Is it done yet?

Ever see a pressure cooker?

There's a popular one now called the Instant Pot.

In a pressure cooker, all of the seams seal up tight so that the steam is trapped.

The air pressure builds up inside, and it raises the boiling point of water.

A hunk of beef that would normally take 6 hours to cook might be done in 60 minutes.

What happens though if you keep popping the lid off every 30 minutes to check if it's done yet?

All the steam and extra heat escapes, and you've just added another 15-20 minutes to the cook time.

This is a useful analogy to understand what can happen if you offer “early bird” pricing.

Normally what you see when you make a time-limited offer is that sales start off slow and then spike as the deadline approaches.

Up to 60% of sales happen on the last day.

The pattern I observed in my recent evaluation of early bird pricing was:

Introducing a second deadline created TWO spikes in sales, one as the early bird pricing expired, and the second as the final “doors closing” deadline approached.

So far, so good.

However—

The spikes from each deadline were much smaller.

In fact taken together they exactly equalled what I usually see on the last day of a straightforward deadline sale.

My take on this is that offering a second deadline is like cracking open the pressure cooker and letting all that built-up steam out.

The whole point with a deadline is to give indecisive buyers a clear choice:

Are you in or out?

When you offer early bird pricing, the decision becomes:

Are you in or out? Or maybe in later?

The early bird price can encourage the procrastinators to procrastinate further.

At the end of the day, you wind up with a much more complicated set of email campaigns to create, and the results are about the same.

Sorry—no sales-doubling magic here.

Now I do think there's an appropriate place to deploy early bird pricing that CAN increase sales dramatically.

I'll explain tomorrow.