I have dumb-as-rocks logic on my dashboard that straight-line predicts sales out to the end of the month. Currently, its suggesting I’m likely to have $3,000+ sales in February. What is scary is that number is increasing every day — i.e. the projection keeps going up because the last day’s sales beat the straight-line projection. (Or, in some cases, shattered it. Today was my best day ever.)
What’s doing it? Well, its a witches brew:
1) Early indications are that the new cart that I was so excited about kicks royal buttocks. There is an A/B test running at the moment. Suffice it to say that if I told you the improvement I am seeing you would not believe me. I’m not even sure I believe me. The results are not statistically bulletproof yet and, against all my instincts to cry it from the rooftops, I’m going to wait until they are to show off.
2) I am having good results from a really simple change to my Check for Updates page, which is seen by a large portion of trial downloaders. The basic idea is simple: as long as I have you on my webpage because you’ve demonstrated that you care about having the latest and greatest, why don’t I sell you on the benefits of getting the latest and greatest forever?
3) I’m having fairly decent results with the testing of the version of the software packaged with Excelsior JET versus the stock Launch4j wrapped executable. It isn’t quite the murderously one-sided contest that the shopping cart appears to be, but hey, improvements are improvements. I’ll wait until the test is over to unveil the results, although I gave an interim update here for those interested.
4) I made some changes to BCC 2.51 to make it more usable and, at the same time, make it sell better. One alteration which might slip the notice of programmers was to the UI. Can you find the change between these two screenshots?
Give up? Click on the second image and you’ll be taken to the annotated version, with the two important bits called out in red. Or you could highlight the following text: [The number one reason to buy my software is to get randomly scrambled bingo cards. Despite the fact that I hammer away at this on my website, many people don’t actually know that the program does this. I get asked sometimes “How do I scramble the cards?”, which indicates that the whole Sample Cart element was an epic failure at comprehensibility. Hence the clarification by it. Similarly, users perceive a need to get unique bingo cards. There are 24! bingo cards possible from the smallest possible word list. That is 620 septillion bingo cards. But users are worried that if they print some insanely big number, like twenty, they will get a repeat.]
Incidentally: if there is an exceptionally nice person out there who could reproduce the first image for me on a machine that has Windows XP on it, I would be very obliged. Just open any of the Language Arts -> Reading -> Dolch Sight Words lists, and show the program with the word list opened and scrolled down, as that image does. Thank you, Chris.
5) BCC 2.51 includes a “soft” timed trial mechanic. Here is how it works: the user gets to use the software for forever, as they always have been. The software prompts to be updated once every 15 days, as it has for quite some time. If a user says they want an update, the software then displays the following dialog after popping the website:
Yes, that spelling mistake is in the original. Sigh. Just noticed it as I was grabbing this screen shot. I’ll fix it tomorrow. Anyhow, the idea here is that while nagging first time users of the application would be a little gauche, someone who has used the application for 15, 30, 45, etc days is clearly happy with it and just needs a bit of a nudge over the finish line. So I offer them an incentive for registration.
The nice thing about this one is it sounds like “getting something extra” rather than “getting something which was taken away from you”, like the ability to print 16+ cards or the ability to save, both of which are disabled in the free trial. The upsell screens that pop up when those are triggered still account for the lion’s share of sales from the app, though.
Alright, that’s enough writing for one day. I’ll keep you aprised as the month moves on.