How to Build a Marketing Funnel for Your Online Course or Membership Site with Mark Asquith

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This episode of LMScast with Chris Badgett of LifterLMS is about how to build a marketing funnel for your online course or membership site with Mark Asquith. Chris and Mark talk about some course marketing strategies, how to think about sales, and building your marketing funnel in a more advanced way. They also discuss being yourself, honest and present with your courses and products.

Mark believes the reasons behind the things we do are key driving factors in what decisions we make. So it is important to take that into consideration when you are selling a product or buying a product. Ask yourself, “Why do I do this?” or, “Why do I have a problem with this particular thing?” Mark shares his story of how he got into the world of online marketing and content creation. He tells us about his ‘why’ and what incident in his life gave him the driving passion that empowers his career today.

In the early days of entrepreneurship, we often have to scrape and claw to get our first few customers, and during this phase we are often doing a lot of developmental work with our products. Developing a sales funnel is necessary to get leads and make sales further down the line when we start to scale up. Chris and Mark discuss multiple different sales funnels and how they can market your products.

Being clear with your products is key. As Mark says, we are not selling education. We are not selling memberships or products. We are selling the outcome that the education enables. We are selling what the user wants to achieve and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with that. You have to sell the outcome that the user is really looking for, whether they know that or not. This is important to remember as you are creating your product and your sales funnel.

There is tremendous power in blogging, podcasting, eBooks, vlogs, YouTube channels, and Facebook live sessions. The more content you are producing, the more likely you are to be in the right place at the right time to answer your customer’s questions right when they have them. And even if they don’t have any questions at that time about what it is you are talking about, when they do have a question you will be the first person they think of who will have the answer.

Relying on your personality can also be very powerful with course creation, because it can allow you to set yourself and your course apart a little bit from the competitors. Using your personality in courses can also help you create conversions on the grounds that the customer feels they relate to you on a certain level.

Chris and Mark discuss some marketing strategies such as using tripwires to get conversions and weed out people who might not be right for your course. This can be as easy as creating a discount trial or products such as free podcasts or a blog.

To learn more about Mark Asquith check out Excellence Expected where he helps get entrepreneurs to their first half a million dollars through a hands-on, relatively stress-free process. Also check out Podcast Websites where Mark helps people start their podcasts by taking care of the technical aspect of creating the podcast.

You can post comments and subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us.

Episode Transcript

Chris Badgett: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. Today I’m joined by Mark Asquith from England, and we’re going to be talking about some course marketing strategies, how to think about sales, and building your funnel in a more advanced way. We’re going to get into talking about podcasting a little bit and how powerful that is. First, Mark, welcome to the show.
Mark Asquith: Thank you, Sir. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me. I’m looking forward to it.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. It’s really fun to hang out with a fellow digital entrepreneur and really get into some of the detailed stuff that we figured out over the years of doing what we do and help people who are trying to get into the online space. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely wasted a lot of time trying different things. That’s my goal with these episodes is to make it so that someone can listen to this and leverage our experience and save a lot of time, move faster, have a higher likelihood of success with their course or membership site. Thanks for coming on the show and helping share your experience.
Mark Asquith: Always a pleasure. That’s what it’s all about, just helping people do what they want to do.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. You have a couple websites we’re going to get into in a little bit. It’s so if you’re listening and you have a computer in front of you and you want to pull that up, go ahead and do that. You also have a done for you podcast service but before we get into that and talk about course marketing and marketing challenges and how to think about marketing, tell us a little bit about your story. I heard it has something to do with a hotdog in your entrepreneur journeys. What’s that all about?
Mark Asquith: Yeah, that’s an old school story, that one. A lot of people ask the why. I always find that if you’re going to try and take advice from anyone or if you want to give advice to people you’ve got to be willing to share why you do this because so many people just do it for the cash. We all want to earn money, let’s be completely honest. We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t want to earn money and that’s completely fine. A lot of people dodge around that and say, “No, I’m doing it for these other reasons.” No, you’re not. Money is a big part of it. Let’s be honest. A lot of people who I seek advice from, I like to understand, I’m a big fan of [Norkagen 00:02:26] because I seem to just connect with him. He’s got a very specific type of story, same with JLD, good friend and you know a lot about him.
From my side, I was thinking to myself a few years ago, “Why do I do this? Why did I bother quitting the job? Why did I leave corporate at 23? Why have I got this problem with authority and having the control of my life out of my own hands? Why have I got a problem with that?” I managed to go right back to when I was 10 years old and I figured out the reason why. I think if you’re going to take advice from someone you need to understand why the heck they do it.
Imagine being a 10-year-old kid and walking into what turned out to be the final kind of school ball, if you like, at least this school once you go up to the next level education. 10 years old. I don’t know why because hormones had kicked in and I didn’t understand them. All I wanted to do was just impress this girl. That was it. She was called Kirstie. I wanted to impress her and I wanted to really just get through the night unscathed. I didn’t want anything to go wrong. I didn’t want anything to go badly. I come from a really poor family. I come from a little mining village in the North of England, no money whatsoever so coming across just the basic things that you’d want a school kid really was a struggle.
I turned up at this school [inaudible 00:03:51] and it was going all right actually. I had an hour, hour and a half just doing what you do as a 10-year-old kid. Went to get this hotdog, went to get some food, went with my friends. It was my friends and me and I’m the glue between my friends and Kirstie and her friends so there’s all my friends in front of me. Then there’s me, then there’s Kirstie and there’s all her friends behind so the entire queue, the entire line is made up of people that really I did not want to be embarrassed in front of. I get the hotdog, the lady gives me the hotdog and she says to me, “That’s 50 pence.”
I did not have a penny on me, just couldn’t afford it. My mum and my dad couldn’t afford to give me the money. They didn’t give me any. I assumed at 10 that it was free and in front of everyone, the woman asked for the hotdog back in front of absolutely the entire school year, the person that I enjoy spending time with and wanted to impress, all of her friends, everyone. I had to give it back and the humiliation was just terrible, the embarrassment, just that genuine feeling of wanting to be swallowed up and never see anyone again and run away crying into the distance. That was me. I was crushed, entirely crushed.
That’s why I ended up doing what I do now. I realized that the feeling that I hated the most was the lack of control. I wasn’t able to control my situation because that woman demanded finance or money from me that I didn’t have. That’s why I do what I do, not necessarily for the money but to enable myself never to feel like that. I think a lot of people, the reason that I like to mention that story is that a lot of people have got these different whys. They’ll say they want financial freedom. They’ll say they want their own version of success and happiness but actually most people want to be in control and that was my version of understanding what a lack of control felt like. I was determined never to feel like that again.
That’s why I do what I do. That’s why some of the marketing tactics and some of the ideas that we’re going to speak about later are so important, because they take that control and bring it back into you. If you’re starting out for the very first time creating something online, you’ve got to understand why you’re doing it. I bet if you’re really honest with yourself, it is about controlling what you do day in, day out, week in, week out and for the rest of your life. I’m sure there’ll be an element of controlling your own destiny in there somewhere. That’s how I got into it. That’s why I ended up being this tired, haggard entrepreneur.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I really appreciate you sharing that story and that takes a lot of self awareness, too. I’d encourage everybody listening out there to maybe take a spin down memory lane into your past, in to your history and see if you can find that hotdog moment where maybe something happened that maybe sets you on a path. Thanks for sharing that.
You mentioned control, and that’s really an interesting topic because as entrepreneurs, education entrepreneurs in the case of our listeners here, a lot of what we’re trying to control when we teach is we’re trying to help people achieve certain results. Great courses, great membership sites, great learning experiences, they basically create control in the user where the marketing makes a promise and then the course is the vehicle or the guide or the tool to help the learner get there. That’s the ultimately holy grail of online education which is results, to have repeatable, dependable results through an awesome teaching experience.
In the early days of entrepreneurship sometimes we have to tooth and claw to get our first customers. Perhaps some people listening are great at teaching or getting some kind of results and have some subject matter expertise but they’re not necessarily digital marketers like you and I or they haven’t developed that skillset yet. There’s this concept of the sales funnel that people an start looking at as a tool to kind of demystify and bring some control into how you approach marketing so your head doesn’t explode.
Can you take us to school for the uninitiated out there? What is a sales funnel and how do people get into that for their course or membership site? What do they do with it once they understand it?
Mark Asquith: Yeah. It’s a good question and the one thing that I will say to kind of really just kick this off and the one thing that is a bit of a precursor to that is that we’ve got to be willing to understand that we’re not selling courses. We’re not selling education. We’re not selling memberships. We’re not selling products. We’re not selling services. What were selling is the feeling of achieving the outcome that the user wants to achieve. You don’t learn Spanish because you want to go through the course. You learn Spanish because you want to learn Spanish and you want to be able to speak Spanish. You don’t learn about marketing, digital marketing because you want to learn about digital marketing. You learn about digital marketing because you want to make money.
You’ve got to sell the outcome, that’s the very, very first thing. The reason I’m saying that as a precursor is a lot of people get really stuck on this when it comes to marketing and the funnel. What does that funnel look like? They really market the thing as opposed to the outcome and if you get that wrong, if you market the thing, the challenge with that is you’ve got another marketing task on your hand which is you’ve got to make people care about the thing and people don’t care about the thing. If you can just make sure that you’re really clear, what is the outcome that my education enables? That’s the kicker. That’s the real marketing play.
Now, of course when it comes to the funnel, it’s all about how do you think about marketing? It’s all about, and this is a very classic marketing cliché, it’s all about knowing someone, liking someone and eventually trusting them enough to give them the money and trust them to give you something in return. If you think about if you go to a restaurant, think about a restaurant’s marketing funnel. Starting at the top of the funnel you walk into the door and that’s free. You don’t pay for that. That’s fine. Walk in the door and you’re greeted by a fabulous person, “Welcome to our superb restaurant. Table for two?”
“Yeah, table for two.”
“Take your pick.”
“Well, we’ll have the window seat.” Okay, top of the funnel. Next thing. “Would you like a drink?”
“I would be delighted. I’ll get a beer and I’ll get a red wine.” That’s excellent. Low ticket, low cost. When they bring the drink, what else do they bring with it? Some bread. They bring some olives, they bring some nuts and they bring some hummus and they bring some other stuff. What they’ve done there is, next part of the funnel, you’ve given a tiny little bit of money in return for this drink and they’ve exceeded your expectations by bringing you the free olives and bringing you the bread. Then, “Are you ready to order your main course?”
“Yeah, yeah. Okay.” THat’s the meat, excuse the pun. That’s the meat. That’s where they’re really making the money is on that product. Their funnel, and then of course you’ve got the dessert and so on thereafter, there’s steps [inaudible 00:11:18] through it. Their funnel is really simple. Free entrance. Low ticket, what we call a trip wire, which is a low risk investment. If we have a drink and we decided that the band’s terrible, the decor’s terrible, we don’t like the waiting staff, we’ll finish the drink and we’ll get off. It’s cost us 10 bucks but they exceed that value. They bring you the olives, they bring you the bread. You’re not leaving once you’ve got the olives and you’ve got the bread. Rarely happens.
A funnel really is just a series of steps that you can take people through that will help them to know you, to like you and to trust you. At every step of the way you’ve got to exceed people’s expectations. You’ve got to practice the art of a pleasant surprise. You’ve got to really pleasantly surprise everyone. Wait a second, I paid X amount for this thing and I expected X amount or value back but they’ve doubled the value and some. I didn’t expect that and this is only the second time I’ve interacted with this person or the second time I’ve transacted. It’s perfect.
Sales funnel is a very specific set of actions that you take people through to lead them into your final goal, your business objective of selling them the course or selling them the recurring membership or whatever that might be. The restaurant example is very, very simple but it’s a very valid example and urge anyone to think like that. What does my funnel look like? What’s the free stuff? How do I get people to get eyes on me? It’s very, very simple when you go to a restaurant. Someone has told you about that restaurant or you’ve walked past and you said, “Wait a second, that place looks really nice.” You’re not Googling or you’re rarely Googling nice places to eat without backing it up with a Trip Advisor review. It’s [inaudible 00:13:12] on, always eyes on something.
Yeah, that’s a sale funnel. Really basic kind of version of it but that’s the idea of a sales funnel and it applies to everything, whether you’re selling iPads or courses or food or drink. Doesn’t matter. Sales funnels, to me, are all the same. Yeah. That’s a bit of a long winded example but I’m sure it gets the point across.
Chris Badgett: That’s very good. I’m definitely going to use that before. I actually haven’t gone through the process of walking through the restaurant example and that’s an amazing example that everybody can relate to so thank you for that. Sometimes I share with people who are getting started with marketing a generic funnel that looks something like, just because people get really overloaded and their heads are about to explode with all these ideas and tactics and different platforms they need to be on. I start by you should write, and this is somebody who doesn’t even have a course yet. You may take a totally different approach which is cool. I’m just sharing what some of the people here have heard which is, first, write one blog post, one free blog post. Then once you got up to five of those, okay. That’s step one.
Step two is come up with a email mini course, a three-park email mini course that is beside or inside your blog post that people can opt into with their email address and then they’re going to get this series of there emails dripped out over time that deliver some kind of result for free. Then after that, create a short free course on your website. Now it’s not in their inbox. Now they’re coming to your website and they’re taking the free course. I, in the past, had not thought of the tripwire course idea but maybe put in a low cost course for a tripwire and then you get into your paid course which is really the meat.
Then you can make multiple courses and now you can start selling bundles or memberships and then you can add other offers and coaching and things to your courses as the highest level. All that process of building all that out, it might take you a year to do that or maybe you’re just going to stop at one course and that’s all you care about, which is totally cool. That’s like just a generic example course membership site funnel. How would you add to that? Let’s talk about the entry point, the top of the funnel. What else can people do?
Mark Asquith: That’s a really good question and the point is that, for me, that’s the most difficult bit to get right because you’re up against a heck of a lot at that point. You’re up against the fact that people might not know you. People might not know that they’ve got a problem. People might not know what the outcome that they want. People might not know anything about the entire industry that you’re trying to sell a course in. You’ve got all of these different challenges and the easiest way to do that, the easiest way to overcome that is to have a suite of different materials so everyone talks about the avatar. Let’s be honest. Avatars are great. You can do one avatar but there are more likely 10, 15 avatars in any given industry. We know that. We know that through experience and you’ve got to head everything off at the pass now.
Let’s think about walking down a corridor. We’re in a hotel. Right at the end of the corridor is someone entering a door and that entering of the door is someone giving you their email address which, from there, let’s call that the second part of the funnel. It’s not the top, it’s the next step down, going through that door. All the way down the corridor they’re walking in a straight line but every other door, every other side of the corridor there’s someone shouting, “Come and check this out. Come and check this. Come and check this. Come and check this,” or there’s a doubt. Do I need this? Is this for me? Can I complete this? Am I really cut out for this?
Our job, right at the top level of the funnel, is to close every other door off, is to close every other single door off so that when they’re walking, they’re walking undisturbed or you’ve got their answers. All the barriers are gone and all they’re doing it thinking, “That is the thing that I want there. I’m going to enter that door and I’m going to put my email address and I’m going to get that free course which is the second part of the funnel. The reason that I mention that is that the only way to cover off every one of these doors, every one of these problems or these barriers or these other noises going off is to head on. You can’t shut a door unless you walk up to the door and shut the door so you’ve got to do the very same thing with your content, with your marketing, as an example of that.
Let’s say with me with Excellence Expected. I want people to sign up for my tripwire which is the movement. It’s a Slack community, 79 bucks, lifetime membership. That’s it. Low ticket, low cost, low risk, totally money back guarantee, 30 days, done, easy, like no risk at all. What I’ve got to do is I’ve got to shut every door off which might be am I going to make the most of the community? Here’s a blog post on top 10 benefits for joining a community online or a mastermind, whatever. How am I going to have time to do this? Here’s a podcast episode on the top five myths around productivity and time management. Am I actually going to get any benefit from this? Is Mark the right person to give me this advice? Next door, here’s a free coaching session. Every Friday I do a free coaching session for 30 minutes. You can come and get eyes on me and make sure that I am the guy that I said I am. That’s that door shut.
By the time we’ve created all of this content, we’ve developed all of that. Step one of the funnel, the top of the funnel’s clear. It’s done. All that person wants to do is get through that door and give you their email address, at which point it becomes just a little bit easier. Yeah. When it comes to the top of the funnel it’s about anticipating the problems people will have. Remember, if you are right over here on one side of the spectrum, right on the far side of the spectrum, the outcome that they want is on the very, very other side of the spectrum, on the other side of the cavern. Your [inaudible 00:19:22], it’s the bridge. It’s the solution. You’ve got to create content that lets them see that your solution, your cause, your membership is the right thing to get them across that cavern.
The more of those that you have, blog posts, guides, e-books, podcast episodes, vlogs, YouTube channels, Facebook live sessions, the more of those that you have, the easier it becomes because here’s another misconception. You probably don’t know what questions your audience need answering so your job is to create as much content and be as present as possible to give you the very best probability of answering those questions at the time that they need them and it’s got to be evergreen stuff. It’s got to be completely omnipresent. You’ve got to be around for that.
That’s how I handle the top of my funnel. The top of my funnel includes all six seasons of the podcast. It includes tens and tens and tens of blog posts. It includes hundreds of podcast episodes, free coaching, product launch webinars. It includes all sorts of different things and that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to create as much as you can on the bottom end, but you’ve only got to do it once. Once it’s done, the questions aren’t changing so set it and let it do its job.
Chris Badgett: That’s very cool. Very cool. What are some categories of objections or helping people become aware of the problems they have? What are some example, if people are like, “That sounds great. I should create some more top of the funnel content, free content,” what kinds of questions should they ask to figure out what to make? Let’s say I have a …
Mark Asquith: Think about what-
Chris Badgett: Go ahead.
Mark Asquith: Sorry, we had a bit of lag on the line there, Chris. Think about what the objections are. Think about what the common objections. If you’re going to buy a new TV, what are the questions that you’ve got? Okay. Question one. Can I afford it? Question two. If I can’t afford it, is my partner going to kick my ass for buying this thing? Number three. Technically, can I work this? Am I going to get it home and it’s going to be too complex for me?
Number four. Okay. Those are gone. I’m fine to buy this thing. I can work it. Out of all of these TVs, out of all of these courses, all of these memberships, how do I know that this one is right for me based on my circumstance? Once I’ve got that in, we absolutely know full well, we’ve all bought things and then instantly thought, “Oh my word, I’m not leaving the house for six months because I can’t afford it anymore. I’ve just bought this thing.” What are they going to feel like? What are the objections that they’re going to have immediately after they’ve bought this thing? What are the risk reversals that you can get?
That’s the type of content. You’ve got to think to yourself, we are so close to our products, to our courses, to our services, so close to them, way too close to them that we assume that everyone has the same level of knowledge that we do. You’ve got to go real basic with this. You’ve got to think about every kind of objection from technology to affordability to risk reversal to the ability to complete the objective that they set themselves if they buy your course because it’s all right buying the course but if you don’t do it, actually what’s the point?
Here’s another thing to remember, just a side note on that. So many people will buy your product and if they don’t have the time to do it, they will blame your product for not being good enough. That is a fact and we’ve seen that in software time and time again. User error is never user error. It’s always the system’s fault, regardless of whether it is or not and that’s the same with courses. If they don’t have the time to do it, it’s very likely they’ll come back and say, “The course wasn’t good enough for me. It was fine. Didn’t really need it. It wasn’t very good.” That’s the next level of referral marketing os you’ve got to head that off at the paste because the people that they tell will have that opinion.
Yeah. Think about the objection. What are the types of objection? Usually cost is a big one. Usually the fear of investing something and not getting the result is another one. The repercussions of purchase, and I’m not talking about risk reversal. I’m talking about physically the repercussions like will my business partner go crazy if I spend a grand on this product. Then you’ve got things like actually, okay, Derek’s creating a course there. You’ve got to [Ducker 00:23:54] creating a course there, Pat Flynn’s got his new course out. You’ve got JLD doing this. Why would I buy Mark’s course out of all of these guys? You’ve got to set yourself apart a little bit and you’ve got really rely on your personality. There’s so many different types of question but I think you can broadly categorize them like that.
Chris Badgett: Very cool. Very cool. Help us understand a little bit, for the uninitiated out there, a tripwire? What would you recommend? How do you think about top of the funnel versus a tripwire?
While you’re thinking on that, just for a second with LifterLMS, if you go to and you’re looking at course building software for a WordPress site, we have a $1 trial where we build a temporary website. We don’t make any money off of it but it’s very important because it’s designed to give people not just demo what the product does but actually give them a site that they can use and play around with and it’s very powerful in marketing because it basically handles all the objections they’re asking, like will I be able to use this? Is this going to be able to do what I need it to do? Can I get my course in here easily? We just literally hand them something but they have to pay $1 for it and that’s a tripwire. A lot of people who go through the dollar trial end up buying one of our software addons or a bundle or a done for you service.
How would a course builder or membership site owner think about a tripwire? What do you think about? What’s the goal?
Mark Asquith: Okay. A tripwire generally is a low level purchase that gives people the trust that you can handle their money and you’ll over-deliver in return, typically. For example, you may try just a one buck to test this thing, to try it. No risk. Completely low risk but what’s happening there is people are trusting you with $1 which means you can be trusted with two and 10 and 100 and 500. You were over-delivering the value so that becomes scalable. That’s what people then become expectant of that value being disproportionate, positively disproportionate to what they invest.
When it comes to courses, there’s a few ways, in my opinion, that you can kind of run something like this and the first one is I’m not personally a fan of free trials because, at certain times, it can attract the one type of people. What I prefer to do is give something at a very discounted cost. Let’s say that your cost is 100 bucks. Rather than going at the four bucks, the five bucks, the six bucks, you give them it at 30 bucks so it’s a massive discount but it’s enough that they are expecting a level of service. The tripwire is not, I don’t go crazy with my tripwires. It’s not like, “Get this for 10 cents or get this for a buck,” or something like that because certainly for my business it attracts the wrong type of customer.
What you need to do is you need to figure out where’s the level of risk and it might be, well, you can have 70% off your first purchase. You see that on so many websites like [inaudible 00:27:18] and you see it on I think [Larry Cass 00:27:20] used to do one where it’s like, “Okay, get 70% off and you can get this bundle, 70%.” That’s a tripwire. They’re proving they can be trusted with your money.
The other way of doing that, which is a tripwire but it’s a bit of kind of a reverse tripwire. I don’t really know any better way to explain that but it’s where you’ll do something like we did at podcast websites when we first started which was, look, you sign up for the beta. What we’ll do is we’ll give you it at a founding member’s rate, so we’ll give you a very good rate, but what we’ll also do, we’ll give you the promise of the third month for 10 bucks. We’re keeping the retention rate up. We’ll give you not the first month, not the second month, not the free trial. We’ll give you the third month for 10 bucks and that’s the tripwire is in the promise. The tripwire is not in the upfront delivery. The tripwire’s in the promise.
The other thing as well that you can really, really do and, again, I wouldn’t necessarily give this away for free but let’s say you’re selling a course on, I can’t think of a good example. Coding. You’re selling a course on let’s say C sharp. Sorry, objective C. You want to be an iPhone developer. We’re selling a course on objective C. It’s a 200 bucks course. It’ll teach you objective C in a month, [inaudible 00:28:42] it’ll get you the basics in a month.
What we will do is we will prepare you. We will give you a test. We will figure out whether you have got the aptitude to do this and we’ll do that for you because we don’t want you spending your hard earned money with us if it’s not going to work. We’ll give you that if you just spend 10 bucks with us and we’ll give you a test. For 10 bucks, we might save you 200 if you’re not right for it. That’s another tripwire. You’re actually, rather than giving more value back for 10 bucks, you’re giving them risk reversal. You’re letting them dodge a bullet if it’s not right for them. You’re showing your willingness to prove that you’re for them, not for profit, if you like.
There are a couple of ways that you can cut it but ultimately speaking what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to sell something low level that prepares them for a bigger purchase. Does that answer the question? I feel like I’ve gone off-
Chris Badgett: That definitely answers it and I really appreciate it because or sometimes these things are talked about in what’s in it for you the site owner, like you’re qualifying leads, you’re making sure they’re going to pay money there. You’re getting them used to spending money with you but you kept the focus on the person, their needs, their fears and helping them decide if it’s right for them or not. That’s what it’s really all about. As a result, you know you’ll make more money, make more sales, have a better functioning marketing frontal. I love that focus like you did there with the tripwire and, again, with your door analogy and everything on the student themselves or the prospective student. I really appreciate that.
Let’s talk a little bit-
Mark Asquith: Just to jump in, though-
Chris Badgett: Yeah. Go ahead.
Mark Asquith: One more [inaudible 00:30:25]. Sorry, Chris, because you made a really good point there which is about qualifying the leads and so on and so forth. People do put this massive focus on, okay, let’s do some lead qualification. Let’s score these leads out and I get that. I understand that but my theory and my logic is always if you keep the focus on the benefits and being just ridiculously helpful to the end user, you don’t need to qualify because, by virtue of doing that, you’re already qualifying. You’re qualifying the leads by proxy of just being the best you can be. Where you’re developing your products, when you’re developing your services, don’t think to yourself, “This is my lead qualification.” Just think, “If I was buying this thing, what would I want at this point to decide upon? What is the question that I would want answering?” Believe me, if you do that, that is going to qualify the leads for you in a much better way because if you score the leads, if you qualify them in the traditional ways, all you’re doing is you’re anonymizing that. You’re anonymizing the financial transaction.
What you’re trying to do for longevity, especially in the course game, you know what it’s like, people that have got the propensity to buy a course have got the propensity to buy a second and third and a fourth and a 10th and a 20th. What you’ve got to do is qualify the lead by building the relationship. There’s no better lead qualified than having lunch with someone, as we spoke about off the recording earlier. That is a lead qualified. They might not buy it from you today. Might buy it from you in 10 years but you can be sure that you’re the first person he thinks of when the time is right for him.
Yeah, just a side note on that because you did bring up a fantastic point.
Chris Badgett: I really appreciate that. I really appreciate that. Let’s talk a little bit about excellence Expected and that’s What do you offer over there? How do you help people?
Mark Asquith: Okay. All sorts of things. I help new entrepreneurs get to their first half a million. For a lot of people they’ve been in online business for a long time. People just basically say, “Okay, half a million’s not great. Okay,” but listen. If you’re starting up a site [inaudible 00:32:35] it’s fantastic. You want to get to the half million. You can get to the million after that. That’s fine. That’s the goal is to help people with really personal support so I do free coaching. I’ll do the podcast, “The 7-Minute Mentor”. I do the YouTube channels. I also do things like the Excellence Expected movement which is the Slack community. I also do the podcast accelerator which is how I help people make money through podcasting. General business coaching around starting up your side hustle and getting your business off the ground.
It’s a very personal business. It’s my personals brand. There are no automated products. There’s no software, there’s no electronic things. Excellence Expected is me. That is it, which is what I love. I adore doing it. It’s a lot of fun.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. In the spirit of this conversation, what’s at the top of the funnel of Excellence Expected?
Mark Asquith: That’s a really good question, man, and it’s really simple for me. It’s about proving the fact that I’m always around for people and genuinely I’m always around for people. What I do with that is I’ve got all of the podcasts, so I’ve got four seasons of interviews, 150 episodes that I’ve got [inaudible 00:33:46] guide and I do a new guide every single year so I’ve got the straight talking guide to launching your first product which is entirely free. Next year there’ll be a new guide and the year after that, a new guide and again, these are all audio. Complete resources so each episode of those guys have got full of resources that you can take and you can use to get through that guide. I also do the daily show which is “The 7-Minute Mentor” so it’s a daily seven-minute burst of just get your stuff done. Here’s what you need to do today, every day, seven minutes, start your day off right.
That’s the audio side of things. I’ve also got the new vlog launching later this year which’ll be a weekly show and it is going to be behind the scenes. It’s going to be the camera will be in the corner as I run my business, as I find things and as I develop things. I want people to see what I do and how I mess up and how I get the results and how i get things wrong and get things right. I also do the free coaching on a Friday so every Friday, 4:00pm UK, 11:00am Eastern, I’m live and literally anyone can ask me a question and I will answer it, guaranteed I will answer it. There’s nothing that I wouldn’t touch. I will answer it. You can come on the session, you can get eyes on me, we can have a conversation in the comments and that’s really, really powerful. It’s a free coaching.
The other thing I do is the product launch webinar every single month. I’ll talk through eight steps to launching your first product or your first service or getting your side hustle off the ground. Entirely free every single month. That is about it, actually. I feel like I’ve said a lot of things there but that is the top of my funnel and then that leads through to the other stuff which is the movement. Yeah, a lot of free content. Oh, plus the blogs and all the tutorials that I do. There’s a new tutorial and blog post out every two weeks, second Wednesday. We’re not talking like 500 words. They’re a good 12, 1,300 words. Yeah. That’s the top of my funnel. I don’t think I missed anything.
Chris Badgett: Beautiful. If you’d like to check that out, head on over to You mentioned it in passing in this conversation, I just want to make sure people are aware of it. This is also how I first heard about you, Mark, was you have a podcast service and podcasting can be very powerful for course creators and membership site owners in terms of creating top of the funnel, free content out there but sometimes it’s hard enough to get a membership site or an online course and e-commerce and all that up and running. Not everybody out there is up to wanting to also figuring out podcasting. Can you real quickly just tell us about your podcast offer?
Mark Asquith: Yeah, definitely. We [inaudible 00:36:27] the podcast websites, myself and JLD from [inaudible 00:36:32], we set podcast websites up nearly two years ago now. We figure that people have got to learn how to podcast. They don’t want to have to learn, if they’re fresh to this, how to build a website and how to launch the thing and monetize the thing and turn it into a membership or e-commerce or into an LMS platform. We didn’t want to do any of that. What we do is we basically created this entire platform, this WordPress software, this service platform which is entirely geared up for podcasting. We’ve got the tutorials there to let people see how to do everything. We’ve got all of the software that you need, the podcast players, the themes and the 24/7 support. We’ve got the academy that teaches you SEO and teaches you email marketing and it’s genuine the complete bundle. As long as you can record your show, we will get you the rest of the [inaudible 00:37:19]. That is the point of the thing and [crosstalk 00:37:20]-
Chris Badgett: I just want to come in on that point. All I have to do, if I want to get into podcasting and I’m interested in your services, if I can create the show audio file and hand it over to you, that’s all I have to do for each episode. Is that right?
Mark Asquith: Yeah, absolutely. Really, really simple. Really simple and all you need to do is drag your MP3 file into our software. Obviously you’ll have to just go through tweaking your site, customizing it, making it look like you want it to look but we’ve got the team there to help with that. [inaudible 00:37:50] interested in things that go back to what we said earlier about kind of the things that don’t scale. Everyone says, “How can you do free coaching every Friday? That doesn’t scale.” It doesn’t, that’s why it works.
On podcast websites, from that side of things, we also do a number of things in so far as everyone gets a free welcome call with me, literally. I’m the co-founder, created this thing. You get a call with me, a welcome call. That is it. We’ll talk strategy. We’ll talk building. We’ll talk what you want. You’ll get that call. My background is [inaudible 00:38:21] designer [inaudible 00:38:23] as well so you also get three hours design time. Use it to design whatever you want, a logo, brand name, podcast cover art, a website. Literally you get that design time completely free.
Yeah. Our goal, remember I talked about outcome earlier, our goal is to make people successful at podcasting. That is our mission, not to build software but to make people successful at podcasting. Yeah. It’s cool, man. I love doing it. Really, really enjoyable. Meet some amazing people. It’s how you and me met actually, isn’t it?
Chris Badgett: Yeah, it is. That’s super incredible and for the LMSCast show books, this episode is just value-packed so I would encourage anyone who’s resonating with this episode to perhaps even listen to it again and pull out a pen and paper and take some notes and action items because there’s so much good stuff in here that’s going to really increase your odds of success and help you figure out and demystify marketing.
Let’s leave the listener with one tip each. I’m just going to say, in the spirit of what Mark’s been talking about here if you need some prompts to help create some free content at the top of your funnel, one question I like to say is what are the 10 frequently asked questions that people come to you about as an expert in whatever it is you do? Also, what 10 questions should they be asking but aren’t? Those 20 items can become YouTube videos, blog posts, podcast episodes but they’re a great way to start thinking about creating some free content.
What tip would you like to leave the listener with, Mark?
Mark Asquith: A really simple one and it’s non-technical. It is be unashamedly yourself and transparent and honest and present. Be consistently present. Remember, everyone talks about automation. Everyone talks about selling online and passive income. Here’s the deal. People are always going to buy from you so you’ve got to be present. You’ve got to be in front of the camera. You’ve got to be meeting people, shaking hands, giving hugs out. You’ve got to be looking people in the eye when you’re talking to them. You’ve got to do that. With all of your content, make it personal. Don’t say, “We.” Say, “I.” Make it entirely personal. Make it about you and that single person that you’re talking to at any given time. If you apply that to your marketing, there’s a reason I’m not going technical with that because everyone goes technical. Just be completely you and be completely honest. If you do that, your content will resonate and they will take the next step, which is email address or buy a tripwire product. Just be yourself and be present all of the time.
Chris Badgett: Beautiful. Mark Asquith, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for coming on the show. Head on over to to find out more about Mark and what he’s up to and thanks again, Mark, for coming on the show.
Mark Asquith: It is a pleasure, sir. Thank you so much.

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