One of my customers asked me a tough question yesterday.
In fact, I stood there gaping like a goldfish.
I didn’t get much sleep last night. The question haunted me.
Here is what William H. asked:
“Email Prodigy seems like the natural next progression from Fast50. I deliberated a long time about taking this class, and I had to make some serious sacrifices to afford it, but I felt Fast 50 was so good, that this would probably be worth it.
After this class, my next progression will be how to make a product that will have the same effect Fast50 had on me.
Perhaps you could think about making such a course soon. I would definitely buy it if I could afford it. That wasn't really a question but I wanted to tell you.”
I think the question lurking between the lines is this:
“How do you create a product that gets people such badass results that it turns them from one-off buyers into loyal customers who make it their custom to buy from you - and only you?”
What a loaded question.
I spent the whole night thinking about this.
(In case you were wondering “what keeps Alp up at night?” after reading Friday’s post (you big-hearted pervert)... now you know.)
Anyway, I think I found the answer.
It comes down to two things:
1) I have a motto that acts as my compass whenever I’m creating a new product:
Don’t try to make the COURSE badass…
(i.e. don’t obsess about making everything perfect before you ship. As a friend of mine says: embrace your ugly)
Focus on making your STUDENTS badass.
(i.e. get them results. Have THEIR peers come to THEM and say, “How on earth did you do this? You must be a freakin’ genius!”)
Here is my marketing philosophy:
My competitive advantage isn’t how my products compare to competitors’ products. My competitive advantage is how my users compare to their users.
I want to be able to *legitimately* say:
“My students become marketing geniuses - they experience, appreciate, and analyse marketing in ‘high resolution’, which allows them to create offers their customers won’t shut up about.”
THAT is my intention for every single student who comes in.
2) Designing an online course is an evolutionary process - at least for me.
I don’t know, maybe there are courses out there which rise up from the mind of their creator like Athena birthing from Zeus’s head, fully grown and fully armoured.
But for me the process looks more like this:
- I notice something I’m unusually good at. Then I think to myself, “Maybe I can teach others how to do this.”
- Teach it 1:1 to a few clients. Get them results.
- Run it as a live group programme with 5-10 students.
- Package it into an online course and beta test that. I limit this cohort to about 50 students.
- Refine the course after each run. Focus on removing the top 3 stumbling blocks that prevent customers from getting results.
This isn’t popular advice.
I get that you’re hungry to scale your work online and stop trading your time for money, but it’s important to work in person first to tweak your process and learn what works best.
At least for me.
Maybe you’re a genius who doesn’t need to do this. More power to you.
But I know that I will keep on walking the talk, even when the going gets boring and I wants to strangle my masochistically high standards.
Because of weird incidents like what happened this morning.
I was on a Zoom call with my friend Seema K. Bharwani. (I’m going to become an affiliate for one of her products.)
Anyway, she asked me what I was up to these days.
I told her that I created a new programme called Email Prodigy. I told her that the primary objective of the programme was to teach students how to write marketing emails people make time to read, and want to buy fro--
Before I could finish the sentence, Seema interrupted me.
Guess what she said?
“You sold out after sending just 2 emails that took an hour to write!?”
This did happen, and it did stroke my ego. But I’m probably the only person in the world who cares about it. My peers don’t - and neither do my customers.
“Your emails are so good!”
Nope, not that either.
So the first thought that popped to mind when she heard the premise of the course?
It was this:
SEEMA: Is Hilde one of your Email Prodigies?
ALP: Yeah. Wh --
SEEMA: Because her email game has changed and I freakin’ read her emails ALL the time. Like, you can tell the difference.
I was on her list from waaaay back.
I actually have sensed a difference in the way that she was doing emails and I was like 'This must be the Alp factor’.
There is a distinct change in the way Hilde is writing emails. And I think I’ve probably reached out to her at least 3 times to say “I loved your email today” or “You’re so funny” and “You’re just amazing at what you’re doing”.
So whatever it is you’re doing with her, it is working, she’s amazing, and her emails are the bomb(dot)com
That’s not an engineered testimonial. It’s something that randomly came up in the middle of an unrelated conversation.
Here is a 2 min extract from our chat:
I recommend listening to the questions Seema is asking and mapping out her train of thought on paper, because it gives you a big clue on how word of mouth about your product actually spreads.
It’s also fun to listen to - mainly because it’s a bit like watching a train wreck.
… complete with my embarrassing conversational tics, raised intonation, and evidence of rapidly deteriorating oratory skill after leaving the law...
(Ugh. You’d think at least one good - permanently good - thing would have come out of 12 years of penance in the law. Alas, no.)
BTW, one more thing: The last available seat in Email Prodigy sold out yesterday. So it’s now too late to join the Founding Members’ Run in August.
But I am going to run it again in September.
(I run it once each month and only take on 5 students.)
If you want to join the next cohort on September 18th, secure your seat today: