Part V: Affordability & Simplicity

This is a seven-part series on how to lower the prices you charge for 9×12 spaces.

Part 1: Selling Cheaper Than Ever
Part 2: Cheaper Printing
Part 3: Cheaper Postage
Part 4: Cheaper Design
Part 5: Affordability & Simplicity
Part 6: How To Build Your Perfect 9×12
Part 7: DFY Pricing Models


Bloated, confused, and overwhelmed

With so many options available for you to customize different “parts and pieces”, as well as implement numerous pricing strategies, it’s awfully easy to end up with a bloated solution with too many options and too much information for a buyer to grasp.

That’s why many members simply copy the basic strategy of 10,000 pieces, 14pt UV, EDDM, basic layout, average of $500 or so per space. But that’s just one particular model, of which there’s SO many things you can add or modify in order to reach the pricing, value, and profit you desire.

You may not have even thought about changing things around but maybe a competitor has came along and is starting to put pressure on you by offering the same thing at a lower price. Rather than get into a pricing war … this series will hopefully have given you lots of alternatives to differentiate yourself while still retaining profits and value.

Simplicity is the hardest Part

Probably the hardest part of figuring out your ideal 9×12 model is not the task of creating a solution that fits your pricing or profit goal … But making your finished product simple to grasp.

That’s where great product manufacturers/designers/retailers have really excelled; because designing something that’s highly functional is only half the battle — the other half is making it simple enough for the buyer to understand without friction. In my opinion, this takes the greatest amount of thought and planning.

Think of top 40 radio hits;  they’re heavily designed to be instantly appealingl to the point where even a first grader can hum along to them. You hear them and think “wow this is so simple it’s stupid” but go ahead and try producing a ‘simple’ hit pop song and tell me how it goes.

Turning your complex solution into a neat, streamlined, and easy-to-start offering is what will ultimately have the biggest effect on your business. It’s easy to make a complex solution, and that’s how almost all problem solving starts — by a giant spaghetti-looking pools of ideas and components…. but it’s how well you simplify it all that will determine your reward.

I see a lot of members create these very well thought out and smart sounding distribution and pricing models but the effort it takes to explain it to a prospect totally negates everything and turns it into a total dud.


What is Affordable Anyways?

While affordability is a vague term, I’ve found a few figures that seem to fit the definition. Remember that Pillar 2 states that it must be readily affordable to most businesses. 

The key words being readily and most.  The 9×12 system is designed for local businesses of virtually any size to be able to reach their local audience without investing anything substantial. If you’re in business, then coming up with a few hundred dollars is always possible. If you can’t come up with a few hundred dollars and you’re operating a local brick & mortar business, you would be out of business within days at most.

When you start talking figures like $1,000, some businesses truly won’t have that kind of money they can pull out of a hat to try something out right away. While many could afford $1,000, many of them won’t just plunk it down on a whim (hence the ‘readily’ term). So if your spaces were in that range, you wouldn’t be targeting what most businesses would fall into and would do better selling them M3’s or solo campaigns (different business model).

The Bob Ross Affordability Index

9×12 requires you to price spaces that are readily affordable for most businesses and not some. But where exactly does most turn into some? Here’s a simple index I made that shows what I find to be the range of instant affordability for 9×12 spaces:



I find that $550 or so is a great divider between what most business can readily afford on the spot. After that, it dips into the “some” territory where many businesses will not be willing to fork over on the spot. This doesn’t mean you can’t charge higher prices, it just means that if you start cutting out options that are within the affordable range of most businesses, you’ll have started a different business model than the proven 9×12 system.

There’s also some  difference you’ll notice in the pricing within the “most” category range of $550 or less. For example, selling a space for a ridiculously low $50 is going to be an easier sell than $500, but $395 and $550 are going to be just about the same amount of effort (see blue index).

most-indexA good idea is to offer pricing options that span a wider range so that you capture businesses with smaller and larger budgets.  Remember they can always buy multiple spaces if needed, it’s not like you’re limiting your prices. You just don’t want to raise them too high to the point where you’re leaving out a large chunk of smaller businesses (as well as leaving room for a competitor to go in and start undercutting you for the same service).



Next, Part VI: Building Your Perfect 9×12

Comments 2

  1. If you take the affordability index and incorporate a bi-monthly mailing schedule with monthly billing, does the theoretical price of $1000 for a large spot to 10,000 addresses become affordable to most businesses because they would only pay $500 per month for it?

    Do businesses think in terms of monthly cost or total purchase price (in case of multiple mailings as needed for bi-monthly schedule)? Do they think about cost per address?

    1. Post

      Cost per address can make a lot of sense to them … they rarely will think of it on their own though so you’ll have to give them that metric. For many businesses, $500 at a time is a much easier pill to swallow than committing to $1k. Not all business of course … because there’s certainly enough that will consider $1k to be cheap, but $500 is just something that’s virtually always in the reach of the majority of brick & mortar.

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