Bill Anderson is a self-employed direct mail and online marketing expert with 30+ years of experience. He started out as a software developer for direct mail list management which gave him the opportunity to learn the direct mail industry from hands on experience. He quickly moved from software and data processing and watching mail houses in action to his own direct mail projects like selling his software and books through the mail. As did many marketers, he went online when the internet got bigger. And when the internet got overcrowded, he moved back to using direct mail.
Cate: I am here with Bill Anderson of Simple Cash Daily. I met Bill through one of his direct mail campaigns. He’s one of the few owners of a program that one can actually contact and converse with! Thanks for joining me, Bill–it’s nice to have you here 🙂
Cate: Bill, I know a little bit of your story, but please share a bit with my readers about how you got into direct mail marketing.
Bill: Sure…way back in the 80’s I was a computer programmer. One of my first requests for software was to write a mail list management and label printing software package. Of course, back then the only thing we had were PCs with floppy drives. As time went on, I expanded on the software and then decided to sell it to mail houses and printers and list companies. I still use it today. I had a reel to reel tape drive, so I decided to advertise in PC magazine and offer tape to disk conversions. So, most of my customers were mail houses, printers, and list companies. That’s where I learned more about direct mail.
Cate: Pretty cool story–you were there at the beginning of a big trend!
Bill: Yep 🙂 So, one day, out of the blue, a guy named Hal Wilson called me and wanted me to help him sell his book Welding Secrets. That was not exactly “up my alley”, but I did some research anyway and found out that there are 100’s of thousands of welders out there that you could buy mailing lists for. So, I did a test mailing and the rest is history – I made enough off Welding Secrets to buy a 38’ Motor Yacht. I went on to sell many other of my own books using direct mail and then the internet. And, YES – direct mail has been around since the Pony Express!
Cate: Who’d have thunk it, right? A welding book! It’s amazing that you had that level of success early on!
Bill: Believe me… I was just as surprised as you are when those checks started popping up in my mailbox after my first test mailing.
Cate: I’ll bet 😛 So, what are some common misconceptions people have about direct mail marketing?
Bill: Most people, especially in the biz op niche, think they can just buy a cheap list, make some cheap copies, slap them in an envelope, put a stamp and label on them, mail them, and they are going to get rich. I got news for you… that rarely happens.
Cate: Rats 😛
Bill: That’s about 1/10th of what needs to be done to do it right…
- You need to find a market first and make sure you can buy a good mailing list of prospects. Better yet, buy a list of “buyers” – not tire kickers. And the buyers should be buyers of a similar product to what you are selling. And they must have bought in a similar way as the way you are marketing.
- Copywriting – you really need to be a top notch copywriter these days. You can’t just slap some words on paper or even use a flyer that is provided to you. You must understand how to sell and be able to convey that message to your prospect.
- Testing – you really need to do your testing and tracking. If you don’t know what the results are on your mailings, you’re going to lose your house.
- Profitability – do your mail order math. Make sure you are profitable over the lifetime value of your customer. You don’t necessarily have to be profitable up front on your first mailing, but if you are selling them more products down the road, you better be profitable over the long haul.
- There’s much more involved in direct mail these days, but the above are the basics. I could write a book on the subject (actually I have). Things like online sales, autoresponders, web page creation, online funnels, tracking software, mail list management, postcard & flyer creation and mailing, and much more.
Cate: Definitely a lot to get right! Do tell–what’s the name of the book? Where can we get a copy?
Bill: It’s Mail Order Details and Facts and it’s only available now in your The Perfect System back office. There are several other very good mail order books there too.
Cate: Nice–I need to look around more! I have not made the time yet…you just introduced what my next question was going to be–The Perfect System. Tell us a bit about this program which is within Simple Cash Daily (full disclosure, I recently joined the system :)).
Bill: Well, as you can tell from question #2, this marketing stuff is not as easy as most people think. A lot of people think they can do it, but the truth is almost none of them can do it correctly. That’s why most of them fail in the biz opp niche.
Cate: I can attest to this–it’s harder than one might think!
Bill: Right…well, I got tired of watching people try things only to be met with failure. Most of the time, it was their own fault because they didn’t take the time (5-10 years) to learn how to do it right.
So… I decided to start a program called The Perfect System where I just did everything for my members. After all, I have 30+ years of experience and they do not. To explain it further would take 10 pages, so just GO HERE and read all about it. :))
Cate: Very cool. I, of course, did join–just recently, so I can not yet share my success story 🙂 But I am excited for it to unfold!
Bill: Yes, this is the slow season for direct mail. Everybody is busy with vacations and then getting the kids back to school. After Labor Day it picks up.
Cate: I’ll be checking my stats then! Is the guarantee you offer good year round–even over the slower seasons?
Bill: Yes… it’s just smarter right now to wait until after Labor Day to do larger mailings. I am doing some smaller test mailings during the summer to get all my ducks in a row for September. Next year, I’ll mail right through the summer because the postcards are so strong they pull a good, profitable response even in the summer. Response is 2-3x better in good months though.
Cate: Makes sense …looking forward to getting my first signees 🙂
(Update December 2019: I have all my guaranteed members, and am enjoying a completely passive small bit of income each month. This grows as you buy more ad packages :))
Do you have a favorite success story–a marketing campaign that exceeded all expectations?
I probably made more money with Welding Secrets, but Competition BBQ Secrets was a book I wrote myself, so I would probably pick that one.
Cate: I love BBQ, although I don’t compete 🙂 Do you still sell the book?
Bill: Yes I do, but things are not as easy as they were 10-15 years ago. Here’s the link https://bbq-book.com/
Cate: I’ll check it out!
Bill: As far as the promotion went, since Welding Secrets was before the internet even existed, I had to do a lot more work in preparing all those mailings.
Cate: I can only imagine!
Bill: Yup 🙂 With Competition BBQ Secrets, we were in the good ol’ days of the internet when it was easy – for most of 10 years most of what I did was buy PPC (pay per click) traffic, send them to a sales page, and they would buy. Most of the sales were eBooks, so I didn’t even have to ship a product or lift a finger.
Cate: Ah, the good old days 🙂
Bill: I literally spent most of those years traveling on my 37’ motorhome and riding my Harley up in the mountains. I entered many BBQ competitions too and became an 8x Grand Champ and best brisket cook in the world.
Note – it would be much harder, if not impossible, to do that today because of a more skeptical market and increased competition, like from Amazon. Back then, there were only about 10 good BBQ books – now there are over 1000.
Cate: That sounds like a great time! Well, until things changed 😛 I guess one has to keep up with the times!
Bill: Yeah, you are right. But I’m a one man operation and it takes a team of people to do what it takes today.
Cate: I guess now you do more online marketing?
Bill: Yes and No – you have to have the online systems, but the “good” traffic online is hard to get. I have a complete online funnel… a squeeze page, a marketing course delivered via an autoresponder, a main sales page, many other pages of additional content, etc.
For traffic – I used to buy a lot of traffic for my BBQ book. And it worked great back then. But online traffic does not work anymore. Due to higher costs, skepticism, ad blindness, and increased competition, most online traffic today is junk. A lot of it is actually bot traffic and fake clicks.
So… I use a hybrid system of offline traffic going to an online sales page or funnel. Postcards are cheaper than flyers, so I get traffic from postcards and send the traffic to my online funnel which automatically works on making the sale over a period of months.
Cate: Yes, I can see how it’s a bit more complicated now than it used to be!
Bill: Yeah… it’s unbelievable how much it has changed over the last 5 years. Who would have thought that people’s buying habits would change so much?
Cate: Do you foresee a time in which direct mail marketing no longer works?
Bill: Actually, I have already seen the opposite. It has come full circle… back in the 80’s it was all direct mail. Then the internet came about. At first it was just direct mail sending buyers to a crude online (optional) ordering page. Then as more people got online, the online marketing systems matured and a lot of marketers, including myself, went 100% online. Then as the online markets got too overcrowded, I moved back to the offline/online method.
Cate: Kinda cool that you’ve been around for the changes that have come and gone –you must be as old as I am 😛 Ha!
Bill: I’m gettin’ on up there!
Cate: What was your last job, job?
Bill: Right out of college I worked for the Fulton County Data Processing Dept as a computer programmer. That only lasted 2 years. Been self-employed ever since.
Cate: A real live entrepreneur! 🙂
Bill: I was lucky – but luck is just preparation meeting opportunity. So, I was smart enough to be prepared when Hal Wilson gave me that call.
Cate: Indeed. Not everyone would have been able to take advantage of that opportunity!
What are some things you like to do for fun–do you still have the RV?
Bill: I sold the motorhome and I now have a trailer type of camper which is also a toy hauler. I used to do the BBQ competitions in it. I did get married about 10 years ago and then a divorce about 5 years ago. I think I like it better being a bachelor! I do have a 10 year old daughter that I spend most of my free time with. So camping, traveling, and kids stuff are what it’s about these days.
Cate: Sounds like a good life 🙂
Bill: It is 🙂 Believe it or not, one of my favorite things to do is sell stuff – either offline or online. They say you should enjoy what you do – pick a niche that you really have a passion for and try to make money in that niche. That’s one of the keys to success.
It’s very ironic that one of the things I HATE the most is NOT selling stuff. One of the hard things in this business is the ups and downs. But that’s another secret to success… failure is just a stepping stone to success. It’s almost impossible to have success without failure – it’s just part of the learning process.
Cate: It’s great that you love what you do! That and your willingness to adapt to the changes in the market and world are, I’m sure, two primary reasons for your longevity as an entrepreneur!
I have encountered a handful of names that seem to have staying-power…and many more that come and go! 😛
Bill: You are right… there are 10’s of thousands of people who have gone out of business over the last 5 years. Especially in the biz opp, MMO (make money online), and affiliate marketing niches.
Cate: I’m sure. The take-away from all this, for me, anyway, is that while the opportunity to make money online is there, it’s not as easy as it is often made to sound 😛 That’s one reason The Perfect System is, well, perfect 😉 I suppose I cannot 100% say it’s perfect until I get the members you have guaranteed… I will be sure to update my readers as time goes on. My plan, aside from sharing my experience and maybe getting new subscribers that way, is to re-invest a portion of my earnings in a new “ad package” to get at least 5 more members and so on…
It’s not “fast money” as is often promised, but it’s sure money, given your guarantee.
Bill: Get rich quick schemes DO NOT EXIST. I know because I have been looking hard for one for 30 years.
Cate: It’s hard to let that idea go! 😛
Bill: Even if one did come into existence, everyone would join in and it would soon stop working because everyone has seen it already and has either joined or passed on it.
Cate: True…too bad!
Thanks for taking the time to talk with me, Bill! You have some unique insight and interesting life experience as an entrepreneur, and it was fun getting to know a bit more about you–especially as I have invested in The Perfect System 🙂
Bill: I had fun doing this interview too – very good idea! Your blog rocks! Keep up the positivity!
Check out the Perfect System and get started now for long-term success. And check back for updates over the next six months and beyond to see how I am doing!