Ruby programmer Jesus just launched his first product, a how-to course for newbie software developers.
At first everything was great…
He sent several emails to his tiny list (170 and growing) and popped the link into several forums and Slack groups he belongs to.
Two-week results: 17 sales and $677.73 in income.
High-five! Way to go.
Since then, his sales are a big goose egg. Zip, nada.
Yesterday I sent an email (220 subs now) and I tried dropping a:
“P.S. If you want to boost your Ruby skills you should check out my new Ruby course if you haven’t yet.”
at the end of the email, that got some click but no sales.
I know it’s not much, but I’m trying to build this into an honest business that i can live on, and I have been consuming every single bit of business / marketing / copywriting / seo info I can get my hands into (including entreprogrammers, neil patel, gary halbert, long etc…). So I will deeply appreciate any advice you have.
Let me tell you a little story.
I got into this marketing thing just like Jesus, by selling to other programmers.
For me it was a couple of ebooks that I wrote about a software development tool called Sublime Text.
I spent hundreds of hours researching and writing those books.
And my customers loved them. (Well, mostly… there are always a few haters.)
But after each book launched, I watched my sales die down to just a trickle.
No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to increase my sales. I used to joke it was “like pushing on a rope.”
Any time I made progress in one area, some other area would go limp…
Like I’d see my traffic increase, but my conversion rate would decrease.
Or I’d get more email signups, but my click rates would drop.
Stuck in the mud.
Finally I got desperate, and I hired a coach to look at what I was doing.
He skimmed through a couple of my sales emails and put his finger on the problem immediately:
“You’re selling from your heels.”
He was absolutely right.
“Selling from your heels” means you don’t 100% believe in what you’re doing.
You’re not sold yourself on your product, and so your copy comes out tepid, tentative, even apologetic.
That was me to a T.
Despite all the hard work I’d put into these books, deep down I didn’t feel like they were really all that valuable.
Even though my readers were delighted with what they got out of them.
Even though I knew it would save them hundreds of hours of research, and maybe hundreds more in gained productivity.
So I was uncomfortable in my new role as a salesman.
And my would-be customers could smell it a mile away.
Which brings us back to Jesus’s Ruby course.
From what I’ve seen, Jesus, you seem like a smart, hard-working and honest guy who really wants to help people.
Which is a GREAT foundation to build a business on.
It also presents a major challenge.
Cuz when you look at your product, all you see is the flaws.
And it’s tough to bring yourself to ask other people to give you money for this hot, steaming mess you created…
This is REALLY common.
In fact, it’s a good sign. It means you’re not a sociopath.
But it’s also a mental hurdle you’re going to have to get over.
You MUST close your sales emails by confidently asking for the sale.
And that means you MUST be 100% convinced that your subscribers will be better off if they buy your product.
(Note that I didn’t say that you have to have the best product on the market. Or that it has to be perfect.)
Here’s what I’d suggest.
Spend some time hanging out with your target audience.
Read forum threads where newbie Ruby devs vent their frustrations over learning this new language.
Set up a few Skype calls to find out what problems they’re struggling with.
This humanizes your audience—
You’ll start to develop a deep empathy for their plight.
You’ll see all the little ways that your imperfect product would make their lives easier.
You’ll start to see that pitching your product is NOT a selfish, “me me me” act. It’s not “evil.”
It’s compassionate and ethical.
When you really “get” this in your bones, it’ll how in your copy.
You’ll look your subscribers in the eye instead of cringing in the corner and hoping no one gets mad at you.
They’ll hear the conviction in your voice… And they’ll buy.