Digital Marketer Case Study Summary

If you missed the Digital Marketer case study video series, here’s an executive summary you would definitely want to watch. This video summarizes the highlights and key points from the Digital Marketer case study.

In this video, Richard Lindner and Taylor Nelson from Digital Marketer and Scalable.co will walk us through their two different membership sites that use a very similar tech stack and serve different audiences, with high-end membership levels on one side and a ton of valuable content membership levels on the other.

You will also learn more about the various Scalable frameworks that assist entrepreneurs in determining which initiatives to prioritize to grow their business and keep their team on track. Drive clarity and alignment with Scalable.co, understand how to properly scale, evaluate your business, and compare with team members.

Learn more about the overarching marketing strategies, tools, and templates that Digital Marketer provides, get a behind-the-scenes look at how they use Memberium, as well as other plugins, and how things are set up.

This, as well as more in-depth knowledge of how to leverage Memberium functions and scale your site using the tech stack Digital Marketer employs.

Take your membership site to the next level. If you are currently running a membership site or plan to run one, you wouldn’t want to miss this summarized video. Of course, we’ll prefer if you were to watch the whole video series but we understand.

 

This video covers the following topics:

  1. The path from not knowing anything about digital marketing to becoming industry-leading experts.
  2. Course cultures and how communities factor into coursework.
  3. Memberium Umbrella accounts and how are they used.
  4. How scalable.co works, their unique customer acquisition strategy, and the difference with the digital marketer website.
  5. Learn what is Scalability Score.
  6. Transferring your personal brand to become even more valuable.
  7. Cohort Concept.

 

Important Lessons & Highlights

 

The path from not knowing anything about digital marketing to becoming a paid member

Digital Marketer teaches consumers through their Customer Value Journey, going from unaware to aware to engaged. Their content-first strategy leads the acquisition funnel.

The company focuses on attracting new customers by using social media, blog posts, and advertising through paid channels to generate customer interest in their services.

Community’s role in the course environment

The secret sauce with the community has been figuring out where your people already are. For example, Facebook is popular among the Digital Marketer audience and that’s why they advertise and build their community on Facebook

On Scalable, Founder and Executives are communicating on daily basis. This is why they prefer Slack group for Scalable rather than Facebook.

Umbrella Accounts and how they are being used

Digital Marketer are using the Umbrella Account feature in their Elite program. They have an elite parent tag that gives access to five seats/accounts to the users. They further explain how easy it is to create child users through Memberium.

 Is Scalable a spinoff of Digital Marketer, or does it have its own customer acquisition system?

Richard Linder explains how Scalable.co‘s acquisition system is unique and distinct from Digital Marketer. Scalable is heavy on assessments and less on the coming in on specific lead magnets, buy something small and ascend rather, it’s more on assessment to consult.

 Scalability Score and who has access to it

Scalable has organized its tools based on scale constraints. If clarity or demands are an issue, users can come in here and say, “This is an issue, what should I do?” And the technology will begin to sort and say things like, “Hey, if you’re struggling with clarity, here are some tools and training”

They are also big fans of frameworks and believe in the clarity compass. If users are struggling with clarity, the clarity compass is the best option. It’s their alignment tool which ensures that everyone understands their mission, strategic anchors, core values, and 12Q or three-year target

 Incorporating Personal Brand into your Membership website

Richard explains the concept of Transferable Value, and how the architecture of a brand involves a great deal of intentionality. When they build new brands, they first build the framework, according to your character diamond. 

They start with a methodology – “What is the thing that everyone who is a brand ambassador, whether they have equity, a partner, or a founder, can point back to?” That is what allows them to build a brand.

Cohort Concept

Richard shared some insights on Cohort training and how they develop asynchronous training and have moderators lead cohort-based classes.

He further explains that they have cohort-based courses, which can simply duplicate their on-demand training, change the delivery mechanism, and ensure that the person receiving all of the feedback is also the person leading that cohort using these groups.

 

Video Transcript

 

[00:00:04] Micah Mitchell: Hey everybody, it’s Micah Mitchell and I am more excited than I’ve ever been to create a video because today we have Richard Lindner and Taylor Nelson from Digital Marketer and Scalable.co and we are gonna walk through a couple of their membership sites. They have two different membership sites using a very, very similar tech stack serving two pretty different audiences, you know, really high end on one side and then just a ton of content membership levels on the other side. 

So Richard, why don’t you, if you wouldn’t mind, give us a little bit of an overview in case somebody doesn’t know digital marketer, which I can’t imagine cuz when I think of anything online, I think of you guys for like 15, 20 years now. So, so maybe just tell us kind of how it got started and, and where you guys are today and then we’ll dive in. 

[00:00:46] Richard Lindner: Sure. Well, hopefully, there are a ton of people that haven’t heard of us, fingers crossed. Hopefully a lot of them are listening to this. Um, but thank you. I’m excited to be here too. Um, you know, we’ve used Memberium, for gosh, I don’t know, a decade or so. So, for us at Digital Marketer, like you said, we’ve got a pretty diverse, product line. Digital Marketer is 13 years old. You know, we really did our best to lead the charge in professionalizing, kind of the industry, at a time where internet marketing was a thing, we kind of took a longer-term bet and said, like, this is eventually going to become a career. This isn’t something that just is going to be a way to make money online. Like this is going to be a department, a job within every organization. So we bet pretty early on, and really have been hot on the term digital marketing, you know, for well over a decade.

 Our goal was to kind of open source, what we do, to grow all of our different companies. At one point we had well over 30 companies, that we were operating in just every industry that you could imagine a little bit of entrepreneurial ADD for sure. We’ve since really narrowed our focus to B2B.

So Digital Marketer, we support marketers. We still believe that the best way to enable marketers is not only training but to open source, and templatize an open source. What’s working for us and what’s working for our partners, and our different portfolio companies to grow our brands online, right?

To grow our brands through all the different channels. So Digital Marketer, we do training and certification, we’ve got coaching. And really that leads to a pretty robust product line. We have À la carte purchases, we have team purchases and memberships, we have coaching that have small groups and it’s a, the business model has evolved and the technology on the back end has to support several different levels and several different access types and very thankful for you, Micah and everything you guys do because you enable that, right. You enable that. So that’s Digital Marketer. 

 Scalable was the natural progression for my business partners, Ryan Deiss, Roland Frasier, and myself. When we started Digital Marketer, really what we did to grow our businesses was market, right? That was our job. Our job was to do marketing, to grow the business,to grow all the businesses, figure out what’s working, templatize that, deliver it to our customers at Digital Marketer. Well, eventually we kind of stopped doing marketing because we had a team. We had people that did marketing for us and really our day-to-day became very different. We were leading a company. We were, you know, we were focused more on other aspects of growing a company and you know, making sure that we’re leveling up and we kind of had no outlet for distributing what we’ve learned and figured out, but we still had that core competence and kind of that muscle memory of documenting the processes that we used. 

So Scalable was that next natural progression. At Scalable, our goal is to help entrepreneurs scale themselves so they can scale their companies because we believe that companies are better, economies are better if founders can stay in that driver’s seat.

[00:04:19] Micah Mitchell: I wanna say if possible, let’s go to Digital Marketer first since that was the first site. Starting out, conceptually, where do people start before they’re a member of Digital Marketer? What do they first see? Is it like a free video they opt-in kind of what’s the path from not knowing you guys to being a paying member?

[00:04:39] Richard Lindner: Yeah, the cool thing about Digital Marketer is our flagship kind of methodology or our primary methodology is the customer value journey. The CVJ teaches the, you know, how customers go from unaware to aware, to engage, to subscribe. So we have several funnels that we use for acquisition but we really lead with a content-first strategy. So, we’re really beefing up on organic, content on social and on the blog. But our primary method of customer acquisition and awareness is by driving paid social, ads to content, and then retargeting, to a relevant lead magnet.

So for us, it’s always been templates and tools are the things that we like to provide. We think that’s the highest level value. So someone may start with the one-page marketing plan, which is our CVJ right? That’s kind of that again, for us, it’s critical that someone understands our methodology before we introduce them to our world.

So starting there is both, an amazing tool that we can give away for free and add value, even if someone chooses not to spend a dollar with us. But it introduces them to that methodology. And it’s usually a pretty good entry point to get them to want to spend money with us. So for us, the one-page marketing plan or one-page marketing blueprint, which is the customer value journey is the ideal starting place.

We have several other ones, but that one’s really where the best customers come through because if you understand that core methodology then Ascension happens pretty quickly. And I think it is a nice little value loop, value for us, value for them. So, if we’re starting there, that is kind of the best place.

Then once they go from there, we typically try to get them into digital marketing mastery, which is our flagship certification, that covers the eight critical core disciplines of digital marketing. We like to think of the ideal marketer is T-shaped right? They have a broad understanding of all aspects of marketing, but a deep understanding or specialization of one.

So usually it’s the one-page marketing blueprint over, to an offer to get our digital marketing mastery certification. And then, attempting to figure out what area of specialization. So, it’s À la carte purchase that hopefully then leads into a membership.

[00:07:09] Micah Mitchell: You know, it’s obvious you guys have a bunch of different products in there and you can, you know, give them access to only those they have and upsell ’em on the others. How does community factor into this course environment? Where does that come into play?

[00:07:22] Richard Lindner: For us with community, the secret sauce has been to figure out where your people already are. I think I love that you said, Micah, you know, it’s like the Slack group, you know, why Slack and not Facebook? Why Facebook for Digital Marketer?

Well, Digital Marketers are in Facebook, right? Our people at Digital Marketer are in Facebook. That’s where they’re running their ads, that’s where they’re running their groups, that’s where they’re at. So if we wanna reduce friction or increase engagement in our communities, the starting point or the kickoff point there is to figure out where they are and build a community where they’re already used to going.

 In Scalable, you know, when we’re looking at founders and executives, where are they already communicating on a daily basis, it’s less Facebook and it’s more Slack. So that’s a Slack group. And for here it’s a Facebook community.

[00:08:16] Micah Mitchell: Have you guys had any issues with anything like that where you had to say like, Hey, you’re not certified now, or has it been pretty?

[00:08:25] Richard Lindner: We have had to remove two partners from the program, which, you know, I would say over a five-year period, that’s the hundreds of partners that we’ve been lucky enough to have and to walk with and support and grow together. I feel pretty good about that.

We, you know, we’ve had a couple of instances, we have a way for customers to report or any shenanigans that they feel may have happened and we have kind of a mediation or a resolution process that we have with customers and certified partners, cuz frankly they’re both customers, right?

They sign on to our core values. So as part of the process, like they’re adopting our brand, which means they’re adopting our core values and our beliefs. So we actually have in the agreement, a standalone document where they agree that they’re adopting our core values as their own.

[00:09:22] Micah Mitchell: For people who don’t know about umbrella accounts. Do you mind explaining how you guys are using that? How you’re deploying it?

[00:09:27] Taylor Nelson: Yeah. We gonna pull up our tab real quick so you can see it.

So this started with our elite program which gives just five seats. So we had this elite parent tag that goes parents. And this pretty much just gives them five accounts each. We didn’t change anything here. We just choose an action set for the child, which all it does is apply the tag and gives them the password using the Memberium HTTP post, if they don’t have an account. 

And then we have these white list ones. I don’t know if I really need this but I put these in there cause I didn’t want somebody to have À la carte purchase and have that pass down to a child account. It’s only for the membership level that, they’re actually having, you know, and cancel tags in here to you just in case cause I didn’t know. I figured better safe than sorry. 

[00:10:18] Micah Mitchell: Yeah, that makes sense. And for people who aren’t familiar with the concept in the first place, what this means is somebody let’s say the business owner buys a membership to the site. Then they can give up to five in this case, if their team members access also, and where this is really powerful is if somebody is taking courses where the progression is being tracked or the quizzes, then you don’t have your employees coming in and messing up your progression and where you are, they have their own, you know, tracking and all that kind of stuff.

Well, let’s, let’s jump over to Scalable if you’re ready, and I’ll explain my experience first, but maybe then, Richard, you can elaborate on this a little bit. So I was, you know, taking courses and doing things and buying courses for my team and even for other people, sometimes when they needed stuff from digital marketer and from my memory, I basically got an email about the event itself, the Scalable impact lives and went to that and then there, they were basically saying, Hey, you can join this founder’s board. So I did that. And so my question is, is Scalable an outgrowth of Digital Marketer, or does it have its own separate customer acquisition system? 

[00:11:27] Richard Lindner: Yes and yes. So, you know, we like to be one, you know, kind of one step removed. If we’re gonna go into another market, we like to have a bit of competitive advantage and be able to at least tap the database that we have, right. This isn’t far enough removed to believe that, you know, we don’t have founders and people like yourself that are on the Digital Marketer list, that there are times where you needed to put on your marketing hat and that’s what growth looked like. You know, it was our natural journey. So, scalable was stood up by Digital Marketer, right. The first place we went to launch it, especially for proof of concept was the Digital Marketer list. I think we officially launched Scalable kind of Q4 of 2020, right.

So that was kinda the official beta launch of scalable. Most of the journey starts with our scalability score, right. Our scalability score identifies the eight scale constraints and gives you a score, an opportunity score on each one. And that really goes seamlessly into one of our strategy sessions, which is how people would usually either join one of our live cohort-based accelerators, for our scalable operating system or, if they qualify, join founders, board, or founders, board X.

[00:12:49] Micah Mitchell: My question is based on these things, the scalability score, is this only for the business owner, or are you guys doing something based on this?

[00:12:56] Richard Lindner: So I think Taylor you’re highlighting tools and what we’ve done is we’ve. So these are the, what you see in those eight categories are the scale constraints.

So now we have mapped the tools that we have by scale constraints. So if clarity’s an issue or if demands an issue, you can come in here and say, this is an issue, what do I do? And the technology will start to sort and say like, Hey, if you’re struggling with clarity, here are the tools that it’s tools and training.

So we’re big on frameworks, right? We’re big on, you know, the clarity compass. If you’re struggling with clarity that one’s kind of a dead-on, right? The clarity compass is the way to go. This is our alignment tool, really making sure that everyone understands kind of that mission, our strategic anchors, our core values, and our 12Q or three-year target.

And how everything pushes up towards that. So, tying in that assessment to the tools to affect those different things and making sure that the technology on the back end allows for seamless access when you’re there, you know, post-diagnostic, when you know the problem you’re trying to solve, this, you know, the custom categories up here have been, I believe very helpful for our members.

[00:14:12] Micah Mitchell: Yeah, I mean that’s such a cool tie-in, and then sorting ’em like that. When you say you guys are big on frameworks, which I know you are, how much of that is marketing versus useful, meaning other people have terms for some of these same concepts, why not just use their term versus it seems like you guys come up with new terms and to my mind, your terms actually fit better most of the time. And so I’m wondering how much of it was, Hey, we just need to be unique in the market. No, this is actually just better. 

[00:14:40] Richard Lindner: Yeah, I mean, better different worked for us. Look, we didn’t seek to build Scalable, right? It was a, we tried to use everyone else’s stuff. Right. It’s so much, it would’ve been preferable if we could just take what other people had built and what was available in some of these different systems and deploy it and have success. Now some things worked, others didn’t, some things worked for a while, others didn’t. So when, you know, when we ran into a ceiling right and had to, it was obvious like we’ve gotta build something for ourselves. So we default to, building things that are transferable.

In fact, it’s one of the ways that we look at our methodology here in Scalable, so SPV, by sales, profit value are the categories of value in your company, right? How do you increase your sales? How do you increase your profits and then how do you increase transferable value? Right. Frameworks are transferable value. So I don’t know if it’s as much marketing as it is kind of a core belief of ours that we need to create transferable value within our own company and within other companies.

So, for us, it’s the difference between a guru and a brand, right? Even a personality-driven brand and just a brand itself that’s transferable value. Like we were intentional when we transitioned from the Ryan Deiss show to digital marketer, same thing here. We wanna make sure that when we’re creating these frameworks, they’re created because not out of we want something like that, but it needs to be ours.

For whatever reason, we couldn’t get the available things to work for us across the different industries we were in. Therefore we had to make something new and, you know, one thing can only have one name. So we didn’t wanna take something, take a name that someone else had already used. So when we created something new we gave it a new name.

But I think it does help in differentiation in the market. But unfortunately, it can go the other way too. I believe that we can be seen as jargon-heavy, right? Internal jargon. Once, you know, you feel like you’re on the inside, cuz everyone’s using this lingo, this jargon, this language and SPV and level seven and 12Q and QSP and got it, Yeah, I know that. 

When, you know, you feel like you’re on the inside when you don’t know what people are talking about, you either feel left out or unintelligent, right? Maybe not as smart, neither of those are good feelings. So we have to be intentional in marketing, not in the way that you are intending it. We’ve gotta make sure that we’re marketing in a way that clearly, indoctrinates people into our jargon, into our methodology so that we don’t give them those negative feelings, unintentionally, right. So back to level seven, and why would we have a really low undated and lower level entry point if really our average per purchase price is quite high because we’re talking about mastermind coaching consultants because we need to indoctrinate people into not only our methodologies but into the jargon, into our naming conventions. Right? So, it could be a benefit in marketing, it could also be a detriment if you’re not really, really careful.

[00:18:05] Micah Mitchell: I have one question touching back on something you said earlier that I learned from Ryan, I forget where he was speaking, but he was talking about this and I’d never heard anybody speak on it before. But I find it so interesting and so applicable to people with membership sites. It was when he was talking about transferring his personal brand onto the Digital Marketer brand. So can you just, you alluded to it a little bit. Can you talk about how you guys did that? And maybe some tips for somebody who wants to say, you know, I’m no longer Joe Smith, I want to become whatever brand, you know, quilting or basketball or right. How do they do that? 

[00:18:40] Richard Lindner: Well, you still have to be Joe Smith, right? I think it does come down to transferable value. Right? What brands typically need is a worthy guide, right? What brands need is a brand ambassador. What brands need is someone that has the ability to be a human and have personality, right? Have that soul that heart, but then point back and we need to be able to pull the characteristics that made that person interesting into the soul, the heart of the brand. That shows up in design, in brand voice, in character diamond. There’s a lot of intentionalities that is involved in the architecture of a brand, not a logo, not a website, right? Not your color palette, those things don’t matter. Right. 

But in your you know, in your character diamond, right? Like how does your brand speak? Because if you’re speaking from a brand, a brand is everyone. So everyone has to be intentional and adopt the same brand voice, right? So it is an intentional creation of a living thing, right?

Not an entity, but a living thing. We have to say, what is this thing then making sure that it’s a transition from you know, Joe Smith to you know, the brand, whether it’s, you know, Joe’s clothes, right? Like if we’re gonna go from one to the other, it’s not a complete departure of Joe. Joe’s still there, but when are we forward facing the brand. 

For us, it happened, predominantly in email, subject lights, right. We mailed from Ryan Deiss, then we mailed from Ryan-Digital Marketer or Ryan Deiss – Digital Marketer. Then Ryan – Digital Marketer in that from the line. Then eventually Digital Marketer, like really, I believe that slow transition is the thing that had the biggest impact in the adoption of the brand because most of our brand impressions at the time happened in the inbox.

Right. So it was there and it was making sure that we had to have the CVJ, that’s I think that’s the other thing, like to your point about the framework, If the differentiator, right? If the core, like the value that you’re bringing and kind of that big picture is the person it’s really hard to separate the person into a brand.

You can have multiple worthy guides if the brand has a methodology or a tool or something that everyone’s pointing back authority towards, right. This is transferable, a human is not, right. So for us, when we build new brands, we build building them brand first, framework first, like, what is that primary, what is that methodology that we’re gonna lead with? Whether it’s the seven levels of scale, whether it’s that, what is the thing that everyone who is a brand ambassador, whether or not they have equity or they’re a partner or they’re a founder, everyone can point back to. That’s what allows you to build a brand. Right. So whether it’s the CVJ, whether it’s the seven levels of scale, some flagship framework that can stand the brand up, and then you can have multiple ambassadors point back to it.

[00:21:58] Micah Mitchell: For people who don’t, you know, use or understand the concept of cohorts. Can you explain why that’s better than just delivering an evergreen course?

[00:22:07] Richard Lindner: Yeah, it may not always be better. So to me, if I wanna consume something that I’m probably going to go on demand, I wanna go at my pace. Right. But when we’re talking about cohort-based, synchronous training, typically what we’re talking about is we’re all starting and ending at the same time.

So we’re gonna go through module one together. We’re gonna have a conversation about it. We’re gonna, have assignments or deliverables that we create and then are uploaded. So we’re all on the same course. Think about it like college, right? You’re in a college course. Everyone starts at the same time, everyone ends at the same time. So these group cohort-based trainings, you may have 25 people that are going through, one of these accelerators together at the same time. It’s great because now you’re getting the perspective of your peers, right? If I’m going through this with Micah and I’m hearing Micah or seeing what he’s submitted, if he decides to share it with the entire group, not just the instructor which can happen here, I’m having breakthroughs or seeing the practical application of something that maybe had a little tunnel vision on. I could only see it through the lens of my scenario, my company. Now I’m seeing Micah’s take on it through his, and maybe that’s the thing that enables a breakthrough.

So it really is everyone. It’s a small group. Everyone starts at the same time and ends at the same time. Typically there’s a facilitator or a moderator that’s delivering the training and hosting weekly or biweekly coaching or QnA calls in and around the topic that was released that week.

[00:23:40] Micah Mitchell: So you guys have been so generous with your time and showing all this stuff. Thank you so much, for people who, and I’m just gonna give a shameless plug for you guys, you know, if you’re building a membership site, you probably need DM, honestly, because most membership site people are not the best marketers.

And so just going over to these guys where they have these, like Richard saying transferable frameworks, you can access the content. There’s the live calls. There’s the community. I can say from my experience that when I need something, that’s where I go. And when somebody asks a question about something that I don’t know, I say, go buy that course.

So, for anybody out there go to digitalmarketer.com or go to scalable.co I’m also, like I said, a member of the scalable thing, join their founders board. And I think this is just a truism of you guys in general. You always over-deliver every course, every event, both these companies, you know, my experience has been that, and you guys didn’t know me.

You weren’t trying to do something special for me. It’s just how you show up. So I really, really, really appreciate that. And I think this case study is just a continuation of that. Do you guys wanna say anything else to anybody watching?

[00:24:47] Richard Lindner: I’ll say something to you. I’ll say thank you. You’ve been very kind, not only in inviting us here but in speaking, you know just the way that you talk about our programs, we appreciate it.

And, I think that you’ve underestimated the value you’ve added to our ability to do what we do. Right. So, we appreciate you and I didn’t have to know you to know what you did. We will show up anytime because what we’ve walked through is enabled by you and what you’ve built. So I’ll thank you. I’ll thank your audience for having us, but I really will thank you for what you’ve built and what you’ve enabled us to do. So that’s all I have to say is thank you.

[00:25:30] Micah Mitchell: Thanks, Richard. And thank you, Taylor. Appreciate it, man.

[00:25:34] Taylor Nelson: Thanks for having me. 

[00:25:36] Micah Mitchell: All right, everybody else, go to Digitalmarketer.com or Scalable.co, check out their stuff. And if you have any questions about Memberium as always, you can email us. We’re happy to answer. Thanks, guys.

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