Are you wondering whether investing in LifterLMS is a smart move?

Are you wondering if LifterLMS is suitable for you? Learn about its standout features and pros & cons, and decide whether it’s worth exploring further with this week’s special guest, Kurt von Ahnen.

#1 – What are some of LifterLMS’s Key Features?

#2 – What Would You Say Are a Couple of Key Things New Users LifterLMS Need To Understand?

#3 – What Words do you Say are some of the significant differences between LifterLMS and LearnDash?

#4- LifterLMS has several premium add-ons. What are some of the key ones people need to be aware of?

#5 – What do you think people need to understand connected to what LifterLMS offers compared to some of the leading SaaS solutions?

#6 – LifterLMS has a strong reputation connected to the support and training it offers its users can you give the audience more info on this based on your experiences?

#7 – Pricing what users need to know and understand.

#8 – Final Thoughts

This Week Show’s Sponsors

BlogVault: BlogVault

Sensei LMS: Sensei LMS

LifterLMS: LifterLMS

The Show Main Notes

[00:00:17.190] – Jonathan Denwood

Welcome back, folks, to The Membership Machine show. This is episode 44. I’ve got a great guest and also he’s the co-host of my other podcast, the W. P. Show. We’ve got Kurt with us. In this episode, we’re going to be doing a deep review of LifterLMS. It’s one of the leading plug-ins if you want to build a membership or community on WordPress and you should consider that. It should be a great show. Kurt, would you like to introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?


[00:00:57.320] – Kurt von Ahnen

Absolutely, Jonathan. My name is Kurt, Kurt Van Orent. I own a company called Mariana No Maas. We work specifically with membership and learning websites. Then I also work with WPtonic, with Jonathan and with Lifter directly.


[00:01:11.700] – Jonathan Denwood

In this show, we’re going to be talking about the critical features of LifterLMS, some of the significant differences between it and some of the competitors out there like LearnDash, what are some of the critical add-ons that can extend the functionality of LifterLMS. We’re going to be talking about what support and training LifterLMS offers and what you can expect when you join them, the pricing. We’re going to go into a deep dive. It should be a fantastic show. But before we go into the meat and potatoes, I’ve got a couple of key messages from my major sponsors. We will be back in a few moments, folks. Are you looking for ways to make your content more engaging? Sensei LMS by Automatic is the original WordPress solution for creating and selling online courses. Sensei’s new interactive blocks can be added to any WordPress page or post. For example, interactive videos let you pause videos and display quizzes, lead generation forms, surveys, and more. For a 20% off discount for The Tribe, just use the code WP-Tonic, all one word, when checking out and give Sensei a try today. We’re coming back, folks. I just want to point out we got some great special offers from the sponsors.


[00:02:35.470] – Jonathan Denwood

Plus, we’ve got a curated list of the best WordPress plug-ins that will help you build a membership or community membership website on WordPress. You don’t have to troll the internet and try and find the best. You can find all these goodies by going to wp-tonic. Com/deals. Flash deals and you find all the goodies there. What more could you ask for? Probably a lot, but that’s not bad. Let’s go straight into it. Kurt, what are some of the key features that you think people have to understand if they’re looking at Lifta, LMS, as the possible key technology of their WordPress stack to build a great membership website on?


[00:03:29.540] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, that’s just it, Jonathan. I came to Lifta as a customer first. I was a corporate training person. I was trying to find options other than quarter-million dollar websites to put corporate material on. I did the shopping. I looked at a bunch of different platforms, some SaaS offerings and some WordPress offerings, and Lifter LMS got my money as a customer. The key features were the membership and the learning tools in one platform. I didn’t have to stitch things together to make that happen. The other thing, quite honestly, and it’s not part of the software, it’s part of the culture of the company, was the support that I had received. If you go to the office hours, you fall into their fold with their office hours. If you’re at that higher level, you go to the office hours, and you meet other people, and you have a little bit of a community there. I think that’s actually one of the best features of Lifter LLMs.


[00:04:29.830] – Jonathan Denwood

Right. Obviously, we’re going to be looking at the pricing, but it’s because you do get different levels of support depending… Because they offer a very full-featured free product. But to get the full help, which obviously costs money, you do have to pay some of the premier offerings that lift the LMS. But even buying some of the basic levels, you do get, in my opinion, a lot of support. Would you agree with that?


[00:05:05.890] – Kurt von Ahnen

I’m actually surprised at how much support they do offer. Absolutely, yeah.


[00:05:11.350] – Jonathan Denwood

Right. When you were looking, when you’re looking at a platform, what were some of the keys? I think you touched on it, but you were looking at some of the other SaaS and other competitors. Was it just the integration of the membership purchasing, was that the key thing? Can you take your mind about what the journey was and what some of the key ones were? I think that would be very useful to our listeners because they’re probably doing the same, actually, Kurt.


[00:05:49.000] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah, the buyer’s journey is interesting. My key phrase yesterday was use case, and I think that’s my key phrase again today is use case. I was shopping from a corporate trading perspective at that moment. I wasn’t thinking of reselling course creator stuff or getting into the industry at the level I’m in now. I was thinking of from a corporate position, how can I build something that my users can use? When you’re shopping for these LMSs, Jonathan, you have to really read the fine print because there are a lot of SaaS programs that charge you for active enrolled users. Some charge for enrolled users, and some charge for active users. There’s basically a monthly report of users. If someone signs in for the month, they’re an active user and you’re paying a per-license fee per user. As the client, you really don’t have control over your expenses the way that you would like. That scared me a little bit. There was that. I looked at Moodle, and Moodle is a fantastic open-source platform, but it was confusing, and it was difficult for my users to use and it would have required a lot of modifications to get it to do what I wanted to do.


[00:06:59.820] – Kurt von Ahnen

Then I started looking at Bridge and LearnUpon and some of these other platforms. Then I said, Well, I got to see what WordPress is offering. I went through the WordPress deal, and LearnDash came up in the search, LifterLMS, TutorLMS, and LearnPress, and there were a couple of others that had crept up. Sensei, I think, was on that list. As I did the shopping I compared the level of service offered, the responses I got when I contacted support, the cost I was going to have to spend, and what I thought would be my development time. Because everything has a learning curve. I was trying to figure out how long it’s going to take me to get really good at this and manage this. The support that I got from Lifter was the top. Quite honestly, the dollars made sense to me because, from a corporate position, I was used to seeing six figures for things. I wasn’t used to seeing $1,200.


[00:07:55.890] – Jonathan Denwood

So yeah, I signed up for that. I think you’ve got to because that’s the Infinity bundle, which is the top tier. You can buy into it. You can buy a single add-on, which I think is $125 for the Stripe. But then they have an Earth bundle. Is the Earth bundle, what’s that at, actually?


[00:08:20.930] – Kurt von Ahnen

I think the Earth bundle is at 100… No, the Earth bundle, I think, is where I have to look at the pricing page, to be honest with you, Jonathan.


[00:08:28.640] – Jonathan Denwood

Yes, because it does change. But I think when I last looked at it, it was around 150 or something. I’m not sure.


[00:08:35.090] – Kurt von Ahnen

I got to throw this out there. As you said with the free package, I downloaded the free package, installed it on the corporate site, started building things out, and you can go really far. In a corporate setting, the free package does almost everything that you need out of a learning management system if you’re thinking in terms of just a learning management system. The reason that in my corporate position that I agreed to pay for the program was because I wanted the add-on for social learning at the time. I wanted the students to be able to use those social tools, but we’ll talk about that later.


[00:09:07.700] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, sure. What are a couple of things that you think users of the key things that users who are looking at Lifter LMS seriously to build their membership website? What are a couple of the things that you think people really need to understand before they invest their time and money and build their calls on Lifter?


[00:09:37.270] – Kurt von Ahnen

The assumption that this happens a lot with people who are shopping for a learning management system is the first thing you have to recognize is the freedom you’re going to get in the WordPress environment because you might be used to these other platforms that are offered in the learning management space. When I say that, what I mean is you’re not limited anymore. In the WordPress space, you’re not limited by the amount of users you have on your platform, unless your host runs out of bandwidth. I mean, it really is that mass. You’re not limited to the number of lessons that you put into something the number of courses or the number of sections that you put into your platform. You can divide, well, in Lifter LMS’s case, because memberships are baked into the platform, you can have as many memberships as you like. Then each of those things, so each of those courses or memberships can have up to six options. If you have the payment gateway installed, you can have up to six purchase options installed for each of your products. There really is a lot of freedom and a lot of flexibility in how you can set things up or share things with your audience.


[00:10:41.010] – Kurt von Ahnen

That’s key because if you’re building something, you want as many options as possible to share your ideas with the public.


[00:10:49.690] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah. What’s your reflection? Because fundamentally, there’s a lot of choice and there’s more freedom and sovereignty, physical sovereignty, as I call it, that ownership. But there’s a lot more choice and that choice is a two-edged sword. It’s really great because based on my experience, anybody that starts to get traction and starts building a really great membership business, they get to a level where there’s some key functionality that they need that their students are asking for. If they’re on one of the leading SaaS platforms, they hit a brick wall, they can’t move the business on. But you don’t get out with WordPress, but you get a lot of choice. I think a lot of people can get into the weeds. What’s your own reflections? Do you think I’m on something there or am I just waffling a little bit?


[00:12:04.010] – Kurt von Ahnen

No, the waffling comes, it’s expected because it’s especially with the complicated… I say complicated, don’t take that wrong. Anything in the learning management space becomes complicated because there’s a lot of files, a lot of material, a lot of stuff. People want the options and they want the freedom, and I totally get that. But I can’t tell you how many projects I get involved in, Jonathan, where they’ve overcomplicated things way well beyond what needs to be addressed. It’s somehow or another we get so focused as developers, implementers, people in the space, we get so focused on we have to have the newest shiny thing or AI is the big buzz. I need all these AI tools. Then when you put all the stuff in there, next thing you know, you’ve got this confusing or conflicting package that’s not working the way you intended. Then you’ve got to hire someone like me to come in and help straighten the spaghetti.


[00:12:57.050] – Jonathan Denwood

But I think the great news is that it is… The way I would treat it, folks, is treat WordPress as Lego bricks modules and different plug-ins in the WordPress ecosystem offer fundamental key functionality. They’re key Lego bricks, and you probably only need about five or six fundamental Lego bricks. The other parts are superficial. By going to somebody like Kurt and also hosting with WP Tonic, you get all those key Lego bricks and also you get great support and advice if you’re looking for experts to help you build out the site, which you will get with Kurt. I think a lot of people, if they’re used to WordPress and they know about the great benefits of building out on WordPress because it’s driving more than 40% of all websites on the internet. A lot of people are used to using it. When they decide to build their membership or their membership community website, obviously they want to keep utilizing WordPress. They do a search and the three names that probably come up is LearnDash, Lifter, LMS, and Tutor LMS. They’re probably the three leaders that come up. Now, the two have been established the longest and have the biggest presence on the internet.


[00:14:43.310] – Jonathan Denwood

The biggest is LearnDash and then it’s Lifta, LMS. You must get a lot of people ask you, what are some of the differences between LearnDash and Lifta, LMS? Hopefully, you thought about this yourself. How do you explain it in your own mind? What are some of the differences? Because they’ve got to be some.


[00:15:06.710] – Kurt von Ahnen

This comes down to an interesting conversation, Jonathan. Besides saying use case, everyone’s got to make their own choice. Everyone assumes that I would come on a show like this or that I would be around having some adult beverages somewhere with people in the industry and they think I would slam the other product. That just doesn’t happen because it’s a great product. Learndash is awesome. They have a similar course-building structure. You can go in and you can build out your course. You have your course and you add your syllabus. You’re outlined to your course and then you use that syllabus to expand your lesson content within the WordPress editor. You can load that in. Lifter LMS works very much the same way as far as that structure. A lot of that’s the same. What I like about Lifter, and this comes with other people’s opinions, so some people might differ, I like having the membership tools, the learning content, and the native payment gateway all in that one package, and I’ve grown very accustomed to it. I prefer the Lifter LMS process personally. But I also have my own clients and clients with you, Jonathan, that are on LearnDash.


[00:16:25.850] – Kurt von Ahnen

There’s nothing wrong with that setup, but we’re going to have a separate membership management tool, we’re going to have a different shopping cart or payment gateway system, and then we’re going to really leverage LearnDash for the learning content, which they do a really great job of curating. It just comes down to setup.


[00:16:44.200] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, yes, I do. I agree with you. But I think the fundamental difference is there’s two fundamental differences. I think when it comes to the interfaces and the structure, I totally agree with you. They are very, very similar and they’re both very good products. But the fundamental thing is that if you’re selling membership, that functionality is built into Lifter LMS. You do have to buy add-on. You’ve got these two add-ons and they’re both around $125. One will link to Stripe and the other one will link to PayPal. I would just buy the Stripe one. But the actual engine purchasing is inbuilt. Now, when it comes with LearnDash, they do have that, but it is more limited and in some ways more hidden. Younone of the reasons why we’re using it is to… Most people either buy a membership add-on plug-in or they utilize WooCommerce. You can utilize WooCommerce with Lifter as well. If you’re at a more mature stage in building your membership business, I don’t think you need to use WU-COM. We get into that in the second half of the show because it can get a little bit. But there’s certain parameters that you need to understand when it comes to utilizing woo coms that are outside just purchasing it.


[00:18:29.310] – Jonathan Denwood

We can that in the second half. But a lot of people use LearnDash, they do have to buy a membership plugin. You do not need that with Lifter LMS at all. For 80%, 90% of individuals just buying the Stripe add-on, you can build a very large business if you want, just with the free Lifter with the Stripe add-on, if you wish. The lot of the other functionality is lovely and well worth the investment though. The other key thing is the culture. If you buy one of the premier packages from Lifte LMS, you then get access to a lot of training, a lot of support and a lot of culture that’s really aimed at the membership entrepreneur to get them over the hurdles that you… You’re really buying into a community. You just don’t get that with LearnDash. It’s much more corporate feel and buying process. There are resources, communities out there, but they are independent. They are not part of the culture of the company. We’ve lived at LMS because of the key personnel there, they have been always about building a community around their product. What do you think of what I’ve just said, actually, Kurt?


[00:20:05.590] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, I’m glad you brought it up because if I say it, it sounds like a commercial. They’ve got the presales call, we do live, and we do that for an hour almost every week. We jump on live, answer presales calls, answer people’s technical questions before they even buy the product, and then they just change the policy on office hours. It used to be just for Infinity Bundle users, but now, universe and Infinity Bundle people get access to weekly office hours.


[00:20:30.870] – Jonathan Denwood

Oh, that’s great news. I think that’s a very good step, actually.


[00:20:34.110] – Kurt von Ahnen

That’s a more interactive live call. Instead of being based on StreamYard where you can’t really talk much, you do comments, it’s in a Zoom atmosphere. There’s a lot of participation, screen shares. What’s cool about office hours is we don’t have all the answers, but a lot of times when you get a dozen people on a call and a lot of people are implementers or designers or developers, whoever just comes to that call because it’s open, someone says, Oh, I’ve got this little issue, and somebody in that space is going to say, Oh, hey, have you tried this? It’s really cool to see people collaborate and come together with answers. Then beyond that, they just launched an agency listing. If folks are entrepreneurs, freelancers, they run an agency, they can join the agency list and that gives them access to things like an extended access to a demo site that they can show their clients and things like that. We’re trying to help people grow their businesses in the space.


[00:21:34.460] – Jonathan Denwood

I think Kurt, because Kurt actually works as one of the success team at LifterLMS, and he also works for me as well. He runs his own… But it’s all in the learned space. It’s all in the membership LMS space, so it’s all linked together. A lot of people work for multiple vendors in the WordPress professional space anyway, folks. I think that’s great. I think I am correct that most of the add-ons you can buy individually, I think, around $125.


[00:22:24.890] – Kurt von Ahnen

Some of them go to like 250.


[00:22:27.470] – Jonathan Denwood

They have that exchange. That’s fair enough. I think the lowest professional bundle is the Earth. I think based on my memory, you get two add-ons in that bundle, do you not?


[00:22:44.600] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah, you get the ability to have a payment gateway. I think that comes with the new theme, the Skypilot theme.


[00:22:52.070] – Jonathan Denwood

What is the Skypilot theme about then? Maybe we should leave this… No, let’s leave this to the second half, actually, because that’s going to be a long winded conversation. Let’s move on. I’ve touched on the Stripe add-on, which you can purchase for 125, and really you can build a totally functioning website with that, with some key other Premier plug-ins. What are some of the significant add-ons that you think that Lifta supplies that you, based on your experience, that if you were a person seriously looking to buy Lifta that you would want those add-ons if you were building a membership site and you were that individual to the know.


[00:23:50.760] – Kurt von Ahnen

Use case is the phrase again, but it depends on what your goal.


[00:23:55.390] – Jonathan Denwood

Is and what you’re building. Let’s focus on the target of this podcast, which is the individual to the know trying to build a membership website on the press. Yeah.


[00:24:05.900] – Kurt von Ahnen

If we focus on that, a lot of what I talk to folks, my clients about is like building out that community, getting people tied to your project. Something that adds, one of your words is stickiness. Something that adds stickiness to your platform so that your users don’t deflect and go somewhere else. You want to keep them in. I really like the groups add-on that Lifter has. Groups- What.


[00:24:31.440] – Jonathan Denwood

Does that do fundamentally? What does that do?


[00:24:34.820] – Kurt von Ahnen

Groups allows you to bulk sell a number of seats to a single organization or a single group and assign a group leader to that. What happens is they get their own page as a group, and then that group leader can use that to send out invitations to seats that they have pre-purchased. It really evens out the whole experience, whereas if that group leader wants reporting for what their students have done. Let’s say that you’ve got a series of schools that you’re offering some courses to. Each school can have their own group. They can assign their own group leader. They can invite their own students to fill those seats. They don’t have to go to you for the reporting or access to the admin side of the website to get reporting. They can look at the reporting right through the front end of the site through the group’s feature. That’s one of the things I really like because for some reason, a lot of people are afraid to let people see the back end of WordPress. The back end of WordPress isn’t all that pretty. If they had to go there for reporting, a lot of people think that’s a negative.


[00:25:36.920] – Kurt von Ahnen

But if we can give them some access to reporting on the front end, that’s a positive. And groups allows us to do that. A lot of folks like groups. I like social learning. A lot of folks will try and use a Facebook page or a Facebook group to try and do the social side of.


[00:25:53.230] – Jonathan Denwood

Their startup. Well, which is a good start, I feel. It’s a great start. But I think obviously you’re building something on somebody else’s platform. If you can start building an active community on one of these other platforms, but then move them to a platform that you have direct control over, the better you’re going to be, aren’t you?


[00:26:14.580] – Kurt von Ahnen

Exactly, yeah. It’s the more control thing. In light of big tech doing a lot of censorship activity, it just depends on what your subject matter is, sometimes you really want your stuff on your own site so you know that you’re not going to get shut down, locked out, or whatever, depending on what your subject matter is. I really like the idea of social learning. Now, Lifter LMS’s version of social learning works almost like a Twitter or a Facebook interface that lets people go on a first in, first out thing. Everyone gets their own profile and they can communicate with each other. But you can’t load up video. In LinkedIn, I can throw up a two-minute video. In a WordPress site, you’re going to have to make a YouTube video and then link that to your social. That’s one of the points where someone might want to import or look at another integration if they want to have a higher-level social experience.


[00:27:09.130] – Jonathan Denwood

But out of the box- And that’s when you might want to look at something like buddybosses or something. Yeah.


[00:27:14.190] – Kurt von Ahnen

But to get out of the box and get started, it’s a great platform to launch off of.


[00:27:21.940] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, that’s fantastic. I think we’re going to go for our break, folks. It’s been a really fantastic conversation. Kurt really knows his stuff when it comes to learning management systems and Lifta, LMS. We’re going to be covering some other important subjects in the second half. We’ll be back in a few moments, folks. This podcast episode is brought to you by Lifter LMS, the leading learning management system solution for WordPress. If you or your client are creating any online course, training-based membership website, or any type of e-learning project, Lifter LMS is the most secure, stable, well-supported solution on the market. Go to LifterLMS. Com and save 20 % at checkout with coupon code podcast20. That’s podcast20. Enjoy the rest of your show. We’re coming back, folks. I just want to point out, if you’re looking to build your WordPress membership or WordPress membership community website, have a look at WPtonic. We offer a great hosting platform, plus a very long list of the best premier WordPress plug-ins as part of the hosting package, plus integrated newsletter and marketing email functionality as part of the hosting package, plus a lot of other features that you will not get from other hosting providers.


[00:29:00.300] – Jonathan Denwood

We just specialize in the membership and community-based website area and we just offer a ton. Go over to the WP Tonic website, have a look at what we’ve got to offer and then book a chat with me and demo and become part of the tribe. We love you to do that. On we go. I think we touched it in the first half, but as that individual, not corporate training, not this just really focus at individual to the trying to become part of the creator economy, trying to have the best way to make a living, to make a difference to your family in the digital age and become part of the digital creative economy is have a membership website to offer your knowledge to people. In that mindset, what are some of the key things in your own mind when you’re discussing this with people, between what lived out and WordPress compared to a SaaS project like Kajabi?


[00:30:20.960] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, that’s a hard question, Jonathan, because I think if we’re being blunt and we’re being honest with the listeners, the products are great. But the thing with Kajabi is, to your point, you don’t really own that platform. And if they make changes or if they disable one of your features or they migrate something, you’re stuck. Whereas with WordPress, you own that platform. It’s open source, there’s a lot of freedom in it, you can build what you want. That part to me is awesome. If I’m in WordPress and I want to migrate to another thing in WordPress, I could migrate my information, my data, my stuff, it can be difficult with a SaaS to get your information out of it. And you still have the learning curve. Everything has its complications. So whatever platform you choose, you still have to train yourself to be good at it. And so I vote for WordPress right out of the shoot. That’s one. And sometimes, here’s a great example, a personal example. I use a SaaS program to run my agency, and it’s like one of these all-in-one accounting proposal. But, Jonathan, every time I look at it, it’s got so much stuff in there.


[00:31:36.400] – Kurt von Ahnen

I maybe scratched the service of 15 % of what this platform can do. I use it for proposals and invoicing and that’s it. And this platform can do all kinds of stuff. I think that that happens to a lot of people that get into these SaaS platforms is because it’s got all these bells and whistles and you get drawn to the bells and whistles. But the learning curve and the implementation is such a heavy lift that I think they end up ignoring a.


[00:32:03.410] – Jonathan Denwood

Lot of the things they have failed. I think you can pay for a lot of money for a lot of functionality that you probably never use and never will use. I think there’s three fundamental… Well, there’s probably more actually. But I’m going to quickly go through them. The more invested you get with a SaaS platform, the harder it is to get off it. Most SaaS platforms, as you build success, the price really accelerates rapidly. The more successful you get on that platform, also as you get successful, like I said, it gets harder and more difficult to move somewhere else. Secondly, as you get more successful, you’ll find that the asks from your students, the things that you know that will make your membership experience more sticky, that will reduce student churn, the more you will find you will be limited by the platform, by the SaaS platform. You also will be limited by the design options, depending on which platform you choose upon. Because one of the great things about WordPress is that, if necessary, the front of your website and also the course structures and that, there will be a time where there will be clear benefit about customizing that experience.


[00:33:42.960] – Jonathan Denwood

I think based on my experience, folks, a lot of people delve into that much too early and it can be one of the drawbacks of WordPress. But when you are starting to get considerable traction and you’re moving your learning business in the right direction, to have that option is invariable and you will not get that with a SaaS. The final thing is there’s a big difference between all embracing Swiss Army knife and taking laser-focused Lego blocks and coherent them, putting them together. Each key Lego block has been laser-focused by individual company to be the best of its breed because it’s in competition with other Lego blocks in its specific area. Then combining the best of breed into a coherent package rather than a Swiss Army knife, which tends to be the Jack of all trades and the master of none. That’s what you get with a lot of SaaS-based solutions. As they get more feature-rich, they tend to lose focus. What’s your response to what I’ve just said there?


[00:35:09.780] – Kurt von Ahnen

You hit on so many things in that sentence, and the one thing that popped that I really want to drive home with folks, Jonathan, is you are correct. People get distracted by the customization much too quickly in the journey.


[00:35:23.320] – Jonathan Denwood

Which is important at the right stage.


[00:35:25.450] – Kurt von Ahnen

Oh, it’s super important at the right stage. But the first thing you want to do if you’re new to the membership environment is you want to have a minimal viable product, focus on simplicity and directness, and see if your content resonates with an intended audience. Once you get to 10 paying students, that’s a threshold for folks. People don’t realize this because when they’re developing something, they go, Well, if I have 1,000 people at 4.99 a month, but I’m going to be a millionaire. Then you go, No, that’s what some guy standing in front of a Lamborghini told you on social media. If we get to the real world, get 10 paying clients, that’s a milestone. Then you go, Okay, so what features can I really add to those 10 clients? Maybe you ask them, call them up. Hey, what would make this better for you? It would be a better experience? Then as it goes to 25 paid customers, 75, 150, 200 paid clients. As the complexity of your audience grows, that’s the freedom of WordPress to say, okay, well, now I want to plug in that social learning because now it makes sense. Now I need advanced quizzes because turns out these simple questions I’m asking aren’t challenging people enough.


[00:36:33.580] – Kurt von Ahnen

So I’m going to add advanced quizzes and get different question types and different interactivity or more engagement because you’ve gone deeper on the quizzes or the knowledge banks. That’s really important to me. And to your point, if I sign up for a SaaS program that’s a Swiss Army knife that has all that thrown in, then you feel compelled and you slap together stuff to fill in the blanks that doesn’t really apply to an audience you haven’t sold to yet.


[00:37:01.540] – Jonathan Denwood

No, that’s fantastic. I think there’s two factors a lot of people don’t understand is that if you’re building out your first eLearning business, getting those first students, you will learn an enormous amount from them. Now, if you’re an experienced author, you have a large amount of experience in a particular sector, done a lot of training, one-to-one training, done a lot of coaching, know intimately your target audience. That doesn’t probably affect you so much. But don’t get depressed if you’re one of these… You’re starting your journey in e-learning because you have something which the experience of a trainer doesn’t, and it’s this. They understand their audience. I’m just going to repeat myself, but they’re yes, that experience individual, that author, that trainer does understand the audience. But what happens is they tend to use very advanced language because it’s a two-edge-sold that experience, because they tend to focus on medium to higher individuals in that particular industry or sector. As somebody entering it, your vocabulary will probably be more aimed at the actual people that are going to be interested in actually signing up with your goals. Don’t be disparaged if it’s your first gig, because you do have some advantages.


[00:39:06.590] – Jonathan Denwood

Obviously, somebody who’s experienced that’s hiring people, who’s aware of this, they can modify their language. But by working with a lot of people, I can tell you, if you’re listening to this podcast or watching this video, that a lot of experienced individuals, their language is aimed at advanced people. What do you think of what just said there, Kurt?


[00:39:33.670] – Kurt von Ahnen

I couldn’t agree more, Jonathan. I teach service writers and service managers in the power sport industry how to increase their business. That’s one of my things. I have a huge power sports background. One of the things I teach them is you cannot use industry jargon in trying to sell work to your clients. You can’t say.


[00:39:53.230] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, your TPS- Well, you can, but I’m sorry to interrupt you can, but you’re not going to.


[00:39:57.340] – Kurt von Ahnen

Get very far. No. If you say, Well, your TPS is we got to replace it. He goes, No, there’s a sensor on your car called a throttle positioning sensor that’s not communicating well with the injectors and we have to replace that so you get better fuel consumption or better burn or whatever. There’s a way to sell stuff and keep it simple. And sometimes, and this is where I think an LMS really comes into its space, I’ve got a lot of live speaking and live teaching experience. But corporations will say, How will this take to teach? You say, Two weeks, and they say, Well, we need it in a week. Then you cut the course down to a week, and then you give it to them, and then they go, Okay, great. Or we’re going to give you two days to teach it. You’re like, How am I going to fit two weeks worth of stuff in two days? When you go to corporate training sessions like workshops, it’s information by a firehose and the retention level is very low. When you have a learning management system, now you get the opportunity to slow things down, say things correctly, and it becomes an evergreen resource so that that student, when retention becomes an issue, can always go back to that resource.


[00:41:06.960] – Kurt von Ahnen

That’s why when I talk to speakers, authors and coaches and people that need to have a membership site to curate an audience, I’m like, You need to understand how important it is to have an LMS instead of just a social site or a Facebook page. Because if you can take your core content, your simplest content, and put that into a learning management structure, well, then instead of doing your live sessions and coaching people to this level, your LMS coaches people to this level. Now you can add that much more value to people when you teach them in person.


[00:41:37.460] – Jonathan Denwood

Another area, and I call it the war and peace problem, is for understandable reasons people think, especially if it’s their first eLearning membership project, is they tend to want to build very large courses and put a lot of information and a lot of time and effort, and it’s understandable. They want to offer real value to their students. It’s counterint, but actually, I would not do that at all. Obviously, I would build the minimum viable course, which comes from startup culture, which is the minimum viable product, is because you’re going to learn from your first batch of students a lot what their concerns are, what they want to learn. The other factor is that when you get that feedback, you will modify the course and you probably will build it out to some level. You might build a secondary course and utilize this first course as a very effective lead magnet in your main funnel. But the other factor is that to actually get more for your course, what you’d probably be better off is have a fundamental core course, but then you offer and you offer mastermind groups that you lead, and then you might offer one-to-one coaching.


[00:43:22.050] – Jonathan Denwood

But these are at higher membership levels where you’re offering more and more access to you or some of your key trainers, rather than building out a very large course. Because a lot of people, unless there’s a lot of guidance and social encouragement, you will find the dropout rate will increase enormously. When they drop out, they will unsubscribe. It’s counterint, to have in a viable and growing membership business. What do you think about that, Kurt?


[00:44:06.100] – Kurt von Ahnen

The psychology of self-study online, Jonathan, requires the dopamine hit to keep the person addicted to the process. The more that they can complete, the more they can pat themselves on the back, the happier they are with your product and the more they’ll continue. You’re absolutely right. If you have a giant course, break that course into six or seven courses if you have to, and have the lessons be 10 minutes or less, like little micro-lessons, and they go, I got another lesson done. I got.


[00:44:36.600] – Jonathan Denwood

Another lesson done. I’m sorry to interrupt, but you’re so right because the beauty of doing that is you break up into my…you have a main course and you have what I call micro courses, they can be superb upsells that also have enormous relevance. People think, I’ve got value from this main course, but these are the micro courses aimed at different aspects of the main course for different niches. It’s just a beautiful way of upselling.


[00:45:12.130] – Kurt von Ahnen

You’re touching on another feature of Lifter LMS, and that is beyond the lessons, courses, membership structure, they have tracks available. If you take all this giant content and you break it into multiple courses, you can form a track out of that. You can make it like a specialty a series of courses. Again, that gives the user another feeling of I’ve accomplished something because now I’ve finished. It helps with the ongoing subscription that you’re talking about because let’s say someone does the course, does a course, and then they do another one and they do another one and they’re like, Well, I’m only three courses away from getting the track completed on this. Maybe they subscribe for another three to six months to knock out those next three courses. That’s your carrot that keeps people engaged in the circle and keeps them going.


[00:46:00.270] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah. You do not need to really listen to what me and Kurt, especially what Kurt has said, is you do not have to build out some enormous war and peace cause, because I know people that have added module and module and module, video, video, and they’ve been at it for over a year and they actually never launch folks. They lose… Life appears, things happen. They have to deal with other things in their business and they lose focus. You’re better off building good value, look at adding add-on micro courses, as I call them, and also look at when you got your first student bases, look at Mastermind, look at one-to-one coaching as being things that you can add on at higher membership package levels. That is the way. Because in the coming years, it’s all going to be about building community. Because of COVID, because of people working from home, and because of artificial intelligence, blah, blah, blah, people are going to want community. They’re going to want to be part of someof a group that provides training, but also support, coaching, other factors. Do you think I’m on the right talking any sense there, Kurt?


[00:47:39.640] – Kurt von Ahnen

No, it’s complete sense. I think this market is just going to continue to go and go and go, and you want to get your minimal viable product out, you want to get your community started, and the sooner you start, the better off you’re going to be.


[00:47:51.500] – Jonathan Denwood

Now, the other factor which WP Tonic is laser-focused, and I’ve had discussions with Kurt, is that I really is to offer what something like Kajabi or Podia offers, and it does now. With some of these key Lego blocks, these key plug-ins, which is like Fluent, CRM, which can send out your email, combining it with email sending functionality that you get with WPtonic, which you don’t get with a lot of the other hosting providers. You can send your newsletter, you can send out your marketing email, you can do all your marketing, optimization in the interface that is really comparable or in some ways better than active campaign, where with Kajabi, they do have their pipelines, which are pre-written, and it’s something we’re going to be providing in the coming months. But it’s very basic and the actual sending out engine isn’t anything compared to active campaign. The other factor is that we’re building out another key part of the functionalities. One of the factors is having a library of purpose design templates and landing pages and sections that are really designed for the entrepreneur that wants to build a membership, community membership based website. We’re building that out.


[00:49:40.660] – Jonathan Denwood

We’re combining everything with some key of these key building blocks like Lifta, LMS, but you also get the joined up functionality that you get something with Kajabi. That’s my laser focus for WP Tonic. Am I waffling there? Because obviously you work with me and Kurt doesn’t rely on the money that I give him. He’s a very honest individual. But hopefully you would say that that is my focus and that is the focus of WP Tonic, is it not?


[00:50:17.790] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah, Jonathan, I’ve been watching you do a lot of work on figuring out the right combination of tools to make this happen. It’s super close to being a complete package. Folks, there is so much value in having someone curate the tools in WordPress because that flea market that you guys are always talking about in podcast is there.


[00:50:42.350] – Jonathan Denwood

I just want to interrupt slightly because I think we just want to make it clear. There’s the other way of doing this in WordPress and it was very understandable and it’s what I call the walled garden solution. What is the difference between what I’ve just outlined with WP Tonic and what I call the walled garden solution in WordPress? The walled garden, I won’t name them because a couple of the founders I totally respect as individuals. I’m fabulous people. But there wasn’t these… A couple of years ago, two, three years ago, there wasn’t these key Lego blocks, these key plug-ins available. People wanted to offer that functionality on WordPress, so they could offer a solution that was joined up comparable to something like Kajabi. The only way they could achieve that was build their own functionality in one platform. The problem with that is understandable that they did it, but the consequence is that you have to get hosting. There’s more maintenance to some degree, even though it’s overstated, especially if you choose a quality partner like WP Tonic, because we update all the plug-ins for you, which no other hosting provider provides. To my knowledge, none of the major hosting providers will do that at free of charge and we do that for our clients.


[00:52:33.360] – Jonathan Denwood

But for understandable reasons, you get the worst of WordPress and SaaS because you can’t use other LifterLMS Premier plug-ins with their solution; the key functionality is all inbuilt. You still have to deal with hosting other factors, and you still have restrictions because of it’s built-in one-walled garden solution. In my mind, you’re getting the worst of all worlds. That’s what I wanted to avoid with WP Tonic. I wanted to provide a solution that utilizes. But on the other hand, we don’t insist if you have something that you want to utilize; as long as it won’t cause consistent problems, we’re totally happy to assist you. Because it isn’t a walled garden, it’s WordPress. Does that make sense? Or was I waffling again, Kurt?


[00:53:34.920] – Kurt von Ahnen

No, you were explaining it well, and that’s super important. One of the reasons I’m in WordPress is because of the freedom to choose and build things the way that I want.


[00:53:45.460] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, just offering a curated list of plug-ins and saying that’s all you can utilize, that’s all we offer, or having those all built by yourself in one hosted garden isn’t why people want to utilize WordPress, is it? It’s counterpoint, isn’t it?


[00:54:10.510] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah. Well, we mentioned Skypilot earlier in the show. The pilot is a full-site editing theme, and a lot of people still want to use Elementor, or some people use Divvy. You need to have that flexibility that says, Well, if you’re already an established user of Elementor and that’s what you want to stay with, well then as a host or as a service provider, you want to give the client what they want in that regard. So yeah, totally makes sense.


[00:54:36.560] – Jonathan Denwood

We’ve got some exciting things coming up, folks. We mostly if people want to utilize what we offer because we offer the pro version of Alamey Tor, but we’re going to be offering a Gutenberg solution through Cadence, WP, with our own library of themes and landing pages in the coming months. We’ll be offering, in the end, there will be over 100 templates and other sections that will be exclusively available with WP-Tonic. But we are not, but we will still be using Alimator as well as offering it. Or if you want to use something else, you’d be able to do it with us. As I said, we are not planning to build a walled garden. We offer functionality, and you have the choice if you want to use it or not. I think it’s time to call it. I think we’ve given the outline about Lifta and its real strengths. Kurt, what is the best way for people to find out more about you and what we’re up to, Kurt?


[00:55:57.560] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, Manyana Nomas is my agency name. If you look up Manyana Nomas online, that’s me, and I’d love to see you there. I’m also available on LinkedIn. I check my LinkedIn every day for new connections, and I’m very active there.


[00:56:12.660] – Jonathan Denwood

That’s great. You can also join us on the WP-Tonic podcast, which is our professional show aimed at the WordPress Freelancer, implementer, or Power User. This show is focused on those entrepreneurs who really want to build a membership website, but they want to build it on the freedom of WordPress and have that digital sovereignty. That’s so important based on my experience, folks. We’ll see you next week, folks. See you soon. Bye.


[00:56:45.060] – Kurt von Ahnen

Bye-bye. Thanks for.


[00:56:46.240] – Jonathan Denwood



[00:56:46.790] – Kurt von Ahnen

To the.


[00:56:47.170] – Jonathan Denwood

Membership Machine show. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes, and leave a rating to support the show. Until next time.

The Facebook Group

Why don’t you sign up and be part of the membership machine mastermind group, where you can get all the best advice and support connected to building your membership or community website on WordPress?

Membership Mastermind

We’ve got you covered with our latest review that breaks down everything about this cutting-edge learning management system: its standout features, advantages, and disadvantages.

Find out if it’s truly worth your time and money! Now click below to view our comprehensive video on why LifterLMS might be the perfect fit for your online education goals.

#1 – What are some of LifterLMS’s Key Features?

#2 – What Would You Say Are a Couple of Key Things New Users LifterLMS Need To Understand?

#3 – What Words do you Say are some of the significant differences between LifterLMS and LearnDash?

#4- LifterLMS has several premium add-ons. What are some of the key ones people need to be aware of?

#5 – What do you think people need to understand connected to what LifterLMS offers compared to some of the leading SaaS solutions?

#6 – LifterLMS has a strong reputation connected to the support and training it offers its users can you give the audience more info on this based on your experiences?

#7 – Pricing what users need to know and understand

44 – The Membership Machine Show: LifterLMS Review 2023: Features, Pros & Cons, Is IT Really Worth it if you are creator? was last modified: by