Maximize Conversions with Aspirational Marketing and Webinar Accelerator w/ Susan Lassiter-Lyons | #018
Any interest increasing your conversions by 56%? Susan Lassiter-Lyons did just that by making a few simple tweaks to her webinar using Webinar Accelerator— but her success didn’t come without a few grueling sessions of trial and error. Susan is a real estate investor turned educator/course creator who trains people how to invest in alternative and unique forms of investing. Discover what costly errors Susan made with her webinar, the tweaks she made to catapult her webinar’s conversion rates, and what it took to go from drastic loss to drastic gain. Learn from Susan’s $25K webinar outsourcing mistake with proven methods on improving conversions with aspirational marketing and future pacing. The scripts you write will make or break your money-making online.
Maximize Conversions with Aspirational Marketing and Webinar Accelerator w/ Susan Lassiter
Our special guest is somebody who has been in the coaching and training space for years now after she had been transitioning out of real estate investing. I invited Susan Lassiter-Lyons to join us on the podcast. She had been trying all different types of webinars for a long time. She had a unique experience with a light bulb moment that allowed her to drastically improve her webinar conversions by more than 55%.
Susan is somebody who now trains other people in alternative forms of investing. Check out this episode and understand what she was doing differently with her webinars, what that light bulb moment was, so you can apply it to your webinars and drastically improve the rate of conversion for your programs.
Susan, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Joel. It’s good to be here. Thanks for having me.
Tell us a little bit about who you are, where you’re living right now. You have a beautiful office space, tell us about it. I’m very jealous.
I’m Susan Lassiter-Lyons. I run a company called The Investor Insights. We focus on training and coaching programs for alternative investors. That can be investing in crowdfunding, real estate, private lending, peer-to-peer lending, a pot, stocks, bitcoin and all that sexy new stuff that’s coming down the pipe now. My background is I started investing in the stock market and some stock options way back in 1990. I had a particularly profitable trade, I bought call options on Unilever stock when they did a 4-for-1 stock split. I ended up making a bazillion dollars and then the tax bill came.
I need to figure out a way to keep more of this income. That’s what sent me in the direction of real estate investing. I started doing that in 1994. I was investing in real estate on the side. I started a mortgage company to specifically focus on providing financing solutions just for real estate investors in Denver, Colorado where I’m based.
I ran that for about eight years. We put together a private equity mortgage fund to become what’s known as a hard money lender in our market. That means making very short-term, high interest rate, high-fee construction loans to fix and flippers. Everything came crashing down on 2008. I was subject to a lot of the downturn in not only the real estate market, but in the financial markets.
In 2008, I ended up closing my mortgage company and shutting down my private equity fund, “What the hell am I going to do now?” I went to Mexico to lay on the beach and think about what the next iteration of it was going to be. I cried a lot and drank a lot of Margaritas.
What came to me through my big swollen eyes and my Margarita drinking was, “You’ve been doing this for these real estate investors all this time, providing the financing. Why don’t you start teaching them how to do this for themselves and cut out the middle man like me?” In January 2009, I started a training coaching company called The Investor Insights.
My company’s purpose is to bring that training and coaching, to teach real estate investors how to find great deals, how to fund those deals, how to raise capital directly from individual investors and put it to work on their own businesses. That has morphed over the years, thanks to the Jobs Act. A lot of restrictions on non-accredited investors, meaning just the little guys like us. We can now invest in really cool things like private placements and crowdfunding.
I’m retiring a lot of my old real estate investing training and moving more in the direction of teaching some of the newer, sexier stuff. I recently moved into this new office here in downtown Denver. I was telling Joel where I’m situated. If you can imagine, I’m on the 16th floor of a high-rise, it’s the top level and west-facing. I get to see the whole front range of the Rocky Mountains.
Quite the transition, quite the shifts. You’re teaching people all about these very unique ways to invest, not just real estate investing. You said pot stock. If you’re listening right now and you don’t know what we mean by pot stock, we mean cannabis investing.
Investing in legal, medical and recreational marijuana. It’s all legal here.
Let’s talk about webinars. Tell us about how you discovered webinars when you started doing this business in 2009? When did you start experimenting with webinars?
I found out about webinars in 2009. The only technology back then was GoToWebinar, which is still around, and I still have my old account.
You’re lucky because it’s extremely expensive now.
I know, I couldn’t believe it. I discovered it pretty early on. I can still remember the very first webinar that I did. It was for my very first program that I put together. It was a $97 course. It was called Portfolio Loan Blueprint, which basically taught real estate investors how to go to the smaller local community banks and credit unions and still get really great loans, loans that they couldn’t get from a Wells Fargo or Chase. I had no idea what I was doing.
My biggest fear was that nobody was going to show up. I wasn’t exactly sure how the GoToWebinar control panel worked. I thought, “The attendees will be able to see how many people were on.” I was going to be so embarrassed if one person showed up and they saw that they were the only person on and they’d hang up and think I was a loser.
I made all my friends and family log on to the webinar for five minutes, if nobody comes then I’ll just end it. If somebody comes, then you can leave. They all logged on and then by some miracle I ended up getting seven people on my webinar that weren’t my friends and family. I think I made three sales. I made almost $300. This is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s a total game-changer. That was the very first one in the early discovery process of that.
You started out with webinars right out the gate. Doing live webinars with GoToWebinar. As your training business started to grow, you were testing out other things like email marketing and video sales letters, long form sales letters. Take us to the evolution of your online business.
People have to register for our webinars. That’s a form of list building as well. Let’s make no mistake about that. I think that webinars have always been one of the top two ways that I can generate revenue in my business, that and email marketing. Email marketing has been very powerful to me, but in a very specific way.
It’s mainly for me about the broadcast offers as opposed to the prospect follow-up sequence or the engagement sequence. I realized pretty early on that I needed more than one funnel for each product. I’m a tester anyway and I like to try new stuff. For each of my products historically I’ve done a webinar funnel where I market directly to the webinar registration page and then hold a live webinar.
I’ve marketed directly to an opt-in page where people opt-in and then it goes to a video sales letter or a long-form sales letter. If they don’t purchase right away on the VSL side or the long-form sales letter side, I craft an email follow-up campaign to those prospects and try to get them to buy. If I take that prospect follow-up sequence and stack it up against a webinar funnel, my webinar funnel outperforms that prospect follow-up sequence now by a factor of about four to one.
Why do you think that it was such a dramatic change?
It’s huge. There are a couple of reasons for it. Number one, I think it has to do with the event and the buzz around event marketing. Webinars are very much events and people like that. It has a higher perceived value than just a training video or an email course or something like that that we see.
The second reason why I think is because people get to know you. They get to see your face and they get to hear your voice, they get to hear your personality, and your authenticity come through. I’ve been very lucky and I have a little bit of a background in plays and musicals when I was in high school. I have a little bit of that performer in me already. I’ve had people comment on my voice before, that I have a voice for radio usually is what they say. I usually will add that I also have a face for radio.
I think that it’s the combination of event marketing, it’s a live event. It’s a higher perceived value and people really get to have the opportunity to actually see you, hear you and see for themselves what you’re all about. I think that’s huge. That’s something that we’re never going to be able to replicate in email. I’m a pretty good writer and I can make my point in writing and I can let my personality shine through in those emails. It just takes it to a whole other level when they can see you and hear you.
I think there’s another important aspect that explains why webinars do so well versus other forms of conversion techniques, and that’s the comprehensive ability to learn via video or slides or audio versus reading only. Maybe it’s a video sales letter, but with webinars where you teach a little bit and you inspire them, you give them hope. It’s like the ultimate form of content marketing. It’s delivering value while also giving the offer. You do all within a condensed, shortened period of time.
Sometimes it’s really difficult to educate via email. There are people who can do it very well. That’s just my opinion on why webinars work so well. You’ve been doing webinars for quite a few years, having some success with them. When you invest into the Webinar Accelerator, what was going on? What made you take that leap? Were there any problems going on with your existing webinars? You were making money with webinars, what was the reasoning?
I’m always looking for a way to optimize my conversion always. I’ve really run the gamut with webinar training. Up until recently, my flagship program, it’s called Getting the Money In, it teaches real estate investors how to raise capital. It’s an inexpensive program. It was only selling for $497. I was getting unsolicited testimonials from students saying, “I just raised $300,000. I just raised $500,000. I just raised $1 million, thank you so much. You’ve changed my life. You’ve changed my business.”
I knew that it worked because I personally had used that strategy to raise about $30 million for my own real estate investing business and mortgage firm. I was just stunned that when I would do a webinar, even with those kinds of results with that low of a price point, the highest sales conversion I ever saw on a webinar was about 11%.
I hear all these stories of these people that are crushing it with these offers that are higher priced than mine, between $1,000 and $2,000. It didn’t get nearly the results that my program did. They’re doing 20%, 25% conversion. I thought there’s a disconnect there and I just could never figure out what it was. I tried myself to optimize it. I hired some guys who build your webinar for you. I paid them $25,000 to do my webinar. I had gotten my webinar to its highest performing 11% conversion. The first time I ran their version of the webinar, it crushed at about 5.5%.
The lesson for me was that nobody knows my business or my offer better than I do. Don’t outsource that. I’ve just been trying to incrementally improve it. Anytime I can get an idea or a different program, there was just something that was missing. I never figured out what the heck it was. When your program came along the Webinar Accelerator, I just wanted that software. I think I wrote into your support desk, “How can I just get this?”
For the veterans that are listening, I was one of those people that thought, “I’ve been doing this long enough, I know how to do this. I just need that software because the software is going to have the thing that I’m missing. I don’t need to go through that training because he can’t tell me anything.” It’s a big mistake. I came across so many great nuggets. I’m going through your training and hearing your program through Webinar Accelerator that I was able to make just a few simple tweaks. It’s not even really using the Slide Sell software, just my existing webinars and incremental pickups in conversion.
What were the tweaks?
First of all, I made note of them when you were talking because I didn’t want to forget them. My first mistake was I gave way too much content. I had a coach one-time years ago, when I was talking to her about these problems and she says, “Your number one problem is that you have a smart problem. You’re too damn smart. You’re up here with your experience and your level of knowledge. Your students are down here. You’re not doing anything at all to close this gap. You need to be down here where they are right when you’re teaching them.”
I went through my webinar and just indiscriminately chopped out half the content and got my first pickup in conversion. My people are going to complain because this is just about the offer, with just a little bit of training and they’re used to more training. People loved it. That was what really told me that that was a huge problem. First thing, experts out there, we need to close that gap. Present the stuff on the level of the student, meet them where they are instead of meeting them up here where we want to take them.
A confused mind doesn’t buy. When you speak to them at that top level, they’re confused.
It impacts sales. The second one was not enough emotion. I tend to be very analytical. I’m an investor, I’ve just want the numbers and I just want the facts. There’s a whole other world of people out there. We buy on emotion and I think we support it with facts. When we make that buying decision, I really believe that that buying decision is made from our emotional side. Our analytical side is the one that tries to justify that buying decision or not justify that buying decision.
Our head can definitely override our heart or support it depending on what it is. I really tried to bring in more of my story, which in the past I always thought that was just going to bore people. When I talk about story more specifically, what you talked about is like the hero’s journey, “Where did I start? Where did I get to? What did I learn along the way? What setbacks that I have along the way?” This was my whole journey to figure out the solution and here’s where I am now as a result of that. People want to hear that. They want to be able to identify with you and they want to be able to relate to you.
For example, after the crash, I was living on my gas card literally because I didn’t have any extra cash at all. Somebody may be out there can relate to that. I’m incorporating more of my story but in a specific way so that they could actually see my journey and see that I just didn’t pop on the scene as this, rich expert. Instead it’s been a process that’s taken me years which just makes what I’m teaching them all the more valuable.
That was number two. Future pacing was the third layer that I added to it. When you have a make money offer, it’s got to be aspirational marketing. They don’t want to make money just to have money. You want to make money because you want status. You want to make money because you want your friends and your family to perceive you differently.
It’s telling the hero’s journey as it relates to future pacing. Whenever I’m writing scripts for clients or whatever, and it’s make money online or make money opportunity, business opportunity, a lot of times we’ll tell the story through the eyes of their hero’s journey.
Here’s a tidbit for you. Rather than saying, “Imagine what it would look like for you,” you can do that in another way too. You can compound. It’s like, “They’re always going to picture you as the expert and they’re always going to picture you as who they want to be.” If you show them, “This is who I wanted to be,” they’ll say, “I want that too.” Right?
Exactly, thank you for doing that. I just made a note.
What was the transformation with your old webinars and then when you started to implement these things, can you share some numbers? What were some of the boosts that you saw?
I track all this stuff. I think I shared with you the most recent one that I did, so it’s for a program that I have called Master Lease Option Method. It basically teaches people how to acquire apartment buildings and other cash flow commercial real estate by becoming the master tenant as opposed to buying it. They can make income on someone else’s assets.
I don’t have my numbers pulled up, but I know there was about a 55% increase in sales conversion, just adding this stuff in. The 55% was just on the most recent iteration of that webinar that I had before I came across your stuff. That’s not including all of the other webinar iterations that it took to get me there. This one definitely had the most impact.
I’ll tell you another mistake that I made historically. Somebody gave me this advice and I wish I could remember who it was so I could go back and punch them right in the face. This was one of the questions that I had for you in the Facebook page because you talk about earnings per registrant as opposed to earnings per attendee.
How can we do earnings per registrant? It gives you a full picture of the whole webinar funnel. Back in the day, somebody who I paid attention to with webinars, told me don’t ever do replays because then you’ll train your people, that they don’t have to attend live. They can just come to the replay. I build out a whole replay sequence like you talk about. I can earn more sales on the replay as opposed to just having an end on the webinar.
It depends on the big picture marketing schemes. I just finished up an interview with one of my clients, Jason Wardrop. It’s very much relating to what you’re talking about here. I always tell my clients that it depends on what your marketing intent is. 99.9% of the clients that I work with and that come through my program, it’s all from cold traffic webinars.
You can use webinars for anything. If you’re doing a lot of warm market webinars and you’re doing weekly live webinars to the same list every time, I would still never really encourage getting rid of the replay sequence. If you are marketing cold traffic to your webinar, you don’t want to say, “Sorry, you can’t get access to the replay.”
In hindsight, I know I pissed off so many people. I can respect people that have different intentions and different goals for their webinars. I’m going to pull up the data from that last webinar because I do want to give accurate numbers. I know that in your program you give us the spreadsheet to track all of our webinars, that’s so important.
People that aren’t tracking their webinars right now and tracking the performance of each one so that you can measure that incremental increase or decrease. You can take some notes as to what went well and what didn’t go well. You’re really missing out because it gives you the opportunity to keep incrementally making it better.
I’ll just break it down here. The attendance rate was lower. The attendance rate on the one that I just had, June of 2016 and the most recent one I did was July of 2017. The attendance rate on the old one was 34.6%. The attendance rate on this one went down a little bit to 24.3%. The total sales percentage increased by 56%, so I was a little bit low. I went back and calculated my old like earnings per registrant on the old webinar just so that I could make sure I was doing apples to apples.
The old EPR was $8.05 and the new EPR is $13.44. I was also asking you about your percentages. You gave us that great grid of, “If your offer is between this amount and this amount, you can expect a 4% sell-through. If your offer is this and this, maybe a 3%, 2%, 1%.” I tested that and I ran that number and across this webinar funnel at this offer price, I did a package deal, it was just under $300. It came in at 4.5%. It was dead on.
The next thing that we’ve got to work on for you, Susan, is raising your price.
With the new stuff that’s coming out with the alternative investing, that’s all going to be higher priced stuff because it’s heck of a lot sexier and there’s a lot more to it. If I’m going to go through the same effort and provide the same level of support and training, why not make it $1,000 offer as opposed to $200 or $300 offer because honestly, I’m basically giving $1,000 experience for $300 price tag?
More often than not, it’s a confidence issue. I’m not saying that you’re not competent, but if you haven’t ever sold $1,000 offer, I’ve dealt with it tons of times. I had one of my clients, Adam Wenig, I took him from $97 to $8,000. It didn’t immediately jump to $8,000. It was incrementally. It was a business opportunity. It was showing people how to make money.
You cannot come on as a client if you’re at $97, it’s just not even going to make any sense. I think we initially started out at $2,000 and then we went to $3,000, then we went to $5,000, and then we went to $8,000. It was just night and day. The first month that we launched his webinar, he did $120,000. It was something stupid.
I should tell you this too. Its bonus content that you have in Webinar Accelerator. The whole webinar to a strategy session as opposed to a sale because with my coaching, I never tried to sell the higher price coaching on webinars. I’ve found that once we get over, maybe $2,000, $3,000 then it really needs to be moved to the phone. The coaching package that I was selling was $7,000 on the real estate investing side. We ran a really great webinar, almost exactly how you sequence it in your bonus training that led to a strategy session and we were able to enjoy payday as like that. I don’t get a pay to that on my $97 or $197 programs, but certainly on that bigger ticket stuff for show.
The results have been amazing. I appreciate you sharing your story. Hopefully it gives our audience some hope that they can do the same. You shared a lot of great techniques for how you increase your conversion rates. They are very similar to what most people who are struggling and then their transformation, the whole nine yards. To recap, you went from real estate investor to the market crash to Mexico to pot stock and teaching other people how to invest in alternative forms of investing or even their own real estate. How many products do you have right now?
I just retired five of my old real estate products. I have three front end programs, one of them is the flagship, How to Raise Capital, the other is the Master Lease Program I talked about. The one that I’m just getting ready to launch with webinars by the way is called CannaVestor Lab. It teaches people how to take advantage of the opportunity in cannabis.
Susan, thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ve very much enjoyed your story and your transformation. Where can people connect with you if they so choose?
Head over to the website, TheInvestorInsights.com. That’s our main site. We’ve got a really great blog there about alternative investing and share some information about our products as well and even give the opportunity to sign up for a webinar. I’m very honored that you reached out and invited me to be a guest here. Webinars had made a huge difference in my life.
I’m using the training from the Webinar Accelerator as you’ve outlined it and you’ve been so generous with your time and answering questions, even in the Facebook group. It’s had a significant and a fast impact on my business already. I’m really looking forward to aligning with you more in the future so that I can take it to the next level. Thank you so much.
It’s been great watching your transformation and journey for sure. Thanks, everyone. Be sure to tune in for future episodes where hopefully they have more successful stories like Susan. We will see you on the next one. Thanks for tuning in. Take care.
About Susan Lassiter-Lyons
Founding and managing a private equity fund that delivered gains of $1,104,234.53 to my investors – an average 12.88% return. Advising real estate investors who, as a result of my fundraising framework, have collectively raised more than $350 million in capital since 2004. Managing my portfolios of 45 commercial properties, 17 tech start-ups, 33 cannabis companies, and more. Founder and editor of the Investor Insights, a finance blog exploring income investments in the public and private markets. Founder and editor of CannaVestor Lab, a cannabis investing newsletter and trade alerts service that realized gains of 300.67% in 2017. Founder and editor of Real Passive Profits, a passive real estate investing newsletter averaging gains of 27.5%. Founder and partner of the Master Lease Option Method, a strategy that allows you to control and profit from commercial investment properties without ownership. Amazon #1 best-selling author of Getting the Money: The Simple System for Getting Private Money for Your Real Estate Deals.