Yesterday, I explained how I discovered a no-cost direct mail advertising system. Today, we’re going to cover how to implement that system in your own real estate business.

Step 1: Get all your ducks in a row before you start selling your direct mail service to other companies. You want to be able to explain the concept and answer any questions they have. First, you should create an “every door direct mail” (EDDM) account with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). Once there, you can search for mail carrier routes and even save them. You can view maps by their average household income, age, number of residents and so on. I tend to mail to routes where people with higher incomes live. You can also eliminate routes that other businesses use for direct mail, if you choose. (However, I like to leave these because they might call to join the next mailing.)

This site will give you all the information you will need to answer common questions from participants, including “What neighborhoods are you mailing to?” The site will also give you the dollar amount for postage so you can calculate that into your cost.

Step 2: You’ll want to get quotes from your printer before you start looking for clients.

You can contact local printers or online printers. Find the cheapest prices and use the below specifications. Below is what I print on, so base your quotes around that. You do want a thick, glossy card stock — I could write an entire post about why that is important; just trust me. Eligible sizes for EDDM mailings include:

  • 4.25″ x 12″
  • 6.5″ x 11″
  • 6.5″ x 12″
  • 6.5″ x 9″
  • 8.5″ x 7″
  • 8.5″ x 11″
  • 8.5″ x 14″
  • 8.5″ X 17″
  • 9″ x 12″ (I have found this to be the best size)
  • 12″ x 15″ (this size of ad gets folded to fit in the mailbox, which is why I like the smaller size)

When talking to the printer, give them the below information to get an accurate quote:

  • Size: Choose from above
  • Quantity: 10,000
  • Stock: House paper
  • Color: Four-color, double-sided
  • Coating: Super high gloss ultraviolet coating on both sides
  • Shrink wrap: Bundles of 50 to 100 (this saves you time; you can also do it yourself with elastic bands to save money)

Step 3: Once you have your quote, you need to figure out how many businesses you want to have on your card and then calculate the cost for each one. How you implement this is up to you. If you want to split the cost or make a profit, it is your decision. Just make sure you charge enough for each spot to cover the amount you’ve decided upon.

Step 4: After you know all of that, it’s time to find a designer who can design the ads for you. Of course, you can sell this as an additional upsell to the businesses, for $25 to $50 bucks per ad, or you can give the design element away as a negotiation tactic. You can search around for a designer or even find someone on a freelance design website who can take on the project.

It should cost you around $400 to $500 to design 16 to 18 ads. If you have fewer ads, then it will obviously be cheaper than that. Just make sure you factor this price into your selling price.

Step 5: Now you need to focus on finding other businesses to join your direct mail enterprise.

I would find between one and six companies as a starting point. You can take it up a notch and get about 16 to 18 businesses on board, but that goes beyond the scope of just getting free advertising. I would just test the waters first.

The best way to do this is to walk in the door of your targeted business, find and talk to the owner. Phone calls and email also work, but they usually just result in the owner wanting to meet.

Say something like, “I’m a small-business owner like you, and I’m trying to establish myself in this area. To save on advertising costs, I’m splitting a giant postcard with other small businesses in the area to increase our exposure, almost like a team.”

You could also use a time-sensitive approach — for example, “I’m heading over to (competitor) after I talk to you, and I only allow one business per industry on the mailer.” This creates scarcity.

In all my time selling things, advertising spots are by far the easiest component of this project. Advertising is the one thing that all business owners know they need. You can take full payment upfront or ask for half as a down payment, with the rest to be delivered after your partners see a design proof. It’s up to you.

After you have gotten a business or two to join, the rest become easier and easier. They see all these other local businesses profiting from your enterprise, and they want in on the action.

Once you have the desired amount of businesses on board, then you can go ahead and pat yourself on the back. You just did something 99 percent of other business owners never thought of doing. (Don’t forget to show the design proof to your clients and collect any unpaid balances.)

Step 6: Log back into your USPS account, pay the postage and then pay for the printing. Only make payments after you have collected all invoices; otherwise, you might get someone who refuses to pay.

Step 7: Remember above when I said that you would need to bundle the postcards in bundles of 50 to 100? When you finish paying for the postage, you will be given some forms that you need to include with each bundle. If you didn’t have them prebundled in packs of 50-100, then you need to do it yourself with elastic bands so the post office knows where each bundle goes.

After everything is bundled and filled out, bring it all down to the post office and leave it with them. (You can grab some free “if it fits, it ships” boxes from the post office to carry all your postcards.)

And there you have it — a complete advertising system for your business that you can use to bring in new customers, on demand, with little to no budget at all.

Think of all the ways this can help your business and exposure. If you get to the point where you are sending two cards per month, you have the potential to be earning upward of $9,000 in extra income every month.

Kevin Dyke is the founder of Kevin Dyke Design.

Email Kevin Dyke.

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