Micah Mitchell, Co-founder, Memberium
Today’s episode is a little different than most, but as always it is one not to be missed.
If you’ve ever wondered how to harness the power of Email Marketing, this one will not only be an massive eye opener of what’s possible, but also a sure fire way for you to quickly understand what you need to do, to sell your products/services on automation with Email Marketing.
We sit down with Micah Mitchell who is an Infusionsoft master, co-founder of a popular Membership SaaS (Memberium), and also knows a lot about creating and profiting with online courses.
- What is Email Automation and how it can EXPLODE your business
- How to create profitable online courses
- An intro into how to nurture leads, and convert prospective customers into sales with Email marketing
- Email Marketing and funnels
- How to create a profitable SaaS
Full Transcript of Podcast with Micah Mitchell
Nathan: Hey guys, welcome to another episode of the Foundr Podcast. Thank you so much for taking the time and sharing your earbuds with me wherever you are around the world. It’s great to have you here, and you’re in for an absolute treat today. I’m speaking with Micah Mitchell. And he is the founder of Memberium, which is a membership-based SaaS. And for those of you that don’t know what SaaS means, it’s a Software-as-a-Service. And funnily enough, you know, me and Mike are connected because we use Memberium to manage one of our membership sites, one of our courses, Instagram Domination, which goes in absolute complete detail, step-by-step have rapidly growing out Instagram following and exploded our business. I’ve gone from about 0 to 300,000 followers in about 10 months. And so many of you guys are asking how we’re doing, it so we created a course.
And I went down this massive courses path on, you know, working out which is the best software to use, how to deliver the content, you know, how to protect the content. And I actually connected with Micah because we started using Memberium, and I just love what these are guys are doing. And Micah is a master when it comes to email marketing and also email automation, anything around membership sites. So for those of you guys that are interested in..around this courses stuff for anything around email marketing automation, you’re gonna absolutely love this episode. He is a master. He knows Infusionsoft extremely well, and yeah, I’m really excited.
This episode is quite technical. But I think there’s gonna be a lot of gold that you’re gonna get from this especially, you know, I can comfortably say, you know, 99% of the people that listen…of you guys in our community, you all have some form of element of an online business. And, you know, email marketing is one of these things that can be very, very powerful once you start getting your group around it. And, you know, if you are not, you know, looking at utilizing email marketing for your business and especially in the online space, I think it’s something you’re massively missing out on. So we talk about that too and the importance. So, that’s enough from me. Now, let’s jump into the show.
Nathan: Micah, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. The first question I’m gonna ask you is the same question I ask everyone that comes on and that is, how did you get your job?
Micah: How I get my job doing infusion? That’s a funny way to put it. So, I was actually…I bought Infusionsoft to run my lawn care company, which I had started because I was sick of the office. And so I was like, “I’m gonna work outside,” and started a lawn care company. And, about nine years ago, I got Infusion for it, which seems kind of weird, there wasn’t like a lot of lawn care companies in there obviously. But yeah, I did that for a while and when…it’ll give you an idea of how, you know, long my thought process was back then. But then when winter rolled around, and I realized I couldn’t do lawn care again, I fell back to the CRM stuff.
And back then, there was…I don’t think anybody, like literally nobody, doing Infusion consulting. And so, I just picked up from there. And it was kind of funny because like Jermaine Griggs is one of the ultimate marketers. He was just that an everyday client, you know, there’s a bunch of them. So, I started so long ago and have been doing it ever since. So, kind of an accident fell into it for my own business. But I just love the tech part, so I eventually sold the lawn care company have just been doing Infusion since then.
Nathan: Yeah. Wow. So, like, just a little bit of a background for the audience listening. Me and Micah connected because he has this epic company called Memberium. And when we were launching one of our first courses, I looked at using Memberium because we use Infusionsoft as our CRM and for our email marketing. And yeah, we’ve just connected from there. And Micah knows a lot about automation Infusionsoft membership sites because of Memberium. And yeah, I want him to come on to pick his brain around all this because we haven’t had an expert on around this topic, which is something that I’m starting to get into a lot now.
First thing’s first. So, has Infusionsoft been around for the past eight years?
Micha: They have. I think they’re about 10 years old.
Nathan: Wow. Because the technology is so powerful man. Like I’m amazed. Like I love Infusionsoft. Like I know it’s so complicated, but it’s so powerful, right?
Micah: Oh yeah.
Nathan: So, I guess the first question I have for you around automation, and please keep in mind that our audience is mainly aspiring and novice stage entrepreneurs, like how can people use, you know, tools like Infusionsoft automation tools to get the best leverage for their time and within their business? Like, what kind of advice you give there?
Micah: Yeah, it’s a good question. For beginners and kind of novices, as you’re getting going, I would say the best thing you can do at Infusionsoft is you can leverage anything that’s good. So, some people go in, and they automate for the sake of automation, which I kind of get. But as a new business owner, you know, as soon as you find something that works, you’ve got to move on that fast. And so that’s why I think Infusionsoft is nice. Because you can say, “Oh hey, this works. I just had a conversation with a client and,” you know, “This pitch worked,” or, “This angle worked,” or whatever. Then you can write that up, put it in Infusionsoft.
So, for somebody just starting, I’d say that’s…the big thing is just saying, you know, what’s a follow-up process I might have with a client now to get them to buy? And then you’ll automate that process. So anything that works, again, just kind of automate it. And they do multi-channel marketing, so it’s not just email, you can hook it up to other things. But yeah, I would say, if I was starting all over again, that’s the first thing that I would do is, I’d focus really hard on automating my sales file.
Nathan: And if someone’s looking at creating like a form of a sales funnel, you know, what would that look like? How could they get started?
Micah: So just getting started, let’s say, yeah, you don’t have Infusionsoft. I feel like now there’s so many amazing tools. I mean I started back when you had to build all this yourself. And I was kind of doing that for clients and getting paid to make a squeeze page or, you know, an opt-in page, or make a sales page.
Nathan: Yeah, wow.
Micah: But now, there’s there’s like a million tools that will make a page a hundred times better than I ever could even imagine, right? And I’m not an artist, so I’m just saying.
Yeah, if I was getting started, Leadpages is good. Just because they have templates that are proven, they have things that other people are using successfully. And that’s kind of what they lean on is, “Hey,” you know, “We’re not just gonna give you a template. We’re constantly measuring and tweaking them for optimization.” So, a lot of that work is done for you. If you’re willing to spend not that much money, and Leadpages is only one, there’s tons. So, I don’t mean to promote them but yeah, I mean, for less than a hundred bucks a month, you can find a bunch of different systems. And I know you, for example, you Sam cart, you know, beautiful systems. They look nice, they act right, and they’re just not that much, all things considered.
Nathan: Hm. So, I guess if you have, you know, if you’re starting to build out your e-mail newsletter, your email list, and you want to use Infusionsoft. I guess, what are some best practices around conversion, using Infusionsoft to convert people?
Micah: Yeah. So a couple things that you can do. You know, I talk about automation like you say, “Oh. This sales process works,” and you let it go on somebody. But what you can do, is you can make it a little more or a lot more interactive than that. So, you send them the first thing, let’s say, and that’s just to get to know you. So, once you get a lead, I would say first thing, try to indoctrinate them. So, don’t sell them. Try to talk to them about you and your company and, you know, a nice picture of you and all that kind of stuff to get them to like you, to get them to, you know, like you I guess, over the next guy who’s gonna tell them a bunch of the same stuff.
So you make it personal. First, you kind of get them indoctrinated to you and your brand first and that will go a long way for you. Sounds like, “Oh, you know, I should be talking about the product. I should be talking about their problems,” or whatever, but not really. Right in the beginning,you kind of get familiar with them, make it personal more than professional. And then, when you go back to the professional, it’s all fine, but you put yourself on a different level than other people that way. So I would say as soon as you’ve gotten them to kind of know and like you a tiny bit, and again, a lot of people call that indoctrination. So, it might be a picture of you and your family or whatever. Then right after that, there’s…I mean, there’s so much you can do.
But I would say the basic gist of it is, you want to follow…I like Jay Abraham, who does a sales process called AIDA, Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. And he does that all in a single sales letter. I like to do that in emails. So the first email would be, kind of get their attention about the subject. The next line, develop their interest and a little bit more interest in your company or the specifics or whatever. And then the next one is “Desire,” where you’re not just talking about their interest in things, you’re talking about how what you have fits it so that they begin to desire it as far as like, yeah, you know, we’ve been talking about this and everyone knows it’s a pain. Wouldn’t it be great if there is a way that you could solve it or someone else could do it for you cheaper than you can even do it for yourself? That kind of thing.
So then at the end you ask for the “Action.” And that’s, go to this order form or whatever. So, that’s the basic format I follow. And I know there’s a lot of them, but I do what you would normally put in a whole sales letter across a series of emails. And then what you can do is, as people click, so let’s say they don’t even open or click the first one, but they do open and click the second one, then you kind of react to that and say, “Okay, they’re interested in,” you know, “Part A,” or whatever.
I’ve got these three emails A,B,C. They cover different things, “A,” they’re all about. So the next email I send them, instead of going right to “B,” I might go to like the next “A” email, right? Go deeper into one subject. And, for example, if you do get them to click and visit your sales page and you know, “Hey, they visited the sales page, but they didn’t buy,” then you just follow up with another email to a different sales page. So not, you know, more automation with the same sales page but to a different sales page, may be based on a different aspect to the offer.
So, Ryan Deiss does Greed/Logic/Fear, as far as just kinda three general emotions. So, if you have one sales page that’s really all about, you know, opportunity, and Greed’s maybe a little crass, but the opportunity, right? And then another sales page that’s just really sensible tells them why it makes so much sense. It’s a no-brainer, what-not. And the last one, “Fear,” you know, There’s scarcity. You’re gonna miss out on the pricing or on the offer altogether, or whatever. But that’s what I would do is, I would indoctrinate him, send him through kind of a process that will ultimately lead to a cell.
But then as they do stuff you alter it, and you say, “Oh, that’s a hot button for this person. Let’s dive a little deeper there for a little bit,” and then ask for the sale again. So, a lot of times, if they’re interested, like I said in, you know, “A” or whatever, I’d go much deeper in “A.” Not asking for the sale but just really get them almost more indoctrinated. Like, “Oh, this guy knows what I’m interested in. He’s speaking my language,” or whatever. And he may not realize. Well, that’s because you clicked this link versus that. That’s why we’re being so direct, you know. And so, kind of you kind of automate, but you also segment as you go.
Nathan: Yeah that’s a really good point because one thing I love about Infusionsoft, and I was using MailChimp before, was with Infusionsoft, you can tag people. So, depending on where they come from, if they if they opt-in for this lead magnet and then maybe this other lead magnet, you can tag them and know where they are coming from, segment them. And, you know, depending on their actions, you can take them down a different path which is…this is where it gets really complicated but very powerful.
Micah: Yeah, exactly. I mean most marketing that people know is kind of push or like if you advertise traditionally in a magazine or whatever, you only have one message. But in reality, you’re selling to a diverse group of people. So yeah, like you said, it does get complicated but super powerful when you can talk directly to that person about what interests them most. Not, you know, them and a hundred other people, their general interest, but like, that guy’s exact interests.
Nathan: Hm. Because I think when you have an online business, and you just get started, you usually start with like in an AWeber or a MailChimp. But as time goes on, you want something a lot more powerful. And, you know, this is why…this is exactly what I want you to come on because you really know this stuff really, really well. I just want to touch a little bit more on this before we keep moving. And I just want to say like, do you always recommend Infusionsoft? Or, do you recommend Campaign Monitor? Like what…I know you’re a massive fan of Infusionsoft, but do you have any other CRMs that you recommend to people?
Micah: You know it’s kind of because I deal so much in the aftermarket with people after they’ve bought Infusionsoft that when somebody asks me…yeah, I don’t deal on the front end at all, but when somebody does ask…like occasionally, people will come along like they want to use Memberium but don’t have Infusion. I honestly don’t try to sell them into Infusion. A long time ago, I would. But now, I know it’s such a complicated thing. And I know that infusion kind of sells it is like, “Oh, it’s gonna double your sales, and everything’s gonna be magic and amazing.” it’s like, “No, not quite.”
It’s gonna be a huge pain, and a lot of money. And so, like just being honest, right? It’s like, you know, I don’t want to be the guy who tells you to get Infusion because then once you have a problem with it, you’re gonna hate me. But I don’t know of anything that does, I guess, as well for a small business, everything that they do. That’s their big claim to fame is its everything in one package.
And so, you know, when people talk to me about it, it’s like, “Yeah, they don’t have the best shopping cart. It’s not the best email. It’s not the best anything.” But the fact that it’s all together and interactive can be, you know like that’s all the value right there. Because you don’t need the best shopping cart. You need to get the right people there through smart automation, you know.
Nathan: Hm. Yeah. The reason I’m laughing is because, you know, we have only moved to Infusionsoft about six months ago. And there are a lot of costs involved because it’s so difficult to wrap your head around. Like I’m…I know a little bit about technology. It’s taken me a while to fully wrap my head around especially our funnels and the campaigns that we have going on in the automation. But, it can be costly because you know it’s a decent priced-SaaS. Like, we spend a few hundred dollars every month, and we’ve actually got a really good discount.
And, you know, it’s for like…we have a few hundred dollars every month for over a hundred thousand contacts. But that’s a lot. That’s like a really good discount rate. It is quite expensive, and you need, like I believe you, you definitely need an Infusionsoft consultant to build out the funnels and do all that good stuff. You can’t just pick it up yourself on it, reckon?
Micah: No. And that’s I think the sticker shock people usually get from Infusion is when they realize, “Oh, I have to pay a hundred dollars an hour or so to get help with this.”
Nathan: Hm. But man it’s like…it’s so good because it’s so powerful. And it is pretty. It is a very solid platform. So, I really appreciate that service. And, let’s kind of…let’s get moving on to the membership site stuff. Because you started…so you had your lawn care business, and I’m curious. Like, you were collecting just…I just want to touch on this before we move on. Also, you are using Infusionsoft for your lawn care business?
Micah: Yeah, we were using it for the sales side. We were using it to bill automatically. We were…this will sound weird, we even put our lawn mowers and edgers and things in as contacts, and put them in sequences which would remind us when they need maintenance and stuff like that, so.
Micah: Yeah, we were getting a little funky with it. But yeah, just, I mean I basically bought it to build people ongoing instead of having to send invoices and collect cheques and all that. We just required everyone put a card on file and we’d bill them actually every single week when we mowed. So it’s kind of different than the monthly, is kind of cool.
Nathan: Wow. So you were locking people down on like recurrent?
Micah: Yeah, exactly. Once they bought, you know, whatever it is $27 a week to mow your lawn, it was gonna bill every week until, you know, from like April to October.
Nathan: Well, that’s crazy. Okay. Well, interesting. So, you had the lawn care business, you’re doing Infusionsoft, CRM consulting, and then, how did the stuff you do with membership sites come about? And then, then did it lead to Memberium? Can you tell us? Like, take us forward.
Micah: Yeah. So, I was at first doing general Infusionsoft consulting which is like set up and things like that. And this is a couple versions of Infusionsoft ago when it really, really was complicated. I remember them saying that they were going from a top-level menu that had 130 menu items on it? At the time, they’re going down to one with like 40. And they were all excited about it. So I’m just…it was kind of yeah, intense. And there is no visual.
Nathan: Oh, wow.
Micah: Yeah, now there’s no campaign builder. So you would build all the pieces separately, and you had to relate them using IDs. Like, you know, this action set relates to that. See, it was a bit nutty. But, so I did a lot of consulting. And that kind of led to custom development. And at first, I kind of picked up some PHP, but for the most part, as things came through, I was subbing them off, you know. Like hiring people overseas, have them build it. And since I could code a little, I was having him build most of it, and then I would do some of the finishing touches and try to, you know, the testing and things like that. So, I did some custom solutions for people. And it actually started with Joomla. Are you familiar with Joomla at all?
Nathan: Yeah, I am. Just because I come from a tech background as well.
Micah: Yeah. So, that was the first Infusionsoft integration that I’d made and turned into a somewhat of a product, was a Joomla thing. That’s because I had built it for a couple people and just realized, “I should just sell this,” you know. It cost a couple thousand dollars to build custom, but there’s no reason I can’t sell it for 500 or whatever. And at the time, I was so new that I didn’t know anything about encrypting the software. I didn’t know anything about, you know, open source and GPL and all, you know, even subscription revenue.
I just started selling it at 500 a pop. There was no ongoing. Which is a horrible model because those people are gonna need support, you know. So, I did that for a little bit, and then I’ll tell you kind of the dark intertwined story here and make it real brief. But basically, I had gone to InfusionCon, I think in 2009. Which is their, you know, regular conference. And while I was there, I talked to a guy from the UK about building a WordPress membership plugin. And I found out later that he went right back as quick as he could and hired someone to try to build one.
Nathan: Oh my God, really? So someone actually stole your idea? I didn’t…like, so many people would think that’s gonna happen. I always say, “No, don’t worry. Most people don’t even have the time to steal your idea.” So someone actually stole your idea?
Micah: Yeah, no. And you’re mostly…I would say you’re mostly right. Like people aren’t going to do that, but in this case, yeah I found out later. And the way I found…was funny. So, I’m making a WordPress membership plugin, and then another one comes on the market. And after a while, I start talking to the guy who’s running it. And he says, “Oh,” you know, “This guy in the UK who got me to make this in the first place.” And I guess they had had a falling out. And so the guy in the UK started up the coder, the coder had baited, and then he was kind of chugging along. And so we got to talking and eventually we actually merged, and that’s what became iMember360.
And he and I had a falling-out. I realized now why he had issues with other partners. It’s kind of an ongoing thing. But doing iMember360, we grew that from…I was only doing about 18 months? And then we did that, and afterward, I was kind of sick of software and support and just kind of like, “I’m just gonna do info. I’ve been making this membership site software. I’m just gonna go make my own membership site,” and I did. And it was great. We made like six figures in 30 days and just kind of carried on with it.
Nathan: Yeah. Wow.
Micah: Yeah. So, I knew how to do that, and I actually did it with CustomerHub. So because I wasn’t gonna use that other software, I ended up using CustomerHub, which is another Infusionsoft membership thing. But I did that for a couple years and then what happened is, Dave, who made Memberium, he had been cooking that up on the side and was using it a lot with Ryan Deiss as a private client. So, after a while, he and I talked again and right when he had first started it, was shortly after I had broken up with iMember360. And so, we talked the whole time, you know, as far as like, “Hey, when that’s ready I’d love to use it because I still like WordPress.”
And eventually, he and I talked again. I was in Belize I think two years ago, about this time of the year. And that’s when, for whatever reason, I just kind of pulled the trigger. And I was like, “Yeah, let’s license and run with Memberium.” And Dave had planned on making it Open Source, and making it free, and just supporting people, and trying to sell his own consulting to offset it, you know. He figured it would provide him consulting revenue forever, which isn’t terrible. But we got together and decided to do Memberium and, you know, kind of having looked back, it had a slow start. What we did…that was really good, and this is maybe advice for anybody just starting up and just new in business and whatever is, we didn’t jump right in bed together.
I actually took about six months bedding Dave. And he and I talking back and forth. And then the contracting process intentionally taking a really long time. Because I knew there was a big opportunity, I just wanted to get it right. And so, that was hugely valuable. We didn’t start till about six months later. But then once we did start…kind of had a slow start. Like six, or ten, or whatever a month for the first few months. And it’s just built up over time. So now Memberium, we get about 70, 80 sales a month and keep the vast majority of them actually. The only time people leave is if they actually cancel Infusion. That’s because, as you know, with our onboarding process, we’re trying to get every single site up, not just sell software.
Nathan: Hm. Yeah. That’s right.
Micah: Yeah, so that’s kind of the history in Memberium. And yeah, here we are, just kind of chugging along. There’s some good things on the horizon, but that’s how it evolved.
Nathan: Yeah, wow. This is really interesting. So you would call Memberium a SaaS, right?
Micah: Yeah, definitely.
Nathan: Okay. So, like what is, like out of curiosity, like your biggest challenges with running a SaaS business right now. Because like, to me, you know if I didn’t start Foundr, that’s where I would have started. Like, I mean, when I started Foundr, I knew nothing about entrepreneurship. I knew nothing about magazines. I knew nothing about media, nothing. And I just started it. And now, going into this scene, the more and more I see like just how powerful it is to like..that the SaaS business model and how scalable it is. I’m curious, you know, what are your biggest challenges with running Memberium?
Micah: Yeah. So, I would say one of the biggest ones, I guess it’s a testament to how good SaaS is, is trying to limit the number of opportunities we are chasing? Because things come up all the time, you know.
Nathan: Oh wow.
Micah: Opportunities for add-ons and all these things. And so, we’re just trying to stay really super focused on the membership stuff. There’s…we could build referral partner programs and e-commerce things. And a couple of them we are adding in as they relate to membership, but we got really clear in the beginning that, you know, a couple things.
One, it’s not about the software, it’s definitely about the support. And so, that’s…the other challenges is staffing support and keeping…not even staffing but just training, dealing with the escalated support myself sometimes. That kind of stuff is a challenge. But that’s like only for the first couple years, you know. I anticipate that will go away soon. But otherwise, yeah, it’s kind of turning other stuff away so that we can stay focused. It’s too easy to build on features that aren’t core and have the code get bloated. There’s performance issues with that. It’s also..yeah, just too easy to, you know, spread our focus too thinly.
And so we’re always refocusing all the time which has been good. And I mean, even when we were little, we’ve been doing pretty intense business management, you know. Five hours of team meetings a week on different things. We’ve since tapered it back to about three, but still every single week, there’s three hours that we set aside. And we’re not doing support or anything. The whole team is sitting there talking about just how to stay true to that core. Because we think, anyway, our suspicion is that long-term, you know, we can win the membership game. We can’t win all software games, but we can definitely win the membership game with our experience and things like that.
I said this to you off air, but I’ll say it on air. Like, what I love about Memberium is it’s such a solid platform. Like, we haven’t had any problems at all. Like, I know…you know the reason me and Micah actually connected is because I was getting really concerned and worried. Because we were about to do a launch for our course, and I just want to make sure everything was solid, it was all working. And actually Micah actually jumped in and helped me, and that’s how we connected.
And ever since, we went through all those tech issues at the start. And it’s just bound to happen. The platform has been very, very solid. We haven’t had any instances where somebody’s purchased the courses, any of our stuff, and they haven’t been given access. And yeah, it’s it’s a testament to, you know, the kind of service you guys provide. Like I was amazed that you know when we purchased the first thing was, you know, send us your Infusionsoft details and we’ll set up Memberium for you. And you guys have helped us every step of the way.
That’s, you know, one of the reasons I wanted you to come on. And, you know, it’s my way of saying thank you and to help spread the word of the epic stuff that you guys do. So if you run a membership site, I highly recommend to use Memberium, especially alongside if you’re using Infusionsoft as well. I have a question though. Is it difficult to manage? Because you guys rely on both WordPress and Infusionsoft. So, your business relies on other systems. Is that difficult to manage and stay on top of? Because you don’t know what’s around the corner? Because they’re gonna update something or something like that?
Micah: To some extent it is. And I was gonna mention earlier so it all kind of fit in here before I answer that. You know, one of the challenges with SaaS is having a good developer. And my ex-partner was a great developer. But just did not have a good understanding of business or marketing and in fact despised marketing. And so, what was difficult about that is when customers would want something, he wouldn’t understand why. And the other thing was he would override a lot of WordPress stuff. So, without getting into the technical details just as an example. When WordPress, let’s say, is gonna load the theme or the design of the page or they’re going to load some of the plugins or features or whatever, it has a standard process it goes through for that. And he would override it to take control of it to do what he wanted.
And so, back to your question, the way that this really relates is, we’re middleware, right? We’re between infusion. We’re between WordPress. And so yeah, if either one of them, you know, changes something we rely on, we might have to change, and they don’t always tell us. So, that is an element. But, WordPress has provided coding standards. So, the fact that Dave follows them religiously and really tries to stay safe, it means that we play nicely with all the other plugins and themes and things like that.
And there’s only been a single WordPress update that we ever had to react to. So they only made one change that was big enough for us to react to. And the reason that we didn’t have time to react to is they were actually keeping a secret. They had some sort of security hole, but they didn’t want to publicize and say, “Hey, here’s this hole,” So they kind of quietly fixed it, didn’t tell anybody, and quietly released the fix. It was a big surprise. And we only had to change a few things, which Dave did in a number of hours. And we pushed out the update. But just saying, yeah. Being middleware, it can be tough because things around you do change. But there’s a way to keep it safe, at least ,with WordPress.
And then infusion, they have so many people relying on their API that they don’t make kind of spur the moment changes to that. They do have a new API we’ll have to retool for, but they know that they can’t, you know, move around too quickly and mess up all their partners who are integrated to it. So, for us at least, the middleware thing has not been a big challenge. What I would say though is, we’re between two good things. We’re between two things that are worth being between.
WordPress is the biggest content platform, and Infusion is a, you know, fast growth CRM. They’ve got a bunch of money. They’re gonna keep going, they’ll probably IPO at some point. So, even if there were challenges, for us, it would be worth it. And I say that having done a lot of other middleware, you know, like 10 or 15 other different little middleware things like Joomla, I mentioned, and a bunch of other stuff. And that can be frustrating when you’re not bringing in the cash flow to justify the changes you have to make unexpectedly. Very frustrating. But being in, you know, a good spot, following the coding standards and things like that, it hasn’t been an issue for us.
Nathan: Yeah. Okay, interesting. Because the reason I ask that question as well, is for the magazine. It’s a digital magazine, and it’s on the App store and the google play store. And most of our subscribers are actually on the app store like very small proportion on the google play store. And the reason I ask this is because I realized like not so much recently, and I kind of knew it in the back of my mind, but recently, Apple is making some changes to their latest iOS. Where things are gonna be shaken up with how the magazine works and stuff like that. And, you know, it might actually affect, you know, us being a top ten business and investing-ranked magazine and all these other things.
And it just made me think, you know, just out loud. And what I’m asking you like I personally now once this has happened, I think to myself always. You know, how can I de-risk the business? How can I not rely on other people’s software? So I had to ask you that question just from my experience. Went on in a tricky spot but if we just did rely on the magazine as subscription income, I think, you know, it would…might be a challenge for us. That’s why I asked that. But let’s get moving and work towards wrapping up.
Look, I know you know a lot about membership sites, and I know you know this courses thing and I know you know not everyone’s doing courses. But anyone that’s listening to this that has an online business, that is considering to do courses, or look or already does courses, I know you have a lot of insight around there, and you have an info. Do you have any info product around that?
Micah: Not around doing courses specifically. No, I’ve got my own info product now but not about that exactly.
Nathan: What was it about? Out of curiosity.
Micah: it’s Infusionsoft training but for teams. So I’ve done a lot of Infusion training. This one’s for how to get a whole team to use Infusion. Because you get multiple users in there and it can get a little chaotic.
Nathan: Okay, got you. Got you. Okay. Well, when it comes to creating a membership site, you know, what do you see? Because you’ve got a lot of clients that have some really, really successful membership sites and they do this online course and stuff really, really well. What’s your advice there to do it well?
Micah: Yeah. So, a couple of things just so people understand and I’m gonna jump ahead. I think is where you’re going. But, when he says courses there’s the old kind of info product where people just put up some videos. So, let’s say, somebody’s got 50 different videos of content on whatever subject and they would just put them up there and sell you access. And so you pay, and you’d come in, and they weren’t really in any particular order. You just kind of, a lot of people would get overwhelmed with it, you know. Some people like, “Oh, I want to be able to watch whatever I want whenever I want. I don’t want to have to go and order anything like that,” but a lot of people got overwhelmed. So, the thing that I’m seeing that’s really successful with these courses is a couple things. One, they force the order.
So they say, “Hey, there are prerequisites. There are…you have to go incrementally through it versus just overwhelm yourself. And I have even done that with mine now on good advice from a lot of people. Where the lifetime value of a member is gonna be much higher if you structure. And sure, a couple people are going to be, you know, they’re gonna want to get to their content or whatever. But like in my case, for example, I just started doing this, and it literally makes you go…there’s over 100 but one through hundred. You can’t skip a single video the whole time anywhere. And, it seems like it would be a deterrent. But for most people, they really need that guidance. They don’t know what they need to know next, and after this and that and whatever, and what the optimal order is. And so, if you set it up that way, that’s really huge for retention.
And, I’m actually completely amazed that people are making it through all that content. I keep looking at people, and they’ll have made it through all 100 videos, which is only about 16 hours of content, but don’t do that in a week or two. And I used to sell content. And there’s no way people were consuming that much. There’s just no way. And I remember when I would get cancellations, people would even say, you know, “I just never used it. Never went into it,” whatever. So, making it somewhat linear. And not all businesses need that or not all info products need that. Most of them, though, you can find a way to do that. And even if it’s not 100% linear, there’s, you know, the lower level stuff that you have to complete before the mid-level stuff. And you don’t have to go in order in the mid-level, but you do have to get through the lower-level first. So, a lot of that not only, you know, it increases your customer lifetime value, but it really increases their experience and retention.
The next really big thing that I’m seeing is people used to track, you know if someone had watched a video and if so, how long did they watch. Did they finish it or only get halfway through or whatever. And that’s mostly going away in lieu of quizzes. So now it’s, “Watch this video. Take this quiz,” because that’s a true indicator of, “Did you get it?” you know, “Did you watch it? Is there a problem? What do you need?” Kind of a thing. And so, most of my videos actually have quizzes too. And a lot of the, you know, the ones that I’m saying come up do that. That’s, you know, two things. Like, force the order then actually test for retention versus just see if they consumed it.
And then the last one is a question about what you’re selling. Like, are you selling, you know, a course? Are you’re selling information? Are you selling some sort of result? And the new thing that people are selling, which is really big, is certifications. So, there’s this concept of return on education. And it used to be, “Okay. I’m gonna buy a course, and I’m gonna go through it. And if I use the info from the course, I’m gonna get a return,” right? “But if I don’t, I get nothing.” And so now with these certifications, there is a return. If you go through the course, even if you didn’t use it, you have the certification. And what that value is to you, you know, you can define you can either use it on your site for marketing to get clients, you can put them in on your LinkedIn profile and things like that.
And one of the bigger companies is. Actually, I don’t know if it’s already done, but they’ve been working a deal with LinkedIn where their badges and the things that they produce within membership sites can show on LinkedIn. It’s almost an accredited thing, you know. So, if someone’s looking at you and a competitor on LinkedIn, and you’re both about similar, but it shows, “Hey, you’ve taken these internet marketing courses. You understand copywriting. You understand direct response or mobile marketing and these things,” that’s gonna tip the scale. And it used to be that you’d get those courses and they’d sit on a shelf, you know. A lot of people wouldn’t even open them, kind of a thing, right?
Micah: But now, that’s the big thing is, “No. We’re selling a certification,” so same content but there’s an end result that lives on after you’re done with the course that you can have honestly for the rest of your life. And so that seems to be huge. A lot of people are changing, a lot of big old internet marketers I’m seeing are even looking at, “Hey, I’ve got all this content I’ve made over the years which has become really devalued because I put it into some giant thing,” you know. I made a membership site with 500 lessons thinking that would be good to show people, “Hey, I’ve got all these years and all this depth.”
But they just…they don’t use it, you know. It’s overwhelming. They don’t know where to start. And so they’re moving that into courses on specific subjects and selling those at a higher value. Getting ton of, I guess you’d say, you know, just more impact from the same info by structuring, certifying, quizzing and all those things.
Nathan: Yeah, wow. This is great. So, a few things I’d like to unpack before we work towards wrapping up Micah. Hope that’s cool. One, your first piece, you’re saying that you should drip feed the content?
Micah: Yeah. I think so. I don’t think I’ll personally ever do a site again where I just give them stuff. I’m gonna walk them through every step.
Nathan: Okay. Because I used…we used, you probably won’t remember, we used LearnDash for that. And that was quite good actually. So if anyone’s looking to pair up with Infusionsoft Memberium, I found LearnDash to integrate really well for your system.
Micah: Yeah. And that’s actually what I use as well. Memberium has some additional integration functionality with that? Yeah. I definitely recommend LearnDash.
Nathan: Okay. And yeah, LearnDash allows you to do quizzes. That’s something that I don’t do, but I think it’s a brilliant idea. I really loved that. So pretty much, once somebody watches the video, they have to answer the quiz to keep moving, right?
Micah: Yeah. They…you can set like a pass, you know, threshold. And at first I did, you know, had these little short videos 57 minutes and each one had like eight to ten questions. I’ve since shortened it, so I’ve only got, you know, three questions or so per video. And they have to get at least two of the three right to move on. And so I, you know, I don’t wanna get in their way, but I do want to make sure that they’re watching. And I feel, my guess is anyways, that knowing there’s a quiz, they’re actually watching with more attention than not.
Nathan: Hm. Yeah. That’s really a good one. Because, you know, well I had somebody purchase one of our courses yesterday. And within half an hour, they got back to me and said, “I want,” they wanted a refund, they knew all of the stuff already, which I know is impossible. And I was like, you know, “We give a refund, no questions asked.” I was like, “Yep. Lets,” you know, “Okay, that’s fine,” you know, that’s it. But can you answer me this, “One,” you know, “Where’s your work, where are you at?” Like, “Let’s be real with,” you know, “Your social media. Can you tell me? And two, what did you expect that we didn’t deliver on?” Because…
So I think, you know, implementing a quiz is a great way to definitely reduce your churn. And it’s a great way to also challenge people. Because I’m sure, that guy didn’t know everything. Like, it’s impossible. You can’t know everything from a 10-hour, 15-hour worth of course content. And, you know, come back to me, right to our support team in like an hour of purchasing the course. You know what I mean? So, it’s a great…yeah, that’s a really good one.
And and the certification stuff. Does that mean like I, myself, could be like, “Yeah. You’ve finished this Instagram course. You’re,” you know, “Instagram-certified” like, “from Foundr,” or like…anyone could do that?
Micah: Yeah. And I don’t know, you know, the legal implications of saying like, “Hey, you’re Instagram certified,”
Nathan: That’s right.
Micah: But, you could definitely say, “You are Foundr certified in our Instagram mastery program,” or you’re…yeah, “You’re a certified Instagram master from Foundr,” or something. I’m sure there’s a way you can word it. If you look at ,for example, certifications.digitalmarketer.com. They’re a good example because they take a lot of things, like a lot of content and they break it out into individual courses. So one of them is like content marketing mastery, Facebook ad mastery, things like that, where-
Nathan: They break it down. Really niche it.
Micah: Yeah. And if you think of your guy who went into your course and was like, “Oh, I know everything already,” he probably just looked at the titles and figured he was aware of those things. But if each was a course where he couldn’t quite get into all of it, you know what I mean? He had to pass one before the other or whatever. It would help a lot. And then also what I’ve really noticed when I talk about making the content linear, it’s not about I guess making everything linear, I think it’s about setting the stage. So if mine, for example, the very first module gets them in the right mindset for the rest of the stuff.
And so like even that guy, even a hard case like that, if you can put them through a module that they have to go through to even access anything but it really sets them up, you know. Some of the questions you’re asking you can ask directly in those videos like, you know, before you get into this training before you think you know it. Let me ask you a few questions. Do you have this? Do you have that? What’s your conversion on this? And that kind of stuff. You can, you know, stage it to where then as they go through your content they’re like, “Oh yeah. This is what he talked about that I need to make sure I’ve got,” you know.
Nathan: Yeah, that’s brilliant. Okay, yeah. This is some great stuff man. Okay, awesome. One last question before we wrap up is, with this membership site stuff and this is like, you know, with our business, I never thought we were going to get into this courses and membership site stuff but, you know, it’s something that our audience actually wanted. They wanted more than just the magazine, the podcast, the blog, social content and now it’s time to build up our back-end. My question to you, and this is totally selfish, but I think some people might find interesting. And that is, should our next course be like like a Ryan Deiss where he puts in, you know, five different things and then it’s a monthly recurring ,where it’s like $30 a month? Or do we do just like a one-off kind of purchase price?
Like I noticed that a lot of people that do these causes stuff. For those listening like this courses of stuff is a multi-billion dollar industry. So it’s something that’s definitely growing, and it’s going to become more and more prevalent. Especially because, you know, university education is so expensive. All that stuff. But pretty much my question to you is, Micah, like what should my next move be? Should I look to create some sort of recurring revenue-based membership site, you know, video course product? Or just have like you know more courses that are one-off? I’m really curious to hear your thoughts.
Micah: Yeah. So I would always have recurring revenue somewhere. Even if you look at Ryan Deiss, with all those certifications, that’s kind of an afterthought to his DM lamps which is a membership. So, you know, I’ve done membership sites forever and yeah used to be, “Here’s a repository of content, pay me 50 bucks, 100 bucks, 200 bucks a month to access it. And that’s still valid. You could put all your content in there and do that. But what I would say, just to answer your question specifically is, if you already have some courses that are one-time fees, I’d probably leave them. And then what I would do is, I would figure out a way to make a continuity program that is a upsell to that or, you know, comes before it or whatever. Because it’s more about having your product suite, right?
You’ve got to have low-end products that just get people to spend some money with you, high-end products for specific purposes like courses are great. Somewhere in the middle, I would absolutely have an ongoing monthly thing. And you might say that it’s an all-access pass to your different courses. That is one way to go. I think it’s better to hold some things aside and say, you know, “This is its own separate thing.” But when you talk about monthly memberships, it’s kind of difficult to provide the value ongoing.
Just meaning, you know, if you produce a finite amount of content, people are gonna eventually get through it and cancel, which can be okay. And in fact, my current site, I do 97 a month for that whole thing. So it’s a course, you could say. There’s a finite amount, but I charge monthly, and I just say, “If you get through in one month, great. If it takes you longer,” you know, “Whatever you need to do.” But one of the things I did and you might be able to do this is, when I talked about it being for teams, the way I made mine sticky is I actually said this is an Infusionsoft training course. But it’s…you want everyone on your team to go through it. So as you get new employees, they also need it. Which is a reason to stay a member. And anyone would turn over like in customer service or sales teams, definitely, needs it, you know.
And so, you can go, we call it parent-child, where the parent membership account holder can sublicense children, and they can come in, and they get something slightly different. But that is, that’s one way to keep people long-term on a, you know, finite amount of content. Otherwise, and I always struggled with this myself. Otherwise, you’re tied into creating content, you know. And once you have, let’s say 12 months of content, then yeah, new members gonna come in and be good for 12 months. But everyone else when they hit month 13 it’s gonna be like, “Hey,” you know, “Where’s the stuff?”
Yeah, that’s right that’s that’s the thing always cause like I’m trying to map out my 2016. What’s it going to look like, what…so how can we further serve our audience. Like obviously, I’m going to survey and stuff like that, but I’m trying to think you know everyone’s moving to this recurring revenue stuff. Everyone says the holy grail. We actually have recurring revenue in the magazine. It’s a subscription-based business model. So that’s great but, you know, people saying, you know, subscriptions. And I just thought, you know, thinking out loud. Like you’d be the best person asked this question.
So, you know, you’ve answered it spot-on. Thank you. So look, thank you so much for your time, Micah. We’ve got a ton of stuff here around courses, membership sites automation, Infusionsoft. Where’s the best place people can find you?
Micah: So, you know, if you’re interested in Memberium, its member-I-U-M.com, and that’s membership site stuff. But it does require Infusionsoft. So I would say if you want to learn more about Infusionsoft, I’ve got a site that’s mastery. There’s just three M’s at the beginning. So, MMMastery, you know. Same mastery just, 3 M’s at the beginning. And that one, there’s a free course about automation in general. Before, in fact, I think there’s only one video in like those 15 that even goes into or shows Infusionsoft. Most of it is just about, you could say like, core automation stuff. Not even like marketing automation but just how to automate in a sensible way. Because there’s a lot of rights and wrongs.
So I’d say anyone kind of interested in this in general, that’d be a good place to start. You go get that free course no matter what you’re using. It should be somewhat helpful. And then, of course, we have support and things on there. Seeing contact us if you need anything awesome.
Nathan: Well look, thank you so much for your time, Micah. This has been an awesome conversation man.
Micah: I appreciate it, thank you.