I won’t go into the details of what I was selling, this post is about sharing the difficulties I had due to the lack of planning and my naivety. This post should serve as a warning to all those who want to baptize themselves as WSO sellers; I should have made $70,000, not $37,142 (I’ve since made more sales, making the total $43k).
So, I’m a “tech” guy. I never thought about venturing into the world of selling WSOs because there is a stigma. You know what I’m talking about, there are more snakes on the Warrior Forum than there were on Samuel L Jackson’s plane (“muther****er!”).
I never decided to do a WSO, it came as an afterthought when I built some software for myself. The software is back on for sale again (You can see it here if you’re curious, it’s NOT for sale anymore). I was in a hurry to get it done and listed because I had spent 4 days on the project and I was excited although apprehensive about how well it would do.
I listed it late one Sunday in April 2011, stayed for an hour or so to answer questions and watch some sales come in and then went to bed. Whilst I dreaming about how much better the world would be if Homer Simpson had won the 2000 US election, Mike Lantz over at Warrior Plus decided that he liked my earnings per click (EPCs) and labeled my WSO for WSO Of The Day.
So, you can imagine my shock when I woke up in the morning and got on the computer to find there had been 140 new sales. But there were problems which were to eventually cause me to write this post.
Number One: No videos!
That’s right! No sales video, and no support videos. I actually thought people would be able to work out how to use the program with the provided PDF manual. I was wrong. Very wrong.
With software, video tuition is crucial. Not only this but you need to speak slowly, and put writen notations on the videos too. I was surprised how many buyer were from Asia and didn’t speak much Engrish, probably about 30%.
Not having a video on your sales thread also smacks of not preparing properly. And it was true, I didn’t prepare properly.
By the way, the “Engrish” thing was just a little joke. No need to get upset (if you did). It’s OK, I speak funny too.
Sales got better once I finally added a sales video many moons later. People want to be able to assess a WSO in 30 seconds, a good video will make them stay for 2 minutes. You want to make sure they then decide to read the sales thread or go straight to the buy button.
Number Two: No domain, no branding!
I created a product called PR Plunder, and I didn’t even buy the domain (PRplunder.com). This meant that the support email address was also different: support@SomeOtherDomain.com. For a start, there are lots of WSO affiliates (myself included). I am AMAZED that no one thought to check and buy PRplunder.com once my WSO was emailed out as WSO of the day. I was lucky.
I simply didn’t think that I would make so many sales. I didn’t think my WSO would be a big deal so I thought I would answer questions via email or on the thread, instead of making a video. And I also thought I didn’t need the domain. Very foolish. In fact I would say that if you can’t get the exact match dot com for your product name, you should change your product name. You want to be on the top of the search results for your product name and the best head start for doing that is have YourProduct.com
Number 3: Warrior Plus license system integration
This doesn’t matter so much if you’re selling an Ebook but if you’re selling software that needs licenses then the best way to send them out is by using PayPal IPN, also known as Instant Payment Notifications. When WarriorPlus started making loads of affiliate sales it came to light that my license system was not working. 50% of sales went to the affiliates (known as commissions rotation), and those sales didn’t access my own IPN settings. By the end of the day I had 850 sales, and I had 400 licenses to manually configure and email out… It was horrible, worse than a sensual massage from Jabba the Hut.
Number 4: Get support off the thread!
When the license issues happened, and some people had system compatibility problems they started plastering my sales thread with bad news. I tried to resolve those (while desperately sending out hundreds of licenses) on the thread when really I should have insisted that all enquiries go to the support address. It made the thread look negative at times and I’m sure it cost me many sales.
Also, sometimes people make mistakes. Many of my customers complained about things when in actual fact they hadn’t read the guide, or the sales letter. That’s fine, I do it myself, but when they assume it’s your fault and post this on your thread… guess what, other people assume it’s your fault too. When they realise it was their fault, most of the time they won’t say so, or edit their post. This means that blight will be on your thread forever… for no reason at all, just hurting your sales!
Number 5: Not releasing a full-featured product
As I said, I never expected to make 1350 sales, I was hoping to get 100. I had the attitude that I could release updates, new features and minor bug fixes as they happened. I used the software myself, and was perfectly aware how to use it. However when customers did things I hadn’t done they found bugs and problems and things that could be improved. The impact this had was that people refunded which is understandable. Time is valuable, you don’t want to be dickin’ around with an unfinished product.
Number 6: Image WSO Sales Letter
There are several reasons for this, the first is that you want to use the written sales letter for your actual product domain. Otherwise Google will think that the Warrior Forum is the original source of the text and you may get a duplicate penalty if you use the same text for your product domain.
Another reason is there are many scrapers that simply scrape the WSO sections and steal the text. If it’s an image, then it will not affect your SEO. These scraper blogs are usually cookie stuffing, or doing very little to help your sales.
Finally, every WSO has to be approved by an Admin on the forum. This can take time. Often people will be scrambling to finish everything before a launch. If you submit an image as your sales letter you can still work on it! You simply re-upload the image to the same location when you’ve made changes. This gives you an extra 24-48 hours to work on your sales letter and act on feedback you get from other sellers etc.
Number 7: Not trying to get JVs on board.
I didn’t tell ANYONE that I was releasing this WSO. I just did it, and got lucky that other JVs picked it up. You may not be so lucky. When trying to get people to promote, think about what they want and address that. For me as an affiliate, I want offers that I can use in my business (like good link builder, keyword research etc), and something I won’t feel guilty about promoting. Don’t spam potential JVs on the warrior forum with private messages with clearly non-personal messages. I hate that. I often report people for doing it because it’s a waste of my time. If someone contacts me on skype and says “hey Michael, this is my product and it’s in your niche. It’s great quality, at a great price and your list will love you for promoting it” then I might listen and take the time to look into it.
I started writing this post in December 2011, since then the sales volume has grown to about $43k. I’ve also created a helpdesk which saves me a lot of time. It’s definitely a good idea to get into the product space. The hardest part is bringing value which I managed to do with my “in the trenches” experience and a unique product. Simply pumping out WSOs for the sake of selling WSOs will cheapen your name, and put you in the “Guru” category quickly.
When you’re on the ground, working in a space (SEO, email, paid traffic etc) it’s really easy to think of products. Ideas just come to you because you meet obstacles everyday, and everyday you look for ways to make your business more efficient and effective. That’s how I can up with the idea and concept for Fight Back Networks.
It also opens a lot of doors in terms of contacts, and if successful can bring a substancial sum of money in that you can invest into new projects of any kind, not just new products.
What did I do with all that money? I have no idea… I spent a lot on software and servers and stuff that was on my wishlist. Lots of domain names too… Also I think I bought some shoes…
I suppose my last error was not planning what I will do with the profits!