Making Programs Super Sticky

Do your clients love your training programs?  Are they helping you grow your business by referring everyone they know?  In this podcast episode Marisa Murgatroyd of Live Your Message details what it takes to create super sticky programs, the types of programs that everyone wants to finish and buy more of when they are done.  Marisa is revolutionizing the $200 billion dollar online education industry and she has some killer advice from the trenches that you don’t want to miss.

Podcast Transcript

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    Josh Fonger: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Work the System podcast, where we help entrepreneurs make more and work less. Using systems and I’m your host, Josh Fonger. Today we have a special guest. We have Marissa Murdatroyd. Marissa is the founder of Live Your Message and the creator of Experience Product Masterclass, where she helps people who teach online programs get better results for their students faster. She’s here today to share some nuggets of wisdom. So, Marissa. Glad to have you on the show.

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:00:29] Glad to be here. Thank you.

    Josh Fonger: [00:00:31] So why don’t you give us the backstory? How do you become an expert in making these products and making these experiences? Tell us tell us the story.

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:00:41] All right. For sure. So it goes back to one very specific day. And I remember when my husband, Murray popped the question. We’re actually hiking to the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles when he popped the question. And that’s not the question that you think he asked. He asked Marissa, why don’t you consider creating an online program? And instantaneously, I thought, what would anyone possibly want to learn from me? Followed very quickly by, you know, what would I even create a product on? Right? And eventually I got over it. And it’s so ironic that we’re hiking to the Hollywood sign, because that’s this icon of fame and fortune. And inside, I felt like I was just so far away from having that kind of success. I had maxed out in my service based business. I had a web design agency and a branding agency. And, you know, my husband, while he was my fiancee at the time, thought that if I went to doing online programs, that I’d have more time available to spend with him. Right. So that was his master plan. Get me doing products so that I could leverage my time. And then I could spend more time with him. And eventually, I got overall the fear of why would someone want to learn from me and what could I even do? And created my very first product. But my first product sold zip, zilch, zero. So I did what any self respecting entrepreneur would do. I basically created another product. This product did a little bit better. I sold it over the course of three years and maybe I made one hundred grand over three years, which is not terrible, but it’s not great either. But I had a different problem. I was noticing that a lot of the people who bought my program didn’t fully engage with it and did not complete the program. And I remember after watching this and getting so frustrated because I was in this to really change people’s lives, then I went up to a colleague of mine and said, are you seeing the same things? Are people basically buying your program and not completing them? And what she said next kind of changed everything for me and set me on this path. She said, Marissa, maybe some people just aren’t meant to succeed. You see, I believe that everyone’s meant to succeed. And given the right training and the right education in the right circumstances, that anyone can succeed. So I basically set about on a mission to see how I could make, you know, engagement and results become the norm, an online education instead of the exception, because a lot of people don’t know. The dirty secret in the online education world is that 97 percent of people don’t complete programs and don’t get results from them. So I basically set about studying, you know, how can I get people just so excited about, you know, achieving the greatest goals in life and overcoming their greatest challenges? And how can I create a game they can essentially win? How can I stack the odds in their favor? And that’s been my obsession ever since.

    Josh Fonger: [00:03:32] What’s the secret? Maybe there’s more to it than just one thing, but was it a multiple thing? Is multiplying angles by; what you learned?

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:03:40] Yeah. So I basically had been experimenting with different ways to design courses for a long time and something shifted in the summer of 2016. And my guess is you probably don’t know what happened in the summer of 2016 because it’s a footnote in the history books at this point in time. But Pokemon Go came out and had this 200 million dollar first month and just people were obsessed with this game all over the world. And I saw this particular video clip of basically grown adults double parking their cars in the street, getting out and chasing these little virtual Pokemon, you know, on their phones. And there were stampedes of people, like thousands of people pouring through Central Park. And I just had this image of what if I could get people so excited about overcoming their greatest challenges and achieving their biggest goals in life that they were literally running through the streets to do it. And so I looked at where in the world are people focusing their time and their attention? And of course, that led me to the world of apps and games. But it also led me to the world of psychology, of motivation and adult learning theory and just user experience and good old fashioned curriculum design. Was looking at what makes us tick as humans and what makes us get excited and engaged and what makes us give up, get frustrated and walk away. So I started to experiment with all of these different things and landed on 10 core experiences that when you stack them in your programs, you create what I call experience escalation. Which is the unstoppable momentum people feel when they’re moving towards their goals and expectations actually realizing them each step of the way. So they want to continue. They get hooked on taking action, getting results and ultimately buying from you over and over again. And when you stop these experiences together, you can get anywhere from 10 to 30 times the engagement and results for your students. Then the standard traditional information product that sends people down what I call the downward death spiral, which is a series of usually not intended by the product creator. Small negative experiences that stuck together to basically create overwhelming frustration and procrastination. So there’s 10 things you want to do and 10 things you want to avoid, which are basically the opposite of what you want to do. And I discovered those. I’m happy to share a few of these with you.

    Josh Fonger: [00:05:55] Yeah. No. I mean, I’m all ears. Let’s go for it.

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:05:57] All right. Well, let’s start from the top. And for the system, people on the line, you’re going to love this one because it simplifies product creation. They’re very big way. So the very first thing that you want to do is create what I call a product mission. Now, this isn’t the same thing as a personal mission like what you are devoted to. It’s essentially what your customer is going to do, be, feel, have overcome or achieve through your product. It has to be so clear and specific that it’s undeniable whether someone’s crossed the finish line, the mission accomplished or not. It’s like a binary state. They’ve either done it or they haven’t done it. So I give people a very specific template that I call the Mission Possible template. And you may recognize this goes like this. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is blank. So for our signature experience product masterclass where we teach people how to do this, it’s your mission. Should you choose to accept it is to design market and make two thousand dollars or a whole lot more from an experience product in 10 weeks or less. So you instantly know what you’re going to do. Long it’s going to take you and what essentially when you’ve achieved the goal, the end state. And the reason why that’s so effective is that you can take out anything that you are planning to put in your program that does not get someone the mission accomplished. And what you’ve got to understand is that what you want to deliver and sell is a product creator is not necessarily what people want to receive. They’re not interested just in your topic area in general. They don’t want to just learn about the subject or learn a specific skill. They want to learn how they can get a result from what it is that they’re doing in your program. So it’s super important to kind of focus people on getting a result through your product. And when you use this template, it shifts you from the perspective of what you want to offer to putting yourself in the shoes of your customer and what they’re going to be doing and experiencing through your program. And that changes the game. So not only does it simplify product creation for you, but it allows you to do things like wrap a guarantee around your product. So, for example, because I want people to make back in pretty much all of my products as much as they spend, as much as they invest. `We have a no risk guarantee that if you don’t make your investment back in the program, two thousand dollars will make up the difference as long as you’ve done the work and you can show you’ve done the work. So if you make a thousand bucks, I’ll write you a check for a thousand bucks because you have not made your money back in the program. And of course, our goal at two thousand dollars doesn’t sound like a lot, but our goal is really to help our customers expand their earning capacity so they can put two thousand dollars in their pocket anytime they want to. And then it starts to be a lot more interesting, like can you see the difference that having a really clear, focused mission makes for your program because otherwise you’re doing what I call serving to many masters. That’s the opposite downward death spiral. Goal like experience where your program tries to do all things to all people. And my very first program did that, which is why nobody was completing it. Basically, I had a program with six modules where every module could be its own program. Right?`

    Josh Fonger: [00:09:03] I know exactly. I mean. So what did you do with that product that had every single module? No demand created. Did you just throw that product away or do you give it away?

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:09:13] I threw it away.

    Josh Fonger: [00:09:15] I get recycled.

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:09:17] Yeah, that’s version 1.0. And it actually brings up a really good point because I never would have made the current product lines that I’m currently offering if I had not made that product line first. And now I’ve got three, seven figure year product lines. And I started with this program that made one hundred thousand dollars over 3 years. But I always like to tell people that a lot of times. What if your blockbuster hit program was not the first product you ever created? What if it was the third product? Would you be willing to do a first product and the second product to get to a third product? That would be that blockbuster hit product. Because so many people try to put everything in their very first product. It’s one of the most common mistakes that I see. They make the kitchen sink product that isn’t good for their business because people don’t progressive ascend with them. And it’s ultimately not good for the customers because most people can’t handle that amount of information. I call that the thud factor. That used to be a thing where people advise that you create a program with thud factor, which is basically the sound of a lot of information hitting your doorstep. And I came to realize that the thud factor is really the sound of people’s hopes and dreams collapsing on the floor in despair.

    Josh Fonger: [00:10:23] Well, I totally agree. I see a lot of people release products and it’s a product plus a bonus plus another bonus plus a side bonus. You got like 10 products stacked together. And like you said, most people don’t you finish one product. So that’s very interesting. So you built all this up. What? I got so many directions, directions I can go with this. So what do you do in your product? The ones that are working really well right now, you have your three products that work well. What do you do to get people engaged to actually complete those? Is it about being simple or being short or being engaging?

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:10:55] Well, yeah. It’s really about stacking these 10 core principles. And let me talk about two more that really impact engagements. A principle number nine is what I call unstoppable momentum in principle. Number four is constant wins and unstoppable momentum is different from the start and stop pattern most people get to in courses and constant wins is different from the chasing their tail experience that a lot of people have, you know, in programs where they’re doing a lot of work, but they never really get the reward right. When you think about unstoppable momentum, it’s really about how do you ramp people up? Through small, simple actions leading to small, simple wins into larger and larger actions in bigger and bigger wins? Because the truth is, is that the reason most people get frustrated and stuck is that they’re not feeling like they’re winning. They’re not making progress. They’re not moving forward. But the other biggest reason that people stop is they don’t believe they can get the outcome. So your goal as a product creators to structure your program in a way that starts with something that’s super accessible, but then gradually ramps them up into things that are more challenging because you can’t avoid a challenge, you can’t avoid, you know, difficult things, especially if you’re having anyone achieve anything worthwhile through your program, but you can kind of give them enough momentum. So by the time they hit the challenging bits, they’ve got enough momentum to carry them through. So what’s often common in programs is people start with either the most boring stuff for the most challenging stuff. So, for example, I had a person who was helping basically musicians in their program get their music published in television shows. Right in the very first thing they had people do was submit all the legal paperwork to get registered to these different agencies, which is like, you know, shot me now. It’s like the most boring thing you can have people do. So the thing is, is you don’t want to fall into the how hole like that until people have a clear, compelling why and vision for what they’re doing. And so what I recommended they do is change that first training from doing all of this paperwork to become eligible to get on these shows, to say creating their hit list of, say, their dream 50 list of the 50 television or even 10 the dream ten list of a 10 shows that they got in one of these shows. They would consider their whole participation in this program a massive success. And beyond that, not just tell them to come up with their own hit list, but actually give them resource stocks. So you might say if you are in electronica, these are the the top, you know, 30 television shows for this kind of music. You know, if you’re in pop, these are the top 30 shows for this kind of music. So all they really have to do is pick and choose from resources that you’ve already created. Now, what that does is a very first training is very different than submitting all this legal paperwork to become eligible to be listed. As it creates a powerful vision for what success can look like. So success is getting on one major TV show and they’ve created their hit list of 10 or 20 shows right then and there. So they already know what they’re going after. So than if, you know, a few training is down the line, they actually have to submit this legal paperwork. There’s a vision for why they’re doing it. It doesn’t just feel like busy work or boring stuff that they have to do and slog through. It’s like, oh, wow, OK, this is the first the next step for getting this outcome. So a lot of times people end up structuring programs in a linear fashion, which is linearly what the process looks like. I structured programs from a motivational standpoint. How do I motivate people and give them momentum so they can be ramping up their, you know, acceleration in the program, but also ramping up their wins and ramping up their self-confidence so I can get them into those challenging bits.

    Josh Fonger: [00:14:48] I love that. And so it’s counter-intuitive. Release is not intuitive at all to me because most of my things are linear. But how do you think in terms of a motivational plan to get there, knowing that’s critical element? I’ve got a different kind of question to go kind of backdrops. So you’re building a product. What about building a market first or listening to your market first? You think that at first you need to actually do research in your market and gather intel on them and grow it first? Or do you build a product first and then figure out how to find the market?

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:15:18] I think it’s kind of a both, and. I definitely think that a lot of people just build a product. Assume there’s a market. So I always recommend I say that before you can make money while you sleep first you’ve got to be able to make money while you’re awake. So if you can’t sell something to one person, you probably aren’t going to be able to sell a hundred or a thousand using Internet marketing. So, you know, Internet marketing and online businesses are just businesses that use the Internet to get clients and serve clients. Right? So you still have to have very good business practices. And before you invest a lot of money in a big program, I recommend creating either a get started product, beta product, or a minimum viable product that allows you to test the market as you go and be in conversation, both in the developmental stage and also in the marketing stage. And I also often recommend that people try to sell the product before they complete building it. So you can know is not just whether someone’s interested or say they’re interested, but are they actually gonna hand you cold, hard cash for that product? Because a lot of times when you market your product, it allows you to get clear on what the product really delivers. Many people create their product before they’ve created their marketing. And so there’s no clue as to how they’re going to sell it or what the hook or the angle or the promise is for somebody else.

    Josh Fonger: [00:16:33] Yeah. So let’s let’s talk about. These are all questions that I have for my digital products. I think the rest the ideas like this do. So let’s say you have a product. It’s been out there for a while. Are there some people who are never gonna finish it? There’s just nothing you can do about it. Or do you believe there’s actually a way to just get anybody to finish a product? Like what has been your experience with people?

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:16:52] Yeah,.

    Josh Fonger: [00:16:53] Personality types or what? What do you look for a reason why they don’t finish?

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:16:57] So you’re probably not going to get to 100 percent unless you have a very small group. You know, you have a small group of eight or 10, you know, you can get 100 percent. But you know, even then there might be someone who it’s just not something there is committed to as they thought they would. But I have found that you can get from 30 to 90 percent completion and results and engagement with people. Right. That’s a solid percentage, which is way more than the industry average of 3 percent. Of course, the exact number depends on the duration of the commitment. It depends on how big the commitment is in terms of are you having them, you know, do something super easy like sing in the shower or you having men step on stage at the music Radio City Music Hall. These are different levels of outcomes that are going to get a different percentage to the finish line. Does that make sense?

    Josh Fonger: [00:17:42] Totally.

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:17:42] So,exact number depends on that.

    Josh Fonger: [00:17:46] What about for the traditional companies? Listen to the people who are the dentist or orthodontist or the chiropractors. Is there, you know, in the future, should they be looking at creating digital products and services? Because I think, you know, before beforehand talked a lot about how online is doing more things online and offline companies are doing more things online. I mean, where do you see traditional companies in the future so that part of what they should do in the business model?

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:18:11] Well, I can’t tell anyone what they should do, but I can speak to the potential of what’s possible if you consider this model. So Forbes magazine believes that the online education market is going to be a three hundred twenty five billion dollar a year industry by the year 2025. It’s already a 200 billion dollar a year industry. So if you have something in your business that other people want to learn how to do, a lot of times it doesn’t. It can be other business owners like you, then you may want to consider some kind of online training program. So I actually did work with a dentist, actually a dentist couple, Davina and Galen Dietrich. And they had created a it was like a very premier elite form of dentistry where they were actually replacing people’s teeth. And it was like doing is like some resin thing. And they were hand painting it. And it was basically they had managed to figure out how to have one client, I think a month or a week paid for their entire practice where before they had to get 60 clients a week. Now they would need to get one client a week or it was they might have even had one client a month because these were ten thousand dollar clients. Right? Who were coming to them. So they decided to do a program around teaching other dentists how to kind of integrate this particular technique into their practice. And during our EPM program, at the time, the program was only eight weeks long. Now we’ve extended that to give people a little bit more time. They made sixty four thousand dollars from this program. And then as soon as the program ended, immediately after they made another forty thousand, bringing their total in the program to over a hundred thousand dollars and basically within eight months of ending experience product master class with us, they had done over two hundred seventy thousand dollars. And prior to that, the only way they made money was by seeing patients in their dental clinic. And even though they had created a way to have this premium service, an extra two hundred seventy thousand dollars a year is not a bad thing. Correct?

    Josh Fonger: [00:20:07] Not bad when it’s scalable, yeah. That sounds, that’s awesome.

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:20:10] And not everybody is going to have that. These results aren’t necessarily something that everybody can do. But if you’ve got some kind of technique or secret sauce that you’ve developed or just a system or process, I mean, you’re. Systems guy around say lead generation. I’ve had people do this with chiropractors who really figured out chiropractic marketing systems, for example, or dental marketing systems. I’ve had people teach not necessarily, you know, the technique for doing chiropractic or dentistry like Dave, David and Galen. But how do you create the lead flow? How do you create the cells? All of these other things that you can do. And I had another woman who did bariatric care, I believe, and she did some crazy amount of money to the program as well. So a lot of times traditional businesses can even can do even better than online businesses when they launch a product in the sense that what they have to offer is so real and so proven over many decades.

    Josh Fonger: [00:21:06] Yeah, no, I think it’s great. I’ve worked the Karate studios, dentists, doctors, surgeons done the same thing. And it’s a great model. And if you watch this, you think that you should. I mean, you’re the pro at it. So I think that a great thing to look at now. Let’s see a couple other quick questions when, we’re kind of running out of time here. So. I want to ask you about this, OK, so you have four stages of growth. I know I can see you on your Web site here four stages of business growth. What are those? And, you know, for the newer company, should they go for all four stages at once or is there a certain sequence that makes the most sense?

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:21:40] Yeah, well, I’m a firm believer in the power of sequencing or doing the right thing at the right time in your business, and especially when it comes to online marketing and online business. A lot of people end up doing what I call authority level strategy is when they’re at the early stages of business and it’s how you end up struggling and wasting a lot of time and money spinning your wheels rather than getting results. Because an authority level strategy, it’s appropriate for someone like me. I’ve got a mid seven figure business, you know, in the online space already. But if you’re just beginning trying to crack into online the authority level business basically has multiple product lines and multiple marketing channels. This is where you start to see someone everywhere. That’s a really hard thing to sustain. If you’re just getting started and maybe you’ve got a six or, you know, six figure practice somewhere else to be able to afford that amount of marketing. It’s just too much. So the four stages are what I call the blue sky stage of business growth. And this is actually the clarifying stage. We’re trying to figure out what your business is all about. You’re either not making any money or you’re making less than twenty five hundred dollars a month. And in this stage, this is where you should be talking to people incessantly and basically figuring out who you serve and what you do for them in collaboration with your actual prospects, because otherwise you’re sitting at home trying to figure it all out in your head. And that usually leads to delusional business. And the second stage is what I call the call me a stage. This is where many of those traditional businesses is probably already in. This is where you make money. It’s called Call Me because you make money when you get on the phone with someone. Right? Or they walk into your business. And usually you’re serving people one on one. You know, the challenge with that, as you can build a successful business, you can go into a seven or even multi seven figure business and call me. But there’s usually a limit to how much growth you can experience because it’s not leveraged and it’s not scalable. And a lot of times people end up being in that kind of situation. Right. All right. So next up, you’ve got the list build business and the list of businesses where you usually make money by getting someone on in your email list and then marketing to them or some other kind of social media list. And this is where you have one to few or one to many programs. So they’re leveraged and may even be scalable. So this is where you’re really starting to have that signature product line that you can have multiple people going through at once. Sometimes I’ll have to get up to 700 people going through one program at the same time. Right. And then you get to a authority finally, which is where you have multiple product lines, integrated product suites, a lot of marketing channels where people are kind of coming to you 24/7, 365 days a year. You can serve them at any point that they come to you. So this is kind of the progression, especially when you’re going into the online business space. The problem is, is that so many of the techniques are taught for the authority level business or the list book level. And if you’re at Blue Sky or call me, those practices and marketing techniques may or may not work for you. So I teach people how to choose the right kind of product and the right kind of marketing campaigns based on their stage of business. So they’re more likely to have success right now versus in the future.

    Josh Fonger: [00:24:49] Yeah, you got to make money the whole way through. You can do the authority thing and burn all your money before you actually make some sales.

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:24:55] I called the earn while you learn approach to building your business so you’re earning every step of the way rather than preparing to earn.

    Josh Fonger: [00:25:01] Yes, because a lot of companies don’t quite make it there, but they get the J O B along the way. Well hey, so before I let you go, what’s one question I probably should ask you, but I didn’t or one thing you want to leave the audience with before we sign off today?

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:25:15] Yeah, well, I’ll leave them with one of my favorite quotes. And this is by the late great motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar. And it’s that you can have everything you want in life if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want. And some people say, why is it so important to get more results for your students, your clients, your customers? But I believe that when you do, not only does your refund rate go down, but your customer lifetime, lifetime, customer value goes way up, your referrals goes way up, your repeat customers go way up. And most importantly, your fulfillment satisfaction from your business goes way up. So a lot of times the way to do that is actually through serving your clients and customers even better. And so many people say that the most important moment in the relationship with the customer is the moment they buy. And I actually believe at the moment, right after they buy. How do you start to fulfill on your promises and deliver on their expectations? That moment will make or break your business. In terms of future sales reputation, you name it. So that’s what I’d want to leave them with.

    Josh Fonger: [00:26:18] Yeah differently, play a long game. I love it. So where can people find out more about you if they want information or they want to join one of your programs?

    Marisa Murgatroyd: [00:26:25] Yeah, for sure. Well. Together, my viral product checklist, which is all 10 of the core experiences and I’ve spoken about a few of them today, along with the 10 things you want to avoid in your products. If you want to send people down the downward death spiral. So if you want to figure out how to get more sales, more repeat sales and really kind of explode your customer lifetime value, then go to live your message dot com forward slash w t s; live your message dot com forward slash WTS which stands for work the system. So go there and you can grab the vital product checklist. And you know, that’ll put you on our email list and we’ll let you know all about how you can join us.

    Josh Fonger: [00:27:05] Perfect. Very good. We’ll take her up on that offer, especially to make it your product. Don’t learn the hard way by doing it wrong for five, 10 years. Perhaps learn from Marisa. And Marisa I really appreciate you taking the time today to be on the podcast. Everyone listen to this or watch this stay tuned next week, we’ll have another expert guests like Marisa or maybe one of our previous clients or share with you our tool or technique resources you can make more and work less and gain that freedom in your business. And if you like to leave us review, go to our podcast or any Facebook. YouTube, you name it. Leave us review and take an image of that and send it to info at work the system dot com. We’re giving away those books right there behind me, mailing it out to you once a week. So do that. Otherwise, thanks, everybody and we’ll see you next week.

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