Selling Out at The End of The World….

….or how I made a three figure sum, just before Christmas, in 48 hours.

Last August I released WP Email Capture. I know it sounds daft, but in terms of “amazing things I’ve ever achieved” it’s up there. Through it, I’ve made a few friends, landed more opportunities, and made a bit of cash. I would recommend to anybody who is going it alone to have something you can sell, that’s relatively cheap to develop. That way you have at least some cash flow.

One of the biggest bonuses (as I mentioned in my post on the Blogging Dojo on the best post I read in 2011) is that there is leverage there. Obtaining coverage on blogs is really easy when you have something to offer bloggers. Also, I’ve noticed that even if I don’t get a direct link, coverage can lead to sales, many of them are non affiliate sales.

Furthermore, rather than launch a campaign, I can easily send out an email, blog post, or a couple of tweets to try things to try and drive a bit of traffic and hopefully, some sales.

This story is one of those spur of the moment campaigns, which saw an hour’s “work” turn into over £150. Not a life changing sum of money, but it helped pay for Christmas.

My Story

I was sat in The Old Grapes in Manchester, talking with a friend. It was the 18th December 2012, three days before the impending apocalypse. Yes, remember that? The alleged end of the world on December 21st.

I suggested an idea to a few friends, and with only three or so sites actually leading with something (Hostgator, Paddy Power offering 5000/1 on the End of The World & Wish’s “Money Back if it is Doomsday” Guarantee), I thought I’d run with something.

I would offer a whopping 60% discount on WP Email Capture, a discount that would make Groupon’s discounts seem rather stingy in comparison. I would sell off my plugin to obtain as much Old World Order cash as possible before the impending fall of civilization. What has everybody got to lose?

In short, this wasn’t a fire sale; this was a sulphuric gas & eternal hellfire sale.

I created a discount code in E-Junkie and scribbled together an email, which you can read here (please note – the discount code no longer works!), and sent it off to my hundred or so subscribers.

When I woke the next morning, this was the response:-

Whoop whoop!

Considering a sale day is a good day, and I’ve had four “two sales days” since launch, getting four sales in a short space of time delighted me. It was good enough for me to run with it on the blog.

When I ran with it on the blog, I got a few more sales, and directed prospects to the sale in the hope they converted. I also refunded people who bought the plugin full price during that time, which was lucky, as one chap posted it on a forum which lead to a few more sales.

In short, I broke my December target. Also I made it a very successful month, a month that I wasn’t expecting to get many sales due to Christmas getting in the way.

My Three Tips

Of course, my number one tip is to fake an apocalypse to lead to an influx in sales 3000 years later, but three tips I have are the following.

Have a List

It still frustrates me when websites don’t build email lists. Of course, unless you’re Amazon or Play you can’t really sell to them all the time, but by and large a little bit of noise when you’re consistently sending out signal is perfectly fine.

The other thing that lists are good for are experimentation. If I had judged public conscience wrong, and people had genuinely believed an apocalypse was occurring, then I’d have only offended 100 or so people (of which I wouldn’t care too much, as, you know, I’d probably be suffering eternal damnation). If I had gone public with the offer straight away, then I’d have looked foolish if it didn’t sell. I could gauge reaction first of all, and act accordingly. Furthermore you can use this as saying the newsletter has exclusive content.

Here’s the thing, my list isn’t particularly “warm”. I’ve only emailed them a couple of times, but it has usually got a few sales.

Look at your email list as leads. They aren’t buyers but they are interested in what you put out.

Price High and Discount

I believe that most people price themselves too low, or don’t believe in their skills.

I price WP Email Capture fairly high, it’s $49. I believe it is worth that, largely due the support I offer is remarkably detailed, going above and beyond to make people happy. If customers aren’t happy then a refund is offered. I don’t get a huge amount of refunds, but I do get them. Furthermore, as Tim Ferriss said in the Four Hour Work Week (read it, it’s superb), if you price high, you weed out a lot of the tire kickers. The “worst” customer I’ve ever had has sent in total four emails. Four. Knowing how many emails people send with the possibility of getting a fraction of that, I’m doing well.

And that was just one customer, most I don’t hear from at all.

If sales were non-existent, then yes I would’ve dropped the price, but they aren’t, sales are still coming in for the plugin.

Furthermore, the beauty of it being priced so high is I’ve plenty of room for manoeuvre for discounting. In this campaign, knocking off 60% still pockets me $19, which is more than most plugin sales on CodeCanyon, for example. I still make a profit (effectively costs are now zero), and the “work” I largely do is simply creating logins for customers.

Also, with this manoeuvrability on price, I also got a few people who missed the discount. A quick email with a smaller discount of 30% also got a few sales.

People Believe In You, Not Your Stuff

One of the nicest things I got was a few messages in response. I’m not a great copywriter (seriously, if you need one, hit up Super Carly Wood for copywriting), but even people who didn’t buy quite liked my sales patter. It was written to try and put off packing for the Christmas holidays. I probably could buy a book, go on a course, or read Copyblogger for a week, but I didn’t have time. I published, and I was damned.

Luckily, most people loved it. I think there was an element of (urgh I hate saying this) “Brand Building”. If you have a decent reputation, it can help you with things such as this. I refuse to believe that people were desperate for WP Email Capture Premium when they bought, I believe the people who bought were WP Email Capture users, who liked me, and took advantage of an offer.

So that’s how I had my most successful day with WP Email Capture. It was a combination of alcohol fuelled inspiration, an hour’s graft, and being the right place at the right time. I urge you to make something (be a book, theme, WordPress plugin, anything besides bacon flavoured jam, as that market is cornered), and try selling it yourself (or if you’re lazy, sign up to the WP Email Capture affiliate programme and try selling my stuff). You could get a bit of cash doing so.

If you don’t though, don’t worry. It’s not the end of the world.

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