Stacking the Bricks Podcast
EP18 - Our Profitable Mess (and how we're cleaning it up)
In this episode…
Last year was dedicated to renovating 30x500, and it's already paying off for our students and for us. Yayyyyy!
But if we're honest...some of the most crucial parts of our business are a mess. A mess that makes money, but messy still:
- Our website isn't optimized to help new readers and listeners - it's kind of a miracle that people can find anything at all
- We barely have a marketing funnel
- And our launch strategy needs to be revamped now that 30x500 Academy is a self-study course.
So for the rest of this year, we're turning our attention to making sure the cobblers children get their shoes, and in this episode you can learn exactly how we're going to do it.
p.s. check out the detailed numbers and specific launch content from the "C+ effort launch" we talk about in this show:
Amy Hoy: It’s Thursday lunchtime. I’m sitting here with Alex in my pajamas. I mean, I’m in my pajamas.
Alex Hillman: I’m dressed.
Amy Hoy: Alex is wearing his own clothing.
Alex Hillman: I’m an adult.
Amy Hoy: I’m an adult! I’m an adult comfortable loungewear!
Alex Hillman: I’m not judging!
Amy Hoy: Anyway, we all know that my resolution is to wear comfy pants, so here I am. There’s two giant holes in my house today. I woke up early in the morning to let contractors come and rip out some windows. So, I feel justified in wearing whatever is comfortable.
Alex Hillman: That’s probably the most exciting thing that’s happened this week and that’s interesting considering on Monday we ended our most recent 30x500 Academy launch.
Amy Hoy: I’m doing a chair dance! Yes, we actually…you’re underplaying it…we wrapped up the very first launch that we’ve ever done for the complete 30x500 Academy product, because the previous two launches we did were like beta; we were selling people a work in progress. So every time we launched it, they were not getting the entire class at once.
We knew that there would be bugs. There was lot of missing content and lessons we still had to produce. We didn’t really get to take any time off and celebrate because it was just so much more work left.
Alex Hillman: But it’s worth saying we were upfront about that. That was part of why we were selling with the discount and the expectations were set appropriately.
I think you’re right on the money in that we never got to take a real sort of victory dance at the end of a launch because end of launch just meant more work.
Amy Hoy: Back to the grindstone.
Alex Hillman: There was always something more to do. It’s interesting that we’ve been running this course for five plus years now and every time, every version up until now – even the most successful launches we’ve had – were immediately followed by more work to do.
Amy Hoy: Tons of work, tons of work. Yes, it’s true.
Alex Hillman: I wish I knew how many times we’d actually said, “We’re never doing this again”.
Amy Hoy: We’re never doing this again.
Alex Hillman:, I wish that there were like a transcript of our lives in the last five years so I could specifically search for that sentence because I know it’s been said, “We’re never doing this again”, but all of that being…
Amy Hoy: We’re never doing this again!
Alex Hillman: So we wrapped up a two-week launch on Monday. You just are putting the finishing touches on a post-mortem on that launch, which is an interesting post-mortem. I don’t want to harp on the postmortem itself too much.
Amy Hoy: It’s called The ‘good enough’ Launch.
Alex Hillman: The ‘good Enough’ Launch.
Amy Hoy: I use the word “Meh” and “C+ result” and other phrases like that, that you don’t normally find in a launch post-mortem.
Alex Hillman: I think that one of my favorite lines in it, and you’ll have to go check it out – we’ll put a link in the show notes – is you referred to this most recent two-week launch as basically walking our last lap.
Amy Hoy: Actually, it was our victory lap.
Alex Hillman: We walked our victory lap.
Amy Hoy: We walked our victory lap.
Alex Hillman: I think that’s a really interesting way to look at it because by no means was this launch unsuccessful, it’s just not nearly as good of a launch as we could have done.
Amy Hoy: And that was by design.
Alex Hillman: It was by choice. Which might sound strange. Like why would you choose to do a sub-par launch?
Amy Hoy: Because we’re playing the long game. Also, I am super tired!
Alex Hillman: I think that’s key though. I mean, we had a bunch of things stacked in our advantage. Leading into this launch, which we kicked off right at the beginning of February, the biggest one being a waiting list of people that we knew on some degree, were pretty interested in taking 30x500.
So, at the very least – if anything - this was going to invite in some of those people that had been emailing us and saying, “Hey, wonder, when are you going to open up again?”, get some fresh blood into the Academy chat room. This was a bit of rejuvenation. I think it was also just sort of good, healthy, mental exercise for us to get some new people in going through the course and feeling what that’s like, because the next phase is totally different. I’m more excited about the next phase of what we get to do with our business, than I was about any moment of this most previous launch.
Amy Hoy: Oh my God, yes. I so completely agree with you that the launch itself was sort of like “Meh”. I mean, are we glad that we have 64 new students in the class? Absolutely!
Alex Hillman: They’re in the chat room, sharing the work they’re doing. When I say it’s a good mental exercise, I think that is why. I think the people that have been working through pioneers and Academy up until this point, people are doing great work, but we know that every time a new batch of students comes in…
Amy Hoy: It’s invigorating for everybody, including us.
Alex Hillman: Exactly.
Amy Hoy: Yeah. That is a very good point. I had not thought of it that way. You were saying good and healthy and you guys obviously couldn’t see this because this is a podcast, but I tilted my head, like the RCA dog and I was like, I don’t know where you’re going, good and healthy. Is it yoga? Is it a smoothie? Are we juicing?
Alex Hillman: But you see what I’m saying? We could be juicing.
Amy Hoy: I mean, green juices, by the way, guys, not steroids, just in case that wasn’t clear.
Alex Hillman: What are we going to be doing with this business this year? I thought it would be fun to talk about the things that you and I are most excited about actually doing that we never really could do before. It didn’t really make sense to, there was no advantage to optimizing our traffic, optimizing our list, optimizing our launches, because we sold out our limited head count on every version of the class we had up until now.
Amy Hoy: Yeah. If you guys aren’t familiar with a 30x500’s history, which I mean, why would you be? It’s been five plus years. The class size has always been limited because there’s always been a significant live component – whether that was tons of email support because there were large gaps in the lessons and in the class, and in the messaging and how we got people in, so there was just a lot of awkwardness that we had to manually work through, hatch through.
Alex Hillman: I like to think that we had ‘Flintstoned’ 30x500 up until this point.
Amy Hoy: We ‘Flintstoned’ and if you don’t know what ‘Flintstoning’ is, well, imagine Fred Flintstone in his car. It looks like a car, but he’s using his feet. He’s physically walking, but with a whole bunch of heavy stuff dragging behind him.
Alex Hillman: It’s taking what could be, or would be, automated powered process and using your own effort and energy as the primary driver of that forward motion. So, a lot of Flintstoning in 30x500 up until this point.
Amy Hoy: A lot of manual overrides with people and things that were confusing and helping people along and we ended up doing the same thing over and over again. So, the class size necessarily had to be limited and we always sold out - we never really refined the sales page or the launch sequence all that much. We never did any kind of split testing the entire life of 30x500. We’ve done something like almost $2 million in sales at 30x500 over the time and we’ve never split tested anything, which I think astonishes a lot of people, but the percentage of sales that we got was pretty great. The average value of someone on our list is pretty huge.
We never had to optimize, in fact, it would have been stupid to spend time tweaking our sales page and split testing our emails. So instead we pour that energy into creating a new class product that filled in all those gaps.
Alex Hillman: And it’s the best version; it gives us all the tools and the ability to do some really important work this year that will help us scale our effort and will help us put our energy into helping more people in more ways. That energy is really going into sort of three primary categories you were outlining before we sat down today.
Amy Hoy: Yes. I have an agenda. It’s on paper, we’re kicking it old school! If you think about it, a product business like ours is really composed of a product itself and then three elements; traffic, funnel, and the launch itself or launches, because when you have a product, you can do many, many launches. So we have okay traffic, we have an incredibly shitty funnel and the launch content is pretty good, but nothing to write home about.
Alex Hillman: When you say funnel, I know what you mean, but just like go into more detail into what are the components of a sales funnel, a marketing funnel, what are you actually describing there?
Amy Hoy: Literally rolling up my sleeves. So, a funnel, you think of funnel as being a sequence of emails or whatever that people get that leads them to buy. It’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the entire life cycle from person lands on our blog to person buys our stuff.
Specifically, a person buys 30x500, which is $1,999. So our blog is free, obviously, lots of great stuff on there, but it’s a huge leap from $0 to $1,999. Most people are not going to be ready to take that leap for a very long time, if ever. And so, we need a path to guide people from different situations and interest level and needs towards that product if it’s going to be a good fit for them. So currently our funnel looks like. Hit the blog, read a few things. Maybe if you accidentally stumble across one of our posts that we talk about Just Fucking Ship, buy Just Fucking Ship. I feel like a lot of our sales right now are actually just driven by word of mouth.
Alex Hillman: Of Just Fucking Ship, based on the email replies that we get to our little auto-responder engine for customer feedback, for reader feedback, I think you’re 100% right. Most people are reading Just Fucking Ship because they heard about it from somebody else.
Amy Hoy: Most people end up on Unicorn Free because someone sends them a link or something. We can’t see all our Google search traffic because Google’s jerks and they hide it now, but we have a very long tail of referrals, but it’s nowhere near half of the traffic we get. So we don’t know where people are coming from. People read blog posts and the bottom of most blog posts, we pitch our 7-part bootstrapping guide, which if you think about it, is a pretty crappy offer.
Alex Hillman: It’s super vague. The content inside of it is great.
Amy Hoy: We do a shit job of selling it. So, our conversion rate to the mailing list is pretty low. We’ve improved it a lot with the popup and everything, it’s still pretty shitty. The blog is a giant mess. The landing page is a giant mess. We have a like ‘start here’ box but everything else is like chaos. You can’t browse content. The landing page has the only useful element in the entire site design says, “Start here” and lists the top five best posts that also get people in the right mindset, but everything else is chaos. You can’t browse posts by category, there’s no like step one, step two, step three across a series of posts if you have a specific issue. The call to action on every post is super lame. There’s a lot of old posts that talk about old 30x500 launches of dates and numbers that are incorrect – it’s horrible.
Alex Hillman: So phase one here is you’re going on vacation next week. I’m leaving tomorrow.
Amy Hoy: Phase one is getting the fuck outta here.
Alex Hillman: When we come back refreshed our biggest objective is we’re going to sit down on a whiteboard and map out who the people that are coming to the website are and what are the kinds of problems that they’re addressing? They fall into a couple of categories. The ones that stand out to me most are people who are struggling to ship things at all. You’ve got maker capabilities, but only when somebody else is managing you. When you do your own side projects, when you try and create your own things, you ended up with this sort of pile of 50%, 80%, 90%, but almost no 100% completions.
Amy Hoy: A lot of people out there who are more than capable of launching their own product business, they shy away from even doing it because they think that they’re incompetent, that they cannot achieve anything on their own. They feel squashed under that pile of undone projects.
Alex Hillman: I think the sort of emotional component underneath what you just said is, “I don’t trust myself to finish this”.
Amy Hoy: Trust is a major issue, yeah.
Alex Hillman: And I don’t trust myself or my abilities to create something that is good enough for somebody else – even when all of the evidence around you says otherwise.
Amy Hoy: Absolutely and so that’s the course what Just Fucking Ship will help people with, but we don’t lead people to that almost at all, it’s an accident if you find it.
Alex Hillman: We’ve got folks who are coming in, who are capable of making, but struggle with completion. Then we’ve also got people who are capable of completion and have actually built things and launched them to the world and maybe it’s the first time or the fifth time or the hundredth time, or they haven’t done it yet because they’re worried that when they launch it, the outcome of all of those scenarios is nobody buys.
Amy Hoy: Or they’ve launched something that was a harebrained idea. For some reason, people love to think that they’re going to connect musicians and venues or handle swing scheduling for salons and things like that. These products are doomed to failure because of audience failures.
Alex Hillman: So those are, I think just two of the biggest categories and by no means exhaustive, are there any others you can think of?
Amy Hoy: Yep. So we’ve got people who can’t ship, people who can ship stuff, but can’t sell, and then we also have a third group of people who are actually making money with their products – that they’ve made some choices effectively – but they aren’t quite sure how they got there. And so, they don’t know what to do next, or they’ve tried different things, it didn’t work.
Meanwhile their product or products are still turning over a couple of grand of sales a year or a couple of grand sales a month, but they’re not sure how to get to the next level and they’re kind of spinning their wheels and we do have content for them and we have a lot of information to give them, but it’s totally buried – we don’t segment our audience at all.
Alex Hillman: It’s actually, when you say it like that, it is kind of amazing that people do find any of the things that they find.
Amy Hoy: Yeah. I feel like all our audience members are like in a giant room and it’s dark and they’re all blindfolded and they’re just wandering around like zombies and occasionally they hit a product and it goes “ding!” and the light comes on and they buy.
Alex Hillman: So the headroom for fixing this problem is tremendous.
Amy Hoy: That’s just for people who already somehow end up with us.
Alex Hillman: We’re also thinking about things where people are discovering our material because we’ve strategically placed it in places where they would be looking.
Amy Hoy: Which we’ve basically never done.
Alex Hillman: Some of the examples of that are this podcast – but also others, an opportunity to get in front of other people’s audiences. We’ve been talking with people that we want to get on the show and have them share what they know with all of you. But there’s also opportunities for us to be more thoughtful and strategic about us being in front of other groups of people.
Amy Hoy: Yep. I actually have a lot of podcast invitations that have been in my “Can’t fucking deal with it right now”, list for a while cause I couldn’t deal with it with the 30x500 stuff that we had to finish.
Alex Hillman: It’s not that you didn’t want to, it was just not practical.
Amy Hoy: No brain left. Squish squish. That was the sound of me milking my brain for all it was worth. I make a shitty Foley artist! Moving along from that horrible mental image, we want to get in front of some other people’s audiences, do some guest posts, do some podcasts. We want to get Just Fucking Ship in the hands of other people. We’ve done a couple of bundles with other folks in our industry who are aligned with our vision and our approach to serving customers, but who are not like also running a 30x500 type product. So we’re getting Just Fucking Ship in other people’s hands. The goal is to get Just Fucking Ship on the Amazon Kindle store.
Alex Hillman: The new and improved Just Fucking Ship that we started working on back in the anniversary, back in the end of November, beginning of December.
Amy Hoy: It was December, yeah. So if we get on the Kindle store at an attractive price, then we can get people to buy the book as sort of a loss leader, but not actually at a loss. We can use Josh Kaufman’s brilliant book marketing stuff, where if you get the book for cheap, and then it says, “Well, for the worksheets or whatever, send an email to this address”, or then we can keep in touch with them, even though they bought on a marketplace where they’re not our platform and so they’re not on our mailing list when they buy.
Alex Hillman: I was just talking to an in Indy Hall member about this, and it’s unrelated to digital products, he sells a physical product and actually he’s a new 30x500 student. He sells a product called Fat Coffee that is for that sort of Bulletproof coffee thing, where you put butter and coconut oil and stuff in your coffee, and it’s supposed to make it really good for you.
Amy Hoy: Have you had this?
Alex Hillman: I have had it, it tastes quite good and it’s meant to smooth out the caffeine arc, that like spike and the crash, as well as just the way the chemicals interact with each other. We should actually do some research on the business behind the guy who launched this thing.
Amy Hoy: The Bulletproof Coffee guy?
Alex Hillman: The Bulletproof Coffee guy. Yeah. Ben’s new business addresses an even narrower segment of this, of people who are already sold on the effectiveness of Bulletproof Coffee but are busy and on the go and don’t want to carry it a fricking blender with them, that you need in order to do it. So he’s created a…he manufacturers a powder in a tube that is made from the from grass fed cows milk…
Amy Hoy: Powdered butter?
Alex Hillman: It’s powdered – it’s ghee.
Amy Hoy: Okay, refined butter.
Alex Hillman: Refined butter and all of the components. It’s basically like those little ice tea packets. It’s like a rip and go. You pour it in your mug, you swirl it around and you’re off to the races.
Amy Hoy: The Crystal Light of butter!
Alex Hillman: Bingo! And what’s really cool - I’m excited to see what Ben does with 30x500 because I think he’s already seen - and he and I have had a lot of conversations about – how his product is very specifically not geared towards convincing people to do butter in their coffee. It’s very much. It’s a second order pain of, “I’m already convinced of that and it’s health benefits and such and such and such. What I’m bothered by is I travel a lot or I’m a busy businessperson”, whatever it is. I think it’s really, really smart and I’m excited to see what he does.
However, he recently got his product onto Amazon. So, Amazon is doing sales fulfillment, the whole bang. The challenge he has now is Amazon owns every one of those customers. They own that customer relationship, so he has to get strategic like you were just describing with Josh’s book technique, of “What can I slip into the package that my customer receives that gives them an incentive to contact me, sign up for something, get some supplements, some, some secondary material”, whatever it is, so that I can continue building that customer relationship.
Amy Hoy: There must be some way to get people’s email addresses because I often get follow up emails when I buy things from the Amazon marketplace, even if they’re fulfilled by Amazon, because I typically only buy things that are fulfilled by Amazon, unless it’s an antique book.
Alex Hillman: So the way it works – my understanding with Amazon – is that you there are integrations that do that for you, but you, as the vendor, all you ever get is anonymized information. You don’t get the actual email addresses and even the tools you get, you are very, very narrowly limited on what you’re able to send.
Amy Hoy: That makes sense if every wacky Amazon vendor who had a product in Amazon’s marketplace could email you, that would get real old, real fast.
Alex Hillman: So all of this is to say, I think the exact same strategy applies to what you were describing with Josh’s book, with Ben’s physical product and what we are able to do with Just Fucking Ship. Also, I think one of the things that we were working on, we started working on a need to complete with Just Fucking Ship as sort of a universe of supplemental exercises and other things.
So it’s not just shoot us an email and we’ll add you to a list. This is a place to go to learn how to apply the thing that you just read about or get step-by-step steps.
Amy Hoy: All the actions are Pain, Dream, Fix based, just like the best sales pitches. So instead of get our 7-part bootstrapping guide, which, guys, cobblers children - our CTA’s our the worst! Don’t copy our CTAs as they are now, copy where they should be. That doesn’t make sense.
Alex Hillman: We should do, as just a passing thought…
Amy Hoy: A tear down of our own site?
Alex Hillman: I was going to say a tear down and we basically like do a live workshop. Maybe we do like a Crowdcast of us going through all the CTAs and revising and record that entire process and share that with everybody.
Amy Hoy: That would be really fun.
Alex Hillman: That’d be a lot of fun. All right let’s move on.
Amy Hoy: So CTA’s suck. For the book as it will be, we’ll have to give a very specific Pain, Dream, Fix CTA. So yeah. Instead of 7-part, bootstrapping guide we’ll be like, “Unclear how to implement X step, get this free booklet. All you have to do is send us an email. We’d love to help you through this process”, that kind of thing, and “Make it easy X time”, you know, all the things that make it clear that the goal is achievable. They can take the pain and turn it around and get what they want, which we know works because people have been telling us all kinds of success stories with the book, even in its version-one-unrefined state.
I actually have an idea by the way, for the book. We were going to sit down and create a much bigger, more in-depth book and then we hit those roadblocks that we did, ran out of energy and the issue with how are we going to position it, and Josh Kaufman gave us some advice. So, we need to pick what type of book we’re doing - I actually think that we should just spiff up Just Fucking Ship as it is without adding a ton of case studies or things like that and put that on the Kindle store for cheap. And make version two more of a premium book.
Alex Hillman: And the premium book is the one that we’re able to do more package ad-ons case, study videos, recordings.
Amy Hoy: Like $12 to $19 so that they don’t feel bad that the book is like a year and a half later on the Kindle store for like $4.99 or something.
Alex Hillman: We can give them all that stuff.
Amy Hoy: Give them something good, something tasty.
Alex Hillman: That sounds great. I love that.
Amy Hoy: Also it’s less work and faster to market.
Alex Hillman: Less work faster to market and it solves the problem of giving both the people who have already bought something great, as well as giving even more value to the people who were coming along, along the way.
Amy Hoy: It’s a very elegant solution.
Alex Hillman: Yeah, multifaceted, it addresses multiple problems with one…
Amy Hoy: And guys, I’m all about one solution that does double or triple dipping for problem solving, because frankly, I don’t have the energy to do two to three times the work.
Alex Hillman: Well, I mean, we’re always looking for way to do the work of two or three X.
Amy Hoy: It’s the only way to go and it’s not that hard once you get into that mindset.
Alex Hillman: I think it’s interesting how often people look at something like that and feel like it’s cheating. Like if you don’t choose the hardest way possible, you’re in some way cheating the system.
Amy Hoy: We get that attitude a lot, which was one of the most surprising things about beginning to teach people how to build a business is how many people actually said to us - literally said - this is not a sort of between the lines, “If I just go with the audience that I already have, that’s like cheating or you’re serving an audience you already have. That’s basically cheating” It’s like, “What!?” Cheating is when there’s a game with multiple players and defined rule sets and there’s like a social contract; choosing to do an easy thing in your business that is logical…
Alex Hillman: And gives you an advantage….
Amy Hoy: …and helps people – that is not cheating. It is not a game. You do not win points for taking the hard face of the mountain. More likely you fall and die.
Alex Hillman: I think that last part is the key is people feel like if I take the hard route, I have worked harder and therefore earned more, even though – because the people who are going to be your readers, your customers, your reviewers, whatever, they don’t care whether or not you took the hard route.
Amy Hoy: They only care about their own results.
Alex Hillman: And whether or not you got them to them. So, what we’re talking about is what are the most effective – what is that the least expensive in terms of time and money – way to get a result in someone’s hand that we already know that they need? That’s what this is all about.
Amy Hoy: That’s why our victory lap launch was so great because we got an almost 6% conversion rate from our mailing list for the wait list to sales, which is huge, and we didn’t have to put forth a ton of effort because we decided, well, we’re going to just take this launch easy and we’re going to play it on easy mode. We’re going to take the easy mode rewards, which are not as big as the – I’m going to sit down and plan a three-month long launch, which we’ll get tons of sales – we just didn’t want to and so we didn’t because we can launch it again later.
Alex Hillman: And we’re going to!
Amy Hoy: And we’re going to!
Alex Hillman: It feels good.
Amy Hoy: Yes.
Alex Hillman: Let’s just wrap up, maybe talking a little bit about how we want to approach launch – and this is something where we have not made a concrete decision about how we’re going to do this.
Amy Hoy: Yeah, we’re kind of trying stuff.
Alex Hillman: We’re going to go in a direction that allows us to experiment. That allows us to try out some of these new things we’ve been reading about. A couple of blog posts recently that really stood out – there was the one from Bryan Harris, of Videofruit.
Amy Hoy: Amazing post-mortem of his launch.
Alex Hillman: What were some of the other ones?
Amy Hoy: There was that cool one on segmenting the different tracks of users for strength theory, some sort of weight training, that was on the Get Drip blog. That was really cool – I liked how they visualized the different tracks people could follow. Like you join the mailing list and then you get segmented into different types of e-courses of interests and then that funnels you towards different products or different levels of products. I thought that was really cool.
Alex Hillman: We can actually reap the benefits of processes like that. We can go study other people that are doing interesting things in launch, do our own experiments based on that, share what we learn, make improvements. We’ve got students that are doing more successful launches than we do.
Amy Hoy: It was Brennan, what Brennan told us about his evergreen launches, but he didn’t publish that yet, that’s what it was.
Alex Hillman: That’s right. That’s right.
Amy Hoy: Brennan being one of our students whose business earned double what 30x500 did last year.
Alex Hillman: One student.
Amy Hoy: One student of many.
Alex Hillman: Moving towards an evergreen or a hybrid-evergreen launch model that will allow us to open doors to 30 by 500 more often.
Amy Hoy: Hold on, let me explain what that means. I don’t think a lot people know what evergreen launches are, they’re not made of for trees or rabbit fur. I don’t know where I’m going with that – my puns are not on point today. An evergreen launch is a launch that keeps rolling. It’s not that we launch 30x500 four times a year, for example, if we had an evergreen launch, but rather we would either run a launch every month to that month’s cohort. But the month we launch would be on a specific day, or you could do a true rolling launch where let’s say John joins the list on the 15th and Abby joins the list on the 23rd. Well, the same six to 12 weeks later, based on the 15th of the 23rd, they would get launched too.
Alex Hillman: I was thinking about this sort of like the…
Amy Hoy: individualized cohorts of one…
Alex Hillman: You get a sort of viewing window into a launch that is tailored to you. So the launch is relative to the person rather than to us. Which turns into sort of this really interesting interaction where we’ll have multiple people going through a launch simultaneously – in theory – but also people going through different stages of the same launch at different times.
Amy Hoy: Right, so there would be a steady stream of people joining 30x500, which might not make sense. I mean, we don’t know how well that would work logistically, but also if you do a true, personalized, rolling launch like that, you have, do you come up with a different reason for people to decide – Yes or no? You can’t say, “Well, launch window closes” – I mean, you can, but it’s, truly artificial and that’s fine, but you also cannot do any social proof by like “X tickets sold” in this timeframe or anything like that – unless you’re lying – which is not what I would do ever do.
Alex Hillman: Right. Agreed.
Amy Hoy: So there’s different pros and cons. If there’s a new person joining 30x500 every other day, that might be really disruptive to our group chat.
Alex Hillman: I think it very much could be, it’s one of the biggest things I’m concerned about with doing something where people are joining every other day versus even something where it’s every two to four weeks, I think there’s a major ramp up getting comfortable in this environment.
The other thing that’s really interesting and we’ll have to learn how to address. I think we can address, but we will need to build into both the launch, as well as the onboarding is, even though we say in every component of everything leading up to and onboarding the class, this is done at your own pace, at your own schedule.
When people are in an environment where other people are working on the same material, they get this interesting thing in their heads where they’re somehow behind and you can’t be behind on something that you are doing at your own pace. It’s just impossible. I literally just say that, sometimes people that go, “Oh yeah, right”. It’s a head game. It’s a total head game and reminding people that the only person they should be comparing themselves to is them yesterday, them last week, them with the last ebomb, them with the last launch – compare to yourself and that’s it. We’re going to need to really reinforce that in the class as we get more cohorts joining on a more regular basis.
Amy Hoy: And then also, I mean, we don’t have as much of the sort of surrounding content that prepares people for that; we used to do more for the other classes because it was extremely urgent that everybody be on the same page with the limited time that we had together, and we worked on the lessons and they’re amazing. We tell people it’s self-paced, but I feel like we need to bring sort of like the habits pre-class back or something like that.
Alex Hillman: The learning environment needs a little bit of work. I think that’s going to be a great place to put some work into improving.
Amy Hoy: Which we can now because we’re not on the treadmill anymore!
Alex Hillman: We don’t have the urgency to be solving students’ problems. Students are working through the material and getting the kinds of wins that we want them to. We just get to sort of look for – they’re no longer like super-hot spots of pain, more like warm spots of anxiety.
Amy Hoy: Someone’s peeing in the pool.
Alex Hillman: I don’t want anybody to pee in the pool.
Amy Hoy: Just a little!
Alex Hillman: This is going to require some testing. It’s going to require some experimentation; not every strategy that everybody else uses is going to work for us because not every class has a learning experience and a learning environment like the one that we teach, in fact, I would be surprised if there were many or any that feel exactly like what we do.
So, we’ve got a revamp of the website and just smarter paths into and through the website, we’ve got a new funnel – and when we say funnel, we’re talking about the life cycle of a person going from never heard about us and just discovered us, to buying something, whatever it is; whether it’s JFS or 30x500 itself.
I want to add a couple of the things in that funnel and you didn’t say that explicitly, but I think they’re important. It’s not just getting people from knowing us to buying things, it’s getting them from knowing us to implementing advice. Getting them from knowing us to finding the solution to the problem they’re dealing with now, actually putting our advice into action, feeling the win, and then coming back and saying, “All right. That was good. I solved that problem”, but you and I both know that in business, in life problems, don’t go away, you just trade them for new problems.
Amy Hoy: Pain is infinite and eternal! It’s whack-a-mole, and I’m glad that you brought that up because not everyone listening knows that that is actually the exact strategy that we teach in the class. The best, most persuasive sales tactic in the entire world is not in Robert Cialdini’s book of Influence or anything by what’s-his-face who writes those creepy books on mastery and deduction. What’s-his-face? Robert Green? Anyway, the most useful sales tactic, the most effective sales tactic in the entire world is to have somebody already experience a win before they pay you.
That is the most persuasive most trust-building thing that you could possibly have and so, our entire content marketing focus, our entire blogging podcasting, interviewing, writing approach is to get people to have success with something, whether it’s a blog post, a podcast, the book that they bought or the class it’s all about success. It’s not just some sort of cold calculated…
Alex Hillman: How do we get money out of your wallet? I described before going through and whiteboarding out, what are the different sort of entry points? What are the specific problems? And then I think the next step from there is okay, what is the specific problem? What is the successful outcome of us addressing that problem? Then we have to fill in the gap with what do we give people in order to do that? Whether it’s a paid product or something for free, or workshop, a webinar and episode, bringing on a guest, all of those things. I’m saying all of those things as in, we can, and we’ll do all of those things.
Amy Hoy: All the things!
Alex Hillman: And we’ll do more and more of them over the course of the year.
I think that it’s going to be really, really fun. Then the last phase is sort of redesigning the launch so that we’re not doing launch by the seat of our pants every single time. The fun thing about that though, is we can still do a launch by the seat of our pants.
Amy Hoy: If we want to.
Alex Hillman: If we wanted to, if there was something coming up, if there was something coming up, if there was thing going on in the Zeit Geist of conversation, we said, “You know what, this conversation we can riff on and do something really valuable with, and really capture a bunch of new attention about that thing”, we can do that.
Amy Hoy: We can do that.
Alex Hillman: But it would be nice to not have to.
Amy Hoy: I completely agree. So, I mean, I think we’re talking about doing it, you know, X times a year. And not a rolling watch then. Right?
Alex Hillman: I think so.
Amy Hoy: We will just have to make sure that then people who joined right before the launch or in the middle of the lunch are saved for the next launch. We still have to do some pretty clever segmenting type stuff so as to not blow the chance.
Alex Hillman: I think the way through this, that I like is if you treat it sort of like the alternative timelines in Back to the Future…
Amy Hoy: Oh, God…
Alex Hillman: This is my favorite movie in the world but hear me out! When we initiate a rolling launch. I think about this more like a hybrid rolling launch where people will join an upcoming launch based on an event that we do, a live workshop or something along those lines, or a new giveaway, even a new product, and that basically pulls them into the alternate timeline. That is them hitting 88 miles per hour, and only people who have gone through that particular event that month – maybe we do it once a month or so – the people who are on out on that alternate timeline experience a pre-created automated launch sequence that we can run multiple times.
Amy Hoy: You know what a better metaphor would be? Something where they don’t end up accidentally sleeping with their mother.
Alex Hillman: He didn’t actually sleep with his mother…
Amy Hoy: Almost accidentally sleeping with his mother.
Alex Hillman: So the Back to the Future…
Amy Hoy: How about a train track metaphor?
Alex Hillman: We can do the train track metaphor, but I like Back to the Future! Anyway, you see what I’m saying though?
Amy Hoy: I completely get what you’re saying, and that makes total sense – parallel track.
Alex Hillman: The fun thing about this though, is it gives us a regular reason to be doing something with our broadest audience, and we’re not going to stop interacting with and doing things with our main audience, with the main list. We’re going to working on getting more people onto that list, we’re going to be working on making sure we’re delivering more value, but we’ll have to be really smart, strategic about running those two things in parallel.
It sounds like twice as much work, but if we’re doing the alternative timeline - the launch timeline, if you will – as something that is reusable is something that is - we’re able to test it, we’re able to improve it, but not reinvent it every time. I think we can create like that being something that is hyper tuned, hyper effective – as hyper effective as the sales page that we don’t really reinvent every time.
Amy Hoy: I’m nodding you guys.
Alex Hillman: I think that approach and again, going through, and when we’re working on these things, making sure the microphones are out and talking through what makes sense and what doesn’t, because not every component. I mean, in theory, this is the kind of thing that in theory is based on like four different strategies that I’ve seen. In my head, it makes sense, but when we actually sit down to put it to paper, I imagine some of these things are gonna fall apart.
Amy Hoy: I completely agree, like right on actually until, until we started talking, I thought that an evergreen rolling launch would make sense and then I started running my mouth. We’re rubber ducky-ing our strategy right here, right now, you guys. This is not scripted that people joining the class every other day just doesn’t sound good, but I mean, that’s the thing about plans right?
Alex Hillman: They don’t survive reality.
Amy Hoy: Contact with the enemy. But there’s also a bunch of things we need to optimize in the launch/product itself, not the product content, the lessons, any of that, but we should did split test our sales page. I feel like when I look at the sales page, even though we worked really hard on it, I look at it. If you hesitate at the end of a paragraph, because you’re not sure if you should go to the next paragraph, you lose sales that way. So I feel like we need to rework the sales page. We can finally split test it. We can create packages; we actually had packages before, with the email follow-up course, but we didn’t have the energy to devote to it.
Alex Hillman: We’re also going back to what we talked about with different categories of customers – our sales page right now is super charged to a very specific kind of customer who, our designer/developer audience traditionally is full of people who are great at coming up with things to build that they never sell, or don’t sell, I should say. But there are also people who want to start a business and don’t come up with ideas. They struggle with ideas. The pain-storming through fixed-storming process that we teach, absolutely could help them.
You were saying before the people who have successful businesses, but they don’t know how they got to where they are. So, they’re crippled by the inability to make a decision for the risk that they blow up what they had because they have no idea how to repeat it. Those three categories could be unique sales pages unto themselves without actually having to change the product itself.
Amy Hoy: Ah, I’m so excited!
Alex Hillman: This is gonna be a lot of fun. We are going to take some much-needed time next week and the next two weeks to dabble a little bit and then we’ll be back in the saddle with a new episode of the show. We’ll be back in the saddle with getting some of these plans underway.
Amy Hoy: I know we always say, we’re not doing that again, but we’re really not really never doing that again.
You guys, hold us to it – would ya?
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