Join the Journey #2: Month 1 Progress Report (Jan 2021)

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This is my first monthly progress report, published as part of my "Join the Journey" series.

One of the best ways to create accountability for yourself or others is to maintain some measure of transparency. I have decided to publish a monthly progress report on my sales and marketing efforts. This will be like the Strava to my book sales...a public record for anyone interested to follow.

I'm going to keep it simple and expand it out if I feel there is value. Each month I plan to cover:

  • My overall impression of the month
  • My monthly sales (units)
  • My marketing initiatives (and where possible, results)
  • My goals achieved (see my goals here)
  • My plans for the following month

Before I get into it: I would LOVE your feedback about this post (and series). What you like, what you want to know, what you found surprising...please leave me a comment and hopefully this will evolve to be something valuable for our community.

My overall impression of January (my first month!)

I feel good. I probably sold fewer copies than I expected, but that is due to two main reasons.

First, I expected to have a higher first month bump due to friends and family buying the book. I certainly had some of those orders, but I probably had 15 people tell me they plan to buy it who hadn't as of the end of January. 

Second, I have a couple coaches who are planning to purchase copies for their teams but weren't able to do it in January. Hopefully those will simply be deferred to a future month.

I sold more books to people I don't know than I expected, which I'm very happy about. Hopefully they will read it, like it, and recommend it. If Make the Leap is going to be successful, I've always believed it will be because of word-of-mouth. It's too early to tell for now.

I've got a solid routine going for my Instagram and Facebook feeds, though I still have a lot to learn. And I laid a little groundwork for future sales by recording some podcasts and working on partnerships that will come out in February.

My Monthly Sales (units)

Make the Leap January sales

I sold a total of 67 units (excluding free downloads or gifts from me to friends or family). 24% of customers ordered a workbook, and 5 out of 6 people (83%) who bought the book chose the print version.

I had one team order for 15 print copies, and I gave free digital copies to each athlete as well. (Only the print copies are included in the above count.)

I am pleased with the workbook attach rate and a bit surprised by such a strong preference for the physical book. When I originally wrote the book, I didn't intend to have a print version at all. Looks like the time spent making that was worth it!

My Marketing Initiatives

Make the Leap January 2021 marketing

My main marketing channels in January were Instagram, Facebook, and some influencer marketing.

I technically started my Instagram feed in December, but I had only 3 followers on Jan 1. I posted 21 posts and added 41 followers. This is significantly lower than I expected. Strangely, I have gained about as many followers to my personal, non-book account, even though I almost never post there.

I send the same posts to Facebook and occasionally share them to my friends and followers. I've invited some people to like my page but only a small subset of my network. 

My engagement and growth are both lower than I'd like, so I need to start trying some new strategies. I'm very much trying not to get sucked into spending all my time on social media, however, so I may have to settle for slower growth.

I also published four newsletters in January and had pretty low subscriber rates. Part of this is because I did not check the "subscribe to receive future offers" on my checkout page by default. I did that for one week and almost everybody became a subscriber. Those defaults really matter! So far, I don't believe anyone has unsubscribed. Hopefully that is a sign they are getting value out of it!

My biggest marketing success was likely sending the book to former USA National Team Coach Mike Fanelli to review. He gave me a great review on his Facebook page, which probably led to 10 purchases (I don't have a great way to track it, so it might be even more).

My Goals Achieved

My Goals for Make the Leap

I didn't hit any particular milestones for my norm-referenced goals. I have a good shot at hitting 100 books sold in February if I can pick up a little more momentum or get a team order booked.

For my self-referenced goals, I expanded my network via a couple new connections and learned a little more about how to systematize creating a social media feed and newsletter publication. Now I just need to expand my audience!

My Plans for February

As I mentioned, I recorded an episode of my podcast dedicated to the book, as well as went on the Strength Running Podcast. Both of those came out in February, so I'll discuss them in next month's update. (But you should listen to them!)

I aim to continue posting on Instagram and publishing my newsletter. I should probably engage more on social media but I'm already stretched thin so I will minimize my time on there for now.

I am working with Runner's Tribe to sell the book directly through their web store. This should go live in February.

And I aim to get customer reviews set up on my site as well as a more formalized offer for coaches.

Wrap-up

It was a good first month. I'm not sure exactly what I need to do to improve my engagement and growth on social media and the newsletter, but I have some ideas I plan to test and I'm comfortable with slow growth based on quality content. 

This is a long journey, and I plan to achieve success by following the same principles I lay out in Make the Leap: high quality work, done consistently, that feeds back into itself to create outsized gains. I'm still at the beginning where growth isn't really visible. But the foundation is being laid. 

Thanks for joining me on this journey. If you have any advice or feedback, please tell me in the comments. I read every one.

Go Be More,
Bryan

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