As some of you may know, I’m currently in the process of relaunching my side-project, Kobra.io. Last week, I officially announced the launch date and allowed people to pre-order Lifetime memberships. I started this process Tuesday morning, and by Friday at noon I had $2033 in my Stripe account from over 100 people.
The most important thing to note here is that almost all of my sales came from my 2200 person email list. Email is one of the highest converting mediums, mostly because it is a “push” medium and not a “pull” medium. Social networks are a pull medium because you are trying to get people to see your content, email is a push medium because you are sending your content directly to those who you want to reach.
The purpose of this pre-order sale was two-fold. First of all, I wanted to validate my idea. Asking people if they would pay for a service doesn’t work, saying “Hey would you pay for this? Okay, here’s the order form” will allow people to put their money where their mouth is. Secondly, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have to take a whole lot of money out of my pocket to support the new version. I wanted this thing to be as self-sufficient and bootstrapped as possible, and my goal was to get $400 worth of pre-orders in 3 weeks.
The original pre-order plan was this:
- Write a blog post about the new version of Kobra.io explaining what’s changing, the free features and the pro features.
- Redo the Kobra.io landing page to reflect the changes and launch date.
- Send out an email announcing the new version and talk about the pre-sale.
- Continue to push this sale up until the launch date.
Boy am I glad I changed that plan.
Day 1: The Announcement Email
The first email was sent out on Tuesday morning. The main purpose of this email was to announce the new version and launch date. I stressed this more than the actual sale (although it was briefly mentioned), and linked to the blog post I wrote.
Within 2 minutes of that email going out, I had 3 pre-orders! By the end of the day, I had $323 in sales.
I decided to send out an email to the people that had already pre-ordered and asked them, “Why did you buy?” I’ll be going over those answers in another post, but the most important part was when I asked them “If you owned Kobra, what would you make your pricing strategy?” These people had already bought a lifetime account, so I figured that I would get honest answers.
Two people mentioned that they wouldn’t offer lifetime accounts, instead they would only offer monthly and yearly. Interesting, let’s put that thought on hold until Day 3.
Day 2: The “In Case You Missed It…” Email
I didn’t want to overwhelm my email list by sending them an email every single day, so on the second day I only sent an email to people that didn’t open the first one. I could tell who didn’t open the first email through Mailchimp.
This email said: “Hey, in case you missed it, I announced the new version of Kobra yesterday and you can get a lifetime membership for $19.”
I got a good amount of unsubscribes from this, but thats fine, and if you do too don’t sweat it. If someone unsubscribes from your launch list, they weren’t going to buy or use your product anyway.
This day was a lot slower, resulting $114 worth of sales. Including a few PayPal sales, the total was right under $400 so far. Needless to say I was pretty excited as I was almost at my goal in just 2 days! At this point, I felt like I was on to something.
Day 3: The “No More Lifetime Memberships After Tomorrow” Email
The “psychological analysis” part of my mind was ticking at this point. I had just written a post on how to launch using 3 strategies and one of them was “Urgency.” How could I create more urgency to generate more sales?
I started to think about the people who had told me they wouldn’t offer Lifetime memberships. In my heart, I knew it wasn’t a good idea to actually offer them for the lifetime of the product, so…what if I never offered Lifetime memberships again?
Best. Decision. Ever.
Best of all, I picked a specific time when I would stop offering them. Day 4. At Noon. People were only going to have a day and a half to pick up a lifetime membership if they wanted one, and after that I would never ever offer them again.
I sent out an email “After tomorrow, I’ll never offer Lifetime memberships again.” Sure, I got a lot more unsubscribes (but remember, that’s to be expected), but then the money started rolling in. Check out this graph, can you tell when I sent the email?
$589 in ONE DAY! Not bad at all. Just add a little urgency, and BAM, anyone who is on the fence about it? They’re going to buy.
Rolling total so far was around $1100. Things were starting to get exciting.
Another interesting point here is that I received an email from someone telling me that I was sending way too many emails, and that I should be giving the product away for free first. I was definitely going to be offering free accounts, but this whole pre-order thing was to validate if there was any money behind my email. I replied back and explained that this was what I was doing, and then something crazy happened. He bought a lifetime membership, then proceeded to email me saying that he didn’t even expect a response, and he appreciates my “go get it” attitude.
Be honest with people here! If you get emails telling you that you are sending too many, let them know that it’s just for a few days, then assure them that they won’t hear from you for a while after launch.
Day 4: You’ve got 2 hours to get a Lifetime membership, then they’re gone forever.
Alright, here comes the big one. Just because you tell people that you have a specific end date (in may case, Day 4 at noon), does NOT MEAN that they got that email, or that they felt enough Urgency to buy.
Myself, as well as many other email marketers, will tell you that it is absolutely essential that you send a “the sale is ending soon!” email. In my case, that email was two fold, not only was it a sale, but after 2 hours from sending the email, you can NEVER EVER get a lifetime membership again. No joke, I’m never going to offer these again, I’m not kidding. And if you send out something like this, do yourself a favor, make sure that you make good on your word.
So, I typed up an extremely simple 3 line email that said “In 2 hours, I’ll never offer lifetime memberships again.” Yet again, a good amount (around 40) unsubscribes, but don’t sweat.
Can you see when I sent this email?
In 2 hours I made over $600, bringing the grand total to $2033 in just FOUR days!
While this definitely isn’t an absolutely crazy amount of money, it is way more than I was expecting, and definitely proves that I’m onto something. By the end of the sale, 106 people had pre-ordered lifetime memberships.
But that’s not even the best part.
What 106 Lifetime Forever Accounts Actually Means
Kobra.io is a social product, you use it to collaborate on code with other people. With 106 people having lifetime accounts, that means that I’ll never make another dime on them for the lifetime of Kobra.
Or will I?
Since my product is social, I consider giving these accounts away from $19 a great investment into the future of Kobra.io. Not only do I have over $2000 in the bank to support the project, but I have over 100 people that I guarantee you are at least going to check out the tool, and hopefully a good amount of them invite their friends. And those people will invite their friends, and those people will invite their friends. And at least some of all of those people will pay for Pro accounts.
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