One of the reasons that I publish income reports, is to be transparent with my audience. I’ve learned so much from others that have traveled this path of webpreneurship before me, that I’d like to be able to pay it forward and do the same for people that aren’t as far along as I am at the moment.
In addition to my income reports, I thought a great way to do this would be to show you the behind the scenes of my product sales – my product being my email course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success – an Email Course for Brand Spanking New Freelance Writers. Are you excited?
A Bit of Background
Before we dive into the numbers, I want to give you some context to pull from. I started and finished writing my course this past fall (mainly October/November if I remember right). I launched it for sale on December 4, 2014. At this point, it’s been on the market about two full months.
I didn’t really set out to launch a product or a course so soon after getting started freelancing myself. One of the things I’ve been doing since the beginning though, is taking notes and tracking my journey – I wanted to know if what I was doing was effective and getting results or if I needed to make some changes, sooner than later.
I compiled all of my notes and realized that I had a guide of sorts that could help other people get started freelance writing as well. People had also started asking me questions about how I had achieved so much success so early on in my new career and I thought, what the heck? Why not write it up and see what happens?
So I spent my mornings for about a month plotting and writing out 30 different email lessons. My goal was to be able to take someone from a newbie – someone that didn’t have much experience or success writing for the web and help them to start their own successful freelance business – in 30 days or less!
I had a lot of fun writing it and it seemed to come pretty naturally to me as well. I wrote the course as if I was talking to a friend. I wanted it to be personal, entertaining and actionable. I also wanted to provide lessons that were robust in information, but succinct in text or reading length. Above all else, I wanted people to read and then implement the information!
I had this vision of having the course delivered by email, but not triggered to deliver everyday at the same time. I know for many people, if the emails start stacking up, they get stressed out. They feel behind and don’t do anything. For others, they have more time or desire to get through the material quickly, so they might want to tackle more than one lesson per day.
My genius web guy helped to take my vision and make it a reality. It wasn’t easy, we both learned a ton, but I think overall, we made it happen and are both happy with the result. It’s still not perfect, but we’ve come along way. The feedback I’ve received about the content and the delivery have both been for the most part stellar. I’m glad that others appreciate the delivery as I imagined it.
My Marketing Efforts
As I mentioned, I launched the course on 12/4/14. I started with an intro price of $30 – a dollar per day. I’ve always wanted the course to be affordable. Something virtually anyone could take without breaking the bank. I also like to over-deliver on the value I provide, rather than the other way around!
I put the course for sale and did a soft marketing push. I basically put it out there via social media and started guest posting more in my niche. I’m a part of a few different private Facebook groups, I’ve marketed via my own FB page and I’ve also utilized Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.
I also tried doing a couple of Facebook ads and set up a Google Adwords campaign. I’ll probably try FB ads again in the future, but I’m not sure that I’ll do Adwords again anytime soon.
I’ll do a more extensive review on the advertising programs on the blog in the future. Just know that with Adwords it can be easy to quickly drop $100 and not get any results. Partly, this might be because I didn’t know what I was doing at the time though!
I’m sorry to say that I didn’t have tracking goals set up in Google Analytics until just recently (like last week), so I don’t have a clear picture of where my sales came from. That’s now changed and through these new tracking goals, I’ll be able to know what’s working and what’s not (from a marketing standpoint) going forward.
Back to why you’re all reading this, what were my results? Don’t worry, I’m going to share them with you!
December: 23 course sales = $735 in revenue
January: 27 course sales = $810 in revenue
I’m happy with those results. I’ve sold 50 total course in two months – not too shabby! It’s not going to totally support my family, but it does help go to the bottom line and is another income diversification source.
I spent much of January revising my course and adding new content. There wasn’t anything wrong with the first version, in fact it would have been fine to leave it as is. That’s not how I roll though!
Basically, I went through each lesson individually, removed any passive statements (I think, It might make sense to…, etc) and replaced them with more confident or authoritative statements. When it was appropriate, I expanded lessons and added more references.
I also added two brand new lessons. The new lessons are on writing resumes and writing using affiliate links. Both of these things are important, but not something I addressed in version one.
I also raised the price. Again, I’ve been consistently getting the feedback that the course’s value is upwards of a hundred dollars. But, it’s still important to me to keep it affordable, so I raised the price from $30 to $47. Another reason that I did this, is that I wanted to offer an affiliate program – and that’s hard to do with a $30 product!
Since version two is now available and I’ve successfully raised the price, my next goal is to launch an affiliate program. I’ve heard mixed results from other webpreneurs about how effective they are, but I want to give it a try for myself and I’ll tell you why.
I figure that if people find as much value in the course as they’ve expressed, then naturally they’ll want to share it. And if people are naturally sharing it, why shouldn’t I incentivize them to do so a little more? Why not offer a commission to help the word of mouth marketing efforts along?
Think of it as a referral bonus. Tons of companies work this way, so there’s no reason I can’t give it a shot. My offering (once I find the best match for an affiliate provider) is a 50/50 split.
At the current course price of $47, if you became an affiliate and someone purchased the course through your unique link, you would earn $23.50 and I would keep $23.50 *(if there aren’t any other affiliate program fees). Not too shabby for sharing it with a friend via email or on your social media platforms, huh?
It could totally flop (so can anything I try), but I figure why the heck not give it a try? What do I have to lose? Maybe a little time and a little money? No one gets anywhere without taking risks from time to time, right?
I didn’t set out to write a course or launch a product, but I’m so glad I did. It’s already helped a lot of folks get a better start in their new freelance writing careers and I’m really proud of that.
I’ve sold 50 course subscriptions so far and I think that’s just swell. I’m going to continue to work hard and market it, improve it upon feedback or new learnings and try to add as much value as I can!
I’m planning on launching an affiliate program soon to further my marketing efforts and give others a chance to earn some additional income by sharing something they believe in with their friends/family.
Remember my mantra for the year? Why Not Me, Why Not Now?
Have any other questions on launching a product or my experience? Feel free to ask in the comments!