Trial and error is part of being an entrepreneur. You, of course, want to make educated guesses (backed up by data whenever possible) about any business endeavor you pursue.
But not everything is going to go as planned or be a winner, which is the boat I found myself in with three experiments from a few months ago.
I think it’s good for people to learn from their setbacks – and the setbacks of others – so I decided to write about these failed experiments in this blog post.
First, I’m going to share what happened when I tried selling my Low Hanging System designs on other ecommerce platforms. Then, I’m going to talk about AiSoft’s 1st Page Ranker, a tool to rank your videos number one on Google and YouTube. And lastly, I’m going to share a strategy involving a product giveaway that worked well before but was a total bust the second time around.
With each of these fails, I talk about the premise, the setup, and the results I got.
Let’s take a look…
Sell your design work online
Two things I’m always looking for are new passive income streams and ways to repurpose work I’ve already done. To those ends, I thought it would be cool to try selling some of my Low Hanging System designs on other ecommerce and design websites.
I came across this resource with a list of places to sell your design work online.
From that list, I decided to try the following platforms (I chose the ones I thought would be the best fit):
Unfortunately, I ran into issues right away with Creative Market. The “Open a Shop” yielded a 404 error. And when I tried using the chat support system to let the company know and hopefully find a work-around, I was given another link that yielded a 404 error. So I obviously don’t recommend trying Creative Market.
I also had problems getting started with Design Cuts. To be featured on the site, you have to contact the company via the Contact Us page. I tried that and was told being featured is through invitation only. The Marketplace products and bundles are organized weeks in advance and the schedule was currently full so I would have to be placed on a waiting list.
(Some of the other platforms included on the resource list were GearBubble competitors so I didn’t want to use those.)
I ended up concentrating my efforts on Art Web. Here’s how that platform works…
To get started…
- Click the SIGN UP button at the top of the homepage.
- Choose your plan (I chose the free option) and click Select.
- Enter your name, email, password, and domain (yourdomain.artweb.com).
- Agree to the terms and conditions and click Register.
- Check your email for a new account activation message and click the link.
- Upload and confirm a profile image (or you can skip this step) and click SAVE & CONTINUE.
- Select a template for your store (you can change this later). I chose one of the simpler options.
- Preview the template and click SELECT THIS STYLE.
- Start uploading design images to your page. If you have the free version, you can add up to 15 images to sell (I priced each of my designs at $1.99).
- Click SAVE & CONTINUE.
- Provide ABOUT ME information.
- Click SEE YOUR WEBSITE NOW when you’re done.
As you can see from the screenshot below, my ArtWeb results were pretty pitiful.
No artwork views, no profile views, and no sales since I first created my account and uploaded designs back in October 2019.
Now, perhaps if I had tried one of the paid subscriptions, I would have seen better results, although my feeling is you should always test tools and resources before diving in headfirst.
Free trials and free versions of tools are ways of letting customers take the tool for a test-drive. And during that test-drive, you should be able to see some results. That’s how you know whether to invest any more of your time and money into a tool.
So the fact that I haven’t seen any traffic in over 4 months tells me that one of this platform’s paid versions probably wouldn’t be a worthwhile investment.
But in case you’re curious, the following paid options are available for Art Web:
AiSoft’s 1st Page Ranker
1st Page Ranker is supposed to help you earn free traffic and get your videos ranked number one on Google and YouTube. The way it works is…
- You add your YouTube account
- Create an “event”
- Within 24 hours, you should see page one rankings on both Google and YouTube
To use the software, you first need to add your YouTube channel to your 1st Page Ranker account. This process involves A LOT of steps. But don’t worry, it’s a one-time thing. Once your channel has been added, you won’t need to do it again.
Adding your YouTube channel
- Create an account and sign in.
- Inside your dashboard, go to Settings.
- Select Google+ Credentials from the drop-down menu.
- Click the blue Need Help button.
- On the page that opens up, click the Google Developers Console link.
- This opens the Google Console Dashboard (make sure you’re logged into your Gmail account).
- Click on the arrow button next to My Projects on the top left-hand side.
- Click New Project.
- Give your project a name.
- Click Create.
- Once the project is created, you can see it by going back to where it says My Projects and clicking the arrow. Your new project should now appear.
- Click your new project.
- Click ENABLE APIS AND SERVICES.
- In the search bar, type YouTube Data API v3 and select that option.
- Click ENABLE.
- Click the icon with the three horizontal bars at the top left-hand side of the screen next to where it says Google APIs.
- Click APIs & Services, then Dashboard.
- Go to the OAuth Consent Screen.
- Click External and Create.
- Give the application a name.
- Under Authorized domains, copy and paste this link aisoftllc.com into the space provided and press enter.
- Click the Save button.
- Click Credentials on the left-hand side.
- Click CREATE CREDENTIALS.
- Select OAuth client ID.
- Click Web Application.
- Go back to 1st Page Ranker.
- Under Settings and Google+ Credentials, copy the URL next to where it says Valid OAuth Redirect URL.
- Go back to the Google Developers Console and paste that link into where it says Authorized redirect URLs and press enter.
- Click Create.
- Copy Your Client ID and paste it into where it says Client ID* in 1st Page Ranker.
- Copy Your Client Secret and paste it into Client Secret*.
- Click Save.
- In 1st Page Ranker, click on Settings, then Accounts.
- Click ADD CHANNEL.
- Click authorize access.
- Sign in to your Google account and select your channel.
- Click Advanced.
- Click go to aisoftllc.com, allow, and OK.
Once you’ve added your channel, you can upload your YouTube videos and start trying to improve their rankings.
Uploading your videos
- Go to Video Gallery and select Video Gallery from the drop-down menu.
- Choose a file and click Upload Videos.
I uploaded four videos I already had posted on YouTube, but I had issues with one of the videos. When I contacted customer support, I was told the tool supports only mp4 videos, and the file size limit is 500 Mb.
With three videos successfully uploaded, I tried using the Instant Live event tool to improve my rankings by live-streaming my videos.
Using Instant Live
- Go to Get Rankings and select Instant Live.
- Enter a title, tags, and description for your video.
- Select your timezone, channel, and category.
- Select a video from the videos you uploaded and a thumbnail.
- Click Go Live!
The system then creates an event and schedules your video to go live within 15 minutes. I created live events for all three of the videos I uploaded. Then, I spun each of the videos to create additional versions.
1st Page Ranker includes several other features. But with my subscription, Instant Live was pretty much all I could do with the tool, which was disappointing. Other things you can do with an upgraded subscription include…
- Rebrand your video to include an intro or an outro or have your logo appear on the screen
- Add an affiliate marketing link to your video or any other text you might want
- Track your videos’ rank with the SEO analysis tool
I’ve tried several other tools similar to 1st Page Ranker in the past, and I always feel so encouraged by what the product promises. But lately, I’ve seen more failures than successes with video-ranking software. And 1st Page Ranker is no exception.
Not one of my videos ended up on the first page of either YouTube or Google. I searched for the keywords I was trying to rank for, both with and without quotes. But either way, my videos didn’t show up.
If this tool had been free, I’d understand having such limited access to the software’s features. But I paid for this ($27 I believe) and I really could only use the Instant Live event creator, which didn’t boost my videos’ rankings significantly. I can’t say that I’d recommend trying this tool.
Golden Mom Giveaway
This idea is based on a strategy I tried once before and got good results. You can read about that experience here. Things didn’t go nearly as well the second time around, however. But the basic idea is you create and promote a product giveaway that people sign up for as a way to build your list, drive traffic to your store, and increase your sales.
Here’s what I did…
From my Amazon inventory, I selected an 11 oz coffee mug with a design about golden retriever moms. Then, I had someone on my team create a super simple giveaway page and a thank you page on a domain I had bought a while back. Here’s what those pages looked like:
Thank you page
Next, I created a sequence in ConvertKit and connected it to the signup form on the giveaway page, so anyone who gave their email address would receive the following message immediately after signing up:
Hey golden retriever lover!
We received your request to join the giveaway for the Golden Retriever Mom Mug. Not only are you eligible for that prize, but you have a chance to win a new dog-related prize we’ll be giving away every day this week! Woohoo!
Here’s how this is going to work:
In 2 days from today, you’ll get an email with the subject line TODAY’S GOLDEN RETRIEVER WINNER. Inside the email, you’ll see if you won, so make sure to open it.
There will be 5 winners in total, so for the next 4 days after that, simply open each email and see if you won.
If you win, hit “reply” to this email and send us your shipping information. Very easy!
We’ll meet you back here in your inbox soon. :)
P.S. If you don’t want to wait, you can buy the Golden Retriever Mom Mug now. It’s normally $14.95 but we’re offering a discount to all our subscribers with this coupon code: GOLDENMOM (valid through the end of December).
Go here and buy one today –> www.amazon-product-link.com
…Then, per the email above, on day two, anyone who signed up would receive this message:
Hope you are having a great day!
This will be short – we are announcing the winner of the Golden Retriever Mom Mug!
The coffee mug winner is:
Congratulations! If you won, please reply to this email with your address so we can send you your mug ASAP. And if you didn’t win, there will be more drawings for more prizes! Don’t miss the email from us tomorrow for another winner.
If you didn’t win and want the mug at our discounted rate, grab yours here: www.amazon-product-link.com
(Use code GOLDENMOM.)
…On day three, they’d get…
Hey, hey, hey…
The winner for today’s drawing was selected.
Today’s mug winner is…
If you’re today’s winner, please reply to this email with your shipping info. You can get all the details about your prize right here: www.prize-details.com.
And if you didn’t win today, keep an eye on your email tomorrow to see if you’re a winner. We’ve got more drawings coming up!
P.S. If you didn’t win and want to get this Golden Retriever Mug – you can! Grab it right here: www.amazon-product-link.com.
…And so on, until day six, when they’d get the final email…
Today is the final day of golden retriever giveaways. We’ve had a lot of fun and we hope you have too!
Now, without further adieu, the winner of the last golden retriever coffee mug is…
If you’re the winner, please reply to this email with your shipping information. You can find out all the details about your prize right here: www.prize-details.com.
Thank you so much to everyone who participated! And if you didn’t win, you can still grab all the adorable golden retriever items we gave away here: www.amazon-product-link.com.
After creating the email sequence, I made a post on one of my existing Facebook fan pages with text that said…
*** Win A Golden Retriever Mom Coffee Mug ***
Enter to win here:
The post also included an image of the coffee mug. To help promote the post, I hit “Boost Post” and made a $20-lifetime ad budget. The post got a combination of 208 likes, laughing emojis, and hearts as well as 7 comments, and 14 people shared it.
I also hired two people on Fiverr to promote the giveaway on their websites.
The giveaway was aimed at giving away the golden retriever mom mug and other free prizes. But the first time I tried this strategy, a ton of people who didn’t end up winning still wanted to buy my product. I was hoping that would also be the case the second time around.
Anyone who signed up for the giveaway and wanted to buy the mug would get a discount code. And if you scroll up, you can see that I included the code in my subscriber emails.
I chose the giveaway winners by selecting a number at random and then finding that subscriber on my list. For example, if I chose the number 17, I’d go through my list and find the 17th subscriber and he or she would be the winner.
There are probably other ways of doing selecting the winners. This is just the method I used.
Fifty-four people signed up for the giveaway. But while a total of five winners were selected, only one person wrote in to claim his prize and zero sales were made, which was pretty disappointing. This strategy had worked so well when I first tried it. But this time, it was a total flop.
Maybe it depends on the product being given away. So maybe my results were a fluke the first time I tried this strategy. It’s hard to say. But replication is an important part of experimental design, and I was unable to replicate my results with this experiment.
If you have any suggestions on what I could do differently to get this (or the other two case studies) to work better, I’d love to hear your ideas. Please leave a comment below, and share this post with your friends and followers!