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 good advertising.
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.
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.
It is important to involve the 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 humorous 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 professional guidance.
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 creativeness.
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 hotels.