Update – 80/20 Campaign, Day 2

At the risk of besieging my readers with updates, got another one.

These days, the readership of this blog consists of exactly the people who will eventually ask me about my business when they see me in person, so think of blog entries these few days as extended “status updates”, tailored to a small audience.

Some tweaks in my advertising have helped me zero in on where my traffic is coming from, and where my highest converting traffic is coming from, and it’s definitively from Youtube, and from the older videos on youtube. (I discovered this by archiving some older, lower-resolution videos in favor or newer ones and seeing the numbers drop.)

With that in mind, an interesting alternative strategy presents itself – “slow build” crowd-source. The answer to the question, “can I drive enough paid traffic to the site to pre-fund production of the videos within 60 days?” seems to be “no”. But I was getting almost enough free traffic to do it. Since free traffic is less predictable/scalable, limiting myself to the 60-day campaign Indiegogo and Fund Anything offer is problematic – if I don’t meet the funding goal they both take a 9% fee (though I’d still get 91% of whatever money I’d raised), and I’d have to promise to deliver the videos by a date certain. The rigidity of that timeline doesn’t allow for the flexibility of a “slow-build” SEO-based campaign. (SEO-based, in this case, referring to optimizing Youtube videos for popular search terms, like “how to play jazz drums”, and letting traffic build from there.)

What I can do, however, is revert to the Four Hour Work Week textbook method. Get pre-orders to fill out a contact form, build a mailing list, invest up-front to produce the video (fully tax-deductible), then email the people on the list that it’s complete, telling them they have two weeks to buy for their “pre order” price, before the price resets to the $80 price. It’s reasonable to assume only a percentage of those “orders” will actually send the money once the product is complete, but I can build that into the math, either after testing or by making an assumption. If 30% of people who “pre-ordered” at $29.99 actually buy, I can calculate the number I need to “sell” to cover my production.

Anyway, covering production costs 1:1 is the least important part of the equation, because it’s all about the traffic. If I’ve gotten enough “pre orders” to fund, theoretically, production, I’ve confirmed many times over sufficient web traffic of new customers to ensure an income stream. (I’ve also given consideration to things like market saturation – when everybody who needs a copy of The 80/20 Drummer already has one, and as the purveyors of Kaplan products will tell you, the beauty of a product geared toward assisting an application is there’s a constantly self-renewing stream of new customers.)

So that’s the plan for the forseeable future. Play Youtube like $4 ukelele (all “white hat”, of course – you know who you’re talking to), let the traffic build as it builds, and go into production whenever I have sufficient number of pre-orders to reassure me I’ll reach profitability. The other elegant thing is I can always transition to a third-party crowd-funding site if the traffic reaches a sufficient level.

More on youtube SEO strategies like “meta tag cloning” – which is way less sexy than it sounds – in future posts.

OOH – also, I heard what may be a great “pain point” for a Dane Maxwell-style customized software. Here at NYU I may well be sitting on a goldmine. First things first. Get the 80/20 Drummer to profitibility, then onward. Baby steps.

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