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Money-Maker's Secrets to Renting Profitable Mailing Lists

By DeAnna Spencer
Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2005

As an entrepreneur involved in selling and/or promotion ofsomething by Direct Mail, you should already know that mostimportant aspect of your mailing have to do with the sales letteror circular you send out, and the mailing list you use. Withthese thoughts in mind, and assuming you've got what should be anorder-pulling sales letter or circular, let's focus our attentionspecifically on the problem of finding mailing lists that produceprofitable orders.

Common sense should tell you that without a good mailing lists,the time and money you spend for market research, advertisinglayout and knowledge relating to the "rules of direct mail," willjust be wasted effort. In other words, unless you get you offerto the buyers, you might as well save your time and money.

In order to reach your most-likely buyer, you must firstdetermine who your most-likely buyers are. This is not so hard asit might appear. Actually, it's just a matter of recognizing thatautomotive items will appeal to car-owners, while householdgadgets will sell best to the homemakers.

Regardless of how easy its is, this is the most-often over-lookedpart of the beginning entrepreneur's planning. suffice it to saythat if you don't know who you're going to sell a product orservice to, your product or service is going to be pretty hardfor you to sell.

The next thing to really look into, is the competition yourproduct or service faces. If it has a limited market--not toomany people would stand in line to buy--and you are competingwith virtually the same product as supplied by othercompanies--then you're going to have to either come up with astrong "hidden angle" or else face defeat before you evenbegin...

These are the "keys" to success in selling anything via directmail--pin-pointing exactly who your buyers are, presenting youroffer to them with an angle not being used by your competition,and concentrating all your sales efforts only on the most-likelyprospects.

Assuming you "know" who your most-likely buyers are; that you'vegot a "winning" sales letter or circular--and, a product orservice these people "will stand in line to buy," then yourproblem is to get the message to these people.

Do not think you'll "save some money" by renting or buyinginexpensive mailing lists from advertisers in all those ad sheetsand "mail order" type publications that seem to flood yourmailbox. You'll waste a lot of time, and spend money chasing thewind with these lists.

These list offered by "mail order" dealers are compiled from adsheets, mail order publications, and/or incoming offers receivedby the list -seller...These people also compile lists theyuse...A lot of them compile their rental lists directly from thetelephone/city directories...And even a few of them work the"envelope stuffing" scheme to compile their rental lists--Theyoffer commissions to people who pay to join their envelopestuffing programs, and then sell or rent the names of the peoplewho join their program...The people who join the program areadvised to compile lists from any number of sources, send out acommission circular, and receive a commission for each incomingorder. The names of the buyers are then compiled onto anotherlist, and sold by promoters of this scheme to some of the largerlist-brokers as bonafide mail order buyers...Any time you rent alist of 5,000 or more names from mail order type operator, youcan almost certainly count on the lists that's 1) Five or moreyears old...2) Filled with names of people who have moved...3)Going to be dominated with names of other mail order sellers...

Before renting or buying a mailing list from someone, use thesame kind of common sense you use in deciding upon a doctor,lawyer or auto mechanic. something else to keep in mind--wheneveryou rent or buy mailing lists from someone who has or isadvertising for dealers or mailing list brokers, you are going toend up with a list of names used by many mail order dealers,generally with the majority of them offering the same products orservices.

The best thing to do is to take a note pad and pencil to yourpublic library..Ask the librarian to let you look at the StandardRate & Data Service Directory pertaining to mailing lists. Withinthis voluminous directory, you'll find the names, addresses andtelephone numbers of virtually all the reputable mailing listsbrokers in the country. These brokers explain within thedirectory the different lists that are available for rent, whatkind of buyers the lists are made up of, and the date the listwas last cleaned--that is, the last time all the names on thelist were verified relative to the correctness of addresses.

Select a half dozen or so of the list brokers handling the kindsof lists that are made up of buyers of products or servicessimilar to yours...Jot those names and addresses down on yournote pad..then go home and call them on the phone...

Tell the list broker about yourself, what you're trying to sell,how much you're asking for it, and your-long range plans. Almostall of them will want to see a sample of your mailing piece, andmore often than not, a sample of your product as well. Don't beafraid to talk to these people--they're in business to help you,and if they "steer you onto" a list that doesn't make money foryou, they figure you'll not buy from them again, so it's to theirbenefit to see that you get the "right" list for your mailingpiece and offer. Most of them are will critique your mailingpiece and offer, making suggestions for improvements whenappropriate, and in general, act as a consultant to see that yourealize a profit thru their services.

Once you and the list broker have decided upon the mailing listbest suited to your offer, he'll generally require you to rent aminimum of 5,000 names. The going price will range from $35 to$95 per thousand names. Expensive, maybe...But if you pay $475for 5,000 prospective buyers, and end up with 1,500 buyers of a$20 "how-to" manual that you've written and printed at a cost of50 cents per manual--that would mean a gross of $30,000..minus$750 for 1,5000 manuals, plus another 60 cents each to send eachof these manuals out via 4th class mail witch would amount to$1,035. Add these figures together for a total of $1,785 andsubtract this total from $30,000 and you stand a very good chanceof netting $28,000 or more...

So, you see, the important thing is to get your offer to yourmost-likely buyers. The only way to do this--the fastest, andleast expensive way--is to work with a reputable mailing listbroker and forget about all that "wheel-spinning" within thecircle of mail-order-type people. Really, so long as you dealwith " mail-order-type" people, small-time dealers andadvertisers--you'll never achieve anything beyond a busy-busy,hand-to-mouth existence in this business.

The bottom-line reason for most of the entrepreneurial failuresin the mail order business is simply that the beginner tries tocut corners by using less that the most productive mailing listsavailable. Indeed, the years are littered with people from allwalks of life who have had a good product and/or service ideas,but failed to "get their ideas off the ground." Generally, thesepeople were trying to "save money" by compiling their own mailinglists, advertising in "all-seller" type mail order publications,and/or sending their offers out to "mail-order-type" people foundin the ad sheets or to lists purchased from advertisers in thesepublications. In almost every case, the entrepreneur's effortsalong these lines, and based upon a "saving money" philosophy,has always ended in heartbreak and great financial loss for theentrepreneur...

YOU CAN SUCCEED, STARTING FROM SCRATCH! But, before you attemptit--before you "jump in and reach your own mail order fortune,"be sure you arrange all the odds in your favor..Anything lessthan the "rules" stated within this report will surely be a wasteof time, and result in failure...

Remember: Your product has to be something you can buy or producein finished form for pennies, and sell for dollars. There has tobe an "eager" market for your product or service. You mustproject the most professional of all images of yourself as the"company" or supplier in all your sales letters, circulars,advertising and/or dealings with your prospective buyers. And youmust "know" who your buyers are, and then concentrate yourefforts to reach only those people with your offer. Take your pencil and go to your public library..Ask the librarian to let you look at the StandardRate & Data Services. Start your research there and have fun with your new business.

Note to editors:
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About the Author
DeAnna is the publisher of the ezine, Prospecting and Presents. Subscribers get one free ad per week. Subscribe today by visiting (http://www.pnewsletter.com)