This is the first experiment of a bigger experiment I’m running titled “Turning a Hobby into a Business”. In the bigger experiment I plan on turning the Worldbuilding School into a profitable business with a team of writers.

You’re blogging in a niche? Awesome.

But what happens when you have a product that is a niche part of the niche you’re serving?

That’s what this first experiment is about. Increasing the sales for a product that is niche within its own niche.

Let me explain.

Here’s my example:

Vancano’s Map Generator is a photoshop plugin I created to help authors and role players create world maps for their imaginary world.

It’s currently the most profitable product the Worldbuilding School (WBS) has. But it’s a niche product of a niche category. By that I mean it only helps a very small part of my already niche audience – those people who want to create a world map using Photoshop.

As many people in the WBS audience don’t have Photoshop it means there isn’t a wide customer potential for the plugin.

Are you in the same boat?

Sure you could create another product that helps a much wider part of your audience. But sometimes you don’t have the time or energy to start a new product from scratch.

Plus if your niche niche product makes sales and does a good job fixing the problem, why shouldn’t you try and improve the sales? Then reinvest the profits into making another product.

Goal: Increase # of sales/month for Vancano’s Map Generator.

This experiment will use my example product from above, and I’ll do my best to share regularly what actions I’ve taken. You can then be the judge if the experiment is a success or not.

Get your judge wig ready and take note, because here come the rules.

By 5th April 2019, Vancano’s Map Generator will be making 5 sales each month. This will generate $95 (£68) per month and $89 (£64) after paying the ecommerce platform.

So there you have it.

If by the 5th April 2019 the Map Generator isn’t making 5 sales per month, then I’ve failed!

Are you running an experiment for one of your own products? Awesome sauce. Create a goal that has a deadline and is measurable. Feel free to share it in the comments and we’ll keep each other accountable.

Now, you maybe wondering:

“Ok, you want 5 sales each month, but how many has the Map Generator had in the last few months?”

I will reveal all.

From April 2017 to April 2018 (tax year) Vancano’s Map Generator made 1.33 sales each month. Or 16 sales in total. Which equals $304.

Gumroad, the ecommerce platform, took $19.20 in transaction fees.

So, I received about $284.80 in profit.

Which doesn’t cover the cost of hosting the Worldbuilding School or paying for its email service provider. Not to mention the yearly cost of software for the membership site.

waves sad flag

What about the year before?

In 2016/17 it made 11 sales bringing in $241 but this is when I was testing pricing. So I won’t use it as a benchmark.

Back to 2017/18

The conversion rate was 0.97%. That means if 100 people saw the product 0.97 of them would buy it. A rather low conversion rate with plenty of room for improving.

Here’s a table showing which websites referred the sale:

Referrer Number of Sales
Worldbuilding School 6
My DeviantArt Account 5
Gumroad 2
Google 1
Inside the WBSchool 1
Facebook 1

More specifically Gumroad can report on which pages generated the sale. You first need to export the data.

This is the break down of the top referring pages:

Website page Number of Sales
DeviantArt promo post 5
WBSchool blank map page 4
WBSchool map resources page 2
Gumroad map generator page 2

This has given me LOTS of guidance on what to do to increase the number of sales.

In fact, the 2 tables above have given me so many ideas to work with I’ve decided to focus on 2 main points of action because they are things I can influence directly.

  1. Improve and promote: WBSchool blank map page
  2. Improve and promote: WBSchool map resource page

Before I go off and implement the two actions

I’d like to publish a few more numbers and actions I will take.
Just to recap. The goal of this experiment is to:

Increase # of sales/month for Vancano’s Map Generator.

And here is the goal you’re judging me on:

By April 5th 2019, Vancano’s Map Generator will be making 5 sales each month. This will generate $95 (£68) per month and $89 (£64) after paying the ecommerce platform.

The extra numbers

If the conversion rate stays at 0.97% then the product will need 520 page views per month to generate 5 sales.

This is entirely possible as the whole website received 7,404 page views in the month of March. So there is existing traffic.

However, there is a chance that when more traffic goes to the sales page the conversion rate will drop. So I need to ensure it is being promoted in the right way.

Action points

  1. Improve and promote: WBSchool blank map page
  2. Improve and promote: WBSchool map resource page

Plus

  • Add a link/banner to the product page in the sidebar
  • Finish editing a new tutorial video
  • Try and speed up the website

The experiment has begun

So there you have it. The first entry in the first experiment is published.

Don’t forget to bookmark this page to see how the experiment develops.

You can also subscribe to my email list for updates.

And you can follow the whole journey of turning a hobby into a business here.