March 2017 Angular on Rails Income Report

Here’s every month of Angular on Rails’ sales so far:

2016 August $868
2016 September $1053
2016 October $1580
2016 November $871
2016 December $428
2017 January $371
2017 February $449
2017 March $352

To use the classic geological metaphors, you can see a peak in October and then a plateau from December to the March. Why the peak and why the subsequent plateau?

Well, here’s one possible factor:

subscriber chart

That’s a chart of my new email subscribers. I had a peak in October 2016 with about 300 subscribers. Then it was all downhill from there. In March I had something like 98. So that’s one issue. (The jump in April 2016 is when I imported a list of ~300 subscribers from MailChimp.)

Then there’s this:

sales page traffic

That’s the traffic to my book’s sales page. Again, it peaks in October 2016 and goes down from there.

I think the decreased traffic to the book’s sales page is probably at least partially a function of the waning opt-in rate. And I think the slowing opt-in rate is a function of traffic to the home page. The home page is where all the opting in happens. Here’s the home page traffic:

home page traffic

Similar trend: down.

It took me until recently to notice these things because overall traffic has gone up! Here’s a graph of site-wide traffic:

overall traffic

That graph by itself makes the site look pretty healthy. Not entirely so, of course.

I have a hypothesis of the “no shit, Sherlock” variety that more opt-ins would result in more sales. I figure if I can get my opt-in rate from its current 100ish to its erstwhile 300ish, then I could reasonably expect sales to roughly triple.

My plan for increasing opt-ins includes:
– Put an “ad” on each blog post for the same Free Guide that’s offered on the home page (I’ve actually already done this)
– Add an opt-in on each of my most popular blog posts that offers something related to what the blog post is about (I believe this is known as a “content upgrade”)
– Write an promote some new material, which I haven’t done in quite some time. I have a hunch that the lack of “freshness” on my site is partially responsible for my decline in opt-ins, although I can’t explain exactly how that would work. Regardless of whether my hunch is correct, there’s a ton of stuff I think I should be writing about that I’m not. The more I write, the more traffic I get, generally, and more traffic is of course one way to increase opt-ins, although perhaps not the smartest/easiest way. New writing is a lower priority for me than adding content upgrades and refreshing old content.

Another thing that can increase sales is of course to raise prices or to increase the average purchase size. I recently re-did my $89 video product and adjusted my sales page to do a better job of presenting the $89 product and of saying to prospects “this is the default option, the best value, the one you should buy”. Anecdotally, my efforts seem to have worked, although it’s too early to tell. And I certainly haven’t yet done the best job of improving the sales page that I could possibly do. It really needs a ground-up rewrite and redesign. But that’s a lower priority. First let me just get opt-ins back up to where they used to be.

I mentioned that I re-did my $89 video product. I also updated my book so that it covers the latest version of Angular, Angular 4. After I did both these things I did a launch. I was expected big sales from the launch, like a couple thousand or more, but on launch day I believe only two people bought. Big disappointment.

I wondered why that was, and I think I know the answer. On my list of 1500ish subscribers, about 130 have bought. That’s about 8 or 9 percent. Maybe about 8 or 9 percent of my subscribers are going to be buyers, and that’s just all the buyers there are. Maybe by trying to get the others to buy I’m just trying to squeeze blood from a stone. A huge portion of my list comes from places like India and Brazil, after all, where $39 is a lot of money.

I think there’s also another explanation as to why my launch failed. Every time a subscriber subscribes, I give that subscriber his own private “launch sequence” which often does result in the subscriber making a purchase. So if my “private launch sequence” is effective, then a regular launch would probably be mostly redundant. For the most part, the people who would respond to the launch have responded the first time, and the people who would never respond aren’t going to respond to the second launch any more than they would to the first. Again, I think this is true for the most part although of course not always.

Those conclusions, if true, lead me right back to increasing opt-ins. If all the buyers on my list have already bought, find more buyers.

If I can boil down everything I’ve said so far into a concise plan, it’s this: increase opt-ins and increase average sale size. If I can 2X my sale size and 3X my opt-in rate, I can 6X my revenue. That would take my from my current ~$400/mo plateau to 400 * 6 = $2,400/mo. I would be very happy with that number. Heck, I’d even be pretty happy with a consistent $1,000/mo right now.

I don’t want to jump to conclusions or get my hopes up but it seems like some of the actions I’ve taken recently might have helped improve opt-ins and average sale size. My April sales as of right now, April 10th, are $386.75. That’s an average of $38.68 a day which would mean about $1,160 for the month. Again, I’m not going to jump to conclusions or get my hopes up. Even though my launch was a flop, the $386.75 does include launch sales. But just by absolute numbers, I’m already right at “plateau level” on the 10th day of April and I do think I can reasonably expect that April’s final sales will be higher than any other month since the plateau started.

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