If you’ve been involved in Internet business for several years, you’ve probably seen your fair share of firesales. Some companies do it before going out of business; while others do it as a part of their normal sales cycle.
If you’re in a bind and need some cash fast, then holding a firesale is probably one of your best options. Of course, if it were easy or obvious how to do this, then everyone would do it successfully; and there would be no need for a guide such as this one. But this isn’t the case. Here’s what I personally suggest you do to ensure that your firesale is successful:
Before you even begin, it’s a good idea to pick a demographic to sell to. If you don’t know who your target audience is before you get started, then it will be impossible for you to select the right things to sell to them; and it will also be impossible for you to pitch to them in a relatable way.
If you currently have a large product line, then this stage shouldn’t be terribly challenging for you. All you’ll have to do is select a handful of your products, bundle them together, and then sell them for a fraction of the normal cost.
On the other hand, if you don’t have your own product line, then this part could be a little more challenging. You’ll have to actively seek out products that offer some type of resale license, bundle them together, and then sell them at a tiny fraction of the normal combined price.
Once you’ve assembled a large package of goods and have selected the firesale price, spend some time to determine how much it would cost an individual buyer to assemble all of these products (with normal—not resale—licenses). You can then present this figure repeatedly in all of your advertisements.
Again, if you have your own product line, website, and autoresponder list, then this step will be relatively easier. In this case, you should start by pitching your firesale to your existing customers. As an added incentive, you might offer to make it even cheaper for people on your email list. A good place to start is by creating a salespage for your firesale. Be careful to detail exactly how much buyers will save, so that they understand exactly how good the deal is. Also, include full descriptions of every product they will have access to after buying.
If you don’t feel comfortable writing copy, that’s perfectly fine. You can always hire someone from Elance to write the copy for you. Alternatively, you can spend some time on copywriting forums; and look for people who are marketing their services there. These individuals are more likely to have a strong background in marketing principles and copy-writing in particular (whereas those on Elance may be good writers, but not know much about marketing).
Once you have a sales-letter, your next step should be to make a pitch to your email list. This will require you to write some short email copy. Here, you will just want to be brief, avoid the appearance of spam, and keep the tone of a letter.
A good approach is usually to say something like the following:
I don’t usually do this, but I’m holding a firesale this week. I’m going to sell my entire line of products for a mere 10% of the normal price. The catch is that I’m only going to allow people to buy at this price on Friday. If you want a chance to get in on this incredible deal, I suggest that you check out what I’m offering at [firesale URL] and make sure to come back on Friday.
I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Again, the idea is to avoid something that appears too overtly salesy. Instead, you want to pitch it casually as an opportunity, but with a time limit and an associated sense of urgency.
On the other hand, if you don’t already have a list and a line of products of your own, it’s still a good idea to start by creating a sales-letter; however, your approach here should probably be different.
One good way to create a firesale sales-letter for products that are not your own is to setup countdown clock on the page; and then incrementally add the items that will be part of your sale over time. For instance, on day one, you could add three pieces of software that will be included in the firesale to the page. On day two, you could add a bundle of 200 ghost-written articles that will be included. And so on.
The goal of this exercise should be to get people in the habit of returning to your site daily, so that your firesale successfully builds anticipation until the final night, when your sale will begin. By this time, if you did a good job, hundreds of people will have seen your sale; and will be ready to buy.
As far as the actual promotional process goes, you have several options if you don’t already have a mailing list:
- Adwords. Since your goal is to raise money fast and since the firesale will only be available for a limited window of time, Adwords is probably one of your best options when it comes to marketing. Remember to use multiple campaigns, to carefully write your text ads, and to limit each campaign to narrowly-focused set of keywords and keyphrases.
- Joint Ventures. Find other business owners who have large, active lists. Offer them a very high commission if they participate (i.e. on the other of 50% or 75% of each sale). This will not only help you from the sales that they bring in directly, but it will help you indirectly by raising your status by association.
- Post on Forums. While most forums will prohibit you from directly marketing your products through a thread, most will allow you to include a signature that markets your products. You can do this in all large, relevant forums that you frequent; and when you do, make sure that you include the date of the firesale in your signature, so that forum members gain a sense of urgency.
A firesale can be one of the easiest ways to make money fast online; however, if you don’t manage it correctly, you could find yourself spending hundreds of dollars on products without any real return to speak of.