How LeadPages Grew to 40,000 Customers in Less Than 2 Years – With Tim Paige

Tim Paige is the conversion educator at Lead Pages.

“…my job is to help people get results from their marketing whether it’s list building, growing their webinars and probably most importantly, increasing their revenue. I speak at live events. I do podcasts and I host our webinars. I’ve hosted over 400 webinars in the last 2 years.”

In this interview Paige will explain the success of Lead Pages and how you can apply some of those strategies to your own business.

View the full interview with Matt below:

 

If you would like to view the transcript, it is provided below:

Matt Ackerson:    Greetings PetoVerans. My name is Matt Ackerson. I am the founder of PetoVera. PetoVera, we are your web marketing partner on demand. We specialize in sales [inaudible 00:00:14]. Today I am joined by Tim Page. Tim works at Lead Pages. Tim, if you could just tell us, what is your role there at Lead Pages? I am a customer, in full disclosure, and I love your guys’ products, but tell us, what’s your role at Lead Pages today?
Tim Paige:    Awesome, and thank you for being a customer. Thanks for having me here. I am the conversion educator at Lead Pages which is, I guess, a fancy way of saying that my job is to help people get results from their marketing whether it’s list building, growing their webinars and probably most importantly, increasing their revenue. I speak at live events. I do podcasts and I host our webinars. I’ve hosted over 400 webinars in the last 2 years.
Matt Ackerson:    Wow. What do you feel was, I guess, the biggest takeaway, if you could boil it down to one thing? I know it’s hard to just say one thing, but you’ve done 400. If someone is just starting out, looking to grow their business with webinars, what was the biggest thing that you’ve learned after doing 400 of them?
Tim Paige:    I think that when it comes to webinars, the thing that’s made the most amount of difference for us and has made us so successful with our webinars is a combination of making sure that the webinar itself is so good that you could sell it, even though you don’t and making sure that you’re interacting with your audience. We’ve tested it tens of thousands of times and it always turns out that when you do a webinar, and there’s not a lot of interaction, when I’m not answering questions, when I’m just presenting, presenting, presenting and then at the end I do a Q&A, those webinars tank compared to the ones where people are typing questions, I’m answering them as I go. I get people to tell me their name and where their from right in the beginning and I call out every single one. Even if there are 1,000 people on the webinar. I go through as many of them as I can. That seems to be the biggest difference. If you can do that you are much more likely to have a successful webinar.
Matt Ackerson:    I have to agree with that too because I feel like with my webinars recently we’ve definitely kind of crossed a line where our conversions have just kind of shot through the roof and they’re just a great educational tool for our audience, but also just that interaction. I went from a point with my webinars, just relating to what you’re saying where we would ask questions only at the end or we would open it up to questions only at the end, and I would just kind of present all the way through vs. asking questions, pausing, take a drink of water, then interact with the audience and get back to the presentation. I totally agree with that. Getting back to the point of why I wanted to do this interview … I like to go on sidetracks.
Tim Paige:    It works.
Matt Ackerson:    I would love to hear the story of how Lead Pages grew so quickly to the point where it is at today. You have thousands of customers. You have tens of thousands, actually over 150,000 people on your email list today. I would love to kind of hear the story over the last few years of how you guys have grown so quickly. If you’re able to share, for example, traffic numbers or any other numbers and metrics. I know that our audience loves to hear those fine details, revenues, anything that you can share that’s very concrete like that would be awesome. I guess take us back to wherever you think the most logical starting point is in that story, because I’m sure it was definitely not an overnight success. I followed Clay Collins for a little bit and I know that he was working on a few things before he focused on Lead Pages.
Tim Paige:    Yeah, so the company, just to give some context, started officially in January 2013. We launched Lead Pages in January 2013, so it’s been about 2-1/2 years, and in that time we’ve grown to now over 40,000 paying customers, about 150-something-thousand subscribers on our email list and we were just named number 220 on the Inc.500. That gives kind of the context, the foundation, for kind of what we’re talking about. Clay’s been working in this space for a long long time and one of the things that he had a hypothesis around was what’s the best way to get started in this kind of space and to really be successful? He was looking around and he looked at companies like HubSpot and Sales Force and Marketo and they had this massive customer acquisition cost. Some of them were $8,000, $10,000, $12,000 to acquire a customer. For a bootstrap startup that’s not really plausible, right? It’s pretty difficult to do and it means that if you grow quickly you’re going to go into debt because you need to be able to pay for that customer, to acquire that customer and the return on that investment usually takes about 2 years, 2 to 2-1/2 years for some of those companies. Again, that means that you had to go 2 to 2-1/2 years to become profitable.
Kind of the way that we grew in the very beginning was that Clay basically created a lot of content prior to ever creating Lead Pages. He created a lot of content around this same kind of thing and every time he created a blog post he would kind of go through this template that he would have created by a designer and talk about how it converted and kind of what elements made it convert. Within the blog post he would give away the code to that template. People would have to opt in to get it. Of course he was growing this email list. We call that a content upgrade, but in this case he was giving away the whole template.
Matt Ackerson:    Just to clarify, so these were the templates that were going into the product at the time or just templates like landing pages that he was kind of testing out in different ways on his own.
Tim Paige:    Sorry. I jumped around a little bit. There was no Lead Pages at that time. He was just teaching people how to get results from their business. This was just a template that he had created, and each blog post would be one that he had created. One might be for a webinar that he was going to do and he figured out what made it work and then he gave away the HTML for that template, but people would have to opt in to get it. He was doing two things. 1) He was giving away something of massive value so his audience liked him because he was giving this thing that they really wanted and, 2) He was growing his email list in the meantime. What he did throughout this process was he monitored the comments. He was in there obviously responding and one of the biggest things that he saw was that people were saying, “This is a great template, but how do I change the email service provider or how do I put my logo in there or how do I move this thing or do this thing?” Constantly people were asking these questions and the answer at that point really was you hire a developer to do it for you.
He realized there was a need in the marketplace and started developing Lead Pages at that point. The biggest thing was how do we grow without having that huge customer acquisition cost? How do we get from 0 to 40,000 paying customers and beyond without spending $10,000 per customer? The hypothesis was that instead of going out and hiring a bunch of salespeople to sell Lead Pages, it was why not go out and hire great content folks, great content creators? I think the first one was actually our video. We focused on YouTube because we had great success with YouTube videos put onto our blog posts. Clay was already successful with the blogging, so we hired somebody to do video and right away the results, voom. The hockey stick curve went right up right away, right after hiring our first person. That was Jeff Wenberg. He still to this day does our videos. Once we did that we kind of scaled up videos and then the next person was a blog. The hypothesis, and I know you wanted to jump in, but the hypothesis was content will perform better than a bunch of salespeople.
Matt Ackerson:    What was it that hockey sticked up? Was it just subscribers or leads or actual customers coming in?
Tim Paige:    At that point the main focus was, since it was videos, it was on getting people to actually watch the video, read the blog post and then opt in. It was really opt in. Sorry. I should have clarified. We were converting fairly well about 0.5% site wide which is about industry standard, but after we actually hired Jeff and had him come on board and started doing videos we went to about 10% site wide opt-in rate.
Matt Ackerson:    Wow.
Tim Paige:    That’s a pretty big jump. Again, the only difference was that we had somebody who was better at videos than Clay. Clay was doing these videos and they were good videos, but we hired somebody on to do that and focus on that one thing and get really good at it and scale that up, and that’s what we were able to do and then we kind of repeated that process with the different things.
We got a great copywriter and content writer for our blog who is still here today. I think I was actually next in line. I took over and did the podcast. We said why not do that with webinars, so we had me take over the webinars. That has been, to this day, the main kind of strategic advantage that we have, is that we’ve been able to take each individual kind of job and hire somebody in to do that role and then hold that person accountable for the results, for their particular channel. The copywriters are held responsible for how well the blog converts, and of course, we’re focusing on lead generation, but we also track the whole process of the funnel. How well does somebody who reads X blog post convert to a subscriber? How long does it take them to become a customer. What’s the initial value? What’s the lifetime value? We’re just now getting to the point where we can kind of fairly figure out what our lifetime value of a customer is because it has been 2-1/2 years and we can start to figure that out.
Each person is responsible for that metric. I’m responsible for knowing what are the results of the webinar. How well do our webinars convert to registrants for the webinar? Once they register how many show up? Once they show up how many actually buy the product? How long do they stick around? It’s important to be able to do that and not have to focus on getting just 100 salespeople and sending them out there. This was a way that we could scale, that we could grow quickly and we could reach a massive audience of people and turn them into customers.
Matt Ackerson:    One observation is, and tell me if I’ve got this right …
Tim Paige:    Sure.
Matt Ackerson:    The free content these templated landing pages, that actually in a way sets up the need that Lead Pages helps to fill. Is that kind of a key point?
Tim Paige:    Yeah. At first it wasn’t so much that it set up the need. It was more that it illuminated the need. Clay didn’t really necessarily know that was what people needed. I think he kind of had a theory that that’s what they needed, but that really illuminated it. Then we were like, that’s been one of the highest reasons for our success is people said, “I want to customize that template. I want to make it my own,” so we built it into the software. Now when we put a new template in the software that’s the first thing we do. We give away the template for free. Then people opt in, they download it. They realize they really want it but they can’t figure out how to customize it and the way to do that is to get Lead Pages.
Matt Ackerson:    Wow. I have so many questions right now. I’m not sure where to start. This is an awesome jumping-off point. Here’s one question. After people got on your email list, what has been the single biggest tool or tactic that you’ve been using to convert them into customers after that point? You’ve got them on your email list. They’re kind of aware of your brand. They’re getting some good free stuff.
Tim Paige:    There are really two big things that have converted really well from there. One is we’ve got a really great video follow-up sequence that happens for everybody who opts in, whether they register for a webinar, opt in from a blog post, general landing page, it doesn’t matter, they get into this basic sequence and all it is is it’s four different emails. They come three days apart, so every three days there’s a new email and each email links up to a video that teaches people how to do something for the first three minutes and then in the fourth minute invites them to sign up for Lead Pages. People always ask, should I pitch in every email, and the answer is yes, but only after you’ve given value first.
Matt Ackerson:    Hmm. Interesting.
Tim Paige:    Yeah. It doesn’t have to be one email is pitch, the next one is content. It can be all in one, but you don’t do it particularly in the email. What we do is, in our email we kind of pitch the lesson that they’re going to get. We tell them a little bit about what they can expect and then we link up to a landing page. That landing page then has a video lesson embedded in it. The lesson takes the first three minutes. For example, I think the first one is how to create a great lead magnet. You spend the first three minutes talking about how to create a great lead magnet and then the fourth step is if you want to get more people to opt in for that lead magnet try out Lead Pages, etc. Then there’s a call-to-action button below the video and people buy and, of course, we say in the next video we’ll be teaching you X, Y and Z. It’s really, it’s a simple process. It’s every three days they’ll get an email that links to a video lesson page where they can buy lead pages and that converts extremely well by video 4. We convert the majority of the folks who actually end up buying lead pages convert there.
Matt Ackerson:    Let me ask, this is kind of two questions.
Tim Paige:    Sure.
Matt Ackerson:    Why three days apart and why video? Why not, for example, just write out the lesson or whatever you want to teach them directly in the email and why not send it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and then that’s it?
Tim Paige:    The reason why is we tested various different things. We’re kind of freaks about testing. We test everything before we do anything and then once we’ve done it we test it again to make sure we didn’t screw up. We tested every day and we found that our unsubscribes went up significantly. We tested once a week and we found the engagement wasn’t the same. People weren’t clicking through. They weren’t going to the video. The magic number we found was really every three days. I will say I know that’s not the case for everybody. There are going to be some business where emailing every day is perfectly great. In fact, on Conversion Cast which is our podcast at Lead Pages … I know you were on recently. We had a guest who literally emails her audience three times a day and her unsubscribes are almost zero. It’s because she created these different personas and all this kind of stuff. You can maybe have different results. You may find once a week is the max that you can email if you’re in a particular industry. You may find that once a day is great. For us, we tested and we found that every three days got us the most amount of engagement with the least amount of unsubscribes. That worked out for us.
Was there a second part to your question? Why video? The reason why video is because, 1) We found that there is an amazing sense of engagement with video, that people actually typically watch the video all the way through as opposed to when there’s a lot of text on a page sometimes it can be difficult to get somebody to read all the way through. We know people skim and that kind of thing. Whereas with the video it’s a high sense of engagement that really focused on what we’re doing and more now than ever it’s important for businesses to have a connection with your audience, a personal connection where it doesn’t feel like when I’m doing business with a company, I don’t want to do business with a company. I want to do business with Bob the baker, which Chris Ducker says all the time, “Bob the baker,” as opposed to BB Bakery. It’s Bob that you’re doing business with. It’s the same thing regardless of what industry you’re in. Regardless of whether you’re B to B or B to C, people want to have that personal connection and video allows you to do that, allows you to have that personal connection with a real person.
Matt Ackerson:    Yeah, I found that too. Just to kind of go off on that point for a moment, what do you think about that? I see some really smart friends of mine building their businesses on their own personal brand. I try to keep it really balanced where we are doing videos like these. People can see us. I do other videos and various blog posts within our email lessons. I’m also apprehensive to do it too much because there is a cost to doing that, right? For example, if you’re building on your personal brand your email inbox is going to be flooded all the time. People only want to work with you and not with your team or buy your product. Maybe they just want to work with you directly.
Tim Paige:    Yeah.
Matt Ackerson:    What’s your take on that trend and striking that balance?
Tim Paige:    You’re right. There is a balance. The cool thing, though is that your business’s personal brand does not have to be you. It can be your team members. In fact, if you subscribe to the Lead Pages list or the ConversionCast list you’ll get different emails from different people on the team. If there’s a webinar oftentimes the email that will come to you will be from [email protected] and it will be a video of me talking about the webinar. A lot of the videos say, “Hey, this is Jeff Wenberg from Lead Pages,” and it’s Jeff. It’s okay that it’s not one person all the time. It’s perfectly okay for it to be different team members, but the point is to feel like you’re doing business with a person as opposed to an entity in general.
Now, is there a place for personal branding? Oh, yeah, 100%. I think one of the things that’s allowed Lead Pages to thrive as well as it has is that one of the things that we’re told is that building your personal brand is great. I have my own personal brand within Lead Pages. People look to me as the webinar expert and the conversion expert and so that’s one thing. Bob the Teacher Jenkins, who is our marketing educator creates all of our courses and that kind of stuff. People know that he knows the ins and outs of everything related to Lead Pages and he knows how to do X, Y and Z. They look at him like that expert, and it really creates this trust with our business that everything is going to be handled properly because it’s not just one guy claiming to know everything. It’s a whole bunch of people that are really great at the things that they do. To, I guess, answer that, it’s yes, build your personal brand if you’re the owner/CEO, whatever, but allow your team to build their brands as well within the structure of your company and it really will show everybody who is your potential customers that everybody is worth doing business with and it doesn’t mean that they just rely on you.
Matt Ackerson:    Yeah. What would you say to a small business owner or a startup who would say, “All right our most valuable asset is our team and if we allow everyone to kind of be public and we say who’s on our team and we do really well then they’re going to be poached. Other people are going to try to hire them and I’m just too worried. I don’t want to put everyone else’s name out there publicly.” What are your thoughts on that?
I think it’s my question too. Do you get miscellaneous job offers coming in to you because you’re obviously doing a great job with Lead Pages?
Tim Paige:    Sure. Yeah. To answer that, first off you should be treating your people so well that you don’t have to worry about it because that’s a big part of it. Part of the reason why we perform so well as we do at Lead Pages is because we’re treated really well, and I’m not just saying go pay your people really well which that’s important too. I’m not saying that you need to have amazing benefits which, again, that’s a good thing too, but you treat your people so well that they would never want to leave in so many different areas, and I’m definitely not the expert in telling you how to treat people well, but if you treat your people really well then they won’t want to leave.
I can tell you, to answer your other question, yes, I’ve gotten lots of job offers. I’ve gotten offers for people to just have me consult with them and to have me just create their webinars and some of them have been ridiculous job offers and money offers and, of course, I think for a business owner to hear that would scare them, especially if the person is an asset. I have not taken a single one, obviously, and I’ve been with the company almost 2 years now. The reason why is even if I was offered a lot more money and a lot more benefits, I wouldn’t leave because I am treated a certain way and I believe in the mission of what we’re doing and I believe in the people I work with. There’s no reason to go elsewhere. You as the small business owner, treat your people so well that they don’t want to leave and make it more about the mission so much than just about they’re just the customer service rep or they’re just the whatever person that they are.
Matt Ackerson:    Yeah. Not a cognitive [inaudible 00:21:20]
Tim Paige:    Right. It’s important, and they are important regardless of what they do. They’re important. If they’re the janitor at your office, they’re important, you know what I mean? Every person that works for you needs to be treated like without them the business would not be what it is because, in a sense, it is true. I think it’s important for your people to be really confident. We’re really confident at Lead Pages. Everybody that works here believes in what we do and we know we’re good at what we do. We’re willing to admit when we’re wrong and when we screwed up and that happens all the time too, but those things are important to understand.
Matt Ackerson:    Do you have an example of a time where you felt like you were treated really well or maybe you saw one of your colleges on the team being treated really well? Just to highlight [inaudible 00:22:08]
Tim Paige:    Yeah. I think the biggest thing is recognition. We get recognition a lot. I can point to any one example, but it wouldn’t be a particular standout. We had a banner month a few months ago, really the best month we’ve ever had in Lead Pages history by a lot and it was a month that we were really working to hit that number. We set a big goal and we hit it and it required a lot of effort from everybody and basically we had a little party to celebrate it. I’m remote. Everybody else is in Minneapolis, but they patched me in over Skype. We just kind of had a little party to celebrate. It was nothing big, but the whole thing was focused on the fact that we as a team worked so hard to hit those numbers and were recognized. He recognized all of us, he being Robert, our VP of Marketing, recognized us all individually for the different efforts that we put into it and it means a lot. We feel like, oh, people only respond to money or people only respond to getting an extra vacation day or something, but that’s bull.
We’re creatures of emotion and that’s not just a gender thing either because I am that. I love being recognized. I love when somebody’s like, “Man, you’re the best at this or you really are good at that.” I got a Tweet from Noah Kagan who is somebody I really look up to and really respect and he said he watched a webinar of mine and it was the best webinar that he ever saw. I talked about it for like a day. Everybody really responds to that. They may not outwardly respond to it, but just know that kind of stuff makes a difference for your team.
Matt Ackerson:    Absolutely. This is more of, I guess, a tricky question, but I was talking to another entrepreneur the other day, someone who has this massive online community. I won’t say what niche they’re in, but they have close to 3 million members right now in their online community and he’s a serial entrepreneur. He’s sold a couple of businesses. I said, “What would you attribute most to your success?” He said, “I would say primarily team. I build a great team. I hire really great people, people typically smarter than me. I execute really well.”
Tim Paige:    Absolutely.
Matt Ackerson:    My question to him which I’ll put it to you too, when you’re a small business, when you’re a startup, how do you find great people in the sense that you’re on a tight budget typically? Is it typically just starting with the mission and even if the compensation that you can offer isn’t that great, just focusing on that mission and the value they’re going to bring to the world and maybe offering additional incentives for performance? You talked before. You did mention that everyone is kind of responsible for their own channel and is held to account for that.
Tim Paige:    Yeah. Because I’m not one of the people that actually hires the people or oversees any of that kind of stuff, I probably don’t have a ton of insight from that side, but the insight from my side, being the person that … I was an entrepreneur full time before I took this job and I had said I would not become an employee again, but Clay sold me big time, was first off because of the mission, and I think that anybody who’s going to be a great employee is going to be mission driven. We’re in an age now where there are lots of opportunities out there, especially if you’re in a tech space more than anything else, there are lots of opportunities out there. If you’re in a space where there’s not lots of opportunities, you’re going to be looking for the best people. Part of it is going to be that mission where people can say, “I can dig into this and have a reason for going to work every day and have a reason to be excited and passionate about what we do,” whether it’s you’re a garbage truck company with 50 garbage trucks or whether you’re a software company. It doesn’t matter. It’s that mission. Why do you do what you do? I think that’s the number one thing. That’s what pulled me in. Then whatever you can do compensation wise you do and you just be up front about it.
I personally think that performance-based pay is a good thing. I don’t think that it’s always necessary, but I was a commission-only salesperson for about a decade and performed really well and I think that works, but it doesn’t work for everybody. It’s a line that you’ll have to walk a little bit, but from my standpoint the number one thing that sold me, and I told them this when they brought me on, was the mission.
Matt Ackerson:    Let’s get back to talking about how you grew your email list and more about turning subscribers into loyal customers. We talked about how the two primary triggers are, once people get onto your email list, webinars and the three or four video follow-ups. Is that right?
Tim Paige:    That’s right.
Matt Ackerson:    I spoke with Kevin recently and he was telling me that right now, obviously I don’t want to give away any secret sauce or anything that you can’t reveal, but he said that right now a big focus for Lead Pages is the content marketing, building out your content at the top of the funnel to get, I guess, more traffic and to build the email list even faster. Is there anything on that side that you can talk about or lessons learned? You guys are constantly coming out with new content, kind of new challenges are developing, ConversionCast, the tip-based blog articles like giving away more free content, more courses. You mentioned Bob Jenkins. I remember I saw an email recently. He came out with a new course. I think the headline was, Bob Just Came Out With A New Course or something like that.
Tim Paige:    Yeah. The biggest thing for us in that sense, and by the way, we don’t have secret sauce. Everything that we do we pretty much share because I think it speaks to the quality of our product and our business and what we do, and we help entrepreneurs and marketers and enterprises get results from our business, so why not share what we’re doing? Most of that we bake right into our product, for the most part. Obviously we can’t bake our content marketing into it. One thing that we’ve done is we’ve really focused on having a purpose for every piece of content that we release. That’s one of the most important things that you can do as a marketer is know what the goal is of that content. What do you want people to do once they’ve read it. Clearly, we want them to read our blog post or watch our video or listen to our podcasts, but what’s the goal? What do we want them to do? For the most part that has been to opt in.
One tactic that I can share that probably you’ve talked about before is content upgrades. All that is is we were talking about with the templates earlier, the HTMl templates, it is a piece of content that you give people that’s related to your blog post that you have to opt in to get. For example, let’s say you were a health coach or something. Let’s say you do a blog post that’s like Five Super Foods That You Must Start Consuming To Have More Energy, right? A good way to create a content upgrade for that might be Ten Recipes Using The Five Super Foods We Mentioned In This Blog Post, but people have to enter their email address to get that. That’s what’s called a content upgrade. What it does is it ties in the lead magnet, the thing you’re giving away to get people to opt in with the content itself. What so many people do is they’ll do subscribe now to get updates. Bah, right? It’s kind of like, “Maybe I don’t want updates. If I want updates I’ll come back to your blog.”
The other thing that they’ll do that’s kind of a slight step in the right direction is they’ll have one lead magnet, get my free four-part course and they’ll put in an opt-in form for that at the bottom of every blog post. The problem is not every blog post is going to be related to that four-part course, right? If your four-part course is How To Get To The Gym And Burn A Bunch Of Fat, right? Well, if somebody’s reading a blog post about super foods they might not need help getting to the gym and burning more fat. Maybe they’re just trying to incorporate better foods into their diet or maybe they want their family to eat healthy or something like that. That person would still be the ideal customer for a health coach. It’s just a different facet of the health coaching business.
If they’re reading a blog post about how to integrate super foods and the lead magnet is How to Burn Fat at the Gym, there’s a disconnect and they’re not likely to opt in. Whereas if instead it is that recipes for using those super foods, boom, it’s a connection and the conversion rate is going to be higher. That’s been a huge factor in helping us be successful and content upgrades can be just about anything. They can be checklists. Here’s a great example. I read a blog post about how to build a wooden picnic table, and at the bottom of the blog post you could opt in to download a checklist of all the materials that you need to build the picnic table. You could print it out, take it with you to the Home Depot and check off everything as you put it in your cart so you don’t forget what you need to build the picnic table. It’s brilliant, right? You can do worksheets. You can do recipes, resource guides, infographics.
One of my favorite things to do, especially for companies that are really bootstrapped, like if you’re a one-person shop, take the same text that’s in your blog post, put it into a PDF format and offer people to download it to read offline. How many of us fly and we can’t access the internet? Now that’s changing which is awesome. We want to be able to read stuff later, maybe when we’re not connected to the internet or whatever.
Matt Ackerson:    Yeah, and like when I first started writing consistently for our blog at the 2014, to your point I would just put a little WuFoo like before I do how many pages, I put a little WuFoo-embedded form in there and I would just copy and paste the text into the auto responder in WuFoo and the title on the little form would be enter your email address to read it later.
Tim Paige:    Yeah.
Matt Ackerson:    We started getting opt-ins that way.
Tim Paige:    Right.
Matt Ackerson:    It absolutely works.
Tim Paige:    It’s a great start, and people say, “Oh, I don’t have time to create a content upgrade.” Well, you’ve got time to do that. It only takes a second to paste that into a follow-up email or it only takes a second to turn it into a PDF and then give that to people to opt in, but it’s such a critical step because what too many people do is they create a bunch of content. They write 100 blog posts and they’re these massive amazing blog posts. That’s great for SEO. That’s great for hopefully having some kind of sharable viral content and all those things are good, but I always pose this question to people. When you read a blog post do you always go check out everything else on that website or do you often read the blog post and leave?
Matt Ackerson:    Nope.
Tim Paige:    Read the blog post and leave, right? If I see something on Facebook and somebody’s like … One of the things I do outside of Lead Pages is I’m a voice actor, so I do video games and cartoons. If there’s a blog post that was like How to Act More Effectively for Action Video Games, well, I’m going to go read that blog post and I’m not going to go click around that person’s site. More often than not I’m going to read the blog post and leave and that person just lost me if they’re a coach or something. They’ve just lost me. Whereas if they said at the bottom, download our video game acting checklist I could then opt in and now they have the ability to reach out to me and communicate to me and keep me kind of in their realm of influence.
Matt Ackerson:    Awesome. You know something else I found from personal experience that works well? You talked about the amount of time that can go into creating a content upgrade and it’s true. It can take 30 minutes, maybe max 60 to create one, that’s good quality, whatever. Once you have it you kind of build up a little bank over time. We have about like seven or eight that we just constantly reuse so now we don’t even have to remake them over time. It’s just based on whatever type or category that the blog posts fall under and just reuse it.
Tim Paige:    Right.
Matt Ackerson:    It’s still valuable to anyone who hasn’t yet subscribed to your list.
Tim Paige:    That’s exactly it. That’s the other thing. I talk about content upgrades a lot. I get asked. People say, “Won’t that mean just that the people that read your blog consistently just have to keep opting in for everything?” To answer that, well, yeah, if people are reading every blog post then they’re going to have to opt in if they want to get the extra things, but that’s not that big a deal. We’ve never had one person complain and we do it with every single blog post. There’s that, but the other side of things is, again, most of the people that read your blog posts, the vast majority, are only there to read that one blog post, and you’re going to lose them if you don’t hook them. Sure, some people will read it no matter how great your content is, by the way. No matter what, some people will read and it and will say, “Wow. This is great. I wonder what their other content is like.” That’s the dream. That’s what we’re hoping for. The vast majority of your readers, no matter how good you are, will read a post and leave because they’re interested in that one topic and you’ve got one shot to hook them. Make your content awesome. Make it so that people have to read every word and get them to opt in so you can reach back out to them. Don’t make them come to you.
Matt Ackerson:    Just to play devil’s advocate, some people might say, “What Tim is saying sounds great, but I run a service business. Our minimum purchase amount is $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, whatever, traffic sounds great, content upgrades sound great, inbound marketing, converting people onto my email list, great, but most of those people can’t even buy from me. I don’t have time. I’m looking for sales. I’m looking for revenue. My business model is not a magical SAS unicorn which we would all love to have as our business model.” How would you respond to that?
Tim Paige:    See, the things that we talk about are not just the things that we do. It’s the things that are done across our 40,000 paying customers. The vast majority of our customers are not just SAS businesses. Our customers are one-person shops. Our customers are B-to-B consultants that charge $10,000 per hour. We’ve got customers all across the board and these strategies still work the same. Just because you have some high-priced product and in order to close a customer you have to have one-on-one conversation or some intense proposal, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be growing a list and start building your relationship.
I once sold an extremely high-priced product. I won’t get into it because I think everybody would know the company which is fine, but one of the things was in order to close those people required a significant proposal.
We had to create a big proposal, but the number one thing the owner of that company always talked about was it takes an average of seven touches before somebody’s ready to make a purchasing decision. Those touches don’t have to be seven phone calls or seven one-on-one meetings where you knocked on their door and say, “Hey, I want to pitch you something.” It can start with, “Here’s some great information for your business. I hope it helps. Enjoy,” and then a few days later another email with some more great stuff that’s going to help them in their business or help them with their life or whatever. You can be using that to weed out the people that aren’t going to be able to afford your product or service. You can use that to prime the people that are going to be the right buyers and then you can move them along that funnel to the point where you say, “Ready for a proposal? Fill out this form,” or whatever, and you’ve now taken them through that process. That’s so much better than cold calling 100 people, finding out that when you call them 88 of them aren’t going to be your right prospects anyway. Now you’ve had to do it manually as opposed to having it done automatically.
Matt Ackerson:    I have a couple of close friends who are starting businesses. They’re like maybe a year or two out of the gate. In some cases they’re just kind of considering an idea right now. One thing that I advise people consistently is have a single focused offer and just start with that. I feel like that’s one thing that’s worked well for Lead Pages. You have one product and it’s a great product. Do you feel like that is a factor as well because you’re offering them one product that they would pay for vs. having a wide variety of offers that could be confusing or too complex or require too many resources to actually sell effectively.
Tim Paige:    That, I think, is probably, in some senses, a part of it. I mean, we have different levels and that kind of thing, but having one primary offer is a good thing to do. It’s okay to have other offers, but here’s the key to it all. The key is clarity in your calls to action. It’s all about clarity.
In the webinar, when I do our webinars, at the end we obviously make an offer for Lead Pages. We ask people to sign up for Lead Pages. It would be very easy to say, “Here’s our pricing page and there are three different tiers of our product. There’s also monthly, annual and you can pay every 2 years.” In essence, that’s nine offers. Well, it’s actually eight because there’s no monthly advance. Eight different offers. In essence I could say, “Go there and pick the plan that works best for you.” What I typically do. Actually, what I do every time is I will say the plan that I would encourage you to get is this plan because of this and that. We drive people to that one thing because if you give people too many options and they’re not sure what to go with, they almost always choose nothing. It’s all about clarity. Be clear about what offer makes the most sense. Educate your marketplace as to what they should go with and make it a simple decision. Having one offer is great. Not everybody is going to be able to do that. When you have more than one offer just make it clear what’s right for your customer.
Matt Ackerson:    Absolutely. To kind of summarize what I’ve found to be the key takeaways from what you’re saying are part of how Lead Pages has grown so quickly in such a short amount of time, focus on creating great content, have a variety of different types of content that you can develop and prune over time based on the data that you’re actually receiving from your audience and the qualitative feedback you’re getting. Once people are actually on your email list by which they might bridge that gap with content upgrades in most cases and giving away, for example, valuable templates, you want to nurture that relationship and what you’re saying works really well for you are webinars and automated video sequence. Is there any other key takeaways that you feel everybody should know about before we break?
Tim Paige:    No. I think you hit the nail on the head. The only other thing maybe is just if you are growing a team understand your team is your most valuable asset and they should be better than you and you should feel great about that. I’ll never forget when I did the first webinar for Lead Pages I out converted Clay and Clay’s been doing webinars for a long time and I had never done one. I remember, I think a lot of us entrepreneurs are kind of A-types and we want to be the best of the best of the best, and when somebody beats us it would be easy to be like, you know, “Oh, man,” angry or frustrated, but he was so happy. He was so excited. He was like, “This is great. You’re going to do webinars from now on.” I think it’s key to remember. You want to get the best people and if they’re better than you that’s the best thing you can possibly do.
Matt Ackerson:    Awesome. Thank you, Tim, for taking the time. If you guys want to check out Lead Pages and their product, go to leadpages.net. I’m a customer. I do recommend them. Tim, how can people say thank you to you if they want to?
Tim Paige:    Yeah. You can either reach out to me on Twitter. It’s @timthepaige or if you want to join me for a webinar I do a webinar every Thursday called Four Steps to Quickly Grow Your email List. If you want to join me you can text the word leadpageslive to the phone number 33444 or go to leadpageswebinar.com and you’ll get registered.
Matt Ackerson:    Awesome. I definitely recommend that. I’ve been on your website in the past and I know you’ve got a lot of value.
Tim Paige:    Awesome. Thank you.
Matt Ackerson:    Thanks a lot for taking the time and thank you all for watching.
Tim Paige:    Bye-bye.

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