Need ideas on membership conversion & retention strategies for your online business?
Listen in as we help today’s guest strategize how to retain her current members and convert more members.
Our guest is someone from our Flip Your Life international community, Music Technology Trainer and Consultant, Katie Wardrobe.
Katie, a proud single mom of 2 boys, started out as a teacher running workshops locally and internationally. She has demonstrated her aptitude as an educator in multiple conferences and other music education events.
She later worked for an international music software company, where she learned and understood technological aspects in a deeper sense.
That was Katie’s first real experience into using technology on a daily basis.
After her employment with that company, she saw the growing demand for someone of her expertise online.
In 2016, she decided to create a platform where she can share her valuable skill set to enable and educate teachers on how to incorporate software — like Sibelius, GarageBand, Audacity and a whole lot more — into their music curriculum.
Midnight Music, gave her the flexibility to raise her family, as well as engage her strong, active membership community with over 300 members.
Join us as we help Katie strategize how to retain her current members, convert more members as well as improving the systems in place to make her clients even happier.
We’re going to be discussing tips and some advanced level strategies that might help you in your own online business.
Don’t miss this! 🙂
You Will Learn:
- The advantage of setting up automation
- Member retention strategies
- Why you should consider going in third-party marketplaces
- The importance of understanding your avatar’s interest throughout the year
- Plus so much more!
Links and resources mentioned in today’s show:
Enjoy the podcast; we hope it inspires you to explore what’s possible for your family!
Click here to leave us an iTunes review and subscribe to the show! We may read yours on the air!
Can’t Miss Moment:
Today’s can’t miss moment is going to the eye doctor.We haven’t been to the eye doctor for like… ever. So it was a relief to know that we didn’t need correction lenses, because our eyes were in pretty good shape.
We’re also so thankful that we can now make appointments for things we need whenever we want. When we used to work at school, we had to find a substitute for our class, we had to leave early. Some days, we would just have to take a day off. We live in a really small town, and there aren’t really a lot of specialists near us.
Now, we have just the more time to take care of our health and the ability to be there for our family when we are needed the most. Our online business has opened so many doors for us and we are so happy we took action and made things happen.
You can connect with S&J on social media too!
Thanks again for listening to the show! If you liked it, make sure you share it with your friends and family! Our goal is to help as many families as possible change their lives through online business. Help us by sharing the show!
If you have comments or questions, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post. See y’all next week!
Can’t listen right now? Read the transcript below!
Jocelyn: Hey y’all! On today’s podcast, we help Katie take her music membership site to the next level.
Shane: Welcome to Flipped Lifestyle podcast where life always comes before work. We’re your hosts, Shane and Jocelyn Sams.
We’re a real family who figured out how to make our entire living online. And now, we help other families do the same. Are you ready to flip your life? Alright. Let’s get started.
What’s going on everybody? Welcome back to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast. It is great to be back with you again this week. Super excited to get another member of our Flip Your Life community on the air to help them take their business to the next level. We’re pumped about our guest today because this is someone that, not only have we met in person at a live event, but it is a very good friend of ours, someone we have known now for a couple years. We cannot wait to talk to one of our Australian friends. The Australians have taken over our lives over the last year, by the way. We will get into that. But our guest today is Katie Wardrobe. Katie, welcome to the show.
Katie: Thank you for having me. I’m so excited I feel like I have stepped into the podcast or something. I’m on the other side for once.
Shane: Instead of hearing it, you’re in it.
Jocelyn: Yeah, we’re super excited to have you today. We have known you for quite a while now and you have been doing great in your online business. You’ve just jumped in and joined us in the Flip Your Life community, which we are really, really excited about. We can’t wait to talk to you today and share some of the things that you have been doing well with our audience, as well as help you to ramp it up and take it to the next level.
Katie: Thank you. I’m so looking forward to it, too. I think it’s that thing of getting overwhelmed with so many options and so many ideas. I joined because I really wanted clarity about what to do next and what are the most important things at the moment. Looking forward to getting that sorted.
Shane: All right, Katie, we know all about your business because we all up in your business. Tell everybody else, what do you do online? Tell us your website. Tell us about you, where you are from and how you got into online business, and let people know what you are doing online.
Katie: It’s funny because it was an accident getting into online stuff, and maybe that is what happens to a lot of people. I’m a qualified teacher, but I don’t actually teach the school. I run lots of workshops for music teachers around Australia and internationally. I can say that because I’ve done a few training sessions in New Zealand, and been to the States and done a couple of presentations there, too. Really, that is how my business started. I was just doing workshops for music teachers. I had the craziest job at an international music software company. I really got thrown into the deep end with technology there.
That was my first real heading into using technology on an everyday basis. I got training to doing tech support, kill me now, I will never do that job again ever in my life. The only good thing that came out of that was that my learning curve was extreme. It was just full on. But the part of the job that I really loved that I was doing there was helping teachers use the technology effectively, and getting good results and achieving success and that. I know you guys have this feeling, too, because you see people in your community achieving success. It’s such a high when you can see people that you’ve helped doing great things and their eyes light up and they get excited about it, too.
I was loving using technology, and I just wanted to help other people do that as well. That’s where I started, my job ended at the software company, and I decided that I would try to do that on my own and just do the training part. I started off running these workshops, and presenting at conferences. I thought, well, I really need a website and a blog maybe to go with it, so I ended up creating those. This is alongside having my family. I got my two boys.
I’m a solo mom, and have two boys. I found that running workshops and doing my own thing gave me quite a bit of flexibility in my life with the kids and what I can do. Like you guys, I can turn up and drop them off at school, and pick them up at school and I can do work early in the morning if I need to, which I love, or late at night. I’m not so good at late-at-night’s. I get too tired. I love the flexibility of it. I started the online presence, and really that was just out of necessity at first because I thought, well, I need to have information about my business online. That is why the website started, and I actually started a separate of blog on a separate domain altogether.
The blog was really just a place that I could put cross notes and information about the things I was doing in my training sessions. I started putting those up because I got sick of giving out actual documents on a stick like a USB driver something. I wanted a central place to send people. Then of course, other people discovered this and start to talk to you and converse with you, people who you are not training. It grew a little bit. After a while, no one told me it was really stupid having two online properties.
Shane: We’ve all done that. Everyone says that, but when you first start out you’re like, “Well, I need a blog and I need a contact page, like my speaker page if they want to hire me there. I need this thing, and I need this thing. You finally realize, why don’t I just have one website, and use pages?”
Katie: Which could actually help each other.
Jocelyn: Yeah, for sure. You have these websites and you are sharing this information, when did this become a business for you?
Shane: And when you say you are teaching technology, you are not doing lesson plans, you are showing people, “Oh, if you’re using an iPad, it’s better,” or, what does that exactly look like when you are teaching people technology?
Katie: At first, it was less about lesson plans themselves, and more about getting your head around the technology and the ways it could be used with students as opposed to some people using the same technology which might be used for something completely different. GarageBand, for instance or GarageBand, as you guys like to say. When I went to the States, I tried to train myself to say GarageBand.
Shane: GarageBand. Were out in the garage.
Katie: I’m giving up. I’m going with garage. In GarageBand, the average user in the world is recording themselves songwriting and playing in a band or whatever. Music teachers want to know specifically, okay, what do I do with that in the classroom? I started talking in my training sessions, not only how to use the software but the actual application in a classroom.
We talked about, “Okay, you could do storytelling using GarageBand and the kids can create background music to go along to set a mood to go with the story, or film scoring, or videogame composing at the moment is really popular thing that I’m doing. It became more about the curriculum integration part of it. Over time, I adapted what I was doing, and the training sessions are all about that now. The software skills, I teach, and they are kind of just alongside. You learn them accidentally as you are learning the different scoring or how to record your score ensemble and GarageBand.
Shane: This is fascinating to me because I just had someone send us a message the other day, and I was like, “I’m just a tech-support worker.” It’s like, I’m just working in a place, I’m just an employee, I’m a cog in the machine and I just don’t feel like I have any skill set. You saying about the tech-support job which led to your understanding of technology, which led to that melding of something you were passionate about which is teaching technology to music teachers, it just shows that you can’t be so miserable in what you are doing and you’ve got to look at every skill you are learning, everything in your current job, everything that you love, and how do you blend that into something that you can bring into the online world because you can totally teach anything to somebody else.
Jocelyn: Look for opportunities. When people are complaining about things, figure out what they are complaining about, and how you can help them solve that problem.
Katie: That’s funny, because lots of music teachers, when I am running training sessions, some of them will ask me about, what would I do if I wanted to get out of teaching? It’s really funny because a mutual friend of ours asked me a question. We were both talking about the fact that teachers, particularly, all have this awesome skill called teaching. It doesn’t matter what you need to teach, if you are a teacher, you’ve got the skills of breaking it down into step-by-step, bite-size pieces of information, in an order in which people need to do. You can teach anything, really. Everything in the world needs to be taught in some way. I think teachers are in a fantastic position.
Shane: You basically put all this stuff on the blog. How did you initially just monetize that, and then how did you move on into where you are now with the membership? Was the membership was the first monetization, or did you do courses? How to do that?
Katie: I’ve had my business now since the year 2000 but it has morphed over time, it’s had a lot of different iterations. I deliberately chose Midnight Music because I was doing so many different things. Looking back, I just think, “Why was I doing so many different things?” That is why I had a general business name, and not something really specific. I ended up starting the website as this online brochure and the blog as this place for notes and stuff. I was also, at the same time like you guys, listening to online business podcasts.
I know your story, Shane, about sitting on the lawnmower and then having this moment, and it’s like, “Oh my Gosh!” I would have those moments all the time. I would go running and I would listen to podcasts on my run. I would be running along with my jaw dropped, going “Oh my gosh, I could do this!” I remember one interview. I think it was Laura Roeder, who is an online marketing person. She was speaking to someone. I can’t remember whose podcast. Maybe Pat Flynn or someone else. I just remember her talking about online courses. She was selling these online courses that she was doing, and they were her very first ones. She said, “You know, they are not perfect. There is the cat in the background, and there was all this stuff going on.” She was blown away. At the time, she’s going, “I can’t believe it. People are paying for this. This is unbelievable.” And I started thinking, I’m running these workshops and I’m essentially saying the same thing over and over and over in all the workshops. The same thing. Every time I would run a GarageBand workshop, it’s the same stuff. Every time I ran a Sibelius workshop, it’s the same stuff. I was thinking, online courses makes so much sense. I was getting a lot of people from overseas saying, “Oh, I would love to come to your workshop but I’m in the States,” or “I’m in England,” or “I’m in Canada,” or wherever, “and not in Australia and can’t get to your workshop.”
I thought, well, an online course would really solve this. I thought, I can record the online courses as well and then they can come as sort of a static product. That is what I did. I started running live online courses, and, oh my gosh, talk about stressful. We talked about the stress of, when you are running a podcast, and making sure you hit record and that sort of thing. But running an online course just by myself– I had between maybe 10 and 20 people at the other end, so it is quite a small intimate group.
Shane: You basically did a group version of your live thing first.
Shane: Yeah, I see.
Katie: It was very stressful because at the time, teachers, bless them, and I think they’d be the first to admit this, are not the most tech savvy people.
Shane: No, they are not. No, they are not.
Jocelyn: Yeah, I was wondering if we were going to hit on that. I love my customers, but–
Shane: Yeah, they don’t want to log in to things and things like that.
Katie: Most of them did not know the word ‘webinar’. I never used the word webinar. I always said ‘online training’.
Jocelyn: Yeah, I still don’t use that word ever.
Katie: Yeah, I still don’t either. To get them to try logging successfully at 8 PM, because I do the evening session so they could be at school all day and then just be in their pajamas with a glass of wine and watch my training, to get them to login successfully, oh my gosh, the stress of that was unbelievable. I’ve got it down really well. I knew exactly which issues to head off at the past after a while. It became easier. Then over time, it’s a lot more common, things like online training and webinars, and online videos, and stuff.
I did record all of those sessions, and I stopped running the live online courses because my Internet is just not good enough, especially where I am now. I was in a different place at first. It’s just not good enough, and I really just wasn’t happy with the lag time between what I was talking about and what they could see on the screen, me showing a software program. I did not love it. I just wanted to have a better quality product. I stopped that but I had all the recordings so selling-wise, and I have a collection of when the iPads came along,
I had a collection of lesson plans for iPads in the music classroom. Filling 12 separate online courses plus the lesson plans for iPad, and all these things and still running live workshops and conference presentations and what not, it has just become too much. When we were at the Mastermind conference that we met at in the Philippines. I remember you and I, Shane, looking at each other and going, “That’s it, the memberships set.”
Shane: The memberships set. This is literally, we flew halfway across the world, you flew 12 hours from Australia. I remember us, the last day, it was me, and you and Jocelyn, and Kat Jarman, who is a member of our community, and Jarrod Robinson, who is thepegeek.com, and Kat’s over at craftercoach.com. Plug, shameless. But we were all sitting there, and I just remember us being like, “This is it. This is the membership model.” I remember that we took a picture, I took a selfie, on that thing, and I’m like, “This is the moment that we are all going to change our life.”
Jocelyn: You need to put that in the shownotes for today.
Shane: Yeah, I will, for sure.
Jocelyn: I wasn’t even convinced. At the time, I was kind of like, I don’t know . Like it took some convincing as it usually does for me.
Shane: Katie and I were memberships soulmates, Jocelyn. We just knew it. We knew the recurring model is going to happen.
Jocelyn: It’s funny, though, because when we got home, I mean it was like a race to the finish line for us. In the 14 hours and that the flight back, we decided this is what we’re going to do, we’re making this happen. We switched over in two months, or something crazy. It might have been one month. It was just crazy where we switched over, but I think that you took your time a little bit more, I think.
Shane: Yeah, I think. You definitely took the more like, “You know, I’m going to step over here and start doing this,” and we were just like, “Cliff! Jump! Get the parachute!”
Katie: This is one of the reasons I like to talk to you guys, and one of the big reasons for joining the community is I think I take too long with things. I really do. I knew that idea was going to be good, but for some reason it just took me ages. I get stressed about who is going to do it? How am I going to find the help? And how is that going to work, and other technical details, and the big to-do list, and all of that sort of thing. I launched in April last year, and I think you guys launched for at least a good six months ahead of me, seven, eight months maybe.
Jocelyn: Yeah, I’m pretty sure we were in June or July of the year before.
Shane: Yeah, we get home in June and I think we launched in July, or something like that.
Katie: A long way ahead of me. But when I finally launched, the good thing was, because I have such an established list and community of people on the free email list that I ran, they are a very responsive audience. Kat is always saying to me, “My gosh, they are so responsive.” I launched, and I had 70 members right away, which was really really good. Close after that, we had that back-to-school time, your back-to-school time in June, I did a sale promotion thing, and then I got another 60 or so, at the time. That was really great. So much better than having the one product, like the one thing.
Shane: Yes, and I think there’s some valuable lessons here that we could really touch on before we jump into your questions. The first thing you have to do online is get online. I think that is the biggest hangup for people because this is a different kind of interview that’s going to touch on a lot of different things. You are already at the point where you got a membership for 300 people. Some people are sitting there going, “Oh my gosh, I’ve not even started online, and how is this going to help me?” Well, listen to the progression we are all telling you this, the people that are at this point. We started, we did not do it right, we went out there and we did what didn’t scale.
We got 10 people on a webinar, and charged them. We made mistakes, and then we recorded calls. We figured out what couldn’t scale, what did scale, and no one can tell you those things. You just have to go do them, and then you evolve. Almost every person that we see that does evolve in online business to what we would consider maturity, that gets to this thing where they realize it’s not about launching. I don’t have to create a new product every month. It’s about how can I serve my people in the best way possible in the lowest energy possible, and create a system of recurring revenue? That is what it’s all about.
Jocelyn: I’ll tell you a secret, just for everybody out there. You will never have it all figured out. I feel that sometimes people think that, “Oh, you know, when I get to this point,” or “When my business grow so big, I’ll know everything, and I don’t know anything right now.” Listen, there are things you have questions about every single day.
Shane: I think there is more questions as you go. There’s a lot of information about getting started online. But let me tell you something: most of the people out there, the gurus, they stop there, they don’t go beyond because they don’t know what to do next. Then you start looking for that information, and now you’ve got to really get out there and work with really good people that are working really hard to build businesses and talk to each other in a mastermind, and a community, because you’ve got to figure that out together because there isn’t anybody that’s going to tell you what to do at that point.
Jocelyn: The difference between us and maybe somebody who is just starting out, the only difference, honestly, is that we are just taking action. We are doing the things that we need to do to move forward, and that is the main thing that I see. People think, “You guys are so lucky,” or, “You just chose the right thing at the right time,” like that might be part of it. That the main thing is that we took action, we tried things, we failed, we figured it out and we moved forward.
Shane: Were getting totally off on a tangent here. Were going to bring it back in here in a second. This is important. I think people need to hear this especially people starting out is, there’s so much fear at every step and the fear never goes away. You’ve got to be afraid before you can be brave. That is what courage is. It is being afraid, and doing something, anyway. We were all terrified about this membership switch because we were all making money. We were like, “I don’t want to rock the boat, I don’t want to wait change things.” If we do it, and we pull it off, it’s going to be awesome. That’s what you got to do.
Katie: I’m sort of someone who likes things to be just so, and looking really good, and all that sort of thing. I sometimes set a timer so that I don’t spend too long on something to make it too perfect. I’m like, “Right, it has to be done in one hour, no matter what state it’s in, I’ll finish at that point. I put it out there. The teachers, they love all of the things that I’m doing. I can send something out which I don’t think is as perfect as I want it to be, or it’s not as detailed, or it hasn’t got sections in that I wanted to have if it’s like an e-book or something. They fall over themselves, and they say it’s awesome.
Shane: We do that all the time. There’s two reasons why we think that happens: number one, they never knew what the perfect thing in your mind was, anyway. They are not comparing it to anything. They are comparing it to zero because they had nothing before you give it to them. We have the curse of knowledge, that is the thing that we talk about and harp on all the time. We know everything someone should know in our niche, whether it’s education, whether it’s memberships, whether it’s whatever. Whatever you are doing online, you know everything. But the people that you are teaching know nothing, so you’re giving them a piece is filling them up, it’s say, shading them, and getting them to the next step where you give them the next piece, and you don’t have to give them all the pieces at once, basically.
Katie: Yeah, absolutely, I think it’s so true, yes. Small steps and just get things out there. It’s just me who takes too long, but anyway.
Jocelyn: No, listen, I totally feel your pain because I go through the same thing so I understand what you are saying. You’ve done amazing, just opening a membership, and you should have done it a long time ago before you did but you already know that.
Shane: Let’s pivot here. We’re rocking the membership model, we’ve got our 300 members, but we’ve got to grow. Growth is everything. So, jump into your questions. What can we do to help you take it to the next level?
Katie: I have identified three main things that I need to work on in my business which use retaining current members; obviously, this is a really important thing. Then converting people who already know about me and like me but are not current members yet, and then also the cold traffic; people do not know about me yet. I’m trying to work out things to do in those three areas. But my biggest one at the moment is retaining members and reducing churn, reducing people quitting. It’s hard. I know you would understand this, too, but this school year, there were definite buying patterns and whatever with this school year, so we’ve just gone through the Christmas and new year break, and I’ve had quite a few people say, “You know, I need to loop the community for whatever reason, and it’s very difficult not to start panicking and think that everybody is going to lose–
Shane: Which you’re not, we know that.
Katie: It’s the school holiday phase, to finish school up and Australia, we finish in December, so the Australians are finished for the year they are like, “You know what, we just don’t want to know anything for the next few weeks.” Because I launched in April last year, I’m going to have a lot of annual renewals come up in April, that’s coming in a few months’ time. It’s March, April, May that’s the time where I have the number of annual renewals.
My concern is, at the moment, I need to keep the monthly members really happy, but also to head off the annual members and keep them happy so that they do actually renew when they come up for their annual renewal due. That is the first question. What are effective ways, what have you found that you’ve done that has really helped to keep people in the communities?
Shane: This is probably the number one thing that we talk about in our memberships because it’s just like money; it’s not about how much you make, it’s about what you keep. Members are the same thing. It doesn’t matter how many members you get if they all leave fast. The first thing I would say that you have to do is just create automation that is going to talk to people at every single level they could leave, and try to convince them that they shouldn’t.
The biggest reason we see people churn is, “Well, all my people quit after two or three months.” Do you have any automated emails that are going out when they quit? Are you finding out why they are quitting, and then trying to answer that problem? If you have a little survey that says, “Price,” well, do you have an automated email soon as they submit that survey that says, “Hey, how can we help you? Could we do a 20% off an annual plan to get you on that and save you even more money?” Give them other options that might help them in certain areas where they have a problem.
If you can identify those points where they are leaving, and you know three or four reasons why most people leave, then you have to come up with strategies to address that. Jocelyn actually sets of surveys on all of our cancellation forms, and we have a spreadsheet, this huge spreadsheet of everyone that’s ever joined any membership that has all the reasons why. We track that and we try to come up with strategies to prevent those things from happening in the future, or to get people back.
Katie: We have an email. They request by email, “I’d like to cancel,” and then we actually send one back before doing the cancellation just to remind that, if you rejoin, it will be at whatever the current price is, which may be higher than what you are currently paying so we remind them of that. If you have a certain tenure, let us know why you are leaving, and there’s a few options there, or they can make up something. We learned sort of tracking that, but not doing anything after that point. They only just go ahead and cancel their membership for them.
Shane: That’s what I’m talking about. We have strategies to re-engage people. For example, one thing I do with Flipped Lifestyle, and some people who may have joined and not remember anymore may notice this: I actually leave the people that quit on our newsletter. None of the links work, so if they click to go see what we’re talking about in the community, they’re not going to be able to get in there and look at it.
I keep old members actively in the know of what is happening because maybe it was a bad time for them. Maybe they had some financial hardship, maybe they just didn’t have time, and they couldn’t get it together. I want to make sure they know what is going on, and remind them what they are missing so they will come back. Things like that, the strategies on the backside.
Jocelyn: We have had people that come back.
Shane: For sure. We had a guy, just joined back the other day, and said it was because he got the newsletter. There was one blog post that we had put in the newsletter that hit what he was doing. You’ve got to try to get people back. You can never just cut them loose forever.
Jocelyn: I would say that is really good advice for the cancellation part. I would say also that you need to have a good nurture sequence for your members. I think a lot of members we have a good nurture sequence for our non customers, but we don’t necessarily have one for our customers. Up until this point, for Elementary Librarian, I’ve been doing a monthly newsletter. In 2017, I’m changing that to a weekly newsletter. Each week, they are going to get a few little discussion topics that people are talking about.
They are also going to get a link to some information in the community. What I’m finding is that, people sort of forget what all is there. I have 500 lesson plans there, I have over 500 activities, but if you are not in there every single day, you might sort of start to forget about that. What I’m going to do is just send them an email, and say, “Hey, have you seen this lesson plan about digital citizenship? Click here to check it out.”
Shane: Yeah. Basically, engage people to stay. I want to add a little asterisk there, too. It’s not necessarily important to get everyone talking in your community. It’s not necessarily important for everyone to be totally involved with every conversation.
Jocelyn: Yeah, people get bent out of shape about that.
Shane: Lurkers are valuable. Lurkers are 80% of your audience, and they always will be, so you have to step back and not think of, “Well, how can I engage with everybody, and talk to everybody? How can I serve the people that want to be talked to, and then how can I also serve the people that just want to show up, get their content, and leave?”
Katie: Yeah, I have a lot of lurkers, and I’ve come to accept that now. I was worried that it was a ghost town at first, and there’s a few really active people, maybe 5 to 10, who always comment on things. Out of the other 315, 300 don’t really talk, but I know that they are in there looking at the training as I can see them coming in there.
Shane: Think about that strategically. That is where most people stop, is, “Oh, I’ve got 80% lurkers.” Jocelyn and I actually think of active strategies for the lurkers. They like to lurk, so let’s send them more newsletters with more things to lurk at and that way, there in the community more.
Jocelyn: I think about myself, because I always say this in the Flipped Lifestyle community when people start talking about, “Oh, none of my members are talking.” I said, “You know, guys, in most communities, I’m a lurker.” I’m not a person in my own community, I’m not of course, but in other communities, I like to just see what other people are talking about. I don’t always like to contribute to the conversations.
I do occasionally, if I have something to say. If I don’t, then I just check out what everybody else is doing. People think, “Oh well, a weekly newsletter. Man, that’s a lot of work.” But in all honesty, it’s 52 emails. Sit down and write 52 emails. I mean, you might have to go in and populate the popular discussions. That is what I’m going to have one of my VA’s do. Other than that, pretty much, you just write 52 emails, and you’re done for the entire year.
Shane: I would even say that you could batch that. We have 20,000 posts in the Flipped Lifestyle community all about online for free business. There is a lot of really deep, exceptional threads that touch on common, common questions in this space. You can just go ahead and populate those ahead of time in your newsletter, forward it to all those people. You probably have lessons that you know people teach at certain times in the year, or the new iPad comes out, it’s going to come out in August, so you go and say, “Hey, I’ve got this iPad training,” or whatever.
You can pre-populate all this stuff to engage your lurkers, and they won’t quit. Then the last thing I would say to do is, you need a better lifetime value strategy. A lot of people are like, “I’ve got members, what do I do with them? How do I keep them?” The goal is not to just keep people. It’s to maximize the lifetime value while giving them the best value and service possible. A lot of times, what we want to do, and this is something we’re going to do a lot better this year, is try to get people who join monthly to go ahead and upgrade to annual.
Even if you go ahead and say, “Okay, you’ve been here for three or four months, I can see you really like this. Why don’t you go ahead and save 20, 30% by upgrading for another year?” If they keep going, and if they keep paying year after year, you’re still going to make plenty of money, it’s not going to be problem. But that way, you’re going ahead and getting that lifetime value upfront, so retention doesn’t become as nerve-racking.
Jocelyn: I just want to jump in with one more thing. You were talking about your annual strategy because that is going to be coming up in April. I just wanted to throw out there that you do need to have some type of an email sequence for those people. I learned this the hard way because I did not have a really good one setup, and annual renewal started charging, and people got very upset. I would just say, make sure you have some type of email sequence. I usually email them two months in advance, and I’m like, “Hey just a reminder. Your membership is going to be continuing. If, for some reason, you don’t want to continue, you need to fill out a cancellation form and the click here to let us know that you want to renew.”
Shane: I actually read this the other day. This one guy was talking about memberships, and he actually said this on a YouTube video. He was like, “Yeah, you get them in, and that you hope they forget about their payment.” And we were like, “What?” Why would you do that? That is terrible. What we find is, let’s say, you’ve got 1000 members, and let’s say there’s 1000 people– just for round numbers because I’m terrible with math– but let’s say there’s 1000 people that are going to renew annually. Let’s say that you expect 60% of them to renew. By engaging with them two months out, those cancellations are going to come in early giving you more chance to respond before their renewal. You can work with people, and you have time instead of just hope they all renew it then quit, bye.
Jocelyn: Yeah, I even worked with my customers a little bit. I’ve even offered them a discount like, “I’ll give you X percent discount if you will respond in the next 30 days, and let me know that you want to continue your membership.” I’ve even done that.
Shane: Especially most annuals, because it is such a big ticket. There’s always diminishing returns. It’s not as big a deal. We’re against discounting up front, but we want to help people sometimes on annual renewals in the schools because their budgets change.
Jocelyn: Yeah, we take care of our customers. Yeah, I love to take care of my customers.
Shane: That was five different things for retention.
Jocelyn: That was a lot of tips.
Shane: We just threw up all the retention on you, like all of it. We can sort that out.
Katie: I think I’m also going to try one other thing which is, a friend of mine who has a membership as well. He was mentioning that he has been sending out a personalized, handwritten card recently for members. He showed me a graph of his churn rate, and how it has decreased over the time. I think I’m just going to start working through my current 300 members.
Shane: Don’t wait for the renewal, though. We want to start doing that with our people as soon as they join. We want to personally contact them. I was listening to someone, they’re talking about Saturn, the car company. There’s a car company in America called Saturn. They were trying to figure out customer satisfaction, and how to improve it. They started doing stuff like someone would buy a Saturn and then three weeks later, they would get a batch of cookies. Or someone would buy a Saturn and three weeks later, they get a potted plant or something. They tried all these different things and what they realized was, they all were the exact same. Nothing improved the customer satisfaction any better. It was just they were giving that person additional value, a more personal attention.
Jocelyn: Yeah, we’re planning some stuff for Flip Your Life. I’m going to keep it under my hat for right now. Yeah, just be looking out for all of our members because we’re going to be doing some special things for you as well.
Shane: I think we’ve got a lot of stuff for retention there. We can take all of those ideas and we’ll pick one of them and do it first, and then we’ll branch that out in the forums and flush it out more. What is the next thing you need help with to take this thing to the next level?
Katie: Although I was saying how it’s so nice having just one thing to sell instead of 12 different online courses, instead of I have lessons and stuff, I’m wondering whether it wouldn’t be a bad idea particularly to start with a lower priced, one off program like an e-book or something which may be cost around $20-25 so, which gives people a taste, and it’s just a commitment to this one e-book. I wonder if, for some teachers, it’s a little bit harder to overcome the commitment to a subscription, even though they can cancel at any time. I myself am not that keen on just signing up because I worry I’ll forget about the subscription, and I will pay money, and its ongoing. I’d like to give them maybe a taste of what I do, and maybe an e-book would be a good starting class for that. Hand-in-hand with that is the question about whether we would have a higher price offering, as well but I will let you talk on the low-priced one first.
Jocelyn: Okay, well, as far as the lower priced offering, I don’t mind it as like an introductory offer in an email sequence, or something like that just to get people a little bit more familiar with you and what you are doing. Just like what you were saying, I don’t think that it is a terrible idea. Something that I want to throw out there for you that you might want to consider, and something that we are considering for education businesses, is actually going on the third-party marketplaces. I don’t recommend this for everybody, but I think that you are advanced enough where you can handle this right now.
Basically, we are taking some of our trainings that are inside our memberships, and we’re putting them on some third-party marketplaces like Udemy, like SkillShare, what’s another one?
Shane: Teachable, and stuff like that.
Jocelyn: Different platforms, and we’re going to put them on there, and it’s not as much for moneymaking as it is lead generation.
Shane: Get people into the deal.
Katie: That was my idea, was that this really sells a low-priced product. It would be essentially a top level lead magnet of some sort, which is leading into the community. My idea is to do something where it’s a taste, and the next logical step is for them to buy a membership after.
Shane: You said something really important there, too, is the things you pick to release into the wild, so to speak, should be things that lead to other things. The biggest thing we see when people start out is, they don’t know who to sell to, or what to sell, or if anyone will even buy it. That is the most common online business question. We have trainings for defining a customer avatar, and an offer. That is what we’ve been going and throwing those breadcrumbs out leading back into the website on Udemy, on places like that.
We did a black Friday special where we released those two courses together for $50, and it sold like gangbusters. We’ve picked up multiple memberships from that black Friday sale. I don’t have anything wrong with that as long as it’s progressive, and gets to the next thing. The reason people screw this up is because they tried to do it to make money. There like, “I want another revenue stream.” Well, that don’t make sense.
Jocelyn: What we don’t want to see is people– and I know that you know not to do this, but other people who are listening might not– but we don’t like to see is every single thing that you sell in your membership on your website alongside your membership.
Shane: Yeah, pick the best ones, promote the crap out of a few things. Don’t put everything out there, and hope something brings you back. Now, another strategy for this within your email funnel is, let’s say your membership is $39 a month, just to pick a random number, or whatever. If you want to sell something for 29 bucks, just to let people have that sample, you can put the product right beside your membership on the sales page a lot of people who may hesitate at that monthly price, but one that piece of content may see how good of a value that is when they are side-by-side. When you’re selling that one-off product– I’ve got a buddy that does this all the time– he will put one video course for $29, but then his membership is 29 bucks a month. The play there is, why are you buying one course for the same price? You could get access to everything. You might be able to watch five courses this month for the same price. You can do that on your sales page, too.
Katie: That’s right. That would sell to me.
Jocelyn: Yeah, that would, for me, too. That’s human psychology.
Shane: Right. You get both benefits there. Some people will get the sample, but a lot of people will be just like, “Man, it really is a good deal. I’m just going to jump right into the membership. Forget it.” That is your goal with those third-party market, as it doesn’t matter how much you release, it’s just that you charge more, you get them into it, and in they realize what a great value your community is.
Katie: Yeah, that is correct. Love it.
Shane: Okay, alright. Let’s jump in, we’ve got that third question here. Let’s knock that one out, and see if we can take that one there.
Katie: The last one is really to do with Facebook ad strategy. I have doubled in Facebook ads and I just really have not done it nearly enough yet. But I’m wondering, other than promotional periods where you’ve got a clear Black Friday sale, and you’ve got ads in that period, what are the ongoing ads that you might have running, presuming that you have other ones just during the year which run to either cold traffic or to warm traffic? How long should I run those for, how many times a year, or do you just turn them on and off when you feel like it?
Jocelyn: Yeah, I think you should run them continuously.
Katie: You just have to pay and it’ll be going?
Shane: Yeah, always. I think last week, I’d spent $150 just promoting our last podcast. There was something else I promoted, too, I can’t remember. I just turned another ad on, just to see if it would work. The deeper strategy here is not just run ads. Okay? Deeper strategy is, remember earlier in the conversation, you said, “Man, I’m seeing these patterns that go up and down.” Every business, it’s not just education, every business had it’s ups and down parts of the year. There is a peak interest at certain times, and lower interest at other times. But every avatar has a calendar. Your job, as the person who is selling to your avatar, is to understand that calendar from January 1 to December 31.
Jocelyn: And make your product and yourself, your community, make it relevant at those times of the year.
Shane: This is an exercise I’ve made a couple people do recently is, what is my avatar doing in the first week of January? In the second week of January? In third week of January?
Jocelyn: For example, I started and add today that says, “Hey, did you not have time to work on lessons during the holiday break? You’re in luck. I have some free lesson plans here for you.” That is a cold ad for people who are not familiar with me. I showed them the ad, they click on it, they download the lesson plans with no friction meaning they don’t have to opt in for that. But then, I am catching them with that retargeting pixel. I have that retargeting pixel in my website, that retargeting pixel see that they’ve been there. Than what I’m going to do is I’m going to follow that up with an ad to something that they opt in for.
Shane: Yes, and get the opt in. You’ve got to step back and you’ve got to say, “Quit worrying about the tool.” It’s not about Facebook ads, it’s not about Google ads. It’s, what is my avatar doing today? What can I show them that I’ve already created, that is already relevant, that I can already promote? Just ran ads to it. That is all you’ve got to do.
Jocelyn: I talked about this on a show not too long ago. Start watching your mailbox because you will notice that during certain times of the year, you will get bigger sales from specific stores. Furniture stores, we just went and looked at some furniture yesterday. They were having some crazy deals because a lot of people don’t shop for furniture after Christmas. Look at traditional businesses and see what they are doing. When they have low sales periods, guess what? Their discounts and stuff go up. When they have higher sales periods, the discounts are going to go down. And you do the exact same thing. It does not have to be with discounting necessarily, but you have to find a way to make yourself relevant to people at that time.
Shane: This is impossible, Katie, to do if you don’t sit back, get a cup of coffee, get a notebook and write down: January, what is my person doing? February, what are some highlights of that month? Then you look at the pattern, then you put a little star by your lowest month. They are not buying, but what can I do to get them to buy something else?
Jocelyn: If you don’t know, ask them. For instance, if you have a lot of American people and Australian people are out of school right now, you might just say, “Hey, what do you guys have coming up in January that I could help you with?”
Katie: That’s what I found and in theory, because I’ve got such a sweet audience– it’s largely Australian but I have close to half now are US– in theory, it should work quite well because the calendars are usually at opposite ends. We have holidays in both of those hemispheres which are the same, and then we have ones which are quite different.
Shane: Everybody experiences certain things in life together, like holidays and things like that. If you can’t think of something in a dip, then use the general calendar, and just make something up.
Jocelyn: One-time in January, my sales were bad, and our daughters birthdays out to the first so I was like, “Hey, it’s my daughter’s birthday. I’m having a sale.”
Jocelyn: That’s right, Natalie asked you that question. I remember that one when I was on the show.
We have a member, Kevin Depew, and he does a guitar website, Relax & Learn Guitar. I was telling him just the other day, I said, “You know, why don’t you do a winter challenge?” Maybe people got a guitar for Christmas, they are sitting around in the house because they can’t go outside, it’s cold here in the US, and most places. Maybe say, “Hey, it’s cold outside nothing better to do. Why don’t you pick up your guitar and do this challenge with me?”
Shane: I’ve got Evan bursts over at thecartoonblock.com, he’s another Flip Your Life member. He was trying to figure out promotional strategies, and he is an artist. He deals with comic books. He was racking his brain, like, “What do I do, what do I do?” I’m like, “Man, a new movie comes out every week. When Captain America comes out, record yourself drawing Captain America and boost the post, man!” and gangbusters. Just gangbusters. Because it was on people’s minds. That is what you’ve got to do, is just figure out what is on people’s minds. Then also, too, commit to running an ad every day this year. Just commit to it. Right, wrong, or indifferent, I’m spending money on ads. That make them better, and try to make more than you spend on it.
Katie: Yeah, that is good, I love it. Thank you.
Jocelyn: All right, Katie, well this was an action-packed conversation.
Shane: This went long, and it is crazy. It was a great podcast.
Katie: Yeah, I warned you ahead of time, and you said, “No, we won’t get to that at all. We will be fine,”
Shane: No, yeah, you said, “I got a lot of questions. Are these too long?” And I said, “You know what, Katie, we’ll talk to you on that, it don’t matter.”
Jocelyn: Well, we always like to wrap up our podcasts by asking people, based on what we talked about today, what is something that you are going to take action on like in the next 24 to 48 hours to move your business forward?
Katie: I think it is going to be the retention stuff. I really want to make sure that I’m keeping the current members happy. I think I’m going to look at the automation side of sequences, emails and stuff to keep the current members happy and have the cancellations process like offer them something after they are saying that they would like to cancel.
Shane: Let me challenge you right now to, not only do a forum post about that, but within the next 24 hours, I want you to write an email to everybody that has ever quit, and asked them to come back. And just see what happens, somebody will rejoin. I promise you. That will give you some momentum to be like, “Woah, wait a minute. There is something to this.”
Jocelyn: You might even try if prices are going up in 2017: “Don’t miss your last chance to get in at X dollars.”
Shane: Or give them a chance to get back in at their old rate for 24 hours only.
Jocelyn: Yeah. That will be good.
Shane: Awesome. Well, this is a great conversation. I enjoyed it, but it is late here in America, and you’ve still got daylight left in Australia so you’ve got time to go post in your forums. Thank you so much for being on the show, thank you for sharing so much detail about your business and, just helping everybody out there that listens to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast, learn a little bit and take their business to the next level, too.
Katie: Thank you so much. I love what you guys do for people. I think you broke it down, the family aspect of what you do, your focus on family. I loved that thing that you said. Well, I might admit that I teared up a bit but it was a couple of episodes ago, I think where you talked about, you don’t need everything in life. You don’t need a massive house, a massive car, whatever. It’s just things to be the way you want them, and to get your online business, to get you there, that was the important thing. I loved that sort of attitude.
Shane: Contentment is very big to us. Just being happy and getting to the point of happiness. I want to grow, but I don’t want to grow eternally and lose my soul because of it. That’s awesome. All right, Katie, well, we will catch you on the Flip Side.
Katie: Thank you so much.
Shane: That was another information-packed call with one of our Flip Your Life community members. Hope that you got a lot of benefit out of our answers to our guest’s questions as well. If you would like to become a member of our Flip Your Life community, head over to flippedlifestyle.com/flipyourlife and we can help you with your online business.
Jocelyn: All right, it is time to move into our Can’t Miss Moment segment of the show. These are moments that we were able to experience that we might have missed if we were still working at a normal 9-to-5 job. Today’s can’t miss moment is going to the eye doctor. This is a good one for me because my vision was actually pretty good. It needed no correction, which I was really excited about, and Shane also really needed no correction so that was good. But also, it’s good because we can now make appointments for things whenever we want. When we used to work at school, we had to find a substitute for our class, we had to leave early. Some days, we would just have to take a day off. We live in a really small town, and there aren’t really any major areas near us.
Shane: There is not a lot of substitute teachers, basically.
Jocelyn: Well, and there is also not a lot of healthcare providers. So you have to, a lot of times, go out of town if you need any kind of specialist. In order to do that, we would have to take mostly a complete day off work. That can start to add up after a while, especially if you have kids. As teachers, we had had kids recently, we used a lot of our sick days. We didn’t have a lot left. It’s just good to be able to not have to worry so much about that.
Shane: It’s cool to be able to take care of ourselves. You put a lot of things off when you go to work all the time, year-round, 40 hours a week. You run out of sick days, you run out of days off, you just run out of time. Jocelyn and I haven’t been to the eye doctor in ever.
Jocelyn: Well, I haven’t really ever been.
Shane: Things like going to the dermatologist, or just doing some extra things, making sure you get all your demo appointments in. Just to take care of your health, take care of your well-being, and have the time and energy and the finances to be able to do that, that has been a really huge benefit from our online business. We actually have better insurance, and better medical care, and we’re taking better care of ourselves because we have more life balance. It’s just a huge positive for us to be able to do that, and our online business is a big reason why we can.
Before we sign off we like to close every show with a verse from the Bible. Jocelyn and I draw a lot of our inspiration from the Bible, and we love to share that with our listeners. Today’s first comes from Colossians 3:17 and the Bible says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him.” In every success you have in your online business, remember where that blessing comes from. Give thanks, and you will keep moving forward into the plan God has for you. That’s all the time we have for this week. As always, guys, thanks for listening to the Flipped Lifestyle podcast Flipped Lifestyle podcast, and until next time get out there, take action, do whatever it takes to Flip Your Life. We will see you then.