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Here are my SEVEN key takeaways from our conversation. 👇
Do this to increase customer retention
Do you want your customers to stick around? Do you want more repeat purchases? You have to find a way to keep your customers coming back.
You need people to feel excited about what they’re buying and the experience around it. They need to feel important. They want to know that you care about them on a personal level.
Focus on the onboarding process for your customers. It has a direct impact on how long your customers stick around. Personalize it to their specific needs, wants, and information. Make it relevant to them. Show them you care.
When you make the customer your priority, they can sense that. They pick up on that and it creates loyalty. They’ll be more inclined to tell their friends and family about it, as well.
The problem most businesses ignore
Are you more focused on acquisition than retention? Do you think finding new customers is more important than keeping the ones you have? On the surface, they may seem equally important.
When you aren’t able to retain your customers, you’re throwing acquisition money down the drain. Put a system in place to nurture the customers. Without that, spending money on new customers doesn’t make sense.
Focus on providing an experience for you customer that incentivizes them to stick around long-term. You need to strengthen your retention, onboarding, and customer-messaging.
When you’re able to keep your customers, then it makes sense to spend money on acquiring more. But you have to have a system in place to retain them, first.
Do this with customers who won’t buy
Do you wonder why people aren’t buying your product? Are you missing out on sales? There could be a lot of opportunities you are passing up.
You have to find the root of the problem. Find out why your customers are not buying from you. Figure out what they’re looking to achieve, what their pain points are, and how they want to solve that problem.
Start by interviewing the customers who don’t buy from you. You may need to follow up with numerous customers before someone responds. This is normal. You will need to ask why numerous times to get to the root of the problem.
Use questions like, “What do you mean by that? or, “What are you doing with your time instead?” Let them do the talking and continue to dig in, asking why until you uncover the root of the problem.
Doing your research will be worth the effort. It will provide you with the data you need to make informed decisions about your business moving forward.
How to do onboarding for membership sites
Do you want to drive engagement on your membership site? Is there a lot of content available to your members? It may be overwhelming people and turning them away.
You have to change the way you onboard people. When people see too much information all at once, it’s overwhelming and they don’t know where to start. They need direction and guidance.
Section off advanced content from beginner members. If they’re brand new to a topic, only show the first section of content before unlocking additional areas. Create a flow of content for them to work through systematically.
When they paid for your membership site, they didn’t want a sea of information to sort through. They wanted something curated. Make sure you deliver on the experience as well as the content.
Most businesses miss this opportunity
Do you want to retain more customers? Do you want to give them a reason to stay loyal to your brand? There’s a way to make it happen.
They need to hear more from you. They need to hear from you before and after the purchase. Include them in your community and make them feel like a valued part of the team.
Before the purchase, the customer is bombarded with follow-up, abandoned-cart emails, and offers. But as soon as they purchase, they never hear from you again. This is such a missed opportunity. You have to continue to build connection with your customer after the sale.
Staying in touch with your customer will have a massive impact on retention and future sales. Take the time to stay in communication with your customers. Don’t abandon them after they make a purchase.
Reap long-term business benefits with this
Do you feel like you’re wasting money on running ad campaigns? Are you losing most of the customers you acquire? You don’t have to keep losing all your customers.
If you want to see an upward trend in your sales, focus your efforts on retention. You can increase your customer lifetime value which will give you the money you need to run more ads in the future.
Retention is the investment that always pays off. If you put a quarter into a machine that spit out $10 bills, you would keep using that machine over and over. When you invest money into retention, you are guaranteeing a return on investment.
If you haven’t done the retention work, you’re throwing money into a machine that’s eating all your money. Focus your efforts on making sure you can retain your customers. That will unlock the safety net and funding to go acquire more.
What customers really want
Do you feel like you have to compete with other brands? Are you losing customers to your competitors? Do you want to grab more of the market share?
Focus on segmentation. Make the experience uniquely tailored to your customers when they interface with your brand. Show them you care.
If a woman is shopping online for clothing and you’re sending her emails about men’s clothing, she will know you don’t care about her. You haven’t segmented in any way. It cheapens the experience and it cheapens the perception of your brand. You need to provide a tailored experience for them with the information they give you.
When you don’t pay attention to the details, your brand becomes a commodity. You can be shopped. Another brand can and will solve the same problem. You have to stand out by showing that you care about your customers.
Note: This transcript of the episode was machine-generated and has not been edited for correctness. It’s provided for your convenience when searching. Please excuse any errors.
Brendan Hufford: [00:00:00] Cloud nothing. Great. We’re recording. Hey Val. Thanks for joining me on the podcast.
[00:00:07] Val: [00:00:07] I am super happy to be here.
[00:00:10] Brendan Hufford: [00:00:10] We’ll pretend we weren’t talking for 10 minutes ahead of time.
[00:00:13] Val: [00:00:13] I love that. It’s like, uh, one of my favorites, we’ve talked about this like that. Um, you made it weird and armchair expert. I love how they just went like.
[00:00:23] We’re recording, like as you’re walking in the room and sitting in front of your microphone and getting your headphones on we’re
[00:00:28] Brendan Hufford: [00:00:28] already. Yeah. I thought about doing that to you and cause I knew you’d appreciate it, but I was like, ah, let’s, let’s take a, let’s take a minute. Let’s take a minute and catch up.
[00:00:36] Um, and that made people listen to it to 10 minutes of us talking about our kids and stuff. Um, but that might be, that might be perfect.
[00:00:43] Val: [00:00:43] I don’t know. People always say like, Oh, like we’re getting the really good stuff and we’re not recording, you know, like I feel like sometimes I have really good conversations with people about that.
[00:00:53] Like things that would be beneficial to the show and we’re not recording. So benefit,
[00:00:58] Brendan Hufford: [00:00:58] you know, I think that’s what I’m going to do from now and be like, look, I’m just going to start recording. If there’s anything you like, don’t want to talk about, just let me know. Yeah. We’ll edit it out. So I wanted to have you on because you’re wonderful.
[00:01:10] Just generally speaking, I’ve been following you for a long time is I feel like you’ve moved and evolved like into different things. I feel like from an outsider looking in between, tell me what was, so it was like, you were very focused on SAS. I feel like for awhile and now very focused on and this I could be incorrect.
[00:01:33] It’s just my perception, very focused on like, Direct to consumer DTC. And e-com what was, what was before that?
[00:01:42] Val: [00:01:42] Is there anything else? Like, what do you mean? Is there a, what was before that shift?
[00:01:47] Brendan Hufford: [00:01:47] Yeah. Well, what was before that shift? What was, I mean, have you always, were you always focused on SAS and were you always so focused on like churn and retail?
[00:01:57] Val: [00:01:57] Yeah, I mean before that, I guess so before I worked for a SAS company, I was working with graphic designers and life coaches and online business owners, creatives, um, And it wasn’t necessarily focused on retention per se, because those are people who do projects. And I mean, sometimes they have long-term clients, but, um, at that time I was more focused on onboarding.
[00:02:26] Like how do these creative people create, uh, a process and have some kind of structure that their clients understand? Okay. I’ve paid you now. What happens? Well, now you fill out this form and then we scheduled this call and then like, so helping them set up what it looked like to onboard new clients. Um, so I think like onboarding was really where I started to.
[00:02:54] That’s what got me interested in SAS too, was that’s a huge experience in SAS. Like free trials are. I actually don’t know what percentage of SAS companies operate on a free trial versus a paid first month. Um, that would be an interesting stat to find somewhere. Uh, but I know it’s like, it feels like a good majority of SAS, um, especially, uh, direct, like it’s the SAS that is just small business owners.
[00:03:23] A lot of that is free trial and that onboarding experience, that experience of like I signed up now, what, um, That can make or break your relationship with your customers. So to me, onboarding was always the foundation and realizing then through working with SAS companies, onboarding has a direct impact on how long your customers stick around, uh, because they.
[00:03:51] If they understand the product better, if they understand you as a company better, if they feel like they matter to you beyond just their credit card number, uh, then they’re more likely to not only stick around themselves, but also tell other people about your company. I watched it happen again and again and again, with my SaaS clients, where the customers become brand advocates.
[00:04:14] And when you are out there telling other people about a product that you use. It’s very unlikely that you were going to stop using that product, especially if you’ve told a good number of people about it. Uh, so I think like onboarding was the foundation that led me to retention and it still is. I mean, I still, I talked to somebody yesterday about, um, their membership program and we talked about how, you know, everybody wants to hire us to start like fix the retention problem and they all think.
[00:04:47] Let’s look at the, okay. We see a lot of turnaround nine months. So let’s look at the messaging right prior to nine months. And that’s great. I want to get to that and we have to start way back at the beginning. We have to start with who your customers are, what their problem is, they’re trying to solve, uh, what drew them to your product in the first place.
[00:05:08] And then. How they come into your product. We cannot possibly begin to solve that nine months churn problem until we know all of the beginning. It’s like trying to figure out, you know, if you like a book or not by reading the last chapter, um, you just can’t, you don’t know because you don’t know how the book started and what the middle is, and you don’t know anything about the characters.
[00:05:27] Brendan Hufford: [00:05:27] So. Yeah, it’s it’s diving. I don’t know if you know who Blake crouch is. It’s like diving into a, Oh, he’s one of my favorite authors, like a wayward Pines and a bunch of other dark matter. These really cool books that are what I would consider like real science fiction, where it’s kind of like a, like an Andy Weir kind of feel of like, I’m going to go so deep into science that it’s.
[00:05:48] Impossible not to believe this book. Um, just wrapping a story around, like, I want to learn about like multiple dimensions, let’s wrap a story around it. And it was jumping into his books, like at any point, like, you know, immediately if you’ve accidentally skipped some pages, cause you’re like, I have no idea what’s going on.
[00:06:04] Um, yeah. So tell me, this is super interesting for me for a lot of reasons, but, uh, I want to, so you were kind of talking about a scenario in which somebody is like, Hey, we want you to come in and fix the retention problem. Talk to me about, so that’s somebody who already knows like the value of retaining customers or clients, et cetera.
[00:06:25] Talk to me about, cause you know, we’re just coming off of, well, I mean, I guess we’re a month ish or a couple of weeks out of a black Friday cyber Monday and the winter holidays are coming up. And I think a lot of people right now we’re very focused on, especially the start of the new year is huge for a lot of industries.
[00:06:43] Um, And a lot of people are focused on acquisition right now. Talk to me about the value about, well, not even, I mean, I already know the value, but talk to, I guess, like talk more on the, the value of retention versus acquisition.
[00:07:00] Val: [00:07:00] Yeah. I mean, they both have a place they’re both important, so I’m not here to say like screw acquisition.
[00:07:08] Um, it’s, it’s a vital piece of building a business and. I hear a lot. Like people come to me and say, Hey, we want to work with you. Great. Here’s how that happens. Um, and then I will follow up and they’ll say, well, we decided to spend the budget that we would normally spend on you on and put it all into acquisition.
[00:07:30] And I’m like, cool, I’m going to push back on that because what happens when you spend all of your budget, acquiring all these new customers? And they come in and they have the same experience You’ve ike already identified for me. You need some help with retention or onboarding or, you know, there’s a customer-messaging problem.
[00:07:53] So then what you’re saying is I know this problem exists. I’m going to ignore it and go get all these new customers who are going to have this exact same problematic experience. And that’s where I think you have to say, okay, well, let’s do a little bit of both. Let’s fix what it looks like for them to come into the product, to make their, have their first experience and then stick around.
[00:08:20] Long-term maybe even don’t worry about that long-term piece. Like let’s just focus on what it looks like to come into the brand, whether it’s through a first purchase or through a free trial. Um, and then. And go back from there, then you can go and acquire new customers, but especially during the holidays, when it costs so much to get a new customer, I just don’t understand why people are going to run these massive ad campaigns to bring in customers to the same experience that they’ve they know is not good.
[00:08:56] Um, it doesn’t help customers want to stick around. Even
[00:09:01] Brendan Hufford: [00:09:01] with, uh, even with SEO, right? You’re working so hard to bring people in this discoverability. A lot of times when people are searching for something it’s great. You’re not interrupting them. There’s a lot of value to that. They’re actually looking for the thing.
[00:09:15] Yeah. You do. Or talking about. However, they are a lot of times, times the vast majority by nature of like the search volumes and different things, the vast majority are going to be very uneducated. They’re going to be more problem aware, maybe more solution aware where they know kind of what could solve their problem.
[00:09:30] They might not be familiar with your specific products. So they might be coming in in a little more uneducated way. And then you’re immediately trying to cram them into some sort of like funnel and like, all right, let’s get em, that’s going to opt in. Then we got their email sequence and all the way to purchase.
[00:09:47] And hopefully if they set it up, right, once you buy, you, stop seeing ads and all these other things, but it’s unlikely. I see ads for products. I’ve just bought all the time, but. I think like when you’re, when we’re focused, like even thinking just about SEO on the other side of it, like people still people say like, SEO is free traffic.
[00:10:05] It’s not like you spend money to, or time to whatever you have more of to create content, to, you know, set up internal links and links from other websites and all these other things you need to rank well in search, it’s not, it’s certainly not free, but then again, you’re, you’re getting all these people into this terrible experience where, you know, pouring more water into.
[00:10:27] A leaky bucket, a leaky funnel. I had a post or a tweet get a lot of like pushback from people, not that long ago where I was like, can we just all agree that a funnel is dead, that the idea of a funnel, like that’s not how this should work. We should be looking. It’s a path in it’s. I keep visualizing it more as like a loop or a cycle where there is some.
[00:10:51] I think what’s happened is we had the traditional marketing funnel where it’s, you know, a attention, interest, desire, action. And then they do the action and that’s the end. And people were like, well, we know the value of retention. Let’s just make some more sections at the bottom of the funnel. And it’s like, well, that’s this linear path.
[00:11:08] And a lot of like funnels that I see in the way we model it as an industry, it’s a very like business focused view of, of the customer journey versus like the customer’s view of it. Where the things like that. We’re just going to talk about here in a second about retention. I think matters so much more because after the purchase, I mean, that’s takes a lot of work in a lot of cases, but retaining somebody and building them a part of your audience, uh, is J a Kenzo would call it, like getting them to subscribe to you, to subscribe to your worldview and the problems you’re solving, um, to become like a super fan that’s, that’s not easy either, but I think it’s really crucial.
[00:11:47] Val: [00:11:47] Well, and it’s that idea of like, do you ever read those, choose your own adventure books? You know, so we have our favorite authors and we love the way that they write characters and the way they develop plot lines. But I’ve certainly read books where I’ve thought, like, what happened to that character? I read about, you know, three chapters ago, or I wonder what would happen if this.
[00:12:09] Didn’t if this changed, but this part of the story, like, and that’s what I mean, that’s a fan fact fiction is like, there’s, the internet is full of what would happen if this story went this other direction and choose your own adventure books are exactly that the reader gets to decide which way the story goes to me.
[00:12:27] That’s more of the approach for like a quote funnel is. What is the path that that customer wants to take? You can, you can direct what those paths are. I mean, choose your own adventure books. Aren’t write the book for yourself. It’s here are these options and which one do you, as the reader choose this time you read the book and someone else who reads the book is going to choose a different path.
[00:12:52] And maybe the next time you read it, you’ll choose a different way to, um, but it’s, it’s not like this endless, you know, you get to decide everything right. You as the author of the book still choose the options that the reader gets to choose from. You decide what that path is, but they get some say in it.
[00:13:13] So yeah, we’re not like cramming everybody down, this one direct funnel, but we’re saying here are your options of pathways. You can choose. Which one do you want? Yeah.
[00:13:24] Brendan Hufford: [00:13:24] Let’s, let’s talk about that a little bit. Um, cause I like what you said, if you’ve told a ton of people about the S it’s very unlikely that you’ll quit, right?
[00:13:32] Like if you, if you’re raving and we even in the world, how do you think about this in model business models where it’s not a subscription, it’s not like a e-comm subscription or a SAS or a membership community like mine, do all these things still apply.
[00:13:48] Val: [00:13:48] Yeah. I mean, Okay. So there’s a really popular woman shoe called Roth.
[00:13:52] These. Um, Roth is, I don’t know if they’re as popular these days. I think that they do have a little bit of a cult following, but I know that there was a period of time where people were like, man, I just got my Roth he’s and I never want to take them off. And like, I, I heard from multiple women about.
[00:14:13] They’re Roth, these shoes, how comfortable would they were when it was, you know, back when people traveled. Um, they were like, great. Where all day, where on the airplane, where directly to the conference floor kind of shoes. Um, and they also have a really distinct, uh, red trim around the bottom of them. It’s kind of like the Manolo Blahniks have the, uh, red bottoms, you know, there’s like the, something really distinct about the shoe that, and another person says like, Those are really nice looking shoes.
[00:14:41] What are they? And the person wearing them gets to say like, Oh, their Roth is, and I love them. And here’s all the reasons why, um, that person who has gone around telling people about how much they love their Ralphie’s and maybe even wrote about it online somewhere and wears them too, has spoken in them at multiple different conferences.
[00:15:01] It’s unlikely that they’re going to, I mean, sure. They might find another brand and wear those and we all have. Most of us have like multiple pairs of shoes. Um, but the it’s the same kind of mindset of she’s now told all these different people about how much she loves her Roth is. And so it’s going to be hard for her to.
[00:15:25] Want to talk about anything else. And it’s also going to be kind of heartbreaking to her if she has a really bad experience with Rossi’s, because she’s now like sung their praises and told everybody about them and how wonderful they are. So it goes both ways, too. It’s not just about the customer doing all this work for you, but you have to continue to do work for the customer too.
[00:15:48] Brendan Hufford: [00:15:48] Yeah. And I always think about to the scale. A lot of times people think like the, uh, It’s like somebody either loves you or hates you. And they put those at opposite ends of the spectrum. And it’s actually less true that if somebody loves you, the opposite of that is like total apathy and somebody not liking you as a lot closer to loving you as you think.
[00:16:05] And I don’t know where I heard it, but it’s easier to turn. It’s easier to turn somebody who doesn’t or who loves you into a total hater than somebody who’s kind of apathetic or like they’re not, they don’t care enough to hate you. But somebody who absolutely loves you has a lot invested in. It’s very easy to turn them into be like, all right, I don’t ever want to deal with them ever again.
[00:16:28] Val: [00:16:28] Sure. Anyone who runs a brand knows about the noisy few. And we often think about them as you know, they’re, they’re the people who are like tweeting about you all the time or active in your Facebook community every day, multiple times a day. We usually think. The noisy few falls into the category of like, Oh, well, we’re not going to make changes to the product because of the noisy few.
[00:16:50] There they’re usually like the unhappy customers, but they actually encompass both your unhappy and your happiest customers are the ones who are like so excited about your product. And they’re like all caps typing either an excitement or an anger. Um, and it’s everybody else in between. That’s like, Too busy doing whatever they’re doing and it doesn’t care enough about your product one way or the other to go, like tweet about it.
[00:17:13] Um, so yeah, I mean, those, that noisy few is super important and it’s that, that middle ground of people that we need to kind of say like, well, which, which one are you, um, and how do we, how do we move those apathetic customers to a more enthusiastic customer?
[00:17:34] Brendan Hufford: [00:17:34] I love that. Tell me what’s, uh, what’s the first move, like when you, I don’t know if you’ve seen like common trends across all of the people you work with or just in your analysis.
[00:17:42] Cause you’ve done a lot of analysis of different things. Um, I know you’ve done different experiments where you’ve signed up for quite a few email lists, uh, whether it was during the election. And like, even I know you, I think you talked about signing up for a lot of them, uh, like black Friday, cyber Monday and everything like that.
[00:18:00] Um, tell me, is there anything you’ve seen across all of that work where you’re like, Hey, if somebody’s starting out and they’re like, I want to focus on retention where I would guess it’s not actually starting there. You’ve kind of alluded that there’s some like pieces before that. Where do you start?
[00:18:17] Like what’s the first step?
[00:18:19] Val: [00:18:19] Um, I start with the customers, so I like. Everyone who wants to work with us, says like let’s work on emails. And when are you going to start writing the emails while we have weeks worth of research to do on your customers before we can write emails? Um, we can’t just start writing emails for you tomorrow and we can physically, we can do that.
[00:18:41] We can sit down and type emails. Are they going to perform for you though? That’s the question we don’t know until we talk to your customers. So I feel like, why should we. Right emails and then go talk to people and like, or set them live and try and figure out if they’re working or not. Instead of let’s just go talk to people and write them right.
[00:19:02] The first time, you know? Um, so we always start with customer research. We survey and do one-to-one interviews with different groups of customers, usually it’s your very best customers, your customers who were with your product for X period of time, like a decent amount of time and are no longer. So in SaaS that looks like they had a paid account and have turned in e-commerce it looks like they’ve bought from me multiple times or were on your subscription.
[00:19:30] Um, and then canceled. And so we like to talk to them. That’s my favorite group of customers to talk to. And then the third, which is a lot harder to get are people who never converted to, uh, any kind of payment to your brand. So they are on your email list and they never signed up for a free trial. Um, or they sign up for a free trial and never became a paid account in the e-commerce world.
[00:19:55] It’s like, they’re on your email list and they’ve never made a purchase from you. Um, Maybe they got to an abandoned cart and I still, and has still never completed their purchase. So they’ve interacted with your brand in some way, they’ve shown some kind of interest and they haven’t done anything with you.
[00:20:14] So those, those customers are harder to get to answer surveys and get on interviews. But depending occasionally we get them. Um, but that middle group of customers who use your product for a set period of time in one way or another, and then left. That’s a really interesting group of customers to talk to because they tell you what brought them there in the first place.
[00:20:35] What kept them there when they were there. And then what made them leave? And in SAS, a lot of times, especially in like B to C SAS, it’s people are closing businesses and you hear a lot of the, I mean the common complaint is time and money. Um, that’s I mean, in SAS and e-commerce, that’s the number one reason people can like, uh, I’ll talk to brands who say like, well, we have all these cancellation insights and everyone just says it’s time or money.
[00:21:07] Uh, like you don’t need to go do that research because that’s what, um, that’s what we have already. We’ve done all of that, but time and money are not the actual reasons that people are canceling. So we all have a set amount of time. We actually all have the exact same amount of time. Um, we all have various amounts of money and how we spend our time and money is up to us as individuals.
[00:21:34] So not having enough time isn’t that you actually don’t have enough time it’s that you aren’t choosing to spend your time with that product. Not having enough money to pay for itâ€”I Um, mean, in some cases it’s truly you don’t have the money, um, especially if you’ve lost a job or something like thatâ€”but Um, in most cases you’re choosing to spend your money elsewhere. Um, so you know, it’s about how do you message around that, but you don’t know how to message to those problems. Until, you know, what the true root of the problem is. So a lot of our, uh, you know, we survey on a a more surface level and then we do one-on-one interviews to get to do a lot of like asking why we just ask why over and over again, like tell me more about that.
[00:22:19] What do you mean? Um, well, uh, you know, I just, I I don’t really have enough time to dedicate to learning everything in this membership site. Okay. Um, what do you mean by that? Like, tell me what are, what were you consuming? Um, what, uh, what are you doing with your time instead? Um, like asking and digging in, and it’s kind of hard to give examples of how to do these kinds of interviews because they.
[00:22:48] They’re so unique. Like there’s not a template to go off of for, these kinds of customer interviews where you’re just really letting them talk and continuing to dig in and ask why until you get to the true root of the problem.
[00:23:02] Brendan Hufford: [00:23:02] So I, a couple of things that I want to ask about based on what you just said.
[00:23:07] Um, first I guess I want to just surface level, do you ever see like common, you, you know, when you talked about time or money going a layer deeper, is there ever like a co a more common, next thing? Cause it’s, it’s it isn’t yeah. A lot of people will say even the people you can even get to talk to don’t.
[00:23:27] Tell me this I, my theory for a while was that like a lot of times when people churn, there’s an element of shame around that because, or it could be because they’ve, they are now admitting a decision they made was wrong. And then to have the business be like, tell me why you made this wrong decision. A lot of people are like, I’m not, they’ll never answer that email or whatever.
[00:23:53] It’s very easy and trite for companies to be like, talk to the people who turn and talk to the people who turn, find out their problem. Like that’s thrown out there a ton. And it’s like, I’ve tried to do that with SEO for the rest of us. Does everybody who churn? I’ve gotten maybe one or two replies that were actually like honest, then everybody else goes to me and I’m like, Oh, I I’m asking them about something that they’re either there, or they’re not happy with me or not happy with themselves.
[00:24:19] Is that accurate?
[00:24:20] Val: [00:24:20] Yeah, that’s very accurate. I think the most common kind of root problem across the board is, uh, confidence. So confidence in knowing how to use the product confidence in that they can do something with it once they have it, um, confidence in, you know, understanding. Uh, in maybe doing something different.
[00:24:47] So I’ll give you three different examples, uh, to kind of go across the board. So confidence in using, um, a website building tool. Okay. Well, it’s a little it’s could be a technical tool, could be slightly more technical than like a drag and drop. Um, so you have to have a level of confidence in your S in your technical abilities, too.
[00:25:14] Either know, to follow these tutorials and do that, do it correctly. Or you have to have confidence in your ability to figure it out. And a lot of people, especially if you’re like trying to build your own website, you probably didn’t, you’re probably not a website designer or a developer, or as someone who knows how to build a website, if you’re using a tool to build a website, um, if you’re doing it yourself, You’re not the expert in that industry.
[00:25:45] So a lot of times it’s confidence that you can actually do it. And also in that example, it’s confidence in the end result in the end product. So I’m going to build this website and then once they build this website, I have to actually buy my business because it’s going to be on the internet and people are going to see it.
[00:26:05] And I’m going to have to share my website with people when they ask. And now I have to actually have clients and run my business. So. Um, so there’s like that deeper level of confidence membership sites, um, confidence in knowing that they aren’t going to be the smartest person in the room. Um, there’s a community involved in memberships.
[00:26:25] And so there’s always going to be someone who’s ahead of you and some who’s behind you in knowledge of what you’re trying to learn. Um, so, you know, you have to not only own up to the fact that, like, I’m not going to be the smartest person in the room, but also I, uh, there’s a lot to learn here and I, um, you know, I’m here in this membership site because I don’t know something.
[00:26:51] That’s a hard thing for most people to admit to, um, it takes a really big person to admit that they don’t know something. So, and then in like the world of, uh, products and e-commerce, um, an example would be like, uh, Let’s say like a keto food product, you decide, okay, I’m going to try this like keto lifestyle thing.
[00:27:15] Um, which is different than everyone else in my family is doing. None of my friends are doing it. And so I’m going to sign up for this product and I’m going to get it and give it a try. But. You know, over time. Well, my family is like poking fun of me for doing this. Or, um, none of my friends are doing it.
[00:27:33] Like I can’t go out to eat with my friends because they don’t understand the way that I’m eating now. And so I’m just going to stop ordering this product. Like I want to give it up. So that’s that like, that’s another way that competence shows up of confidence to be, to do things differently. Um, and you know, Sure.
[00:27:52] There are cases where it’s not an issue of confidence. Um, there’s other things that go on, but typically that’s something that comes across. It comes up across the board in industries is like, yeah, like you said, there’s shame in, I made it a bad decision. Um, but below that is like, I didn’t have the confidence to see this through.
[00:28:14] Brendan Hufford: [00:28:14] Yeah. So it’s, it feels to me. So this is, this is great. I want to like dive a lot deeper into a couple of things I have like, fuck, I just keep adding bullet points here. Cause this is super interesting. I think we’re getting into like, Very tactical side of it. Cause I feel like what you just described is like the internal external and product objections, right?
[00:28:35] Like, am I the kind of person who buys this? What will everybody else think of me? And then like, is this product actually a good product or service or whatever. Um, and I think that when you can address those and give them the confidence in. This is super interesting for me because a lot of times, especially in what I do in SEO and stuff, people are going to sell the results, right?
[00:28:55] Like, Oh, I’ve helped this, you know, this helped this person and testimonial and case study and all those things, and those are great. They improve their confidence. But the note that I wrote down is maybe people don’t join memberships because they have to admit, they don’t know something with a product it’s like, I’ve purchased this and it’s.
[00:29:12] Good. Like I did it. And I think a lot of times we feel like same reason. I have all these aspirational books on the shelf that I haven’t, I’ve only read, like this is literally valve this shelf and you can’t see it. If you’re watching on YouTube, you can. But this shelf right here is literally. All aspirational purchases.
[00:29:28] This is my shelf that reminds me, you bought all these, you have to finish reading them. Um, I have a whole shelf of those. Yup. 100%, but we buy it and we’re like, Oh, I did it great. I did the thing with a membership or a subscription. You are reminded every month. You don’t know how to do this. You’re learning.
[00:29:46] And that can be challenging. Right.
[00:29:49] Val: [00:29:49] Um, yeah. And so then the retention question becomes. How do we, as a brand help the customer overcome that issue? Um, is it, I worked with a membership site recently and, everyone got dropped into this. Here’s all of our content because the idea was like, well, we have more content on this topic than anyone else out there.
[00:30:18] And we’re constantly adding to it and isn’t it fantastic. But when we talk to customers, right. It didn’t matter if they were brand new to this topic or experienced and looking for more education on it across the board, they all said there’s so much, I don’t know what to do with it. Um, it’s the cheesecake factory issue, right?
[00:30:40] Like where the menu is 35 pages and you don’t know what to order. Um, there’s that happens a lot in membership sites where your customers need guidance on where to go and they need things sectioned off. And in this particular case, we actually took, um, changed the way people are onboarded. And if they were brand new to this topic, they were only shown a certain section of the membership site until they.
[00:31:06] Watched all those videos until they got through all of that, then it it unlocked additional areas. Um, and that made such a huge difference for those new customers. It helped build their confidence. It helped them feel like I have accomplished something and I am learning and growing. And now I’ve like seen this unlock.
[00:31:27] Um, it’s the gamification of your membership site? It’s saying like you beat this boss and I will show you the next level. And that’s what keeps people around. I mean, people have been playing Mario for decades because they, there’s a game to play. You have a, you have levels to beat and you get to the end and then you’d play the next game.
[00:31:49] Um, and you know, that, that mindset, when you’re thinking about how people. Come into your product is incredibly valuable to think about like, how are, how are they experiencing this, how is somebody brand new to this topic, like as the brand owner, you think I’m giving away I’m giving out all this information.
[00:32:10] Um, but it’s kind of that idea of like, nobody is reading every single blog post on your blog. Nobody is except for you. Um, so. Why do we think that inside of a paid site, people are doing the exact same thing or want the exact same thing. They don’t, they, they want access to a paid membership because they don’t want to troll YouTube for through all the videos and all the options.
[00:32:35] And they don’t want to read your entire history of your blog posts. You know, they want something curated. And when they come in and it’s just like open free for all that knocks their confidence down. Yeah.
[00:32:48] Brendan Hufford: [00:32:48] I even looked at, uh, I think, uh, web posted the other day, uh, from I’m talking like, cause you and I both know who that is, website, uh, from 2:00 PM posted open rates, uh, for his email stuff.
[00:33:02] And I noticed that the general list was getting like 30 to 35% open rates and the member stuff was like 56%. And I was like, Oh, that’s where I am. That’s great. That’s wonderful. Like it’s cool, but you can see that it’s not like member, the member stuff is a hundred percent or 90%. Like even people that are paying for this at Lee.
[00:33:25] I mean, they might come back. Right. Cause they’re paying for it, but they’re only open. Only half the people are opening it. Or if I am in podia and I make a, a blog post in the membership area. Uh, it’s only 50 to 60% of the people end up reading it. Right when I looked at the analytics side of it.
[00:33:41] Val: [00:33:41] Right.
[00:33:42] And that’s where it’s like,
[00:33:44] education is so important. Um, you were talking earlier about how we get re-targeted on things we just bought. Um, this happens so often that. We, especially in the world of acquisition, we go after customers and we follow them around the internet with our ads and we send them three abandoned-cart emails.
[00:34:07] And we, uh, you know, we talk to them, nonstop sales is sending emails, uh, you know, in the world of enterprise, like we’ve got follow-up on follow-up on follow-up and then as soon as they give us their money, We disappear as a brand, the ads are gone. Well, maybe in some cases, um, the ads are gone, but, uh, we, you get a receipt and then you never hear from us again.
[00:34:34] And it’s such a missed opportunity because then they become a credit card to you and you become a tool to them, a resource and. You can change tools and resources, but if they become part of your communityâ€”not just a credit cardâ€”and if you become a valued member of their teamâ€”not just a resourcethen that changes the dynamic.
[00:35:03] It changes the way that they see your brand. And that’s what makes a difference in retention is building connection with your customersâ€”it And goes both ways.
[00:35:14] Brendan Hufford: [00:35:14] Yeah. I keep thinking, I’m going to keep coming back to SEO and different things. Again, like we’re writing these articles and we’re creating content.
[00:35:24] When we have pages on the site that can address different levels of awareness in different things. But if you’re only focused on that forever, and I love this, cause I feel like this is our conversation is kind of a. A little bit, like a 2.0, right of like, are you’re getting some traffic and your, but you’re wondering like, what do I do next?
[00:35:45] Right. Like where do I focus next? Um, I can tell you as somebody who does SEO for a living and has worked with a lot of like, Big SAS companies and everything like w you know, my, the last agency that I worked at, like, we were primarily working with SAS companies and software companies, which is very confused.
[00:36:04] They were, some of them had very strong opinions on whether we were allowed to read for them as a SAS software company. Um, but what we said, one we’re like, you know, in SAS and they’re like, we’re a software company. We’re not SAS. All right. Cool. You call it tomato, tomato. It’s fine. Whatever you want to call it.
[00:36:20] Um, but they, when they start digging into like customer acquisition cost and lifetime value, and I feel like Stripe has started to roll out some dashboards where you can start to see within your Stripe account lifetime value, and you can’t see customer acquisition costs, but start to see the lifetime value of things.
[00:36:37] And you’re like, Oh, okay, great. This is how much the average person. Is worth in terms of that now am I over-investing in discoverability? Am I putting so much money and time into acquisition, but the average person only stays for, you know, two and a half months. Well, if I could get them to stay an extra, if I could double that, if I get them to stay for five months, well, then I can spend a lot more money to bring them in.
[00:37:05] I could spend a lot more time. I could hire somebody, but we’re so focused on like trying to get. Twice as many people into the community, into the membership and into whatever, versus let’s just get people to stay twice as long.
[00:37:17] Val: [00:37:17] Yeah. I mean, we have clients who spend $25,000 on us and the retention efforts increase their customer lifetime value to the point that over the course of a year, they make 80 to a hundred thousand dollars more.
[00:37:35] So if I asked you if you put a quarter into a machine and it gave you a $10 bill, how many times would you put a quarter into that machine?
[00:37:44] Brendan Hufford: [00:37:44] Mhm
[00:37:45] Over and over right
[00:37:46] Val: [00:37:46] You would
[00:37:46] continually put quarters into a machine that gives you $100 bills in return. And that’s the power of retention is that you could increase your customer lifetime value to the point that then you have all that extra money to go and spend on acquisition.
[00:38:01] Um, retention is a, an effort that pays dividends because yeah, so you increase your customer lifetime value, at the end of a project we have. Made a nominal difference in a customer in one of our client’s work. Um, and we can see the trend is upward. Okay. But we’ll work with a client for three, six, nine months.
[00:38:27] And so at the end of that time period, we see that trend upward. They maybe have re recouped their investment in us, but it’s not been a massive upswing. Yet because it compounds over time. And when we go back a year later and look, they’ve doubled tripled their investment in focusing on retention.
[00:38:50] I don’t think the same can be said on acquisition. I don’t know because I don’t do acquisition for a living, but I don’t think you can spend. $100,000 on ads and know that that’s going to become $500,000 in revenue down the line because you don’t, especially if you don’t have a great experience lined up for them, when they come in, if you haven’t done the retention work, then you’re kind of just throwing money away You’re putting $100 bills into a machine that just eats them.
[00:39:22] Brendan Hufford: [00:39:22] And we’re not, we’re not this retention work like you had mentioned, you know, Nine months of working together. Some of these things like we had already talked about, like where to get started, some of these things are not that hard to get something going. One of the things I wanted to put a pin in, in that, you know, we’re talking about customer acquisition costs, lifetime value, very like business centric, like us on the business side.