How to Start a Big Mail Service

A Big Mail Should Contain

Big Mail

Do you enjoy reading the small Mail Dealer magazines? Do you enjoy ordering and receiving "Big Mails?" Do you enjoy working with new Mail-order dealers and opportunity seekers? If your answer is "YES" to all of these questions, then it would probably be profitable and pleasurable for you to start a "Big Mail" service.

In the pages that follow I will show you how to set up a Big Mail Service. I'll show you how to advertise your service and I'll also show you how to use the Big Mails that you receive in your own mail to your own advantage. I'll show you how to use commission circulars (and how to get a lot of them free!) And I'll also show you how to keep track of them.

We'll talk about co-publishing and we'll discuss circular mailing (you'll learn how to get people to pay you cash to mail their circulars for them!). I'll show you a simple trick that will get you a lot of free advertising and I'll show you where to get a free mailing list that will create a lot of new customers for you, if you are willing to put in a little work to get them.

But...before we get into all this... I would like to give you a word of caution. Big Mail selling looks easy and it sounds easy... but IT IS NOT! Selling Big Mails is a lot of work, HARD WORK. And it is NOT a way to get rich quick!

You will probably not make any money at all for at least a few months. In fact, you will have to invest more than you take in. If you are willing to invest a little of your money, and a lot of your time, then you can gain invaluable experience selling Big Mails, and then you will make money. You will gain experience that you could gain nowhere else in the whole world. And if you are alert, creative, and AMBITIOUS, you can eventually turn your mail-order business into a very lucrative enterprise.

If you are still interested... and I hope you are... please read on!

The first thing you should do is sit down with the latest issue of MAIL SALE ADVERTISER or POPULAR ADVERTISER and order at least twelve Big Mails. After that, get into the habit of ordering at least one Big Mail EVERY DAY!

Then devote a portion of EACH DAY to STUDYING them. And I do mean STUDY!

Feed your mind and your imagination with all kinds of ideas. The Mail-order Business is a very creative and imaginative one. The more you feed your imagination, the more it will do for you!

Set up a personal notebook. I would suggest you divide it into four sections:

You can set your personal notebook up any way you like, but I use a loose-leaf notebook and scotch-tape the ads, circulars, etc.

Read and re-read every circular and mail order magazine that you can get your hands on. SAVE ANY IDEA THAT APPEALS TO YOU! Start ordering SMALL supplies of "commission circulars" that APPEAL to you. (Never try to sell anything merely because it pays a BIG commission.)

When you are satisfied that you really want to start selling Big Mails, there are two very practical things you must do.

  1. Order a name and address rubber stamp. Be sure it is SMALL enough to use on commission circulars.

  2. Open a PERSONAL CHECKING ACCOUNT. Open it in YOUR OWN NAME. When you start to advertise, use your own name. If you do that, there will be no problem when you go to the bank to deposit checks that your customers will send you.

Your next step is to place an ad in at least SIX mail-order magazines or ad-sheets. In the beginning you will have to use publications that will accept handwritten or typewritten copy, since you do not yet have "camera ready" ads. Your ad should read something like this:

BIG MAIL - $.25 Commission circulars mailed FREE! (Your name, address)

A simple ad like this will pull better than one with a lot of words in it.

You probably already know which magazines or ad-sheets you want to advertise in. That is fine! But I would like to suggest you start off by advertising in at least one or two of the following:

All of these are letterpress publications, which means they will set your ad up for you. They appear regularly EVERY MONTH ON TIME, and almost everyone interested in mail order reads them!

Because these publications are CO-PUBLISHABLE, the publishers of each publication will send you 50-100 copies to include in your Big Mails. Your name will appear on your copies as the CO-PUBLISHER. You will get to keep around 5096 as your commission on any ads or subscriptions you sell. If you are faithful in mailing your copies, you can often make enough profit on ads and subscript-ions to pay for all your ads! This way your ads actually cost you nothing.

Each advertiser is also mailing his copies to his customers or mailing list, and every last copy mailed has YOUR ad in it. The printer is also mailing a copy to every person on his subscription list... so, usually within about ten days after your ad appears in print, you will start receiving letters with quarters in them asking for your Big Mail. Some advertisers, for one reason or another, are quite slow in mailing their copies, but this can work to your advantage. You will often get orders two or three months after your ad appears!

Commission Circulars

Long before you start receiving orders for your Big Mail, you should have acquired a starting supply of "commission circulars." You will want to include them in every one of your Big Mails.

Commission circulars are usually 3"x6", 6"x9" or 8"x11" circulars offering such things as:

Rubber Stamps               Name-address Labels
Folios                      Parcel Post Labels
Magazine Samples            Mailing Lists
Envelopes                   Printed Stationary
Business Directories        Catalogue Samples
Drop-ship Samples           Printed Circulars
Formulas                    Books
Mail Order Plans            Magazine Subscriptions
Name Listing Services       Pen Pal Clubs, etc., etc.

Wholesale firms supply commission circulars to mail-order dealers, usually at cost. The dealer stamps his name in the blank space under "order From" and mails them to prospective customers. When he receives orders (and he will if he mails the m regularly), he keeps his commission, which is usually about 50%. He then sends the balance, along with his shipping label, to the wholesaler, who drop-ships the order directly to the customer under the dealer's shipping label.

Commission circulars can be profitable for you, as a Big Mail Dealer, if you are very careful to select only those circulars which appeal to MAIL ORDER BEGINNERS. You will soon learn that gift items and general merchandise rarely appeal to people who are ordering Big Mails, unless you are offering them on a wholesale basis. (Safari boots, transistor radios, hunting knives, automatic can openers, $15.95 necklaces are nice, and they can be sold by mail...but not to mail order beginners!)

If you work at it, you can make a lot of extra money by including good commission circulars in your mails. Test a few hundred copies of each commission circular. If it evokes no interest, discontinue it. But if it produces an order or two, then include one in every piece of mail you send. When you have found a circular that "pulls," try to have them printed with your name and address on them. (Printed circulars will often pull FIVE times better than stamped ones.)

Don't mail poorly printed circulars. They tend to make your entire mailing look sloppy. You will also find that 6"x9" and 8"x11" circulars pull better than 3"x6's, although some 3"x6"s pull surprisingly well.

Once your ad appears (stating COMMISSION CIRCULARS MAILED FREE) you will start receiving free commission circulars. Test every circular that is given to you. Push the winners... discontinue the duds. Eventually you will develop a list of real money-makers to include in your Big Mails.

Most of the suppliers of commission circulars are honest people. They offer items of real worth. But occasionally you will find circulars that you should not mail. They will get YOU in trouble!

There is one other thing I would like to caution you about. There are about 40-50 standard folios that have been around the Mail-order Business for the last twenty years. They are EXCELLENT folios, well-written, well-printed, and the advice in them is absolutely valid. But it is a waste of time trying to sell them to mail-order beginners. Most of them already know where to get them at wholesale prices! If you receive FREE commission circulars offering these folios, by all means, mail them. You may get an order or two. But if you are going to buy expensive circulars, be sure you are offering something NEW, something which EVERY mail-order dealer has not already seen at least one hundred times!

Facts at Your Fingertips

As a Big Mail Dealer, you will be selling many things. So that you can fill each order accurately and promptly, I suggest that you start another loose-leaf notebook. Divide it into three sections;

  1. Commission Circular Information
  2. Co-Publishing Information
  3. Advertising Schedule

  4. Commission Circular Information - Every time you receive a new supply of commission circulars, sit down and examine them. (Sometimes you will receive two or three varieties in one envelope.) Tape one sample of each circular in your notebook. Underneath it write:

    • Name and Address of the Drop-shipper
    • Amount to forward to the Drop-shipper
    • How to obtain additional circulars. (Are they available with your name and address imprinted on them?)
  5. Co-Publishing Information - Most publishers of mail-order magazines will send you a "Fact Sheet," If they do, simply scotch-tape the sheet in your notebook. If not, record these facts yourself:

    • Name and address of the printer
    • How much to forward on new advertising, subscriptions, etc.
  6. Advertising Schedule - To keep your ads running CONTINUOUSLY, you will have to keep track of "closing dates" (the last date on which a publisher will accept advertising for his next issue.) Here is a very simple method for you to use:

Take a page of common notebook paper. At the top of the page, write the name of the month. Then number down the page from 1 to 31. (Use one line for each day of the month.)

The closing date for Mail Sale Advertiser is the 15th of the month, but you will want to mail your ad on the 5th of the month (always mail your ads in TEN DAYS EARLY). So next to number 5, write down the code letters "MSA." If you will check this sheet religiously every day, you will never forget a closing date.

Before you mail your ad, turn to the page for the following month and make notation of that month's closing date. If you will use this system (or your own variation), you will remember every deadline, whether you are advertising in five magazines or five hundred!

Circular Mailing

Once your Big Mail ads are appearing regularly, you will start to receive orders for them regularly. As soon as you are averaging five a day, you can advertise yourself as a CIRCULAR MAILER. It's easy to get started. Each time you renew your Big Mail Ad, send in another ad like this. (As a co-publisher, your ads cost you half the advertised price!

Circular Mailing

       100    250    500
3x6    .50   1.25   2.25
6x9    .60   2.50   2.50
9x12  1.00   2.00   4.00

These prices are given only as examples. Postal rates and other costs change and you should check the ads of currently running Circular Mailers and charge about the same rates. Cut-rate prices will NOT get you more orders.

A circular mailing ad will almost ALWAYS pay for itself immediately. (Incidentally, many dealers have tried to run combination Big Mail and Circular Mailing ads. They do not work half as well as TWO SEPARATE ADS!)

As soon as you receive a circular mailing order, send your customer a sample mailing. Be sure it is neat and be sure it includes the LATEST issues of several mailorder magazines. Then include ONE of his circulars in every Big Mail until you have finished mailing them. If you have not received any more circulars to mail, send him a friendly thank you note and let him know that you have finished mailing his circulars. Tell him you hope he receives some orders from your mailing. Include some new circulars from new advertisers and a NEW magazine. If he has any more circulars to mail, he will very likely send them to YOU!

Remember, circular mailing depends on REPEAT customers. Never exaggerate your mailing capacity (either in personal letters or in ads.) If you really try to get orders for your customers, they will be back for more!

How to Get Free Ads

There are many editors of mail-order magazines and ad sheets who will print your ads free if you will mail 100 to 200 copies of their publication. Here is a very effective way to get them to run YOUR ads:

Take a sheet of white typing paper. Type the following words on it.

PRINTERS, PUBLISHERS: If you will print any of these ads in your publication, I will mail 100 copies for you FREE! (With co-publishing rights, I'll mail 200 copies!)

Note that all of these ads are camera-ready for your convenience.

Then use rubber cement to paste copies of all your different ads on the sheet! (If your ads have been printed on colored poster paper, bleach them before you paste them up. Pour a little clorox over them, until the color disappears. Rinse them in water, and dry them on a piece of flat cardboard.)

Once your circular is pasted up (camera-ready), take it to your local instant photo-offset printer and have 500 or 1000 copies printed on WHITE paper. (Be sure its on white paper.) Enclose one of these circulars in every mailing. You'll be amazed at the results!

Where to Get Good Mailing Lists Free

If you advertise regularly, you will get a lot of response to your ads. But if you will do a little specialized direct mailing, you can double your business almost immediately. Here's how:

Imagine that you have just received your mailing copies of TIMELY TIPS from the printer. If you look at your shelf, you discover that you still have 14 copies of last month's issue left to mail. Sit down and make up 14 SPECIALIZED mailings. In each mailing, enclosed:

  1. One copy of last month's TIMELY TIPS.
  2. One copy of each circular you have been paid to mail.
  3. One copy of your new FREE MAILING FOR FREE ADVERTISING circular.


Every time you receive new mailing copies, mail out the remaining copies of last month's issues to the categories listed above and your mail-order business will grow faster than you ever dreamed it could. You'll be surprised at the new business you will be able to generate using this method.

Where Do You Go from Here?

I honestly can't answer that question! Only you have the answer. If you are ambitious - if you are willing to develop your imagination - if you are willing to experiment with new ideas... the sky is the limit!

Don't let anyone tell you that Big Mail Selling and Circular Mailing is only for beginners. There are SUCCESSFUL mail-order dealers who have been selling Big Mails and mailing circulars for twenty-five years! If you really love it, don't ever give it up!

What direction your mail order business takes is entirely up to you. I hope you will keep your ads running, and I hope you will expand your business by constantly adding new publications to your advertising list.

Keep your eyes and your ears open. Saturate yourself with fresh, new, and imaginative ideas. I hope you'll keep excited about the Mail Order business... I hope that ten years from now, you'll love it and be even more involved than you are today.

Mail Order is far more than just a money-making business for me. It's a way of life! And I hope it is your way of life, too!

Take a sheet of white typing paper. Type the following words on it.

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