(Full video testimonial at the end of this case study)
This is a case Study of how I, Rich Bowdler, created lifetime raving fans from a membership AND generated a ton of extra cash from a small list of subscribers in just 30 days.
“We need a funnel expert to help to grow our membership business.”
This was the high-level prospect laid out to me by the co-founder of a really cool subscription business. We were almost at the end of May.
Their members (around 1,500 of them) were each paying around $6 per month.
Here’s what we did to generate an ADDITIONAL $10,737 in just 30 days…
This is what I call a (membership)-Core Offer Launch Sequence.
Which is essentially a sequence of surveys to develop an offer at a good price, followed by an email launch sequence to that juicy offer.
The devil, as with most strategies, is in the detail.
This strategy is layered on top of an existing membership, so there is already a relationship with an audience. And then a new offer is built as a “back end” to the membership.
(Thank you to Russell Brunson for writing DotComSecrets & ExpertSecrets.
If you haven’t already read those books, then you really should!)
Everything I did is a direct result of what I teach in the Membership-Core Offer Launch Masterclass… M-COL Masterclass. I’ve fused together the many teachings from my mentors, as well as directly from my own experience over the years.
Anyways, this was a brand new client of mine. We had no previous working relationship. We had never met before.
(If you’re reading this as a consultant and interested in what I did to find & win the client, then I’ll write about that in a separate article here).
Regardless of whether you want to run this process for your own membership, or bring someone else in to run it for you, I’d recommend the following bit of prep work:
Plan and run a workshop.
Here’s the overview – free pdf (email not required).
Have a quick skim through that now if you want – but download it / save it for later. Then you’ll want to come back here and carry on.
You may already be familiar with these 2 acronymns:
…but even if you are, it’s worth a second look to understand how they complement one another.
They get talked about on MBA programmes and in startup circles. They relate to your funnel.
People have slightly different meanings for each of these pieces, but I like to think of them as (loosely) tying together as you can see from the whiteboard drawing in the workshop with my client.
AIDA is sort of your top of funnel.
Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
Then after someone becomes aware of you, pirate metrics come into play (term coined by Dave McClure of 500startups).
Another way of “bucketing” areas of your funnel is by thinking of “Get, Keep, Grow”. That’s courtesy of Steve Blank (& the lesser-known Bob Dorf), authors of the Startup Owner’s Manual.
The funnel is useful to draw out because then you can use whatever simple analytics tool (or even spreadsheet) to see where the bottlenecks are. i.e. where are people dropping out of the user journey.
When you plan a growth initiative for your business, it normally makes sense to focus on just ONE area of the funnel at a time.
(I’ll show you later on how to set up a “Growth Lab” to plan, execute and track all your great and whacky ideas for growing your business… it’s not as hard as you might think).
And then we mapped out the “value ladder” to get a sense of the overall business architecture. If you haven’t yet done this for your business, then take a moment now to draw your own value ladder. Or “Value Staircase” as my client pointed out it looks more like.
Don’t worry about what goes onto the steps. That’s what this article is all about.
You can see one of the co-founders reflected in the whiteboard, renaming the value ladder. I’ll show you a really great tool for mapping out sales funnels, a little later on in this case study.
But for now, just sketch your out on a piece of paper. A rough first draft. It’s useful to create it and ingrain it in your mind. Have it always present, to keep you on track. As you build out your business architecture, lots of new opportunities will pop up. That’s just how things work once you get good momentum.
Having a visual map of your business value ladder (or staircase) will keep you focused.
It’s worth bearing in mind for a membership site that you will want to focus on different strategies depending on how many members you have.
Consider these 4 stages of development:
Each stage should have a corresponding primary strategy to focus on.
[SIDE NOTE: Because I was working with another constraint – prove my worth within 30 days – I wanted to set the business up for success AS WELL as generate quick wins… 101 of Strategy Consulting excellence (See The McKinsey Way crib-notes for more on how to do that – again, email not required)].
From that I set up a simple work plan (Gantt chart) in monday.com project management software.
Any tool will do though (you could just use a googlesheet).
It was going to be a tight squeeze to run TWO “Ask campaign” surveys, develop an offer AND run a product launch for that offer… ALL within 30 days.
But I love a challenge and knew that it could be done.
You can see the different types of work colour-coordinated.
Survey work in blue.
Notice the “Offer and launch sequence” in purple.
Then “Cart open → cart close” in red.
Okay, so you have a membership with existing members who are paying you monthly for access to your community.
You will have lots of questions about creating a back-end offer.
Should you do it?
If so, when should you do it?
Is it ethical?
What should you offer that is beyond what your members are already getting in the existing membership?
How much should you charge?
…all very good questions.
For now, I’m going to walk you through what I did with my client to create an offer for / with their members.
The people I have learned from in order to piece this all together are:
Russell Brunson (value stacking… more on that later)
Steve Larsen (Offer creation → OfferMind Masterclass)
Sean Ellis (Hacking Growth – the godfather of growth hacking – at Dropbox)
Ryan Levesque (“Ask”)
…and for figuring out a good way of running the workshop on this:
Edward de Bono – “parallel thinking” / “6 thinking hats” – coined the term “Lateral Thinking” back in the ‘70s.
In overview, this was the process for determining what to offer & at what price point:
“Ask Campaign” survey to existing members
XAVIER model based on Steve Larsen’s training
p.s. Quick question: “You’ve got to figure out your most important ONE thing to focus on!”
You’ve heard that before, right? Well, how do you do it in your business? And how do you keep doing it? What if you’ve got a team now? How do you keep everyone aligned?
Think about it for a minute.