01:25 – A Cialdini campaign
02:38 – Are you helpful?
04:27 – Just one question
05:21 – And the results were…
07:21 – What comes next
08:56 – Sometimes people need reminding
10:29 – Is this for real?
11:41 – The things that will change
13:48 – Looking forward
15:11 – Try it yourself
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. This is Episode 652, How to Optimize Your Membership Site. I’m here with John Lint from KLEQ.com. Welcome.
John: Hey, everybody. Thanks for having me, James.
James: So what do you do, John, when you’ve got a membership site you’ve had for a while, and you want to optimize it, tune it up?
I’ve got today a technique that I’m going to be sharing. And I’d really value your insights as well, because you get to see a lot of memberships and courses in your KLEQ platform, which is the easiest solution for people to get started for a course, or membership. And certainly the one I’ve been endorsing to anyone who asks me. I’m a raving fan of the product. And in the interest of disclosure, I have been helping you grow the platform. And in my capacity of doing that, I’ve shared with you everything that I’ve been doing, and everything that I’ve learned so that you can make the best platform in the marketplace. And today is a technique that can apply to any product really, any service or product.
A Cialdini campaign
And I’m going to go back a little bit to about, gosh, I think it was last year, I was at an event in California. And so was another friend of ours, Greg Merrilees. And Greg Merrilees sat in on a session with Professor Cialdini. And I love Professor Cialdini’s books, and I’ve used some of his techniques before, but the technique that I applied this time was a message of change. And the concept was to get feedback from your existing and past customers, and to let them know what’s changed about your product or service, and to basically make it appealing with the changes that you make, both for existing members and also attractive for past members. And the campaign is very interesting, because I just run it, and I was pretty much blown away by the results. Now on a side note, a lot of people in the online space have been doing the Ryan Levesque ASK method campaigns, and I’ve spoken to him a few times. And in an upcoming episode, we’re talking about his next product, Choose. This is not a Ryan Levesque campaign. One of the people who responded said, “This looks like a Ryan Levesque campaign.” This is not. This is a Cialdini campaign.
So one of the secrets here is we never use the word “quiz” or “survey”. And I’m also not putting anything sales-like in there – there is no back end or thank you page, upsell offered. It’s like, legitimately, a hundred percent focused on finding out what people would suggest you change so that you can make an innovation. And as the grandfather of business consulting, Peter Drucker, said, the only purpose of a business is to create a customer, and it primarily does that through marketing and innovation. So we’re talking about an innovation here. I sent out an email with the subject line, “Do you consider yourself a helpful person?”
John: Yeah, that was just brilliant.
James: So that’s a very nice subject line, because it’s what Cialdini calls labeling. It’s labeling someone as being helpful. In a way, it’s close to saying, “Hey, John, you’re a helpful guy. Do you mind if I could borrow $10?”
John: And it’s all about getting the Yes. I mean, there’s no way someone would say no to that, right? And if they do well, okay, that would disqualify themselves.
James: Well, it’s very different to what you get from corporates like your telco company, credit card company, or your food delivery company, saying, Hey, quiz, survey, would you mind giving us some feedback? Like, we’re busy people.
John: Help us out, etc, etc….
James: Right. So importantly, I sent it to two segments. I sent it to current existing customers of SuperFastBusiness (the membership, not podcast audience), and I sent it to past customers as well, who are tracked in my Intercom system. So there was a pretty big sample size, like, not quite, but a couple of thousand people, and considering that my membership dates back around about seven years, so it got a catchment of two specific segments.
And the message is very simple. I said, Hi, there. I was hoping I can ask your advice on something relating to SFB membership. Click here to help. Regards, James Schramko, SuperFastBusiness membership. Simple as that.
Just one question
James: Sent that out. And all I did is one Google Form, and had one question. So I’ll just pull up the question so that I can tell you exactly what it said. The form said, Member request – What’s one thing about the SFB membership that you would change? Simple as that.
John: Yeah, that’s brilliant.
James: And when they answer that, it was just like a long-answer text thing. There’s no pre-select, no radio buttons, no pre-filled thing.
James: It’s not a Yes or No question. It’s an open-form question.
And I then collected their responses. Now I’ve had a lot of responses, hundreds of responses. And I took the responses, and I pasted them into a tool called TagCrowd. And from TagCrowd, I got to see a big sort of a word cloud of the most common responses. Now, I did get that technique from Ryan Levesque, it was in his ASK course.
And the results were…
James: But what I didn’t do is I didn’t score the answers by how long they were, or any of the other techniques. I just wanted to see what the overall themes were.
Some of the big themes that came through were: content, membership, training… Here’s one that that kind of blew me away: nothing. That’s the one thing that a lot of people would change – nothing. I was kind of a little bit warmed up by that, because, you know, it’s really confronting when you open up the survey.
John: Oh, yeah.
James: Here we go, what are people going to say? And, you know, there’s always some nutjobs, I’m going to say this: out of a hundred people, you can count on one being a complete idiot, or, you know, slash moron. And some of the advice… I mean, I put it into three groups, right? When I’m sorting through it, there’s three groups. One group is, I probably wouldn’t take the advice because I either know something they don’t know, or I just don’t agree with them, or it’s not practical. Or it’s not going to be helpful to the people who said there’s nothing wrong with what there is now. So you’ve got to be mindful, a huge proportion of my audience really like the solution and get great value from it. So I don’t want to mess with it too much. Some people ask for things that just aren’t practical. The second group is, things that they’ve given me advice for, that we already have in place.
James: But for whatever reason, whether it’s communication or email deliverability, they’re not aware of it. Like someone said, you should send out weekly news updates of what’s happening in the forum.
James: And I’m thinking, we actually do that.
John: Yeah, every Monday you do that.
James: Someone said, you know, what would be great is add four one to ones, a planning session and quarterly coaching sessions, even if you have to raise the price. And like, why don’t they just go to SilverCircle.com?
John: Yeah, yeah.
James: Because I already do that product. But obviously, they’re not aware of that.
And, yeah, so one said, bring back the bookmark. Like, it never went anywhere. It’s still there. So I don’t know why they asked that.
James: And then the third one, advice given that I would really like to make changes on. And this is where I’m going to make significant innovation for SuperFastBusiness membership, I’m going to power through some changes. And I’ve started compiling response.
What comes next
So my next step in this technique is – it’s important according to Cialdini, you need to do this in the first week or so, not like, three months later – I’m doing a response email to everyone who I sent the first email to. And it’s saying, recently, I asked for advice on what you would change about SuperFastBusiness membership. It’s very encouraging how many “nothings” and “it’s great value”, and “it works for me” responses I received. That being said, I am going to make some improvements. And I thought you might like to know what’s happening.
And then I talk about the fact that there are some things that just don’t make sense to change. And then there are a couple of things that we already have, that people have asked for. So I just want to make you aware of it, that we do actually have this. Like some people said, Oh, it’s all blokes. But the fact is, it’s almost half women, almost half of my forum. You know, lots of them, like Stevie, you know, from previous episode.
John: Lisa, Janet – there’s a lot of powerful women in there.
James: There’s so many women in there. I think it’s 45-55 split. So I don’t know where that comes from.
James: This one’s sort of interesting for you – they said, it’s only for techies. But again, there’s people who aren’t super technical and members. So if you do have a membership platform, like if you happen to be developing something like KLEQ, it’d be good to know. Like, the easier you can make it to use, it’s definitely useful. I did get quite a lot of things along the line of navigation, usability, suggested tracks, these sort of things. , we do have some of these. Like, we actually have a sticky thread in each section of the recommended training topics for that topic. But you know, the user doesn’t know about that. But as a general rule, anything you can do to make your membership or user experience better, do it.
Sometimes people need reminding
John: Yeah. And there’s also an important lesson here, because, you know, we and I have this all the time, with our KLEQ.com features. And that’s also something that our members are experiencing. Like, we are very familiar with our own product. We know it inside out, and there are things that we assume that everybody will know. But really our job, whenever someone comes into your membership site as a client, and especially for me, I need to do a good job of reminding people where they can get this, this, and that, right? This is where you can do this feature. This is where you get that. This is where you can get support. This is where you get your bonuses. And I know that you have been doing that job as well, reminding people that they get private coaching with you, which is amazing, right?
James: Oh, endless. And I’m sending them personal videos, we send a customized onboarding, we send out webinar training reminders. But still, a couple of people say it’d be great to get advance notice of the training. I’m like, they pre-register for the next 20. Unless their emails are blocked, which is a possibility, I don’t know how they can escape that. But then, you could have three people and show them a color, and then they would debate about what they saw, and swear hand on Bible what they saw was accurate, and it’ll be a different interpretation. So I get it, we’re dealing with humans.
“We’re dealing with humans.”
I got a lot of people just saying, hey, it’s really great. There’s nothing I can think of, can’t think of anything at all, like, I reckon more than 50 percent of the responses were actually quite light in terms of, you know, nothing in particular, that sort of stuff.
Is this for real?
Got a couple of controversial ones, like, you know, Is this just part of a funnel, or do you really want to know what I’m what I’m thinking? Is it just part of another pipeline? Or do you want to connect with me personally, or just keep me hooked? Do you actually think I can help? The answer is yes, absolutely. I’m personally connecting with you to tell me what you would want me to change about my membership. And this person suggested that a lot of people in there haven’t really thought much about their values and what they want for financial freedom, it’d be good to know that. So I’m going to address that. I’m going to cover it in my new sales page, and I’m going to make sure I have training on that.
One person said they would like some training that have actionable ways to generate revenue.
John: Wow. Okay.
James: I’m thinking, okay. Hang on – how to sell high ticket products, how to run events, how to capture cart abandonment, how to sell, how to sell members on autopilot how to make 100K per month, they’re all in there.
Other ones want, you know, subject matter experts. Well, I’ve recorded every event from whenever and put them into this membership. Like, you can watch John Carlton, or Ezra Firestone. There is already a lot of that stuff in there. But I need to do a better job of communicating that, and that’s really the lesson.
The things that will change
We could talk just for a second about some of the things that I probably will change, because these are really instructive. As you know, I’ve got a membership, I’ve been going for 10 years, what am I going to change?
Someone said, consider having two tiers. And I really think I’m probably going to go down this path where I have a general tier of group coaching, what it used to be, and then a private coaching tier of access to me. And I’ll add in there things like live calls with a group of people who are part of that. I’ll call it, probably, like intensive or something, but it’s a higher level. And it’ll cost less than it costs now for the non-private coaching, and it’ll cost more than it costs now for the private coaching.
So I really liked that idea, because when I started private coaching, I was going to charge five grand a year for that. And I know that I’m kind of getting closer to capacity, and it would be a great way to scale the membership to retain the quality of the personal coaching, but still let people access event recordings, monthly live trainings, and each other inside the forum.
So I know that you’ve got members who, some of them approach it as they get some private coaching in the beginning, some of them charge extra for it, some of them include it. I think that that might be a way forward for me in the long term, two tiers.
And I think it will allow me to create really good value for the people who want to choose what level. You know, if they just want to sit back and observe and lurk, or if they’re not feeling like they’re using it enough, I had quite a few people saying, “I really should log in more or use it more.” For those people, I think they’d stay longer if they just stick it on a lower rate and put it like, kind of on a, you know, in the background mode. And it’ll also be less draining on me, and it still does something for them.
“It’s about sharing a way to upgrade or to optimize your product.”
That’ll allow me to do more in-depth replies. And it will also mean that there’ll be more discussions in the general section, which is some advice that I had. So this was good. I’m also going to rotate the training times for the live calls to cover each market. We’ll continue to innovate and update our app. So there’s some really good stuff. And I just thought this short episode today was really about sharing a way to upgrade or to optimize your product.
So try the message of change campaign. I will say at the end of the email that I send out that I will advise which changes are done by when. In fact, I plan to have most of the changes done when I send the email out. And I also said that if someone is considering rejoining at the current rates before the new rates come, it might be good to do that before the rate change. And I believe it will reactivate some customers, but only on the basis that it’s now a different product than what they had before. So there has been a lot of innovation.
You know, some of the people who received this email probably left before private coaching even came. So there’s some huge innovations. And anyone who likes what’s there now is only going to like it more. Anyone who’s on the older rate would be locked in at the older right anyway. So all they’re going to get is a few extra features. And if they wanted to pay less and downgrade to the just the members only, you know, the group rate, then they could do that too. And so they can choose the level.
So that all came about from the change campaign. It was Greg Merrilees who took the notes from that session and shared them with me. So I do want to credit him for picking up on my out loud thought on a SilverCircle call that I’m looking to make some changes. And it comes at a time where I’m going to address the sales copywriting approach for the membership. So I need to align the product offer and expectations.
Try it yourself
So that’s my story around change. It’s a campaign that I recommend you try. And you can give that information to your team and to your copywriter. And of course, your members should be delighted when you keep upgrading and improving an already good product or service.
John: Yeah, I think your email was brilliant. So what was the subject line again on that email?
James: The subject line was, Do you consider yourself a helpful person?
John: Yeah, that’s just brilliant. That’s really the important part, I think. And then your email was super short, simple link, nothing about selling, nothing about, hey, help us out. Which is what most people do, right? They send an email, say, hey, do you have two seconds to help us out? It’s all about, help me out. Well, no, this was more about, do you consider yourself a helpful person? If the answer is yes, you open the email, you click on the link, and then you go there into a simple form. And you use Google Form, right? Something like that?
James: Just use Google Form, it’s free. And it’s very important, I didn’t put any upsell or call to action on the thank you page. It’s just “Thanks.”
John: Because that’s what will be the usual strategy, right?
James: The usual thing is people are going to milk this and turn it into a salesy thing. This is definitely not. It was not a sales attempt. Sure, I expect I’ll reactivate old members, but I want to make the very best product I can make, and my current existing members and past members are really the ones who are going to punch me in the face with cold, hard advice that I really need to know. And I was pleasantly surprised, I was prepared for the worst. And you know, this thing’s been a great business for me for the last decade, and it’s going to be better for future members because of the contribution, for people giving me that advice.
So that’s the campaign. That’s how to optimize your membership and tune it up. If you’re prepared to get down, roll up the sleeves and make a few changes, that’s how I would go about doing it.
John: Yeah, very cool.
James: If you do want to start a membership, or you’ve got a membership or you’re not happy with the platform that you’re currently using, I’d recommend you check out KLEQ.com. Have a chat to John Lint. If you’ve got any questions, he’s actually very helpful. He’s been known to hop on Skype from time to time and answer questions why his platform is better than some of the other platforms out there. Put him to the challenge.
I’m James Schramko. That’s John Lint, and this is SuperFastBusiness.com.
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