Andrew: This interview is sponsored by the best place to get top developers. It’s called Toptal and by the company that we use to organize all of our sales processes at Mixergy. It’s called Pipedrive. I’ll tell you more about those later. Let’s start.
Hey, everyone. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I’ve done over a thousand interviews with entrepreneurs about how they’ve built their businesses. But as much as I know how to talk in front of a mic to an audience of people and I’ve talked to some of the best audiences out there, I got a little nervous recently when I started doing webinars. I never wanted to do webinars. I always thought, to be honest, webinars were kind of like this low buck way of selling. I was wrong. I was obviously wrong. I think what was happening was I was a little afraid of them or I was afraid of like looking bad.
Then I started looking at how my team at Mixergy started using a complicated piece of software called Zapier. People from the team actually got onto webinars where the founder of Zapier actually got on camera teaching people how to use Zapier. I thought, “This software that I admire is being made by people who use webinars to explain their product and sell it.” There’s no way that some of the assistants I’ve had here, some of the people who really aren’t as techie as I am would have used Zapier to its fullest potential. If you know Zapier, you know it connects two pieces of software in what could be a complicated way. There’s no way people would have signed up and used it if not for this webinar where they got to learn about it and got to grow their businesses.
And I said, “Come on, Andrew, you’re about to launch this new business. Are you really going to act like you’re better than webinars? Or are you going to accept that this is really what works? It helps people understand the product that you’re trying to sell.” For me, it was a new site that was helping people create bots, chat bots. I said, “No, you’ve got to get good at it.”
So then once I wanted to get good at it, I said, “Who do I learn from?” So I started asking around. I said, “Who’s the guy who does this the best?” And a handful of people that I know who do webinars on a regular basis said, “This guy, David Siteman Garland.” I said, “I know him. I know David Siteman Garland. He did interviews back when I was doing interviews. He’s someone I’ve talked to for a long time.”
I said, “He’s the best?” They said, “Oh yeah.” I said, “He’s always kind of goofing around. He seems to chill.” They said, “No, he is the best. He’s the guy who actually knows how to make it interesting enough to get people to watch, explain tough concepts even in a way that makes people understand them, and then at the end when there’s a sale, people like him so much and they trust him so much that they buy from him. If you want to be interesting, you want people to buy from you, go to David Siteman Garland.”
So I went hat in hand. I basically said, “David, what do I do? Teach me.” So I got his course and I got some tips from him, and I had this Google Doc with everything that I learned from him on my screen. It became like my — I don’t know what. I was going say my Bible, but the Bible doesn’t give you instructions to this level of specificity. That’s what I had when I started doing my webinars.
That’s how I launched Bot Academy. Not only did I launch it, but I got a huge audience of people to understand what it was. Even if they didn’t buy, they understood it. And I got all these partnership requests because of it. An angel investment came because of it. It was fantastic, one where I was investing in a company that I think is strategically helpful for us.
So I invited David Siteman Garland here to talk about webinars, how they helped grow his business and to teach you some of the stuff that he taught me. We’re going to do a bio of how he built his business on webinars, and we’re going to learn a little bit about webinars. If you want to take this to the next level, I’m actually going to do a full-on webinar with him. I’ve never done this before, never in the history of Mixergy, about 10 years here, never done it before, but if you want to learn even more, he and I are going to do a webinar. You can find out about it at Mixergy.com/LearnWebinars.
David Siteman Garland is the founder of The Rise to the Top. It helps experts create and sell online courses. He also has a side software company that kind of fits in with The Rise to the Top. It’s got Course Cats and Conversion Cats, two different products. One helps you run your courses, it’s software that helps you run a website for courses, and the other is software that helps you run a website that increases your conversions. David, good to have you on here.
David: I love it. I was like, “I don’t even need to talk today. I’ve got all this great stuff from Andrew.” I’m very excited to be here. Thank you for having me.
Andrew: Thank you. I usually don’t go that long with the intro, but I wanted to get the story out and the purpose of what we’re doing here. So I know there are a lot of people here who have done webinars before, for whom this is maybe old hat. I want to give them a quick win. Give me a quick win that even somebody who’s new will benefit from and someone who’s experienced will definitely get some value out of.
David: Sure. Here’s a good one. It’s one thing to get people to register, to actually enter their email and say, “Hey, I’m coming.” It’s another thing for them to show up because, shockingly, unless it’s you, your webinar is not at the priority level extreme of everyone else. It’s not like their life’s goal is to get to your webinar. Yes, it’s important. Yes, it’s on their calendar. But how do you get people to actually show up? I want to give two quick recommendations which equals one win here to show up.
David: One, this is a new thing. This is like something we’ve been experimenting with this year — and we’ve seen nothing but great stuff with it — is doing what I’m calling a pop-up Facebook group for your webinar. So what that means is when someone registers, on the thank you page, we have a little link that goes out when you email them and it says, “Hey, we’re doing a special Facebook group just for people that have registered for this webinar. So come in there, introduce yourself, tell us about your business, interact.”
What we’ve seen is that Facebook group is great for interaction. We’re going to be doing one with the webinar that we’re doing, our super meta webinar on webinars. But what happens in that group is people get to know each other, and we can send in reminders about showing up for the webinar, and it’s just another way that it keeps it more on the top of mind of people so they can show up. That’s one kind of big tip on showing up.
Andrew: They’re going to be in the Facebook group, they talk about the topic of the webinar, and it helps increase show-up rates to the webinar.
David: Without a doubt. People get to know each other. People get to be like, “I’m excited to be there. I’ve got it on my calendar.” We do polls in there. We’ve got fun. It’s just another way because, as you know, and you’re very passionate about Facebook bots and different things with Messenger, email is one place to reach people. It’s the one you can control the most, but it’s just one place.
People love hanging out on Facebook, so why not add that in to your mix? Since we’ve done that, we have seen — I don’t have the exact percentages. I was trying to get my calculator out and figure it out, but we’ve seen definitely a big time increase in show-up rates just by doing a Facebook group.
Andrew: What’s big time, 20%?
David: I would probably say 20%.
Andrew: 20% of the people who register, 20 more percent of the people who register show up.
David: Show up. That’s huge.
Andrew: That’s one. That seems like an awful lot of work, but it’s just for the webinar. As soon as the webinar is done, the group dissolves and is closed.
Andrew: What’s another tip?
David: Another thing is people always say, “Send out email reminders.” That’s a no-brainer. You want to send out email reminders leading up to the training for people that registered. You don’t want to just send them a link when they register and they never hear from you again and the webinar starts in three days because people forget. What we’ve seen is in my experimental lab over here, we try different formulas of what works.
What we notice is two to three emails, believe it or not, the day of the webinar and the magic two that we always send are one give or take 45 minutes or 30-ish minutes before, somewhere in that range. There’s not a perfect formula for that, reminding people, “Hey, we’re getting started. The coffee is poured. The slides are on. I’m running to the bathroom. I’ll be right back. We’re going to get started. Make sure to show up. Here’s your reminder link.”
Then the other one, this one is, I think, a big one, that we just tried. Again, we saw — I don’t have the exact numbers, but even if it increases 25 people showing up, it’s more than worth it. We actually send one 15 minutes after we’ve started. In that email, it’s like, “Hey, by the way, we’ve already started, but good news, you can still get on in case you were dropping the dog off at the groomers or whatever and you want to race on. We’ve got the link.” Also Lindsey on my team will post that in the pop-up Facebook group as well, like, “Hey, we started 15 minutes ago. You can hop on.”
What’s interesting is when I’m doing a live webinar just like we’re going to be doing, Andrew, I can watch the clock. I know when that email goes off. You can watch the spike of people come in that were a little bit late to the party, and I think it also reminds them you can be late and still come. It’s not like it’s over.
Andrew: I see. Right. Even if I’m half an hour late, I’ve seen the 15-minute late email and I know it’s okay to come in after the thing starts and I’ll still get something out of it. Doesn’t it feel like it’s too many emails, two or three emails going out to people who registered on the same day?
David: It’s a great point, and I totally understand. I’ve never gotten a complaint ever about it, because people are interested in information. That’s why they’ve signed up. They are interested in being there. It’s reminding . . . it’s basically like if you were . . . people don’t do this, but they should. If you buy tickets for something, sporting events, you get reminders that you’re coming. You’ve already got your ticket, they’re just telling you to go. For me, I don’t see it as a nuisance, I think it’s more of a mental shift for yourself saying, “This seems like a lot to me, but it might not be a lot to someone that has 50 other things going on in their day.”
Andrew: Yeah. I only did . . . I used to do like one webinar before launching something new just to explain it and get some questions. Frankly, I would do it often to learn from the audience, because then I would see what they did like about it, what they didn’t and so on. But I only sent out one email the day before, and I’d get complaints from people saying, “Hey, I forgot. You should see what these people do and send it more often.”
Let’s talk about a software company that does webinars well. Who’s one that’s actually been doing it and getting revenue and customers from it?
David: Yeah. So there’s a lot. If you talk to many, many software companies, you can see that they’re absolutely crushing it with webinars. One that comes to mind is Leadpages without a doubt. If you talk with them, you talk with Clay, who you know, they actually have . . . Clay used to do all the webinars himself. Now they have Tim Paige, who they hired full-time. Tim’s entire job is to do webinars. He’s done like thousands of them. That’s his entire job. That’s their number one conversion tool.
Not only is it their number one conversion tool for getting people to sign up for Leadpages, it’s also their number one tool for growing their database and their email list as well, because when you enter your email for a webinar, you’re joining on for someone’s mailing list as well. They’re not the exception by any means. They’re just one of many companies, because webinars fit into many different business models, but tech, coaching, anything with a personal brand like what I teach, like online courses or information products, anything like that is an incredible tool to educate and sell.
Andrew: Yeah. The one that I remember was just like Wade sitting there on a Google Hangout. He kept it really simple. He would do webinars from time to time. Wade, the founder of Zapier, would sit there and sometimes there would be like four or five people in the room and I’d think, “Doesn’t he feel embarrassed only four or five people were in the room?” What I realized was that he got to see the questions that Anne Marie who was working here got to ask him and understand what was going on with the software and where she got stuck and so on. I get that.
You’re right. The other value that we have, we started this new thing, Bot Academy, where we’re teaching people to create bots and also allowing people who want bots to hire our graduates. Yeah, we definitely got more sales from these webinars than anything else, but it also allowed this new brand, Bot Academy, to end up with a list of 4,000 or 5,000 people on an email list who are all interested in bots and this webinar, when they registered, also got them signed up to the mailing list for that. And of course, since we have a chat bot for us to, we have 4,000 or 5,000 people subscribed to the chat bot now because they subscribed to the webinar.
David: There you go.
Andrew: And this was part of the flow. All right. I want to know about how you got here, but let’s talk about one example of a webinar that you did well. It was John Lee Dumas, who I was on the podcast cruise with. We spent seven days on a boat. We couldn’t really like . . . there weren’t other people for us to go and get lost in. I liked that we kept having these casual conversations. He’s the one who first said to me, “This guy earns more money for me than anyone else I’ve done partner webinars for.” Do you remember how much you did with John Lee Dumas of EO Fire?
David: Yeah. So, when he did a co-webinar that we did, which we called JD Webinars would be the slang term here, it was for my Create Awesome Online Courses program. We’ve done some for him as well. It did about $220,000, $230,000 in revenue, just one webinar, one live webinar, plus a follow-up did about $220,000 in revenue. I would say — and John and I have done it a couple times and I’ve also done a few webinars for him for a couple of his products — I’d probably say all together, and I’m ballparking here, we’ve probably generated close to $600,000 in sales just between a few webinars.
Andrew: But a single webinar would be more than $200,000?
David: In that case, yeah.
Andrew: Wow. You know what? I’ve known you for a while. You used to be the guy who was I think it was ABC?
David: Yeah. It was local ABC here in St. Louis. Good memory.
Andrew: Right. You used to have a jacket and tie on, on that show. You talked business on that show. Were you buying that airtime at the time?
David: Yeah. So, when I started, which was in internet years a thousand years ago, so 2008, which was right around when you started, Andrew, right?
Andrew: That’s exactly the year that I started here.
David: It’s a magical year, 2008. Where I started was exactly that. I started with an interview show. We were like kind of two pioneer-ish people back in the day there with that. The way that I actually started was yes, of course, I had a website, but I bought local time in St. Louis, Missouri, where I’m from, and went on there and did a chat show talking with local entrepreneurs. That’s how it started and it grew from there. Yes, it started by purchasing time and doing a little show on air.
Andrew: And then you took it online and you did a podcast where you were interviewing entrepreneurs.
David: For five years.
Andrew: And then I feel like you weren’t making money there. It wasn’t until you hit on what that things started to really take off for you?
David: Online courses was it for me.
Andrew: It was when you did your first online course and the course was about doing interviews, wasn’t it?
David: Yes, very cyclical how this is. But my show at its peak, and I was looking at some numbers because I know you’re a numbers guy.
David: I had to secretly jump over and look at some before here. I think at its peak, my show was probably doing about $150,000 or so.
Andrew: From advertising?
David: Yeah, which was, by the way, great. I mean I was in my pajamas doing it from Skype at that point. It was great. But for me, where the challenge came was I was always nervous I was going to lose that big sponsor. I was always nervous this was my only source of revenue.
Andrew: By the way, when I say it’s really great, we’re talking about the days before podcasting suddenly became a thing and advertisers were fighting for ad spots, which is what’s happening now.
David: This was 2009-2010.
Andrew: Right. I remember you did some clever things, like you worked with HubSpot. But you didn’t just do an ad for HubSpot. You said, “Go to HubSpot to get this thing,” which was like the lead magnet, which is basically bringing online marketing to the podcast world, and then you would also do some recordings of interviews for them. But still, $150,000 is not great when you consider that if you get a sore throat for a few days, the site starts to sag, right?
David: No doubt.
Andrew: How did you get into . . . I get the course. You do something well and then you want to teach it to other people. That’s the way to raise your profile. It’s also the way to raise money. I didn’t think there was that much money in doing courses about interviews.
David: So let me explain. So what happened was I wanted to shift to a business model that I was much happier with, meaning that I wanted something that could generate more money, more freedom. I didn’t necessarily want to be tied to the microphone with a sore throat 24/7 just like you said, right? But I was thinking, “Okay, what can we do?” So, for years, I kind of procrastinated on doing it, but then I said, “Okay, let’s do it.”
First product, Create Awesome Interviews, first launched at $19,800, that first one, very first launch to 400 people. And I remember I’ve never been more excited about anything ever in business. I was like, “Wait, I can take something that I know. I can turn it into something that can teach others. This is like the coolest thing ever.”
Andrew: And you were doing, what, $50 apiece?
David: No, they were $495.
Andrew: Okay. Okay, so about $500, not $50.
David: Right. Then over a year, that course grew to $250,000 in sales, just that one. Plus, doing the show and I was like, “This is really cool. I want to learn.” You know, just like you — I know your personality — when I find something I really like, I get very obsessive about it. I want to know everything about it now, I want to master it, like very few things, but when I get obsessed, I get obsessed.
So I just continued to refine it. We had more courses that came out. We taught people how to do Skype interviews. We had a little summit called The Talk to The Top. We did different courses and different marketing programs that went up and up. Next thing you know, less than 24 months from the launch of Create Awesome Interviews, we hit — I put we, but I don’t know why I would say we, it’s me — we hit $1 million in sales.
Andrew: From Create Awesome Interviews?
David: And a couple other marketing-ish little courses like that, yes.
Andrew: What was the percentage from Awesome Interviews versus the other ones?
David: Probably more than half.
Andrew: So more than half, wow. So I taught interviews too, because I found that people were asking me about how to do interviews.
Andrew: The best way also to become better at something is to teach it. I definitely improved as an interviewer from doing that course, from focusing on what my process was and teaching it, but I didn’t do that much, I don’t think, from that. What did you do that allowed you to sell so much?
David: Well, for then, back in the day, it was funny because this was even before webinars, which is so funny because this is before I got into that world. But what we do is we did a lot of — really it was just kind of old school — I don’t want to say product launch formula because I kind of put a twist on it. But basically what we’d do is have different releases of the course throughout the year where we’d lead up with some great free content. In this case it was a free video series. So it was like a three-part free video series, and then we’d open the cart up for seven to ten days at a time.
David: We would do that constantly with new people as they came into my email list. So, maybe 400 or 500 people at a time, and this was back then before all this stuff was common knowledge. This was just figuring this stuff out. We would have these perpetual launches going on for new people, and that’s how we continued to build that up.
Andrew: Okay. For anyone who wants to go see this webinar, it is . . . do you remember the date offhand?
David: I do. It is June 15th because I memorized these things, right?
Andrew: At 2:00 p.m. Pacific. What time is it for you? You’re Central time, right? So 4:00 p.m. Central.
David: 4:00 p.m. Central, 5:00 Eastern and I don’t know any other time zones, but you can definitely check that out, for sure.
Andrew: The URL for anyone who wants to sign up is Mixergy.com/LearnWebinars if you want to sign up and be a part of it. Actually, frankly, just see what happens on the confirmation page. I think the confirmation page is really interesting, the different ways that you hook yourself in to people’s tools, like their calendar, like their Facebook Messenger account, etc.
I should say this interview is sponsored by Pipedrive. When I set out to find people to do webinars to partner up with, I did what I always do when I want to persuade or when I want to sell. I fired up Pipedrive. In Pipedrive, I’m forced to say what are the steps to closing this deal and I put out a list of steps. One of them is identify the potential partners to do webinars with. The second one is get their contact info, then you contact them, then you make the offer, all the way to the final column, which is close the freaking deal and do a partner webinar with them.
That’s the beauty of Pipedrive. It allowed me to do it and keep myself organized. And then when someone on my team, Rebecca, came in and said, “Andrew, I want to help you do this because you can’t prepare for the webinars and keep following up with people and do all this and not collapse.” She was able to get her account on Pipedrive, see what I did and keep moving people step by step through the process that Pipedrive forced us to create.
If you’re out there selling or persuading anything, especially in this like one on one way, not mass, thousands of people, but one on one way, you need a good CRM that will allow you to do it, I’ve used for years Pipedrive to let me do that. We’ve used it to book guests for interviews here on Mixergy. I use it when I sell something individually like a new course, a new product and we use it to now find people and work with people that we’re going to do partner webinars with.
If you are interested in it at all, because it’s created by people who have seen how many customers I’ve sent to them and how my audience is maybe the best audience they’ve ever had for them because it’s such a perfect fit for us, they’ve created a special URL where you’re going to get a bunch of free time to use Pipedrive and see all the results and frankly, you will see sales come from this long before the expiration of the free time.
So I want you to go check out Pipedrive.com/Mixergy. Actually, not only are they giving you free time with it, they’re also giving you 25% off after that free period expires. So go check out Pipedrive at Pipedrive.com/Mixergy.
All right. I see where you were going with this. I see how it started to hit for you. What was the next big leveling up for it? It was create your course, sell it using this not product launch formula, but your own sequence of messages. What was the next thing that allowed you to shoot up?
David: This was kind of the most pivotal moment, I would say, kind of ever in my business is that as I perfected this, more courses came out, revenue increased, hit over seven figures, all that kind of stuff. Then the conversation shifted to people now asking me about courses. It’s just a logical thing that happens, especially my audience, they like loved it. They wanted to know, “Well, I’m a fitness expert. How do I do a course? I’m a blogger. I’m a podcaster. What do I need to do?”
Andrew: I get it. I think you coined the word mediapreneur at one point.
David: Yes. I trademarked it.
Andrew: Did you really?
Andrew: It’s a great freaking word. Immediately I understand what you’re going after. When you went to that, I understood. You’re going after people who are publishing things online like blog posts, like podcasts, like maybe even YouTube videos, etc. They think of themselves as entrepreneurs, and they need to understand certain things like how do they get an audience, how do they sell to that audience, etc. One of the things those people need is courses because the best way to monetize something like that is to teach. So they started to . . . how did you know that was a topic they wanted to learn?
David: You know, yeah, exactly that, taking your expertise and turning it into a product. I think it was kind of organic to a certain degree, because it was really inbound at that point. When you start a business, a lot of stuff you do is very outbound. I had reached that point where I was getting a lot of inbound things, a lot of questions, Facebook comments, emails like, “How do I do this?” I just kind of felt in my gut also that this, which is the least scientific thing you could possibly say, that this was the next topic.
I also was very passionate about it, meaning that I was very excited about this because this had really changed my world as well. So I put together, which is now my flagship program for years running now, called Create Awesome Online Courses. And that was the biggest shift other than starting my business that ever possibly made in my business.
Andrew: How soon before you knew that one was taking off?
David: So the first launch of it, which was in right around 2013-ish, somewhere around there, we did close to $300,000 in sales.
Andrew: Over what period?
David: Five days.
Andrew: This was your first launch, $300,000?
David: First launch of Create Awesome Online Courses.
Andrew: Just for your audience?
David: Yeah, so a little different —
Andrew: What did you do over those five days?
David: Magic sauce. No. What I did was actually very similar. I teach this at — this is so meta now — I teach this thing, Create Awesome Online Courses. I had kind of perfected my own little product launch formula, the way I like to call it. I call it a VIP launch. A VIP launch is something you do once when you’re getting started live and the goal of your VIP launch is just to get in those initial customers, right? Get initial people, get them excited, get testimonials, really work with them and it’s like your prized people. You give away some extra bonuses.
So we did kind of free content leading up to the launch — videos about online courses. We had a free video series leading up to it. We had a video series that went out over a week, and then we had a cart open period — it was seven days in retrospect — seven days of open and close for the course so you could enroll in it. And that initial launch did I think it was like $311,000 of the course.
Andrew: So it was a series of videos followed by a cart opening up?
David: And then a cart close.
Andrew: And a cart closing. That’s like two weeks.
David: Yeah, a total of two weeks.
Andrew: What was in the videos? Each video I’m assuming you also sent out an email to the audience saying, “I’ve created this video. Go check it out.”
David: Exactly. So the videos — again I’ve come up with a very — everything I try to do I try to create into a formula that other people can do. That’s what I do. I do, learn, master, teach. So I have a format for the videos that I actually teach in the course as well, but basically what you’re doing this actually ties big time as we talk more about webinars here because webinars are even bigger, better conversion tool than a free video series, right?
But what you’re doing is you’re educating and you’re teaching people great stuff, and you’re also getting them excited about the next steps, kind of taking them down a path, teaching them cool stuff and leading them towards the sale of your course. It’s not three sales videos or anything like that. We’re actually teaching good things. I think my first video was on how to come up with a course that sells.
I think the second video was on mistakes to avoid, and I think the third one was all the very simple tech you need so you could destress about that. Each one kind of led into the next one, which then led into the, “Hey, now do you want me to take you by your hands step by step and show you how to do this?” Boom. Create Awesome Online Courses, “Here we go, here’s my results by doing this, here you go, here’s the program.” That was how I got that initial “class.” I’m putting that in air quotes, for those that are on audio.
Andrew: What did you charge for it?
Andrew: How’d you know what to charge for it?
David: Again, it’s a little formulaic. The Cliff’s Notes, now there are a lot of I don’t want to say copycats, there’s a lot of copycats out there and our business continues to grow. But we were one of the first to do a course specifically on courses. So I went off of what other people charged on other similar things. I kind of did a lot of research to this market, to this audience. I looked at what are the higher price points, because I like being on the premium end versus in the basement.
But at the end of the day, you have to decide on a price and see how it goes. So $997 was the price. And just to add something extra fun on to this, which would add probably an overly complicated conversation, because I know we need to talk about webinars, but later on, something I teach is coming back with excuses to relaunch things, different packages. “It’s Flag Day, we’re doing a special,” whatever it might be. What I encourage people is not to do some kind of discount, because a discount kind of screws over your loyal early customers and people that got in and people that trust you. I always want to give people the greatest price when we get it.
What we did a later on was add a long-term payment plan, which was a massive risk that is now equated to well over $4 million in sales, if not more, which is 12 payments of — I laugh because it’s funny — 12 payments of $97.
Andrew: I saw that only where I was trying to learn how to do webinars. I watched your webinar and you said, “It’s going to be $97, only 12 payments of it.” So it came in as a much lower-sounding number. I see. What’s the rate of completion of that, do you know?
David: Yeah. It’s funny because I’ve been obsessed with that. So I have my team just data dig all the time on this and kind of figure it out. It’s close to 80 percent-ish, somewhere around there.
Andrew: Okay. Wow. What’s your revenue now overall?
David: So last year would have been 2016. We were about $2.5 million in revenue.
Andrew: Per year?
David: Per year. This year, on pace, fingers crossed, we’re definitely going to cross over the $3 million threshold. The goal within the next two years is to hit $5 million and well on pace for that. So I’m excited about that.
Andrew: What percentage of that do you actually get to keep? In a partner webinar, the deal always changes, but it’s like 50-50 you keep and the partner keeps, right? If you go to someone like Leadpages and you say, “I’ll do a webinar for your audience. They’re all creating these landing pages. Many of them want to learn how to create courses. I’ll do a webinar teaching them to create courses and if we get any money, I’ll split it with you,” right? That’s a big expense. So, bottom line, what do you end up keeping?
David: Yeah. By the way, I would say a standard for a webinar for the most part is 50%. Some software companies do 30 or 40, and some you can also negotiate with to try to get that up a little bit, a little wink-wink. But that’s kind of the standard thing on it too. So you’ve got to realize the way that my company works, our profit margins are massive, because webinars are our biggest conversion tool by far, but it’s not the only thing that we do and I have a big email list as well that’s been built up over time. The profit margins in a business like mine are . . . I don’t have the exact percentage for you, but they’re well over 50% of $2.5 million.
Andrew: The gross profit margins or net? Bottom line, you make $2 million, bottom line is over $1 million?
David: Well over $1 million last year, yes.
Andrew: Wow. I would have thought it would be much, much smaller than that because of the partners. You buy a ton of ads, don’t you, on Facebook?
David: Not as much as one would think. I did for a while, and actually we’re not right now, but we’re going to bring them back. That’s a long story. The nice thing about partner webinars is you’re not paying for anything. You’re paying on stuff that’s already been brought in, meaning that when we do a partner webinar, like we did Bot Academy, you didn’t have to come over to my house and bring me a bag of money. It would have been nice. What happens is there’s no risk on any of our ends other than my goodwill saying, “Hey, my friend Andrew is coming on and he can do great stuff,” and if you don’t do great stuff, it’s not good. But the thing is there’s no risk. You get 50% of that.
Andrew: But I don’t have to pay money on ads and hope the ads work.
Andrew: The bigger benefit I’ve found from it, that was unexpected, was I’ve partnered with a bunch of people where I went to their audiences and I talked about bots and then I told their audiences how they could sign up for Bot Academy. The biggest benefit I got out of it was every one of them had a financial interest in me doing better and also a friendship interest in me doing better. I would get fantastic advice, sometimes even after the webinar finished, like you gave me this email full of advice of what I could do to improve.
I took it back to the team and the person I worked with and I used it. The best thing you told me was, “Andrew, you told people what it cost, but you didn’t tell them why it makes sense to pay this much.” I had to go back to the team and say, “He’s right. What the hell do we do?” And then we came up with the solution for it, where I show a spreadsheet and people with the revenue potential and so on. That little thing is just one tip. Everybody did that. It was partially for financial reasons, they’d want to help me do better for their audience because we’re splitting the revenue, and partially because we’re in on this journey together now.
David: I want you to succeed, right.
Andrew: Right. It’s so helpful and it opened my eyes to like I don’t partner well with people. I’m just very isolated, I think. I need to recognize that by partnering up, I have people who don’t just care about me, but have an interest in me doing better. I need to do more of that.
David: Yeah, just real quick on that, if you just run the math on that, it’s not like you’re losing 50%. Don’t think about that. It’s just that you’re getting I don’t want to say free money, but you’re getting free customers in for 50%, meaning like if your Bot Academy is $2,000, you’re getting $1,000 a customer. Every single one that comes in, that’s profit. So it’s a key thing. But webinars, I have to say, though, for sure, that has become our biggest tool in the business to be selling courses and programs. But you have to know how to do it right, and that’s the key thing, and I did not always know how to do it right by any means.
Andrew: So I want to talk a little bit about all the things that go into doing it right, but let me continue with your story here. You hit on webinars how and then what impact did they have on your business?
David: Real quick just to back up two seconds, because I think this is relevant, in 2013, Create Awesome Online Courses came out and like you know how you have that moment — maybe some people do, maybe some people don’t — when that came out, I knew this is what I wanted to do, like I had done the show for five years. It was great. We’d done tons of episodes, great time, but I was like, “This is kind of my calling to help people with this.” I saw people start to get results from it. I saw people say, “I can’t believe it. I did my first launch of this course at $50,000, $60,000, even $5,000 but then even more later on.” I said, “This is what I want to do.”
So I decided the end of that year, which was a massive risk, I said, “You know what? Podcast, done. It’s over. The Rise to the Top, the show itself is going to be done on December 31st,” and it was. I was kind of done with that point in my life. I wanted to focus full-time on helping people with courses and course-related things.
So that was a big shift. We said goodbye to my biggest sponsor at the time was Citrix GoToWebinar, GoToMeeting, everything. We literally called them up and we’re like, “I know we have a six-figure deal for next year, but we’re not going to do the show.” He’s like, “You’re not doing the show?” I was like, “Yeah, we’re just not going to do it.”
So that was a big shift in my business, and we just put all the effort and focus into that specific niche of topic and focus and it just became how do we grow this business? How do we get more people excited about courses? How do we get people to know about this? And that ended up shifting more towards not only these what I call VIP launches but into the world of webinars as well.
Andrew: What worked for you before that? I know that with a show, you had access to so many people — the audience and the guests and so on. When you gave that up as a source of new leads, of new email addresses, of new customers, what was it that was starting to work before webinars?
David: One, we built up a lot of organic traffic still coming in from the interviews. Also, I was I don’t want to say a consistent blogger, but I had some good content and a good following on my blog as well. Now we take people and put them into the free video series. We also created a cheat sheet for courses, which you can actually see on my site now, TheRiseToTheTop.com. We always have our cheat sheet available and things like that.
So we had a lot of organic traffic coming in, and we started doing ads as well on Facebook about probably 2014, somewhere around there, maybe towards the end of that. So we started saying, “Hey, here’s a free video series, enter your email address. Here’s a free cheat sheet, enter your email address for that.” That would start people down the line of education and then towards the sale.
Andrew: I see. It seems like Facebook ads are what started to first take off and then you sent people to the video series. Why then do a webinar? Why go from having a sequence that just works on its own to saying, “I’ve got to get up and be here at a certain time no matter what happens?”
David: Bon question. So the thing is you would think you could just rest on your laurels and that’s your source, but the thing is the danger of business many times is one. If Facebook ads go bad, and also they’re expensive. Let’s call it like it is. You’re putting a lot of money into it. Webinars allow you to really shorten that sales cycle. By the way, free video series are great, and I teach my Create Awesome Online Courses students that’s the first thing you do, because that’s an asset that could be used over and over again.
But the number one conversion tool beyond a doubt was webinars, because the appeal to webinars is a few different things. One, it’s that live experience that you’re there. It’s an event, like you show up and it’s a captive attention. So that’s a vital thing that you don’t always get. You have video series, again, I’m not blasting them because we use both, but you can pause it and then go to dinner and then god knows what happens.
Andrew: Maybe come back but probably not.
David: Probably not, see you later. With webinars, you have a very specific thing. It’s a date on the calendar. It’s an event. Also, you can accomplish I hate to say the word “sales cycle,” but an entire sales cycle and education and everything into an hour and half, two hours as opposed to this kind of longer sales cycle as well.
But for me, when your goal is singular, so my goal at the time was I want to make sure more people know about online courses. I want to make sure more people know about my program, and I want to make sure people are excited about that. How do we do that? I kept hearing everywhere, “Webinars, webinars, webinars are going to increase your sales.” So I said, “Well, I have to jump in and try this and let’s see what happens.
Andrew: Okay. We’re going to get into the webinar part of your story and more importantly how people who are listening to us can create webinars for themselves, but guys, later on in the interview you’re going to hear David talk about how he created software. Part of his business now is software that helps people sell more, convert more and also run their courses.
If you’re out there listening to me and you have a software-based business or you want to add to your business by adding software, you could go out there and hire, which will take you a long time to find the right people, or you could get one of those cheapo freelance sites or you’ll end up with a cheapo product that you’re not so proud of and not going to promote because it’s not so good. Or you could do what so many people who have listened to Mixergy have done, which is go to Toptal.
When you go to Toptal, and by the way, it’s top like top of your head, tal as in talent, Toptal, you’re going to get some of the best developers, the kinds of people who are Google-quality people, who are Facebook-quality people, who just decided, “I don’t want to be in the Googleplex. I don’t want to work in Palo Alto. I don’t want to have that kind of lifestyle where I’m driving from San Francisco to the office an hour and a half each way every day.”
Instead, they say, “I want to work from whatever country I happen to be in or whatever city I happen to live in. That’s where I want to be and I want to still find challenging work where I can express my ability to create and my ability to build businesses and my ability to code up software.”
If you’re out there and you want to hire those kinds of people, I want you to know you can go to Toptal.com/Mixergy. Toptal has been created by two longtime Mixergy fans, so they’re going to give something that they’re not giving anyone else—frankly, call me out on it if you see that they’re offering this to anyone else on the planet. But right now, Mixergy people only will get 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when they pay for their first 80 hours and that’s in addition to a no risk trial period of up to two weeks. They know their developers are some of the best on the planet. The know their developers are going to be better than 20 developers you can get from anyone else. So, they stand behind them.
Go check them out at Toptal.com/Mixergy, top as in top of the mountain, tal as in talent, Toptal.com/Mixergy. You will see the difference that the top talented people, the best developers out there will have on your business—Toptal.com/Mixergy.
All right. You first did your first webinar. Give me a common mistake that you made. Something you wish you —
David: Which one?
Andrew: You almost want to crawl in the hole out of embarrassment that you made in the beginning.
David: So the first one was for Create Awesome Interviews. So the first webinar that I did was for that. We made some sales. We made a few sales. I don’t think it was anything earth-shattering, a couple thousand in sales. It’s not to downplay that, that’s great. Sales are sales. I think, for me, I had no idea how to structure a presentation at all for a webinar. So I just made it up, like I was like, “Okay, I have my slides in front of me the night before the webinar.” Hopefully it wasn’t the night — I’m hoping I gave myself at least two days, but who knows. Let’s just call it the night before.
And I was just kind of coming up with it, “I’m going to show this and do this, and I guess I’ll at this point mention the course.” There was not structure or flow to it because I was making it up. I was 100% running and gunning. I had great content, meaning I knew I could teach great stuff. But I didn’t know there was like a proven process out there for your entire presentation from start to finish. I just thought, “Just do it and we’ll go on there.”
I think everything felt kind of I don’t want to say awkward, because I enjoy talking, but there wasn’t like a specific time where, “Okay, now let’s do the pitch.” It just was kind of a little hot mess, if you will. So now having a structure would be by far the major thing.
Andrew: I get that. It’s really hard to figure out what to do. One of the things that I liked about your course on doing webinars was you said, “Guys, look, here are the templates you can use for titles. Copy these templates.” It’s “Seven Steps to Creating Whatever,” or, “Five Key Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Whatever.” You gave us structure like that and then you said, “Here are the steps. I want you to write them all down and go through them.” And then you went through each one of them individually.
And then you said, “Here are examples of how I did it and here are two webinars you can watch and see these,” actually, once you know the framework, go watch these two webinars and you’ll see how they’re using it. That really helps to know specifically, “Do this first, then do that, then go to the next thing, and then I know it’s awkward to transition from teaching to selling. Here are the exact words I want you to use to go and transition from one to the other.”
David: And how I learned that, Andrew, was even crazier, because I’m like sweating because I’m thinking to myself this was a crazy story. I’ve got to look back now. It had to be let’s call it 2014-ish and I sent out an email to my email list saying, “I’m going to do a webinar for Create Awesome Online Courses.” I sent it out.
I get an email from a guy that I met a while — I can’t remember exactly how we met, but we met a while ago — and he’s this really cool Irishman named John Richardson. You have to picture the Irish accent, which I’m not going to butcher here. He said, “Do you know about how to structure a webinar presentation? How are your sales? Are they good? Are they bad? What do you know?” I’m like, “I don’t know anything. I know nothing. I go on there. I make up my presentation.” He’s like, “How are your sales?” I go, “I don’t know. Sometimes I make a couple sales, sometimes I make no sales.”
He said, “Let me teach you a process to how to do this.” So John and I hopped on Skype for — this was the night before the webinar, by the way, let me note this. I had already written it. I had already had my slides. I was ready to go the next day. He said, “What’s the most you’ve ever made on a webinar before, ever?” I said, “I think it was $8,000 or $9,000 or so I did on a webinar and I was super excited about that.” He goes, “Okay, we’re going to blow this out of the water.”
So he taught me this format, which we both teach together in the course the you took, because he’s like my sensei and we both have combined now for like ultra powers. But he did it and I remember learning it and thinking like, “I don’t want to do this,” almost. I was thinking, “This isn’t my format. This sounds uncomfortable. This sounds weird, how to transition from this part to the pitch and all those things.”
But I said to myself — and this is a key thing, when you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve got a hard head and someone’s showing you what to do — I had to turn it off and say, “You know what? I’m going to do exactly what this Irishman tells me to do.” If he says, “At this point you’re going to go and cough into the screen, I’m going to do it. You know what? If it works, I’m going to give him a big fat hug and a kiss. If it fails miserably, I’ll just tell him it didn’t work out. But I’m going to do it. If he says put this slide in, I’m putting that slide in. If he says do this, do that.”
So I stayed up until like 2:00 in the morning that night, redid all the slides. I do the webinar the next day. I remember sitting there and being like, “Oh my god, this is uncomfortable. This doesn’t feel like me.” I did it — $38,000 in sales.
Andrew: Wow. Twice what you did before.
David: Way more.
Andrew: Oh no, you didn’t do $19,000, you did $9,000 before.
David: Yeah, on a webinar. I couldn’t believe it. I went back to him like paying homage, and I said to him, “I couldn’t believe it.” Then I perfected it, got better at it over time. Actually, the next one after that did $111,000. It was $111,000 or $118,000, I’ve got to check on my exact numbers. That’s when kind of things took off from a webinar perspective from there, and I do have to give lots of credit and that’s why John and I do a lot of things together as well because he was someone that —
Andrew: That kind of explains why suddenly this guy comes on — you’re teaching every part of the webinar process in your course, which I went through and I still have — I’m looking right now at my notes. I even have screenshots of the slides. I like that his slides are ugly, by the way. He has ugly slides.
David: The worst.
Andrew: It’s so reassuring that this stuff works when it doesn’t look good. You have beautiful slides. I’m like, “I can’t do that.” You must have hired some designer to create your slides for you.
David: Not really, but kind of.
Andrew: So that explains why he’s on there. Does he own a piece of the business, or is he just there to help you teach that part of the course?
David: We worked out kind of a private deal on that, but he got compensated.
Andrew: What you spent the most time teaching was how to get people to show up, what to do afterwards, how to get them to buy after the event.
David: Here’s what happened is that over the years because I’ve done now, give or take, $5.5 million in sales just from webinars in the last few years. What I’ve kind of perfected is the process from start to finish, meaning like how do you come up with the perfect titles and that kind of stuff and then how do you market your webinar, how do you get people to show up.
Andrew: Teach me some of this stuff. Let’s talk about . . . well, what are you going to be teaching at the actual webinar you’re doing for our audience with me?
David: All this stuff. The funny thing is I was thinking, “Oh god, Andrew is going to ask me about this and like let’s spend an hour and a half covering it.”
Andrew: No. We’re going to go like 10 minutes deep, and I can ask questions that will help get the most value.
David: Let me mention it though.
Andrew: The email sequence, you have to get people to show up. What’s the sequence of emails that gets them to show up and then follows up to buy. Then I’ll talk to you about the content of the actual webinar. But if you don’t have emails getting people in, they’re not going to sign up. If you don’t have emails afterwards, you’re going to lose half the sales.
David: Let’s also think about this too. A good rule of thumb — this is a great tip for everyone — there’s really no reason to promote a webinar more than a week out. That’s an important thing. People forget what your name is five minutes afterwards, right? The cycle for a webinar is, in many cases, even less than seven days. Some people, three or four days and they just go hard at promoting and then they do it. We’ve noticed that’s a sweet spot, seven or less. So when we start to announce a brand new training, a brand new webinar, a new live webinar, whatever it is, I like to look at that as like a six to seven-day promotion. That’s a big tip to start with that.
The second of all is when you’re sending out emails about webinars and things like that, we kind of mentioned earlier in this interview, you kind of view it as an upward line. So, as you get closer, you get more frequent. So, as you get closer to the webinar —
Andrew: Let’s say someone is listening to us. They have a small mailing list. They’re going to start where they have. A week before the webinar they schedule, they’re going to start emailing. So let’s suppose the webinar is going to be on a Thursday. The Friday before or the Thursday before they start emailing. What are the sequence emails that go out before? What are the sequences of emails that go out afterwards?
David: So before, it’s all about getting people to sign up for the webinar. There’s no magic formula. In the course and stuff we go through exact formulas, exact emails and things like that. But what I do is obviously you want to explain the topic, have a link to the registration page, things like that, very obvious things you want to do with that. I always try to incentivize people to show up live.
That’s the big thing. That’s what we’re going to doing too with our webinar we’re going to be doing is that coming up with not only — of course you’re going to promise and deliver amazing content. Like that’s what it’s all about, but what else can you add? What’s another icing on top of the cake? What we like to do — I’m not even going to say what it is because I don’t want to reveal stuff — a lot of times, we like to do a big free giveaway on our webinars as well and you have to be live during the giveaway.
Andrew: But you don’t announce that before. It’s not part of the email sequence?
David: We do announce it before.
Andrew: You do?
Andrew: So I will be emailing the audience saying, “Hey, we’re teaching this live webinar teaching you how to do webinars.” I will be saying, “If you show up, you’re going to get x, y, z?”
David: Exactly. People are going to show up for different reasons. Your Mixergy folks here are going to come. The primary reason you’re going to come is to learn about “The Five Secrets to a Successful Webinar.” That’s our title of it and I’ll be going through everything and deep diving. We’ll have plenty of time for live Q&A and all that kind of stuff as well, which is another great incentive to show up is, “Hey, I’ve got burning questions. Andrew and David will answer them.” That’s a big thing.
But we like to always add that little cherry. It’s a fun thing. We like to not tell people what it is, and I come up with different things all the time. But we like to do a live giveaway with a drawing of everyone that’s there. It’s another like, “Hey . . .”
Andrew: What’s a past giveaway you’ve done?
David: A good one? We gave away a year of Conversion Cat software, which was really cool. That’s $497 a year. So we basically gave someone a brand new website on there that they could then build their blog and podcast and things like that, which was pretty cool. We do like a drawing, but the drawing happens live. You have to be there to win it. That’s a great little tip for people to have something like that.
Andrew: I see. I saw John Lee Dumas do a webinar on podcasting. He said, “Come watch me. Here’s the mic you’re going to need in order to do a podcast. At the end of this I’ll give it to one of the people.”
Andrew: I see. That’s the benefit for coming live. Why bother registering, by the way? If I have a mailing list, why not just say to everyone on the mailing list, “We’re doing it on this date, here’s a link to add it to your calendar?” Why do I need the extra step of getting them to register to the webinar?
David: Yeah. There are two reasons. One, it depends on the software, first of all. You use something different. I think you use Zoom or something?
Andrew: I use Zoom, yeah.
David: I use GoToWebinar. It’s not perfect. I love it. It’s kind of the gold standard. It’s one of those things that that’s what we do. So, first of all, software limitation, you have to have that. I can’t just send out a link. You actually have to register so you get the link to come on, if that makes sense.
David: Let’s pretend that didn’t exist. Let’s pretend you could click a button to go on. I would still have people register, because then I could segment them on my email list. So I can send out — I like to send out things — you’ll see this if you decide to register for our cool webinar coming up — I send out email to registrants leading up to it that are really cool.
I’ll send out some cool downloads. I’ll send out some fill in the blank worksheets. I send out some nice stuff. There’s incentive there to register because you can follow up with people before the webinar as well. So I like to segment my email list to people who have not registered and people that have registered and they get different emails.
Andrew: I see. I see because you can send more messages to the people who express clear interest in this than people who haven’t and then you could sell.
Andrew: Would you still do that even if you had a list of, say, 5,000 to 10,000 people, or would you email all of them and say, “Look, this is a new thing I’m doing.”
David: Well, my email list right now is over 100,000. We email most people about our webinars. I don’t think size necessarily has much to do with it there. Another thing I thought about off the top of my head, duh, is that if someone’s not on your email list, now they’re on your email list.
Andrew: Right. That’s a big benefit too, that if you have a registration page, that your audience goes to register, it gives them something to send to their friends and then their friends end up coming over and registering.
David: Exactly. Or you’re running Facebook ads or you’re doing this other thing. They have to sign up for something, now you’re building your email list as well. Just as an example, when we did our Bot Academy webinar for my audience, what did I do? I sent everyone to your registration page. They entered their email and their information. Now you can follow up with them and they’re on your email list.
Andrew: Right. It’s a partner webinar. I got the benefit of it. I didn’t realize what the benefit was if we’re reaching out to our audience.
David: I don’t think it’s a make or break. If you a software or something that you like to do where you can just send them a link, why would you not want more people on there than less? You can certainly do that.
Andrew: Okay. I think the point about you have a landing page now that you’re using for your email list where they get to register for the webinar, you use it for advertising. That’s a good one. We’ve found that the best conversions came from the webinar page because there was a deadline on it. There was a clear time you had to sign up.
David: Countdown timer, all the good stuff.
Andrew: If for no other reason than that, that’s the best reason I’ve found to create a landing page and get people to sign up. Okay. So once they sign up, you introduce it, you make a promise, say, “Look, we by the end of this session are all going to know how to do this thing.” You teach them that thing. You’ve taught them. How do you make the transition from, “I’ve just you,” to, “Now, pay up to get more?”
David: A little pause there. I’m going to answer this, but you glazed over something that Mixergy folks need to know and you need to know too. There is some really, really bad advice out there on webinars. I’m not going to say who or what or when or why, but there is some really, really bad advice out there. One of the bad pieces of advice that I’ve seen and have seen in action, which is even scarier is people do not deliver on that promise of great content. So like meaning they’ll keep teasing they’re going to tell you something cool and they’ll never tell you. The answer is going to be like, “Buy this.”
So I want to make sure to emphasize to everyone we’re going to be talking a lot more about this on the webinar we’re going to do, Andrew, but when you’re saying, “I’m going to teach you the five secrets. I’m going to teach you the seven steps. I’m going to show you the five mistakes,” ready for this one? You actually do teach it. Boom. I know, mind explosion. You’d be surprised about how many people do not do that. So I do want to make sure that everyone knows you deliver on your big promise.
Andrew: Okay. I think that’s helpful to start off by saying, “Here’s what I promise you’re going to get,” because it gives a goal for the webinar leader to know, “This is what I’ve got to make sure to do and all these people are going to hold me accountable to it.”
Andrew: So you do it. Now what? Let’s suppose someone’s going to come to this webinar. You’re going to show them the secrets of a successful webinar. What happens to someone that says, “You just gave me five secrets, dude. Let me go implement these five before I sign up for your course.”
David: It just doesn’t work — it all comes down to structure — we’re going to go over the structure, by the way, in detail.
Andrew: The structure of a webinar.
David: I was looking at this, I have my notes in front of me too. There’s actually a seven-part structure to the actual presentation from start to finish. So it’s not just content-close. There are other things. Everything kind of leads into the next part, which you’re going to see, which is going to be — it’s funny. It’s going to be super meta because we’re going to be doing this at the same time.
David: But everything leads. There are other parts of the presentation. It’s not just, “Hey, content, this.” There are other things that you do earlier on that also help lead towards sales towards the end. It’s like little seeds. We’ll go over that. It’s not going to be a big secret or anything on there. Your story and how your story applies to this and other things you do.
But what we call the transition, Andrew, is called the bridge. We’re going to talk about that more, it’s the bridge. The bridge, one of my favorite things, I always smile when I talk about the bridge because I didn’t know what a bridge was from Adam before John shared this with me, but a bridge is a certain series of slides that you put together and you have a great one for Bot Academy and one that we can even improve, when I sent you an email about it. But the bridge is the transition from the content to the sales part.
What you’re doing is basically you’re — you said, “Why would someone then enroll?” Because you’re going to go crazy deep in your course or your software to solve the problem or do whatever it might be, meaning, here’s the training, here’s great tips, here’s great advice. Now, do you want every single thing step by step in extreme detail what to do and like hold your hand and show you what to do? Here’s Bot Academy. Here’s Create Awesome Webinars. Here’s this.
With software companies, we see stuff like, “Okay, now you can go out . . .” with Leadpages, this is great. They’re like, “Hey, here’s a template. You can go code it into your website and try to figure out and here’s the HTML and have a good time, or you could just buy our software with this special offer on this webinar and get these bonuses and this and that.”
Andrew: Yeah. Let’s talk about what software webinars offer. They’re teaching you how to do the thing their software solves without their software.
David: Yeah. Or incorporating it. It’s basically saying in many cases it’s like, “Okay, here’s how to do this and here’s how our software can make it a snap. You can do it the long way, you can do it this way.” But a lot of times, it’s teaching stuff and using . . . there are a lot of different ways you can do it, but you’re teaching stuff and showing how the software can help with that, but they don’t have to have it but the most logical move is to buy the software.
Andrew: I see. If someone has landing page software that they’re offering, the webinar would say how to create your own landing pages using whatever tool you want. “We might even give you the HTML so you can create it from scratch using the free tools we give you, but the logical solution is to use our software to do all this much easier.”
Andrew: The other thing I’ve seen for software companies is here’s a webinar just teaching you how to use our software, that that alone for software companies is a big draw because people want the end result and often there’s a free version or frankly for business software, people don’t care about free, “I’ll pay whatever the software costs. I just want to understand how it works.” So people will come in to learn that.
Andrew: So anyone who wants to go sign up, the URL is—let me make sure I have it exactly right—it’s Mixergy.com/LearnWebinars.
David: Oh, and bonus points, by the way, on the thank you page, I put together a special video for all you guys. Bonus points if you can figure out what’s on my shirt. It’s hard to see, but you can see a little bonus point there.
Andrew: Interesting. I like the way you said that too, now I want to go back and re-register. I registered largely because . . . I’m going to be there even if I don’t register. I want to see your process. I want to see the emails that come in. I want to see how you create how you create your confirmation page, etc. All right.
David: By the way, everyone can take notes on that too. I’m an open book. Watch the process besides the training as well, no doubt that there are a lot of nuggets there and I’ll explain how that all works in the training.
Andrew: So you went from teaching to then creating software. Let’s close this out by just understanding how you found out what software to create for people and who create it for you.
David: Yeah. So this is a great one. So how this happened was it was all because of Create Awesome Online Courses. So, in Create Awesome Online Courses, we’ve got modules that talk about technology and what do you use for what budget and all these different things in my Create Awesome Online Courses program. One of the things was, “How do you do your course website and your free video series pages and your order forms and blah, blah, blah?”
So what I used to have to do is I tested a lot of different companies out there. I didn’t like anything. It was aggravating. Some things were good. Some things left me very satisfied where I thought overpriced or whatever the reason was. What I would do is I’d say, “Here’s my developer, Brad. Brad’s a great guy. He’ll build you a site.”
Andrew: Go hire Brad directly. Leave me out of it.
David: Go hire Brad. Here he is. Go get Brad. Tell him you want this. So Brad was doing that and they were expensive. They were several thousand. I don’t remember exactly what they were. They were definitely several thousand dollars of completely custom stuff. Then Brad wanted to jump off a bridge because we got more and more customers coming to Brad.
So Brad calls me up one day out of the blue and says, “I’ve been doing these course sites for a couple years. I can take this process and turn it into a software product that people could buy for a fraction of cost of hiring me where they’re going to get a complete template for doing all this and I can do videos to walk them through every single step. So you don’t need tech experience or design experience, we’ll show them how to pick colors, we’ll show them how to put the site together. We’ll do everything and we can create that as a software product.”
So, instead of saying, “Hey, Brad, go build me a site for $5,000.” We can say, “Get Course Cat software,” which we ended up naming it for whatever reason. We were trying to come up with something. So he put the software together in 2015 and we tested and tested and tested it and ran my own sites on it and then opened it for sale in 2015 and it’s become a big success story since then because it just allows not only the do it yourselfer but also the people that want to hand it off, like, “I get to hand off to my assistant.” You don’t need to have a designer or developer to do it and it’s something you can do cool stuff with now with the video series pages and things like that.
Then the next logical step was some people come to us and say, “This is awesome, but I’m not ready for my course website yet. I need a website for my person brand, like my expertise, like Andrew Warner interview man or Sammy Johns, kettle bell expert, like whatever it might be.”
Andrew: Is that what Conversion Cat is?
David: That’s what Conversion Cat is. So it’s for your we call it like your main brand or like for me it’s TheRiseToTop.com.
Andrew: Isn’t it about getting opt-ins? I thought it was more like a Leadpages that was less —
David: Yes. It’s your entire website but it’s focused on two things. It’s your entire website, but it’s focused on two things — one, killer design and branding without, again, having to hire it out. So you want to create a killer website. Two, completely optimized — that’s exactly right — for conversions.
David: So you don’t just want to have a pretty website that an amazing designer created for you, but it doesn’t do anything for your business. So it’s completely optimized to get people to opt-in for your free video series, your cheat sheet, your eBook, your webinars, whatever it is you’re going to be giving away, that’s how those software came.
Really, it was just kind of an organic thing. It wasn’t like I decided one day, “You know what? I want to get in the software business because that’s fun and cool.” It really was the other way around. It was just customers that were getting great results from things asking for more help, asking for this and brad, sick of doing one on one sites 24 hours a day when he wants to ride in a canoe sometimes, that’s what he likes to do.
Andrew: Did I ask you what percentage of your revenue was on camera from this versus the other business?
Andrew: Software versus . . .
David: That one we can’t disclose. It’s a partnership and things like that. Let’s just put it this way, this year, Conversion Cats will hit over seven figures in revenue this year.
Andrew: Okay. That gives me a sense of where it is. All right. So if you’re out there and you want to try a webinar, come watch us talk about how to do webinars. I’m telling you, I have never taken a better course, literally, never taken a better course, David, than your course on how to do webinars, literally. I’ve never sat down and taken notes like this. It was fun and interesting. Here’s the one thing that I did, though. I left my office to watch it on my laptop. I like that you didn’t drip it out to me, that I got all the modules at once.
I went to the Crepe House on Valencia Street in San Francisco and I think to Napa Valley one day and in two days, I watched the whole thing. I took notes in a Google doc. So it was like on the left side of my screen was your video, on the right side was my Google doc notes. I sped up your video because you allowed me to speed it up to two times. I think at one point I went to three times but then the Irish guy came on and I couldn’t keep up and I wanted to notes.
Andrew: Yeah. I just kind of sat there at the Crepe House. They let me sit there all freaking day long. Even a work day I took away from the office and I went and I watched it. I know we’re not here to talk about it, but I just really liked the way you were teaching. I’ve known you for a long time. I just didn’t realize you were such a freaking good teacher at this stuff.
David: Well, that means a lot, Andrew. I really mean it. The way that I like to look at it is success in my business is directly 100% proportional to success of customers and friends because that’s what it’s all about. That’s what really jazzes me. When you sent me that email like, “I’m in the coffee shop and this is the greatest course ever.”
Andrew: So good.
David: Like the actual email, it made my entire — I was like high-fiving strangers at Starbucks and stuff. When I hear from a student and a friend — again I’d love to say you’re the exception, you’re not though. I hear from tons of people that are like, “I did this and that on my webinars and this, I got my structure.”
That’s really what drives me and that’s why we’re doing this for you guys because you thought this would be and it totally will be extremely valuable for those listening to Mixergy and that’s why I’m like more than excited to share this because if I can get one-tenth of the reaction from you and get people to do these successful things to build their company, then we’ve wont.
Andrew: Yeah. I’ve got to tell you guys, even if you say, “I don’t like Andrew. I don’t like David. I don’t like any of this stuff.” Go and do a webinar. Try it even without us. Do it with us if you can. Do it without us if you don’t like this. But do a webinar. There’s nothing like reaching out and actually getting to talk to your audience in large numbers showing them what you do and what they can do with what you’ve learned or what you’ve created.
So if it’s software, showing them how your software works, if it’s knowledge, showing them how they can actually use what you’ve spent so long learning. And hearing the feedback from them in real time and seeing the sales all come in at once and actually getting the sense that it’s like a real group of people who are buying it, I don’t think that we as online entrepreneurs get to feel that enough.
A lot of what we do is so disconnected from our customers that we don’t get to see their problems. We don’t get to see their excitement. We don’t get to have that kind of interaction that I used to get when I used to work in my dad’s store and he happened to have like the killer jacket come into the store. People would get excited. It would fire me up to. If you’re out there, try webinars. It also forces people to pay attention in a world where attention spans are short because there’s a specific time and date they have to show up.
For us, the specific time and date is June 15th at 2:00 p.m. Pacific, 4:00 Central, 5:00 Eastern, all over the world you’ll know exactly what time it is if you just go to the URL where you register and the URL is Mixergy.com/LearnWebinars because we want to learn you some webinars people—Mixergy.com/LearnWebinars.
Cool, man, congratulations. I’m impressed and amazed by how far you’ve come starting out by doing podcasting and then grown and grown and grown. Actually, beyond all that, I’m just appreciative of the time you’ve spent with me because especially when I’ve partnered up with people, I wanted to deliver good results to them. I really did not want to suck for other people. I appreciate you helping me do more than not suck for other people.
David: Yeah. I love it, Andrew. I love watching with you just not only with Mixergy and everything with that, but just how you seamlessly stepped into this world of learning how to do this. I think that’s the biggest takeaway too is regardless for all you guys out there, don’t attack this alone, there’s no reason to.
There’s no reason — if you even have an inch that says, “I need to do this,” there’s no reason to go out there and look for 50,000 things, research for the rest of your life or try it, heaven forbid, like the way I did because look at Andrew now, he took it, learned what to do and now he’s got the results from Bot Academy that who knows what would have happened if he wouldn’t have done that? So the bottom line here is I’m very appreciative, Andrew, for spending time with me as well and everyone here at Mixergy, for sure.
Andrew: Cool. Guys, I’ve never done this before, but it’s helped me a lot. I want to see if I want to introduce this to you and I know it will help you guys. Come check it out. It’s completely free—Mixergy.com/LearnWebinars. We’re going to be working on this together.
Also, I want to thank my two sponsors. Again, the company that will actually get you the best developers of your life. I’ve hired from there. I urge you to check them out. It’s Toptal.com/Mixergy and the software that I use whenever I want to sell or create partnerships with anyone, I always fire up Pipedrive. I actually pay for three different accounts so every part of my business has its own Pipedrive. That’s how much I love it and I pay for it out of my pocket. I urge you guys to check out Pipedrive.com/Mixergy.
David Siteman Garland, thank you much.
David: All right. Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Thanks. Bye, everyone.