Over the last 11 days I’ve been on a massive learning curve.
This post is a number of the scattered lessons I’ve been learning – mainly from the launch of my Portraits E-book over at Digital Photography School. This builds upon the post – The Insiders View of How I Launched My New E-book from last week.
Update on the Launch
In the last few hours I’ve ended the official launch process of the e-book. You may remember that we launched the book with a 25% off discount on the book that was to last a bit over a week (9 days actually).
In that time we’ve sold a bit over 4800 e-books.
Before you rush off to grab the calculator – that’s a little bit below $72,000 USD since launch.
While it has certainly been a profitable week – do keep in mind that there are some costs to take off this figure, it’s not all profit. PayPal takes a fee off every transaction, there were design costs, proof reading, affiliate commissions etc.
All in all it’s been a fun week but I’d learned a lot about this type of launch that I’ll do differently next time.
Lesson #1: Offers with Deadlines Work:
You’ll see from the following chart the number of sales each day during the launch.
Day 1 and 2 were the ‘pre-launch’ – held over the weekend and basically a trickle of sales from a couple of tweets that I made.
Day 3 was launch day. It was when I emailed my list, posted on the DPS blog, tweeted in earnest about it and posted my last post mentioning it here on ProBlogger. It was a great day of sales.
Days 4-9 saw me do a few promotions on Twitter and an attempt by me to get my affiliates for the product promoting it. I’ll talk more about the affiliate promotions below. I also mentioned the e-book in the weekly newsletter that I sent out (Day 5) but that promotion wasn’t as in your face as others as I didn’t want to burn out readers. These days were steady in terms of sales which surprised me a little as Thanksgiving was in the middle of it all!
Day 10 was the day I sent out my final ‘last chance’ email to my list. It was a short email simply reminding them that they had 36 hours to go to take action on the 25% discount. The email also linked to a page on the blog where I had a number of reviews from other blogs that said nice things about the e-book.
This last action email and the post on the blog drove a heap of sales. I was expecting it to be a good day but Day 10 went past the launch and considering that the promotion ended halfway through Day 11′s figures that was a good day too.
All in all I think this chart illustrates the power of having an offer with a deadline. The sense of urgency and scarcity that such an offer brings about is powerful.
Lesson #2 – Extra Launch Offer
One thing that I almost immediately regretted with this offer was not having a time sensitive offer that ended after 24 hours. While the first day and last day were great, the reaction of a lot of readers on Day #1 was ‘I’ll think about it’.
Perhaps having a fast action bonus of some kind might have helped convert some of these procrastinating buyers. I’m sure some did end up buying but perhaps not having a fast action bonus lost a few sales on launch day.
Lesson #3 – Mid Promotion Offer
I mentioned above that on Day 5 I mentioned the e-book in my weekly newsletter. I showed the above chart to a couple of experienced internet marketers over the last few hours and each one of them said it’s a pretty typical result. The first and last day of an offer are generally the biggest.
However a couple of them also suggested that they also try to do a mid launch promotion also. In this way they try to get their chart to look more like a W than the V that my chart is like.
Upon reflection I could have done something similar with a number of things. Next time I’ll consider a post and/or email mid launch that points to some reviews/testamonials of the product as well as adding an extra bonus.
Jeff Walker did a nice mid launch promotion on his latest launch that seemed to work well – midway through he added a series of extra bonuses for buyers.
Lesson #4 – Affiliates Need More Hand Holding
Next time around I will be putting a lot more effort into developing relationships with the affiliates promoting the promotion. While 2-3 of the affiliates did quite good promotions – they were in the minority. Here’s what I’ll work on next time:
- communicating with affiliates before the launch – the craziness of the launch I didn’t start equipping affiliates until I’d already launched. While I did have a couple of them set up and ready to go most signed up on Day 3-4 and didn’t start promoting until days 5-6 which coincided with Thanksgiving.
- tips for affiliates – as I watched the promotions that some of the affiliates ran it became pretty obvious that many didn’t really have much experience in affiliate marketing – I think I assumed too much and should have developed some resources for them that showed them how to promote the e-book. While I’m not a big fan of swipe files and would never use them myself when promoting a product – I can now see why many people offer them to affiliates.
- banners – again, I wish I’d put a little more time aside to put together some banners and other graphics for affiliates to use. This was on my list of things to do but in the whirlwind of the last few days before launch it didn’t happen.
- recruit affiliates – I think this will get easier as I launch more products because I’ll have previous affiliates already set up but next time there are a few sites that I’d like to target as potential affiliates that didn’t come on board this time. Perhaps they didn’t come on because it was all too last minute or perhaps I simply didn’t have the relationship with them that I thought I did – but next time I want to be more prepared and have done more groundwork in this area.
Lesson #5 – Pre Launch Buzz
Apart from a few comments in passing in newsletters and blog posts – I did very very little to build anticipation on DPS in the weeks before this launch. I think I wasn’t wanting to build unrealistic expectations with readers or to be too in your face – and in doing so failed to create ANY anticipation among readers.
I look back now and think I should have done more – perhaps doing a live interview with a portrait photographer in the days before, running a competition, publishing an excerpt from the e-book…. etc
I don’t think that these pre-launch promotions need to be ‘in your face’ at all – rather they should both build buzz but also be useful to readers.
Lesson #6 – Price Isn’t Everything
When I ended the 25% off discount I expected that the folder in my inbox that collects emails about new sales would sit dormant for a while. The promotion is over – sales will stop now won’t they?
Not true. The price is back up to it’s normal price now of $19.95 but the sales are coming in pretty much at the same rate that they were before the discount. There’s still a certain buzz going around about the E-book and this momentum continues to drive sales. Even since writing this post we’ve had another 10!
Lesson #7 – It Takes a lot of work
This type of launch is both exhilarating and exhausting.
The excitement of launching this 9 days ago was fantastic. Seeing the first sales being rung up over the first few hours was a real buzz. Getting up each morning and realizing that you’d sold several hundred e-books was great.
However the number of emails that I’ve personally replied to this week must have been quite a few hundred. The weight of customer service type queries that come in when doing a launch is massive.
People whose computers crash during downloads, problems with credit cards, complaints about PayPal, people with old versions of Adobe Reader that mean they can’t read the PDF, people who fail to see that you’re selling an E-Book not a hard cover book (despite you slapping it all over your sales page)….. etc
This is just the territory that comes with this type of launch and if I were smart I’d probably have outsourced it – but it was good to get my head across it all as it taught me a lot.
Lesson #8 – Products are Powerful For More than Just the Money They Earn
I’m planning a post on this later in the week so won’t say too much except that both with this Portrait e-book and the development of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook I’ve discovered that having a product of your own is something quite powerful.
Not only is it an income stream – but it’s something that has a real impact upon both your readers and your standing in your niche/industry:
- I’ve noticed that readers are quite excited about the launch – they are proud that a blog that they belong to has it’s own resource.
- Some readers somehow feeling more ownership of the blog because they have bought the e-book. I guess they now have something a little more tangible from the blog that they own.
- I’ve also had a few emails from others in the photography space who seem to have taken a bit more notice of the site as a result of the e-book. It’s already opened doors.
That’s it for now – I’m going to log off now for a bit and have a glass of bubbly before crashing into bed to try and recuperate before I have to do it all again!