The “pay-to-list” model

After spending considerable time and money on the postcard strategy, I’m on to something new — again 🙁

We collected information form over 200 businesses that looked like good candidates for the co-op postcard. I designed and printed the mockup card, also wrote and printed addresses and a message on a large (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″) yellow label that we placed on the cards, and mailed them out to 100 businesses.

The result – one phone call from someone who owns a fitness studio and interested in paying $99 to reach the entire Green/Lake/Plain/Jackson area.

Maybe one response out of 100 is reasonable for an initial mailing. I knew beforehand that I’d need to do multiple mailings to the same businesses to really get their intention. But 1 response was discouraging, nevertheless, and enough to make me seriously question the strategy.

And we’re running out of money.

Plus, I was already feeling overwhelmed with the thought of trying to put out a card a week, which seemed doable once upon a time. I had more or less figured out each of the processes necessary to reserve card space, design the ad, get approval and payment, print the card and mail out. But it was feeling overwhelming.

On top of that, as hard as I tried, I couldn’t come up with a good pricing strategy — and no good way to produce recurring revenue, which is one of the key principles I was trying to follow.

Bob Ross (aka Jake Lorraine) came out with training about this time on how to sell and fulfill solo-card mailers so I went down that path for a while, thinking that it would be so much easier to sell cards that only involved one client.

After a couple days of thinking about that, however, I realized that it still wasn’t a great business model, and was taking me down a path that I didn’t really want to be on, namely being known as a printer and using natural resources (paper) in a way I didn’t really agree with.

So, after stewing for a couple days and feeling depressed, a new idea began to merge – namely to focus on selling digital services. I decided that SMS list-building and automated message-sending should be a core part. In order to make it more complete package, I would include Facebook & Instagram advertising.

I went down that path for a couple days and then started putting some pricing together and realized that there was no way to offer it inexpensively because the FB advertising alone was not cheap.

So, once again, I was floundering and feeling lost. With my 70th birthday coming up very soon I was also reminded that I’m running out of time.

So I said a prayer, pleading with Heavenly Father for help since I seem to utterly incabable of figuring out what to do.

I gave into a temptation to purchase some introductory training by Jeff Lerner who’s put together an impressive and comprehensive system for helping people launch businesses. But while I was listening to his 3 hour lesson, and realizing he didn’t have the answer I was looking for, the idea suddenly came to me that instead of trying to sell FB advertising to individual clients, I should instead sell “co-op” advertising by advertising my website and then asking businesses to share in the cost by purchasing a listing on the website.

This way, I only need to advertise the website and all businesses listed can share in the exposure, spreading the advertising cost way out.

I’m feeling pretty good about this latest business model. Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.

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