Both Kathleen and I have a background in content marketing. And we really got into doing video-first content marketing. You know, those “talking head” videos that people do when they’re promoting their business? They’re effective ways for people to amplify their expertise. We’d set our experts up, interview style, and get them talking for five to ten minutes about one topic.
Our framework was like this:
- Tell us a story about a client you helped
- Connect that story to the main takeaway you want your audience to come away with
- End with a call to action, or a way to get in touch
We used that to create all their content. So the transcript would turn into a blog post or email newsletter, and the video would be cut up into snippets to put on all the different social media, and we’d pull social media copy out of the blog post or the transcript.
So it was a way to create content for every platform, based on the client spending only five to ten minutes talking.
But because we were charging premium rates, we wanted every client to get the exact same high-quality content, and the best way I knew how to do that was to create standard operating procedures (SOPs), which are essentially very detailed checklists and templates that allow whoever is helping with a process to create the same quality outcome.
- Outlines for videos
- A whole process for turning videos into different pieces of content
- Checklists for blog posts
- Checklists for the videos.
- Not to mention all the templates and swipe files we’d each built over the years
So we had all this stuff.
Stuff that we really thought other people would want.
But which other people?
Not our clients. They were happy to pay a premium to not do this on their own.
The people who need The Vault are the people who don’t really know how to market themselves yet.
They know they need to be marketing their business.
They aren’t going to hire it out because they’re a solopreneur or in charge of a really small team.
This is stuff that they need to learn to do themselves, and they’re not going to spend $10,000 a quarter to hire other people to do it.
So we asked ourselves, “How can we get these people all of the stuff that we’ve learned and created without charging them $10,000 per quarter to do the actual work?”
So it’s become a pivot point in our business. Now, instead of selling clients done-for-you packages, we’re selling a membership where people can come in, get all of this knowledge that we’ve built for just a monthly rate or a yearly rate.
And we can be the advisors, the people who say, “step one, step two, step three, ask your questions, come back next month, here’s the next step.”
Transitioning from high-ticket offers to an affordable monthly membership
Going from high ticket offers to a membership model has been an interesting journey.
It’s definitely a transition period for our income because instead of selling high-ticket services, we’re focused on building this low-cost membership.
But it’s also been a really different use of our time. Kathleen has always been the outreach person, the person that’s getting on the sales calls connecting with other people, I’ve been the team manager making sure the operations run smoothly. And now we are both really focused on creating.
- New content
- More templates and swipe files
- The monthly playbooks
It’s a different way of managing our team. It’s a big mindset shift to go from “What does the client need?” to “What do we want to create? How can we help people who aren’t yet our clients and aren’t yet members of the membership? What do they really need?”
The Offer Diagnostic
We got together in Arizona (we live on opposite coasts and so we don’t get to see each other in person very often), and when we were there, we created an Offer Diagnostic, which is a one-off coaching session plus personalized content from the vault, specific to their needs.
Less than two hours after we’d finalized the details of the Offer Diagnostic (and about two weeks before we’d actually written the sales page!) I got a message from someone who was asking for exactly this kind of help.
I told her, “We have this Offer Diagnostic, which I think would be what you need.”
After hearing more details, she booked.
Getting our first client less than 24 hours after launching was a clue we were on the right track.
Later that day, someone reached out to Kathleen with similar questions and booked the second Offer Diagnostic.
Then, we hosted a webinar, where someone booked the third Offer Diagnostic.
We literally put together and named this thing and we got three people right off the bat who said, “This is exactly what I need.”
Why I think the Offer Diagnostic resonates with our audience
I think the most compelling part is that combination of:
- Here’s the next step
- Here’s the path that will get you there
- Here are the resources you need to make it happen
- Now go do it
- And then come back and show us!
Half the problem we solve is knowing what the next step is. We give people a roadmap to follow.
The other half of the problem we solve is helping people give themselves permission to let go of part of their business OR to lean into a pivot.
So much of what we do is listening. We ask people to put all their cards on the table so to speak, and we give them feedback. Often the feedback is
- Yes, listen to what your gut is saying!
- You’re right, that is what you need to do in order to build or scale your business.
- And so, here’s what you need to do to take that next step.
Why transition from more lucrative work?
This whole process of transitioning from client work into a lower-cost membership has not been without its struggles.
Going from charging clients upwards of $20,000 per quarter to charging individuals $399 and starting from scratch… it’s a dent in our income.
It’s figuring out how we’re paying our subcontractors when we’re no longer billing out thousands of dollars per month in client work.
And it’s also saying goodbye to clients that have been referral sources for us in the past.
That part is the hardest. We’re not “firing difficult clients” at all. We’re leaving relationships on a good note, and we truly wish all our past clients the best.
But talking about our pivot, being forthcoming with the new direction, doesn’t make a lot of sense for some of our clients.
We’ve heard things like:
“Well, I don’t understand what you’re doing.”
And, “Are you sure this is the way you want to go?”
And it does give me pause. Every one of those conversations brings me back to a Google Meet room with Kathleen where we put our heads together and wonder if we’re sure.
But the thing that drives us is that this pivot allows us to help more people. And that is SO motivating.
The membership along with the Offer Diagnostic is the BEST way that we can serve people going forward.
All of these things that we’ve created can help more people than just us and our team.
The feedback from our early adopters keeps us going
The difference between these big-ticket clients and the smaller ticket offer clients (or customers!) is the level of excitement. Established clients who have marketing budgets enjoy what they do, but have adapted to monetary success.
Contrast that with the person who runs a blog and wants to offer a product or a service. When we help them figure it out, they’re SO excited. Their enthusiasm is contagious.
I can’t wait to work with more people.
I’ll never get tired of hearing, “You’ve changed my business, you have helped me do something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.”
Those kinds of comments just light me up.
Today, we have 14 subscribers. By the end of the year, we’re hoping to have 1000.
Having passed a dozen members and getting really good feedback from them:
- That they’re learning
- That the things we’ve created are helpful
- That they’re finding our resources valuable…
has been very enjoyable.
I’m thrilled that we have members who are willing to share our content playbook with their lists.
I’m thrilled that somebody who bought a diagnostic showed up for our next webinar because she wanted to reiterate the information that we went over and was willing at the end to talk about her experience.
And she did that without us asking.
Those types of things really helped my heart know that we are going in the right direction, that we are building something that is truly helpful, that we are building something that supports our business and our team, but it’s also helping to support other businesses to reach their goals.