It’s time for another course creator interview! Mark Morley-Fletcher of Play In The Zone joined me this week, and both David and I were very impressed with what he had to share about his journey from civil servant to successfully teaching performance psychology for musicians.
You just need to be good enough. You don’t need to be perfect.
We covered a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time, but it was great to hear Mark’s story and what has worked for him.
In This Episode, We Talked About:
- (1:32) Takeaways from my first ClickFunnels conference
- (7:32) Updates since our discussion about making time
- (13:21) Mark’s unanticipated journey into the world of online courses
- (19:41) Building an audience and launching pilot courses
- (21:05) Why didn’t Mark offer free beta courses?
- (23:53) The importance of concept validation and learning from your future audience
- (25:26) How Mark’s improved his funnel and marketing to increase sales
- (27:47) Mark’s approach to learning the course creation process
- (31:30) How his funnel works
- (32:57) The tools and platform Mark uses
- (34:59) What is currently challenging for Mark as he grows his business?
- (36:51) A typical day in the life of a course creator
- (39:01) His email responder of choice
- (40:37) What would Mark do differently if he was starting over today?
- (41:52) Advice for new and aspiring course creators
- (43:36) Our thoughts on Mark’s story
- (46:17) Facebook versus YouTube ads
- (48:15) Thoughts on YouTube niches and more
- (52:51) Wrapping up
That’s all for now, folks! See you on the next episode of The Online Course Guy.
Jacques Hopkins: Episode 119 is brought to you by Deadline Funnel. If you want to execute evergreen funnels in your online course business, there's no better software out there then to do this than Deadline Funnel. So many people that have been on this podcast, so many people out there listening to this podcast are using Deadline Funnel.
It's very popular for course graders. It's one of the top tools out there for course creators, and if you're a course grader and you haven't checked out Deadline Funnel yet, then I highly recommend you do. I've been using it for years. You can get a special deal. Just for listeners of this podcast by going to deadlinefunnel.com/OCG. That's OCG for Online Course Guy.
Regular people are taking their knowledge and content, packaging it up in an online course and they're making a living doing it. But not everyone is successful with online courses. There's a right way and there's a wrong way, and I'm here to help course creators actually succeed with online courses.
Hi, I'm Jacques Hopkins, and this is The Online Course Show.
And off we go. Welcome aboard. Glad you're with us. This is The Online Course Show. I'm your host Jacques Hopkins, and here with me as our cohost David Krohse.
David Krohse: Hey, what's up?
Jacques Hopkins: And we are excited to dive into all things online courses with you today. Welcome David and audience two episode 119.
David Krohse: Hey, I'm excited to hear how your experience was over at the ClickFunnels conference.
Jacques Hopkins: Man, I'm not, I'm not a big conference guy. I haven't been to a lot of them, but you know, it's, it's, I wanted to go to this one. I've heard good things about it. I wanted to hear Tony Robbins speak, which was pretty amazing, and wanted to shake Russell Brunson's hand. I'm a part, officially part of the two comma club now.
So I wanted to do that. But you know 200 people probably got that award this year, so it was a long, it was a long award ceremony and Russell Brunson shook a lot of people's hands, man. But it was good, overall. I've got a couple of kind of key takeaways if you want to hear about them.
David Krohse: I love to.
Jacques Hopkins: One person that spoke is named Dan Henry, who's big in online courses. He has a big set, sells a course called sold out courses. And is very knowledgeable about courses and so it was very, very much looking forward to hear him speak a little bit about it. And it was funny how much he bashed EverWebinar, because I've been having issues with EverWebinar lately.
It's a, it's a big, it's a big topic in, in our, in our online course community and other places where people are using evergreen webinars software because EverWebinar's currently going through this upgrade, and I don't think they're handling it very well with how they're, how they're approaching it with their customers, but at the same time, man, I've just, I've been using EverWebinar for about a year and a half for my evergreen webinar in piano in 21 days. And it's just clunky. It can break. There's a lot of, there's a lot of features that seem like maybe a good idea, but in reality, are they really a good idea.
You know fake chats and, and, and other things. Right? And, and he talked about how he kind of simplified things and, and when he can. When he change things from ever webinar to a much simpler approach, his conversions rates actually went up. You're removing some of the features that feel like they're going to increase, increase conversions, actually by removing those features if the conversions went up.
So I've been, I've been playing with other options. I haven't been using EverWebinar for over a week now, and I don't think I'm going to go back to it, man. So that was a big takeaway. And I know that you're, you're thinking about launching an ever webinar evergreen webinar here very soon. Once I'm, once I'm ready to share exactly what my setup is with the world, I'll definitely let you know and I think you should go with more of this route than it ever, ever, EverWebinar.
David Krohse: That sounds great.
Jacques Hopkins: My other big takeaway is this. Russell Brunson spoke a lot. He had several different sessions where he was the speaker. He's one of the best, if not the best, just kind of storytellers and, and one thing he's great at too is always having a framework. For, for whatever he's talking about.
But not only that, the speakers that he invites to come on always have a framework, like they always have a simple formulas, you know, steps to do things, a framework on whatever their topic is about. And so I don't think this was necessarily like one, one lesson where somebody was teaching us about frameworks.
It was just, I kept, I kept noticing the same theme over and over again. It's like everybody that gets up, they have a framework, and I was thinking about how, you know, my business is, and it's like, you know, with piano in 21 days, I've got a pretty compelling framework. And I think that's one of the reasons, one of the reasons that people trust me and want to learn more and want to learn what this system is cause I've got a pretty good framework.
And that is my, what I call my five step song learning process. And what I tell people is, you know, playing piano is all about playing songs. I want to, when we're, when you're practicing piano, when you're learning piano, I want that process to be songs cause playing piano was all about songs and learning a new song doesn't have to be super complicated.
You know, you don't have to learn how to read sheet music and just spend months and months learning a new song. I've got this simple five-step song learning process that I even use to this day to learn new songs very, very quickly. In as little as a couple of minutes, I can learn a new song because I know this framework and I realized that that's one of the reasons that piano in 21 days is so successful because I have that framework and I don't know that I have such a compelling framework on maybe on this side of the business with The Online Course Guy. I don't have a nice, neat framework like that for creating courses.
It's more broad in general. And I think frameworks can sell and they can also help people way better. So you know, people out there have read like any of Russell Brunson's books, Expert Secrets, all the little images and diagrams in there and things. Those are all frameworks, you know, the value ladder and the epiphany bridge story.
I mean, those are all frameworks and they just, I think that's the way to go, man. I really think that's the way to go.
David Krohse: Yeah. I don't know. I mean, you've, you've said that yours is branded like eight weeks to your first sale. So I mean, I think that it gives the impression that you have this like specific process as if I was going through your funnel, I would say, okay. Like he's going to give me step by step. So, you know, to some extent I think, I think people might feel like you're, you're giving them the exact steps.
Jacques Hopkins: I appreciate that, David, but I think, I think I can be doing it better. I think I could make it simpler for people and have a nice pretty framework. So that was another, another big takeaway from the conference. Can I expect to maybe see you there next year?
David Krohse: Oh man. I don't know. We'll have to see. I got to go to a bunch of different continuing education for my full time job too. What was the highlight with your time in Nashville with your family?
Jacques Hopkins: Oh man, the waterpark dude, th the, the Gaylord Opryland hotel is, is just epic. It's just Epic. And they have their own waterpark and a lot of it's indoors, so you can even enjoy it. You can even enjoy it in the wintertime. And so we spent all day that the, the first full day after the conference had ended, we spent. All day at the waterpark man. Total blast.
David Krohse: Oh, that's awesome.
Jacques Hopkins: You didn't go, so I can't get your recap, but it was good. It was worth going. I recommend it to people and I will likely be there next year as well. Now let's, let's move on to another topic. Let's briefly talk about make time. That was our last episode was was reviewing that book, make time and, and, and man, I don't know if you have any updates. I have a small update on something I've implemented that I've been excited about. Do you have anything you want to share first?
David Krohse: No, I think I'm just as inefficient with my time use as I was before, but I'm getting stuff done. It's just not super efficient.
Jacques Hopkins: All right. I kind of re listened to the episode a little bit, and one of the very first things you said was, you know, there's not much point in reading a book if you're not going to implement some of the things it says.
You said that, not me. So why? Why aren't you taking some more action, David?
David Krohse: Well, I mean, the biggest thing that I would look at at my own life as this Facebook addiction, but yeah, I mean, when I re-listened, I re-listened to that interview. I mean, again, there's just this time, you know, a couple hours before bed that I like need something to do.
And I was like listening to your options. You know, you said that you watched football, baseball, gymnastics, like just not an option for me. And then reading a paper book or a Kindle book just doesn't appeal. I'm like, I just had this time that is just veg out time and I've just continued to do that but.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, that's fine. I think the, the, the biggest thing is not having Facebook up all day while you're working, not having Facebook notifications on your phone and so on. So, let me, let me, let me jump into kind of what I've implemented in the past week or so. I mentioned in the episode that I check my email too much. Right? I, I, the way I work, you know, at this point with my job and everything, most of my work day is spent in Google Chrome, right?
The browser, and. Normally I just leave up certain tabs. I have pin tabs, I have all of my email accounts. I've got several email addresses, you know, got piano in 21 days, the online course guy, you know, personal one and so on. I've actually got four different email addresses I check regularly. Plus I have my Upwork messages tab open to communicate with the contractors I've got there.
I've got my Slack tab open, which is how I communicate with my actual team. Facebook as well sometimes cause I use that mostly use Facebook for business and I just kind of leave those up and I'm like constantly, like when I'm switching tasks, I'll go check all those things. And I've, I've been trying to find a good way to get out of that and more schedule my email.
And so I started looking for maybe a Chrome extension or something where I could easily just open up those, all those tabs where I need to communicate with people and then close it down and I couldn't find anything, man. So what I ended up doing is writing a small, like super simple little program, basically, that anytime I, anytime I want to open it, I just opened this program. It's called email dot bat, which is, which is a batch file and I can open it. It automatically opens those tabs. And I can process everything and close it. So I've been doing that two to three times a day during certain periods of my day.
In fact, I haven't even, I haven't even opened it yet this morning. It's right now it's nine 15 in the morning. We're recording this. I've gotten some good work done already. We're recording this, haven't even checked my email, and I feel amazing about it. So I'm excited about that new process that I've implemented because for, for several years, I, I've just left email open all day.
David Krohse: Well, I would say the one thing, I mean, the book really says you've got to have a highlight for every day. It kind of, it's the same thing and the one thing, what's your one thing you're going to get done? And I will say that since listening to it, I've been saying like. You know, starting each day or thinking the night before, like what's the one important thing that I really need to get done?
My big thing this past weekend was basically trying to get my business rebranded. Again I started my online courses 20 calls per week, and I thought it rolled off the tongue nice. But ultimately that's kind of like the worst part of what people have to do when they join my program is like, you're going to have to pick up the phone 20 times per week.
Or somebody on your team is going to to book these events. So ultimately I decided to rebrand as wellness program expert. And so I bought the domain and I'd started it just barely, but I was on a podcast, interviewed on a podcast last week, and it's a really new podcast. It's called the prospecting show.
And I thought that it was just getting started, probably had just, you know, a hundred listeners and at the end, the guy said he's getting 90,000 downloads a week from small business owners, presumably. And so when I came in on Saturday morning, I'm like, I got to get this website wellness program expert built out so that, you know.
I know it's optimistic to think that a bunch of people are going to hit it, but if somebody in a profession other than a chiropractor, you know, a therapist or an attorney wants to come and just get on my list. I wanted it built out. So I do, you know, I went into that Saturday to say, well, this is my, one thing I'm going to get done is get this rebranded website ready to go. So yeah, it's been good.
Jacques Hopkins: Good. So, so get the head down, get some deep work going. Now, when you were, when you were rocking and rolling with that, did you have Facebook and email and all that open or or did you shut it down and just focus?
David Krohse: Pretty focused, but I could, I think I had to like stand up to grab my phone, just reach a little bit further, but not perfect yet.
Jacques Hopkins: Good, good. Well, hopefully, hopefully people out there listening are maybe taking a little bit of action from the book as well. It's one of the things we liked about the book is it's you're not supposed to take action on everything. You know, pick out what may be some tactic, tactics maybe that would work for you and implement one thing at a time.
All right, David. Well, I think, I think we should move on to the interview of today. What do you think?
David Krohse: Let's hear it.
Jacques Hopkins: I sat down with Mark Morley Fletcher, and he has a website called playinthezone.com and he helps musicians with perform, performance anxiety and very interesting story. Loved the way he got started with building his audience, and he's had a lot of success with YouTube ads as well. So let me go ahead and play that episode and we'll be back on the backside.
Hey, Mark, welcome to The Online Course Show.
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Thanks so much for having me on, Jacques.
Jacques Hopkins: It's my pleasure, man. So how did you get into the world of online courses?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: It was perhaps not, not the traditional route. It was never something that was particularly on my mind, not something I was intending to do. And I found myself wanting to teach something. My first thought was to teach online, and this is specifically the performance psychology for musicians, that this is what I do as a course now.
My first thought was to, was to teach offline. And then I'm looking into it. I just realized it was going to be hard to get enough people together there to do that sort of thing and much, much easier to get access to enough people who wanted to learn online.
So I gave that a go. It works really well was the start with just a very small group of people and never, never really looked back from there. It's kind of always been the next logical step, so, well, how do I turn this into into a proper online course? But it was, yeah, I look back now and it will make sense, but I had no idea this was where I was going when I, when I started out on the journey.
Jacques Hopkins: Well now your, your topic here, it seems quite niche, right?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: Performance psychology for musicians. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you've kind of been an expert in this field for quite awhile?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yes and no. I've been, I've been following it for a long, long time. So musician myself, but always on the side with a day job, you know, with studying and yeah, it's been 15 years or more that I've been following this sort of thing, but very much just how can I make it work for me.
And I've got some good stuff out of it, but it never really felt like I got the full benefits. And it was only sort of about four or five years ago that I came, I actually happened to go on a tennis school's doing basically the same thing for tennis, and it works amazingly well. So I've taken up tennis more seriously just before that, struggled with all the same things I'd had in music, found this course, and I found myself at the end of the tennis course thinking, well, what, where was this? When I was starting out in music?
You know. Getting up on stage and performing all the time and just getting it wrong and trial and error and you know, 10 years of getting slowly better, slowly and painfully. So it was then that I realized, okay, it does, there's unfinished business here. I want this for music.
And it's that classic thing of, well, I couldn't find exactly what I wanted, so I decided, well, let's try and build it myself. And since I'm doing that, well, I might as well use some of that effort that I've put into teach some other people as well, and we'll see how that goes. And that went surprisingly well. So then, well, maybe I should try and find some more people to teach. And that came from there.
Jacques Hopkins: So just to be clear, you, you took a tennis course, right?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: And that's kind of how you, you, you got into the world of online courses. You took this course and you're like, I bet I could make a course like, like he did in the music. It's some kind of way with music now by chance was the tennis course you took, was it, Will Hamilton fuzzy yellow balls?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: It wasn't, and so, and to be clear, this was an, this was not an online course. This was a three day camp in the real world.
Jacques Hopkins: Okay.
Mark Morley-Fletcher: So.
Jacques Hopkins: Okay.
Mark Morley-Fletcher: I'm aware of Will Hamilton's stuff. I've, I've, you know, I've use little bits of it, but this was something completely different. And so again, totally focused on the mental game and tennis and yeah, and a real world experience. And, and I think that's why my initial thoughts were, well, let's try and do something in the real world because there was some new things that I didn't know, but actually there wasn't a huge amount of extra information.
What was different was the way it was structured and the way they got you to stick with it and actually apply it, I realized, you know, I'd had most of the information there before. But I just wasn't managing to use it properly. And you know, that's, that's a classic thing I think for, for course creators, is how do you turn it from, here's a whole bunch of information go off and do something with it to an experience where people actually get the benefit.
And you know they stick with it and they really see the results and the things that I found that were really helpful in the, you know, real world course that had been missing for me were a very clear structure. So it was here as a system for how you're going to work on it, rather than, here are a thousand different things to do just pick one off you go, and then maybe do another one and how'd you choose.
It was having a group of people around who you could see were also committed and interested. So both that inspiration, other people here are motivated, but also that accountability, you're thinking, well, if I kind of slack off, I'm letting them down.
And it was, you know, having, having the instructors, they're actually standing over you. So if the temptation was to do something else, because the easy thing was just like in music, tennis, it's are easy just to focus on the technique and you know, what was my back swing doing? What was my follow through doing?
And you could fall into that. So having someone there saying, no, wait a minute. Forget all that. It's what you're thinking. Get back to focusing on that made such a huge difference. So, so again, my initial thought was how can I bring some of that into, into the music world? And once I decided, okay, I want to do this online, how, how can I bring that, that work so well in the real world, into an online situation?
Jacques Hopkins: To make sure I'm understanding the sequence of events, the the in-person three day tennis course inspired you to, to do an in person course of your own in, in music, and then from there you turn that information into an online course.
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yeah. So except I never actually did the in-person course. So that's where I thought I would start.
Jacques Hopkins: Gotcha.
Mark Morley-Fletcher: And like you say, this is, this is a kind of a niche thing. Interesting enough that kind of both is and isn't because hardly anyone knows about this stuff. I don't even know who does it, but it's actually relevant to pretty much any musician in the world. So when you look at it that way, the potential people who might be interested is huge.
It's just most of them don't know about it, but yet struggling to find the sort of people that I could do this for an in person workshop because the way that I actually run it the first time round was to get in touch with people I knew already and get together, you know, tried to get together about a group about 20 in the end it was under 10 but these were people who are scattered all over the place.
And so the best way to get them together was through a zoom call actually like we're doing now. And, and do that online. And it was just really exciting to see that this works and I could, I could get some great results for them that way.
Jacques Hopkins: Now it sounds like your, your kind of initial launch of the course when you actually actually had a course together went pretty well. You initially reached out to your, your network, your friends. How did you start building the audience of people that would be interested in this topic?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: So, so that was what I'd call my first pilot of the course. I didn't see it as a, as a launch, as a lot of people would look at it. So it was very much, who do I know or might put me in touch with people. Literally get on the phone to them and have conversations with them. So not even really email stuff. So it was a very, you know, it's a very work intensive way of doing it. And I run another pilot off the woods like that again, small number of people trying to get a few more, didn't do so much. That was, so the first one had all been done live, just live calls, and I was thinking, okay, I think this works.
Let's see what happens if I, if I actually kind of prerecord some of the lessons and do, do some of the other stuff. So, so that worked. So those were, those were successful, but they were very small numbers. When I went to actually launch the course, you know, for real, if you like, put it out there to anyone, get a proper website up, you know, sales page, all that sort of thing.
Actually, you know, the conversion rates weren't terrible, but I had a very small list. I didn't get in front of as many people as I thought I would, and I think, I think I sort of sold somewhere between 10 and 15 on that initial launch. Just didn't have the list and didn't know enough about what was, what was going to sell things.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, I think a lot of people listening to this would be thrilled with the, with the 10 or 15 sail launch.
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: It's all, it's all relative. Now going back to these pilots, were they, were they free and what timeframe are we talking about? What? What year were these initial pilots?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: So they were just over two years ago. The first one started in October 2018. They weren't free. I did them at a cheaper price. So I think I priced the first one at a hundred pounds, which would be about 130 U S dollars. And the second one, I moved that up to 150.
Jacques Hopkins: Now...
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Pound. So, you know, getting on for 200 dollars.
Jacques Hopkins: Some, some gurus will have you actually do kind of the beta or pilot as you call it, course. You know, La, live like you do it. Like you did it sounds fantastic, but some, some, some people will tell you to offer it for free so that you can actually fill, fill up the seats. Why did you decide to go ahead and charge a little bit of money to do this as opposed to offering it for free?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: So I've, I've never tried one offering it for free. But I think there's fundamentally a huge difference between someone who says, yeah, I'll come and learn about that for free. And someone who is willing to put down some money for it, no matter how little. Is it genuine? Cause at the end of the day, you've got to sell your course to make money from it.
There's, you can't always have it for free. So you need to know, not just the people interested in that, but are they interested enough that they will actually pay some money for this?
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, I totally agree. But then, then you have to actually convince people to pay you money for this. So...
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: Those first pilots were the first time that you had to, to convince people that what you had to offer was worth actual, actual money. Right? In your case pounds. What do you attribute to those first people signing up for that first pilot in terms of actually convincing them to give you the money in exchange for the information you had?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: So the way I'd done it is I'd actually got in touch with a whole load of people first and said, can I interview you just about your issues with music and what you're struggling with and what might be helpful for you. And that's both to check that what I, what I want to do here seems to align with what people want, but it also provides you with a way in to say, I'm talking to, you know, 30 40 50 people about this. Would you like me to get back to you once I've done that and you know, just tell you what I found out?
Invariably everyone says yes to that. So you've had a conversation with them about this before. You're picking up a bit of the problem language and the things that they're really looking for and you've got, you know, a warm invitation to come back and say, this is what I found out as a result of it.
I've put together this course cause I think it's what people are really going to want. Are you interested in that? So it, it provides an, you know, it's, it's still not a fun thing to do, you know, for people who done this will recognize it and people who weren't, we'll still probably feel like that, you know, getting on the phone and asking people for money. It's not, not, not my favorite thing. I getting slightly better at it, but it makes it much easier having a, having a structure and an invitation like that rather than, you know, cold call, if you like.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, I think that the strategy you're saying is absolutely brilliant because most people decide to make the course first and then go out there and try to sell it. And you kind of did it the other way around. You reached out to people and we're simply asking, Hey, can I interview you about what your struggles are in this area? And by the way, if I put something together, can I contact you later about, you know, maybe some ways I can help you with that. I think it's absolutely brilliant. Now I'm going to, I'm guessing you didn't come up with this all by yourself. Did you learn this process from somebody else?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yeah. So that's exactly it. So from a program that I was on, and like you said, it makes huge amounts of sense, but does, does that mean you're going to come up with it on your own? Probably. Probably not. And I'm not not taking any credit for that.
Jacques Hopkins: What's the, what's the program that you were on? Do you mind sharing?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: So this was a mirasee program called course builders laboratory. I could be wrong, but I think that is now closed for enrollment day. I think they've, they've moved on to doing different things.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. I think, I think maybe we've had money on the podcast before that's gone through that as well. It sounds very familiar to somebody else's story. I remember hearing about the, they were called discovery calls is that.
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Could be, I forget.
Jacques Hopkins: Does that sound familiar?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: I forget the exact name. I've certainly come across a whole load of other people who suggest, you know, information, interviews of what you want to call it. I don't think I've seen it tied into then putting together a course and selling it to the, you know, the first pilot students in that way. But I've definitely come across a lot of people who recommend. It's a great idea to actually to get out there and talk to people before just diving in and assuming you know what people want.
Jacques Hopkins: All right, so you launched your course, you had a small list, you sold 10 to 15 copies. Have you sent, sold more copies than that?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yep. That was a, that was a long period of how we going to get this working, and I spent. Basically the whole of last year, sorting out the sales funnel for it, working out where I was going to get traffic from and setting that up. And we're currently at a situation where I'm probably guessing on average, between 10 to 15 sales a week, and we're now, yeah, well over 200, 200 people in the course, so.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, congratulations.
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Thank you.
Jacques Hopkins: Those are great numbers. Where's the traffic coming from?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: So it's coming from YouTube, YouTube advertising specifically, and it's. That's the sort of thing that's taken, taken awhile to pin down. I started out with some Facebook advertising and that just wasn't working as well. So it was a case of trying something different, but also trying to really work out where do I think my audience are going to be hanging out most, and of course they are on Facebook, but they're not really that, to think about music, to learn about music generally.
Whereas YouTube, that's where all the, all the music tutorials are. That's where people tend to be looking for. How do I, yeah, how do I play better music? And the big issue that I have in terms of selling the course to people is, it's a problem that a lot of people don't realize that they have. So it's the people who you get performance anxiety.
It's for people who, you know, play fine in practice, and then they just kind of play at a much lower level in performance, that sort of thing. And so the performance anxiety people may just think that's the way it is, and there's nothing you can do about it. The people who you don't place a well in performance, they often think, actually, I just need to practice harder.
And that's, you know, that's not the solution. So they're not actively out there searching. No. For a course like mine. So what YouTube advertising allows me to do is when they're searching for, Oh, how can I get better at piano technique or whatever it is, I can pop up with an advert going, do you know, this might not actually be your main problem. Do you realize this is a thing and here's how I can help you with it? So that's, that's what's working at the moment.
Jacques Hopkins: Now are you doing the YouTube ads yourself or do you have somebody managing that for you?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: No, I'm doing that myself. I've, you know, I, once I decided this was the way to go, and you never know for sure, but talks, you know, I got some advice on this and we reckon this is probably the best option.
So at that point, I invested on a, in a course on YouTube advertising to kind of really do it properly, you know, system and work out how to do things. But I have done all that myself. Including shooting the video is just really basic on, you know, on my phone, just one light, just standing in front of a wall, no movement, whatever, and, and it's working really well if you get the content right, you don't need huge production values to, you know, to make people stop and stop and listen.
Jacques Hopkins: So would you recommend that YouTube ads course?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yeah. If you want to do YouTube ads, it's a, it's a great course. The thing I would say is. It's not something to be done lightly I think so. I think that that goes about YouTube ads in general. There's, there's a lot of work in how you set things up, how you're going to kind of come up with the ads you're going to run, how you're going to test them, all these sorts of things is, it's well worth the effort if that's right for you.
But I don't think it's one to just kind of, Oh, I'll give it a try and see what happens. And the other thing that I would say is. The experience that I've got from last year setting all this up is you're going to get so much more value from thinking, what do I reckon is the single best way for me to sell courses, both in terms of traffic and conversion, and then it's really doubled down on getting that working rather than just try five or six different things.
So I, you know, I basically spent the whole of last year sorting out some traffic, so it turned out to be YouTube, but I spent a while on Facebook before that. And just the, the simple email sequence to sales page that I've got, once people opt into my list, just working on that, testing things, building it out, trying different stuff.
And it's, I've pretty much spent a year just doing that very simple setup. But, but that's what's worked. Rather than trying 50 different things kind of halfheartedly.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. And I never recommend people take any sort of advertising lightly because you can, you can waste your money so quickly. I like to have people have a very validated product and sales funnel as well. I mean, you mentioned that you've really refined your, your, your funnel, your course, your methodology, and now you had kind of a proven system and then you, you, you're ramping up the ads now.
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yeah. Not exactly like that because as I said, there's a struggle in getting people to, to know that they need my course. So we did actually, you know, I got some help in, in building a sales funnel for this, but we were guessing at first, and we did run ads to it when it was unproven, but basically because that was the only way to prove it. So we were well aware that. This might, well just lose a bunch of money, but that was what was going to allow us to come up with something that actually works.
And that turned out to be what happened the first time round, I think. I think I spent the first load of ads, I spent probably about $3,000 on ads and got back less than a thousand dollars in sales. So you know, you get to that point. You turn it off cause you realize it's not working.
But all of a sudden I've got a huge amount of data on, well, which emails did people open? Which didn't they, where did they click? When did they kind of send responses? What did they like? What didn't they? That would have taken me probably more than a year if I was just trying to get organic traffic. So, so I wouldn't say it's a risk, but it's, it's an investment where your, you're not expecting to make your money back at the start.
Jacques Hopkins: Okay, fair enough. What is the name of the YouTube ads course that you recommend?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: So it's called Tube Ads Academy, so T A A and it's by a guy called Jon Penberthy.
Jacques Hopkins: Okay. We'll, we'll link that in the show notes. All right. Let's, let's talk about this sales funnel a little bit because as you're aware, that's, that's one of the most important parts of this process. And it sounds like you've been tweaking, refining it over the months and years. What kind of funnel do you have, man, because when I go to your site, it looks like I can just click on, so it's playinthezone.com and, and I can click on course at the top and then I can just buy it where, where's the funnel?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: When people opt in for my emails, which they can just do on the site, but the YouTube ad send them just to a landing page where there's literally nothing else to do, but download the free ebook. The way I've got it set up is I give people a limited time discount once they sign up for the emails. So it's time limited offers software.
In this case, it's called thrive ultimatum. It's a thrive themes product if you've come across them for the, for the WordPress site, and like you say, I'm not using it to have the course on available all the time. But the normal price of the course is for the, for the, for the main tier is $300 basically, and I give them a two week period where I'll give them at $100 discount so they can get it to 200.
Jacques Hopkins: All right. And that, that seems to be working. What would you say most of your sales come through the funnel as opposed to just buying on the website?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yeah, almost all of them, you know, I get the occasional one where people have just found it on the website and bought basic, basically everything is, is coming through the funnel.
Jacques Hopkins: Oh you mentioned thrive ultimatum. Let's talk about some other tools you're using to execute this. Are you using a lot of the other thrive products as online tools or are using other tools and software out there?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: So yes, so I'm mainly using the thrive stuff on my website just because that's what I happened to start with. It's, as you can tell from my story, I've kind of got into this in a few steps without knowing where I was going to end up.
So it's been a case of this is what I've picked up along the way, rather than I would necessarily go for all that if I was doing it again. That said, it's, you know, it's clearly working, so it's a perfectly good solution.
Jacques Hopkins: Are you using that even to host your course?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yes. I'm just hosting it on, on a sub domain of my own website, just using some very basic. Yeah. Thrive course software, I think it's called apprentice, and again, not because I think that's the best choice, just because I bought their whole bundle of stuff. So I happen to have it and if it would do the job, which it does, why, why use anything else, and just just some basic membership sites, software as well to to gate things.
Jacques Hopkins: Now , Mark, are you, is this kind of like your, is this your full time gig now or are you working a full time job still?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: No, this is, this is my full time thing. I was. I was in a slightly strange situation in that I started this when I, I had quit my full time job a year or two before with the intention of just giving myself a year or so to work out, well, what do I want to do?
But expecting it would be something completely different to this. So for background, I worked for the UK government for a long, long time as an analyst. And. So I had, you know, about as far away from the entrepreneurial thing as you can get a good steady government job. And I was expecting I would do something similar maybe, maybe from a consultant basis, maybe from outside, but had no expectations. You get into the, you know, the online entrepreneur world.
And I didn't set up the course thinking, well, this is going to be my full time gig. I thought, well, maybe this will be a little bit of money on the side. And then it was successful enough that I thought, actually. I can do more with this one's. Yeah, so that's where we are.
Jacques Hopkins: That's really cool. Congratulations. As far as your online course and online course business go, or are you struggling with anything right now?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: I wouldn't say struggling. There is a huge amount to be done to get things really working well so. Essentially, there's a, there's a lot more work to get the funnel running as, as well as it could do. But that's not, that's not a massive issue cause, cause as we've seen it, it's running. Okay. But that's pretty much all that is there at the moment. So I get a huge number of, I get plenty of people coming onto my list every day, and a few of them buy at the front of the funnel and the rest of them are still there, but I don't have a lot set up to, to make any money on the back end yet. So that's a big thing.
And there's a huge amount of potential for affiliate products. There's a lot that I can promote to people that they'll be interested in that I haven't set up yet. There's just the fact that it's just me doing things right now, so I'm just starting to, to get in some help with that. It's things such as. So the YouTube adverts are really what's driving everything. But an interesting side effect of that is it, as I get more and more people on my list, I have, I have a small YouTube channel where I'm putting out free videos, and now that I can send a whole load more people to them, when I say in my emails, here's a latest video, suddenly realizing, Oh, I'm getting a lot more views and a lot more subscribers than I used to.
So things that would not have been possible to, to rank for in a, in the YouTube search, that stuff before, before too long are going to become doable. So there's all the potential, well, what do I want to do with that channel? It's not so much that I'm struggling with those things as in there's a huge amount of, of work ahead and it's going to take a long time and a lot of focus to do it and yeah, that's a whole long path to go down.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. Well, it's just you right now, it sounds like.
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins: And as the, as the business owner and then the creator and everything, you obviously have to wear all the hats. So how would you, how would you say like a typical work day looks like for you? Is it, is it mostly spent on YouTube ads? Is it mostly customer support, making new videos or just all of the above?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Now. So the YouTube ads, one of the things I'm really liking about them at the moment is that requiring very little maintenance. It would be great to try out some different keywords and this, that, and the other, but I've still got the same advert running now that I started off in, it'd been back in July and I had try out three different ones to start with. This was the winning one, and it's been running constantly since then and very successfully. So unlike, you hear with sort of Facebook ads and stuff like that, I'm not having to keep constantly making new ads and changing them, so I do want to keep an eye on that just to check everything's going okay.
And like I say, it'd be good to try exploring, putting those ads in front of different people, but basically that's, it doesn't take very much work at the moment. The support takes a fair bit of work. I get quite a few questions from people going through the funnel, but also, as I mentioned, some of the things that were missing for me from, from online courses is that interaction and support and accountability. So I do like to give a fair bit of that too, to people in the course.
And then it's, it's really what are the things that are that are coming up. So for me, it's currently at the moment writing some alternative emails for parts of the funnel to see if I can improve that. Doing some research into who might I want to kind of look at for affiliate products, and then how do I reach out to them and what might we do there.
Starting to think about what's all the feedback that I've got. Got back in emails from all people about what might I could perhaps do different about the current course or other courses they might be interested in. So it's, it's that kind of deep work, if you like, on what what the next steps would be.
And I try and find a balance where I do a good chunk of that every day. It doesn't always happen. Sometimes there's just a lot of stuff to be done. There's a lot of emails coming in or there's some technical problem that needs fixing or this that the other, but I do try and spend a good chunk on what, how am I developing the business for the future?
Jacques Hopkins: Which email autoresponder are using by the way?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: I'm using drip. You like it? Yeah, I do. I, you know, I, there are some things about it that aren't perfect, but there's a lot that I really like about it. And, you know, I'm barely scratching the surface of, of what you can, you can do with it. I have, I have quite a technical mathematical background, so I have to just make sure I don't get drawn into doing crazy stuff with it because I can, when actually a time would be better spent elsewhere.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. You mentioned you were an analytics before and the analytics and automation in drip and others is, there's really no limit to what you could do and sometimes you have to kind of cap what you do so that it's, you don't make it too complicated. Overly complicated.
Mark Morley-Fletcher: But again...
Jacques Hopkins: Alright Mark.
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Oh yeah. Just say I fell into drip because I needed to pick something. This, this has been actually a, you know, a really strong message for stuff. I needed to pick something to do my website with. I'd seen some recommendations for the thrive theme stuff. So rather than spending months researching, it's like, you know what? That's good enough. Let's do it.
One of the guys I liked on emails use drip at the time he's since moved, but I was looking around, okay, I've got a recommendation for that. Let's just do it. And that's, you know, one thing that I'd say to, to people is find something that's good enough and get something up and running with that rather than trying to make it absolutely perfect.
Jacques Hopkins: That's, that's some of the best advice for course creators, I think. That's phenomenal. I mean, I spent so much time trying to find something that, to host my course when I was getting started and that took away from other things I could've been doing that were productive. So let's next jump back to 2018 when you were just getting started, knowing everything you know today, is there anything you would've done differently?
Mark Morley-Fletcher: So I would have much earlier, I would have looked into the whole marketing side of everything because I just did not realize at that point how important it was. As it turns out, luckily I, I'm quite interested in that, but when I, when I put the course together, this was not something I'd taught before. As I said, I knew a lot about it, but I hadn't, hadn't been teaching it for a while, so I was thinking I'm not sure I'll get this right first time, you know? I know I can get somewhere with this, but it might take me quite a few tries to teach it well. But it's going to sell itself. Cause you know, who wouldn't want this, you know, amazing benefits. And it was completely the other way around. I couldn't believe how successful the teacher was.
I almost had to change nothing and finding ways to sell it and to make people aware of it. And that sort of thing has been, you know, monumental piece of work. And I don't regret that. But I had literally no idea what I was getting into that stage. So I was just being aware of that earlier on them be just starting to learn some of the things about it and think that way much sooner than I than I did would have been really helpful.
Jacques Hopkins: Well, Mark, this has truly been a pleasure. Thanks so much for, for sharing all this about your story and your course here. To wrap things up, let us know if there's any other advice that you would have to the course creators out there listening to this and aspiring course creators. Anything else you want to share and remind people where they can find your stuff online.
Mark Morley-Fletcher: Yeah. So I just go back to that thing about you just need to be good enough. You don't need to be perfect. So A, that gets you out there. B, you don't really know how people are going to receive it until, until they tell you what they, you know how they find things. And one thing that has stuck with me, I said that for the second pilot I ran, I, you know, I just recorded some videos for that to see how it would go, go down if I had videos there.
And they were okay, but they were really not great so far as I thought. And so when I came to actually launch the full course, I thought, you know what? I've got to record all these videos again, do it all again. And the guy was in a, in a little mastermind group that challenged me on this. He said, why. Why did you need to do that?
And I felt really uncomfortable, but he was right. And so I didn't rerecord them again, and I still haven't. So I'm still on the very first videos I ever did that I thought were shockingly bad and not good enough. Everyone loves the course, you know? It's amazing how, yeah, you start to realize that actually making it better than that.
Basically, purely for my own benefit and for the students. It's already good enough. So you know, why waste my time stressing about it. I have spent, you know, weeks doing something that they wouldn't have noticed any difference with. So that's one thing that stuck with me. Yeah. And just, just, just to find where I am, the website is playing the zone.com and yeah, that's me really.
Jacques Hopkins: Thanks Mark.
All right. That's a wrap on the conversation with Mark. David, welcome back.
David Krohse: Thank you.
Jacques Hopkins: What. Are some of your key takeaways here? Let's, let's get into it.
David Krohse: Well, I mean, I just love that idea that he went from like, you know, maybe one or two successful launches to, in one year, he just worked on, on figuring out what was going to work to get consistent sales. And now I think he's set up, he's up to 10 to 15 sales a week. You know, I thought $200 to $300 price point. I mean, I'm listening to that. I'm like, dang, you know, 2 to $3,000 a week. That starts to sound like a really, really successful business. So it was awesome to hear.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah. A lot of times I don't feel comfortable asking people like, Oh, how much are you making from this? You know? But, but if I can ask, ask other questions like about how many sales are you making, how many students do you have? And we can start to put some, some math together and see what their pricing is to, to understand that.
Now I, I like to have, you know, one of the requirements I have for guests to come on is, is to make at least about $5,000 a month from courses. Cause I think that's about the number where you can consider that a full time income. And so you can pretty much bet that if somebody is coming on the show, they're, they're even if they have a full time job, they, they're making enough from the course to where they could make it a full time job. But, but most of the people, it is a full time job.
But, but jumping back, I mean, I, I loved the way he got started. I love, absolutely love how he, he, you know, picked up the phone. He started with his own network and interviewed people. And I think this was key. He, he said in the interviews, it's like, Hey, if, would you like to be for me to get back to you if I, if I come up with a good solution to some of these problems? And so he's really setting the stage for a, a future sale with that initial conversation.
David Krohse: Yeah. That was super smart.
Jacques Hopkins: And then he, and then he launched the first pilot and, and I love that he didn't make it free, you know, it was, it costs a little bit of money, not a lot. And he did the first pilot and then he did a second pilot, and then that all set them up for success. For his very first launch, his very first launch, he did 10 to 15 copies of his course, which, you know, some people do hundreds of copies. Fine. I did one, you know, I did one with my first launch was 10 to 15 sounds amazing to me. How many did you do in your first launch?
David Krohse: First launch was, well, there was like a VSL to a phone call that was just out there. And I think I got four with a couple of refunds in that first period. And then my first real launch was I think 11 sales.
Jacques Hopkins: Hey, not too bad. You must have been following some good advice.
David Krohse: Yup. You bet.
Jacques Hopkins: And then the YouTube ads. That's interesting. I think YouTube ads are becoming more and more popular. You know, Facebook ads have been the kind of the sexy thing for the past few years. I think YouTube ads are becoming that here, and it sounds like that's pretty much all of his traffic is coming from YouTube ads.
David Krohse: Are you doing or have you done any YouTube ads?
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, we're doing some YouTube ads now. My, my Google ads person that I use, you know, she does Google ads and Bing ads for me, and she's been pressing me to, to jump into YouTube ads for the past few months. And we started doing it a couple of months ago and we started with just using the videos that have already existed on my channel.
And in fact, I was just communicating with her yesterday about how we need to make some new videos specific to the ads, like, let me hold up my workbook and pitch the workbook cause that's, I mean, that's compelling, you know, learn 36 popular songs in five days is, is called, is the name of my workbook.
It's been downloaded over 100,000 times. And so I think if I can get in front of people immediately and show them that, that'll be effective. So yes, starting to get into YouTube ads myself and listening to this interview with Mark motivates me even more to to get to get more into it.
David Krohse: The biggest thing, like if you're, if you have a really convincing option where they get to your website, if you have the Facebook pixel on your website, you should really be doing some pixel retargeting.
Like even if you're not running Facebook ads to like unknown people, most people would say at the very least, you would should be doing retargeting of people that would make it to that, that landing page. And then anybody that makes it to your website and doesn't buy should be retargeted on Facebook.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, I'm doing a lot of re retargeting with Google and YouTube, but, but not Facebook, and yeah, it does. At the very least. I probably should be, but I don't want to do it myself. I don't have a good guy or gal for that. So if you're listening and you're an amazing Facebook person, let me know. But people are always looking for great Facebook.
David Krohse: Oh yeah. Well, so yeah, I just tried. I just set up a YouTube ad for my chiropractic office. I actually bought a course by Billy Jean is marketing. I don't know if you've seen his stuff. Pretty comical.
Jacques Hopkins: Oh sure.
David Krohse: But I didn't really follow his thing. I just, yeah. I just tried to think of what, what good video would be. And then I, again, I have that Facebook retargeting, but it's kind of interesting. I don't know if you know this, but there's a whole segment of people that their thing, when they watch TV watch, YouTube is like watching these crazy chiropractic adjustments.
Jacques Hopkins: Yup.
David Krohse: So you can Google ring digger or you can Google wise trap and there's people that, they just watch these as a series. It's kind of like, there's some people that like dr pimple popper, some people like watching chiropractic adjustments. And so I'm kind of trying to re or target these people that are out there and you know, they might watch it just for relaxation. But as I was thinking about that, and actually this has only been running for like five days, so I haven't even gotten a sense of whether it's gonna work or not.
Man, YouTube, there are so many niches or niches or niches out there, like I have two guys coming in as a patients right now in their thing that they watch on YouTube is lawn care videos. Turns out that there's a guy that lives right here in my town Des Moines that he has a full time job of making these videos about lawn care.
The funny thing is when I talked to each of these guys, they both use the exact same word. They said, watching lawn care is, these videos are like therapeutic. I was like, how weird is that? The interesting thing that the guy that lives here in wa in my town, he doesn't have a course yet, and so if anybody listening, it's like if you have a following on YouTube, like monetize it with a course.
Just don't, don't just wait for YouTube to pay you those pennies. You know, another thing I was thinking back years ago, I had this family in my office and one of the little girls, she's probably seven years old, was over watching something on YouTube and I asked her mom, I said, what you watching over there?
And the mom was like, she's watching day of the dead makeup application. And I was like, really? And the mom is like, yeah, she can watch that stuff for hours. Just this morning, as I was thinking about that, I looked up day of the dead makeup course and there was like one listed. And so, I mean if you dig into these like just abstract things that people are watching on YouTube, I mean there's still opportunity to, to make the course if you happen to have skills in makeup. And you know, you can do the day of the dead one. I mean, that could be your course and you can, you can take that niche. So there's opportunities out there.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, it's, it's crazy to me when I see like a YouTube channel that's very successful over a hundred thousand subscribers, but they're not really monetizing it. Maybe. Maybe they're running ads or making a little bit from that. Maybe you can buy a tee shirt, but there's a lot of opportunities for courses out there and people may not even realize that. So we are trying to sped, spread that message of online courses.
So YouTube. Yeah. And YouTube can be like a big infinity pool. Like they talk about it and make time, you know, the, it's, it's never ending content. You can get sucked into those. Heck, even lawn care videos. So I try to not spend too much time on YouTube, at least during my, during my work day cause I can get sucked in as well. But let's use that to our advantage and let's run ads to these people that are addicted to YouTube.
So excellent points there, David. Do you have any other takeaways from this conversation with Mark?
David Krohse: My only other takeaway, just, I mean, Mark seemed like a very confident but kind of a, a laid back or low key guy. And when I was thinking that his topic, his confidence, I was thinking, you know, you might think that somebody that's preaching and talking about confidence would be this guru type persona, high energy, you can do this, man.
He came back very just like calm. I was thinking, you know, it's just encouraging that your personality, whether you're a super high energy expressive type or you're more laid back. I mean, I think that that people of all different types can find the people that, that match their personality through YouTube.
And ultimately I'm maybe a musician that's a little bit more introverted and nervous about performing. Maybe they resonate more with somebody that's more calm and seems more like them. So yeah, I just, I just appreciated that he, you know, you've had people on here that are just like so excited and then other people that are more calm and it's encouraging that all of them can have success.
Jacques Hopkins: Yeah, for sure. On a similar note about his personality, you know, he's, you said he's pretty laid back. What I loved, one thing I loved is we use talking about the software uses. He's like, yeah, it may not be the best, but it works. And I didn't want to spend too much of my energy. Finding something else. And that's, that's, that's a, that's a great lesson to learn is that, you know, he's, he's been able to focus on his craft more because he hasn't focused on a lot on, on software.
What he's got is good enough. So just to add to the whole, you know, confident yet laid back, laid back part of his personality. So let's put a bow on this episode, David. Thanks for so much for joining me here as our beloved cohost and for everybody out there listening, let's let me direct you to the show notes and links from today's episode.
You can find all of those by going to theonlinecourseguy.com/119 and don't forget to support our sponsor, not, not only to support them and to support this show because it's amazing software. It's amazing evergreen, evergreen funnel software Deadline Funnel, and you can get a free trial that is longer than the normal free trial.
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