Dan Keldsen: How to Get Started Creating Online Courses as a Content Creator (#294)
Our Guest Today: Dan Keldsen
Dan Keldsen is a the Co-founder, Customer Success Officer of PlexiCam – the first ever and only gadget you’ll need to make direct eye contact through webcam during virtual meetings. It’s brilliant! Prior to founding PlexiCam, Dan had extensive experience in online course platforms. He’s got both the digital and physical product management experience. This is going to be a great conversation!
This is part of my #30daylive event and challenge between Nov 29 – Dec 28, 2021, where I share tips, tools and strategies learned in the past 7 years working as a content entrepreneur.
Watch Our Interview
Day 24 of 30 w/ Dan Keldsen: How to get started creating online courses as a content creator – powered by Happy Scribe
Hi, everyone. This is Fei from Feisworld Media. And today I have a very special guest, Dan Keldsen from Plexicam.com. Check it out. It’s my secret weapon of finally being able to make eye contact and look into the camera. It doesn’t matter whether you use Zoom, Google, Meet, whatever it may be, it is amazing. But I got to meet Dan, really through a few people, which is kind of interesting. I didn’t realize that we have so many shared connections. So we’re here today to talk about Plexigam. We’re also here to talk about online courses because so many of you guys, myself included, have a lot of questions around creating effective online courses and really help people go from point A to B and to be able to market that to the right audience. So Dan happened to have a ton of experience in doing that. So I’m just really excited that you’re here. Welcome, Dan.
Thanks. It’s great to be on here. And by the way, before we get too far, I have to say what you’re doing with this whole 30 days of content every day is blowing my mind. I feel really, really lazy.
Oh, my goodness. There are days. They’re hard. We could get into that too. But, you know, sometimes people say it takes 30 days, who knows, 60 days sometimes to get into a habit. And this was a challenge for me, because, like you, I think we have so many similarities. Like, I’m interested in a lot of things. It’s hard for me to focus on one thing for an extended period of time, and I like to just be parallel this, that, and sometimes I try to finish as much as I can, but it’s not always easy.
Yeah, that’s a job, though.
Thank you. And so let’s jump right into the first topic today, and if you guys are watching Live, wherever you are, feel free to leave a comment. You don’t have to show your face. It’s super casual. And if you have any questions, we’ll try to address them directly live right here. If not, after the session, we’ll also definitely pay attention to the comments section too. But Dan, if you don’t mind, could you please maybe talk about your experience related to course content creation and marketing from your previous experiences?
Yeah, so I think it’s funny. So as we were talking before in the book that Tom and I wrote, and Tom is my business partner for Plexigam, we talk about treating the world as your classroom, and it’s essentially about lifelong learning. So the things that, for example, my kids who are 16 and 19 can take advantage of right now didn’t exist because my dad was a chemistry professor, my stepmother was an English teacher. I had a full Encyclopedia Britannica for anybody who still remembers what that was at home, that was pretty rare. Right now, anybody in the world has access to more information, and it’s way more up to date because it’s expensive to publish updated hardcover books and new volumes. So I think the trend overall has been like, why does it take two years in the United States to get an MBA, whereas in most other countries it only takes one year. I don’t think the US Is twice as good in their MBAs, and I don’t think the other countries are half as good as the US. For MBAs, we’ve gotten a lot better. How do you convey information to somebody else?
So things like video, it used to be hideously expensive to be able to do this on your own as an individual. If a pandemic had happened ten years ago, what would everybody have done for the last almost two years? I like to look at past history and how did we get to where we’re getting at, partly because some of it is antiquated and it’s not worth talking about. There’s a lot of core concepts, though, among them, and I do believe that you learn some of the most deep and sometimes painful lessons when you fail. I partnered with a former colleague. I had to pay to stand up a learning platform, which at the time was $10,000. To set that up, which is essentially now free. You can use some other service and cost you barely anything, certainly not ten grand. And he was an expert in Ediscovery, which is all about how do you find legal information that you need to produce in court because you’re being sued as a company or whatever. And he was an acknowledged expert. He had his own Ediscovery magazine had a pretty large following, and it seemed like we could repurpose his content.
The course that he already had that he would do in person and deliver it on our platform. And after a year, we got zero people that bought that course on the site. And for that case, it’s because it was targeted towards legal professionals. But if you didn’t offer credits that they could apply to the constant renewal of their proof that they were staying on top of things, it was useless to them. It might have been great content, but professionally, as far as ticking off the box, totally useless. Interesting, if we had done the research upfront to realize that that was a major problem, we could have done something to fix that. But, you know, it was it was too late. The good news is that he had existing content. So really turning into video was not an issue. Was on a heavy lift, like a day or two, but it was pointless. Don’t do that. Do some research upfront.
That’s so important. Dan, I will apologize in advance. Like, I tend to sometimes cut people off because we’re on to something really interesting and I have a follow up question, which is, let’s talk about the research. And these days we call it we have to give it a ton of names, right? Like, what is your client avatar persona and how do you target the right audience? And I definitely have sort of a mixed feeling towards the way that we’ve been educated about how to even go about this type of research work because it’s absolutely necessary, but it’s not always trivial. And as a result, a lot of people kind of hold themselves back to say, I don’t want to create that course where nobody gets to take so I’m just going to avoid doing that. It’s embarrassing versus what I have learned now that I’ve been creating content for seven plus years and really longer. You could count the prior to phase feisworld podcast days, I realized I made so many mistakes along the way, but sometimes it’s so much more helpful to actually create and launch a course, like, for me, like a micro course, like a starter course, and then enhance it and build from there to create a signature course and course correct as we go along.
Please share some of your thoughts too.
Yes, it’s always tempting for anybody. I don’t know if it’s tied to fixed versus growth mindsets, potentially somewhat, but it can be. Anytime you start something new, especially that’s going to hit the public. There’s got to be unless you have different genes than I do, there’s a little bit of trepidation that one, nobody will care, they won’t even see it, it doesn’t exist. Two, that they’ll repeat a shreds. Three for me is, oh, we found an audience and they like it, and then getting there’s far more people that sit on the sidelines and aren’t vocal. So how do you know that if you’re looking at YouTube stats, are you only looking at the number of hours used? Which is useful to a certain extent, but if you’re trying to sell something and you put like a teaser out there to test the waters, unless you’ve gotten sales or some kind of inbound leads that you can capture and work on, how do you know? Is that a real thing or not? But you have to one way or another. It feels painful to me personally every time I do something like this, but until you put it out there and you try to see what the reaction is going to be, then you’re never going to know.
And the minimum via product or minimum lovable product is the more enlightened people are saying these days.
Minimum lovable product?
Yeah. Love it. Because anybody can start up some badly baked thing that people can react to. And I used to do UX work and do paper sketches and all that kind of stuff. And that’s useful because you can acknowledge with the paper that it’s throw away. What do you think of this? Oh, it’s terrible. Okay, what do you think of this? Let’s get another one. If I had a bin like Mark Bowden, I would dump out my past examples. But you have to put content out there and just build it and they will come. Anybody can, I don’t know. There’s more content being uploaded to YouTube every minute right now than previously existed in the world a year ago. So you have to put whatever you feel is like wherever your strongest is. My opinion, whether it’s for me, typically LinkedIn, I’ve been there for a long time and that feels like more of a home for me. It could be YouTube, it could be Facebook, whatever. But wherever you already seem to have some sort of audience, that’s where you should launch whatever it is that lets you test the theory that somebody’s going to care about a course whether it’s short or long and maybe you give it away or it’s a dollar instead of the 99 or $500 or whatever you’re planning on actually charging for it.
Partly because once you get somebody to give money, even a dollar, there’s a psychological effect there that they have paid something that has a value therefore and they treat that differently than just a giveaway. Especially with digital stuff. That’s very important because it’s nothing. I could give everybody free access to all sorts of stuff, but if they never go and they don’t feel like it has value at any point in that, then it’s kind of pointless. So that’s you got to test something. Maybe it’s an article, maybe it’s just a three minute video talking about here’s what I’m planning on covering in this course, what am I missing? Ask for feedback up front and see what you can do to jumpstart because shooting blind is a real bad idea.
Yeah, absolutely. I think just like you said to kind of recap in case people missed it. If you’re just hopping on now, dan made a really good point of testing on whichever platform that you’re most comfortable with, whether that be YouTube, which is for me, maybe on TikTok for some of you guys. And also TikTok and YouTube shorts are really short right under 1 minute. And these days, under three minutes you really get to test out your content pretty quickly, like without having to overthink it. In fact, I have seen some really popular TikTok and YouTube shorts content. I mean it’s literally somebody holding the phone and talking into the camera without fancy editing or music in the background, all the toolkits flashing around. You can still test your content. Eventually you might want to adapt to a certain platform such as TikTok has a very unique way of attracting people, keeping it short, sounds affects people moving, there are a lot of movements in general, but it’s not always the case with every platform.
Yeah, well, I think TikTok that’s interesting because there’s a different vibe essentially to each platform. So TikTok is very forgiving of you can have truly terrible looking content. I have not personally mastered the selfie and inevitably anything that smells like a selfie I’m not getting my whole face it’s definitely not lined up correctly, but it’s the expectations of people on that platform. They’re going to watch you for ten or 30 or 60 seconds or something like that, and that’s it. And then they’re onto the next thing. So if you want high volume of feedback, assuming it’s something that TikTok audiences might recognize, then the faster you can get feedback, the more quickly you got some feedback on your first video, which looks terrible, but everybody’s acknowledgement, but it caught somebody’s attention and they wrote something useful, or did it do wet? Or whatever makes sense, and then you take that and feed it back in again. And it’s super low stakes because there are literally millions and millions of people out there that are creating garbage that is worse than whatever you’ve thought of is your worst content. So that to me, seems like a pretty risk free approach, as long as you don’t let your ego get in front of you.
Like, TikTok is only for teenagers, right? Where it’s only for people who have dance moves or something like that. None of which is true. I’ve learned a ton about I’m not a handy person for fixing anything. In my house, there’s a remarkable number of plumbers and contractors that have really great tips that you can watch in 30 seconds. Like, oh, wow. I’ve always wondered why that is. These platforms are fantastic. No cost. Get it out there without getting feedback, you have nothing to build on.
Yeah, exactly. The feedback I think we’re onto, like, how do you start and where do you get ideas? And those questions come up all the time. And if you guys are watching, let us know. If you have any questions about how to get started with content creation and how to help people stay engaged, which is something we also are going to talk about. Like, how do you finally create something and make sure people don’t abandon your course, but a little bit more on course creations? And a lot of the experts, world class experts, will have these conversations about like, hey, I know I speak about this on stage, off stage. I just don’t know if I have enough content for my course or if I’m actually providing what people are looking for. So I personally find, Dan, I love to hear your ideas too. These days, you go into any reddit community subreddit, especially subreddit. Some of them. My friends recently gave birth to having newborns, and all of a sudden they belong like people never imagined, to even consider reddit or now part of a subreddit. And for me, a lot of my Zoom videos are very popular, so sometimes I lead with my emotions and my experience, but it’s not always correct.
Instead, lately, I noticed that within the Zoom Community Blog community section on their website, there are a ton of questions submitted on the daily, but their customer service reps are not responding to any one of them. But in communitydriven, there are also some spams, but there’s kind of no official way of answering questions, which often are related to a certain limitations. So, in short, what I’m trying to say, that if you’re getting started, sometimes it’s easier to pick something that people are already using, whether it’s Zoom, Kogan, Meet, maybe it’s Excel PowerPoint, who knows? Instead of focusing on the primary features, features that work really well, which everybody uses in general, you can try one of those videos and then produce something that is really addressing the pain points, the limitations, things that people really need to have to do, but it doesn’t quite do yet. How do you find workarounds? So those can be really powerful.
Yeah. Well, so I feel silly now because you mentioned the resource on Zoom that I should be paying attention to, since 99% of our clients at Texascam are probably using Zoom, or I’d say 100%, because it’s the most popular platform out there right now, which still amazes me. But that’s a great point. Yeah. I mean, go, there are places where people hang out on any topic you can imagine, whether it’s Reddit or Quora, potentially, or YouTube. Just find where people where people are asking questions. That’s fantastic. You can just create some short bits of content. And there’s a woman on TikTok who’s like the Excel Queen, I don’t remember.
What her username is. Yes, exactly.
She’s making a killing.
Yeah. What’s her name? Yeah, Norton. Her name? Yeah. I will think of her name before the end of the day.
She’s making a dealing, doing really fun stuff.
Yeah, right. Actually. So part of the reason I wore this sweater today is it’s an ugly sweater. Take off on the Beatles. The four beatles. And so, one, we should talk about collaboration, and two, personality, because we both know Mark Bowden. I was tempted, should I put on a suit jacket and pretend like a Mark? But I’m not Mark, and I hate suits, so why would I do that? And I have a music background, so why not celebrate? It’s Christmas, you know, all that kind of stuff. But if you want to attract a following, you have to take a stand. And part of that these days is, look at the last two years of working from home. People have gotten used to not commuting, and it might take an hour each way to commute, like in the Boston area where we are.
I certainly don’t miss that. Things like if you’re a clothing producer, sales of pants have dropped off severely in the last two years because the customer said, we don’t need that. Because all anybody sees is this. Right when I’m on a zoom call. So take a stand, have a personality, because you need to do something to stand out from the noise. And you don’t have to be obnoxious, you don’t have to be offensive, you don’t have to do anything illegal. But if you take a stand and you reinforce that and part of engagement from your audience means that you have to engage with them as well. You can’t just assume it might be killer content. You post it, it’s awesome. Everybody you’ve talked to before that outside in the real world has said it’s fantastic. And then you do nothing whatsoever to let people know that it exists. That most platforms you can tag some people that you know might help to jumpstart things. You can’t just hit publish, you’re done, go have a coffee. Because probably nothing’s going to happen, especially very early on. I think that’s having a personality like what Mark talked about, what I’m doing with my background, your background, it shows some sort of insights into how people think, what they’re into.
And that is a great way to break down some barriers that make it sort of for some people. You and I are the experts, right? That’s why we’re talking and they’re too timid or whatever, they don’t want to reach out. But if you make yourself approachable, then it’s much easier to have that ongoing conversation and engagement, for sure.
And I just remember the young lady’s name. Kat Norton is the Excel Queen on Tik Tok. And I love what you said about having that personality, because in the sea of famous, you can actually stand out if you have not just being an expert, having all these tremendous amount of value, or talk faster. But what Cat normally so what Cat did was that she started dancing and started making Excel really fun, and she would dance to these different soundtracks on soundtracks on TikTok as well, so people start to listen to it. I mean, excel is stressful. If you guys have ever really delved into Excel like I did, it’s not always fun. There’s certain things that don’t work very unintuitive, but she did it that way. But I also like Dan, what you said about having someone to jumpstart. Not just someone, maybe a team of people to jumpstart. So I would love to kind of talk about maybe the launch team, which is a very popular concept right now, whether you have a launched a book or course, it doesn’t matter, or new product, new pants, you have your launch team. It doesn’t even have to be 100 people.
I mean, how many of us really have 10,000 people who are super fans or true fans? You could have literally ten, 5100 people, and those people will write your reviews. They’ll give you honest product feedback. And guess what? Like people notice when you thank those people, involved them, maybe interview them as part of your book, part of your course. And then those people become natural advocates when your product launches and they go just sell them very naturally, right? They’re part of the process, right?
Yeah. There’s definitely something about feeling you’re part of the team, part of something bigger. Than yourself. I mean, this might be a little bit of a stretch, but I don’t remember when I interviewed Dan Pink about Drive, I believe it was. So that was probably ten years ago, maybe. So he talks about amp, autonomy, mastery and purpose. And part of the purpose is, can you find people who have a similar enough mind that they want to support what you want to do? And maybe that is not their purpose in life to help you make money or to grow your audience, but by giving them some reason other than just the pure content to want to care about you and to actually help support you. That is a wonderful thing and it tends to become a mutual piece. Like, I started podcasting back in 2006, and then I stupidly stopped doing it about three years later because it was hard to keep up with the pace and then got bored slightly. But the people that I’ve interviewed I’m friends with the vast majority of them and I’ve stayed in touch with all except the very first one that I did was one of the cofounders of LinkedIn who left.
And I was terrified to pronounce his name. By the way, it’s Constantine Gedika. I repeated that for like 30 minutes before I interviewed him. But having those, there’s definitely some reciprocity that goes on, which is, if you follow Dr. Gildini, the sort of godfather of persuasion that’s one of the six rules of persuasion. And some creepy uses of reciprocity, like giving a gift, expecting that just because you gave it to them, that they actually want it. There’s more to it than just kind of skin level, but if you can involve the people one thing I’m very proud of when we wrote The Gen Z Effect the good and bad of publishing a book through a traditional publisher, anyhow, is we were done in April, I think end of March, April. The book didn’t come out until November. That’s a long span in internet years. That’s a long time. The good news is that it gave us a long ramp to build up an audience that would support us. So we would send out free copies, which is very useful. We’d ask for feedback. A lot of was built on interviews in the first place. We already had a natural set of audience who had been involved and were mentioned, so of course they would want to take advantage of that too.
But the secret sauce for that launch was I found an artist on Fiverr back when things on Fiverr were closer to $5 instead of what they are now.
Yes. Which is fine. I mean, if they’re worth it, it’s worth it. But I found somebody who could do Avatars that were like 2D representations. So it was very stylized. The colors of the book were black and red and white. So we had just made Avatars done for everybody that we interviewed and people that we sent out free copies of books to early reviewers and a lot of them are still using that avatar that I gave them as their avatar on Twitter or Facebook or whatever. And that was 2014. I think that’s going above and beyond how most people do it. And I wish I had thought of doing that way earlier in life because I’m surprised at how many of those I still see out there. Like I don’t even use that anymore, even though it’s really well done. But a little gift like that, that’s personalized, that can help them in their own branding, and it’s a unique thing so that they seem unique in a sea of guys in suits, on LinkedIn, for example. And that’s pretty cool because that really is a gift that gives them something to remind them of their interaction with you.
Yeah, I love that remembering that interaction with you sounds trivial, but it’s not anymore. I mean, we talk about like YouTube subscribers are not that loyal to your channel. Well, they can’t be because they have 300 other subscriptions on YouTube and then at home they got Netflix and Disney Plus. So remembering you and having given them a reason to remember you is important. So Dan, I would love to explore maybe the second part of this, which is related to retention or having what can we do once we created a product, especially if it’s a course or membership site, that people don’t abandon us? Like how do we proactively continue to create value on a regular basis.
Yeah. So I think it’s not talked about as much. But there was a stretch there where Gamification came up every five minutes and as a gamer. That’s fine by me. But it turned out some people the takeaway though. Part of the reason that I’m interested in Gamification and tactics like that. And I know several game designers. The guy that used to work for me. He decided to stop doing normal computer programming and did a year and a half long intensive training session in Vancouver. The Vancouver Film Institute, I think was, and he since worked for Rockstar and Sega and a whole bunch of companies. And I know some other people have been around for a long time. So it’s, you know, designing a game, it’s more than making the graphics look good. It has to be playable. You have to care enough to want to play it for an extended period. Because in games the money upfront is pretty significant because games are expensive. Sixty dollars to one hundred dollars if you’re buying them for a console or something. But the real money is in the DLCs of downloadable content that are extras to extend the season.
Now there’s seasons and Fortnite is up to season twelve or something crazy, but if you don’t engage people upfront, they’re never going to give you their money over time. Like the black Ops franchise, for example, has been around for, I think, 15 years or something like that. It’s made billions of dollars. Almost every version of that game looks pretty much the same as for every other one, which is a little bit annoying, but it’s because they keep it fresh. So you need to think about when you’re creating content for a course or mastermind or whatever, you don’t launch the boat and watch it go off into the sunset. Who fell overboard and needs help. There might be some things you need to do to keep people engaged. Like, I forget the woman’s name. There’s a copy. There’s a copy guru. She has a course called Copy School, I believe it is, and it’s super well done. And part of that is the original content is great, but content as a copy, as a profession, is constantly changing those core concepts that are sort of timeless and we’re discovered 100 years ago or so. But if you’re going to, like the trend is towards writing shorter, punchier, more informal content.
So seeing examples that happened today instead of looking back on the classic advertising books from the 1920s. We’re not selling women’s girdles and big bulbous steel cars anymore. It’s a totally different world. So keeping it fresh, taking the feedback, maybe you create some mini updates periodically for your course so that you can honestly say as of the latest, if you’re doing SEO, for example, the latest Google changes to the algorithms are confirmed to have hit last month. Here’s what we found here’s ten minutes. And that keeps your content that otherwise might die on the vine pretty quickly because it changes all the time, right? So if you don’t share that you care enough to keep your content updated and relevant, why should your customers care?
That’s a good point. Like, you need to show that you care. And knowing that a lot of people don’t want to create courses because it’s a lot of work. Let’s face it. It’s actually exactly like you said, Dan. It’s not really the initial face. Sure, you have the plane, but a lot of us create content based on the content and information we’re already familiar with. I think I can probably record a Zoom Zoom Webinar 101 course just in my sleep, but to really delve into the limitations, the audio, the syncing issues and things that are really nonnatively designed for them. To really work with Zoom, people need a lot of people coming from, I would say, like orchestras and also who are singing teachers to say, hey, how can I do this with Zoom? The short answer is zoom really isn’t designed for that. And you need to find certain workarounds. You need an audio interface. Are you willing to invest that time and money to learn that? So that’s really interesting, the way that I want to always engage with people who follow me for whatever reason or never purchase a thing. I want them to just feel like.
They’re gaining tremendous amount of value from this, and especially during the pandemic, I feel like everything is so polarized and everything is urgent. It’s important. I love using myself as a guinea pig there. Dan, I think maybe even more specific question as well for me that I’m currently, for instance, is developing the Ultimate Guide to Zoom, zoom Webinar 2022. Right now, the phase I’m in is probably the hardest because it will come out in January so very soon. But I got to be honest, I went from being feeling very excited about the course. Oh, I got this. I got over a million views on my Zoom videos on YouTube. I got this. And then, of course, I went to Udemy. I went to teachable and saw all the dozens of Zoom basic courses that already exist. Yeah. So I then thought to myself, okay, who is my avatar? Who am I really trying to target? And so there is that moment. I think I’m getting a little bit more clarity now and speaking with you and just calming myself down with everything we just talked about. There’s something that I can uniquely provide to the world.
I guess the question here, without getting too specific, is like, how do you think people can help themselves understand that there is no original content anymore? Something probably has been done by a very famous person, people with large influence. Why should you do it? What’s your angle?
Right? Yeah. So there’s a phrase standing on the shoulders of giants that I’ve always liked. I definitely didn’t quite get it earlier on when I first heard it, but the vast majority there’s some famous quotes that I would mangle if I attempted them directly. But Einstein was a patent clerk, right? He didn’t learn about relativity while looking at other people’s patents. He came up with that himself. But there was a basis of physics and everything else that’s wrapped onto that that he could then leap off of to go into a different direction. Plus, we’ve all had teachers that we maybe they knew the material fantastic, but they hated you, or you hated them, or there is some friction, and it’s just not the right fit. Right. I remember having a teacher for Trigonometry. I don’t remember anything at all that he said because he sounded like the teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I think he hypnotized us all for that year because I don’t know if anybody actually got anything out of it. No idea what my grade was, but that was not pleasant. And that’s probably what helped to turn me off of continuing down to any more complicated maths, because it’s so painful.
But some people it’s funny, I think in the last two years, as we’ve gotten used to the fact that most people have been thrust into Zoom totally unaware, they didn’t plan on it. They maybe didn’t even heard of Zoom. They didn’t worry about cameras because they had one on a laptop, which seemed good enough until you all you ever see of them is their nose or their forehead. There are different personalities, there’s styles. Some people insist they can only learn by reading, some only by doing, some only through videos, some through audio. So there’s lots of reasons you can literally take the same content and have ten different people deliver it in various means and it would do different things for different people. So I think getting to the avatar piece, I’ve learned way more since we launched Lexicon a little over a year ago. We knew because it was created by Tom, my partner, who’s a very good professional keynote speaker. And I do professional speaking, but totally he’s way better than I am. But we both care about how are you perceived on the other end. So the initial target audience that we thought would resonate with professional speakers and we happen to know it’s on other professional speakers because it’s a big world.
You can hire 100 people as pro speakers that are going to talk about innovation. Are they going to talk about innovation that you particularly care about? Who knows? Probably not. So it’s the same with us. So we found that audience cares because the way that they present themselves and the way that they’re perceived is it’s all up to them now, right? If they walked on a big stage, there’s a whole crew behind the curtains that’s taking care of them with lights and microphones and the big monitors for confidence, all that kind of stuff. But when it’s just you and your camera and you didn’t have any of the equipment that you need, they desperately needed solutions. At least the ones that realized virtual presentations are a thing. Some decided I’m just going to wait until this is all over. That seems like a bad approach that we could talk about that started and then we’ve worked very hard at word of mouth. So we try to have great customer service and if it’s not great, by the way, it’s my fault. And if it is great, you can praise me. I’m wondering all the calls and all the emails, but we try to really bake into I guess the entire thing to me is whatever it is that you’re doing, you’re creating an experience and you need to decide what that experience should be.
And different audiences, different avatars have different expectations. So professional speakers, some of them make $100,000 for an hour talk on a big stage. Some make more, right? So for us, we’re not a $5 product, we’re not $1,000 product. We’re somewhere in the middle, but sort of a premium. Our design is unique. And professional speakers, they’re like, that looks cool, buy. There’s not much decision process and they’ve probably seen other speakers demonstrate it. So we already have credibility from that perspective. Other audiences, like we have therapists and telehealth, doctors and nurses and telehealth, health professionals that need to do telehealth. And they certainly weren’t set up to do that stuff from home until it was the only option there was to do that. So they care about different things because they don’t make $100,000 an hour or 20 or five, whatever. So to them, can they get reimbursed by their company? What’s the right fit? How can they get it? Maybe the hospital they work for and buy it for them, which is a very hard sell. So it depends on part of it is how do you value your time? And I know that you’ve watched and created yourself.
There’s a ton of information out there, but do you have the time to watch 1000 hours of YouTube videos to try to figure out how to put your camera in the right place and.
All that kind of stuff.
So talking to their fears and what’s the ultimate thing that they’re trying to get to, and what’s the value of doing that? Like the therapist that I’ve talked to that are clients of ours, it makes a huge difference because depression is skyrocketed during the pandemic. If you can get eye contact with your patient on the other end who’s already suffering anyhow, now you have a chance to have that connection that’s going to help them get well.
Yeah. Now you mentioned, I think it’s absolutely relevant. I need to grab it real quick to demonstrate. I have thought that this was right next to me, but I have to say, just the design looks so simple, but it looks trivial. But it’s not. I mean, this is a hook where you can put it on your computer anywhere. I love the fact that it works for both, like laptop as well as computer. I have the, I think the 29 inch imac. And on the other side, this is a slider that just goes up and down. It’s so funny. It goes up and down very easily because of adjusting different heights, different people of different height, as well as the size of your computer, as well as the fact that it gives you just enough resistance. Right. Because it can’t actually slide right off. If you are having your cell phone there where some of the webcams are, they’re light, but it’s still weight. Literally, you put something on it, slide right off. So there are a lot of thoughts that goes into this. And I love when Mark Bowden kind of demo this on his video on his YouTube channel.
It took me about 5 seconds to make the decision to say I don’t care how much this cost, I’m getting it because with this I’m able to present to my 5000 person Zoom webinar. And I told that very client about why he and all his moderators should get this particular setup. Also, I’m using a logitech brio. So that’s a combination of match made in heaven situation. So, yeah, this is brilliant. But what I’m hearing also is like you’ve done a lot of trial and error and then really finding out not only how to design the product, but who to sell it to. And speakers, moderators, hosts, as well as therapists are huge. I’m very open about mental health. This is happiest I’ve ever been in my life. But I said this is precisely now why I want to be able to work with a therapist ongoing basis. So I do. And I noticed how important it is for me to realize that she’s paying attention, not just to me, but to our conversation, as opposed to she’s writing something down. She’s having fun, completely distracted. It is crazy. It feels terrible on the other end.
Does it work in person?
Yeah. We haven’t done studies on this, but do you know David Mirren Scott? He’s written a ton of marketing books. He’s from the Boston area as well. He’s a Grateful Dead fan.
What’s his last name again?
David mirmin scott.
Oh, merman Scott.
Oh, actually, he’s written a ton of marketing books. He’s pretty well known, but he mentioned he’s a client. He has a crazy expensive home studio because that’s where he wants to take things to, and he doesn’t necessarily use plexicam in that setting, but when he’s traveling, he takes it with him. When he’s at a different house that he has that does not have the huge studio built in it, he doesn’t want to not be able to do video that’s quality. And he’s on a lot of board meetings for companies that he’s involved with. Still wants to look like he’s paying attention, but it’s not overblown. So people don’t you know, like, if I enter into these days, it’s not as much of a problem, but if you or I jump into a Zoom meeting with a bunch of people that have spent nothing on a background camera, lights, any of that kind of stuff, it’s a little bit jarring. And to me, like, should I apologize that I look significantly crisper than other people? But the investment that you make, part of it is this whole thing about mirror neurons, which is triggered mostly by what you see in the face.
Mark I’m sure Mark could correct me and go on and a lot of different details on this, but the mirror neurons, that’s what make if you smile, people tend to smile back at you factor. But if I turn and I’m talking to you off to the side, then it feels like I’ve instantly shut a switch off. And now you feel like, Dan’s an idiot. Why is he talking to the screen?
Right. Exactly. It’s so awkward that I’ve actually had the entire Zoom meeting with people turn to the side, and then the funny thing is, they’re actually looking at me on screen. But for whatever reason, the set up is that they’re not really looking at you. That is so brilliant. And I want everybody to, like, just check it out. Like your website is also kind of, I think, one of a kind that reminds me a lot of the it’s very like, to me, like, very Boston Cambridge, like, where scientists will create these sites that there’s a lot of their thoughts I went into. And it’s not trying to be Flashy, but it’s very, very highly functional in that sense. So, you know, I kind of felt nostalgic, like, looking at it like, oh, I’m getting this product now.
I think that’s good. I’ll take it.
No, it’s good because I think it’s very convincing. Of course, having Mark Bowden to explain, like an expert to speak to the product directly helps, but the website definitely is confirming what the product actually does. There are a lot of super fancy flashy website, but after a little while, who has more than 7 seconds on a random site and they have no idea, they’re not sure if they’re getting the solution that they’re looking for. So I think it’s done very well in terms of content and communication on your site, I guess. Yeah. So I know that we’re kind of up to the time that we have booked Dan. Is there anything that you would like to speak to? Whether it’s related to course, content creation, building a community audience, or product development design you like to share with our audience today?
Yeah, so just to tie to the sweater again. So I’m a huge believer in collaboration. Nobody can do it all. Most people can’t do it all anyhow, so being able to tap into other people’s strengths, you should do that whenever possible. Like, thank God Tom and I are partners, so that he can do things that I’m definitely not good at and I can do things that he’s not good at, or just things neither one of us wants to do so we can hand off. But specifically on building an audience, one thing that I found, I created the platform that I talked about earlier. There was an e discovery course on that. There was a social networking analysis course that was on that as well. And then there was an innovation course that was super specialized for only a certain class of people. You discover you sold zero. It didn’t cost me anything to create that because it was content that another expert that I knew provided. And same with all these Course. Actually, none of my content was on the platform because I never got around to it because we were making money through these partnerships.
So we pulled from their respective audiences to one platform to create a bigger offering than we could do on our own, just me and my partner at the time. And that’s a beautiful thing. You should not have to nobody should try to create their own audience from purely from scratch. So if you can get on the radar of sometimes it’s mini influencers, micro influencers, people that you know or whatever get engaged in their audience. So you’re already known, potentially you’re personally known by that person who owns that audience. And that’s a very much more efficient way to get to the point where you have enough volume in your audience that you can get data back to know if you should launch or what’s really important in that first launch or any of those sorts of situations. And maybe find your own budding superfans that are buried in there that they would not have found you probably if you weren’t hanging out where they were already. So, collaborations for audience building is huge. I think it’s way under tapped. You don’t have to start from zero and never talk to another human being. Talk to other people that have done even exactly what you’re planning.
Because unless they’re scared, most people are open to collaboration when it’s not presented to them. They’re not going to think of it because they’re busy. But if you can help them spread the word, comment on their posts on LinkedIn or whatever, that is a huge way to shave a ton of time off for your own efforts and build up an audience on faster, potentially creating content as well.
Yeah, I love that summary. Absolutely. Thank you so much for recapping our discussion points today. And I welcome anyone, everyone, to share your comments or questions. If you like what you’ve heard so far, let us know what your one takeaway and share with one more person, maybe a colleague, a friend, really help us tremendously. So with that said, Dan, I’m going to take us offline, but please don’t go anywhere.
Alright. Bye. Live audience. Bye. Tomorrow at 03:00 P.m. Eastern Standard Time.
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