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S: In this episode of Marketing Speak, we are going to geek out on automation. We are going to scale your business. We’re going to learn about Infusionsoft, tools that integrate with Infusionsoft, marketing campaigns, indoctrination sequences, membership sites, online courses, and a ton more. I have Melodie Moore with us, she’s the founder of Business Tech Ninjas which specializes in creating membership sites that deliver content in an effective and efficient way to its members. Welcome, Melodie.
M: Happy to be here.
S: Let’s talk about systems because you’re a big proponent of systems and you’ve seen lots of big failures, launches and things where they didn’t have everything set up, all the docs were not in the row. What are some of your best tips around avoiding mistakes and mishaps with scaling and growth in terms of systems?
M: Usually people will come to us after a launch has gone wrong in some way or another and they’re like, “Okay, I’m not going to have this happen ever again” kind of idea. The fundamental thing, I really just like to keep it simple and to make it as the least amount of complication as possible. From that, we look at what’s already happening. We just walk through it very, very logically. I have to say that what I do is probably not all that glamorous. It’s a lot more fun to be the launch first and I have to do all the conversions and everything but we look at what people are already doing and say how can we use technology to automate this? Also, to think about what people are going to need before they actually need it from the customer’s side. When you’re speaking about membership sites, just really thinking through like, “Okay, they’re going to do this and then they’re going to want this, this or this. How do we make that really easily accessible for them?”
S: You actually go in and audit people’s systems, their membership sites and various other things. In fact, you’ve done that for me. You’ve audited my membership site and provided me with a lot of great feedback and found some areas for improvement, let’s just say. What’s your auditing process and what sort of stuff do you cover with the membership site or with an Infusionsoft set up, they’ve got campaigns and ecommerce and all that? How’s all the auditing thing go?
M: The auditing part is probably one of my favorite parts that I do. I don’t know if you’ve ever met someone that just loves to see how things are working. It’s almost like a puzzle.
S: I totally resonate with that and relate to that. I would figure stuff out as a teenager, I scrounged for an alternator for a car that I bought for $65. I got it from a friend who’s going to junk it and then I got the alternator from a junkyard and I installed it myself. Then two years later I’m like, “I want to get a satellite dish but I don’t want to pay a lot of money for it.” I found an FAQ on the internet and was able to get it for almost nothing. I love figuring out these kinds of puzzles. I get you.
M: It’s totally fulfilling. To have it like, “Oh yes! I did that.” Really, we always come back to that fundamental question of just keeping it simple and going down the fundamentals and just thinking through things logically. We always usually start off at the Infusionsoft level. I’m working with membership sites which use Infusionsoft. One of the key things that we look for is is someone running a recurring membership site which is kind of all the rage right now, that whole passive income stream. I have a couple of clients who do very, very well. They’re in the million plus club and we have this ongoing joke, it’s like, “That passive income that I don’t have to do anything for.” They all have teams of like ten people or whatever.” It’s like a funny little joke between us. But looking at their payment failures, that’s one of the most common things—that’s the first thing I’ll look for in a membership site that has recurring payments of any sort, whether it’s a payment plan or a monthly payment, how many people are paying and still have access to the site. You wouldn’t believe how many sites do this. Infusionsoft is so powerful but it’s really easy to miss little things like that. That’s one of the fundamental things we’ll look at. And also just monitoring what people are doing when they get into your site, are they actually logging in? It’s a pretty basic question but a lot of people just don’t know it. There’s a setting within Memberium where you can track the last log in, you can tag people when they log in. You can really do some really, really cool automation. Let’s say, if someone joins and they don’t log in for a week, two weeks, or a month, however long you want to set it, you set some automation to send some emails to re-engage them. Because ultimately, if they purchase something from you and they’ve never logged in, then they’re probably not going to be terribly happy with what they’ve purchased.
S: And they’re not going to stick around for very long.
M: No. They’re probably not going to buy anything else from you. It’s really advantageous to make sure that they log in again. We’ve worked with some clients where it’s like a one time set fee for a course and they’re not going to sell them anything else. They’re like, “We don’t really care that much if they log in or not.” Okay, fair enough. From that point, one of the most common and most effective things that we’ll do specifically for those recurring monthly memberships is a feature welcome. With the monthly memberships, they usually have lots of stuff in there, that’s the whole purpose of getting someone to pay monthly. We’ll do a seven-day welcome of maybe three or four emails which are very specific on one thing in the membership site that they might really want, they might really want to see, they might really want to understand, they might really want to consume and where to find it. This just kind of makes it a little bit more consumable for the person that just entered this membership site.
S: It’s like a new member orientation.
M: Yeah. Indoctrination is another word for it. Indoctrination is commonly seen when people just enter your system in general but I think there’s a specific one directly for each membership level as well.
S: Okay. Let’s unpack some of this. You had mentioned Memberium as one tool for running a membership site. Is that the best tool out there or are there better ones or just as good ones that you recommend as well?
M: It’s that best tool I found. I’m constantly on the lookout. I love information. If you take the personality—I forgot what personality test it was. But I’m someone that just loves to consume information and find out more about different things. I’m constantly on the lookout, okay is there something better with this?
S: That tool that you might be thinking of, is it StrengthsFinder?
M: It was StrengthsFinder.
S: You’re a learner, right?
S: Me too. It’s a great test, I love that test.
M: I make my employees go through it now too.
S: Me too.
M: I pay the $40 for them because it’s so helpful.
S: $40? It’s only $15. You just buy the book and then it comes with the code.
M: Oh, because in Canada the book’s like $40.
S: Oh really? You can buy it off Amazon US for $15.
M: Man, I’ve just saved so much money. I’ll just buy them in bulk now. The book’s very good, it’s a short read too. I think it’s helpful to have the book as well.
S: You can get in Kindle edition. You can give them the Kindle copy and then the code comes with the Kindle edition as well as if you get a hardbound.
M: That’s really helpful.
S: Yeah. I’ll put links in the shownotes for listeners as well. If you are interested in this StrengthsFinder assessment, taking it yourself or giving it to your staff, definitely check the show notes on marketingspeak.com. Melodie, continue.
M: Oh, best tools. I’m constantly on the lookout in testing other services and products. I can’t tell you how much money I invest in buying these softwares just because the technology’s moving so quickly. I feel like when someone comes to us, when a client comes to us, they’re paying us to say, “Hey, I want you to give me your best recommendations, not to give the recommendations that you’re comfortable with, the things that you know really well but what is really going to best serve my business needs.” A part of that is going and experimenting with other softwares. I’ve treated this as much as possible. Obviously, I’m most familiar with Memberium and Infusionsoft but I’m constantly on the lookout for other programs. I’m yet to come across one. I have a pretty solid text doc that I have for building membership sites. I’m always improving upon it but the Infusionsoft and Memberium combination I find to just be the winner right now.
M: Ambition Ally too.
S: Okay. Anything that I’m missing that are big ones?
M: CustomerHub. Infusionsoft is not promoting it too much but there’s still quite a few people on it. There’s also lots of different plugins that would just go right on your WordPress website that don’t necessarily sync with Infusionsoft that you could use as well. There’s two different ways of thinking about a membership site setup. There’s some sites—I’m trying to think of some off the top of my head—that are almost like template membership sites. It’s not on your own domain or anything. You basically log in to their service and then you can put your own content in.
S: That’s like a SaaS model software or service.
S: For example you have an online course-based membership site, you might want to use Thinkific.
M: That’s a great example of one. There’s benefits and drawbacks to both. I don’t think there’s ever any perfect solution. I keep waiting for that day. But there’s just benefits and drawbacks to both ideas. If we think of the top level of the Thinkific option where it is more of a SaaS model, you login, you can put your own content in there. The benefit of that is that you can get it running really quickly. They usually have a check out built right in it. It’s a pretty smooth process. It’s nice because it’s just easy. You don’t need as much customization as you would with other options which is building your membership site on a WordPress website, which is where anything like WishList—CustomerHub is more of a SaaS model actually. WishList, Memberium, any of the WordPress plugins, they’ll all live on your own WordPress website. I’ll find a lot of the times, clients will start off with that kind of pre-done one and then once they reach a certain level of growth, they’d be like, “Okay, I really want to be able to do this. I really want to be able to email my people too. Maybe I want those contacts to go to my own CRM. I don’t want the company to own them.” It just comes very, very naturally. I do recommend starting small and improving your model. I’m a big fan of The Lean Startup.
S: By Eric Ries, right?
M: Eric Ries, yeah. He’s a big proponent of the “don’t invest more than $2000 before you prove it.” I’m a huge fan of that because it sucks when we build out this amazing membership for someone, it’s not cheap, they assume that, “Okay, I’ve got this course content and I think people are going to love it. I know that people are going to love this content and then lo and behold, we do all the sales pages, we build out the site and yes, we’re ready to launch.” And maybe five people buy it. It’s not even enough to get their expenses back. It kills me a little bit. I really want people to succeed with what we do. We’ve gone more of a model that if someone doesn’t already have a membership site, just try putting it out there, try running some live webinars instead or going to something like Thinkific and making your investment a little bit lower and just put it out there and get people to give you money for it before investing in something like a full WordPress build out which is where you use Memberium and WordPress. The benefit to that is that you own your content. It’s all yours, you pay for hosting, and it’s very customizable. There’s very little that we can’t do, it just comes down to the question of how much does this matter to you and how much do you want to spend on it.
S: I know that Frank Kern would recommend that you don’t even build your online course or information product until you sold it and confirm there’s a market for it, then, you quickly build it. Instead of building it and then hope it sells and very few people buy it and then you end up not even like you said, covering your cost.
M: It’s painful to watch. It’s really painful.
S: What do you think of that model of not even building it until you’ve sold enough copies of it or enough seats that it warrants building it?
M: I think it’s a great idea. There is some danger in that too that you don’t put as much effort into it just to make sure that you’re still giving it 100% when you do that. I like the whole webinar model because it’s something that—if it’s more like you’re telling them, “Okay, you’re going to have access to a membership site and log in.” Kind of promising the sky and you’re going to build it out when they’ve purchased it. How long is that going to take? I’m thinking about that from the customer perspective of, “Am I going to have to wait for six months? What’s going to happen within that six-month time period?” There’s some danger there. I like the webinar model where maybe you do promise them a login and everything to your site but you say, “In the meantime, we’re going to have a series of six webinars. We’re going to go over the content and they’re going to be recorded, and they’re going to be accessible in the membership site when we launch it,” just to make sure that we don’t get that buyer’s remorse happening.
S: Do you have your own membership site?
M: We do. It’s for clients only. We offer services, we do monthly services. A lot of what we do on the backend is around training internal staff and just making sure people know how to use what we build. It’s been one of the biggest challenges that we found both for ourselves and also for our clients, it’s just finding people that know what they’re doing and that care. Trying to be able to train people up internally and then also training my own staff so that we can support people. When we make a training for a client, let’s say, “How do you add this button?” Then we record it and it’s accessible through their specific company log in.
S: Okay. That makes sense. Do you also have checklists or other kinds of documentation for training staff on these different systems?
M: That’s something we’re in the process of building. You read my mind. A lot of that is around if someone wants to build up their own site. It’s not rocket science by any means. Anyone can do it, it’s just how much time do you have, and how much do you want to invest in this? Things like what you’re talking about with checklists are really, really helpful. We’re in the process of working on a new offering which is a little bit of a lower dollar value on what we would charge for a full customized membership site which is mostly for people that already have a membership site that are looking to make it better or improve upon it, but our lower end offering is more targeted at people that are just starting out a little bit and doing it more on their own. For a lot of that, we’re providing checklists and things.
S: I think checklists are huge, really valuable. In fact, checklists save lives. I don’t know if you’ve heard about the study that was done where they instituted a checklist in these different hospitals because people were dying in the hospitals from infections. It was just a lack of attention to detail in terms of sterilizing and not putting on the same gloves and all that sort of stuff. The institute’s checklists and deaths from infections went way down. The guy who invented this checklist is a miracle worker. He saved all these lives. Checklists save lives. I’m thinking in terms of when you do an initial audit and let’s take the point that you made earlier about payment failures. You find that people are still getting access to the site even though they have stopped paying because there were some sort of issue with maybe an API or their credit card got hit too many times in a row then it stopped allowing it through or whatever. In a checklist, you could have a regular check of look for payment failures, make sure that people who have hit some sort of block, didn’t allow them to run their card, they get outreached to via email or a phone call or what have you, and you just have these regular checklists for daily, weekly, monthly, to keep the retention high and customer satisfaction high and avoid missing out on opportunities.
M: With Infusionsoft, you can have those reports and generate it on your dashboard too. Once a month, you really look into it and you dig into it once a week. It’s nice just to have that information easily accessible. We have a search that gets flagged for clients from when someone purchases. Someone buys a membership and then their email turns to be invalid. Most common case of this is gmail.co instead of gmail.com. That’s a really easy fix for an admin person just to go in there and put that m on the com. We have those as saved search on the dashboard for when they log in and if they see some there they just go through them but it’s another great checklist item as well.
S: Do you go on and create customized dashboards for each of your clients in Infusionsoft?
M: Yeah. We work around where they’re at in their business. We have like with higher end clients there’s a lot around retention. When are people dropping off, they’ll generally have a monthly model idea. Lower end one, keeping track of where they are and it’s more of a handheld service. It really depends on the client but the most common ones that we see more often are the payment failure ones, the checking of the emails, and how people are logging in, and then of course the standard, how many members do we have, how many member cancelled back at you.
S: Having a recurring revenue stream from a membership site or some sort of ongoing offer, so they’re paying monthly instead of paying one time, is just good business and yet we end up with potential issues like payment failures, their credit card expires and you can’t run the card anymore, that sort of stuff. Any tips or tricks for the kinds of payment gateways that you want to use over other ones or APIs. Do you want to use WePay, do you want to use PayPal, Venmo?
M: Paypal’s not recommended for subscriptions. We’ve never done any work with PayPal subscriptions. Their API is just a little painful. We’ll leave it at that. If you Google PayPal subscriptions, then you’ll find just a ton of blog articles which go into exact detail of why that is. I don’t really have any preference around processors. I’m based in Canada. A lot of our clients are in the US, and then the UK. They are on different bank rates with different banks. What processor works the best for them really depends on what rates they’re already at, what bank they’re with, what country they’re in. I don’t really have a preference over anyone in particular but definitely it’s something, especially when you’re into the higher quantities that you really want to spend some time maybe becoming friends with your processor. You’ve heard about the launches where the processor just shuts them down halfway between because they’ve done too many sales. They’re a victim of their own success at that point.
S: Any particular processor that you would recommend? Because I know that can be really tricky, especially if you have a certain percentage of chargebacks. Some are very unforgiving and they’ll lock up your funds and that could really be awful. You won’t have access to it for months. I’ve heard lots of horror stories as well.
M: I don’t have any preference specifically. We worked with Infusionsoft almost exclusively now and there’s only a list of eight that we can use out of Infusionsoft that will integrate directly. Generally, when we’re working through that with a client, we’ll take all eight and then we’ll start just crossing them off based on which ones makes sense for them, and also what bank they’re with because we want to look at—because some banks will offer better rates with certain processors. Authorize.Net is probably one of the market leaders but they’re a little bit more expensive. WePay is really popular as well. Lots of people use Stripe and then have an integration. I don’t think you can use Stripe automatically with Infusionsoft but I think there is an option where you can somehow—I haven’t done one of those but I have seen that kind of mailing about as an option.
S: I’m using WePay with my Infusionsoft. I also use Memberium. As you know, since you’ve had a look under the hood—let’s move on, let’s say you have some online course type content inside of let’s say you’re using Memberium so it’s inside the Memberium membership site. It’s not ideal to just be solely reliant on Memberium because if you want to incentivize people to complete the course, you want to acknowledge them completing different modules and giving them quizzes to take and that sort of stuff. Memberium isn’t really setup for all of that. It’s not a learning management system or LMS, it’s just a membership site. You can add an LMS on top of that. Let’s talk about that for a minute. What are your recommendations there and why?
M: That’s one of the key things that people don’t understand when they come to us. They don’t really get what Memberium is and what it does. It kind of just speaks to what you were just saying. Just to kind of reiterate that, I think it’s really important that people understand that Memberium isn’t designed to be like learning management system. Its functionality is the connection between Infusionsoft and your WordPress website to say what can people see and what can people not see. What Memberium’s done very, very well is it plays well with others. I have a joke where I’m like, “Microsoft plays well with others. Apple does not.” Just to kind of give you an analogy for that where it’s like your Apple device only works with very, very specific things whereas Microsoft is a little bit more open source. What Memberium has done within their developers in the way that they’ve coded everything is they made it very easy for other plugins to integrate. When we come back to the learning management system, my favorite is LearnDash. I think it’s fantastic. The features and things that I can do with it are amazing. Their support’s great. It has a lot of additional add-ons that you can do with it which speaks to what you were just saying of what we call gamification where they complete a course or they complete a lesson or they comment when they do something or when they take some sort of action, they can get a badge. You can update their custom fields so they could access to something else. It really allows you to have that curated content where it’s like, “Complete lesson one. Complete lesson two. Complete lesson three,” kind of idea. They also have quizzes. One of the things that people seem to love is certificates. At the end of your course, you upload—in the backend, on the admin side, you have a PDF version of your certificate and you upload it to LearnDash, and when a user goes in and completes that course, what we could do with LearnDash is actually put their name and the date they completed it and we could add also custom fields to it too. They can print that out right away. It’s a totally nice user experience from that. I don’t know if you’ve ever done a course and you’ve completed it and it’s like, “Oh, hey Sally at course.com, can you send me my certificate?” Which is never a fun experience. Another really common learning management system is WPEP which is quite good as well, different style. They’re kind of chopping it, LearnDash’s heels right now. I think they’re making some really good games and what they’re developing and what they’re building out and some other plugins that they have on there. The main difference between the two is that WPEP is more of a checklist. It’s better for simpler courses and I think you’ll actually probably like it because you do seem to love the checklist.
S: Yes, I do.
M: You can click on the name of we’ll call it a lesson for lack of a better word and then it drops down, you go through the video, you read the content and you just go check it off all on one page. Whereas with LearnDash, you will view the course, go into lesson one which takes you to a new page, you watch the video, you do the content, you mark it complete and you go to another page with lesson two or topic one or something along those lines.
M: I’ve played with both ActiveCampaign and ONTRAPORT. It comes down to what my clients are looking for specifically and I typically work with customers who are around 500,000 to over 1,000,000, sometimes more than that, sometimes up to 10,000,000 or 20,000,000. Their main goal is systemization and stability and being able to see the whole customer journey in one place. What I found with ActiveCampaign is it’s a great tool. I recommended it to clients who aren’t quite ready for Infusionsoft and that still allows the email automation. There’s an ActiveCampaign in Memberium option as well. When I was building out some ActiveCampaign stuff for some clients, we had to just do so much research into, “Okay, what shopping cart do we use now?” Some people will use an additional shopping cart with Infusionsoft but out of the box, we could just use their shopping cart, their order forms, it’s no problem. Are they perfect? No, but they work, they’re functional. It’s just like other things, “Now, we need an affiliate thing. Which affiliate one do we use?” It was the research and time to figure out the affiliate portion and it was like every little thing. We had to find a new something to integrate with it. I understand that for people that are just starting out or smaller companies, they don’t need all of that. They just need something that can do email marketing automation, maybe sell something. But with a lot of the clients that I work with, they’re using all of those features so it makes sense to have an all-in-one solution. ONTRAPORT, I’ve played around with. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert at it by no means. Again, I absolutely have a bias. I love Infusionsoft. I think it’s fantastically powerful. I’ve been into ONTRAPORT and I just didn’t find that I could do all of the things I could do with Infusionsoft in the same way. They have a built-in membership option with Entrepot but it’s really basic. I’m a little bit of a nerd. I like to break stuff and figure out new ways to do things. I just didn’t see that kind of opportunity with ONTRAPORT.
S: Got you. Infusionsoft is really well integrated in terms of it’s got a CRM, it has a shopping cart, it has an affiliate system, it has all the stuff built in as well as a great third-party tool set community so you can pull from a lot of different options. What would be some of your favorite third-party plugins or addons for Infusionsoft?
M: My favorite would probably be AppointmentCore. AppointmentCore is, as you might have guessed, is to help you schedule appointments. I think I probably sent you one at one point in time where it basically gives access to my Google calendar. Not that people can see that it’s my Google calendar but it shows just appointment, options. You can limit how many slots show up so that it doesn’t look like you’ve got all the free time in the world. Then, you can trigger automation within Infusionsoft to send out your own reminders or tag them or whatever else you’d like. There’s a lot of customizability there and also the display of it is really good. I find it a really good solution and it’s fairly easy to set up. We do educational consulting calls for people that are at a smaller place, not as developed companies. Our clients that we work with on a regular basis are at that 500 million plus mark but I don’t think that people that are just starting out or maybe don’t have that kind of level of income yet should be denied access to really quality service. We do educational consulting calls where the responsibility of actually completing things is put on the business owner but we’ll go through it in detail on the call and then you follow up things they do themselves and sometimes we’ll come back and we’ll go over it together. But we’re able to set up AppointmentCore in less than an hour and get it integrated. One of the more common times that we’ll see AppointmentCore used is with coaches. Those are the recurring coach companies that they have them scheduled, they buy three calls or they do a call a month, that kind of idea of just sending out that booking link, making sure that they book their calls. It also allows them to cancel it which is a really, really nice functionality as well.
S: I use ScheduleOnce, I don’t use AppointmentCore. I’ve had good luck with that tool as well and others.
M: Very similar.
S: There are a bunch of them out there, Calendly and so forth. I find that ScheduleOnce is pretty flexible and it allows me to integrate with Infusionsoft. It allows me to integrate with easy webinar and with GoToWebinar. I use PlusThis as well. You’re pretty familiar with PlusThis?
M: I love PlusThis.
S: Do you want to share a little bit of why our listeners would want to use PlusThis potentially?
M: There’s nothing that PlusThis does that you couldn’t hire a programmer to do for you. That’s when it comes down to. If you had the desire, you could hire a programmer and they could make all the things happen that Plus This allows you to do. The challenge with that is you always have to become dependent on your programmer. With anyone on the call, maybe yourself has worked with programmers, they’re not always the most dependable bunch. PlusThis gives you opportunities and things that you can do which InfusionSoft doesn’t innately do. We just finished a launch. One of the features that we recently used was that, it comes back to the membership sites, was that when someone has a payment failure, people are sent out call reminders which is a zoom link. Zoom’s another one of my favorite add-ons. What we use PlusThis was if they have the payment failure tag and they click on the call link, it won’t take them to the call, it’ll take them to the, “Hey, there’s been some things gone wrong with your card page on the membership site,” which I thought is a really cool functionality. That’s a functionality where it says what tag do they have on their profile and then send them to this landing page or outlanding page. What’s the date is another common one, calculating two times between two dates. They do it so that you can track how far someone watches into a video. I’d say a majority of my clients use PlusThis at this point. It just allows you to do a lot more. If you go to their site, they’ll list it all out there and you’ll probably get super excited and start using things that maybe you don’t need. It’s a lot of fun.
S: Shiny objects, right? I use PlusThis for one thing, to integrate my Infusionsoft with my GoToWebinar.
M: It works for Zoom as well.
S: What about other types of integration gateway type tools like Zapier or IFTTT. Anything to say about any of those tools?
M: I like Zapier. I do get a little nervous with it because I hear whispers of it not always firing which makes me a little bit nervous but I haven’t had any direct experience with that, I just heard whispers of it. It seems pretty reliable. You can’t do as much conditional stuff if you actually had a built integration but I think for a lot of the plugins that haven’t done their integrations then that’s great. There’s another one, I can’t remember the name of it now, which works specifically upon email where you can make it so that you can have another service. A lot of services and a lot of technologies will send out a good confirmation email when someone does something. What this service will do, forgive me, the names are escaping me right now, what it will do is it will pull the information from that and then you can then put it into Infusionsoft and create a contact if you’d like.
S: Okay, cool. How about texting people who are maybe not on the webinar yet and it’s like five minutes before, two minutes before, and you send a text reminder.
M: I really like PlusThis for that. There are tools out there that will specifically do texting. I find the set up with the PlusThis texting to be really, super simple and I have never really found that I need the features in one of the full built out text options. I’m sure that there’s people that could use them. I just haven’t found an instance for it yet. The pricing on it is really reasonable. They use a third-party app. The charges you get per text message are fairly low because it’s just like it’s a service that you’re paying for outside of PlusThis. I think it’s like two cents a text or something. Plus This has got integration on those functionalities including the amount of money you’re paying per month for PlusThis.
S: Very cool. What about receiving texts? One of the things I do from stage when I’m speaking is I’ll have people whip out their phone and text a short code and then they’ll get something awesome for that like a chapter from one of my books or a checklist or a worksheet or some sort of buyer’s guide or how to guide or something like that, or a whole bundle of things. That works much better than just sending them to a website address to opt in or a squeeze page sort of thing or an email address. There’s just more uptake when they’re able to send a text message.
M: PlusThis will do that and one of the features that I really like about it is that you can start asking them questions after they opt in which I thought was just so super smooth and slick. They text in, boom, then it’s like, “Oh, hey, thanks for opting in.” If they do want to get something out of this, you do need their name and email address in order to send it. It’s like, “Okay, what’s your name?” They respond back and give you their name. “Okay, what’s your email address?” They respond back with their email address. I was like, “Okay, I’ve just sent it to you. Check your email box. It’s from whatever email address, whatever, whatever, whatever. Text me back if you need any help with it.” Then you get more deep with it and say like, “Oh, so what are you struggling most with?” Then just start asking them questions. The really neat thing about this is that Plus This allows you to actually put that whole transcript on their custom, on their Infusionsoft profile. If one of your question indicates maybe they’re a good candidate for your high-end coaching service, then when your sales person’s calling them, they’re going to get that whole transcript or that whole text conversation right on their profile which I think is just super powerful and smooth. When texting first started to get games and popularity, the overall assumption is that people would text in boom to whatever number and then they get a text message back where it’s like, “Click here and opt in.” I just felt it’s such a disconnect to me. The whole text message thing kind of lost me a little bit there. It’s annoying and I don’t want to have to go to a website. Maybe I don’t have my data enabled. But with that response back where you can say, “Okay, what’s your name? What’s your first name? What’s your last name? What’s your email?” I text all that. I don’t need to go to a website. I just found that process a lot smoother for me personally, and also more effective for clients we’ve done it with.
S: I do that myself. I first ask for the email address because if the conversation trails off, at least I got their email. If I don’t have their first name, it’s not the end of the world. But if I have the first name, last name and they didn’t bother with the email on the third step then I’m kind of out of luck. Even though I have PlusThis, I use Leadpages for that. It’s got a Leaddigits tool that allows you to do short code and all of that. I like it. I haven’t tried using PlusThis instead for that particular functionality. I was using Instant Customer which became TPNI Engage.
M: It just rolls right off the tongue.
S: Exactly. Mike Koenigs sold Instant Customer to another company, new name. Anyways, I’ve switched from Instant Customer to Leadpages. I was already using Leadpages and I just switched to using the Leaddigits service which was part of the advanced offering which I was paying for.
M: Might as well use it then.
S: Might as well. I use a lot of the capabilities, the lead pages, lead boxes, I really like that where you don’t start asking for the user to fill in the form yet, you have that big orange button for them to click on that says “give me my free report or whatever” and they click on it and then a motobox shows up and then it asks for the first name and email with the progress meter saying, “Hey, you’re 50% of the way.” That tends to work really well. I like it better than just having that form right there into the web page because now you’re just saying, “Give me some information before I give you this cool thing,” whereas you have a button there instead, “You get this cool thing” or “I want my cool thing.” Another thing too, I learned this from Syed Balkhi, was another guest on a previous episode, formulate your buttons, especially your opt in, things on your popups in first person. Give me my free report instead of get your free report.
M: It’s personal.
S: It was how people think. You get that little voice in their head that’s reading out loud and they’re like, “give me my free report.”
S: Are you familiar with Leadpages? And if so, what are your thoughts about it?
M: I’ve worked with Leadpages in the past. Our work is mostly on the backend so we don’t do really any front end stuff as far as conversion pages and landing pages except for maybe a few clients. I don’t have an extensive experience with it. I do like it a lot. It’s sometimes a little bit pricier than some other options out there but it’s very stable. They’ve improved their UX not too long ago. I didn’t like it for a while just because it was very limited of what you could do with their landing pages but they’ve improved that quite a bit over the last year and a half or so which made the functionality of it quite good. It sounds like a good solution and also if it’s integrated with your landing pages then that’s great. I’d be curious to see on that popup option—I love stats and numbers, I’m huge on stats and numbers and how granular it can get to see what’s happening. Let’s not just assume and guess things, what’s actually happening here. With that clicking on the button on the page, I’d really love to know how many people made it to the page and how many people ended up clicking on that button, and how many people clicked on that button and actually gave their contact information. I like that granularity of data so I’d be curious to see if you could see that.
S: I agree. I think that you don’t just assume that something’s better because it sounds good or it makes sense. Test it. You could do a test where you start with the form like everybody else does and then you switch to a lead box and don’t change anything else and see what the impact is in terms of the lead volume coming in. That’d be an interesting test. Another thing too with Leadpages and the Lead Digit service is that with that back and forth of, “Now, tell me what your first name is and now tell me this and tell me that,” where you could have a text message conversation, that gets stored in the database as well and you could integrate Leadpages with Infusionsoft. You’re keeping track of that just like with PlusThis. You’ve got that whole conversation, you’re storing all this data in the CRM in Infusionsoft even though you’re collecting it through Leaddigits. Different strokes for different folks.
M: There’s no perfect solution for everyone.
S: Yeah, and multiple solutions can solve the problem. One other thing that I want to bring up in this conversation around the back and forth over messaging is that Facebook messenger has really grown in popularity and people are starting to market through bots in Facebook messenger. Any favorite tools there?
M: It’s not really my area of expertise. I love going to all the digital marketer conferences and just talking with really incredibly smart people. I know some friends of mine have very strong opinions on that. I wouldn’t say I know enough about it to give an opinion on it. I’m curious if you had any experience with it?
M: We’ll often see that especially with the monthly recurring membership levels that there will be some sort of live call included with it. There’s some really, really cool stuff we can talk about how to kind of get to get people to stick around. One of them is those calls. I’ve also seen that there’s two levels in membership where one level of membership is maybe a super low value like $9.95. It just gives access to the actual recordings whereas if you upgrade and you get the premium version, then you get access to not only to the recordings but you can actually be on live at the course or on the webinar. It’s a nice way to do a soft upsell. It’s easier at $7.95 than it is at $17, or $27 or $57. Frank Kern is running his membership site at $3.95 right now which is high for a monthly recurring but he’s really going after that less is more kind of idea. Because there’s an upkeep on having a membership site and maintaining that and people lose their passwords. A client that can afford the $3.95 membership site is not usually as needy as the person that’s paying $29.95. It’s really funny. I feel like it’s a phenomenon of some sort. I’m sure you’ve seen this with your client work as well. The clients that want to pay less money end up being asking for more, needing more whereas if the clients that are ready and willing to pay more money tend to be less needy and have more expectations that are more in line with what you can actually do.
S: I agree. High maintenance people. The less money they spend, the more handholding they want.
M: It’s funny, right?
S: Yeah. My membership site is $97 a month. I have weekly jam session calls with one of my team, one of my SEO people. We’ll manage that and people come in with their questions. If they don’t have questions then my consultant might have a topic that they’ll dive into. All of those are recorded and you can go back to the archives of that. That’s really a value add for a membership site. But the problem I see with that is so few people, like such a small percentage, will show up. It’s the same people that show up every time. The other people are just checked out, hardly ever logged in to even look at the online courses or any other stuff, private Facebook group, any of that. It’s frustrating. I’m sure this is not an uncommon problem.
M: Not at all. No. We’re always looking at these different challenges. It’s getting them to consume content and actually getting them to take action because they’re paying $97 a month so they want some sort of outcome but then they’re not taking the actions to get that outcome. One of the best ways I’ve seen to help that is really providing that community aspect and that’s something digital marketers have done incredibly well. I pay for their $47 or whatever how much money it is, just to be in their Facebook group.
S: Me too, me too.
M: I don’t think I’ve logged in and done one of their trainings and how long but I’m totally happy they keep paying that $47 a month just because of the community, because of the caliber of people and the conversations that happen in that group. I don’t actually attend any of their webinars but I know lots of people, especially when they’re first starting out, they do and they’re posting them in the Facebook group and everything else like that. I’m trying to give a different motivator to actually get people to show up. I might just be that, I guess you transitionally end up being around the content writing the questions.
S: Digital marketers, their private Facebook group is called DM Engage. That’s the community. The service that you sign up for is DM Lab. I think it’s $40 something a month. I just keep paying month after month after month even though I never even use hardly the Facebook group these days, I’m so busy. I guess those are the kind of clients you want. I prefer people who have some level of participation too but if they’re happy to keep paying and they see the value even if they’re not partaking in the value, that’s a much better client than somebody who’s begrudgingly paying for it and is ready to cut it off any moment once they get what they need out of it.
M: When you’re in a membership site it’s always like, “Okay, there’s just so much for me to do.” I’ve created little sprints for clients. Not having them every week or every month but maybe every quarter, every six months having like a little bit of a sprint contest to increase engagement and also to get new people into the site where it’s like—I guess it comes down to that whole listening aspect of what are people really struggling with and what’s the one small outcome that we know we can get everyone to in a week or two week’s time if they take x amount of actions and creating it like a sprint that everyone’s going to try and do this all at the same time and there’s like a contest. If you do it first or if you actually go through with this and you can enter to win something or something else like that. I’ve seen that to be really effective to increase engagement.
S: Right. I had Travis Ketchum on a previous episode here on Marketing Speak. He’s the CEO of Contest Domination, really great episode. One of the things he said about contest is if you have the incentive, the prize of being highly correlated with the contest and with your business model, then you’re going to have a better outcome for everybody. He gave an example of let’s say the company that’s running the contest is a local gym. You go and work out in the gym and so forth. The price was three months, six months or something, a free personal trainer. Instead, it was a gift card on Amazon. Then you get all these irrelevant people, the list that you build with this contest would be garbage, not useful to you. It just makes total sense. Now that’s for a public contest. If you’re talking about a private contest within your group, I guess you can be more non-correlated there because they’re a part of your little community. It’s not like you’re trying to do list building, you’re just trying to increase engagement. That really stuck with me.
M: I think some real people would probably still follow, at least to some extent.
S: If you want people to see value in what you’re doing, you want to give them a prize that makes sense, that’s relevant to what you’re doing and the value that you’re bringing. What sort of contests have you either created or participated in or had your clients run that were quite successful?
M: It usually ends up being around some sort of high-level coaching. Then you get coaching with the CEO who’s not typically on the live calls that often. Something around that. A lot of it is just like having their picture and stuff posted to the rest of the group and also posted publicly. We all have egos to some extent, some more than others. But having their photo posted and getting that credibility is really nice. If we’re to use DM as a good example, in the digital marketer group, there are a lot of people that do digital marketing and offer services and there’s also a lot of clients. It creates this really interesting ecosystem because all the people that are offering services are like, “Yes, yes. I’ll help you.” It would be interesting for them to run a contest to see how well you can do with the funnel and then how it would be like a consultant that won and if that consultant was put up in the group and everything, that would be a really good thing for them because then they get a little bit more credibility from digital marketer.
S: You talked about gamification before. If you have a leaderboard of not just the grand prize winner but the next ten people as well, the runner ups, that leaderboard gives them some social proof within the group and people are motivated just to get on the leaderboard even though they don’t win the prize.
M: Absolutely. It comes back to gamification and getting people to engage where you can also have that as something like number of courses completed, number of comments had, to get people into your content and get them consuming it. I feel like my role a lot of the times is helping business owners to think about how we can get people to take the actions that they already know they want to take. They paid for the course, they bought the course, they want to do x, y, and z. How can we help them to actually take the action to do that?
S: One thing I mentioned, I want to get clarification on is contests and sprints, what’s the difference? I usually hear a sprint in agile programming sort of context. You’re doing sprints when you’re programming. But I haven’t heard of it in the contest sort of context. Can you distinguish those for me?
M: The sprint is the idea of getting people to take a certain amount of actions altogether as a group. Let’s use an SEO example of writing a new blogpost and get x, y, or z amount of traffic to it. I’m sure you have a formula for this and kind of steps that need to happen—forgive me if this is unrealistic—of things they have to do. People may or may not do this on their own. I’m sure you have tons of trainings on it but the sprint gives them, “Hey, this is our sprint of the quarter.” Everyone is doing it at the same time whereas when you’re running that monthly membership model, anyone can be doing any of the courses at any give period. With the sprint, you have this community aspect. Everybody is going through it all at the same time and you get that help, that support through there. The contest is not a necessary thing. It’s just motivation more than anything else that we want you to actually take action and do this. Anyone that actually gives us proof that they did do it, we enter them into this contest. It’s more on motivation than anything else. The sprint is around just competing with overwhelm because overwhelm is something I always have in the back of my head of how can we make this easier and simpler and just smoother for people. Even if they’re just a member of your membership site and did three sprints a year, they’re going to get value out of that. You kind of pair it down like that. It’s fighting overwhelm.
S: Okay. One idea just randomly came to my mind as you were describing sprints, what if we got a whole group to participate in a group project let’s say, to help charity to rank higher in Google. We’re going to do some rank building, we’re going to do some outreach and so forth. The charity may not even need to do anything at all on their end.
M: Wow. That’s awesome. I think that’s a brilliant idea. That’s a really nice give back too. A lot of the times, those charities do not have great digital marketing. I’m sure you know.
S: I know. Cool idea. Another thing, well one thing I’ve recently implemented is the five-day challenge.
M: That’s a great idea. Same kind of idea.
S: Every day of the five days, we have a different challenge and then I post it to the private Facebook group that I’ve set up. Let’s say the first day of the challenge is literally this, you learn about the tool answer the public.com which is free and awesome. You can put in keywords and get questions back that people type into Google. You can inform your decision making, your own FAQ page, frequently asked questions. You can create some content to go after featured snippets which were the position 0, answer boxes in Google. It’s just a really great thing. It’s pretty simple to just identify a handful of really powerful, relevant questions that your target audience is typing into Google just by using this free tool. That’s day one, it’s to use this tool and create a small FAQ page if you don’t have one or to add to your existing one with some of these questions that you identified.
M: That’s a great idea.
S: Pretty cool. It’s like a 10-minute to 15-minute video each day of the challenge. If you post the evidence that you created this page, take a screenshot or take a picture with your camera phone and upload that to the Facebook group, then you get some unadvertised bonuses each day as further incentives. Then at the end of it, day five, I invite people to a master class which is a webinar, for them to take the next step and learn more about some SEO techniques. That’s like an hour, an hour and a half long webinar the following week. It really warms up the audience. I bring in people through Facebook ads, warm up the audience through adding massive value over those five days, they get some really cool tools and ideas, they’ve made some progress on their website. It’s not just about here’s some learning that you’re going to do. You have to apply it in order to get the bonuses. You get a second chance of getting the bonuses. If you missed day two, three and five of the bonuses because you’re busy, you can get all of the bonuses for the whole five days or seven days, whatever length that you do, just by attending the full webinar. At the end, as a thank you for attending the whole webinar, you get all these awesome bonuses.
M: This is an upsell to your membership site?
S: It’s actually a feeder into getting people to sign up for the membership site. It’s just a lead gen opportunity.
M: I like it because you’re getting them to actually accomplish something. I don’t know any business owner that needs more things on their to-do list. We don’t need more things that we’re supposed to do. We need more easily actionable things that I can do right now rather than like, “Oh, here’s a big long list of all the stuff that you can do.” That does not go into the realm of the checklist. I love checklists. You end up going to conferences and you just get a whole bunch of stuff that you’re supposed to do and everything else like that. I like your model because it seems like it’s really just kind of easily implementable things that they can get a result from almost right away.
S: They’re going to feel a sense of accomplishment and they’ll have something to show for if all they did is the five-day challenge, they’ve really moved their business forward. It’s not just, “Oh, I learned a cool technique or tool.”
M: Shiny object.
S: We’ve got plenty of those. We just dropped a whole bunch of names of these like Zapier, ScheduleOnce and AppointmentCore. Oh my god, it’s so overwhelming. I’ll include a link to the five-day challenge for any listener that wants to take it. I call it my SEO Maximizer five-day challenge. It’s really, really cool. We’re about out of time. Any last bit of wisdom or idea that you want to leave our listeners with?
M: I think if there’s one thing that I’ve seen, I’ve worked with many, many clients, many, many different types of people, there’s one thing that I’ve seen that has really helped certain people be much more successful than others. It’s just being able to roll with it. It’s almost like neuroplasticity where we try something, it works, it doesn’t work, it’s like, “Alright, let’s go to the next thing.” You never really cement or lament on something for too long. I think anyone that has been in this entrepreneurship game from any length of time, it’s just a fun game a lot of the time. It’s to just keep going even if something doesn’t work right away, just keep going.
S: I love that. It coincides well with my philosophy of fail fast, persevere. Yeah, it is game. It’s fun. You’re just adding value in the marketplace and some of these are not going to work. It’s just feedback. Okay, it was a big failure. You did so many. Cool, thank you so much Melodie. What if somebody wanted to work with your company which is clearly very qualified at building out all these awesome systems, you know your stuff for sure, if they wanted to work with you, how do they get in touch?
M: They can go to my website which is businesstechninjas.com and they can also email me directly which is firstname.lastname@example.org.
S: Okay, awesome. Thank you, Melodie. Thank you listeners. We’ll catch you on the next episode of Marketing Speak. This is Stephan Spencer signing off.