#59 – The Membership Machine Show: 10 Essential Things to Consider Before Developing a Successful Online Course

December 26, 2023

10 Essential Things to Consider Before Developing a Successful Online Course

Discover the 10 crucial factors to contemplate before diving into creating a thriving online course in our latest show. From target audience analysis to content delivery methods, this comprehensive guide provides essential insights for anyone venturing into e-learning.

Don’t miss out on this valuable resource—watch the show now and set yourself up for success in developing your own impactful online course.

#1 – What’s going to be your course niche?

#2 – What unique painkiller or vitamin proposition do you offer with your new course?

#3 – Remember students are looking to get from 0 start to expert hero as quickly as possible

#4 – identifying your ideal clients and turning this into individual persona for successful marketing

#5 – Remember more doesn’t make your course more valuable.

#6 – Develop the right content that will attract your ideal clients.

#7 – Be honest. If you were a new student, would you see yourself as an expert who could help them get the results they are looking to achieve?

#8 – Develop a long-term marketing plan that keeps attracting the right students.

#9 – Building social proof

#10 – Using paid online marketing

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The Show Main Links

[00:00:16.930] – Jonathan Denwood

Welcome back folks, to the membership Machine show. This is episode 58. In this show we’re going to be talking about the ten essential things to consider before developing a successful membership course website. It’s a really important subject. I really consult with a load of people and so does my special guest for this show, Kurt. We both have loads of discussions and we’ve noticed a pattern. We think we got some great information to share with you that will enable you to make sure that your course is accessible in 2024. So Kurt, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?

[00:01:02.470] – Kurt von Ahnen

Absolutely, Jonathan my name is Kurt von Anan. I own an agency called Manana No Mas and a podcast of the same name and we focus largely on membership and learning websites and work directly with Jonathan.

[00:01:14.160] – Jonathan Denwood

At Wp-Tonic in this episode. Like I say, we’re going to be talking about finding your niche, your unique proposition. Are you a painkiller or a vitamin? We’re going to be talking about are you going to become a hero for your students? We’ve just got a load of different things that we’ve got some great advice that will enable you to have a successful membership website for you. But before we go into the meat and potatoes of this great show, I’ve got a couple messages from our major sponsors. We will be back in a few moments, folks.

[00:01:56.070] – Speaker 2

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[00:02:30.270] – Speaker 4

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[00:03:00.410] – Jonathan Denwood

Welcome back, folks. I also want to point out if you’re looking to build your membership website on WordPress and both me and Kirk think you should do for digital solvency, flexibility, and just the power of WordPress. We’ve got a created list of the best plugins and services that will enable you to build a really powerful WordPress website quickly and effortlessly. To find all these goodies, all you have to do is go over to deals, wponic.com deals. Plus you find some great special offers from our sponsors. What more could you ask for before Christmas or after? If you’re listening, you might be listening in the new year. I don’t know, but that’s all you’re going to get from that page. So, Kurt, I think this is going to be a great show. Great way to end the first year of the membership machine show. I can’t believe that I’m in my 50 eigth episode. So we’re well into one year of the membership machine show and I think with the help of you and Spencer who had to leave for business reasons and also other guests, I think we’ve offered a lot of value. And I’m really looking forward to this particular show because I think it’s really important.


[00:04:35.290] – Jonathan Denwood

And number one is that I think find your course niche and I think it can apply to your online business in general. So I gave you the notes before the couple of days ago, so you’ve had time. I know you’ve been busy with client work. So what do you think about finding a niche? I’ll put it number one.


[00:05:00.700] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah. To me, and this comes down to the core question of when you start saying, I’m going to be a course creator and I’m going to offer learning and all this stuff. One of the first things you have to really identify is is this a focused single course offering where you’re really going to niche down and do that, or is this going to be like a directory or a library of courses? So how much content do you have and what are you prepared to work on? But I would encourage people, especially people just getting started, pick a niche, really own it, and maybe focus on that really good first course offering and see if you can build an audience off of that.


[00:05:43.790] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah. I would never advise somebody to invest time and energy in trying to build a course marketplace like unity. And there’s about three or four, there’s maven, there’s about four to five of these type of marketplaces. And you can do the same thing with WordPress reasonably easily, easily compared to building it from the ground up if you were coding it all. But on the other hand, it is something that I would never advise somebody that’s never run a membership course to attempt to do without that prior experience. That’s my stance on it. But finding your niche, what I mean by that, obviously there’s a number of very broad subjects and all you got to find is your little niche in a broader subject, your little bit of being seen as the expert in that initial niche area. And like I say, finding a niche in a broader subject is a great path because when you get traction in that particular niche, you can expand into other subjects of that bigger topic. Well, WordPress is a big subject. So there’s loads of niches in the WordPress space. For people selling advice to agencies, to freelancers, to DIY, there’s loads of niches in the WordPress space.


[00:07:34.640] – Jonathan Denwood

But if you build up a phone, you’ve got a load of other subjects which you can either bring in other experts to partner with you. The possibilities are endless. But starting do not. Because I’ve done this myself. I’ve made this mistake myself. This is why I’m passionate listeners and viewers about this is find your niche if you want success.


[00:08:04.410] – Kurt von Ahnen

I made this myself, Jonathan. I remember when Manano Nomas launched its first academy because I wanted to prove I knew how to make courses. I had like 24 courses in there and they went from weight loss to leadership to goal setting to whatever. And what I got out of that was nothing. Nobody wanted to sign up because it looked like there was no direction. Know? And what you said is like, I think of like, cooking is a huge subject. So do you want to focus on saute sous chef baking? You know, barbecue? Like pick something even if you love.


[00:08:38.610] – Jonathan Denwood

All, I think you’ve done it. That’s a great example. Thank you for that, Kurt. I think that’s fantastic cooking. Now, if you’re just talking about cooking, I think it’s really unlikely unless you’ve got a great following or you’ve got a great presence on enough of popular medium that you’re going to get traction. But there are plenty of niches in cooking, isn’t it?


[00:09:00.190] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah. And I could go for days talking about cooking.


[00:09:04.870] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, please don’t, because I’m hungry. Right. This terminology comes from Rob Rowling, an individual that’s well known in the startup bootstrap startup world. And I’ve mercilessly just copied this from him by listening to his own podcast, startups. For the rest of us, he’s aimed at startups, but I’d highly encourage you to listen to it if you’re thinking of building your membership business in 204, because a lot of the concepts about bootstrapping a startup, I think can be totally applied to building your first membership website. And he’s got this term where he says, are you aiming to solve a pain point or are you there to be a vitamin, to be an aspirational solution, he encourages you if it’s your first startup, and I would encourage if it’s your first course, to be a painkiller. What are your general views about this? Kurt?


[00:10:27.690] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, I unfortunately have put myself in both of these positions and I haven’t been very kind to myself in it. If you choose the vitamin path, right. If you choose to be someone that is aspirational and wants to help people get better, but not fix an actual pain point, you’re taking away a sense of urgency. So you have to commit yourself to the long game. So if you go the vitamin path, you have to be prepared to educate your future user on what their needs are, why it’s a benefit, all that kind of stuff. Whereas if you address a pain point, something that actually offers immediate relief to somebody that is experiencing discomfort, that sense of urgency is there and that can help create that momentum earlier on in your process. And that’s why I think the pain point is so much better of a path for a launch. But I think if you’re looking long term, the vitamin path is a good path, but you have to understand that it’s a long game and you got to be prepared to do the user education along the way.


[00:11:36.110] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I think you can combine the both at the right time, but I totally agree with you. If this is you’re looking to build your first membership course based business in 2024, go the pain route, join. And obviously if it’s an area that you have any kind of expertise, aim it at the beginner to lower intermediate level. It’s going to be easier. It’s going to be easier to get a victory, a quick win for those types of individuals, and you’d be able to help them much more quicker and you’d be able to build out effective your first course and get a real result for these people more effectively by aiming for them and aim at solving a pain point. Go on to Facebook groups, other forums, other resources. Join as many YouTube channels in the particular topic that you intend to build a niche on and write down what are some of the main pain points that come up on these YouTube channels in these discussions. Write them down and then go back and then get a list of three that are going to be that you’re going to solve and choose one of them that you’re going to solve in your first course.


[00:13:03.740] – Jonathan Denwood

That first course should be your minimum viable course. People for understandable reasons and we’ve touched this before, trying to attempt to build war and peace. This should all be done in one month to three months. Probably three months if you start, if you can get it with, because you’ve done your research and you listen to this podcast and it’s words of wisdom, you should be able to get this done really quickly and you definitely should be able to get it done in three months. The idea that this should drag on for six months and twelve months over twelve months into one year, two year is ridiculous. There is no need for it and you’re doing yourself a great disservice. What’s your thoughts about what I’ve just outlined?


[00:13:55.620] – Kurt von Ahnen

I go back to the done is better than perfect phrase. I have no idea who said that first, but I love it. Done is better than perfect. Get something out there, drive your first five paid, ten paid, 25 paid members or students. And then you know what the cool thing about Warren pieces is? You can take your time and write that after your launch you can always improve or build upon what you’ve started. So get launched and get going.


[00:14:20.600] – Jonathan Denwood

But you’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. People trying to build out massive courses, multiple courses. I think you should start with a great learning management system and I really love lifter lms and the team behind it for this type of enterprise. But because you’ve got the ability to build out multiple courses and got all the tools with lifter, doesn’t mean that you should utilize them all at once. That is not what you should be doing. You should be laser focused about getting this minimum viable course done out, getting feedback from your students, isn’t it?


[00:15:08.680] – Kurt von Ahnen

That was my first mistake with lifter. Way back in the day when I was a customer, I signed up for the infinity package and it came with all those add ons and tools and I thought, well, I paid for it, I better turn all this stuff on, I don’t want to waste it. And I activated all that stuff and even I didn’t know what my website did. I was like, look at this mess.


[00:15:29.050] – Jonathan Denwood

What a rabbit hole to go down. But don’t feel bad folks, if you’ve done a bit of that, because everybody has. Onto the next one. Students are looking for quick victory. They got the pain. If you can get them, show a couple of quick victories that they can win by one third of into your first course, the better. The dropout rate will reduce dramatically. This is back to what I just outlined a minute ago. Do not build warm piece, extra functionality, extra information, it depends on who you’re aiming the course for. But we’re talking about your first course here is the shorter it is, the more focused it is. People look at the value of a course, not by endless content they are looking. Does it solve a problem for me? Does it give me insight? Is this person got insights that can really help me get where they are? I want to get where they have gone and I want to get there quicker. This is the main reason why they’re buying your course. What do you reckon, Kurt?


[00:16:54.530] – Kurt von Ahnen

There was a leadership coach out there and I don’t want to misquote, I think it might be John Maxwell, but it could be someone else. That said, long after people forget what you said, they’ll remember how you made them feel. And a lot of that comes down to strategy. So if you can give your users that early dopamine hit of completing something and getting something done and then rewarding them with a nice message about, wow, you’re a rock star, you knocked this out quick. That gives them that good feeling and it gives them more of an inspiration to get to the next thing in your site. So the earlier that I can get somebody a sense of accomplishment or a sense of completion in my course products, the more successful those course products tend to be.


[00:17:43.010] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I’ll give you an example. I’m not going to name names or anything. I paid for a course a couple of weeks ago. A couple of months ago was three months ago, folks. And it’s from an industry expert. And he does really know his stuff. I double checked him. I’ve been following him for a while. It wasn’t enormously expensive, but it wasn’t cheap either. It is an enormous course. It is about 20 hours of video and text. It’s aimed at the intermediate to the lower power user. So it’s fine because it’s a complicated subject and it’s not aimed at the beginner. The problem is the individual has a voice that will put you to sleep. Actually, I can’t watch it at night, too late, because I just nod off. He’s got a very low tone and it doesn’t vary the tone and it literally just puts you to sleep. The content is fantastic and he knows his stuff. The videos are miles too long because of his style. He would be better off cutting them up a bit more. And you got to be honest with yourself. And that’s why short videos with quizzes, with some interactivity, especially when you’re dealing with beginners, you don’t have to spend too much.


[00:19:20.280] – Jonathan Denwood

That’s one of the great things of utilizing something like lifter LMS. A lot of this has been worked out for you, but you get people that just got the temptation to start mucking around with the lesson structure layout. Leave it alone initially, because that’s why you’re buying something like lifter, because they’ve worked it all out. What do you reckon?


[00:19:42.290] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah, simple is great. I have this talk all the time. Simple is great. Take it out of the box, put your content in it, get launched, give it a shot. If your users come back to you, because everyone has a different tribe, different group, but if your users come back to you with feedback that’s consistent, that encourages you to make changes, well, then you’re a hero. Because then you can make those changes based on the demands of your students, of your users, and then have a new version or a new whatever, and then you’re a hero. But to your point, jonathan, there’s no need to build all that stuff out in advance or build something super complicated. Just get it out, get it going, get some traffic, and start to feel those wins for yourself. Just like we said, you have to have wins and sense of accomplishment for your users. You, as a course creator, need to experience some wins along the way, too. And so give yourself those wins to keep yourself inspired and get that momentum.


[00:20:37.220] – Jonathan Denwood

Going right on to the next one. Identify your ideal clients and turn them into individual Persona. It’s a well known concept in marketing. I was in two minds about pointing this out because I’ve been horrendously bad at this. At WP tonic. I think I can defend myself, listeners and viewers, because I just haven’t found. It’s coming along a little bit. I discussed it with Kirk a couple of days ago about patents. I’ve just found the people that are using WP tonic are from such a diverse background, with such diverse requirements and needs, it’s been hard to identify a Persona. And what I mean, folks, is we said it’s best to aim at a pain rather than an environment. Build a minimum viable course. But if you need to structure your marketing and your position statement and all the other terms around online marketing which are effective and you do want to listen to them, I think there are some gurus out there that make it a bit more difficult than it needs. But that’s my position. But on the other hand, if it was easy, everybody would be successful, folks. But what I mean is, you want to name your ideal client.


[00:22:20.390] – Jonathan Denwood

Give them a name. Kathy. It’s called Kathy. Kathy wants to become a shoe chef. What are the paths that caffeine, what are the roadblocks caffeine will meet in becoming a soup chef? The more we can build who this caffeine is, this Persona, this artificial Persona, the more our content will be more niche at that group. If we just use general terms, we tend to go off subject. Is this making any sense? And am I explaining it reasonably coherent? Kurt, be gentle.


[00:23:08.180] – Kurt von Ahnen

Like yourself, I, too, really struggled with this part of marketing because you’ve heard my term before, this is all crystals and pyramids to like. I’m more like, let’s just get something done. But then this is more nuanced. And what I found was, if I don’t focus on Kathy. So the idea here, folks know Kathy’s going to be a sous chef. So Kathy might be a single mom. She drives a. She, you know, went to junior know. So you have this person in your mind, and that’s who we generate our marketing and our messaging towards. And by focusing on someone, we’re focused. And the idea there is that if you really nail the message to someone like Kathy, our make believe person, other people in that periphery will pick up that communication and come in anyway. But if we market broadly to the whole market, we really marketed to nobody because if we’re too general, nobody picks up the messaging.


[00:24:03.790] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, but I’m not saying it’s easy because I’m terrible at it. I really am awful at it because also, it sounds like stereotyping our hate, stat. We all do it. We all have unconscious biases. Conscious other people, they’re not too unconscious. They’re very conscious. And we don’t like people making assumptions about ourselves. But we are very easy to do it to other people. It’s just part of the human condition, folks. So I don’t really like the concept, but it actually is very effective. But it becomes much more easier if you nicheify. I think the reasons why I’ve struggled with it, and Kurt said he struggled, is that you don’t do the first point we pointed out in this discussion, find your niche. If you find a niche, an effective niche, it becomes really more easier to build this Persona. Is that making sense, Kurt?


[00:25:11.470] – Kurt von Ahnen

It is to me. I hope it’s making sense to the.


[00:25:13.460] – Jonathan Denwood

Listeners because I can waffle, can I? I think I’m getting better, actually. Remember, I think we touched on this more. Doesn’t make better. I’ve seen it. I don’t know why it is we find people that we’re consulting because obviously we provide great hosting or we provide all the tools that you need to build a great membership website, but we also engage in consultation and advice to people. I find people are very resistant, but it’s understandable. They really think the pilot high concept will provide value because they’re worried. But if you follow the steps that we’re outlining in this particular show, you don’t have to go down that path and it won’t work anyway. What do you reckon, Kurt?


[00:26:09.270] – Kurt von Ahnen

I think if we go back to that item where we said pain point or vitamin, the quicker, the more efficiently you can value your students time and fix that pain point, the more value the course actually has. So in some cases, a more short, more efficient, more direct course can sometimes hold more value than one that has a bunch of bells and whistles and extra things. It really depends on how efficiently you break that pain point or you add the value that your avatar is the name for your perfect person.


[00:26:47.170] – Jonathan Denwood

Can I give an example? I’ve just mentioned the course that I’ve done recently. I’ve two thirds through it. I’ve left the other third. I am going to finish it off. I’ve got to be honest. It’s over 20 hours. It could have been done in 10 hours. Less. The guy really knows what he’s talking about, but he doesn’t know how to construct a course. He also didn’t choose WordPress to do his course on, but I won’t hold that against him. But on the other hand, there is a lot of fluff. It’s down. I don’t think he really knows his subject, but he doesn’t know how to construct a course. Is that making sense?


[00:27:40.690] – Kurt von Ahnen

It does. I paid all the money to get John Maxwell certified. And while I love their content and their messaging and what they do, I got to tell you, Jonathan, their content was painful because the first half hour to 40 minutes of every presentation was them introducing somebody and patting each other on the back for 40 minutes before they got to the content. And a lot of students in my position were like, man, just take me to the bullet points, man. I’m here for the education, not for the social.


[00:28:09.690] – Jonathan Denwood

Right. I think we covered some great points. We’re halfway through the show. We got some other great insights and advice for you. I think this is one of our most important shows of the year, especially if you’re looking to build your first membership and you should do it, should go for it, folks. The reason for not going through it are there, folks? And if you’re looking for help, you can always contact me or Kurt. So we’re going to go for our break. We’ll be back with some great insights.


[00:28:42.070] – Speaker 5

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 kind of 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. Podcast 20. That’s podcast 20. Enjoy the rest of your show.


[00:29:19.410] – Jonathan Denwood

We’re coming back, folks. We’ve had a great discussion. Also want to point out if you’re looking to build your membership, your community website using buddy boss on WordPress, why don’t you look at what WP tonics got offer. We love you to become part of the tribe, part the family. We have clients all over the world, very diverse clients. We are there to support you. We offer a fantastic platform and a bundle unique in the WordPress space. Just go over, you’ll be blown away and book a quick chat with me. And I love to help you. So let’s go into number six.


[00:30:05.010] – Kurt von Ahnen

Oh, number five. Number five.


[00:30:08.370] – Jonathan Denwood

I think we covered that in the first or more. Remember, more doesn’t make. I think we covered that. So is six. Sorry. Okay. Developing the right content that will attract your ideal content, that’s more the marketing that’s really linked. That’s the front end, that’s the other side of this. It’s totally understandable. This is the other reason why you don’t want to build out war and peace. Because all your energy, all your focus gets consumed. Because you got a lot of balls. You got to work out quizzes the other bits and bobs the layout. That’s why I like lifter, because it’s pretty straightforward, right? But you still got the flexibility. As your experience builds, you’re not entrapped like some of the SaaS platforms, right? But all your concentration goes on the course content and the home page verbiage, the about us page, which is normally the second most page. People like writing a really engaging journey of the hero. Joseph Campbell’s book, which I read when I was a young man. It’s a terrible book to read. I’ve listened to it a couple of times. The concepts are really interesting. But he was a terrible writer.


[00:31:44.050] – Jonathan Denwood

Awful writer in my opinion. So I’ve listened to the book since I would never read it again. But the hero’s journey, so they love a really crafted have a video on your about us page so people can get a sense about who you are and a really nice crafted about us. People leave all this to the last minute because building a massive tear, getting the message that resonates. That’s why working out your painkiller, working out your Persona is so important, because the verbiage that induces them to buy your course. People leave it to the last minute because they’re being consumed about building war pizza. Is this making any sense, gert?


[00:32:41.820] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah. I can remember back in the day, Chris Badgett at lifter LMS, he would say, everyone, you have to have five hats. Everyone has five hats. And so there was the content creator. There was.


[00:32:53.370] – Jonathan Denwood

He’s got a whole library of hats.


[00:32:55.550] – Kurt von Ahnen

He’s got a whole library of hats. But, yeah, you had to be marketing, accounting, content creation, project management. You have all these titles as a course creator that you give yourself on a solo project. And that’s why sometimes it’s good to have a little bit of a team that you can delegate some stuff to. But having the right content, that will attract the ideal clients, streams to the avatar, to general marketing, all of that. To your point, Jonathan, the earlier you get that done and in the can, the more you can celebrate the win. In fact, an interesting thing to think about is if we change the order up a little bit, if you build the marketing stuff out in advance and you know your pain point and you know your avatar, build that in advance, pre sell the course. You can build the website, pre sell the course, and have the course actually hidden with an extended start date in the future, and you can start marketing and selling that course before the course is even done. And so, in a lot of cases, I think having the course is actually almost the last part.


[00:34:04.030] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I agree. I understand why people don’t want to do it because it puts them under pressure. Pressure to get it all done. Got to get it done because they’ve pre sold it. And people say, oh, I can’t pre sell it. I can’t do this, I can’t do that. It’s actually. You really want to listen to Kurt. But people are very resistant, and resistance. We’re all looking for things to achieve, things we tend to over. Don’t get me wrong, folks. External people that are trying to limit it or structures that are trying to limit us. But fundamentally, the real struggle is always with ourselves, and we don’t like, really to realize that. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s all about what goes on internally. It’s a balance. But most people tend to underestimate the internal struggle. Right. And that goes on to my number seven on this list. Be honest. If you were possibly a new student, would you see yourself as the expert? Let’s know yourself as know yourself. The hardest thing, I’m useless. I have no conception, my conception about how other people see me in the WordPress community or in general, has always been adrift.


[00:35:44.830] – Jonathan Denwood

Maybe I’ve been harsh because maybe we all struggle with that to some extent. I think I’ve got some good intellectual concepts, but actually knowing how I’m seen by others, I’ve always been very weak on. I don’t actually know what that’s about. Maybe because I’m bonkers, folks. But you really got to be honest. You’re messaging on your website. Are you building out that you actually really do? Because all this other stuff we discussed, they are putting their money to you and they’re putting their trust to you because are you positioning yourself online? All the other stuff that you are the expert and you don’t have to be the grand master, don’t get me wrong. But on the other end, you got to show you that you got some knowledge of the subject. What do you reckon? Am I waffling, Kurt?


[00:36:50.430] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, I’m going to save you from the waffling, Jonathan, because the question’s right on point. You have to be honest with yourself. Now, don’t that imposter syndrome where I’m not good enough, I’m not good enough. I’m not saying that.


[00:37:02.150] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, that’s the other side, isn’t it?


[00:37:06.070] – Kurt von Ahnen

But I mentioned the long game earlier, and this was all part of that long game. What activities outside of your own course and your own website are you taking to lend yourself as an expert within this niche? And so have you appeared on any podcasts? Do you have any guest posts on any other websites? Have you been working in a Facebook group with a lot of members, answering a lot of questions and putting yourself in the expert’s role? These are all things that will help drive people to your product as the expert, because you’ve done the work, because you’ve played the long game and you’ve exhibited yourself as a knowledgeable person. I’ll just be transparent here on this podcast with you, Jonathan. Between working with you and working with lifter LMS and having my own podcast and interviewing experts and business owners from around the world, I think that’s what has driven a lot of people to my recent projects and to my agency for work is because you do the work, you do the exposure, you put yourself out there. And then people go, well, crap, I want to hire an expert. I’m going to hire this Kurt guy because my face is everywhere now.


[00:38:18.270] – Kurt von Ahnen

But I think you have to put yourself out there.


[00:38:21.080] – Jonathan Denwood

It’s a beautiful face, Kurt.


[00:38:22.940] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, thank you, sir.


[00:38:24.150] – Jonathan Denwood

There you go. I’m such a dick. Marketing plan that keeps address. Yeah, this came. I was listening to somebody online, and I agree. She’s highly successful. Her spill is you don’t need an audience if you follow what we teach you. She got attraction by building a very successful YouTube channel that drove most of her traffic to her website. She also does a lot of paid advertising. I don’t hold it. I think if you’ve got the budget and you really don’t want to spend the time, you got to be realistic. Paid advertising, especially on Facebook and Instagram, can be very effective. Also, paid advertising on YouTube can be effective, but especially Facebook and Instagram. But I don’t dismiss what she was saying at all. Audience in some ways, because I think it’s a hybrid scenario. I think if you do the things we’ve said, build your authority. I think it’s authority. I was going to use the word influencer, but that’s become so disparaged, in some ways despised, that I’m a bit wary about using it. But we are influenced by our parents, by our teachers, by our community leaders. Unfortunately, we’re influenced by our political leaders.


[00:40:14.390] – Jonathan Denwood

We definitely don’t want to be influenced by any of that lot. Okay, there, that right. I just couldn’t resist it because it is dismal, isn’t it? Listeners and viewers. But we are influenced by everybody, by people listening. I’m influencing you through this podcast, or if you’re watching it, and you should be watching it on the WP Tonic YouTube channel, folks, and subscribe to it, because we’ve got tons of extra resources on that channel for you. If you’re looking to build a membership website, I’ve been busy putting videos up on the YouTube. Oh, my God. So get back. I’m waffling. Get back to what she was saying so she know, don’t rely on your close knit community. You’re going to have to be cold selling in the end. And in a way, she’s right. I think you can rely on your tribe in your community to get going. But if you haven’t got a lead generative engine or if you haven’t got lead magnets, it’s one of the areas that I’m discussing with Kirk about offering. I’ve written a ton of articles on the WP Tonic website. I’ve been knocking them out left, right and center and loads of content on the YouTube channel.


[00:41:43.010] – Jonathan Denwood

And I’ve got some great extra free resources on the website, but we need to add a bit more. So it’s the next step up before people decide and they should decide to sign up for WP Tonic. I think she is partly right. You can’t rely totally on this close niche. You can utilize that as a resource and get the wheel rolling. But then, Barney LFN, I think the only thing I would criticize her on, folks, is that you’ve got to get traffic to your website or to your YouTube. Without traffic, none of this will work. Only the tight niche will. So I think I’m waffling now, but hopefully you can see where I’m going with this. Kirk, what’s your take on it?


[00:42:41.990] – Kurt von Ahnen

To your point, if you build your niche properly and it’s attractive enough, if you niche down right and you’re focused, you will get some traffic, because the nature of having a niche drives it there, right? Whereas if you’re more general, you’re just awash in this big sea of nonsense. But you have to have a better long term plan for marketing something. It’s a phrase that I hear a lot called land and expand, right? So if you have some success within your niche, you still want to be able to expand that market. And that’s what that long term marketing plan should help you do. And then as it grows, the next thing on the list was building social proof. So as it grows, get those testimonials, get a video testimonial, get something from your users that is not your voice saying how wonderful you are, but it’s someone else’s voice saying how wonderful you are. If someone says a nice thing about you on X.com, you want to screen share that and put it on every platform.


[00:43:41.370] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, that never happened to me, will it? But I’ve been terrible about this. I’ve got a couple old refer testimonials on the WP tonic website, but it’s another area in 204 that maybe I’m looking at a slight moving the WP tonic into cadence because I just love cadence. And I might take the opportunity to have more areas where I have more testimonials laid because it’s an area that I’ve failed upon because there’s so many balls. So I’m considering because I do think it is important. Do you think on your properties that you’ve done enough to get testimonials and other things because I’ve been dismal about it, to be truthful.


[00:44:29.130] – Kurt von Ahnen

It’s one of those things I’ve really lacked on. And it’s something that I made part of my focus for 23 and that was as a public speaker, if I do a speaking event, I make sure I get a picture from the event. And I didn’t used to do that. I used to just go do the event and go home and pat myself on the back. But now it’s like, wait a minute, I have to record, I have to come out of there with some kind of an asset to show the 500 potential clients of the future that that’s what I do. And so having that social proof is important. And then not to muddy the waters too much on this conversation, but there are social proof tools out there that are a little more integrated or dynamic. So if you have a fair amount of traffic in your website, maybe you activate something in your CRM or an automation tool. That’s like someone looks at a product and then it says, bobby bought this product 30 seconds ago and that pops up and goes across the screen. And as we say that everyone’s starting to now go, oh, I saw that on Amazon, or I saw that when I was shopping on whatever.


[00:45:34.250] – Kurt von Ahnen

And that’s like, yeah, it’s there because that stuff works. And so as your business grows, these are things that you want to have front of mind.


[00:45:43.630] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah. The last point, folks, is using paid online marketing. I’ve used because I just didn’t have the budget, folks, or I say I probably might consider. I think I’m getting to the stage with WP tonic where I might consider some paid marketing. You’ve got to be very resistant. You’ve got to be very cagey about this because unless you get your organic spot on your messaging, all the things that we have pointed out, you will be wasting your money on paid advertising. That’s why getting your niche, finding your pain point, that you’re going to help with building your Persona, getting your verbiage on your website, getting the call sorted out. Lot of balls, isn’t there, folks? Unless you getting your social roof sorted out, getting a decent landing page, the verbiage, blah blah blah. Unless you get all these wins, spot on, you’re just going to be throwing your money away because all that paid advertising is you’re putting gasoline on the fire. We got to have the fire first. This is my take on it. But it does work if you got all the other factors, because I know I haven’t named a nor will I because I do agree with some of.


[00:47:17.470] – Jonathan Denwood

I’m going to say something slightly controversial here, folks. Surprise, surprise. This particular woman, I’ve been tracking a lot of her stuff, a lot of her marketing comes from Tony Robinson. It’s the about us page. The About Us video is the hero journey. My struggle. I was in the depths of despair. Then I managed to Bootstrap. There’s a lot of online influencers that follow, and then there’s the trip wire lead magnet, and then there’s the secondary trip wire at a lower price, which then there’s the follow up call, the text message, and then to fill in to see if you’ve got the financial resources for the final pitch, which is a very expensive engagement with her and her team. And there’s nothing wrong with it. But I just find Tony Robinson and the digital marketers that follow his roadmap. I just find it a bit sniffy, little bit distasteful in a way. But maybe I need to change my attitude because some of these people are highly successful, but I want to achieve some success even if it means being slightly less successful in a more straightforward and honest way. That’s just my feeling. But paid marketing.


[00:49:03.390] – Jonathan Denwood

I went to her website. I’ve been finding she’s very big on YouTube. I went to her website soon as I went to her website, as soon as I went to Facebook, there was advertisement. So they used you utilizing retargeting, which is a more cost effective way of utilizing Facebook marketing because it can reduce the cost by about half. Obviously you’ve got to get them to the website. That’s the problem with retargeting on Facebook. You got to get them to the website and they’re tracking pixel. And so if you haven’t got a lot of traffic, obviously retargeting, but paid advertisement, do not dismiss it. It does have a strong place in all of this and how the big, she talks about organic YouTube and it was the way that got her initially in front of a lot of people. And then she’s built out website. Unfortunately, she’s not utilizing WordPress. I will forgive her. I think one of her properties, she is one of the better ones. She’s using clickfunnel for her main landing page, which is extremely expensive and becoming a little bit dated platform, in my opinion. You can do that at one fifth the cost on WordPress there.


[00:50:32.570] – Jonathan Denwood

But the one thing I find a little bit disparaging with her position, and there’s a lot like her, is that they’re utilizing paid advertising a great deal. I think I’ve waffled on a little bit, but hopefully. What do you think? Can you sense why I put all this together?


[00:50:57.590] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah, I can sense why you do it, but I’m going to tell you, this is one of the things that I’m probably going to communicate differently, Jonathan. And that is, if the target audience of this particular podcast episode is new people to course creation, I’m going to do everything I can to steer you towards bootstrapping and not paid advertising. There are these stories that Jonathan’s describing, these digital marketers that have figured out the cash register of paid advertising. Like, I pay $10 in ads and I get $50 in sign ups. So now I’m going to put $20,000 on ads and I’m going to have $100,000 in sign ups and they act like they know this is going to happen.


[00:51:38.430] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, I’m not expert on Facebook, but I know a bit more about it from my other business, and I’ve run a few Facebook campaigns for other people.


[00:51:51.810] – Kurt von Ahnen

You’ve got to have the right conversion percentages in your own organic marketing.


[00:51:56.010] – Jonathan Denwood

You’ve got to have everything right to get anything out of it.


[00:51:59.140] – Kurt von Ahnen

Yeah, if you look at the stats for your website and you’ve got a high bounce rate, and you’re only converting one out of every thousand visitors to your site, paying to get more visitors to your website if you’re getting less than 1%, conversion is just throwing your money out the window. You got to make sure that your content and your conversion rate makes enough sense that if you paid to have people go look at it, enough, people would sign up.


[00:52:27.470] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I think I’ve waffled a bit. You’ve been a bit more precise. I’ve not been too bad for me because I can really go off. I’ve kept it focused, but I think it’s been a fab show because it’s been a little bit different. We’re still going to look at the technology side, folks, but we’re also going to look at the marketing side a little bit more in 204 because it is in book. I think what Kirk has done so great about his ending statement is if you don’t find a niche, if you don’t work out your Persona, if you don’t work out your verbiage, none of the other more sophisticated things that we’ve touched upon in the second half are going to work out for you. Hasn’t worked out for me, folks. It hasn’t worked out for Kurt. We have learned the hard way. We’re just giving you the advantage because we are trying to teach you. I’m starting to build a reasonable niche, I think, and I think Kirk’s doing reasoning well, but we had to go through a lot of pain. So this podcast and what we’re saying to you, we’re trying to help you so you don’t have to go through so much pain that we have, bless our hearts.

[00:53:51.060] – Jonathan Denwood

But we do want the best for you, right? We’re going to wrap it up, folks. So, Kirk, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you and your knowledge, which you have so clearly demonstrated in this show, which I haven’t.

[00:54:06.030] – Kurt von Ahnen

The best way to reach me, on a personal note is through LinkedIn. I’m the only Kurd Vonana on LinkedIn. So when you find me, you know you got me. And then business wise, anything that’s Nomas leads to me. So the manana nomas.com is our agency’s website and we have a podcast under the same name on Spotify, Apple, iTunes and all that other stuff.

[00:54:26.870] – Jonathan Denwood

I’ve been quite cheerful the end of.

[00:54:28.810] – Kurt von Ahnen

This year, I think, and I’m just throwing this out there. Jonathan, I’m going to forecast you and I’ve got no other reason to be other than joyful. It’s been a good year. We’ve worked really well together. Your offer on WP tonic is tremendous and it’s picking up speed. And then my agency is growing too. Ever since moving to Kansas and lowering overhead, it’s been a blessing. This whole end of the year has been great.

[00:54:54.190] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I’m just thankful I’m alive because I’ve faced my possibility of some major health. So getting to the end of 203 has been quite an achievement. I’m quite happy that I’m still around folks. I’m not going to go into the gruesome detail, but I’ll keep that to myself. But I’m just thankful and that I feel quite well and I just want to wish you, listeners and viewers a really happy Christmas and new year. Hopefully you’re listening to this in the Christmas week and New Year week, and hopefully we love some feedback from you about subjects that you would like. The best way to do that is to join the wptonic YouTube. Subscribe to that channel. I have a load of extra content focused in helping you build a great membership website in 204. It’s a totally free resource. Please join us there and leave comments. You’ll find all these shows, my other podcasts, plus all the extra videos and content on the YouTube channel please join it and give us feedback about what you like, what you don’t like. I would love that. Like I say, I really wish you a happy Christmas new year.

[00:56:08.660] – Jonathan Denwood

We’ll see you in the new year. Bye.

[00:56:11.970] – Speaker 2

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