Ryan McLean : Slightly Unconventional

Having a Time Sensitive Offer

Wow, people like to take their sweet time. I am currently microtesting a business idea…well it has moved more from microtesting to setting up and building a database for a launch, and I have begun to see why everyone talks so much about having a time sensitive offer.

Whenever I go to conferences they always have an offer for “Today Only”. This is to try and get people to take action.

On my site I start with having a 50% offer and I made it valid only for a couple of days, and I found that I go a few signups by doing this. It was a pain in the ass changing the dates all the time so I created a special offer and made it valid for about 2 weeks. I thought this was still short enough to bring in sales but I was wrong.

Everyone seems to be waiting out. They are not forced to make a decision immediately (Today Only) so they take their time and weigh up the options. I wonder whether when it comes to the end of March (when the offer ends) I will get an influx of people wanting to sign up. Time will tell.

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The Three Legged Walker Sales Close

I am currently in the process of formulating and finalising the two different membership types on my website (still can’t reveal the website yet). Basically I will be offering a monthly subscription service, but I don’t want people to sign up for one month and then get all of the data and leave, so I have been trying to work out ways to get people to sign up for a full year at a time.

I am going to employ what I call the three legged walker sales close. Odd name for a sales close but let me explain.

I work at a Chemist, and we also sell aged care products such as incontinence pads, beds, chairs and walkers. When you come in to choose your walker most people don’t want to spend a lot of money so they will look at the base model. The base model is a three legged walker with no seat. It is $189 and you have to buy the basket separately. The next model up from that is the base model four legged walker. This has a seat and a basket included and costs only $169. So why would anyone buy the three legged base model?

The answer is: They wouldn’t!

When someone comes in to buy a walker for their parents, or themselves, they are likely not going to want to spend a lot of money. To come to them and say this 4 legged walker costs $169 they could be shell shocked and refuse to pay $169 for a walker. But instead they come in and are first introduced to the three legged walker, without a seat or basket for $189. This seems expensive but then when you look at the 4 legged walker with a seat and a basket for only $169, all of a sudden this seems like a great deal.

You get all these added extras, that would be extremely helpful to that person’s life, and you are saving $20! So now, instead of simply focusing on the $169 and how much that costs, the customer is thinking about the added extras they will get and the $20 (or more) they will save if they buy the 4 legged walker.

I have not yet seen one 3 legged walker sold, nor have I even seen an elderly person walking around with a 3 legged walker. Elderly people who need a walker to get around want a seat, and they want a basket and they love the discount. I think the walker company would be shell shocked if someone ordered the 3 legged walker. They probably don’t even stock any because they know they will never sell them.

The 3 legged walker is not there to be sold, it is there merely to sell the 4 legged walker. It is to make the 4 legged walker look good in comparison to something else.

I am going to use this technique on my website (I think). Instead of only offering a yearly subscription fee and everything you get with that I will offer two options. I will first introduce them to the more expensive monthly fee, without any extras, and then I will introduce them to the cheaper one year alternative which has a whole bunch of added extras. The monthly subscription is not there to be sold, it is there to sell the yearly subscription.

Some may say that this is a nasty trick, but I don’t think it is. The yearly subscription is already great value, underpriced and will be an incredible asset to the customers’ lives. It is already worth every penny they would spend on it. But people freak out when they see big numbers and avoid making a decision that will benefit their lives. So you put something overpriced in there to ease the customers mind about spending money on the original product. You are, through an interesting method, helping the customer have a satisfying purchasing experience.

Let’s face it, old people need walkers so they would buy them anyway. But what is better for the customer? Them walking out angry and frustrated and depressed that they had to spend $169 on a walker, or walking out happy and overjoyed that they saved $20 AND got a bunch of bonus extras for only $169. One sales method adds to the customers life by giving them a good experience, one takes away from their live by giving them a bad experience. They end up with the same product, but different experiences.

So that is the Three Legged Walked Sales Close. I am almost certainly going to use this in my business.

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MicroTesting Is Harder Than I Thought

Well I have set up the website for my business idea (it is currently on the DL so I am not saying what the website or business is) and I have started microtesting.

In case you don’t know what microtesting is, it is basically setting up the sales funnel and marketing for a product without actually making or selling the product. For me I have set up a sales pages to which I am sending potential customers. I have a registration form almost exactly the same as a real registration form. Only when they register they are send to a page that tells them the product is not in stock at the moment. Obviously we don’t charge them or keep any of their payment details.

This way you can see how many people buy your product and whether or not it will be profitable before you spend a lot of time and/or money on making the product.

One of the best ways to microtest (apparently) is through PayPerClick (PPC) marketing. When you search in Google often there are search terms highlighted in yellow, or ads on the sides of the page. These are PPC ads. Whenever someone clicks on your ad you pay Google a certain amount of money.

The reason microtesting is proving more difficult than I first imagined is that it is quite difficult to get a lot of traffic for a small cost. I want to spend about $0.05-$0.10 per click. So for around $150 I will get about 1500-3000 hits to my site. Some of the keywords in Google cost $3.00 per click in order to place your ad under that keyword. That means for $150 you would get 50 people visiting your site, not nearly as many as the 1,500-3,000 I want to achieve.

So far the hardest part about the microtesting is finding cheap traffic to come to my site. I have been running my ads for 2 days and my ads have had 33 impressions and absolutely zero clicks. I really don’t want to spend more than 10c per click so I think I will be working this week adding more keywords to my marketing campaign.

I was thinking about maybe doing some article marketing in order to get more traffic, but I don’t really want to be spending ridiculous amounts of time writing articles that might not even get any traffic or make me any money. So I will keep trying to refine my PPC marketing campaign and see if I can start getting some decent traffic to my site.

I want to microtest my site for about a month. Then if it turns out it has a good chance of being profitable it will probably take me another month to get it up to the standard I want to start actually charging people (I won’t actually do any of the work myself I will completely outsource it using Virtual Assistants on oDesk for just $1-$1.50/hour). Then once that is done I can launch it and hopefully take a small profit as I continue to build it up, or at least break even. Breaking even or making a small profit will then give me the time I need to build up my product without it costing me any money (because I don’t have money to burn). So that is what I am aiming for. If it turns out no one is interested I will either can the project completely or sell the idea to someone else who could make it profitable.

If I can work out PPC and get cheap clicks then I can test a whole bunch of different products and business ideas, that I have floating around in my head, without taking a lot of time and effort making the product. This could change my life.

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MicroTesting – How To Test a Business Idea for $200 or Less

The other day, after a semi-frustrating joint venture meeting, I was forced to completely rethink my product. I am a property investor and previously my product was a joint venture on positive cashflow property.

They say when starting a business you should find the market first, and then create a product for the market. Well I have discovered that the market does not want a joint venture on smaller positive cashflow properties. For the business person joint venture is difficult because people tend to fall into 2 categories

  1. They know nothing about property and investing and don’t want to learn anything. They lack the knowledge and therefore are afraid to invest.
  2. People who know about property investing. These people want to know everything about their investment and want to have a say in everything. This micro-management makes closing a deal painful.

So I have come up with a business idea that is created specifically for the market. I am not trying to create a product and find a market, instead I am reading the market and trying to deliver exactly what they are asking for.

With the ability to outsource most of my work, the potential for creating an automated business is huge. The only problem I have is capital to start with. To get my business up and running it would cost me around $500 and ongoing costs of around $200/month. That is money I can’t really afford to lose. I don’t even know if my business model will work yet.

But there is a great way around the problem and it is called microtesting. I got this idea from the 4 hour work week.

Basically is works like this. Create the front end of your business. This is the sales page that sells your product for you. For me I need to create a website to explain my product. I can create this website for $15, the cost of the domain, and about a week’s work. So you create the front end and the sales systems but no product…yet

Second step is you begin to market your product without making it publicly known. You can do this through Google Adwords PPC (Pay Per Click) Marketing. The goal is two fold.

  1. To test whether you can make more money in sales than you pay in advertising
  2. To test different ads and to see which ads work the best

To do this you set up ads that point to your sales page. For me I am creating a sales page that has a complete form to collect all their information. In order to create this form I am using Aweber, which is the best in the business for email marketing.

People will be directed to my sales page and if they want to purchase my product they will fill out the required information and click buy. They will then be redirected to a page saying that the product is out of stock, or is currently on back order. I will tell them I have collected their information and will email them when it becomes available. There will also be a link they can click if they choose to not receive information.

Note: It is illegal to charge people for something that is not yet being manufactured. So I do not charge them. I believe it is also illegal to keep people’s credit card information if they cannot purchase, so I get around this by keeping their details but NOT their credit card info.

Each person that fills out the form and clicks ‘buy’ counts as a sale in my test. So I can effectively work out if my product is profitable or not. If I spend $200 on advertising and make one sale worth $100, then chances are my product won’t be profitable (unless I can lower my marketing costs). This is a great way to test whether or not there is a market for my product and whether or not I think I can make a profit. All I had to do was create a sales page and some PPC campaigns. I didn’t have to spend months of work and money creating the product.

Microtesting also gives you the ability to test different variables in your ads. Look at the two ads below (examples taken from The 4-Hour Work Week):

French Quality, Shipped From US                   French Quality, Shipped From US
Lifetime Guarantee!                                              Lifetime Guarantee!
www.shirtsfromfrance.com –                             www.shirtsfromfrance.com

By changing only one thing, you can test which works best. As long as you disable the feature that serves only the best serving ad. Create different ad campaigns changing just one section to see which works best. In the end you can combine the best aspects to make an effective ad campaign.

Microtesting allows you to test the profitability of a business without needing to put money and time into creating the product. If your business is a dud then cut your losses and move onto the next one. If your business model works then take it to the next step and create your product and start selling it.

The best thing about using Aweber in all of this is that those fake ‘sales’ you made in the testing phase can be turned into real sales. Instead of the person clicking the buy button and then disappearing because you are unable to sell them anything, their details are collected and stored in your Aweber service. When your product is finally up and running you can email these people and turn that fake sale into a real sale. So you $200 of testing might actually make you money in the end anyway.

This idea of microtesting is genius. Just make sure you don’t break any laws by not actually charging people or storing their credit card data and you should be fine. This is the ultimate way to test a business idea without outlaying a lot of time or money on product creation.

I have created many ebooks to sell before and never microtested them. I didn’t lose a lot of money (usually I would lose about $80 and a week to a month of my life), but by microtesting I could have saved a lot of time and saved the feeling of failure a few times over. So why not think about microtesting your idea.

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