New Blog – NYC Hacks Dot Com

Guys, have a brand new blog I want to share. http://nychacks.com.

It’s dedicated to making living in NYC rewarding, not a slog, and I may approach a number of you to help me with articles. (You know who you are.)

For now, there’s an article up on the homepage I’m pretty proud of. Would be honored and flattered (is that how the FB humblebrag begins?) if you would check it out;)

Peace,

Nate

Belated New Year’s Post – Goals, Perspective

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Now that my sleep calendar is beginning to return to normal, and I’m starting to take stock of the life that I’ve returned to, thought I’d jot a quick post. This is mainly new goals, but it will probably take a stream-of-consciousness vibe.

Here goes:

1) Stop mentally over-committing at my job. It’s counter intuitive, but I think I can actually get more done by simply not giving a toss, and just doing my work. It’s tempting to want to do every project to the max, but that’s mental energy better spent elsewhere, and I realized over the break I was wasting a lot of energy feeling bad for not following through on “mental commitments” I’d made. Be early for meetings, finish stuff on time, yes, but give a @#$%? DEFinitely not.

2) Now an interesting one. Figure out, in the hypothetical, how I could be bi-coastal starting tomorrow if I needed to. Challenge the assumptions holding me back. Do I really need more money? No – not if I negotiated remote work for two months-a-year from NYU. It wouldn’t even have to be that, because the holidays knock out about 2.5 weeks already. Just the beginning of December and the month of January. As with other things, I could start from the premise of negotiating a raise (which, I believe, I deserve – I wouldn’t broach it if I didn’t), and know I was willing to settle for more location freedom. Housing would be the problem. But would I really need to own two houses? Definitely not. Ferriss-style, if I had a terminal illness, and a doctor told me “you need to get more sun or you’ll die“, what steps could I take to make that happen?

My wife and I discussed this this morning as a fun mental exercise. Not that it has to happen right away, but it’s fun for both of us to think about how we would make wintering in SF happen, and challenge the assumptions holding us back.

3) More mundane: break tasks into whole days. E.g. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday I’m only required to do stuff for my job. Wednesday and Friday, I’m only required to do things for my business. If I decide to do more any day for “extra credit”, great, but certainly not required. Is it about intensity, and sprints, when it comes to business? Yes, of course, but it’s also about patience and sustainability. Nothing focuses the mind like coming back from vacation with jet lag. Your brain is only useful for “smart person stuff” an expanding window of a few hours every morning, and the rest of the day it’s “don’t trouble me with trouble, man – I’m gone.” Well the upside is it forces me to structure my life so I only need to make one or two important decisions every day.

4) Increase my earning power so as to pass the “minimum happiness threshold” – where money is not a concern – beyond which more money has diminishing effects on happiness. Yes, I’m hoping 8020 Drummer, and whatever’s next, eventually are earning enough to take a chunk out of my monthly living/travel expenses. But that’s not the only way. I have a game plan to wipe out a lot of my monthly expenses by March. As Ramit Seithi (sp?) says, “don’t give up the latte – focus on the lowest hanging fruit to increase your spending power. A lot of people who never once picked up the phone to negotiate a lower rate on their power bill or long distance, or a lower credit card interest rate are going without lattes.” I’m paraphrasing, but you get the gist.

It’s unlikely I’ll get a raise at my current job, though the patently obvious fact that I’m underpaid gives me a lot of negotiating leverage in other areas. Once you’re beyond the threshold of not needing to worry about money, time is just as important as money.

4) Get seriously better at Mandarin. I don’t want to go through another Taiwan trip where I’m speaking pidgin. I don’t have to master it, but the next trip I want to see some serious improvement in my vocab and ability to read. It will make me feel better.

Notice any music ones? Me neither. I feel I’ve got the music thing dialed in pretty well, and feel like I continue to improve extremely quickly thanks to the methodologies outlined in the 8020 Drummer. I do have the continued goal to play music with my heroes and to write music, and in creative music these days, for people like me who value their time and their lifestyle, you can’t really ordain the future more than that. True, I could have a goal to go on tour with a band or something, but I can do that any time I want. In truth, if I’ve got two weeks in Japan (stay tuned;) I’d far rather not have to worry about rehearsing, negotiating pay, equipment, etc.

Ok – done and out to the world! Enjoy and happy 2014!

My Evolving List of Lessons from the Asia Trip

Hey guys as this is the only place I can write in 100% my own voice thought I’d jot a few of these down as they came to me.

1) There’s a language barrier membrane on the internet between the English-speaking world and non-English speaking world. (Related, we tend to think all educated people speak English, and that’s sooooo false.) We think information flows freely, but if you speak and write Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, you consume media from an almost entirely separate silo. That’s why things that are obvious in Asia (like that that hot pot restaurant you though was so special is actually a chain) are “revelations” in the west , and vice versa (no one in Taiwan has heard of CrossFit and everyone in Taiwan and Hong Kong fears fat, so there’s no half-and-half to be found).

2) Immersion in strange environments, particularly non-english-speaking environments is good stress, but it’s stress. Just like stretching in exercise you want to extend your ability to stay in a yoga pose/run distance/lift weight/etc, but there’s also such a thing as overtraining, and you need rest and recovery.

3) Every reason you think you’re a badass at home turns out to be worthless in a foreign country – and that’s beneficial for your ego. You learn to be suspicious of thinking you’re the reason things – social interactions, business, etc – go well back home and to give luck and context their proper credit.

4) International travel is harsh. Not even first class passengers escape extra security screenings, hour-long waits on the tarmac in a snow storm while the clock ticks down to midnight, when they close the roads, customs, long waits at baggage claim, etc. (At least in coach we’re a hearty stock.) For people who do it as a profession, it’s great – they get to see the world and everything – but it’s a JOB. Only walking into your own apartment, finding it clean, and feeling your blood pressure return to normal for the first time in 48 hours do you realize the hardness of the road.

80/20 Drummer Launched, First Sales

Whew it’s been a whirlwind.

I crossed a milestone last night though. 80/20 Drummer went live, and woke up to discover $40 and change in my account, mostly from buyers who redeemed pre-order codes. I’m fighting anxiety that no more sales will come, that these were a fluke, etc. I’m tweaking pages like crazy for conversion. Hey – this blog is supposed to let you guys into my world. I’m the guinea pig.

In early November I decided metrics for the site were good enough to justify launch. I had a great deal of fun shooting and editing the first two chapters, and am lucky I gave myself an early deadline, because Final Cut Pro crashed my computer repeatedly, and I had to learn on-the-fly how to free up space on my ancient Mac.

Yes, next year I’ll get a new computer. But part of the fun of this blog is trying to create duplicatable success. And it’s not much fun if I’m like, “yea so you can get a video up on the web for minimal investment. Just $3000 for a new Power Mac and Final Cut.” Nope, so I did it bootstrap.

Got a timely leg-up from a hero, Noah Kagan, who turned me onto gumroad.com for file hosting just when I needed it. Anyway, delays aside, the videos are up now.

And I can finally invite Breaking Ferriss readers to my landing page – http:// … wait – I better give myself some anchor text, for my first link. Learn Drums Online. There. I’ll ask just one thing – please don’t click any of the “buy” buttons. I’m still watching analytics on the Gum Road side to see the disparity between the numbers of people who click “buy” and those that actually do.

So I have two chapters up, and I’m experimenting with pricing for conversion. I’m thinking eventually I may give Chapter One away for free, or sell it very cheaply, to build some rapport and trust with viewers, and to entice them to purchase further chapters.

Wait – you need context.

80/20 Drummer is my first “muse”, a passive income business market-tested for as little money as possible before investing (in my case mostly time) in product development. It’s – well I guess you’ll see what it is when if you check out the site, but suffice-it-to-say I researched the competition very carefully and tried to position it in a space nobody else was really covering. Noah Kagan (of Appsumo, a startup ninja), Dan Maxwell (another “entrepreneur whsiperer”), and of course the titular Mr. Ferriss, all preach the gospel of bootstrapping, and when it comes to product development that means releasing the bare minimum to start earning, as quickly as possible.

IN my case that meant chapters 1 & 2 of an eventual five – offering them both as individual downloads or, for a savings, as a package.

Quickly, here’s what I’ve done so far to help conversion – “conversion” just means the rate of visitors to your site who actually buy.

Redid the design of the page to draw the eye to key components, including using buttons instead of simple links. (Kind of alchemical – we’ll see how well it works.)

Introduced a tiered pricing system, whereby the first chapter is cheaper than following chapters, for good reason. Chapter one is mostly expository, and I want to lower the barrier to entry.

Offered a 3 month money-back guarantee, linking to a description whose analytics I can check to see how important it is to potential buyers.

So What’s Next

Now that the product is launched, I’ll check sales every day for the first week-or-so to see if any additional tweaks in pricing or webpage design (for instance moving the price page to the “third layer” page) will affect conversion.

I’m leaving for Asia next week to realize another lifestyle dream – seeing Hong Kong and revisiting Taiwan. (And in the process doing a scouting/buying trip for Shoe Gogo, Chih-Yu’s fledgling shoe importation vehicle.) Before I take two weeks off playing the drums, I want to at least shoot all the footage I’ll need for Chapter Three. If I weren’t leaving, I would spend the next month flooding Youtube with free drum videos redirecting to my site, since I believe that’s the best single source of traffic. (Music colleagues who asked me for advice on SEO, that’s a big piece of my advice…)

I will do that when I get back. But it’s good that I’m going. It’s pretty optimal the way this fall worked out. My life is starting to resemble a college student’s again. Start a product development experiment at the beginning of the semester, big push before launch, then (hopefully) well-deserved couple of weeks off. Foreign travel is great, too, because there’s nothing quite as immersive. No email on the phone. No daily routine. Little English. Can’t wait.

Anyway, the hour grows late. Would I recommend anyone follow in my footsteps at this point? Not yet. But I feel good with where I am at the close of the year. Much healthier relationship with my day job. Much healthier relationship with music. Much healthier relationship with my family and friends. And having crossed my first product-development finish-line. IN the end, I know 80/20 Drummer won’t make me rich. But the money in my account underscores that entrepreneurship is real – that it’s possible, even for an average joe like me.

Anyway, look forward to writing in the new year. I’ll post a link to my Asia articles when they’re up.

Pax

Update – Into Production for 80/20 Drummer, Testing Shoes From Taiwan

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Here’s a portrait of a conversion rate. It means my site it finally doing what it should – filtering out time-wasters and channeling potential buyers to the purchase page. This is over two days – 40 visitors to the main page, 9 continued to “about”, which describes the product in greater detail, a total of 7 either to Chapter Previews or Download Info, both of which quote the price for the first time, and finally one to Order. I’ve started saying “download now” instead of “pre order” because I want to make sure there’s no dropoff if people assume it’s available right now.

So I’m back to one hypothetical “order” per day, which means it’s into production. I’ve abandoned strict crowd funding for now, in favor of selling a self-produced first edition (which I’m honest about in the disclosure), and using some of the eventual proceeds to produce the final product.

Again I have to beg that no visitors to Breaking Ferriss visit the 80/20 Drummer site because I want to make sure all the page hits are “real”, not Breaking Ferriss readers browsing. Once I have product up live, I’ll invite everyone (all 3 or 4 of us;) to visit.

Here’s another pretty picture…

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Which hints at my next business move. Yes, we’re back to shoes. But not like before. We’re actually sourcing them from retailers in Taiwan, provided they’ll work with us. The text is copied verbatim from the French Sailor Shirts example in Four Hour Work Week, and the 2.00% Click Through rate is good.

Today I’ll be putting up the landing page for conversion testing – seeing what percentage of visitors actually click “purchase”, and I expect a lot of tweaks will be necessary. Shoes are a very specific thing – what if the size is wrong, or you don’t like the material once it arrives – requiring size guides and return/exchange policies. I plan to copy the content from other successful shoe sites more-or-less verbatim (I’m not talking plagiarism – I’ll paraphrase, but things like “60 day return policy” aren’t really intellectual property anyway), and use an existing Squarespace template for sales, changing as little as possible.

I may not be good at selling yet, and I may be a “sourcing virgin”, but one thing I know how to do is validate in a hurry. If I can’t get the landing page up in two hours, I’m doing something wrong.

That’s the update!

Thanks for reading,

Nate

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.

Crowd-Funding The 80/20 Drummer – Post One

First, a word of caution. As before, I have to entreat Breaking Ferriss readers not to visit the 80/20 Drummer site during this period, because one false “visit” could upset my metrics. Thanks!

Well I’m stymied.

After receiving 4 “pre orders” in 4 days for the 80/20 Drummer, I decided that to continue “dry testing” (that’s advertising a hypothetical product and seeing what percentage of visitors to your site click “buy now” to gauge how sales you’d have before investing in a product) without adding the last parameter – crowd funding – would be a waste of money.

Using the server logs, I was able to determine where each visitor who clicked “pre order now” came from, and it was a surprise. Facebook ads? Google adwords? Nope. Two of the four came from Youtube, one from Craigslist (which means he/she was interested in in-person lessons, but decided to order the videos instead), and the fourth from google – not from paid advertising but from a natural search. There are two sides to that coin. The good news is that I’m getting free traffic to my site that’s converting (going from “visitor” to “customer”) really well, which means I may be able to save on advertising. The downside is, unlike paid advertising, I can’t control the volume of traffic (by, for instance, doubling my ad budget for twice as many visitors on Adwords).

Still, I needed to “jump in” to crowd-funding, and I conquered my initial fears of asking people to crowd-fund the 80/20 Drummer by putting myself in the shoes of a Breaking Ferriss reader. “What’s the minimum effective dose?”

Obviously, campaigns on Indiegogo and Fund Anything are 60 days in length. At the pace of one “order” per day, I could almost make my goal in 60 days, but first I need to test if a visitor learning “pre order” means crowd-fund changes conversion rates at all. My fear is someone will see “crowd fund” and be like “waaaaaaait a minute – your video isn’t even made yet?” As usual, I’m doing two things. First, I’m being completely transparent.

Here’s the crowd-fund landing page.

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The page explains that when potential customers click to continue, they’re going to be redirected to a third-party funding site. I felt that would be less jarring than linking directly to Indiegogo from the “buy now” button on the main page. Personally, I’d far rather somebody leveled with me, and I the only site I can create as a “first draft” (before I market test it) is the one that would be most likely to make me buy.

Crowd funding typically sets a funding goal (mine will be $2000) and awards “premiums” to people who “donate”. As the text explains, my “premium” will simply be a steeply discounted copy of the 80/20 Drummer. As such, it’s more strictly a “pre order” than it’s a donation, since the buyer will receive the product he purchased – at a discount – he just has to wait a few months.

If you’re thinking “wait – how do you know somebody will pay $80 for the completed product?” you’re thinking the right thing. I plan to do an actual price-test soon. The price range for drum DVDs is all over the map, and many done for pure entertainment purposes actually sell for around $30 all-in. The 80/20 Drummer is different in two ways – first, it’s longer – more like five actual private lessons chocked full of material somebody could continue to work on for years (I know because I’m still working on it), and second, it includes an e-book with transcriptions of the exercises. Heh heh I feel like I’m writing copy for the site…

To return to my Macro-Point, above I said “I’m doing two things, first…”

So here’s the second thing I’m doing. Dry-testing how “crowd source” affects the conversions. Will 100% of visitors who clicked “pre order” click “continue” after learning they’re going to Indiegogo to crowd fund the project? Probably not. I suspect that after a couple of days I’ll have a pretty good picture of the “falloff”. If it’s 75% that continues to crowd fund me, that’s pretty good, and I’ll be reasonably confident launching a real campaign. If it’s lower, like 25%, or – horrors – 0%, I might have to take a different approach.

Remember, crowd-funding is just one idea I’m playing with. Another is the much simpler Tim Ferriss model of simply confirming the demand, investing up-front in video production, and making my money back with actual orders (at the highest price point, not at $29.99). We’ll get further into that, and why if you’ve got some liquidity the tax laws make such a minimal investment pretty “win win”, if crowd-funding turns out not to be viable.

Also, I need to figure out how to increase my free traffic.

Back soon with more. I do it for the readers;)

It’s On – Three Hypothetical “Sales” for The 80/20 Drummer

Sales Screenshot

Monday morning, and good news. According to my stats page on Squarespace, I’ve had three clicks on the page called “pre order” in the last 3 days. That’s a page you only reach if you click “buy now for $29.99”. I’m beyond psyched, especially after wondering if the method of using paid advertising was even viable. I now need to figure out for-sure where the traffic is coming from (I have a pretty good idea), see if it scales (for instance if I spend 10x on advertising if I’ll get 10 clicks-per-day instead of 1), and do it.

To review, my hairbrained idea was to use the crowd-funding model to fund the production of the 80/20 Drummer – being completely transparent to the buyers, telling them that by “pre-ordering” they’re getting a sharp savings on the eventual price – to the tune of about $1500 (the estimated production costs), which would require 69 pre-orders at $29.99 and a bit extra to cover the advertising retrospectively. I plan to use a crowd-funding site like Indiegogo or FundAnything, to side-step any legal issues involved with accepting credit card payments personally. Again, the idea being that any musician can duplicate my “success” with zero investment up-front.

Here’s how the numbers look. 74 views in the last 3 days and 3 “buys” is a conversion rate of about 4.05%, which is actually excellent. I suspect that’s going to tick up, because my suspicion is most all of the traffic is coming from Google Adwords. (Facebook advertising, it turns out, is great for getting page “likes”, and traffic perusing your site, but not great for conversions. Who’s ready to buy a drum DVD? Somebody who’s googled “drum lessons”.) At any rate, my Adwords budget is currently $5-a-day, so that’s $24.99 hypothetical profit-per-customer. What will happen if I up my ad budget to $50? We’ll see.

Back soon, with more news.

Feeling Good – Inflection Points – Staying Grounded

That’s what everybody wants, right? Abstraction? What can I say? I’m reading a lot of Murakami these days.

Well I’m again at the end of a “phase”. When last I wrote, I was market testing the 80/20 Drummer (please don’t google it or visit my site, because I need my analytics to reflect “real” traffic), and had generated good traffic to my site, but no “sales”. Reasoning that I just needed a better landing page, I went into serious production mode, generating demo videos. Below are four of my favorites, and you’ll see what I mean about this taking time-

Each required me to rough out a script, quickly “teach” myself the demo beats (not always easy), film the whole thing, then upload the whole jones to Final Cut and do my thing. I’m happy to say they’re all on the landing page – four previews like those above for four of the five chapters, and the conversion testing has begun again. This time I’m advertising both on Facebook and Google Adwords.

Adwords you say?!?

Yup. I’m revisiting Adwords after almost six months, because some of the lessons I’ve learned on Facebook are applicable. Geographic and demographic targetting. Longtail keywords. (I’ve been chided for not explaining things fully enough, so let me say that “drum lessons jazz school grad NYC” is a Longtail Keyword, whereas “drum lessons” is not. The former is lightly searched but cheap to advertise to, the latter is the opposite.

Another thing I’m going to be doing in this and future posts, on the advice of friends, is providing context. I started this blog after reading Four Hour Workweek, to catalog my experiments applying the author’s advice in real life. The premise is creating a low-risk, low-initial-investment side business to provide financial flexibility (freeing up money), using efficiency and focus tricks to minimize time wasted on unproductive things (freeing up time), then living life with a focus on what fulfills me instead of how many more years of this s@#$ can I take before retirement or how come Bob got the corner office? Efforts I’ve made toward financial freedom – the 80/20 Drummer, a concept drum DVD I want to create and sell as a video download with accompanying e-book and musical tracks, Smart Getaways for Couples (feel free to visit that one – the traffic is high enough that Breaking Ferriss readers won’t upset the metrics much), and the forthcoming Smart Asia Getaways.

So, 80/20 drummer is back to testing mode, and I’ll continue to apply minor tweaks to the marketing until I’ve either validated it or ruled it out as a quick route and “back-burnered” it to build an audience slowly.

Smart Getaways is a niche site, although it’s principally just a comprehensive travel diary/tip farm. The idea there is you decide what people are searching for on the web and throw up attractive content, generate traffic that’s valuable to advertisers, then charge them for access to your audience. It’s waaaaaay more art than science, and I can now say with confidence that choosing a topic you’d write about for free, writing the hell out of it (SGFC is at 79 posts now), marketing it person-to-person by guest posting on related blogs, and letting the chips fall where-they-may is the way this works in reality. The sites I created solely based on keywords have so far failed to garner any attention.

Oh – and 80/20 Creative LLC earned its first dollar last month. From Adsense. And it was almost exactly a dollar. A dollar-forty-three to be precise. Somehow my “first dollar” isn’t exactly as I pictured it;) But the good news is since I “back burnered” it to deal with 80/20 Drummer, Smart Getaways has continued to climb in the rankings, and is now ranking for a portfolio of long tail keywords, resulting in up to a thousand impressions-a-day, and a modest 20-30 clicks. I hope that continues to climb, and I certainly plan to continue traveling and writing about it. Also, Adsense isn’t my “be-all-end-all” monetization strategy. Affiliate deals probably will be, if I ever have enough traffic to make it worth an advertiser’s while.

I’m also reaping fringe benefits of the websites and 80/20 Drummer videos. When I needed to attract some drum students to fund some travel ventures, I already had the architecture in place.

Finally, I’d like to use this platform to shout out my buddy Alex, who’s using SEO and web commerce in exactly the right way to promote his own product – jazz for weddings. A link for you, sir, with anchor-text.

And the more I dig, the more musician buddies I discover already killing it in various ways with e-commerce. A friend building his own drum studio answered my query about the best places to find students with two sentences: Adwords, and Google Groups. Done and Done.

Ok – time to read some Murakami before bed.

Update – Results of Conversion Test #1

Well, after some rumination, I checked my conversion stats for the 8020 drummer.

(For larger context, read this post.)

I’d been getting anecdotal evidence of a positive response from facebook – many new page “likes”, a ton of them from South Korea and Taiwan, which I included on a whim after traveling there and getting a gut feeling jazz was about to “blow up”. So I held my breath, and opened the stats page on Squarespace (which, as I’ve discovered, does most of the work Google analytics and Crazy Egg used to do in a single click, especially if you set up your site architecture strategically).

Here are the stats, as best I can interpret them-

1546 impressions on facebook.
92 clicks (4.479% click through)
71 apparent site visits from FB
8 button clicks to “about” page (11.2% conversion)
0 on “pre order”

There’s reason to be optimistic. 8 people watched the preview video on the front page and clicked a button that says “learn more and pre order”. It’s true that none of those clicked through to the sales page, once the price was disclosed. Still, for $2.50-a-day advertising in Facebook, 8 initial conversions in 2 days is a good starting point.
Obviously now I need to experiment with “closing”. Here are the steps I took this morning to “adjust” before I recheck on Wednesday-

-removed “browse free videos” button from the info page and moved it to text of 5th chapter (I’ll include screenshots when I get back on my Mac)

-included “money back” language in first “buy now” CTA
-made video link “real” with a video

There are two possibilities for low conversion. The first is simple bad page design. Maybe by giving people an “out” at the top of the page, they weren’t inspired to read through the content. Maybe because the money back guarantee wasn’t clear, they weren’t ready to commit.

The second possibility is they simply need to see more evidence. When I picture myself making a purchase, I might visit the site multiple times, and establish a baseline “trust” for the seller before deciding “I’ll help this guy out and purchase”. I want to instill that positive feeling, and I think the way to do it is to flesh out the site with more free videos, or maybe “previews” of the chapters in the series.

Here’s what’s chambered for the next revision-

-adding actual video preview segments (and video preview at the top)
-removing “buy now” button from the top of the page (maybe that’s putting price in people’s heads too soon?)

This will eventually be a professionally-produced video of the highest quality I can make it, with professionally-edited trailers of every facet. I could simply dump $3,000 into it now and write it off my taxes, but I’m doing this partly as an experiment for my musician buddies – to see if I can use the Ferriss model to create a low-initial-investment, low-risk sales vehicle, which means “bootstraping” sales pages (only offering features necessary for sales at first), and attempting to “crowd-fund” production, using the Dane Maxwell model. (google it.)
As before, I’m not posting links here to avoid upsetting my metrics. If I see a click on the “buy it now” page, I want to know it’s really a “sale”, not a Breaking Ferriss reader. Photos coming soon!
N