The “60 Second” Formula: What to do when people don’t buy

Bryan Harris —  Bryan Harris - May 23rd, 2014


Bonus: I’ve recorded an extensive video walkthrough to help you implement this formula. (Watch here )

If you want to get better at marketing, what is the first thing you do?

Read a book?

Watch a video?

Watch The Social Network?

Sure, you could do that.

Me? I observe what the best marketers are doing. Not what they are talking about or did 5 years ago, but what they are doing right now.

The equation is simple:

Identify and expert. Observe what they do. Do that.

Here are a few people I watch closely for marketing advice.

1. Noah Kagan


Noah Kagan

Companies: Appsumo, KickFlip, #30 at Facebook and #3 at Mint

Description: Grew Appsumo’s email list from 0 to 500,000 subscribers in 12 months. Marketing for Mint and invented the Facebook status update.

2. Neil Patel

Neil Patel

Neil Patel

Companies: KISSmetrics, CrazyEgg, Hello BarQualaroo and Quicksprout

Description: Neil and his business partner Hiten have founded successful company after successful company. KISSmetrics is his latest focus and #1 priority. He also writes and teaches about marketing on his personal blog Quicksprout.

3. Gary Vaynerchuk


Gary Vaynerchuk

Companies: Wine Library, Wine Library TV and Vayner Media

DescriptionGary grew his family owned wine shop in Jersey to a $50 million a year empire. He then quit to start WinelibraryTV in 2006. Since then he has gone on to start his own social ad agency working with Fortune 100 companies.

I subscribe to their newsletters, watch every interview they give and pay attention to their product launches.

I keep a private swipe file of all of their marketing material and study them.

If you are have an online business, offline business or ever think you might, you need to pay close attention to what Noah and his team at Appsumo are doing right now.

In February they launched a free toolkit called Sumome. It’s a suite of tools that helps you grow your business.

Then yesterday they unveiled their long term strategy, paid tools.


Sales page for their 1st paid tool

The new tool is called Headlines and it costs $99 per year.

What’s so interesting about this? Why should you care?

Glad you asked 🙂

…it’s all about what happens when you don’t buy.

Let me walk you through exactly what Appsumo is doing:


Note: The first step of the formula is the sales email. To see the full sales copy go here..



Note: This is where you need to pay attention. 24 hours after sending the sales email they followed up with another email asking why I didn’t buy. 

Why is this so genius?

This is smart because they are able to find out immediately what the main issues are with the product.

  • Do people understand what the product is?
  • Is it priced correctly?
  • Should it be a monthly, yearly or a one time fee?
  • Do people understand how the product works?
  • Are they targeting the right people?

Without asking they would never be able to find out the answer to these questions.

Contrast that with how I do things. I don’t send any type of survey if people don’t buy my course. In fact, you never get a followup email of any sort.

How dumb is that?

I have no clue if people even understand what my course does, much less if it’s priced and positioned correctly.

Take this for example

Currently my course sales for $397. What if that was too high?

What if the buy through rate on the course at that price was 0.1%, but if I lowered the price to $297 the buy through rate jumped to 0.3%?

What would that look like for my bank account?

This is what it would look like:


assuming 10,000 uniques per month

Think I’m throwing money away?

With these numbers I would be selling 30 courses at $297 versus 10 copies at $397.

That is a difference of $4,940 per month.

I’ve been selling the course for 12 months.

So, I’ve lost a total of….screw it. It’s a lot of money.

Yea, it’s kind of depressing.

Three Key Elements of How this Works

Let’s breakdown the email itself and see why it works so well.

1. Noah writes the email himself

Anton normally writes the Appsumo emails. So why was this email sent from Noah? Because Noah is the face of the company. Everyone that follows Appsumo knows who Noah is and is familiar with his story. Anton? Not so much.

I am much more apt to respond to an email from someone I am familiar with than someone I don’t have a connection with.

2. They didn’t ask for much at all

They don’t ask to get my ‘feedback’ or some equally lame open ended question.

They simply asked me to fill out a 60 second survey. Not much of a commitment. I’m in!

3. Made a reference to a previous action

The second line of the email made reference to an action I had taken, opening the sales email.

This is powerful. Why?

Because it’s specific. They cared enough to pay attention to what actions I took then sent me note based on that.

How can you do the same thing?

There are two main steps. First, make the survey itself then send it to anyone that has opened the email but has not opted in.

I put together a bonus section with 2 videos showing you exactly how to do that.

Step 1: Make the survey

Appsumo used a Google Doc form. We are going to do the same thing.

Here are the exact steps (download ):


Step 2: Send the email to the right people

Next, you’ll need to segment out everyone that has opened the email but has not bought your product.

Here is how you do that (Download ):


What does all of this mean?


Clear enough?

Seriously, you have no idea what people are thinking. One positioning tweak or price point change could mean the difference in you making $2k a month and $10k a month. But you’ll never know until you ask.

I haven’t been doing it and you aren’t either. So, cancel your stupid  mastermind this afternoon and go spend 2 hours setting this up instead.


PS: I put together two videos that walk you through exactly how to create your survey and segment your mailing list to target only the people who opened but didn’t buy.