When you think of mail order, you probably think in terms of advertising in the magazines and newspapers, possibly even direct mail. These are the standard and accepted advertising forms of getting orders by mail.
But there is another way. Whether it can be a better way for you will depend on what you are selling and who your prospective customers are. The alternative advertising medium is RADIO. Think about this for a moment. When you run your ad in a magazine, chances are it is somewhat specialized and read by only certain types of people. Even if a particular magazine boasts a circulation of a million readers, only a very small percentage of them will ever see your ad (unless it is a very large or full page) and even fewer people will respond to it.
Magazine advertising is a consumer-active medium which means that readers are forced to use their time and energy to read your ad in an effort to find out what you have to offer. Radio, on the other hand, is a PASSIVE medium. Listeners are not required to do anything. They are already listening to their favorite music, news or talk show, and they do not have to exert any effort to receive your message.
Many advertisers have discovered that their particular business or product line can become ear-appealing, and can be successfully promoted and sold via a professionally created radio campaign. A good radio commercial can often equal or surpass any other type of advertising that you are presently using, or plan to use.
Radio consists primarily of the general population. You cannot single out a specific group of people from the masses and ask them to listen to your commercial while the rest of the audience turns a deaf ear to what you have to say. Your ad message on radio will be heard by everyone listening, so your product or offer should have mass appeal to be successful. The only true advantage that you will have to work with is the fact that radio stations broadcast to specific demographics or distinct age groups. The Top-40 station will broadcast to reach teens and early twenties; the oldies station will be appealing to the 30-50 age group; the station playing American Music Classics will be aiming at the over 50 age group, and so on.
You can target your market by selecting only the station(s) that reach the market you want to sell. If your offer is for those in their teens and twenties, you will naturally want to get your commercial on the Top-40 stations, but if you want to reach the older audience, possibly senior citizens, then you'll want to advertise only on stations that play music or broadcast their programming to this audience.
The best offers are those that have a proven success rate. Offers that have been successful on radio include:
This list is not complete, of course, because there are many items, products or "things" that can be successfully sold via a well-produced radio commercial, each depending on the audience.
If you sell something in one of the categories above, you have a good chance of selling it successfully on radio... if you do it correctly. First of all, if you are used to selling via display ads in magazines and newspapers, you probably close your ad with "send $24.95 (or whatever price) now to receive your zipperdinger"...and follow that with a order form. Surprise! On radio there's no order form for prospective customers to fill out.
With all space advertising you learned to offer plenty of benefits and to make it easy for the customer to order. Same applies to radio - even more so. The absence of a convenient order form means you have to make it as easy as possible for your customer to respond to the message they've just heard. The easiest way is to replace your address with a phone number
Take it one step further and give listeners a TOLL FREE NUMBER. Yes, install an 800 number. The next step is (if you don't already) to accept CREDIT CARD ORDERS.
These two steps are your KEY to using radio successfully. To make this work profitably, your selling should be a minimum of $29.95 for whatever you are selling... with a maximum of about $150. Anything above that amount will probably require that you sell on the installment plan, For example, if what you have to offer is priced at $379.95 then you ask for a small deposit (via check or charge and you will bill them for the balance to be paid in (for example) six easy payments of $60 each.
It probably wouldn't be worthwhile selling via radio if your selling price was only $5 or $10 unless you were using this as a leader offer just to build a customer list, in which case it might be worth testing. To build a bigger prospect list, however, and a lot faster, you might want to test the inquiry method commercial. Nothing attracts interest like the magic word "FREE" or when listeners hear "NO COST OR OBLIGATION. JUST CALL 1-800-000-000 AND LEAVE YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS. WE'LL SEND YOU COMPLETE INFORMATION BY RETURN MAIL - ABSOLUTELY FREE!"
If you've matched your audience with your offer, a "No Money" approach will produce a truckload of prospects.
When using an 800 number to call you, each will cost approximately 23 cents, but it can be worth the cost if you have a good product with a large profit markup. The costs, the time and trouble of installing a toll-free number and arranging for Merchants Credit Card Status at your local bank can ultimately double, triple or quadruple your orders and, quite possibly mean the difference between success and failure for your radio commercial campaign.
Most radio stations on which you plan to advertise will offer to write your radio script for you. In most cases, DON'T LET THEM. Especially not the smaller home town station. These stations are generally understaffed and have neither the talent or facilities to turn out a good commercial for you. They mean well, but the sad fact is, they will normally turn the job of writing your commercial over to a secretary to do in her "spare" time, to the sales representative that took your advertising order, or even the D.J. to write between records.
A large station, on the other hand, will probably have a professional radio copywriter on the staff, in which case you might get a good job. So, before you sign any contract or pay for commercial time, ask if they have a professional radio copywriter. If not, put your commercial contract on hold.
You can have your commercial professionally written for just $50 by contacting Stew Caverly, Suite R93, 216 Mclean Street, Wilkes Barre, PA 18702. Just send complete information about your product or offer, enclose with your check or money order for $50 and be assured of receiving a professional job in about two weeks.
You must remember that your commercial radio script needs another element to get it on the air where it will become effective: a voice! To acquire the right voice for your needs, listen to all the stations in your area, especially the commercials. When you hear one that is especially effective in style, tone and delivery, make arrangements to "hire" that voice for your commercial. If you hit it lucky by hearing the voice you want to use on a station that fits your offer, BINGO! You can just hand over (a copy) of your commercial script to them and tell them exactly who you want to use to record it. YES - Record it. This is the only sure way of controlling your message. Otherwise, the station might have your spot read "live" on the air, by any D.J. or announcer who is on duty when it comes up on the schedule, and you will be at the mercy of each of them.
One announcer might do a fair job, while another might slur through it or even mispronounce words, misread the phone number, or otherwise mess it up for you.
But once your commercial has been recorded and you are pleased with the result, you can be sure that it will sound exactly the same every time it is aired... even when aired on other stations. So ask for dubs (copies) of the tape at the time it is recorded. You might pay a few extra dollars for this service, but it's worth it. Some stations won't charge extra while others will add $3 to $5 or more for each dub.
When airing your commercial in your own locality, an 800 number won't be necessary, but you will need it when expanding your radio advertising throughout your state and around the country. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of radio stations in the U.S., so if your initial test is successful, you'll want to branch out to blanket the country in a short time.
If you explain your plans at the time your commercial is recorded, they might do it twice for you at no additional charge, if they want to create good will; once for local airing using your local number, the other inserting your toll free number.
No, you don't HAVE to offer credit card options, but you will get much more business (some estimate as much as 300% or more) than when asking for payment in advance. If you already own a business and offer the credit option, there's no problem. But when just beginning a new business - especially if you plan to operate from your home office - it can be difficult (if not impossible) to obtain a merchants credit account from your local bank. For reasons of their own, banks do not normally accept home operated business; they like to know you have a store, shop, or other building in which your business will operate.
When using alternative collection services, you will pay a small percentage to have your orders processed, but it should be worth it in the long run if you can increase your business dramatically.
You need a good product that will appeal to a mass audience, and just one good commercial to really make a killing on radio. Test locally and regionally at first, then spread the word throughout the hundreds of radio stations in the USA.
If you've been in mail order for more than a month...chances are you've been ripped off by one or more ad sheet printers. This report won't make you a mail-order genius but might keep you from loosing your shirt prematurely.
Have you placed your display ad in a national magazine with over 20 million readers, then waited for the orders to pour in? But the days go by and there is little or no responses?
When you have accumulated sufficient knowledge from preparing your own circulars and from co-publishing magazines and ad sheets of others, you may want to become a publisher.
The opportunities for getting free advertising for your product or services are limited only by your own imagination and energies.
There have been entire volumes written on mail order selling. For printed information, 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.
Regardless of what you're trying to sell, you really can't sell it without "talking" with your prospective buyer. An in attempting to sell anything by mail, the sales letter you send out is when and how you talk to your prospect.
What is a Big Mail? If you are a total beginner to the mail order world, you will have no idea what the term means. Before I knew better, I used to think a Big Mail was just a big envelope containing some type of free samples.
This method of getting free printing is currently being used by several different mail dealers. It works! Here's the plan: Run an ad similar to this in any mail order magazine:
Most business beginners think Direct Mail means purchasing a mailing list and mailing an advertising flyer to a bunch of folks they know absolutely nothing about. This IS NOT what Direct Mail marketing is.
Here are some interesting results of a study conducted on readerships of magazine ads. Most of the stats are from Starch INRA Hopper, Inc and other studies.