Josh Rageth is a 4th grade teacher, that has been teaching now for 7 years. In his first year, Josh began selling lesson plans on occasion for a third-party lesson plan site.
He took action, something we love to see! With our help and his consistency, his possibilities on his picture book membership site are endless!
What You’ll Learn:
- How to take action! (6:50)
- Launch 101 (8:00)
- The ins and outs of opening and closing the doors to your membership (10:35)
- Price points 101 (11:35)
- How to do something next level. (14:00)
- Every business has a lull period. (17:00)
- The importance of one-on-one calls (20:45)
- How to capture your un-tapped audience. (25:00)
- How not to make it too hard. (27:30)
- The biggest mistake that anyone makes in online business. (30:15)
- Great marketers have to look into the future. (34:00)
Two years ago Josh and his wife found out they were pregnant. They were already starting to figure out ways to make more money. However, that pregnancy was a very hard one on his wife and she ended up having to leave her job as a Special Education Assistant.
So in turn Josh had to double-down on selling lesson plans, so that he could provide for his family. Josh began making new week-long lesson plans for a different picture book every day! These lesson plans were made for existing books, he basically made these lesson plans for specific books. He did this for 223 days straight!
These lesson plans help teachers out. If the teacher needed a lesson plan on this specific book, they could buy his plans and they had all the activities for the entire week.
It started out with books that Josh was using in class. Then, he moved onto 1st – 3rd grade popular books, because that’s where picture books are most needed.
The lesson plans started giving him $2/month, then $10/month. Now, for about the last year Josh is making over $1,000 each month!
It took a large volume of traffic to get there. At $2.75 or $3 a piece, it takes a lot of sales to get that number! To do this, he utilize SEO and how to drive searches to him.
Josh was listening to a lot of podcasts about being a “teacher-preneur” and while talking to other people, he kept hearing people recommendation the Flip Your Life community. He spent his summer listening to the Flipped Lifestyle Podcast!
We saw Josh in our community posting about how he was taking action.
Josh joined the Flip Your Life community and within two weeks he had his membership ready!
He took the extra time he had during the Coronavirus pandemic, since he was teaching from home.
His goal was to launch before the school year was out, so he did just that!
It took a choice. Josh made a choice. He took action. He woke up early. He stayed up late. He did the launch, that’s why things are happening!
Josh had a list of 1,200 people when he first launched. Since then, he has been trying to grow that list through Facebook ads and is now up to 1,600 people. That a healthy email list, especially for just launching!
When Josh launched he also had 3 beta members. If he can find 3 he can find 300! They are there, he has proven the concept.
Josh started out by simply sending an email that said, ‘hey, I’m thinking about starting a membership site, click here if you’re interested.’ He got around 100 people saying they were interested!
So he thought:
- “Okay, we have 100 people interested.”
- “Let’s start making this membership site.”
- “Get an email sequence out saying, ‘hey, I’m starting a membership site for all of my lesson plans, not just buying lesson plans here or there. You get a community. We will be supporting each other.’”
Then, he emailed his list and let them know the doors were open!
We’re all here to learn and here’s where Josh could have improved:
- When people hit the button saying they weren’t interested, he didn’t send the ‘hey my membership site is open’ email to them.
The unsubscribe button is a very good weapon and friend in cases like this.
- Never segment people! If people buy, they buy. If they unsubscribe, they unsubscribe!
If they’re not going to buy and that’s your product what’s the reason to pay for them to be on your list?
Now there are reasons to segment don’t get us wrong. A lot of times we will segment in our live events. Just because there is a real difference in live events and online aspects.
We absolutely love that Josh got members, he got a healthy email list, and did an email launch!
Opening and closing the doors.
You want to create a type of urgency.
At his launch, Josh was saying that the opening was for beta members only. It was going to be the lowest price he was ever going to offer it and listed possible prices for monthly, yearly, and even lifetime members. And, after he closed the doors to his beta members, the prices would be going up. When he opened back up, it is now open forever. But, there has been a price increase.
That’s good, that’s what we wanted! He is already farther than most people will ever go.
Most people just dream, that’s all they ever do. Josh actually built this thing, got it off the ground, and launched it.
Price points 101
People tend to over-complicate price. Your first price should be somewhere between $19 and $99, it doesn’t matter. Just pick your best guess for whatever your market is. Here’s the number one thing about prices: you can always change them.
Right now, Josh has set his prices at:
He picked $23 because his beta launch was set at $22, and was afraid that the price point os what was scaring people away.
Let’s look at a scenario.
If you were with your kids and your spouse, driving around. And, you look at the menu at McDonald’s and it says $23. You get up to the second window and the employee says, ‘oh I didn’t hit the button for the second Happy Meal, it’s actually $29. Are you going to drive away from McDonald’s? No, of course nt. That’s not a huge difference.
First off we think $29 is a better number psychologically and told Josh to change his $23 price to $29.
But then after that, don’t go up just a few dollars at a time. When you do a price increase, go up by $10 intervals at a time.
Do something next level.
Since it was a beta launch Josh says that he wanted it to be for people that already knew him, seen his lesson plans before, got his emails. He wanted it to be for the people that stayed after the few free lesson plans he gave in some of his emails.
The good news is this is typically a slower time for education, as everyone is out for summer vacation. And, Josh still has people coming on board, even with them being out. People are unsure about what’s going to happen in the fall and school has been out for several months already.
This is actually really good news for Josh. Because, if he can get people to buy right now off of a cold email, what’s it going to look like when he does something next level?
- Doing a webinar.
- He starts doing weekly webinars.
- Josh begins emailing his list three times a week.
We cannot rely on email marketing. Email marketing is just one facet of a successful membership site. You need not only email marketing but webinars, live events, ads, and so on.
However if Josh gets members from a launch, daily emailing (start out with Monday, Wednesday, Friday), that’s great. Because, when school goes back into session, he can start doing the next level things like weekly webinars for the first couple of months into the semester.
Josh has a great potential here because out of his 1,600 people on his email list, there’s a lot more than 3 members!
Every business has a lull period.
Josh struggles with engaging his beta members. They’ve signed up since his launch in May. But, with summer here teachers are not necessarily needing lesson plans right now. Now, Josh is finding it difficult to get everyone active in the forums.
All businesses have a lull period, for education it’s summer.
For us in Flip Your Life it’s around Christmas time. Because, everyone is with family, at events, together. Other than responding to direct question from our members, we don’t have much activity. After Black Friday, the online space is pretty silent until after New Years.
That doesn’t mean that we stop marketing. We continue to market, but we change up how we do it.
For education membership sites, when it comes summer-time, offering free trainings. Set it up to where people can get certificates so your members can apply to get professional development hours. You can do this on Google, using a Google form there is a plug-in called Autocrat. This allows you to email them automatically. (People absolutely love this)! It’s not super-salesy, but it adds value to your membership!
Another thing you can do if you experience lulls is simply starting relevant conversations. Right now, lesson plans aren’t relevant. If Josh posts in his community and says, ‘hey guys, let’s talk about how to teach this book.’ It’s irrelevant. Nobody is going to respond.
Think outside the box. Talk to your people, see what they want. Think about what your members will engage with, not about what you want them to engage with,
Everyone always sees our member calls and says how badly they want member calls like that too. And, we get it! But what you have to realize is that that happened over 6 or 7 years!
Your first 20-40 people, you really need to be having one-on-one conversations. Forget member calls, Facebook groups, forums, all that stuff.
Send messages and just say, ‘hey, why don’t we jump on a call for a few minutes and let’s just talk. Talk about the books that you’re using in your classroom. Let’s talk about what I can create for you, I want to help!”
If Josh can get 1 out of the 3 people to do this, that’s perfectly fine. It might even be something that he wants to send to his entire email list. Those three people are your Avatar, those three people they signed up.
Shift your focuses on the small things when you first launch: one-on-one calls, relevant things, what’s happening now.
Your un-tapped audience
For Justin, his website was listed at the very bottom of of his lesson plans, beside his copyright symbol. But, when is the last time you clicked a copyright symbol?
We have to jump out in front of people with a giant sign to show, ‘hey, I’m here!’
If you sell PowerPoint lesson plans, put a ad in the middle of the slides. That way, people ignore it. You plant a seed.
They may not give you the emails but most third-party market places have a way to send it to all your buyers. Or, in your notes have prominent email addresses. An then, even a free offer will drive people back to your website.
It’s just like when you buy a book from the book store and the whole book has links back to their website. It’s completely overt.
The goal is to use the platform is to build your brand. Plain and simple.
Don’t make it too hard.
Justin has a blog already, it’s awesome that’s he’s using it! One of Justin’s summer goals is to start diving deep into creating more content on his blog. He specifically wants to work on listicle type posts, right now he has around 20.
This way, he can use his traffic from his blog to go back into his membership site.
One of the things we do on ushistoryteachers.com, is that we give away one part of the lesson plans. If the lesson plans consist of a PowerPoint, a worksheet, if it consists of seven things we might put one of them up for free.
Josh has 400 lesson plans and he’s adding like 10 every day. What he needs to do instead of spending all his time on making or adding lesson plans, now it’s time to promote everything.
He has plenty of content. A good idea would be to a ‘lesson of the week,’ feature it on his website and social media and he is done.
He could do a blog post all on one book titled, “How to teach ____.” And, then make sure he has a place that says, ‘click here to get it.’ He uses a few SEO keywords, email his list three times a week about that post. And, he’s good to go.
The biggest mistake that anyone makes in online business.
The biggest mistake that anyone makes in online business is not letting anyone know how good your product is. We all talk about content. If no one knows how awesome your content is, it doesn’t matter how good your blog posts are. Because, they don’t know what all is in there.
Josh already has 200 lesson plans in there, what he needs to do now is focus on telling people about those that already up, before he puts up the other 200. If he does one a week, that’s still 52 a year.
This is also a good retention tactic because it reminds your members all the good stuff that is in your membership!
Great marketers have to look into the future.
Branch out where you can. For Josh, we think he should market this to homeschoolers too! There are a ton of 1st – 3rd graders being homeschooled, especially right now. We expect the homeschool numbers to swell.
That’s why we’re moving ushistoryteachers.com to another platform. Because, great marketers have to look into the future. We looked at each and knew that there are going to be a million more kids starting homeschooling, after the Coronavirus pandemic.
We think Josh should build a homeschool pipeline. It’s the same membership, just marketed a little differently.
You center your ads more towards parents. And say things like, ‘Are you teaching from picture books at home? Let a certified teacher give you lesson plans and show you how to do it.”
To be clear Josh doesn’t need to change who his target audience is, he needs to target these parents in addition.