Mail Order Selling – Six tips for Success

"Mail Order Selling - Six tips for Success"
People still use catalogs to purchase gift items – except now they do it differently.

While direct mail catalogs are still one of the oldest forms of offline marketing for small and big businesses alike and some say they have seen a significant downturn, some people still like to buy from catatogs or at least use them to generate ideas and then go online to make their purchases. In fact, people like to get catalogs so they can see the latest and greatest without spending hours searching online. However a smart direct marketer knows their are things that need to be done in order to insure a successful outcome (making the sale) from mailing a catalog or offer especially considering the costs involved in producing and mailing.

Here are some of the are pros and cons of mail order selling. 

PROS

a. Generally speaking product can be less expensive (but not always) to buy

b. Easy to order via mail or online

c. Customer never have to leave home to purchase produce

d. Direct Mail/Mail Order selling (such as catalogs) drive the consumer to your website. Another excellent reason to use mail order selling in your offline marketing strategies

CONS

a. Customers have to wait for their product to arrive via post

b. If a customer wants to return a  product they have to mail it  back and wait for the credit whereas with a local store purchase they can simply return to the store and get their money back or a credit on the spot.

c. Direct mail can be very costly to create, produce and deliver.

Having said that, once you decide that Mail Order Selling is right for you/your company you will need to understand a few things. For instance:

The best way to learn HOW & WHERE to advertise is to go to your newsstand and check through all the magazines carrying large numbers of classified and space ads. Magazines like Popular Science, Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, The National Enquirer,  The Wall Street Journal, and any magazine that appeals to a specific market.

Wherever competitive advertising appears on a regular basis, that’s where your best advertising will be. The next step is to find out the Mail Order Classified & Display Rate Cards to the magazines. trade journals and newspapers (you can either find their addresses online or via a media outlet such as Gebbie Press or Bacon’s) in the publications you are interested in placing an ad with.

Here are six  tips for success with mail order selling:

1. Remember your direct mail piece represents your product, it needs to sell it for you. Having a good list also helps. The best lists are often those we gather ourselves or those of competitors or markets that share the same audience.

2. Have a landing page ready for specific promotions you advertise.  Make it easy for your target audience to find out more information and to order.

3. Offer follow-up products that enhance or complement the product you are selling. Once you make a sale it is up to six times easier to sell to the same person again than it is to find a new customer to sell.

4. Specialize or die! A vast majority of successful mail order retailers/wholesalers specialize in one item or one genre of products. Check out Lands End, Victoria’s Secret and Harry and David  for some ideas.

5. Study the pros. Associate with people who know the business well, and learn from  their experience. Look at lots of mail order pieces, catalogs and direct mail letters to see what hits your hot button.  Look through newspapers and magazines, get on mailing lists of other companies and keep track of what they send you. Pay attention to television commercials.  Study the competition.

6. Know the legalities of the industry including postal  and government regulations.  Or hire someone who does.

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