159: Boost Your YouTube Channel with Facebook Ads? (Featuring Chris Liepe)
Thanksgiving is behind us and the end of the year approaching fast! Our guest today is Chris Liepe, who is all about helping people find their voice through his online singing course. Chris had some great insights on the legacy and long-term thinking that make so much sense to consider at this introspective time of year. He also has had some unique success with a very unusual approach to ads and marketing. We get into all that and much more in the interview, so buckle up and enjoy!
In This Episode, We Talked About:
“Find a mentor, and do it! Just go for it.”
– Chris Liepe
- (0:39) Did David do his homework?
- (2:29) A post-mortem on some live piano webinars I recently did
- (8:23) Thoughts on pricing model experiments
- (10:09) An update on my new platform
- (12:22) Setting the stage for today’s interview
- (12:56) How Chris got into the online course world
- (25:00) An unusual strategy that yielded surprising results
- (29:34) Drilling down into different ads and outcomes
- (33:44) Active vs. passive interactions
- (35:12) How Chris’s strategy is evolving
- (39:27) Building a strong CTA and figuring out what to promote where
- (43:16) Walking through Chris’s funnel
- (47:30) Comparing scarcity and framing
- (55:05) What I love about Chris’s approach to value
- (59:16) Pricing considerations
- (1:01:26) Tools, teams, and content
- (1:07:46) The importance of mindset
- (1:15:52) Asking the right questions
- (1:17:17) Thinking about legacy
- (1:19:05) Hindsight on branding choices Chris made early on
- (1:23:53) Feedback from Chris’s students
- (1:27:23) Can anyone learn to sing?
- (1:34:24) Advice for new and aspiring course creators
- (1:37:40) Where to find Chris online
- (1:38:19) Thoughts on being willing to do something embarrassing
- (1:39:46) Mindset and marketing
- (1:41:48) Winning long-term customers
- (1:42:18) “Ring the bell” moments
- (1:47:19) Go-to karaoke songs
- (1:48:39) Learning from other course creators + leveraging YouTube
- (1:51:36) Wrapping up
That’s all for now, folks! See you on the next episode of The Online Course Show.
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Jacques Hopkins 00:02
Regular people are taking their knowledge and content, packaging it up in an online course and they're making a living doing it.
Jacques Hopkins 00:12
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.
Jacques Hopkins 00:24
Hi, I'm Jacques Hopkins, and this is the Online Course Show.
Jacques Hopkins 00:33
And off we go, welcome aboard glad you're with us. This is the Online Course Show and I'm your host, Jacques Hopkins. And here with me is our cohost. What's going on Dr. K?
David Krohse 00:42
Dude, I'm still up here shivering from my cold shower this morning.
Jacques Hopkins 00:45
You did your homework?
David Krohse 00:47
Yeah, but I left it till the last minute. So, I'm talking about like, 40 minutes ago,
Jacques Hopkins 00:51
Alright, a little context...
David Krohse 00:53
Worst idea ever.
Jacques Hopkins 00:54
A little context. I gave you some homework last week on the last episode. There's a lot of benefits to cold showers. So, what did you do? Which protocol did you do? Just a few seconds?
David Krohse 01:05
Uhm no. I tried to do yours and so just all cold. And it's pretty cold up here in Iowa. I think the water might be colder up here than down where you're at. But...
Jacques Hopkins 01:16
David Krohse 01:16
So basically, yeah, I mean, I just to be totally honest, today, like my head and face are clean and my armpits are clean. The rest was like water only. I was just like, I'm done.
Jacques Hopkins 01:22
And you feel amazing now, don't you?
David Krohse 01:30
No. I'm like, my teeth are still chattering. No, no, but I will say like, I mean, it was kind of this PTSD moment. So, I mean, my sport, I was “Swimmer Dave,” I mean, that was who I was up through all of high school. And my high school swimming team, we had practice 5:45 every morning, three days a week. We had to jump into this pool and our coach had to have kept it at like 65 or something. So, four years of jumping into 65-degree pool three days a week, and at 5:45 in the morning, it was like, it was a bad, bad memory of those moments.
Jacques Hopkins 02:08
Okay, so it sounds like this is not going to be part of your regular routine, but you tried it. Now you can say you've done it.
David Krohse 02:14
Jacques Hopkins 02:15
David Krohse 02:15
And maybe the day will be easier. Like you say.
Jacques Hopkins 02:18
You got to keep us posted because you just did it, right? There are advantages that are beyond actually being in the cold water. But let's move forward. Let's talk a little bit about courses. I have a little update I want to share with the audience. Last time I mentioned that I had some upcoming live webinars. Sure, you remember that. Well, it didn't go so well.
David Krohse 02:39
Alright, I jumped on for a little bit of the stack in one of them.
Jacques Hopkins 02:43
Okay. So, I'll say the first one didn't go so well. When I do live webinars, I like to do two to cover, really, all time zones. So, I did one in the evening and then the next day kind of midday. The first one did not go so well. And it didn't go so well purely from the metric of zero sales actually. None. No sales. The second one, I had four sales. What's the difference? There was actually less people on the second, okay. So, here's a huge lesson learned and I, I mean, I'm not sure why I did this, it was kind of a silly mistake, but let me ask you this, David, when you are testing something, how many variables should there be?
David Krohse 03:23
Well, ideally, just one.
Jacques Hopkins 03:24
Ideally, one, right? You want as few variables as possible because if you have multiple variables, then you don't really know what, either, what worked or what didn't work, right? And the problem with my first webinars, I had two variables instead of one. Okay so a little more context, I was preselling kind of my new offer. I'm redoing my course right now I have a couple of new courses, new features to my offer. Not everything's ready yet, but I wanted to presell it, get a little market validation. So, I kind of packaged everything up and gave it a new name for the package and a new price point, $997. I've never sold my piano course for that much. And this was a test to see if I could sell it for that much and if it was worth it, and how people responded to that.
Jacques Hopkins 04:10
So, I had a whole new stack with that price. But I also really redid how I presented the webinar too. Okay, so I presented it for the first time I was live and on camera the entire time. The problem with that is I couldn't read from a script at all. So, is it winged or wanged? I wanged the whole thing. I winged the whole thing. I'm not sure which was proper English, if either one of those is
David Krohse 04:36
it's definitely not wanged.
Jacques Hopkins 04:38
I'm going with it, David. I'm going to say wanged the whole thing. But I've presented this so many times that I thought I had it, but I didn't. I didn't have it. I left out so much good stuff, when I got to the point where I was at my keyboard I didn't execute it as near as well as I had when I prerecorded it. I used Webinar Jam, which allows you to do what they call video injections. So normally when I do a live webinar, there's several parts where I inject a video, and I'm still there, I'm still watching and looking at the comments go through but I'm able to pre-do a few things, and it makes it a lot easier on me. It also allows me some really nice built-in, like, water breaks. And I'm just talking for two, two and a half hours straight.
Jacques Hopkins 05:23
So, I finished the webinar on I think it was a Wednesday night maybe and didn't make any sales. It had been a while since I hadn't made a sale on a webinar. But it was weird. I wasn't really, I wasn't discouraged or anything. I was just, I was very intent on figuring out what the problem was. And I was like, man, you goofball! You change the price, but you also completely changed what you did. And so, I went back and watched my last live webinar that night from April and watched it. And I was like, this is so much better than what I just did, like so much better, so much more compelling. And I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of somebody watching, it's like, I want to buy this so much better based on this presentation than what I just did. So that night, I was like, "Okay, I've got to go back for tomorrow's webinar, I've got to go back and present it exactly like I did in April, other than the offer and the price." And I did and I made four sales, even though there was only like 60 people on. I think there was 90 on the first one, 60 on the second one. So, what do you think about all that?
David Krohse 06:25
Yeah, it's very interesting. So, the four sales that second day, were at that $997 price point?
Jacques Hopkins 06:30
Yes. I think three of them were the full price and then one of them was a payment plan.
David Krohse 06:36
Jacques Hopkins 06:36
But it was all for that big, big package.
David Krohse 06:39
I mean, that's double your current top-level package, correct?
Jacques Hopkins 06:43
Right. Current top-level package is $497.
David Krohse 06:46
Jacques Hopkins 06:47
Interesting, though, right?
David Krohse 06:48
So, what do you think going forward? Like, what...
Jacques Hopkins 06:50
Well, I have a plan going forward and that's a little bit different than this. But the main takeaway I wanted for the audience is that, you know, I just one thing I do with this podcast is I just peel back the curtain, I'm very transparent about how I run and the things I'm doing with my online piano course. And people seem to get value out of that. So, the main lesson is, hey, when you're testing something new, one variable, you goofball! And that's, that was my problem.
Jacques Hopkins 07:15
Going forward, I'm just going to do a basic split test. So, I have my funnel in place that's working, that's still making sale, I mean, it's made sales this morning. So, I'm going to create a new version of my evergreen webinar, and sales video sales page, and some of the emails that go out. And when somebody opts into my funnel, 50%, will go down the existing path unchanged, 50% will go down the new path. And with the new path of the funnel, I'm going to change as little as possible, I'm just going to change anything related to the offer and the price. And then let that run for a month, six weeks, collect the data, right? And it's not as simple as necessarily quantity of sales or even revenue, you got to look at the big picture, I'm expecting revenue to actually be similar. I mean, I would expect to get less students at the higher price point. But then it's like, how engaged and interactive are those new people and just really, really look at it and make a good decision on the price going forward. I've never tried to sell it at $997 before. And if the answer is no, $497 is better, I'm good with that answer, but I won't know until I fully test it.
David Krohse 08:22
Okay. I mean, do you want to know what I basically thought you were heading toward as far as the main options?
Jacques Hopkins 08:28
Yeah, go ahead.
David Krohse 08:29
I mean, I thought that the lowest package was going to be the $497. That would include, like, let's say, three or six months in your community, and then I thought there would be like a $700 or $800 package that would have lifetime access to the community and all the extra courses.
Jacques Hopkins 08:50
Yeah, so I pitched the, the...
David Krohse 08:53
And I thought, actually, you were going to start to charge for your community. If somebody just bought the six month one that you might actually charge.
Jacques Hopkins 08:59
Yeah, it's a fair point, a fair idea. It's something I've flirted with. But that's certainly more complicated. And I'm not quite ready to try that yet. That might be something I try down the road. But right now, we just want to see can I offer something, can I offer a piano learning experience that people will buy and use and succeed with at $997? I actually made sales, which is good. Now I'm ready to go to the next step, which is to split test it with my existing working funnel - evergreen. And then once I come out of that, not to say I won't, you know, ideally, I would always kind of have a split test of some sort going. And that's, that's it's easy to get lazy with that and I certainly have but doing something where you're kind of charging for the community, charging for the interaction more on a monthly basis subscription, that could be something I split-test down the road as well.
David Krohse 09:46
Gotcha. Well, I mean, I definitely feel like I mean, the way that I look at the price is that anybody that can spend $500 on a piano course can spend $1000. So...
Jacques Hopkins 09:55
David Krohse 09:56
I mean, it's definitely... What's that?
Jacques Hopkins 09:57
Theoretically, but then where do you draw the line?
David Krohse 10:00
Jacques Hopkins 10:02
That's a little bit of a slippery slope, right? If they can pay $1000, they could pay $2000.
David Krohse 10:07
Right. So, are these new people going straight into your new platform?
Jacques Hopkins 10:10
David Krohse 10:12
No? Are you ready to announce that?
Jacques Hopkins 10:14
No, I'm close, man. We're still, we're still building it up. People are constantly asking me, what is the new platform? No, I feel, I feel pretty good about it at this point. I think one of the reasons people keep asking me is some people are either new and want to make sure they're starting with the right platform for them, or other people are actually thinking about switching. So, they want to see what I'm going with, because they know I've looked into all of them at a very deep level. And so, I feel bad that people are maybe waiting to launch or waiting to do certain things until I announce, but I want to make it clear that the platform that I pick, just because I pick it, doesn't mean it's the right fit for you, especially if you're more on the beginner side of things. I have just about 6,000 total students, getting more every day. And I've been doing this for almost eight years as well. And so, I'm, what I'm using is actually not going to be a good thing for beginners. It's not Teachable. It's not Kajabi. Those are great for beginners. It's not one of those. And if you're a beginner, then look into one of those. There's some others. MembersPRO is great. I'm not using MembersPRO. MembersPRO is great, though. There's some, man, there's a lot out there. A lot of people are using like Podia, and New Zenler and even Kartra - I have been hearing a lot of people using Kartra lately.
David Krohse 11:34
Jacques Hopkins 11:36
There's a lot of good ones out there. And none of those are the ones I'm using but... Within a couple of weeks, I'll actually say what I'm using, and we'll be rolling new students onto the new platform, probably early January.
David Krohse 11:51
All right. Well, at some point, you'll have to tell us your top pick, like for the two different types of people like...
Jacques Hopkins 11:57
David Krohse 11:57
...number one, somebody that already has an audience. So, we're pretty sure that they're going to like, they already have the ball rolling, and then somebody that's just truly like bootstrapping mode just starting, doesn't have the audience yet.
Jacques Hopkins 12:09
David Krohse 12:10
You should give us those two recommendations, and actually tell us what you would choose if you were in those shoes.
Jacques Hopkins 12:17
I love it. Let's plan for that in a couple of weeks. We'll do that for sure. Okay, well, let's go ahead and transition to our main conversation of the day. I got to talk with Chris Liepe, fellow music niche person. And he has found success with his online course very fast, very, very, very fast. Did a lot of lot of things right. Also got a little lucky with something that's really cool. So, so we'll talk about it as usual, you and I will talk about it on the back end. So, without further ado, here is the full conversation between myself and Chris Liepe.
Jacques Hopkins 12:57
Hey, Chris, welcome to the Online Course Show.
Chris Liepe 13:00
Jacques Hopkins 13:01
My understanding is that you, you haven't really been doing this all that long and actually found success pretty quickly. Like, what's your background and when did you get the idea to start an online course?
Chris Liepe 13:13
Yeah, well, I've been, I've been teaching online for a long time. I started back in 2009, working with a company called JamPlay. And I was one of their early instructors teaching guitar. And that was kind of funny too, because prior to working with them, I had worked at a big recording studio in Indiana. It was the recording wing of Sweetwater Sound, which is, they're the biggest music technology retailer out there. And I was one of their lead studio engineers. And I got that job right out of college. And one of my main jobs was jingle writing, as well as producing other acts which included working with lots of vocalists. And during that time, I honed my vocal abilities, you know, like crazy there. Also got to play a lot of guitar, do a lot of writing. And, you know, that was a great job, but it was far away from where I grew up, which is in Colorado, and my wife and I really wanted to get back to Colorado. So, we moved back there, and I met through some mutual friends, the guys who were starting JamPlay, and they had started a year earlier, and we're looking for guitar teachers. And up to that point, I taught guitar, you know, in music stores and kind of at side gig kinds of things. But I hadn't done any sort of video instruction. As a matter of fact, the Sweetwater guys tried to get me to do some of that stuff on their, you know, on their platform, and I was just horrible at it. I was nervous and I had too many people feeding me ideas at the same time and just wasn't, wasn't good. So, I kind of considered that a failure there. But when JamPlay asked me to do it, it's like I could use some extra money. So, I started teaching video guitar lessons for them and they ended up putting them on their subscription website. And this was back in 2009. And I did that for three years for them. I was one of their main teachers. And then I came on full time with them, helping them produce other guitar players’ courses. And so, I would, I would film them, I would help them come up with ideas, and I got to work with some awesome guitar players, and you know, Brent Mason, Phil Keaggy, lots of, you know, guitars from famous bands, as they started to do their artists series, I was the guy heading all that up, and helping these guys who are not teachers come up with cool things to do for JamPlay.
Chris Liepe 15:41
And then, about three years after I went full time, JamPlay was looking pretty seriously at selling their company. And I was like, man, you know, I don't own any of this company and I've put in a lot of time, I feel like I've really helped build this place. And I was seeing a bit more of the online climate, you know, I mean, more and more people were doing their own courses, and a good friend of mine, David Wallimann, who I met through JamPlay, had already done his own website, and has already started his own YouTube channel. And we had kept up a little bit over the years, but it was at a live event that we were doing for JamPlay, he had let me know that, you know, some of the things he was doing really took off. And it was at that point I was I just told myself, man, now's the time, I've got to, I've got to do this.
Chris Liepe 16:36
And so, I put in my notice at JamPlay, I started doing part time stuff for them. And I was doing other side work primarily in radio voiceover and radio production. And so, I leaned on that for a while and reached out to David Walliman, who generously said, "Hey, you know, if you want to do a course, together, we'll collaborate, and we can, we can launch it to my list. And you know, you're well known from JamPlay. And you don't have a list yet, but I think this could be good for me and good for you." So, we did, we did an ear training course together. And this was, at the time when, when David Walliman's traffic was just really high in terms of YouTube subscriber ads, and his list was doing great, and his course was doing really well. And we launched this course as one of his first non-evergreen launches. And it did really, really well. And it made both of us really excited.
Chris Liepe 17:30
And so shortly after that, I started my own YouTube channel. Of course, I had nothing except for the presence on JamPlay's YouTube channel, which wasn't really all that regular. But I said, "Okay, I'm going to do two videos a week." And initially, I launched the channel, as I'm going to do guitar video a week, a voice video per week, and a recording tips video per week. Or those are going to be my three videos, and I was going to do two videos a week but rotate between those. And I started in February of 2019, I officially launched the channel, and it did terribly.
Chris Liepe 18:08
It was, you know, I worked really hard on a video and get, you know, a hundred views or less, even with, you know, the little bit of a list that I had started based on the work I'd done with Wallimann. You know, every time I'd email the list, I'd get a bunch of unsubscribes. And you know, the list was shrinking. The videos were not doing well. And even after, you know, a few months, I was struggling, because I'd spent so much time on the videos and not, I wasn't getting good response. And I was running out of ideas. Already. Really discouraged.
Chris Liepe 18:45
And that previous fall, I had created the first version of Discover Your Voice, which is now my flagship course offering. And I offer a lot of different packages, additional packs that come along with Discover Your Voice now as well. But I had made that first version of it and we'd done a small launch, an affiliate-based launch to David Wallimann's list at that point. And so, I had that already in some form of existence. And it was designed very much at the type of person that I would teach at JamPlay and consequently the same type of person that was on David Wallimann list, because he was very guitar-oriented.
Chris Liepe 19:31
And so, I had that course, I had my YouTube videos that were not doing well, and I was ready to give up during the summer of 2019. Then my family and I were looking to move houses and we, were under contract on a house. We had gone out to see some friends and I just did not have peace about moving this other house. It didn't have an immediate studio solution. So, we're going to have to move in and I was going to have to, in the midst of, you know, trying to get into YouTube and be, you know, my own thing, we, were going to move. And that just, it wasn't working in my mind, although I love the house. And so, I ended up, we ended up backing out of the contract last minute. And I had this, you know, I had money saved for the down payment. And we, were, I was frustrated at that point. And YouTube videos aren't doing well, I have to stay in this house. And so, I thought, you know, I'm going to dump some money on some videos that I've already done that aren't, you know, they're not that successful, but they're the most successful on my channel. They each had, you know, upper hundreds in the views. And one of the videos that I did that spring, I did a cover of Chris Cornell's The Day I Tried to Live, or Sound Garden's The Day I Tried to Live. And then right after that, I did a video on how to sing like Chris Cornell, which it was one of those throwaway videos where I decided that after doing this cover that I would, you know, do this thing took me 12 minutes to make and, and just put it up and see what happens. And it was really a video of 12 minutes of me doing dying cat noises. And it is talking about how this dying cat noise can be used as a gateway to unlock things in your voice. And it had several 100 views. And then I had another one, which was how to scream, yell and sing aggressively without hurting your voice. Those two videos done pretty, pretty good for my channel, at least. At that time, it had around 500-600 subs. And so, I said, "Okay, I'm going to run Facebook ads, and I don't even care, I'm not going to point to my course, I'm not going to... I just want people to see these videos. You know, if more people saw these videos, they would like me, and they would, you know, subscribe to my channel, and then maybe I'd sell a few courses.
Chris Liepe 21:58
So, all the videos, I went back, and I pasted a link to my course, even the ones that had nothing to do with, with voice lessons. And I ran those ads. And I ran them for about three weeks or so. And then I started checking the analytics on YouTube. And the Chris Cornell video had just gone exponentially up in terms of views and audience participation and comments. And way more than the ad was suggesting that it should. I mean, I was definitely getting a boost from this external source. It was Facebook, pointing to YouTube, and just an ad saying, "Hey, watch this video." That's it. Then I also noticed a week later that the aggressive vocal one had started to do the same thing. And even more so. And I got an email the week after that. So, this was late August from Google saying, "Shh, don't tell anybody right now but we're going to feature your channel for 24 hours as a creator on the rise. And it's going to be on the front page of the YouTube trending section for 24 hours." That's it. And I... The first thing I did was I called David Wallimann. I was like, "What does this mean?" I did... I have no idea. I couldn't even imagine, you know, I tried to get less excited because, you know, you just you just never know. And David was he said, "Oh, you know, I bet you'll shoot up really, really quick. This is really neat." So, I just, I got busy. And I started filming extra videos. So, I could, because I had not been all that did, I still done my two videos a week, but I hadn't really done vocal stuff. It was, I was in the midst of a pivot, because I've done vocals, guitar and recording and nobody seemed to care. And then these two vocal videos really took off. So, it's like, "Okay, I got it, I got to do this."
Chris Liepe 23:44
So, I, I filmed a bunch of videos. And at that point, I had also gotten this really bad cold. So, I was trying to film in the midst of having a cold in the midst of this. So, I shot up from, you know, five 600 subscribers to 30,000 subscribers, within two months, I believe it was. And because I already had my links, I already had my funnel, my email funnel design, I already had my, you know, the course at least the first version of it there. I started selling courses. And the courses came in, I mean really, really well for someone, and I think that a lot of that was just that the growth was so strong. And that's how I got started. And so, I really went from selling, you know, a few courses per month to having you know, in August was you know, that few courses per month. And then in September, I completely replaced all other forms of income and it became my main focus.
Jacques Hopkins 24:47
Chris Liepe 24:48
September of 2019. Yes.
Jacques Hopkins 24:51
Yeah, not, not this past September. Okay.
Chris Liepe 24:53
No. No, a year ago pretty much or a little over a year.
Jacques Hopkins 24:56
This is amazing. This is amazing. Congratulations on...
Chris Liepe 24:58
Jacques Hopkins 24:59
...on all of that. That is such a cool sequence of events when you were talking about, you know, you're about to give up on the YouTube channel, you're like, let me just throw some money at it. Of course, I'm thinking, "Okay, he's going to spend money on YouTube ads." And then you started saying Facebook, I'm like, "Okay, so he's going to upload the videos to Facebook and run ads there." But you literally pay for ads, from Facebook, to YouTube. I've never heard anybody do that before.
Chris Liepe 25:21
Yeah, and I didn't even upload the videos to Facebook, right? I just pasted a YouTube link with a little write up that was stating a problem. You know, well with these first two videos, I didn't really even know what I was doing. I have kind of a funny story about that because I had run a couple ads before that, I mean I did not understand how Facebook advertising worked at all. And I did a cover of the Star-Spangled Banner for the Fourth of July in the US. And it was an acapella version of me doing this. So, me doing the bass and the, you know, all the high notes and stuff like that. But four-part harmony, just me. And I was really proud of this video, and I thought, "Oh, I'll run an ad on it." And I didn't understand how the cost per click and demographic targeting and everything. So, I ended up setting up the algorithm wrong on the Facebook ad pointing to this video, which started a little bit late. So, it didn't even start like on the Fourth of July, it started after the Fourth of July. And nobody in the US saw it. It was really like everybody in the Middle East saw this video of me performing the national anthem. And it just was, it was you know, that was discouraging, but kind of funny too, in retrospect.
Chris Liepe 26:27
So, when I did these other videos, I at least had enough wherewithal to, I ran two different versions of each video, or of each ad. One was targeted at a US audience only. And one was targeted at a worldwide audience leaving out areas that I didn't think would be interested in the course. So just simply a YouTube link going over watching and that's, it was careless, but I think it worked.
Jacques Hopkins 26:52
Well, it worked but it indirectly worked from what I'm hearing. And I'd love to get clarification there. Because there's plenty of people that are going to be listening to this that are struggling with YouTube, like you were and I don't necessarily think, "Hey, a Facebook ad to a YouTube video is the solution." I think that it was an amazing sequence of events for you. And correct me if I'm wrong, but would it be true to say that the Facebook ads themselves were not profitable? It's just that...
Chris Liepe 27:18
Jacques Hopkins 27:18
...the Facebook ads then bumping up the traffic to YouTube is what then led to Google wanting to feature you and then that's what ultimately turned everything profitable.
Chris Liepe 27:28
Yeah, absolutely. And I just felt like I needed something. And, you know, I had lots of friends, you know, David Wallimann, he had been doing his YouTube channel for, you know, almost a decade...
Jacques Hopkins 27:41
Chris Liepe 27:41
...when, maybe even longer before I got into it. And his growth has been, you know, this awesome, steady...
Jacques Hopkins 27:50
Chris Liepe 27:51
...loyal, you know, thing. And I knew I was getting into the game late. And I thought I just need something, you know, I mean, David can, I can guest on David's channel, but I don't really know anybody else. And I need some vehicle to show people what I'm doing. And since YouTube wasn't given me any love, I thought, "Well, I'll just, I'll just pay for it." You know, take that risk. And it was expensive, but it was kind of like, I was telling a guy, as I was getting into this, you know, lots of people have hobbies that are really expensive, you know, woodworking or...
Jacques Hopkins 28:26
Chris Liepe 28:26
...you know, golf...
Jacques Hopkins 28:28
Chris Liepe 28:29
...you know, car collecting, whatever, you know, and these things initially are not profitable at all, right? And I so I told this, this friend that, you know, YouTube is a hobby. I've got this studio down there, I've got, you know, at the time, I had my basic income needs covered from, you know, contract work that I was doing and part time work from JamPlay. And, and so I thought, you know, this is just going to be an expensive hobby for a little bit. And instead of buying, you know, tools or cars or golf clubs, I don't play golf anyway, but you know, that kind of thing. It was going to be Facebook ads, and it was going to take time and it was going to take money. And it didn't, I mean I still I still do that same thing. I'm scaling back on my Facebook ad approach now in that way, but I still run Facebook ads. They're still very expensive. But it does it, it fueled and continues to fuel the business.
Jacques Hopkins 29:21
That's a, it's a very interesting mindset to have behind the paying for traffic. I haven't heard anybody put it quite that way before where it's like, this is my hobby, you know, and other hobbies cost money. Now, it makes sense. But why wouldn't you have done YouTube ads? Why did you go Facebook ads instead of YouTube ads?
Chris Liepe 29:41
Interestingly enough, after the success of the Facebook ads, the following spring, I started to run YouTube ads and, and literally, you know, promote a video that had something interesting and then I also did some, I also did a short video that was basically saying, "Hey, come check out my YouTube channel if you want to learn how to sing" in a little bit more eloquent way with some shots of the things I do on YouTube to try to get people fired up to, to do it, and that they should come check out the channel. And that was the only ad for a while it was, you know, you click on a YouTube video about something and you have me coming up saying, "Hey, I'm not selling you anything, I just want you to come watch my YouTube channel." That's all I did.
Chris Liepe 30:20
And then I ran another campaign, which was pointing directly to the opportunity to request an invitation to my course, and that's something we can get into later. My course is only available by invite. And the YouTube thing didn't have near the impact that I felt like the Facebook approach did. And my theory is this: With a Facebook ad, you're going through and you're, you're scrolling through your feed, and you're looking for something to engage in. You aren't currently engaged in any one specific thing, but you're looking for something to engage in. Maybe it's the picture of the hamburger that your friend took, maybe it's some vacation that another family took that you want to learn about, or maybe you're looking for something to do, and you're bored. And you come across a video with a neat thumb, and you happen to be a singer or recording guy, and oh, "I'm going to click on that." Pulls you out of Facebook sends you over to YouTube, and you have chosen, you've chosen to watch that video. And so, you're going to engage in it at least to some degree. And then if you like what you see in the first minute or so you might keep watching, but you chose it. With YouTube ads, you do not choose them. The only initial call to action is that you skip it. Right?
Chris Liepe 31:39
So, with Facebook ads, my potential viewers were being asked to choose to watch. So, they chose, and they would go over and watch. With YouTube ads, if they were going to engage in my video, they didn't have to do anything, they didn't have to go over to my channel, they would just sit there and not skip the ad and then eventually skip it, you know, or they'd click the learn more, but in order to actually engage with me, they weren't required to do anything. So even if they really liked my video, they'd watch it. You know, the YouTube videos got really good views, but it wouldn't kick them over to the channel. Because inherently we as humans, especially when we're sitting there on our phones in the evening, scrolling through something to do, we're lazy. So, YouTube ads did not take advantage of the fact that people could choose to watch me and then go over to my channel. Even YouTube itself, if they were engaged in my, in my video, my video ad didn't go to my channel. So, they weren't going to subscribe, they weren't going to check out other videos, they were going to skip after that video ended and watch the video they actually wanted to watch. And this has been true. I still run YouTube ads only for the course, though, requesting an invitation to the course. But I don't think they work for what I was wanting to do, which is traffic. They have not worked. It's not an I don't think I know from looking at the, the analytics and looking at the, you know, external traffic on Google Analytics, they don't work for generating traffic, like the Facebook approach that I took did.
Jacques Hopkins 33:08
Well, it's a very interesting theory about the user actually choosing and clicking on it, whereas it's an interesting take to say, you know, the YouTube ad the call to action, or the first call to action is basically skip ad. Right?
Chris Liepe 33:22
Jacques Hopkins 33:22
But I would push back to you on only one point there is that there's really my understanding is I think there's four different types of YouTube ads, actually. And before we get into that, this style of marketing and advertising, I don't remember the exact technical terms, but I think the words like active and passive will probably suffice for this conversation. But when I first succeeded with advertising, I think sometime in 2017, probably, I was like, you know, Facebook ads hasn't really worked. It's like Google when people do Google searches, right? Not even YouTube but Google search. They're like they're actively searching for how to play piano. Like, why wouldn't I want an ad right at the top...
Chris Liepe 34:03
Jacques Hopkins 34:03
...and to give people access to something, or answers and solutions to exactly what they're searching for versus Facebook, where you're literally having to interrupt what they're doing?
Chris Liepe 34:13
Jacques Hopkins 34:13
And so, I initially found great success with Google ads because I was jumping in front of people that were searching for exactly what I had to offer.
Chris Liepe 34:20
Jacques Hopkins 34:21
And, and I would guess that, you know, it's some kind of active marketing, whereas Facebook, you're, you're, they're not necessarily searching for how to play piano, you've got to catch their attention.
Chris Liepe 34:31
Right. And that's a really good point. What I'm doing with Google is specifically video ads at the beginning of videos currently.
Jacques Hopkins 34:40
Which are the ones that have that quote, unquote, call to action to skip.
Chris Liepe 34:44
Jacques Hopkins 34:44
But what about the ones that appear, like, there's ones where they could go to YouTube and type in how to play piano and then there could be an ad at the top? That would be somebody choosing to click on a YouTube ad.
Chris Liepe 34:55
Absolutely. Yeah, I've not experimented there yet. Definitely. Between That and then the SEO style ads, right where you're not even in YouTube, you're just in Google, and you have a paid ad that that comes up, those are on my list for sure. And the last two months of my business has been continue to experiment with different types of advertising. And I've gone away a little bit from the let's just get traffic, to let's go directly to the course. Or my course offerings, my website, ChrisLiepe.com.
Chris Liepe 35:34
And what's interesting is, you know, when we talk about list addition, and, you know, building your email list, this approach of, you know, paying for Facebook ads to point to my YouTube, and then get people to subscribe to YouTube, on my YouTube videos, every single one of my YouTube videos from August 2019 until now, every single one has a call to action within the first 30 seconds, and the last 30 seconds that encourages people to go to the lead magnet, "Hey, the things that we're going to be working on in this video are somewhat advanced. And if you want to learn how to sing, like some of the ways that I'm going to show you in this video, click the link below and join my free voice course." In the very end recap, "Hey, I hope you enjoyed this video. Again, if you want to take your voice to another level and let me help you rebuild your voice from the ground up, click the link below and join my free vocal course." Every. Single. One. of my videos does that.
Chris Liepe 36:32
And I've had conversations with other YouTube guys who you know, they're doing affiliate, you know, they got microphones and they've got ,you know, software, and they've got all sorts of other things that they link to in their video info. And I don't do that currently, I may do that eventually. But what I noticed with this system is that I was creating very, very warm leads to my email. You know, not that I will not pursue, and I am in the process of pursuing some of these other forms of advertising. But even in doing that, so far over the last two months, the leads that I generate from that type of advertising, where they go directly to my website, they're cold. They're much colder. So, I have averaged for a whole year, well over 100 emails per day into my, into my list, my list is currently at around 25,000. And I clean it every month, like I get rid of the cold, I save them off and clean them every month so that things remain fairly, fairly warm. But the engagement from the list, the amount of people who join the free course, and then elect to request an invitation into the Discover Your Voice environment or suite of courses has been well beyond, has gone well beyond the expectations that I would have had for a list or channel of my size. And I think that the, this lead-warming process that I kind of stumbled upon, I think it's worked really well. And it's, I have sold some courses off of the, the direct to website ads, but they are exponentially less than those who are warmed up. I mean, the number one sort of comment that I get is, "Aw man, I've been following your YouTube channel for a little while. I just I love what you do. Thank you so much for giving all your time to helping me improve my voice. I just had to sign up for the course." And that brings in...
Jacques Hopkins 38:29
The free course or the paid course?
Chris Liepe 38:31
Well free course but they can't get to the paid course in any other way than going to the free course. So, there's they're specifically talking about the paid course at that point.
Jacques Hopkins 38:38
Chris Liepe 38:39
Like, I'm really excited to be here, you know, I'll get in the course. You know? Because I have a little forum in there. And that's the, the general story. "I was so impressed with what happened with my voice on YouTube, just on your YouTube videos, that I signed up for the free course and my mind was blown in three days. And then I just decided that, Okay, it's time it's time for me to join this 12-week journey, Discover Your Voice and really take my voice to the next level." It's this, this idea that we are we're giving away and we're providing so much value to people who aren't giving us any money that ultimately by the time they get presented with an offer from you. They are they trust you and appropriately so and are excited to continue a relationship with you as opposed to start a relationship with you.
Jacques Hopkins 39:25
I mean, I agree completely, it makes total sense to me. You know, my recommended steps for people to start an online course business is not step one, make the online course, step two run ads to it by any, by any means.
Chris Liepe 39:37
Jacques Hopkins 39:38
My first advice is if you don't have an audience, you don't have a list, like ,you... You're talking about how you're getting started getting him a list, right? You started teaming up with David, who by the way, that's who recommended you to come on and he's been on this podcast a couple of times. He's one of my favorite...
Chris Liepe 39:52
Jacques Hopkins 39:53
...YouTube success stories. But I recommend people get started, they got to start building the audience and I pick one platform and put out content on a consistent schedule.
Chris Liepe 40:03
Jacques Hopkins 40:04
I recommend YouTube for the most part, it doesn't have to be YouTube, it could be a podcast, it could be other platforms. But in general, for course creators, especially those of us in the music niche, it's YouTube is a great place to get started. And that's what you did. And you said, from the very first video, you had that same call to action, I mean, if I go back to your very first video, you upload it to YouTube, I will see that same call to action?
Chris Liepe 40:27
Maybe not the very first video. Some of the early guitar videos and recording videos don't have that on there, at least in video form with me making the pitch. I started out, when I had less focus it was sometimes it was like download the track I'm using here or go to you know, there was always some lead magnet. But once I figured out vocals was the thing that was going to be the, the main thing, every single one. Join my free course.
Jacques Hopkins 40:54
So, once you figured out vocals was going to be your main niche, I'm guessing you created, here's my guess is that you created the free course so that you'd have a lead magnet, then you started having the calls to action in the new videos you create, and then you made the paid course? Is that the sequence of events?
Chris Liepe 41:11
No. I actually made the paid course before I started my YouTube channel.
Jacques Hopkins 41:15
Chris Liepe 41:16
Because I thought with this ear training course that I did with David Wallimann did really well. And I'm going to make this course and I'm going to have it in place. Maybe I'll pitch it, you know, I'll do an affiliate split with David Wallimann. You know, so he didn't have to come up with another course, people knew me from the ear training, people knew me from JamPlay. And we did an initial launch before and I had done a little bit of YouTube stuff but, right, it was, there was that six-month period where I didn't, I wasn't getting any traction. And I was doing sort of aimless things on YouTube, right? Where I was doing a recording video and a vocal video and a guitar video and building my voice course for Wallimann's list, essentially. And so, I had the paid course, done at least the first version of it, before YouTube took off. And then I had the lead magnet, which is the free course, which actually includes David Wallimann as a guest. I'm walking him through how to discover things about his voice. That's a lead magnet, which is super cool, because people on my YouTube videos, it's just me, and they join the free course. And they go, "Oh, here's a guy, like, here's me being goofy and doing all these weird things with my voice as a teacher, and the student is doing the same thing. Oh, and that student’s also YouTuber." It's just this really neat thing. It's very valuable. But all of that existed prior to YouTube taking off and even prior, well, not prior to but at the same time that vocals became my focus.
Jacques Hopkins 42:43
Because you had had that success with the ear training course with David.
Chris Liepe 42:48
Jacques Hopkins 42:48
Chris Liepe 42:48
And, and yeah, yeah.
Jacques Hopkins 42:50
So that went well. You're like, "Okay, let's do it again. So, let me make another course Let's promote it over here." And then that's when you started, then then you're like, "Okay, I need to build my own audience. I need to build my own list." And that's when you started getting into YouTube.
Chris Liepe 43:02
Jacques Hopkins 43:03
So, for just about any singing video, especially the most recent several months on your YouTube channel, I could expect that call to action over to your free course. And that seems to be going very well.
Chris Liepe 43:14
Jacques Hopkins 43:15
Right? So, I'm going to go ahead. I'm doing that right now. I'm on one of your most recent videos. I'm sure there's a call to action in the video in the description. It says Free Voice Lessons. ChrisLiepe.com/FreeYourVoice. That's the free gifts.
Chris Liepe 43:28
Yep. Uh huh.
Jacques Hopkins 43:29
Okay. So, I'm going to click on that, and now I'm on a landing page. By the way, what software are you using to build your landing pages?
Chris Liepe 43:35
Elementor. I have a guy who's helping me.
Jacques Hopkins 43:38
Okay, so just WordPress?
Chris Liepe 43:39
Jacques Hopkins 43:40
WordPress, no funnel software, no ClickFunnels, no Thrive or anything like that?
Chris Liepe 43:45
We're using, I don't manage that part of it. I've hired a guy to help me. You know, with SEO and retargeting and all that stuff. I'm not sure exactly what he's using for that. But I know we're tied into Facebook Pixel. Yeah.
Jacques Hopkins 43:59
But if I log, so let's say I opt in here. It's a very, very well designed, opt in page and I see a picture of you and David here. Right? And if I opt in, then is it do I get a username and password or is it just a page with some videos?
Chris Liepe 44:14
No. Okay, so what it does is they opt in, and then they get emails, they get added to my list and they get entered into a sequence. I use ConvertKit...
Jacques Hopkins 44:24
Chris Liepe 44:24
..for that. And they get the course delivered to them over the next three days as just different landing pages. They don't have to resign-in. All they have to do is give me their first name and their email and then they get the course delivered over the next day. So, it requires consistent engagement with the list or with their emails.
Chris Liepe 44:44
And then on the fourth email in that sequence is a thing that says, you know, "Hey, you guys, if you've really enjoyed this free course, I have a special invitation for you that's coming soon." And I have it set up so that it's paced, whereas people are completing because Discover Your Voice is a 12-week journey. It's a drip course that people are, they're engaged every week, they get new material every week, for 12 weeks. They can get behind because they have lifetime access to the course but they're not going to be able to work ahead. They're going to have to go every week for 12 weeks. And so, it varies. But I look at my course completion rates, and I look at my conversion rate and I said, I tweak my evergreen funnel every once in a while to keep up with that pacing, and it creates this by-invitation-only, "Man, I hope I can get in on this enrollment period." And it's good because it creates this relationship too with the students, I want to open and close enrollment for you because I want to be available.
Chris Liepe 45:53
Voice lessons are not like any other lessons. You need the ability to have access to your instructor. And if I just leave the course open all the time, and just have a, you know, big price tag on the front of my website saying, "Here join for this" I'm going to get large, you know, and then run a sale on it or whatever, here and there, I'm going to get massive people signing up all at the same time. And then I'm not going to have anybody in the course for a while, I would rather have a steady stream of people joining so that I know that I can walk through the course with these people that want to learn about their voice. They're not just wanting to spend money for the sake of spending money. They want to go to a deeper level. If they want to engage with me on a shallow level, they can watch my YouTube stuff. But what differentiates my YouTube or my course offerings from my YouTube is that it is a journey. It is a handheld journey. And you can even opt to get private face to face instruction in that journey once you have joined the course.
Jacques Hopkins 46:52
So, if I opt in right now, I'll get an email, same day with the first of three lessons?
Chris Liepe 46:57
Yes. And then the following day, the next video, following day the next video. And then you'll get...
Jacques Hopkins 47:01
Following day, the next video.
Chris Liepe 47:03
Yep. And then you'll get the, there is an invitation coming soon...
Jacques Hopkins 47:07
On the fourth day.
Chris Liepe 4