It’s another month so must be time for another major change — not what I advise anyone else to do, but it seems to be what I do far too frequently.
As I mentioned in my last post, I discovered that the referral system wasn’t working quite right. A couple weeks went by waiting for a developer to fix it. He finally got it to a state where it was good enough and I restarted the Facebook ad, but in the meantime I was once again rethinking my whole strategy because I was losing faith in my ability to build my Albuquerque Facebook group into something that advertisers would consider valuable enough to spend money advertising to my members. It was feeling like a race to disaster. We were already going into the hole at the rate of about $1000/month and spending money on advertising without a more direct path to income was feeling foolish.
The plan was to hold a weekly giveaway which I started on April 15th by giving away a vouchers for Fat Axe restaurant. The following week, I gave away a voucher for Icicles ice cream, but by then I had decided to make the change so that was the last one. I think giveaways are still a good idea down the road, however.
So my thoughts turned back to something I’d tried way back in 2012 and actually had a little succcess with — 9″x12″ “co-op” postcard mailers which typically had 12 to 16 local advertisers on them. Back then, I sold a few ads on the card before getting tired of selling, and then just filled the remainder of the card with cpc or affiliate offers. To top it off, my biggest advertiser, a pizza place, claimed that they got no one redeeming the coupons I’d place on the card.
But I had continued to hear from Jake Lorraine (aka Bob Ross), the guy that pioneered the idea and who’s course I’d purchased, and now 10 years later, I found myself thinking about it again. I realized that the card and my website could really help each other, which had actually been my business plan way back in 2012.
Of course, there was still the issue of selling the cards, but I thought if I can find an easier way to sell, maybe there’s hope.
Enter P. J.
PJ Pahygiannis is 20-something entrepreneur who’s kind of like me, but more successful. He changes business models as often as other people change underwear — kind of what I do, but he takes each model further than I ever do. He’s still trying to pin down his niche, but in the meantime has developed some great marketing skills, particularly in copywriting and lead generation.
So I asked PJ if he thought he could generate some leads for me. His response, “Absolutely”. How would he do it? (I knew he did a lot of cold email, but his response surprised me) “Facebook ads using a custom audience”. “Really?”, was my response. I immediately loved the idea. If he could generate leads on demand for me and I could perfect a sales process – doing as much as possible online or by-phone, I might be able fill card quickly and efficiently.
Of course, I would also advertise my website on the card (with the same ads featured). My thought was that eventually the website would be getting enough traffic that it could stand on it’s own and I wouldn’t need the cards.
This model had the added benefit that Facebook groups probably wouldn’t be needed.
But back the website for a moment. Naming is has been a real struggle. I love the name “Best Local”, but since bestlocal.com is taken I had tried a number of alternatives, including bstlcl.com, bestlocal.live, towndollars.com, scarcedeals.com, scarce.deals, bestlocalrewards.com, bestlocalvip.com, jssaver.com, kaysaver.com, hotlocal.us, and bestlocaldeals.us. Yes, really! All those! Susan thought I should actually go back to the name I selected way back in 2012 (which was still available) — ohsaver.com, but I didn’t like it because I thought people would spell it “osaver” based on the way it sounds.
I had stayed with bestlocaldeals.us for a while, but I really didn’t like it. So I was off looking once again and stumbled onto localsaver.us. Once again, I couldn’t get the .com version. Someone else has it (and it seems they’re actually trying to use it, although not very well). But I liked LocalSaver.us nevertheless have settled on it — at least for now.
I designed an example card that also shows sample ad sizes am currently waiting for it to be printed and delivered. In the meantime, I’m also waiting on PJ to come up with ad copy (he asked me a bunch of questions in the process – some seemingly irrelevant).
I also have developer in Ukraine working on a way to allow advertisers to reserve spaces on a card. I realize this could end up being a waste if for some reason I change the business model again, but I just can’t keep to help myself. I have a bad habit of spending too much time and money on trying to streamline and automate things before I’ve proven the basic concept. Hopefully that will not be the case here.
I’ve also been looking at the best ways to upsell clients to additional services, such as adding a digital coupon, building a customer list, broadcasting messages to them, adding a rewards program, etc.
At this point, I’m feeling pretty good about this model. PJ seems pretty confident and I’m pretty sure that an ad space on a postcard will be a lot easier to sell than Facebook advertising or a post on a “deals” website. I’m hoping to get thing kicked off within a week or so without all the automation I envision. That will be added when it’s ready.
We coming down to the wire financially speaking. This one really needs to work.