Go Direct! Reader Case Study

Got this email from Sherman Cox from http://www.soulpreaching.com.

I thought you might want to know my story. I read your book and the idea immediately resonated with me. I took a PDF white paper (33 pages) that I used to sell for anywhere between 7.99 and 15 dollars. And put created a new cover and decided to do the “pay what you want.”

I have an email list of about 9500 in my niche so the only advertising I did was on the list. I send out 2 emails a week so maybe 6-8 emails with the notice in it.

I have had 268 views of the gumroad ad.
I have had 50 pre orders.
11 people pre ordered with some money for a total of 110.97.

It is interesting because I put a suggested price of 1.99 on it. Not sure why I put the suggested price so low, but I usually have that problem.

At any rate, of those who paid, only one person chose 1.99. The other 10 paid more.

I am counting it a modest success. At least enough of a success to try again with a more substantial offering.

Go Direct! Book Pre-Order Launch Numbers Report

I’m happy to show the results of my pre-order “Go Direct!” experiment now that it’s over. You can order the book and get it right away now if you still haven’t gotten a copy. Remember, you get the PDF plus the audio book all in one when you order.

In my last earnings report I talked about the numbers from just a few days into the launch of the pre-order which you can read here.

It’s now about five weeks later and I have some more solid conclusions to share. Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the experiment and strategy. Here are some insights. A couple of notes.

1. There have been 852 pre-orders so far. Not too shabby.
2. I have earned almost $2,000 in sales, minus the Gumroad 5% commission.
3. I spent $255 on Facebook ads to drive people to the pre-order page.
4. 84% of the people who pre-ordered confirmed their email address after ordering which means I’ve added quite a bit of people to my email list for the book.

Not bad at all I would say.

Now on to some facts and conclusions…

Free vs. Paid – In my first report I mentioned that “Approximately 55% of the people who ordered the package signed up for free, while 45% contributed anywhere between $.99 and $10.” That number of people who got it free vs. paid has since shifted significantly. Now over 75% of the people who pre-ordered the book and audio book paid for the book, while the rest got it for free.

Conclusion: The “pay what you want” model allows you to offer people a choice. They either see value in it up front, or just want something free. That’s fine either way. The people who paid for it paid whatever they wanted for it. All the way from $.99 to $20 in some cases. The bottom line is I offered them a choice to consume my content free or paid, and the vast majority of them chose the paid option.

Suggested Price Thoughts – At first I suggested a price for the pre-order of $1.99. What I found after a few days was that the average paid order was exactly that: $1.99. So I experimented and upped the suggested price to $2.99. Well, there should be no surprise that that statistic has held true. Most people just went with the suggested price.

Conclusion: When you offer people a choice first, and then also offer them a suggestion; most people will take that suggestion. I wonder what would have happened if I upped the suggested price to $4.99 or even more? I will try that in the future with regular orders.

Emails Are Valuable – Amazon is great, but they don’t share YOUR customer data with you. You have no idea who has bought from you. Using this method, I was able to collect hundreds of emails from people who bought my book. That’s EXTREMELY valuable. Now anytime I launch a new book I can email them and tell them about it. Amazon doesn’t let you do that. Building an email list by Going Direct! makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?

Final Thoughts

Sure, I missed out on “rankings” on Amazon for now. I’ll eventually put the book up there for sale. But I would suggest that my sales and the addition of gathering future potential customers totally outweigh the “rankings” I would get from Amazon. Going Direct! isn’t a fad; it’s the future. Every author, or comedian, or musician or blogger or anyone who creates content for an audience can, and should try it.

Garth Brooks is Going Direct!

Legendary music star Garth Brooks knows that Going Direct! is the future. In this story from the AP, “Brooks’ music coming to digital via his own site“, Brooks talks about making his music available only through his own website. This is similar to what author JK Rownlings is doing with her eBooks on her own site Pottermore.com. It’s pretty obvious that major players are beginning to realize the power of Going Direct!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Garth Brooks is finally embracing digital music, but he’s doing it his own way.

Brooks, one of the last holdout big-name musicians still refusing to put his music on iTunes, said Thursday he will make his back catalog of hits and his new music available for download, but only through his own website. He said the digital downloads of previous music would be available in a few weeks to tide fans over until a new album comes out later this year.

The 52-year-old country star remains one of music’s top-selling artists, with 134 million albums sold, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. He has said in the past that he had no animosity toward Apple, but disagreed with its approach to selling music.

Other performers who refused to join iTunes but later reached deals include AC/DC, Radiohead and Led Zeppelin. ITunes was launched in 2001.

“So, we’ll be doing our digital the best way we can, the only way we know how, because we are the only ones who kind of play our own way,” Brooks said at a press conference in Nashville.

Foo Fighters Might “Go Direct!” For Concerts

NME Awards 2011 - Show - London

Going Direct! is catching on. Bands like the Foo Fighters are realizing that a better way to tour might be to let their fans crowdsource where they play. In an article on Rolling Stone, frontman Dave Grohl says that they might start playing in front of crowds that tell them they want them. “I’m telling you, it could become the way that bands decide where they want to play,” Grohl said. “It’s a fun thing; it sort of changes the game. For the past 20 years we always decided who we’re going to play with and where we’re going to play. But now, if we hear that people want us to come somewhere, maybe we’ll come there.”

The band already used Crowdtilt once to let fans help organize a concert in Virginia. Julia Nunes, who I write about in Go Direct! has been doing this for years now.

The future is here for content creators. Will you Go Direct!, or will you continue to play by the gatekeeper rules?

Go Direct! – Soft Launch Numbers

Earlier this week (July 2nd) I did a very soft launch of the pre-order of Go Direct! which includes the digital copy of the book and a bonus audio book released on August 15. For the soft launch (purposely done on a holiday weekend), I announced it on my Facebook page, and sent one Tweet out about it, and sent about 5 review copies out to friends who said they would look at an early copy. I also sent it out to a very small email list (less than 100) people who had previously expressed interest in my books. I mentioned to everyone that they could “pay what they want” for the book, or just get it free. Here are the results so far.

Here’s the image I used on the Facebook post.

Go Direct! Book

The Results…

As of Sunday morning, July 6 there have been 254 “orders” of the pre-order package through Gumroad for a total of $321 earned. Approximately 55% of the people who ordered the package signed up for free, while 45% contributed anywhere between $.99 and $10. The average “pay what you want” order is $1.99, the exact price I suggested on the order page.

More Stats…

92% of the people who ordered the package have confirmed their email address and have been added to my email list. These people will be receiving an automated follow up message a week after the launch that will remind them if they got the book for free, they can now “click here” to contribute financially after the fact. There is also a button on the site that anyone can click that lets them contribute after the fact if they wish. It will be interesting to see how many of those people come back and “kick-in” something after. I will keep track of those numbers and post them in the next update.

I have also received 19 unsolicited amazing reviews sent to me via email, many of which I’m using on the website and will use later on in other marketing materials. One of the reviews said “Simply the best marketing book I’ve read in years.” Eventually I will put the book on Amazon as well, because why not? And then I’ll ask those people to go leave their reviews there as well.

15% of the people who ordered clicked the share icons after purchase on Gumroad to either Tweet or FB share that they “Just pre-ordered Jim’s new book” message, etc…

I used a tracking service called Smarturl.it to process all the links from each source so I could have some stats. 75% of the clicks came from the USA, while 5% came from Canada, and many other countries like Zimbabwe, Columbia, Ecuador, France, Japan, Nigeria and many more. 54% of the clicks came from the Facebook post and the rest from Twitter and the email.

Soft Launch Thoughts So Far…

I find it fascinating that so many people contributed the suggested amount. I will have to try to increase the suggested amount in the future to see if that holds up. Granted, the people who did pre-order are familiar with me as they on my email list and follow me on social media. Those numbers might not be so high to a cold audience.

Overall, I’m extremely happy that a simple Facebook post and Twitter mention could generate so much interest, signups and sales. I know that many people don’t check their email or social media channels on a holiday weekend so I expect those numbers to jump on Monday when I post again and people get back to their email.