We Interview Sean Cannell

We Interview Sean How To Use YouTube To Market Your Course or Online Education Business

I got to say I was really impress with Sean, see over the past 3 + years of doing the WP-Tonic show I must have done over 150 interviews and Sean is one of the most polish interviews I’ve had on the show. Also in the bonus content of the show which you can see by watching the video of our interview you will see a different side of Sean where he talks about some dark times connected to his road to YouTube domination.

Sean Cannell is a YouTuber, international speaker, and coach that helps entrepreneurs build their influence and income with online video.

Sean’s YouTube channels have over 700,000 subscribers, his videos have been viewed over 43 million times and he has been featured in the “20 Must Watch YouTube Channels That Will Change Your Business” by Forbes.

Check out new weekly content that will help you grow your influence with online video on Think Media and Video Influencers!

https://www.seancannell.com/

WP Fusion

You can get 25% WP Fusion by using this coupon code WPTONIC

Jonathan: Welcome back folks to the WP-Tonic Show. This is episode 337 and to say that I’m excited with our guest would be an understatement. I’m a bit of a fanboy. It’s one of the pleasures of this show folks after you’ve done so many episodes and you’ve got a bit of credibility, you get great guests and I’ve got Sean Cannell on the show. Sean, would you like to introduce yourself?

Sean: Yes. I’m so excited to be here. My passion is helping people build their influence, income, and impact with online video. Any platform at all. We’re on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter. Video is really everywhere. Facebook. But then, of course, YouTube and just came out with a new book, YouTube Secrets.

And that’s I think that’s important especially if you’ve got a course and membership site. Eventually, you’re going to get people into your community, but you’ve got to sometimes get awareness and I think that there’s so much opportunity for everybody listening right now to generate awareness if you will, get more leads, get more customers and really make a greater impact and so I’m excited to be on the show today. Thanks for having me.

Jonathan: Such an impressive intro. Cindy, my great co-host, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?

Cindy: Thanks, Jonathan. Hi Sean. Thanks for coming and joining us today. Everyone, I’m from TheCourseWhisperer.com where I help entrepreneurs who want to put the online courses together and create something great so I can always help them through that process.

Jonathan: That’s great. And before we go into the main part of the interviewer folks, I just want to quickly mention one of our great sponsors and that’s WP Fusion. And what is WP Fusion? Well, in your techno stack, obviously, you’ve got WordPress, but then you should have a CRM like ActiveCampaign or Drip. But what WP Fusion does, it puts those two keys parts of your techno stack on steroids, especially if you’ve got a membership website or e-commerce website and it enables you just to do the most amazing intelligence about who’s coming to your website and you can set up automatic Drip campaigns, text messaging.

It just puts everything on steroids. Now, if that sounds interesting, then I suggest that you do go to the WP Fusion website and find out more. They’ve given us an exclusive offer which is 25 percent and they don’t offer that to anybody else, only to you my beloved WP-Tonic viewers and listeners. So, if you use the coupon code WPTONIC, all uppercase, and you go to their website and buy any of those packages, you’ll get 25 percent off. And I think Sean’s already going to the website as we speak to get his discount. So, there we go. Can’t help it, can you? Oh, it’s a great offer if you’re using WordPress and you should be. I suggest you do that actually. So, let’s start the conversation. How to the start the conversation? We’re about WordPress and membership websites. The big question me and Cindy get is how do we get more people to our website and how do we build community and I think a major part of that in 2018 is video and you’re the expert. If you were thinking about starting a membership site, how would video be in your plans?

Sean: Yeah. I love that question and I think that if I was to start from scratch today and I had a goal of eventually selling an online course, having a membership site, I would try to go as many steps back and think about the path, I think a lot of people call it the customer journey, of what would take you eventually to that final destination. One of the most famous personal development books of all time is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and one of those habits is begin with the end in mind. So, you want to begin potentially with that individual who you love, you want to help, there’s that result you want to get from them and they’ve already invested money with you and they’re inside of your course, they’re inside of your membership site, but what are the steps that it took to get there? And of course, there’s a lot of steps that we could work backwards from, but one of those first steps would be awareness.

They would have to actually know who you are and discover you in the first place so that they could eventually maybe get to know you a little bit better and then finally make it to that final destination or at least that goal of joining your programs. So, for me, YouTube would absolutely be the platform I would focus on and here’s why. YouTube is really different than the other social media platforms because it’s a search engine and a lot of people have said this, but it’s the second largest search engine in the world, which means people go to Google first and second, they go to YouTube to say, “How do I save money on my taxes?” or to say, “How do I lose weight?” or to say, “How do I work on my mindset?” whatever it is. Whether you’re a life coach, whether you help somebody with financial problems or relationship problems or if you help somebody put together a potato gun or you’re creative or learn how to program some software or learn how to use some software.

Whatever it is, YouTube is a search engine and that single fact is actually how I’ve built up my various channels and brands to now over a million subscribers across my various channels because I’ve always started with what is my target audience searching for and I think a power tip here is that a lot of us of have what you probably teach on and that’s the curse of knowledge.

The curse of knowledge is you assume everybody else kind of knows what you know and you also assume that your knowledge isn’t value, but for everybody listening, your knowledge is a lot valuable than you even realize, a lot more valuable. Your knowledge is something that you’ve geeked out on. So, you’ve studied it, you’ve read the blogs, you’ve probably watched the videos, you’ve gone through the process. And then, the curse of knowledge is like, yeah, but would anybody find this valuable? And I think we have a lot of misconceptions about that starting point and so what I’ve learned is that sometimes people, they actually don’t start early enough with questions. Like the question could be, how to use WordPress, but that’s very down the road. Somebody initially might even be like, “Well, how do you even create a course?”

or, “How do you create a membership site?” But that’s way down the road even knowing what that is. Even before that, it could be something as simple as how do you make money online or what are some side hustles that you could do to make money during the Summer. So, I guess what I’m trying to get at is that we really want to understand the psychology and the customer journey of our target audience and we want to meet them and those various points in their journey, eventually realizing that step by step, brick by brick, they might come to a place where now they’re like, “Okay. I do want to join the course. I want to join the program.” There’s so many steps in between.

Jonathan: Yeah. I just love it. I think just to paraphrase, I think what you’re trying to say is you want to become the voice, the expert in their journey, so when they’re at different stages, you’re one of the leading resources that they turn to. Is that what you’re trying to say?

Sean: Absolutely. And what I love about search traffic is it’s even different, there’s a lot of ways you could reach new people, paid traffic, you could do Facebook ads, you could do all kinds of different things, you could collaborate with somebody. The power of search traffic is kind of based on the quote, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Search traffic is not interruptive. A lot of Facebook Marketing is actually interruption marketing and Seth Godin talked about that years ago. It can work, but somebody wasn’t thinking about you, you’re just boom, you’re showing up in their news feed. The power of search traffic is someone goes to YouTube and they’ve got a problem, they’ve got a pain point. For everybody listening, write down the problems and pain points your target audience has at different stages too. Maybe it’s too complex. You’ve got to simplify them. So, now that individual types that in and you show up on the other side of search like, “Hey. I’m here to help.”

But they came to you. So, if we were to take this offline, you could think about going door to door to try to market a product or a service. It’s very interruption, right? Somebody knocks on your door, you’re like, “Why are you interrupting my day? You’re trying to sell me something.” This is almost like someone coming to your door, like knocking on your door and saying like, “Hey. Do you have a product, a service, a solution to help me?” Because when that person’s in that moment of asking a question, asking an inquiry, they type that in and if you do it right, now your video shows up on the other side of search. So, what I’ve learned, is that I’ve tried to put as many videos, individual videos on the other side of those search inquiries of my target audience and so then, at the moment where they’re like, “Well, what’s the camera for YouTube?” There’s my video and so they can then meet me and I didn’t come to them. I didn’t push anything. They came to me looking for that.

And they’re like, “Wow. This is helpful.” It’s even creating more questions than we think about the customer journey. So we’ve learned what’s the best camera for YouTube. But then they might be like, “Well, shoot. You let me know that I also need lighting. Okay. So, what’s the best lighting? Okay. Well, now, I’ve got a camera and lighting. Well, how do you actually get views on YouTube? Okay. So, there’s another thing. How do you actually put your channel art together?”

It’s like this funnel. It’s just so many different things that they can begin learning about and I think an important thing here has been taught by a lot of people in our space which is really getting free content up front or RIA, getting people Result In Advance. Just as they meet you, you’re helping them and you’re building that relationship, so then they can go to the next stage. Like, “Hey. If you enjoyed this, you might want to check out a longer training that I have.” And then, if they enjoyed that, “But then, maybe you want to join our membership community.” And it all kind of comes back to I think understanding the customer journey and really getting deep into the psychology of your target audience and the various stages and pain points they would experience along the way and then just helping people on that journey.

Jonathan: That’s great. Over to you Cindy.
Cindy: I think you answered one of the questions I was going to ask you because often people are concerned that they’re going to be giving away too much information, that people won’t want to take their course because they’ve already given everything away for free. What do you say to those people that have that reservation about how much information do I actually share prior to getting access to my course?

Sean: Yeah. A couple of opportunities I think you have. I think one of the things you could do, again, if you were to start with the end in mind, your course should be, in my opinion, it should be all of the information they need step by step, easy to follow and it’s the right ingredients in the right order and it’s comprehensive. So, if that’s your final course, even if you were to map that out first before you started creating your videos, which I don’t necessarily think has to be everybody’s path, but if you were to do that, your fear is, “Well, if I give away free information, they won’t need the course.” But what I’ve learned is then what you can do over here on social media, LinkedIn, your blog, whatever you want to do, is you can give away pieces of the courses, but what you’re not actually giving away is all of the right ingredients.

And it also makes sense because for me, one of our courses, Video Ranking Academy, it takes almost 2 days to go through it. And so, to upload 2 days worth of content onto YouTube would just be so much and to be honest, it actually probably wouldn’t even be consumed because I think people undervalue free. They really do. And I think that that can be a mindset block like, “Will people pay for this?” But half of the reason we need to charge for really good information is because the transformation is also in the transaction. When people put skin in the game, when people actually step, they get better results themselves because I know you and myself included, haven’t we all downloaded e-books, PDFs, free videos that we never even opened because they were free. But if we’ve ever stepped up, did our credit card, type that in, if we put some skin in the game, that puts more value and more responsibility on us.

But anyway, I think when you break down pieces or the puzzle, pieces of the pie and it’s not even like you’re withholding, it’s just the fact that something like a YouTube or LinkedIn video is more conducive to a 3 minute video and an 8 minute video, just a piece where someone can say, “Wow. You’re good for it. You’ve got the answers. I see you can help me. I’m interested. I want to go deeper.” And you can add value. It’s kind of like letting someone test drive the car as well. It’s letting somebody sample the coffee or sample the beverage at the restaurant and then you’re like, “Wow. I want that. Give me the whole thing man. That tastes delicious.” So you kind of are giving out those samples, you’re adding free value.

But the one other thing I would say is that personally, I am okay with this fact. I actually believe that if somebody wanted to learn everything I know, they could study my body work and get it all for free. Meaning, they could listen to this podcast, dig into my oldest video, read every email, newsletter, go through every social media post. The problem though it’s social media. We’re just pumping it out so it’s kind of disorganized. It’s whatever. So, for some people, I’m okay with the fact that if you’ve got that much time on your hands and that much drive and that much diligence, you may never do business with me and that’s great. But of course, we know that there are people and I’m the same way, I want the shortcut. I want you to give me the right steps, in the right order without the intro on there every time. Show me how to do it, step by step, break it all down. So I think what’s exciting about the world we’re living in is that for everybody listening you can serve kind of two group of people.

Guess what? Some people will never pay for your course. Some people will never join the membership site. To be honest, some people will download pirated versions of your course depending on how big your brand gets. You were never going to reach those people in the first place in the sense of they maybe never would have done business with you. But I actually even find it somewhat flattering that someone would even consume my content and so that’s one group of people. But then there’s this whole other group of people that they’re smart, to be honest, in my opinion. Just like you do anything else before trying to navigate through a treacherous jungle, you would buy a map. Before trying to climb Mount Everest, you don’t go alone, you hire a guide, you pay for a map, you learn from the people who have gone that way before that also help you skip all the pitfalls, avoid all the challenges. So if someone goes the free road of just free content online, it’s going to be a slow road. You could get there, but it might take them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 years of just trying to piece everything together.

Then your course is like, “Look, this is the shortcut. It’s the fast track. It’s everything you need to know, do it in the right order and it’s going to save you years of the mistakes I’ve made, the pitfalls I’ve done.” And so, you choose and actually, at the end of like webinar, which is where we would sell a lot of our courses, I like people know that. I’m like, “Look, you could go this other way. It’ll be more painful. It’ll be longer. It’ll actually probably be more expensive because your time is so valuable. But look, you might not even have, I’m thinking you might be 16, all you have is time and if you don’t want to play video games, you just want to watch content all night, great.” You’re serving that individual. There’s so many people that are going to say, “Yes. Give me the shortcut.” And I think that’s a misconception entrepreneurs have. But once you go all in with that, like you’ll be surprised. There are a lot of people who will want your content, your course, and your membership site.

Jonathan: Oh, that’s great. We’re going to go for our break. We’ll be back and we’ll be going through all this interesting stuff with Sean. Be back in a few moments folks.

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Jonathan: We’re coming back. We’ve got the master of YouTube with us. So, would you actually boost some of your videos and give Google some more money? They don’t exactly need it, do they? But would you actually and they’ve done some big changes to AdWords when it comes to YouTube lately. They’ve changed the interface. They’ve been changing the editor. But would you cough up some money and boost some of your videos if you’re trying to get more subscribers really?

Sean: So, there’s really two points I would have here. The first one is actually, it’s going to be a contradiction too because the answer is yes and no. So the first one is actually no and here’s why. I think that paid traffic, in my opinion, is best used as gasoline on a fire that’s already burning. And so, some people think, “Well, paid traffic could be a good way for me to get exposure.”

But I actually think that it’s important to prove your content, to prove its impact, to prove that people care without paid traffic first and then paid traffic can be an accelerant. But even saying that, most of where we spend money on ads, whether that’s Facebook ads, YouTube ads, Google AdWords, we mostly do it if it’s leading to something that actually is for sale at the end because paid ads give you an awesome opportunity to track ROI. You can track the entire thing to see if it’s profitable or not and it makes most sense if you can invest $1 and get $1.50 out or get $2.00 out.

When you build that sequence, it also does provide organic growth because you are getting in front of new people, but you’re also getting in front of new people in a profitable way because there’s actually a business model associated and you’ve kind of connected the dots. What I’ve learned is that most ads spent for us on YouTube or Facebook just to get views, just to get subscribers have either A, led to some subscribers, but they been that active, they haven’t been that bought in. Because to be honest, that is a little bit of interruption marketing, it is. It’s like, “I wasn’t looking for this, but now you’re just pushing it on me.” So, it’s kind of no. I would say build organically your subscribers by putting out valuable content, by collaborating, by putting out SEO search based videos and really adding value. But the second thing is there are a couple ways to do it and if you’re going to go on YouTube and do some paid traffic, I would say focus only on display ads which would not be the in-stream ads. So, in-stream ads, you can choose to skip it or not. So an in-stream ad would be best if you want to invite somebody to a free webinar or to download something free and that’s going to lead to some sort of a sale later because you can track ROI and if it’s profitable, you can scale it.

Whereas the display ads, they can show up right at the top of search. You basically can buy your way into that first search spot just like you can on Google itself in the ad section. And also, over on the side, you can have a display ad where the suggested video are. So, if you’ve got a strong title, polarizing maybe, very interesting, creates curiosity, you’ve got a strong thumbnail of a topic that is a little bit broad and something that could reach your target audience but really get people to click through as they look over there like, “What’s that about?” And they click through. We’ve seen and some of our peers and people we work with have seen success of getting organic growth if you will or just subscriber growth, viewership growth from doing display ads.

And what can happen is it’s a combination because you’re paying for that ad to show up in suggest videos. But as it gets more views, more likes, more watch time, more engagement, it also takes on a life of its own and on YouTube minutes matter most. It’s not subscribers or views that YouTube cares about the most. It’s actually video consumption. They tell you your watch time. How many minutes were watched on your channel. So if that content’s interesting and people are watching it, you actually get a lot of free promotion. You can start showing up in suggested videos on YouTube and display ads are a way to if you will prime a video, get it out there a little bit. And still, it would be gasoline on one of your videos or a piece of content you create that’s already good, it’s already resonating a little bit, you’ve already got some feedback, you’ve already maybe got some organic comments and you see like people are enjoying this or it’s a really good conversation starter and now we’re going to scale that by doing paid ads.

Jonathan: That’s great. Cindy.
Cindy: That’s so good to hear in terms of getting your perspective on that. So, here’s another challenge that I face with the clients that I work with. So, they have this idea, okay, they’re ready. They want to take a YouTube channel to promote themselves. They want to have video as part of their courses, but they’re nervous about being on camera. So from somebody like you, what is your advice around people who have reservations about being on camera and what are some things that people can do to be more natural or maybe convey who they are better on camera?

Sean: Number one. You really do just have to do it. Nike said it, Just do it. And I think it’s funny because I know that they say public speaking which is similar to being on camera or the same thing is one of the greatest fears that people face, period. And so, the reality is though, anything you do for the first time is usually scary and you’re usually not very good at it the first time. So, your first videos are going to be your worst videos. You just have to accept that fact. Mine were. I don’t want anybody to see the first videos I made. They were terrible. Over time, people say how, “You’re confident on camera. You communicate well.” It’s because I’ve been doing it since 2003 and I’ve been doing it a lot. You’d probably be more confident than me if you’ve uploaded as many videos, if you’ve done it as much as me. So, initially, you just have to resolve to punch fear in the face, punch perfectionism in the face and press record. Now, number two. Practically, I think one of the best ways to do this comes from the example of actually the Chief Operation Officer of Think Media. She’s been on our team for 3 years. Her name’s Heather. She’s a home-school Mom. She’s an incredible marketer. She’s a clarity coach. Three years ago though, she’d never been on video and we actually met on Twitter and one of the reasons she wanted to work together was she wanted to learn this video thing. She’s terrified of video, she didn’t have the confidence to be on video and now, in addition to what she does with Think Media, she has a home-school channel called the home-school House, over 10,000 subscribers. She’s working on her course to help beginner home-school Moms get going and things are going really well for her. But here’s what she did and I would encourage listeners to use stories. At the time she used Snapchat, which are video stories, 10 seconds each. Now, we have Instagram stories, 15 seconds each. And so, what she committed to, she’d never been on camera, totally terrified, she committed to 6 months of daily uploads on her Snapchat and here’s what she would do.

The reason they call them stories is because they need to be a story. They should have a beginning, a middle and an end. So, she would typically do three Snapchat stories and again, you could do this on Instagram or Snapchat or even just anywhere. You could just record it on your phone. So she would record one. She’d hold her phone up and say, “Hey, Heather here. Today, I’m going to be talking about the three biggest mistakes new home-school Moms make.”

Finish that, record the second one and she would do that second one, that third one. And by the way, on Snapchat you can play it back before you post it. She’d be like, “I hated that one. Delete.” She might have been doing it 30 times the first day. The second one, she’s like, “Ahh. I said that weird.” She deleted it. What was she doing? She was practicing. She was just showing up, getting used to it. Day 1, terrible. Week number 2, she still hates her voice, doesn’t feel confident. Month number 2, she’ still, “I’m kind of getting the grove for it.” But she just kept showing up and here was the goal. She wasn’t trying to get Snapchat followers. In fact, she didn’t want anyone to be watching. But what she was doing was she was practicing in public and she was committed to the process of learning and growing and just getting more confident on camera, discovering her voice and she did this for 6 months. Then, she posted her first YouTube video. Now, she had been working with us so she’d gone through some of our course so she came out of the gate as if like an overnight success. Her first YouTube video did really great. It was ranking in search, so she’s getting traffic and she’s growing her channel. And people could have said, “Wow. You just came out of nowhere.” You know what I mean? “You were born with it.” But under the surface, that was not the case at all. She had gone through 6 months of practicing, getting through that uncomfortable stage and then eventually, when she shot a longer YouTube video, that confidence was there.

So for everybody listening, I know you’re scared and I know you might have that deer in the headlights look, but you have to commit to just doing it over and over. It could be setting up your phone on a pile of shoe boxes or a little tripod from Amazon, hitting record and committing to record a video every single day. And guess what? You don’t even have to post it. But watch it back and you might be cringing at yourself. That’s fine. We all grew up with answering machines. You remember our answering machines from our landlines? Maybe you left an answering machine for a family member, you left a message, but you beat them home, so then you played it back and then, you were like, “Do I really sound like that?” And then people would be like, “Yeah. That’s how you sound.” You’re like, “Ahhh. I hate my voice.”

You’ve just got to get through all that awkward season, but I really believe that you have to commit to the process of repetition. Just like anything else. The first time you do anything is the worse time you do anything. But over time, your confidence will grow and video is so important for every entrepreneur listening that I encourage you to bite the bullet today. Start that practice process today because it might take you 6 months to really feel confident, but you will then be positioned to dominate your industry, add value to your customers, grow your brand and leverage, I believe, the most powerful content format on the Internet, online video. And then when people are stunned by how confident you are, you’ll be like, “You don’t know how I was practicing in the background. Man, I’ve been shooting these videos and I’ve had 6 months of some stuff I never want anybody to see, but now I’m ready to go public with this.”

Jonathan: That’s great. We’re going to wrap it up for the podcast part of the show folks. Hopefully, Sean’s going to agree to stay on for another 5, 10 minutes and give us some bonus content which you’ll be able to see on the WP-Tonic website and YouTube channel. Sean, first of all, how can people get a hold of you and learn more about what you’re up to and what your team’s up to?

Sean: So, if anybody needs anything at all, seancannell.com, that’s s – e – a – n – c – a – n – n – e – l – l.com and we have our various YouTube channels, a lot of free content on Think Media about helping people with cameras, what lighting, but guess what? Your smartphone is all you need. You have enough to get started. We do recommend a few accessories. Maybe a plug-in mic, a little bit of lighting, things like that. So that’s all on our website and Think Media. And then, we also have a weekly interview show called Video Influencers. I started that channel with the co-founder of Video Influencers and we recently wrote a book called YouTube Secrets and so that’s out now and that’s also at tubesecretsbook.com, t – u – b – e secretsbook.com and a great resource for people who really want to leverage YouTube which is by far the dominant video platform on the Internet right now. Incredibly healthy, 1.9 billion monthly active users logged in with a Gmail account, expanding the YouTube TV, continuing to innovate and update their platform, very healthy, mobile, smart TVs, desktops. YouTube is doing great and a lot of people need to be leveraging the power of YouTube to get more traffic and awareness to their content and their courses. So that’s YouTube Secrets. Amazon, all around the world, Australia, Mexico, all the different Amazons. You can pick up either the physical or the digital book and the audiobook also comes out in November of 2018.

Jonathan: That’s great. And Cindy, how do people get a hold of you and learn more about what you’re up to?

Cindy: Well, if people are looking to create a course and need a little help around how to put it all together and how to avoid that curse of knowledge that Sean was talking about, they can come to TheCourseWhispherer.com and shoot me a line.

Jonathan: Yeah. And if you’re looking for help with WordPress, your membership site, a Learning Management System, my passion is helping entrepreneurs and education in general. That’s what really gives me a buzz, helping people who want to educate and build a great online business. So if you’re looking for help, you can go just to the website and if you want to chat with me, you can book it for free and I’m there as a great resource. We’re closing the podcast part of the show and hopefully, next week, we’ll have another great guest that will help you build a great online business. We’ll see you next week folks. Bye

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