About This Episode
On today's episode I'm coaching two business partners, Michael Allen and Ri'keam Kenebrew, through a retrospective on their recent course launch. Michael and Ri'keam run a service-based music video production business called 2023 Vision, and have recently expanded online, mainly to YouTube with an audience of 18,000 subscribers. They created a course teaching people how to create their own music videos. For its launch, they validated and even pre-sold their product, but the launch didn't go as well as they hoped it would. What could they have done differently?
Through our conversation, we evaluate the game plan that Michael and Ri'keam used for their course launch, including pre-selling and pricing tiers. I then offer mindsets and tactics that they can use for future courses, including audience challenges and other marketing advice. We discuss tactics for communicating with a course's audience, and Michael and Ri'keam discover critical strategies for selling their next course.
What You'll Learn:
Uncover essential strategies and tactics for pre-selling and launching a successful online course.
AskPat 1018 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 1018 of AskPat 2.0. this is a show where entrepreneurs call in and I coach them through whatever problems they might be having in their business. And today we're going to be talking with two people, Michael Allen and his partner Ri'keam, who own a business and a YouTube channel helping people create music videos. That's their specialty, that's their superpower: They create music videos and they teach others how to do it too. And you know what happened? They launched a product and it didn't go so well. It didn't go according to plan. They even validated this product and had sales up front. Which basically tells you, yeah, people want this. But then they launched it for real and it did not work like they had hoped.
So I'm gonna coach them through that process, which will hopefully coach you through the process too. And again, thank you to Michael and his partner Ri'keam fr allowing us to dissect what's going on here. And hopefully this can be a win for everybody, and not just Michael, Ri'keam and myself, but for all of you listening as well. And if you haven't stumbled upon this show before, I'd ask you really politely, please subscribe to the show if you haven't already, because this is what we do here.
Now before we get to Michael and Ri'keam here I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is FreshBooks. FreshBooks is a bookkeeping accounting software that literally is like a painkiller. It's a headache remover, a stress reliever because they help us manage our business finances, from the income coming in to the expenses to managing our invoices. So if you do any billing of any kind, if you have any clients or you're a coach, maybe you consult people, you want to bill people, right? So you can get paid. And you can do that really quickly, literally less than thirty seconds, through this software. Very professional-looking and you can keep track of not only who has yet to pay you—hopefully people will pay you on time, but sometimes they don't—but you can also keep track of who has yet to open that invoice once you send it to them, so you can just follow up if necessary. So please, check this software out. It's amazing. It's an amazing company, they just upgraded their software and they've been great to me and they'll be great to you, too. If you go to FreshBooks.com/askpat and you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section, they'll hook you up with a thirty-day, free trial. Again, FreshBooks.com/askpat, and that's a thirty-day free trial. Just make sure you enter “Ask Pat” in the “How did you hear about us?” section.
Sweet. Okay now let's just dive right into the coaching session with Michael and Ri'keam. Let's do this.
Michael and Ri'keam, welcome to Ask Pat 2.0. Thank you guys for being here.
Michael Allen: Thank you for having us.
Ri'keam Kenebrew: Glad to be here.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, absolutely. So Michael, tell us about what you guys are up to. What do you do?
Michael Allen: Well, we are 2023 Vision, we run a service-based video production business. And we've recently, over the past year, expanded online, mainly to YouTube, and we've built an audience of about 18,000 subscribers. And we followed your podcast and we were like, “Hey, passive income sounds like something that's fun, it sounds like something that would be beneficial to us.” And with the small audience we had at the time that we found you, we really think that we can benefit from the tactics and techniques that you teach along with others you have on the podcast. So we decided to launch a course. We teach how to make music videos online, so we decided to launch a course titled How to Make Music Videos for that specific audience.
Pat Flynn: And your audience, they are people who follow you because why?
Michael Allen: Because we not only shoot music videos, but we put out tutorials based on how to make music videos. So they follow us based on learning the different techniques and the different tools we use. And just everything about how to make music videos, literally.
Pat Flynn: I love that. So before the online course came out, which we'll dive into in just a minute, had you been doing anything to monetize this audience at all? Or are you providing services or is it simply just creating content about creating music videos?
Michael Allen: As far as the online audience, it was specifically that free YouTube content and then taking advantage of the little bit of ad revenue. And we had a couple of products, like a presets pack and an ebook on how to find clients. But they probably sold one or two each. Nothing too fancy.
Pat Flynn: So presets meaning like Adobe Premier, Final Cut Pro, to style videos and stuff?
Michael Allen: Yes.
Pat Flynn: And then the ebook was about getting clients. All right.
Michael Allen: How to find clients as a filmmaker.
Pat Flynn: Okay so what's on your guys' mind about all this?
Michael Allen: Well, we launched the course not only with an email-based launch and launched it through YouTube subscribers, but we launched with a five-day challenge. And it went okay. But for some reason we feel like it should have went a whole lot better.
Pat Flynn: When you say it went okay, tell me what . . . Can you define that for me?
Michael Allen: Well we had a big goal and then we had a goal based on, I guess numbers you would say—percentages. And technically you could say we hit the smaller goal. But it got a little confusing because we couldn't figure out if it was a price thing or if people just didn't particularly want this course at this time. That's what we're struggling with.
Pat Flynn: Gotcha. So I'm assuming that the small goal was related to the challenge part. Like you got actually people to participate, but nobody was able to or hardly anybody converted into the purpose of this, which was to drive people into the online course. Is that correct?
Ri'keam Kenebrew: Exactly.
Pat Flynn: Okay. Had you ever surveyed your audience or had conversations with your email list members, your subscribers, to understand what it is that they really need?
Michael Allen: We did do a couple of surveys and we also pre-sold it like a month before we actually launched it.
Pat Flynn: Oh, you pre-sold it? Okay, tell me about that. How did that go?
Michael Allen: Well at the time, we had about 15,000 subscribers versus the 19,000 we're at now. But I simply said I just want to know if anybody wants it. So I put made it available for pre-order. Nothing was made, none of the content was made, and all I did was upload one video to YouTube and I sent out a couple of emails. And we got four people to buy it.
Pat Flynn: Dude, that's legit. That's good, to pre-sell. That proves the concept, right?
Ri'keam Kenebrew: And the thing about the pre-sale, it was kind of nervous in a sense because again, we had no content. So we just put our necks out and said, “You know what? We're going to see if there's a market for this at all, to start with.” And that was pretty risky because we hadn't done the groundwork as far as creating the course. But it actually, we got the four pre-sales and that really inspired us to go ahead and do the course, which we did get it done. But that initial step of putting your neck out and not knowing if it was going to sell or not and not having the content ready, that was the risk factor.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Although you guys did it right. You pre-sold this, which I would actually argue that you are removing the risk by doing this because you didn't put in all this work then finally realize after all this work and time you're like, “Nobody wants this thing.” You found people who want it, which is great. That's a huge step. Congratulations on that. Now we have to figure out how can we connect this course that you've proven that your audience wants, and yes it's just a small amount and that's okay. That means where there are four, there are 40. Where there are 40 there are more, right? But there was a disconnect obviously, and you've told us this, between the challenge that you created and this course.
So what is the title of the course? We're going to break this down, let me see if I can dissect this, and we can work it out and figure out what's going on here. So tell me the course. This is the thing that we want people to get. What is the title of it?
Michael Allen: Okay I'm going to give you the title and the, I guess you would call it the hook.
Pat Flynn: Tagline, yeah.
Michael Allen: Okay, the title is: How to Make Music Videos. The hook is: “The step-by-step guide to making a professional music video with little or no budget.”
Pat Flynn: And may I ask you, what are you charging or what did you charge in the challenge for that?
Michael Allen: The pre-order was $97 and the price was supposed to be $197. But we were going through—as we were creating it we figured there was a lot of value and with the audience we had we figured we could go with $297 instead of $197.
Pat Flynn: Gotcha. Which, I mean, in my eyes, that's not a bad thing. You've understood the value. It's a thing that a lot of entrepreneurs don't do, they don't actually price themselves the way they should. So I like that. You're not undervaluing yourself and I would assume that with what it is you teach, that there is a lot of value in there and it would be worth $297.
Now here's the issue. The issue is, do people understand that it's worth $297? And that's usually, you had mentioned this earlier, I think it was Ri'keam that you mentioned it was like, “Is it priced too high or was the pricing wrong?” The answer for why aren't people buying at that price is usually because they don't understand how much value this thing actually delivers. There's no match in their head between the price that you're charging and what it is you're offering. Now I'm not gonna say that what you are selling is only worth $97, but perhaps what it is you're portraying when you are selling might only be $97. So I think we're kind of trying to discover, maybe there's a price difference here.
But part of price differential includes expectation and where are these people coming from? Like you said, they're coming from this challenge. So let's dive into that challenge a little bit. What was the challenge that you had them do for five days?
Michael Allen: It was a five-day music video effects challenge. And for five days, Monday through Friday, we talked one music video effect per day, which ultimately led to a launch at the end of the week.
Pat Flynn: So one effect per day. And can one of you tell me, I complete this challenge, I do an effect a day, I enjoy it, now that I'm here and I have these videos that I've produced using these five challenges, can you pitch to me why I need to upgrade to the $297 course? And you can do it in the way that you did it on the sales page, or what was your reasoning for these challenges to then go another day?
Michael Allen: Okay, the way we did it was that we did the five days and on day five, we pitched that if you wanted to work further and learn . . . Because in the middle of the challenge somebody actually asked if we would go into how to actually cut up a music video and how to actually edit and whatnot. So we pretty much made that the full pitch, kind of. Where we pretty much offered for them to work further with us and learn the full editing process behind editing music videos and also the full filming process behind it. It was basically an “If you want to work further with us”-type of pitch.
Pat Flynn: Okay. Got it. Had you asked anybody on your email list why they didn't buy?
Michael Allen: That I did not do, we did not do.
Pat Flynn: I know that sounds kind of scary. It's almost like admitting defeat, and this is why a lot of people don't do that, but it depends on how you pitch it. But the reason is because you can get a very, very clear answer from your audience why they didn't buy. And you can set it up in a way so it doesn't look bad on you but it's actually informational.
So the way I would set it up, and I would recommend you do this—it is gonna be challenging and you can just do it to a small segment to your list, too, if you just wanted to make sure it's only an experiment that's controlled with just fewer people. If you have 19K on your list or to whoever you pitched this course to, you can just take a small percentage and send them an email that might sound like this: “Hey, you know, last however many months ago, we launched this program. A lot of people were excited about it but we noticed that you didn't purchase it. And I wanted to ask you why you didn't purchase, because we're looking for information so that we can make this a better fit for our customers. Whether you end up buying or not, we just want to hear from you, what was the reason you didn't buy when we launched it?”
And you're going to get some clear answers. Now if you hear from people saying the price was too high, that means well, you just didn't portray really what the value was when you had launched it before. If they say things like, “I didn't think it was gonna be useful,” well then it's likely you didn't put all the good things in there and have them discover the benefits. I don't know, I didn't check out your sales page, but a very big common thing that happens is entrepreneurs will go crazy with all the features—here's this lesson that does this, here's this lesson that does this—but they don't get into the why behind it. I often review a lot of sales pages for my students and they forget to go into the transformation after you go through this online course—”here's what you're going to get.”
And so they don't highlight that, they don't say things like, “If you finish this course, you're going to be able to create high-quality music videos that are gonna help you get more clients, that are gonna help you get more views on YouTube, that are gonna help you be talked about.” Those kinds of benefits are really important because now a person can imagine going through the course and getting something out of it. Not just getting the thing that you're promising, but what happens after they get that thing.
So for me, for example, when I started selling my guide to help architects pass an exam back in the day, it was not just “Here, you can take this information, buy it, and then learn and pass the exam,” it's “no, you pass the exam and now you can get a promotion with that credential, now you can get a raise with that credential,” right? So they're imagining what's happening as a result of that. So I don't know if you had highlighted that or not, the basically, “Here's what this course will unlock for your life.” Is that something that you had done or you think can be improved?
Michael Allen: It can definitely be improved.
Ri'keam Kenebrew: And Pat, might I add, I don't now if this is a question or a statement, but on YouTube, the feedback is pretty good. And on social media. And I was just—the problem we're having is converting that feedback that we're getting, like questions in the DMs, “Oh guys, I love your work, I'm happy that you guys are teaching this and that.” That feedback is pretty ample but we thought that that feedback would produce sales. But really we found out that that's not true. We were going off of that and we had to learn that.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. I mean that's good. I mean this is entrepreneurship, right? You try something and you're like, “Okay, that didn't work like we wanted it to? What else can we do or what's going on here? And we're diving in.” And I appreciate you saying that because you've gotten things set up perfectly, I feel, with the feedback that you're getting, this audience that you've built, the email subscribers. There's just that missing link, right? Which is what we're trying to find here. What is the biggest challenge that people who are creating music videos have? Is it the effects that they have or is it something else?
Michael Allen: That hasn't been particularly pinpointed. There's been so many different answers and we actually did a poll on YouTube, it was basically a “What do you want to learn from us?” poll. And the top answer was music video effects. And this was actually right after I decided to do the five-day challenge and do it for music video effects.
Pat Flynn: I see. So the thing is that you gave them something that they wanted, and they asked for it. And that is the effect stuff, right?
Michael Allen: Mm-hmm.
Pat Flynn: And you gave that to them in the form of a challenge, which is probably why you were able to reach that small goal. You were serving your audience in the way that they had been asking for it. And I think there's a disconnect between what they wanted and what that challenge was about and what this course is. And yes, there are people who may want to upgrade to get the whole thing, but people were likely entering this challenge because they just needed help with some effects. And so I think the challenge is still great, it's a great way to build an email list, but it's gonna take some times for people to realize that the effects are just one component of this whole process.
Because I'm imagining going through this challenge myself and getting these effects and that's cool. And then I'm all about trying to make my videos look better. And then I get pitched, of course, on how to, step-by-step from the beginning, film and create videos. Well I've already filmed my video, I just need to make it look better. I don't need the information about all the beginner stuff, and the stuff before the point when I'm editing. And so there's maybe a little bit of a disconnect there in terms of what you were offering versus what the challenge was about. Which is why challenges are great but sometimes dangerous if you're selling something on the other end but it doesn't connect. And I'm assuming maybe this is, and again, I don't know for sure until you figure out to maybe try something different, but that's what I'm assuming happened, is that the avatar for your challenge is not the same avatar—
Ri'keam Kenebrew: For the course.
Pat Flynn: For the course. Exactly. So I don't want you to think that the course was a failure. The course maybe just wasn't positioned properly from a challenge that was from a different avatar.
Michael Allen: And that's why we believe that it wasn't a failure, but we just didn't do as good as it should have, because more people bought it at the normal price than they even bought at the pre-order. And nobody ever even bought our regular products that were like $10-$15. So we know that it can be sold.
Pat Flynn: Yes. So I mean, we're taking all the small iterations and little failures, we're making our way there. So I think a challenge is great. I know I need to do more challenges because it's at a certain time period, people can get ready for them and it's only for X number of days and people can get a result. The trick is you want that result to be something that relates to a person going, “All right, my next step is I need this course.” So the next step for a person who's implemented effects isn't necessarily gonna be, “All right, my next step is to get this course,” because the course kind of goes backwards in their timeline a little bit. So a great way to think about a challenge is something that people need right at the start when they are creating music videos. Before they can even begin filming, what is one thing that they absolutely need?
Create the challenge about that, give them that specific result through that challenge, and they're gonna be like, “Man, I have to upgrade to this course because now I have this thing and it would be stupid for me not to do it.” So an example that I have, for example, is I have a challenge that was created to sell more of this software called ConvertKit, which is an email service provider. There's a lot of different kinds but I'm an advisor and affiliate for ConvertKit. And I wanted to help them out and get paid too. And I said, “Okay, can I create a challenge with that?” Now I could have created a challenge which would be, “Here's how to write emails when you get email subscribers.” And I can challenge people to create an autoresponder series, for example. But then if I pitch ConvertKit after that, well they've already written the emails, they likely already have an email server provider as a part of being in that challenge. So if I pitch ConvertKit after that, I would assume that it's maybe gonna be a little bit similar to what you guys did. You're pitching something that isn't what they need right now. But the challenge that I did was, “Here's how to get your first 100 email subscribers.” You collect those email subscribers manually but once you get that 100 email subscribers, you need a place to put them now. Oh, here's ConvertKit, next step. So your course would be Step Two. [Full Disclosure: I'm a compensated advisor and an affiliate for ConvertKit.]
And step one can be the first module of your course. I used to struggle with that, “I don't want to do something that is a part of my paid course, they have to be separate.” They don't have to be separate because people will go in and be like, “Oh yeah I already did Module One in that challenge, now I'm ready to go to Module Two.” So what is Module One of your course, if I may ask?
Michael Allen: Getting started. Things like equipment you may need and planning. And the creative and planning process of filming a music video.
Ri'keam Kenebrew: Basically how to get clients and stuff like that.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Okay so maybe the challenge is, “In seven days, you're gonna get your first music video client.” That's a tall order so maybe that's a little bit too much. But maybe it could be, “in the first three days we're going to help you plan your next music video and we're going to give you how to storyboard it and what all the shots are gonna be.” And then once they have that they're gonna be like, “I have a client now, what do I do? I have my storyboard of what my music video's gonna be, what do I do now? Oh my gosh, Michael and Ri'keam have this course that will literally walk me step by step through all the next phases that I need to go through.” Does that make sense?
Ri'keam Kenebrew: A lot of sense.
Michael Allen: Yes.
Pat Flynn: How does that feel to you guys?
Michael Allen: That actually, it's like a common sense thing that you should have known, but you're like. mind-blown.
Pat Flynn: Dude, trust me. This happens all the time with me because we get in our own heads, we try things, we think too much and it takes somebody else on the outside to be like, “What are you doing? It should be like that.” So don't feel bad about that. This happens all the time.
Ri'keam Kenebrew: It's like you do a certain step and that step could be used as a pitch but you overlook it because to you it's coming natural. But to other people it could be something very beneficial and you look over it because it's a step that you do so much. But you fail to realize that you could use that.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. I mean, imagine you guys are there, you're the bouncers at this club. Everybody wants to get into this club; the club is the course. But you kind of open the doors a little bit and you go, “Hey, look inside, this is the music that's playing, these are the kind of people that are in here. Just to give you a taste of it. Do you want in? All right, well you've got to pay your fee.” So you guys are the bouncers. You've got to get people excited about what's inside the club versus what you had done, which is you brought people for a specific reason, then you open it up and it's like “I didn't come for that party, I wanted something else.” So now you're matching things, which is great.
Michael Allen: Cool. How do you feel about having conversations with the people that bought the course and getting information like why they bought, what outcome did they want, et cetera, et cetera, along with asking people why they didn't buy?
Pat Flynn: Do you think that would be a smart thing to do?
Michael Allen: I feel like it would be a smart thing to do.
Pat Flynn: Because?
Michael Allen: Because it would lead us to that outcome that students are expecting, what attracted them to the course versus what we thought attracted them to the course.
Pat Flynn: See again, I didn't have to tell you. You know this stuff already, man. You got it. That's exactly the right thing to do. And I wouldn't ask, “Hey, why did you buy the course?” Because it's kind of like, “well you should know why I bought it, right?” But you can set it up as like you just said: “What were your expectations coming into this course?” That's a great question to ask. Because then people will tell you what they expected, which is just another way to say “well, here's why I bought it,” right? I think that's really smart.
You have access to those people, they will likely give you some amazing feedback and direction because they bought from you. And that's where I would start. And then you can go to the people that didn't buy and you can be like, “how do we get them to think like these guys inside?” And then you can just begin to either create challenges, or work on the sales copy, or really start to hone in on what those benefits are. Once you start having conversations it really opens up things for you guys because then you take the guesswork out of it.
Michael Allen: Very true.
Pat Flynn: Cool. So how are you guys feeling right now?
Michael Allen: I'm feeling confident.
Ri'keam Kenebrew: Even more confident than we were when we first had the idea.
Pat Flynn: Good. I mean, you guys . . . When I read in your application that you're doing music videos, I was like, “Man this is huge.” Because every kid wants to be a YouTuber right now, right?
Michael Allen: And that's exactly how we started.
Pat Flynn: And every musician starts on YouTube. So huge opportunity there. Just keep working toward filling in that gap and understanding why they need this course, giving them opportunities to get those first steps in so they can upgrade to the next ones, which are your courses. And then from there I'm sure there's gonna be people who essentially graduate from your courses who will want more. Like I can imagine some of your students saying, “All right, Michael, Ri'keam, I create music videos now but how do I actually get signed or how do I make money doing this?” Well that could be an add on or an up-sell later. So that's Phase Two.
But nail Phase One and you guys, you'll be set. So that's all I have. If you wanted to, for the audience listening, one thing I always do is ask you, what was the most useful thing for you? And I'd love to ask both of you, one by one really quick. It doesn't have to be a long answer, but of this conversation, what was the most useful thing for you?
Michael Allen: Well for me, Michael, it was the disconnect from finding out that there could have been the disconnect from the challenge to the course.
Pat Flynn: Awesome. Ri'keam?
Ri'keam Kenebrew: Basically pretty much on the same thing. I feel like that we did the right thing as far as our pitch. But I feel like, as you said, we should have gave more value as in what the consumer . .. Basically like you said with the club thing, giving them what's in it without actually being in it. I feel like we gave too much in a sense. That's what I feel like. And also I have a question for you if you don't mind.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, I don't mind.
Ri'keam Kenebrew: Have you yourself ever basically sold something without actually having a product or something? Or have you ever met someone who's done that?
Pat Flynn: I've done it four times now with each of my courses. And it's what I teach. It's what's in my book. I recommend selling things before they exist. And if you imagine, Ri'keam, every single event that gets put out. When a person puts on an event, for example, they don't just set up the event, open the doors and then all of a sudden go, “Hey guys, come in. Can you buy a ticket now?” They sell the tickets beforehand, right? And that's essentially what you're doing here, except for a course.
Kickstarter, people are pledging thousands of dollars to buy these things that don't even exist because Kickstarter mostly are people saying, “Hey, here's what I want to create, I just need money to do it.” So those things don't even exist yet. Online courses, it's what I teach, it's what I practice. You guys are doing it the right way.
Ri'keam Kenebrew: Yeah. Michael just tapped me on the shoulder and told me he knew that because he's the one that actually got me listening to you. So the question that I asked you, he already knew that.
Pat Flynn: That's okay.
Ri'keam Kenebrew: I just started listening to you probably half a month now and he's been listening to you way longer than that. So I'm just learning but he already knew that.
Pat Flynn: Yeah, well keep crushing it guys. Thank you for the support and for listening, Michael for a long time and Ri'keam, for just coming on recently. I appreciate you guys. And best of luck to you. We'll definitely follow up with you in the future to check on you and see how things are going. But I think you guys have the plan now.
Ri'keam Kenebrew: No problem, thank you for your time.
Michael Allen: Thanks.
Pat Flynn: All right, guys, thank you. Good luck.
Michael Allen: All right. See you later.
Pat Flynn: All right. We're making breakthroughs, guys. The last few episodes have been fantastic. I mean, they're all great and the ones that are coming are great, too. So make sure you hit subscribe so you can get subscribed to the show, and because you subscribe to the show, subscribers get that show pushed to them every single time it comes out, every single week. So please subscribe. I think I've said that enough.
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Thank you so much, I appreciate you and I look forward to serving you in next week's episode. Cheers. Peace out, talk to you soon. Bye.
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