February 28, 2023
The journey to re-engineer multiple products into a single offer
Brennan Dunn is a friend and a man of many skills and accomplishments – he’s a writer, marketer, developer, and even designer.
Brennan built Palladio, the tool I used to create my email templates. He co-founded RightMessage, an incredible software for segmenting your email subscribers. And these days, he writes a fantastic blog called Create & Sell where he’s documenting all that he’s learned over the years.
We were talking over email recently and he told me he’s actually creating something new under the Create & Sell brand – a platform that pulls in EVERY course lesson he’s ever made and will create custom learning pathways based on a student intake survey.
This is what he wants to build as a single product offer over the coming months and I REALLY wanted to dig into it with him.
So in this episode, you'll hear a conversation between Brennan and me talking through what that might look like.
We talk about positioning, pricing, marketing, and more.
Full transcript and show notes
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Jay Clouse 00:15
Hello, my friend, one of my big priorities on the podcast this year is to share more conversations in favor of interviews. Now that distinction may seem kind of unclear so let me explain what I mean. When I conduct interviews is typically with a creator that I actually haven't met before. And as a result, I spend the first half of the interview trying to build rapport, get that person comfortable with me and generally, that means focusing on their backstory before I can ask more intense, sometimes invasive questions. Now, don't get me wrong, there's definitely a ton of value in these interviews. I enjoy hosting them and it's what we've built the show on thus far. But it's often almost a profile of the person as much as it is actionable advice. On the other hand, offline off of the podcast, I'm constantly having conversations with creators who I already know personally. And because we have a history, I know more about their business coming in, and we're able to get deep into the weeds much more quickly. I think these conversations can be even more insightful to you as a listener. They're typically more advanced, they're more specific, they're more timely, we're really digging into what's working for creators right now. This week, I'm sharing with you one of those conversations. I'm talking with my friend, Brennan Dunn. Brendon is a man of many skills and accomplishments. He's a writer, a marketer, a developer, even a web designer, I would say. He built Palladio, the software tool that I use to create my email templates. He co founded RightMessage, an incredible software for segmenting your email subscribers and these days, he writes a fantastic blog called Create & Sell, where he's documenting all that he's learned over the years. We were talking over email recently, and he told me that he's actually creating something new under the Create & Sell brand. A platform that pulls in every course less than he's ever made. And he's made a lot with his courses mastering ConvertKit, and others. And he will create a custom learning pathway based on a student intake survey. This is literally a new custom courseware that he's building for this product. And this is what he wants to build as the single product offer for his business over the coming months. And I really just wanted to dig into it with him, talk to him about it. It's something that I wanted to do as a friend and collaborator, but I thought this would make a really good episode of the podcast. So what you're about to hear is just a conversation between Brennan and I talking through what that might look like. We talked about positioning, pricing, marketing, and more. We talked about his courseware product and my community, The Lab, I think you'll really, really enjoy it. And we'll get to that full conversation, right after this.
Jay Clouse 02:48
I'm just stoked to hear about this courseware product, which I think is one interesting thing about this so far for me is that it seems like you're referring to the product as custom courseware versus whatever name of the thing you want to give it. Do you have a name for it yet?
Brennan Dunn 03:05
I don't. So. Yeah. So what I'm what I'm thinking of doing. So I was talking actually, I was talking to Laura about this this morning about like, she's like, why don't you just use off the shelf? Like, do you need to build everything from scratch. And my thinking was, for me to deliver the training I want to deliver, it needs to be custom. Because the stuff I the stuff I want to do, I don't know of a platform that could do that. I could do it. And so I'm starting to think like, because like I talk to you about like I'm not doing I'm deconstructing mastering ConvertKit to not be a course any longer. Instead, it's a pool of pathways you can go down. And pathways lead to Detroit to tutorials and tutorials are made up of like lessons and stuff like that, right? So my thinking here is you got to create and sell, you click like paths at the top. Right. And you can see like a bunch of stuff and actually wrote down like all the things I'm thinking of like growing your list, segmenting your audience onboarding subscribers, ConvertKit essentials, mastery, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, right? So you'd see like, a catalog, if you will, of all these different paths. And then you could also drill into them and see actually where you'd be lead for each path. Because what I want to do is I don't want to do just lessons I want to have you join a path and it like generates like a task list for you along with gives you the lessons and it has a bit of an intake to find out like what kind of are you selling a membership site? Are you selling courses? Are you selling coaching? And it'll kind of tailor like the action items based on that. So yeah, I'm deep in this project of thinking what, what would the perfect course where, for lack of a better way of putting it like the perfect content management system for a really good kind of combination of both pre recorded content and asynchronous coaching look like for me, and that's kind of what I'm letting drives this whole like rebrand, if you will of create and sell. And to be honest, a lot of it, we could probably get into the weeds of like when I'm going to charge and stuff. Oh, yeah, pricing and stuff later, something you said about kind of recently about like having you know, you're going for a single offer on your end, which I think is the case, I want to I'd love to ask you about that considering you have like a customer limit of what I presume is that single offer? And how that plays out? I was thinking like, Yeah, I mean, I want to do something similar. I want to have a single offer. But could that single offer be a generated offer where it's like, Hey, I'm a coarse grater, I'm just starting out, I, you know, I use ConvertKit, this, this and this. And then it's like, here's your custom path where we've combined all these different tutorials and generated these action items and stuff just for you. Yep, so that's kind of what I'm what I'm going for them. It's interesting,
Jay Clouse 05:56
because I look at your stuff. And I'm like, this is the gold standard of making non single offers feel like a single offer, because you're so good at segmentation and personalization, to like the end user, even your experience now feels fairly, you know, like, this is obviously the one thing you should get. So it's interesting that you're you're even trying to go beyond and say actually, this is just going to be one thing that has, I mean, it sounds like you're making it a large and growing repository of training information. So like single offer, it's a giant repository where you create your own custom path based on some inputs is what Your
Brennan Dunn 06:35
sacrifice will have access to the full catalog of whatever, but it'll it'll prescribe, if you will, like the best path, given what you've told me,
Jay Clouse 06:45
that's really applicable to a bunch of other stuff, too, because one thing I aspire to do in the lab, I talked about this in our town hall in December, I actually want to use right message as part of onboarding, so that I can help people wayfind through the massive amount of information that's inside of there. Yeah, that's been kind of like my, my thought process so far, of how do I make it so that somebody comes in, and they feel like they have a fairly customized to them? straightforward path, because in a membership product, a lot of times people join, and it's like, congratulations, you're in now everything's on you. And that's so hard, especially like, as you grow this thing, and there's more and more opportunities and options in there. But it's a lot of discovery work on the part of the person. So I love this, I think it's really, really smart.
Brennan Dunn 07:35
Well, I think I think the thing that I've really I'm trying to really internalize is this whole whole idea of like, signal relative to noise, right. So if you get thrown in headfirst into imagine the lab, extrapolated after, you know, five years, there's gonna be so much content, hotseat content. If you keep pushing courses, like just, it's gonna be a lot of stuff, right? And having some form of like, personalized curation that doesn't require you to, like, spend any time on your, you know, on your part doing that, that that I think should be kind of the end goal for probably both of us, right? Like, is being able to say, alright, so you're just starting out, you know, as a creator, maybe you don't yet have a product, and you're not really sure what to do when it comes to email strategy? Well, that's gonna be different than like, the, you know, I don't know, the advice you might give Josh, or something, right? Because he's already, like, done a lot of that. So yeah, I think it's just a matter of like, being able to say, we've got a lot of content, you know, the content, you, you know, the material. And if, if somebody got on a call with you and said, you know, Hey, Jay, what should I do first, you could probably tell them like, yeah, check out this hot seat, you're gonna love, like what I talked about with so and so about? And then when you're done that go to this? And it's just like, I mean, I think it's obvious, right? Yeah. It's just so hard. I think with the existing tool, like I was, I was trying to think think like, has anyone built a SAS course thing? That could do this?
Jay Clouse 09:07
I think just Brian, but that was bespoke. Also. That was custom to me. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Right. For people who aren't aware of this. Brian and I talked offline and a little bit about this. Brian Harris. I did his growth University a couple years ago. And the experience of that, which I thought was really great, and especially innovative for what was probably 2019, maybe even 2018. It was like you fill out this huge questionnaire, actually, it was like grossly in depth, which, which is actually kind of informed what to do at the beginning of the lab, because it's asking like, it's trying to get a true current state of where you are. But then the next step was a human looked at those inputs and said, I know our repository of information. I'm going to plug in to whatever back end system they had the 20 steps in the order that I think makes sense of this information. deliver that to the end user. What I saw as the customer will was just this checklist, essentially of the 20 steps that I should take a link to the proper information in the repository, which ultimately link to what I think was teachable, maybe where it still had like modules and lessons, it just linked directly to the lesson they thought made the most sense to me in that time. So there's kind of a weird experience there, because you still saw like this huge thing that was organized in some linear fashion that I'm jumping in, in the middle of, but that's like the best I've seen.
Brennan Dunn 10:27
Yeah. And that's, that's definitely the like the gold standard, I think when it comes to like, what I'm going after, is thinking because I didn't go through growth you but I did see, he had. So I don't remember if Brian showed it to me when we were hanging out in Franklin, which is where he lives in Tennessee, or if it was like a zoom call or something. But I remember him showing me this thing of like, every Friday, everyone would get linked to this thing where you could like, post an update about what you've been doing? Yeah. Yeah, that is like, that's just so it's so smart. Like, like, because I've been trying to do things like that with accountability sequences, when people buy from me little drip email sequence of like, you know, go, you know, link to the Facebook group and say, Go share what you've done. But it's always a bit like, hardly anyone would do that. And on top of that, I think it's because it's a little awkward saying, like, go to go to this random Facebook group. We're not random, but go to the Facebook group, and like, author a new post, where if instead, it could be like, you know, did you do this? Yes, no, did you do that? Yes. No, if no, like what held you back? And then what's genius about what Brian does, which I know you've seen, too, is like, when he generates he's like, over the last month, his client says, You made X million dollars. It's all like, I think it's just summing up all that auto feedback kind of thing. No.
Jay Clouse 11:53
And some of it just pulls into the email itself. So again, for folks listening, like the Brian will send an email with a sales emails, it says in past month, growth, university clients have done XYZ, and it's just like, sections within the email. And it's probably pulling directly from the Submit Form that people are putting on a weekly or monthly basis. Yeah, it's
Brennan Dunn 12:13
like going into a CSV, and he's just summing the column, and like spitting it out in the email, which is brilliant. I mean, and that's what I want to do is I want to, I want to think like, I don't want to build a team of coaches, least anytime soon, like, I don't, I don't want to do anything like that. But I want to find a way to say if I can go in as the creator of all the content and say, write a bit of code that can match up like input segment data, and spit out a, a pathway. To me, that's like a really good use of my time upfront. And it gives the people going through the material, a much better experience, because again, it's high signal, low relative noise. And that's kind of what I'm, yeah, with this. Yeah,
Jay Clouse 12:59
I think in the marketing of this thing, once it's live, you'd probably want to like that the language of learning pathways is something that people have used, that doesn't quite describe what you're describing, like a lot of times pathways are kind of these pre built menus, where like, we have x number of pathways, LinkedIn does this really effectively, it's actually helped them sell a bunch of LinkedIn learning licenses. But usually, that's like, hey, we pre made these things. And we named them, and we'll let you pick from them versus yours is completely customized to the user. So it's like a customized action plan. You know,
Brennan Dunn 13:38
I'd love to hear your thoughts on that. Because I'm thinking, like, I still want to have published paths, like ConvertKit essentials, and the perfect newsletter, which will just be all my tutorials on that. But I want to have like the featured thing at the top, the generate your own. And when you do that, then it would be like your, you know, JS, JS path or something. So I still want to have access to all or I still want there to be like, these prescribed canned paths, but the custom one, we're just cherry pick throughout all of Gerald, like, kind of build a custom one. But I don't know. I mean, do you think do you think it should be and like the only customer? Well,
Jay Clouse 14:18
I don't have a strong opinion that way. But the cynical part of me is like, if you do that you're not you're not selling a single offer. You're right back to having, you know, X number of skews essentially. Well, I don't
Brennan Dunn 14:31
want to be able to, I don't want to allow people to buy pathways individually.
Jay Clouse 14:35
Oh, you're just marketing pathways. This is a product and these are. Okay, okay. Yeah. So we're just talking. For the sake of this conversation. We'll call this create and sell Pro. Great and sell Pro. Think of it that way. Exactly. Right is what I'm buying. And you're marketing as Hey, within create and sell Pro, we have x number of pathways, or you can create your own custom pathway at the click of a button.
Brennan Dunn 14:56
That's right. Yep. Cool. And I could do things too. Like I could do, I mean, I plan on building infrastructurally the ability to do things like if I have a pathway on email design, to give that path free to people who by Palladio, which is my, you know, my product for email templating, which will kind of get them in the door, get them, like reserve account. And then so you know, that that could be something to where I can like, give trials, but like, freebies, of certain paths, if that makes sense, you know, yeah, but I don't want to complicate it with like, buy each path or get like the unlimited pass, like, I just want it to be the unlimited pass. As really the only offer,
Jay Clouse 15:38
I don't believe that you won't satisfy this.
Brennan Dunn 15:42
My wife, my wife agrees with you.
Jay Clouse 15:46
Because you're gonna do it, and it's gonna be awesome, and people are gonna see it. If you don't specify it, someone else is gonna satisfy it. And there's probably a part of you, that's like, don't do that.
Brennan Dunn 15:54
Well, okay, so so for those listening today, when we're recording, I also joined, you know, the lab, right. So in my intro video, I talked about how I can never like there's this internal battle of MIS software person, or am I a teacher, right? Like, am I do I run? Do I own a software company? Or am I primarily like an educator,
Jay Clouse 16:14
for lack of a better word marketer? You're all the things?
Brennan Dunn 16:18
Jay Clouse 17:13
The challenge is, this stuff is like all of your, I think you've written about this before, actually, and this is the first time that had been articulated this way. So I'm probably just speaking to you what you've already taught me, there aren't a lot of people who fill this gap of teaching, the beyond the advance or beyond the beginner stage. And all of your stuff is like, beyond beginner stage. And these tools, they're so powerful. And they require a bunch of education to the user, like I'm thinking about, Okay, if you did satisfy this, the magic of this is probably knowing how to connect the answer somebody gives, which you probably have to prompt in the first place to the correct pathway to make, which would seem like a difficult thing to teach the end user how to do.
Brennan Dunn 17:58
Yeah, and I don't know if it would be honestly like, for somebody who has a new creator, telling them to go to, like, do this first, for their first course, let's say. And that's why like, the business owner in me is thinking, if I did ever find a way of selling this to other people, it would probably make sense to package it as like a constant, you know, like a consultant solutions. Yeah, like, pay me a lot of money and will, like, Come will do this for you. And effectively give you an unlimited license at the code base or something, right? Instead of just like 50 bucks a month, or whatever.
Jay Clouse 18:35
That's probably a crutch because you already have the relationships with the people that would want to buy that. You know, it's people I won't say, Pat, as people like Pat, who have been doing this for a long time, who already have a giant repository of stuff. And they feel the pain of how do I continuously market all of these different skews with the airtime that I have? And impartially selling to advertisers already? Yeah,
Brennan Dunn 18:57
yeah, exactly. Yeah. So that I think, like, again, I think if I were to do this, it would be more under that model. But I first need to get it built for myself, which is still I'm actually making really good headway. I'm hoping to have it ready this quarter, which will be really cool, because then I can, like my, my plan is once I do this, once I have this create and sell Pro, I like the name, but who knows what I'll call it, it'll basically be like the courseware will be the marketing site of create and sell. So it'll be a bit like if you've seen like a large house learn account castes for larvell and Egghead io that's like they're, they're a bit like a very private equivalent of like a Skillshare or Udemy. But just you know, maybe a few teachers or something like that. I mean, this would just be this would be the whole thing with maybe even the like primary call to action on my site instead of it being joined the newsletter. It's like built like figure out your custom creator marketing plan or something, you click a button. It's I couldn't see your builds your path, your personal path. And then maybe at that point, they still haven't given like an email address or anything. And then maybe it gives them like a, like a few of the lessons from the path free. And then like presented conversion event there. And maybe once they build the path before they see the path, give them the email address then and then now they're on my list. And again, I'm trying to think like, there's repercussions of this. So am I pushing people to like a newsletter? Or an lead magnet? Or is the custom Path Builder thing like the lead magnet that gets people on the list? So yeah, it's, it's still a lot of unknowns. I'm trying to think through, which is when you said, like, let's talk about this, quote, in public, I was like, Yeah, let's do that. Because I'm gonna, I'd love to hear what you think. And like what you do in my shoes, when it comes to this stuff.
Jay Clouse 20:48
Just a quick break for our sponsors. And we'll be right back to the show. And now back to the show. I love the idea of like, create the path for free. One of the most beautiful pieces of software that I've used in the last, I don't know, five years, is this tool called pod page or use pod page before? Ah, no. It's this guy, Brendan, who I think is kind of like legendary, because he also built the the premium website that was used for like all the NFT craze, but like, he's pretty prolific as a developer, pod page. It ingests your podcast, RSS feed, and we'll build a full website for you. Immediately. I did see this. Yeah, yeah. Awesome. And like, we'll show you like, here's eight variations of your website before you even like make an account. Like, here's eight variations do you want this? And it's just so compelling that you're immediately like, yeah, I want that. It's incredible. So I love the idea of like, having somebody come in, and basically, you know, use the right message, ask quiz to ask a few questions, give them a pathway to say this is what this could be. The challenge, I think, is I think the the opportunity is, in that world, you're kind of selling a bunch of work, as opposed to like an outcome, you know, somehow you need to make them feel like signing up for this gets me to this specific outcome, which maybe they declare, as part of the quiz itself as what they're trying to do.
Brennan Dunn 22:14
Well, the quiz, I do plan, I've tried to scope out some of the questions and one of the really the first one is going to be, what is it? Like? What do you want to like? Outcome? is a question that outcome like what is your your underlying goal? Is it to better monetize your list to build your audience? or this or that? Yeah. How will you
Jay Clouse 22:32
prioritize? You have all the mastering ConvertKit content? So at the beginning, you know, create and sell Pro is really helping people with email marketing, you also have the Black Friday products that you'll probably pull into their exact again, is email marketing your path? Exactly. Yeah, that will just be a path. When you build out from there. Do you continue to focus on email marketing? Or do you want to go down the line more of like, the different operational and marketing pieces of a creator business? Where do you think it goes?
Brennan Dunn 23:00
scription wise, so I've tried to. So actually, today, I've been working on like, the list of tutorials, and pretty much most of them are email marketing ish. One thing I am starting to do is to create like many lessons of like, you know, one of them is like how to do a welcome sequence are the fundamentals of a welcome sequence. But then I also am going to do the creating a welcome sequence in ConvertKit. So that's an example. If they say they use ConvertKit, then their path will include the ConvertKit lesson, or set of lessons, whereas the, if they if they use something else, it'll just be the more generic creating a welcome sequence. So I do want to start getting away from just being so tied to ConvertKit. In this case, I mean, I do think like, it's worked well so far. And it probably will still continue to work well, because ConvertKit it's growing and doing really great. But I do want to start thinking, Okay, I want to I want to have some material. That's because a lot of what I teach can be is portable, could be used in Active Campaign or whatever, right? So I want to start making kind of the equivalent ConvertKit training stuff, but generic. And I'm also thinking of doing like, you know, I'm going to do material on using urgency to drive sales, things like uncovering why people don't buy I mean, a lot of these are really not tied to ESPs. So I do want to I'm going to start I think it'll all be around like the whole creators who want to monetize their knowledge, primarily over email, like that's going to be the kind of the, I don't know, like that the sandbox, if you will, that I'm going to be playing within. And frankly, I'm not when it comes to myself personally, I'm not very good at like using social media to do you know, business growth, the stuff or advertising or whatever else. So even though I think a full fledged training thing would include that I'm just going to try to stay pretty focused still.
Jay Clouse 24:59
You could always He's I don't know what the incentive structure on this is. But I don't imagine there's a world where other creators, other educators would want their content to be a part of this library. Guy, I don't want that incentive structure is, but if you're like, I'm getting a lot of demand for people to explain, you know, memberships, online courses, yada, yada, yada. It's probably a model where you have other people contribute content. Yeah.
Brennan Dunn 25:26
Jay Clouse 26:10
open sourcing is a royalty split. It's royalties.
Brennan Dunn 26:13
So they have like an unlimited pay per month model for Egghead and then I think they just look at like total views and like, do some sort of percentage based thing and then pay out royalties that way. But there could be again, I'm trying to do this for myself initially. And I say initially, because one thing to keep in mind is I mean, mastering ConvertKit as a course, it's already had about 500 people by it. So it's not exactly like a like, well, this work kind of thing, right? Well, the content work like I already had the customer base, it's more of like, what what I think the course needs to evolve into for it to be even more useful, because there has been bugs, if you will, with the current course, specifically that it's effectively kind of like a static modules with lessons under them course. And long lessons and not very interactive, like, one frustration for me is that I can teach somebody how to do something. And then to test it or to try it, they need to go into their actual live, say ConvertKit account, and risk, like screwing something up. And then their entire list gets like the wrong emails or something. Yeah. So I'm trying to think like, how do I create simulator environments within, which is another reason for custom within this, that I can let people try what I teach before they actually implement it in production.
Jay Clouse 27:37
How much of that would have to be technical in nature, like are people writing liquid in the simulator,
Brennan Dunn 27:42
I've already done a liquid simulator. So people can and what's cool is like I I'm able to define what the expected outcome is or what it should do. So I have like a little box where you can type in and then in real time, it's showing you what it's outputting. And the box glows green once you get it right. Yeah, so that's already done. I'm also building a replica of the visual automation builder and ConvertKit that will let you like wire things up and simulate what would happen over time. And then it'll grade you on that. So it'll be like, okay, set up a thing that somebody joins your, your newsletter, you send out a 3d email sequence, and then you segment them this way at the end like that, you'll be able to do that in the courseware. And it will tell you if you've done it right. Which Yeah, I'm really excited for that. Because I think that's been a big roadblock for people is
Jay Clouse 28:30
circling. Yeah. And if you if you replicate that, when you're saying you want to go beyond any particular ESP, does that mean that you'd have to make an Active Campaign replica? Like literal replicas of each ESP?
Brennan Dunn 28:44
I wouldn't do the entire ESP, but like one thing like the workflow builder, say an Active Campaign? That would be I mean, unless I could have like a generic one. That's like, because a lot of them are kind of fundamentally somewhat similar. Maybe the language is different, or something like that. But yeah, I don't know yet. I've only thought as far as how I do it with the ConvertKit material,
Jay Clouse 29:08
some that I've been thinking about a lot in the world of email right now, seeing a lot of people using beehive. If I'm totally honest, if I were starting from scratch today, I might look at beehive if I was trying to build an email newsletter in particular, like I think ConvertKit needs tools. definitely the way to go. If you're trying to make like email marketing a core part of your business, if you're doing a newsletter, it feels like some of these other tools that are more built for organic growth and things might be a good starting point if you're at zero. But what I don't know about those tools is it seems like where they're lacking is on the automation and segmentation side of things. But there are a lot of people picking up those tools. So I wonder in your world, what could you teach to beehive users that doesn't require yet another like replica of the software that you have to maintain as a team changes over time.
Brennan Dunn 30:02
Yeah. Well, that's that's a good question because I even thought, as I was working on the outline today, you know, this morning I was thinking, Okay, well, one one tutorial could be things like sponsorship stuff and your newsletter, like, how to really incorporate sponsored material and a newsletter. And I talked about things like the things that you've done with Claudio were like, under the logo a little sponsored by so and so. And then like a, you know, a standout block or something. And I'd probably need to talk more high level about like, how to organically or even non organically weavin promotions for the sponsor into an email. But, you know, with the ConvertKit side, I could go even deeper and talk about like, like, the stuff I do, and Palladio, where you can have like a sponsor slot that just populates different bits of the email template automatically. But I don't know, like, I think I think, and that's where I need to get more, I do better. When I do technical training, I honestly, I still struggle a bit with like, higher level big picture stuff, I'm really at home with like, you want to achieve X outcome, here's exactly what you need to do in ConvertKit to do that. And once I start opening up the floodgates to like any ESP, and just like, take my material and try to find a way to distill it down to how beehive does it, then it's a bit tricky, because one thing I don't want to do is like, give people this big like idea and then make them figure out how to implement it. Now, conversely, that this is where it could be make sense to say, who's like the leading expert of beehive get them to, like create the doing it in beehive equivalents for a lot of these. And that could be something that I look at. Yeah,
Jay Clouse 31:43
that's probably that's probably the better case, because I'm definitely looking at things through my lens were very technical trainings are things I try to avoid, because I think about the maintenance cost of updating that. Yeah. And I don't know a lot of people who do things like you do, like, I feel like the competition is very minimal. And the customer is a great customer. So like I would keep living, where you're doing things and yeah, maybe bring someone else in to teach something that's higher level? Yeah,
Brennan Dunn 32:19
I mean, I think I do. I like the black friday course that I did was entirely high level, because it's not specific to ConvertKit at all. And reception was pretty good. So I think like, and I've, I mean, to be honest, when I used to do all the freelance material, that's all like, non technical, right? That's all like, how do you justify your billing rate and stuff like that? So I can do it. And you're right about one issue with the technical training is, since I'm doing screencasts, will say, you know, convert gets updated their UI a bit since I recorded some of these. So some people looking at it are like, this is outdated. And I'm like, well, it's not outdated, it's still the same stuff, it just has a bit of a slightly different spin on it. So that'll always be a bit of a challenge. I think,
Jay Clouse 33:03
every time circle has an update, and sometimes isn't even a circle update. Sometimes it's me being very particular about how I want the spaces within the lab to look, I'll move stuff around, I'll rename things. And now suddenly, I'm like, shit, after rerecord my tour, and all these videos, we record all of it. So I like try to look around corners and avoid that. But a lot of times, that's just me giving myself the excuse not to do the hard thing is actually more valuable. Trying to not do that. Just a quick break for our sponsors. And we'll be right back to the show. And now back to the show,
Brennan Dunn 33:41
I'd love to get your thoughts on one other thing that I'm thinking which is, like I haven't really added any element of coaching into mastering ConvertKit. But by far, that's one of the things a lot of people have asked for. And my usual response, which I think is pretty crappy is to link them to my clarity URL and say, book me. But one thing I'd love to do, and I was talking actually to Brian castle of zip message about this is could I do something like imagine you're watching a video, and you click like a Get Help button. And then boom, your webcam turns on, and you record a message and I get not only your message, your video message, but also what you've been watching your custom path data you've given me, like who you are all this stuff, so that I can basically throw like a threaded means, like, you know, you send me a 32nd thing saying, Hey, I'm conceptually a little confused about this. And I can reply with like, you know, my response and that would that I think would be like a more premium version of it. So you could pay for like just the training material or training plus async coaching. And this could go as far as not just getting help but also like when I prescribe action items like yeah, asking conceptually, like what do I do about this and like just ala carte or random stuff, too. But anyway, I'm just trying to think like, I've liked to do this. I was talking, actually, to Justin Moore about this about because I think he does some sort of async coaching thingy now. And I'm just trying to think like, is there a way that I can make it? So in the courseware itself, it facilitates creating these kind of conversations.
Jay Clouse 35:24
Totally, I think it makes a lot of sense. Because you could, even if I come in, and I buy, create and sell Pro, and not create and sell Pro plus, plus, plus, or Pro plus, plus, Hulu has live sports. If I if I buy just the basic plan, yeah, as I'm going through, you could still have a part in the UI that basically like shows where that interaction would happen with whatever iconography you wanted. That just says, like, you can upgrade right now, if you're stuck right here.
Brennan Dunn 35:54
Yeah. And I'd absolutely do that. Just for the record. Yeah.
Jay Clouse 35:57
I think it makes a lot of sense. I mean, again, it's it's kind of like, do you want the maintenance cost of that? Because we will definitely buy it. Every day, you'd wake up with X number of zip messages. How do you feel about that?
Brennan Dunn 36:09
Yeah, and I'm of two minds because I'm really I've intentionally over the last few years tried to eliminate any, any synchronous stuff as much synchronous stuff as possible. So like meetings and things like that from because I used to do with W freelancing. Like, to be honest, a lot of this stuff you do really well like the office hours and things like that, which I love doing them, but I always dreaded like, I've got stuff on my calendar I wanted I just want to like,
Jay Clouse 36:36
be honest. Okay, good.
Brennan Dunn 36:39
I thought it was just like a curmudgeon, who just like, No, I gotta talk to people, like
Jay Clouse 36:44
I have nothing on my calendar all day, but one block at noon. And now my entire day is oriented around that one block where the first five hours of my day are thinking about it. And then the last four hours of my day are thinking, Gosh, I didn't do anything this morning. So
Brennan Dunn 37:00
Okay, fair enough. Yeah, right. So I don't like the calendar things, which is why I wouldn't want to do like coaching where we meet every week at this time. But if it was like a bin where I could just say, Look, I'm I'm walking home, or something, I bonjoro style, like take out the you know, the phone and just kind of do quick responses. Like I don't know if I'd mind that I just look at it as a nother inbox type thing. But yeah, I don't know if like it would be it would be an additional thing that would keep me from deep work, it would just be more to do items added. You know,
Jay Clouse 37:33
I think if, if that description of how the thing would how the experience would feel is true, then it'd be great. But I wonder if because so much this training is so technical in nature, if it's going to necessitate that you sit down and do a screen capture, and like really ingest what they're saying, because this is going to be like highly contextual to their situation. Yeah, that's that's the flag I would raise. But if you have the time and space in the interest for doing it, I think it would be an absolute no brainer to to include it. So
Brennan Dunn 38:06
everything goes back to my wife, Laura, guess what she says? It's just like you already do this now like you do legally, the one off loom videos, repeat it all the time. You do. And she's like, why don't you just charge for it? Yeah. So that I think is where it's coming from? Because then I could say like, if you won't have that question like this is, this is your way of doing it. But I don't mean to cut you off from I'm sorry,
Jay Clouse 38:27
I was talking about kind of a right turn, an interesting thing that I think about a lot when I was working with Pat at SPI. And we were playing around with cohort based courses, we kind of did a flipped classroom model on cord based courses where most of time Pat wasn't showing up live, it was here's the curriculum, we're going to design live experiences with the assumption that you're watching the curriculum on your own time. And I'm going to support you in doing that. What blew me away was close to 50% of the students we had in those live experiences were actually upgrades from people who had bought the course before, sometimes years before, because they got stuck, or they didn't do it. So there's just like so many people who buy a thing, who would actually invest more to get past whatever block happened that prevented them from doing the thing.
Brennan Dunn 39:16
Yeah, because it would be kind of the right push, right that Right? Kind of, and that's why that
Jay Clouse 39:21
was synchronous, though, that was all synchronous. So that was probably part of it. But I would assume there's there's still some truth in an asynchronous support world.
Brennan Dunn 39:28
What do you what do you think the middle ground might be? Because one thing I was thinking was imagine that in this intake I do I quantify, or I asked you to guess, how many hours say a week you might have to work on this stuff. And then from that, I kind of determine the spacing of the action items I cast people with. And then it can be as simple as like, I generate like an iCal feed for every student. That's like add this to your calendar. And then even though it's not synchronous, it's like putting in, like, you should be doing this this week, or you should be doing that, you know, next week or something like that. That's interesting. Yeah. Which I don't know. Again, I don't know if that's more gimmicky or if that's actually helpful, because I'm trying to think what I'm what I would do it yeah, like, it's a bit like when I have a bit, I used to be really horrible with my to do list, they just kind of pile up. It's like, okay, I've got all these things, but I'm not actually doing I don't know,
Jay Clouse 40:25
when I've when I've kind of fantasize about SAS of my own. The only thing that's kind of stuck in my brain is something that's interesting is related to accountability. Because there was, there was a course Do you know, Matthew, Kimberly, seems like someone you might be aware of. He's like a unapologetic salesman. And he writes incredible emails, every email you get from Matthew, Kimberly is explicitly a sales email and you read it anyway. But he, he had this product called the single malt mastermind, that was an accountability product. That was like $300. And you basically signed up for a 52 email sequence, that every Friday, you got an email from Matthew with some custom paragraph at the beginning, but then asked like two questions like, What did you get done this week? What are you doing next week? And he sold the crap out of it? It's like such a simple
Brennan Dunn 41:18
to do reply to that email, or was it just like a prompt for you to think about you were supposed
Jay Clouse 41:21
to reply to it. And he would often reply back. Inevitably, over 52 weeks, like you eventually either don't need it, or feel embarrassed that you've fallen off the wagon, but like the accountability SAS that I would be interested in, I did that tweet, 100 challenge. And I built that all with, like, no code, air table, and it worked pretty well. But that was very, like related to Twitter and public signals. I could see I would love to give somebody a dashboard to say, what does consistency mean to you, you know, I want to publish X thing weekly, I want to publish a y thing. And daily, just give them their own portal with checkboxes that then fed into some leaderboard with scoring. I think that would actually help people be consistent. And I think it could be as simple as that, in this tool you're describing I don't know if you need to give them a calendar block. But something where they could have the physical feeling of crossing something off the list, checking a box, seeing some score,
Brennan Dunn 42:20
or like that, because I think like, you know, part of the intake was going to be things questions like, what we're gonna be yes. No questions about, do you want to have a weekly newsletter? Yes. No. can choose? Yes. That's a bad example, because it's weekly, obviously, but like, or maybe not. Do you want to have a regular newsletter? If yes, how many do you want to send a week? To? What days? Do you want to send it on Tuesday and Friday? And then that will then prescribe the newsletter? material, but also, like you said, give you like a weekly dashboard of like, Have you done your Tuesday? Email? Tick? Yes. Friday tick. Yes. Yeah. Something
Jay Clouse 42:56
cool. Make it a Chrome extension. So when I open a new tab, that's the first thing I see. And I can actually,
Brennan Dunn 43:01
that's full of like Brian Harris style. I
Jay Clouse 43:03
know, his stuff is so good. And he was doing it like five years ago.
Brennan Dunn 43:07
Yeah. Although it's funny, because on the interview you had with him he I think he was saying, like, investing in custom software. He didn't recommend at least for like, unless you're got like a multimillion dollar business, which I don't have a multimillion dollar.
Jay Clouse 43:23
Like so many of these things are so good. I still to this day, send so many people to drip scripts.com Yeah, as a starting point. And like, it's a pretty, like, if somebody's like, you just put another week into developing this thing, because it's still like very much. You write it in this thing, you copy and paste over here, the formatting is all screwed up. But it's such a useful product, and it's free. And I feel like he has a lot of stuff like that.
Brennan Dunn 43:49
Well, don't tell Brian but I'm, I'm going to be doing in this not not to the extent of drip scripts, where it's like actual production ready, fill in the blank copy. But what I do want to do is like when when it's like, the material on say, doing an automated pitch of a product, if you say you are selling say a WordPress plugin, and you know, this, this, this is true, like depending on your price, it will change it'll, it'll say like, if it's a cheap thing, maybe send just two or three emails, if it's expensive, like, send like a week or twos worth or something like you know what I mean? Like it'll, it'll tell you what emails right and bullet point out what should be in each email, but it's gonna be up to you to write it. I don't have any grand plans to actually do what Brian did where you actually have like, because to be honest, I never I look at how I use things like when I used to do a lot of joint venture like be promote to my lists something of yours it always give me the swipe copy, but I never use it. Because I'm like, I don't write like this. So I'm just gonna write my own thing. You know, I want to have something that is an outline, but not actually the swipe copy if Yeah, yeah. So I Yeah, but I do want to do something like that, too. Yeah.
Jay Clouse 45:02
And especially, I mean, depends on who your audience is. But I feel like a lot of people we cater to like, they are us. They sniff out swipe copy immediately and like, turned off by it. But I don't know, maybe a lot of people would buy this wouldn't be necessarily in the same place. Yeah. What do think about pricing? Oh, pricing? Yeah. Pricing to me has been such a mind expanding exercise over the last couple of years.
Brennan Dunn 45:30
In what way? I mean, obviously, you've you've got, you've got the lab at what 1500? Going up to 2000. For the base. Yeah,
Jay Clouse 45:36
yeah. And, you know, if I showed exactly what the lab was to Mariah, cause she would say this is a $10,000 product, what are you doing? Right, you know, the stuff I was doing five years ago and charging $400 for a 12 week program for other people charge 10 to 20 grand for that same experience with a different customer says, So pricing me is just like, the customer is the question more than anything else, you know, if this thing applies to people like me, or people like Julia, you know, those are like, this is a very high value, product and outcome for us. But it could also apply to people who are doing sub six figures in their creative business who can't afford that type of thing. So I almost feel like, like tears are necessary because of that problem. So I like the, the asynchronous coaching as a higher tier option, as a data point that I'll share with the lab. I am capping it at 200 members in the forum, but I will probably have a lower tier that's access to the training only. So they can't comment in the forum. That's uncapped, you wouldn't even really see those people. But that helps people get to the point of this makes sense as an investment to me, if and when there's space. So I like the tearing system if you're doing a single offer. But, man, I don't I don't know. I think the more the more pathways you can show on the marketing side, the more that it makes sense to me as a subscription, because it is going to take me a lot of time to get through this. Are you thinking about as a subscription?
Brennan Dunn 47:13
I am. And that's another thing, like I was looking at this notion masteries that Marie,
Jay Clouse 47:18
Marie, that's Marie pooling, but she worked with Mariah to put that pricing and everything together.
Brennan Dunn 47:23
Yeah. So it's Marie pool. And and she's got I'm always looked at like the other day, what she does, and I think it's, it's a more expensive thing for the first year, and then it's like a yearly renewal for a bit less. And I was thinking like, do I want to do that? Because I mean, I'm always wary of like a proper true subscription, when this isn't a community. Maybe there's community, maybe I do wake it up to like a circle account or something like that, too. But I wouldn't do you wouldn't? Okay.
Jay Clouse 47:50
Well, just given what you've said to me already, like, you're really good at the asynchronous support. And at its core circle is async support. But yes, so if you're thinking about it as an add on, and not as a core core part of the experience, I think you're eventually going to grow to resent the amount of work that it is. Okay.
Brennan Dunn 48:07
Well, then the question becomes, am I adding sufficient content and to, you know, what, well, email marketing isn't radically changing. I mean, we were in the last year now what everyone's doing spark loop, they're doing sponsored stuff. So things are changing, and there's more material that could be added. And there might be willingness to just stick around and subscribe to it even at the first year's price. I mean, I think especially with the coaching thing that makes more sense, because you still have that because I always think like with with mastering ConvertKit now you know, it's it's $1,000 I've said I'm going to raise a price forever, but I haven't. It's $1,000 for self study video course. But when I look at the people buying it, you know, people like Justin Welch, Thiago forte, Julia and basically a lot of like the team at Thiago is company are going through it. I mean, SPI has gone through it. Like it's, it's kind of a thing, like they would probably pay more. Right? Like, this isn't an entry level, how to how to make your first buck with ConvertKit thing. But I'm still like, which is funny because I used to talk a lot about like value pricing. That used to be my thing. But I'm still for whatever reason, when I'm like, it's I'm selling videos, you know, and granted, this is different. This is still videos, but it's other stuff. So maybe I can then internally justify more money that way, but I don't know. Yeah,
Jay Clouse 49:32
it's packaging is such an interesting thing. Because the way we bucket things in our own mind, like I can't even think of another $1,000 self study course. Like it just kind of breaks my mold of what certain things are. But if you just like called it some other experience if it was a cohort, basically it doesn't have to be a cohort based course but if it was something that wasn't a self paced course, then it changes how I think about the pricing It's hard for me to articulate this. But I pulled up the email of like some of the pricing you were playing around with. And I think that is low. Yeah. Do you mind if I share? What? Yeah, go for it. Yes, he said 300 per year, basic 600 per year with a community and fortnightly calls 2000 per year coaching package, to me like the support package, that could be beyond $5,000 a year. I do like the model of like the upfront fee, and then the ongoing access to it. Because the challenging thing with a subscription is, why does it need to be a subscription? You know? And the answer in this case is probably Brennan's either continuing to add new content to this, you know, like a streaming service or this content needs to be updated constantly. Yeah. So for like this, just the pathway and the self self service stuff, I could see a world where it's like, this is the annual license, and this is the lifetime license. Because I think some people are just so tired of subscriptions that they would pay what is objectively a higher price to just not have that burden on their mind. But that doesn't make sense with the coaching plan. You know, you wouldn't want to have a lifetime license for something that has your time.
Brennan Dunn 51:17
Yes. Yeah. That's something like what Brian mentioned on your, in your discussion with him about, like, what do you say like the upfront plus setup fee?
Jay Clouse 51:25
Brennan Dunn 51:27
Yeah, I mean, I think he made a pretty good case when talking with you about why like a monthly fee for coaching makes a lot of sense. Yep. It could just be a flexing like you could you could, you know, disabled at any time, potentially. And there's also the fact that I don't want to have it be a runaway product, I want like there to be only x many people who can I see book that, because I don't want to have like, I mean, it'd be a good problem to have, I guess, financially. But, you know, if if I need to remember, like 100, companies, you know, and what they've got going on and all that stuff, even with a great CRM, it would be tricky. I think,
Jay Clouse 52:07
another way, well, this doesn't really work. If you're trying to do this message thing. With something I found at the lab, the higher tier of that the material difference is that you get for one on one calls with me. And those are 30 minutes each, you can either book in blocks of 30 minutes or an hour. And I tell people in the welcome call, like, if you want to do a block of two hours next week, you can do that. And that's fine. Yeah, what I found with that, you know, they basically have a credit for this access to me, people don't use it at the clip that I would expect. Now, unlike your mental time balance sheet, it's still a liability, you have to make sure you'll have enough capacity to cover. But if you're doing complete asynchronous, I guess it doesn't really apply.
Brennan Dunn 52:47
I think that's the whole thing like with I'd imagine with your customers, I was actually curious about what your what your uptake split is on the baseline versus VIP. Because I think like if you're already in for say, 1500 that jumped 2500, even though it's still $1,000 Doesn't seem like why like there's some people, myself included, who are often like, I'm not going to get the like middle option, I might as well just pay a bit more to get the best, right? Even if I don't necessarily know what I'm going to do with it just yet. And I'd imagine there's a degree of that that could happen where aspirationally people want to have like, a ConvertKit expert, you know, a phone call away. Yeah, they don't, you know, but some people y'all are gonna are going to get their money's worth. And it's just like, it's like a gym where, you know, they they know, X, some high percentage hardly show up. Yeah. And if everyone showed up all the time, then they'd be too busy. or something, you know,
Jay Clouse 53:48
the split I have on standard versus VIP is 15%. VIP. Okay. So lower than I would have expected to be honest. But just by having a higher tier, I've shared it to some folks who've joined the lab who haven't thought about this, just by having a higher tier, you're going to raise your average order volume.
Brennan Dunn 54:07
Yeah. Well, it was because they're debating Is it A versus B versus buy versus not buy? Which is better frame of mind that you want people in? Yeah.
Jay Clouse 54:17
My hot take is if mastering Kubrick is $1,000 for the course, then this is minimum $1,000 for the year, but probably higher. Yep, that I'm kind of backpedaling. I could see, I think having a community is really high value. And you could design for your own design constraints and your own lifestyle goals, how to not make it into something that you come to resent. And really is just about, like, restraint on how many spaces you set up, and what you promise and experience if it's purely like, Hey, this is a support community. And the questions that go in here are to support your your access here, and if you're able to help other people, please do it. I think you'd probably be fine. Because whether you're getting into realms or what.
Brennan Dunn 54:57
Yeah, you're saying where I don't actually promise at all Like, assist, per se, where it's more of a, like peers where they can share what they're up to and get advice.
Jay Clouse 55:06
Yeah, I mean, there's there's different ways you could do it. You could you could say explicitly like, Hey, this is a peer to peer support forum, and I do the, you know, twice a month, office hours kind of notion mastery style. But if you want direct support from me, get the coaching tier. I think that can make some sense. I don't, I don't know that you'd want to have like, three tiers where it's like, this is just the just the SAS subscription. This is SAS plus community. This is SAS plus community plus, plus, you know, asynchronous coaching, you probably want to decide does, is the community a core part of the subscription or not? Right, my thought,
Brennan Dunn 55:44
yeah, I mean, people have liked the community so far. And again, it's just a Facebook group, but it's people I think you've been have found it useful, but again, they're getting a sin coaching through it. Yeah, it was like a question. I'll do your loom video and they like it. So yeah.
Jay Clouse 55:59
Okay, I'm backpedaling pedaling on one more thing. Yeah. You had like, tentatively planning $300 per year, which I still think is way too cheap. Maybe I wouldn't go to 1000. Because I do think that having a comma in the base level price changes the precision. Bass. So whatever feels comfortable just south of $1,000? Probably. Okay. But I'm, you know, I'm totally just pulling out numbers here. It depends on how how broadly you want to reach like, if you're, if you're trying to reach people who are in the first couple of years of being a creator, then that price probably excludes them a little bit. If you want to continue to cater to only the higher level customer, then maybe not. If you want to cater to the higher level customer by doing like the enterprise implementation of the SAS at some point, then maybe you do want to make it more accessible? I don't know. It's hard. I think it's all I think the price is just all about customer selection.
Brennan Dunn 56:56
Yeah. And I think I think you've converted me just now on that, because I'm thinking of like, who who's asked for refunds. And it's always been the people who probably were a bit too early anyway, for the course, they don't have products to sell. They don't have really a material list. But they're aspirationally. They want to they want to have that stuff. Whereas the people who send me like, this has been transformative have been the people who are already doing like, you know, six, maybe even seven or more figures a year. Yeah. And they just use this as a really good optimization lever for themselves.
Jay Clouse 57:29
Are you thinking about having monthly pricing, too?
Brennan Dunn 57:31
I think I'd only I'm now thinking about potentially for the coaching add on?
Jay Clouse 57:36
I don't know, though, I probably wouldn't do monthly for the the course material.
Brennan Dunn 57:41
Yeah, I'm always wary of people who like binging in a month or two and then not needing it the rest here. So they cancel.
Jay Clouse 57:47
There's that. And there's, there's also like the the customer experience of it, I would doubt that somebody could actually do all of this in a month and get the outcome that they wanted and be like, that was 100% worth it, then you want people who buy the thing to get the outcome to feel happy about it.
Brennan Dunn 58:04
So would you do just annual maybe, would you would you consider like quarterly or just think just maybe it's simple annual?
Jay Clouse 58:14
I could I could make a case for quarterly. The thing with quarterly though is and I experienced this a little bit of SBI to I don't think most people think in quarters. I think when people hear quarterly, they're like, am I being billed three times or four times this year?
Brennan Dunn 58:27
Yeah, that's a good point.
Jay Clouse 58:29
So manual, but
Brennan Dunn 58:31
I mean, card failures, credit card failures anyway, if it's going to be an annual subscription.
Jay Clouse 58:36
Brennan Dunn 58:37
But my thinking has always been for installments, because I used to do that conversion tool. It's been like, if you can't get like American Express extend you credit. Like that's basically what an installment is. It's credit. Like, if you if you don't have the credit limit to do that, then might not be a good fit.
Jay Clouse 58:54
Jay Clouse 58:56
I like I like the annual pricing for access to the course material, monthly add on for coaching. The hard question becomes how do you position that at checkout? So that's easy to understand, you know, is it one checkout price? Well, you can you can code this stuff yourself. So you would be able to handle this, but like most software just doesn't handle the setup fee plus monthly thing. You'd be able to handle that as long as you message it.
Brennan Dunn 59:13
Jay Clouse 59:22
That should be
Jay Clouse 59:23
That should be straightforward.
Brennan Dunn 59:24
Jay Clouse 59:25
Well, I'm excited to see where it goes. Yeah, me too. Thanks for sharing with us and and diving into the details with me. And when you specify it, let me know.
Brennan Dunn 59:35
I will. Absolutely. I mean, it might be the enterprise gig, but we'll see.
Jay Clouse 59:39
All right, sounds good.
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