With an email list that’s 500 strong, you have the potential makings of a paid membership. The key is doing the right things.
Membership owners James Schramko and John Lint lay out the actions you can take to convert subscribers into members and tap a sustainable source of recurring income.
In the podcast:
01:37 – First thing first: start with the data
04:19 – Making it all about them
05:26 – Take the first version and run
08:24 – How can you monetize fastest?
09:52 – Then build the machine
James: James Schramko here. Welcome back to SuperFastBusiness.com. This is Episode 720. And I’m chatting with my good friend John Lint on this episode. Hey, John.
John: Hello, hello, how are you?
James: Good, thank you.
Now you’re from KLEQ.com. We love to have conversations related to memberships and courses. And I got a great question today on the monthly Q&A call for SuperFastBusiness members. This is a paid members’ call that we do each month. And sometimes the questions are really good and deserve to be put out there to a broader audience. And I’m just going to give a digest of some of the questions and some of the answers. Of course, the full recording is available for members inside SuperFastBusiness membership. But when I was talking to you, you said this would be a good question to put out there.
And the question I got asked was, if I were to start again and I had 500 customers on my list, or names on my list, what would be my first steps to make a membership? How would I do it? That was pretty much the question, right?
First thing first: start with the data
James: So I said that I would want to start, like any good copywriter would, with the data. I’d want to do some research. And I talked about, the 80/20 type of question that you would want to know is, what sort of challenges are people having? And this is taught by Ryan Levesque in the ASK method. And you know, you can get really absorbed in that whole course and take it to town. But for me, the big win was just asking that one question about the challenge. If you can truly understand the pain points of your audience, before you go and create anything, that’s important. You’ll find out fairly quickly from those 500 people, are there patterns? Are there commonalities? Are they suffering similar situation? And then you can decide if you’re in a likely position to be able to solve that for them, and that’s a very important thing. And you might be able to speak to that, the match between their pain and what you’re intending to sell.
John: Yeah, absolutely. That’s really the core. That’s the foundation of your business. And a lot of people like to skip that. It’s not very sexy, right? A lot of people want to know, what’s the trick? How do you do this funnel or this campaign? And how do you optimize your sales page? And actually, none of that matters, you know, if you don’t understand, what are they really struggling with? What are their pains, what do they want help with? Because I always say that, and we talked about this many times on these podcasts. That’s our job, right? Our job is to solve other people’s problems. That’s what we do. That’s what we do. That’s our job. So very, very important.
“At the end of the day, we just need to keep it simple.”
And a lot of people hear about these, you know, like you mentioned, the ASK method, or whatever. At the end of the day, guys, we just need to keep it simple. If you have an email list, send them an email. Tell them that, Hey, I’m about to create some new content; I really want to make sure that it’s going to be useful for you. What is your biggest challenge trying to get this specific result? Right? So we can keep it super simple. Just ask one question. Listen to what they are saying, get some replies.
And make some research. Because you mentioned that as well in the call. Okay, you know, you can ask your current list, but also you should see the purchasing behavior patterns. What are people actually buying, right? Something else you could do is you can actually check out someone else’s website and check out maybe the comments that they’re getting. If you’re part of maybe the SuperFastBusiness forum, or any other forum, or any other Facebook group, look at the conversations going on. What are people complaining about, right? If you’re doing stuff on YouTube, great. Look below the videos. And I know on YouTube, the comments can be crazy sometimes, but you know, there are some good pieces of valuable information there where someone’s going to say, Hey, you know, how do you do that? How can you get these results? I’m struggling with this. I tried this, but it never worked. All of these are frustrations. And when you see all that, take notes. And this is the most important step, out of everything.
Making it all about them
James: Yeah. So you mentioned something really important. When you send that email out, use the word “you”. Don’t send it to a mass audience, send it to one person.
James: That’s a trick that I think a lot of people overlook. So we want to find out their biggest challenge. And it is great to know, what else are they buying? What else have they purchased? For me, when I started out helping people build websites, I quickly discovered they were all having other problems, too. They were buying every course they could about traffic, and a lot of them were spending money on coaches. And then I thought, you know what, I think I could put together a membership to help people learn how to drive traffic, how to make conversions, how to price their products, whether they should do a membership or a course, and I want to get on to that in a moment.
“There’s this big difference between preference versus performance.”
And I also want to understand how they like to consume information. Do they prefer videos, audios, PDFs? Do they want to be part of a group? Are they already in groups? That’s a good indicator. Because there’s this big difference between preference versus performance. If you ask people, “What would you like me to create?” they will tell you all sorts of things. And then you say, “Okay, it’s ready. I’ve gone and spent two years making it. Here’s the order button.” And they don’t buy.
James: Very frustrating.
Take the first version and run
So using this method, you can find out the problems and challenges. Then, the next stage is you go with the first version of what you want to sell. Create part of the thing, and work next on your offer page. Using the research, create an offer page or a sales letter, or a video sales letter or a webinar, whatever modality you prefer, but create your offer. That’s the thing that will take a visitor to being a buyer, and create that. Because now you want to try and sell it, even the very first version of it.
Now, it could be a course, it could be a workshop, it could be a masterclass, it could be a membership. Sometimes you can go straight out of the gate for a membership. If you had 500 members or people on your list, and they all had a very similar problem, and they were begging and demanding for a solution, and if they’re already in several other memberships, and you think you could do a better job, there’s a good chance you could create a membership. If it’s an ongoing need that you’re solving, then you could have a membership. If it’s a one-time thing, like a wedding business, you might have a product. You might have an information product. One of our members has a service that he does for customers that’s kind of a one-time thing.
So just think about that. Don’t go out there with your membership hammer, looking for nails. You might find screws, and they might need a product, so be open-minded to that. Don’t create the thing until you’ve done your research. And then create your offer and try and sell the first version of your product or service before you go big on it.
And by the way, you can actually make a recurring service, which is a great way that I got started, setting up a recurring service. Providing things is always going to be easier to sell than information products. So it doesn’t really matter whether it’s an information product or a service; it doesn’t matter if it’s one-time or recurring. What we’re really trying to do is get someone to be happy to purchase because they think they’ll be better off. Because once you’ve got that, that’s actually the hardest part of having an online business, and everything else is much easier after that.
“At the very beginning, when you’re first opening the doors, you want to validate your idea.”
John: Yeah, this is a very important lesson. It’s really about getting data. At the very beginning, you know, people are starting out and they think, hey, you know, I want that online business. I want to make thousands of dollars and plenty of money. But really at the very beginning, with your first course, or when you’re first opening the doors, you want to know, you want to validate your idea. Are people actually going to take out their credit cards and buy? And when they do, it tells you, yeah, that means this can work. So the only thing that you need to do is pretty much more of the same – increase, get more traffic, improve your things, get more testimonials. But now you know that you have, like you talk about very often, James, an offer that converts, right?
John: That’s the most important thing that we need to do straight away, whether it’s a course or a membership site. And that’s the question I get all the time from our KLEQ.com members: What should I do, John? Because in KLEQ, you can do a full-on membership site with forum, private chat, all of that. You can also do courses, and these can be masterclasses, super, with a ton of modules and all that, or they can be quick courses.
How can you monetize fastest?
So then, of course, our members have this question: What should I do first? It really depends on you and what you have, and your expertise and your positioning, and what kind of business do you want to have? There’s no real right or wrong answer. In a very mature online business anyway, most of the time, you’re going to have a little bit of everything. You’re going to have a membership site, you will have some courses that you can sell and then try to upsell to membership, or you can, when someone buys the membership, you can upsell them to the course or to the masterclass – there are many things that you can do.
But at the very beginning, what can you do the fastest? What feels right to you? Are you more comfortable doing a membership site and creating content on an ongoing basis, or like, providing support? Or do you want to focus on one course, solving one big problem and helping them to get that result? Is that easier for you? And if it is, then do that first, right? The membership sites can come after, or the course can come after. For me, it’s always about what feels right for you right now. What is easier? What can you do faster? How can you go to market fast, so you can make that offer fast? Get those results. Get that data to validate your idea. And the fastest you do that, then the fastest you can grow your business, scale up, get more results and do more things.
James: Exactly. So the emphasis on there is taking that 500 list and turning it into money via the offer quickly. Because then, you can reinvest. Then you can pay for your tools, you get a return on investment. KLEQ, for example, it’s paid for after you open up your sales offer.
Then build the machine
You can then build your team, so you don’t have to do all the content creation. You don’t have to do the curation, you don’t have to send out your own emails. You don’t have to format your pages or anything, your team can do that for you. And then you can go and build into the next phase of stuff. So once you have a membership, then you’re going to be focusing on more advanced things, like keeping members and having them stay for a long, long, long time; reducing churn; having a profitable membership; doing top of the funnel activities, driving people into your membership.
We had a KLEQ customer on the call today who has the machine built, and all she has to do now is just drive traffic to it, and her bank balance will increase accordingly to exactly how much she can drive into the front of that machine.
So I think we’ve covered the topic. In other words, we really want to do our research. Don’t skip that step. We want to get the copywriting right, we want to be able to translate that offer. And then we want to see what we get and grow it from there. That’s how I would approach it. That’s how I’m doing it right now. I’ve actually got a KLEQ installation, we’re going to a brand new market, we’ve researched the market, we’ve gone out and met with people face-to-face, hundreds of them. And now we’ve created the first version of the product. And I’ve written the first version of the sales page, and we’re going to see if we can now go back to those people and have them put down their credit card for the first product. And from there, then we’ll turn that into a membership if we possibly can. We’ll see how it goes.
Thanks so much, John. Always a pleasure to catch up.
John: Thank you.
James: Alright, if you want to go through this again, there’s some really detailed information there. You’ll be able to get the full transcription, you’ll get a digest of the steps that you need to turn your list of 500 people into a monetized membership. Thank you.
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