Okay, reminder – read the previous Marketing Plan : Pricing article first before you read this one. There’s a lot of data there, and while I have another post I wanted to do (not marketing plan based); I wanted this tackled before people forgot.
Or I forgot.
We discussed a bunch of common pricing strategies. But here’s more to look at:
I really don’t think I need to explain it, but promotional pricing is when you lower regular price to make your product more attractive to a larger market of cost conscious consumers.
Used effectively, promotional pricing can create a larger pool of readers to pull down your series funnel. But, be careful.
Cost conscious customers who only buy at $0.99 might balk at being asked to buy your next books at $4.99 or $5.99. Which means you might have to (eventually) discount your later books.
Timing on promotional pricing is important, but it can be very useful and generate significantly more revenue. Part of it is because (on Amazon); you are pushed up higher on their search results when you are selling more. So a sudden burst of sales can offer some help.
Side note – Amazon is discounting 1 day bursts more and more and looks at trends, so having more regular or widespread promotional pushes over a period of time is more likely to push you up and keep you up the ranks.
Got more than 1 book? Bundle pricing is what happens when you slide multiple books into one deal. The most common is creating omnibus editions (like the Adventures on Brad Books 1-3) but you can also see it in other areas, if you have control.
For example, in-convention sales where you sell 3 sets of your paperbacks for $40 instead of $45.
Or on your personal direct sales website (like my Payhip store) and offer say, a purchase of a short story at $0.99 if they buy the main books in the series already.
In terms of book publishing, the big things to think about is:
– timing of when to release am omnibus
– audiobook hours (getting over that 15 hour total makes sales on Audible shoot up significantly!)
– selective promotion of the omnibus and the read-through for on-going books.
There are tactics to use with bundled items, but we’re talking strategy; so I’m just going to say that it’s an option and something to slide into your marketing plan when you are building it.
This is more a tactic than a strategy, but since it might be a long time till I get to marketing tactics, it’s worth adding this in.
Anchor pricing is the use of a (generally higher) price to set up a benchmark in the mind of the consumer. You then have a lower price that makes your product a deal.
You see this with sale prices displayed next to the regular price in supermarkets and other retailers.
For us publishers – having a paperback priced at $15 will allow Amazon (and other retailers) to favorably compare it to your ebook price (of $3-6). This is useful, because it increases conversion rates of purchases and also allows you to put a higher price.
Here’s the hidden danger. If you saw a product normally priced at $16 and is now priced at $1, would you buy it? Or are you asking why first? If that product was say… fish. Would you pause and think, is that fish fresh?
Be careful about using anchor pricing and pricing your ebook too low on a regular basis. You don’t want people questioning your product being ‘bad fish’.
I think I covered most of the pricing strategies. If I forgot something, feel free to bring it up. It’s been a long time since I actively dug into details, so I might have forgotten things.
Some Final Thoughts on Pricing
One of the biggest issues I have with indie publishers is that they sell themselves short. All the damn time.
They price themselves too low – taking the minimum amount at $2.99 to make something. Forgetting that they can earn a lot more with fewer people. Often, I hear people say ‘but I’m not that good’ or ‘I don’t want people to pay that much for this’.
It’s often an issue of confidence – in themselves, in their work – rather than an actual business decision. At the end of the day, how much people pay is up to them.
On top of that, so many price low and end up driving the entire market low. If you don’t believe me, watch some of the romance markets. So many books are sold at $0.99. And the reason they have to do it is because everyone else does it. How much more could they earn if people kept their pricing at $2.99?
Who knows. Maybe they are right – because of how many whale readers there are, maybe it’s not viable to have $0.99 at all; not without significant quick price changes. But…
I’m leery of prices going down. Because I’ve seen how destructive it is in my old business. And remember, as a writer, n many ways, your product is unique. Or, in most cases if you aren’t chasing trends and switching pen names, should be.
But that’s another discussion.
As indie publishers, one of the biggest advantages we have in pricing is the ability to experiment and test. And get our results back fast.
Is $4.99 the right price? Or $3.99? Should I do a combination of $4.99 with $0.99 promos every 3 months? Or every 6 months?
How about pricing your book 1 at $0.99 permanently but having every other book at $5.99? Or less extreme at $4.99 and $5.99? Is it worth it?
Who knows. Your books are different than mine, your marketing strategy, your product base is all different.
But guess what? You can test it out and find out. Yes, sometimes, it takes a few months to work out results. But you can test and keep testing. And if you have multiple product lines (read series!); you can test on one or two and never affect your main sellers.
One last word.
This is the giant boogeyman. With KU, you have to be exclusive with Amazon, but your product is the equivalent of $0 for subscribers. While it’s not free for them, your book by itself is.
This actually then creates a Price Discriminatory pricing strategy – $4.99 for non-KU subscribers, $0 for KU subscribers. It’s also (maybe) time-based if you take your books out of KU.
And you have the advantage of dropping it further; to $0.99 or Free with their promotional options. It opens a ton of options for you, while not necessarily shutting them down (in terms of pricing strategy).
Look into distribution for a longer discussion on distribution strategy. And things to consider. KU has multiple effects on the entire chain, and can’t really be considered by itself. Just realise that it is quite, quite useful and important in some genres. The siren call of ‘free’ is very, very attractive to readers.
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