Membership Series: How to create a membership site for Internet marketing – with Armand Morin

After talking to the audience, I think there are a few people who want to build membership sites and improve them.

Even those of you who are building SaaS based businesses would like to know how to find your members, how to retain your members, and how to grow your business.So I asked around to find out who the top people were.

Today we have Armand Morin. He is the founder of Armand Morin Network, where he teaches people how to market their businesses online.

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Armand Morin, Armand Morin Network

Armand Morin is the founder of Armand Morin Network, where he teaches people how to market their businesses online.

 

Raw transcript

Mixergy's audio transcription is done by Speechpad

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I am the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart, and this is an interview, frankly, that I’m doing because I need this, I want to learn. Here’s the thing, I built Mixergy not based on advertising even though I do some ads, not based on affiliate programs, but based on membership sites, and I want to learn how to do it better.

My sense is, especially after talking to people in the audience, that there’re a few people in the audience who want to do the same thing, want to build membership sites for themselves and improve them, and those of you who often are building SaaS based businesses, where you could, I think, learn from the membership site businesses, how to retain your members, how to find your members, and how to grow your business.

So I asked around and I tried to find out who the top people were, and my good friend, who runs software that manages membership sites, said you’ve got to talk with Armand Morin, and so I’ve got him here for us today. He is the founder of Armand Morin Network. He teaches people how to market their businesses online.

And like I said, I don’t really do much sponsorship, but I do have one sponsor, his name is Scott Edward Walker. He is the founder of Walker Corporate Law, if you need a lawyer, check them out. I’ll tell you more about them later, but first, Armand, welcome.

Armand: Thanks for having me, Andrew. I’m pretty excited about being here. I’ve heard a lot about you, and this is actually the first time we met.

Andrew: Well, thank you, yeah, it really is, and so here is one of the things that I’m thinking today. First of all, I’m so beat. I recorded three interviews today.

Armand: Right.

Andrew: Tomorrow I’ve got an interview, Friday, I’m recording three interviews. I keep pumping this stuff out. So then I look at the notes here in preparation for your interview, to see how you got started, and you wanted to do interviews every year, how many interviews were you going to do?

Armand: We’re doing 12.

Andrew: Twelve.

Armand: Twelve a year, one a month.

Andrew: Okay, so where I might do 12 in a week sometimes, or 12 maybe, more than 12 in a month . . .

Armand: Okay.

Andrew: . . . you did 12 interviews for the whole year, how long did it take you to create them?

Armand: It took us about a week. We schedule them all in one week, and then I recorded them all, and then what we do is we put them on automatic pilot, so it would just deliver automatically in our membership site, one every month.

So basically, when you really think about it, we did the interview in a week, we had them transcribed, put them up, and then pretty much the rest of the year was just really marketing the actual membership site. So it was pretty easy to do when you think about it, work for seven days technically, and then really do nothing the rest of the year except marketing.

Andrew: See, I’m wondering if I’m making a mistake, especially because I’m so beat today that I feel like I need to keep cranking stuff out.

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: What were these interviews about?

Armand: Now what I did in this particular membership site, it’s all about marketing, and so I pit nine people that I knew, kind of like what you’re doing with me, honestly, except I didn’t do a video. I want to keep it really simple, so what I did is I just called them on the phone and recorded the conversation, and the way we delivered it was that they could download the Mp3, either a high resolution, a low resolution, and then I transcribed it.

So the topics ranged anything from launching a product on the Internet, or developing a product to sell more, but direct response angle on it . . .

Andrew: Okay.

Armand: . . . for the most part. Then we just market it to the list, and we ended up growing this, and I think in the first, I want to say the first week or so, we had about 200 members that were paying $47 a month, and then that’s growing, I think we’ve got around 1,800 members or so right now in that particular site.

Andrew: Eighteen hundred members who are paying how much?

Armand: Forty-seven dollars a month.

Andrew: Forty-seven dollars a month.

Armand: (?)

Andrew: You see, and I get flak sometimes for charging twenty-five bucks. I feel like I’m definitely not doing it right. So what about this, how do you keep it, if it’s marketing interviews, which is what you did, how do you keep it fresh if an interview was recorded a year ahead of time, or even six months ahead of time?

Armand: What we do is we started this particular membership site five years ago, and so we continued to do new interviews every single year, on whatever, I think whatever I see that the market wants. For example, maybe YouTube marketing, or maybe it’s Facebook advertising, or maybe the new Yahoo contextual ads.

What we’ll do is I’ll find someone, or maybe even I know it myself, and I’ll be enough. I’ll interview myself every once in a while on how to do this particular strategy, and it works out pretty well.

Andrew: So you’re saying today you don’t record the interviews a year ahead of time, or am I misunderstanding and you’re saying you record it ahead of time, and you can anticipate need.

Armand: Well, now what we’re doing is we’re doing about three months ahead of time.

Andrew: Okay.

Armand: We’ll do three to four over the course of the week, and then we’ll wait, you know, three, four months, and then we’ll record another three to four, and then just do that cup [SP] two, three times a year. So I work a little bit more, but not much.

Andrew: Do you look at the setup that I’ve got here and say, Andrew is a sucker.

Armand: No, actually, I think that the way that yours is, with the videos, just, you know, with people seeing both of us like this, I think if that’s what people actually want, I think that that’s what people are looking for, because we’re more visual. We’re more visual.

But I also think that there’s still that market with people, maybe they don’t have time, maybe they want to put it on their iPhone or iPod. I don’t even know if anyone uses an iPod anymore. [laughs] But their iPhone or tablet or whatever, maybe, and just listen. So I think there’s a lot of people that just want to listen to things in the background, that don’t need, necessarily, the visual. So I think there’s a market…

Andrew: I did a number of interviews that I’m killing myself here every week doing research on this many interviews…

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: That I’m publishing so much. It seems like, well, actually, you know what? I wouldn’t say sucker, but I am… one of the reasons why I wanted to do this interview, and expose myself to other people…

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: …learn from other people who have done this, is to open my eyes to other ways of doing things. So I want to keep getting better by learning from others who are doing this. So one thing I’m learning from you is you created it ahead of time…

Armand: Right.

Andrew: …and you spent a lot of time marketing it. And marketing it, you mentioned earlier…

Armand: Right.

Andrew: …started with going to your list. How big was the list at the time?

Armand: I think our list, at that time, was probably around 70,000 people or so.

Andrew: Seventy thousand.

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: All right. And that’s where you got the first users. Let’s back up, then, and see how did you get the first few people onto your mailing list?

Armand: That was quite some time ago. So you figure I’ve been online since 1996.

Andrew: Okay.

Armand: So I’ve been doing this for a little bit. And over the years, I think the first few people we got on our list were really just our customers. Customers that bought previous products. We had an initial product of how to take credit cards online, because I had my merchant account shut down on me.

So I had to figure out alternative ways to do that. So those initial customers that we had, or I should say people on our list, was really just customers. But then, as time went on, in the late ’90s, we started adding things like an opt-in page before people could even see what we have. And I know you’ve been experimenting with that.

Andrew: Yes.

Armand: Is putting an opt-in page prior to them even seeing your website.

Andrew: Yes.

Armand: And so by forcing people, in that force opt-in strategy, we were able to, you know, build a significant sized list over the years.

Andrew: Okay. So now you have a list of people who become your first customers. It’s still… Well, you set yourself up for 12 months of promotion.

Armand: Exactly.

Andrew: What did you try that did not work, before we get into what did work?

Armand: Yeah. I think what it was is trying to market more of on a broad scale. So for example, I think a lot of people do this when they market and, you know, will run an ad. Maybe it’s on Google, maybe it’s on Bing.

But you’ll try an ad, and you’ll try to go up to the mass market, because you’re searching just on the number of searches that people are searching for, thinking that, you know, this is good. It’s a reasonably priced product. These are people that could be interested in marketing.

And, you know, you try that, and all of a sudden it just doesn’t work. You’re just paying too much per conversion, or whatever it may be. But then you start, you know, getting back into the game and realizing, okay, I have a finite market. This is my crowd. This is my audience. So therefore, I’m just going to market specifically to those people.

So what I do… I’ll tell you. It’s very simple. What I do is I find other people, other marketers, that are similar to me, whose audience, who has products that may be similar to mine. And I’ll market to their audiences. And I think it’s a very simple thing, is to market to your competitors first.

Andrew: Through an affiliate program. So they get a cut of every sale that you make.

Armand: No, no. Just in keyword advertising.

Andrew: Oh, gotcha. Okay.

Armand: So just by utilizing that… I mean, if you think about this, most of these people don’t buy from the first place that they go to. So they’re constantly searching for alternatives of whatever it is that they may be searching on. So if you put your ad in the proper place, of course, you’re going to gain a certain percentage of those people that are going to want to buy your product.

Andrew: Okay. And when it comes to selling interviews, so many people are used to interviews just being free…

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: …because 60 Minutes does free interviews every week.

Armand: Of course.

Andrew: And Charlie Rose does it every night, you know? And Katie Couric and all the others are doing it. How do you communicate value with a format that people just associate with free?

Armand: Well, I think it’s a matter of asking the right questions. Is knowing what people really want to hear.

Andrew: Mm-hmm.

Armand: Knowing what people really want to know about during that particular interview. So if someone just touches on a subject, I want to ask them more about it. I want to get the details. I don’t want the 20,000 foot overview as far as what you’re doing. I want what did you do, step-by- step. Kind of like, a little bit of what you’re asking me right now.

Andrew: So I get that that makes the interview more valuable.

Armand: Sure.

Andrew: But when you’re writing copy to express that value, and you say, “I will dig in deeper…”

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: People always say, “Well, so does [??] dig in deeper.” But there’s something about the way that you marketed it. And by the way, I tried to look it up.

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: But you are so wily, I cannot see old screenshots of your site.

Armand: You’re right.

Andrew: Your tech guys are good at hiding your tracks.

Armand: Yeah. Yeah. That’s one of the things that we always do, is we actually hide the background. But…

Andrew: So tell me, what did you do?

Armand: What we did, as far as how we hid the background?

Andrew: No, no, sorry.

Armand: [laughs]

Andrew: How did you…

Armand: Market?

Andrew: …communicate through copy the value of interviews.

Armand: Well, what we do is we market with video.

Andrew: Mm-hmm.

Armand: That’s the first thing. I try to keep a video right straight to the point. And instead of… and the position that I held is very simple. Instead of just going one-on-one with one individual, why can’t you get access to all these different people, get different points of view? And why not have a set of mentors teaching you about how to build your business, rather than one point of view?

And so by putting that spin on, people can see, well, yeah, it kind of behooves me to have a team of doctors, rather than a single doctor, find out what’s wrong with me. And I think people kind of get that idea. They want diversity. They want to know a little bit from everybody, and that one piece that’s maybe going to make the big difference for them.

Andrew: I see. You know, one of the questions that I get is, “Doesn’t Armand want to be paid for doing this interview, if you, Andrew, are going to charge for the interview?”

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: What have you found about that?

Armand: You know, I find that people just want to do it for exposure. And just like, I think, anyone would. I know when I first got started on the internet. I would do any interview I possibly… and I still do, for the most part. Will just do almost any interview.

And the reason why is because it’s going to expose me to a larger group of people that I personally wouldn’t have had the opportunity to talk to or get to know, or them get to know me.

So I think by simply doing more interviews, and explaining that to people… and I think, honestly, most business owners know that. It’s like… I think it’s just a common thing. It’s free publicity, when you think about it.

Andrew: I know. I was in USA Today. I didn’t say to USA Today, “Well, if you’re going to charge for your newspaper, you’d better pay me.” In fact, I think it would be unethical for them to pay me.

Armand: Right.

Andrew: But they interviewed me, and they got… and I gave them screenshots, and took photos, and all that.

Armand: Right.

Andrew: So…

Armand: I mean, even when you’re doing, like, an hour, or maybe sometimes it turns into an hour and a half interview, it’s still a portion of their time, but it’s well worth it in the end, for them. Because especially if they go into your archives. That’s going to be there for years and years. For example, at this particular point, we have people… interviews that are in there from seven years ago. So that works out quite well for them.

Andrew: So for me, this interview’s actually going to go up free for a few days.

Armand: Sure.

Andrew: Actually, a couple of weeks.

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: And so I found is more people go and check it out quickly because they know it’s going to disappear.

Armand: That’s right.

Andrew: Or go to the membership site otherwise. So it gets more traffic upfront. That’s my main source of traffic. What did you do to get more people in the door, since yours was going straight to membership?

Armand: Yeah. What we do is we use affiliates in order to market it.

Andrew: Mm-hmm.

Armand: So as… and I think the best affiliates are going to be the people that are actually members. So if they’re getting value out of it, they may — some of them — want to share that with their list. If they’re… and again, if I’m catering to other marketers, it only makes sense that they may have a list. So if I can convince them to promote this as well… and if you figure it’s $47 a month, I’m paying half of that out in affiliate commissions.

Andrew: I see.

Armand: So that’s, you know, $23.50 or so a month that they would make. So if a person referred — hypothetically, of course — 100 people, that’s, you know, a couple grand for them in their pocket a month.

Andrew: Okay.

Armand: So appealing to their greed makes a big difference.

Andrew: [laughs]

Armand: [laughs]

Andrew: To the affiliates.

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: Because they then go out there and market, and they come up with interesting ways to market, much more than we could.

Armand: Exactly.

Andrew: You started out as a software company. What was the software?

Armand: We were marketing… we developed a lot of software for small business owners. I started off with, at the time, was an ebook software. And at that time, ebooks were nothing like they were today. They were basically HTML pages wrapped in an EXE file, basically.

Andrew: Yes. Right. You would have to install them on your Windows PC. Yes.

Armand: Exactly. And so we developed one of the most popular ones that were out there at the time. And then we developed other software to make header graphics on the top of your website. Simple things. A pop-up software. Variations of the pop-up software.

Andrew: Pop-up software meaning some visitor hits a site…

Armand: It pops…

Andrew: …a pop-up comes up promoting something…

Armand: Exactly.

Andrew: The website does… the guy behind the website doesn’t know how to create the pop-up. Your software does it. I see.

Armand: Exactly. It fills in… and a lot of this was just fill-in-the- blank type software, where they fill in the blank, and it produced a simple, one-off type of result for them. Maybe it was, for example, an ecover graphic. We had templates. They could put in their text they wanted on the ebook cover, and it would make this little graphic that looked like a virtual ebook. Or a book.

Andrew: I see you’re still in software to some degree. I’m looking at WPSalesLetter.com.

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: Which is one of your sites, right?

Armand: Yeah. Now what we do is we make a lot of WordPress plugins. I shouldn’t say a lot, but a few WordPress plugins, I think, are specific. And some of that, for example, that WPSalesLetter, is now a WordPress plugin, but originally it was one of the original softwares that I developed for really a PC. So now we’re just taking some of those things and that’s appropriate, some of those aren’t good anymore.

But everyone needs to know how to write a sales letter and the same psychology will still work to this very day as it did really for the last 100 years or so.

Andrew: And the design of your site just keeps getting [??] all this stuff because you guys have a robot TXD exclusion on it but the site just keeps getting better and better, the design looks better. I love this simplicity and the clarity of WPSalesLetter.com

Armand: Yes. What we’re finding out today in marketing is that you need to get to the point faster. You can’t necessarily have these long, long sales letter, even our videos which a lot of our sales letters are really videos now.

The link to them has gotten shorter and shorter and shorter over the years where it really comes down to in the end how would you like to do this. If you can’t, I can show you how to do it and that’s really the whole formula, if you will.

Andrew: From there you started teaching. Most people who are in software don’t want to go to teaching. It seems like it’s the other way around. If you’re in teaching you feel like well, anyone can teach. I really shouldn’t just be a teacher. It’s software that’s the future.

You went the other way. Why did you decide to start teaching?

Armand: Yes, what happened was I was developing the software and someone asked me to speak at a seminar about developing software. And what they didn’t know is that I’d never developed software. I outsourced everything.

And so I started telling people how to outsource and, at that time there were places like Rent Decoder, which is now Freelancer.com and a few other type sites like that I was utilizing, hiring someone in Czechoslovakia for $50 developing a software that made $50,000. so I was teaching people how to take their ideas, turning them into software and then basically selling a course on how to do it.

So I really was just explaining to people what I did in order to make my software and it was very simple for them to understand how to outsource and it was very sexy, honestly.

Andrew: Because of the outsourcing.

Armand: Yes, you don’t have to know how to do it. You outline what you’re looking for and there are some techniques to it, of course, some moments of clarity that you need but other than that you would have the software, create it and a couple of weeks later you have it and now you can start marketing it.

And so the more I talked people how to do that, then the next step was well, they want to know how I market it my software. So then I would develop a course or teach them exactly how we marketed the software and more and more people wanted to know little tiny pieces, how do you advertise, how do you do this, how do you advertise on this platform, that platform.

And so it started out where I was no longer teaching software or how to make software and honestly I got sick of it. There’s only so many times you can say go here and do this. I want to talk more to people about the marketing side because I like that a little bit more than the software because it really wasn’t that difficult for me.

And so then that morphed into really membership sites where now there’s a certain group of people where, for example, you are mentioning Stu, Stu McLaren.

Andrew: Stu’s the guy who introduced us. Great guy.

Armand: Exactly and Stu had developed software, oddly enough, called WishListMember. And Stu was one of my first original students in one of my membership sites. And that was 10 years ago. 10 years ago. Now this is really interesting because this particular membership site isn’t your normal membership site where it’s, you know, $40, $50 a month or anything like that. It’s actually $500 a month.

And the difference is they get trained every single week, they get access to every product that I create from everything in the past all the way now.

Andrew: So they would have this wish list sales, WordPress sales letter, they would have that.

Armand: Exactly. So even the new things I’m developing as we go forward they’re going to get access to all my new products, all my training. So it’s a lot of content in it. In fact, there’s literally gigs upon gigs. In fact, I was just looking at my Amazon bill the other day. We went through last month 1.2 pedabytes of bandwidth just last month.

Andrew: What do they charge you for that? Do you remember?

Armand: I think it’s $0.12 a gig, what it turns out to on the Cloud and then I think it’s $0.08.

Andrew: Do you remember your overall bill, how much you were paying?

Armand: Two hundred twelve dollars, I think. $212.

Andrew: Oh, that’s it?

Armand: Yes. It sounds like crazy.

Andrew: I think that’s where we’re at and frankly I used to be even higher. Used to be something like $800 a month and then they just kept lowering it.

Armand: Yes because it went from $0.18 to $0.15, down to $0.12 and that’s on the Cloud, Cloud Front. But, you know, it’s really kind of cool that way.

Andrew: Was the next step for you to create this seminar?

Armand: Yes. Back in 2003 we used to do these seminars and it was $2,000 to come to these seminars, and it was $2,000 to come to these seminars, and I would invite . . .

Andrew: This is a precursor to the big seminar?

Armand: This was the big seminar.

Andrew: The big seminar.

Armand: Yes.

Andrew: Costs $2,000, and then it was an online seminar?

Armand: No, at that time it was actually a physical seminar.

Andrew: Okay.

Armand: And so back in 2003, we did these physical seminars, and we did it for seven years, we had 14 of them, and the problem that I could see, and now I’d invite other speakers to the event. They would speak. Some of them would offer products and services, things of that nature, you know, we were doing things like.

It would cost me a quarter of a million dollars for every seminar that I did, and the reason was because I fed people, included in that price I fed people, I had entertainment come in, and, you know, we did all kinds of crazy things, like give away cars and all that other stuff.

So it was really kind of cool, but I could see the direction for these high end seminars, I mean, they still happen to this day, but I could see that it just wasn’t having the same effect that I really wanted in the beginning, and we’d have about 500 people or so at each event, so it was working out well, but then I wanted to do things a little more simpler.

I wanted to not have to worry and deal with some speakers because, you know, some of your audience probably know, some speakers are just prima donnas, and I just don’t want to deal with that, I just wanted to simplify things. So I started doing some (?) on my own, and that was good, and one of things we started doing was streaming my own event, and that was good.

I like that idea, and we could get, two to three times the amount of people that were in the room actually streaming online throughout the world. But then we had this idea just last year, it was about a year ago right now, I said, well, what if I just did a streaming seminar, period, and instead of focus on a lot of different topics, what if we just focused on one topic each time for three full days.

So the whole thing was a full three days streaming seminar, and we started off selling it for $27, and it worked out pretty good. I mean it’s a great value when you think about it, nine bucks a day, but then at the same time, we are thinking, we got 500 people the first time, we got 700 people the second time, and we’re doing this every other month, and then I came up with the idea, well, why don’t we just give it away for free, and we did that.

We went from 700 people to 1,500 people, and then from 1,500 people to 5,000 people, and now this next even that we’re getting ready to do, we expect about six to seven thousand people on it. But what we did was we gave it away for free, and if you wanted the recordings because, again, it’s three days’ worth of content, or you can make it there, we’re charging people $47 per month to access all the recording, so they get the recordings of the future ones plus the previous ones as well too.

But the interesting part is, in this model, very similar to the interview model, I work three days every sixty days, technically, because I do it every other month. So it works out really, I actually love this model probably the best of all everything that I’ve done because I have time to talk about the things I want to talk about, and more so in the membership site.

We just, we work on the ways to make it work well as far as the streaming goes, and fortunately in the room and back of me in the next room, I actually have a training center in my house, so we have the lighting and everything set up.

Andrew: And it’s you teaching for three days.

Armand: Yeah, yep.

Andrew: So you don’t need to deal with the prima donnas.

Armand: No.

Andrew: It’s just you walking . . . so I asked Sal Khan about this, of Khan Academy . . .

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: . . . how can he teach so many different topics and understand them well enough to explain them to someone else.

Armand: Yeah, well, let me give you an example, you know, let’s just, you know, my business does, just to say, eight figures a year, okay?

Andrew: Does what, sorry?

Armand: Eight figures a year.

Andrew: Okay, so we’re talking about 10 million or more every year in sales.

Armand: Exactly. Now I want you to think about this though, we do that with only six people, so where a lot of people are focusing on a team of web designers, a team of advertisers, and things of that nature, I was always under the impression that I needed to know certain things to be able to do that myself.

When I got started on the Internet, there was no such thing as outsourcing, so I had to learn how to make my own website, and I kind of like it, honestly, I had to learn how to make my own graphics, and I had to learn how to write my own copy . . .

Andrew: Okay.

Armand: . . . along the way, and I feel one of the things that most business owners should know is really how to advertise your business, and my philosophy is very simple, unless I could find someone that does it better than me, then I’m still probably the guy that should be doing that, and it doesn’t take very long, and there’s all kinds of little strategies that we figured out to make it easier for me to do that each day.

Andrew: Can you give me an example so I understand your process?

Armand: Yeah. For example, I wake up in the morning, and when we run an advertising campaign, as an example, I’ll wake up, you know, start to work, and then I’ll scan all my stats, I’ll see all my stats from the previous day, take a look at them, find out which ads are working or not.

Either pause, delete or modify and I’m pretty much done until later on that afternoon, which I’ll check them again just to see if I’m correct in my assumption.

Andrew: So you do that yourself?

Armand: Absolutely.

Andrew: Every single day.

Armand: Yep.

Andrew: All right. What about the idea of taking that and explaining it to someone. You’re so far ahead of someone . . .

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: . . . who is new . . .

Armand: Right.

Andrew: . . . it’s hard to even empathize with where they are because you’re so far ahead, let alone explain the tuff concept in a way that will get them started. How do you do that?

Armand: Well I think what happens is I’ve realized that this can be complicated, that the interface and most of these systems that you may be showing someone how to do is really not designed for the end user for the most part, and I also know the mistakes that I made as I did this and I know the problems that I saw and I know the results from my ads.

If I’m showing them how to advertise of course that what was working, what was not working and so I can easily just walk them through step one, step two, and I think one of the advantages I have is the ability to really think in a chronological order.

Andrew: Mm-hmm.

Armand: It’s just one of things I’ve just been able to do and so it’s easy for me to explain something to someone else without making it sound complicated because I think really what honestly what people are paying me for is not so much to learn how to advertise but it’s to simplify the process for them.

Andrew: Okay.

Armand: They really want it broken down where they feel at the end that they now know this system very, very well. And I think that’s we [??] we have just a great response from people that have been through our trainings and also I have been doing it for a long time. I figured out what works and what doesn’t work and we’ve trained a lot of people let’s put it that way.

Andrew: You’re a systemized or systemory[SP] everything is logical and makes sense and works well together.

Armand: Sure.

Andrew: We try to run Mixergy that way too and we invite entrepreneurs to come and teach and in order to get their knowledge and to break down their knowledge in a way our audience can understand we have a process for introducing the topic, a process for breaking down the steps for getting it done. Do you have something like that?

Armand: No.

Andrew: You don’t it’s just you figure it out as you go.

Armand: You know it was amazing getting ready for this interview. I was just amazed with the process that you guys went through. It was probably the most organized process that I have experienced.

Andrew: Thanks.

Armand: I had a person I talked to in the beginning.

Andrew: Yep.

Armand: And that was scheduled.

Andrew: Yep.

Armand: That was the thing I noticed, I looked through the service you guys were using because I was like how did that get onto my calendar and I’m looking schedule once and I’m taking noted along the way.

One person asked me a bunch of questions and then the next step and it was just amazing the process you guys go through and honestly you’re probably going to laugh, when I do my interviews we set up the time, I call the person, and I just ask questions.

Andrew: You just go for it.

Armand: And I just go for it. And I think that natural conversation really works if you know. I think you have to do a little research on the person to have an idea and what you’re trying to get out of them as far as the agenda. What is it that they know that you think your audience wants to know in that particular case, and so I think that, that makes sense but I think that the process that you guys go through is just amazing. It’s incredible.

Andrew: Thanks. You know I don’t want to overlook that think you just said you need to know what you want out of the interview because even I in the beginning used to ramble around and someone would tell me something interesting and I would go off in that direction. Then I would remember that there was something else I was curious about and move everything in that direction.

Armand: Uh-huh.

Andrew: It helps to really come into the interview with the kind of goal I think that I had at the top of this interview.

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: Which is to say I want to know how to run memberships sights and our focus is going to be on that and it’s not going to be about how do you deal with taxes when you’re making $10,000,000 and how do you set up lighting its specific. So speaking of membership sites.

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: Why membership sites as opposed to saying I’ve got this content I’ll just sell it once and not have the commitment on the customer’s part and the work on my part to keep charging them and making sure they are satisfied?

Armand: Some topics I think its warrants a one off product.

Andrew: Mm-hmm.

Armand: Where it’s a finite amount of information, it’s not really going to change, and I think you’re good, you’re done at that point. For example we just created a product the other day on Twitter advertising. There is only so much I can talk about on that and we’re done.

It’s really quite simple but then the whole concept of marketing though, that kind of opens the gates where marketing is always going to change. The internet changes so fast you’re never going to be at a loss for content or information and honestly the reasons for membership sights is the recurring income aspect.

Let’s face it. We all of us are in a business so when you are looking at this as far as time, I can go out and pick a product and I can take my content to market, and we do. And we know that this product is going to sell x amount of dollars and that’s great, but at the same time, if we put it onto a content, onto a membership site and we keep on delivering content whether it be for 50–40, 50 dollars a month, or one hundred dollars a month.

In fact, one of the scenarios I use with many people is, it works like this, to make money with a membership site, and I like using a base level, if you like 97 dollar a month as a price point, just as an example to make it easy, if you add 86 people, that’s 100,000 dollars a year. And that’s not a huge number of people.

So that’s less than 100 people and now the question is, is how do we create enough content in order to warrant the 97 dollar price plan, sometimes you can’t. You have to reduce the price point because you can only deliver so much content on that topic. For example, one of the things when I look at with your site, I’m like, I would charge a boat load more.

I know that there’s a specific market and specific reasons for everything, but I think in certain markets, I think you can charge a whole lot more money for the same content whether it be on stock. For example, the stock market is a great one; if you’re in the, you know, people that want to know about stock market, it changes all the time so you know people need to be up to date on it.

And because it’s a money type of scenario, people are more willing to pay for that, where if you had a hobby, people aren’t willing to pay as much money for that.

Andrew: I see. So anything closer to business people are willing to pay more for. Anything that keeps changing, they’re more willing to sign up for a membership for.

Armand: Sure.

Andrew: What about how to versus stories? I’ve discovered that in the early days my interviews on Mixergy were just about a story about an entrepreneur, when we get into the sources or the more how to interviews people are much more willing to spend money. What do you think?

Armand: Yeah, people definitely want the how to; they always want the how to. They like the stories don’t get me wrong, but they want the actual how to. They feel it’s more valuable for them because you start from zero and at the end of you have something tangible that I built, I–

Andrew: And it’s a tangible that they’re paying for.

Armand: I think so. That’s what they really want because they have a problem, that’ really want it boils down to. I have a problem, you’re going to give me a solution, at the end of your solution, technically my problem should be finished.

Andrew: You also have a sense of what your audience wants but you also ask the audience specifically what they want.

Armand: Yes.

Andrew: How do you do that so you can make sure to ask the right questions, create the right content, teach properly?

Armand: We do it two different ways. Number one, one of the ways that we do this is inside for example, we have a marketing tutorial site and inside of that site we have a little button that actually asks people to, what would you like to know?

And it’s a very simple question. What would you like to know? What would you like us to teach you? What would be the topic? And many times we’ll email those people and just blatantly ask them to fill out a form and tell us what they want and we leave it open ended.

That’s really the key because we don’t want to lead people, I can easily lead people to what I want to talk about, but I’d rather have them tell me just off the top of their head, what would you like, so you have to leave that open ended so they can just fill the box in put that way. Another way that we do that is inside of our, we have a training that we do and for example, my higher end membership site.

Inside of that we have a weekly training and what they hear, they see who is going to be talking that week because here’s the other part, and you might like this aspect, is that I have the program itself and then we have a goal level which is $500 a month. And then we have another level that’s $800 a month. The $800 a month people actually teach the $500 a month people once a week.

So one of those people, that may be an expert on a specific topic, they’ll jump on a Wednesday training and teach them and so we’ll ask the audience, what would you like to know from these people and then they have content, so they’re going to be answering their questions plus they’re going to teach as well too.

And that’s one of the ways that we get that information as far as what the audience wants. And then we’ll ask for suggestions. Who would you like to see? Who would like–

Andrew: So the person that is paying you 800 dollars is basically working to teach.

Armand: Yeah, but it’s exposure.

Andrew: I see, and that’s the thing that they’re paying for, the exposure to the person who needs it, and when you teach, you learn a second time.

Armand: Exactly, because they’re going to understand their topic better. Most of them they have products, they have services maybe that some of those people–

Andrew: And they get to promote a little bit.

Armand: And they’re going to promote it and I don’t mind that. I don’t mind that because they’re part of the program and you know what happens is the $500 a month people say okay, well the $800 a month people get to do that, I want to do that too. And so they need to go. . .

Now the difference is that you can’t just move up because the $800 people I meet three times a year live at my home and we have a mastermind meeting. We go over their businesses three times a year like that. But also, in order to allow you to pay me $800 a month, you actually have to be making a certain amount of money in order to get there because it makes my job easier.

I can have a different conversation with you. If you’re not making X number of dollars, then what I have to say is not really going to matter. You need to focus on the basics first.

Andrew: I get that. Let’s see what else we need to talk about. I guess we should talk a little about software. Early on you just used whatever content management system you could find off of the shelf. Back before WordPress things were just horrible.

Armand: Yeah. I think I paid 4,000 dollars for the software. It was horrible, horrible, horrible. You couldn’t do anything with it, it had functions that you couldn’t customize, it took weeks if not months to make it look like what you wanted it to look like.

And then, WordPress eventually came along, and we started migrating all of our content over to WordPress. We were looking at different ways to password-protect that. At first we were using a system called, “A Member” and that’s how we integrated with it. And that works great, it’s still around today and it’s still a good software.

But it didn’t integrate with WordPress well enough in order to allow us to password-protect all of the things that we wanted. And it probably does a little better than what I remember it to be now. Then eventually through one of my students who happens to be Stu McClerin [SP]. Him and Tracy, who happens to be another one of the people in my coaching program, ended up getting together and thought of an idea about a plug-in that would help manage a WordPress membership site.

And it turned out to be Wishlist Member, and it was amazing. I don’t even know how many different installations that we have right now, but we’ve made that do all kinds of crazy things.

Andrew: For example?

Armand: What we do is actually deliver all of our products in a membership site, believe it or not. So when you purchase a product from us, just an individual product, you actually get a username and password in the membership site. If you buy an additional product, it adds it to your list.

So when you log into my back end, it’s like product after product that you purchase, but then also we’re able to market to you the products that you didn’t purchase yet.

Andrew: Because you know through Wishlist? Oh really, I didn’t know Wishlist did that.

Armand: Yeah and you can actually figure out what’s showing, what’s not showing. So it’s a matter of figuring out: here’s what it does, but what could it possibly do. So if you understand the basic concept of it, I think you can just think of a lot of things like that.

Andrew: I see for example hand-drawn videos, that’s one of your courses. I see email copy clinic, another one of your programs. I’m essentially creating an account in the membership site. Got it. All this for, I don’t want to plug Stu’s stuff, I don’t think he needs more sales, but we use it. Under 100 bucks is what it costs to put it on one site.

Armand: Yes. Exactly, and I think for unlimited sites I think it’s only 297 dollars or something like that.

Andrew: That’s what I paid for it, and I wanted to be absolutely sure. The other day I launched a new site, I wanted to be absolutely sure that I had a membership and I didn’t want anything to break so I bought another one, and they emailed me and said, “You know what we looked up your email address and you already have an unlimited membership.” And then they refunded my money.

Armand: Yeah. It’s great software. So, the reason why I think it’s great is because it’s easy. The way it works for those people that don’t know, is it uses WordPress, and you install it just as a normal plug-in.

For example, we do it typically in pages so you add a new page, and at the bottom of the page it says, “Would you like to password-protect this?” Why, yes I would. And now that particular page is password-protected.

Andrew: You just hit the radio box and then a couple of check marks to decide who it’s password protected for. Or you say this is allowed pay per post and people just pay to access the one post.

Armand: Right, yes.

Andrew: It’s really well done.

Armand: Yes. It makes it really easy and integrates with almost whatever payment processor that you want. In with an affiliate system if you want it to, and there are a lot of variations to it so that makes it nice. I think more importantly is that when you’re running a membership site the back end software, you don’t want to worry that the software that’s running the site if it’s going to work. I know that WordPress is going to constantly be updated. I know that for sure. All the time.

Andrew: Right and it’s not going to stop development the way it used to. Used to be on Droople [SP], you left Droople right?

Armand: Yeah we actually did a combination of things because we initially had WordPress, and we had Droople and well. And we integrated them both together. The reason I had Droople is because one of the things that we wanted was the ability to have like a Google Groups type function.

Like a list serve, where you could have people and when you responded, when you got a notification, it would actually send you an email, and you would just respond from email, and it would post it to the membership site.

Andrew: Ah. To the forum.

Armand: Yeah. Actually, to… we actually didn’t have it… it wasn’t more of, like, a post. It was kind of a weird scenario.

Andrew: Okay.

Armand: But it was great. It was fantastic. So we did this thing with Drupal, and it worked out well. And right now, we’re trying to actually do it with WordPress, to see if we can replicate that functionality. So we got rid of Drupal, and we went to WordPress.

And one of the things we also used — and this is kind of interesting — is that we used BuddyPress, as well. So in my high-end membership site, we actually have our own social network that’s actually built in, so members can friend each other, they can private message each other, they can see each other’s so-called profile, and then each level has a different group that they belong to. So when they post something to the group, it notifies everyone.

Now, this creates interactivity. What we want is we want people to be able to communicate with one another, but we want them to be involved with each other. So, for example, one of our members, just two days ago, had their site hacked. And it wasn’t a good thing, but it happened. And so they posted it to the board, and we… everyone in the organization knew what was going on. Immediately, five or six people start posting. “Have you tried this? Have you tried that? Have you tried this?”

Andrew: Oh, because you’ve got it set up to email other members…

Armand: Everybody.

Andrew: …when the post goes up.

Armand: Exactly.

Andrew: Gotcha.

Armand: And so all of our members can post anything they want. It goes out to everybody. And so my whole philosophy in a membership site, many times, is that it’s not about, for example, me, or just what I know. It’s the power of the group. The more people that we have in the group, the stronger, well, the group is. So we’re getting… we’re tapping into everyone’s knowledge.

And people will post different questions. Maybe it’s about a legal issue. Maybe it’s about copy. Maybe it’s about something else. And it’s not necessarily that I have to jump in immediately and type in all the answers myself. Someone else will jump in typically before I do, and they’ll answer.

So this whole community that we’re building works out really well, and the people become closer together. Then when we do do a live event as a result of our membership site, what will happen is these people, it’s like a family reunion, more than just, well, “I don’t know you, and you’re just a stranger to me.” They look forward to seeing each other, and they meet up, and they go out to dinners on their own, because now they’re part of a group.

Andrew: All right. So here’s what we got. For content, it’s… well, actually, let me do a quick plug here for my sponsor.

Armand: Yeah, go ahead.

Andrew: My sponsor is Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law. If you are an entrepreneur, especially a start-up entrepreneur in the tech space, you need a lawyer who understands your business. The person I keep recommending is a person I’ve known for years. His name is Scott. Well, Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law. Boy, I was tripping over my words here. Scott Edward Walker of Walker Corporate Law. Go to WalkerCorporateLaw.com.

And you know what, actually? Here’s what you do. See the other people who’ve said nice things about him, check out their reputations, and I believe what you’ll find is that this is a person who’s well-known, well- respected in the industry for a reason. And if you want to contact him directly, his email address is, here we go, Scott@WalkerCorporateLaw.com.

So here’s what I got. For content interviews…

Armand: Yeah?

Andrew: …you teach in seminars.

Armand: Right.

Andrew: You teach also in courses. You also have other people teach, right?

Armand: Sure.

Andrew: So it’s not just you.

Armand: Right.

Andrew: The other thing that you’ve got is you’ve got a community, and the community meets through a forum.

Armand: Sure.

Andrew: They get emails from each other, and they also teach each other. And you teach through webinars.

Armand: Right.

Andrew: Right? Anything else in the… oh, transcripts of the interviews. Anything else, any other ideas for content that you use that we could recommend to the audience…

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: …and that I should be aware of?

Armand: One of the things… I think the one piece that’s probably made me probably more money than anything is Camtasia.

Andrew: Okay.

Armand: And the reason why I say that is because one of the things that I think people just want to know about is how to do something, and they want to see your screen. How do you do it, step-by-step. And so Camtasia is one of the methods that we use to show people exactly what am I doing, where am I moving my mouse. You can see me do it right in front of you. And then we record those little sessions.

So I think if you have something to share that’s more of a technical point of view. Maybe it’s how… for example, I’ve done many sessions on how to use wish list, how to set it up and how to set the levels, and everything like that.

And the reason is because people want to see how it’s done. And, yeah, they have tutorials on their site, but maybe I teach it a little bit differently. Maybe I teach it better than Stu does. [laughs]

But what happens is people…

Andrew: What do you do to make it better than Stu? Because you do need to… you’re an expert at this point. You’ve taught so much. Do you have a couple of ideas that will make someone else who has Camtasia into a better teacher?

Armand: Yeah. I think it’s having an outline. Here’s what I do. If it’s something very complicated, I think you just need to break it… take a 3- by-5 piece of paper and write down the four things that you’re going to teach them.

Andrew: Okay.

Armand: And have an idea of the outline that you’re going to start with. If it’s longer than ten minutes… most people can’t go longer than five or ten minutes. It’s hard to keep someone’s attention for longer than five to ten minutes.

But what we’ll do is, if it’s just teaching, it’ll be, like, five or ten minutes. But also, what we’ll do is, if it’s a longer course, as an example, we switch between PowerPoint and then the actual screen sharing. And the reason why we do that is because the PowerPoint, we can break it down, Step 1, 2, 3, 4.

Talk about the individual points I think that’s most important. Switch over, show them what we just talked about. Switch back, talk about the next segment. And then switch back and forth.

So that makes it very, very easy for people to see and understand what you’re talking about. And also, if you’re doing something longer. Because some of the courses… let me give you an example. Twitter, as an example. I talked about Twitter advertising just a moment ago.

With that, what I was doing is I was actually doing it in front of a whiteboard. I would talk to them a little bit about Twitter, at first. Explain to them the concept. And then I jumped right in. And it was switching, the camera was switching between me and then my screen.

Andrew: I see.

Armand: And so they could see my screen, I’d walk them through, and then I’d say, okay, let’s just stop right here. Let’s talk about this. And then the camera would switch back over to me.

And what we do is, in that case, we use LiveStream. And the reason why we use LiveStream is A, it’s great. It’s awesome. I mean, as long as you have… at least, I think, it’s a 3mb connection upload speed, it’ll come out awesome. We stream in hi-def. I mean, full 19, 20, whatever the size is, 10 ADP. And it works out great, but it doesn’t take a lot of bandwidth, as well.

And I think a lot of times, people, instead of just a PowerPoint, or just a screen share, I think a lot of times, people want that physical element, and the switch between the physical and the screen itself.

Andrew: I find that, too. That the more movement there is, the more I pay attention. I also find that seeing the person, and not just hearing their voice over a computer screen, or over PowerPoint…

Armand: Right.

Andrew: …makes for… I don’t know why. I… there’s nothing about my face that should make this conversation more interesting. Or if I were teaching something, there’s nothing about my face that’s worthy of blocking a piece of the screen. But it does humanize the conversation and make it more interesting.

Armand: It also creates more affinity towards you. You build more of a following that way.

Andrew: Ah, I see.

Armand: When we started doing the live streaming-type scenarios, just a level of attraction, real quick. People can see you. They can see the empathy in your face. They can see when you screw up. They can see when you succeed, in other words. And so they can see all these things going on, and I think they want to see that emotion, that conviction, on your face when you’re talking about something.

And that… you know, you still can’t replace that. I don’t care what you do on the internet. I don’t care what technology is available. You just can’t replace the emotion in a person’s face.

Andrew: Affiliate programs. We talked about that.

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: If someone were starting out, and wanted to get an affiliate, wanted to start getting affiliates…

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: …how do they do it?

Armand: I think there’s some basic ways. I mean, I think the first thing you should do is, A, figure out how you’re going to create you affiliate program. You need the software in order to do it. You could do something simple, like ClickBank. That would be probably the easiest way for someone to do something. T

There’s programs like iDev Affiliate. There’s probably two or three… if you have a shopping cart system, if you’re using FusionSoft or maybe OneShoppingCart, or one of those, they have it built into the systems already.

But for the most part, I would start out by sending an email to my own customers. Your customers are going to be the best people to refer other people like them to you.

Andrew: Mm-hmm.

Armand: They’re going to run into people that have very, very similar problems. And they sign up as an affiliate, and they figure out, “Hey, I can make a couple bucks with it.” And, you know, great. But that’s where I think you basically start.

Andrew: I see.

Armand: And then I think what other people don’t do is make that offer immediately after they just purchased. After the person purchased, and went… is downloading your software and using the software, an automated series should be sent out, number one, teaching these people how to use the product that they just bought. Make sure they’re happy.

And then go ahead and ask them to join your affiliate program. “Hey, are you happy with this? Did you know we have this available?” And you’ll be surprised at the number of people that really want to promote that. I think that’s just a great, simple way to get started with affiliates.

And then, of course, once you have an affiliate program, you should advertise, and let other people know that it’s out there. And I think then… but then I think there’s another realm… and, again, affiliates are a whole other realm of affiliates where we can go after your so-called super-affiliates, and target people, and contact them one-on-one individually. But if you’re just getting started, I think that’s probably the best way to do it.

Andrew: Just look at your shopping cart and see if it already has an affiliate program built into it.

Armand: Yeah.

Andrew: Use that. Otherwise you’re talking about some simple options like Click Bank.

Armand: Sure.

Andrew: You charged your first member $16,000?

Armand: Yes. It was actually one of those people, believe it or not.

Andrew: Stu paid you $16,000?

Armand: Yes, he paid me $16 grand and when we first started the $500 a month program not sure what direction we were going to go it. So we did $16,000 on it and I think we had about 16-17 people to start off, somewhere around there that paid right up front.

But then when we started going to the monthly, well, most people started the year low end and then build up, we kind of started at the reverse. I actually started at the $16,000 and then went in reverse from there.

So then when I went to the other programs, the $500 a month program, I actually grandfathered all the $16,000 people because they believed in me and they believed in the program. I grandfathered them and I gave them lifetime membership.

And the reason why I did that and we have those people that still are active, still talking to this very day and the reason why I did that is because every time you do something different I think you have to reward people.

In this particular case, you know, rewarding those people early on built us certain amount of loyalty to those people to me because they know they’re never going to pay again and I think that’s one thing and I’m happy with that, I’m fine with that, 17 people, that’s fine.

But then you have the other people where they’re paying $500 a month, the program is a little bit different program. They don’t meet with me 3 times a year, they don’t come to my house, they don’t do these various other things that we do in the higher end program. And that’s ok.

Andrew: If you were to give someone advice who wanted to build a membership site today, one of the things you’d say is well, the topic, what topic would you suggest?

Armand: Yes, I think you have to choose the topic that people, it’s going to change. I think that’s the first thing. I had an individual come up to me one time. He says I just heard you talk, get this, I think it’s going to be great.

I’m going to build a membership site and I said well, what’s your product? He said well, I teach people how to fix their computers. I said well, does it work? And he said yes. I said well, why would they need you the next month if their computer’s fixed?

So you have to have a topic that people want to know about, that #2 people are going to pay to know about. That’s the other part to it. Number #3, people that have some kind of passion about it in some ways, not always, but I think passion has a level degree because you might be going after a hobby that could be a source.

Health would be another great topic. Diet, weight loss. You know, someone asked me if I had to do it all over again what would I chose. I would choose the diet and weight loss market.

Andrew: Really? Why?

Armand: Because I think it’s never going to go away. People are always going to get fat.

Andrew: You know, I was talking to a member of mine who said I’m in the health industry and I don’t feel comfortable being there because I’m worried that there’s so much competition. And it has been around for so long and there’s is tons of competition.

What do you say to someone like that?

Armand: Yes, let’s put it this way. The last numbers I looked at on that was I think it was something like $300 billion industry, this is a couple of years ago, and at that time it was expected to be a trillion dollar industry in the next 5 years.

So I don’t need to be a big fish. I can be the little guy on the side of the pond just hanging out.

Andrew: I see.

Armand: Because I mean, when you look at the numbers in that market it’s not a, most people talk about a mass market. And let’s just talk about the [??]. I think this is really good. What most people talk about and you hear the term again and again, niche marketing, niche marketing, niche marketing.

And I’m just sick of it because that’s a mistake I think that most people make when it comes to marketing at a membership site. And the reason why is because for a small membership site that will work, a niche market. But I think if you really want to build a big membership site then you have to go up to a mass market.

And the health industry I would call that a major market because inside of it there’s multiple mass markets and let’s just take the dieting as an example.

If you take dieting, I mean, you have well, let’s say the Atkins Diet, you have the [??] Diet, you have the Duncan diet, there’s all variations. The raw food Diet, the South Beach Diet, whatever may be. But there’s all kinds of variations and each one of those we’re talking millions and millions of people in each one of those markets.

So you can effectively build a membership site on every one of those and every one succeed. So there’s no loss for that number of people on that industry.

Andrew: Let me ask you about an issue that I’ve been facing. I’m really proud of the amount of work that I’ve done here. We have almost 1,000 interviews. We have 1,000 entrepreneurs.

One of my concerns is that it’s a little too hard for people to find what they’re looking for. It’s so tough for someone. I guess, in this interview it’s a little easier because we’re talking about membership sites, but is this membership sites advanced, or membership sites basics? What do you advise me to do under the circumstances?

Armand: Well, I think the organization of the membership site has a big, big part to do with it, and I think that’s where, once you have a certain amount of content, you have to figure out a way that’s going to be able to break that down easier.

So it might be by topic, as an example. We could have different categories based on topic. I think you have to have a dashboard in a membership site. The dashboard is like the key to making everything work. So, you could divide it by topic, I think that’s one way.

You could divide it by people. That’s another way. And I don’t think it’s one way or another. I think it’s a matter of both. Topic, people, newest, oldest, whatever it is that you just have to make it easier for people to search. And I think the search box is one of those features that makes it easier for people to see what is happening.

So I think it’s a matter of just laying it out, finding out what people are interested in, and then putting that most recent content up front. I think when a person logs in, they want to see the most recent things right up top.

I think you might have a section where it’s the most popular topics, so for example, on the right-hand side, say on a side-bar, we could have the most popular topics based upon views. We could have the most popular topics based upon comments. We could have…

Andrew: Shares.

Armand: Yeah, shares, things of that nature, but that’s another piece, though. And I think this is a controversial piece that, when it comes to the membership site, should I allow my members to comment on my content, and I’m under the impression “no”.

I mean, on my individual teaching or content, I don’t want people to comment on there, because that’s another piece that I have to, myself of have someone else follow up on, and respond back to. Especially if they ask a question.

Andrew: You want them in the forums. If they’re going to communicate, communicate in one place.

Armand: Yeah, because if they start commenting on these individual posts, we could have a post that’s five years old, and have people commenting on that, so I don’t want people to comment on the individual ones, I’d rather, let’s bring them back over to wherever we’re going to have them comment on.

Andrew: What about this one last thing, and then I know we’re at the end of the interview. Even if I were to organize it all, it’s still hard to find. I was thinking of categorizing it by need, and then giving one interview at a time, and one course at a time based on the need, so that we’re not even giving you a list of ten around a topic, but we’re giving you just one, and then another and another. What do you think of that?

Armand: You’re talking about, let’s say, a brand-new person coming in to your membership site?

Andrew: Yes.

Armand: So the question would be, how do you understand what their need is?

Andrew: So, we already ask people, and we even ask them actually when they come in to sample stuff. And that’s for us to get to know what to do with them, and then we recommend only one interview, or one course.

I was thinking, you come in and you tell me your problem is that you procrastinate too much, and I would give you just one interview on procrastination, check in with you, and then another, and another and another instead of giving you all of them and having you pick it out.

Armand: I personally wouldn’t do it.

Andrew: You would, or would not?

Armand: I would not.

Andrew: Oh, really? What would you advise?

Armand: I think you’re limiting, because the one, you know, I think your best asset is a thousand interviews. I think your worst asset is a thousand interviews. But I think that the weight is actually leaning towards the benefit of having access to a thousand interviews that I could go in and if I want to hear about this individual, or this individual, or that individual, then I want to see them, or if I want access to this course or that course, or whatever it may be, I want access.

I don’t’ want to feel like I’m limiting, or someone else is limiting me. That’s like Facebook limiting your messages as far as who sees your posts.

Andrew: I see, okay. All right. I wonder if we could then do both. Allow you to take one at a time, but also give you access to a site where it’s all organized.

Armand: But here’s where I think your biggest advantage is: if I had your site, and I had a thousand interviews like you have, what I would do is I would literally have one thousand sales pitches. And the reason why, is because I would sell each interview on its own.

And when the person went to purchase that interview, I would up-sell them into the actual membership site. Hey, you’re going to get this interview, for example, for $25, or for the same $25, you get access to a thousand interviews. So which one would you rather have?

Andrew: I see.

Armand: And so, what happens is each time you go to sell, when they go to buy the individual interview, you’re doing this up-sell into the actual membership site, and of course, not only just the monthly, but then the yearly cost, as well, too. So we can do an up-sell there, and then another up-sell. But I think that that’s going to give you so much.

I bet you, if you just did that alone, you wouldn’t just double your business. I bet that you would probably say, triple, or probably even quadruple the amount of people coming in.

Andrew: And then to keep them signed up, if they have signed up if they have access to everything?

Armand: What they’re looking for, see, what you have to think about is they’re not interested–they’re interested in what’s there, but they’re also probably more interested in what’s coming, rather than what’s there already.

Andrew: I see.

Armand: So think about it like that. That’s how you keep them. And with the people that you’re interviewing–I know some of the past interviews are great and fantastic, but I think you know that you may be interested in in the future it’s going to be more “now” relevant – let’s put it that way – in some cases.

So I think those people are going to want to know about those things. And that’s how you’re going to keep them.

Andrew: All right. I see what you’re talking about. I see we need a re- design. I see – all right.

Armand: I see 1,000 sales letters. That’s what I see.

Andrew: I think we have 1,000 sales letters, but they’re not very clear. Each one kind of leads you to a page you could buy. . .

Armand: Yep.

Andrew: . . .But it’s not clear enough.

Armand: I think it’s: Here’s what the topic is about. Here’s some interviews. Here’s some bullet points. Here’s what we talked about in the session. And then, here’s a button to buy it. And, I think you’re going to get a lot of SEO attraction as a result of some of the names. I mean, you’ve got names which one of the greatest things in the world when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. That’s awesome.

And you’ve got your site, it’s very popular anyway, so it’s going to get ranked very high. And then, when people go to see that individual interview, they’re going to click on the button, and see the up-sell, and a certain percentage–I bet you 30%, at least, will take the upsell into the monthly.

Andrew: Especially if we’re talking about such a good pricing, where it’s $25 for one or $25 for a month.

Armand: Yeah. It’s, like, you’re an idiot if you just take the individual interview. Well, what we do, is, for example, in our screening [??] seminars. It’s $197, if you want the recordings for just this one 3-day event. But, it’s $47 if you want to get all of the previous ones. . .

Andrew: How do you retain people? They could just sign up and then take off.

Armand: They could, yep. They absolutely could. That bothers probably my wife more than it does me.

Andrew: I see.

Armand: She’s like, “They could just sign up, and they could go through everything.” And I’m like, “That’s fine. That’s fine. Because I’m competent enough that the topics that we’re going to talk about in the future, is what’s going to keep them.

Andrew: Okay, right. And, if they do leave, they’re still going to have to. . .

Armand: Right.

Andrew: . . .Get the next one.

Armand: If they leave, you know, technically someone could say, well, couldn’t they sign up now, and watch everything; quit. Well, first of all: There’s no way. We’re talking, you know, 18 hours each time I’ve done this. And so far we’ve done, let’s say, you know, five or six, whatever it may be.

So that’s seventy-something-odd hours, or 90 hours, or whatever it may be. And now, all of the sudden, at the next one, that’s another 18 hours, and another 18 hours. And so they’re never going to actually truly watch everything. And then, they could quit; try to get as much as they want now, and then, you know, and sign back up. That’s. . .

Andrew: So you don’t let them download at all?

Armand: No we don’t. We actually don’t.

Andrew: Oh, I see. No one’s going to go through that. It’s the downloading that really makes it. . .

Armand: The only–I mean, yeah, if someone really wanted to, you know, view the source in every single one of them. Yeah, they could get it. But, we just. . .

Andrew: Those guys will never buy anyway.

Armand: Yeah. I mean, we put them in a player and just leave it alone. And no one has actually even asked us about it. So, I mean, we don’t worry about it too much.

Andrew: Well, thank–I can see now why people are part of your membership. I’ve got more questions, but I already had an hour’s worth of questions, and I really appreciate it. I’ve got to thank Stu again. Stu just keeps introducing me to such good people. I’ve known him now for 4 or 5 years, and . . .

Armand: Yes.

Andrew: . . .He’s been phenomenal. And this introduction alone is–well, I don’t know what it is. I was going to say it’s fantastic and I want to thank him.

Armand: [laughs]

Andrew: I was going to say, “This alone is worth the value of the friendship,” but you can’t do anything like that. All I can say is thank you to him. Thank you to you for doing it. If people want to follow up, what’s a good website to send them to?

Armand: They can just go to ArmandMorin.Com. A-R-M-A-N-D-M-O-R-I-N. They can find a spot there. And/or they can go to Webcamp.CC, to find out what free stuff I’ve got.

Andrew: I’m on that site. What’s the other site?

Armand: ArmandMorin.Com or Webcamp.CC?

Andrew; Webcamp.CC. ArmandMorin.Com, and if you click around, you can see some of the products that I’ve talked about, and you can see how he’s selling it. And it’s been great to have you on here. Thank you.

Armand Morin: Sounds great. Thank you, Andrew.

Andrew: You bet. Thank you all for being a part of it. And if you have a membership site, I’d love to see what your site is. If you’ve used anything from this interview, please tell me. Or, let me see. Is there contact information for you guys to contact him? Yeah. Oh, it’s all over the place.

There’s even a phone number, I remember, from when I looked around. Tell me, tell Armand. I always tell you: If you got anything from an interview, tell the guest. Thank them. And I’m going to do it right now and say thank you for doing this interview.

Armand: Thank you.

Andrew: Thank you. Thank you all for being a part of it. Bye guys.

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  • http://www.pixelhappy.com/ Steve Young

    Love the tip about 1,000 sales pages. I’m going to test this out. Thanks Andrew and Armand.

  • http://www.wynterjones.me Wynter Jones

    Great interview! Big fan of Armand Morin. Love his streamlined design for each product and page, has been an inspiration for me for a few years.

  • Hrvoje Livnjak

    Andrew.. three words.. LISTEN TO ARMAND : ) . this perspective of the upsell from stand alone product to membership is great.. and like Armand said I can also see like 1k sales pages.. and I would do them in this fashion.. combo mix of video plus regular sales page.. video + bullet points and then purchase button.. on the upsell would give the whole membership for a bit higher amount then they paid for the product.. I’m actually implementing that stuff in my own site.. and I’ll keep you posted with the results and maybe one day I will be here as an interview : ))

  • Aladine Vargas

    Andrew I know this has absolutely nothing to do with this interview but I just want to say it.

    Your lighting and camera set-up is awesome. See how Armand disappears while you are still “readable” to the viewer :
    1. When we focus on the gray scale ( tone / values ).
    2. When we remove most of the details by squinting our eyes.

  • Arie at Mixergy

    Aladine–I would argue it DOES have something to do with the interview! It took a long time and a lot of improvements to get to this setup. :)

  • http://runnersconnect.net/ Jeff Gaudette

    Typically, I visit an interviewees site before listening to get a feel for their personality and expertise. Honestly, I visited Armand’s site and found a lot of issues that make me question his credibility. As an example, on his products page 75% of the “landing” pages or links from the products go to a blank or unfinished page.

    I’ll likely still listen because I trust that Andrew did some thorough vetting of Armand before having him on, but makes me question how successful he is when I can’t even access 75% of his products. It could be his site isn’t his main source of traffic or income?

  • http://www.seancast.com Sean Saulsbury

    Andrew, if you organize by category and then tag the best interview in that category as a “top pick” or “Andrew’s Pick” or “Category Best” whatever — I think that would accomplish what you’re trying to do with guiding people where to start, while still giving them access to everything and avoid being too heavy handed.

  • Gerad Forte

    This interview is more like a short course in recurring revenue models. I appreciate the way that Armand has evolved his content strategy over time and the way that he aimed at the top of the market first. That’s a scary step because it requires a shift in your beliefs about the value that you can provide.

    But, it’s nice work if you can get it.

    In general, I believe that people who care about the work they do underestimate impact they can make, and underestimation sometimes shows up in the pricing strategy.

    There are all types of ways to analyze numbers and figure out how to optimize for revenue. It is much trickier to optimize for impact. For that you need an uncommon level of clarity about what you want to create.

    Perhaps the most impressive thing about Mixergy is that they are still doing THIS. There are billions of dollars worth of ideas on this site, and with the expert knowledge and industry connections Andrew and his team have accumulated over the past several years, they could be building almost anything.

    Thanks

  • http://www.highballblog.com/ Constantin Gabor

    get Frank Kern on Mixergy!

  • Anya @ Blallywood

    Its interesting that membership sites that cost thousands of dollars are able to thrive with similar content circulating for free be it on Mixery, SPI, or Eventual Millionaire. I understand Andrew’s dilemma when he asks am I doing something wrong.

  • Anya @ Blallywood

    Yeah I did a visit and I noticed CSS issues off the bat in Google chrome. The layout elements are overlapping. He did mention in the interview that he does everything himself… but it seems like that must not be the site he markets or people would certainly bounce.

  • http://nichediver.com/ Brandi Young

    Regarding
    the difficulty finding which of the thousand interviews to watch…

    Sometimes I want to watch something related to a specific business
    model or task. Other times I wanted to hear from someone with specific personal
    characteristics or challenges they share with me. (E.g., married, mom, around my age, bootstrapped, home office, income level achieved, experience level, etc.)

    It
    would be awesome if the interviews were tagged with that kind of info
    and could be filtered by the various combinations of those tags. I know
    that would be a ton of work to go back and tag 1000 interviews but it
    seems less daunting than writing 1000 sales pages. Maybe you could
    grant a handful of free memberships in exchange for tagging. (Just
    thinking out loud.) The challenge would be finding people who have the time to do it quickly enough to be worth it for you.

    Perhaps you could ask current members to tag their favorite interviews with whatever terms made it relevant to them?

    Also,
    regarding your pricing. I know what you have is
    valuable but, correct me if I’m wrong, your target audience is
    entrepreneurs who need help getting to the next level – many of whom haven’t reached the “spend more to make more” phase yet. In my mind the
    current price point is perfect in that, for that audience, it is
    affordable. Once you raise it the audience you are trying to serve is
    excluded simply based on the cost of entry.

    Perhaps
    splitting membership into two different levels may make more sense? The current price
    for interviews and a higher price for interviews + course access.
    My guess is that the people that are willing to pay more are the people looking for more specific teaching that will directly affect their bottom line. Again, just thinking out loud but that’s what makes sense to me.

    What do you think?

  • http://simplehosting.co/ Emilio Olivares

    To be honest, I think Andrew is a nice guy and comes across as someone that is passionate at helping other entrepreneurs, money seems to come second.

    The interviewee here does not come across this way at all to be honest, his website is very salesy and filled with vague testimonials such as: “I love the webinar. I really like how Armand makes it is easy to follow. Thank you so much, it makes me feel like I can do it too. I (am confident) my specific ideas will do well since I have never tried them out before. In the mean time I’m continuing to with the plan I have already schedule and give it a good test.”

    I think his crowd is more of the get rich quick off the internet type people who may not be technically savvy as others.

  • Arie at Mixergy

    Emilio–you’re on a roll!

  • http://simplehosting.co/ Emilio Olivares

    Ha, yes, long time listener. The Chris Ducker interview finally made me jump into the comment waters!

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    Jeff, I just realized the problem. When I liked to him above, I left an S in the url.

    httpS://

    That doesn’t work.

    His direct link is http://www.armandmorin.com/

    I fixed it.

  • http://www.mimikacooney.com/ Mimika Cooney

    LOVED loved LOVED this interview! Thanks @AndrewWarner:disqus and @ArmandMorin its exactly what I needed in helping me build out my membership site.

  • http://mixergy.com Andrew Warner

    I screwed up. I had the wrong link up when we posted, but I fixed it.