The “7 Activators” Needed to Build a Successful Online Course
If there’s one person who knows how to make an online course successful, it’s Mike Weiss from the Client Engagement Academy.
After years of research and decades of marketing experience, he’s now unlocked a new “standard” of how online courses should be built and structured.
In this video, you’ll get a sneak peak behind a few of the online courses Mike has built with Memberium. Along with his best advice for anyone running an online course or anyone looking to start one.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the other points discussed throughout the video:
- Get an overview of the “7 Activators” needed to create an engaging online course, and why they’re critical to the success of any online course.
- How Mike finds out where students are getting stuck in a course and how to optimize your course content to achieve increased student engagement.
- See how Mike tracks student engagement, student completion rates, and takes tracking an online course to a whole new level that doesn’t exist on any other e-learning platform.
- Get an inside look at how this tracking was used for Digital Marketer’s “HQ” certification program, and how they achieve a 43% course completion rate (which is over 4x more than the industry average for online course completion rates).
- Discover how Mike tracks student engagement and course completion rates with Graphly.
- Online education is a broken system globally. Most online courses are completed by roughly 10% of students who enroll in them. In this video you’ll find out how Mike’s figured out how to deliver 3-4x better results than the industry averages for online courses.
- Hear the inside story about how Mike had helped spark the seed of an idea that is now Memberium.
- Mike shares the “viral social loop” and how one of his clients used it to generate over $900,000 in additional sales with $0 in marketing costs.
- Haven’t started an online course or membership site yet or are on the fence about how to launch one? Find out why it’s important not to over complicate the process and just do it.
- Find out the biggest mistake Mike has made when building online courses and launching his business, along with what he would’ve done differently if he could go back.
- Plus, tons of other useful nuggets for anyone running an online course or membership site.
The “7 Activators” Needed to Build a Successful Online Course
Micah: Hey, everybody. It’s Micah with Memberium. Today, we get the pleasure of talking with Mike Weiss, and he runs the Client Engagement Academy. Mike here has agreed to give us a sneak peek behind a few of the sites that they work on. So, we’ve done some case studies with individual sites. This will be fun because it’s like several mini case studies. So, Mike, thank you so much for joining.
Mike: Yeah, great to be here and great to connect with your lead prospects and clients. You and I have a very long history, and so do Dave and I. So, I’m sure we’ll get into it a little bit, but this is my honor to be on here with you and all of your people – your tribe.
Micah: Yeah, I know. It’s an honor for us, too, because many people don’t know this and we’ll dive into the history, but Mike is the one who introduced me to LearnDash. The first call to us was like, “What is this guy talking about?” And then after a while, when I finally got in and the lights came on, then we started pursuing it. But Mike’s usually on the cutting edge, so I’m pretty excited. Mike, why don’t we start with a little bit of your background? I’ve known you for 10 years. We worked with Infusionsoft and different clients and stuff. But tell us a little bit about how you got started and where you are today.
Mike: I’ll keep it pretty brief. The bottom-line of my entire career has been in sales and marketing, and client engagement. So I started out in the financial industry and I actually still have clients that are – some longer than 20 years. And so, I really was very fortunate to be mentored by one of the leading sales and marketing guys in the financial business 29 years ago. He taught drip marketing. And we used to, believe it or not, have entire – what we would call Infusionsoft campaigns laid out in a big book sitting on the desk like this high with 50 different pages, and literally, we would flip through depending on, “Okay, they said this and then talk about this,” and then we’ll get off the phone and we’d send this series of mail.
So when the internet came around, I was like, “Ugh, I got to figure out a way to stop folding these envelopes, letters, and fold work.” And then the story is funny with my history with Infusionsoft, but I re-evaluated 3 companies – Next Click, RightNow, Infusionsoft – and Infusionsoft had a $5,000 fee to start. You remember those days. I didn’t choose that because I was like, “Ugh, I’m not gonna pay 5 grand.” So I chose Next Click and it was a disaster because they had no marketing automation, even though they said they did, locked into a year’s contract that was super painful.
Then it went back down to my choice again between Right Now and Infusionsoft, and you guessed that I chose the wrong one again – another year wasted. And then finally, Infusionsoft – they knew who I was. They were launching a new beta program with no fee and they invited me in as long as I give feedbacks, so that’s how I got in. And from the moment I was in, I realized that it was the holy grail of marketing. This was probably back around 12 somewhat years ago – way before the campaign builder and it was super complex, but that’s how my brain is wired. So Micah laughs because Micah knows I know nothing about programming. However, my brain thinks like a 3-dimensional mind map.
So somehow, it came easy to me. I started consulting. I optimized my business. It was a huge success. I started consulting with some other big online financial firms, and then I think that where we got a chance to work together, Micah, which is also a big opportunity for me to expand my career is when I moved from New York to California to start Praxis Now, which is now called NeuroGym. That’s John Assaraf’s company. John was my business coach 14 years ago for a few years. He invited me out to California to build that company with him. So we started in his backyard, the two of us, and he had a long-standing relationship with David Bullock, so we see this is very incestuous.
So David was actually our chief technology officer. We built that company together and we had massive success. My responsibility at that time was everything digital, so it was all the funnels, all the marketing, copy, websites, and the membership site. We ended up with about 7,000 customers in 80 countries in the first 16 months, multiple millions of dollars in sales, everything was great. However, we ran into the problem that most educators around the world run into, and that is very low completion rates, like around 12 percent.
So David and I were assigned the task to bump that up, and we spent a lot of time, energy, and effort to try to do that. Our only conclusion was we needed a basic technology, which is actually the seed level of Memberium, and then we don’t want to turn to technology companies, so we just muscled it up to 20 percent. Long story short, I got butt out about 2 and a half years into that company. David got butt out 6 months after me. Micah did a lot of work for us. I paid Micah a lot of money to come in for 5 days. It was fun. Wasn’t it, Micah?
Micah: That was way fun, and street tacos, running around.
Mike: Yeah, in Del Mar, yeah. And it was nice because back in the day Micah was the inventor of “the cycler.” Right, Micah?
Micah: Oh, yeah. We don’t want to go off on too many tangents, but yeah.
Mike: So we implemented the cycler, but the cycler is actually super effective inside the membership sites. I actually use that today. We’ll cover some – how that works in some of the case studies that we get into. Anyway, long story short, the [seed] level of Memberium was started when David and I were spending 12 hours a day try to muscle it out and the [seed] level of clients, which the only thing we do is one thing – we build online education platforms done for you and membership sites. All of those were started in the same room David and I [panning] it out trying to solve a problem, which is usually how the companies are formed.
So about 2 and a half years ago, or maybe 3 years ago, David came up to me and said, “You get the first copy.” I actually even forgot what he was talking about. He’s like, “Well, remember what we talked about doing? I took a few years, but I wrote it.” And then I got into that and I was like, “Wow.” And then I went back into the online education space and everything had changed, which to me is the part that most people aren’t latching on to when they go to build an online education platform, whether it’s a membership site or an online course, whatever we call them.
The piece that’s missing is a higher aspect of what we now know about how to engage adults. And so, with that, I launched, I pivoted my company. I shut down all of my processes, and lead gen, consulting, traffic, and all of those funnels and all of those stuff I was doing. I start to perfecting client engagement, so the students get better outcomes. When we do that, it’s amazing for the students around the world. And now, I actually have some really great factual results. It’s extraordinary for the companies. So, we’ll look at one of the by-products of what we did, but DigitalMarketer was one of my big clients, and I actually launched their certification and program for them.
So Lionel Richard was trying to figure it out. They were actually using Memberium. David had a longstanding relationship with them. They were trying to learn LearnDash. They were using WordPress. And then they were just stuck because it’s not the out of the box. It really doesn’t work. All that stuff doesn’t really come together so easily. I had already launched my company and I was doing this, and they said, “Can you do it?” I said, “Yeah.” So I flew down to Austin, spent a day, and then we co-designed and released, and built, and I host all of those 9 certifications.
So with that, one of the takeaways for today – and hopefully through this process. Micah and Andrew, we can leave people with a bunch of takeaways because I’m always about the student outcome and the client outcome. So today, we’re spending time together. But at the end of the day, we want to make sure that we add massive values. So whenever you invest an hour or so with us, they can walk away with takeaways.
So the biggest takeaway that I can mention is pay attention to digital badges – learn about them and figure out how to incorporate them because that is basically the game changer for DigitalMarketer. They were launching a certification program before they met me. However, I became an expert of digital badges. I brought that to the table, and it’s radically shifted the entire trajectory of their firm, which is pretty impressive because they are already doing tens of millions of dollars. For them, to see the results that they’ve seen, now understand the opportunity and shift the entire trajectory of their firm, and that’s the power of getting it right. So that’s what we’re going to share today – some case studies about the different things that I’ve done, so people can actually – what we’re going to do is get them to think “Wow, I didn’t think about that, and I could do that [and then see about it and get it done].” So that sounds good?
Micah: It sounds great. There’s some questions I usually ask about how long has someone used WordPress or Infusionsoft, just to give those watching an idea. But obviously, you’ve used those things for a long, long time. So I just want you to say a couple of words from Mike because he mentioned his history. Like he said, he’s been really laser-focused on engaging clients. I’ve always tried to do a good job with my membership sites, obviously, and help clients do a good job and what not, but it was a whole new dimension to it, too. And I think some of that was unlocked with technology being available to do this.
Micah: But when the technology was there and people caught on to how important it is for people, for your customers to complete the courses in order to refer and stay in the program, and all of those things – it’s been a fairly fun and exciting years because, in the past, it was so much about content protection. Now, it’s so much more about the experience, the delivery, and the result kind of stuff. So, I’m really excited for this call. Those of you listening, I know we’re kind of getting in the background down, but you’re about to see some cool stuff. So, Mike, I’m just going to let you jump to whichever part you want to jump to first, and I’ll pepper] you with questions here and there. But why don’t you jump in wherever you feel is best.
Mike: Okay, let me show you my screen. One of the things I failed to mention was that Micah helped me become one of the finalists for Infusionsoft internet marketer of the year. We built something at Praxis that was pretty amazing. So, what I wanted to do was I wanted to just bounce through to give it an overview of what we did for them. So just to spark high-level ideas, and then we’ll jump into a couple of them.
So Wicked Reports is a technology company. Like every technology company or every service company, even my company – I’m going to show you something cool a little bit later about my company – but whenever you have to on-board clients, you have to educate them. This is where I like to really focus. A lot of my pre-client and client conversations is understanding how can we better educate them because, when they have a better understanding of what they’re supposed to do, they have a better shot at getting it accomplished. And so, every technology company has an on-boarding cycle. And so, what we’ve done with the reports is really helped them redefine their entire process of what happens when they bring a customer on.
So for my business, Client Engagement Academy, I’m going to go over the technology stack that we use, so everyone knows exactly what we’re using. However, the technology pieces may be 20 percent of the value that we add, and there’s other pieces that in that stack up to 200 percent. But helping people understand what they don’t know, that they don’t even know, they don’t know, and that might have to take a second to digest that, but if you live this space like I do, then – and we’re looking and we’re hosting all these sites for clients. Everyday, we’re looking at massive amount of data, like improvements, so we know a lot of which works and which doesn’t. It’s our responsibility when we have a new engagement to be able to convey that to the client and help them re-imagine what’s possible. And that’s what we did with the Wicked Reports and Wicked Academy.
So now when clients come on, what Wicked Academy does is they actually do [prof] attribution with reporting, so you actually can understand the exact end that attribute to this, or the exact email, or the exact link that attribute to this sale. So it’s the real way to measure your results online, so you know where to add. Mike, a lot of their reporting, it’s nice, but it’s not actually even relevant. So that’s what we do with them.
So we said, “Okay, let’s look. There’s a couple of components of what needs to be done. They need re-set-ups.” So we created a process around set-up, and then we said, “Okay, it’s a 80:20 rule. What are the most of the people that are their customers looking to accomplish?” “Well, they want to understand how to do Facebook better and how to do email marketing better.” So we created two processes that would flow from a set-up from there. So that’s one thing that we do, which is really cool.
Take a look at this a little bit, but this is Real Estate Worldwide. We had an evolution with our relationship with them because we helped them and they were basically going to have just a handful of courses that they already had on a better platform, better experience focusing on student outcome. This is a more expensive program. It comes with coaches. And also, what’s really cool we did here is where we’re able to integrate the site with their proprietary software. So for Real Estate Worldwide, people come in and they’re getting trained to make software sales properly acquisitioned, etc., and their proprietary software is part of that process.
We actually have gateways, where as, they go through the learning, the actual entire site pauses until they do something on their proprietary software site. When that’s done, back to a coach, then it releases them again. So we created a really integrated client pathway, and you’ll hear that term as we go through this a lot, where it’s integrated with the actual course itself. It’s integrated with the coaching process, and it’s integrated with their proprietary technology.
All of this is possible because of the platform that we’re using. So it’s WordPress, Memberium, Infusionsoft, Wistia, Credly for the digital badges, LearnDash. For the reporting, we’re using Graphly, which I’ll show you some of these. But the Stack has the ultimate flexibility. And thanks to David and Micah, we have the ultimate flexibility because we’re using Infusionsoft as the brain and it creates all the algorithm. Everything I just described is actually built in Infusionsoft – all the processes, the algorithms, and all the rules – then translated through Memberium, so it actually works on the site, and the clients get to experience it seamlessly. They don’t even know what’s happening in-between, so that was really cool with them.
So these guys – it’s a sweet story – and this is for anyone out there that is basically [considering] Memberium. This is what the power of Memberium and a site like this can do. They were teaching live events. They are working very hard. I love this company because they are teaching people how to take single family homes and turn them into residential assisted living. So it’s a win for the investor and it’s a win for the old people because they have better places to live that are not institutionalized.
So if you can imagine, he’s flying all over the country and it’s a grueling schedule. So we are able to help take his live event, and then create an online process. So, anyone that’s not there yet, my whole recommendation is Dan Kennedy’s philosophy, which is, “An imperfect plan in action is better than a perfect plan not in action”. So believe it or not, the site looks amazing, the functionality is top shelf, but we actually took his live event, and then worked with him to understand how to break it up so people could engage with it online without reshooting, which is the key.
I never recommend anyone spend a lot of money reshooting at all before they launch because, what your best guess of what you think your course should be, most times is not. We’re going to go over the data package. I’m going to show the reports that I show on Graphly. The key is, you want to understand the data, the client engagement, and then once you have that, then goes spend 10, 20 grand, or 50 grand in a studio. But never do that first because you might find that, what you thought was supposed to be a great lesson, people aren’t connecting with it and would have to go back and reshoot it again. So that’s one of our big takeaways is, an imperfect plan is better than a perfect plan not in action. And even though this is not perfect, his live event, which has been chopped up, it’s a great starting point, if that makes sense.
The Power of Purpose, this is more traditional. I think they’re on CustomerHub actually. So it’s not a big secret that if you’re in CustomerHub, it’s adequate, but it’s far from good. So we’re taking their entire business and putting it both individual sites, and also the membership sites all collapsed into one program. And that’s the other thing that Memberium allows you to do, which is totally amazing, is to control individual courses, free courses, membership site, everything on one site, which is the case – single log-in. And then of course, because of Memberium and the tagging functionality, you’re able to make every rule that you want. So one site does all with one log-in, which is – it seems common sense – but if you’re on Kajabi, that’s not so easy because their silo is each individual course sits separately.
So this is the big advantage of Infusionsoft. Everyone’s like, “Oh, Infusionsoft’s expensive.” Like this technology Stack, I described is about 800 dollars a month. Infusionsoft, Memberium, Wistia. The Credly is 500 bucks for the year. But when you add up the stack, it’s about 800 dollars a month. I teach everyone that this is the foundation of their entire business. If you get this right, you won’t have to worry about sales or profits.
We’re going to go and talk about Jai, what we do with her in more details, so I’m just going to bounce through. I’m just trying to see if there’s anything that we did that was– this is a high-end certification program for pet food, and this actually is 36 modules. This is a university-type course – Ph.D. instructor – and the client put this together. This is actually being sold B to B because, if you think about all of the pet food stores out there, none of them know about the quality of pet food. So what we do is launch – that was pretty good. This is mine we’re going to to get into. This is another great story. I love the story, yes actually, because this is the Brian Tracy of Australia.
Paul has been in the person development business for 30 years. Once again, he spent 90 percent of his time going from place to place – grueling actually. I think he’s in his early 70s. I think his wife and his daughter are involved in the business and no legacy. So how does that feel spending 30 years of your life realizing that you don’t have a legacy that’s going to extend because all of the stuff you do is live – like the videos – and you’re getting tired because you’re doing 20, 30 events a year.
So we worked with them and we basically took 30 years worth of experience, and he’s amazing and his stuff is amazing. We helped them create a plan for the next 20 courses, and you can see from the graphics – because we do all of the graphics as well – that everything is integrated. And so, that’s one of the other tips also.
Before you get started, preparation is 9/10. I was going to show you some of our project manager’s stuff, but spend some time in the preparation. This guy is a world champion in black belt in memory. Also, he did most live events. We took and created an entire black belt system, like you would have if you went to a gym. We actually broke up an entire course into sub-courses, and this is the power of the digital badge, so you go from white to yellow, to blue, to brown, to black. Each time you accomplish a level, you earn a digital badge, which you can share globally.
And we also took the same philosophy of the karate schools is that micro-commitments are where it’s at. We are talking about engagement and people winning. You want to let them win. You can’t just have a large, cumbersome, massively, hourly long course because people – they need to win. So we took something that was big and broke it up into something that’s super fun, and just like you get your black belt and all the belts that the kids get – that’s what you get from the systems – that was cool. Yeah, so that’s the overview. Any questions up to that, Mike?
Micah: Yes. So one of my questions – if you’re going to jump into any of this later, feel free to let me know – but what, generally speaking, was the hardest thing to figure out? Because you’ve shown a lot of beautiful sites, which I actually – one of the things that’s really valuable here that I don’t think we have anywhere else is the view of layers of these sites.
When you show the computer, the tablet, and the phone and everything – and it’s showing like,”Hey, this is kind of the homepage, and then here’s what’s in the course. Here’s within that.” It’s really cool for people to see just to get their brains going because you’d be amazed at how often people ask us, like, “What’s it gonna look like? What’s it gonna look like?” And we, as a software, say, “Well, that’s up to you. You can kinda make it look however you want”, which isn’t a great answer, I know.
So to see all of those different courses, and then I see some of the uniformity – but I’m sure you guys are bringing me to the picture where, one, it looks nice, simple, and clean, but then also there’s courses or whatever. You can see the badges and some of those things. For me, I’m more of a programmer, so the esthetics are not usually the most important thing but I know how valuable that is in these cases. So it’s cool to see, but tell me what was hard in figuring this out? Because you’ve got to figure it out. So tell me just one or two of the most difficult things you have to solve to get here.
Mike: So you brought up things I take for granted now. You’re right. When we show the client sites, we’re showing them on an IPad and a phone. It took me 9 months from the time I pivoted my business to I was comfortable taking a client on. I’ve got about a couple of hundred thousand dollars into my platform right now. So the biggest challenge is what I call zero fault tolerance. I have an advantage, I think, because I’ve been on the client’s side. When John and I started, we started with no clients, and then we ended up with tens and thousands of clients.
I felt the anger of the customers when it was planking. They couldn’t log-in – all the normal bad online education course stuff – that was coming directly at me, and sometimes, it was high stress. I used to get on David’s case. We were at it a few times. Having experienced that, my total commitment was to deliver something that didn’t do that. And then, that’s really what was one of the big challenges in the beginning is – how do you set it up understanding exactly from the consumer’s perspective what they need?
A lot of the times, we get so amped up on what we can do. I mean it’s great. There’s a lot of people out there listening to this. I don’t program, so they’re amazing programmers and I’m sure that you can make things do things that people can’t even imagine the things that they can do. But the one thing we have to remember is that we have to put our feet in the client’s shoes, and understand that 95 percent of all clients absolutely stink at technology. They’re terrible.
When we talk about this, Mike, the complexity of what we’re talking about, people underestimate. But if you think about how many phone variations are out there? There’s like 50 or 100, maybe a thousand phones all over the world right now with different operating systems and different browsers on the phone – iPad, Samsung – and then when you go to desktops, Apples and all these desktops with operating systems and browser variations. So I know that’s one of the challenges for you and Dave is try to make a stable software. But it’s even more of a challenge for people that do what I do, which is building these things because I call it – we know IQ, right? Our intelligence quotient. EQ was made famous by a book. It’s our emotional quotient. I call it TQ, which is our technology quotient and it’s terrible.
So we have to make everything – so zero fault tolerance. It works on any device – that’s obvious. It works anywhere in the world – obvious. It plays. Its mobile responsive. The videos never spin – like just waiting. Anything that happens – you’re done. You toasted your client’s client. So that was one of the moduler challenges – that aspect of it.
From a zero fault tolerance standpoint, we have to actually worry about technology, the software, and the TQ – the technology quotient of the user. And that’s why you do see my sites are simple. That’s one of the keys. So in the beginning, it was very difficult to pull all of the stuff together at a point where I felt like, “You know what, now I’m comfortable taking on a client, and knowing that their paying customers will be in that site.
So once again, preparation is 90%. I spent so much time doing that. I’ll also share that since the launch, the stack I put together—and I hired a lot of people. That’s the other key. You just got to hire people that are 10 times smarter than you, and you have to pay. So I hired database scientists who examined conflicts as I said, “I want to use this plug-in.” And then they did testing for a week, and they said, “No, you can’t use that one. That’s conflicting.”
So I went through all of these in the beginning. That was one of the huge challenges. But that was just the beginning because you’re out there and with DigitalMarketer, we did some really big launches. Kind of a funny story is, Ryan Deiss called me: “I have good news and bad news. I’ve got two more courses for you.” So it’s good news because I charged to install per course.
But they said, “The bad news is we need them both live” and these are the certification programs, so 66 questions in the final with digital badges and everything. We did them live and tested and they were launched in 8 days. You got to do what you got to do, but because the foundation of everything that we built was rock-solid, we’re able to do it. And the zero fault tolerance, we’ve never had an issue with any of our clients, at any launch, at any time.
And so, I think, that’s the key – to make sure that your preparation is dialed in, that when you choose which things you want to use, the sole purpose is that it’s going to help the client be more engaged, have a better chance of completing the course, with better comprehension that will create confidence so they can take action. So a lot of technology people – as you’ve mentioned, we’re technologists, so we want to do cool stuff. But if it’s not going to do what I just said – it’s going to help them be more engaged, more people will finish, they’re going to comprehend more with more confidence so they can take action – then that’s not the right action to take. Does that make sense?
Micah: Yeah, it makes total sense. I think that’s kind of the essence of it. It’s cool to talk to you because you do have a lot more [clarity]. And even people who are doing well with their membership site, because you’re doing it across membership sites and with a core focus on that completion with the technologies that you were talking earlier about – log-in problems and stuff like that, and any of these problems. Like you said, you’re zero-fault tolerance during launch, that’s where they lie.
When I was doing consulting a long time ago, it was funny when people would say, “Why do you get paid more? Why are they hiring you?” I wanted to say, “Because I test stuff more than anyone else.” I don’t build it fancier. I just test it more so that it doesn’t break when they launch. And it didn’t seem like rocket science to me to not have a break, but the reality is a lot of people experience a lot of trouble with their launches which is unfortunate. Not with a good technology stack, but just in general. I’m saying internet marketers – they’re not surprised when their server goes down or their merchant account locks up or something, right? So when it goes smooth, it’s like, “That’s what you paid for – for it to go smooth.”
Mike: That’s what you paid for. And so, that was to me one of the really big challenges. And then the other big challenge quite frankly is managing the customer. And that’s always the case when you’re in the service business. So once again – I mean this is all we do, so we’re bringing on customers every month, and the customer has their expectation based on how we represented what we’re going to do. But one of that toughest challenges is basically taking a stand when a customer wants to do something when you point-blank know that that’s wrong, that that’s not going to work, that that’s not going to produce a better outcome.
And so sometimes– I mean, I’m from New York, so I’m kind of direct, which is sometimes good and sometimes not so bad, but I’ve left calls with customers that were very pissed off at me. Theoretically, I risked the entire relationship, but when you’re so certain because I have the data because we’re hosting all these sites – so I’m seeing what’s happening, and I’m so certain that what they want to do is going to take them backwards, and I don’t let them do it. That’s another part of one of the challenges in this business. This is balancing that out to you want the customers always right, but however, they’re not always right.
Micah: No, totally. It’s funny –just a little surprise info, Mike, that I don’t think I’ve shared with you. I get 2 kinds of feedback about Mike. Like he said, he’s from New York, and it’s kind of– that’s only one part I love him for. But the way he works is kind of like, “Well, you got to do it this way.” So I’ve had feedbacks from clients where they’re like, “He was amazing.” Because I’ve followed directions and I’ve had feedback from other clients where like, “He wouldn’t let me do this. He wouldn’t let me do that.” And I’m listening just thinking like, “Well, obviously, he’s not going to let you do that.” [laughs]
Micah: No, that’s funny stuff, though. So–
Mike: At the end of the day, there’s a lot of options to go to get your sites built. You have competition. I have competition. There’s a lot of choices out there. But you have to be true to what you believe and that has to resonate, the transparency and the conviction has to resonate in everything that you do. And so when they come in, they know what they’re going to get.
My site – the design of the site does look a little bit different than some of the other sites because they have graphic expression produced psd files and we can build anything. And then also, the design of this site, which is the one that does the dog nutrition is great. So, yeah, of course, it’s not like we’re fixed in areas that we do not have to be fixed in. Because this is a home page, they wanted it more like the DigitalMarketer, so it’s more like a selling home page, take a course, pass a test, get the badge. So, yeah, this is great. Places like this – no problem.
But in the areas that matter, then that’s where you become a little bit more inflexible. And all that’s derived from maybe it’s a good time to jump in and take a look at what we do. You kind of get that here, but let me pull up Infusionsoft. This is my Infusionsoft, so I’m not showing anything that anyone could get upset with.
Micah: Yeah, I’m seeing it.
Mike: Basically, when I say that this is the brains, this is the brain central. And so, anyone that knows Infusionsoft, knows what’s going on. But this is what sets us up for success. So each of these pods represents lessons, and inside the lessons we have a lot of different tagging going on, and this has all been possible because of you and Dave. Honestly, the only reason why I’m even in business is because, you said it, you know it took a couple of years to check it out.
But this is the magic and when you get this dialed in, once again, what was tough dialing this in, what’s tough preparation, what’s tough making sure you got this right. But we have entire – once again – preparation is everything, right? So if I just go and– what drives all these is our tag-naming convention.
Micah, you and I spent a lot of time when we were working with John, and you know that I’m super disciplined about tag-naming conventions, and the reason why is because I want all these not only to create a perfect [accountability] system, but I wanted to build this. This to me is where the rubber meets the road because this doesn’t exist in any other online e-learning platform that I know of.
You cannot do what I can do in terms of reporting and the data points and understanding what exactly– I know where every single person is at any single point in time in any course of all the clients in the entire system. Point-blank. That’s it.
And because of that, and we began to do analysis to understand how can we optimize everything that we’re doing. So the relationship that I have with our customers is not about, “Okay, I’m going to build your site. Boom, boom, boom. Just a couple of grand, and then you got a site. And then I’ll teach you how to update it and you’re on your own.”
The relationship I have is a life-long relationship because we’re continually optimizing everything based on the data, and this is what of the driving factors of 20 percent of the value I add is we have great technology platform – big deal.
I think 20 percent of it is what we’re excellent in understanding, what’s happening with your customers and where everyone is getting stuck, and where to make the optimization. Now, the optimization happens here. A lot of people saw this when I was speaking at your event. I’ll just put this up for a second, the optimization happens here.
So the optimization happens on here, and this is how we connect all these dots is that– this is the magic formula. Not necessarily we’re doing like 12 different things inside that site. These are all the factors that we know that you need to be great at to increase your client engagement and the graduation rates, the completions rates, the ones that are finishing the courses, if they even have a shot at getting an outcome. This is all that we do.
So now these points will start to make sense as we go into the sites now, but you have to increased certifications.
So when I chose LearnDash, I went through 20 different LMS platforms, and look– Justin is amazing. The reason why I chose LearnDash is because I connected with him and I know he’s passionate about online education. That’s the bottom-line. I knew that he was going to keep investing in that platform and make it better and better. There is no perfect platform.
Just like, you know what – I love Infusionsoft. I know this guy Clate for years, but there is no perfect system. Infusionsoft is far from perfect. But it does a lot of things great. Now that’s the same thing with LearnDash. So courses and certifications have to be in there. A lot of these stuff right now, it’s not like we can just sit on a couch with a glass of wine and debate it.
There’s no debate because there’s so many people now that are learning online with online universities that they have to graduate people. If they don’t graduate people, they go out of business.
So all of these stuff we’re talking about now, go out and research it, go Google it. It’s just a fact. The reporting piece is what we’re just showing now, but all that happens because you’re able to, one, preparation is 9/10 of the game. You’re ready to lay out – okay. You’re a customer and you’ve got a live event, how do we take that live event 3 days and create what I call a client pathway? What does that look like? And how do we take that and then chop it up so we can have a client experience?
And then once we have a client experience, how then do we create the framework around it where we could build the campaign, which is the thing I showed before. And once you figured out how to build the campaign, how do we create the tracking mechanisms and tagging conventions and everything, so once we get loaded, we can actually track and report, and then make our incremental improvements.
Because incremental improvements are made because you have data and the one biggest way to make incremental improvements is layering gamification. But we just throw gamification out there, no strategy behind gamification means zero results. You’re just like in a hot topic.
But if we know every time that 16% of the way into a course, no matter what industry, what person, what teacher – 16% percent of the way in, people get tired, that’s the place to put the game or the price. Make sense?
Micah: Yeah. For those of you who have not seen it, this thing is amazing. Go back to that reporting slide for a second because I was going to interrupt you a minute ago and tell people, “That’s the billion-dollar slide right there,” because I know your tagging structure, and I’m kind of a stickler on tag naming, but you’re a whole different level. And again, me being dense, I remember you had to explain it to me on like 2 or 3 calls before I got it. I was like, “Okay, yeah, we’ll do it that way.” But just so I could wrap my head around it, and it’s because that level of tagging is required for Graphly, right? And so that–
Mike: Yeah, because it could quickly be able to understand our data. Most of our clients, I tried to encourage everyone to use Graphly, but you don’t have to. You can run reports on Infusionsoft if you want to save the 50 or 60 bucks.
Micah: So, Mike, take us through some of these tags, what they mean, and then how they relate to both to the Graphly thing, to the Infusionsoft campaign, and then a little bit if you can, just like, “And this is the tag that opens up this page on the site,” so people can get a comprehensive picture of how your reporting, your brain, and Infusionsoft, and the site are working.
Mike: Yeah, kind of give them a look into my brain. It’s going to get a little scary. [laughs] I think having no campaign functionality in Infusionsoft in all those years, Micah, that we had to do it, it makes us better at being able to do this.
Anyway, just to connect the dots, we have Graphly that’s producing this kind of data for us. And so this data is, as you can see, it’s just super clean, just to let people know what the data is, so that maybe this will help. Right now, we’re getting about 43% completion rates on one of the DigitalMarketer certification courses, which is unheard of especially since there’s a 66-question final, and it’s not easy. And so that’s great.
The industry average for completion rates, Business Opportunities is 3%. Udemy with 12 million students is 8%. The MOOC’s, Harvard, MIT – all those are about 4-6%. Personal Development is where I was at with John, was 12%.
So this is a testament to their great work because their courses are great, and also the stuff that we built them. But this is basically showing you where the drop-off rates are as you go through these items. And so when you can see drop-off rate, you can see where you have to put your energy. That’s what the top one does.
The one on the right shows you this is completing each lesson. This one shows you the tally of how many people are in each lesson, which is a little bit different because it shows you “in use” versus “completed.” And then one of the other keys that we look at is the one in the middle right here, and that’s the average number of days between each lesson.
So obviously, you want to see if there’s an anomaly. All of a sudden people are getting through each lesson on average 3 days for each lesson, and there’s one that’s 10. So there’s a problem. And so, that’s an outlier. And so, what you do then is you start to go in and investigate why, and then you go into the specific lesson, and then you go into the quizzes that are on that lesson. You look at the comprehension because you can see the average scores that people get, and you can say, “Okay, there’s a disconnect. Why? In all my other quizzes, people on average are getting an 85%, but here it’s 65%.”
And then from there, you can go into the video – we only use Wistia – and then go look at the drop-off rate for that training, and you might see something that’s very obvious that you unintentionally did that’s confusing everybody. And so that’s how this works.
But none of those works unless you create a system that you’re able to track all these stuff, and that system is this. And so, the way that we code all of our stuff is consistent and consistent across every single basic client. This one is a little more complicated. It’s that black belt system. So for this client, we have white belts, yellow belts, orange belts, blue belts, purple belts, and then we have brown belts, and of course, black belts.
So you can see that this is probably– I’ll tell you exactly – 216 decks. So it’s a pretty big job, right?
But, this is the preparation. We do it right because, then, we get the data. Just to give you an idea of what we’re tagging, of course everyone knows these tags; the client tag, the cancel, the PAYF and the suspend. We install them all and most of the times we’re using the PAYF, I haven’t figured out why to use the cancel or the suspend Micah, but…
Micah: Nah, it doesn’t matter. I was gonna ask though, can you zoom in a little on that so we can see it a little better?
Micah: The cancel and the suspend, I won’t say they’re not needed. If anyone’s interested, we can talk about it on office hours some time but…
Mike: This is better? People can see this, right?
Micah: That’s fantastic, thank you.
Mike: Everyone has their own way to do it. I can’t say any way is right or wrong or better, or worse. But this is the way my brain work, so it’s right for me. We have an overarching tag to get people into the actual entire site. Most of all, our sites have multiple courses in them. The Real Estate World Wide has [thirty]. It’s an academy; it’s really an academy.
I’m going to get into that in a little bit. But, some of them have individual courses more like trip wires something that maybe could even be free at a membership site. There’s a lot going on in this site and that’s what we want. But, you have to discern, from the tagging, of who gets what. So, we have top -level access, that’s where we say membership site access – which is row number 2.
Then, we’ve got middle-level access which is basically this one. Like I said, it’s a little bit different because it’s all 7 belts. But, we discerned a new client tag that gives sort of access into the belting system and from there each belt has its own tagging system. So, you can see Number 12 as white belt new client.
And, as I scroll down each belt – this is yellow belt new client., and then this is orange belt new client, what we want to do is basically understand the client pathway and then tag them up so it makes sense. In this particular case, when you enter into this course, right now, you can buy the whole entire package. Eventually, you’ll be able to buy one belt at a time, but right now they’re just selling the entire package.
However, you can’t go and start on yellow belt, or black belt. So, each belt level is controlled by the tags but you don’t get freedom to the next belt level until you pass the final exam on that corresponding belt.
So, for white belt, you have to get the final exam passed and then once that happens you (through the campaign) get the access to the yellow belt, if that makes sense. So, it’s like a gateway. You do one thing and then you pass, and then you get the next one so you’re released. Makes sense?
Micah: Yea, totally.
Mike: Okay. Then, it’s just that consistency is the key. We call it modules. So, it’s module 1, module 2, module 3…it’s always the consistency. This allows us to build the reporting really quickly. Then, because we’ve got so many accounts that we’re running, it’s kinda funny, I have a team that’s like this traveling global circus. I’ve got Pakistanis, Indians, Filipinos, South Africans, Americans and we’re on doing screen sharing like this cause everyone needs to know what’s going on.
So, this is part of that, what were some of the hardest things to figure out? These methodologies that allow us to understand what’s happening with our customers.
The customers, believe it or not, get used to this. In the beginning, they’re like, mike, this is crazy, I’ve never seen anything like this. But, after the first course or two, everyone flowed and it becomes second nature. If you don’t think like this in the beginning, it’s like, oh my God my brain is going to break!
But, the confident fact is that once you get it, it’s like, oh it just makes perfect sense. That’s one of the keys with infusion soft. They called it ‘confusion soft’ which has stuck around for over a decade, sorry Clate. But, if you have a strategy, you can manage your own confusion, if that makes sense.
Micah: It totally makes sense. These tags are kinda like a shared language. When you say, your team gets in all over the world, the clients start to get it at some point. It’s the same with tags in general within an app. I’ll step in on infusion soft’s behalf for a second just because it used to be bad and that’s why mike said it stuck around for decades. Long ago it was hard, like you said, there was no visual element. But, it’s not as fair, today, because the system works fine. It’s most people hurting themselves….
Mike: It’s incredible yea. Where we are today, it’s amazing.
Micah: People confuse themselves with their own tags, is what I was going to say. So, if you do follow something, it doesn’t have to be confusing, you and I know that.
Micah: Most people who get a good instructor, hopefully do pretty well. But, i love infusion soft…
Mike: This is my methodology, and I love infusion soft too. I was one of the finalists for internet marketer of the year, as I mentioned. And, my opening line was: “infusion soft changed my life.” and I said, that’s kinda weird how can a software company change your life, but it actually did. [I have a holding to those fine folks].
So, this is my methodology. But, you can make one up that suits your methods; that just works with your brain. At 6th division, those guys are awesome, super-smart, brilliant dudes and ‘dudettes,’ they’ve got their own methodology for tagging because they are mostly focused on the funnel stuff. But, there’s is very solid. And, i know that there’s other training out there as well where other people have shared how they tag. So, this is one way.
Once again, it’s the right way for our team. And, allow me to share so that people can understand it a little deeper down the road. But, that’s what drives all this. In terms of where that all happens, it’s all happening here. You said, what are the challenges, Mike? Well, it seems pretty straight-forward. You’re gonna have a 10 Module course, each week you want someone to go through each Module, so they will just track that, right? Then, we’ll figure out who’ll be in Module 2, 3, 4. It’ll be like a [inaudible 00:50:50]. It’ll be simple; just figure it out. But then, all of a sudden, when you’re looking at data (this is where Dave the genius of all geniuses come in), it’s like you have to figure out every single exception and you have to program them for the exceptions – because the exceptions will bite you in the butt, [inaudible 00:51:05]. If you have that straight-line method that i just mentioned, which feels like common sense, right?
What happens if someone is through lessons 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and then they wanna go back in and start poking around in lesson 2 or 3 and back to 4, and then back to 1? All of a sudden, you’ve got people who’ve started operating haphazardly; firing off tags. How do you wanna handle that? We have a tag that says ‘in-use’ and if they come out of that lesson, we take the in-use out; they’re not there. But, if they go back into that lesson, they’re in use. Can they be in-use in two lessons at the same time? How’s that gonna help us? So, you create a methodology to stop that.
Micah: It’s interesting. You used the word algorithms there when you’re saying all that exists in infusion soft and this is where it gets a little far down the rabble whereas when you have people not going linear through the content when they can bounce around through whatever. That’s a nightmare. So, mike, enlighten us. How do you solve it? What do you do? What’s your choice of…?
Mike: Well, I don’t know the name of the movie that this came from form but I’ve been saying it for years. And, maybe someone can share it with us because they would recognize it, but, the line of the movie is: “come to think of it, can’t get there from here.” it’s like this dopey line but come to think of it, I can’t get there from here. So, you can see that I have this tag that says CGTFH, that says “can’t get that from here.” so, what we do is after they come in and go through, we dump an extra tag on them, which is the CGTFH. Once they have that tag, they’ll never be able to go and reinitiate an in-use tag. So, that’s how we do that.
Micah: That’s the condition in the beginning, I’m assuming.
Micah: Interesting. I love the names. Just break it down for someone who’s just getting started like, in what case do you apply that tag? Is that upon finish, that you can’t come back? What do you do?
Mike: The way we do it is that, when they buy the course, they get the accesses to whatever course they bought. In this particular case, you could think of white belt and yellow belt as individual courses; about 4 or 5 courses.
They would actually get the tag of ‘new client,’ that’s number one. Everyone always gets the tag of a new client of the product that they purchase and then we train our clients to put it on…however someone’s buying it; legacy order form, you’re gonna set the tag, or on the product automation you could set the tag, we’re not gonna get into all that. Anyway, you just do it.
If it’s manual, you just give them a tag. That then gives them, through the campaign, access to the entire site and then sets up [the http, with the] Memberium and the password and does all that good stuff. Then, they start with the lesson in-use. That is always where they start. If they pass the quiz, they get a lesson 1 complete. Then we remove the in-use and we put them with the track tag. Once they have a track tag, if they back through again, that’s where the diamond says, alright, you’ve got a track tag you can’t go and re-sit an in-use. People go back, and we want them to go back a lot actually.
One of the great features of learn dash that we’ve done some customization to, which I’ll show you, is the course members page. That’s the main navigation point for mostly all of our clients’ clients. We want people to go back and say, oh that topic, even though I did it, I wanna go back and one click you’re at that lesson. So, we want them to go back, but we don’t want them to screw up our data. That’s really how it works. It’s just the cycling of that Micah.
Micah: That’s awesome. As a quick aside, this doesn’t have to do really with Mike, but it’s for those of you watching. I just wanna make sure it’s clear. We have people who come to us all the time who are doing their first membership site, they’re just figuring it out, and then they watch something like this and then they’re like, oh I’ve gotta have $800 per month and I’ve gotta have 200 tags and all this. We constantly help people to keep that in balance.
If it’s your first site or if this is overwhelming. Feel free to just get started. Mike didn’t do his first time out the gate. He did a few sites in the past and then he created a system and then he invested in refining it. Obviously, you wanna strive for the best but it’s, what did you say earlier Mike…imperfect and working is better than perfect but not working?
Mike: An imperfect plan in action is better than a perfect plan not in action. So, Micah, you’re 100% correct. We get a lot of people contacting us and I figure out where they’re at, I try to figure out a solution that they can do which is a low-cost solution. And, it’s simple. You have one curse with 10 lessons, you wanna create the [inaudible 00:57:05] in order to be in business, even if you haven’t figured out whether you’re going to sell it or not in the low-cost fashion.
If you look at the solutions, most of the people that come to us have in infusion soft so they’re already paying for that. But, Memberium, you guys are very fair on the pricing and then, of course, WordPress, you can get a good theme that doesn’t cost anything, you have to host it some place which is not expensive, and then I wouldn’t worry about all h complex stuff.
You need to have a site that’s up, that has a buy button. That’s the key.
You have to have a buy button; somewhere in the world that works so someone can buy something from you. Then, the most important thing is from the time they put the credit card in….this is where everyone spends 90% of the effort on the funnel; I gotta get the funnel right, I gotta stop the holes in the funnel, I gotta do Facebook traffic, Facebook ads, all this. They spend 90% of the time on the front end, and 0% of the time on the backend.
However, the most valuable person that you have in your business is your client. Your margins to acquire a client for the first time are tiny. You might net 15% to acquire a customer. By the time you’re done with Facebook advertising, or even if you do joint ventures or anything that you do is so important because the minute they buy something from you, you have to understand, that is the time to actually invest and take care of them. That’s the automation that you should worry about. Send them a great welcome letter right away.
Make sure that the first 24/48 hours you’re with them. If you’re just starting out and you don’t have a lot of customers, I would just have, once a week, a 15-minute open session and you can just say, if anyone has any problem when you come in every Wednesday and noon for 15 minutes I’m on [zoom] and you can ask me anything that you want. That’s how I would approach it for everybody actually. It’s just how you’re gonna set it up. So, I agree with you 100%, Micah.
Micah: I appreciate what you added to that point as well. Everyone needs to start where they’re comfortable or where it’s appropriate but obviously if you’ve got something working, the optimization stuff Mike’s talking about and he’s on another level, which is great and I wanna keep it on that level. But, just for a second, to say, all that optimization he’s talking about, that’s for people who have something working – getting it working and doing that kinda minimum viable product or that lean startup.
It usually gets people a little bit on the road and feeling comfortable. Then they can try adding technology, which is great. The other route, which a lot a people do is just blast out; they’ll hire somebody like Mike to do their launch and there are first time information marketers who do extremely well when they do it right; when they find someone to help them with [inaudible 01:00:13]. What’s interesting to me about this whole conversation I was realizing a minute ago, Mike, is that I’ve always really thought of you as very much a sales and marketing person. So, the fact that we’ve been talking for so long about the delivery of a product, just kind of hit me. You’ve always cared about delivery but you’re so strong in sales and marketing.
I know that we’ll come back to some of the stuff and the membership site but, let’s flip it for just a minute and talk a little bit about how you help clients acquire customers, develop a strategy for that and some of your process on that side and we can come back. But, I wanna kinda go after how to get these customers, whether they’re just getting started or whether they’re really big and trying to go to a different level.
Mike: Great follow up on what we were saying. That was really important. Here is the key. The process of acquiring customers, is not easy. That’s the bottom-line it used to be easy, but it’s not, and, because I’m out of that business, I do not do anything that focuses…. When the credit card hits, we automate everything from that point on. My number advice is to find someone that just like me, I just do this, find somebody that just does that.
That’s the part of the business her you can spend so much time, energy, effort and money but you don’t have to. That’s where you wanna really focus on specialized knowledge. I’ve seen so many people get so frustrated, they actually even wanna give up.
But, had they said, instead of me trying to spend, now at 6 months (I actually spent the same amount of money as that one person wanted to sorta do it with me – that was like a $3000 investment for somebody to build the trip wire and the funnel and this and that.
I didn’t want to make it. I’ve seen so many people get so close to frustrated that they wanna give up versus trying to find someone that’s gonna really help you with specialized knowledge. That’s what I always recommend to my clients. Let’s take the next step now that we are getting customers. How do I help my customers make more sales and make more money?
This is actually an amazing conversation because if you do everything that I’m speaking about today and you get it right, this part of its, this is an investment to this, will make you 10, 50, or 1,000 times your money. I don’t know where digital marketer goes with their certification program but it’s gonna be in tens of millions of dollars. So, the investment then made with me is gonna be a thousand or ten thousand times the ROI. That’s the bottom line. It’s not an expense. It initially starts out on expense the side of the balance sheet but, you have to figure out, is it expense that’s not gonna not get me an ROI or is it expense that is going to create an ROI. How do we create an ROI for our customers? Let me walk you through the ways, because it’s very important. The first way, the math that everyone has to understand is that the only way that you’re gonna get to cross-sell or upsell somebody is if you earn the right to do that.
If you’re stuck at the industry averages of 3, 8, 10, 12 percent completion rates, every hundred customer you get, you only earn the right (give you the benefit of the doubt) or 12 of them to upsell or cross sell. So, you spent money to acquire 100 customers. 88% of them are sort of toast. 12% of them finished, they liked what you got. And, you will probably convert about 1/3 of those into a higher priced product, which is how the ascension model goes for pricing. That’s where you’ll make 80% of your margins; in those next purchases.
So, you have a hundred-dollar product, you make 15 bucks on the sale, by the time you get dumping all your expenses, blah, blah, blah. But, then, you sell a $500 product and you make $350. That, if you’re gonna be selfish as a business owner, is the objective.
However, if we say, the world’s changed and it’s more about delivering a solution and being in the giver’s mindset, i know that if I can create better outcomes for my clients, then the rest of it is gonna take care of itself. So, if I create better outcomes, like we’re doing for digital marketer, and now 40% completion rates, what happens? Instead of the same 100 customers come in that month, [inaudible 01:05:35] that you’ve earned the right to sell. Now you have 40; that’s a 300% increase in potential.
That’s a game changer for everybody’s business, because it’s a 300% increase in potential but it’s the best part of your business – it’s where you have 80% profit margins. What happens, which i know for a fact, is when we do what I do (all my customers have multiple products because we train and work that way) we get out of trying to hammer people for an upsell or a cross-sell to people literally doing it themselves. You add a value, they finish, they got an outcome, and they want more of what you have. It just makes sense. That’s how you build brand loyalty and that’s how you build a tribe. That’s how apple is one of the most profitable companies in the world.
The people that love apple, love it because they’re creating an experience that everyone loves. Same thing with Zappos, everyone said, who’s gonna buy shoes online? Forget about shoes online. He created an experience. That is what we need to focus on. How do I take what we’re doing with our customers and make more money? Number one: we earn the right to have dramatically high cross-sells and up-sells. So, we’re gonna make more sales, we’re gonna get a higher profit margins. The other thing that’s really cool what we do is that once we get in and work our magic, meaning all of our lessons have quizzes, we have a final exam, we have a digital badge, and we give diplomas, that’s all a part of our graphics suite, this is hard discipline.
So, you’re right, Micah. Some people talk to me and they’re like, Mike is like a military guy, you gotta do it his way or not. But, if you’re not interesting, I’ll help you but I actually only want to because I wanna do one thing better than everyone in the world. So, I have to stick to this and be the best at this. I know that we create and ascension model, people are actually self-servicing and buying more products – the number of products people buy on our platform on average is way higher than everybody else because we got the completion rates, we earned the rights and they’re getting great outcomes.
I can’t emphasize it enough; great outcomes. When we launch the site, we change the entire front of the funnel. Digital marketer calls it tofu, which is ‘top of funnel.’ top of funnel (tofu) is any place that you’re touching somebody for the first time. So, it’s all your blogs, any type of live event, your speaking engagements, advertising, direct mail, that’s the top of the funnel.
If you look at online education, it’s a broken system globally. If I wanted to become better, I’m gonna divert for a second so I can make this point because you brought up something and I don’t know if we’re gonna go in that direction but my commitment is to change 100 million client/student outcomes in the world.
That’s it. I’m unstoppable. The way it’s gonna happen is if I get to work with 1000 customers that have 100,000 clients or 10, 000 customers have 10,000 clients. That’s 100 million people. The reason why I’m so passionate about this is because I can’t stand the fact that great people spend their money for online education and only 3% of them finish. That’s not okay with me. It’s not our educators’ fault today, Micah and to [all of you listening to me on] this presentation because I shift the responsibility to them.
But, before that, it’s just the way it is. It’s like you say, I wanna become better at socially conscious business, that’s the way to go. So, I’m working for an organization, I know I’m gonna switch jobs and I wanna work for a socially conscious business. So, I go to Barnes and nobles and I buy John Mackey’s book on whole foods, and Zappos’ but great, great books and I read them put some of them on the shelves.
Some chapters here, they have. Anyway, time to go for an interview, and the person says this is a socially conscious business, what are do you know about it? I know a lot. I went to Barnes and Noble. I read some books; i got some chapters under my belt. Now, the next person comes in, same thing, they went online and bought a few traditional courses and they spend a few grand. And then they come in, socially conscious business, what do you know about it? I went online I took a few courses, I sat at a conference, it’s on my CV. Now they went and took a course from one of my clients. My client uses quizzes, final exams, and digital badges.
They went in, took the classes, passed the quizzes, passed the final exams, got the digital badge and they sit in form of that interviewer and say to the interviewer, I know a lot about social conscious business. He’s like, yea the last two people just said the same thing. He’s like no, let’s go around your side of the desk. Pull up my LinkedIn. He pulls up the LinkedIn and there’s this social conscious business course and there’s that digital badge. The person says, oh great you got a picture and he says click that. Now, when they click that, instantaneously they end up on my client’s site.
The page is built dynamically for that person and it shows that person took this course on this date, we could put the grade in there, congratulations from the CEO of the company, a full description of what they went through – 22 hours of lessons 18 modules, 18 quizzes, 50-question final.
Then, the right-hand side says what thy now know. Who do you think gets the job? It’s obvious who gets the job, the person that can probe that they have a head-start on social conscious business. That entire thing that I just described; that third example is the game-changer globally in online education. So, now, the world for online education is just like Barnes and Noble. This course is out there with no beginning and no theoretical end because if someone can’t something they’re qualifies them as they achieve the level, then there is no end. There is no end of me reading a book. I don’t get something that I can put some place, like a diploma from a university that says I accomplished this, I invested my time and money and I did this; I attained these skill sets. It doesn’t exist.
So, this is what we’re changing right now. That’s why I’m so grateful for you guys because without your software, Dave’s conversation, Mike being acquainted with Dave 6 years ago and realizing that the world’s busted and the only way the world’s gonna be fixed it is through education. 88% of the people that buy stuff don’t even get through it and the others do and there’s no comprehension. It’s a big fat blob in the world. People are spending good money and not getting good results, the world is not never gonna get any better.
I’ll get up on the soap box too for just one second because, it’s the reason we’re doing Memberium. At first, as we’re getting started it was being in the infusion soft space but it’s evolved into that same realization that things are not as good as they could be (if you’re optimistic) in the world of education in particular, not just online but the whole offline system kinda sucks.
So, it’s getting a move online, and when it does move online we need to have something that’s worth the money people are gonna pay, right? If the world’s gonna come online and get educated, not just the people who are currently have internet access and are gonna go from offline education to offline but all of the people all over the world who are coming online lately; the developing countries just getting online.
Let’s have a decent experience for these people because the experience we can create now today, is not that hard or expensive or complicated to make something good. 10 years ago or even 5 years ago people have asked for the same stuff, hey I want a course where we can track what they do and ‘blah blah blah blah’ and it’s like yea, a hundred grand, I don’t know. I don’t know what to charge you for that cause it’s gonna be a total pain. But, now, it’s like there’s no reason not to make a really good course; people deserve it. I’m totally in agreement with you.
I agree with what you said 100% and you touched on a great thing. The price for what we do, the starting range is 12 to 15 grand which it’s in the [best plan] but the ROI is there big time. Put it this way Micah, we tried to do this 6 or 7 years ago with Dave. We were like, we needed a technology piece and it was like it wasn’t possible. So, it went from not possible to build everything custom to once they see you can get started for a grand or two. So, absolutely, what you said is amazing; the evolution and a shift in technology. I believe movement in the internet for the next 5 years is all education. This is it. Everybody’s saying, what’s the big thing? Yea, it’s gonna be artificial intelligence, I still think we’re a little early on that; AI and that kinda stuff, virtual reality, that’s gonna be the next big game-change. But right now, this is the space. If you wanna be in the space that’s the most explained space in the world, online is the space. Let’s get back to the example about no beginning and no end because that’s really the critical part of this conversation. You asked me, how do we help the clients with sales, make more money, make more profits?
What we do is, we’ve reverse-engineered the entire thought process of our clients, the educator. We tell them, look, now that you’re established; you have a beginning and an end, you have a technical advantage over everybody else. And the advantage is that out-right in the beginning of your sale, you can tell everybody that our course is different because it’s a beginning and an end, you’re gonna get a digital badge, you’re gonna use that on your Facebook, social media website, everywhere, forever; that’s you building a portfolio for the first time. This is how simple it is. You come into my course (different from my course or anything else), you take the course, you pass the tests, and you get your diploma and your badge.
So, when you ask me, okay Mike, how do you get more sales? I say, look you gotta have [strong specials]. Absolutely. When my clients come in, and this is what they pay for, like I said 20% of the solution is the technology, and the technology is great. Then, we start to strategize on this; how can we actually take the top of the funnel, and take everything on the back and bring that conversation to the front. The close more sales.
So, we help our clients close more sales, get more cross-sells and upsells, and expand their profits. The other way we help our clients make more money, this is all I’m focused on; it’s our line. We help them have their clients brand them as the leader in that space for free. I don’t know if anyone actually went into the branding exercise, but you have to big bucks to brand yourself. Look at digital marketer, they were very famous as information marketers. There are a lot of the top information marketers for digital marketing in the world.
But, there are a lot of other competition, a lot of other players, in that space that runs bigger than them. But we created the certification program with the digital badges and now what’s happened is people are sharing those badges all over the world. That now changes the entire branding of the company from a leader in education. Actually, it took them from going and just selling b to c, which couple years ago, that’s all they did; sell business to consumer. Individuals would buy Digital Marketer stuff. But, now they go in an entire system where they can go into organization as a hundred people in the digital marketing department and someone could buy 100 seats.
They earned the right to do that. You don’t walk in and say, hey I have an organizational, structural type product, you earn the way. The reality is, the only reason why that happens is because the digital badges that their clients put around the world shifted how they were looked at in the world as an educator. That’s priceless. There’s something that I’ve coiled, called the viral social loop, and I think the best thing to do with this is just look at some numbers, I’ll just make this bigger so you can see this…
Micah: Just for a quick moment. I was gonna say, I made myself a note to harass you about dodging my question about how to get more members. I was gonna wait and see where you were going but you brought it back around, and it’s good. For everyone watching, just to understand, Mike is extremely talented in customer acquisition and that’s why I brought it up. So, I was a little surprised when he was like, oh, hire a specialist. But, now that he’s brought it around, it’s like, oh, this is why. What you’re about to see, he’s explained it to me a few times, is some interesting stuff. So, pay some attention. Go ahead, Mike.
Mike: I started out that way because without one working funnel, you don’t have anything. You have to have one automated process that can make a sale. So, that’s why I started out like that, Micah. That has to be a part of your arsenal. When you have that, if you get more traffic, you create some more results.
So, that’s why I started out like that. This is an example of how we make more sales. I use your presentation also at digital marketer when I spoke last year. The math is very simple to follow. You have 10, 000 customers. You have12% graduation rate versus 20% graduation rate. So, the difference between taking care of your customers and implementing everything we said; big boosts in graduation rates. 23% or more of your customers will become potential buyers; you earn the right on 23% more. That’s 2300 more potential buyers. Now, in a cross-sell you did a good job, you should get 30%. That’s 1/3 of those people who buy; that’s 690 new clients. A $2,000 product at 1.3 million dollars is new sales. What was the cost? Zero. That’s one way. The second way is what I call a viral social loop.
When you look at the digital badge, which we’ve now mentioned a number of times, and you let them learn the digital badge. I’m flipping back and forth between LinkedIn and Facebook, so when they go and they share the link on LinkedIn, Facebook, on their blog, social media website, wherever it might be. These hang out there…this is where those clients ere branding you…for their friends, business associates and best folks to click. When they click it, that creates an impression.
So, I just wanna show this piece, the piece where i mentioned before, if you were in the interview, where the page would go back to but let’s just focus on this number here because this is the distribution and this is real number of the impressions that we have got through the digital badges for LinkedIn and Facebook for digital marketer. I dunno what the exact number is now, but well over 800, 000 impressions that their clients have got them for free. 80% of them are LinkedIn. LinkedIn is like one of the most expensive places to advertise in the world, and their clients are doing it for them, for free. So, let’s look what that looks like. So, you can see that I can keep up with my own growth of the impressions. For this example, we use, there’s 20, 000 impressions.
Follow me? 10% of them say, what’s this? And they become 62, 000 new leads. Now, of course, they’re cold. Conversion rate may be 3%, so 1,881 new customers, first product, $500 – that’s almost a million dollars in new sales, zero cost. When you look at these two scenarios I just described, this will put the button on how do we get more clients.
For our clients, first way, because we earn the right to upsell and cross-sell; 1.38 million in new sales. The second way because we have the viral social loo; 940 million dollars in new sales. That’s 2.3 million dollars in new sales with an 80% profit margin, or close to a 100% profit margin. That’s the answer. So, we help our clients make more sales because they’re selling with the beginning in mind so they can simplify the entire process so it looks like any other course you can get an ROI.
You come in, take the course, pass the quiz, get a digital badge, share it with the world, use that as part of your digital portfolio and your online education. Boom, you’re gonna close more sales. That’s how we close more sales. Once again, just to wrap this up, you’re then gonna earn the right to upsell and cross-sell many more customers, they’ll get digital badges, they’ll share their badges, they’ll create the viral social loop and create customers for free.
Micah: So, the kind of bottom line thing for customer acquisition, it’s funny cause we make fun of people called the [‘fill them with dreams’ concept] in their heads; if you build it, they will come. But it’s like, they’re not gonna come if you build it. You gotta get them there. So, like you said, you gotta have a funnel that works to convert a customer. I totally see what you’re saying. It’s gonna be easier to convert them by showing them what they’re gonna buy and it’s a lot easier for them to understand than access to a book or a never-ending library, so there’s no results, right?
Mike: Let’s also break this down for someone that’s just beginning too because there’s a whole spectrum of people that are watching this. The people that are doing millions, I know they live the pain that I’m sharing with them and experiencing.
They’re totally getting it; they’re like, I know what’s going on, [what’s new?] Some of the people that are just starting, Micah, might be just like what is he talking about? This is way over my head, I’m just starting a product. Let me explain how we take the same approach for someone who is just selling a product, trying to keep the expenses down, with no funnel. Forget a funnel.
To get a funnel right, it’s gonna cost you 5 grand. Sorry, that’s the facts. So, say you don’t have 5 grand; you’ve got specialized knowledge; you want a credit course and now you wanna put it out to the world. You wanna get a buy button, right? You’re not in business without a buy button. So, what do you do? You do the same thing. I’m sharing what I do myself. I just built a course, basically everything that I teach for an entire day and all the consulting I do upfront for my clients, I made a course.
So, I’m busy running sites. I’m not an internet marketer anymore. What did I do? I’m gonna give all the people that are just starting the same advice. I don’t have funnel. I can build one easily. That’s what I did for decades. However, that’s gonna take a numerous amount of time. So, here’s the formula if you are just starting and for keeping your expenses low. Create the course, create a beginning and an end. You can use Credly and digital badges; they’re free. Learn it, figure it out. The distribution of the badges, is does by Credly.
So, that part you can actually dial in. You can use Memberium. I recommend that you make the investment to start with infusion soft because it’s all in one; everything is there, and now they have really nice landing pages. They have everything that you need. So, it’s $300 for infusion soft, $75 for Memberium, I recommend Wistia and you can get it now for $99 or a free account, just because video now really matters.
Then, you can get a landing page. You can make a landing page. There are so many different landing page companies out there right, just pick one.
You can actually go and create your course, and put it up on a site like we’re talking about; simple WordPress and you have your funnel in infusion soft when they buy; the buyers’ funnel. You have set up anything upfront. Then, what you do is go n Facebook and tell the world what you have to offer. My ads can send them to a webinar. Now, we’re using Zoom right now. Zoom is one of the best qualities, I think.
You can get a Zoom account for little or no money and you don’t even need a Zoom webinar account, just get people on Facebook interested in what you’re doing and have them put their email in and tell them you’ll send an email the next time you’re gonna be live. Get them live, and then just do what we’re doing now. I don’t think Zoom is like $25 per month. Have them on, teach them and then make an offer. And say, I’ve got a 10-module course, do you want more? Here it is. That doesn’t take much, right, Micah?
Micah: No, it doesn’t, Mike. I was gonna mention really quick, people would not believe the basic membership sites that [are now selling], some of the real pretty ones just because the person asks for the sale. Mike’s absolutely right. Get a minimum viable thing up. Don’t over-complicate and then tell people what you got.
Mike: Yea. If you wanna do it yourself, there are a couple of different variations and themes out there that work well with learn dash and whatever. My first integration that I did for the entire build, I like university theme because it’s fairly clean and simple but you can use anything. What I’m showing you now, these sites, these are standalone sites that are out there for the world. There’s Logged Out [inaudible 01:28:58].
These are more robust than everyone’s normal site when we’re done with them. But, you don’t need any of this. You just need a WordPress site with a login button. Then you just need a few Facebook ads, have your sales presentation and your course done, Memberium, infusion soft and you’re done.
So, you need a buy button, a presentation, gotta spend a little money for traffic, and then once they buy get them to log in. Tell them when you’re on the webinar that look, once a week for the next Wednesday for 22 minutes I’m gonna be there for you.
Then, just do this. You can build a $25,000, $50,000, or $100,000 business in the next 3 months by just doing that. I’ll share one other thing, Micah, I know, were getting sorta off track for memberships but I think this is critically important because I know people that will be watching this or the people that are thinking about getting a course together, or just gotta course together, I just don’t wanna keep it high level.
Unsubscribe from almost every online marketers’ emails. The biggest mistake everyone makes, even I make it – I’m like a technology ham, like a new piece of technology comes out and I’m like oh my god, I have a project all of a sudden, I’m down at [dog holes] spending 15 minutes looking at a new technology. That’s not what you want when you’re just starting out. You just wanna focus at getting really good at doing one thing. If you are to guess, Micah, how many different ways and funnel types are there that you can use?
Micah: Like a thousand variations. Maybe unlimited, but pretty close to a thousand.
Mike: Yes. And what happened is people put some effort into one and then they jump into the next and to the next and you’re so spread out. You should just figure out one, that’s what I really think. You just get dedicated, get laser-focused and just do one set of things right. That’s the problem, people don’t stick with it long enough. So, you just keep [inaudible 01:32:09] them. This is an expansive conversation about sales and a lot of different aspects but that sort of how I would approach it if you’re thinking about getting a course together and getting a membership site with Memberium.
If you have a course now and you’re thinking about Memberium and WordPress, and you don’t know where to go, and you don’t know how to get sales, that’s how I would do it. I’ve done a lot of different funnels.
The easiest way is to just put little ads, have a landing page that says, I’m having webinar on this date just show up, and then teach. And give mastered value and just tell them, if you want more them here’s what I have for you. By the way, if anyone wants to see how this is done, then you can below Micah is gonna put a link down there; I’ll make my webinar process available. You’ll see my presentation and I’m not the best presenter, there’s Ryan Dyce and all these guys that do this for a living, but you can kinda follow what I’m doing and I think you can just model it off that. So, that would be helpful.
Micah: Yea, I’ll mention one more thing and then we’ll get off the sale subject but what Mike just said, you don’t have to be the most charismatic person. You don’t have to be amazing to make a sale, but following some sort of structure, like if you took Mike’s thing and you basically took his program and the amount and put ours in and obviously tweak it how you need to. The point is, i would imagine Mike’s following a structure. And, that’s a good place to start; mimicking something like that.
Mike: Yea. I’m following my own advice and I’m sharing because, of course, I can build a funnel, right, Micah? You’ve seen some of funnels. One of my funnels got me infusion soft’s internet marketer of the year. I’ve worked 400 companies around the world, and made millions, of course I can do that.
But that’s gonna take up a massive amount of time. What I did was say, okay, I have something to teach, then ads, once a week I’m gonna get on, I’ll teach, if you want more this is what I have for you.
Micah: I bet to some people that sounds over-simple. But, having done it that way a few times; restarted or launched products and help people do it, it’s like, it’s that simple. You just gotta jump. Mike, in the interest of time, let me ask you a couple pointed. What is the biggest mistake you made (building your site or even pick a different site)? What’s the big mistake that stands on your mind?
Mike: The biggest mistake, I think, comes from…every time I try to take a short cut, it bites me in the ass. There’s a right path and the shorter path. And, I kinda know what the right path is like; it’s methodical and long and not that fun but I kinda know it’s the right path. And, then, there’s another path that’s like, oh this will get the same result but it’ll be a little bit more fun. That, I think (though it’s a little bit embarrassing to admit that) always comes back to bite me in the ass.
Micah: I got you. This might be a little related to that, maybe not but, if you could do something different in the last 2-3 years or so since you’ve really been on this, if you could have done something differently, what would it have been?
Mike: I’m kind of a perfectionist. I think, looking at the path and the growth that we’ve had, I would’ve gone into marketing faster. I think that is from a strategy standpoint, what I would’ve done. But, I’m just so sensitive to handling customers’ customers that I think I would really put a lot more time, energy and effort into the foundation aspects unless I had to. And it goes back to what we just addressed, right? Like, the minimum viable product is the way to go. If you don’t have funnel, Facebook ads to do this.
I’m better with myself; with myself, I’m okay. A minimum viable product, I put it out, like my course right now. It’s not perfect. We do a lot of experimenting on new technology and people come in, I tell them it’s not perfect because we’re testing things or the page might be off. I’m okay with that. But, I’m not okay with nit being perfect with my customers, which is something I would probably do a little different if I was to start the company all over again.
Micah: Yea that makes senses. It’s probably good and bad because that perfectionism probably got you a couple of tiny deals. You need that little level. I get what you’re saying, for sure. We’re toward the end her, and you’ve been extremely generous with everything you’re showing us and i really, really appreciate it.
If someone is interested in what you’re doing, like your course here, or working with you if they wanna go on a higher level, can you just talk for a couple minutes about some of what you offer and how that would work?
Mike: Yea, totally. Let’s start form the bottom, up. One of the reasons why digital marketing is so successful, is because they really share. They share what they’re doing with their digital products in their training. They’re very generous.
There are information marketers that will trap you to buy something and they give you only a piece of it; they don’t give you the steps that you need and then there’s upsells and cross-sells. In my mind that’s slamming. Digital marketer is amazing that way.
What makes them stand out in the world is that they’re sharing what’s working and what’s not because they’re probably making  million dollars just for their products alone. What I think would be invaluable for people who are on here, and there’s a million other things to talk about, is this e-learning engagement mastery course I created.
There are two aspects of this that I think are really great. One aspect is the fact that the teachings are very strong and deep. This is what the course looks like – once again, we’re in the backend and I’m in as an admin so it’s a little ‘yanky.’ but, the teachings in itself are like what we talked about today but super, super deep.
The whole course is built for student outcome because that’s what i believe. So, you will actually have great stuff that you can implement yourself. In addition to that, I call it a movie about the movie; when you’re in my site, you get to experience what a $25, 000 site is about in terms of engagement and we’re really doing. Anything that we’re learning and we’re improving on, it always happens here first. So, it’s; like you get to sit in the shoulder and watch, and like I said, some things might get ‘yanky’ when you’re trying out new technology and the page might load poorly. It happens with the conflicts.
I’m not professing it to be this perfect experience because we use it as our way to continue to get better. Just being able to be inside of that, I think, is awesome. I do what I’ve suggested. You’re gonna find that I am transparent and I do what I say. So,
if you come into this course, I call it the 22 magic minutes; on the first and third Wednesday of every month I’m on for 22 minutes; I want people to be in here and learn. But, what if they have questions? What if they’re doing something? I’m available for 22 minutes for the first and third Wednesday. So, that’s one way to get more and learn more.
I don’t want to go into a whole sales pitch but, to me it’s a no-brainer. We’ll provide something below so that you can get more information. The other thing that we do, which is the main core part of the business, is that we build the complete [time] for your solution.
That’s really what we do. We’ll work with people and we consult, design, build and then we host. And, it’s completely done to tour solution, from start to finish and then it’s an ongoing relationship. And, it’s right for many, but not for all. If someone’s interested in learning about the entire process then well put something down so that they can actually find out about that.
Micah: I just wanna say, guys, I have Mike on here because he’s deep in the game and working with moduler players and doing the newest stuff. He’s one of the people I go to know what’s new and cool. His little course there, I don’t mean to oversell it or anything, but, I would imagine the hours you spend going through that are gonna be well worth your time. [inaudible 01:41:35] do that. Just, don’t get mad at me if he’s tough with you.
I just wanna say thanks, Mike. I know there’s more to click on too. Mike is actually gonna be speaking at our conference just after I [inaudible 01:42:04] memberships as well. I know, he’s a great guy to connect with and I’m sure you can have a conversation with him, pick his brain, maybe even outside those 22 magic minutes, if Mike’s generous. Mike, any last words? I really appreciate you. Anything else you wanna share?
Mike: Look Micah, you guys are like brothers from another mother. I got probably 10 or 15 years of relationship with you and we’ve done some amazing stuff together. Dave and I logged so many hours building the last startup. The pain points created the solutions that became Memberium and my company. And, anything I can do to support your community, I dunno how you’re gonna do it but if there’s comments, additional questions, if you see like 10 or 20 questions we could do a follow u. I’m here to share.
So, you guys have been great to me and I just wanna make sure that if we’re gonna help 100 million people around the world, it’s not going to work with one person. We need a tribe, and you guys are dedicated and committed and so am I, so let’s keep the movement going.
Micah: Cool. I appreciate you coming. Everybody, thank you so much for watching. We’ll figure out what to do with the questions. Maybe there will be a from down there or maybe we’ll send you over to one of Mike’s contact pages or something. Again, Mike you are amazing, thank you and hopefully we get to hang out soon.
Mike: Absolutely, thanks guys, appreciate it everybody.
Micah: See ya!