Price it too low, and people think it’s cheap
Price it too high, and people think you are a nut job!
In marketing, the question of pricing is probably the hardest to answer. Unfortunately, this is a question we must face every time we want to sell something. You can’t start negotiating your price with each client and moving the price up and down all the time will not send the right message to clients and future customers. The early joiners will fell that they got ripped off if you drop your price from time to time and the late subscribers will simply wait forever until you put on a huge promotion before buying (who pays full price at Canadian Tire?).
Before I launched my membership website about Dividend Growth Portfolios, I was very uncertain about the right price. It is a high-end product when you consider the knowledge put in place and the possible return on your investment. On the other hand, this is also a very crowded and competitive industry where giants such as Morningstar and Motley Fool offer services for just a few bucks per month.
My partner and I weren’t able to find a sweet spot where we felt comfortable so we decided to ask around. Based on my own experience, looking for an external point of view won’t help… much. The first problem when you ask feedback about pricing is who do you ask. Asking internet marketing specialists, they will answer: shoot for the sky. Asking friends, they will answer: price it modestly. Ask potential buyers, they will answer to drop your price as low as possible (they are not fools!). Nonetheless, this is what I did; I asked an internet marketer, friends and potential buyers.
If you ask a potential buyer what price they would pay for your house, chances are they will shoot low since they think they can get a bargain. But if you ask 1,100 people about your house, now you have a chance to hit a few honest people. This is what I did with my new project.
I’ve built a list of 1,100 potential buyers and told them about my project. I’ve sent a series of 4 emails:
The purpose of my investing website is to simplify the investor’s investment process. I want investors to save time and still make money being a DIY investor. I gave my readers a choice between 3 options:
I received about 400 answers from this email. It took me forever but I personally replied to each one of them. Without any surprises, most readers answered option #1. However, I got about 30 or so (so 7.50%) answers telling me they would be okay with option #2 or #3. This is without counting numerous longer emails explaining their reasoning. I received a lot of details about the current offers on the web along with pricing from other competitors.
We always have the best product as the design, the quality and everything else is better than our competitors. Now that I’ve accepted that, I had to look at my competitors with fresh eyes; with the customer’s eyes. The target price was definitely between $9.95 and $15 per month. Most of them were charging $9.95 which didn’t give me much room to play with. I was happy to notice that most of my competitors offered almost too much info. And this is something I wanted to solve with my site: I wanted to have something that cut the crap and gets directly to the point. One of my competitors offers 20-30 page reports on a bi-weekly basis. Who has the time to read, analyze and take action on over 60 pages of information monthly? I know something for a fact; I don’t! My competitive advantage was to offer high value-added features only if I was going to charge as much (or even higher) than my competitors.
The fact that I had two years of great investment records behind the belt was another factor. Ideally, I would have had to wait until I have five years, but that will happen in three and I will be able to crank my price if I keep beating my benchmarks!
From my own experience, I notice that when you play with additional options or different price ranges, you increase the level of confusion for your potential buyers. And if they are confused, they will likely not proceed with the purchase.
It happened to me yesterday again when I tried to book a couples massage at a spa (I know, I’m a good hubby ). The item “couple massage” was priced per person, so I added the two items in my “cart”. The next screen was to search for availability. I selected 2pm. The system found 4 massotherapists available for that time. But, the system didn’t allow me to select two massotherapists at the same time! I had to select one at 2pm and another at 3pm. It’s like I had to create another account for my wife and reserve another couple massage under her name to get both reservations at the same time. Do you think I completed the reservation? No way!
Back to my membership website; I offer 2 pricing options: basic with a monthly subscription and premium with a rebate of 2 months + a free book for an annual subscription. In my case, I think it was the right choice. The proof is that I have about 50% of my members choosing monthly and the other half annual.
But I created additional confusion when I did my official launch with a combined offer including another newsletter. For a limited time, I offer both my services along with another investing paid newsletter for a package price. I didn’t sell many subscriptions for that package and I think I know the reason: it gets confusing if you go see the newsletter, then my website and then go back to the original offer. There are simply too many places to find information before you make the purchasing decision.
I thought it would be a good idea since I had run a promotion for that investing newsletter in the past with great success. There wasn’t any big package; just a plain rebate on an investing newsletter.
After looking at how I’ve priced my service, I thought I would have done something slightly different. Instead of going for $14.95/month right up front, I would have started with $9.95 for the first 100 members. Then, I would have increased it to $14.95. It would have created a bigger buzz around the launch (especially if I had told the offer was sent to 1,100 investors!).
On the other hand, I wanted to price the site for what it’s worth and I think investors are getting a lot from it. In fact, feedback is very good to date so I’m pretty confident that people are happy about the pricing. I wanted to make sure I make my money back quickly and it was the case as I’ve come to profit only 6 weeks after launching my site.
I just think that I could have generated a bigger buzz and gotten more members on board at first. Now, I can’t offer a rebate as I would feel unfair to my first members to sign-up.
As you can see, it’s never easy to come up with the right pricing strategy!
Google+ Comments: 2 Read More
Last week, I disclosed my first income report in over a year. The main reason why I decided to publish my income again is because I want to use this report as a way to follow-up on my progress and hold myself accountable.
I can already say it was a great idea since I’ve noticed that I was very far behind with my niche site income. I was under the impression that I was making about $500/month from them but I only made $134.22 in January. OUCH! This is about 16% of my goal of $833.33 per month from this segment.
Since the plan for my membership website is already well detailed and my blog business is on pace, I have decided to concentrate my efforts to design a plan of attack to boost my niche site income.
Over the years, we went a little trigger happy on buying domains, put together a few articles and called it a niche site. Back in the day, it was a great strategy to sell a few links and make a few bucks from Adsense. These sites didn’t require any attention from us and the money was still coming in slowly, but passively.
Now we need to step-up and create bigger sites in order to generate additional income. I didn’t want to shoot everywhere to see what comes out of the bushes. This is why I’ve selected 7 sites with potential. They are disclosed as follows:
I have selected these sites because I have two niches (investing and jobs) that I’m very comfortable working with and I know they are profitable. You don’t need much traffic to generate money with such topics. On top of this, I tried something new with an insurance related site and it works very well. It is incredibly hard to rank for insurance keywords but it is by far the most profitable niche I’ve come across so far.
Since I work with a limited time schedule, I can’t focus on everything. Focus on everything…. these are 2 words that just don’t work together. You can’t focus and work on everything… this is called a waste of time!
This is why I will be focusing on 2 simple metrics for each site:
I already know the revenue per visitor can be very high for each site. It’s all a matter of converting them at this point. Working with these 7 sites, I will apply the following strategies to improve my chances of having each visitor take an action which generates money for me:
A) Change the theme for most sites in order to make it easier to navigate through
B) Perform adsense optimization on each site
C) Add affiliate resources to help visitors
D) Improve the newsletter subscription option to keep more visitors
The second metric to focus on is obviously traffic. This is a joint problem for all niche sites at the moment. You can optimize your site all you want, if you don’t get visitors, you don’t make any money.
This will be purely trial and error for this part. I know for a fact that I have never updated my 7 niche sites and Google obviously doesn’t like this. The first challenge will be to update them on a regular basis. I’m thinking of writing 1 article per month for each site which will bring my work load to 7 more posts. This is a lot of work but I think it can make a big difference.
Then, I will try several link building strategies:
b) Commenting, carnivals and create web 2.0 properties to improve the number of links (the usual stuff)
c) Look at expired domain redirects (a new strategy mastered by Jon from Authority Website)
d) Write epic posts and mention other bloggers as link bait
I can’t really put many hours on my niche site at the moment as I have several tasks to achieve with regards to my membership website. This is why I’m considering hiring a VA to do several tasks. Since niche sites have generated a 100% passive income of $134.22, this could be my budget for March. I could use 100% of my niche site income to generate bigger revenues. Since this segment of my business is dying at the moment, I won’t jeopardize much by using pure profit to improve this division.
A few months ago, I used a good VA from ODesk to do some link building. I intend to use the same guy to work on specific tasks. For the rest of the month of February, I will concentrate on putting this plan together and build a small tutorial so my future VA will be able to achieve his work quickly.
This will be quite a challenge! But I can’t really go under $134 anyway, right?Google+ Comments: 4 Read More
Since the beginning of the year, I have discussed on this blog about my big project of launching a membership website. I really wanted this project to be perfect so I didn’t publicize all over the place to announce my new site back in December. I started with a soft launched that enabled me to #1 recover my investment and #2 control comments and suggestions from my new clients. It’s been two months now since I secretly launched this project, now it’s time to tell you more about it!
Dividend Stocks Rock is an online membership site that gives you access to all the tools and techniques you can use to build a dividend stock portfolio personally. This is not about stock recommendations or some kind of guru principles. It’s about sound investing decisions made based on solid stock research.
I’ve been investing since 2003 and while my investing journey includes failures, I’ve also earned a few bragging rights:
#1 After borrowing from a $20,000 line of credit to invest, I bought my first house with $50,000 in cash down. All generated from my trading abilities.
#2 in 2012, I launched my first stock pick book and selected 20 US and 10 Canadian dividend stocks. I lagged the US market by 1% but killed the Canadian market by more than 8%.
#3 in 2013, my second edition of the Best dividend stock picks for the year beat BOTH the US and Canadian benchmarks.
I’ve noticed that many readers were interested in my point of view with regards to the economy and the stock market. They were curious about my stock picking process and how I manage my own portfolio. This is why I created Dividend Stocks Rock – to share my knowledge with as many people as possible.
The Dividend Stocks Rock site will build your knowledge, skills, and investment capability from the ground up. You’ll master the techniques you need to understand what drives portfolio growth and individual stock growth to build the portfolio you want. Most importantly, it will give you the data at your finger tips that will allow you to put the process into action from day 1.
My goal with this site was to cover the dividend investing world from A to Z from the Canadian and American markets. This is why you will find a lot of information on North American dividend stocks. But I couldn’t compete against the big guys. I didn’t want to enter the playground of data mining and build a filter stronger than Finviz or Ycharts. I couldn’t compete with news and tons of articles that you can find on site such as Google Finance or Seeking Alpha. I wasn’t able to build a complete site such as MorningStar, Dividend.com or Parsimony Research.
When I look at such a list of “competitors”, it seems that there isn’t any place for a smaller player like me, right? If you think so, you are wrong. I personally use all these sites for my own stock research and portfolio management. But they all share the same flaw: they are too big and contain too much information for the average DIY investor. After discussing with many of my readers, I’ve noticed that many of them are brand new DIY investor and are floundering somewhat in the ocean of information and products offered to them. In fact, there is just too much info to digest for people to properly manage their own portfolios. Folks feel overwhelmed and simply do not know where to start. This is where I have found my niche: by doing the work I do and simply deliver the results so decision making is easier.
The other unique feature I can offer clients is even stronger: ME! Instead of logging into a big site managed by a dozen or hundreds of people, you enter in direct connection with a passionate dividend investor. I’m not here to give direct stock recommendations, I’m here to help investors build their portfolio according to their own investing strategy.
The site is being divided into 4 categories:
This section was created for beginner investors who want to learn how to build their own portfolios. It explains the DSR philosophy. You don’t need thousands of dollars to start investing; a few hundred is enough. The idea is to have a clear investing process to achieve your goals.
The DSR Investing Baby Steps is an 8 Step process that will guide you through all phases of investing. You can either read each step on your screen or download them in an eBook (pdf) format.
At the beginning of 2012, we pulled two 100% stock portfolios; one US and one Canadian. Our first portfolios showed a total investment return of 12.37% (US) and 14.69% (CDN). We did it again in 2013. As of November 1st 2013, our portfolios are showing a total investment returns of 31.78% (US) and 17.82%.
We are sharing our talent with you through a series of portfolios that cover a number of different scenarios, you will be able to find a portfolio that fits your needs. There are model portfolio suggestions for Canadian investors, U.S. investors, or investors interested in investing in both Canadian and U.S. investments at the same time. There are a total of 10 different portfolios (click here to see what we are talking about) you can use to build your own. BUY & SELL updates will be delivered to your mailbox!
This is the bread and butter part of the active investing portion of your portfolio. These lists are your starting point for using dividends to grow your portfolio. With a choice of 8 lists at your disposal (4 US and 4 CDN) the best dividend growth stocks available to supercharge your portfolio returns. We have used four powerful criteria to build our lists: Quality, Yield, Growth & Stability.
Most importantly, these lists are updated weekly with new stats on each and every dividend growth stock as well as additions of new dividend growth stocks and removal of stocks that are no longer providing that all-important dividend growth. Check out the list descriptions here!
This high quality investing newsletter will provide you with first class information about macroeconomics, various stocks to look at and valuable hindsight about the stock market. We will cover various industries and pick the finest stocks with high dividend growth potential. I wake-up every morning to read financial news and economic data. I’m doing all the work for you and send it out once a month. It will be ready to digest and implement right away. This will be part of your favorite Sunday morning reading every month!
Covering these four aspects, I am sure to achieve my goal in giving you all the right tools for a DIY investor to build a strong dividend portfolio.
My goal is to make Dividend Stock Rocks as accessible as possible. After all, your money should be invested and not spent in high fee MERs or on expensive newsletters. And this is the way we see it; DSR is an investment in your portfolio.
I really like when people get more for their money. When you think about it, that’s the whole purpose of investing right? Buying at the right price and benefit from your investment! This is why I’m offering you a special launching package. I’ve teamed up with Pat McKeough from The Successful Investor newsletter to deliver you the best investing offer of the year!
For the price of a Premium Subscription to Dividend Stocks ROCK you also get the choice of receiving one of the two very well-known investing newsletters The Successful Investor & The Wall Street Stock Forecaster.
If you don’t know about Pat’s newsletter, I suggest you checkout his site here and come back for the promotion Please keep in mind that DSR and Pat McKeough’s newsletter are two separate investing services managed by two different companies. Stock and market opinions may differ from the two services. This is a one-time promotion only and will end on March 13th.
When we created Dividend Stocks Rock at the end of 2013, we wanted to make sure our investment platform was ready to meet our clients’ highest expectations. This is why we decided to do a “pre-launch” with people who signed-up for our special dividend investing mailing list. The pre-launch happened in December and was quite successful. But you don’t have to take my word for it, take theirs:
Is DSR worth the subscription? Do I feel I am getting good value? Compare the $4,900.00 that my wife is paying for advice to a one year subscription to DSR. I can’t believe the value that I am getting! DSR has exceeded my expectations by a long shot!
I just checked out your site. Whoa, impressive! I can see that you have done a lot of work to get this up and running. Great job. I like the Canadian feel to it.
If you have any questions, let me know,
I wish you a great investing journey
TFBGoogle+ Comments: 3 Read More
Back in July 2012, I highlighted the reasons of not sharing my online income anymore. At that time, I felt that I there were more disadvantages than upside. The bulk of my business revolved around private advertising and I was spotted by a few jealous individuals who had nothing to do with their weekends but to harm my business. I hope they feel better about their lives and they feel they have done something right for the human nation. I don’t hold any grudge against them; my life is busy enough without worrying about trolls!
Having said this, I am now back with a new version of my income report. The reason being that private advertising is not a primary source of income for my business anymore. I’ve moved towards other ways of making money online and they work. This is why I’m not scared of getting hit by Google again after disclosing my numbers. On top of this, Google already struck TFB with a PR 0 a few months ago, so I have nothing to lose, lol!
The main reason why I have decided to post this report again is actually for my own follow-up. Since my third child has arrived, my online business has been harder to manage. Doing this report helps me keep track of my main goal: making 100K online in 2014. A few weeks ago I outlined my business plan as follow:
Therefore, my revenues could be represented as the following graph:
Instead, my first month shows the following results:
Overall, my online business generated $7,027.05. This is gross revenue and does not include my expenses. My online expenses are around $3,000 per month. I spend a lot on VAs since I want to take care of my family more than I want to spend time on my computer .
I really like when Excel decides to adjust their axis so I have the feeling that I killed my goal by looking at the blue bar compared to the red one! Hahaha! Unfortunately, I only beat my goal by $15. These are the revenues generated by my blog network. Most of it is Adsense and also have affiliate income.
As you can see, my blog business is still generating the bulk of my income. I would say that we own 5 majors blogs, three of them in the financial niche (including TFB) and two others in different niches.
I’m obviously using my blogs to promote my different products but I’ve decided to use a different category as it is a completely different business model.
This Monday, I disclosed that I made over $6,000 with my new membership website within the first six weeks. In January, this site generated the bulk of my product segment. It makes sense since I offer a $149.50 annual subscription. This doesn’t require many sign-ups to boost this figure!
This business division also includes my two books for sale on Amazon:
Dividend Growth – a 4.5 Star Investing Guide
2014 Best Dividend Stock Picks – After beating my benchmark with my picks in 2012 and 2013, I’m going back for a third year with 20 US and 10 CDN favorite picks.
It was obviously a good month for my 2014 book since this is the perfect time for investors who are looking for ideas to improve their portfolio. I started the month by giving it away for free for 5 days and it was downloaded 1965 times! Unfortunately, I don’t make any money out of free downloads! However, it has helped me to rank on the first page of the Kindle Investing Book search on Amazon. I now hope to continue on this wave and I’ll also promote it across my network. I’m making about $1 net per book since I only priced it at $2,99 on Amazon.
But I’m smarter than that. This book is in fact a visit card for my membership website. You can find the link to my site several times throughout the book. If I can beat my benchmark (dividend ETF) again this year, I will gain a lot of credibility. Things look great since I’m already ahead for both my American and Canadian picks for the month of January!
When I mentioned earlier in this post that I had lost track of a part of my business, I can show that right here. I was under the impression that I was making $500 per month with my niche site. This was right a while ago, but right now, I’m far from that!
The main reason for this “disaster” is the drop in traffic over the past 6 months. As I mentioned several times on this blog, it’s been a good 12 months that I haven’t worked an hour on my niche sites. 12 months in terms of the internet is the equivalent of a century in real time. Therefore, Google ran several updates and cut some of my traffic each time. There is not much left right now for that reason. I will have to spend more hours in future months to bring this segment up to speed and generate at least $500 per month.
I’ll explain in a minute while I’m super proud of my month, but for now, let’s just say that I’m happy that most of my income was truly passive this month! I’m also super happy of the continuation of my membership website. I keep increasing the number of members weekly and this is a big accomplishment!
As is the case each January, traffic was quite good. This has helped me make some great money with Adsense and boosted my affiliate sales as well. I’ve made over $350 with INO, a technical analysis paid service.
You are going to laugh but what was the real mess was my stomach! I caught TWO stomach viruses! Can you believe that? Yeah… I guess that’s the price to pay to have a daycare in the home! Lol!
You can guess that I didn’t work as much as I should have! I was more in survival mode than anything else. Among the tasks that weren’t accomplished this month there were some quite important ones like:
#1 Write guests posts for my membership site
#2 Create an affiliate program for other bloggers
#3 Give free access to other bloggers so they can review my site
#4 Write more on TFB! Lol!
I took a two month break away from blogging not so long ago and expected to be more present in January. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out well. But now, I’m 16 pounds lighter (training and not eating really works!) and full of energy!
Unfortunately, I’ll have to achieve my January tasks this month and it won’t be easy. I’m really busy at work these days and I’ll also be in survival mode. Nobody says it is going to be easy (I’m actually writing this post in front of the Super Bowl where “my” Broncos are getting the beating of their lives… arrgh!).
On top of the tasks I didn’t complete last month, I want to accomplish the following:
#1 Run an affiliate campaign through one of my blogs
#2 Establish a plan to improve my niche website traffic
#3 Add a new portfolio model to my membership website (500K+)
I hope you enjoy this new report and that I will be able to bring you hope and motivation through these posts. I’m confident that I will reach my objective of making $100K with my online business this year. And this report is one of the tools I will use to make sure I make it.Google+ Comments: 9 Read More
Last week, I enjoyed a very interesting discussion with Pawel, a Real Estate Agent, after answering the famous question “Should I Get a Real Estate Agent?”. I truly enjoyed this discussion as Pawel defended his points without saying I’m a total lunatic. I like when two people can debate without telling the other party he is a lost cause. After all this back & forth conversation, I thought I “owed” it to cover the other part of realtors’ job. While I would never take a real estate agent to sell my house, I think they are very good at something else!
When you sell your house, this is usually 50% of a bigger transaction. Most people sell their house to buy another one. Therefore, once you sold your house, you are only always done with your transaction. The other half, probably the most important part, is to buy your new home. I think this is the most important part of the transaction since you usually make more money buying the right asset at the right time than selling it.
If you can buy the right house at the right price, it will be easier to make a healthy profit when you will sell it.
First of all, by definition, realtors are in the real estate business every day. They see what is put up for sale, what drops in price and what is being sold and the price it is being sold at. The fact they have easy access to this data is definitely a plus when you are looking to buy your new home. If you look for a house in Montreal for example, you are better off with an agent that keeps a Montreal home listing up to date like this one.
The agent can quickly find the type of house you are looking for and the listing you would likely waste a few hours to find on the internet by yourself. Plus, you don’t see everything on the internet. An agent will know the neighborhood better and might have already visited the house so he knows what pictures are not showing.
I also like the fact that he knows how long a property has been for sale and what has been sold recently. This is crucial information when you enter into negotiations. Unless you look at the Real Estate market on a weekly basis in the months prior to buying a house, you will not be able to know how long a property is being listed. The agent knows. He can also show you comparable properties that have been sold lately. There is always a difference between the price you pay and the price the house was listed at. This is why it is important to know how much the house is really worth. You can always find this information on your own, but it is more complicated and requires a lot more time.
Finally, the last aspect why I truly enjoy dealing with a Realtor to buy a property is the fact that he will book all your visits for you. You don’t have to do anything, he does it all. When I hunt for a house, I usually visit ten properties that fit my criteria. It helps me to see what is offered on the market and I can compare houses to make the best choice. I don’t know if you have ever tried this, but booking 10 visits with 10 different agents is quite a lot of pain. Most of them are working when you call them so you hit the voicemail 80% of the time. Then, you may be able to book 1 or 2 appointments the same day but it’s hard to have them one after the other. When you leave the agent do it for you, you can easily visit 5-6 house during the same day as you only need your agent availability to buy the house, not 10 agent’s agenda.
During my last article about real estate, I might have left the impression that realtors don’t do much and that you can easily put your house up for sale on your own. It is true that you can put your house up for sale without the help of a realtor but it’s not true that the guy doesn’t work. The main problem is more linked to the amount of commission you must pay to sell your property. The seller is basically paying 2 agents (the seller and the buyer), he pays also for the banner and for the office rent agents are charged monthly. This is why the 5% can hurt a lot on the sale price of your house.
But when you deal with a real estate agent to buy a house, there are no commissions to be paid! As I just wrote; the seller is paying for everything. As a buyer, the use of an agent is completely free. This sound like the perfect deal for me: you benefit from professional advice, get access to more data and have a private secretary to book your visits. Then, once you have bought your house, the cost of this service is a big fat ZERO.
This is so good that I think it’s a distortion in the market. At one point, it would even make more sense to have a seller paying a 2% or 2.5% commission fee and have the buyer paying also a finding fee to his agents. This would balance everything out and make more sense. But then again, I’m not sure I would be prepared to pay 5K-10K to an agent just to buy a house. I find their service awesome, but I would not even pay $1,000 for such support. I’m not sure there is a solution to this dilemma. In the meantime, I would still rather sell my properties myself and then use an agent for free to buy my next home.
What do you think? Do you use real estate agents when you buy?Google+ Comments: 3 Read More
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