“Skunked” is fishing slang for spending the whole day at the lake with nothing to show for it.

Well, yesterday I got skunked on the first day of the affiliate promo I mentioned.

85,000 subscribers, 2 emails, 0 sales.

I’ve never seen this before.

I’ve had campaigns that didn’t go as well as hoped—plenty of those.

Zero sales though? New one by me.

So what’s up with that?

Here are some possibilities:

  1. There’s a technical problem. When you see zero sales, this is actually the most likely cause. Funnels can break in a million different ways, like a stray character in a URL, or a discount code with the wrong expiration date.

I did a test purchase to rule this one out—everything seems to be working.

  1. The offer isn’t relevant to the audience. People often make the mistake of thinking that, given a large enough list, you can sell just about anything. This is NOT true. Subscribers view you in a specific context. Stray even a couple of steps beyond this, and you’ll quickly get a reality check on the limits of marketing.

In this case the offer is definitely relevant to a substantial chunk of the audience.

  1. The list is dead or low quality. I frequently talk to business owners who have large email lists that they haven’t contacted in years. Or they signed up for a free software trial. Or maybe they even bought a list from someone (shudder). The giveaway here is single-digit open rates.

My emails yesterday got open and click rates that are on par with other campaigns.

  1. Price is too high. In marketing circles there’s a lot of happy talk about how prices are relative, how competition doesn’t matter, and how good copy can overcome price objections.

There’s some fine print with this that usually gets glossed over. In order for you to command a premium price to be true, your product has to a.) provide a result that is highly desired by your audience and b.) do it in a way that is obviously better than your (less costly) competition.

I’m leaning toward this last item as the culprit here.

The product is a video course, priced significantly higher than the going price for a typical course these days.

So it’s likely that potential buyers don’t see enough of a difference to warrant the high price tag.

The way to find this out is by dropping the price significantly to see if you start getting sales.

If you get a good amount of sales at the lower price, you know that you either need to keep the price low, or find a way to substantially increase the perceived value.

Since I don’t own the product here, I’m a bit restricted in that regard.

This promo is turning out to be more interesting than I thought—I’ll share more as events unfold.