RESOLVING THE "PROPRIETARY" DILEMA...
SHOULD YOU RENT YOUR OWN MAILING LIST TO OTHER BUSINESSES ?
Mail order dealers are always looking for more people to send their offers
to. You'll find this out in your own business. Besides sending your
offers out to people who answer your ad, you can expand your business by
doing mass mailings to lists of people who have responded to offers similar
to yours. You can make extra profits by renting your customer list to other
Take note of the term "renting." Too many people use the terms "buy" and
"sell" when talking about mailing lists. Mailing lists are rented, not
bought and sold. When you rent a mailing list, it is for onetime use. Any
customers who order from you can, of course, be added to your permanent
customer list. But you shouldn't send out more than once to a rented list.
This is unethical, as it robs the owner of the mailing list of revenues.
How would you like it if someone paid you once for the mailing list YOU
were renting out, then used it three or four times? Each time he used it
would be a rental fee you DON'T get. So, mailing lists are not bought and
sold. They are rented.
How should you go about setting up your customer list so you can gain
rental income? If you don't have a computer, the best way to go about it
is by purchasing some photocopier labels. These can be found at any office
supply store. Type your names and addresses once on labels. This is your
master set. Then, when you get an order for your list, photocopy your
master list onto new labels.
The best customers to send an offer to are ones who have bought in the past
thirty days. A list of names and addresses that are less than thirty days
old can be rented for a higher rate than older names. I wouldn't bother
renting names that are more than ninety days old, unless you specifically
say they are that old in your ads. Most smart dealers won't rent them,
though, so it may be a waste of your time. Also, a list of people who have
just inquired about offers, but not ordered, will not rent for too much.
A good idea is to have a friend whose name and address you can add to your
list. Then, have your friend pass on to you anything he or she receives
from those who rent your list. That way, you can tell if someone is using
your list more than once without paying. This is called "seeding" the list.
Also, you will get offers you have never seen before, that you may want to
How much should you rent your list for?
Well, it all depends. Read the ad sheets and tabloids you get in the mail
and see what others are charging. Use this as a guideline.
Despite what other writers may say, don't count on making $100,000 per year
renting lists. Some people do, but they are the ones who do ONLY that, who
have large, multiple computer setups, and spend thousands in advertising.
Let THEM do that. While you may make a much smaller amount renting your
list, it's still money you didn't have before.
In your ads, be sure to include how old your list is, how many names, and
where they came from. For example: "125 Fresh, Active Mail Order Buyer's
Names from my Order list, all less than 30 days old. $2.00 plus 2 first
class stamps. Order today! (your name and address)."
This ad can be used as a classified ad or a typeset one-inch ad. Labels
usually come 33 to a page (3 columns of 11), so you can fill this order with
four sheets. Your cost should be less than 50 cents, so you make $1.50 per
order, plus your postage expense is nothing.
Enclose your best offers with your list, up to the maximum weight for the
amount of postage you requested, and you will make more money with the orders
you receive. You will get a lot of dealers who will pay for your names, if
they are priced right. Like I said, you won't get rich, but it's more money,
and you'll get some orders for your other offers, too. Add the names of
those who rent your list to the list of names you rent. After all, they're
your customers too.