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01:36 – Jarrod’s history on SuperFastBusiness
03:34 – Bonus: A personal greetings tool tip
04:13 – Why every membership needs an app
07:46 – One solution, one place to put your stuff
15:35 – A lot of people overlook THIS
20:27 – Should you make your prospects wait?
28:25 – What an online summit can do
40:37 – The right kind of bonus
45:22 – Should you ditch the monthly payment option?
49:42 – Get on THIS wagon
53:26 – What to do with your event recordings
55:24 – A quick recap
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James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. And as you heard in the previous episode, episode 553, I’m now bringing very rich content to this show since I consolidated my podcasts, and I am very pleased to get into this new mode with a repeat guest. Jarrod Robinson, welcome back.
Jarrod: Thanks for having me, James.
James: Jarrod, you’ve been prolific on my podcast in the past and for good reason, because you are a man of many talents and you constantly innovate and push things forward. And today, we are going to be sharing seven ways to boost your membership, which I’m very excited about because you are an active case study of many of the things that I have taught and that I do in my own business. And you are pioneering new ways to do these things. And everyone who listens to this episode is going to learn something. And if you happen to have a membership and you’re listening to this episode, grab a pen and paper and a beverage because you’re going to get some top tips, as you have done before.
Jarrod’s history on SuperFastBusiness
And I’ll just mention that Jarrod has been on episode 414 – Get Paid to Travel the World. Now back then, we were talking about what happened to Jarrod between 2008 and 2015. Since then, he came along on episode 509, and what were we talking about in 509, Jarrod?
Jarrod: We did an automated webinar series. A three-part series.
James: Well that was 458 – How to Use Automated Webinars and 459 and 460. They were the automated webinar series, where you learn how to run webinars without having to turn up, which was fascinating. And I’ve actually had many people comment inside SuperFastBusiness how that has profoundly impacted the way they do business. They literally listen to that as a step-by-step guide on how to boost their own membership.
Then you came back on episode 509 and talked about How to Match an App to Your Business because you had so much experience with apps. And you started saying, “Well hey, if you’ve got an app for your business, it’s going to be a great thing for the business.” And we’re going to cover that in today’s episode again. But how do you go about it? Do you go through that huge learning curve or do you find an existing app that’s already been built that’s going to be way cheaper that is simpler than probably what you had in mind? Which you should consider, having a much simpler thing than what you thought, for various reasons and just match that to your existing business. And then boom! You get the power. So, I think we’ve sort of given away one of the seven ways to boost your membership, and we’ll come back to that in a moment.
And then you came on episode 520. We actually ran the recording from your presentation at SuperFastBusiness Live, which was a great insight into what’s going on behind the scenes. And here we are now. So, you are a repeat podcast guest on this show but you’ve always got something amazing. You’re a super switched-on guy, always finding incredible tools and knickknacks and suggesting things to me, which I look at.
A bonus tip
And one of the most recent ones actually was a tool called Bonjoro. I use that tool to record personal greetings to people who join my membership and I’ve had incredible feedback from that, so I thank you for putting me onto that, Jarrod.
Jarrod: Sure. Pleasure.
James: So, we’re going to reveal seven ways to boost your membership and you could consider the Bonjoro as a bonus because I haven’t put that in the list. So that’s your bonus tip. But let’s start off with the app itself, because I think the app is an interesting booster that you can add to a membership. Tell me why that is, Jarrod.
Why every membership needs an app
Jarrod: Well, you want to give people an easy win and an easy result. If you’ve got an app, it’s almost like that gateway into your product and if you can get people in there more and more frequently and easier, then it serves you in helping them get a result. And for us that’s exactly what it’s done. There’s less friction than normal associated with finding the web address and logging in and remembering your passwords. But turn it into an app, we’ve gated our community. They never have to log in again and it just makes it that little bit easier for them to access your content that hopefully means they stay around a little bit longer and for us that seems to be the case.
James: Well definitely for you and for me and for others who are using the app, and I’m aware of who is using the app. I’ve been a huge fan of theappmatch.com, your website, which helps people find the right app. And what it meant for us is that it’s easier for people to use and it’s more useful. They’re the two things that Kosh talks about in his book Simplify. And I noticed when I looked at the statistics, I had more people logging in more often.
But here’s the one metric that I thought was the most important one, and it will sound a little bit crazy but bear with me on this, the metric that I thought was most interesting is that I use it. And I’m not like a tech geek. I’m not trying to find the latest things. I don’t want to use anything extra than what I need to, but that app is sitting on the front of my iPhone. It’s staring me in the face, my emblazoned orange logo, and it reminds me to click on it. And when I click on it, it remembers me so I can log straight into my own community. I don’t have to remember passwords, and I can easily access my business and look after my customers.
So as the person who has by far made the most posts in my community and logs on more than anyone else, this app has been a huge game-changer for me. And I think this is absolutely essential. If you’re running a membership that is not on Facebook, you need an app. That’s it. It’s actually really easy to encourage users to get that app because your website will tell them that there is an app available should they visit the website. That’s one thing that’s really awesome. Also, you can put the little logos. You can leverage the brands of Apple and Google on your website and put their official badges to let people know there is an app, and it kind of looks professional.
Jarrod: Exactly, it does. Yours does. As you’re looking at the community, the login page, you’ve got the two badges there. I didn’t even think about how powerful that brand connection is between those two entities. But you can sort of make it very well known and obviously having your face on the icon sort of says, “Why aren’t you in the community?” and has that double effect of getting them to jump back in and reminding them.
James: Yes, a simple checklist effect of having that app as the first thing I see on my phone, it reminds me to serve my customers and if I just do that, if I click on my app wherever I am in the world and answer some questions, then I have a great business, and that app has enabled me to do that rather than log into a browser or rely on memory. So that’s been a fantastic booster.
So, we can tick that one off and we can move on to the second booster. And this one is not so obvious, but you’ve done this and it took a lot of courage and I did this years ago and it’s a constant battle with me when I’m talking to a new student, to get them around this idea of having one solution, which is, in short, one place to put your stuff and to sell that one thing. Also, what I think it’s good for, and I’ll ask you what it was like for you making that change, but for me it’s so much simpler having one membership/program where I help people. That’s all I have to think about and mention and it’s clearer for me when I visit somewhere like a conference to say who I am and how I help people.
And I don’t have to have 27 different landing pages, a thousand product lines in my cart and put a lot of energy into multiple cascading automated sequences and all that jazz. So, I just have one thing to focus on. And since I sold my service businesses last year, having a sole focus on the coaching side of things has really lifted my profit for less work. And I’m all about that. In fact, I’m so about that, I’ve got a book coming out to work less and make more because the membership has been that powerful. So, having one solution as a way to boost your membership is to turn off all the little leaky bucket holes that are taking your attention and to focus on the one bucket.
Jarrod: Yeah. I mean that’s what we did at your SuperFastBusiness event in 2016. We spoke about what happens when I turned off all of the little leaky holes that I had and there were heaps.
James: You had disco soundtracks for PE teachers.
Jarrod: Yeah. I did, I had a soundtrack for PE teachers. I had t-shirts. I had cartoon series. I mean, all this stuff that really didn’t eventuate or do anything. But you know, we shed that off after I first met you. You opened up my eyes to this focusing in on one thing and we created one solution and that solution was less of me, too. It wasn’t me at the hundred percent forefront of it, which I had to grapple with. And we took me away from it. I now produce about 10 percent of the content, which is pretty crazy. But we run the membership around that and the only thing that we sell is that – all the live events that sort of wrap around the online membership. So, it’s heaps easier for us. I mean our funnels are easy to make. Our communication is easy and it sort of worked really, really well.
James: The history on that actually goes back for me almost two decades. When I was a manager at Mercedes-Benz dealership in Sydney, I used to meet with the other department managers; the parts manager, the service manager, the finance manager, the accountant, marketing manager, the other sales manager, and the used car manager, and the wholesale buyer; and they were all fighting over their piece of the pie within the dealership. You know, their department.
And I just remember slamming my fist down on the desk saying, “Stop. Stop. This is crazy. Do you realize we have one customer? It’s the same customer. The customer buying carpet mats from the parts department and servicing their vehicle in the service department, which they financed from the finance department, which they bought from the sales department is the same customer.” So, I come up with this one customer idea. We just have one customer and we started cooperating and sharing access to each other’s databases, having signage pointing people between the various departments, having a handover process from service to sales and sales to service. When someone bought a car, we’d introduce them to the service department, and when someone serviced a car, we’d have their car valued and we’d offer them a new one.
So, these things all work together, and I know the power of having that sole focus. If you’ve just got this one solution to focus on, it could be a powerful machine. Your membership is now actually reaching a substantial profit level and it’s a real presence in the market. You have global domination in your niche of PE education around technology.
Jarrod: Yeah, yeah. I mean it just sort of snowballed. And I’ve always thought about that metaphor that you originally shared, you know, that starts off this tiny little small thing and a bit of work to get it moving but it’s starting to turn into this enormous monster that you can see destroying complete villages now and into the future and only going to get bigger and bigger.
James: Exactly. And the same thing happened with Clint in Episode 549, an OTR case study. Because he went from ebooks to a membership. And I also did a case study with Kevin Rogers. Exact same thing and with all of these, there was this resistance to sell the standalone products, especially Kevin in Episode 547. He had a huge challenge because he was already quite successful as a copywriter, and copywriting is a high-ticket item. You can get paid a lot as a freelancer. So, in that case study, we looked at how to transition from a freelancer.
So, in your case, you had to be brave to turn off all the single products and tip them inside one solution. But from what I can tell, Jarrod, you’ve now got somewhat of a Udemy-style membership for teachers. Is that right? A stack of courses.
Jarrod: Yeah, we do. That’s the perfect way to think of it. Netflix for PE teachers. I sort of help people understand it using that terms and it literally is. We just get people requesting to make content for us. All the time, people ask me like, “How much are you paying these course people to produce stuff?” But nothing. We actually have the view they should pay us. And that’s because we’ve built the platform, we set the rules, we decide what goes in and what goes out, what we’re trying to provide. And people are literally tripping over to produce content for us that we place and organize and make accessible to people via things like the app and some of the contemporary tools that we have, and we get to set the rules.
James: What do they get from that?
Jarrod: Well they get the leverage of the audience. They’re all PE teachers. So, if you’re an up-and-coming person and you’re producing great content, you may not have an audience. We can provide an audience, and in exchange we get content and then if they’re good enough, obviously, maybe they can turn that into opportunities for them. But for the most part, these people literally just want to share their work and they just want ears that will listen to it. So, we get to benefit from that. It’s a bit of a unique arrangement, but I guess the real message is that when you own your own platform, you get to set the rules, don’t you?
“When you’re on your own platform, you get to set the rules.”
James: You do. You get to own the racecourse.
James: So, you’re not so worried about if Facebook doesn’t like your group anymore?
Jarrod: No, absolutely not. Like we decide what goes in, when it goes in, how people see it, when they get the messages, when they don’t get the messages. All of that is controlled by us, and it gives us this huge amount of on ramp to help people get a result. And obviously, our product isn’t very high-priced. It’s sort of like a $100 to $150 per year to access it. But there’s no shortage of PE teachers around the globe. As that snowball grows, it’s just going to become even more attractive.
James: Right. Well that’s a great booster. So, we’ve covered two there, plus the bonus one of Bonjoro.
The shopping cart
Let’s tackle the next one. This one is probably the easiest one of all to set up. It’s a pretty underrated one. And this is the shopping cart that you use. A lot of people might overlook this or they’ve already got something and they might not want to change. In my case, I spent nearly a decade on one cart, processed over $10 million through it, and then changed. I changed primarily because the new cart that I was using, which is ThriveCart, has incredibly good checkout forms and is super flexible. It’s actually simpler than the old cart that I used, but the new cart is able to do the things that I want, which will sort of tie in with one of our other bonuses. I won’t ruin that surprise but it does some of the features that you want. It can actually also hook up with Apple Pay and it’s easier for people to give you credit cards or PayPal.
And by the way, there’s a little tip there. If you’re only accepting credit cards or you’re only accepting PayPal, do yourself a favor and get ThriveCart and hook them both up. I think you’ll be shocked at how much you’re missing out on, because I’ve tested this with multiple different clients of mine in multiple different markets, and I’ve never found anyone who’s had a landslide for either or. Every time they’ve added an extra option, it surprised them as to the take-up rate. A lot of people in the space that I’m in like to use PayPal. It’s almost like not money because a lot of them sell in PayPal. And it’s easier to use PayPal money with PayPal money in and out. So, the shopping cart that I use, ThriveCart, we wrote up a big review on this. It’s on our products page where we put recommended products.
Jarrod, tell me what ThriveCart has meant for you.
Jarrod: Exactly the same thing. It was very reliable. We had a better conversion. We’re able to use some of the cool features like automatically filling in people’s email address when they click on their email to go to the shopping cart page. And in some cases, more recently, we’ve actually got rid of the landing page that people would normally go to because of the themes on ThriveCart let you have some videos. They let you have a little tick box of inclusions and that has been enough to get people to purchase. And we’ve sort of compared against sending people to the landing page and then to the ThriveCart directly and just straight to ThriveCart wins, and that’s because the cart enables us to tell a bit more of the story. Yeah. Big fan of it. Big fan of how flexible it is as well.
James: Me too. I love the fact that you can embed videos and customize it. I just looked up, too. So far, we’ve put about half a million dollars through it. So, it’s pretty robust. It’s been seamless for us. The reporting is better and my team say they prefer it. And you can still do cool stuff like use coupons and have flexible payments.
So one thing that I really wanted to do that is a great feature is I can have someone join my membership and then on the second billing and onwards, I can have them on a lower rate than what they joined at. I wanted to give them a loyalty discount for an appreciation to say, “Hey, you’re a great customer. I want to look after you. So, for the next term, I’m going to lower the amount and you can stay on a lower amount as long as you stay a member.” And that’s really helped retention. But I also think it’s a genuinely nice thing to do. I wish a lot of other companies that I deal with gave you a better deal the longer you’re a customer.
Jarrod: You know, we’ve copied the same thing. Like after seeing you implement it, we’ve gone ahead and we’ve done the same thing because I mean it’s far cheaper to keep a customer. And I know you’ve said this, than go out and try and find new ones and spend on ads and do all this sort of stuff that people typically do. But it’s a lot easier just to give them a good deal. In some cases, we’ve gone on to Stripe and modified it before, retrospectively and they hadn’t realized until they were built again and they’ve just been over the moon and sort of firmly committed to staying even longer.
James: It does build up great loyalty. So, you need a cut that’s flexible to do the things like that that you want. Of course, if you were inside SuperFastBusiness membership, there are discussions on all the topics we’re talking about here and you can get the best practice. So, you could say, “Hey, I’ve got ThriveCart. What are the best things that I can do with it? What are you finding effective?” And that’s where we share things like this to step down rate.
The waiting list
I’ve done an entire training on this, actually. I’ve done a whole training on another topic, which I think we’ll move to as well; another booster for your membership is the waiting list. I mean, I went to a waiting list ages ago. In fact, nine years ago, SuperFastBusiness started with a waiting list. That was the second iteration of it in its previous version to the previous version. It was called SuperFastResults, way back in the original version and it had a waiting list.
And then over the years, it became FastWebFormula. And then for some reason it became, buy on demand, you could just go to the page and buy it. And then it went back to a waiting list. And as soon as we installed Deadline Funnels and put it on a waiting list, our sales increased. Also, it gave us really good quality control as to where people were joining our waiting list, what messaging they were receiving before they get the offer to join, and were they are responding or not. And we have multiple sequences.
And what I did is actually documented all of the different sequences that we have, the emails that go out, the four stages that almost no one will ever see, and put them into a presentation. And I made that a live monthly training inside SuperFastBusiness membership and recorded it. And since then, a lot of my students have been doing waiting lists and using a similar solution. Jarrod, tell me what happened when you switched from on demand to waiting list.
Jarrod: Well, we ended up getting cohorts come through that could support one another. I mean, I think a lot of the time, definitely we made more sales. But for the actual person purchasing it actually was a better experience as well because they went on their own. They were through with a lot of other people that were all in the same boat. And especially for us in our education market, it had this sort of parallel to the start of a new school year.
So, we used the term like enrolment, term one enrolment, like that sort of school-type terminology and it helps them understand how it sort of works. So, from the customer’s perspective, it was actually a better experience. And from our perspective, we got more sales because we built up this waiting list of people, very easy to jump on a waiting list and very easy to be educating them while they’re waiting for it. And it meant when we finally released it, we could just send them straight to the checkout page because they already knew about it.
James: Yes. You’re basically giving people the best opportunity to be in the right frame of mind when you make that offer. You’ve created the environment that is going to best help them make an informed decision and to get the most value from your offer rather than just taking cold traffic and trying to hit them over the head with your offer. So, it’s kind of a nurturing sequence, and nurture is a nice word because it’s a good thing to do, to look after. And I think if it’s done well and tastefully and without any deception, it’s great.
“A waiting list is a powerful thing.”
So, consider having a deadline or a waiting list. If you are currently always available, try having a waiting list. It’s really a very powerful thing and it also slightly changes the posturing. Instead of the customer saying, “OK, why should I join?”, and you’re auditioning to sell, it’s flipping it around the other way. And now the customer is basically having an opportunity to join when they’re ready, when you’re ready, when they’re ready, and they can ask to join early and that’s OK. But at least they’re taking the initiative and they’re already putting their hand up.
So, one thing that we’ve done with our waiting list, and I think this is an important point, when people join the waiting list, on the very first page that they will find is an opportunity for them to contact us and let us know if they would like to join earlier. So, we’re not forcing them to wait. If someone is very enthusiastic, if they’ve listened to a podcast or a number of podcasts as it turns out in my case, some people listen to me for years and then something happens. One day, they just get fed up with selling onetime products or they’ve heard so much about memberships and they decide, ‘D*mn it, this is the time. Right now, I’m going to set up my own membership and I’m going to get help.’
I mean I do this in my life. When I want to do something, I enlist the help of a professional. If I want to surf better, I’ll go surfing with a professional surfer who can give me tips. If I’m going to buy something, I might find a professional buyer to help me. If I’m going to get pictures for a book cover, I’ll hire a photographer because it’s good to know that you’re getting the support and professionalism from someone who has done it hundreds or thousands of times before.
So, someone might just come to the site and they want to buy right now, it’s best not to slow that sale down. That’s called delaying the sale. And it’s very important if you’ve got a hot buyer to give them a fast access path. But if someone’s not hot and they’re not ready to buy now, then this is where the waiting list is fantastic. And it lets them go along at a good pace and you get to control the material that you’re sending so that you give yourself the best presentation possible.
Now you did mention a word, “cohort”, and I want you to explain that, Jarrod, just in case someone listening to this doesn’t know what cohort means.
Jarrod: Well you can think of them like a group of students. That’s how I think of them, like they are all coming through at the same time, in the same situation and receiving the same messaging. So, if you set up an environment in whatever your membership is or your community where you can leverage that so that they get the chance to meet people who are in the same space or same situation then that can be quite positive.
The other thing I think you mentioned that was really good was that this is done not deceptively. Like when we say wait list, it’s not like fake wait list, with you can go to the page the next day and get in.
James: Oh, there’s only like three spots available or something.
Jarrod: None of that. This is like, literally, your waiting list is real.
James: For a digital membership, that’s a bit rich, isn’t it? Actually, at the time we’re recording this, I’ve already sold my Maldives mastermind out for next year. It’s a year away. We’ve sold all 10 spots. But the thing is, it’s a boat and there’s 10 spots. Like, it’s a real deal. That’s genuine, factual deadline, like limited, once-they’re-gone, can’t-replace type scenario. So be careful with your wording and phrasing. And I encourage ethics and integrity in your marketing. There’s no need to say anything that’s not true.
What we’re talking about here, and this is why I wanted to raise that cohort idea, having a waiting list allows you to make adjustments and changes and to track the effectiveness of that. And if you have a look at the discussion that we have inside the membership, Jarrod has posted resources where he goes to get tracking and to look at the different cohorts and to find out which approach is the most successful. And you can refine that.
Now because you’ve only got one solution now, you can do these things. When Jarrod was making t-shirts, and soundtracks, and apps, and travelling around the world all at once, he wasn’t able to go as deep on the one solution. So, these new innovations are just making your membership more and more powerful. When I look at a graph of your total number of registrants, which we won’t publish Jarrod, but I’m looking at it now in preparation for this discussion, I can see these big boosts that have happened when you switched shopping carts, when you’ve done – there was one other strategy you’ve implemented that has been wildly successful. I think it’s probably a good time to talk about that booster right now. What do you think?
Jarrod: Let’s do it.
James: Let’s talk about the online summit. Now for people who are seasoned online marketers, this word could create a little bit of a negative reaction. Certainly, when people ask me to go on their summit in the online space, I’m not that interested in doing it and that’s because there’s been so many and they’ve been done fairly poorly. And they’re the usual thing. I’ll just explain what it means. It’s like an online event. It’s not happening in a physical location. It’s happening virtually and they’re scheduled calls or classes and you can enroll people for this usually for free and usually the promoter encourages everyone who is presenting at the summit to mail their database to promote the summit. And the person running the summit is usually the beneficiary because they build a big list, just like a product launch.
The product is the experts. So, they’re actually contributing their customers and a product and they may do this for the benefit of an affiliated commission or a sale and it could work. But in the Internet Marketing space, it’s been going on for at least a decade since I’ve been online. But in the education space, I’m sure it’s not been happening too much.
Jarrod: No, it hasn’t.
James: So, tell me about that. And really the point I’m trying to make here is that depending on what market you’re in, this could be the newest, most unheard-of booster that will immediately help your membership.
Jarrod: Well, it has for us. Like you can see on the graph that the spikes immediately following the online summit, we call it “online conference” because it has a lot of parity with our audience.
“Use words that match your audience.”
James: That’s so critical. Use words that match your audience. So, for teachers, you’re using words like “enrolment” and “conference”.
Jarrod: They are the words that they hear all the time. So, we used online conference because we wanted the same level of gravitas associated with the online event that they would have if they went to an offline one. And it absolutely works. We had 10,000 registrations in the first time that we did it. People can register completely for free. All they need is an internet connection and a device that they can access it on.
And we gave a list of sessions. They picked the sessions they wanted. There were some people in third world countries, developing countries that registered for every session and they probably were never ever going to buy the community at the back of it. But we were able to give away what I would think is the perfect parallel of what our community is – training, certificates and the chance to get a result.
And at the end of it, we made an offer to people. We had over 100 people join the membership and at that early stage, we were only around about 100 members. So, we like doubled our membership just virtually overnight by putting on this online summit. And then I followed your approach and dripped out the recordings weeks after and we were able to build up this continual excitement.
James: Right. So, you’ve basically used the same approach that I use for SuperFastBusiness Live, which is an actual event.
Jarrod: Copied it.
James: But you just minus the booking of the supremely arrogant, difficult beachfront resort-style hotel with a big bill and everyone having to fly in and you made it virtual. And just as an aside, I’m most likely to approach future SuperFastBusiness Lives as a virtual event. I think after the 12 big events, I’m not as excited about the big live event right at this minute. I’m loving little events like the Maldives mastermind. And I’m going to do small workshop events, five and 10 people, at Manly here where I live.
And I may do some big events again. But I think I’ll try an online event because even though it’s been done a lot in my market, if I can have the same caliber of people that we have at the live event, we’ll get some of the feel. We’re never going to replicate the experience of a live event and the people bumping into each other, which I think really makes the live event. So, I think it’s a different product, but it’s certainly a good way to get new content and to feed your membership. So that’s a very important consideration.
So, this is really the important point here. If you have a membership and you’d like to get more members, and you’d like to get more content for your customers; and I just want to put a caveat here, a successful membership is not necessarily about having the most content. Just keep that in mind. And if you’re not sure why I’m saying that, then ask me inside SuperFastBusiness membership. There’s a little secret about memberships – less content is often better.
But if you would like a range of content that is not produced by you, it’s produced by others, and if you’d like a whole bunch of new members and you’re keen to do some kind of an event marketing thing, maybe you’ve taken a product launch type course, it’s a great product to have that online conference where you inject your business with a whole bunch of new blood and it gives you an opportunity to reboot and refresh and to also reach out to experts in your industry and to be the center of the universe for your niche.
Jarrod: That’s exactly what it is for us. I call it the biggest PhysEd event on earth, and it is. And it just sort of happened that we stumbled across that model after following what you did with SuperFastBusiness Live, doing the same thing online, making it super accessible. We probably gave away the best thing that we do all year, and that’s the online summit. But you know, the recordings go into the membership and then people can work their way through them throughout the course of the year. And a lot of the time people ask me, ‘Do you pay your presenters?’ Absolutely no. Like I said before, we think that people should pay us to present on our platform. We just make it free and say, “Make sure it’s good content,” and that’s because we own it, again.
James: Yeah. I mean it’s definitely a thing with the pay to play. I had a guest on this podcast a little while back, and he was talking about that. Because I had never heard of him but I’d heard of his co-author and he pretty much said, “Yeah, I pretty much bought the spot.” So, it was interesting. So if you’re giving that opportunity for someone to get some exposure and reach to a big audience, it’s good for them. It can be good for you too as the facilitator. So, it’s a great opportunity to bring people together and to have an event-driven thing.
And I would also speculate that if you continue to do these over the years, someone who is a bit of a slower decision maker might eventually get so much value, they decide to join your membership because you know what, they’ve already gotten such great results for free, it’s time to join. Now this is a phenomenon that I’ve experienced because I’ve had my own membership for nine years, and some people say that they started listening to me or following me six or seven years ago and they’ve just joined now. Six or seven years.
So that means for six or seven years, I’ve had to not piss them off or change directions 50,000 times like most marketers. I’ve been saying more or less the same message for the entire time I’ve been online, which is look after a lifetime customer, go for a recurring business model, always look after your best customers and create real value, don’t do anything shady or flimsy and stop chasing all these crazy goals that people say are important like 10 million dollars or whatever. And of course, avoid shady, brand new fads and trends. There’s all sorts of stuff.
There is always something in the market. It’s high-ticket coaching, it’s automated webinars, it’s cryptocurrency right now. That’s the thing. There will be something else. But just keep in your lane and do your membership while all that stuff is going on. Sure, dabble in it on the side, but don’t make that your whole thing and abandon the really important thing. The membership has been, as you said, a snowball. It starts with a snowflake. It’s tiny. It’s insignificant. It’s scary. And it’s just a little step to get started.
And there will be so many barriers, especially in the first year where you’ll question everything you thought you knew. You want to throw in the towel because it’s not big enough yet to demand your full attention or to fund your life. And it basically seems like a little bit of work. But that’s exactly the phase that once you get through that stops most of your competitors and when you get to the other side of that, you have this enormous recurring income that is impossible to stop. It’s strong. It’s a really heavy flywheel that you can’t stop by just touching.
Jarrod: You can see it on that graph. So, the growth graph that you can put into the post, it has the very early year. If you look at the first six months of that graph, you might be questioning how much effort you’re putting in and the results it’s getting because at that stage, I was producing a lot myself.
James: Yeah. If you’ve read any number of marketing messages when you’re starting online, you’ve probably built the opinion that you should be rich by about the second or third week of starting your online business.
James: I don’t know about you but even in my real jobs, it took me years. My first full time job, I think I was making like 180 bucks a week unloading wet timber from a 20-ton shipping container. It wasn’t a very good job. It took me quite a few years to build up to 300 grand a year as a job. And then when I started online, it was punishingly difficult. So difficult. That’s really part of what drives me, is that no member of my community will ever have to find it as hard as I did, because I’ve created information and resources. Plus, I back that with my personal attention. I will help them personally, because no one would do that for me. And most of the gurus that were around at my time, aside from not being contactable or being interested in responding or even being hirable even if they were, would cost an absolute fortune.
And I think that’s what was broken with the market was this total wild west scenario. If you wandered into town, you basically would be gunned down by a bandit from the pub. It was wild. You know, these big red headlines screaming at you. There was no social media so they could just push, push, push and there was no recourse. But now you’ve got to be real. You’ve got have a real name to be on Facebook. And it’s a long game. Just remember that. It’s a long game. And a membership is a longer game strategy.
“A membership is a longer game strategy.”
Something really interesting happened, Jarrod. About a year ago, I offered a bonus for people who were going to go through a membership training with someone out there who was offering membership training. Of the people who took the bonus up, after one year, most of them were unsuccessful. And I realized that they just couldn’t get over that hump of dealing with that very first stretch where it’s just much harder than it is rewarding.
Jarrod: Yeah, it certainly is.
James: So that was quite anecdotal. So, in terms of a cohort, I would say that course was not successful and I would never promote it again because it was well put together, it was marketed very well, super slick marketing, but I don’t think the success rate was very high.
Jarrod: These things are slow burn. The best stuff is slow burn usually.
James: It can be slow burn but it’s worth it. So, with these boosters, if you already have a membership, don’t be discouraged. Start applying them. So, we’ve already covered quite a few but we’ve got more.
I think one thing that you did, Jarrod, very well, is you offered a bonus and that created a lift in sales. Tell us about that.
Offer a bonus
Jarrod: Yeah. Well the bonus, it’s important to say, was so tightly connected to the actual community itself. It wasn’t like completely off cuff and unrelated.
James: Just while you’re saying that, this is why those win-a-free-iPad promotions suck.
Jarrod: They’ve got nothing to do with what you’re selling.
James: Exactly. People will join because they want to win the iPad, not because they’re interested in what it is that you sell. So, I know I’ve pushed this message a fair bit inside my training. That is, if you do have an offer or a bonus, it really has to be only relevant for someone who’d be interested in buying your actual thing.
Jarrod: Exactly, exactly. And we did that. If you joined membership, you’re obviously interested in training and improving your practice. You’d probably be interested in a workshop with us and they’re the same things, really. One is in real person, one is online. So, if you join membership, we’ll give you access to a workshop for free and you can join any of our workshops that happen around the globe. That might seem crazy because our workshops are a one-off item. They’re higher-priced than the online, but we’d put people onto this recurring plan and we know that they stay around and we know that after their second-year renewal, they’ve paid more than that one-off event that they would have got and they get a better result.
James: Yes. Well the bonus should be just right. This is something I found, sometimes offering a lot of bonuses can actually detract from an offer because it is like to say, well the offer doesn’t stand strong by itself. So, you got to throw in all this crap to make it attractive. It’s like, ‘Yeah look, you buy this car but you’ll also get steak knives, a trip to Rio, you get a timeshare house.’ It’s like they’ve taken the focus so far away from the thing.
If I were selling PlayStations then I would bonus it with an extra console, with an extra game… What do you call those things, Jarrod? You’d probably game.
Jarrod: I do. Console, controller.
James: OK, controller. I’d get two controllers instead of one or get Gran Turismo Sport with your game if you buy this PlayStation PS4 high def or whatever. Like, having bonuses that the person can use with the thing you’re selling is good. So, this is very important. It’s kind of like with my membership. Some time back, I started offering personal private coaching to members who join, which was not something that I sold with membership prior to that. It was just an extra feature. And it’s been a really good one.
Like, if you’re going to have membership, isn’t it nice to also be able to have dialogue with the owner back and forth? Because that’s the one thing that most membership owners don’t do, is they don’t turn up or they don’t continually look after their membership. They sort of see it as a fill-the-front-door, sell-a-lot-of-it and then abandon-it type business model.
Now in yours, it’s quite interesting because you deal with teachers and they’re very, very keen on looking at training and getting certificational badges or academic qualifications and collecting.
Jarrod: Their registration as a teacher is tied to actually doing them. So yeah, they have to do it.
James: Professional learning, right?
So, I imagine that’s good for you because you can focus more on the content than the coaching compared to the way that I run my membership and that’s good. But there’s usually three things that you’re looking for. It’s coaching, content or community. Now again, the community may not be a strong point for you, but I imagine content is very, very strong.
Jarrod: Yeah. I mean it’s the whole thing. That’s why they join. They want hours. Very much so, they want an hour of training. They want a certificate that says they did that training. So, they can hand that to whoever it is in their school or their body or state that gives them their teaching certificate so they can go up pay scales. So that’s what we sell. That’s what we offer and the direct competitors of us are only offline actual conferences and events, which are usually multiple hundreds of dollars. You’ve got to travel for them. You get maybe six hours. But for us, we’ve just sort of got this Netflix effect of hundreds of hours on demand from whatever device and at any time you like. That’s why it works.
James: Yeah. Well most people would do more hours on Netflix in a week than they would spend reading adult business books in their entire life. So, you’ve brought the ease of use to the market where they need it the most.
So, let’s talk about the seventh booster, not counting the unofficial bonuses. No monthly payment option. You’ve gone annual.
Jarrod: Yeah. I mean I followed your lead in many parts on that too, but you know, I tested it and it’s just really hard for people in our market. Again, the lesson is understanding your audience. If they’re typically in a school, then the school might pay for their membership and if they’re having to do a monthly subscription then they’ve got to get reimbursed 12 times. And that’s just a technical sort of nightmare.
James: It’s just not practical, is it?
Let’s stop on that for a sec. Even in a market like mine, apart from you, you were a teacher when you joined my community, it’s also 12 billing opportunities every year. It’s 12 times that credit card or PayPal account is going to be hit upon. It’s a very weak commitment from someone. I mean it’s easy to sell month-to-month. In these membership training courses, they say, “You’ve got to go monthly. You’ll sell more.” You’ll also have higher churn and you’ll have higher billing failure. If someone commits to an annual payment upfront, they’re committing themselves and investing more in themselves to get more results. They’re more likely to show up because there’s more at stake.
It’s also good for you because you get a year’s worth of loyalty upfront. You also filter the type of member that you get. The people who join with an annual subscription are less needy than people scraping by to get the lowest possible entry point. And I’m not saying that in a negative way to people who are scraping by. I’m just saying that if the market that’s available to you was a triangle and the tip of the triangle is the higher-price bracket, the people with more capacity to pay, and the bottom of that triangle, it’s a very broad triangle, people with zero money, no capacity; then you can decide at what part of the triangle you want to work in.
And for me, most of my clients are in the top half of that triangle. I’ve got SilverCircle of course above SuperFastBusiness and that’s a $10,000 entry fee. And that’s more at the top of the triangle. But I can tell you, it’s really fun dealing with those clients. They’re always doing really cool stuff. They’re very, very driven and motivated. They’re achieving at high levels. They’re doing cool stuff like you, Jarrod. You know, it’s fun dealing with those sorts of clients.
It reminds me of Mercedes-Benz and AMG. Those AMG clients were usually a little bit wealthier, a little bit younger, a lot more fun. They bought cars more often and a lot of them could drive. You get to choose. This is something you don’t have to cater for every segment of the market. And I really don’t think it’s mandatory for you to offer monthly pricing. And if you do have to offer monthly pricing because your customers demand it then I would ask you, who is in control of your business? You or your prospects?
“Who is in control of your business, you or your prospects?”
Jarrod: Yeah. The other thing to mention was we had a lot of tech troubles with the monthly people because like you said, 12 billing attempts. They were the ones that for whatever reason were causing all the spanners in the works with our automation, switched to annual, one automation they go through, they get a reminder before they get charged to avoid the bill shock even though it’s not a lot; but our audience, $100 is a lot. It just made it so much cleaner for us to communicate. ‘This is when your next bill is. Do you want to join or not? Do you want to stay a member or not?’ Very easy.
James: You’re causing me flashbacks, Jarrod. When I was in First Form, I was about 12 or 13, and in an English essay, I wrote ‘Put a spanner in the works,’ and they put red lines all through it and told me not to use cliché. Is that right? Is it a cliché?
Jarrod: Probably. Metaphor or something.
James: Yeah. It’s funny hearing a teacher say that, but it’s good. So, all right. We’ve covered seven tips plus the bonus tip of Bonjoro. There is another tip I think we could probably go for nine and there’s an event coming up that works well for you. Tell me about that.
Jarrod: Yeah. We do a live face-to-face event. I’m guessing that’s the one that you’re talking about.
James: I’m not. You can tell me about that too if we want to go for 10. I was talking about Black Friday.
Jarrod: Yes. OK. So true. We tested the Black Friday thing because I got all these messages from people saying, “Black Friday. Black Friday.” You’re probably on a list where people will hit you up with something like that and I thought I’d test it because I like to test things. And we tested it and it works. Obviously, people in our teacher audience are in the same bucket of people that I maybe belong with and respond to some of those messaging. So, we tried it and people jumped in and even though it was the same offer that you could have got via a wait list and those sorts of other variables, they all jumped on board and if I look at that cohort; because that’s very clear; I can see people coming in on November, they’re quite engaged. They’re quite active because maybe they think they got it at a good rate. I’m not quite sure but we’ll test it again and see how it works again for this year.
I know the other thing I mentioned was the live conference and I’ve copied you again in that, James. Sorry.
James: It’s OK, Jarrod. As Kevin said, he just pays me to do what I’m doing.
Jarrod: It’s what I have done.
James: I take it as a huge compliment. But you know the most important thing, like if someone’s already out there and invented the wheel and you can get them to help you, why wouldn’t you? With their encouragement, permission and advancement, just do it. What I like to see is people implementing these ideas and getting results. And I get a lot of comments, I get personal emails from people saying how they’ve been inspired, or they tried this thing, or they listen to the podcast.
I mean I’m not sure if you’re tracking the episode number but this is episode 554. I’ve done a lot of talking for free on this show and I like to think that people are going to implement the ideas. Except for that one guy who copied my exact website with almost the exact same domain name, which I won’t give anymore press to, but I mean that was just stupid.
I’m not saying cut and paste my website. I’m saying if any of these boosters might help your membership, go ahead and make your version of it. Be inspired by this podcast. Be inspired by Jarrod. Be inspired by the other guests we’ve had here; Clint and Kevin. And be inspired by what I’ve been able to do. I can’t even type. I just want to put that out there. I can’t even type. And I somehow managed to make a living online.
Jarrod: I think I’d speak to the universal appeal of the things that you teach as well, like you’re doing it in a niche that’s very different to Phys Ed teachers. And that same philosophy is now applying perfectly. And we’re being looked at as these huge disruptors in this industry. And really, all I’ve done is just copy what’s worked in SuperFastBusiness.
James: Well you know, the more PE teachers that come on board to your membership, it doesn’t have any negative impact to my way to make a living. So, it’s totally cool.
Jarrod: That’s awesome. You know what I have done is, and I talked about this in the previous podcast, is I’ve rolled up the podcasts that I was doing, the separate ones. And one of them in particular was doing case studies. But I couldn’t get my co-host to regular calls so I’m putting them here and I think this is the right place for them. And if you like what Jarrod’s doing then I’m happy to help you as well.
So, Jarrod, what was that other thing? What was the tenth thing you thought that I was talking about that I wasn’t that we might as well talk about?
Jarrod: Live events. Putting a lot of effort into making sure that the recordings you get from a live event are high quality.
James: So true.
Jarrod: I mean the first year I did it, we sort of did that as an afterthought but we made this the forethought this time around and we got really good quality. And people commented saying they felt like they were actually there and it was a game changer.
James: I’ve been to events where they stick a little tripod on someone’s desk three rows back with a little camcorder on it, like not even a microphone. I’m like, “What’s that?” “Oh yeah. We’re recording this to sell.” I’m like, “Really?” Like, I don’t know about you. If you’ve ever seen those movies where someone gets up halfway through and walks across the screen, it’s pretty dodgy. So, I get Marty Hankins to my events. He is just so pro. Two cameras, and the mic is feeding in. They mix the slides in with the speakers. They get different angles. It’s just pro level. And he gives me my whole event on a USB stick three or four days after the event. It’s so worth the investment having good-quality AV.
Jarrod: Yeah, we did the same thing. It cost us about $3,000 to get this recorded in Dubai. We found someone. We asked for the same approach like slides, audio fed in. But then we sold virtual passes to the event to people outside of Dubai who couldn’t attend. But the only way they could access those virtual passes was by joining the membership. It wasn’t a one-off payment. It was, ‘Now if you want to get access to it, become a member.’ And we sold well more than the cost of the recording just through that process.
James: There you go. Well if you’re in Australia, look up Marty Hankins at M3Media.com.au. Tell him James sent you, because he’s recorded my last seven or eight events. He’s just awesome. OK Jarrod, let’s just do a recap here because I think as a teacher, you’d probably insist that we capture the essence of this training.
We’ve been talking about ways to boost your membership. We originally started with four before we turned the recorder on. We counted seven and we’ve ended up with 10, but we’ll probably call it seven because it’s catchy. We have an app for your business. It’s just a great way to get that thing on your screen of your customers right there for them and to hook onto the professional sort of brand values of Apple and Google.
We also talked about having one solution instead of putting your focus over all sorts of other things. So if you really want your membership to thrive then put your focus on it, like what you focus on will expand.
The third thing we talked about was actually ThriveCart. So, having a simple cart that does the things you need it to do and talks to everything is good. I’m not sure if it’s still available when you’re listening to this but if you’re listening to this when we published it, I had access to a one-time deal for ThriveCart. I encourage you to get it for that one time because it will be on a monthly recurring and it should be because they constantly develop it.
Number four, we talked about having a wait list and how important it is to track the different groups of people, which Jarrod likes calling cohorts and to see which group is performing in a particular way so that you can refine your waiting list and you can also look after people really well when you bring them in all at once. Just like taking in a school class on the first day of school on the induction day, you get to prepare for that properly rather than just have them coming willy nilly.
We talked about having a summit, and that’s basically an event that is virtual and you can coordinate it. You can still incorporate all the good stuff. You can use your new shopping cart. You can have the waiting list for that. You can make it free if you want. You can get access to a whole bunch of new subscribers from your experts recommending it. You can create buzz around it. You can use your product launch formula type marketing on this and you can end up with some terrific content to put inside your membership.
We talked about having a bonus that is relevant to your product. This is important. It’s not just win an iPad. This is something relating to the thing that you’re selling. It should encourage people to want the thing that you’re selling, to use it. If I was buying a printer, it would be nice if they gave me six reams of white printing paper as a bonus because I would definitely use that on the printer.
Seven would be no monthly option. If you really want to up the quality of your members and reduce the billing failures and get more invested customers, have a look at an annual subscription. And maybe if you’re in an enterprise market or a teaching market, this might suit them anyway. It might be the way they’re used to buying.
We had some bonus tips there. We suggested that Bonjoro is a great way to send personal video messages to your customers.
Jarrod: Game changer.
James: Game changer. Thanks for that tip, Jarrod. It actually feeds off Intercom. So, I know that we haven’t addressed the tech questions, which is probably the thing you’re the most qualified in the world to talk about, but that’s deliberate because if you’re sitting here thinking by now, ‘Great guys. You’ve been talking for an hour but what software do I use? What platform do I use?’ Don’t worry about that. That’s the easy part. Worry about which market you’re going to serve, what you’re going to offer them and are you prepared to get through that first six months? If you are, then just log into SuperFastBusiness membership. I do recommend you join it if you’re not a member. If you want to join it, go to the home page. Select a few questions and when you get to the thank you page, use the support option and ask them to join now if you really know this is what you want. And inside there, there are numerous discussions with every technical solution known to man and more and you get Jarrod and me. How’s that for value? You could be the bonus, Jarrod.
Jarrod: It’s the only place I am active, like sharing my ideas and so on.
James: Well, I do appreciate that. And we also talked about if you want to support the Black Friday big launch, that’s an opportunity to harness the momentum that happens particularly in the US market but it is happening in Australia now as well. And I imagine it’s happening in other countries.
So just get on that, if you can come up with something that doesn’t devalue what your existing members have already access, I think that’s an important thing to talk about. Maybe people who joined for Black Friday get something different or extra that no one ever got before. That’s not going to put existing customers’ noses out of joint.
And by the way, that’s a really good reason to use coupons. I love coupons. In Australia, we’re really not that exposed to coupons. But in the US market, coupons are a thing. Like people buy food with coupons. And it’s just a cultural thing where coupons are looked for and redeemed and if you can use coupons with your cart then it allows people to feel special. So, I often use coupons at various stages in my marketing. It doesn’t have to always be a discount. It could be a bundle. It could be all sorts of things.
And then the final bonus was to have an actual live event but geared around generating the content rather than the content being an afterthought or a by-product. Make it the primary product and then the other things like people meeting each other and you feeling special speaking from stage like the bonus things. How did we go?
Jarrod: Yeah. Perfect. I couldn’t have wrapped it up better. It’s putting the content at the forefront. And as we’ve done that, that snowball is starting to crush existing markets because of the fact that we’ve made it easy. We’ve put it in one place. That’s the focus. And I can’t wait to see where it ends up.
James: Well Jarrod, you’ve been on this podcast, SuperFastBusiness, many, many times. I expect that you’re going to continue to be here and I’m sure that when you come back on the next podcast installment, you’ll have some terrific insights for us and have some extra boosters or something amazing to share with us. So, I just want to thank you for sharing so generously. I know that putting yourself out there, it does expose you to the potential for copycats, etcetera. I’m explicitly requesting: please, don’t cut and paste Jarrod’s website. Don’t cut and paste my website. That won’t get you much further than a cease and desist letter because if you cut and paste our websites, you’re not learning the valuable lessons here. You haven’t bothered to select the market and you haven’t bothered to look at how they work from behind the scenes.
You want to know how a membership works? Join mine. If you’re a PE teacher, join Jarrod’s and you’ll really get a feel for what’s happening and then apply it to your market. And I think there’s a huge number of potential markets available to be tapped and we’ve seen how powerful it can be for copywriters – for Kevin and for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers for our good mate Clint. So, you know, there are these great groups or communities. If you’re selling a lot of eBooks or you’re speaking from platform on a topic in particular then think about how you might create a membership and then boost it with these boosters.
Jarrod, legendary. Thank you for joining and sharing with us. If you’ve liked this episode, please share it, socialize it. Give us a review. You can ask questions where the post is. We have a comments section. And of course, Jarrod and I look forward to seeing you inside SuperFastBusiness membership. Thanks mate.
Jarrod: Speak soon.
James: So, you’ve been listening to episode 554 of SuperFastBusiness. This was seven ways to boost your membership. I’m James Schramko. I look forward to speaking to you next time.
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Dean Allan says
Hi James – just wanted to say thank you for this episode – I have been toying with adding an annual membership to our BookPals subscription for a while now and when you made mention that an annual membership can help reduce churn and encourages subscribers to “turn up” during this chat with Jarrod it made perfect sense so it has now been implemented. Great discussion – thank you again.
Dean Allan says
Hi James – just wanted to say thank you for this episode – I have been toying with adding an annual membership to our BookPals subscription for a while now and when you made mention that an annual membership can help reduce churn and encourages subscribers to “turn up” during this chat with Jarrod it made perfect sense so it has now been implemented. Great discussion – thank you again.
James Schramko says
Thank you Dean. You might also be encouraged by other members of SuperFastBusiness membership community reporting a lift in profit and quality of customer.