Stop Pretending To Be Psychic.

Scott M. Posted this question in the FaceBook mastermind group today:



Scott has ran into a dilemma that virtually every 9×12’er faces eventually.

“I have been discouraged by some businesses because they don’t want to advertise again on the postcard since they didn’t see a ROI”.

Here’s an easy way to stop feeling discouraged: don’t expect them to re-up in the first place.

If they do… great, because you didn’t expect it (it was a nice surprise).

You’ll sell a ton of ads and get recurring advertisers in the process that you didn’t even plan for.

That’s one simple way of handling it, but let’s get a little deeper.


Most of This Game is Psychological


The perception of things can be wildly altered depending on how you present it.

What if your lovely spouse worked extremely hard all day, was exhausted and hungry, and you told her you’ll take her out for a really nice dinner.

…But you took her to Subway.

She’d be pissed as all heck right?

Would she be hungry anymore? No, but she’d be let down because you didn’t deliver on the hype.

You could have simply gone out and picked up something up quick and she’d appreciate how you went out of your way so she wouldn’t have cook dinner that night. She’d probably be happy as a clam.

But since you gave her the impression you’d be taking her somewhere really nice you set her up to only be let down.

YOU caused it!

With 9×12, if you’re going to hinge your offer on response — and you can’t deliver it — they’re going to be discouraged, period.

And you can’t control their response, no matter how good their offer is.

A good offer can influence response but it’s not the magic solution. Some businesses have terrible reputations that people won’t simply respond to, or maybe there’s just not a lot of “match in the market” for what they’re offering.

50% off a colonoscopy isn’t going to get Dr. Buttberger’s phone ringing off the hook.

Instead of telling him you’ll send him fifty new patients (which you can’t control), try telling him you’re going get every household in Oak Hills to know about his practice;  and that every month they’re going to get this behemoth-sized miniature billboard placed right in their hands to remind them for when they’re ready.

Maybe they won’t go right then and there, but at some point they’re going to need what he offers and that he should want to be right at the top of their minds when they do, right?

If this guy even gets one person to call in from the ad at some point, he’ll think you’re a gift from heaven.

See… If you sell them on exposure and other things rather than response, virtually any response they get will have them ecstatic. Even no response will be totally fine, which is the beauty of selling on exposure.


It’s Important NOT to Take Shortcuts


Let’s say you’re a personal trainer specializing in weight loss. What would happen if you told your new clients they’ll shed 30 pounds in 30 days… and at the end of the month they only weighed ten pounds less?

They’d become discouraged, stop training, and go back to eating hot pockets all day while ordering fitness products on TV and drying laundry on the nordic-trac setup in the corner of the “cat” room.

They signed up with you because they felt they would have a good shot at shedding 30 pounds. 

They spent their money with you because you took the easy way out and let them think you’d produce a miracle.

Like it or not, that’s the art of BS’ing!

When the miracle they assumed you’d perform didn’t happen, they stop doing business with you.

Now if you told those exact same clients that they can’t expect miracles and they need to be realistic about things, you might very well have a client for a long time, instead of a month or two. And they’ll appreciate doing business with you over the long-haul.

But it’s a little more difficult to sell, because it doesn’t involve you using the easy way out (response).


Benefits Are Your Friend
(the other way around sounded too Risqué)


You must find reasons to sell them other than by a magic bullet.

Amateur salespeople always try to sell the magic bullet. It’s the easiest thing to pitch and close on, and it becomes a crutch. If you want to mature as a salesperson, and close more deals that payoff over years, you’ll learn that you don’t have to promise the world just to make a sale.

Just promise the things you can deliver on, deliver on them,  and I promise you, without a shadow of a doubt, that you’ll find long-term success.

It’s about the benefits they’ll receive, not the features you offer. By linking a benefit along with every feature you talk about, you’ll instantly become a better closer.

Rather than promising someone 30lbs in 30 days, the trainer can show his clients how they’ll feel healthy, stronger, and more energetic.

That’s a start.. (those are features).

A better way is to start linking some benefits with each feature:

You’ll be healthier… so you won’t be worrying about having a heart attack in five years.

You’ll be stronger…  think of how you’ll take your shirt off at the beach and have every girl staring at you.

You’ll be more energetic… able to outrun everyone on your mens softball team.


When thirty days rolls around… and they step on the scale, and they’re twelve pounds lighter… it’s an amazing experience for them rather than a let-down like the 30lb/30day crap.

You prevented them from being discouraged because you did not set expectations you couldn’t deliver on, and anything that happened along the way was just a sweet bonus.

You sold them on what you can control and showed them how it would benefit ’em.


Are You a Clairvoyant, Mon?


Since you can’t control response on postcards, there’s no reason (besides trying to make an easy sale) you should be giving them the idea that you can see into the future.


At least give yourself a Jamaican accent for credibility purposes.

If you’re going to be in business for the long run, you’ve got to stop trying to perform miracles. Think about this: every traditional media agency out there would be crumbling into pieces if they sold advertisers on response.

Can you imagine a billboard sales guy telling every client he’ll deliver a 1% response? With 80,000 cars passing by daily you can see how fast he’d be out of business.

Outside of the digital space, virtually all advertising is sold on exposure and brand recognition. So you, regardless of the fact that you sell a much superior product, still need to play by the rules and not cut your own throat.

Now, listen closely here, I’m not saying that you have to turn everyone down when they seem only concerned with response rate and ROI… by all means take their money please! Just don’t be discouraged when they don’t advertise again right way.


“Thank You Come Again”


Don’t be the offline equivalent of the Bangladeshi SEO firm who promises page one google rankings in 30 days or less. Some 9×12’ers do essentially the same thing and wonder why no one wants to do business with them again on the next card.

So how do you control recurring rates?

Do you know how newspapers, billboards, valpak, clipper, TV, Radio, and others get clients to keep advertising over and over? They place them into contracts and agreements for a period of time.

Instead of crossing their fingers and hoping they’ll keep advertising (which you can’t control), they get them to lock in a contract term (therefore gaining control).

There’s no reason you shouldn’t do the same. Yes you’re card may be new, and it’s harder to get people to sign up for many months at a time, but once you pop off a few cards and can claim legitimacy’ you better start getting those agreements.

Pitch it as a positive, they need to understand you don’t want them wasting their money on one ad, no more than they’d put one tv commercial on. You can also tell them you don’t want the recipients to just see them once, you want the recipients to be able to catch another deal from them each month in case they missed one.

See how clever and powerful that is? I bet many of you reading this never even thought of spinning it that way, making it seem as if they recipients want to see them over and over.

Get a simple three or six month agreement together (plainly worded) and give them a discount for signing up to it. Now you can start building a real business with even better predictable income.


Throw Logic Out the Window!


Lastly, here’s another part of the post that I should chuck my two cents into:

“But I want this to work for businesses too; if it does, they will keep using it time and time again, making my job easier”.

Another example of how theory doesn’t translate to reality. Your statement sounds 100% perfect in theory. I mean it’s as bulletproof as it comes.

Why wouldn’t someone keep advertising if they keep getting response?

Any of you who’ve been around the block long enough will know that what goes through business owners minds is far beyond any reasonable logic. In fact, virtually all my highest paying and longest lasting clients don’t give one flying hoot about how much response they get.

The advertisers who re-up the least are usually the ones that get the most response. They’ll run an ad a few times, and six months later whine about a dry spell and do it again for a couple months.

These pea-brains think every time they advertise they’re losing money by people coming in and using coupons, so they only do it once in a while, and it’s impossibly difficult to tell them otherwise.

My lunches are paid for by response-driven advertisers. My car and house payments are paid by clients who appreciate reaching the local market in the most powerful way — with response just being a nice byproduct when it happens.





M3? Why not M6+ ?

WARNING! This article will self-destruct in 48 Hours. After this weekend I’m moving it to premier content but since the Facebook group gave me the inspiration to write it, I’m keeping it open for a couple days so everyone in there can read it.

The title of this post is probably confusing as hell to you unless you’re familiar with the M3 System.

If you’re not familiar with it, you’ll need to pick it up here because otherwise this whole article will sound like a bunch of gibberish.

Today in our Facebook group, discussion came up about doing M3’s, M6’s, and even M9’s.

In the past I’ve said that I don’t usually recommend turning the M3’s into more than M3’s.

First off… if you’re doing M5’s, M6’s, M9’s, or even M20’s, more power to you, my friend.

There’s nothing concretely wrong about doing them and if it works for your business model don’t let me tell you to change things.

But maybe I can give you some insight to make adaptations.

Here’s my thoughts:

M3 For Self-advertising

I originally created the M3 model so that I could gain free advertising. Get as few partners on to pay for the ad and not reduce my exposure — and I ride free in the process.

Most marketers will come to the conclusion that if they sell more space on the card, they’ll not only ride free but make some more money in the process. Seems like a good idea at the surface.

There’s a few reasons why I don’t personally like making money on M3’s. In fact it makes me feel like I’m losing money.


I feel strongly that three ads are the most you can squeeze out of a postcard and not hit significantly diminishing returns. A postcard with 50 ads on it is going to generate less response per advertiser than one with two ads on it.

In my experience, your ad on an M3 will drastically outperform the same ad on an M6 as the returns become diminished after those initial three.

So if you’re using the M3 model to get free advertising, you’re kind of cutting your own throat if you start loading it with more ads.

Yeah, you can make a little cash by selling more spaces but wouldn’t that money be better off investing into a higher mail volume? That’s why I feel like I’m losing money by trying to make a profit, because I think of that money as hundreds or even thousands more mailings that could’ve gone out with my ad on it.

When I do personal M3’s, my goal is to get as much delivery with as few neighboring ads as possible — not to put a little cash in my pocket at the expense of lower response.

Bridge Mailings

I’ve also adapted the M3 to work as a “bridge” mailing to lift 9×12 advertisers off the 9×12 and further into the funnel (you can read more on this in the 9×12 Secrets Guide).

If you’ve read the secrets guide, you’ll know that I don’t focus on putting more 9×12’s out, I focus on putting out fewer 9×12’s by using them as a “jumping point” to funnel into smaller co-op mailings and solo mailings.

In this case, M6’s can be fantastic because they reach price points that are easy to afford, they can be targeted tighter than a 9×12, and they free up space for more entry-level advertisers on your main 9×12.

For instance, think of this:

Kitchen Cabinet Remodeler buys $350 ad in your 5k 9×12 > Then buys $600 ad in your 10k triple threat and wants to keep mailing.

Maybe he wants to buy two ad spaces as well next time.

You however… don’t want this guy clogging up your 9×12, so you sell him an $800 space on an M6 going to homeowner-heavy routes only, and eventually sell him a $1,500 space on a high-income homeowner targeted M3 with a replacement window company and a driveway sealer as partners.

Notice there’s a big difference between Bridge Mailings and M3’s even though they can look the same… it’s the fact that I’m trying to profit from bridge mailings.

If you want to profit and get some free advertising… go 9×12 in my opinion or ride along the bridge mailings.


If you’re looking to make money… get a 9×12 going with briges in the funnel.

If you’re looking to get free advertising… do an M3 and don’t get greedy with more partners.


What to do if your campaign won’t reach the 5k, 10k, or whatever volume you promised?

So let’s say you’re doing a 10,000 piece 9×12 campaign and for whatever reason you can’t hit the 10k mark on the spot. I’m going to help you solve this problem in a jiffy.

  1. You had less than the ordered amount delivered (believe it or not this can be common).
  2. You’re mailing routes are under 10,000 deliveries total.
  3. You’re mailing routes are over 10,000 deliveries total.
  4. You have just enough pieces to mail but you don’t have enough left over to hand out to business owners who advertisesd or for your own samples.

Problem #1. The print run was under the ordered amount.

It certainly sucks to order five or ten thousand postcards and be shorted hundreds of them. Unfortunately this is somewhat common in the print industry and you’ll find that nearly every printer you deal with will have clause in their terms of service that leaves you high and dry if it happens. This is called an over/under tolerance, and the industry standard is 5%, so up to 5% overage or underage is acceptable.

Why? Because the offset presses run so extremely fast that it’s just too hard to nail it dead-on and it’s much easier to just let it run to where they’re pretty sure it hits the ordered amount and not have to manually double check everything to be exactly 10,000 or however many you ordered.

In my experience, overages are much more common than underages but it’s not uncommon to be short.

Think about this… if you ordered 1000 business cards are you really going to count them all to make sure they’re there? What about 5000 take-out menus for your clients restaurant? Are you and they going to count out 5000 to be sure it’s actually 5k? Hell no, so the printers are not really going to waste a tremendous amount of time figuring out if there’s 1000 business cards in the box and not 967 or 1054.

EDDM postcards are such a minor slice of the printing pie, we’re more or less at the mercy of hoping that we’ll get the amount we ordered, since no one else really gives a crap about exactly how many are received unless you’re ordering something really small like 50 greeting cards (in which case you can almost always bank on overruns).

So… what to do?

The solution if you’re short on prints is to simply short the entire mailing but pay the whole postage. If you’re short 200 pieces and your mailing is 9,945 you’ll have to short at least 145 pieces. If this is going to 14 carrier routes just short each route a dozen or so and be done with it. DO NOT cut out an entire route, spread the shortage out over the whole territory.

The post office (in the USA at least), isn’t going to let you short routes postage-wise, but if there’s not enough pieces to deliver they’ll just deliver what they can. They just want their postage paid. Just make your bundles say the amount it’s supposed to have but take out a little less. Although your bundles might say 50pcs, maybe you’ll just put 48 in there.

Now I’d suggest to be absolutely covered, you use the wording “approximately” 10,000 or whatever quantity you plan on mailing, in your contract/agreement terms. Even in email exchanges you might want to use that wording. I’ve learned to never say “sending 10,000” or sending “5,000”, instead I choose to say “sending out roughly 10,000” or something similar.

If you’re doing triple threat (making it rain) you can actually bring down your mailing quantity substantially if you choose, instead by supplementing it with other distribution but still under the blanket of the amount you told your clients you’d deliver.

Problems #2 & #3. Mailing routes are under or over the amount desired.

You simply should not be promising any specific quantity. Same as promising a deadline, there’s no reason to promise some specific date or quantity. If you do, eventually some prick will call you out on it and make a big issue out of it. Use words like ‘roughly’ and ‘approximately’ to cover your butt.

If you want to get real fancy, hire a lawyer to write some clause in your contract that says there can be a certain amount of under/overage delivered that’s acceptable, just like the printers do.

Fact is, your routes are not going to total to exactly 5,000 or 10,000 or whatever your campaign is approximately (see that?) to be. Pick them as close as you can but don’t worry if they’re short or over by a little bit. All you need to make sure is that you pay the postage.

Problem #3. You’ve got just enough to cover the route but not enough to hand out to people and use as samples to fill the next card.

You MUST have samples to use for yourself. Period. While hopefully you’ll get some nice overruns and have a hundred or more leftover to use yourself,  you won’t always have that luxury. Whatever you do, make sure you’ve got a sufficient amount of samples or you’ll highly regret it. If it means twently or thirty people out of thousands aren’t going to get your postcard in the mail, so be it. Short the routes slightly and don’t feel bad about it, because that’s why you used the ‘roughly’ or ‘approximately’ wordage in your communications.

Final thoughts:

If you’re doing the triple threat strategy you’ll never have a problem with being short because you can always supplement them with flyer versions. One of my clients was a guy who didn’t believe I had been sending these mailings because he never got one in the mail himself.

I had just sent out the last campaign and after looking at the routes, realized his home address was not on there. He said he really likes the idea but he’d have to convince his wife. So… I added a route at my expense (it was only 300 something people, so I paid maybe $50) and used the flyer versions, which the post office accepted no problem.

He called me the day his wife got it in the mail and said she can’t wait. I think he’s been advertising with me for almost 2 years now.

So keep your language slightly vague and turn every negative situation into a positive. I rarely find that you can’t do that everytime.




Protected: How to choose between EDDM or Targeted Mail

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*Must Read* Sublet Technique

One of my long term advertisers is pulling in a ton of business for me lately. Last month he calls and asks me if I mind him buying a larger space on the 9×12 and then share that space with other businesses. He basically has the idea of getting his business buddies to share the cost with him but it’s really paying for his ad (like an M3 within a 9×12). Brilliant guy, right?

This is our second mailing going out and he’s got two partners paying for his 3 spot purchase, giving him the free spot so he’s LOVING it and I’m loving it. I discounted it to $1100 but it’s totally worth it since he’s committed for the long haul and he’s doing the selling for me. This is a 10k/5k/10k triple threat that I’m doing by the way.

On top of this awesomeness, we’re doing two M3’s in february/march that he’s sharing the back side of his ad with two restaurants he roped in to pay for his whole spot, so he’s on total fire right now getting massive exposure for free and I’m reaping the benefits just as much if not more.

I really want to encourage you guys to consider pitching this strategy to your clients. Something to the effect of…

“Hey Jim, you know what some of my clients do? They lock down a bigger space at a discount and then they sell 2/3 of it to business owners they know, which covers the cost of their space so they get it totally free! Make sense?”

The fact is, most business owners know other business owners. If one of them is hyped up about doing something they will have no problem pitching it to their buddies, which is a much easier sell on their end of course because they have the perfect credibility. I think this is an absolutely fantastic alternative to trying to ply them with a ‘referral commission’ which never really works.

Sample situation

I know that all of you have different price points so you’ll have to figure out what works in your pitch but lets take this situation for example:

5,000 piece 9×12 selling at $250 per space.

You tell them you’re willing to reserve a 3 spot section of the card for a discount at $500 (buy 2 get 1 free more or less) so all they have to do is tell two of their buddies to advertise at $250 a pop and they get their own Ad out totally free.

You can do so much with this strategy because of it’s flexibility. You can approach clients with this strategy as a pitch in itself (getting free advertising) or you can offer it as an incentive after they just bought a space. You don’t have to force them to pay for the large spot either, you can simply sell them the individual spot and reserve the larger area for three or four days until you start filling it.

Keep it simple

Don’t overcomplicate this. If you start pitching this in too complex of a manner, you’ll make the client feel like he’s being roped into some kind of pyramid scam or something. Just be excited about it and pitch it to them as a smart strategy that allows them to get free advertising and helps their business friends out in the meantime.

Client M3 within a 9×12, who would have figured? That’s what I love about this whole system, it’s flexibility just keeps amazing me.