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Master Class:
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Master Class:
How to Grow your membership

Taught by Robbie Baxter of “The Membership Economy”

Master Class: Grow Your Membership

 

 

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Andrew: This session is about how to grow your membership business and it’s led by Robbie Kellman Baxter. She is the founder of Peninsula Strategies which advises subscription and membership based businesses on growth strategies. What we’re talking about here today is based and comes out of her book, “The Membership Economy.” Let me see, can you see that up on the screen? Yeah. Find your super users, master the forever transaction and build recurring revenue. I’ll help facilitate. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where proven founders teach. Thanks for being here.Robbie:Yeah, thanks for having me. It’s great to be here, Andrew.

Andrew: I run a membership based business. More and mores SaaS based companies are subscription, membership based businesses. You are right, this is becoming more and more a membership economy, but we want to get it right. In the early days of this tech revolution, people got it wrong. In fact, here’s an example of a company many of us loved. I don’t know if anyone will recognize this, but I’ve got to bring this blast from the past up on the screen. This is what Napster used to look like on a PC. Napster got tons of users. Where did they get it wrong, and what can we learn from their mistake?

Robbie: Yeah, so the place where they got it wrong is also what initially led to so much grief which is they gave it away for free. They didn’t worry that much about who had the rights to that content and when they needed to implement a payment model, they had already trained their users to expect online music to be free. So they actually did a lot of damage to the music world for online because of creating that expectation, because they were so successful with building word of mouth and building traction.

Andrew: They did eventually start charging and because of the expectations that they set they had a hard time doing it. Is the big lesson for us that if we are going to start building a membership based business or growing ours, we need to communicate to our potential costumers. This is a business we’re going to be charging and set all the expectations up right from the start, is that our big take away?

Robbie: Absolutely, and the other big take away I think, Andrew, is that it is very hard in a membership business to raise your prices. It’s not impossible but it’s a lot easier to do it if you’re adding additional value and layering on additional tiers as supposed to charging more for the same experience.

Andrew: Okay, meanwhile a new economy business that actually was able to make that transition and do it especially well, here let me bring up my browser, RelayRides. What is RelayRides and what are they doing right that we can learn from?

Robbie: Yeah, so RelayRides is really interesting business model. What they do is they allow people to share their cars, so let’s say that your car sits in the driveway between nine and six, Monday through Friday because you take the bus to work. Well, maybe somebody else could use your car while you’re not using it, so they allow you to share the car and they use geo tracking and remote unlocking capabilities and all kinds of other technology to make it really easy for peer to peer sharing of cars.

Andrew: Okay, kind of like Airbnb. What is it that they’re doing right that we can learn from?

Robbie: They’re doing a lot of things right but one thing that they did right from the very beginning is they built their market up customer by customer. If you think about it all the technology stuff that they did was easy compared to getting people to trust a stranger to borrow their car. And so what they did is they brought on people one by one with a lot of human hand holding. So they blended online with physical relationships, and they did it market by market to let word of mouth help grow their business. So I think the big learning is that early on in a highly trust driven membership relationship, you really need to build it from the ground up by building across a network that already exist in the offline world.

Andrew: Okay, all right and as a result they’re getting people to trust each other with their car, strangers which is … I don’t trust my close friends with things as personal as a car, but strangely if it’s done right we do trust strangers with it. Let’s talk about how the person who’s listening to us can get those kind of results for their business and do it right. I’ve got a collection of points here up on the big board, you know what? Even though I’m the one who put this together, I’d like to skip over to the second point first and then go back and pick up the first point, is that okay?

Robbie: Sure.

Andrew: All right, so second point is to get the experience right before you get awareness. Now Jenny Craig is a company I’ve known about for years, I think before I even aware of the internet because they used to have a location not too far from my house and I just happened to see the meetings and the number of people that would go in there. Why couldn’t they just go online and just say, “Hey, guess what everyone, we’re online. You can now sign up and do everything that you did offline, online and life is good.” Why did they need to get it right first?

Robbie: Yeah, well so in that model where they’re transitioning from an offline to an online experience, you need to really think about how you’re going to provide the same value without defaulting to providing the same process.

Andrew: Okay.

Robbie: What a lot of organizations in a membership business, your promise to your customer is that they are going to get some kind of value. But the way you deliver that value has to evolve over time and it’s a big evolution to go from offline to online. So before you start moving people to what you think might work, you’re better off testing it and understanding how people react before you do a big reveal.

Andrew: So what were they able to learn when they decided to go online, that wasn’t immediately obvious to a company that had been doing it for years in serving so many customers before.

Robbie: Well, so I don’t know the Jenny Craig story that well but I do know the Weight Watchers story.

Andrew: Oh. Did I just say Jenny Craig? I meant to say Weight Watchers, you know what? It’s so interesting that I combined the two in my head and I’ve been looking up on their website and saying “Wait, this isn’t what I wanted to show.” The screenshot I had was completely different, you’re right. Yes, Weight Watchers is the company that I meant to talk about.

Robbie: Yeah, so Weight Watchers a really, really interesting company. I think most people are familiar with them. They’re probably maybe the most successful membership based offline business that we have. And when they about 10 years ago wanted to go online there was a lot of pressure, first of all, to give it away for free, and there was a lot of assumptions that they should offer the exact same experience but offered online. So online meetings with an online moderator, online recipes and so on. But what they did when David Kirchhoff who eventually became CEO of all of Weight Watchers that was brought in to run a Weight Watchers online did is first, he realized that they needed to charge. There were still real value being provided if you are actually going to be effective at helping people lose weight and that people would be willing to do that in whatever the form was.

So they avoided what I would call the Napster problem of giving it away and removing the perceived value from the service. Then the second thing that he did was he tested and tested, and iterated and iterated on the experience until he got to something that was engaging to users and that actually worked to help them lose weight. And Weight Watchers online is dramatically different than the Weight Watchers experience that you get if you go to a members meeting in real life. And the fact that he was really disciplined about figuring out how to provide the same value that is predictable, easy weight loss without defaulting to offering the same product.

Andrew: I see, and where Weight Watchers offline is largely about keeping track of points, as they call it, and also having those meetings online. Are there meetings at all?

Robbie: There aren’t meetings. They are now toying with and testing the idea of having coaches online. So that you can actually talk to an expert in real time if you need to which is actually somewhat of the KURBO model that is currently getting a lot of traction with kids. But their model was much more anonymous because one of the things that they realized was it wasn’t just that people were appreciating the online version of what Weight Watchers because it was easier and online more convenient. But also because some people don’t want that level of being known, they want privacy.

Andrew: I got that. All right, and so if they hadn’t spend some time and first built out their experience and gotten it right, they might have just said, “We’ve got something that works offline and it’s been working for a long time, let’s just put it online and create these communities for people to get together with just like we have them offline we’ll do it on the internet.” And if they’ve done that and they would’ve missed one of the big reasons why people are now today signing up online and that is that personal surveys, do it privately in your own home. This is the screenshot I wanted to show that for some reason I … This is what it looks like an explanation of their process and as result of what they’ve done, now I’m looking here at my notes from your book, they’re now doing 1.5 billion each year.

Robbie: Yeah.

Andrew: They’re three times larger than their primary competitors, NutriSystem and Jenny Craig. Maybe that’s where Jenny Craig got stuck in my head, and they have eight million website visitors a month, 1.72 million paid online subscribers. That’s huge, 1.72 million people are signing up and using the Weight Watchers system online. All right, all because they got it right before they got awareness. It’s such a hard thing to do. I wonder if bigger companies have that kind of a challenge too because when we’re getting started we feel like unless a lot of people love it it’s a failure. I’d better it in front of a lot of people and have them all join up because otherwise I’m a failure and you’re telling us something that’s counterintuitive. Forget about a lot of people, get it right with a few people and then expand it to more.

Robbie: Yeah, and tinkering is sort of the hallmark of great membership organizations. You know, I always caution people against what I call the big reveal, the, you know, ta-da!

Andrew: Yeah.

Robbie: A new offering for you, I hope you love it. Oh, wait you don’t love it you hate it because not only do you have a failed new offering which is the case in a regular business, but you also disappoint your members.

Andrew: Yeah.

Robbie: And that’s the big problem is that when you do a big reveal and you change what’s been offered it can be very upsetting to your members and it can also give them a reason to reevaluate the relationship.

Andrew: All right, let’s go back to the big board here. The next big point is the one that I initially had as the first one on the list which is to put your customers at the center of your business. Now Caesars has been known for doing that. This is a company that started in Vegas years ago, that decided that they were going to go huge to give you huge experience, huge connection to the company. And they decided that they were going to grow their membership business, total rewards.

Robbie: Yeah, so what’s totally interesting about them right now is they’re going through this very bitter bankruptcy feud and you would think that their most valuable asset would be their gorgeous huge resort that’s in the sweet spot on the Las Vegas strip. But actually their most valuable asset which is valued at over a billion dollars is the data from their member rewards program.

Andrew: Wow!

Robbie: Yeah, and the reason is that they’re one of the few companies that I can think off that is really gotten loyalty programs right. They segmented their market, they don’t just look at loyalty as a program on the side that encourages people to return more frequently and spend more money. They actually look at it as a way to build data, get to know their members better and then to take that learning and apply it to product development and service development. Which most companies don’t really do, they sort of just put loyalty off to the side and say, great. You know, if you do this then you get that but we’re not actually going to learn from it or do anything on a broader level.

Andrew: What do you mean? So I know, for example, having read “The Membership Economy” that one of the things that they do is … it’s so cool to actually have a physical book. I’m usually so digital but I’ve got your book and I’ve had it here for weeks on my desk. They will see if I as one of their customers and now I guess close enough or valuable enough for them to give me perks like a company a drink or make an exception to a rule. That’s basic stuff. What are they doing that allows them to build a better product because of the data that they have about their users?

Robbie: Well, so, for example, they’ve realized that this sounds so basic but most companies really don’t do this that people that are local that live in Las Vegas use the facilities a lot differently than people that are coming in from out of town. And if there are some people who come to Las Vegas to gamble but that there are a lot of people who’s spend a lot of money on restaurants, shows, other kinds of experiences that have nothing to do with gambling.

So they’re starting to segment out offerings for those groups, you know, different kinds of benefits that they can get, different kind of experiences that can be enjoyed. I mean, one thing when I talked about them that they’d talk about is that some of their best members what they really want is access to meet famous people. So I think they’d said that, I’m trying to remember now it was Elton John that was in-house and they arranged for some of their best members to meet Elton John just as he was getting set up for his show. And that had nothing to do with the gambling places, it had to do with somebody who really enjoys seeing the shows, enjoying all the facilities and the hospitality resources. So you know, thinking about what to offer people, it isn’t always what you’d think of first which is discounts. That’s always the default, discounts and free stuff. But sometimes it’s just an experience that you wouldn’t otherwise get access to it. It comes down to being treated like you’re special and having somebody recognize what it is that you would really value.

Andrew: Okay, and at Caesars company with a long history, huge size even their data alone is worth a billion dollars but in your book you also talk about startups who are doing similar things. One of them is a company called Punch Card which does local shopping with a rewards program, and one of things that they do here reading from the book is they allow you to take a picture of your receipt as a way of kind of punching a card and saying that you’ve been to this restaurant. And the reason I’m bringing up Punch Card is to show that what Caesar is doing on this massive scale startups are able to incorporate into their companies too. All right.

Robbie: Yeah, absolutely. I was just going to agree with you that startups should be building loyalty into their model from the very beginning and not just … I mean, Punch Card is great and loyalty programs are great but what’s really important is building loyalty and ongoing relationships into the fabric of your business and into your core culture, which is way harder to do when you’re a big organization trying to do that after the fact.

Andrew: What size companies do you work with?

Robbie: I work with a range of companies. I’ve worked with public companies like Netflix, like Yahoo!, eBay, Oracle but the majority of my bread and butter clients are somewhere between … they have a good business and they’re public. So venture backed, fast growing private companies and, you know, they’re big enough to have a real business model but it’s not too late to really instill some discipline and rigor around building community and ongoing relationships.

Andrew: Okay, and so the clients that you work with if they were going to add a rewards program or something that kept track of how loyal their members were, they would probably build it in-house. Do you know of any outside software that companies can integrate in if they don’t want to develop it themselves? I know for WordPress there are multiple plugins that do it but how about on the higher end?

Robbie: Yeah, so for loyalty programs one company that’s really interesting is called Stellar Loyalty and I mean, it’s really interesting because they’re totally rethinking what it means to have a loyalty program and allowing organizations to do some really cool things like …

Andrew: I’m pulling up the browser.

Robbie: Yeah, tracking at .. they allow you to provide surprise benefits which people love rather than just always getting … Now like if you fly United you know when I hit 25,000 miles I get something, I hit 50,000 I get something, my status changes here. But to surprise and delight members or when you come into a restaurant having them know that you’re already a loyal member and maybe even asking you oh, so do you want to get the burger with avocado like you gotten the last three times that you’ve been there and maybe even start the order for them before they’ve sat down.

Andrew: Okay.

Robbie: So that’s a really interesting company that’s really pushing the envelope on what it means to have a loyalty program. But I also work with … a lot of companies don’t have loyalty programs, they’re just subscription models or have a community and they’ve really integrated it into the fabric of the business model itself.

Andrew: All right, let’s go on to the big board. The next big idea to talk about is to provide your members with immediate value after on boarding. Now I think you are talking a moment ago about a company called Kurbo. Kurbo is there to help develop proper … Wait, that is zoomed way too far, here we go. There’s their app, their goal is to help out adolescents with their weight loss, right?

Robbie: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: And the challenge there is if you’re talking about providing immediate value, how do you let some one lose enough value immediately that they think great? This Kurbo thing really is helpful. I’m going to stick with it.

Robbie: Yeah, so that is a problem with a lot of businesses that the actual benefit that the product is designed to provide takes some time and actually takes some engagement for the result. So if you’ve ever tried to lose weight which I have, you know it takes, at least, a couple weeks before you lose weight and it takes about a month before anyone even you’re going to notice any difference. So what Kurbo does with kids who tend to have shorter attentions spans is they’ve gamified the onboarding. Which basically means they’re rewarding the kids for eliciting the desired behaviors through artificial means, as kind of a stop gap between now and the time when the weight loss becomes the rewarding it self. So, for example, if kids they have a red, yellow, green model for food, so, for example, candy would be red light but vegetables would be a green light and something like chicken would be a yellow light. So green lights, you eat as much as you want, red lights you should stop and think before you have any, and yellow lights you should eat but with caution not with abandon. And they reward you when through a game that you play they have evidence that you have understand that principle.

They reward you when you exercise, they reward you when you track your food intake. So these are all the kinds of behaviors that are going to lead up to success in weight loss. In fact, 80% of losing weight is tracking your food, I mean it’s just that simple. So if they can get kids to track their food everyday, the kids are going to lose weight, they’re going to eat healthier, true for adult too.

Andrew: And so we want to give them that value immediately so people feel that it’s worth continuing and being a part of the program but it doesn’t have to be the main goal that they came in for.

Robbie: Absolutely.

Andrew: Okay, all right, let’s go on to the big board. The next big idea is to start with a single service and leave room to expand. Now I’m looking at the big guys.

Robbie: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: Here is American Express, a company you’ve written about.

Robbie: Yeah.

Andrew: Look at the number of cards that they have, In fact, it’s even more than this. I see green, I see gold, I see, I guess, that’s platinum and black and they have other cards also.

Robbie: Yeah, they have blue and they’re coming out with the debit cards as well for people that are in a lower income bracket. They actually have a pretty broad range of products. They also have products for small businesses and they have a enterprise business card systems as well. And they’ve continue to evolve, they’re very, very clear about what their mission is. You know, when I spoke to them they said, “We’ve got our customers back” and that’s different than the positioning or the promise of other credit cards. So it’s not just about extending the credit, but it’s also about when you have a problem with the thing that you’ve gotten on credit using your credit card. American Express is willing to step in and “Do whatever it takes to help you.”

Andrew: So that feels overwhelming, that feels like well if they are already establishing all these different cards, all these different services maybe when we start we should not be starting with one offer with one kind of membership, with one option. Maybe we should also be offering multiple. What do you think? I say I know what you think, I know it because it’s important.

Robbie: I love that kind it was like …

Andrew: Wait, that’s a little too obvious. I’m supposed to tee it out for the guests so that the guest can express the point that I’ve read about and we discussed but that’s a little too obvious. I figured I’d call myself out on it. Why do you still say that we should start smaller with one?

Robbie: I think we should start with focus, do one thing really well that has a perfect match with your buyer. So people talk about product market fit and I talk about service member fit. You really want to get that right and it’s so tempting to just throw everything in in the kitchen sink and bundle the whole bunch of … I always say bundling a whole bunch of staff and calling it a membership. But really most people are willing to pay actually a higher price for one thing to be solved really, really well for that one audience and then you can always extend it. But what happens is people throw in other stuff or they try to reach another market or they say we’re for everybody and they end up pleasing nobody. You know, or they’re kind of interesting to everybody but not interesting enough to buy for anybody.

Andrew: Do you have an example of a smaller company that maybe could have had multiple different offerings when they started but they decided to have just one offering?

Robbie: Yeah, so they’re not a small company now but they were when I worked with them and that’s Netflix.

Andrew: Okay, and so, oh I see Netflix could have done video games and movies and other things and you’re saying …

Robbie: Yeah, so people ask them all the time, you know, they were getting all kinds of increase like let’s do videos or we have this really cool hardware that maybe you could sell because your audience really loves movies or maybe you can sell movie tickets because …

Andrew: Why would that have hurt their business if they said we’re Netflix we’ll send DVDs to you one at a time to your house and so on. We’ll talk about them in a moment more but why would it have been any worse if they would have said we do all that and if you want movie tickets and go watch a local movie you can buy tickets from us too. And we’ll even rent you a great DVD player that you can take on trips with you because you might sometimes want to be on the go. Why would they’ve hurt their ability to do the DVD business?

Robbie: It’s distracting, it’s too many things at once. So if you think about a restaurant and you think about a restaurant that makes one thing really well, you can kind of imagine that in your head. If you try to make 10 things at the same time in that kitchen, first of all one person can’t do it, so you need to hire more people. The manager needs to understand all of those different offerings and it can be really distracting. And the temptation is to take your eye off the ball and each one of those offerings is no longer quite perfect. The other issue from a brand perspective is that if you offer too many things, it’s very, very expensive to build brand awareness to have people understand that the more complicated your offering is the more complicated your messages.

Andrew: I see. I kind of have that problem now with Evernote where I used to be able to say to people on our team, you need to sign up for Evernote because Evernote is going to be our software for sharing notes. And then they’d installed it and now they see that Evernote also does chat and Evernote also does sale of socks and all kinds of other stuff, and it’s hard for me to even convince my own people, people I pay that they should be on Evernote because now they go in there and they get too confused by all the different features. Now Evernote is a little more mature than most companies, but I can imagine when you’re just getting started and trying to get anyone to understand what you’re about it becomes so confusing that they just walk away.

Robbie: Yeah.

Andrew: All right, let’s go back to the big board here. Wait, we talked about that one. So we’re going to go on to this next one which is to optimize the onboarding process with simple pricing. T-Mobile is a company that is now calling itself the uncarrier, they don’t want to be like all those other carriers. What are they doing about pricing that you like?

Robbie: It’s simple, their pricing is easy and then they say if you transfer to us we’ll pay for it.

Andrew: Pay for the contract, so you don’t even have to think about all the other expenses that other people are inflicting on you.

Robbie: Yeah, so they are trying to make it as easy as possible for you to get a subscription and for you to buy it. And in some cases the challenge with pricing subscription is that not every subscriber is going to require the company don’t occur the same cost, right? Some people make more phone calls than others, some people used more data than others. It’s hard to know it’s kind of the same problem that you have at the all you can eat buffet, right? One person’s going to go straight for the oysters and caviar, and someone else is going to have a half of sandwich and be done and the two people are paying the same price. The temptation is you want to price each person on what they do which is number one, it takes away from the subscription value.

And number two, it can be so confusing to somebody that they don’t understand what they’re paying for and the result of when you don’t understand something is you have a sinking feeling like you’re being tricked. And so the more complex your pricing is the less transparent you seem even if you make it all perfectly, say, here’s our complex algorithm and you too can understand why we charge you $42.78. The feeling is that you’re being tricked.

Andrew: I see and so by keeping it simple you’re keeping people from feeling that they’re tricked and you’re getting them to understand what you are even offering.

Robbie: Yeah, and then on the company side managing two, three, four pricing models is a lot easier than having a different price for every customer. I mean, that is just a nightmare to track and when people cancel or they want to upgrade, I mean, you have to like look through. I mean, it takes hours to even understand what you sold them in the first place.

Andrew: All right, let’s go back to the big board. The penultimate point is pick one key benefit and deliver it to a focused audience. We spoke about Netflix earlier. What were some of the benefits that Netflix could have promoted when they were getting started?

Robbie: So many, so when Netflix started they could have said we have more Bollywood movies than any other company in the United States.

Andrew: True.

Robbie: They could have said we deliver movies right to your home so that you don’t have to put on your shoes to get a movie. They could have said we keep a queue of the movies you want to see, so that you don’t have to remember what it is that your friend told you was really great and you’d love.

Andrew: We’ll help you find the right movies so you don’t have to walk into your local video store and try to figure out which movies you should watch based on what you liked before. Right now I’m thinking of all the different benefits, you’re right.

Robbie: Yeah, and they kept it really simple. Well, the reason they could keep it simple is because they did so much research to understand what people really cared about and I’m just going to say I know a lot of your listeners are in technology. The temptation in technology is to not invest in marketing and not invest in market research, and to think that you know best about the product because it’s a new space or a new technology. And Netflix invested in understanding their market and they really understood why people were signing up and staying with them and it’s all about the late fees.

Andrew: The late fees, why were people so upset about late fees?

Robbie: Because they felt cheated by it because it didn’t fit with the value preposition and they would forget to return the movie and then the late fees, they actually cost more than … at one point I think Blockbuster’s making more money on late fees than they were making on rental fees. And any time that a business, I mean, forget membership models. Any time that a business is making more money from their customers misusing their product and being penalized, than from actually providing value you have a big problem.

Andrew: I see and so people who are customers of Blockbuster, another local video rental chain, were so upset about late fees that when they saw here. These are the early promotions for Netflix. We found them online. Here is one where you can see how does this work? Here’s how it works. You receive what you want by mail, you watch it and then you exchange it as often as you want and right there in the center no late fees. If we’re to look at one of the early ads, I love that I can Google back in time and see what things used to looked like.

Robbie: It’s so cool. I love all these images you have. It’s really fun, it’s great.

Andrew: Yeah, you know what? I forgot that this is the way they used to promote themselves. That’s one of their early button ads and it says no late fees right in the center and as easy as that, they didn’t have to communicate the whole value proposition behind Netflix. They just picked the one thing that you really cared about and that’s what they emphasized. You said you have done work with Netflix, right? because I looked at the back of your book. Didn’t I see it on the back of the book?

Robbie: Yeah, it might be. I did do work with Netflix, they were actually my very first subscription client.

Andrew: I see.

Robbie: Eleven years ago or 12 years ago now I did a consulting project for them Up until then I’d been a generalist strategy consultant that worked at all kinds of companies and after I worked with Netflix, I really fell in love with this business model around membership. I could see how valuable it was. And so I’ve really moved my whole consulting practice to companies like Netflix.

Andrew: I see, all right, I know where it is. I think it was on your website, isn’t it on your website?

Robbie: It’s probably on the website.

Andrew: Yeah, I saw a quote from someone from Netflix on the site.

Robbie: Yeah.

Andrew: And that’s where I saw that they are one of your early clients. All right, final point on the big board. Continue innovating even after you achieve success, I went back into the internet archives and I found this screenshot of SurveyMonkey from their early, early, early days. Look at how that page looks, today it looks so much cleaner than that. Let’s see that is from 2003. If we’re to look at their site today SurveyMonkey, SurveyMonkey, there we go, it looks so much more polished.

Robbie: Yeah.

Andrew: Beyond the polish, what have they done to continue innovating after they became so successful?

Robbie: Yeah, so first of all the first picture that you showed that SurveyMonkey when all they did was basically they had a consumer product. They had one price, kept it super simple just like we’ve been talking about and it was really designed for either an individual like you or me to do a quick survey of friends and family or potentially for a professional researcher to do some quick and dirty research without having to engage their whole corporate marketing department or their agency. And what they realized was there’s actually more value there, there’s more they could be doing. So, for example, they realized that bigger organizations especially about the rise of online research happened, they realized that they needed a product for the enterprise, they needed dashboards and if you have multiple researchers within the same company that they were using the right logos and the right layout, and that all of those questions could be shared across departments.

So SurveyMonkey added and evolved their offerings and came up with models that appeal to larger organizations and even to the enterprise customer. They also introduced panels. Sometimes you have a question and you want to ask your customers. Sometimes you have a question, and you want to ask people who aren’t your customers to see if you should evolve your model in a certain way. They can actually now provide you with the kind of people who fit that target.

Andrew: So how do you know when it’s time to go from that single, very focused offering to innovating by adding another one that’s not completely different but it is different enough for you not to have included it in the first place.

Robbie: Yeah, so I would say there’s a couple of things. One of them is you want to stay focused on your mission. So if you look at Netflix they went from the DVDs that you showed in the pictures to now they stream most of their content, totally different but it’s the same value which is great video content. With SurveyMonkey I forget exactly what their mission statement is but they’re still helping people understand their customers and so they’re just evolving how they do that. And practically the way that they do that is by observing the behavior of their members through the data that they’re collecting.

Andrew: I see.

Robbie: And seeing where are people bumping up against the limits of what the product can do and how can they continue to meet their customers’ needs. So in the case of SurveyMonkey they knew that a lot of people were saying I can’t do my survey because I don’t have people to ask or I don’t know how to find those people. Or with Netflix they said, you know, we realized that people are curious about all these trends in downloading, streaming, other ways of getting your content digitally that don’t require the DVD packaging. And so, like I said, they’re always thinking about how to improve things for their members, they’re always focused on the same mission and then they tinker.

So they don’t just do a big ta-da! They roll things out slowly, get feedback, adjust and there might be a moment when they announce it to the press but most of these organizations do very slow gradual roll outs and often will just add one feature at a time and we didn’t even talk about that but I mean, if you look at SurveyMonkey everyday or Facebook, or Pinterest they’re changing it every single day. Making little incremental improvements, testing things, taking them out when they don’t work, adding something else because they don’t want their members to ever reach a point when they look up and say. “Wow! They haven’t changed this product in years, I bet there’s something better out there.” That’s what they’re trying to avoid.

Andrew: All right, they define their mission, the mission statement’s right in their back page it says, “We want to help you make better decisions.” That’s it, that’s all, that’s what drives us.

Robbie: Yep.

Andrew: And so, anything that allows them to do that, anything that their customers want that still stays within their mission is a possibility for what to add.

Robbie: Great.

Andrew: All right, the book of course as we mentioned is called, I’ll bring up the camera on me for a moment. “The Membership Economy” and it’s available everywhere. I think I got an early copy of it and I thought it was incredibly helpful and now it’s available in stores everywhere, am I right?

Robbie: Yeah, everywhere online, offline, independent book stores, yeah.

Andrew: Congratulation on the book and the business and, of course, the website is let’s bring it up, PeninsulaStrategies.com and Peninsula is a reference to here, San Francisco.

Robbie: It is.

Andrew: The Silicon Valley area.

Robbie: Yes.

Andrew: Cool. Thank you so much for doing this. Every one, thank you for being a part of Mixergy. Bye everyone.

Robbie: Thanks for watching.

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Master Class:
How to get a massive webinar audience

Taught by Robert Coorey of Feed a Starving Crowd

Master Class: Big Webinar Audience

 

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Transcript

Andrew: This session is about how to get a massive audience for your webinar. This session is led by this man. He is Robert Coorey who previously founded E-Web Global Marketing, a high end performance digital marketing agency. He is also the author of “Feed a Starving Crowd” which offers more than 200 hot and fresh marketing strategies to help you find hungry customers. You can find out about the book at FeedAStarvingCrowd.com where . . . there it is. It’s still available for free.

The reason I invited Robert on here because when interviewed him for Mixergy he said that people, that entrepreneurs, specifically used to give him a piece of their business in order to have him do the marketing for them. One of the key areas of marketing that he did was online webinars. He’d get a lot of people to watch and then from there he get a lot of those people to buy. And so I said, “Robert, please, please come on here to Mixergy and teach us how to get that audience for that webinar.” And Robert, that’s why you’re here.

Robert: Hi, good to be on the call.

Andrew: Thanks for being on here. Now I want to show people the pain of not doing marketing right, and I hate to bring it up again, but it’s a pain that you experienced. Here is a photo of you and your wife from back when you guys ran this previous business. What was the business?

Robert: It was called Vippo. I look like about 18 in that photo.

Andrew: And you look really happy and eager in that photo. I’m guessing you were expecting good times back then.

Robert: Oh, I was pumped. I thought I was going to take over the world and retire after 12 months.

Andrew: So how many millions of dollars did the business make?

Robert: 0.00003, or something like that. So it wasn’t, it didn’t work out as well as we would have hoped. To cut a long story short, I was working in the corporate world doing really, really well, climbing the corporate ladder, and I had a great idea that I would start a video production business with my wife. Now the thing is, this was in 2010 and video was starting to get a little bit more mainstream for online, but it was still very early days. YouTube was only a few years old, and I had this great idea that I could be one of the first ones to market and offer online video for clients. I’d go to all these businesses and they’d pay me a lot of money to do their online videos and it’d be really easy.

The thing was it didn’t work out that way. Because it was so early to market, the cost of production was still quite high and it still wasn’t as mainstream as it is today, and it was a lot harder to convince businesses to take us on than I thought it would be. So we spent a good 12 months, me and my wife. We worked not full-time but double full-time, all day and all night, the both of us. And you can see that was when we started the business and were really happy. After 12 months we were exhausted. We haven’t worked that hard in our whole life.

Andrew: Hard work, and you only brought in $30,000 a year from that business, after all the hard work among the two of you and you ended up closing down the business.

Robert: That’s correct, yeah, because it is just too hard. It wasn’t working and sometimes you’ve got to swallow your pride and just say, “Look, it didn’t work, and we’re going to pull out and just [inaudible 00:03:16] that does work.

Andrew: We all had the challenges with marketing. That’s one of the reasons why people are listening to us here today, to avoid that kind of problem and to find something that actually works. The way I work here at Mixergy. I’m kind of a jerk because you volunteer and everyone volunteers to do interviews here and to teach here on Mixergy, and one of the first things I say is if you’re going to teach something, prove it. You actually did. You said, “Here.” Here is a screenshot from proof that you gave our producer. What is this that we’re looking at, exactly, and why is this proof that you know what you’re talking about?

Robert: You’re looking at the stats from Google Analytics for a webinar that we ran about a year and a half ago. This webinar was for a nutritionist and we had, like you can see there, over 7000 people register to attend this webinar. That’s a huge number. It’s an absolutely huge number. Most people are lucky to get 100 or 200 on a webinar, but this was just an absolutely out of the park raging success because we did everything right, and we’re going to show you how to do that today.

Andrew: Okay. That’s over 7000. 7889 people hit the Thank You page on the webinar, which means that they registered to watch a webinar, and every one of them . . . or not every one of them will actually show up live, but we’ll talk about how to get more of them to come to the live event.

But then once they’re there at the webinar, you teach and you sell, and that’s why these webinars are so powerful. If you get enough people in the room it creates an energy and they all become potential customers, and you close all those sales right there in one day, in one event as opposed to waiting for the ads to work and conversion rates on website. Right?

Robert: Absolutely, and it’s kind of like, I call these webinars online seminars because it’s kind of like the way that you used to run seminars back in the day where you get all the people in a room, you do a presentation, and you make an offer. And then some people buy it and some people don’t.

The thing is, if you’ve got an international audience like you and I do, Andrew, we can’t run global tours every day of the week. It’s just not practical and not cost-effective. So we can run webinars where people can have a similar kind of experience but do it from the comfort of their own home. And it’s great because you’d have to hire an event crew, staff, all that kind of stuff. There are so many expenses when you run live events in person.

Andrew: Essentially, all you need is a GoToMeeting account.

Robert: That’s it.

Andrew: What software do you use for your webinars?

Robert: GoToMeeting, because this one was a lot more than that, we had to use a different platform because GoToMeeting cuts out at about 1000 users. It just couldn’t handle that kind of volume.

Andrew: You guys are getting more than 1000 users to come in all at once? All right. I’m getting about this. I want to learn for myself because I’ve seen that we at Mixergy have gotten good sales from webinars. I want to learn how to get more people in there.

Let me go up to the big board here. These are the different steps we’re going to use to get people to come to our webinars. The very first one on there is to identify your starving crowd. The people who have those pain points, you want to find and understand those pain points. You actually had a customer who was a nutritional client, right?

Robert: Yes.

Andrew: That’s what she was doing. She had only so much time in the day. She wanted to reach more potential customers. She partnered up with you, and how did you find the pain that her customers have? And we’ll talk later about how to use it. But how did you find it?

Robert: My client spent six years doing one-to-one consultations with women, helping their health challenges using nutritional tactics. She had all that data of what women were going through in their life. The sad thing about this is I learned way too much about women’s health than I really wanted to learn, but at the end of the day, women have a lot of health challenges and they’re really confused about what happens with their bodies. That was the biggest thing that came out of what she did.

So I went to the client and I said, “Look, you’ve worked with women for six years one-on-one. You’ve seen literally thousands and thousands of women. Can you tell me the eight biggest challenges that women have when they come to you?” So she said, “Okay, here’s what the eight biggest challenges are. I’m going to write them down.” I said, “That’s good.”

Andrew: Here’s some of them. I think you’ve given them to us before this session started. We’re looking at things like, I routinely feel bloated, I suffer from PMS, I can’t lose weight no matter how much I diet and exercise, and this is just you writing it all down.

Robert: That’s correct. This is exactly what she told me, and they’re ranked from one to eight. The most pain was the bloated one. Nearly all the women that went to her were suffering from bloating. That was the biggest pain point.

Andrew: I wonder what it is to suffer from bloating. I hate to sound so ignorant here but I don’t know.

Robert: What it means is that in practical terms you fit into your jeans perfectly in the morning, and then by the end of the day you feel like taking the button off because you can’t fit in them anymore.

Andrew: I see.

Robert: We’re joking about it here, but it’s actually quite a serious health challenge that women have, and it’s very confusing because a lot of them don’t know why it happens. They’re not eating a whole lot of food. They’re not going to McDonald’s and buying chips and burgers and Coke. They’re not doing that. There are a number of reasons why it happens. I’m not a nutritionist. I don’t want to give the answers on here because I am not qualified to say, but what we did was we promised that if they came to the webinar they would learn the solutions to these problems from my doctor nutritionist client.

Andrew: I see. That’s why you want to identify those big problems, because when you’re talking about feeding a starving crowd, you mean what it that they’re starving for a solution for? Am I right?

Robert: Yes. Think about it this way. If you’ve got bloating as a health challenge, if you wake up in the morning and you fit into your jeans perfectly; end of the day, you can’t fit into them anymore, you’re wondering what the hell is going on? What is going on here? And if you’ve been to other doctors and people before and they can’t help you, and then you have a nutritionist who’s a doctor, who has a PhD in this that says, “If you come on to this webinar, I’m going to show you solutions, how to fix this up.” That’s a starving crowd, and that’s a key reason why we had so many people come on, because the information was good, and people really wanted to find out what was happening.

Andrew: Robert, I thought what you were going to say is create a survey, find potential customers, survey them, and you’re saying in this case it was as easy as talking to the person who talked to all those customers in the past and having her just remember what were those big issues where. Write them down one to eight in order.

Robert: That’s right. And look, in my book I’ve got lots of other ways you can find a starving crowd as well. Some people who haven’t had six years of experience serving clients, and it’s not as easy as that. You might have to go do some research. There are a lot of different ways you can find a starving crowd. This is one of them, and this is the best one. If you’ve had physical one-to-one interactions with the clients, that’s the best way to find out what their problems are because they’ve told you for six years.

Andrew: Good point. I know a lot of entrepreneurs have to go out and talk to customers to understand them before getting started because they don’t have much experience with their customer base. You’re saying to understand what their issues are, and if you’ve talked to them already you know it. Sit down, write it down in order, so that you’re aware of what the top priority issue is, and all the way down the line. And that’s what you did with this collection here. I don’t even know that I need to show it again, but there. I just like to see how you’ve done it. I feel tired and wired, I have trouble sleeping at night, I’m a happy person but sometimes I feel sad for no reason, etc.

So now that we’ve identified the big pain points that our crowd has, the next step to talk about is having a success story for each pain point.

Robert: That’s why it’s okay, because it’s all well and good to have this pain points, so if you’ve got bloating or you can’t sleep at night or you feel wired, any of those kind of things, that’s all well and good. A lot of people have those challenges. What they want to know is do you actually have a solution and can you help me?

So to get more people to come to the webinar, we gave examples of how my nutritionist client actually delivered these results to people already. Her marketing wasn’t just saying, “Hey, come to the webinar, come to the webinar, come to the webinar,” the marketing was, “Hey, here’s the ten pain points. We’re going to send you one email for each of these pain points and tell you a story about how someone had this challenge, then came to my client and then got all fixed up as a result of the strategies that they learned. And we’re going to show you these strategies in the webinar.

Andrew: Let me look at one of this emails. This is kind of email that you sent out. Do you mind if include this here with the session for people to look at on their own time?

Robert: Yes, that’s fine. We include all this in the resources page from the book, so that’s fine to share.

Andrew: I’m going to read this because of course it’s going to be too small on people’s screens and frankly they pay me to read it out for them. Here’s what’s the subject line is. It says, “Tired, Moody, Stressed Out all Day. How a burned out woman put an end to those problems.” And then the body says, “Before learning about my secrets, Angela was reaching burnout. She couldn’t lose weight no matter how hard she tried. She was so tired, moody and stressed out all the time. Her life was in turmoil and her relationships were falling apart.” So right now what we’re seeing is that Angela had the problem that your audience has.

Let’s continue with me reading it. “She tried everything to fix her problems but nothing worked but as luck would have it, she discovered my method one evening. Then she started applying them. Within a few short months . . . bullet point number one, she could manage the ongoing stress in her work and home life, bullet point number two, her relationships improved, bullet point number three, and she finally felt in control of her health, weight and happiness again.”

Continuing on, “Now Angela was just one of the thousands of women who have found blessed relief using my simple method. It can work for you, too, if you suffer from any of these ailments: bloating, digestion problems, PMS, stressing, anxiety, unexplained weight gain, cravings, poor sleep, brain fog, and be sure to . . .” and then hyperlinked, “Attend my webinar. Best regards.

So I’m seeing what you’re doing here. What you’re saying is, “Here’s a person who had the problem that you have, here is how painful it is, and here are the benefits that she got by using this thing that you can get by coming to the webinar.” That’s the way you want us to promote the webinar.

Robert: Absolutely, and see, if you read that email it doesn’t feel sales-y. It doesn’t feel like you’re pitching it. It’s actually giving a bit of value, and it’s quite entertaining to read. You can definitely send 10 of those emails with different stories addressing different pain points, because if someone has bloating, they don’t necessarily care about, you know, they can’t sleep at night. It’s a very different audience.

So by having 10 different stories for the 10 different ailments, that’s why we’re were able to get such a wide range of people to come in. If we just did one on bloating, we might have gotten less numbers, maybe about 2000 or 3000. So by having all those different symptoms and addressing them all in one webinar and having those 10 different stories, that’s why we were able to get such a large number.

Andrew: First of all, the format makes a lot of sense. What you’re doing is you’re telling a story of someone who has a problem, talking about how your solution helped, and then giving details about how it helped, without saying specifically what the person did. You’re leaving that gap in people’s minds that they want to fill in by coming into the webinar. Makes a lot of sense.

Sometimes people are launching a brand new product with a webinar, and they don’t have these success stories. What I’ve seen is, actually, what do you say to those people if they still want to make people want to come to a webinar but they don’t have those case studies.

Robert: Look, it’s a bit harder. You can definitely sort of run a webinar and get people to come, but you’re not going to get the thousands and thousands if you haven’t got proof. There are a few different ways that you can do it. You can actually be really straight with people. You can say, “Look, this is a brand new course we’re running. We’ve never run it before. We’re really excited. Here’s why we’re excited.” Because you will not have proof for yourself but you may have proof that it is working in the market for other people. And so there are different ways to do it, but the very best proof is the proof that you’ve achieved for your clients. That’s always the best one.

Andrew: That’s one of the things that I insist on here when we do with one of these master classes in Mixergy. I want the person who’s teaching it to have an example of how what he taught worked for somebody else, and sometimes people don’t have that and I have to say, “You’re just not a good fit.”

But when someone who is listening to us wants to do a webinar, if they don’t have a case study, tell me if this is a fair way to do it, to say one of my steps is to do . . . actually, you know what? Let’s suppose somebody was starting a webinar trying to teach people how to do interviews, and they’ve never done an interview before. They can still say, “Here’s a benefit that Andrew got by doing interviews, and here’s what he did.” So you’re telling Andrew’s story without taking credit for having given Andrew the methodology. You’re just saying, “Andrew’s using one of the methods that I’ll be teaching you, and here’s the success that he got.” Is it fair to do that?

Robert: Absolutely. That’s what the Napoleon Hill did 100 years ago with “Think and Grow Rich.” Napoleon Hill wasn’t rich when he wrote that book, but he interviewed 50 or 100 of the most rich people going around. Then he consolidated all the best strategies from them, and that book has been an amazing bestseller.

So you can take the reporter route, where it’s like, “Hey, look, I’ve interviewed the 10 best guys that do interviews. Here’s a snippet of what Andrew does, and I’m going to show you what the other nine guys do in the webinar. Come along.” That’s worthwhile, and I’d be up for that. I’d check that out, because that person isn’t saying, “Hey, I’m the guru on interviews.” I think you’ve just got to be authentic and straight with people, and just be really . . . if you haven’t done it before but you’ve interviewed 10 guys that did do it, and they showed you exactly what they did, that’s fine, but just say that, and then whoever comes, comes.

Andrew: I remember one of the first courses that we did on Mixergy was with Paras Chopra, the founder of Visual Website Optimizer. He said, “Look, you need case studies if you’re going to be selling these high margin products.” I said, “What if you’re new and you don’t have case studies?” He said, “Don’t get a case study for your software. Get a case study for your methodology as used by someone else when you’re getting started.” So these are workarounds for it.

Here is the next big point. I think we’ve gotten everything out of this one. The next big point is to contact your current audience everywhere. That means Facebook, it means email, it means Twitter, it means wherever they are, and invite them to come to the webinar. You did this on Facebook. In fact, before we were starting you were saying that Facebook is working really well for you. What’s working better, Facebook, Twitter, something else?

Robert: For this particular market, Facebook.

Andrew: Before this women’s health nutrition webinar?

Robert: Absolutely, yes. We only had two traffic sources for this particular webinar. We had the email database and we had Facebook advertising. Those were the only two ways that we promoted this webinar.

Andrew: And for your book, I know that you’ve been advertising this landing page, FeedAStarvingCrowd.com on Facebook. What’s worked best for you there?

Robert: It’s running an ad to go directly to the landing page, but I’m actually borrowing the credibility that I’ve got from Brian Tracy and an ad to go fix at the landing page but I’m actually borrowing the credibility that I’ve got from Bryan Tracy and Vishen Lakhiani as testimonials.

Andrew: Right there in the center. So are you buying ads with their face, with Brian Tracy’s face on it and sending it over?

Robert: Yes, absolutely, because they have given me a testimonial and permission to use their testimonial. And with testimonials what you find is that it also benefits the person that gives a testimonial as well because his brand is getting in front of literally hundreds of thousands of people with running the ad. So it helps both people, the person that gets the testimonial and the one that gives the testimonial.

Andrew: Okay. So by those ads there . . . let me see here in my notes what you’ve said. You can send out an email, a Facebook post, Twitter message, etc., for each one of the pain points that we described. So how do you turn each one of these pain points, like I feel bloated, into an ad that delivers a new attendee to your event?

Robert: See, the way that we did this was exactly the same way we did the email sequences. We told the stories in Facebook posts. The post didn’t feel spammy and saying, “Hey, come to the webinar.” We actually just gave solutions. We told the stories like we did exactly with that email. So exactly the same way we wrote the emails was exactly the same way we did the Facebook posts. That’s why it got so much engagement, because a year and a half ago no one was doing this.

If you look at nutritionists and the way they market, 99% of them say eat green vegetables and drink water. Stop eating McDonald’s and stop drinking Coke. And it was, like, come on, everybody knows that. We all know we’ve got to eat better food and stop eating bad food. We know that, but we’re not doing it. When you’re in a competitive market space like nutrition and there’s so many people out there saying the same thing, you need to be a bit creative in how you approach it. And that’s why story telling works so well, because it flies under the radar and it helps people to have a better reaction to your marketing.

Andrew: So actually, here. You’ve been open with me about as much as you can. Something strange, you sent us this tweet. It says, “Do you think about the strength body? Do you focus on improving your flexibility? Both are critical to a . . . ” and then it’s FB.ME/etc. This is your tweet linking to a Facebook post which I’m assuming then links over to the webinar page. Why did you obscure the url? Why don’t you want me to see the actual ad as you have it in Facebook? Is that intentional?

Robert: I think that’s for a different program that we ran. I think that was an example of a tweet for a different program. That wasn’t for this nutritional webinar.

Andrew: Okay. So are you in fact hiding that webinar from me, too?

Robert: No, not at all. I can’t remember which on it actually is for, to be honest with you. That was on a few months ago, so I’d have to check it out and see what it’s all about.

Andrew: Let me get a little more specific here. So if, for example, we’ve got a problem, I’ll keep going back to this “I routinely feel bloated.” How do you present it in a Facebook ad that gets people to come to a landing page and register? What do you do? What kind of ad works for you?

Robert: We use extremely similar copy to that email that you saw. So it’s long copy and it’s a photo. You test different photos, but it’s a photo of a woman who’s holding her tummy in a bit of pain. That’s what worked well for that one. And then for each of the different symptoms, you have someone who can’t sleep at night, you might show them in bed trying to toss and turn and things like that, like she was roughing up the sheets.

Andrew: And then you link to the landing page. Does the landing page talk specifically about this problem or do you have a general landing page that says “I solve all these problems.”

Robert: Yes, the same landing page that you showed at the start, that same copy. It was a really simple one page landing page, it said, “Hey, if you’re suffering from any of these symptoms, then you have to attend the webinar.”

Andrew: All right, cool. Then let’s go on to the next big point. We talked about buy ads. The next one is to get affiliate partners. Oh, actually, hang on a second. Let me see. Contact current or whatever . . . oh, sorry. We didn’t talk about buying ads. Let’s talk about . . . wait. Contact current audience everywhere. I accidentally lumped these two together, but you intentionally in my notes here have separated them. Contact current audience everywhere means for you, do a re-targeting campaign, and I think I missed that, where you upload your email list to Facebook and you say, “I want to reach my people.” Is that what you mean by that?

Robert: Yes, absolutely. And even to take it to the next level, if you haven’t got an existing email database or if you haven’t got a budget for ads, what I teach my clients is to get down and dirty, and to contact your clients in every single channel that you have. If it’s LinkedIn, if it’s Twitter, if it’s email, even if it’s business cards. If you’ve got business cards stacked up from a long time, if some of those people would be interested in what you’re doing, you could email them once personally. You can’t upload all those into a database and kind of blast them out, but if you met someone at a conference six months ago and they could come to your webinar, you can go and email them.

When you’re getting started and you haven’t got a huge database, you’re going to roll your sleeves up, and if you haven’t got a whole lot of money to spend on ads, you’ve got to contact people no matter where they are.

Andrew: I see. So that point, contact the current audience everywhere, means the people who you already are engaged with wherever they are. If you have a Twitter following go to Twitter and talk to them there. If you have a Facebook following, do that, and again, even right down to if you have business cards, email them so that you invite them over.

Robert: Get your hands dirty, absolutely. Even if get, you might have to scrape and scramble to get 50 or 100 people in a webinar, but for some people, 100 people in a webinar, that’s a good . . . if you could stand in front of a live audience and talk to 100 people, that’s still good, especially if you’re just getting started. So no matter where you are, you can still use these strategies and you don’t have to buy ads. But the thing is, you’ve got to make an investment somewhere. You’ve either got to invest your time and your sweat where you get your hands dirty and do this stuff, it’s not as glamorous, or you can run ads if you’ve budget to spend on that kind of stuff.

Andrew: Now, then, we go back to the one that I accidentally almost skipped, which is buy ads to reach a new audience. What you guys did, according to my notes, is you advertised a success story for each one of the problems, you did it with a direct call to action, you told 10 stories, your budget was $200 per post for a total of $2000, and each post told the story of one problem.

Robert: That’s right, and all we did was, it was just a normal Facebook post on the fan page, and we hit the boost post at the bottom for $200. Nothing fancy.

Andrew: And this is the kind of thing that you were . . . is this really the ad itself? Now I see what you were talking about earlier where you said a photo with some text. Is it something like this?

Robert: Yes, something like that. But if you have a cat, that’s a different example, but it was similar to that. There were some of them like that but most of them were actually stories, so actually like that story we showed you in the email, but with a better photo like I described before.

Andrew: Image, and you do the full text within the Facebook post, even though it’s long?

Robert: Yep, long copy is good. People read it. People read long copy. They read it. It works really well.

Andrew: So you do that full long text and then you would link back to your landing page, and on your landing page you would get them to register for the webinar.

Robert: Absolutely, absolutely. Now, you can take it to the next level, like, we could have for each one of those different landing pages, we could have had an article that spoke about that problem in more detail, and then had a call to action to come to the webinar after that. So you can do that, but it’s more work. It’s ten times the amount of work. You’re going to write ten more articles and then each of them has to link back to the webinar.

We just found it worked fine. If I was going to run this more often, then you probably wouldn’t need the ten articles so that you’ve got a bit more variety. Otherwise, once those people have seen that ad and then come to the webinar, then you need to kind of mix it up and do different topics.

Andrew: All right. Let’s go to the big board, and the next big thing is to get affiliate partners. These are people who are getting a share of every sale that you make within your webinar.

You approached a big name celebrity and you said, “Hey, would you please promote,” and the celebrity said, “Absolutely” right from the start.

Robert: Yes. It depends on what your relationships are. I don’t want to say you can just call any celebrity up and say hey, please promote, and they’re going to say yes. This was someone that we already had a relationship with for this particular event.

Andrew: Who is the person?

Robert: I can’t say, Andrew. That’s confidential.

Andrew: Are we talking about television celebrity or online celebrity?

Robert: Well, online for this one.

Andrew: Okay.

Robert: I can talk about my business because that’s mine and I can share that. It’s not a private client. For example, what I’ve done is with my book, I’ve deliberately sent my book to a lot of influential people that are around, and what tends to happen is if they get my book, and I send them an Australian hat as well, quite often they’ll actually take a photo with the Aussie hate with corkscrews on it which looks pretty tacky. I will send you a photo of that as well. And then they’ll have the book in their hand and the Aussie hat and they’ll say, “Thanks, Rob. This is a great book,” and they’ll post a link to my book.

Now that works fantastically well, and that’s what spoke pretty well for my book, and that’s one way you can approach it. So there are a lot of different ways you can get it to happen. I’m saying that it’s easy. I’m definitely not saying that that’s easy at all. What’s more traditional is to get traditional affiliate partners. For example . . .

Andrew: You know, what’s that? I can’t pass up what you just said right there, because frankly I’ve been Googling it on the other screen here. I never heard of an Aussie hat. This is what the Aussie hate looks like, with corkscrews just hanging out from it?

Robert: That’s it. Yeah, it’s exactly like that. And the corkscrews, do you know what the corkscrews are for?

Andrew: No.

Robert: They are to kick the flies out of your face.

Andrew: Are you, are you kidding me?

Robert: Yep. So if you got flies, in Australia we’ve got a lot of flies so you can just wear that hat and you can kind of shake your head and get the flies out of your face.
Andrew: Really? It’s not just a joke? It actually is being used in Australia?

Robert: That’s what they’re used, that’s why they do them.

Andrew: Wow. All right. So this is what you were passing out to people, and of course they would take a photo of it and say thank you, I can’t believe you just sent this over.

Robert: And here’s a photo of the book, and you know, it works really well.

Andrew: Okay. Clever idea. I can see how that would work out. How do you get people who are affiliates to start sending traffic to your webinar? What do you do?

Robert: There’s a few different ways. There’s a lot of ways you can do it. The easiest way is to actually, if you promote them first. It’s like the law of reciprocity. If you help someone first, they’re a lot more likely to help you later. That’s the very easiest way to do it, because it’s the lowest friction. Like if I approach anybody and say, “Look, can I introduce you to my audience and kind of promote your work,” nearly every single person is going to say yes. Why would you say no? And then once that’s happened, there’s a bigger chance that they’ll say, “Hey, can you help me as well?” So that works really well.

There’s other ways you can do it as well. The more traditional way is that you have an affiliate manager, and they go and approach 50 or 100 people that are in a similar category to you, and they say, “Look, here’s what our offer is. Here’s the percent of commission that we pay. Here’s the landing page, here’s the [inaudible 00:28:45] copy, would you be open to doing this to your list?” That’s the most traditional way of doing it.

But like I said, there’s a lot more creative ways you can go about it. You can send them something in the mail. You can do a favor for them in advance. And that’s what I prefer to do, rather than going the traditional route of just having all the stats, all the techniques, all the things like that. I just think it’s kind of been slammed, and I’d rather have less affiliate partners but more dedicated ones are better.

Andrew: You might send a gift of a corkscrew hat, not corkscrew, that would be painful. A cork hate, and then you’d follow up and say, “Hey, I’m doing this thing,” or actually even before, you’d offer to email your audience or support them, and then come back and ask.

Robert: That’s right, and that looks a lot better, because if you think about it from the other person’s perspective, like if I went to you, Andrew, and said, “Hey, go to all of your people that Feed a Starving Crowd. Here’s what our stat is . . . ” And you’re like, “Well, I don’t even know you, Rob. I don’t know if your stuff works, I don’t even know if it’s a good product.”

It sounds obvious, but it is important. If the show was on the other foot, you’d want to know more about that person and get to know them a lot better before you promote anyone’s work. It’s the same when you’re approaching anybody. Everyone’s the same. Everyone’s very protective of their database and they only want to be promoting stuff that’s good and that works.

Andrew: You know what? I want to ask about a photo, but I’ve got to tell you, I’m now looking at my screen. I’m looking very dark here for some reason. I wonder if somebody messed with the lights. Let’s try adjusting it.

Robert: Yes, I thought you got a suntan, I thought you’d been hanging on the beach.

Andrew: First of all, I’m always dark. I’m the darkest person in my family. I’ve got a very a white blonde wife and now we have a kid. So she’s very light, I am very dark, even the kid is lighter than me, so I’m walking around like the foreigner in my own house. But I think the light should be helping me out here. I think maybe somebody bumped into the lights and is making me look darker. Let’s adjust them. There we go. I still don’t look European but I look better.

All right. Who is this person who we were just talking, who I was just referencing?

Robert: Yes, this from my book, [inaudible 00:30:46]. This is a TV celebrity in Australia, and she and her twin sister have been featured on a home renovation show here. So what happened was the approached me and asked if I could help them with their online business, and I said, “Look, come in, spend some time in my office and I’ll help you guys out.” So I spent an hour with them. I didn’t charge them for the session, and at the end we took a photo with the book. And then she posted that to her Facebook page and she’s got 188,000 Facebook fans. What worked really well was that I got 1000 downloads in 24 hours just from that one post.

Andrew: Just from this post a thousand people had downloaded.

Robert: One post, 1000 downloads.

Andrew: Downloaded the book.

Robert: That’s how powerful this can be.

Andrew: A thousand people went from this post to this page, went to the bottom or clicked . . .

Robert: And downloaded them. And that’s just one celebrity, just one person. So that’s how powerful this stuff can be. And that’s why I’m saying good relationships, because if I went to her and I said, “Listen, can we do a sponsorship deal where you can endorse my work,” she’s going to say, “Well, okay. Fine. We’re going to spend six months doing contracts and things like that, and there’s going to be a fee.” I said, “Look, come to my office. I’ll help you out. I’ll give you some good tips.” I helped them, they started to do a lot more business online, and then they, as a result, they wanted to say thank you to me. And then they shared my work with their audience. So that worked extremely well for me, and that’s something you can do for a lot of people. You can just help them, and they’ll help you back.

Andrew: I wonder how many people are going to hear me to say FeedAStarvingCrowd.com, go type it in and go download. There’s no way for us to know. That’s my frustration, not just with this, but with podcasting in general. People watch or listen to one of my interviews, and then they’ll remember the url and go back to it. I’d love to get credit. I’d love for an interviewee to say, “I can’t believe it, Andrew. I just did this interview with you and as a result 5000 people downloaded, or even 500 people downloaded it. Somebody.

Robert: Well, Andrew, I ordered five new servers after that last interview because the Mixergy crowd, that’s going to be a hungry audience. I want to make sure that the website holds up.

Andrew: First of all, more than five and reup with cloud flair. Go to the next level of [inaudible 00:32:46].

Robert: I’m going to buy a whole data center, different types.

Andrew: It’s the only way that I’ll feel good about myself. I don’t have naturally feeling good about yourself capabilities. I have to have outward results in the world for me to feel good.

All right. Everybody who’s listening should go over to your site, FeedAStarvingCrowd.come, download it, and then find a way to conspicuously let you know that it’s because of Mixergy. But for now, let’s get back on track here. Use a reminder sequence. I never know how much to do here because, and frankly, I think I sent a reminder the day before, I think I sent a reminder the day of, and then we are going live reminder. That’s three. To me, that felt like a lot. I got emails from people saying I missed it. Why didn’t you tell me? I said dude, I sent three. So what’s the right amount? How do I not irritate people? Or maybe I did the right amount and I should accept it and be okay that some people are always going to complain. What is the right amount of reminders?

Robert: Look, the best way to do this is actually to tell some more stories in the lead-up to the event. We told similar stories to the opt-in sequence, but just kind of made them a little bit shorter, and just reminding people about why it’s going to be so good to come on.

Now, what I’ve also . . . I didn’t do this for this webinar, but I had done this for other webinars and it worked extremely, extremely well. 48 hours before the webinar starts, you send a PDF workbook, and it’s kind of like a fill in the blanks workbook where you have all the bullet points but they need to fill in the blanks when they come to the webinar to learn about what’s happening. The reason why this works so well is because firstly, people get a sneak peek of the content. Secondly, they feel that it’s going to be value, like [inaudible 00:34:27] is going to be a sales pitch. They feel that they’re actually going to learn something. Especially in our space in the marketing space, the number one reason people don’t come to webinars is because they feel it’s going to be just a sales pitch. They’re not going to learn anything. So if you can send them a workbook in advance, then they know that hey, I can learn some stuff here. And I know I’m going to get pitched at the end, but I’m going to learn stuff in the meantime so it’s worth my time to come on.

Andrew: So I’ve just actually seen this done. I would think that a workbook is a big PDF with lots of pages. It’s like I’ve seen four pages of a workbook.

Robert: That’s plenty. I’ve sent two pages, three pages, that’s fine.

Andrew: So we call it a workbook but frankly it could just be a work page, essentially. A work two pages, which I ordinarily wouldn’t think of as a workbook.

Robert: Yeah, like a worksheet, a work page. As long as it, the whole objective isn’t to say, “Look, this is good training. You’re coming here, you’re going to learn some stuff. You’re not going to be pitched through the whole time.”

Andrew: But I know my audience. Some people are just so anal and, God love ’em, that they would sit and write everything in the, that they would fill in the blanks. So if the first step, if I say the first step to doing XYZ is blank, they will fill that out because a lot of people think that way. They think by writing. Frankly, I guess I shouldn’t say that they’re anal. I’m pretty anal, too. I take notes within an interview, otherwise I’m not on track.

All right. So that’s what you mean by it, and it’s a reminder but it’s also a statement that they’re going to learn and it’s something that keeps them involved within the webinar. Give me more. What else? That’s 48 hours before. What else do I need to do to remind people to actually show up?

Robert: What else works really well is an SMS reminder. If you really want to drive your registrations to the next level, you can send two SMS’s. You can send one 24 hours before, and you can send one one hour before.

Andrew: And so you take, here’s one of yours. This is . . . let’s see if I could, I’ll read this again because it’s a text message we’re looking at. It says, “Phone number, don’t forget to join the webinar starting in two hours time. Click here to join.” And then you give a link to it.

Robert: That’s it. It’s just that simple, and it doesn’t need to be anything complex. It’s a text message, they can’t pick up that many things on there, so it’s just simple. And a lot of this stuff doesn’t need to be complex. It’s just about execution and doing it well.

So those are the two things that work. I’ll say the three things. So if you continue to tell stories before the webinar, send them a PDF workbook 48 hours before, and then send a couple of text messages. By doing that, that’s going to maximize the number of people that will come on.

Andrew: But within the last 48 hours all I’m doing is sending a webinar and text messages, or am I also sending an email the day before and the day of?

Robert: Well, you’re sending it 48 hours before, and you can send one out one day before and one hour before. Any more than that, you’re going to start annoying people, and you really don’t want to . . .

Andrew: So three emails within 48 hours plus two text messages.

Robert: Yep, and then if they registered a long time before that, a day or two before that as well, you can also send a couple of stories. And that’s it, because you don’t need to kill people. You want them to know about it, you want them to turn up, but you don’t want to be annoying.

Andrew: All right. Let’s go on now to the very last page, or the very last point here for today, which is to have the right elements on your landing page and your thank you page. Here is this template that you use. A lot of it just seems basic.

Robert: Very basic. Really, really simple.

Andrew: Help me understand what I might ordinarily miss if I were to look at it as a stranger. We intentionally kept this as just the key elements. What are the key elements?

Robert: Like I said, the event title is huge, because what a lot of people will look at is just the event title and make a decision if they’re going to come or not based on that title. Our title for this nutritionist webinar was “What in the World is Wrong With Me?”And the reason that worked so well is that it’s a very common question that people are asking my client. So they resonated that when they saw it.

The next thing was in that little box at the top we had two options for people to join the webinar. We had a 5:00 p.m. option and a 7:00 p.m. option. What blew my mind was that we had an almost equal attendance between both of those two options. I had no idea. I thought that most people would pick the 7:00 because it’s after work, they’d log in at home and watch it then. But we had an almost equal between the 5:00 and the 7:00. Like I said, it blew my mind.

Andrew: And that’s a dropdown menu that you have under, you ask people’s name and you ask their email address, then you have that dropdown menu underneath it.

Robert: Yeah, select the time. And then underneath the description on the left-hand side is we just had those eight bullet points which you showed at the start.

Andrew: There it is, on the left-hand side underneath the date and time, where you would have . . . let me see what those bullet points are. Things like, “I routinely feel bloated. I suffer from PMS. I can’t lose weight, etc.”

Robert: Yep, and then we had a little paragraph under that saying, “If you suffer from any of these symptoms, then you have to attend this webinar.”

Andrew: I see. And that’s what you want. But the key elements it seems like you want us to have two date options, excuse me, have date . . . wait. Have the dates on it and two options for different times.

Robert: Yes, and that’s because this was the first time we were running a webinar to this audience and we didn’t know which time they would want so we offered both. But as you get to know your audience better, you may just find that the majority go for one time, and then you don’t have to offer the two times. But to start with, it’s always good to offer a few different times so you get to know what people want.

Andrew: Here’s something else that you did that I hadn’t thought of. You had a . . . let me see. On the thank you page you had a call to action which asked them to share the event with their friends. What’s the incentive that they have for telling their friends?

Robert: That was huge. Nothing, nothing, but that was huge. That was absolutely huge, because well, we just had, like, there’s a lot of traffic that came to the site where it was shares from Facebook, where it wasn’t actually from the ad, it was from shares. So that was just huge. It was really big, and because I think, especially with this market, people might know friends that have the same kind of problems and they want to help out. See, if me and you were running an event about how to get more traffic to your website, well, I don’t know if that many people are going to go share it on their Facebook wall, or share that with their friends. So it depends on the market, but for that market it worked extremely well.

Andrew: Anything else that you want us to have on that confirmation page? I’m guessing a way for them to add the event to their calendars is helpful.

Robert: Yes, absolutely, that works as well. We had that there and that was about it. It wasn’t too complex. A lot of people are starting to get more fancy with this, and they’re putting videos on that landing page, and then even trying to make a pitch on that page. I haven’t done that personally myself so I can’t attest to the results, but I’d imagine it did do okay.

Andrew: Okay. All right. And there it is. We’ve covered so many different topics here today, or so many different steps to getting people to come to our webinar. Let me ask you this, Robert. If we were to do everything here on this big board and everything that you just talked about here today, what’s the one place where, one thing that might keep us from having a big audience for our event? Where is the one place where we’ll likely to make a mistake?

Robert: It’s the first one. It’s identifying the pain points, because if you’re running a webinar about a topic that no one cares about, then who’s going to come? You can do all these other things perfectly, but if the topic is not good then no one’s going to come. That’s why I wrote my book, Feed a Starving Crowd, because all the reason people don’t see it online is not because they’re not following the tactics or the strategies, it’s you’re selling something that no one wants. And so unless you really know those pain points, then all this other stuff doesn’t mean anything.

Andrew: All right. Well, thank you so much for walking us through it. I’ve seen that that’s actually a problem or a challenge throughout, finding the pain points of your customers whether you’re trying to get them to come to a webinar, trying to create a product that’s an information product, or trying to create software for them, wherever it is, the more you understand people’s pain, the more you can address it and give them a product that they’re dying to bye.

That is also one of the key ideas that you’ve been talking about. If people want to see how you market and learn from you, they can come to your website, FeedAStarvingCrowd.com and buy the book. It’s actually free. Is there shipping and handling, or something else about the download that we need to know?

Robert: The eBook is for free, and the physical book is $9.00 shipping worldwide.

Andrew: Here, I’m going to hit the download button. Let me see what the next step is on your site.

Robert: Oh, fantastic. Now I can spare you, Andrew.

Andrew: This is one simple tweak to just put . . . I hit pause on this because you and I are now talking, and then find my major business . . . actually, I shouldn’t be revealing this. People should just be going over to your site and seeing your marketing plan step by step. I like to actually see what you’re up to just because I’m curious about how you do it. Oh, this is . . . hey, what software are you using to do these multiple choice questions?

Robert: Gravity Forms on WordPress.

Andrew: That’s just Gravity Forms, where as soon as I click it, it automatically goes to the next page?

Robert: I’ve got a good a developer, Andrew.

Andrew: You really do. I love Gravity Forms. I use it all the time. I just didn’t realize that you can do it so that as soon as people click . . . oh, that is beautiful. I would pay just to learn how to do that. All right. Never mind. This has been great to have you up on the site. I’m so glad to have you teach this. I’m looking forward to hearing people use it, and frankly, I’m looking forward to using this myself because I know how powerful webinars still are. Are they still hot, or is it one thing that people have overdone?

Robert: In the internet marketing space they’re a bit harder to fill up. I’m running one in a couple of hours. I still work quite well for my audience, but in the internet marketing space it is harder to get these massive, massive numbers because think of what a market’s have kind of screwed it up. But in other audiences, these guys have never, for the business webinar, a lot of people never heard what a webinar was at the time, because it’s some industries don’t even know what a webinar is, so there’s this [inaudible 00:44:11] for it’s Greenfields, and sadly now industry is being slammed. But you can still do them and do quite well.

Andrew: I feel like in the internet marketing space everything gets slammed like that.

Robert: Marketers ruin everything.

Andrew: No, they help get people to come buy products which means that they fuel businesses. All right. But this is still effective outside of the internet marketing space. I’m curious to see how it works for people in our audience and I like the way you think in general. A lot of these ideas apply for marketing outside of webinars, like finding people’s pain points, buying ads based on them, and etc. A lot of this applies outside.

I’m so proud to have you on here. The website of course is FeedAStarvingCrowd.com. Robert, thanks for being on Mixergy again.

Robert: Thanks, Andrew.

Robert: You bet. Thank you all for being a part of Mixergy. Bye, everyone.

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