JOSH PALMER: “You said that it's, like, ‘It's not working.’ I said, ‘Amy, we did something different. We are doing something different. We're not just sitting here, twiddling our thumbs and waiting for the magic to happen. We are making the changes necessary for us to really see the needle move.’ And I do think that it was just, it was something magical, because what happened is that maybe we didn't see the jump that we wanted to see in the numbers. But what it did is it changed our mindset in the moment of the launch, where we were going, we were, like, ‘Oh my gosh, something's not working. What's going on? What's happening?’ Then, we did that pivot, we got excited, the energy filled the room, and it literally took us to the very end of the launch, where we just were able to apply the changes and do the work and really work until the very end, because I told you, I was like, ‘It's not over until it's over.’”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey, there, friend. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast.
This is going to be a fun episode because I've invited my director of customer experience, Josh Palmer, to join me here. And we are going to take you behind the scenes and, really, just share with you what it looked like, in terms of behind the scenes, of my latest Digital Course Academy launch. We did it in September of 2022. It was an amazing experience. There were definitely highs and lows, and we're going to talk about all of that. But I thought it might be fun if I brought Josh in because Josh is—during launches, he is now, seems to be my sidekick. We are together a lot through this whole thing, and he has a really unique perspective because he kind of has his hands in a lot of different parts of the launch. And Josh is from Raleigh, North Carolina, but he came into Nashville the entire launch, so he was here on site, which so were some other people on my team, so we'll talk about that. So I thought we would just get into it.
So, Josh, welcome to the show.
JOSH: Thanks, Amy, for having me. I am so honored to be your sidekick at these launches. It's so much fun when we come together and we do this all in person. It just brings a lot of energy and magic.
AMY: It does.
JOSH: So, happy to be here.
AMY: I'm so happy you're here. And when I say that you have your hands in a lot of things, you are running the customer experience department. And so during Digital Commerce Academy we get a flood of emails at all different times. We release a timely bonus; you get a bunch of questions about that. We're doing a sneak peek; you get a lot of questions about that. We're in a webinar; people need to change their time. Like, you guys are flooded. Can you remember how many emails you all answered during DCA?
JOSH: We answered over seven thousand emails in a matter of nine days. So we—well, got seven thousand; I would say we answered about five thousand of those.
JOSH: We just got flooded. But thank goodness it was just not me; it was our entire team. They all jumped in. We were able to respond within twenty-four hours of people emailing in. And so it is definitely busy, busy times, but it's definitely worth it.
AMY: It’s so worth it. Wait, people are going to ask, like, “What did you do with the other two thousand emails? You just didn't answer them?”
JOSH: No. What happens is we get a lot of canned responses. So when we send out marketing emails, we get a lot of the responses from, like, inboxes where people are, like, either on vacation or they're not in the office and so on.
AMY: Got it.
JOSH: And so we get a lot of those. And spam emails and stuff like that. So we clear those out. So I want to make sure that we responded to that amount of people, and not, like, actual seven thousand emails that came through.
AMY: Gotcha. But still very, very impressive.
So not only do you run that department, and we're going to talk about kind of how we got the whole team in to help you because that's a lot of emails, and we only have one other full-time customer-support representative, and then we have a part-time person. We were not staffed enough, and we've talked about that, changing that for next year. But we're going to talk about what we did to alleviate the stress there. And then you also manage the team that was the concierge. So we allowed people to get on the call with my team members to talk about if they're right for the program or not. Tell everybody how many calls you all fielded. Is that a word, fielded?
JOSH: Well, we—so how it worked is we had Calendly set up, where people can schedule calls in advance. So we had over seven hundred calls scheduled, meaning people have said, “I want to speak to some DCA advisors.” We call them DCA advisors. And out of seven hundred, we were able to talk to over six hundred people. So I mean, it was amazing—
JOSH: —the response that we got, and it was busy times.
AMY: Yeah, it was busy times. So, the other hundred just didn't show up for calls. I like to just clarify _____(06:07).
JOSH: So yeah. It's, like, a show-up rate, where people, like, register and they don't show up, or they reschedule or cancel. They don't need the call anymore, which is great. But we were able to speak to over six hundred.
AMY: Incredible. And I have to tell you all, that really changed the game for us. The conversions are through the roof when someone is able to get on a call with, let's say, Josh. Many of you got to talk to Josh, so if he sounds familiar, that's why. And having somebody kind of hear you out, even for fifteen, twenty minutes, makes a huge difference.
AMY: So we will absolutely continue to do that, right, Josh?
JOSH: Absolutely. And our DCA advisors love to speak to people and connect with people. And it's such an amazing experience and different level of service when you actually get to speak to someone over the phone or over, in this case, it was Zoom, which we got to actually see the person, which just uplevels that entire experience.
So it was great. We loved to just talk to people about DCA and whether or not they're a right fit for the program.
AMY: Yeah. And nobody that did the calls—we had some alumni do the calls and some team members—nobody was, like, a trained sales professional, which I actually thought that was kind of cool. They're just people that really know the program, they know who's a good fit, and they can honestly have those conversations. So it was a beautiful experience. It was all Josh's idea. Last year, right, Josh? It was the first time last year?
JOSH: It was the first time last year. You came to me in the summer, and, you were like, right before DCA launch, you said, “I really want you to get on the phones with people.” And so we started to talk about what that looked like. And we talked specifically about, we didn't want it to make it salesy or, you know, we just didn't—because the programs like that usually get a bad rep about—
JOSH: —oh, you know, they just want to make the sale or make the commission. Well, we didn't want that experience. We want to truly have honest conversations with potential students to make sure that they are the right fit. And so the conversations were honest. Like, we've had advisors say, “You know what? You're not the right fit.” Right there. Like, it's not about the sale for us; it's about whether or not we get the right people into the program, because we know that their success is our success. And if we get the right people in, we’re going to see progression, and we're going to see their success in the program.
AMY: Yes, absolutely. So that was a big part for us. So that went really well.
Also, okay, so throughout the launch, we got scrappy this time, and that was one of the reasons I wanted to bring you on. I wanted to talk to somebody else who was in the trenches with me. We got scrappy in a lot of different ways, and those that are listening, they have smaller teams than us. They're not bringing out ten people to their hometown to do a ten-day launch. They might have, like, one or two other people on their team. And so scrappy is, like, their middle name. And it was nice for us to kind of get back to our roots doing that.
And there's two areas that I think we got scrappy. Number one is that you did not have enough support for all those emails that came through in Help Scout, which is the software we use for all of our customer support. So talk about power hours. Talk about how the team stepped in. I also got into Help Scout, and I have to say—
JOSH: Shout out to Amy. She was a customer-service rep, and some of you may have gotten a voice—she loves to do voice memos. She loves to respond in voice messages, which I think is brilliant because you get to hear Amy's voice. But she got in there, y'all. She was in there.
AMY: Okay. But I have to say—I have to tell on Josh. Josh does not like when I get into Help Scout, because all of a sudden, I'm worried about, like, a million things. Like, does everyone know how to answer this question? Have you guys been getting that question a lot? And how are you addressing it? And he's like, “Get out of my department,” because I literally lose my mind. But I do Looms, or voice messages, because if I just wrote, “Hey, it's Amy, and I thought I'd answer this question,” no one's going to believe that I'm in my own Help Scout—
AMY: —because I've been around for a while, and I've got a big team. So I needed them to know, No, I am in here. I think I answered, like, a hundred of them. That was my goal, to answer a hundred questions—
AMY: —in Help Scout. And it was great for me. Anybody who is doing course launches and you feel disconnected at any time, get into your customer support because you'll see what people are asking. You'll see what's coming up for them. It was a goldmine for me. I loved it.
But talk about power hours. Talk about how we got the rest of the team involved.
JOSH: Yeah. So first and foremost, we created a support schedule. So if you are thinking, “Okay, I need some extra help,” what we did is we reached out to our departments, and we said, “Is there anyone just available during the launch that could lend an hour or two throughout the launch to work on emails and support our customer support?” And so we did that first so that we can stack our schedule so we can make sure.
But in times of pivots and times where it's, like, we need to make a change in the experience or in the launch, where those people are no longer available, we tend to do power hours, where we say, “Okay, everybody that's available in the next hour, let's jump on into Help Scout, and let's knock these emails out.” And of course, we're not just going to use canned responses or, you know. We use guided responses as a way to help us guide the conversation in those type of questions that come in.
But we use those hours to really focus, hyper focus, on responding to customers. And it really does help with the volume and cutting down the volume. So we do power hours. We pull from other departments, making sure if anybody's available. I mean, we had our copywriter in there. We had our graphic designers in there. We had everybody that had a piece of the launch in there helping our customers, and it's a beautiful thing to see.
AMY: It really is. I think it's great for people in your department, like my copywriter, Emmory, to connect with customers. We can lose that connection so easily when you're just working on your thing and you have nothing to do with front-facing customer experience. So I actually think it's a great thing.
One of the things that I realized in this launch—I should have realized this years ago—but I know, Josh, you already knew this, but there are sales waiting to happen in your customer-support app or software, whatever you're using. And if you're not actually making all of those emails a priority, you are leaving money on the table.
And another way to leave money on the table is someone's asking about your program, and you're getting back to them seventy-two hours later. In the moment is when they want to make that decision.
JOSH: Especially when you're offering bonuses, like mid-cart bonus or—
AMY: Yeah. Timely.
JOSH: —a timely bonus, and they have questions, and they're on the fence, and they're eager to buy, a response, a quick response, is important. We don't want them to just sit there waiting. And so it's important to have as much support as you can so that you have a good response time.
AMY: Yes. And even if you're a small business and you don't have this big team to help you, I think it just is so important that, let's say, if you answered five emails of people asking questions about your program, likely three of them are going to buy. So don’t discount just because you don't have hundreds or thousands of emails coming through. Everyone asking questions about your course, they're genuinely interested, so make it a priority that you have time to get into customer support every single day.
Okay. So that was one thing I wanted to talk about. But let's talk about having people around you that will give you pep talks if you need them in the moment. So there was this—I wanted to bring Josh on because there was this moment where, we'll talk about it, but we decided to do something scrappy. And at the last few hours, which is really the last few days but I'm being dramatic, of the launch, we decided to do a thirty-minute intensive training, where we charged twenty-seven dollars for it. All the webinars were over. I knew there was a gap in where we were and where I wanted to end this launch, and I needed to do something extra. So we'll talk about getting scrappy there. But when we did it, right afterwards, I didn't see huge results. And I looked at you, and I’m like, “It’s not working.” And do you remember what you said?
AMY: Something along the lines of, “It's going to be all right. You've got to give it time. We showed up.”
JOSH: Yes. Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Absolutely. I remember you said that it's, like, “It's not working.” I said, “Amy, we did something different. We are doing something different. We're not just sitting here, twiddling our thumbs and waiting for the magic to happen. We are making the changes necessary for us to really see the needle move.” And I do think that it was just, it was something magical, because what happened is that maybe we didn't see the jump that we wanted to see in the numbers. But what it did is it changed our mindset in the moment of the launch, where we were going, we were, like, “Oh my gosh, something's not working. What's going on? What's happening?” Then, we did that pivot, we got excited, the energy filled the room, and it literally took us to the very end of the launch, where we just were able to apply the changes and do the work and really work until the very end, because I told you, I was like, “It's not over until it's over.”
AMY: Yes, that’s what you said. Like, I had a moment where I just started worrying, and I had—this launch compared to 2021, I felt at peace. No matter what was going to happen, I was in such a better mental space this year than last year that I knew no matter what was going to happen, I was going to feel proud of us. I knew that from day one. I don't know, it just came over me. But then I had that moment of weakness that I'm like, “Oh, maybe this isn't going to work.” You're like, “Wait. You've got to give it time.” So that helped me immensely.
Surrounding yourself with people that you can be honest with and share your feelings during a launch—you don't have to stuff them down—and then people that know the launch well are like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's get back in the game.”
And you are right, Josh. I never thought about this. When we decided to pivot and do one extra thing that we hadn't planned to do, there was this newfound energy and camaraderie around the team. We were, like, solidified as “This is happening, and we're doing it together.”
So let's talk about that. We had this idea to do a thirty-minute intensive. There were some questions that were coming up that we thought we can address. “The webinars are over. I’m not going to do another Facebook Live. Facebook Lives are not working for me anymore. We're not seeing the amount of people and engagement we used to see. So we have to do something different.”
So we had this idea, “Let's do a thirty-minute intensive. Let's invite everybody on a Monday. We'll do it on a Tuesday morning. The cart closes on Thursday.” So it's like, really, everything's closed. And I said, “Let's charge for it. We’ll let the first five hundred people get in for free to reward those fast action takers. Everybody else has to pay twenty-seven bucks.” And so we started to talk about it. There's a coupon code. They got to put it on their credit card. What if we do this, that?
And then what happened, Josh? Because remember where I got frustrated? We started talking about it. It was complex. We'd never done it before. It was confusing. And what happened in that moment?
JOSH: Yeah. What happened was is that it got too complicated, and I could feel that the team wanted to strip it down and just make it simple, and we just wanted to just make it easy. We didn't want to include a coupon code. And it started to feel like we were going back to, like, what we know.
AMY: Yes. Okay. So glad that you said that, because we had to do DSD, do something different.
AMY: And we came up with this great idea, and then we talked about it, and we're just stripping it down, stripping it down. And now it's just, like, a thirty-minute training. I might as well just do another Facebook Live.
JOSH: And I remember you were like, “This is just another thirty-minute talk. Like, I don't want to do just a thirty-minute talk. I want to do something different.”
AMY: Yes. I got, like, really passionate. I’m like, “You guys, you just took all the magic out of a brand-new idea.”
JOSH: Yes. Oh, my goodness. Yes.
AMY: So that was—I was proud of myself—not to toot my own horn, but toot, toot—because I knew I'm getting a lot of training right now about being a better leader. I'm working with Michael Hyatt. He's teaching me how to really step up. And I thought, “Wait, I could get us back on the field. We are on the sidelines.” And I love simplicity.
Josh, in our business, we do pride ourselves with not too many bells and whistles. Let's keep it simple. But sometimes when you need to close a gap, you're going to have to DSD, do something different.
JOSH: Amen, sista.
AMY: So that's when I was like, “Bring it back in. I want a coupon code, or I want some kind of discount. I want the first five hundred free. Then, everyone pays, because when you pay, you pay attention.” And Josh, I have to say, you ran with it. So once I was like, “Bring the magic back,” you did make it happen.
JOSH: Yeah. And you know, I remember you in that moment saying, “What if we just opened the phone calls that everybody got?” And remember, we were like—
JOSH: —“Oh, my gosh. Like, a call-a-thon?”
AMY: That's right. So that came on the back of it.
JOSH: We did.
JOSH: And what we did was, is we did ten-minute, fifteen-minute calls. We said, “We're going to set this up.” The entire team got on board with it, you guys. Like, it's amazing how just magical it was.
AMY: I forgot, yes.
JOSH: I just am so thankful for a leader like Amy, who would not back down of doing something different.
AMY: I love that.
JOSH: And she pushed us, and she casted that vision, and we made it happen, and it was just magical.
One thing I will say is that, and I think this is part of the energy and part of the magic throughout the launch, the reason why we felt that peace is that we were doing everything possible. We were not just sitting around, and that is where, like, I'm super proud of our team.
AMY: I agree. And by sitting around, I know what you mean by that. We weren't just going to do what we've always done—
AMY: —and then say, “Well, we didn't hit the goal. But this is what we've always done, and it’s worked before.”
AMY: Because everything we were doing absolutely was working. I mean, we're talking about a multi-million-dollar launch, but we just knew there was something that was going to need to happen.
So to be really specific about what you said, we did this thirty-minute intensive, and it was basically a year in the life of a course creator. What was possible? We broke down the money. We broke down the opportunities. It was really cool. Like, let me future pace you. And then at the end I said, “If you're still on the fence, we just opened up a bunch of fifteen-minute slots.” So we had, like, forty, fifty slots because we got everyone on my team to stand by. Like, I wanted it to be a call-a-thon, where the phones started ringing. But Zoom doesn't work that way, so it was a Zoom-a-thon. And that's when we had tons of calls that day. And that's why Josh is like, “You have to be patient, Amy. These calls need to happen before you see if this actually worked.”
And it did work—89 percent show-up rate, 45 percent conversion rate. That thirty-minute intensive was incredible. And it had such a high show-up rate because people paid for it. And those that got it for free still had to put in a credit card that zeroed out. That was a little bit, in my mind, like, a mistake. I was like, “Ooh, why are people having to put in a credit card if it’s zero?” But it turned out to be the best thing ever because even though it was zeroed out, they still took out a credit card. It still felt like skin in the game. So it was kind of like a little bit of a mistake that turned out to be a beautiful thing.
So, anyway, all of that to say I love that we got scrappy. I love that we brought in the whole team. And also, for those listening, I just want to remind you that it's okay to pivot and transition and add things to a launch when you see a need. I think that trying new things and experimenting is so important. So I teach people how to create courses. I teach people how to do webinars. Everything I teach still very much is needed in your launch. But as I try new things and as they work, I'm going to talk about them on this podcast. I'm going to teach them in my programs. I love to go first; tell you what worked, what didn't work; and then encourage you to do so.
So, anyway, we just wanted to come on here and kind of share a little bit behind the scenes because it was a great experience. Not easy. There were moments that I was sweating, for sure. But it was really fun that we came together as a team.
JOSH: So much fun. And I look forward to it every year.
AMY: Me, too. Me, too. I'm going to quote you on that, Joshy.
So, Josh, thanks for being my partner in crime throughout DCA. It was so fun getting to experience everything with you. You have the best attitude.
That's another thing. Find somebody on your team—this is Josh—find someone on your team that, one, always has a great attitude. But number two, is not afraid to add work to his plate. Josh is the one who said, “Let's do a Zoom-a-thon.” That meant he would be on the phone for, like, the next five hours. Josh is the one that said, “Let's do something different and do a coupon code,” and he made it happen. He actually programed all of that.
So when you have a team member that comes to the table with ideas, knowing it's going to be more work for them, to me that is a very special type of person, which is you, Josh. So thanks for being my sidekick.
JOSH: Oh, thank you, Amy. I appreciate it.
AMY: Love you tons.
All right, everybody. Thanks so much for tuning in. And if you love these off-the-cuff, behind-the-scenes conversations with my team members, let me know, and maybe I could do some more with other people on the team that are in the trenches.
Have a wonderful day, and I'll see you on Thursday, same time, same place. Bye for now.