at least not to
the point of making it profitable for the dealer who expects to
become delunged with orders. Even the very best mailers in the
business can produce only a small percentage of return for their
clients, so you would have to have a very high markup on your
offer and reach millions of people if you hope to make it
profitable. If you already have a test-proven offer that produces
about 3% return when you mail the offer by itself, you will be
lucky to get one-half of 1% when mailed by a mailer along with
hundreds of others.
Yes, some offers can produce a profit, even with such a small
percentage of return, but they are extremely few and far between.
First of all, you would most likely have to be the high markup
that is required. If the offer calls for $10 and you can produce
it for $1 reality is: That's 5 orders per thousand. . .50 orders per
10,000. Some offers might be able to survive on this, others
cannot. You will have to do some figuring to determine whether
it's worth trying.
On the down side of this practice, there has been quite a bit of
speculation about such print/mail services as to their honesty
and quality of their services. Many of them offer poor
printing, often smudgy or in various shades of gray instead of
crisp black and white; some of the lists they use are so
overworked, they have become virtually worthless. Even the best
mailers use primarily “Opportunity" lists, so merchandise offers
would hardly be appropriate. Another flaw in this idea that some
crooked mailers are out there who simply don't mail the quantity
they claim. It seems they print and mail only hundred or so, but
claim to mail in the thousands. This is very difficult for anyone
to prove or disapprove, so the entire idea of using a print/mail
service is precarious at best.
Copyright 2004 by DeAnna Spencer
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DeAnna Spencer is a virtual assistant that helps entrepreneurs run a successful business by providing affordable administrative help. She also publishes a blog for small business owners. Visit this small business resource today.