Put your money where your mouth is, self finance your business and make them feel the pain of disconnect!
How to play the long game and win, productivity, customer support and more!
Today is about recurring income. Today is about money. Today is about getting your website, and, more importantly, your membership site set up. We have a very special guest, Mr. Robert Plank. Robert, welcome to the show.
Glad to be back. I'm a recurring guest, now, just like Mr. Fred.
You are a recurring guest ... just like a membership site, as well.
Yeah, even though ... I'm glad that you brought that up. I'm glad that we kind of started off with that, because ... right off the bat, whenever people talk about membership sites, or I talk about membership sites to anyone, the usual excuse ... or the usual kind of ... like, dejected ... kind of beaten down, tired response is, "All right, well, I hear about this thing called a membership site. I want to make one, but I just don't know what I could ... I don't know what kind of site I could make," or, "I charge somebody 20 bucks a month, again and again."
... and, when I say ... well, you're thinking about membership sites all wrong. Membership sites ... usually, people think about recurring income ... charging people a monthly fee, but a membership site is just a site where someone can be a member.
Yeah, and I think that ... you know, for me, personally, this was a huge hold-up, because when I started online, I knew that I needed to make a product. I got confused, because ... I thought, well, I'm going to make a report, or I'm going to make a video, or I'm going to record a webinar, and sell that. My confusion was, "How do I deliver a product, versus how do I have a membership site?"
... and the big light bulb for me is exactly what you're talking about, just a moment ago ... is that a membership site doesn't have to be ... although it can be recurring ... but a membership site can be free. It can be single payment. It can be multi-payment. It can be recurring, like we've talked about, but the most important thing is that it takes payments from somebody, and then, it allows them access, once they are a member. For me, it was this big mindset shift. When it was ... oh, I can deliver my free gift, my lead generator, my ... what do they call it now ... my trip wire, through a membership site ... which gives me an easy place to up-sell people, or I can sell my one-time, seven dollar product ... or I can sell my multiple payment site, or my recurring site, all through the same thing. Once I figured out ... it was payment, securing my download, whatever that meant ... and then, having a place where people can log in ... that really changed the game for me, personally.
For me, too, and even ... kind of going along in that stream of thought, that you're thinking there ... is that what also helped me get over the hurdle of ... like, the confidence part, and the technology part, was that membership sites are just on or off, right? Someone either ...
... has access, or they don't. At first, it sounds like ... well, duh, of course ... but, I mean, from like ... a computer programming point of view, I was driving myself crazy, thinking ... like, okay ... so if someone's in my site, it's like ... should I be checking on my members, and see if someone hasn't paid me in 32 days, or in 35 days ... should I cut off my access ...
... and the good news is, the way all these payment systems work ... and by the way, what we highly recommend everyone listening does is, you get a business account with a site called PayPal, to take payments, and then you use a plug-in called Member Genius, which you can grab at MemberGenius.com.
Basically, the good thing about all these systems, including PayPal, is if somebody refunds, or if somebody is paying you monthly, and stops, PayPal will go ahead and talk to your site, so there's none of this ... having to, you know, check anything every 30 days. If someone pays you $10.00 one time, and it goes through, they have access to your membership site. If they then refund, they take the money back to themselves, then PayPal will go ahead and tell your membership site that. Then, likewise, if you have a $30.00 per month, kind of ... recurring forever membership site ... somebody joins ... something similar happens. They join. They get access. They can keep logging back in, but as soon as they stop paying monthly ... not even necessarily taking the money back, but just cancelling, stopping their monthly recurring billing ... same exact thing. PayPal will go ahead and tell your membership site to cut off their access.
... so, like ... that, in addition, to what you talked about a couple minutes ago, helped me wrap my head around it so much, because ... we don't have ... I mean ... there's very little difference between ... at least, as far as setting things up ... very little difference between a one-time payment site, and a recurring site ... because if somebody refunds, or cancels, PayPal ... just go ahead ... and sends the signal to shut them off.
I think that what's important, is that ... the way that we approach membership sites has really blurred the line. You don't need all of these different plug-ins. You don't need one for your lead capture system, to hook it up to your auto-responder ... a different one to collect your payments. If you get the right membership plug-in for WordPress, it handles everything. I mean ... Robert, we really think of them as our virtual assistants. We set it up. We hook it up with PayPal, or whatever affiliate system that we're using, to collect payments, and after that, I mean ... there's very little touch, or management, that we have to do on it.
If somebody pays, or signs up ... if it's a free site, they get access. If they want to access what they bought over and over again, they log in with their username, password ... or even, now, social media, Facebook connection ... and if they lose their password, or forget how to get in, the system sends them that as well. If they stop making payments, it locks them out, or if they refund it, locks them out. From a management point of view, it really frees up our time, because there's nothing that we have to do, and there's not a bunch of moving parts. It's one plug-in that handles everything. If they're in, they're in. If they stop paying ... cancel ... refund ... whatever it is, then they're out, and the system handles all that access for us.
Oh yeah, and, I mean ... the way that we both used to sell products, and training, and things online, is ... we would take money, and send somebody over to just a regular web page ... regular HTML page, if anyone knows what that is. That was fine for, you know, back in the Stone Age of internet marketing ... but nowadays, my thinking is, well, if I'm going to sell something ...
Let's say I'm even going to sell something like, high ticket ... like, something for a thousand bucks. Let's say that I ... even if you're only planning on making, or you're only going to make 10-20 sales of that this month, wouldn't it make sense to give someone access to a site where you can build it up over time? You could add some links, add some bonuses, and then, likewise, we have some sites ... like, we have a site called Income Machine, and I think we have, like ... 12,000 registered members in there. We have a site called Backup Creator, and we're just under 9,000 registered members, in there.
Even if you go the other direction ... if you have thousands and thousands of people who are all paying you $10.00 ... even if they're paying you $10.00 for one little thing, I mean ... it's ridiculous to think that you're going to be able to manage all that by just having a regular web page, because if you figure even ... you know, 10%, or 20% of those people come back, and need to go back and log in ... if even 1% of those thousands of people refund, or want to cancel, whatever ... it's just ... you'd spend literally all day re-handing out download links. I mean ... it's so awesome, especially that lost password recovery ... if they bought from you, say, years ago, and they want to get back in today.
There's one more thing that I want to talk about, really quickly, because we've kind of mentioned all of these different things, as we talk ... and really, we look at this as ... membership sites, first of all, cover every type of your digital product delivery online ... take your payments ... protect all of your content ... but there's really four models, I think, Robert, that we use. One is the free model, which basically is what we use to build a list. You might have heard of "lead capture" page, or "give a free gift away," ethical bribe ... any of these things. We use a membership site for ... and all we do is, we have what's called a free level, right? A level where anybody can get access, as long as they register for the site. Think about Facebook, Gmail ... Amazon, even ... all of these places ... those are all basically free membership sites, that you can buy something once you get inside ... so we have our free model.
Then, we have the single pay model, and this is ... this was the one that really took me a long time to wrap my head around, but it was ... I'm using it as a product delivery. Whether somebody pays me $47.00 once, $7.00 once, a thousand dollars once ... they pay. They get access to the site.
The third one ... and I think, really, Robert, we invented this. I mean ... this is something that we did digitally, that nobody else was doing ... and what we did was, we took our single pay sites, where everything, basically, used to cost $1,000.00 or $2,000.00 online, and what we said is ... why not give them all of ... I mean ... basically, did the same thing that you do when you buy a car, or a house, where they say it costs $60,000.00, but you get to pay it off over time. We came up with fixed-term, or multi-pay sites ... and so now what we do, is ... because we use a membership site, we're able to say, it's $47.00, every two weeks ... it's $50.00 a month, until you pay it off. While they're paying, they have access, and once they stop paying, they lose access ... but if they make all of their payments, they get access forever, completely ... so that's the third model.
And then, the fourth is ... which you mentioned, too, when we started this off ... the recurring, or getting paid every single month. What we really try to focus on for everybody, is ... if you're just getting started, have the free site, that's the list-building site. Use that same site to up-sell them into a single pay site, and then, have your high ticket, or multi-payment site, and then, once you start to build that following, then that's when you build the recurring site ...
... because, the truth is, the recurring site is the hardest to sell. It's the hardest to build, and it's the hardest to manage from a content point of view ... because you need to be putting in new content all of the time, in order to keep the site going, and to keep people paying.
Yeah, and I think that a lot of people ... they create way too much work for themselves, thinking that. They fall in love with the math, and they think that what they have to do first is to make that ... that recurring, forever ...
... monthly kind of site. What I would say ... like, for your listeners, and all ... that if someone doesn't have a membership site, and you just need someone to say, "Do exactly this," you need an exact plan ... what I would say is, the best place to start ... to sell something for exactly $97.00, and figure out something that you do really well, that other people want to know how to do. You explain this process as if you were starting over, and as if you were starting over with all the knowledge you have now, but none of the equipment, or tools, or money, and basically ... just having a do-over, and doing it a lot better.
For example ... recently, we put out a course about Fiverr with four modules called, Profit Dashboard. We put out a course on podcasting, called Podcast Crusher. The reason why I say, "Make this exactly $97.00," is just to eliminate all of the "paradox of choice" kind of stuff, where everyone just goes crazy about all the possibilities, right? If you figure out what people want, and you can show them how to do it, and you can build towards an end-goal ...
... so, we had our podcasting course, and the end goal there was to not only record a podcast, but to have it online, to get it ranking, to have some content going in there automatically ... and that's the end goal. We call each of those steps in there modules. You end up with a whole course, where you have four different sessions ... you could call them lessons, or whatever ... every session's about an hour or so, maybe a little more than that. There's a little bit of a quick assignment at the end ... but the point is, that for a hundred bucks, you get someone to get to whatever kind of goal. The reason why I kind of chose an option in the middle there, and said that ... you know, if you're completely stuck, completely confused, overwhelmed ... start off with a $97.00 four-module course ... is ... because then, just by making that one kind of site, the other sites almost kind of make themselves ... because ...
For example, you make that podcasting course for $97.00, and then you could find a little piece there ... like, maybe we could potentially pull out a piece on ... maybe, like, a podcasting checklist, or pull out a little piece ... maybe we should throw in some stock music for podcasts. We could pull out that little piece, and that could either be a little $7.00 level, or a little free level ... so at any whatever niche anyone's doing this in ... if you put out a little $100.00 course, and then, maybe it doesn't sell as much as you want, or maybe you want to try something lower-priced, don't just delete the whole site. Pull out a little piece, and then you can sell just that piece on its own.
The other model we talked about was a fixed-term site, where it's monthly ... recurring for a little while, but then, there is an end-goal. If you charge a hundred bucks for something, you could ... on what we call the sales letter, the page where someone clicks to buy, and join your site ... and say, you could buy this course all up front, right now, for $97.00 ... but then, over to the side, we say ... you can still get the exact same thing, exact same everything, you get the whole course instantly, all this podcasting training, for example, but it's 5 payments of 19.95, spaced 30 days apart. They can pay all the hundred bucks up front, right now, or they can space it out, and then, if you even want to get ... if that becomes a hot seller, then you could go ahead and make some kind of monthly site, where you meet with someone, one-on-one, every week, or if you meet as a group, once a month.
... but I think that ... that start, we listed ... like, those four models ... I think that starting off with just a one-time single payment model is ... the ... gets you to the low-hanging fruit faster, because you can try out these different things, and try out what your whatever ... your list ... whatever your audience is buying. Then, you get all these other kind of models unlocked, for free, and then, you try out these little projects. If something is a real huge hot seller, then you can go ahead and make that crazy recurring monthly forever site, that you always wanted to make in the first place ... but at least you've proved that it's a hot seller, before you put a bunch of time into it.
See, I love this, because the one thing that you kind of glossed over ... and I completely agree that this is where people need to start, is ... okay, how many times have you been on Facebook ... and I know, Robert, you'll send me these screenshots, all of the time, off of Facebook, where somebody goes to Facebook and they say ... "Um, I'm creating a product slash membership site funnel, and what I'm going to do is, I'm going to have a free ... a free option, and then I'm going to have a $17.00 trip wire, and then I'm going to have a $97.00 a month, a $97.00 product, and then I'm going to up-sell into a $47.00 a month recurring thing, what do you think about that?"
... and the answer is ... I have no clue what you're selling, like ...
... and what's also frustrating about that kind of thing, is ... then all the comments will say ... what would be better is, if you did a 14, or a 24, and it's like ... but you have an opinion. I don't even know what you're selling, other than you gave me a number. You gave me a price.
... and so, what I love about where you started that whole thing with, was on the content creation piece ... and I hope everybody picked up on this, because what Robert said is, we start with ... in one place ... and we get you a result. Now, how many products have you bought where they promised you a result, and you didn't learn what you were told you were going to learn ... or they said, "Well, here's how you test-set all of this up," but what he said was follow it through?
... so, in our podcasting course, we set up a real podcast, start to finish. I think that, if you know how to do something, and then you take ... the point of the course ... that you're going to teach the product, that you're going to make .... as ... I'm going to do this with you, or get a guinea pig, and walk them through that particular process, so that they're doing it as well. Then, you guarantee that there's a result that people buying from you get, and if you start at that middle point, now you've got your product, the thing that you're going to sell, and you start that as a single pay.
Now, the beauty of starting it there is ... now you have a piece, like Robert said, that you can pull out for your free gift. Now, you have a piece that you can pull out for your single payment, and if it sells well, now you can turn that into a recurring option, with the people that have already bought into that. I think that starting it in the middle, with the product, and the single pay, is a huge, huge tip. It saves you time. It saves you frustration. It keeps you moving ahead. I think ... I hope everybody really latched on to that key point, that ... yes, there's four models. you want to start with the single payment, and the product that you can sell, and then build out around there.
Here's the cool thing ... you do it the right way, the way that we're talking about ... it's all the exact same site. You sell your single payment, and you want to make your free level for it ... well, you make a new level, put up a new page It all funnels into the same site. You want to have people have your recurring site ... you put up a new button. Now, they have access to new stuff ... makes it easier to manage ... keeps all of your stuff in one place ... and it's a better experience for you, as a seller, and business owner, and it's a better experience for your customers.
Yeah, and I think that the mindset that we both kind of have, when we're creating this content ... and we're trying to, like, solve people's problems ... get them to a goal, and all this stuff, is ... we want to get them around all the usual roadblocks, right?
... because, I mean ... the first time you saw WordPress, the first time you saw iTunes, the first time you saw Camtasia Recorder ... all these things ... the very first time, you thought ... there's all kinds of tab, and buttons, and things ... so, a frustrating thing that we kind of see is, either they'll kind of treat it like the VCR instruction manual, or the owner's manual with your car ... is ... they'll go tab by tab by tab, and I'm like ... it's not helping me, when you show me every little nook and cranny of WordPress. Just show me how to change the look of it. Show me how to post some stuff.
Then, on the other extreme, is that they'll say ... okay, here's WordPress, go ahead and check it out. Here it is. I mean ... I bought a course one time, that ... it was advertised as how to make $250,000.00 in seven days. I thought ... man, even if only 1% of this worked, I'm in ... so, bought the course ... and it's a video where he literally opens up a web ... and it's like, 10 minutes ... opens up a web browser. He says, "Yeah, there's a site here, called Kickstarter.com. Go and sign up, and post a Kickstarter, and here you go, have fun." I mean ... that doesn't help anybody, right?
We've seen things where someone says ... well, here's how to make a Facebook ad. They'll say, "I'm going to go click, make an ad." I'm like ... okay. I'm watching real closely, and they go, "We'll call this 'test ad.'" I'm like "Ah." I'm like ... it didn't help me at all, when I see you say "test ad."
Okay. Great. Now, I'm going to see them make an actual ad. I'm going to see them tweak the wording. I'm going to see them split test. I'm going to see all these ... see it get filled up, and it goes ... "Okay, now, for the ad, we're just going to say 'test description.'" I mean ... he is like ... it brought me almost all the way, but not quite.
... and even ... so the thing, is whatever niche, whatever subject that you're teaching to someone in whatever kind of membership course ... you need to dumb it down, to the point where ... even though it's easy for you, most people are just completely lost. Even though it seems like you're really making it, like ... really, really, stupid, and saying, "Okay I'm going to make a Facebook ad. Here's an actual title I'm going to type ... "
Even though you think that's a waste of time ... for me, if I have never seen a Facebook ad before ...
... yes ...
That is exactly what I need. I need to know, like ... what you're about to do, and what your thought process is. I want to see you do it. Then, I want you to explain to me again, and, if possible, kind of repeat yourself a lot ... have some kind of a step-by-step checklist, so that I can ... when there is ... those moments when I need to just follow the clicks exactly, I can do that ... but then, if I need to think a little bit ... and I need it to be, "Okay, you're making a Facebook ad ... "
I need to apply that for my website, and my niche. I kind of know, like ... when to just follow you exactly, and then, when to make those little decisions.
... but I think that ... I think the big trap that a lot of membership site creators, and teachers, fall into, is that they think they're being helpful by overloading you with decisions, right? You want to have a voiceover course. They say, "Well, here's 10 different kinds of microphones you could buy." Here's 10 different mixing boards." It's like ... can't I just have the one ...
... so, that way ... I mean ... I've been stuck for 6 months about which microphone to get. Tell me which one. I'll get it. Now, we can move on.
Yeah, and I just ... wow. I mean ... you just, kind of ... in the last 10 minutes, have turned this into not only membership sites, and product delivery, but the content creation formula. I think that it's so important ... I think that there's a weird thing happening, where if everybody was creating courses that got people results, everybody would be making more money, and everybody would be getting more results.
I love how you talk about dumbing it down ... and, you know, one of the things that we do with our courses is, if we're going to do any kind of training at all, one of us ... it's usually because one of us wants to teach the other one something, right?
The original "Podcast Crusher" was you teaching me to set up a podcast. The new "Podcast Crusher" was, I wanted to show you some of the things that I was doing, in order to get ranked really high in podcast. What we do is, we have one of us walk the other one through setting up not a test thing ... not something that's fake, but something that's absolutely going to be used. The "Podcast Crusher" course ... you set up a new podcast that is maintained, is set up.
In our "Income Machine" course, we set up a product that we sell. I think that, if you set something up from scratch, the beauty of it is, you don't miss any steps. There's so many times ... where same thing as you ... I'll buy a course, and they'll say, "It's Facebook advertising. Here. All you do is blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." Then, I can tell that they've cut it, and then, all of a sudden, it's like ... 2 days later, and I'm like ... but something happened in between here, that I missed, because I can't follow along anymore. I think that's really important. I hope everybody listens to that whole idea of setting something up ... not test stuff, but being helpful, and taking away choices from people.
... so on ...
... and have ... real case study ...
Real case study ...
... training ...
... so like, when we teach membership sites, we set up one up. Podcasts ... we set one up. Fiverr ... we set up Fiverr gigs and make money from scratch ... but, and I mean ... there's that ... and there's also, like, explaining what you're about to do. You do it.
... recap what you did. Even though ... it almost kind of drives me crazy, because I have to force myself to think in that way, and I keep thinking, "Well, of course. Everyone knows WordPress, right? Everyone knows membership sites, right?"
... but then, I really try to think back 10 years ago, when I didn't know anything ... and even though it seems like you're really repeating ... you're being really slow-paced ... you're probably right there, on track, with ... giving them the theory ... giving them the case study. Then, go back over those steps, that you just did ...
... and if it feels overly slow, you're probably doing it right, for your audience.
I want to switch gears here, really quick. We actually had a question come in, so I'll ... kind of going to throw this out at you. I know we've talked about some of this, but I got a question ... actually, a couple of people sent in something similar.
It was this. Basically, it was, "I've bought all of these different plug-ins. I've got all of these different things. How do I go about choosing the right plug-in for me, for my site?"
I know what this person ... or what these people have, is ... they've bought everything that's come into their email box, because they're afraid that, you know, they were going to miss the sale. They've got a folder, or a website with all of these plug-ins on it, that don't work together. How do people go about choosing what they should use to manage their membership site ... their online business?
Well, I mean ... the answer I want to say, is, just by Member Genius ... but, I guess the real answer is ... whatever gets it up and running the fastest. I think that a lot of people ... they get hung up, and it's probably just because they don't know what is more important than anything else ... and a lot of marketers are really loud about things, like, "You need to have a merchant account. You need to have a one click upsell. You need to have all these different things."
... and my attitude is, whatever gets you selling today ...
... whatever gets you to the point of ... where there's a website. There's a button someone can click on. They can go. They can buy. They can get the thing they bought. That means money for you. The real big reasons why that's always what's on my mind is, because I know that if I spend a couple of weeks trying to decide ... or, so-called "working on a site ... "
If I spend a couple weeks on something, and there's just no result out of it ... there's no money coming in, because I never finished it ... I'm going to get bored, and I'm going to move on, on something else. I know a lot of people that we come across ... they think that they have it all figured out ... they think, like. "Oh, well, that's just you. I'm going to make this right. I'm going to make a huge site, just you wait. In three weeks, you'll be so amazed."
... come back in three weeks ... they didn't get anything done, because the pattern that they've been in, is just that they've been a collector. They've been starting these projects ... get about 10% in ... it gets a little hard. They hit a little stumbling block along the road. Then, they go and drop that project, and start something new ... and that's fine, at first, if you're just screwing around ... but the real danger is, if you get passed the point of no return, there is ... that your whole life just becomes all these little 10% projects, and just keeps growing and growing, and then, you're just ... literally spending years of your life not making any money.
... so ... like, as depressing and bleak as that sounds ... whatever gets it done today, or this week, at the latest. Whatever gets you up and running today, even if it's an ugly site. Even if you can only take single payment sites right now. Even if it your ... whatever you're selling ... doesn't have all the best bells and whistles, that you want. You want to be focusing on the "must haves" for now, and not the "nice to haves."
I mean ... we have different plug-ins that people try to piece together. Where ... we have a plug-in called WP Notepad, where you can add a checklist to your membership site. We have a plug-in called WP Import, where you can import content. We have a plug-in called WP Kunaki, where you can create a directory in your site ... but what's more important than all of those little goodies is to actually, like ... sell a training course.
It's like ... if you and I were about to put out "Podcast Crusher 2," and we were trying to show people how to create a Podcast, start to finish ... well, if having a little checklist in there ... is that a "must have" or is that a nice to have?" Well, that's a "nice to have." What's the core ... what to focus on is, that we promise a result. They buy it, and then, we deliver that result. This is also why ... you know, having a single payment site, or having your first ... or your first few memberships sites ... be courses where you teach things, is ... because, this way, you can kind of hedge your bets, and have more confidence that what you're selling is something that people will buy.
It's one thing to say, "Well, I'm going to make a monthly site, and I'm just going answer to everyone's questions about podcasts, every single month." It's like ... well, are people really asking for that? I don't know ... but are people saying, "I don't have a podcast. I want one. I'm going to buy your course to get this result ... "
... so that's a really easy way for you to stand out ... by saying, "I'm going to give you this," right? Then, that makes it super fast to explain ... super clear about what it is they'll get, right? What's implied is ... they pay you money. What they get back is a functioning podcast, if they follow the directions.
... but I think that, a lot of marketers ... the way that they sell sucks. They just say, "Well, here's some stuff. I'm going to give you some podcasting tips." I think that ... you know, that's fine for a little while, and that's fine if people are selling little $7.00 plug-ins, and things ... but if you want to go high ticket, and if you want to make these ... a lot better sales, you ...
Well, first of all, the course that you're selling ... you tell them, "I want you to get to this point. I want you to build up this kind of podcast thing." Then, to go back and answer your question ... well, if that's your goal ... if your goal is to teach someone podcasting, WordPress, golfing, whatever ... then, letting ... I mean ... letting the paralysis of trying to choose the perfect membership site plug-in is silly. Whatever gets it done ...
... whatever is right in front of you. You could probably even just choose ... if you have 5 membership plug-ins, choose one of the 5 at random, and that'll get you there.
... and I think that that's really important, because ... I know that ... you know I do this, with like, technology, right ...
I'm not going to buy the newest iPhone until the spring, because then, I have the one with all the bells and whistles ... and then, "Dangit." Six months later, I'm out of date again. You know what I mean?
It's like ... what's different about the 6S, versus the 6? Well, I don't know. Does it even make a difference?
I think that we watch so many people, like you said, get stuck in paralysis by trying to choose the perfect thing. Here's a little secret about marketing, about software in general: there will always be the core functionality that all membership plug-ins do ... hopefully, all ... ones ... you should be looking at ... and that is, take payments, protect your data, take in users. Every membership plug-in that you look at, or have, should do that. After that core, the way that these plug-ins are going to compete with each other ... just like everything else ... is on different feature sets.
... so if one plug-in does drip content really well, the other one may not do that, but it may do recurring payments better. Another one may do member management better ... and so, you're never going to have one that encompasses the whole universe of everything the best, because as soon as somebody does something, then the competitor is going to do something different. That's the way that they differentiate themselves in the marketplace ... and so, what you're looking for is something that does the minimum of what you need it to do. If you're looking between two, and can't make a decision, pick the one that does the feature you like the best.
I personally agree with Robert. I mean ... Member Genius is what we use, because it has all of the things that we do, and that we need to use, and that's what we use on our stuff.
... so get out of that paralysis. I think the best advice you gave there, Robert, is, "Just pick something." If you've got 5, pick one and go with it. I mean ... you're not married to it forever. If something absolutely changes, you can change that out ... but pick something that you feel comfortable with ... that you can use, and that's supported, and make a decision. It's never going to be the perfect, or right decision, but it's going to be at least a decision ... which gets you making money ... which is the most important part.
Oh yeah. The last time you had me on, as we were kind of winding down, the phrase we've landed on was "minimum viable product." That's kind of where we're landing here, is ... it's the same point. What I've been thinking about along those lines is that ... well ... you can either have big, huge, problems to knock out today, or this week, in your business ... or little problems. The problem with big problems is that they won't budge, right?
... and so, like... a big problem is ... I don't have a membership site. I need one. Well, you can't just knock that out. Like ... how do I go from zero to nothing? There's not really a way ... so the key is to break down whatever big problem you have down into little problems.
... so, I don't have a membership site. I want one. Okay. Well, instead of trying to tackle that huge thing, you say, "Well, the little problems that I could break down ... is that ... well ... I need to first decide on which plug-in to use for my membership site." Okay. Member Genius. There you go.
I need to decide on what processor I'll use to take payments. Well, if you're stuck on that, the answer's PayPal, just because you get up and running immediately. Then, there's maybe a couple other things, like ... need to decide on what price will you charge ... what will the name of your site ... what will that end-goal kind of build to ... but now, we're just kind of breezing through all these little problems.
If you keep in mind "minimum viable product," and just install today, or this week, whatever gets you taking payments online today ... then, maybe next week, if you feel like it ... then ... the small problem could then be to figure out one-click up-sell. The small problem could be to figure out ... what free level could I add in there? Maybe a small problem could be ... what, then ... what recurring monthly up-sell could I add to it?
... but my thinking is, big problems, little problems. Big problems won't budge; break it down into smaller little questions that can be answered. Then, I think that you'll get some momentum that way, by answering a series of small problems.
I love it! Keep your problems small. Life's a heck of a lot easier that way, and your business is more successful that way, too. You know, Robert, I super appreciate you taking the time to be here today. Everybody right now should go head over to MemberGenius.com. It's the most fully-featured, affordable, best-maintained plug-in on the market to handle all of your needs. It's what I use. It's what Robert uses. It's what thousands of other sites use as well.
... so, head on over to MemberGenius.com. We look forward to ... seeing there ... and thanks a lot for listening to every episode of the Lance Tamashiro Show. We will talk to you again very soon. Have a great day, and bye now.
Hey, this week it's been all about, actually, it's all been about you and us, really. People should know that are listening to the podcast that Lance, as we've told you in the past, Lance and I discovered each other via my client, Bill DeWees, who's a voiceover artist. One of the things that we're collaborating on is the creation of some tools that can be used by voiceover folks and I thought that rather than talk about this offline, we would actually talk about it online and let people listening to the podcast sort of glean from what it is we're doing.
Here's the interesting thing is we've got a core group of over 11,000 people who are on YouTube on Bill's YouTube channel that are voiceover artists. As we have created some of this material, it's become very obvious that many of these people really need and want a professional website like Bill DeWees has.
Finding a Gap
One of the things that we're doing is creating some tools for these voiceover artists. Among them is sort of a templated, pre-done website. What I've been doing is, with the recent launch of the membership site for Bill, which we know have, I think, about 160 people in there.
I've been teasing the fact that if you're thinking about a website, don't do anything yet. What we've decided to do is what we call a "soft launch". Because we're dealing with technology, this is how we do it. Why don't you explain to people what a soft launch is?
The first thing is that I think that the real important part about this case study and even us talking about it for people is that the whole idea of how we came about this was we saw a need. This isn't a niche that I'm in. This isn't even a niche I know anything about. The voiceover thing I know because of the Fiverr stuff, but I'm not good. I'm not a big name or anything.
One thing that I noticed was I started taking classes in voiceover and Bill DeWees says, "You need to have a website. Doesn't have to be an expensive website, doesn't have to be a fancy website, but it has to be a website that has XYZ information." I go, "Well, I need to have this to do voiceover. Fine. I'll go do it." I know how to make websites, but I go and look at his and I'm like, "I don't know how to make that type of website necessarily." I click at the bottom and I see that I can have somebody make a one-page website for $2,500.
That's a lot of money and the first thing my brain said was, "For $2,500, I could have these guys make me this website or I could hire a programmer to make me a template for this website." Same cost. I could probably get a programmer to do it for cheaper, honestly.
I go to a programmer, happened to work with one, and say, "How hard would it be to make a template for this?" "Oh, not a problem. I can just do that."
Get THAT Made!
I think the point is that there's all kinds of niches where people need stuff and we don't even realize it. Whether it's marketing, websites, tools, whatever. To be honest, in the voiceover niche they don't want to worry about their damn website.
They're told that they need to have one, which they do, but they want to focus on their equipment, their skill, their craft. They could probably all go figure out how to program and make one, but that's not the point.
Phase Out Your Product Launch
What we're doing with it is we've come up with a system to deliver it, to have it all made for everybody, to keep it simple and rather than roll it out to the public we're going to phase it out. We do this with our software, we do this with our websites. What you do is you get a group of people that you know are going to buy it and here's the thing.
You want to get basically beta testers. Beta testers, testimonials, and honestly, we don't have all the features ready. We don't even know what the features are. Why anticipate what the features should be when they'll tell you? You get a group of people, you put out a limited number so you know you're going to sell them out. Those people get in at a cheaper price, they get to test and make sure the system works before you get a bunch of people in there.
they get to give feedback about what it should or shouldn't have or what's working or what's not working. For that discount or whatever that special offer is, they're a little more flexible. They understand there's going to be some more hiccups. They get to be a part of the development process.
We will probably going to end up selling this at around just under $1,000, but we want to get 20 people who are in the membership site and sort of give them the advanced opportunity to be one of the first 20 people. I'm pretty sure that we'll get all 20 from the membership. I'd be shocked if we don't.
I've told the group that there will be an announcement on Monday. Monday will be the opportunity for them to get this thing at 50% off and only 20. The idea being that we get the 20 people. They go through their paces, etc, etc. In doing that, that "soft launch," it allows us to get some people who get excited about the product.
They're excited about the price that they're getting. They're willing to give us feedback.
One of the things that I always like to say to people is, "Hey, we're dealing with technology here, so please understand things may not go perfectly. Please be understanding of that." That's key because every time I launch something that has to do with technology, I always end up remembering that after the fact.
Yes. Technology stuff is the hardest thing to launch. It's definitely one of those things that if you can come up with something else, it's better to not be in the technology segment. Just happens to be where I landed.
Guerilla Marketing Pre-Launch
I think that a lot of people go about this wrong. Especially on Facebook and in these private groups. There's a private group for the members that this is going to be launched to. I happen to be a member of it as well.
Here's what I did. I happened to check the group out and I saw that people had been asking about the websites and I saw you teasing it, which is an awesome lesson for people. If you've got a group and people are asking for something and you've got something coming that's a great thing to do.
Then what I thought was, "Well, nobody knows who Lance is. That could be a problem when this launches." What I do? I'm like, "Well, shoot." The stars kind of aligned for me because something happened for me in the voiceover world that sort of was related to what they were talking about. It doesn't matter if something serendipitously happened to you or not. I went in and just said, "Here's a tactic that you can use and here's how you do it."
To be honest, I was shocked. I didn't know that anybody cared. I figured everybody knew that tip. What's second-nature or obvious to you is never obvious to other people.
The interesting thing is that as Lance was doing this he was basically setting himself up for the future when he's giving people this great tip and they go, "Wow, that's an idea I haven't thought of before." Now when I come back and say, "By-the-way, the guy who's launching this thing that's going to be for the first 20 people, you've heard from him. He's actually in the group. It's Lance," they'll go, "Oh yeah. That was the guy who gave that great idea about the ID3 tags." I don't know exactly what it is myself.
Yeah. It kind of just happened to work out. I didn't know if people knew about this tip or not. I put it in there with what happened to me. All of a sudden, it was crazy. I'm like, "Wow, I wish people would be that happy when I post pictures of my dog and me." People started responding.
Two Things Happened
The first was people said, "I don't know what you're talking about. Can you give me more information?"
The second thing was people said, "I know what you're talking about. Can you show me how to do it?"
The first thing I did was I went to YouTube and I did a search for exactly what I talked about and a million results came up. I picked the first one and I'm like, "I'm just going to go post this, then I don't have to make a video." I'm actually in there with it ready to post, I'm about to hit the button and I go, "Wait a minute. If I do that, then they're going to go follow this other guy and they're going to get his information."
Then what I did was I said, "If you wait until tomorrow, I'll make you a video." Then I just got on my computer, that's what I do. I just captured the screen, made a quick video, and now all of a sudden it's personalized. It was for them. They understood it was for them.
This is how you market yourself and it doesn't mean you've got this evil genius plan, it just means giving value is what really separates you as a marketer.
Yeah, and more generally then, I think for a podcast listener, is this brings up a few different points.
Number one, and you're not a big fan of this, but other people use it effectively. We're using it. I'm not really sure of the effectiveness yet, but having Facebook groups that are restricted based on a membership site provides people with an additional place to get together. All of our members now, over 150 people, are in there introducing themselves and talking
Then, as you're in there talking about something that is of value to them and we're setting you up to then give people the release of this website product that they will then get excited about, it brings up a few things.
Facebook group may be a good idea. If not, there is also other things like other kinds of forum software that you can use, correct?
Yeah. I mean, there's forums, groups. I'm kind of coming around on all of this stuff. It was eye-opening to me to see the response. Quite honestly, I didn't know things were happening on Facebook like that.
The part that I don't like about having a group on Facebook that is tied to something paid is technically it's against the terms of service. Okay, big deal, but what always scares me is if it gets shut down, you lose all of that stuff.
I'm always afraid to sell something or add something in where I don't have control of it. Just to lose the content would be disastrous.
Missing A Launch Deadline?!
Let's take this a little bit further, you're working on creating this piece of software that's going to be a plug-and-play website system specifically for voiceover artists that we're going to try and launch, hopefully on Monday.
It's going to sound kind of cheesy if I go back on Monday and go, "Folks, it's not quite ready yet." It will really sound like I'm teasing them. What do you suggest? I understand technology can't always work as you want it to in the time frame you want, but if it isn't ready on Monday, what do I say and how do I justify it?
The way that I would approach it is say, "I know I've been telling you about this. We've got an extra-special discount because I have mud on my face." Then we work that out. If you get caught in that position, I think the first thing is try not to promise. Obviously unforeseen things happen.
The reason why I said Monday, by-the-way, is you told me Friday, so I added a weekend.
Exactly. That's what I was going to say is give yourself some time because you always look good if you come out before you said. You look bad if you come out after. If it happens, own it and then add something. Yeah, it's going to turn off some people, but the truth is most people get it.
I think that's what happens with too many marketers in every niche is they get this ego thing about themselves that they're supposed to be perfect and that the people that follow them think they're perfect and the truth is you relate a heck of a lot more when you're not perfect. None of us are. Be that.
Premeditated Launch? I HOPE So!
My only concern is that they might think that this was a thought-about-in-advance tactic.
Yeah. I mean they're allowed to think whatever. I think at the end of the day if you have a service that's valuable and here's the other thing we've been talking about as we have been leading up and building this is we know what the market is.
The Market Left A Huge Gap
This is a strategy that we have used throughout our entire career.
We've got Backup Creator, which does backups and cloning of WordPress sites. We weren't the first backup software. When we decided to do that what we did was we went and looked at the market and we said, "There's four other competitors on the market. Every single one of them sells at $197 or $297 with a recurring fee on top of it. There's a huge gap in the market."
What did we know about those people? They can't lower their price.
They can't lower their price because they've got too many customers. We knew they had too many customers, so what we did was we said, "We're going to undercut them.
We're going to come in at a lower price with a better product. We're going to incorporate all of the things that they don't have into our product."
We've done the same thing with the websites, right? We went and looked at it. They're charging $2,500. Everybody's charging $2,500 for this simple website. It has a flaw. The flaw is it's missing a vital piece that is needed in it. What did we do? We'll just add that piece in and charge less.
Now all of a sudden, they can't compete with us and we know there's a market. No matter what market you're in this is a strategy you should be looking at as far as to gain a bunch of market. You can always raise your price later. You can never lower it.
Let's switch gears for a second and talk about another one of my clients and I think that this will really help people listening, Tony, who is Travel Scrooge, and he's the guy who shows people how to travel in champagne fashion on a beer budget. He's tagline is, "Bah humbug to overpriced travel." He's got a little thing that I suggested he do on YouTube called, "The Daily Travel Minute".
Tony, he's one of my clients, and we're helping him to create this. I think I said last time we talked that here's a guy that I met with, this June it will be two years ago. He had all these great intentions of doing things right away and he's now finally getting around to it and I give him a lot of credit for sticking with it.
Tony is now creating this program and one of the things that you talked about last time with me is travel is such a broad area. If you're listening and you have a broad niche like you have weight loss or income building, something big like that, you have to kind of small it down.
Lance and I were talking and one of the things we talked about is, he's got a buddy who lives next door who goes to Disneyland more often than he should and he always goes to these sites that show him how to finagle around Disneyland so he can get in there and get everything done real quick. I said, "I thought, what do you know a lot about?" Then I thought, "Wait a second. I don't even need to ask that question because he's been talking to me repeatedly about meeting him with my family in Cancun because he knows this guy at the hotel." I said, "Look, there's a ton of people that go to Cancun every year. Why don't we create a program specifically for people going to Cancun?"
Now my question to you is, okay, so the first thing I told him, though, "Tony, we can't really sell the Cancun program until we build a decent-sized list." Let's talk about putting the cart before the horse and what should he do? List building first? Individual product, Cancun first? What do we do?
A couple of things. The first thing is I was actually checking out his site and I was impressed because with no followers, just starting to put up videos cold, there is views. He's already getting views which means a couple of things. Either he's promoting it somewhere or he's getting found in the search, which is even better. That was the first thing I looked at and saw.
Paid YouTube Channels
The second thing, which is down the road, that you guys should look into is something I've only seen one other person do and I subscribed to it just to see it is that you can now have paid channels on YouTube.
He was basically teaching how to do stuff in Adobe Edition. It was free for years. He built this huge following. All of a sudden what he did was I got this notice and he's like, "Oh, for the real stuff it's over in this thing and it's $3 a month." I signed up. It was a seven-day trial. I've now been in it for three months. Don't know if I've ever even went and looked, but I'm getting dinged for it. Every time I went and looked, he's got a couple hundred people in there.
My thought is, especially with YouTube stuff, is once you build this thing up big enough, you can make a separate paid channel that is tips for each specific thing. You don't have to update it.
Leverage Existing Contacts
Here's what I would sort of be inclined to do because you mentioned he knows the hotels and he knows the people. I would try to work a deal with them in one of two ways.
One, let me put my fliers on your desk about this thing that I do to the people that are already there so that when they leave your hotel, they're still thinking about you. I'm going to promote your hotel. I'm going to promote your services. Let them build the list.
What do you know about those people? They already like that hotel. They already do this.
The second thing would be, "Can you give me a discount to anybody that I send to you?" Now, not only do they like your hotel and you're telling them to come follow me on my YouTube to find out more about stuff that can happen, they also get a discounted rate. Even if it's $10 a night, you know, nothing, for people that he sends them. That way the hotel's building your list for people in Cancun, but also your list of people that like to travel.
Yeah. My thinking, though, in the case of Bill the voiceover guy where we've been going for five-and-a-half years and we now have 11,000 people, the largest following of any of the voiceover artists, I said to Tony, I said, "What we really have to do first, it feels like to me, and maybe you can talk about this in your experience on how you've done this with clients and people that you've worked with, but my first thing is we need to get going with building our list."
That list will include a YouTube channel following list. It will include a Twitter following. It will include a Facebook group, et cetera, et cetera. We want to build our list and we want to build it in different areas because some people are more Facebook people, some people are more YouTube people. Am I right in your eyes of thinking that the first thing that we have to do is get a bunch of people following?
Podcasting Traffic and Exposure
Yeah, I think get a bunch of people following him. The other thing that I've been doing, and I know you've probably seen a little bit of this, is my podcast, I decided a couple weeks ago I just want to blow up my podcast.
I want to list on iTunes. I want to be on people's phones . I thought, "I've been sort of dabbling with this podcast thing for years." I mean, my list listens to it, but I'm not getting new people because of it.
This is something he can do as well. I started contacting other people in my niche. This is weird. I didn't know what was going to happen. I just said, "Well, I want to get more exposure, so how do I do that?" I always heard you've got to give stuff so I started contacting other people in my niche I had never heard of and just saying, "Hey, will you come be on my podcast? Will you come be on my podcast?" Everybody said yes and so far everybody's shown up.
Here's the thing that I didn't realize was going to happen. Every one of these people, every one of them after the show said, "Let me know when this is going to go live because I'll send it out to my email list. I'll put it on my Twitter account. I will Facebook it." Every one of them. It's like I'm getting a bunch of benefit.
First of all, easy content. I'm getting more exposure to people that I have never had exposure to and I've been doing this for six years now. I've never been able to walk up to somebody and say, "Hey, will you mail for me?" They're always like, "No, I'm not going to mail for you. I'll mail for my own stuff."
It's About Them
This podcast thing, everybody is like, "I'm ready to mail. I'm ready to send it out to my following," because it's about them. It's about them and it builds my thing.
Even in the last two weeks, I've gone from 37 reviews from iTunes, being nowhere in the searches, to I think this morning I think it was 100 likes and 60 reviews in two weeks from other people promoting my show.
I asked how I could help you as well and you may want to explain to people why our decision was to make this a subset of your podcast as opposed to a separate podcast. Explain that.
Yeah, I mean well part of it was we were initially going to start this whole, new thing and that was fine, but there was no following. There was not traction. I already had my list and I couldn't fit it, honestly, into my own list promotion to mail that out. I just didn't have a date to say, "By-the-way, here's this other podcast to listen to." It made sense to do that.
On top of it, this other thing that I had just been talking about, these interviews started. I saw where it was going to go and so it was like, we could either do this separate thing or we can leverage the stuff for what we're doing into this same show. It was like rather than split the audience, why not just bring it all together as one?
You know what, after we spoke last time, I want to do a little bit of blatant self-promoting, but the reason why it's worthwhile for people to listen to what I'm about to say is this. Over the past 30 years, I've done well over 2,000 interviews with business professionals. I realized, after we got off the podcast last time, I said, "What is it I'm particularly good at?" I have this document on my computer on the desktop that says, "My Revenue Sources." I keep thinking, "What is it that I'm better at than 99.9% of the people out there?" For years I've had this site, ExpertInterviewer.com.
I have learned how to do that really, really well. Whenever I watch Fox News or any of these different, CNN, whether it's Anderson Cooper moderating a debate, I say to myself, "You know what? I could do that as well." Some people I can't say better than, some people I do, but others I say, "I can do it as well as him or her." I think that there really is something to be said for looking at what you can really do already really, really well. Expert Interviewer is a site that years ago I put together with the famous Terry Dean.
Terry interviewed me back in, what was it? I don't remember when it was. Way back. It talked about that. I'm going to update that site, but I keep coming back to the idea that one of the easiest ways to create content ... I always tell people, people always say information marketers or info product creators. You need to create products. Great. You know what? Even if you're Tony Robbins, sitting and talking into a mic with nobody bouncing ideas off you, frankly I don't care how good you are, is boring.
It's boring to listen to. I like to listen to a little bit of back and forth. You and I go back and forth. If somebody's listening to this in their car, they're kind of like, "What's Lance going to say to that? Oh, that's interesting." There is a back and forth.
I did an interview about five or six years ago with a guy who Al Gore claimed to be. His name is Vinton Cerf. If you look him up on YouTube, he's one of the two people credited with having started the internet. He developed TCP/IP protocol. I interviewed him. It was a weird story on how this happened. I hired a crew. If you go to YouTube and put in, "Fred Gleeck and Vinton Cerf," you'll see something that looks 60 Minutes quality because I hired a professional crew to do this video recording. We'll talk more about that later, but I think that the interview process is so critical to creating info products. What do you think?
I'm Mr. Stupid
I agree with you. If it's spoken out, it's so much easier. All of the products we create, they're trainings. For us, it's easier with two of us to do the trainings. One of us is always the lead, the other one's just kind of making sure things were explained correctly or bringing out the part that was wrong. You guys do that as well.
Yeah, and I refer to that as, "I'm Mr. Stupid." I will ask the questions that the person who's listening to the program wants to ask, but is fearful to do so because somebody's going to say, "Oh, that's a dumb question." No. I'll ask them for you.
You know, 90% of the products are trainings that me and Robert put out. We do them because we don't want to get on a call together and usually it's, "Hey, I figured out how to do this. Let me show you." We're like, "Let's not do it on a call. Let's do it where we're getting paid for it." We do the same thing, the Mr. Stupid. That's how we're able to actually build something real because it's normally based around I want to show Robert something or Robert wants to show me something, so, "Why not just set up your podcast, Lance," or, "Set up your income machine, Robert," or whatever and then it's walking them through the process as if they know nothing.
Think about when I first called you on Skype just now. First thing I said was, "Don't talk about anything. Let's just put it on the podcast." Because those are the ideas that people are looking for, I think. A lot of times, training is great, but people oftentimes want to hear what are you really doing. What is happening behind the scenes?
Tell me, what's really going on with your business? What are you doing right now yourself? I think that's why I told you last time that people, and I forget. One of the big marketers did this where they charged people to take a tour of their office and facilities to see behind the curtain. People were paying them a lot of money to see what they really do everyday.