I don’t have any medium- or long-term projects going. This year’s robust sales gave me a good excuse to turn my back on the old, persistent problems that I’m sick of thinking about – no developer support, no marketing or advertising initiatives, shitty search engine rankings, no open-to-buy dollars – you’ve read this lament over and over. Unless “natural growth” (a dubious concept) carries
My motivation falls off along with sales. It’s easy to put
Well, I can reduce my PPC ad costs. Google is costing me about $10 per day. First I deleted most of the “Product Categories” campaign and tuned up what’s left. Those generic keywords (e.g., “unusual clocks”) were costing up to a buck a day with only miniscule payoff.
Then I tended to my “Product-specific” campaign, which I neglected while sales were robust. For an example: Thanks to ridiculous shipping charges from the Left Coast, the gross margin on my one mechanical coin bank struggles to reach 40%. It’s dubious whether I should even carry this thing at all, much less pay to advertise it. Yesterday I spent $3.28 to buy 16 clicks and no sales. The keyword “coin banks” alone has cost $25.33 to date to produce one sale. Buh-bye! I have spent an astonishing $105 on advertising record purses, and recorded only two conversions (although I’ve sold more purses than that). I wonder if I'd ever sell another purse if I were to shut those ads down entirely. Whenever my attention wanders away from PPC advertising for more than a week, I start to bleed money.
Rising prices sent ten more Yahoo keywords into dormancy last week; I deleted nine of them. My Yahoo spend is comfortably below $5 per day now…but given its lousy results, why am I even spending that much? Given the rate at which Yahoo keeps trimming my keyword list, they seem to have reached the
Reducing costs by a buck or two a day is nice, but it doesn’t increase sales and might even harm them slightly. What else can I do?
I could pursue more links. My percentage of referral visits remains stuck at around 20% despite landing links at Dayclocks.com and Panthervision.com in the past several weeks. Octopus Overlords referrals came roaring back when that forum was resurrected. But my #1 source by far is search.ebay.com. Huh? Where does that come from, and how can I affect it? And why don’t my other forums – Popehat.com and GamingTrend.com – even rank in the top 50? I suppose I could improve the links in my signatures on those sites, and see if that makes any difference.
I can try to remember that Google Base expires every month, and upload a new data file before that happens instead of my usual 3-5 days after the fact.
I can keep hammering out blog posts in the hopes that I can find new ideas through brute force.
None of this adds up to a hill of beans. I need to step out of my comfort zone and initiate something serious. But what? Figuring that out should be next week’s goal. Maybe I should follow the open-to-buy formulae to some conclusion.
Open to Buy Revisited
I spent $1,000 more in July than my old OTB method indicated was prudent. I pushed the red ink to well over $2,000 and drained my operating cash to its lowest level ever. Naturally, I turned my liquidity into inventory just as business dropped off…and, naturally, I barely scratched my merchandise wishlist. I could easily spend another $2,000 to replenish a few items and get everything new that I’d like to try.
Since I managed to spend that money without the sky falling, I decided that I’m going to reset my OTB to zero at the beginning of August. As we discovered three weeks ago, that old number is a rough guideline at best.