Will is a WordPress site builder works primarily with LifterLMS, WooCommerce, and Elementor and sites dedicated to online education and business. WPCourseGuide.com and WPCourseGuide on YouTube are Will’s primary channels at the moment.

The Road Not Taken: After learning about leveraged income when reading MJ DeMarco’s book The Millionaire Fastlane and Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad while in middle school, Will decided to follow in the entrepreneurial footsteps of his mother and grandfather and develop expertise by learning from industry experts and mentors in his homeschooling path.

Fun Facts: Will earned his first-degree Black Belt in Karate at age 9. He became a County Ambassador in 4-H at age 13. And Eagle Scout at age.

Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the WP-Tonic show. This is episode 510. We’ve got a great guest. We’ve got Will [inaudible00:00:20] on the show. He’s well-known in the Lifter LMS community, helps support lifter and also is part of the Facebook for Facebook pages and just a great chat. Will, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?

Will: Sure, yeah. Thanks for having me on. And yeah, I guess Jonathan introduced me pretty well. I’m just a freelancer dove into the Lifter LMS and WordPress space and yeah, I started making some YouTube videos on it and it just kind of evolved from there in the Lifter LMS space.

Jonathon: And I’ve got my great co-host Adrian. Adrian, would you like to introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?

Adrian: Hi everyone. My name’s Adrian, I’m the CEO and founder of Groundhogg. We help small businesses simplify, consolidate, automate their marketing automation and sales.

Jonathon: That’s great. And we had a load of new listeners last month. So if you’re joining the show thank you for becoming a member of the WP tonic tribe. Before we go into the main topic of the show, we’re going to be discussing everything about Lifter LMS. It’s suitability for somebody starting off; it’s strengths, it’s weaknesses, things that Will has known is that people do it when building out a course, the kind of mistakes they make, we’ll be covering it all listeners and viewers. But before we get into the main part of the show, I’d like to discuss our sponsors. And our main sponsor is Kinsta, and Kinsta has been sponsoring the show as the main sponsor for over two years; they’re a great, great hosting company. We host the WP-Tonic site with them, never had any problems, really quick, and the main thing is you get fantastic support. The support is some of the best on the market I’ll feel.

So if you’ve got a critical site for clients or for yourself in WooCommerce or in the learning space, you need great hosting and great support, and that’s what you’re going to get with Kinsta. So go over, buy a package for yourself or for your client, and the main thing is tell them that you heard about them on the WP-Tonic show. Our next sponsor is WP-Fusion. They’re a friend of the show; they’ve been supporting the show for a couple years now, on and off, and just an amazing product. If you got like active campaign drip, convert kit, there’s a lot of CRMs out there, and you want to put it on a different level, your automization where you need WP-Fusion with WordPress, with your external CRM, or you should look at Groundhogg. But, if you look in the external one, WP-Fusion, it really does make the whole process so much more easier and much more powerful. So go over to WP-Fusion, have a look at their product, by one of their packages, and also tell them you heard about them on the show.

Adrian: [Inaudible03:32] the developer is also just like brilliant and a genius and a great guy all around.

Jonathon: Yeah, he’s just a fantastic developer isn’t he? And he’s just a really humble guy as well. And the two things don’t always go together, do they Adrian?

Adrian: No, sometimes you get great software; terrible support, sometimes you get terrible software and great support. And Jack seems to be able to provide the best of both worlds.

Jonathon: Yes, there we go. So let’s go into it Will, so Will what are some of the things you think when a person is looking to build a course and they’re looking to build it on WordPress and Lifter, what are some of the things people got to know about kind of the mistakes people do at the beginning that you’ve noticed?

Will: Yeah, one huge mistake I’ve seen, and this happens with people who are forming their first course is they don’t get niche enough and really get specific with their course offering and who their offering’s for. And that kind of overgeneralization leads to them having like a ton of competition with people who already have like email lists and everything built up. But if you serve like a really specific audience and a really specific way and answer questions that are already being asked by the community you’re trying to serve, then you position yourself really well. So it’s really positioning is a huge mistake that people I see people fall into when they don’t niche enough and find out like a really specific offering.

Adrian: Well, what process do you have to like nail down niche? Because I see this all the time, people just go way too broad, you know, the age old adage, if you’re selling to everybody you’re selling to nobody. Right. So, what process do you help people or can you recommend to people to go through and really sort of focus that?

Will: One way is to start out by answering really specific questions people have and kind of forming from there. That’s somewhat of what I’m doing with my YouTube channel. Whenever I hear someone ask a question like Facebook or something, I’ll make like a quick two minute YouTube video about how to do that specific thing. And maybe I’ll respond to their thread with that as an answer. And that’ll really help point you in the right direction as to what kind of content people are looking for because it might not be the course that you want to build, that you want to look at what they want to hear. Another thing for like niching, like a niching exercise they use, is like the niche rule of four, where you go like four levels deep. So if you’re trying to build like an online course, maybe it’s like an online course or–

Adrian: Health and wellness.

Will: Yeah, like health and wellness. And then that’s like one level and you want to get more specific. Maybe it’s health and wellness, or men’s specifically; maybe it’s health and wellness for men over 40. Maybe it’s health and wellness for dads over 40. So now you’re like really specific and you can really target your offering from there. Just going through that exercise a few times and figuring out.

Adrian: That’s an interesting rule of step four, so you go like four levels deep. That’s interesting. I’ve never actually heard that one before; that’s useful. Thank you.

Jonathon: I’ve been thinking about this for the past six months and I just want to put this to you and get your feedback about it Will. I think if you found a niche and before you build any course out, if you can’t establish a credible presence on YouTube and an audience of, let’s say 40 to 70,000 people for your niche area, if you can’t build all the ants on your YouTube channel around that subject, I think you’re going to find it very hard to build an ongoing course that will provide consistent income. What do you think?

Will: Yeah, I definitely agree with that and I don’t really have any course programs myself at the moment. I use YouTube to kind of like upsell to my freelance work, but I’m definitely looking to get into that kind of like recurring revenue model. And I think just getting started on YouTube is a great way to practice making consistent content and figuring out what kind of content is valuable to the niche you’re serving. And you’ll tell by like the likes on your videos, comments on your videos, how many shares and stuff it gets; that really helps you tap into like what kind of content you’d want to be putting into your recurring membership program and kind of really flesh out what your audience is looking for and get in the habit of creating that content.

Jonathon: Yeah. I just think, you know, unless you’re experienced in television or film production and that ,I think being able to use YouTube in the building up a following, you learn so many other things, don’t you? You learn basic SEO, basic film craft, the kind of content that will appeal to your target audience. So I think it’s crucial to build a significant– it doesn’t have to be hundreds of thousands of people because I think if you’re in nature, I think between 50 and 70 thousand people is quite achievable. What do you think?

Will: Yeah, especially depending on how long you do it, and if you really focus in on what content performs well on your channel, you could really scale it up to that amount. Like Angela Brown is a popular example. I don’t know if you’ve heard of her in the Lifter LMS community. She has a house cleaning business; she teaches house cleaners how to run their businesses. And she’s gotten really large on YouTube. I think she’s at like 80,000 subscribers or something, so she’s right in that perfect–

Jonathon: Over to Adrian.

Adrian: So Will, you and I are actually currently working together on a few projects. I use courses in my own business. I use them as a customer success tool for training purposes on the various different things you can do. And I outlined you to kind of what I always expected. I want to like short videos like our maximum course completion time like the videos at most like 15 minutes long. However, in the past I know that with like tools like Lifter LMS, you’re a fan of– what Chris wants referred to me as an epic video, which is like four hours long start to finish one take, and distributing your information in that format. Now, I’m curious if you know, what kind of expectation when someone actually watches that video, do they get through the whole thing? Is there any sort of psychological trigger or pull for an epic four hour long video versus the way that I prefer to do it, which is like short bite size videos in a course format? What’s your take on the difference?

Will: For sure, yeah. The short form video is actually more natural to me. Like, whenever I have like one quick question, I can just knock out a video. But then Chris came to me last year and said, Hey, I have this idea for an epic video. I think WP-Crafter did one too that was like many hours long. And yeah, that one’s for like total WordPress beginner who wants like a step by step click by click; the whole thing building from WordPress, from scratch all the way to like a full Lifter LMS WooCommerce cart flows, everything kind of site. So, yeah, there are kind of four different audiences. If you are looking for just like a quick set up, quick getting started and you really want to dive into it yourself, then the shorter videos are more optimal for you because they’ll get you to where you want to go really quickly. But if you really want to sit down and see someone go through step by step and really talk through everything you’re doing, and you could really just put like your 10 year old child down in front of the computer and they could follow along click-by-click and just make the process super simple. Then the four hour epic video is kind of the way to go.

Adrian: Do you have any sort of knowledge on, let’s say like the completion rate or the success rate of peoples who sit down and tune in for four hours? Because for like a course that’s in bite size there’s like benchmarks and stages so you can leave and come back at the stage. But if you’re like committing to like an ethic video, it’s hard to like, remember where you left off and pick right back up. And so you’re sitting down for four hours. Do you know what the kind of like the customer experiences on the completion end?

Will: I don’t know too much about the completions metrics for that specific video, but there was like a really positive response to it. Like people seem to really like that kind of video. I don’t know how many of them actually sat down and watched the whole thing, or there are timestamps in that video. Like in 10 minutes we dive into Elementor and then at 30 minutes we dive into like cart flows. So you can click around and maybe if you’re already part way through having built a WordPress website, you might be able to skip down and just find the parts that are going to be relevant to you. But the long video itself is kind of like an entire course just packed into one video with like those lessons with like kind of timestamps on there. But yeah, I’m not too sure about like the completion rate of actually sitting down and watching zero to four hours. But yeah people seem to really like it.

Adrian: Really liked it that well.

Will: Yeah.

Adrian: That’s cool, and so you can put, like the times you mentioned, you could put the timestamps in like the video description to say, we start at this point here.

Will: Yeah. And it might also be like mentally reassuring to just know that there’s that resource available. If you ever do get stuck, there’s like the click by click tutorial. You can always come back to and jump around in that.

Adrian: Very cool, Jonathon.

Jonathon: Yeah. So what do you think when a person is looking to build their first course, what do you think is the optimum, the sweet spot for how many lessons and the size length of video and what should be in that course? Have you thought about that and come to conclusion where the sweet spot for that first course is?

Will: Yeah, it would change for every kind of audience and what kind of course you’re building, but like always want to keep it minimalistic and just focus on getting the result rather than how long your course content is. And then they’ll often end up in like a course that’s maybe like 10 lessons. Like if you look at like the Groundhogg courses; seem super effective Lifter LMS quick-start course, they’re like roughly about five sections with five lessons per section. And so they’re super effective with like those short videos you can just knock out and you can even jump around in the course if there was a lesson you wanted to skip. But, roughly keeping a course under 25 lessons really challenges you as a course creator to really get into the impact and get the results rather than–

Adrian: Get to the point already.

Will: Yeah, instead of making like a massive course that’s like hundreds of lessons and focusing on creating all the content you can, just really limit yourself to try and stay within the 25 lessons five sections, five lessons per section, and just get the results.

Adrian: Most people don’t want to spend, or don’t want to have to watch 25 lessons to get to a result. If they could get it in video one, they could.

Will: Yeah, that’s totally true. And when course creators think about it a lot of the time, they’re saying when they advertise, they’re advertising all of the content they have, and they’re trying to build up this massive library, but–

Adrian: It’s like the content is valuable in and of itself, but it’s really not.

Will: No, it’s the result that they want.

Adrian: Yeah,

Jonathon: That’s great. We’re going to go for our break. We’re coming back. We’ve got a great guest. He’s helped a lot of people with Lifter LMS and he’s part of the Lifter support team. So I think he’s got some great insights; we’ll be back in a few moments

Announcer: Are you a WordPress consultant designer or small digital agency owner? Then you need WP-Tonic as your trusted white label developer partner for your next big e-learning or WooCommerce project. WP-Tonic has the knowledge to help you build out custom functionality that your clients need in Learn Dash, Lifter LMS and WooCommerce. WP-Tonic is well known and trusted in the WordPress community. They stand behind their work with a full no question asked 30-day money-back guarantee. So don’t delay, find out how WP-Tonic’s white label services can help your agency today. Go to wp-tonic.com homepage and book a free consultation with Jonathan that’s WP-Tonic, just like the podcast.

Jonathon: We’re coming back, we’re talking about learning management systems, specifically Lifter LMS with Will [inaudible00:15:43]. So Will, you know, we also got this, you know, and I think it’s going to get broad, this slight divide between those that use Lifter LMS with Elementor and those that use Lifter with Gutenberg. And of course you’ve got other page builders as well, so–

Adrian: Chris himself as a fan of Beaver Builder.

Jonathon: Exactly. So, how do you see this panning out? Do you see this divide continuing and at the present moment, how would you advise somebody that would come to you and say, well, Will, should I use Elementor with Lifter LMS or should I use Gutenberg?

Will: Yeah, it’s pretty much whatever feels the best for you to build your course content in. Some people get overwhelmed by Elementor, especially if they’re new to WordPress and they see like the sidebar in Elementor and all the widgets and all the settings, and that’s just overwhelms them and slows them down from being able to build their site and launch their course. And if you don’t feel comfortable with that builder, that’s totally fine. Just go with the default WordPress editor, the default WordPress block editor is a bit easier use. You’re not able to control things like padding, which would be like the spacing between elements specifically to that granular level as you can with Elementor. But it’s really just about suiting your audience. And that’s one thing I see a lot of people get caught up in is they get so complicated with the tech thinking that they need to make their website like a technical masterpiece, when really it’s about that course content. And so there’s no shame at all and feeling, you know, going with just the basic Gutenberg editor. And it’s probably actually better if you could get the same result with a simpler tool, the Gutenberg editor, without having to dive into all the tech. But if you really do want to go to the next level with the design; Elementor is a great tool.

Jonathon: Well, I suppose in a way, if you just want to keep to the basics of elevator, you don’t have to dive into even with Elementor if you just want to keep to the basics. Would you agree with that?

Will: Yeah, for sure. And you don’t have to use Elementor in everything. Like I see some people use the default WordPress editor on their courses and then Elementor is just for their sales pages where they really want to make something look good. So you don’t have to go Elementor or Greenberg, you could mix it up and use Elementor in specific places in Gutenberg and other places.

Jonathon: Yeah, that’s a great point that people tend to forget, don’t they Will? Over to you Adrian!

Adrian: So most you know, I think a lot of course creators, they create their first course and they think that– even if it’s like a results-based course and they don’t see the content that’s valuable itself but the result. Most of them believe that the course is kind of just like enough to start getting people to buy into the program. However, over time, I don’t think that’s necessarily true. People are expecting a lot more from their purchase than just, well; the video content, I guess it’s depending on how you frame it. What residual aspects of actually running a course business, would you expect that a business owner has to keep in mind when they launched their first course?

Will: For sure. I guess one thing I hear a lot is that like recurring revenue is like the key to scaling things. So figuring out how to add that recurring value, so you can have recurring revenue is important. With selling like a onetime course, a lot of people might get through the course and then they might fade out, but keeping in touch with those people and maybe like upselling to a private coaching forum or like a weekly group zoom or something like that might be something useful, kind of thinking about the course as, especially if it’s a one-time payment as kind of like a lead magnet or– it’s not the end of the funnel necessarily. And depending on what kind of business you’re in and what kind of services you can offer the main thing I’d say across the board is just look for opportunities for recurring revenue. And if your course doesn’t provide that recurring value, you can’t really add in the recurring revenue, but if the course doesn’t provide the recurring value, maybe try and find some sort of an upsell from your course to that.

Adrian: How would you ensure that your course provided the requirements to be willing to part with X amount of dollars yearly or monthly?

Will: I would say it would vary based on like every course, but if you just have like a group coaching offer, like once a week, you have a group coaching call–

Adrian: Like a mastermind?

Will: Yeah, like a mastermind that would help you figure it out really quickly, what people are looking for in the recurring value. And the recurring mastermind with you, the course creator might be enough in itself, but that might also give you ideas off of what people are looking for.

Adrian: So you mentioned multiple courses or at least the beginning of the funnel, would you recommend creating? So, in like Russell Bronson’s methodology, which I read his book .Com Secrets and Expert Secrets a long time ago, if you haven’t done, so I’d recommend it. But they have something called the value ladder and they have like your tripwire and then your core offering, and then your profit maximizer at the top of the ladder each is exponentially more expensive than the other. If you were a brand new course creator and you were starting out, would you work on core offer first or would you just start off with the tripwire and start attempting to build the list?

Will: Yeah, there are a few different methodologies to it. I’ve probably started myself doing the tripwire, but I guess like with my business, my core offering right now is like freelance stuff and then I have like my YouTube video and like free content there. So I guess I did have my service offering first, so that is an important thing for validation too, is making sure people will pay. If you start out with a trip wire or like some free content, people might be interested in that, but they’re not interested in paying for that. So I think building out your core offering first is a better thing to validate and then figuring out what will get people into your core offering, like making YouTube videos and stuff like that would be like something secondary to that.

Adrian: Well, that makes sense. Thank you very much for that, John.

Jonathon: I think one of the strengths of Lifter is that with the free core product, with just the Stripe add-on for $99, you’ve got a fully functioning LMS platform, isn’t it? But what are some of the other core ad-ons that you think really offer great value and also some third party ones as well?

Will: For sure. I guess, yeah, exactly. Like you said, just one payment, Gateway, PayPal or Stripe or whatever, along with the free core plugin, it’s just $99 for a fully functioning LMS. I see a lot of people go look at the infinity bundle; they’re like Lifter so expensive. Like, I mean, most people don’t go into a car dealership and say, “What’s the most expensive car you have? Oh, that’s a little too expensive for me.” You don’t need everything.

Jonathon: Well, it’s the best value on the market at the present moment for $99 for what you get, like I say for $99, you’re up in money, aren’t you?

Will: For sure. For sure, yeah, and I would say some other add-ons will be–

Jonathon: Because there’s a lot of internal ad-ons, aren’t they? You can go to infinity; universal infinity and there’s quite a few third party. If you got like two to three that you think that really bring some extra functionality by using it, you think is worth the price of paying?

Will: For sure. Yeah they all apply in some different scenarios; super popular ones would be like advanced quizzes. Lifter has like the free quiz system with multiple choice picture choice and true false. But if you really wanted to go to the next level and have like a lot more interactive quizzes, that’s a really popular one. And then of course, like groups and stuff, if you’re selling like corporations and you want to have that private group area–

Jonathon: So how’s group going, because that’s their most recent add-on, how do you think that’s going then Will?

Will: It’s going pretty well. Like Lifters had this voucher code system for a long time that serves a very similar purpose, but it was a lot more manual. With groups the corporate can actually manage themselves and send out email invites to their students and stuff like that to enroll. So I kind of think of it as like a super advanced voucher system; it’s like the next level of that, and so that’s a super neat add on specifically. And then to plug WP-Fusion, if you’re working with a CRM or Groundhogg too, like having that tie into your marketing plus lifter LMS. Like I know Groundhogg has like a lifter LMS integration where you can change your email messaging based on when they enroll in the course. So there’s like tags and triggers, so you can now– if you’re working with WP-Fusion that would tell active campaign when somebody enrolled in a course or Groundhogg has its own integration to then kind of change up your email interaction and get those touch points with people who are in your courses. That’s also like a key add-on to have as the CRM integration.

Jonathon: Yeah, but it does kind of– it’s interesting that you choose that because that whole area, it kind of intimidates people to some extent, doesn’t it?

Will: Yeah, for sure. When you start thinking about like an email list is pretty easy to comprehend, like these are the people you’re emailing. But then, when you break it down into customer segments and tagging those segments and creating automations to send out emails, it can totally be intimidating. But if you think about it as just creating like an option, like if you have a lead magnet, like a free resource, all your CRM is doing is just sending them a free resource when they give you their email. And then you can build things out from there if you want it to, but on the simplest level, that’s all you need to have in the CRM.

Jonathon: Right, got you. I think we wrap it up for the podcast part of the show. Will is staying on; we’re going to be asking him a few questions. I’m going to be asking him about, you know, why you should look at WooCommerce and integrate that and when you should just stay with the Stripe. And I’ve got a few other questions. So Will, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you and what you’re up to?

Will: Yeah, so if you had to WPcourseguide.com, that’s the best place to see everything I’m doing there. Or you could probably find me on YouTube or you probably will come across me on YouTube at some point, if you’re in the lifter LMS space.

Jonathon: How many videos roughly do you have your new YouTube channel now?

Will: I think we’re probably around 150. I went on in 2019 for like three and a half months I did a video every day, so I really got kicked off there, but then I’ve been doing about one, two a month ever since then.

Jonathon: Oh, that’s great. Adrian, what’s the best way to find out more about you and Groundhogg?

Adrian: Well, we talked a lot about Lifter LMS during this episode, so if you’re using Lifter LMS and you need to tie in marketing automation to send out better transactional emails or course completion, reminders, enrollment, abandonment, we can take care of a lot of stuff. You can go to Groundhogg.io. We actually have a Lifter LMS focused course on our Academy website that will explain all of the cool integrations that you can do with Groundhogg and email marketing and Lifter LMS together. So great stuff, and that’s available for free. And that’s at Academy.Groundhogg.io.

Jonathon: That’s great. And if you really want to support the show folks, go over to Apple and leave us a review. It really does help the show. It really puts us higher in the rating with Apple, and it enables us to get great guests like Will to agree to come on and be interviewed by me and Adrian. We’ll be back next week. Remember there is bonus content which you can listen to on the WP-Tonic website or our YouTube channel. We will be back next week with another great guest like Will. See you soon folks, bye.

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