Unexpected Expenditure & Great Marketing Idea

Well, I faxed in my contract to eSellerate today.  Unfortunately, the convinience store charges for the fax by 12 second increments and their positively ancient fax machine took 8 minutes to transmit the 10 page document.  2000 yen = $17.20!  Thats almost a third of my budget, and while I’ll make it up on my first transaction it was rather irksome.  This brings my total expenditure to date to $32.22 (I also paid Google’s non-refundable $5 deposit for an AdWords account the other day, and the first payment was $10.02 to GoDaddy.)

Oh yeah, my brilliant marketing scheme.  I was making samples for my website and wanted to include some bingo cards for holidays, because teachers often want to do a more fun lesson around those days and what is more fun than a quick game of Halloween bingo?  Plus, if you check the search engine results, you get crazy spikes around all major holidays for exactly those seasonal bingo games — strange but true!  Unfortunately, there are no holidays American teachers would be naturally interested in in the middle of summer.  Of course, there’s that whole Fourth of July thing, but most schools are out of session and few teachers will be running any lessons that day.  And it would only leave people three days to buy between launch and the holiday.

Hey, wait a minute.  Short time frame for one-use impulse-purchase Americana… I SMELL EBAY!  eBay routinely sells bingo card sets for $8 with $5 shipping, and almost all the users are home consumers, which isn’t my target market.  They probably will only play one game of bingo in the year.  But millions of them are going to be searching for Fourth of July activities over a three day period.  I can’t even buy that kind of traffic, and if I price it to move (say, at $9.99) for a special Fourth of July edition its not like I’ll be depriving myself of any sales in my core market.  Take out the eBay fees and Paypal fees and I’m looking at making about $7 per sale.  And if it turns out to have been a stupid idea, oh well, I’m out the price of about five clicks from Google AdWords.  $7 per sale times even five sales means I am officially cash-flow positive.  And wouldn’t that be a funny thing to announce on day two of owning your own business. 🙂

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