Advice on my offline ad idea

31 replies
Hey everyone!

I've just gotten into offline marketing (been a cold caller to homeowners and direct salesman/small biz owner for 7 years), and it's been so fun the past few days!

I've cold called about 300 businesses so far and have set up 4 super interested business owners for appointments and have 8 that want me to call when they aren't as busy. I can't believe how much nicer business owners are than homeowners when you call them. I've only prospected businesses by direct mail before, not cold calling.

Anyways, I have an idea that I think may really work well but I'm not sure what to price ads exactly or how big of ads should I make, etc... so maybe some of you can give some advice?

The plan:

I want to make a series of 4 or 8 page newsletters full of non-competing ads and direct mail them to highly targeted people (maybe 5,000 each mailing).

I was thinking to make a "home essentials" with ads for a locksmith, plumber, electrician, driveway sealer, painter, sider, roofer, etc... and I came up with 40 different businesses that could go in. The mailing and materials should cost me about $5000 and I'd like to make $5,000 so do you think that $250 each ad for 5000 highly targeted people will be an easy sell?

On the same note, I think I'm going to make a few of these newsletter style advertisements, such as: "places to take your kids locally", "pet lovers resources", and maybe a professional services one with lawyers, accountants, dentists, plastic surgeons etc...

I'm soooo excited to get out and start selling ad space on these, but I want some advice on how many ads I should stuff per page, what might be too high of pricing, or whatever suggestions anyone can give.
#advice #idea #offline
  • Profile picture of the author AussieT
    I like the ideas, keep us up-to-date on your progress please. The price sounds reasonable to me. Many small local papers would not have that many readers and they pay more than that for an ad in them.

    Your USP is the fact that they will only go to highly targeted prospects.

    Will you only have one of each trade adverting or several for each category?
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    • Profile picture of the author bob ross
      I certainly will keep this updated.

      I plan on pitching the fact that there won't be any direct competition as well as the super targeted mailing.

      For companies that do multiple things, I'll tell them that they can only advertise for one service OR buy the ad space for the others.

      Ideas for these small ad catalogs so far:

      home essential services:
      locksmith, roofer, security & alarm, fire safety supplies, roofer, sider, plumber, electrician, hvac, mason, pool cleaning, pool installation, carpet cleaning, tiler, hardwood flooring, exterior painter, interior painter, appliance repairman, snow removal, foundation repair, handyman, pest control, moving company, tree cutting, stump removal, fencing, landscaping/lawnmowing, insulation, lawyer, auto mechanic, daycare, tattoo, pizza, chinese, builder (additions).

      professional services:
      injury lawyer, defense attorney, dwi attorney, traffic attorney, estate attorney, divorce lawyer, accountant, tax preparer, various dentist and doctor specialists, insurance agent, credit repair, bank/credit union, psychologist, reiki, lasix, optometrist

      personal care & beauty:
      nail salon, hair coloring, hair stylist, wig shop, beauty supply store, mens clothier, barbershop, botox, plastic surgeon, lasix, skin rejuvenation, massage, spa, mani/pedi, gym/fitness, shoe repair

      restaurants by food style: (here I might do 3 business per category)
      italian, eastern european, chinese, japanese, vietnamese, american, diner, greek, lebanese, sushi bar, ice cream

      pet lovers only:
      aquarium store, bird store, kennel, dog training, invisible dog fence, specialty food company, pet store, groomer, aquarium cleaning svce, veterinarian, dog walker

      senior services: (might do 2 or 3 businesses/catgeory) hearing aids, house cleaners, weight loss, avon/mary kay, snowplowing, mowing, handyman, plumber, electrician, driveway sealer, carpet cleaning, gutter cleaning, window washing, senior activity groups, coffee shops, financial advisor -all should be heavily advertising senior/veteran discounts-
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  • Profile picture of the author AussieT
    Where would you get your list of targeted readers?
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    • Profile picture of the author bob ross
      most mailing list services let you filter by things like:

      homeowner/renter
      has children
      income
      has pets
      has bought mail order before
      has requested information before
      married/single
      age


      leadsplease.com seems to have a pretty good selection for .06 each name.


      also, I'd like to make like a laminated card with emergency numbers like: immediate furnace repar, plumber, bail bondsman, lawyer, appliance repair, locksmith. But I'm not exactly sure how to market it and sell off each one?
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      • Profile picture of the author seabro
        Originally Posted by bob ross View Post

        most mailing list services let you filter by things like:

        homeowner/renter
        has children
        income
        has pets
        has bought mail order before
        has requested information before
        married/single
        age


        leadsplease.com seems to have a pretty good selection for .06 each name.


        also, I'd like to make like a laminated card with emergency numbers like: immediate furnace repar, plumber, bail bondsman, lawyer, appliance repair, locksmith. But I'm not exactly sure how to market it and sell off each one?


        I don't really see how you can get a 'highly targetted' list for 40 different businesses. If you are saying you will mail 'homeowners' I don't consider it highly targetted.

        If I were an electrician and you said you would mail 5000 landlords with rental properties who's electrical safety test certificate was due to expire in the next 30 days... I would be very interested but I wouldn't be so sure about the other 39 businesses on the newsletter.

        on the other hand.. good luck whatever you decide to do, don't give up and remember to take action :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Vincenzo Oliva
    I think someones already doing this, amongst others, every month I get this thick blue envelope call "ValPac." And what I do is go through them and ask them how'd you like to take the money you're investing in garbage can liners and quadruple your results with some high impact mobile marketing?
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    • Profile picture of the author QuickSurf
      Originally Posted by Vincenzo Oliva View Post

      I think someones already doing this, amongst others, every month I get this thick blue envelope call "ValPac." And what I do is go through them and ask them how'd you like to take the money you're investing in garbage can liners and quadruple your results with some high impact mobile marketing?
      Yeh I get it too... I don't think this would work in my area or most, it would be very hard to compete against companies like that that already have the the people locked in for advertising. Mine comes with ad's for dentist, lawyers etc as well.

      I guess it depends on your area, not sure how it is up in NY but in FL here I don't see it working... unless you could go through and maybe fig out what niches aren't being used and could generate a response.
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    • Profile picture of the author cjr126
      Originally Posted by Vincenzo Oliva View Post

      I think someones already doing this, amongst others, every month I get this thick blue envelope call "ValPac." And what I do is go through them and ask them how'd you like to take the money you're investing in garbage can liners and quadruple your results with some high impact mobile marketing?
      i thought that very same thing .. i get that valpac every month and just throw it away

      i think the mobile marketing makes much more sense and definitely more cost efficient
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    • Profile picture of the author HeyAdMan
      Originally Posted by Vincenzo Oliva View Post

      I think someones already doing this, amongst others, every month I get this thick blue envelope call "ValPac." And what I do is go through them and ask them how'd you like to take the money you're investing in garbage can liners and quadruple your results with some high impact mobile marketing?
      I've been in advertising for years and am amazed at how some people feel that internet and mobile marketing is the ONLY way to go. I also love that mentality because it easily opens the doors for someone like myself who has sold everything from promotional products, coupons on grocery store cash register tapes, ads on video cases (back when there was vhs tapes), radio, televison commercials, yellow page ads, direct mail coupon magazines, internet marketing, text marketing, video marketing, etc.

      Since I have many years in each of the above listed advertising media ... I would never limit the opportunity to help someone by telling them mobile is the only way to go and that print is trash can liners. That tells me that there are some very naive and young marketers who don't really have a clue how to help biz owners. That's ok because we were all newbies at one time (including me).

      I remember thinking when I started in promotional product marketing I thought that was all that a biz owner needs. How ignorant I was at that time. As I graduated into other media markets and learned all the many ways to incorporate ideas and concepts from one media into another I started maximizing the results for my clients, increasing my profits in the process and my happy clients were referring their friends who were biz owners which cut down my prospecting time and expenses and increased my profits yet again.

      It wouldn't hurt you and might even be smart of you to not be so closed minded to the various opportunities you have available to you instead of being zealously ignorant as I was when I was a newbie in various media marketing.

      Be smart enough to know that every media has its positive as well as its negative aspects and then learn how to work by focusing on producing the results your clients are needing and looking for instead of focusing only on what it is that you have to sell. (I hope you get the value I just gave you).

      Learn from someone who has not only been in the trenches for years but has grown and incorporated new ideas and services so as to be in a better place to truly help clients who were sold short by youngsters who had a good product but were so naive as to believe it was all the world needed. I can say that because I was that naive youngster too at one time.
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  • Profile picture of the author bob ross
    I've heard of valpak but haven't seen one because it's not available in my area (which is cool).

    I think with valpak they don't care if you're listed along with ten other competitors though, whereas my short catalog of ads will only be one business per category and they'll all fall under a certain "theme" directed at a highly targeted audience.

    Around here, people LOVE to support local businesses so that's why I think presenting this as a community thing will be easily read/retained. I'll be sure to post the mock cover page I'm going to design this weekend.

    I've been thinking maybe running 10k mailings every 2 months for a year commitment ($2,000 for 1/8th page) or $375 for each individual mailing.

    No competing businesses and a highly targeted mailing should be easily worth .04 each lead to them (I hope).

    Should net me something like 8k per mailing, and if I can run 3 or 4 of these "themes" per month to different targeted consumers every 2 months it should be pretty sick money. Shouldn't be too difficult to implement this in nearby cities for me too I hope.
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  • Profile picture of the author bob ross
    Today I was thinking about one sent to men 45-65 with incomes $60k+ (which is well above average in my area)


    Sell adspace to one of each:
    fine mens clothing shop
    mens shoe shop
    golf course deals
    plastic surgeon
    hair loss treatment
    spa/massage
    golf shop
    fishing/tackle shop
    large sports bar
    cpa/accountant
    teeth whitening/dentist
    financial advisor
    liquor store
    Jewelry store

    Am I right in thinking that pitching these above businesses with the information that it's going to be pretty valuable to them to pay $300-$400 for 1/8th page ads?

    Our local newspaper charges $300+ for a one week run for a similar size ad (50k circulation).
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  • Profile picture of the author High Horsepower
    That's a hard way to make money. There are much easier methods.

    What's your objective?
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    • Profile picture of the author bob ross
      Originally Posted by High Horsepower View Post

      That's a hard way to make money. There are much easier methods.

      What's your objective?
      Really? I dunno, seems super easy to me. Or maybe I'm misleading myself. If I can sell all these ad spaces (while also trying to sell website, mobile marketing, seo, ppc) and just simply put them together in an ad and have them mailed out, it seems extremely easy.

      The hard work should just be going around town pitching businesses on any of these services. psprint.com has a lowest price guarantee and will do all the mailing.

      Ideally, it would be nice to have reps out there selling adspace and services in other cities for me so I can just keep using the same templates over and over. If I can get 5 different mailings going for each city 6 times per year, that should be around 270k profit per city on just the mailings alone.
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      • Profile picture of the author tdpubs
        This idea is done in many small towns across the nation. Many don't even mail them. You can make a deal with local businesses in your area to have them centrally located. An 11x17 sheet yields four 8.5x11 pages which can be broken down into quarters or eights. Factor your costs plus your overhead and time to get your overall value for the project add your markup and divide your ad space in inches. Hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mary Wilhite
    This is a great thinking.hard work will surely pay off.so don't worry keep it going.
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  • Profile picture of the author RentItNow
    I would consider taking a hundred bucks and REALLY testing some adwords ads in each of those markets and see the responses you get first. I think adwords even gives you $75 in credits right now...dont know their current special. This is hard evidence for a business owner what the market is looking for RIGHT NOW! Show them a print out of the adwords reports and then do the blast. I bet you get twice as much income and response by letting the business owner "in on this secret info" that only cost you $100!
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    I have no agenda but to help those in the same situation. This I feel will pay the bills.
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  • Profile picture of the author O0o0O
    Great ideas. Keep in mind you can also target offline business leads as well. The link in my signature lets you choose which state you like and offers you all the leads in that state. Hope this resource helps you.
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  • Profile picture of the author barache
    You probably would want to compare what Valpakand similar ad services is currently charging in your area. They can give a merchant 5000 to 10,000 coupons mailed for $300 to $400 a time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Doran Peck
    I am currently building a similar product.

    Here is some advice.

    #1 it doesn't have to be targeted. Forget that aspect alltogether. If it is multiple pages simply (wafer tab) seal it shut and mail it as a saturation "flat" to all households ..thats 15.1 cents ( might be a little higher in your area) and you don't have to address them. ( use simplified addressing)

    #2 Encourage your advertsiers to put exceptional deals in your publication...( or even demand it from them)...then market it that way....make sure your public knows that only the best deals get to ride. People will anticipate its arrival if they know it is a highly quality and beneficial product.

    Also...I wouldnt mind an opportunity to bid on your printing
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Clough
    Bob, honestly I really think you're throwing you money away with direct mail. The same applies to email (but more cost effective)

    I would call these people directly, and better than that......drop in on them and take some of them to lunch.

    But, if your hell bent on snail mail, try it out and gamble $1,000 bucks to see if it works at all. **Stick with the Cold Calling......sounds like you're good at it.

    Also, one of the posters above mentioned Mobile Marketing.....that's the way to go. Gonna' be very hot.....some people say it already is.
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    • Profile picture of the author bob ross
      Originally Posted by O0o0O View Post

      Great ideas. Keep in mind you can also target offline business leads as well. The link in my signature lets you choose which state you like and offers you all the leads in that state. Hope this resource helps you.
      Thanks! I'm going to check out your link right after this.

      Originally Posted by seabro View Post

      I don't really see how you can get a 'highly targetted' list for 40 different businesses. If you are saying you will mail 'homeowners' I don't consider it highly targeted.

      If I were an electrician and you said you would mail 5000 landlords with rental properties who's electrical safety test certificate was due to expire in the next 30 days... I would be very interested but I wouldn't be so sure about the other 39 businesses on the newsletter.

      on the other hand.. good luck whatever you decide to do, don't give up and remember to take action :-)
      Well, it's targeted at least. The first one I'm going to do is targeted to homeowners 45-75 years old making 75k+ (10,000 people). Where I live the average income is something like 20k only, so this market should appeal to a lot of certain businesses (that I hope don't mind paying for ads).

      Originally Posted by barache View Post

      You probably would want to compare what Valpakand similar ad services is currently charging in your area. They can give a merchant 5000 to 10,000 coupons mailed for $300 to $400 a time.
      I've looked best I can (Valpak doesn't have a franchise here so no one is familiar with it), and I've seen roughly the same pricing you mention. I'm not sure what I should be charging for ads but if you scroll to the bottom of this response you'll see where I'm at.

      Originally Posted by Doran Peck View Post


      I am currently building a similar product.

      Here is some advice.

      #1 it doesn't have to be targeted. Forget that aspect alltogether. If it is multiple pages simply (wafer tab) seal it shut and mail it as a saturation "flat" to all households ..thats 15.1 cents ( might be a little higher in your area) and you don't have to address them. ( use simplified addressing)

      #2 Encourage your advertsiers to put exceptional deals in your publication...( or even demand it from them)...then market it that way....make sure your public knows that only the best deals get to ride. People will anticipate its arrival if they know it is a highly quality and beneficial product.

      Also...I wouldnt mind an opportunity to bid on your printing
      I wouldn't mind saturation at all (especially at that low of postage) but I think I'd need to modify the "theme" so that it's directed to all incomes. I'd absolutely love to do a repeating 30,000 mailing or something like that, that would have ads for everyone. Thanks a ton for that idea.

      I totally appreciate your offer to print and you're welcome to PM me but I'd be pretty amazed if you're able to beat my source, which I've found to be the lowest.

      Originally Posted by Rowdy Yates View Post

      Bob, honestly I really think you're throwing you money away with direct mail. The same applies to email (but more cost effective)

      I would call these people directly, and better than that......drop in on them and take some of them to lunch.

      But, if your hell bent on snail mail, try it out and gamble $1,000 bucks to see if it works at all. **Stick with the Cold Calling......sounds like you're good at it.


      Also, one of the posters above mentioned Mobile Marketing.....that's the way to go. Gonna' be very hot.....some people say it already is.
      Thanks but maybe I wasn't clear, I'm building something like a newsletter that is full of advertisements, like a shared direct mail. I'm not direct mailing the businesses I'm selling ad space to. I can see where it could be confusing. If I offered to take 10,000 people to lunch that would be impressive!

      Yes I want to understand more about mobile marketing for sure.

      --------------
      UPDATE:

      I'm almost ready to start selling ads! I've got the basic layout made and just need to print a mockup to take with me for a display.

      Because I've never done anything like this before, I decided that I should best target a market that businesses who tend to advertise more will appeal to.

      The list will be 45-75 year old homeowners making 75k+ and it comes out to roughly 10,000 people in my city.

      I have room for 8 ads per page at the smallest, along with full page, 1/2, 1/4 and 1/3 spaces. Based on the smallest size (1/8th page), that would be 8 full pages and 64 spots of space.

      I'm putting 6 pages of content in (tips from local professionals) to increase the readership and retention.

      I'd like to run this 'newsletter' bi-monthly if I can. Right now I think $390 per 1/8th page advertisement should be a good price to sell it at. There will be no competing businesses except for restaurants. It comes out only .04 per home to them, so I really don't think they'd find a better value that hits their target market and in a format like this.

      Here is a mockup of my cover I still have to improve it but you'll get the general idea. i52.tinypic.com/30hyfqc.jpg

      Soooo, am I on the right track with this? Do you guys think it will be terribly difficult for me to sell 60+ ad spots for $390 in a month or so worth of time?

      If I can get this going bi-monthly and repeat the same method with other themes and enter nearby cities as well, it should be pretty profitable for me (or anyone else who tries it). I hope I'm not screwing myself somehow here!
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  • Profile picture of the author Doran Peck
    I think your definately on the right track.

    I will re-assert however, that your better off not making it targeted. The thing I've found in medium sized communities (20K) that when you start filtering out income ranges over 50K you drop thousands of potential prospects. What if 8000 households make 52K? Secondly, You have to look at what your clients are selling...if they are selling shoes...you can target anybody...75K household income is overkill....plus you have to pay for a new mailing list every time you use it at 3 or 4 ( up to 8 cents per address)...Saturation you pay nothing.

    That goes for almost anything/any company advertising with you...Just because people make more money does not mean a better chance of purchase. With saturation you will hit every possible prospect...including your high income folks.

    If you figure the math....its going to cost you about as much to hit only high income people ( list cost + triple postage +address fee) as hitting every residence/business via saturation

    ...and...yes I can beat PrintPlace
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  • Profile picture of the author CaliChristian
    sounds interesting! keep us posted Bob, Marketing is all about testing and you'll never know unless you test it and measure it!
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  • Profile picture of the author Greg Stack
    Bob,
    I like the idea, and this gives you an additional service that other SEO competitors do not offer.

    Here are some thoughts:
    You might want to check out bwpress.com. Take a look at their "10 page mini-slim catalog" product.

    You may not wish to do this, but some years ago, I published a local magazine, and to kick-off the first issue, we offered a "Get One Free, Buy One" promotion, and here's why:
    When we first approached a lot of businesses, they were highly interested, but were not too keen on being in the first issue. Our circulation was higher, and our ad space was much higher, so take that into account. But with the promotion, we removed the risk, and with our first issue, we had amazing credibility moving forward because we could show a sample with a large number of advertisers. New advertisers saw big names advertising with us and from then onward, it sold itself. Did we take any hits? Sure, some of the advertisers just took the free ad and that was it, but most didn't.

    Our publication was a different animal, and you may not have to consider a promo like this at all. Just letting you know what worked for us.

    And from one outside sales guy to another: I HATED to let that business go. We were a "river events/boating" magazine, so many days we made sales calls in shorts and in our boat. Those were some fun days, but my partner had to bow out due to parental illness, so I moved on...

    Another quick note:
    You might want to subscribe to MultiChannel Merchant and others. It's free through Mercury Magazines.

    Disclaimer: I don't have any association with any of the aforementioned businesses.

    Good luck!!
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  • Profile picture of the author Mel White
    Have you seen the "Coffee News" newsletters around town? Welcome To Coffee News, USA ! I see them all the time, and this seems a pretty inexpensive format to get a lot of ads in front of a lot of folks. I'm not saying to go with them, just suggesting that you might take a look at what they're doing and see if something similar will work for you. I can see a similar product being designed for each target audience (like a newsletter with a puzzle and a game (word search) for dentists offices and doctors offices.)

    I'm not sure how it would compare cost-wise with your idea. It was just something that your message reminded me of.
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  • Profile picture of the author deepali goyal
    Great Idea in fact, Keep us posted Bob. work hard, it will pay more back to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author WillamK
    These are very good advice, These help me to increse my offline work. thank for sharing your view.
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  • Profile picture of the author bob ross
    I came extremely close to actually trying to sell 60 ads in 30 days lol. That would not have gone well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    How much revenue are they going to make off of your ad?

    Get them to answer this question for you, and you should have no trouble selling.
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