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.

What!?

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.

Conclusion

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.

 

 

 

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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.

The Fastest and Easiest Way to Get in the Game

There’s no denying that the concept developed by ‘Supergyro’ Steve has worked wonders for many of our members. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s basically about sending out mailings of 2,500 or 5,000 instead of my originally recommended 10,000.

What I really like about this whole “Micro Mailing” idea is the ease in which a newbie can make some serious cash and start developing profitable relationships with local business owners. Most of you that have gotten cards out will tell you that the 9×12 system isn’t just about the 9×12 card, it’s about getting your foot in the door with something valuable and unique that doesn’t require educating them on internet stuff.

Warning: Some stuff in here may seem to go against my original guide

If you read through this, you may ask yourself why I’m suddenly suggesting these things. I’m writing this article to help expand your thoughts on the flexibility of the 9×12 system, and most importantly to allow someone who feels daunted by the task of a 10k 9×12 campaign a less-risk approach.

If you want to fully maximize your profit and really dominate your local market, I believe that a ten thousand piece run (with triple threat preferably) is the only way to go. But I also believe that lesser quantity mailings can work for certain businesses better than 10k onesand the cost is reduced so much that the prospects can be sold on it easier, so it’s perfect for someone who might not have the confidence or determination to grab $500 deals each time.

Lower risk makes it easier

The problem that both business owners and marketers face when dealing with the 9×12 system is that there’s somewhat of a frightening level of risk involved. This is what stops marketers from going out and taking action on filling a 9×12 card. It’s also what stops a business owner from writing out a check for an ad space.

Even the ‘fear’ that marketers have of prospecting for business can be thought of as risk. They’re afraid of being rejected. If there wasn’t any risk of rejection, everyone would be taking action.

If you’re just starting out with this system, you might be worried that you can’t fill up a dozen or more spaces from scratch, let alone 16 to 21 at the max. Factor in that you should be getting $500 per spot on a 10,000 piece run and you definitely do have somewhat of a scary task ahead of you.

For the business owner, it might feel too risky to spend $500 on something they’ve never heard of before. Something they don’t know will work, too risky to do business with someone on the spot who they don’t know.

The lower the risk is, the easier the sale is.

Concepts like Supergyro’s micro mailing strategy lowers the risk, which makes it easier to get sales. At the local mom ‘n pop level, pretty much everything is translated into dollars and cents. No matter what kind of value you’re offering them, they will specifically be concerned with the cost to do it and will likely judge everything on that.

Remember, we’re dealing with marketing dummies

I wouldn’t be surprised that if you were to offer a fifty-thousand piece solo mailing to most local business owners for only $2,500 and find that the large majority of them would turn you down. Remember, these guys hardly ever have any marketing sense. The easiest thing for them to do is just filter everything down by price and judge whether it’s affordable or not, not whether it’s worth it or not.

The smarter ones ‘get it’ and you won’t have problems getting $500 per space with them because they understand the value, but that means weeding out all the ones that don’t get it can be a pain in the butt.

If you want to lower the risk to getting a card filled up and increase your chances of appealing to all the dummies out there, then you have to bring the cost down. A lower pricepoint is going to attract a lot more business owners because again, they filter everything down to dollars and cents and how much they can risk ‘chancing’.

The most risk-free approach to launching a 9×12

Anyone can do this. Seriously, using this method I don’t believe there’s any reason that you can’t fill up a card and make a couple thousand bucks at least.

Now understand this… I’m going to give you this method that is simply designed to GET A CARD OUT. You yourself can charge whatever you want for ad spaces or do things however you want, so I don’t want you to think that this method I’m about to get into is set in stone. I’m just trying to lower the barrier of entry for those who need to get their first card(s) out.

  • First: you’re going to need to sell the spaces at a pricepoint that will be easily affordable by nearly all local businesses. You could price your spots for even $99 bucks and still put a grand in your pocket.
  • Second: you need to start with a small mailing in order to help make this pricepoint possible. 2,500 is the absolute minimum that I’d recommend. I would not do a 1,000 piece mailing as it’s just not enough to get results for everyone. 2,500 will cover 5-7 whole carrier routes, which is quite a bit.
  • Third: you need to find the lowest cost printing possible. This will directly affect your profit and I’m going to show you how to get printing pricing that’s so low it’s insane.

Pricepoint

Figuring out your price point is something you’ll need to come up with on your own. The reason I don’t want to give you a firm number is because I want you to be comfortable with it yourself. You have to believe in the price you charge yourself, and I want you to charge a number that works for you.

Like I mentioned, you could even sell these spaces for $99 and make a thousand in profit. For a 2,500 piece mailer I would try to get $200 to $250 every time (which will make you almost $3,000 in profit). Always look at the cost per mailer for reference. Even five cents per mailer is a steal but there’s no reason you can’t get 10-15 cents each.

I would HIGHLY suggest using my split/strike method in conjunction with this if you really want to maximize your speed at getting a card out. Seriously, it works like magic. Use two zones for this system instead of four if your using split/strike.

Printing

Don’t we all want cheap printing? Of course we do, it means more profit.

Bob Ross Golden Nugget


Here’s golden nugget #1.

Recently, the cost of printing 9×12’s have gone down tremendously as 4over.com introduced their EDDM postcard sizes. Previously, they didn’t offer a 9×12 size although now they do.

I believe the cost of 10,000 9×12’s is $815 plus aroun $150 for ground shipping. 4over.com is a trade printer, which means there’s no hand holding and you’ll be expected to give them the correct formats, bleeds, crop marks, colorspace, resolution, etc.

You may still consider using me for printing if you are worried that you could end up with a screwed up print job or if you want shrink wrapping because 4over does not do shrink wrapping.

4over may ship internationally, I’m not sure at this point but you can email and ask them. I do know they have canadian facilities though!

 

Now for doing a 2,500 mailing with the sole purpose of getting out as fast and easy as possible, you can drive the cost of printing to the absolute limits of cheapness by using 100lb cover stock, which is about 30% thinner than 14pt stock. You’ll have it aqueous coated instead of UV coated, which is still pretty glossy.

If you feel out of your comfort zone on this because it’s going against what I preach (using 14pt uv coated stock), remember that I’m simply outlaying a method that will help get those of you who haven’t done it yet, some cards out! That’s the most important thing really. If you’re not getting  9×12 out because you’re scared of charging X amount or scared of the big cost to print 10k pieces, then this whole method brings all of that down to peanuts so you can finally join us and start sending a shockwave through your business community.

Here’s the cost from 4over.com currently to print 2,500 9×12 postcards on 100lb aqueous stock:

$181

That’s it! UPS Ground shipping will cost you about $45 or so. Add postage and your at only $588 total in printing & mailing. Of course you’ll have design costs if your paying a designer but since we’re talking about keeping everything as low as possible, lets assume your using a fiverr gig for design, that only adds $80.

So, your breakeven cost at 16 ads on a card is a laughable $41. That’s all you need to cover the cost and anything above that is pure profit.

 

Your breakeven cost is only $41 per ad space, everything else is profit

Pretty nifty huh? Grandma can go out and sell a 9×12 out at those prices.

 

The “Springboard”

Starting off with a 2,500 piece mailer could actually be a smart strategy for another reason. You can use it as a ‘springboard’ on a future mailing to charge a ton more for spaces.

 

Bob Ross Golden Nugget


Here’s golden nugget #2.

Business owners will spend money on things that they see their competitors doing. It automatically validates the medium. If “Big Bob’s Roofing” is advertising all over on billboards, then other roofers are probably going to think that advertising on billboards is a good idea.

If you’ve read Dan Kennedy’s books you know this already. It’s something that really destroys a lot of businesses because it’s such an incestuous problem. They just keep following what they see others are doing and assume it will work for them.

Our niche, the local mom ‘n pop stores, can be smashed to pieces if they try to use the same methods as large corporations, and it’s not surprising that you see a local business advertise on a couple billboards or put out a bunch of tv commercials and then they’re out of business within a few months.

By using the 2,500 mailer as a springboard, you’re going to artificially create an incestuous advertising situation that will actually benefit them instead.This strategy is really cool. Here’s what you do:

  1. Complete a 2,400 micro mailer
  2. Pitch businesses showing the finished mailer piece as proof their peers are doing it
  3. Tell them it’s a 5k or 10k mailing (up to you)
  4. Price them at $250 or $500+ (depends on your mailing size)

This is how you use a 2,500 mailing as a springboard! Your next round of pitches are going to have a tremendous amount of ammunition because the business owners will have NO CLUE that you did 2,50o at $150 per space or whatever for that card. You can assign any mailing size or any price point you want because they are utterly clueless to it.

When you can show them a finished card (or better yet they actually got it in the mail too) and they see that all these local businesses are doing it, they aren’t going to question the price nearly as much because obviously everyone else is doing it. Those of you who have completed cards will attest to this fact. It’s a zillion times easier to sell your second card than your first because of this fact.

Money in the bank ASAP

So, by using a micro mailer with a laughably low cost to produce, you can sneakily use it to morph into 10k mailing at almost any ad price you wish to charge.

So there you have it, that’s how to pump out a 9×12 card for mega-cheap and cheetah-fast, get your foot into the local business community, and sneakily springboard it to manipulate the minds of business owners for a 10k run!

 

 

 

 

BONUS GOLDEN NUGGET.

Bob Ross Golden Nugget

Okay I couldn’t resist tossing out another golden nugget for you. We all know how much every marketer loves finding these.

Want to ramp up your 9×12 to new heights of lucrative MASSIVENESS. Utilize the most visually powerful postcard to ever arrive in the mailboxes of America: the holy grail of limitations…

THE 12 x 15

It doesn’t get any bigger than this folks. 12×15 is the maximum ‘flat’ dimension allowed to be sent by the USPS via EDDM. This will arrive unfolded if possible, otherwise it will be used like a taco to hold the recipients other mail.

Some of you may be familiar with it being used by the monster mailer so if you want to get a good idea of the massiveness of this thing, head on to their link.

If you want to incorporate a 12×15 into your mailings, 4over.com offers them in 100lb aqueous stock only, under ‘flyers’. Here are their prices currently:

2,500: $409 + $140 ups ground

5,000:  $637 + $243 ups ground

10,000: $1,138 + $406 ups ground

 

A word of advice

Try to not explode the pea brains of these business owners when you use these methods.