Learn how to grow your email list with an email challenge and SEO course case study with Brendan Hufford from 100 Days of SEO in this episode of the LMScast podcast hosted by Chris Badgett of LifterLMS. Brendan has a lot of experience as a course creator, an SEO professional, and a marketer. Chris and Brendan break down key strategies to build your SEO, and what it takes to build a strong marketing arm for your course building business.
Brendan went to college to become a teacher and ended up developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and gaining 25 pounds while working as an assistant principal. He decided to switch schools and work as a teacher. Later on down the line a friend asked if Brendan could help with SEO on his photography website. Brendan took up the opportunity, and his friend earned an extra $42,000 after 6 months from the work Brendan had done on the site.
Brendan decided to take on some more SEO clients and eventually ended up joining an SEO agency out of Chicago called Clique Studios. After finding that he loved answering people’s SEO questions in Slack, Brendan ended up creating an online course where he put together everything he could to help people get off the ground with their SEO and start ranking well on search engines.
Searching Facebook groups is a terrific way to find what problems your customers face and how to best solve them. Doing this also gives you insights into how to phrase your marketing message with the same emotion your audience uses to describe their problems.
One great way to build up an audience and figure out if what you’re teaching is valuable is to do a free webinar or live video for someone’s community without pitching an upsell or collecting emails. Brendan used this strategy to find the best way to engage students and has built out his program based on what gets results and engages customers the most.
Be sure to check out 100DaysofSEO.com and BrendanHufford.com. At 100DaysofSEO.com you can find the One Ranking Away Challenge where you can upgrade your SEO in 30 days. Brendan also has an SEO membership here. And you can find Brendan on Instagram and Twitter. If you have any questions about SEO, Brendan invites you to tweet to him at @BrendanHufford.
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 a course creator looking to build more impact, income, and freedom. LMScast is the number one podcast for course creators just like you. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of the most powerful tool for building, selling, and protecting engaging online courses called LiftLMS. Enjoy the show.
Chris Badgett: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name’s Chris Badgett, and I’m joined by a special guest, Brendan Hufford. He’s from 100 Days of SEO. That’s 100, the number 1-0-0, Days of SEO.com. Brendan has a lot of experience as a course creator, as an SEO professional, as a content creator, as a marketer and lead generator. I’m really excited to get into it with you, Brendan. Thanks for coming on the show.
Brendan Hufford: Thanks so much for having me, Chris. This is going to be awesome.
Chris Badgett: Why did you create your course, SEO for the Rest of Us? What does that mean, for the rest of us? What compelled you to? The course creation origin story is always interesting, so I wanted to ask you.
Brendan Hufford: Yeah. That’s a great question. Transparently, SEO for the Rest of Us name came from my friend and yours, Ken Wallace from MastermindJam. I had a bunch of ideas of what I wanted to name this course, in order for it to stand out in a sea of everybody who positions themselves as an SEO expert, because you don’t have to be able to prove you’ve really done anything to be an SEO expert, kind of like being a Facebook Ads expert. You can just say, I do all of this stuff on Facebook, and then just run ads to your Facebook Ads thing. It’s a crowded space, and I wanted to stand out.
Brendan Hufford: I also, I guess if we go back to the beginning, why a course? I’ll circle back to why now and why this. I’m a teacher by trade. I went to college, went away to college at 18, and I sat down with the big course catalog. I’m sure it’s all digital now, but I’m 35, and when I went to school, they gave you the big, old half a phone book full. They sat me down. They’re like, “What’s your major going to be?” I’m like, “I don’t know. I’m 18. Why are you trusting me with taking on all this debt and making a life decision? You don’t trust me to even drink. Why can I do this?” I decided in that moment to be a teacher. I went to college to be a teacher, and enjoyed it. It was fine. I’m a pretty contrarian person, so it was hard to fit into a system. Graduated school, did all the right things, got a teaching job, got married, had a kid, became an assistant principal.
Brendan Hufford: I had started a business in the meantime, a jujitsu apparel company, doing importing and exporting and all this cool stuff. I looked at my life, and I just felt like I was drowning everywhere. I had, to show for all my hard work of going to grad school and this advanced career, and having my own business, I had gained an extra 25 pounds. I had a really unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and my life was just a mess. I didn’t know how to get out of it. I took a step back. I left my assistant principal position and went back to being a teacher at another school, a healthier school, stopped drinking completely. That’s the kind of person I am. I don’t do anything in moderation. I either do it or I don’t. Then I sold my jujitsu company.
Brendan Hufford: One of my buddies was like, “Hey, man. I need help with marketing.” He was a photographer. I was like, “Cool, I can help you with that.” We did a little bit of SEO stuff on his website. He, within six months, made an extra $42,000. I was like, “There’s something here. I could help people with this.” I kept doing that as a teacher, and then started taking on more clients. Had intentions of starting my own agency, and then one of my buddies was like, “Instead of doing your own agency, why don’t you have a stair step in between and just join an agency? Just stop living this double life of work and side hustle that don’t really support each other.” I was like, “Interesting.” I was asked to join the team at Clique Studios here in Chicago, and I’m the SEO Director there now, getting to work with clients that are huge, $90 million dollar venture-backed startups and global cycling brands and all this cool stuff.
Brendan Hufford: I’ve been doing all this client work for the past two years at Clique and then a couple years before that on my own, and tired of what I saw coming out of courses from fake gurus who, let’s just be honest. If your only claim to fame in SEO is that you have a blog about SEO and you’ve never done anything else, I don’t know if I can trust you, because your advice is always kind of suspect. What works in the SEO niche, for example, if I email you for a link, in the SEO niche, that’s cool. That’s fine. We can link to each other. If you’re a plumber and I email you and I’m like, “Can you link to my website?” They’re going to be like, “What’s a link? Why would I do that?” What works in this niche doesn’t work everywhere else. I was a teacher for ten years. I was like, “I can teach this stuff.”
Brendan Hufford: I was answering so many questions in everybody’s Slack group. All these people who have, I’m an online community geek, guilty as charged. I’m in 1,000 of them. I would answer. I was every group’s [inaudible] SEO. I was like, why don’t I just make a course? I put together everything I could that I thought would make sense based on my teaching expertise, in a way that people could learn it and implement it successfully. Taught it over the course of live workshops because I think that works really, really well for course creators, especially if you’re a new course creator. Your first time doing it, it can be really helpful to do a bunch of workshops first. Then just do it live and give people access to the recordings. The whole idea for the rest of us is I just noticed that everybody has an excuse. “I’m a creative person. I don’t understand SEO. I’m a clinical person. I don’t understand SEO. I’m not a good writer, so SEO.”
Brendan Hufford: Everybody has a thing in their head that holds them back from SEO. I think the problem is that a lot of people don’t understand it. A lot of people think SEO is just Yoast, the Yoast plugin. The Yoast plugin doesn’t actually do anything to help you rank in Google, nothing. It’s helpful, very helpful for your website. People like to criticize me because I’ll say it doesn’t help you. They’re like, “You use it.” I use it for a lot of other things. It’s a really good plugin for a WordPress website. It doesn’t actually help you with SEO any more than anything else does. I was just like, “I want to put that expertise out in the world.” You can tell, obviously, as I monologue here, that I have a lot to say. I just wanted to make media around that. That’s why I made the course, and that’s what eventually led me to 100 Days of SEO as well.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. You mentioned something that’s common online, or a concern online, which is fake gurus. I’ve heard on some, as advice, through digital media podcasts and things, that a lot of people recommend for your first online business, you should start an SEO consultancy. I always thought that was a little odd, because what you’re saying is there’s low barrier to entry and you can get clients fairly easily, but there’s a lot of nightmare stories out there of people who paid for SEO services that didn’t do anything except for drain the bank account. On one hand, you have this whole fake guru thing. Then what I find is that the people that do really well are really the opposite of that. They’re really authentic. They’re honest. They admit their weaknesses or whatever. Everybody makes mistakes along the way, but what’s going on with fake gurus specifically in the SEO world from your perspective?
Brendan Hufford: How much time do you have?
Chris Badgett: I just want to add one more thing to give you some ammunition, I guess. I’ve noticed that the sell of SEO to a business owner is really an easy sell, because the offer is, all you have to do is say yes, I will help you, when people are looking for companies like yours, for you to be listed first. Every business owner is like, “Sure. Where do I send the check?” It’s an easy sell, more or less, especially if they haven’t been burned before, but it’s an industry that’s full of a lot of stuff that doesn’t work.
Brendan Hufford: Absolutely. I think the thing that makes it easy to use as a scapegoat is, we’re doing all the best practices. It’s just Google. I’ve worked with so many people who have been burned. I have a really good onboarding process that I learned from a copywriter friend of mine named Joel Klettke from Business Casual Copywriting. He’s got a really cool course. It’s just, I don’t know the word I’m looking for, a workshop, video on onboarding. I learned about a bunch of really good questions to ask. One of them is, have you ever worked with anybody before, and how did that end up? The horror stories that I hear from people around who they worked with in the past and what the people said they were going to do and what happened and then I can look behind the scenes.
Brendan Hufford: I’ve even had people in Slack groups that are like, “We’re having some SEO problems. Can you look at this?” I’ll look at their stuff and be like, “I don’t know who’s doing this work behind the scenes, but I’m about to tell you what they’re doing, and you should probably stop working with them now,” but it’s the owner’s brother’s kid. It’s his nephew, so he can’t fire him. I don’t know, man. It’s an easier barrier to entry because there’s 200 ranking factors, so if you can turn any of those dials, you can say you’re doing SEO, but are you able to turn the dials that work? The ones that work the most are primarily, are you able to create incredible content that, and this is really important. A lot of people leave this out, that matches the intent of a search, and then also, are you able to build links to that content? Those are the three core parts. Incredible content that matches the intent of a search that has links pointing to it.
Brendan Hufford: Those dials are hard to turn. It’s hard to, and a lot of people, frankly, this is something I picked up from Glenn Allsopp from ViperChill. I consider him a mentor. I learned so much from him, but he has this phrase called being equipped to serve. Are you actually equipped to serve the client you’re getting? That’s cool. We just landed our first $1,000 a month client. We landed our first $5,000 a month client. Are you even equipped to serve somebody at that level at this point, or are you planning on just stepping into it? I’ve just got to lead with, I’ll just step in. I’ll just build into it and figure it out. Don’t. That’s their business. They have employees. If you screw this up, people get fired. Don’t mess with people’s livelihood.
Brendan Hufford: I take a lot of moral responsibility about the work that I do. When I screw up, I think people, I always wake up feeling, and this is probably not good for my mental health, but I feel like people are going to get fired if I screw up. It’s not ever the owners of the business that would get fired. They’re not going to have to shut down the whole business, but it’s the marginalized people. It’s people working in a warehouse. It’s people out doing deliveries. Those are the people who get cut first, and those are the ones that lose their jobs if I’m not performing. I think that a lot of people don’t take that kind of responsibility on when you do marketing services. I think they should.
Chris Badgett: I appreciate that. You also mentioned that you were very active in online communities and just helping people. How has that benefited you as a business owner and in terms of your, I don’t know if your influencer or thought leadership status? How has online community engagement affected your life and your business?
Brendan Hufford: Yeah, I think for course creators, being engaged in the communities where your audience is, a) it’s the best way, especially if you’re just starting out, it’s the best way to know what people are struggling with. You can’t go, I see this a lot. People hop into a Facebook group. They’re like, “What are you struggling?” Me posting, “What are your biggest struggles in SEO?” The problem is, there’s a lot of confirmation bias there. The people that are actually going to answer the question, people don’t want to admit what their struggles are. A lot of people don’t know what their struggling with. If you’re quiet enough, I love this. I do this all the time. I love joining new Facebook groups and immediately going into the search function. I type in SEO. Then I sort by most frequent. I just read all the questions people have asked for the last couple of years about SEO.
Brendan Hufford: I see if I can get some gems, because I want to hear the emotion with their questions. I want to hear. I want the questions. I want the language that they use. That’s copywriting gold. Also, I want to know, is there a blind spot in my own curriculum of, wow, people are really struggling with this. I started talking about plugins, because I was like, “Plugins don’t matter. I’m not talking about them.” Then 1,000 questions come in about them. They matter. I need to talk about them. Things like that. It’s also just been really helpful for, to be honest, whether it’s link building or we can call it link building or networking or whatever, I like to be liked. Actually, I would consider it to be a fault. I like it when people like me. I get upset when people don’t like me. I’m working on it.
Brendan Hufford: The thing is, you build this incredible network of people. When you’re all coming up together, you end up building a cohort of people. I was starting to make media around SEO, and I was starting to put my, I don’t know what the word I’m looking for here is, but put my name out there in terms of, I don’t just do client work. I actually know about this, and I’m teaching it. All of a sudden, everybody that I came up with was like, “We’d love to support you.” We were equals then. We’re equals now. You end up creating this class of people that you’ve come up with, and it’s just wonderful. Being a part of online communities has been a really big part of that. It also gives you an excuse. I think this is crucial for course creators. Before you go out and start offering your course, if you’re a part of membership communities and stuff already, it’s so, so helpful to just ask people, can I do a free webinar for our community on this?
Brendan Hufford: I’m an expert in SEO. I’m a expert in Google Analytics, so I asked a bunch of places. I got asked by a couple. Then I just started reaching out to people. Can we do just a Crowdcast or a Zoom for the whole community for free? You don’t have to opt in. I’m not selling anything. There’s no call to action. I just want to do this and teach it. That’s such a good way to get over those early hurdles of, can I actually teach this stuff? What are the questions people are then going to ask, based on what I taught?
Chris Badgett: Can you elaborate a little more? You said that you, before creating your course videos or whatever, you did a workshop to work the muscles out and maybe get the first versions of the content? Can you just describe a little more detail around how you did that?
Brendan Hufford: Yeah. I did it for free. I used Crowdcast. Not the best video platform. It can be kind of unreliable at times. It has a really good experience for people on the call that are hanging out, because there’s a little chat on the right. It’s really nice. I did them on Crowdcast. I did them for a few different communities. What I ended up doing is, I did it for Kim Doyal’s Content Creators and Jason and Caroline Zook’s Wandering Aimfully and Paul Jarvis and Kaleigh Moore have the Creative Class. I did those. I was just like, “Okay.” You know how comedians are always trying to put together a good? You need a good five minutes, and then you need a good ten minutes. That’s your material. You can try new stuff out on stage, but you know if you ever screw up, you can always go back to your material. Really, as a comedian, what you’re trying to do is put together a really good hour.
Brendan Hufford: I wanted to put together my good hour. I’m not funny. I’m not a comedian, but an hour of here’s things that people are going to be able to take action on, and it’s going to position me in a way that they want to learn more from me, because I have more than I can possibly share in an hour. Then I know I’m good to go. What I did was, I packaged all that together in that hour. I did it a couple of times. I said, “Let’s build that out.” When I launched the course, I had nothing. My wife looked at me, “Wait, people are just buying a thing you’re going to do in the future?” I was like, “Yeah.” She’s like, “What do they get now?” I go, “Nothing. They don’t get anything, nothing now. Nothing today.” I did all these bonuses. I got really good at offer creation, which I think is different than how I sell the course. I don’t sell the course. I have a whole offer that makes it extremely compelling.
Brendan Hufford: After starting offer creation, I knew that once I got people in, I was like, “I need to teach this live.” I broke it up into different sections of, first workshop is, let’s simplify SEO. Let’s talk about the basics. Let’s get over the mental hurdles and make sure everybody’s motivated, and understands they can do this. Then let’s get into the researching part of it, topical research, ignore keywords, ignore plugins. Cool, workshop three is all going to be about writing for SEO and then workshop four is all going to be about outreach and link building and different ways to do that. I just broke it up into those four workshops and then delivered one per week for four weeks, and then just looked at all the questions that I got afterwards and all the holes.
Brendan Hufford: We had our own Slack group. We still have our own Slack group and just answering those things. That was extremely helpful in seeing. I could also do Q&A afterwards, which was so much better retention and so much better with people taking action with things, versus just, hey, here’s your login, go, which is fine, but I do think you should have that experience of doing it live and figuring that out.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. You then created 100 Days of SEO. That’s at 100DaysofSEO.com. People opt in for a 100-day email series, is that right, or challenge? What is it?
Brendan Hufford: It’s a 30-day email series. It’s called the One Ranking Away Challenge. 100 Days of SEO is the name of the project. I realized in the midst of creating that, that that is a confusing concept, but you get 30 days of daily emails. One Ranking Away Challenge is 30 days of free emails that all build on each other. It’s not a random tip each day. It’s not like, here’s how you do canonical tags, and then here’s how to do your. That’s not helpful to people if I just throw random advice at you every day. It has to build, and it has to be built in a way that a teacher would make it, where every day, you show up and it builds on what we learned before. At the end, you have a product. This is a Steven Covey, whatever it is, building with the end in mind kind of thing, and reverse planning. There’s all the different buzzwords for it in education. I wanted people to have this thing at the end, an article or a homepage that could rank for something [inaudible 00:19:20].
Brendan Hufford: What do they need to know to get there? Then in what order do I have to teach it? What days are they going to need a break on? What days do they need to catch up? What days do they just need education and motivation. There’s no homework today. It’s just me making sure, reply to this email if you’re not here with me. If you don’t believe that you can create this or if you need an extra day to work on this, that kind of stuff, building it into the 30 days. Yeah, I built that out, and I think it’s really helpful, too. Again, I just want to troubleshoot and see where the gaps are. Where are my blind spots? Again, give people an education they can actually act on.
Brendan Hufford: I could have put all that 30 days of emails into an epic 6,000-word blog post. Who’s going to sit down and read a 6,000-word? I should, for SEO purposes, but who’s going to read the post, and then who’s going to take action on it? This is better for people. That’s what I care about the most. I want to share success stories and case studies and [inaudible 00:20:18], not just, look at all the traffic my blog post gets. You know what I mean?
Chris Badgett: At the end of the 30 days, people have a home page or a piece of content that’s really well architected from an SEO perspective and you get the knowledge of how SEO works, which is just going to help you more going down the road, right?
Brendan Hufford: Yeah, absolutely. Another thing that is really important is they also have a piece of content that not just is architected for SEO, because that makes people header tags and whatever else. It’s not, we talk about that briefly, but that’s not really what helps you rank. What’s going to help you rank is matching the intent of the search. Helping people understand, you have to go topical research, not just keyword research. The best content ranks for thousands of long tail keywords. It’s not really about keywords, it’s about owning a topic, and then realizing what level of awareness that topic is at. This is another thing I learned from Joel Klettke, but it comes from a book called Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz. It’s a copywriting thing about levels of awareness, but it actually is way better, just frankly, for SEO.
Brendan Hufford: What he talks about there is there’s these four levels. There’s problem aware, solution aware, product aware and what’s called most aware. Somebody who’s problem aware would be, I’m googling back pain. I know I have a problem, but I don’t know what kind of solutions are out there. You’re going to try to rank for back pain and then in the article, they need to know that a solution like yours exists. Whatever we’re offering to solve that, we need to introduce that in the article. The only thing you need to do in that article is empathize with them. Show them you get that they’re in pain. Show them you understand the nuances of it all, and then introduce your solution. Once they’re solution aware, so phase two, if we think of this like an inverted triangle, phase two is, they know a solution like yours exists.
Brendan Hufford: Let’s say we have a website about yoga for back pain or something like that. They know a solution like yours exists. Now they need to know exactly how. They’re solution aware, exactly how this yoga course or this whatever is going to solve their back pain. We have to show them in this article exactly how that works. Now, third level deep, now they’re product aware. They know about yoga for back pain. They know how our solution is going to solve their pain. Now they’re just trying to decide, is this the best one for me? I believe that yoga can make my back feel better, but I don’t know if your online course is the best one for me. We have to put together a case study and prove to them that we’re the best option. Then once they’re most aware, we’re talking about a sales page or a landing page. They know the solution is best for them. They just need to know, how much does it cost? How do I get this thing?
Brendan Hufford: Once you realize that your content needs to fit at this four levels and some keywords are problem aware. Some even keywords and topics are problem aware. Some topics and keywords are solutions. Some are products. Once you realize that, all of a sudden, it’s like, now I have a goal in my article. My article’s, my piece of content is not just education. It’s, I can sell them, and I have a clear map. We talk about that. I think that the best way is not necessarily to sell a product in an article, but the way you keep people engaged is to sell them, like a copywriting tool. The goal of the first sentence is to get them to read the second sentence. The goal of the second sentence is to get them to read the third sentence. The goal of all of this is to keep selling them [inaudible] to consume the entire content and then want to take that next step, whether that’s read another article, get this lead magnet or buy this course or join my membership community, whatever it is.
Brendan Hufford: We talk about that a lot, and I stress that a lot. It’s something I don’t hear a lot of people talking about. I think those who are talking about it and those who are keeping it quiet, which I’m not very good at, are having a lot of success with it.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. You’re doing, can you talk about the personal challenge you’re doing? You mentioned in our pre-chat, Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You. You’re creating all these videos and everything. What are you doing and why?
Brendan Hufford: Yeah. Like we talked about with the way my brain works.
Chris Badgett: You’re all in.
Brendan Hufford: Yeah, if one beer is good, then 12 beers is good, which is not true, which is not true. Chill out, but I’m the same way with coffee. I don’t drink a cup of coffee. I drink a pot of coffee, because I’m a maniac. I don’t know. It’s just how I’m wired. I’m not the kind of guy that’s like, “I think I should make a weekly video and just have good work/life balance and make a weekly video for the next couple of years.” That sounds great, and that’s not a bad plan if that’s a plan that maybe you listening were thinking about. I’m the kind of person that’s like, I’m making daily videos every weekday for 20 weeks. For 20 weeks, I’m going to do. This is, it’s harder than it sounds, I’m finding out. I was like, I want to put out so much media in such a body of work that people can’t possibly have not seen it. If you know anything about SEO, you’re trying to do any kind of SEO research, you will find something of mine at some point.
Brendan Hufford: I wanted to put out such a prolific amount of content that a) it helped me build relationships with other people, because I’m having other people on there to chat about things, but also, I just wanted to put out a prolific amount of content. It has been a very interesting challenge to do this and do it at a level of quality that I’m happy with. With that said, there’s so much. We talked about teaching courses live. The first couple times or the first time, by making all of this content, I have really architected, I guess a better word is sculpted where I stand on things and what my beliefs are and how I think things should be done. I’m putting out a video in the next day or two about SEO for designers. I had to sit down. I’m like, what do designers need to know? What is the most important thing for them? All of this different stuff. If I hadn’t been doing this challenge, I might have never thought about that. It’s really helping me think in a lot of different areas that I hadn’t thought about otherwise.
Brendan Hufford: I’ll be honest, man. After a while, you know this. You’ve been doing this podcast for quite a while. After a while, you said all you had to say. You’re like, what do I have to say now? I’ve said all the things that there is. I don’t know what to say next. It forces you to all of a sudden think about new things and think about new angles of stuff and other problems, peripheral problems and struggles people are having in different areas. It’s definitely been an interesting journey so far. We’re about halfway through at this point. You can check it out. If you look up the 100 Days of SEO podcast, you can check it out there. It’s in Stitcher and Apple Podcasts, but also on YouTube. I think it’s way more fun on YouTube than it is in the podcast, because you’ll hear music on the podcast, but what you don’t get to see is all the fun edits that I’m doing on YouTube. It’s been wonderful.
Brendan Hufford: I would advise everybody to, at some point, if you’re feeling like you’re stalled out, whether you have a current community or you have a current audience and you’re looking to grow it or you’re like, I don’t know how to break through the noise, make 100 YouTube videos and try to make really good ones in the course of 20 weeks. People will find you, I promise.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I recently, in February, I think, did a 30-day daily YouTube challenge, and it was good. I’m really glad I did it. It’s a good muscle to flex, and only good can come from that in terms of just getting better video, getting better at your topic, having people find you. You mentioned something about offer creation that I want to go back to. I think you said it’s not just a course. I have bonuses. Can you define what you mean by offer creation? I think this is critical.
Brendan Hufford: I learned offer creation from, I have a love/hate relationship with click funnels and Russell Brunson. I mostly love him, but sometimes, I hate him, just because he’s such a hardcore marketer, and he’s so direct response that in the same way I hate Tai Lopez, because I’m just tired of seeing him constantly, everywhere. Relax. Him and the guy from Consulting.com. Don’t go to Consulting.com if you think, I wonder what that is. Don’t go, because that guy will follow you everywhere.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, Sam Ovens.
Brendan Hufford: They’re great, but for the same reason they’re good at re-targeting and they’re good at digital marketing, so I learned it, actually, from, this is why I called my 30-day challenge the One Ranking Away Challenge. I modeled it after, if you want to steal something, you don’t want to say you stole it. You say you modeled it. I modeled it after the One Funnel Away Challenge that Click Funnels does. I thought what they did was brilliant. It was $100, which is the biggest steal you’ll ever get for a course. It’s 30 day. There’s live coaching sessions every day. There’s a learning video every day, a follow-up video every day, and a live coaching session every day for 30 days. If you can’t learn something in that format, I don’t know what to tell you.
Brendan Hufford: There’s a guy there named Steven Larson, who was on the Click Funnels team. Then he left, and now, he just focuses on teaching offers, but in that One Funnel Away Challenge, he taught offer creation. Really, what you do is model the same thing you would in a webinar where you meet people’s objections. If I’m going to have a course, for instance, in my course, I knew the top objections people had is, SEO is too complicated. I don’t understand how to do keyword research. I don’t know how to write for SEO, and I don’t know how to do link building. I wanted to make sure that those were my four big buckets of, here’s the lessons that we’re going to talk about. Then I wanted to add bonuses. If you’re also struggling with writing, I have a pillar content master class. If you’re struggling with, I want other people, we have a private SEO community. You have access to expert interviews.
Brendan Hufford: What if you don’t what to write? That was a big thing. Brendan, I don’t know what to write. I don’t even know where to start. I built out, in Google Sheets, I built out a content idea generator with 100 ideas. You literally, in the Google Sheet, you just put your keyword in there or your topic, and it just fills in the whole thing, and you have access to 100 different ideas of, here’s articles that you can write about. Then I had people who were all the way at the beginning. They were like, “I love SEO, but I don’t even know what I want to start for my business. I said, “Let’s throw in another bonus. Let’s throw in the bonus of a course I created five years ago called Sidepreneur University,” which is a terrible name for something, but just teaching you how to build a side business. I’ll throw that in as a bonus.
Brendan Hufford: By creating this compelling offer that met all of their objections, their personal objections, am I right for this course? Their product objections of, is this the right course for me? And then the external objections of, what will everybody else think if I get this thing? By meeting all of those objections within the offer, similar to, if you’ve ever heard of Russell Brunson’s Perfect Webinar, he does the same thing on there. By doing all of that, all of a sudden, I had an offer that was worth so much more. If I was like, “Hey, Chris, I’m teaching four live classes, and it’s $197.00.” You’re like, “Okay,” and that’s it.
Brendan Hufford: What if I said, I’m teaching four live classes. You’ll get Q&A, but then also, I’m going to follow up with you. We’re going to have weekly office hours that follow that. Then I’m also going to give you the pillar content master class. You also get access to our SEO community where I’m in there every single day, answering questions. Then you also get access to all these expert interviews that I’ve done that aren’t available anywhere else. You get the unedited, you might find a 10-minute version on YouTube, but it was actually a 90-minute interview. You’ll get access to that. Then you’ll also get the content idea generator. Then you also get the Sidepreneur University. All of that combined is only $197.00. All of a sudden, you’re like, “Wow, I should probably buy that now before that.” All of a sudden, we have this offer, and it’s a big mistake that people make, or they just throw in random stuff, thoughtlessly.
Brendan Hufford: Maybe you understand, I need more than just one product, but then they’re just throwing in random things. It’s like no, no, no, you have to understand, why are people objecting to buying what you have? How can you fill in those gaps so there’s one thing in there? I’ll give you another example. I bought a course from, I think his name’s Peter Nguyen. He runs a website called THE ESSENTIAL MAN. I’ve been really interested in, I’ve been sitting in a lot of meetings. I sell high-end SEO services, so I sit in meetings with pretty big, important people. I sat in a meeting about a month ago, looked at what I was wearing and looked at what everybody else in the room was wearing. I said to myself, in my head, “I don’t belong here. I don’t belong sitting at this table. I look like an amateur, like a child, like a 35-year-old man boy.” I was so disgusted with myself.
Brendan Hufford: I had been following Peter for a long time. I got an email from Peter that’s like, “I’m offering a course.” I was like, “Interesting.” $500.00 men’s fashion course. I was like, “That’s steep, bro. That’s steep.” Do you know what he did? He understands offer creation. He’s good friends with Ramit from I Will Teach You to Be Rich. He hit me with a long form sales page and on that sales page, there was a little section that said two things. Number one, how to look incredible with classic essential style even if you’re overweight, and then another one that said how to dress well, even as you lose weight. Those were two little bonus modules in this $500.00 course. Sold. Sold, because you hit my pain points so perfectly. I don’t even care about all the rest of the sales page. Those are going to hit other dudes pain points, but he knew and he filled in that one little gap for me.
Brendan Hufford: He knew I was going to say, I don’t want to buy this course, because I’m trying to lose weight. It’s just really going to, I don’t want to buy clothes right now, because I’m trying to lose weight. He hit that. That was offer creation for me. I think that’s a really better example of it even than what I gave.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I really appreciate that.
Brendan Hufford: Now I just admitted I bought a $500.00 men’s fashion course, so hopefully we’re in the circle of trust here, of non-judgment.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, yeah. No, that’s good. We’re human beings. We’re multi-faceted people that do a lot of different things, and have lots of goals and we’re not one trick ponies. We have all kinds of things going on in our life. You did your homework, and you listened to some episodes of LMSCast before you came.
Brendan Hufford: Darn right.
Chris Badgett: I often talk about the five hats problem of course creators, membership site builders, trainers, coaches, consultants. They have to be five people at once. They have to be an expert in something, a teacher, a community builder, a technologist and an entrepreneur, which includes the marketing piece under that. What advice do you have for the people? I’ll just say, I look at you, and I’m like, all right, we have expertise, SEO. We have community building. You’re out involved in communities. You’re building your own community through your 30-day challenge, which you can find at 100DaysofSEO.com. You have your teaching ability. You love to teach. You were trained as a teacher. You’ve made courses. You run workshops. You’re an entrepreneur. You’ve got marketing skills. You have a specialty.
Chris Badgett: I imagine you’re T-shaped. You had a thing about side projects, and you’ve built online businesses. You’ve worked with small, scrappy marketing startups or whatever. You’ve seen enterprise clients, and then you have this deep knowledge on SEO. You’re pretty well-rounded, which is very rare to see in this space. I’m sure you have your weak points or whatever. What advice do you have for people who are trying to level up or at least become aware of where they’re weak and what they might need to do to level up?
Brendan Hufford: Yeah. I think I’m a regular dude. If I can do this, anybody can do it. I have no intention on positioning myself like a guru. I’m just like you. I don’t want to do my work most days. I drink too much coffee, all of that sort of stuff. Here’s the thing that I love about the five hats problem. This is what I think is amazing. What if LifterLMS and SEO skills could solve all of the five hats problem so it’s not a problem any more? I think Lifter takes care of the community side of things and it helps take care of the technology side of things. Then what if you had SEO? I’ll give you an example here. I have a website. It’s called PhotoMBA.net. I told you my first client, I might have not mentioned they were a photographer. That first client that made $42,000 in six months, he was a photographer. I realized photographers are bad at business. They just want to take photos. They don’t want to do the marketing and all this other stuff. They don’t want to blog.
Brendan Hufford: I created PhotoMBA.net, and I have ten articles on that website. Ten. I’ve updated them a little bit, but most of those articles were written in 2016. That website has an email list of 2,000 people that I’m then able to offer courses on SEO, courses, workshops, all these different things, too. SEO takes care of, because I’m publishing and I have good articles that rank in Google for things, for business-related things photographers are looking for, that positions me as an expert. It allows me to teach. It allows me to be an entrepreneur. By entrepreneur, I mean somebody who can scale a business, because I told you, I haven’t touched that. It just continues to build the email list and continues to do all of those things on autopilot. I don’t have to deal with it. Then hooking up with somebody like you, like Lifter, that takes care of the other part of the thing. All of a sudden, my five hats problem goes to a no hat problem. [inaudible] It runs.
Brendan Hufford: I think that’s incredible. I think SEO is such a powerful thing, because if you do it well and you earn it, it’s a slog, and it’s hard at first, but the best part of that thing is, when you climb to the top of the mountain, you get to enjoy the view for a long time. It’s hard to get pushed off that mountain once you’ve established and searched that you’re the authority. I think it’s the perfect pairing not to take care of all the five hats problem, but all of a sudden, things just become a lot more clear versus the shotgun approach of, I’ve got to try this for being an expert and this for being a teacher and technologist and entrepreneur over here, and community. Its one skill set that I think is really interesting because it meets a lot of this. It meets a lot of those.
Chris Badgett: That is awesome. I personally love the idea. My first courses were actually in the world of organic gardening and permaculture. In permaculture, there’s a concept called stacking the functions, which is where you do one thing that has impacts across multiple categories. It’s exponentially valuable as opposed to incrementally valuable. I love what you said. The goal is not to become a superhero that can do it all. You’ve got all the social media, like you do everything. That’s impossible. You can, if you’re really successful, hire all that out and have this giant organization, but there are little hinges to swing big doors that can fulfill multiple functions and introduce automation so that you just get that flywheel going and it just keeps going. I love your example. We’ve never had an answer quite like that before on this show, and I really appreciate it.
Brendan Hufford: Yes. Yeah, man. I really believe it, too. This is something that I had been thinking about for the past couple days of just, wow, it’s crazy how well this fits. SEO is such a unique, I’m not going to say it’s the best solution, but it’s a very unique solution for course creators and community builders because it meets so many of the requirements that you need to be successful.
Chris Badgett: The cool thing about it from the course creator side is, they’re not scared of making content. They make videos. They make worksheets. They make lessons. They can write articles. You don’t have to get over, it’s not like a plumber who doesn’t want to write a blog or start a website. They can do it. They’ve got the skills. They just need to know how to do it, and I’d encourage you to go to 100DaysofSEO.com. Brendan Hufford, thank you for coming on the show. Is there anywhere else the good people of the internet can connect with you?
Brendan Hufford: Honestly, Chris, I would love it if they just went to 100DaysofSEO.com. I’m good at SEO. I also happen to have a unique name, so if you Google any, no matter how you misspell my name, if you google Brendan Hufford, you’ll find me. There’s only one, and I’m good at SEO, so if there was another, I would outrank them. I rank number one for my name, so clearly, I must be good at my job. If they Google me, they’ll find my personal website, BrendanHufford.com. I write about a lot of different stuff on there, some of it which is SEO, but 100DaysofSEO is really the best spot to find the One Ranking Away Challenge right now. People can follow me on Instagram if they like Instagram. If they want to see behind the scenes of me building the business without me wrecking my family, or Twitter, if they want to hear me yell at the internet. That’s really the gist of it.
Brendan Hufford: I would be happy to connect. Honestly, Chris, if somebody has an SEO question and they want to tweet me @BrendanHufford on Twitter, I’ll answer every single SEO question you have, and I would love. That’s what I love. I love talking shop with people, and talking about this stuff, so if you have an SEO question, definitely hit me up on Twitter or just if you’re like, “I really want to learn this stuff in a format that makes sense.” Also, here’s the, “I want to learn it in a format that makes sense, and I want to model what you’re doing, Brendan. I want to see how you built this out.” You should always be doing that. I sign up for so many email lists just to see what they’re doing. Same reason I buy products. I want to see what’s in their product, but sign up for the One Ranking Away Challenge. Look at how I’m delivering this. Look at how it builds on things. You’ll learn a lot, even if you’re not teaching SEO, which you’re probably not. You’ll learn probably quite a bit.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. Thank you so much, Brendan. We’re going to have to do a part two sometime.
Brendan Hufford: Yeah, I’d love to, Chris. Thank you, man.
Chris Badgett: That’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I hope you enjoyed the show. This show was brought to you by LifterLMS, the number one tool for creating, selling, and protecting engaging online courses to help you get more revenue, freedom, and impact in your life. Head on over to LifterLMS.com and get the best gear for your course creator journey. Let’s build the most engaging, results-getting courses on the internet.