How Can You Tell In Advance What Will Sell On The Internet Or By Direct Mail?

Over the last 50 years I must have seen thousands of ads, mostly 2 line classified ads in opportunity magazines, trying to sell the latest in a long line of “How to Make a Fortune in Mail Order” books or systems. Most have these have been the same ol’, same ol’, regurgitated 4 page claptrap priced from $5 to $20. Occasionally there has been a full blown course or manual for $97 to $197. Since the advent of the internet, these kind of publications have been transitioned to “How to Make a Fortune on the Internet”, but still the same ol’ regurgitated claptrap.

Are any worth buying? Perhaps a few, but the $19.95 type will only make money for the shysters selling them, not the suckers buying. There are one or two about that do teach the science (or art) of Direct Mail and perhaps one or two more that effectively teach how to make money on the Internet. But these systems are usually priced well above $100.00.

Some contain a few nuggets of gold, others, the more expensive ones, teach the technical aspects and some techniques, but I haven’t seen any yet that are complete. Let’s face it, Direct Marketing (by Direct Mail and Mail Order) is a complex business requiring many skills and to teach it properly would require a full-time University course or a set of manuals the size of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. In practise, it is largely learned by experience and listening to others in the business.

Incidentally, what is the difference between Direct Mail and Mail Order? Very little. They both come under the umbrella of Direct Response Marketing. Direct Mail marketing is commonly initiated by sending out a mailing piece to thousands of people; they respond by mail, phone, internet, or in person. Mail Order can be advertised in the press or other media, including mail, but the response is usually by mail (hence mail order). So today, with all the media available, including the internet, the more descriptive term is Direct Response Marketing (DRM).

DRM is a business whereby the marketing message is delivered by advertising through one or more of the media, including mail, and orders or responses are sought by telephone, mail, email, internet or personal visit. Delivery is effected by post, courier, download (in the case of electronic products) and any other available means.

The overriding intention of DRM is to attract positive attention to the ad or mailing piece, cultivate a positive interest in the offer, provide information on how to order and pay for the product, and make an urgent call to take action. In other words, to promote a direct response.

One of the most common traps for young players in Direct Marketing is to produce or secure a product, then look for someone to sell it to.

Hey! I made that mistake too. I wrote this super book on the value of vegetable and fruit juices in health, with lots of recipes to treat many common ailments. It was a great book and I printed up a lot ready to sell. It would be a best seller, I was sure.

Not so! People ought to be vitally interested in their health, and should be willing to pay a measly 20 bucks for a book that would help them get healthy, right?

Wrong! People, lots of people that is, don’t buy that sort of book. I still have few copies at home, but most made it to the garbage disposal on my last move.

So, how can you tell what people will buy?

The answer is simple! Check out what people are buying now. To be reasonably sure you won’t be left with a garage full of widgets, you must identify what people want, and are currently buying. And sell more of the same or similar.

If 5,000 people a day are buying dog collars, chance are you can sell dog collars; or name tags to attach to dog collars. Chances are that people will buy other dog related products too.

If 50,000 people a month are buying books on how to succeed in an internet business, chances are they’ll buy a similar product from you.

The answer in short to the question what will people buy in DRM (including the internet) is this: “What they are already buying.”

If you go into the supermarket and walk down the aisles you’ll likely see a whole aisle devoted to dog food and dog products. Another whole aisle will be devoted to cat food and cat products. People love their pets. So you know that products related to pets are usually good sellers.

Keep going and you’ll come to another aisle devoted to babies. Yes people have babies every day, some say there are 120,000 babies born in America every month. So baby related products will be a sure winner.

Every month a similar number of people die, get married, get divorced. Can you see a market there?

Do you want to make it easy on yourself and find an almost endless source of markets for all kinds of products?

Then get yourself a copy of the SRDS, the world’s largest list of lists of people in all kinds of categories buying all kinds of things.

© 2005, Leslie H Sprankling. All Rights Reserved. Leslie H Sprankling is a Business and Marketing Consultant with 30+ years in business and the author of several books. Leslie is the author of “The Amazing Roadmap to Success in Direct Marketing” which is available now at his website There you will find many other business and personal software programs & business publications to help you develop and grow your business that are not available anywhere else on the internet. Also, you can get many free business articles like this one, for your own use or for publication and distribution.

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