responsiblecommenting.com

26Nov/110

The 10 Secrets to Making a Spellbinding Video Trailer for Your Next Blog, Book, or Product Launch

This guest post is by Jon Morrow of boostblogtraffic.com.

Okay, so not everybody is a natural-born Steven Spielberg.

You might like the idea of creating a trailer for your next launch. You might even believe it’s doable after reading this guide to creating movie trailers.

Movies

Image copyright Rafa Irusta - Fotolia

But is it reasonable to think you can be “spellbinding?”

Can little old you really make a trailer that connects with visitors on such a primal level it throws them into a frenzy to subscribe?

Are you really capable of making a video so jaw-dropping they want to tell their friends, creating a tidal wave of viral traffic for your new project?

Well … I won’t make any promises. For one, you probably wouldn’t believe me, and for two, spellbinding millions of people isn’t something anyone can do at the drop of a hat.

It takes work. It takes thought. It even takes (gasp!) a little bit of talent.

But it’s probably easier than you think.

Here are ten little strategies for making it happen.

1. Beware the technology

When you pop open a site like VideoHive, it’s easy to get hypnotized by all the jaw-dropping special effects, musical nuances, and limitless possibilities of what you can do with the technology.

But beware.

The secret to creating a great trailer isn’t special effects. It’s not music. It’s not even the great and powerful Adobe After Effects.

It’s story.

In my trailer, I told the story that I’m an up and comer respected by some of the biggest names in the industry. In Google’s Super Bowl commercial, they told the story of how Google is an integral part of a beautiful and constantly changing life. In the Lateral Action trailer, they told the story about how creativity is the new secret success.

Yes, the special effects and music and technology were important, but it all started with sitting down and writing the story. The reason we see so many big-budget Hollywood flops is directors routinely forget this fact and try to put the gadgetry first.

But it doesn’t work. Regardless of whether you are creating a video trailer, a book, a radio show, or a blog post, the story comes first. It always has.

2. Put your creativity in a box

Okay, so I’m a pretty creative guy, right? I understand the desire to do something new, to create art that uniquely represents your brand, to drive people to places they never thought they would go.

But you have to fit it inside a box.

With your trailer, for instance, you’ll be tempted to hire an After Effects designer to develop a trailer that better represents your brand. You’ll be tempted to believe you need to take an entirely new approach. You’ll be tempted to invent said approach all by yourself.

But don’t. Stick with a template that’s already created, or at the very least, confine yourself to a style of trailer that’s proven to work. You can still do amazing things; just do them inside of those limits.

Because, you see, real genius isn’t about reinventing the wheel. It’s about doing things with the wheel nobody ever thought of.

PS: Thank you Twyla Tharp for showing me this.

3. Forget about teaching anything

So, in your launch video, you need to give everyone all sorts of useful advice they can put into action right away, right?

Actually, no. Yes, giving away useful advice is an important launch strategy, but in your trailer, you don’t have time. If you use the Hollywood guidelines, you only have 30-210 seconds, and that’s only enough time to do one thing:

Create a bond.

You can’t show off your expertise. You can’t teach them a tip that will improve their life. You can’t give them a sample of what they’ll get inside.

But you can make them care. And if you trailer accomplishes that and only that, you’re off to a good start.

4. Deliberately manipulate people’s emotions

What’s the simplest way to create a bond?

Easy: manipulate people’s emotions.

Yes, there’s a dirty connotation to it, but there doesn’t have to be. Your date or spouse is deliberately manipulating your emotions when they put up candles for a romantic dinner, but we don’t care, because it feels good.

Same idea here. In your trailer, you can use your story, special effects, and music create a state of happiness, curiosity, expectancy, inspiration, or pretty much any other positive, enjoyable emotion.

It’s good for you, because it builds an emotional bond, and it’s good for them because you put them in a positive frame of mind. Everybody wins.

5. Decide who you want to be

When I told everyone how I got 1740 subscribers in only a week from my trailer, the response was both loud and predictable:

But that’s because you have quotes from Darren Rowse and Brian Clark! Not everybody can get endorsements like those!

And, well, that’s kind of the point. If everyone could get endorsements like those, it wouldn’t be as impressive, now would it?

But nobody said you have to take the same approach.

In my trailer, I consciously positioned myself as an authority on blog traffic. Maybe you want to position yourself as the:

  • nurturing mommy or daddy type who can help and encourage beginners
  • eccentric but creative genius who creates works of art
  • reformer fighting heroically for change.

All those positions can make people want to subscribe, and all require a different approach with the trailer. Not everybody has to be an authority, so if you’re not one, don’t worry about the quotes. Choose a style that fits your positioning.

6. Keep it under three minutes

If you’re using a trailer from VideoHive, this one isn’t an issue, because your template will determine how long your trailer is, but if you’re designing one from scratch or substantially modifying a template, here’s the rule of thumb on length:

Keep it under three minutes.

Yes, it’s possible to go longer, but you start to lose viewers, and it affects your subscription rate. Longer videos are fine for sales or training, where it’s necessary you educate the viewer, but in this case, you want to give them just enough to get them excited … and nothing more.

7. Autoplay the video

Okay, so saying this is going to get some people upset, but you’re reading this to learn how to craft an effective trailer, right?

Well, here it is:

Autoplay video works better than making people click play.

When visitors arrive on your trailer page, in other words, the video should begin playing automatically. Yes, it annoys some people, but marketers have tested the socks off this, and it gets a better subscription rate pretty much every time.

8. Eliminate all distractions from the page

If you look at my trailer page, you’ll notice it’s pretty stark. Just the video, a TV-style border, and the subscription box at the bottom.

Here’s why:

It keeps people focused.

If you put your trailer on a page with a sidebar and other blog posts and comments and tweets, your visitors are going to do everything but subscribe. They’ll get distracted, they’ll intend to come back, but then they’ll forget, leave, and you’ve lost them forever.

So eliminate the distractions from the page. If you already have a blog, set up a separate page with its own template, but under no circumstances put it in the body of a regular blog post. It will get a horrible subscription rate.

9. Tell them what to do at the end

This is one area where I disagree with Hollywood.

Normal movie trailers end with a cliffhanger or a quip or a snappy line of dialogue, fading to the logo and the film’s premiere date. They don’t actually expect you to remember the name or the date, of course. You’re just supposed to remember you like it and it’s coming soon.

And that’s fine, if you have million to buy thousands of commercials, reminding people several times a day that your film is coming out, but if you’re a little guy, and you’re getting all of your traffic from word-of-mouth, it’s deadly. For us, it’s absolutely essential we get them to subscribe the first time they see the trailer, and to do that, we have to tell them:

Subscribe.

You can still have the cliffhanger or quips or snappy dialogue, and I do recommend inserting your logo somewhere in the trailer, but the ending must absolutely tell them to subscribe, and you need to do it in the strongest possible way. If there’s one thing I regret about my trailer, it’s having such a soft call to action at the end. It’s probably cost me hundreds of readers.

10. Be worthy of the hype

Now we come to the most important point of all.

The purpose of a trailer is to build buzz. The purpose of a trailer is to raise expectations. The purpose of a trailer is, bluntly, to hype your project.

But are you worthy of it?

All too often, the films we see trailers for are not. The trailer makes it seem uproariously funny, edge-of-your-seat tense, or satisfyingly lovey-dovey, but when you go see the movie, it’s just … terrible.

We feel betrayed. We feel lied to. We feel like marketers are evil scum buckets who will say anything to make a buck.

Many times, it’s true. But here’s the question:

Do you want to be that guy?

I don’t.

I want to go beyond what people could ever imagine. I want to enchant them. I want to create a little sliver of magic they carry with them until the day they die.

And it’s hard work. I’ve been working on my blog launch for … umm … three months, and honestly, it’s just getting started.

But it’s also worth it.

At the end, I’ll have tens of thousands of subscribers. At the end, I’ll have a business that will support me for years to come. At the end, I’ll have changed the lives of countless people.

You can too. You just have to make an uncompromising commitment to being worthy of your hype.

Do that, and you’re not a scam artist. You’re a hero.

And if you ask me, the world needs more of those.

Jon Morrow is also on a mission to help good writers get traffic they deserve. If you’re one of them, check out his upcoming blog about (surprise!) blogging.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

DMS_468x60_LS_banner4.gif

The 10 Secrets to Making a Spellbinding Video Trailer for Your Next Blog, Book, or Product Launch


ProBlogger Blog Tips

21Nov/110

From Failed Idea to Profitable Product: What I Learned from Failure

This guest post is by Björgvin Benediktsson of Audio Issues.

The biggest insecurity we bloggers face is the question of whether anybody is actually going to buy our product. We can’t give away our content forever, and those Google ads are hardly going to pay the bills.

That’s why every blogger should offer his or her own product. You can recommend other products without seeing a noticeable return. The biggest return on effort is from your own product, whether it’s an ebook, a service, or a piece of software. But the creation of your own product creates a different kind of fear.

The fear of failure

Everybody fears failure. It’s instilled in us from an early age. Most people don’t like losing, and try to avoid it at all costs. And if you’re going to create something to sell, the fear of it failing becomes all too real. Many times it becomes so real that people don’t even go through with their plans at all.

But failure is just a stepping stone towards success. If you can use the lessons you learned from a failed product, there’s always a better probability of success in your next venture.

What I learned from failure

My first product was pretty much a failure. It didn’t sell at all, and even though people thought the idea was good, when it came time to buy, no one did.

It’s tough to deal with failure, but I trekked on an created a new product—to great success. I didn’t get rich overnight, but on my small niche scale, I did pretty well.

So what did I learn from my first failure that you can use to your business success?

Do your market research

You not only need to know your niche, you also need to know what the people in your niche really want. A great idea is only good if people want to buy it.

I had this great idea for a productivity tool that, in the end, nobody really wanted. Sure, some people bought it, but it wasn’t a sustainable income. Instead I focused my effort on what I knew people wanted: information. I assumed that people would rather pay for information that they could use in their own endeavors.

Lesson learned: People would rather invest in information than anything else. In a specialty niche like mine, my readers wanted to learn techniques to better their own productions. They didn’t really need a productivity tool to keep track of their home recordings. Their computer already did that.

Decide to go digital

The first product I created was a hardcover book. The buying process was tedious, there were extra shipping costs, and my variable costs were relatively high, so most of my profit was eaten by the costs. I needed to keep the costs of the book down, but I also needed to recoup the costs of each book sold. Even though I used a print-on-demand service, the extra costs just weren’t worth it.

Lesson learned: Go digital. I decided to create an informative digital ebook, Mixing Strategies, which was only sold via direct download. Even though the model of selling ebooks has been around for a long time, I needed to learn why it was such a good idea on my own. With digital downloads, the variable costs of each download are non-existent so you can turn a profit quicker and more easily than with hardcopy products.

Find an outsourcer

I’m not much of a designer. I wanted my first product to look nice, so I outsourced my design work to Pakistan on the cheap. 0 later, I had a really nice looking product that I could sell. If I had done it myself it would have either never have been finished, or it would have looked very amateurish. By using outsourced freelance work, I was able to create a much nicer looking product than I ever could have myself, regardless of whether it would sell or not.

Lesson learned: Delegate tasks to those who know better. When it came time to create a new product, I had learned how easy it is to outsource work. I had learned how to ask for specific details and how to sift through the endless numbers of graphic designers out there. I was fine with paying for professional results, because I knew I would be saving myself a lot of time and effort—time and effort I could use towards other things.

Pre-market your product

I failed to create a lot of buzz around my first launch. I didn’t really talk about the product at all until I launched it. No wonder nobody bought it: I hadn’t built up any suspense about it. Whether you call it creating buzz, pre-marketing, or pre-selling, it was clear that I failed at it. Maybe if I had created a little more buzz, somebody would have told me that the product wasn’t such a great idea in the first place.

Lesson learned: Talk about your products. While I wrote my ebook I often asked my newsletter subscribers and other readers what they thought. I pitched them the table of contents and asked them questions that they would like answered in a book. I created buzz and anticipation by talking about the creation of the product. The result? I started selling copies almost before I had sent out the initial launch newsletter. I created so much anticipation over the months preceding the launch that people bought it immediately.

Offer launch discounts and build urgency

Not only did I not create any buzz for my failed product, I failed to create any fanfare around the launch. I simply launched the product, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. The best didn’t come. I didn’t create any sense of urgency, so nobody saw any point in buying it right away.

Lesson learned: Not only do you have to create anticipation, but once you launch, you have to create an urgency to buy. For the first ten days, I offered my product at a discounted price. This created a need to buy in my readers. They wanted my product because I had created so much anticipation, and now they could get it at a discounted price. The result? The sales kept rolling in.

Failure creates success

I wouldn’t have learned any of those lessons if I hadn’t created my first product. Even though it failed in most ways (it does still sell every now and then!), I still regard it as an accomplishment.

If it weren’t for this first product, I wouldn’t have learned how to find a demand, how to find great outsourcers, how to create buzz and ultimately, how to generate profitable sales. In my case, my initial failure only helped create my success.

How have your failures helped your accomplishments?

Björgvin Benediktsson is an audio engineer, musician and online entrepreneur from Iceland. He’s been involved in the music and audio industry for almost a decade, playing in bands, working as a sound engineer and recording music. He’s written one ebook, Mixing Strategies that’s available at his site Audio Issues. Follow Björgvin on Twitter at www.twitter.com/audioissues.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

DMS_468x60_LS_banner4.gif

From Failed Idea to Profitable Product: What I Learned from Failure


ProBlogger Blog Tips

30Sep/110

Get Product Recommendations and Help Other Shoppers on Get.com



Have you ever needed a new product, but didn’t know where to start looking; maybe you knew the type of product you needed, but didn’t know which exact one/type to choose? It always helps when you can get recommendations from others who are more knowledgeable about that specific category of products. That’s where Get.com comes in handy.

Get.com is a Q&A platform that helps you get product recommendations quickly from thousands of people.” It’s as simple as that. First you connect your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts. Next you setup your profile. Lastly you can ask your questions or help others who have asked questions.

Navigation

From the home page you can see recent questions from all categories. You can also navigate to other categories (via the header links), ask your own question, click to view the leaderboard, view the top helpers, and see recent visitors to the site. This is the best place to find questions that you can jump into and give your input.

Get.com Home Page - Ask and View Questions

You’ll also notice that there are often a few odd-ball questions mixed into the bunch.

Answer Questions

The main purpose of Get.com is to get product recommendations and help others who need suggestions. Sometimes you’ll find questions that are looking for a straightforward answer, while others may ask you to suggest your own product.

In the screenshot below you’ll see that some users have suggested headphones that the user might like. Other users can then go in and vote for one of the suggestions or add their own to the mix.

Answer Questions and Help Others on Get.com

There are also ways to share and follow questions that interest you. Additionally, you can see related questions along with your personally history (recently viewed questions) in the sidebar.

Ask Questions

Asking your own question is quite simple as well. First click on the yellow “Ask Question” link in the top header of the site. You can then type in your questions along with additional details (if needed), budget, and topic (electronics, automotive, photography, makeup & beauty, parenting).

Ask Questions on Get.com

 

Lastly, you can choose whether or not you’d like to get product suggestions (like pictured above).

Settings

Finally, there is the settings area. Here you can ad a picture, choose a display name (full name or first name and last initial), add a mini bio and about info, add your website, and customize your email notifications.

Unfortunately, you can’t actually change your display name. For instance, I signed up using Facebook and now it is using my full name as my display name. Personally, I’d rather use a screen name or at least a name that most people know me by, not my legal full name.

Do you feel there is a need for a service like Get.com? It is something that you plan to use yourself?


Copyright © 2011 Blogging Tips. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact us so we can take legal action immediately.

POSTLINK

Blogging Tips Books
A selection of e-books to help you improve as a blogger.
Find out more at www.bloggingtips.com/books/


Blogging Tips

19Apr/110

How to Write Amazing Product Reviews

This guest post is by Ray Maker of DCRainmaker.com.

Product review posts are in many ways the core of what blogging is about—the ability for all of us regular folks to express an opinion about a product, be it good or bad.  Every day, tens of thousands of product reviews are written on blogs across the world, and often, on just one product alone, hundreds of new opinion/review posts are written each week.

The goal of most folks when they write a review post is to share their opinion with the world about the product.  But how do you differentiate writing a review post that only sees a handful of eyeballs, from ones that see thousands of readers every day—and in some cases ranks even higher than the manufacturer’s own product page?

Know the product like nobody else

The single biggest difference between writing a product review that’s just so-so, and writing one that kicks butt is demonstrating an in-depth knowledge of the product.  A product review that is written by someone who understands the product inside-out will organically attract more attention than one written by someone who’s just stumbling around.

If you understand the product inside and out, show off that knowledge.  If you don’t, then learn it quick!  When people search the Internet for a review of a specific product, they’re looking for detail and coverage of the product.  What they aren’t looking for is a short blurb with a few “Four out of Five Stars!” icons tossed in.  If they were looking for that, they’d just check the ratings on their favorite online retailer’s site instead.

No, when they look for a product review, they’re looking for unbiased feedback from knowledgeable experts in that field.  The most popular product review sites for any niche are written by folks that understand the product and every little detail about it.  While short “I just opened up the box”-type reviews have their place, one has to realistically understand that place won’t be at the top of search engine results.

Speak from the perspective of someone new to the product…

If you review products often, you can easily get into the rut of thinking “my readers already know what I’m talking about.”  And while this may actually be true, you have to step back and look at what your end-state target audience is.

In many cases, it’s not only your regular readers, but also everyday people searching the wild blue yonder trying to find information about that specific product.  And in many cases, they know nothing about that product or its genre.  If I were to go out and buy a new camcorder today, I’d likely be starting from scratch to find out what’s a normal feature, and what’s a totally cool unique feature.

In thinking about it from that angle, you should always introduce functionality within a product as if the person never knew it existed. The benefit to doing this is that you not only explain that piece of functionality, but also teach your reader something new.  This is critical.  Users who find blogs educational will almost always stay around for more.  If they don’t learn anything new, they’ll simply wander elsewhere and not come back.

…And from the perspective of a longtime user

In addition to approaching a product from the newbies’ standpoint, it’s also important to delve into subjects that long-time users of the product or product series will find useful or educational.  You can do this in a number of ways, but I find the easiest way is to simply talk about the evolution of a given feature from product to product.  By doing so you illustrate not only your understanding of the product, but also your understanding of past products within the same line/genre/niche.

Longtime users often come to product reviews looking for a fix for “their issue.” This is generally an issue that’s caused them deep annoyance for a period of time. It tends to be the one and only thing they’re hoping to hear has been fixed or solved.  By covering these key desires of previous generations of products or competitor products, you’re no longer just another reviewer, but someone who truly understands the product they’re reviewing. 

In short: know the product pains, and address them.

Don’t use PR marketing material

There is no quicker way to turn off readers than regurgitating canned PR pieces from a manufacturer.  Not only can the average human detect it, but search engines do as well.  People immediately gloss over anything that looks like either PR text, or PR images. I always shoot all of my own images.  While my photographic skill varies between barely functional and decent, readers know they’re real images that show off how the product works in the real world—not carefully crafted pictures photo-shopped in the best light.

Speaking of PR, be careful with what you keep of products. In my case, I have a pretty clear policy that anything I test goes back to the company.  I generally poke at it for about 30-45 days, and then once I publish my review, I send it back.  Often I’ll end up purchasing another copy of the product to be able to answer questions about it over the long-term.  Just remember, most readers can quickly see whether or not you’re praising a product simply because you got it for free. Using those PR snippets never helps that case, either.

Research the living daylights out of it, and don’t make mistakes

If there’s one thing that folks know about my reviews, it’s that they’re both complete and accurate. 

I spend inordinate amounts of time ensuring that every detail is correct.  When I proof my reviews, I often sit back and read them from the perspective of a nit-picker.  As such, I ponder every little detail.  Is that 100% accurate?  Should there be a caveat noted?  Are there fringe cases where someone might disagree?  If so, address those issues.  By addressing edge cases and tiny details up front, you address concern within the reader’s mind about review accuracy.  It also helps to drive the key tenant of product reviews that I touched on earlier: showing in-depth knowledge of the product.

And while I try to avoid making mistakes, it’s certainly possible that in my 60-80 page reviews, they occur.  I always include a little snippet that simply says “If I’ve written something that doesn’t quite jive, just let me know and I’ll research it and get it fixed”.  We’re all human, and reminding readers of that puts everyone at ease.

Show off what the product can do with examples from your other posts

I’m told one of the biggest draws of my blog is that when folks find a given product review, they’re given information not only about that product, but about how to use that product to its fullest potential.  I do this of course within the product review itself, but also by providing comprehensive links to relevant content throughout my site.

I have numerous other articles and posts that explain what a given feature does, even if it’s not product specific. If I’m talking about how to use that feature, I’ll give a brief introduction within the review, but then I’ll direct folks to another post for an equally in-depth post on that specific feature.  This has the added benefit of increasing page views and reducing bounce rates.  And remember one of the other key pillars of a good review—educating?  Well, by introduce readers to other educational content, and they’ll find your blog even more beneficial.

Do communicate with the company

This is one step many folks overlook, which is puzzling to me.  I usually make a point of circling back to the company that made the product, and having a brief conference call or email exchange to discuss both the pros and cons that I found while reviewing the product. Why would I do this?  A whole bunch of reasons!

First, doing this creates a bridge between my readers and the company—a great way to funnel future feedback to them … or from them. 

Second, in some cases issues I found aren’t really issues, but things that can be solved a different way.  This is information I can then pass onto readers, helping them out should they encounter the same problem, and increasing your value as an educator.

Third, people just want answers. While complaining and making a racket about a problem is fun for a while, it’s not what makes for a good long-term readership draw to your site.  By talking to the company you can often understand the “Why” of an issue, and get realistic answers on how that decision was made.  Even if the issue can’t be fixed, at least folks can understand the reasoning—and then independently decide for themselves the validity of it.

Reply to post comments with answers

I spend a fair bit of time not only immediately after I post an in-depth product review—but also for months and years—answering peoples questions about the product.  This shows that I’m still involved with the post and niche, and that I care about helping them out. 

Do this, and readers are far more likely stick around with you and see what else you have to say.  In addition, this back-and-forth discussion tends to answer questions that others are searching for, once again helping to drive up PageRank on your product review posts.

Search out forums with questions

As you’ve read countless times on ProBlogger, the easiest way to build support for your blog is to invest in your niche’s community.  But “investing” doesn’t mean that you partake in seagull-style forum link dropping.  It means that you look for questions on forums that you spend time in and answer the question there.  Once you’ve fully answered the question there, then include a link to relevant off-site content if and only if it’s relevant.

Folks can easily see through link-dropping, but by answering the question fully and then mentioning that additional reading is just a click away, you truly contribute to the community, instead of just bettering your own blog.

Communicate to relevant media outlets

Last but not least, if you’re reviewing a product that’s new on the scene, sending a quick note to relevant media outlets and popular sources of information in that niche can be a great way to spread the word.  I generally send a quick note letting them know I’ve published something new and that it may be of use to their readers. And then I leave it at that.

In the same way that you on your own blog have a vision for what would be published, they do as well.  So respect the fact that every review you post may not be exactly what they’re looking for, and don’t pester them continually—that’s not good for you long term.

Wrap up

Last but not least, with any product review it’s important to write a summary or wrap-up.  That’s what readers skim for.  While I write 60-80 pages of stuff on most of my in-depth reviews, I understand that at the end of the day people skim to the end of the post. Be sure to outline the pro’s and con’s there.  Summaries also help to gel together longer reviews into concise opinions—after all, that’s why the reader came to your site in the first place.

Do you write product reviews on your blog? What tips can you add to this list?

Ray Maker is the author of DCRainmaker.com—a blog dedicated to extremely in depth product reviews of sports technology products (have you ever seen a 61-page product review?).  In addition, he writes about his running/triathlon training as well any other interesting things that float his way.  You can also follow him on Twitter at @dcrainmakerblog.

Post from: ProBlogger Blog Tips

Yellow_Chair_468x60.gif

How to Write Amazing Product Reviews


ProBlogger Blog Tips

31Oct/100

The Dark Art of Product Pricing

This post was written by the Web Marketing Ninja — a professional online marketer for a major web brand, who’s sharing his tips undercover here at ProBlogger. Curious? So are we!

One of the most common questions I get asked is how much I’d charge for a given product. I guess the reason I’m asked this so much is it’s one of the hardest questions to answer, but the importance of price should never be underestimated.

Here’s the process I go through when I’m trying to arrive at a product price.

1. Your existing readers

It doesn’t matter if it’s your first product, or your tenth. If you know your audience, you should have a feel for their propensity to pay for things—and to what degree. If you’re unsure about this, look at the sorts of affiliate campaigns that are more successful with your readers. Do low-cost/high-volume campaigns deliver your highest revenue? Or do high-cost/low-volume promotions boost your bottom line the most?

Outcome: My existing customers have a propensity to buy cheap/expensive products.

2. Market perceptions

The general public has trouble valuing things—and brands have been exploiting that for years. But what you need to determine for your specific product is this: is there a market-based status quo when it comes to the price people expect to pay? If you’re selling music, or books, ask if there’s generally an accepted price range for these products.

Outcome: The community perception is that my type of product will be priced between $____ and $____

3. Where it fits in your product/customer life cycle

If this is your one and only product, then this perhaps doesn’t have much of an impact, but typically, products fit into three key life-cycle categories: entry level, standard, and premium. Once you’ve slotted this new product into your product life cycle, you want to apply one simple rule: make the step from entry level to standard small, and the step from standard to premium high. For example, you might offer an ebook as your entry-level product, a webinar series as your standard product, and one-on-one consulting as your premium offering. An example price structure might look like this:

  • ebook .95
  • webinar: .95
  • consulting: 00

Outcome: This product is my Entry / Standard / Premium offering in my product portfolio.

4. Competitive market research

When building a competitive profile, aside from the prices my competitors charge, I document five key items:

  1. Influence of the brand (High, Medium, Low)
  2. Perception of the product (reviews, sales volumes)
  3. Core problem the product is solving
  4. History of discounting
  5. My product’s key point of difference from the competition

What I’m attempting to find with this research is where there is an under or over representation in terms of high/low value and high/low price. You’ll also get a good understanding of the caliber of your opponents’ products in the particular subsection of the market you choose to enter.

Outcome: My product has (high/medium/low) value and a (low/medium/high) price, and my closest competitor is…

5. Defining the real cost of the product

Bloggers often fail to figure out the cost of selling the product. You need to factor in things like transaction fees, the likely overhead of affiliate payments, and, if you’re selling a physical product, delivery, storage and other costs. While you may be likely to sell electronic products, you’re still going to have to pay money for every sale that’s made. How much?

Outcome: On average, my product costs $____ to sell.

6. Correlating feature relevance with customer value

Things can get tricky at this step. You need to make a realistic assessment of how relevant your #1 feature is to the customer problem that your product solves. Don’t get caught adding up the ten different features your product might have—focus on the top one. Then, make a call about the value people put on the solving this problem.

Outcome: My product has a (low / medium / high) relevance to solving the customer problem (___________) and people are willing to pay (a little / some / a lot) to solve it.

Other considerations

Okay so that’s the first stage done. Since you’ve answered some critical questions, you should now have a feel for what the market expects to pay for this type of product, and where yours fits into that spectrum. Now there are just a few more considerations to keep in mind as you choose a price.

Don’t be the cheapest.

It’s easy to start a pricing war by offering the cheapest item, and if you’re after a short term windfall, then it’s and option. But rarely does the cheapest win when if comes to competition.

For me this was summed up when I heard a five-year-old kid say to his mother, “We need to get that one, it’s more expensive, so it must be better”. The innocence of youth — saying what we all think!

Discounting is dangerous.

Lately, many successful product launches have initially offered a special introductory price that’s discounted. That’s fine, but try to avoid any ongoing discounts. It’s actually more advantageous to offer outrageous 50-60% discounts than smaller 10-20% amounts, as the customers’ perceptions of returning value on higher discounts are a lot greater. But if you can, avoid discounting at all.

The smaller the price, the more important it is to get it right.

If you decide on a low-priced product, keep things in proportion! The difference between and is 100%. So if you price your product at you’ll need to sell twice as many to earn the same amount of income as you would if you sold the product for . Worse, a product you sell for needs to sell four times as much as it would if it was priced at . When working with small numbers, finding the sweet spot is extremely important.

Don’t get stuck in middle.

Those irrelevant middle prices do nothing but cost you money—especially at the high end of the market. If you’re thinking of an 0 price tag, and your product has a unique selling point, charge 9. For a 5 product, go for 9 or 9. Your competition might seem to drive your price downwards, however I’d be working the other way. If you’re competitor is 9 try 99—as long as you can prove why your product is better.

Throwing caution to the wind

As this post’s title attests, pricing is an art. Pricing can be so hard that sometimes you just need go with your gut, pluck a number, throw it out there and see what happens. Remember though, that it’s easier to drop the price of something than to increase it.

What techniques have you used to price your products? Have you had any pricing disasters?

Stay tuned from most posts by the secretive Web Marketing Ninja — a professional online marketer for a major web brand, who’s sharing his tips undercover here at ProBlogger.

Post from: ProBlogger Blog Tips


ProBlogger Blog Tips

12Aug/100

What They Don’t Tell You About Successful Product Launches

Many times we see successful product launches being talked about and are so dazzled by the huge sales numbers and income generated but fail to see all the hard groundwork that has been done behind the scenes for months and years before the launch.

Sometimes this is because those talking about their product launches don’t want those considering buying their ‘how to make money’ products to know its actually hard work and sometimes they do tell us but…. well we only hear what we want to and the dream of fast money makes us deaf to the reality.

The reality is that behind every successful online launch there is a lot of groundwork. It might not be as sexy as the actual launch process and it’s result – but it’s just as important. This video encourages bloggers to keep the glamorous big picture launches in mind but to also do the unglamorous daily things that take you closer to the big pay day!

Notes

What They Don’t Tell You About Successful Product Launches Transcript

I’ve had this video transcribed below for those who prefer to get it that way. The transcription provided by The Transcription People.

Have you ever seen a product launch that has done particularly well? We see it a lot in the Internet marketing circles, people selling their own information or products on how to launch a product by talking about how much they made. You know, hundreds of thousands of dollars in a launch or millions of dollars in a launch. These techniques to show what you’ve made are fairly typical in this Internet marketing space. But one of the things that I’ve noticed is that a lot of times when these big launches are being talked about, they’re not talked about in terms of the journey that has gone before the particular launch.

I recently had a big launch on digital photography school, we launched a travel photography book, I’ve talked it about a couple of times on ProBlogger.

The book did really well. We sold 5,000 or so copies in the first week and a half over the launch period and since then have sold another five or six hundred, so it’s, it’s probably around the six figure launch mark, which for me that’s a fairly significant amount of money. As a launch event it was really quite profound, it was quite powerful and it was quite fun to be involved with. But that launch was built on the back of four and a half years of other stuff. It only succeeded and got to that six figure level because I put in four and a half years of work on that particular blog, and even before that four and a half years I’d been blogging about photography on another photography blog for two years, so six and a half years to get a six figure launch. I guess if you were to do the figures on that it probably doesn’t add up to six figures in a month, it kind of adds up to maybe five figures a month if I’m lucky (I never was good at maths).

So what are the foundational things that you need to be working on as a blogger?

You know sometimes we hear about these fix figure launches, these seven figure launches and think there’s no way we could ever do that, but the reality is that you can but, but you need to look it at as a journey, and there’s a whole heap of things that you can do every day to take you a little bit closer to some of these bigger launches that you might want to do one day.

Build a Content Base

Every day over the last eight years on my blogs I have put up content and I’ve tried to make that content the most useful content that I can. So that for me is probably one of the most basic things that you can do every day on your blog to take you closer to that big launch that you might have, useful content, keep adding it to your blog whether it be video, whether it be a pod cast, whether it be a post, whether it be just tweets and, and adding content into the web in different ways.

Build Relationships

Another foundation for me has always been about relationships. Every day you have the opportunity to take yourself closer to that big launch by getting to know someone else on the web, whether that be a potential reader, whether that be another blogger, whether that be just someone who’s interested in the same kind of stuff as you on Twitter, you never know where those relationships will take you. You never know whether that one reader may lead you to thousands of other readers, you never know whether that person may be someone that you can collaborate with later on a particular project. It’s about building relationships. So not only should you be adding content to your blog every day, I’d be searching out for at least one other person that you can connect with, someone that you don’t perhaps know yet that you can begin to get to know. Not with any agenda just to get to know them because who knows where that might end up.

Build Your Skill Set

Another thing that take you closer to these big launches is building your skill set. Adding to your repertoire of things that you can do, your abilities to, to patent design your blog perhaps master a different type of social media so getting, getting to the point where you understand and can use Twitter better. Maybe it’s around video, whatever it might be. There’s so many different things that you can learn, and yeah it’s great to outsource some of these things but it’s also good to learn and know them. If you can add to your own knowledge base you will be taking yourself closer to that big launch one day. You can add to your brand, just little things like, you know, tweaking your design, changing the brand that you have, thinking through what it is that you stand for as a, as a person and as a brand, all of these things can take you a little bit closer to that, that big, that big launch.

Build Your Email List

Another Foundation for me has been about building my email list. Building the number of people who are subscribing to my blog and finding new ways to do that. This is something that you kind of have to set up and let it run to some, some degree, but it’s a day by day thing. Every day as you add people to your list whether they be email subscribers or Twitter followers or RSS subscribers, as you grow that network your influence grows and the potential to have a bigger launch and to have a bigger impact upon more people grows also.

I guess the point of this video is not to come up with a conclusive list of things that you can do that will take you closer to your, your goals one day, but it’s to get you to think about what you can do today, what you can do tomorrow and to think about some of those little things that will take you closer to your ultimate goals. Set yourself some tasks this week. Just little things that you can do, posts that you can write, people that you can interact with, just features that you can add to your blog, new skills that you can learn. All of these things will take you closer to that ultimate goal. It’s great to have the idea of a big product launch in the back of your mind, but at the front of your mind needs to be these sorts of daily activities that will take you closer to that.

Post from: Blog Tips at ProBlogger.

468x60.jpg

What They Don’t Tell You About Successful Product Launches


ProBlogger Blog Tips