We discuss the free training on how to quickly create, sell, and validate your online course in 2 hours in this episode of the LMScast podcast with Will Middleton and Chris Badgett from the LifterLMS team.
Will Middleton is the customer success manager at LifterLMS, and he organized the Enroll Summit and coordinated speakers to share their insights for helping course creators get their first 10 enrollments on their online course websites.
The summit features 10 lessons (2 from each speaker) focused on:
- Jenni Jacobs: Instructional Design
- Melissa Love: Community Building
- Ziv Raviv: Expertise
- Chris Badgett: Entrepreneur
- Will Middleton: Technology
Often the first 10 enrollments can be the hardest as you’re validating your course offer and trying to get people into your program. Many entrepreneurs online give up after not successfully getting 10 enrollments. The strategies shared in the Enroll Summit will help you cross that threshold and get students onto your website to validate your offer and start getting feedback.
At LifterLMS, we decided to put together this enroll summit to help those users who are struggling to get their first enrollments. LifterLMS is a SaaS product, meaning Software as a Service. But SaaS Academy founder Dan Martell talks about how SaaS should really stand for Success as a Service. And at LifterLMS we’re taking that Success as a Service mentality and trying to grow outside the software itself to help users be successful with their online course or membership websites.
We don’t talk about specific tech tools in this Enroll Summit, so if you’re on any other LMS platform, the advice in this summit is exactly for you, not just LifterLMS users. LifterLMS is a flexible online course tool you can use on top of WordPress to create many different learning website setups, but the advice in this course isn’t tailored specifically to Lifter users only.
Be sure to head to Academy.LifterLMS.com/Enroll to sign up for free in the Enroll Summit. If you have less than 10 enrollments on your online course site, we recommend checking out this free summit with some great info on getting the first 10 people signed up. There’s some great info in there even if you’re above 10 enrollments, and you may get some great takeaways for your online course websites.
And at LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!
Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to create, launch, and scale a high value online training program. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress. Stay to the end, I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show.
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name’s Chris Badgett, and I’m joined by a special guest and colleague. It’s Will Middleton, customer success manager from LifterLMS. Welcome to the show, Will.
Will Middleton: Howdy. Thanks for having me.
Chris Badgett: I’m really excited to get into it with you today. This episode’s a little different. Will is an awesome person, and I love interviewing him about his story and his course creator journey. But we’re actually going to be talking about something that we’ve released, it’s live that you should go check out right now. What’s it called Will?
Will Middleton: It’s the LifterLMS Enroll Summit. You can find that on our academy, and we’ll dive into some of what is in the Enroll Summit. But yeah, that’s what we’ll be talking about today. And there’s some great content in there for getting your first 10 enrollments. And it really covers the fundamentals of having a successful course creation site. So even if you’re above 10 enrollments, there’s some great fundamentals in there. But yeah, definitely check that out.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. And that is no charge. It’s completely free. It’s a service we’re doing to help the people creating learning programs out there get that initial traction, get that validation, so that they can quickly create, cell and validate an online course. Now, let’s start at the beginning of the story Will. We’ve seen a lot of failure, in honesty, in this space, people creating courses or training based membership sites, or they’re trying to bring their in-person training business online for various reasons. We’ve seen a lot of failure. Tell us about just broad brush strokes. What kind of failure problems do you see people have when they’re trying to kind of get their first enrollments?
Will Middleton: Yeah, I think I was just re-watching Melissa Love’s training. She’s a expert designer. She’s in the Enroll Summit talking about building a strong community. And one of the points she said is, “Build your community before you build your course.” And I’m sure a lot of people listening to this episode have already built their course, have already started building their course. So that’s totally fine, but she really emphasizes getting the community as the first step. So if you’re already in the process of making your course and you don’t have a Facebook group or a Slack community, wherever your students hang out, creating that community is just so for having the questions that you’re going to be making content off of. One of her quotes that I really love, and I think we’ll make an image out of it and post it all over the internet. But it’s, “Thinking you know what people want is not the same as knowing what they want. So having that community gives you that validation.” And I think a lot of course creators, first time course creators, don’t start out with the community and that can lead to creating a product, building it and no one ends up coming. That’s a massive thing I see all the time.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. And you and I both have some trainings inside of the summit, but we also leveraged our community, people who are successful with the LifterLMS software and their businesses to contribute to the body of work that’s the training. So go to the academy and check that out. It’s free. So, you’ll find it right there. Just go to Lifterlms.com, click on learn or somewhere at the top and you’ll find the academy.
One of the things I think is cool to kind of look at is how we’re a little bit different as a company. You’re the head of customer success, SaaS, which is S-A-A-S, is like a software company. It stands for software as a service. But in one of our coaching programs that we went into as a company, we learned that SaaS can also mean successes as a service. And we invest heavily in helping customers be successful, feel supported, have the resources, tools, support, community that they need to be successful. Why do you think as a company that it was important for us to kind of get into training in addition to just answering people’s tech questions about how to use the tool?
Will Middleton: Yeah, I think it comes down to a lot of what you said about success as a service. The software tool itself, making that purchase alone won’t be the item that makes you successful. It’s getting your course content structured properly, getting students is what will make you successful. So having the awesome LifterLMS tool to support you along with the strategies you need really makes for the success. And that’s ultimately why most people join the LifterLMS community is because they want to have success with their online course. And they’re all at different points along the journey, but this content really focuses on the zero to 10, which is a large part of our customers in our Facebook group. Many LifterLMS customers are making that zero to 10 track. And so having resources out there around marketing, creating a community, instructional design and some of those questions that can come up when you put together your whole course with LifterLMS. And you’re like, “Why don’t I have any students? I built my course. I put it out there.” This is just some great content about getting students into your course and having that success as a service from Lifter.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. Going from zero to one is like the hardest thing. To actually get a real customer that’s not your brother, your mother, your friend, or somebody you know. But, to get a real customer going from zero, that’s a huge moment. But then getting to 10, it never gets old getting a new customer, especially if you’re selling it and you get a payment notification or whatever. But, there’s a lot that goes into getting to 10. And I think one of the greatest things about the Enroll Summit content, which is a collection of 10 of the best trainings we have and that we’ve sourced from our community as well of what are the absolute essential 10 trainings people, if they had, would be way more likely to be successful. But one of the cool things about this complimentary training is that you don’t even have to be using LifterLMS to get the value out of it. Maybe you’re using a hosted platform or even another tool in WordPress. It’s really for the course creator, no matter what tech you’re using. Could you give us another example of one of the trainings in there that has nothing to do with having to use LifterLMS?
Will Middleton: Yeah. I give two talks in the summit and they’re about the tech and they have nothing to do with Lifter. We’re not screen sharing and doing a Lifter tutorial. It’s all about the mindset of the tech, what you want to consider with different tools and the mindset behind the tech and why you choose what you choose for the tech. So, there’s no Lifter specific content other than our logo everywhere because we’re the best company for building a customizable LMS. But if you’re using it any LMS, these tips apply everywhere. And I mean, they do apply broader into just business in general. But, any course creation platform, if you’re on Kajabi, Udemy, any of the LifterLMS WordPress competitors, this summit applies to you, anyone making an online course or membership.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. And we launched this summit training to our existing customers earlier on in the process as we were just kind of rolling it out. But now it’s out for everybody. I want to ask you about some of the things you’re hearing about. What it’s like or what people love the most, what are some highlights people are calling out. And if you haven’t yet, open a tab and go to lifterlms.com, open up the academy, find the Enroll Summit, and go ahead and enroll for free. But keep listening to this episode, because we’re going to go over some other cool things. What are some of the gems inside the summit?
Will Middleton: Yeah, that’s a lot of the feedback is the gems. Like we talk about on these podcast episodes, sometimes there’s a golden nugget or just a piece of wisdom that you write down and put on your wall. And while I was listening to the other speakers we have, other than the talks I gave, of course, but my talks have some tips as well, not to imply they don’t. But, there’s just so many of those moments where I’m just blown back in my seat with tips, like I’ve shared one of Melissa Love’s quotes there about community before course. And Jenny Jacobs has awesome stuff as well about how to structure your content. It’s actionable items. That’s another big piece of it too is actionable items. It’s not just about the theory. There’s also executable items. Ziv talks about putting your lead magnets in your Facebook profile description. That’s something you can do in five minutes is take your course lead magnet, maybe you have a free course or something like that. You can drop it right in your Facebook profile description. So there’s key takeaways and some blown back in your seat hot tips.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. And I’d like to think of a good course creator when they’re making a lesson as an example that they’re take taking decades and condensing it down into days. So some of these nuggets you’re talking about are very hard won ideas, concepts. And this summit also doesn’t just have information. There’s actionable worksheets in there to actually take what you learn and put into action. So this isn’t just a edutainment video course. You’re going to learn some stuff and then you’re going to get some tools that you can immediately use to implement what you just learned, so you can get to those 10 enrollments, which is awesome. What’s another hot tip? Is there another hot tip? Or if you want me to, I think I could go through some of the gems of my talk. What else you got?
Will Middleton: Yeah, I guess in Melissa’s talk, which is the one I re-watched recently, and that’s the thing too. You’ll probably re-watch the summit and get a whole lot more tips out of it. But she really breaks down the difference between an ask me anything session, a mastermind session, a co-working session and live support. Those are all four live formats that you can do over Zoom as a value add to your online course or membership and a great way to create recurring revenue. But, that was the key takeaway too, is it’s not just hopping on a Zoom call. There’s different purposes for Zoom calls that you can integrate into different levels of your membership. That was a hot tip as well. And, I don’t want to give away too much, but Jenny Jacobs in her talk has somewhat like a controversial statement about how different learning styles don’t totally exist the way we think they do. But Jenny’s an amazing instructional designer who’s been in the community for decades, like Chris said. And she’s condensing some college degree level stuff. And she’s built her business on these foundations and she’s sharing that all condensed within her two 10 minute tactics.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome…
Will Middleton: Pretty cool takeaways.
Chris Badgett: And a couple things I put in the summit, I contributed some things around sales and marketing. So I’ve been in online business for over a decade, and sold courses and done a ton of marketing. In many ways, what you’re listening to, watching right now is actually a form of marketing. But I give away some of my best, easy to implement, high value things you can do to generate steady leads. And then also to have a way of actually closing a sale that’s not pushy, that’s structured, it’s not stressful to create, that’s actually enjoyable to do your sales process. Which not all course creators have knowledge or training in sales and marketing. So, that’s in there too.
I want to encourage you listening to go to the LifterLMS website, lifterlms.com. Go to the academy, sign up, enroll in the summit, go check it out, go watch it. Go re-watch it. And my biggest piece of advice is take action. You can go in there and you can learn and you can just watch, and that’s okay. But in every lesson there’s worksheets and action things you can do to implement exactly what you watch. So, there’s 10 trainings in there. If you were to do one training a day and then implement what you see, that means in two weeks, while taking the weekends off, you could be well on your way. And maybe some trainings will take a little longer to implement and don’t fit perfectly into a day, but you get the idea. If you give the Enroll Summit a solid two weeks, in the web world we call that a sprint, just give the summit a sprint of effort, a two week effort, and I think you’ll be blown away as some of the results you’re going to get.
In customer success land at LifterLMS, people don’t just need to validate and launch and get their first students or customers. They can go further from there. And we recognize it. Tell us about out some future training concepts we have for the future of LifterLMS, and more summits and trainings and whatnot.
Will Middleton: Yeah, for sure. I guess if I could share my screen real quick, I’ll show you, and if you’re watching the video of this episode, you’ll see this. But if you’re listening to us on iTunes, we’ll be talking through it as well, but be sure to check out the video. One thing I was thinking about kind of in customer success land is how people have different challenges at different phases in their online course.
So from the zero to 10 enrollments, I titled that The Enroll Period, which is what this summit is for, getting your first 10 enrollments. There’s a lot of beginner specific content in there. But then there’s also the journey from 10 to a hundred. And then I call that Momentum, and excuse my handwriting. I’m new with the iPad. Chris has had the iPad for a while and has years of experience with it, and you’ll see that in the summit as well. Chris busting out his iPad. But, 10 to a hundred is where you’re getting momentum. And then 100 to 1000 is Scaling. And then 1000 to 10,000 is [inaudible]. So I kind of think of the course creator journey on these four levels. And so in this summit, we’re really focusing on the first level of enrollment. But, we’ll be creating more content in the future about going from 10 to a hundred, a hundred to a thousand. And there’ll be content specific to people making those different parts of the journey in future summits.
For example, in the scaling summit, going from a hundred to a thousand, a big challenge you’re going to face is the company becomes more than you, the founder. So you might want to look at affiliate marketing when you’re at that level, where you have distribution partners and you’re not the only one doing all the sales and marketing. So, that’s at that scaling level. So we’ll definitely be coming out with some more content in the future around these different levels. And so that’s kind of what the future holds for this type of content.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I think that’s really one of the big take ways here is this was not just whipped together really fast. This is really well thought out. And if you’ve gotten some advice or you’re following some people on the internet or to learn various skills you need and whatnot, are you learning the right thing for the right time for what you’re trying to do? So if you’re still in that zero to your early first customers, you need the right training at the right time for that kind of place you are in life and business. Which is what I think another thing that makes this so cool, we’ve been in this industry for so long. We’ve Seen people in different use cases, different stages. The exact same strategy works for this person at this stage, but not this other one. But this person over here thinks they need it because there’s other people, they think they should be watching it. But, they’re at the wrong training at the wrong time. The success training at LifterLMS, you’re going to get the right training at the right time, without overwhelm, without unnecessary fluff. It’s the real deal.
So go to lifterlms.com, find the academy, find the Enroll Summit. While you’re at it, head on over to the LifterLMS reviews on WordPress. So, if you just do a Google search, LifterLMS WordPress reviews, you’ll find it. Over there you’ll see many hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of five star reviews about LifterLMS. We’d appreciate it if you would drop a review over there. And you’ll see, I think in those reviews, kind of the sentiment of people and how they feel supported by this company. Not just with software, but with being supported with questions and “Oh, these guys really do care about their customers,” and whatnot, because we do. And, we invest in it, just like putting together and going through all the stuff to make training like this.
Any final words for the people, Will, about the summit that you’d like to share?
Will Middleton: No, I guess you summed it up perfectly. Head to lifterlms.com. Do anything you can to find the summit and likely the summit will find you too. We’ll be promoting the hell out of this forever because this is a great piece of content. So yeah. Check out the summit. It’s live now, so go find it.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. Well thanks, Will, and you did a great job spearheading this effort, putting it together. And I’ve seen you personally help unlock growth and momentum with LifterLMS customers. So this is a great thing you’ve led up for not just Lifter customers, but anybody who’s trying to create courses at any scale. So, thanks for coming on the show and we’ll see you inside the summit. Take care.
And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for you over at lifterlms.com/gift. Go to lifterlms.com/gift. Keep learning, keep taking action, and I’ll see you in the next episode.