Another major tweak

My guy PJ seems to have disappeared. He did a brief Facebook test with his first copy. He didn’t share the results with me, but apparently he wasn’t happy with them so offered this suggestion:

I think we need a better / stronger offer. This is just an idea. It’s not really different than the original idea – just flipped. Why don’t you charge them for building the bot for their page and then to fill the bot / generate leads you put them on the oversized card for free. Charge them the same amount for the bot as you were going to charge them for a spot on the card.

The more I thought about it the more I liked it for these reasons:

  • Simplified pricing (essentially one price instead of several)
  • Simplied card design (since I’m not charging for the card, I have much more freedom to design it the way I like)
  • Possibility of recurring income if I put out cards consistently every month and charged them a monthly fee

But, I’m still waiting for PJ to test the new ad copy (he was waiting for a client to pay him before he could run any more ads). In fact I haven’t heard from him in over two weeks. I’ve found that he either replies to my messages instantly, or never. There doesn’t seem to be middle ground with him.

At any rate, I like the new direction, but I decided I’d better look for other ways to sell ad space on the cards.

There’s the “tried & true” method of just dropping in on businesses that you think are a good fit. Bob Ross says you should be able to close at least 20% of the businesses you visit (1 in 5).

But, I really don’t want to do that, partly because it pretty much ties you the area where you live (and I wasn’t convinced that Youngstown is the best place to start), but mostly because I just don’t enjoy that kind of sales.

I looked around and tentively selected the “Squirrel Hill” neighborhood in Pittsburgh. It seemed to be a good place to start because it was a nice uppper middle-class area between two large parks, a university nearby, and near the heart of Pittsburgh so I knew there would be a lot of businesses nearby that would love to have the residents as customers.

I knew of at least one person who had good success with selling ad spots strictly by email, but then I found out that they estimate they have to send 50 cold emails to sell one space on a card which works out to over 700 emails to sell out one card. I believe she’s been successful with this, but it just seems impossible. First you have to find 700 businesses that are like candidates (which seem like it’s probably impossible to do except in large cities). Then she said to research each one to find the owner’s name and email address, and something interesting to say about their business in the email. I admire her ability to make that work, but I’m afraid I will get discouraged long before I complete a card using that method.

Then I heard of another guy who’s had good success with direct mail which seemed like it might be a better idea. So I designed a mockup demo card and ordered 100 with the website name as which isn’t bad, but then I discovered that the company using the .com version of the domain is pretty well established and could claim copyright infringement and force me to stop using the name.

Plus, in the meantime, I had decided to change the layout and pricing of ad spots, so I began working on a new mockup card with a different name.

I’ve had a major problem making a decision on the name of my website. I think I listed several in a previous post. More recently, I was using,, and Susan suggested and that’s what I put on the new mockup. Here it is:

front of 9″x12″ mockup
back of card

I was pretty happy with it and went ahead and this time ordered 250.

But almost immediately, I started having second thoughts about the name ( It just felt a little to silly. So the next morning I contacted the printer ( early and was able to put a hold on the order while I investigated another name.

The same day, I learned about the Local Media Hero challenge put on by Delicious Marketing folks (Drew Griffin and David Califiore). Basically, it’s about creating a locally-focused Facebook page featuring news and events to gain credibility and build trust making it easier to connect with the local businesses. I’ve been aware of this strategy for about 3 year, but had shyed away from it because it just seemed like too much work. I was concerned about spending too much time on the page and getting distracted and losing sight of the goal which was to sell services to small businesses.

Well this time my reaction was different. I could suddently visualize this working to help me sell advertising on the postcards. And I knew that participating in the challenge would be a good way to more forward with the idea because the extra support you feel when you’re doing it as a group.

So I signed up for the challenge on Saturday. The first two trainings were on Monday and Tuesday. There’s another one on Friday.

And, instead of starting in Pittsburgh or the Youngstown area, I decided to start in the Hartville/Uniontown area because it’s a good area and I know it well. It really does help to know the area well.

I created a Facebook page, calling it Lake Today (to cover all of Lake Township). Interestingly, I created a website over 20 years ago also named Lake Today — also with news, events, etc., but it didn’t last.

But I decided to not stop there. I also created 3 more pages — for Green, Jackson, and Plain. They are all adjacent townships and I figure I can leverage a group of pages to make it more appealing to an advertisor. I also created matching Instagram accounts for each area.

I will probably start by selling sponsored posts on the pages, then move to sell space on the cards.

Plus I settled on the domain I wanted to broaden the focus beyond just coupons and deals. I intend to include other features such as a business directory and interviews with local business leaders. The name seemed a better fit.

So now I’ll have three types of media properties — social (Facebook & Instagram), physical (postcards), and a website — all working together.

The model does have a lot of moving parts, but I think it will be manageable with some discipline and a well-designed set of services.

Also feel good about picking up where I left off so many years ago.

Eventually, I can see hiring people to manage the day-to-day tasks, and we might be able to expand beyond Ohio — I’m thinking Washington State for Susan’s sake.

So, I’m feeling pretty good. I think it’s finally coming together — and just in time before we go into default!

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