I’ve never understood when internet marketers get indignant about someone not implementing their freebie product “on the internet marketer’s timetable.” I opt in (or take training) because I saw the item and had interest. I may not act on it for a variety of reasons:
a. it wasn’t right for me,
b. the timing isn’t ideal for me now,
c. it doesn’t gel with my business model,
d. there is something related to the item that needs worked out to be fully doable in my business model.
Unless the marketer actually speaks with each person to understand their unique reasoning the marketer is guessing. I’m going to introduce you to Stella, an internet marketer who fell into the marketing trap and missed a prime opportunity to excel at customer service and potentially sell her services. Before sharing Stella’s marketing fumbles you need to know what led up to the missed opportunity.
In the beginning, Stella was so excited when she created a course and began promoting it to her list and on social media. Sales started off a bit sluggish so Stella thought if she gifted the course for free to a few people they would give her a testimonial and those testimonials may help draw more people who would become buyers. But Stella gave very little thought to who would get the free gifts or if these gifts would hold any value or impact for this person’s business. Her goal was only to give away six courses to anyone who would take them and agree to give a testimonial. She gave no other thoughts about the benefactor is the free giveaway. [This was one of her mistakes. Failure to have any criteria for who received the free course.]
Fast Forward One Year Later
A year has passed and Stella’s sales for the course have been okay. She continues to work on her marketing and continues to do some tweaking to the course materials. One day while she was studying the analytics around her course clicks and downloads she realized that two of the people who were gifted the free course never completed all of the modules. One person stopped after the third module and hasn’t signed in to the course dashboard in more than 8 months. The other person signed in more frequently but stopped a module later and has no more activity in the dashboard.
Why? Stella doesn’t know so she decides to take her frustrations to Facebook to post how wronged she feels and vows to never give away one of her courses again if the ungrateful people who got it won’t use it. Surprisingly many of Stella’s internet marketing friends agree with her sentiments. They also feel she was wronged. They begin to share their own stories of how they each helped people who stopped mid-training or someone who completed the learning lessons but never implemented anything into their business.
The comments in the very lengthy thread are mostly “I” focused statements. Things like:
- I gave this away and I put too much work into this course to have someone not appreciate it.
- If I knew they wouldn’t complete it than I could have given it to someone else who would have used it.
- I can’t believe they never did anything with all the materials I provided. My course included videos, audios, and PDF download. How could they not use it?
- I stopped giving away free courses because too many people never applied the learning to their business.
The Missed Opportunities Were Plentiful
As someone reading the thread that had more than 70 comments and continued to grow, I was astounded that no asked these obvious questions of any of these internet marketers…
“Did you ever contact the person to ask why they stopped mid-course?”
“Did you ever ask them if something in the training was unclear or confusing?”
“Did you do ANY follow-up?”
[I didn’t post the questions because I wasn’t connected to Stella and couldn’t comment. One of my friends posted in the thread and on Facebook that means the conversation showed up in my newsfeed. See how a conversation she thought was among her friends suddenly extends to a wider circle of people who may be prospective customers who are reading Stella’s rantings.]
All questions that should be asked and the answers would have been pure gold to either help the person use the training to the fullest or used to enhance the training to make it better for others. Knowing why the course recipient stopped could have shed light on a gap in the training. It could have highlighted a hurdle that one of Stella’s other services could have filled and aided the recipient to continue moving forward. It could have been an opening for a paid consulting session to provide support for continuing or developing. It could have validated that the training was never a good fit for the recipient and Stella’s frustrations would have dramatically been reduced.
It was off-putting to read all of the “I” centered statements. It was disappointing to see these marketing experts who tied so much of their personal feelings about not being appreciated into their product (the course). This failure to look at the course as a product and not a direct reflection of the marketer as a person kept the marketer from seeing that someone may have stopped because they didn’t understand how to move forward with the fresh information at their fingertips. Also, because Stella gifted her course to anyone with no criteria to market to those who could most benefit from the training (remember she was solely focused on only gaining testimonials) that she may have given someone a course that wasn’t at the proper place in their business growth or business model to even apply anything from the training in how they work or serve their own customer-base.
From what I could gather none of the thread commenters ever followed up with their course participants once the course was sold. No one added this step to their follow up processes. No one ever asked them a month or two later how their product (aka the course) was working in their business and if they needed any additional assistance or may have had any questions about anything related to implementation. The marketers may have sent out a quickie survey shortly after granting access to the course but not after allowing enough time for the course materials to be learned and applied.
What a missed opportunity! Not only for data collection to use internally for development of future courses but as an opportunity to demonstrate outstanding customer service.
Don’t Be a Stella
I encourage you to add a few more follow-up steps to your processes for troubleshooting why someone stops accessing the dashboard mid-course. I encourage you to do some planned follow-ups a month or two after a course is completed. This can even be an opportunity to touch-base for up-sell of a consulting session to further expand on a lesson or sticking point with some one-on-one consulting.
If you’re reading this as someone’s virtual assistant than bring this up to your client so that appropriate follow-up steps can be added into your client’s system processes.
Quality customer service should not end when the course ends. This is only the beginning of building a lasting relationship with someone who bought your product and hopefully thought enough of it to continue being interested in other things you offer.
The Takeaway Lessons
When something seems amiss avoid falling into the marketing mindset trap of ranting on Facebook to get peer approval (or pats on the back) and take it directly the customer to ask the why questions that will benefit your business in the long term. You can’t fix something that may be broken, or offer added bonuses, if you don’t fully understand why someone stopped.
And if you do feel the need to talk it over with a colleague take the conversation off social media to a private phone call. Then readers to the thread won’t be influenced by the comments in the thread and read your frustrations which may not match your polished marketing messages.