3 weeks ago, I started working on Failory's #1 digital product. A few minutes ago we made the sale number 53, without even having defined the content outline for the product.
It's a story that includes customer surveys, a/b testing, and sales. Thought some of you could find it interesting.
On our first call, Dru noticed I was too focused on growth and not really into monetization. Having an audience of +70,000 monthly readers, he suggested I could try to launch Failory's #1 digital product.
Since we started 3 years ago, we've always made money through sponsors and affiliate commissions, so charging our users for a product was super scary, but I decided to give it a try.
The first step was to survey Failory's email subscribers (around 7,000) to get to know what they wanted to learn about and in what content form. I created this survey on Airtable and sent them a dedicated email with a link to it.
I quickly collected +130 replies. These were the results:
Despite "Video course" won, Dru and I decided to go with an eBook for the first product, as it's easier to create and consume. As for the topics, "Startup failure & mistakes" and "Product-market fit" were the most voted ones.
That's when we decided to carry out an experiment to see which topic would perform better. I quickly created two Gumroad pre-sale pages: one for a $5 eBook titled: "10 Failed Startups: Interviews with their founders"; another one for a $7 eBook called: "Product-Market Fit: Deep-dive into how 7 startups achieved it".
Then I split the newsletter into two and sent the first half the first eBook and the second half the second eBook. The eBooks received around 300 views that week and around 25 sales.
As you can see in the images above, the copywriting and images on Gumroad were super vague. I encouraged email subscribers and eBook buyers to share any ideas they had for the eBooks.
After ≈ 10 days, we had a winner. The "product-market fit" had received more views, more sales (at a $2 higher price), better conversion rates, and a lot more positive feedback. That's why we decided to cancel the "Failed startup interviews" pre-sale and focus 100% on the "product-market fit" eBook.
When purchasing @stephsmith's "Doing Content Right" eBook, I liked her pricing strategy of increasing the $ every x sales, and so I applied that on our Gumroad page and increased the price to $10, as by that time the eBook had +30 sales.
Then I sent an email to the buyers of the "Failed startup interview" eBook explaining them about the shift and giving them a 30% discount code on the "product-market fit" eBook so that they could get it at the original price ($7) as well as talked about the experiment on Failory's weekly newsletter. That day, there were 16 new sales.
It's been 2 weeks since the eBook experiment and we've already made +50 sales without having the eBook outline, which is why I think Gumroad and pre-sales, in general, are amazing.
One of the most common failure reasons for the failed startups we interview at Failory is the lack of validation of the ideas. Many entrepreneurs put a lot of money and time building products no one cares about. MVPs and pre-sales are amazing ways to avoid this.
I originally wanted to focus on the eBook about interviews with failed startups as I thought it made more sense within Failory. Dru was the one who told me to carry out a pre-sale. Otherwise, I'd have spent +20-50 hours working on an eBook that would have performed much worse than other eBook ideas.
What's the current status of the eBook?
So far we've made 53 sales and $383 (less Gumroad fees). I'm starting to do some more marketing (like writing this detailed post) and talking about it on our newsletter and website, where I've added a top bar linking to the eBook.
That's all. Comment your questions below ;)
If you want to get the eBook, here's the link. I'm raising the price once it gets +7 sales. Use the code "ih" for a $3 discount.