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Hi, and welcome to the Biz Blog. It's a part of the site we set up so I could talk about the particulars of running QS as a business. I enjoy talking business strategy and development and entrepreneurship is thrilling. This is mainly a little outlet for some thoughts I have about the site, and I hope business-minded QSers will share some interest in it, too! One of the hot trends in businesses now is transparency, where you get to read Steve Jobs on Twitter or experience other carefully-crafted-but-seemingly-spontaneous occurrances that are meant to make you feel like these CEOs and businesses are jus' plain folk. Maybe this is a lunge at that trend, who knows.
Our Recent Survey
As you might remember, we launched a survey a few weeks back to find out a little more about our readers. Gathering information about customers is really, really important for us because we want to know what products to develop. Kelly and I worked to create a short survey with a prize payout to a lucky winner to find out a little more about where to take QS. My overarching goal with interacting with our customer base is "really try not to piss people off" which in this case, meant writing a short survey and not ramming it down our readers' throats with daily Twitter updates and more.
Some things we got right in the survey - we wanted to know how many people were interested in Insider for example. We found we had a sufficient interest in it that we are going to go forward with it soon. The reality is that keeping QS up and running costs a lot of money each month and I don't want to hit people with ads they will ignore anyway. I'd rather provide a premium service to our readers who want it and continue to provide great free content to people who would rather pass on Insider at that time.
Other things surprised us. The biggest was that more than 60% of our readers wanted a newsletter! Personally, I delete the newsletters I am subscribed to because they are all veiled ads and sales (and really, J. Crew, 20% off $150 is NOT a sale). We are interested in developing a newsletter in the future because obviously, fans want it! However, we haven't quite figured out what content should be in the newsletter. For example, I don't want it to be an ad, period. I want people to get a unique value from reading it if they have taken the time to let us talk to them. I also don't want to regurgitate content to them, nor do I want to run content in it that would be better off posted on the main page. So I guess, in short, we'll run a newsletter when we figure out exactly how it will benefit our readers to subscribe, as well as maybe drive Insider sales when we launch it. If you have opinions or ideas, I'd love to hear them.
We have had a great time publishing and publicizing Steve Menendian's recent book, Understanding Gush. What I like about the response is that the subject is pretty narrow, but the fans have spoken and we have heard from a lot of people who love the book. We are working on a 2nd Edition at the moment that will be free to everyone who already bought the first edition.
One of the challenges of the Ebook has been successfully marketing it. The free chapter was a great way to "advertise" while providing genuine benefit to people who had no interest in shelling out for the book. Again, we come back to that "don't piss people off" thing! We have had a good amount of success with free advertising on Twitter and forums, and I think part of that comes from only posting where we are established and also not being all Mike Long about upselling. We are looking at paid advertising, too, but this is a serious long-tail product and Google AdWords only gets you so far. I believe in the product and that it will help absolutely anyone who wants to play Gush. The hardest part, I think, is reaching the market that wants this book but does not know it exists. It's especially hard to reach that market because Magic players are like cats; skeptical, aloof, and able to spot bullshit. By and large, our readers are internet-savvy folks who tune out any ad and can spot fake viral marketing. While we make no attempts to do fakeout hyping, we're interested in showcasing a good product without being lumped together with the marketers that Bill Hicks ranted about.
In other news, since we have received a lot of positive feedback regarding a physical book, I am pleased to announce that we will be going forward and printing a first edition of the book within the coming month. If you are interested in one, please let me know if you would be willing to wait a little while on getting the book shipped to you if it meant Steve would autograph it too.
British Airways Contest
Thanks to YOU GUYS, we won the British Airways contest for small businesses! Awesome! Kelly and I were super psyched when we got the congratulations email from BA. Kelly will be announcing the full itinerary soon, but expect to have an awesome, long QS Travel Blog that hits three continents and exposes truly global Magic.
2 thoughts on “On Surveys and Publishing”
You make some excellent points, but i'm still not convinced that regular butter is better then Golden Soft.
The likelihood of me buying Understanding Gush- or any QS Masters Series of like quality- in print edition is 100%. And sure, I'd wait a tad for the author's John Hancock…