Episode 204

Marketing Automation and Learning Content Personalization for Course Creators with Spencer Forman from WP Automation Lab

In this episode of the LMScast podcast we discuss marketing automation and learning content personalization for course creators with Spencer Forman from WP Automation Lab. Chris and Spencer dive into how you can use marketing automation tools with your LifterLMS website to engage prospects and increase your conversion rates.

Marketing automation and learning content personalization for course creators with Spencer Forman from WP Automation LabSpencer has a lot of experience with marketing automation, and he has been around the tech industry for many years. He has been involved with all kinds of entrepreneurial endeavours, including real estate and software training. Spencer is an advisor to WP Fusion, which is a tool that connects what is happening on your website to your CRM or Customer Relationship Management tool.

Many people don’t understand how CRMs and other similar platforms work, because they can become very confusing quickly. Spencer creates a great visualization of how they work. Imagine the WordPress ecosystem as plant Earth, and every different plugin or tools for a membership site is a country with it’s own way of doing things, and they all interact with one another differently. WP Automation Lab has training on how you can use the tools you need to create a profitable membership site with WordPress.

Creating a unique and personalized experience for your prospects is important to keep them engaged with your program and increases the likelihood they will convert into a paying customer. The conversion rates for online products tends to be low compared to the number of people who enter the sales funnel. The training spencer has created on WP Automation Lab will help you learn how to increase that conversion rate by using tools to automate your marketing process.

Solving pain points is the essence of entrepreneurship. Spencer defines an entrepreneur as the journeyman that takes on the risk of solving a problem for the financial reward. Chris and Spencer talk about the differences between an entrepreneur and a consultant and how you can transition to a mindset of teaching the process rather than directly implementing it yourself to grow an online education business.

To learn more about Spencer Forman and the WP Automation Lab products head to WPAutomationLab.com. You can also find Spencer at WPLaunchify.com. On Twitter you can find him at @WPLaunchify, and you can email him directly.

Integrating your WordPress site with automation tools on the web has never been easier with WP Fusion, so be sure to check that out hereYou can learn more about how you can use LifterLMS to build your own online courses and membership sites at LifterLMS.com. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes hereSubscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

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 LifterLMS. Enjoy the show.

Hello and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. I’m joined by a special guest, Spencer Forman. He’s high caffeinated and ready to roll.
Spencer Forman: Indeed.
Chris Badgett: So this is going to be a good conversation. Spencer is an advisor to WP Fusion, which is a great tool we use actually at Lifter to connect our courses to our CRM, which happens to be ActiveCampaign. We moved over from Infusionsoft about four years ago to ActiveCampaign. But anyways, Spencer has a lot of experience with marketing automation. He’s been around the tech industry for a while. He’s an entrepreneur, clicks and bricks. He’s done offline entrepreneurship, real estate stuff. He’s done software stuff, training stuff. He’s all over the map. He adapts quickly. He evolves with the industry. He notices trends and opportunities. There’s a lot we’re going to talk about in this. His project now is called WP Automation Lab.
Chris Badgett: Just to get the user oriented, where does WordPress sit? So people watching this or listening to this podcast, for WordPress, and online courses, or an LMS, or membership site, WordPress is like kind of have this hub, this website thing. But you don’t want WordPress to be your CRM, your marketing automation tool. It’s almost like which is a satellite of what and what sits in the middle between those things.
Spencer Forman: Yeah. By the way, great introduction, thank you. That’s an awesome question to start with because what I am doing now primarily is to try to use visual metaphors and I test them out on all the people who are contacting me about doing marketing automation for WordPress. The metaphor that I think is working really well creates a nice visual picture. It’s like this. Imagine the WordPress ecosystem is like planet Earth. Each and every one of the essential plugins the people need for a membership site or an e-commerce site because that’s primarily where people want to do with this is maybe a separate country, has their own government, has their own way of doing things, has its own hierarchy. In the original days, the WordPress there were in countries but there was just some things, that as countries developed well, you have each of these plugins, right? You’ve got your e-commerce plugin. You’ve got your gateway that connects to it. You’ve got something maybe separately for memberships. You’ve got something maybe for LMS, gamification, social networking.
Spencer Forman: They all work sort of in harmony as long as they’ve got an ambassador. This works with WooCommerce. This works with this. And so, you have like you, guys, do an ecosystem of, “Well, if you only want to use our thing, that’s fine. We have all of the different components that will make it possible to do subscription and take money for LifterLMS. But now, imagine, the world is a very complicated place. You’ve got the other world in space, which is the ecosystem CRMs. By the way, I think my landscaper took the opportune moment to cut the grass today, so.
Chris Badgett: I can’t hear it.
Spencer Forman: You can’t here it. Okay, good.
Chris Badgett: Just to be clear, CRM stands for.
Spencer Forman: Let’s define it, okay, because this is another topic. I’m going to come back to this. But for the moment, I’m going to say CRM, but it could be also a marketing automation platform, or it could be what was traditionally known as an email marketing system but now with more and we’ll come it. But just that world of being able to put people on the list and then do something primarily using tags and fields. That sounds space. What WP Fusion does, which is so exciting because this is what makes marketing automation for WordPress possible and just changes the game. If you have a CRM that uses tags and fields, WP Fusion allows that CRM to now talk to your WordPress site, all those different countries and explains to them or they explain to it up and down what we’re doing with the particular user, right?
Spencer Forman: Johnny joins through WooCommerce by buying a product. He gets a tag, sends it to the CRM. CRM says, “I have an automation for that. Give Johnny a tag of member.” Now Johnny has a tag of member, he can get into the LMS, and he gets a badge for joining as a member, and he can also participate in the social network. All of this back and forth is now controlled in one place. The user’s behavior on the website or via email automation or onscreen notification or even text messages. It’s all triggered by the satellite. I’m imagining some Dr. Evil from … the movies like looking at the screen and go, “Ah, let’s do this.” Because the goal of marketing automation for press is to give each new user, new prospect in your sales funnel a higher than likely chance of converting into a buyer because you’ve given them a unique and personalized journey instead of exposing them to the same crazy stuff, right?
Spencer Forman: We know what that’s like from retargeting where, accidentally, if you got kids, you visited a diaper website, you know that for the next two weeks, everything on all your browser windows is going to be diapers. Well, imagine that experience in a good way that you control on your WordPress site. Somebody comes in and they want your one product and not the other, you can craft the entire user experience for them based upon just that kind of interest. The debate we’re having you and I before the show started was some people call it marketing automation platform because a CRM is what you use for managing relationships, customer relationship management, but that’s not all that you need. You also need an email marketing component and you [inaudible 00:06:15] importantly need to have the ability with those tags and fields to do things that given ad tags or given ad custom-field data. Those three things together are what I really call a CRM or a marketing automation platform. There’s dozens of them. There’s probably right now over 17 of them. Probably three or four are the ones that everybody focuses on which.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. One of the new things that the WP Fusion released that really interest me and maybe this even further complicates the problem of the right word for what the CRMs or marketing tools are is personalization through page builders. So you can display content conditionally based on what tags they have or don’t have. I find that …
Spencer Forman: Super [inaudible 00:07:07].
Chris Badgett: I find that very interesting but that’s not even likely on the website if we’re selling a course or a membership, it’s marketing personalization but if they’re already in the course and the lesson content is adapting based on the tags they have, that’s another kind of … that’s not marketing. That’s just like learning personalization. So personalization is a factor here and it’s not always just about marketing.
Spencer Forman: I mean, you bring up a good point because of your plugin in particular, right? So, we’ve actually used your competitors and I’ll say one of them is LearnDash. Your product in particular is super suited for what this can really do for you because let’s use the metaphor of organization. I usually explain to people in our training, in our course that an LMS is effectively like having your own personal librarian for your content. So if you have more than a few lessons, it’s going to get on wheel, they do organize it with pages or even the special custom post site because you still have to do navigation and all the accessories. So having this LMS like LifterLMS means I can put in things into the lessons, plus I love your page builder because I can sort of outline the course in advance with the page builder. Here’s a section, here’s some lessons, here’s a section, here’s some lessons.
Spencer Forman: I put stuff in the lessons. Now, if you wanted to do so, you could use the tags that somebody obtains by buying something or by doing something else as an on/off I can see this lesson or not. It’s awesome, except it gets kind of busy because if you have 20 lessons, it’s like every lesson, I got a which tag to use to step up to the next level courses. Now, course is a super awesome way to organize stuff natively in LifterLMS because it triggers some other cool things that you provide. For example, the courses allow me to have a display page for logged in buyers or participants of this course or not. It gives me the ability to individually display a special video or not. It triggers the ability to see free lessons because if I flip that little toggle switch, the lessons are just free even if the course is protected, right?
Spencer Forman: So I could use the tag at the course level. That would be super if I only had one course because, “Okay, hey, one course is sort of the same as buying one product or one membership.” But take it up another level. Let’s say I’m planning of making lots of courses with LifterLMS and I want to give one tag that gives somebody at certain membership level access to any of the courses related to them. No problem. I go in LifterLMS and I go up to the next level of membership. Now, even though it’s true in the old world before connecting my satellite, I could sell that membership using WooCommerce connectivity, or using some other means, or even natively with Stripe Gateway, I could also just use that tag that was given to the CRM at the member level. I say, if somebody has this tag, their member, I don’t know, pro, and then I just assigned the courses that say, “If you’re a pro member, you get to see this course, that course, the other.”
Spencer Forman: So each step as I go up, I’m using the LMS but I’m trigger it on golden ticket like Willy Wonka. Do we have the tag of I can see this stuff? That’s the thing that when people hear that, they go, “Holy crap, where was this my whole life?” Because before, you would have had them like one of the plugins the big boss of your whole ecosystem, right? Who’s the head honcho with this planet, right? Is it going to be your membership plugin, or is it going to be you e-commerce plugin, or your BuddyPress? I mean, which one? And they’re all fighting and having wars. Now, it’s like your satellite is the boss and the tag is the golden ticket. If they get a tag for whatever reason, it’s used as your safe, not only just marketing but it’s for access. Unbelievably cool.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that is super cool. Another reason I’ve seen people use WP Fusion is they’re selling somewhere else which is like, “Okay, wherever that is, if they integrate with the CRM, or WooCommerce, whatever, that tag can go up to the satellite and then zap down. So it allows so much flexibility like things can happen in lots of different ways. I want to ask you though I see a lot of confusion in the marketplace or people that just aren’t that experience with automation, personalization, segmentation. How do you help people with the confusion, or just quite frankly, a lack of experience with these kinds of concepts find success and take advantage of the opportunity.
Spencer Forman: One of the things that I want to bring up, which is the difference between marketing automation and all the other soft skills and services, and this is not to say they’re better or worse, it’s just an evolution, right? I mean, at the turn of the century, 1890s to the 1910, I’m sure a lot of horse-and-buggy repairmen and wagon wheel makers were a little off clip by what’s coming next. There is a term called the [inaudible 00:12:09] because these people who rallied against the machinery taken over their jobs in the factories. So in that sense, there is the sort of lots of other stuff that used to feel important like how high do I rank on Google with SEO, or what am I using to drive social traffic. All that’s fine. We don’t talk about it. What marketing automation concerns itself with exclusively top of your sales funnel to the bottom for new prospects.
Spencer Forman: How many more people can you give a personalized experience to so they feel that you really understand their needs, and wants, and their pain, and you’re solving it? And then inside of the site, how do you manage the user experience the same way, right? Why expose your pro members to the beginning training stuff, your beginning training stuff users to the stuff that’s over their head. You can make everybody feel like you’re just dealing right with them personally that you know them special. That makes everybody endure themselves and vice versa to you. So, in terms of what we try to explain, we say, “Look, the simplest level, you can just go and learn all the stuff yourself. Do it for free.” I mean, this is out there. But a lot of people don’t like to make food from scratch. The other extreme, WPLaunchify, we just say, “We’ve got a TV dinner for you because everybody of the 20,000-plus people you’ve helped over the last decade has the same exact thing.
Spencer Forman: You are a snowflake but we’ve had a lot of snow in the past. Okay. So, the same stack of stuff we can set up for you like, turnkey, give you a new remodeled kitchen. We usually charge 2,500 bucks but it’s not web design. It’s whatever your design is, is fine. It’s the stack of stuff, membership, and so forth. And then most people stay on with us to have us teach them how to cook with our new convection oven and stuff because they never knew how. Some of them stay on to retainer clients, but that’s the service that, to me, has proven itself valuable. We’ve had a very high number of people convert because they realize like, “Look, I just want to get to the result because I can see immediately in my dashboard more people are buying my thing and my thing sells for 1,000 bucks.” So, two more sales a month and, boom, you’re paid for it.
Spencer Forman: The middle ground is where this automation, WP Automation Lab, ideas come about because it’s what we used to do with first web designer and also [One WPTV 00:14:21]. It’s to teach people who are in the WordPress ecosystem or in the CRM ecosystem by the way including Confusionsoft consultants, that there’s a new sheriff in town. WP Fusion has connected the CRM to the WordPress ecosystem. Now, things are possible with no coding at all that weren’t possible before. So we explain to people and we have a course by the time this is out or the other. Very economical, few hundred bucks which will make you thousands of dollars just like we charge because when you go to a company that has any kind of a WordPress website, you can now show them and explain to them the same things that we’re finding in truth which is everybody needs an e-commerce or a membership online site with WordPress.
Spencer Forman: You set up the stack. Simple things like there is a table we give in the course and we teach and talk about for free where you lay out your tags. Because you’re doing WP Fusion or using it, the tags are all semantical in other words. They are literally the fields that exist now because WP Fusion is connected. For example, in WooCommerce, if you have a product, if it’s a simple product, there’s two tag fields that become available that you can customize. What is the tag somebody gets if they purchase this thing? What is the tag they get if they refund this thing? That purchase tag when it’s sent up to the CRM triggers an automation that we teach you how to do that’s in giving them that golden ticket tag. You’re now a pro member. So, buy the pro member product. CRM says, “You got the pro member golden ticket.”
Spencer Forman: If you refund it, “Oh, I’m sorry, we’re going to take that golden ticket away.” Same as true for other stuff like subscriptions give you a tag field for canceled, or expired, or on hold. The LifterLMS, if they enroll in this course, if they unenroll in this course, if they complete this course, right? All of those are semantical tags, product name, and then whatever it’s doing. When you have those tags like a kid with lego blocks, you can assemble these. Huh, let’s do this really cool thing. When we explain it one time, it’s just like with my boys when they’re younger. It’s like all of a sudden, their eyes light up and they go, “It can’t be this easy, right?” We’re like, “Yeah, it’s this easy.” “Really? It’s this easy? I’m like, “Yes, it’s this easy,” because it’s just like I have an iPhone.
Spencer Forman: I remember when I was a contractor and I built houses. We used to have like Next telephones and then there was like, whatever, the Nokia, the Trios, everybody in a different phone with a different connector and all the stuff. Now, everybody has some kind of Universal Serial Bus connector, USB. I could go anywhere in the planet and connect my phone as long as I have [inaudible 00:17:04] but you know what I mean, the other end universally. Tags and custom fields in my prediction will be the Universal Serial Bus for everything between the CRM ecosystem, the SaaS platforms, and WordPress because once they can all just use tags and fields, so many things are possible without regard to APIs or other nonsense.
Chris Badgett: For the beginner, how do you explain the difference between the tag and a custom field?
Spencer Forman: A tag is an on/off switch. I happen to have one right here in my lovely dining room. A tag is an on/off switch. Custom field which doesn’t exist for all CRMs and it certainly doesn’t exist in all case and it’s not as important. It’s a descriptor. For example, purchase the product and new commerce. That’s a tag. It’s a yes or no. It’s an on or off. Did they purchase? Did they not? It’s there or it isn’t. A descriptor would be they purchase the pro product on December 2nd for $1,200. That’s a potential custom field. Custom fields data can be accumulated and used in formula. So for example, some CRMs allow you to calculate lifetime value. So, if a person is, again, being controlled by the CRM, and they do a bunch of things, and take a bunch of actions that also are selling and giving descriptors, you can now say, “This person has $2,000 lifetime value,” trigger a new automation, change their homepage to like fireworks going off and a huge banner from gamification says, “You’re so awesome, that we’re giving you free access to our LifterLMS course blankety-blank.”
Spencer Forman: You can put an onscreen notification. You can send them a text to their husband or wife, and you can also send an email, too. Whatever you please, the responses are those, the WordPress website dynamicism, if that’s a word, is adjustable. But then when you want to go back and figure out what’s going on, all the data is right there in one dashboard and CRM.
Chris Badgett: Let’s talk about some news that just came out that I think MailChimp is adding tags.
Spencer Forman: Right.
Chris Badgett: What’s your take on that? Because for a long time, they were the beginners, email list, they had a little bit of automation you could put in there, but they’ve been around for a long time. They also had a great free plan for people to get started.
Spencer Forman: Still doing great, yeah.
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Spencer Forman: I actually I’m going to take credit for this one, not that they did it but rather … because we both know Jack and I saw this came through my MailChimp email. I’m subscribed to their list because I have clients on there. I said, “Jack, this is amazing.” My take is really simple. MailChimp is the original version. You could think of a web or a AWeber, Constant Contact. There’s a lot of old dinosaurs that are amazing because they did the original one way marketing automations through email. It’s one way because, sure, you can add somebody the old way from your WordPress website to MailChimp but then all the automation is just in MailChimp to send out more emails or maybe keep track of some stuff but it doesn’t have that control this ecosystem or not.
Spencer Forman: I think people don’t realize on their own what’s the difference until we have this kind of like caffeinated version of the story, and they go like, “Holy cow.” So, what I said to Jack and I’ll say it here again is game-changer. They have such a gigantic user base. All of these people start out like I do with my clients use MailChimp. It’s free. The APIs there, it’s so easy. Plus, they do have some reason to be powerful like not level of ONTRAPORT but reasonably powerful automation. The idea is if they really integrate this properly and then Jack connects it as you will, that’s what I will recommend to people because for baby steps like doing an online e-commerce or membership site, you do not need anywhere near all of the power of ActiveCampaign, ONTRAPORT, or even Drip.
Spencer Forman: You just need MailChimp and it would be free for first 2,000 users, so immediately, you’re saving $49 to $129 a month and it’s just like so easy to get started that for everybody, as a consultant, you can advice your users, “Look, here’s the list of your total cost for this project.” It will be whatever you’re using as an extension of WooCommerce, probably you’ll use WooCommerce subscriptions. You’ll probably want to get the add-ons for LifterLMS but then, ta-dah, it’s like your web hosting cost and then buying WP Fusion. For a few hundred bucks, you’ve got a system that would have cost you tens of thousands of dollars before. That’s just incredible. So, I think this is in line with the prediction I was making earlier which was you would be foolish to act like Infusionsoft. You would be smart as hell as a company to act like MailChimp.
Spencer Forman: MailChimp it seems realizes that if we don’t get into the real, true, CRM marketing automation game, everybody is going to leave us because these other 15 to 17 companies are bugging it out. I feel bad. I actually wrote to him and he didn’t respond because I’m a nobody but I wrote to [Clay Mask 00:22:12] because I heard him on another podcast talking about the strategy, and I think their mistake right now and I hope he calls me back is they’re going after trying to be like Salesforce. I think that’s a huge mistake because Salesforce is a very hands-on high-ticket corporate enterprise level sales tool like if you’re going to have to make 40 phone calls to sell a $2 million project or something. The rest of those 19.5 million WordPress sites are for people that are selling online training, online courses even if it’s a live event or high ticket. It’s something they’re kind of doing automatically.
Spencer Forman: They’ve been alienating a lot of their customers and they’re kind of doing weird stuff, whereas Drip, ActiveCampaign, ONTRAPORT, they’re killing it like they’re going head to head like who’s going to go with us, come-on-board guys. I think MailChimp recognizes we got to get in that game. We got to own that because we already have these people. They’re going to leave us to go to them if we don’t give them what they need which is to be able to connect in, so.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s awesome. I kind of have the like, dang, what-took-you-so-long feeling with MailChimp. I’m like, “Come on.” I’m glad they’re doing it but they could’ve done that two years ago, three years ago.
Spencer Forman: Everybody is reactionary, but I will admit to this. The number one question that people say when I do these onboarding calls is, “How long is WP Fusion been around?” I go, “Well, let’s put it like this. Imagine that somebody had like the secret to never aging and they kept it in their garage buried because they thought that only scientist want to know about it.” Well, that’s kind of like what Jack was doing. He had this thing for over a year now. It’s been since 2016 or early ’17, but he was just addressing to the developer mindset and the marketer mindset. And so now that it’s got out of the bag, good on him and good on everybody else, but this is the kind of thing that you have to be sometimes pulling these other companies into the fray because they just don’t know what goes on. That’s why I love to be in the space, too, because every day there’s something new and cool.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, it’s changing fast. I’m a futurist like you. I’m also an opportunity-spotter. Even before LifterLMS started, we actually used to do a lot of custom-web development for clients in the Infusionsoft space. So some of the stuff that we would build to … we’re going to integrate this thing and we’re going to apply a tag here, and then this campaign will start, it was so just resource-intensive, time-intensive, developer-intensive to pull that kind of stuff off. But now, when I first saw WP Fusion, it was kind of like that, “Oh, finally, this is cool.” I just had that experience. But in terms of you as a futurist, you as the opportunity-spotter, the target moves, or it changes, or what’s important changes. I’m all about … so let me give you a story from the LMS side and then let me hear your reactions on the marketing automation and our personalization side.
Chris Badgett: I talk a lot about the stack like what are we doing here as a course. Course plus what? Is it coaching, community? Are you doing services, you’re doing software, you’re doing physical products? The stack is becoming more and more important. For you and marketing automation, you’re saying it’s not about the website anymore. It’s not about what theme you used, being responsive and working on a mobile device or table stakes. It’s not a differentiator. SEO is like a pipe dream that isn’t, I don’t know-
Spencer Forman: Unless you have a lot of advertising dollars, SEO is irrelevant. The only thing matters is if you can buy your way on other front page. But even then it’s like, “Okay, we’ll just compare the cost of that for how much you’re converting.” You can recently figure out if it’s worth it. But just dreaming to be on page one for a keyword is like a huge waste of time.
Chris Badgett: That was a thing like 10 years ago, I guess.
Spencer Forman: When there was like one millionth of the number websites. I mean, right now, it’s like a grain of sand on the beach.
Chris Badgett: So it’s website plus what? That’s my question for you. What is the stack?
Spencer Forman: I think that the stack starts and ends with … this is so retro because I’m an old man, I’m 51, but I remember the days of building business with a pad of paper and a pencil. All the old guys I used to love [Gary Halliburton 00:26:42] and [Joe Sugarman 00:26:43] all those guys I used to market would say the same thing and it’s true to that.
Chris Badgett: About the offer?
Spencer Forman: No. About even deeper than that. The whole secret to success online with your online WordPress membership site or if you’re a consultant is to do or teach your client. There’s only two things you need to know. Talk to people and find out what is the greatest pain preferably a financial one. And then offer them a solution to that pain, not features but a benefit, not even benefits, a benefit. Metaphorically, somebody walks into the Walgreens Pharmacy and they’ve got the most splitting headache in the world. The product that will win will be the one that says, “This helps your migraine now,” not like a picture of it, not like 20 different ingredients on but just like big bald cure your migraine headache now, right? And so, at the core of everything is to remember or learn for the first time that these are just tools. If people get so enamored by the tools that they lose track.
Spencer Forman: Most of my client consultations to people that pay us to help them. I have to metaphorically like cold water in their face, I’m like, “Who’s your customer? What’s their pain? What do you do to solve their pain? Can you say it in one sentence before I get off this elevator?” They go like, “Uh.” So, that’s the bottom line. And then what you do from there is the process. The process is really simple. In the old days, it was I have a chance. We’re getting noticed by this web search engine thing because, now, this new cool thing people type a word and they’ll find me. No, not anymore. SEO is fine. I can’t argue that. One of our friends on the WP-Tonic panel does SEO. SEO is an esoteric thing for companies that have advertising dollars in my opinion, not for regular businesses.
Spencer Forman: Regular businesses should think of it like going off to their favorite little fishing hole in the woods. That’s a group of people that you can identify usually because they’ve got some other website or other Facebook group that has a similar set of problems or pains. And then you go talk to them for free, and learn about them, and help them, and take notes about what’s this thing that keeps coming up. As soon as you realize that, you take TV dinner. We teach us. It’s the same stack of stuff. It’s a WordPress website, hopefully, on a Google Cloud hosting. Again, that’s another democratizing. It does not matter what hosting, just not … no offense, not a shared old-fashion reseller on Bluehost or HostGator. Get on at least to cloud-host account. Again, it cost dollars a month.
Spencer Forman: Then you put in the stack. What takes the money? Stack is always, we say, WooCommerce if you’re selling inside. Why? Because Automattic owns WooCommerce. WooCommerce connects everything under the sun and you’ll never have to unplug it for being weird like some other products that are just very small groups. Then you put in if you needed a subscription’s plugin. Again, the WooCommerce subscriptions plugin is probably the most logical choice. Your point earlier is true though. You can now sell through Gumroad or sell on stripe.com directly if you want and just trigger a tag in your CRM. It will do the same thing. But having it inside the WordPress gives you an advantage because there’s tools like Metorik, which is a great plugin. It’s a-
Chris Badgett: We use it. Love it.
Spencer Forman: Right. Metorik gives you immediate like, holy cow, cool analytics and dashboard of your actual WooCommerce sales. But the point is WooCommerce is like the road where everything connects to. Then you have your LMS because as I mentioned, if you’re selling online content, there’s more than a couple things. You need a librarian to organize it and, of course, gamification, which you, guys, tightly integrate with. It’s awesome because high five look at my badge or high five I did something awesome. I love, by the way, when you can play the lesson in LifterLMS how it says, “You just completed the lesson,” with the growl notification. That does encourage people when done in the right way. This stack is a TV dinner. The way we’ve been successful over the last decade is we figure out what everybody wants, and we listened, and then built the fact that everybody needs the same thing. They just put a different logo on it and a different [inaudible 00:30:54] exactly the same.
Chris Badgett: Very cool. I just want to highlight what you said about the fundamental [inaudible 00:31:03].
Spencer Forman: [inaudible 00:31:04].
Chris Badgett: You’re back, you’re back.
Spencer Forman: I’m going to switch to my better network, Chris.
Chris Badgett: Okay. I just want to highlight something you said which was the fundamental … this is the water in the face like cold shower, like the fundamental job of the entrepreneur is not to build a business or master this technology, get as best tools. The fundamental role of the entrepreneur is to solve problem for people that they can connect with.
Spencer Forman: The definition if you really look it up. I’m not saying there’s all one definition. I believe that the proper definition of an entrepreneur is you find pain that you can solve and you take on the risk of solving that yourself for the financial reward. And then once you solve that pain, you move on to the next thing. You’re like the journeyman plumber, or something, or the … you’re just going town to town like the Incredible Hulk, David Banner I think is just, “Grrr.” But very few entrepreneurs stick it out to the better end and build these huge companies. When they do, it works out well probably but also not so great. I was listening [inaudible 00:32:20] totally aside but like the GoPro story, right?
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Spencer Forman: Sometimes entrepreneurs get beyond themselves when they stick around too long and it doesn’t work out. But for a WordPress ecosystem, for sure, not only is that usable for the person who needs the solution but it also applies to the consultants. I want to bring Confusionsoft in here for a second. I’m very particularly saying Confusionsoft because this is an example of a great company who I think has the opportunity to redeem itself but is going to continue on a path that if they don’t redeem themselves, we’ll alienate themselves because like dating, you can only get away with so much BS for so long before your boyfriend or girlfriend leaves you. Right now, they had the lead. Everybody in the CRM world was Infusionsoft this and that because of all these tools. The tools that worked together were, yeah, they just work but barely.
Spencer Forman: And so, all these one-off solutions like Band-Aids came up. Again, nothing wrong with them but [inaudible 00:33:18] and WooInfused, and the GIPHY farms, and yadda yadda yadda, all the stuff to fix what’s wrong with Infusionsoft. Well, that was fine back then, but now, that you can connect to CRM, all the CRM consultants who are with their client basis, I feel their pain. We’re solving their pain. We are going to make their lives great because when you use WP Fusion to connect Confusionsoft to WordPress, the consultants can now have the magical answer that their clients have been waiting for forever. Let’s keep the automation part of this. Let’s prune your list down because they quadrupled or quintupled your pricing structure for keeping [inaudible 00:33:59]. So we’ll just keep the actual prospects on or get everybody else off to put them on MailChimp or something.
Spencer Forman: Let’s use WooCommerce to sell the stuff with its cool forms and gravity. We’ll do everything off of Infusionsoft but we’ll still keep Infusionsoft as your marketing engine. So now, as the consultant, I can go to my clients because I’m WP Fusion certified for free, and I can now give you the solution you’ve been dreaming about without charging you for custom coding, without building a Frankenstein monster, without looking like a schmo that, “Sorry, this thing that I told you was so great isn’t so great anymore. Now, we got to move you and churn all your people over to another CRM.”
Chris Badgett: In some ways, I just want to say you put the Chris of five, six years ago out of business because what I used to have to charge 10, 20, 30 more thousand dollars to clients to build, now, you just get all of that out of the way and now it’s actually focus on strategy and implementation that’s going to happen very quickly which is good because that’s innovation. I need to step up my game. I’m no longer as a consultant. I’m not a just this tech wizbang guy. I’m focused on results for you. Now, you just made it possible to integrate the tools.
Spencer Forman: I mean, the best words I can tell you from fact, again, I have a history. I was a trial attorney, and I’m a real estate developer, and all these other companies throughout the years. When I was a kid, I have balloon businesses and aircraft detailing businesses. The best way to make a client loyal to you forever is the same way you do it in a relationship. I have not locked the door. The door is wide open. As long as I am the most awesome person in your life, that you feel I am irreplaceable, we will be in a relationship. But I have not chained you inside of my cage, I have not baffled you with my bullshit, I have not forced you to take on some Frankenstein monster that you’ll never undo without a lot of pain. So, if you’re in that predicament, just like I said in 2014, we had to legitimately close down one WPTV as a freelance web designer training because we could truthfully say to people, “You can make a living building WordPress websites.” That was nonsense.
Spencer Forman: People could push their button and get a WordPress website that look better than anybody could build from scratch in our community. However, in the automation CRM space, there’s all this opportunity where now we can teach you. If you’re going to use it, fine. If you’re going to sell it, we could say, “Here’s what you’re selling.” You’re selling the architecting of the strategy of how all these lego blocks go together. In the same way, I have a cabinet over here with all my three boys’ a billion lego pieces. They’ve built some pretty cool stuff like this. But then you go to the mall on the holidays and there’s like the Titanic, it’s like three-quarter scale Titanic, or Empire State Building, it’s a trillion lego blocks. We’re like, “Holy macro, how do they build that out of lego blocks?” It’s because they were experts, okay?
Spencer Forman: When a business needs help, you’re going to help them as a consultant, not because the toys are so cool, or the technology is not democratized, or because I built something you can’t get out of. You can help them because you go, “I could build give you the stack you need. You can see the results starting today. As you need help to strategize, how to learn, how to build this next smart complex thing, that’s what I do.” You could stay as long as I perform and we can measure the performance right there in your dashboard, unlike SEO which is pray and pray, or unlike traffic building which is like I hope you talk to right people and maybe more people come or not.
Spencer Forman: I mean, it’s kind of measurable but you got to spend money. With marketing automation, the people are there. You’re just pouring the ping pong balls into your machine and you’re measuring how many more per month come out with a dollar sign on it. So, if I’m not making any more money than you’re earning, or if I’m not … basically, you’re not paying my bill from the increase in profit, you don’t have to pay me. Bye-bye. It’s amazing. When you say like that as a consultant, who would say no to that?
Chris Badgett: I’m a huge believer in results as like the results is why you should be selling not just skill. So …
Spencer Forman: It’s hard though for SEO, it’s hard because SEO is this pray and pray thing. They don’t control if you show up on first page of Google. I mean, they do what they can following the rules that keep changing but that’s like will a kid that takes piano lessons become the next Beethoven or something, I don’t know. But I can definitely teach a kid how to do something tangible today with marketing automation, right? Can you open and close the front door? Can you push the microwave button on and off, and make a hotdog for yourself? That’s something I could teach. I can’t teach a kid how to become a Beethoven without a lot of hoping and praying.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, this is next level stuff, Spencer, and the same that WordPress kind of made it possible for people who weren’t developers to build a website and then page builders made it possible for anybody to build a great-looking website, now, this is getting really exciting because especially for websites where the website is not just the marketing brochure site but is the business if it’s a membership-based, training-based e-commerce thing. This is a whole other level of democratization that you’re providing a lot of value in.
Spencer Forman: I want to add one thing in here, too, because I had a good fortune of … I’m an old guy. I’ve been around since the beginning of WordPress. And so I have a relationship usually a consultancy but sometimes just sharing information with many of the bigger founders of WordPress services that now everybody enjoys and feels like it’s been there forever. One of the guys I knew, when he started was Clay over at Leadpages and they have a relationship with Drip. They’ve been always like at the forefront of doing the stuff. But I want to bring up some because, in fairness, I think they recognized it, too, so I’m not taking anything away from what they do. They have a platform if you don’t know about it that is based on making landing pages. There’s lots of other competitors in that space. But because of the page builders and WordPress, and it’s so awesome, and now you get the CRM connected, in all fairness, something is going to be hitting in the fan very soon there, too, because just imagine, you don’t need to be selling anything to take advantage of it.
Spencer Forman: For example, we teach in our course and we give lots of free training and just you could take a beautiful landing page builder, that’d be Elementor [inaudible 00:40:23] make a beautiful thing right out of box. You put a Gravity Form form in there that connects to WP Fusion to CRM and, automatically, when somebody gives their email, “Oh my god, what happens?” They get added to CRM. They get automatically registered to your website and WordPress. They get the credentials email. They get auto-logged in. They get put into your LifterLMS free course, a badge comes on, an onscreen notification says “You’re awesome.” It sends them a gift through the email that says, “Keep going, Rocco. Let’s do this,” for free. Why do I need to pay for, no offense, Leadpages anymore to do that? I’ve got WordPress and my CRM.
Spencer Forman: So, everybody knows what’s up. The question is who’s recognized it publicly or acknowledge it publicly. My job is to be the … I used to the Evil genius or like the crazy. It was our lab rats.well, it’s back because really, this is the kind of hair-sticking-up-on-the-back-of-my-neck kind of exciting stuff where even if the free 501(c)(3) charitable organization, you’re taking no money. You can now directly if you want to learn, take a course or get a consultant that we’ve taught, this crazy stuff that otherwise would’ve taken years or tens of thousands of dollars and you don’t need to buy into a platform anymore unless the platform is doing something unique, for example, like Metorik. Metorik is this thing that’s unique from any of the stuff I could do on WordPress but it’s an accessory to it. I think that’s where this ecosystem works like iPhones now have a bajillion cases you can get for them and plugs an accessories.
Spencer Forman: Well, first the phone then the accessories. First marketing automation for WordPress, now, people can build all the accessories. We really enjoy being thought leaders because what people have always always said they enjoy from us the most is its complex for a business owner or a consultant to stay on top of all the new developments and admittedly because I’m like a kid with this stuff as you could tell whether I’m caffeinated or not. I always am enjoyed playing with the toys and then figuring out where people can use them to make money, and then sharing that with people, mostly for free and then people pay me in various ways to also get right to it. I think this is the most exciting thing that I’ve seen happened in certainly the last 12 to 15 years. I mean, almost as exciting as when I first discovered WordPress. It’s just a great time. You, guys, are really well-positioned because I’m going to give you an unexpected plug.
Spencer Forman: We have objectively tested and tried your competitors. There’s lots of reasons that I love LifterLMS, but primarily, because you built it as a core foundational WordPress plugin. It’s not something that came from another ecosystem and then it was sort of dropped in here. But page builder is awesome for creating stuff because I use Google Docs and other ways to typically write long form. But then when I saw your organization for the builder, I was like, “It would be way easier.” Let me just put my sections in as chapters, and then the lessons or as the sub-chapters, and it’s like … then I could just fill it in as I go and I don’t have to reformat my Google stuff, and I can put the images natively.
Spencer Forman: The actual layers I told lessons course but none of the fluffy stuff. I don’t know that anybody really needs group managers and all these other … just really focused. And so for that reason, I’m excited because you, guys, have adopted without my input, a model that lets people get into your product for free which I think is the whole point. Once they get into it, it’s like, holy crap, what else can I do with this. Get your accessory pack, get your add-ons. Maybe they don’t need to have a separate way to take the money, maybe they want to do it natively. It’s all good. You, guys, obviously … I’m here, but you, guys, have been leaders in trying to teach people how to do things in a new way. LMS really seems essential unless you already know how to do something like this on your own. It would be a waste of time to go bother because it’s your primary focus.
Chris Badgett: Thank you for the kind words.
Spencer Forman: No problem.
Chris Badgett: Spencer Forman, WP Automation Lab, I really enjoyed this conversation. I’m a big picture-thinker myself, futurist. One of my favorite words is integration. This conversation here and these trends that we’re seeing, it’s an integration of what has come before. I 100% am with you of like this is really big, this moment in time right now, especially for the entrepreneur or the person whose services, the freelancer, the agency that services the small business owner that’s building these kind of platforms and looking for results. This is a unique moment. How can people connect with you and where would like to send the good people from the podcast?
Spencer Forman: Well, given that this is a little delayed, first of all, you can always reach me directly at [email protected] and wplaunchify.com, you can find out more. It’s really obvious because I practice what I preached but that being a high-end consultancy, all you can do there is learn a little bit about what marketing automation for WordPress is and why it can help you. And then you just say, “Yes, I want to talk to you.” That’s it. Because unless I talk to you and learn about your business, there’s no point in trying to sell your ready-made consultancy. However, by the time this comes out, we’ll have the wpautomationlab.com website up. You could go there by the time, again, this comes out. It’ll probably be live. That is going to be like one WPTV used to be, which is a lot of free content going into great, daily detail. Bob wrote, “I’m trying to connect the ActiveCampaign to my blankety-blank scheduling program on WordPress. How do I do that?”
Spencer Forman: Tons of free stuff. So if you’re a tinkerer, I like to call you a lab rat, you’re going to get great value. But we will have a course for sale there that’s probably going to be really recently priced compared to what you’ll get immediately out of it and it will represent everything we do for you in our $2,500 consultancy but just laid out in a course. So you can just go, “mm-hmm, mm-hmm” like the Martha Stewart Cooking Home Course. You’ll immediate get value because it will pay for itself whether it’s for your business or you just go get a client with it. So if you are a WordPress ecosystem consultant, or you’re in a CRM consultant, we hope you just join and participate because by giving us more information about what you want to know, we can make videos and teach you.
Spencer Forman: If you like our course, you can help us make that better as well as getting the benefit. Also, just the free plug because I worry for Jack because I know this is like going to be a big, big blow up as soon as we get these gates open is the plugin that makes this all possible is WP Fusion. It’s at wpfusion.com. Incredible value. It’s 247 bucks for something that brings these tens of thousands of dollars of like holy cow right to you. Definitely, go check out that plugin as well because without that, really, right now, none of this is possible. It’s the key to all of it at the moment, so.
Chris Badgett: That is awesome. I just want to confirm there with WP Fusion, we use it at LifterLMS. We use it associated with our WooCommerce store for selling software. We use it with our course sites for connecting courses to CRM. It’s a great tool, so.
Spencer Forman: It connects, by the way, because you said it earlier, some people use the new features of Stripe. Everybody knew what Stripe is. But Stripe has been … Patrick and his brother really progressive. Now, they do have the ability that you can sort of sell stuff directly without being a developer. You can connect that to most of the newer CRMs to add a tag and trigger the same automation. Again, I’d rather you do it in the ecosystem of WordPress, WooCommerce but if you already have something set up you can absolutely just use somebody bought on Stripe that talks to you CRM, CRM gets the tag, that triggers the golden ticket and you’re off to the races. So, super cool.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. WP Fusion is flexible like that. You literally like, “Oh, yep, I can do it that way.” That’s the kind of thing that always happens when I’m trying to solve the problem.
Spencer Forman: Too many choices and that’s why we’re trying to teach people like, “Okay, just here’s the lego box we’re going to use. Just follow this for now and then when you’re awesome, you go out and play for the rest of your days because you’ll never go to sleep at night,” or something.
Chris Badgett: That is awesome. Well, thank you so much, Spencer. I really appreciate it.
Spencer Forman: Likewise.
Chris Badgett: We’ll have to do this again sometime.
Spencer Forman: I would love it. I love to talk about the stuff all day long, 24 hours a day. I appreciate it. Thanks, Chris.
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.

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