Regardless of how you look at it, the most important aspect of
any successful mail order business is its advertising. In fact,
mail order success is wholly dependent, and even predicated upon
First of all, you’ve got to have a dynamic, spectacular ad that
attracts the eye and grabs the interest of the people you’re
trying to sell to. Thus, unless your ad really « jumps out » at the
reader, your sales won’t live up to expectations, and your ad
money will be wasted.
The eye-catching appeal of your ad must start with the headline.
Use the headline to very quickly create a picture in the minds of
the reader–a vision of all their problems being solved, and
attainment of the kind of happiness they seek. If your headline
fails to catch the attention of your prospect, you cannot hope to
capture him with the remaining of the ad, because it will go
unread! So in writing your advertisement for just a little while,
so you must quickly interest him in your offer, show him how he
can get what he wants, and then cause him to send immediately for
your « solution » to his problems. Your copy must exude enthusiasm,
excitement, and a positive attitude. Don’t be afraid to use a
hard-sell approach! Say what you feel and believe about your
offer. And use common, « everyday, » but correct English.
Even so, you can and must remember to be honest. Don’t exaggerate
or make claims you can’t back up. Never make promises you cannot
or don’t expect, to keep. To do so could get you in trouble with
the Federal Trade and Fair Practices people.
Stress the benefits of your product or service. Explain to your
reader how owning a copy of your book (for instance), or
receiving your services will make his life richer, happier, and
more abundant. Don’t get involved in detailing all the money
you’ve spent developing the product or researching the
information you’re selling, or you’re selling, or your
credentials for offering it. Stress the « sizzle » and the value of
It is important to involve th reader as often as possible through
the use of the word « you. » Write your copy just as if you were
speaking to and attempting to sell just ONE person. Don’t let
your ad sound as a speaker at a podium addressing a huge stadium
filled with people, but as if there were just one individual
« listening. »
And don’t try to be overly clever, brilliant or humerus in your
advertising. Keep your copy simple, to the point, and on target
toward selling your prospect the product or service because of
its benefits. In other words, keep it simple, but clear; at all
costs, you don’t want to confuse the reader. Just tell him
exactly what he’ll get for his money; the benefits he’ll receive;
how to go about ordering it. You don’t have to get too friendly.
In fact, becoming « folksy, » and don’t use slang expressions.
In writing an ad, think of yourself as a door-to-door
salesperson. You have to get the attention of the prospect
quickly, interest him in the product you’re selling, create a
desire to enjoy its benefits, and you can then close the sale.
Copywriting, whether for a display ad, classified ad, sales
letter or brochure, is a learned skill. It is one anyone can
master with a bit of study, practice, and perhaps some
Your first move, then, is to study your competition, recognize
how they are selling their wares. Practice rewriting their ads
from a different point of view or from a different sales angle.
Keep a file of ads you’ve clipped from different publications in
a file of ad writing ideas. But don’t copy anyone else’s work;
just use the ad material of others to stimulate your own
Some of the « unknown facts » about advertising–and ad writing in
particular–tell us that you cannot ask for more than $3 in a
short classified type ad. Generally speaking, a $5 item will take
at least a one-inch display ad. If you’re trying to sell a $10
item, you’ll need at least a quarter page–perhaps even a half
page of copy–and $15 to $20 items require a full page. If you
are selling a really big ticket item (costing $50 or more) you’ll
need a four-page sales letter, a brochure, separate order coupon,
and return reply envelope.
If you’re making offers via direct mail, best to get into the
postal system with it on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, to be sure it
does not arrive on Monday, the first and busiest day of the week.
And again, unless you’re promoting a big ticket item, the quality
or color of your paper won’t have any great effect on the
response you’ll get, but the quality of your PRINTING definitely
will, so bear this in mind when you place your printing order.
One final point to remember: The summer months when people are
most apt to be away on vacation are usually not good months for
direct mail. But they ARE good for opportunity and advertisements
in publications often found in vacation areas, and in motels and
Again, it cannot be stresses too much or often: Success in mail
order does, indeed, depend upon advertising, and as with anything
else, quality pays off in the long run. Read this report again;
study it; let it sink in. Then apply the principles outlined in
it. They have worked for others, and THEY CAN WORK FOR YOU!