In order to generate some new client work, I started offering some packages. The plan is to offer a standard amount of work that I can easily quote a price on and complete. Something that I can throw up a Buy It Now button without having to have a discussion first about all the requirements and goals.
The idea is basically to eliminate custom development and just focus on standard pages most people need. I will also be including some more marketing and SEO related services, as well. The plan is to use each to promote the others, so I can do an ecommerce site, plus SEO. If you already have a site, I can just do the SEO.
First round of ads were cheaper, and didn’t do much. When the more expensive, higher ranking ad placement came available, I took it. While the cheaper ads weren’t doing anything, the more expensive ad generate a sale. It’s still too early to tell if the more expensive ad will generate a profit, but it’s looking better than the cheaper ads.
Another issue with the ads is 17.5% can be given out to affiliates for the promotion of your services. When the ads are paid, that affiliate payout still gets paid, as well. So for an SEO service, 5% goes to processing fees, 17.5% goes to affiliates, and then you get hit with the real PayPal fees of accepting the payment.
Getting a sale is nice, but it’s not a ton of money. Another plan I have is to drop the price to free, run sales through it, and try to gain popularity. This has the risk of getting too many cheap orders that generate negative reviews due to the lack of keeping up, or the plan just flat out not working and no real orders come in after the sales numbers increase, even if artificially.
The thought is to create a second account, and use that for the promotional/affiliate links, even if I just promote my own. The goal is to make sure that the 17.5% affiliate portion goes to me and I don’t lose it for some reason, like not being able to be an affiliate to my own services.
Running the discounted rate services and still paying 22.5% makes this way more expensive than the ads, so if I don’t have a way of at least getting the 17.5% payout as well, this is probably too expensive to even continue trying.
While working out the details of the plan, I managed to get another sale. Two sales total from 0 existing sales with 0 reviews isn’t too bad considering what I started with, but isn’t too great considering the amount I had to pay to make that happen. By default, the services are listed based on weekly sales, and ones with the higher numbers seem to be the ones people continue to buy given they have social proof.
I am hoping this will just continue to get easier, though. Selling 2 so far with a total of 0 was an uphill battle, but once I have 2 sold with a review of 2 (hopefully), maybe next time I can get 4 or 5 more sold. Soon, I should be able to get enough sold to justify the cost of ads, and then eventually a high enough rating to remain on the first page without the need to buy my way onto it.
The ads have ended and I didn’t get any additional sales. One important thing, though, was I ran 3 ads. 2 cheaper ones and then the more expensive one. The two sales came from the expensive ad. So even though I had 2 other ads running that were about 75% the cost, they actually did worse. The theory that the cheaper ads could get less sales and still make more profit since they don’t have the extra expense to make up for was not the case.
Not actually profitable, but a start. I will be increasing sales numbers, running more ads, and trying to do a few more up-sells to get the client work up. In addition, I am still trying to get client work offline, the more old fashioned way.