Engagement – The Dirty Little Secrets Of Membership Sites, And How To Solve The Problem

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Joshua: Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s episode of LMScast. My name is Joshua Millage. I’m joined today with Christopher Badgett. Today we’re talking about something that is a little bit controversial, and it all has to do with engagement and what the membership site plug-in owners, I guess you could say, aren’t telling you.

Chris, take it away, man.

Chris: All right. The controversial statement here is that membership sites have a dirty little secret, and I’m not pointing the finger at anybody specifically or anything, but what ends up happening since the whole membership space came out and evolved within the internet marketing world is that there was a lot of focus on conversion, getting people interested in what’s behind restricted content, getting them to convert and pay, register, whatever, to get into that members area. I feel like it’s a little lopsided in focus.

It’s great to have all that stuff, but then there’s this whole other thing that needs to happen, which is engagement on the other side once they’re inside the area. Of course, the people who make these sites put good content for the most part behind there, but it’s not as engaging as it could be, and the current available membership site plug-ins out there and WordPress Themes aren’t really giving you enough tools like LifterLMS does to really up your level of engagement back there.

The dirty little secret, to kind of quantify it and ground that in reality, what happens is, people buy and a very small percent actually complete or watch all the content or read or use or do the exercises that are in there in the membership area. That’s the dirty little secret, and we’re here to make that better.

Joshua: That’s right. I’ve had a long, long road in the internet marketing world. I had a marketing consulting firm prior to starting the web development shop that we’re a part of, codeBOX, and I saw this a lot.

Part of it is on the owner of the … Well, it’s always on the leaders. The people who buy these membership plug-ins, install them on their WordPress sites, create these memberships, it’s on them to get their students to engage. But in their defense, it’s not always easy. Sometimes if you’re using a service like Infusionsoft that requires a lot of campaigns, HTTP posts using the API to weave it all together for something as simple as, say, if someone doesn’t log in for 30 days, send them an email.

That’s not something just really easy to create, which I feel like it should be. That’s one of the things that we’re really spearheading with our plug-in, LifterLMS, is that we want to be able to allow for these simple triggers to be implemented pretty much instantly.

It’s important. It shows intentionality. It allows you to scale the human touch, and as a teacher and my parents both being teachers, they would call on their students if they hadn’t seen them for a week; right? That means they’re sick or that means something is going on. “Hey, how’s it going? Is there anything I can do to help you?” Why aren’t we doing that type of touch in the digital world? It’s easy to do and we can automate that.

So if someone buys your course and in the first two weeks they never even log in, “Hey, I saw that you bought my course but you haven’t done anything. What’s going on? How are you doing? Are you struggling to get going? Shoot me an email,” or maybe you can pick up the phone and call them. That’s a crazy idea, but it does wonders for people. That’s the type of thing that we really want to build in.

I think, one, it’s just good for business. It’s good business to do that. But, two, if you think about how a teacher would actually act in real life with their students, it’s mimicking what has always happened and what we’re forgetting in this transition to the digital era. It’s interesting.

The other thing, Chris, I think that people need to understand is that there’s a level of fun that you can have through gamification too. What’s important about gamification, and how can that help the learning experience?

Chris: Well, gamification is a big deal inside of e-learning platforms. You can think about gamification and what’s known as engagements as sort of like mini-certificates. If you’re using a WordPress LMS website to generate a Certificate of Completion, whether that’s official or just for fun or whatever, these little gamification engagements are like little mini endorphin hits, like, “Sweet, you passed this part. Here’s a badge,” or, “Here’s this kind of achievement” and then tying it into the engagement functionality, where we’re essentially taking some of the best parts of what Infusionsoft does for $300 a month into WordPress, you can actually trigger emails, automated responses personalized to that user.

Joshua: Sorry, I’ve just got too many weird little bikers here in Santa Cruz. Go for it.

Chris: Essentially, what we’ve done inside the engagement part, we’ve taken some of the best things that Infusionsoft does for $300 a month and blended that into the plug-in functionality natively and the worked the power of WordPress to trigger emails at these benchmarks or milestones or engagement points that are personalized to that user, “Congratulations. You just completed this test,” or “Congratulations, you achieved a grade of 73. Awesome. Here’s a coupon code for something.”

The sky’s the limit on what you can do to engage with your users and really attack that dirty little secret of people getting in there, going full-steam ahead for the beginning and then they just start to feel really alone and they fall off.

Like you said, it all comes back to the leader, and if the leader is not engaging, that’s not good. It’s not all about just passive content. It’s great. You can use an eLearning

LMS site to build a passive income business where it is all automated, hands off, but if you really want to step up your game in engagement and really push your material out to the broadest audience with the most impact in revenue potential, engagement components of the plug-in are going to be very valuable to you.

Joshua: Yeah, and the thing is you can, with our plug-in, you can actually have probably the most passive experience possible without losing that human touch. I think it’s incredible. The other thing I want to say here is we provide, this is what’s so cool to me, is we provide all of this engagement functionality natively in our plug-in, but we’re also saying, if you’re using a system currently and you don’t want to stop, you want to pass that data through, you can.

We immediately are going to have an Infusionsoft integration that allows you to pass data back and forth. Down the road we’ll have things that allow you to integrate with probably other CRMs, definitely other auto-responders and emails so that you can have those things tracked, if you’re using AWeber and you want to keep all your email stats in there, you can do that or MailChimp, etcetera, Ontraport, all of these. They’re going to be coming pretty quickly.

I don’t want people to think, “Oh, now I’ve got to snap into your system and use your system?” Yeah, you can, if you don’t already use something. If you’re already using something, we’re going to integrate with it, and it’s going to work beautifully.

That’s one of the things that I really think is going to set us apart down the road as we try to really elevate and lift this LMS community to the next level and allow them to really take their knowledge and spread it better, engage better, and all of that.

Yeah, it’s the frustration I have. I think membership sites do really only a couple things well, and that’s allow you to get users into a private area. What we’re doing is so much more than that. We absolutely have that functionality but we’re combining that, blending that, with the LMS architecture and then adding this layer of engagement. I don’t think there’s anything quite like it out there.

If you’re hearing this, you’re like, “Wow, I want to get involved,” right now we’re not selling it. We’re finishing out the build and moving into the beta process. If you’re interested in being a part of that, we’d love to hear from you. You can go sign up for that at LifterLMS.com.

There’s also a really cool opportunity for you to save a little bit of money when we do launch the program, but I’m not going to tell people about that. They have to go over there and experience it. It’s really easy to do too if you want to get a little bonus.

The progression is we’re going to open up this first group for a few days and get as many people involved in the plug-in as possible. Then the real full launch is going to come at the beginning of the year. If you do want to get a sneak peak, you want to get involved early, please go over and sign up so that we know that you’re interested and we can engage with you.

But yeah, if you have any questions too, you can reach out to me at [email protected] or Chris at [email protected].

Chris, sum this up, man. I think you’ve done a great job of providing insight to our team and how to build this well. What are the key things for people to remember from this?

Chris: I think like Josh is saying, that if you want to have a traditional membership site with this plug-in, you can do that, but we’re building this in the way that WordPress itself is built in that there’s people who use WordPress very simply or as just a simple blog publishing platform. Then there’s large e-commerce sites, The New York Times big media sites. Even the FreshBooks application is on the WordPress platform.

We’re here for you in a small way, but if you’re ready to start turning on these components and explore, LifterLMS plug-in is ready for you at all stages. If this engagement piece sounds interesting, I would encourage you to get a copy of the plugin, get inside, start seeing what it can do.

Most importantly, before you even do that, think about your online community and what you’re trying to teach and how you want to help change people’s lives and how can that engagement, how can you improve that, and then you’ll get inside the LMS plugin and you’ll see ways that we’re there waiting for you ready with tools that you can use to level up the engagement in your eLearning platform.

Joshua: I love it. All right. Well, everyone, again, reach out to us if you have any questions. Check out the plug-in at LifterLMS.com, and we will talk to you next week.


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