Monday, March 4, 2013

Selling Info Products: Discounts Help, But Not A Ton

I've done a bunch of sales recently where I put my Rails book on sale at a discount for a limited timeframe, and one where I did the same for all my products.

These sales work well to generate nice little bursts of activity. They make money. But their overall contribution to my bottom line looks pretty slight overall.

I downloaded a CSV from PayPal, which I use (despite obvious misgivings) for the majority of my info product business. I then filtered it only for sales of my book, and did a little math. The code's in a gist. The numbers look like this:

copies sold71368439

This means the discounted copies made up about 16% of the total copies sold and 10.6% of the total income from the product. I did this a couple days ago, so I've sold a few more copies since then, and I've sold a few copies outside of PayPal as well, but these numbers are good enough to draw some basic conclusions from.

However, I also haven't measured how these little sales affect traffic or attention, and I think that would be harder to measure, but my hunch is sales have a benefit there. Despite the fact that basically 90% of my business comes from somewhere else, I would still recommend sales anyway, because of these harder-to-measure benefits. They also make it easy to drive short-term spikes in your product income, which is good for cash flow.