Early bird sales—yay or nay?

Q: What's twice good as a deadline when it comes to getting people to take action?

A: Why, two deadlines naturally!

At least, that seems to be the theory behind offering “early bird” pricing.

Now, the early bird thing makes a lot of sense for events.

With an event, you start the promotions months ahead of time.

Selling some seats early gives you much-needed cash to book the venue and pay other expenses leading up to the event.

And since you're promoting the event for months, you can space out your offers, doing maybe one a month for 4-5 months or something.

So can this technique be adapted for product launches?

I've seen a number of people try it.

Usually it works something like this:

You decide that your launch is going to be a 10-day promotion.

For the first 5 you promote the early bird price in your emails.

You send several “ending soon” messages as the early bird deadline approaches.

Then after it expires, you do a second push for the last 5 days, with a second “cart closing” deadline.

The idea with this is, you get two “scarcity events” instead of one.

Double dose of urgency, two spikes of last-minute purchases…

And when the dust settles you've pocketed way more sales.

That's the theory, anyway.

To be honest, this never made a lot of sense to me.

My instinct was that yes, you will get two “spikes” of sales.

But it's an illusion—effectively you're just pulling some of the last minute buyers forward, splitting up the sales you were going to get anyway.

And adding a lot of hassle and complexity to the launch in the process.

Because of this I've never tried this particular strategy out myself.

Until last week, that is.

Last week I got the chance to rerun an affiliate promotion to one of my lists.

The first time I did this promotion was about 12 months ago.

That time the offer had been a standard time limited discount like I typically use.

This time the offer used an early bird strategy like I'm describing here.

Not a perfect A/B test by any means, but at least an opportunity to observe the early bird approach in action.

So how did it go?

(To be continued…)