We recorded this interview with our dear friend, Jonathan Boyd, on November 17, 2020.
Jonathan is the founder of Breakthrough Guitar. Originally an in-person guitar school (2014), Breakthrough Guitar moved online (with zero customers) and now serves thousands of students.
When Jonathan shifted to online learning, he followed a path that's familiar to many of us. Countless hours of hard work with mediocre-at-best results to show for his efforts.
Then, something changed — dramatically…
In less than a year, Breakthrough Guitar is on track to generate millions of dollars of revenue and change the lives of tens of thousands of guitar enthusiasts.
Context: In January 2020, Jonathan's business had 230 customers. Last month (October), they breached 25,000 customers. Their monthly revenue was $372k last month, with their backend generating $150K in MRR (monthly recurring revenue).
How'd he do it?
We're glad you asked…
Jonathan's story is so fascinating we interviewed him to unpack his incredible journey, identify the early mistakes that held him back, and explain how he has created his dream business.
We hope you enjoy this deep and nuanced interview!
Jonathan Boyd (00:00:00):
I was going to say this on the end of the call, if you were going to say any last words or anything like that, but it's the truth, and I was just going to say that I'm glad and thankful that we can spend time today, or really invest time today, just hanging out, talking, being together, because as we say in my company, we spiral up anytime we come together. It's a resonant frequency of things are going to go up, things are going to spiral up, ideas are going to come up, et cetera. But I'm glad we get to hang out today. And then also that just to recognize the fact that all of us right now, for the last hour and a half, have been able to have the privilege of spending our time doing something to deliver value to other people.
And lots of other people. Somebody is going to listen to what you said today and transform… More than one person. But just to contextualize what happened today, there's going to be somebody who listens to that audio over and over and over again, and they are going to build a business that changes so many lives because of that conversation, irrespective of everything else good that happened with it. But there are going to be people who hear that and that's going to be the thing that they look back on, and years from now when they're telling their story about, “What happened?” It's going to be, “Well, it's this and that, but really what happened is I heard this interview…” That's what just happened here. It's such a privilege to be part of that. Thanks, man. I can't overstate that enough.
All right, we're here, André and I are here with a really good friend of ours, Jonathan Boyd. We'd mentioned before that we're going to do an interview with Jonathan and we're going to talk a little bit about why first, couple of big reasons. One, probably first and foremost, if we're being honest, the three of us are really good friends and it's just always fun to have a conversation with Jonathan. And secondly, really looking out for our audience. In many ways I think Jonathan represents the dream. We'll really unpack this in today's call, but what Jonathan has accomplished, it's what all of us really are trying to accomplish, in so many ways. Both in the success that he's had, but in how he is showing up for that success. So much so that the story it's, if I had heard this from anybody else, I don't even know that I would believe it. It's amazing. But Jonathan is probably one of the highest integrity people I've ever met. So everything that you are about to hear is 100% true and probably understated.
So having said that, I want to segue into the first question, and this one's very near and dear to me, but there's a little background before I ask the question. So when Jonathan and I met, it was weird. We were instant friends. I talked about the difference between family that you're born to and family that you choose, and Jonathan is family that I've chosen, but it was instant. I met this guy, and I'm like, “Okay, we're best friends,” immediately. And it was really strange. And one of the early conversations we had explained that in a way that I had never heard, and the way you explained that was the difference between resonance and dissonance. And I've since co-opted those terms. I use them all the time. So Jonathan, from your perspective, what does resonance mean to you? And you can talk about that in general and from a marketing perspective. You choose, but talk us through that.
Jonathan Boyd (00:03:30):
So I'm going to try to tie together a few different ideas. Hopefully by the end it'll make a lot more sense, I think, when I go through these different things. So in case I forget, just as a placeholder, remind me to talk about natural frequency, piano, and what I call a human chord theory. And then also, I can't think of the word right now, but basically in a wave form when something adds or when something diminishes. So those are four things. I'll try to cover them all. So the first thing is natural frequency. Depending on what you've read and depending on what you've heard about this or not heard about this, some people, it will probably sound like one of those… I hate the term, but one of those quote woo woo things, but it's actually from physics, and that's where I first heard it, that's where I first got it.
Jonathan Boyd (00:04:32):
So according to physics, every object has what we call a natural frequency, meaning every different shape, whether it's a table or a baseball or a tennis racket, every object has its own natural resonant frequency, meaning that that object is vibrating at a certain frequency all the time. There's a lot more we could talk about there. I don't want to go deeper into that. Just assume that what I'm saying… Let's just imagine that it's true. That every object resonates at a particular frequency. And what we're talking about when we say frequency, we mean maybe a thousand hertz or a thousand times per second, or 500 hertz or 15,000 hertz or something like that. So we have the concept of natural frequency. Now I'm going to move on to these other things that I mentioned and then tie it all together at the end.
Jonathan Boyd (00:05:26):
So a piano. Sean, you mentioned resonance and dissonance, and I'm going to talk about human chord theory in a second, but if you look at a piano and let's just make it really, really simple, whether you play piano or not. Whether you play piano, you'll know what I'm talking about, but if you don't, this will still make sense. If you're looking at a piano keyboard, if you can visualize it, there's white keys and there's black keys. So let's just focus on the white keys for right now to make it easy. So if you were to play one white key and then you were to play, let's say, the adjacent white key to the right, the one right next to the white key that you're playing. Those two sounds together would either add together to create a… This is where wave forms come in. To create a higher amplitude wave, if the wave is… Excuse me, if the sound is a wave form, like a sine wave, or they would diminish each other in some way, like the waves would overlap and they would be destructive. So the amplitude would actually go down. If you play one white piano key, and then you, let's say with your left hand, you play the same white piano key, and then you move to the right with your right hand and you play the adjacent white key. And then let's say you play those two keys. It's going to create a sound. And that sound of those two piano keys, the two sounds together actually creates a feeling. It creates an emotion. If you play just one key, it doesn't create an emotion. There's just one sound. What creates emotion is a contrast of the two different sounds.
Jonathan Boyd (00:07:03):
So if we play the two adjacent keys, like I said, it creates some type of emotion. They create some type of a reaction for humans. And then if you keep your left hand on the same key and you move your right hand, one key to the right, you're going to play those two keys, that's going to give you a different emotion, and the wave form that's created by those two waves adding or subtracting together, it's going to give you a different result. In this case, actually, they're going to add together, but that's irrelevant for right now.
Jonathan Boyd (00:07:33):
So if you keep moving your right hand one key over, but you leave your left hand on the same key, you're going to get a range of emotions. You're going to get a range of consonance, which are sounds that add together to create a better sound or to create a stronger sound or a stronger wave form, or a wave form with a higher amplitude, or you're going to get a destructive sound, which is what you're referring to as dissonance. What's funny is that as I'm talking about this, now I'm remembering what your original question was, so I'll get to that in a second and it'll make a lot of sense.
Jonathan Boyd (00:08:07):
But if you keep moving your finger, your right hand to the adjacent key to the right, but you leave your left hand on the same key, eventually you're going to run through all of the different notes that there are, and in this case, if we're playing white keys, there's only seven different notes. So that means it's going to create seven different emotions. Now, in music in general, we're not talking about music, but in music in general, there's actually 12 different pitches in Western music. So we can make an argument that there's 12 different emotions. But in this case, let's just say we're talking about the white keys and there's only seven. And we know from what we just talked about, each one of those sounds on its own has its own frequency, and it doesn't create an emotion when you play a single key.
Jonathan Boyd (00:08:52):
This is going to go to human chord theory in a second, but if you are alone, there's no person to create a new emotion, there's no person in the room to either say like, “Yes, I like this person,” or, “No, I don't like this person,” or what we call the vibe. The vibe doesn't change. When you're alone it's just all you. There's no contrast. So if we're playing a single key, there's no contrast. If we're playing two keys at once, then there's contrast and there's emotion that's created, and it creates some level of consonance, which is adding together, or dissonance, which is subtracting or diminishing. And there are different levels of consonance and dissonance.
Jonathan Boyd (00:09:29):
So let's say we have seven different emotions. And what we're saying is that we have seven different contrast sounds. We have seven different two key pairs that can be played, and those create seven different emotions. And if we were going to look at that on a scale from one to seven, let's just assume, just for the sake of example, let's just assume that number, I don't know four… This is not a good example because it's an odd number, but let's say number four is the zero point where you play two keys and it doesn't really do anything. It's not really consonant or dissonant. It's kind of the same sound. In fact in music we would have to say that there would be eight different sounds in order for this to happen.
Jonathan Boyd (00:10:10):
But again, just for example, if we were to say that on our one to seven scale, and you can think of this in a vertical scale, not a horizontal scale, if going down towards one is dissonance and going up towards seven is consonance, let's just say four is the midway point. And if you move above four to five, the sound is going to feel a little more consonant than number four. So it's going to feel like the two sounds, the two keys that you're playing at level five are going to feel a little bit better. The emotion is going to be a little bit more positive or a little bit more exciting, or a little bit more pleasant or whatever kind of positive word you can use, but at a lower emotional level.
Jonathan Boyd (00:10:54):
And if you go up to number six, that consonance gets stronger, so the bond gets stronger, the emotion gets stronger. Then if you go up to number seven, the emotion gets the strongest on this one to seven scale. Same thing happens if we go the opposite direction. So if we're at number four and we go down, if we go down to three, in this case, the emotion you're going to feel between the two keys is a little bit unsettling. So it's a negative emotion. But it's maybe not a very noticeable negative emotion or not a very strong negative emotion. But as you go down the scale, let's say you go down to number two, or you go down to number one, by the time you get to number one, by the time you get to zero, if there is a zero, then that would be the harshest emotion. That would be the peak.
Jonathan Boyd (00:11:39):
That would be, if let's say you're getting into a room with somebody, or somebody walks into the room and instantly, right away, you just don't get along with that person. You can't stand that person. Or if there are those people that maybe you can think of that you can't stand to be around, that would be an example of the most dissonant emotion. So now I'm starting to talk about people. How does this tie into what I call human chord theory? Oddly enough, I think this is something I've been thinking about since probably high school, but if we talk about those two piano keys… Excuse me, one second, actually.
Jonathan Boyd (00:12:28):
All right, so if we talk about the piano keys, we were talking about playing two piano keys at once. Those two piano keys at once creates an emotion. At the very beginning of this, we talked about a natural frequency. Well, you can make an argument, and you can go look up the literature if you want, you can go look up physics, et cetera. Let's just assume this is true for now just for sake of example. Every human has their own natural frequency, just like every object has its own natural resonant frequency. What that means is when something else comes in close proximity to that object at near the same frequency, the object, the original object that we're talking about, is going to start to resonate, and I'm going to lead into that in just a second.
Jonathan Boyd (00:13:14):
So if we talk about humans, like I just said, every human has its own or has their own natural frequency that they resonate at. And we can say what is that made of, or maybe it's partially their personality, or maybe it's mostly their personality, but their interests, their beliefs, et cetera, you sit somewhere in the emotional spectrum and the personality spectrum as well. So you have a place, and there are certain things that… We use the phrase resonate. There are certain things that resonate with you. There's certain things that don't. But if we go deeper, what are we really talking about when we say that? So if we think about the consonance and dissonance scale that we talked about, a vertical scale from, let's say, one to seven, all the way at the top is the most consonant emotions between two sounds, and we talked about piano keys.
Jonathan Boyd (00:14:07):
So let's replace the piano keys with people. So if every piano… Excuse me, if every person has their own natural frequency, they're essentially like two sounds on their own. Two people, each person has their own sound. If we could hear their natural frequency, they have their own sound. So Sean, me and you, if we come into a room, you have your own natural frequency or your own sound, if we want to talk about the piano example, and I have my own sound. What happens when we come in contact or not in contact, but in proximity? Those two sounds are either going to add together or diminish each other, just like the sounds from a piano key. And the spectrum of how or how little you get along with somebody, I have viewed it for years in terms of what I call human chord theory.
Jonathan Boyd (00:15:01):
Now in music a chord is any two or more sounds played at the same time. So essentially, you're a person, you walk into a room, you have your own natural frequency, you have your own sound. If another person walks into the room, now you're creating a chord. That's why I call it human chord theory, and it's a theory just because it's my model of how I look at it, or how you can look at it. So, like I said, two people come together in the same room. Their natural frequencies either add together or subtract, and wherever the stopping point is, so to speak, wherever the result, the end result of their addition of frequencies, it either creates consonance or dissonance. And if we go back to the scale, one to seven on a vertical scale, it creates… It's not just either or, it's on a spectrum.
Jonathan Boyd (00:15:49):
So you create either varying degrees of consonance or varying degrees of dissonance. So like your best friends, you immediately get along with, you can call them up even if you haven't talked to them for 10 years. We all know the story. You pick up where you left off, it's all the same. It immediately resonates. The wave forms immediately add together to create the highest level of consonance possible. And again, going back to the example of the people that you absolutely can't stand, that just don't resonate with you at all. I mean, think about what I just said. It doesn't resonate with you, literally, it actually de-resonates with you. So you add together with that person, you come in contact, you come to proximity or whatever, and the resulting frequency, the resulting wave form is the lowest level of dissonance possible. So it creates that harsh, unpleasant, you just can't stand that type of emotion.
Jonathan Boyd (00:16:42):
So anyway, long story short, when we met, Sean, it was one of those cases where you were standing in the room already. I literally walked into the room and I noticed, I just looked at you, and I did a double-take, and it was just immediately… As weird as it sounds, there was immediate resonance. We met. Within five minutes, we sat next to each other. Within an hour or whatever we went to dinner and we had this conversation, and here we are.
I love that store and I wish we could bottle up the conversation we had at dinner that night too, because it was… And I wanted to start with this because if people really understand that lens, and then they listen to everything else that follows in this conversation from that perspective, I think they're going to get a tremendous amount from it. And some of the feedback that André and I get a lot is, it really comes down to this idea of resonance versus dissonance, and when people are trying to do something, a method that just isn't in line with either their values or how they want to show up in the world, and they've been told over and over, “Oh, it's the right way to do it. It's the secret way to do it. It's the,” fill in the blank. We all know the bullshit. But it doesn't feel right to them. I mean, really, what you just mentioned, it's permission, it's an exploration of why, but it's really trust it. If something doesn't feel right for you, it probably isn't. And that's just the nature of it.
All right, let's [crosstalk 00:18:18]. I love this conversation, but-
Jonathan Boyd (00:18:19):
Let me make a quick point on that. So just a quick thing about what you're talking about now. This is something that I think about often. There's a reason that they call it insight and not outsight. All the people who are doing things that don't feel right, they're looking externally for something to either give them permission or for somebody to tell them the right thing to do or the right way for them or the right thing, the thing that's going to make them happy, get them a result, et cetera. But you already know what that thing is. You just need to tune into listening to it. You can already feel it. Just go with it.
Yeah, that trust is so important. All right, let's transition to just a little more of the transactional side of things just to set the stage. I want to give people a sense. I mentioned earlier that your story is almost not believable and really it's so amazing. And earlier, before we started recording, we realized it's even more amazing than we realized coming into the call. So I'll do a quick highlight and then just jump in if I get anything wrong or at the end I'm going to open up some space for you just to fill in any blanks. So you were running an in-person guitar studio in 2014. You had some thoughts about maybe franchising. At some point you got bit by the online, go virtual, go online bug. You did work for a big direct response company for a while.
I have some more specific questions about some of your initial forays, and you did some sort of very traditional direct response style approaches early, I think back in 2018. But then the company you were working for, no fault of your own, that company kind of imploded at the end of 2019, and then this is where we kind of get into some really interesting dates. And I want people to pay attention to this timeline because it's shocking. Just write write down the dates as we go along with the things that happened. So October, 2019, you start thinking about doing maybe some client consulting. You and I had that conversation when we were in Tennessee, and you had lined up a consulting client. Also around that time, you had started an LDC lean business for creator style front through that initial one in November. You were getting good results. I think mentioned something 3.5 to 4 times ROI on the offer.
Then January, this is January… Keep in mind, this is the end of 2019, now we're in the beginning of 2020. January 26, 2020, you had just passed 230 customers. Write that number down because where that goes is going to be stunning. Then February 10th, you mentioned you had your first thousand dollar day. October 26th, again, this is 2020 during a global pandemic, you mentioned that you had just passed 20,000 customers. And now jumping on the call today, that number is in excess of 25, 000 customers. So let's book end this. January 26th of this year, just prior to a global pandemic that has effectively shut the world down, 230 customers. Middle of November, 25,000 customers.
It is shocking. It is absolutely amazing what you have accomplished. Speak to that a little bit. What was the journey? Hit the highlights for the journey there, because I'm sure you're in it every day, and you're solving challenges, you're working with your team, but have you had a moment to step back and really appreciate this… It's nothing short of staggering what you've accomplished. Have you had a chance to even appreciate that, are you just in it and going full bore ahead?
Jonathan Boyd (00:22:28):
There are so many things to address there, and I hope we can get into some of the learnings a little bit later, because there's a lot of things that I would love to touch on that have been massive ahas for me and that I really think will be very valuable for people as well. So I'm really hoping we can get into that. Talking about the specific journey first though, I think… I can't remember which way it went, but October 26, 2019 is when I started paid advertising for this particular offer. Actually it was a slightly different offer, but either way, that's more or less when we got started full steam ahead.
Jonathan Boyd (00:23:08):
And just for some background, I had actually been building in my spare time, the infrastructure and the bones of this online company for for two years prior to that, almost three years prior to that. So in my spare time I was learning everything I needed to know, doing everything myself, building the sites and learning how to code a little bit, learning how to make an offer, learning how to write blogs, all of it. So I don't want people to think that one day I just woke up and hit install on a WordPress theme, and then away we went and I just started running traffic to a page. It doesn't work like that. So October 26, this is what I was going to say, I can't remember which way it went. We either spent $526 or made $526. I want to say we spent that much.
Jonathan Boyd (00:24:03):
I made $526. I want to say we spent that much. And when you say ROI in the beginning, in early November, when we first started getting customers, because originally I wasn't running ads to get customers. I was actually running ads to… like a free email course. But originally, the ROI was actually 14. So, it was pretty high up there. And the CPAs in those days were around 3, 4 dollars. With a new ad, 3 or 4 dollars on Facebook. So, fast forward to December, this was the first time I learned that it's really hard to run traffic in December, depending on what industry you're in because everybody else is out there trying to promote Costco through the roof. And I actually shut off ads completely in the latter half of December.
Jonathan Boyd (00:24:57):
And then in January, my account got shut down for a week. I could run no ads or anything. So, really, I would say latter half of January is really when we actually turn on the… I don't want to say faucet because it's a cliche, but whatever. Turned on the faucet and kept it running since then. And then, of course, since then, we've been growing pretty fast. I promise you, this is not an ego-driven statement or anything like that. I'm just giving you a reflection of how I feel internally and how I look at things. From where we were in January and then where we are now, yes, we've had a lot of growth, but for me, and I guess my personal standards, just how I feel about it, I feel like we just barely gotten started, and I feel like, “Okay, great. We're off the starting blocks. Now we can actually focus on really turning this into something really…”
Jonathan Boyd (00:26:09):
When it's not about necessarily customer numbers, I'm just giving you in a measurement of how I'm thinking. 25,000 customers, that's a lot of customers, but to me, it's like, “Okay, 25,000 is good.” I'm looking at this as a fuel gauge in a car. That's about a quarter of a tank to me.” I want to have around 100,000 customers. I'll feel like, “Okay, we're starting to make a dent in the market. We're starting to make some kind of an impact. We're starting to do something good. We must be doing something right.” And then I'm sure by then, I'll probably feel like 500,000 customers is a good benchmark. But yeah. That's honestly how I feel about it.
You're the master of understatement there. All right. I want to go back in time a little bit for this next question. And it's something that you said in our first conversations. Just for everybody's background for context. The three of us, we've had a conversation just to orient to what we wanted to talk about today. So, a lot of the questions we're going to ask today are really, questions that came out of the review of that last conversation. And you said something in that last conversation, it's not something people generally hear, and you really spoke to the role of fear when you first started. And maybe not an overt fear, but the reference specifically was, you would create these two VSLs, very much direct response style funnel with VSLs and very limited ad spend. In my experience, I've worked with a lot of people, I've seen fear manifest as procrastination, perfectionism, sort of the stop-start idea, shiny object syndrome, you name it. But for you, how did fear show up, and more importantly, what did you do about it?
Jonathan Boyd (00:27:55):
So, there're always going to be many different ways that fear shows up and how it stops you and blocks you, but we'll just focus on the main ones specifically relating to the VSLs. So, I had actually created two entire VSLs that I never ran traffic to and two webinars. And I did literally everything myself. I wrote the entire script. One of the webinars, I kid you not, was over 1000 slides. And before I validated anything, I went through the process of writing a bunch of follow-up emails, setting up, I don't know, I guess it was EverWebinar or whatever webinar software at the time, setting up autoresponder sequences and everything, all of this stuff ahead of time.
Jonathan Boyd (00:28:54):
And then I think I ended up running $22 to that webinar. I spent $22 of traffic on that webinar. And I don't know if I can pinpoint exactly what the fear was, but I can talk around it. And at the time… They say you don't know what you don't know. And the fear of the unknown, apparently, is the biggest fear. So, I guess, at the time, I was afraid maybe that… I think I was running a traffic on Facebook, so I guess I was afraid if some people were going to give me a negative comment or make some kind of a comment like, “This sucks or…” And as I'm talking about it, it probably comes down to self-worth, that you don't really have a reason to believe, at that point, that what you have to say is valuable to other people.
Jonathan Boyd (00:29:54):
You mentioned that I used to have a guitar school, and I did. I was really good at it. And I had methods that I had developed, which turned into what I'm doing now. But I knew they worked, I know how to get people results. I know how to motivate them, et cetera. But when it comes to doing something new, putting yourself “out there,” online, which sounds ridiculous as I'm talking about it. But again, it's just the truth. I'm just telling the truth. I think there's just that fear of, you don't know how people are going to react. You don't know if somebody is going to call the FBI, as some people kind of threaten you. Once you get into customer service, like, “I'm going to call the FBI on you.” But you don't know what's going to happen. You don't know if somebody is going to send you a subpoena or people are just going to absolutely hate it.
Jonathan Boyd (00:30:50):
And we imagine all these scenarios about somebody making a really awful comment on maybe, your ad or something, and then putting a YouTube video out and saying how stupid you are, getting the entire world to point and laugh at you. I think that's really what it boils down to. We seem to have this irrational fear of something crazy like that happening. And because of that, you don't want to deal with that pain or even the thought of that pain. So you just turn the ads off, and it's a whole lot easier to go sit on the couch and eat ice cream than it is to run ads and worry what people are going to say. So, over time, you eventually develop the guts through doing it. The phrase that I love is an old Buddhist phrase, “To know and not to do is not yet to know.”
Jonathan Boyd (00:31:39):
So, when you think, you let your imagination get in the way. That's where the fear comes from. You imagine these horrible scenarios and it creates fear or creates negative feelings that you want to escape or get away from. So, you don't move in that direction. Who would? It's like walking into a hallway of chainsaws. Who wants to do that? You're not going to go in there right? But eventually, going back to, “To know and not to do is not yet to know,” it's like we have the phrase, “Dipping your toe in the water.” So let's say you run a little bit… And in this case, I'm just going to speak to spending money on ads, and specifically running traffic to offers. But I'm just using this as an example, which applies to anything. But we have the phrase, dipping your toe in the water, and we all know what that means. At least us in the Western world, we know, dipping your toe in the water means you're just trying something. You're getting a taste of something. You're going to see how it goes.
Jonathan Boyd (00:32:34):
But when you dip your toe in the water, you find that you don't really get wet. And then you're like, “Well, maybe I should stick my foot in the water.” So you stick your foot in the water. And then you're all dry, your pants aren't wet. All your stuff's still in your pockets. You don't have to dry your hair off. So, then you eventually determined like, “Look, if I stick my foot in the water, if I dip my whole leg in the water, not much is really going to happen. That's not really going to create any many ripples or anything.” Like if I would really want to create some waves or create some ripples, I need to jump in and I need to do a cannonball. I need to jump in. So you just go for it. That's the only way things start happening. But what you learn, or at least what I learned, and this is what I've observed that other people learn too, that, number one, what we're afraid of is nothing.
Jonathan Boyd (00:33:23):
And I mean, there's literally nothing there. You're just imagining all of these things, all these scenarios about being laughed at, or looking like an idiot or people getting upset at you or whatever. And it's just like you're swinging to punch something but there's nothing to punch, and you just whiff. And the more you whiff, you realize, “Oh, there's nothing to punch. Let me just keep walking forward, or let me just dive into the lake or dive into the pool and get wet.” And that's really the only way you learn. And then once you do that, like I said, that's the only way you realize… That's the only way you begin to believe through experience, to know and not to do is not yet to know. That's the only way you begin to know that nothing's going to happen.
Jonathan Boyd (00:34:08):
People aren't going to take your car or your house away just because you're running traffic on Facebook. I guess, depending on what you're running traffic to. But in general, there's nothing there. And also, you start to find that if what you have to say is valuable, of course, and if you believe it is, and it probably is, people are going to find it valuable. You're going to help people. You're going to find those people that say like, “I was having a really crappy day and I've read this, and it really helped me out. I really needed this today. Thank you.” Just a simple message that you would never, ever, ever think that anybody would care about, then why would anybody pay attention to me, et cetera, et cetera. And this is where we can transition if you want to. But what happens over time is the more you experience this and the more you share, and the more that when it's coming from a place of sharing something that you think could actually be valuable for people, the more you realize that “Hey, there are people out there who are waiting to hear from you.” There are people out here who would love to know what you know even if you think what you know is just a big pile of garbage, or if you think that there's no worth to, or very little worth to what it is you have to say if you're not the person to share it, who cares? It's not about you, it's about them.” And that's what you begin to learn. And that's what really turns on the fire.
I think I'm going to steal your phrase. I'm going to put a couple of things together and I'll cite you. But the phrase is going to be that advertising on Facebook was like walking into a room full of chainsaws. Seems that's been mostly my experience too. All right. I'm going to transition to the next question. This is a very deliberate loaded question that I hope sends you down a path, because so much of what we talked about in the first conversation that I thought was just brilliant on your part. That's no pressure. But it's something that you did, that if I looked at the entire conversation that we had, it's very limited information, I get. But when I look at it, I think this may have been your superpower.
Obviously, your ability to take action, one step in front of the other, day after day, is a superpower. But prior to that, I think this one thing that you did may have been your superpower. So, with that as a big setup to scare you now, here's the question. Early on, you solicited a lot of feedback. All the way back to the days of the in-person guitar school and really interacting with people directly, but then also later, virtually interacting with people and getting a lot of feedback. You explained to us how you use that feedback, but walk us through what you did. Walk us through how you got the feedback and then what you did with it and how it influenced your messaging.
Jonathan Boyd (00:37:11):
I love this question. I'm actually going to back up and talk a little bit on the meta-level first, and be, maybe, potentially a little philosophical, but it's going to make sense. So, I encourage you to stick with me until I get to the concrete example of what you just asked me. I've had this idea. Sounds like I've had a lot of ideas for a while, huh? But if you've ever seen a kid's… I don't know what to call it, but there are those… Only thing I can think to call it is like a board, not on a table though, but something freestanding, standing up on its own, like a kid's toy where it's almost like a Connect Four game, like the actual structure itself, not the actual game, with a little tokens, but the actual structure of a Connect Four, I don't know what to call it, a board or whatever. But basically, there's all these little holes. And if you can imagine, you've probably seen one of these, if I had the right name for it, but there's like a plastic board and there are different holes with different shapes.
Jonathan Boyd (00:38:19):
One of the holes might be a star shape, one of the holes might be a circle, or another hole might be a square or something like that. But the point is, kids go to the playground or something and they have these little blocks that are in different shapes. And the point is to put the right-shaped block through the right shaped hole. We've all seen something like that. When I think about a market, and in terms of the word, market, when most people think market, they don't actually think of what a market is, which is people. A market isn't a thing. There's no such thing as a market. It's not a structure or an entity or an association or whatever. It's just people who are interested in something in common or have a common pain point. That's it. But the core of the message is that it's people, and if we break down the people, it's persons, it's individual persons. A market is made up of persons. One persons.
Jonathan Boyd (00:39:24):
So, if we go back to the idea of the kids play… I don't know what to call it. But the thing where you put the plugs in the holes, if you think about a market in terms of, let's say you are an explorer in ancient Egypt, and you are going through the pyramids and you're searching for treasure or something, and you discover this tablet. And the tablet is just like… It's clay. It's completely covered up on the top by dust and clay. And if you can imagine that that tablet, you don't know this yet, but on the reverse side of that tablet or underneath all the clay are all of these different shaped holes. And as a marketer or as a business person, or as someone who is trying to sell a product or trying to sell something, for the sake of this example, let's just call everything a product, whether it's a service, no matter what it is, insurance, Pop-Tarts, it doesn't matter. Let's just call everything a product.
Jonathan Boyd (00:40:27):
And you have this clay tablet. You don't know that there are holes underneath it yet, in different shapes, and what most people try to do, and when I say most people, I mean, most greener entrepreneurs that I have noticed, what they try to do is they take these different blocks that are in different shapes, and these blocks represent their product. They're looking at this blank clay tablet that's completely opaque. It's completely flat. And it's dusty and whatnot, that's all you can see. So, they take these blocks that they built. They think, “This clay tablet represents a market, a group of people with a common interest or common pain point. And I think that this clay tablet, that this market needs a star-shaped prism.” So I think that I need to make a star shape prism. So I go spend six months a year, two, three, four years crafting the perfect star-shaped prism with polishing, all the edges are a perfect angle.
Jonathan Boyd (00:41:33):
I spent all this time making it so perfect, and I know this market, I know these people are going to love this thing. They need this thing. And then what happens is, by the time you get to actually trying to put your product through one of the holes, which you don't know exists yet, you literally just shove your product right onto the top of the clay tablet. And you're just trying to force it. You're trying to force it through. You might've heard that there are some holes in the tablet, but you don't quite really know that yet. Remember, to know and not to do is not yet to know. So, you're just trying to force this product into the market. You're just pushing it. It won't go. You're not really getting any traction, you're really getting anywhere. Over time, let's say you have that first experience and your product basically bounces right off the tablet. And you're like, “Oh, that didn't work.”
Jonathan Boyd (00:42:23):
So, if you don't give up, which most people do, then you want to try again. So, maybe you go out there and you learn some stuff, you meet some people, you maybe buy some courses or whatever. The point is you learn new information and you start to see this market in a new way. And then you realize that “Okay. So, for these markets, there are different pain points. There are different holes in the market. There are these different shaped holes in the market. And if I can only fill…” They say, “Find a problem and fill it or find a need and fill it.” In this case, find a hole and fill it. So, at this point in your entrepreneurial journey, “I don't want to work that hard. I want it to be easy. So what do I do?” I know that there are holes in this tablet now.
Jonathan Boyd (00:43:05):
So, I just roll up my sleeves and dust off the tablet a little bit, scrape a little bit of the dust away until I start to see the indention or the impression of a hole. Like, “Oh, there's a hole I need to fill.” So you can kind of see it. You can't really see the shape of it. You can just see that there's an indention there. So you think that “Oh, here's a hole,” and whatever shape it looks like to you at that point… Remember, you haven't uncovered the entire hole yet, but through your uncovering, you start to see a rough outline or a rough indentation. And then you take that shape that you see on the surface, and then you spend a lot of time and craft another product or craft another thing that you think is going to hit that hole or fill the hole.
Jonathan Boyd (00:43:47):
So what happens? You take the product that you craft now. Let's say it's a square. And let's say you see the indention of maybe a little hole or whatever. You craft a square peg if you will. And you try to shove it in this hole, but you don't know that it's actually round. You can just see the very beginning of the impression and it kind of looks like a square. So, you think you need a square, so you take a square prison that you've been crafting for six months, and you try to shove it through this round hole, literally shoving a square peg through a round hole, literally. And what happens is, well, guess what? It doesn't go through the hole. Maybe you can get one of the corners to poke through. Maybe you can get a little bit of results. You can penetrate the market just a little bit, but you're never going to get the whole peg to go through the hole, ever. This is not the right shape.
Jonathan Boyd (00:44:26):
And then eventually, long story short, you go through the cycles of learning what you don't know, uncovering what you don't know, and then starting to respect that you don't know what you don't know, and you need to do what other people do know, even if you don't know it yet, and you need to just trust them and go with it. So, what I've discovered that pros do, and this is going to lead to the real answer to… Well, this is all the real answer, but this is going to lead me to the specific answer about our business, about what I did. The people that I've noticed who are the most successful, they take the time to do the work, to find the right tablet, to find the right market. They take the time to dust off the tablet, to clean off the tablet, to get their chisel out, to chisel away the clay where they can't see the holes. They take their time to get wet rags and to turn the clay into mud and wipe as much of it as possible off, and do all the hard work.
Jonathan Boyd (00:45:31):
But in all the elbow grease of uncovering what the shape of the holes are in this tablet. And when you do all that work, what starts to happen is, not only do you uncover the holes when you clean the entire tablet, you start to see the holes for what they are. You see the exact shape of the hole. There's no guesswork. All the mud and all the clay and all the dirt is gone. You see the actual hole. So, during this whole process, I've mentioned nothing about me. I've mentioned nothing about you. I've mentioned nothing about, I mean, me in the terms of what product are we going to create, or what kind of prism are we going to create. We focused on doing all the hard work of clearing off the tablet, of cleaning the tablet so we can discover what the shape of the holes are. And then when we discovered the exact shape of those holes, only then can we go to our workbench and craft the perfect, or actually craft… I'll make this example simpler. There's a lot more we can talk about. But only then do you go to your workbench and craft a prism that will fit that hole. And then guess what. When you do that, when you frontload all that work, what happens? You create the prism, even if it's an okay prism, if it's in the right shape, you go up to the tablet and you put it right through the hole. Just like a child putting the right shape through the hole. It just goes right in. There's no friction or very, very little friction. So, why do I mention all that? Because, when it came to how did I dust off the tablet first, before what we're doing now ever started working? Well, as we mentioned, I used to have a guitar school. So I literally taught classes in-person, and over time, I narrowed down my market to be a very, very specific market in-person.
Jonathan Boyd (00:47:24):
So, we only accepted adult male career professionals who had been playing guitar for a while and got stuck. Those are the only people that we accept in our school because we wanted to deliver the most value possible to that specific type of person. And it just turned out that those specific type of people were also in the most pain as well. So, they were most willing to solve their problem, or to get their problems solved, or to have somebody else show them how to solve the problem. So, from doing that for years, literally, of course, I started to notice, in-person, who these people were, what were their backgrounds like, what have they tried before when it comes to guitar? What have they bought? What do they think about those other things?
Jonathan Boyd (00:48:03):
When it comes to guitar, what have they bought? What do they think about those other things? How do they operate? What do they do on a Saturday afternoon? What did they watch on TV? What do they talk about? How do they talk? What do their accents sound like? You get to know somebody, just like you know your neighbor, if you have a neighbor that you actually talk to. But let's say, an acquaintance or a friend, you start to actually know the person, not just what you think about the person. The person reveals themselves to you and you start to uncover the shape of the holes in this market, remember market is a group of people. So, as I'm doing this in-person, I'm uncovering all these holes and I'm developing solutions in-person to be able to address those needs and to be able to get them results on guitar, specific results, based on what their problem areas were, et cetera.
Jonathan Boyd (00:48:54):
And then fast forward, I think a lot of people would think that would be enough, but fast forward. I ran ads on Facebook a couple of years before I ever actually started running as to the offer that we have now. I ran ads on Facebook just saying, something to the effect of, “Play guitar and want to talk about your biggest guitar playing frustration?” Or whatever, “Just say yes.” So, anybody who said yes in the comments … Remember I paid for this. So, I was paying to run ads. Anybody who said yes in the comments, I set up a time to talk to them. I had a, not a script, but I had a series of 14 questions that I would walk people through, that I would go through.
Jonathan Boyd (00:49:40):
That was loosely based on an actual questionnaire that I had as a prerequisite to apply to my commercial, to apply to my school, in-person school. So, I kind of adapted that and then I talked to people on the phone for 45 minutes to an hour. I spent the time to talk to these people and really dove deep into asking questions like … Of course, you have to build rapport first in order to ask questions like this, but like, “What annoys you?” They would be talking about a frustration or something and I'd be like, “What's the most annoying thing to you about that? Why is that annoying?” Or when they talk about competitors in the market or other solutions, “What do they wish existed? Why do those things not work? What do you not like about those things? Why do they annoy you? Why do they frustrate you? What is it exactly?” And dig really deep and really work to dust off the tablet. This is what I'm getting at. That's why I told you that little story at the beginning.
Jonathan Boyd (00:50:40):
That this is all doing the work to uncover the actual shape of the holes in the market, not the shapes that you think are there, that's what's important. And anyway, so I called a bunch of people, recorded all the conversations, after the conversations I wrote notes. I highlighted the bold sections, especially where there was a lot of emotion around something and I still have those. I still refer to those same scripts, and that was in 2017. I still refer to those same notes. I have my team refer to those notes now. But doing that allowed me to uncover the shape, the exact shape, or as close as I could get to the exact shape of the hole that I felt like I could fill the best through my prior experience, a combination of my prior experience, what I was interested in, and what I had already got results for people in or for.
Jonathan Boyd (00:51:36):
And because of that, I spent a couple of months, several months crafting a prism in the shape of a hole, delivering to the market what I think is the number one thing that they were actually looking for, for the specific market, the specific people that were out there with these specific pain points that I'd uncovered and that I knew how to address. And doing all this research and uncovering those holes and the exact shape of those holes, I put together what I thought was subconsciously the number one thing that they were looking for. So, to be more specific, this market of let's say an avatar, would be a guy named Joe who has his own insurance company. He has two kids, he's 56 or 57. Kids have moved out. He used to play guitar when he was a teenager, took a couple of lessons, but never really made it very far.
Jonathan Boyd (00:52:38):
Over time he's picked it up on and off, but life gets in the way, of course, he has kids, has a family, whatever, has to support the family. Life gets in the way. He's always thinking in the back of his mind, when he has more time, he's going to put more time into it. He always really wanted to be a good guitar player. And he tries every now and then, he has limited time. He sits down to practice and he just ends up wasting his practice time because he either goes on YouTube or he buys a course or buys a book or something. He's learned a few things. He learned a few bits and pieces of songs, learned a few bits and pieces of riffs or solos or something from his favorite songs, but he doesn't really know how to play whole songs yet, or maybe only can play a handful.
Jonathan Boyd (00:53:23):
And when it comes to theory, when it comes to learning how to play lead guitar, soloing, and all that kind of stuff, he learns about that stuff but he just winds up getting confused. And when he goes to YouTube, he gets even more confused because it's unstructured, it bounces around, he feels completely overwhelmed. There's conflicting information. He doesn't know who to follow, who to trust. When he looks at a book, you can't ask a book a question, so he gets frustrated, and long story short, he winds up getting frustrated, getting bored, putting the guitar down, feeling like crap about himself, or just noodling. Noodling is what they call it, what we call it, which means just letting your mind drift away and just letting your hands take over and just play the same old, boring stuff that you always play.
Jonathan Boyd (00:54:01):
And then there's an overwhelming sense of disgust about yourself, about how much progress you've made, which is little to none, even if you've been trying for years or decades to do this thing. And he's always thinking in the back of his mind, “I just wish I could get over this hill that I'm stuck on. I would wish I could find that missing piece, that thing that's going to put it all together. That aha. I just need to know that thing that's going to make it all click.” Right? So, everything that I've just told you is building up to this one thing, the one thing that I believe Joe is looking for is the ultimate light bulb moment. He's looking for that ultimate light bulb moment, that aha moment, that's going to turn him on and allow him to … In this case, he wants to start playing solos and start improvising, playing lead guitar.
Jonathan Boyd (00:54:53):
So, what prism did I lead with? I spent all that time and all those years learning all that stuff about Joe to make something called the Ultimate Lead Guitar Lightbulb Moment, and that's the thing that I deliver to the market. That's what I uncover. I spent all that time dusting off the tablet, all that time chiseling away the mud, chiseling away the clay to uncover the exact shape of the holes, at least as clear as I could possibly see. And you can always get more clear, but at this time, that's about as clear as I could see the hole. So, I went to work crafting a prism that I think would fit that hole and that's where the Ultimate Lead Guitar Lightbulb Moment came from. And that was the beginning. I started running traffic to the Ultimate Lead Guitar Lightbulb Moment in, I guess it was October, but November is when I started running traffic to a free course version of it. And then, I've been running it ever since, and now we have over 185,000 people have downloaded the Lightbulb Moment.
I just want to draw attention to this segment, this one question. There is more marketing education in your answer to that one question than most people will find in encyclopedias of marketing. Just take that section and listen to it over and over again, because the process that you went through, that's it, that's exactly it. And it's easy to get put off by the amount of time, it's easy to get put off by the amount of effort, but there is so much genius in that. I mean, this idea of actually advertising really to get somebody to talk to you, because what happens most of the time is people advertise to get somebody on the phone and it's just for a strategy session or something, and it's just an attempt to close them. And people sense that immediately and then they're not going to give you necessarily great input in that. But to legitimately want to know your audience so well, that you're willing to pay for their attention to make notes that are clearly paying you hundreds of thousands of times the cost that it got to get that information.
There's just so much there. That, again, I can't overstate, just play that section over and over again on your podcast app or whatever you're listening to this for. All right. So, I hate to even go on past that, I could just put a stake in the ground now and just be like, good, we're done, you've done it, but I know there's so much more value that you have to share. So, this next question …
Oh yeah, go ahead.
… before you start the next question, I'd written a little note down the last time the three of us spoke and it's, “Speed comes from doing the slow things first.” And I wasn't sure if this was something that you said Jonathan, or if I just heard you unpacking something similar and I wrote this down, but that's exactly … That just frames what you've just said, this unpacking the story is you chose to do all those slow things first, and ultimately you've gone from 230 customers to 25,000 customers in just a few months, and that's why, it's you did the slow things first and it's actually faster that way.
Jonathan Boyd (00:58:21):
Yeah. That's just so much there. I just want to pull this out and just make the whole call about this. All right. Let's move on to the next question. So, when we last spoke, you mentioned that you would love the idea of Lead Magnet 3.0 and as it's described in the original LBC. And that the traffic temperature goes up in reference to a very short lead capture page or one that's considerably longer. And I think when you were describing longer, you were mentioning 1,500 to 1,900 words. So, for your business, what has the relationship been between long versus short copy and average order of value, or long versus short copy, and really as it impacts your business?
Jonathan Boyd (00:59:10):
Okay. We're going to have to back up again and go meta first, and I think this is going to be really valuable to think about. So, what I've realized that I used to not realize, that also other people haven't yet realized, and that said, this is just a way of looking at it, right? This is just a mental model. But if you go to the beach and you dig a hole, not a very deep hole, but you dig a hole, and water rushes into the hole. So you're sitting on the beach, you're in the sand and you have a hole, a bowl shaped hole with water in it. That water wants to go somewhere, and when I say it wants to go somewhere I don't mean … I'm not personifying it. I'm not saying that the water has a personality or whatever. What I'm saying is that the water is contained in the bowl of sand that you've created. And the water is pushing against the sand on all sides, all the way around, is pushing against the sand. So, there's some tension there.
Jonathan Boyd (01:00:18):
Now, when it comes to markets, which is a container of people, like we talked about before, it's a group of people that have a common interest or a common pain point. A segment of that market is going to … Depending on the market, of course, if it's a market that buys stuff, a segment of that market is going to spend money regardless of if you exist in the world or not, they're already going to spend money. So, the container or the market is like that pool of water, that bowl of water in the sand, that has that outward pressure, that outward tension. I guess it's not tension, it's compression. Either way. There's already that compression there. There's already that outward pressure that the people in the market are going to spend money somewhere. They're going to go somewhere and relieve that tension. They're going to go somewhere and try to get relief to their problem, or try to fulfill their desire by spending money. And that money is going to flow somewhere outside of the bowl of water, it's going to flow somewhere outside of the little pool. So, I'm going to connect a couple of things together here. So, there's a guy named Joe Girard, who is, I think in the Guinness Book of World Records a couple of years for being apparently the greatest used car salesman of all time.
Jonathan Boyd (01:01:41):
Now, the phrase used car salesman, obviously it gets a bad rap, but let's just take that idea, put it in a box, put some tape on it and put it to the side right now. Let's just think about Joe Girard. Joe Girard said … Well, first of all, when … Something that you mentioned André, just a moment ago, that when you … Let's say most people try to get on the phone with people to have a sales call or something like that and people immediately pick up on that. They immediately resist it. They immediately have that yuck feeling. They immediately push it away, right? They want to get out of that situation. The point is, they resist it. Joe Girard said, “The best way to overcome sales resistance is to give them nothing to resist.” So, it's just like swinging a punch in the dark and when you think you're going to punch something, you miss, there's nothing there. So, you can keep going forward.
Jonathan Boyd (01:02:35):
So, let's go back to the bowl of water. Why am I mentioning that? So, let's imagine that the little bowl of water, and I'm saying like a little pool of water, the bowl is actually in the sand. So, the little pool of water in the sand, there's that outward pressure on all sides. That's your market wanting to … They're going to spend money regardless, and what's going to happen? If there are any irregularities around the sides of the sand hole that you made, the water is going to flow into that hole. Why? Because there's already outward pressure and the water is going to take the path of least resistance. It's going to flow to fill the voids. That outward pressure is actually going to push the water into the path of least resistance.
Jonathan Boyd (01:03:21):
So, what happens is, or this is what I think is happening. The water … The market is the water in this case. And that outward pressure of the water pushing on the sand is the market's or the people's desire to spend money or their tendency to spend money, or the fact that they're going to spend money. There's some tension there. And if we go back to what Joe Girard said, “The best way to overcome sales resistance is to give them nothing to resist.” Well, if we think about the bowl of water, if I take my fingers and right on the edge of the bowl, if I scrape away a little channel, what's going to happen to the water? It's going to flow right into the channel, right? If I scrape a big enough channel, a deep enough, wide enough, long enough channel, technically or theoretically all of that water can flow into my channel that I just created. All of it. That means the entire market can flow into my little channel that I've just created.
Jonathan Boyd (01:04:29):
So, let's think about the idea of creating these little channels and Joe Girard's idea of the best way to overcome sales resistance is to give them nothing to resist. So, as it relates to Lead Magnet 3.0 … And this is where the genesis of these ideas came from, or at least these labels for these ideas. And then, going back to the idea of AOV and a long opt-in page. So, let's think about this. Now, I'm going to be specific. Most opt-in pages that you see, if you're being honest, most opt-in pages that you see, you go out there, you look at a website and it's immediately what they call above the fold. The first thing you see, there's some button in the middle, maybe there's an opt-in form, but they want you to do something right away and they're giving you something to resist right away.
Jonathan Boyd (01:05:17):
And most people are going to resist it. But what you have to do when you see that page is just judge with the cues that are on a page. What's the credibility? Judging by the person or the company name or the logo, or the URL name, or whatever. What is it that they're offering? What does the copy say? What am I going to get when I … What's the benefit of being on this page and clicking that button that they want me to click? The point is it's like going to a used car lot and the car salesman coming up to you and saying, “You want to buy a car today?” So, immediately you're going to resist that. Right? Well, what I've found through testing … And part of it came through testing, part of it came to my natural approach to how I want to address the people in the market.
Jonathan Boyd (01:06:05):
Remember I had extensive experience before in-person with these “people,” they're real people. So, what I did was … Actually how this started was when I was on the phone with people, anytime I would hit on a subject that somebody started getting excited about, and that I would explain something in a particular way where they're like, “Oh, I never thought about it that way,” or, “That really helps,” or, “That just opened up a whole new world,” or something like that. I would immediately go type all of that out, that exact conversation, without their comments, of course. But I would just literally type out that conversation. Exactly what I would tell somebody if I was standing, talking to them in-person and it was assuming it was my avatar, I would literally just on the page write what I just told this person on the phone about this specific pain point, and then a new way to think about it and then, what can solve the problem?
Jonathan Boyd (01:06:58):
So, I would just take that … and those were actually originally my control Facebook ads, but over time I started running more and more traffic on Google on the Display Network. But that model, so to speak, became how I develop my opt-in pages. And I'm going to tie this back together with the pool of water, so don't think I forgot about that. Now, if you go to one of my opt-in pages, it's what do you see? You literally see a logo at the top, a header bar with a logo. You see a headline and you see almost 2,000 words of text. That's it. There's no pictures, there's no frills, there's nothing else. It's just words. And it's literally just explaining exactly what I would explain to somebody on the phone. And at the very end, there's a button where they can opt-in. They can get the Lead Guitar Lightbulb Moment.
Jonathan Boyd (01:07:54):
So, how does this relate to all the other crazy stuff that I just talked about with the pool of water? So, if we remember the pool of water, the pool aka the market, already wants to flow somewhere. The market wants to flow somewhere. They're going to flow somewhere whether you exist or not, and that's the point that I really want people to understand. So, any channels that exist in that hole, in the sand hole, where the water in it, the water is naturally going to flow there. So, if you want the water to flow in your direction, well just create the biggest channel. So, if you're running ads to something, and let's say people go to my opt-in page … And this is theoretical what I'm about to say, but just for the sake that we can talk about it. If somebody goes to my opt-in page and they go to, let's say 10 other opt-in pages from our market or my market, immediately they're met with something to resist for those 10 other opt-in pages.
Jonathan Boyd (01:08:56):
I've never seen an opt-in page that didn't give somebody something to resist right away, in my market. So, when they go to my opt-in page, well guess what? There's nothing to swing at. It's just a page with text on it. It's like an article. “Oh, okay, cool. I'm going to read this article.” There's nothing to resist. So, the market starts to naturally flow to my channel. They start to naturally flow to my … When I say channel, I mean, the channel in the sand, I don't mean like a marketing channel. So, they naturally start to flow into my channel, and then they read through the opt-in page. There's nothing about a product. There's nothing about selling anything or scheduling an appointment or anything like that. I'm just delivering an answer to a question that they've always wondered about.
Jonathan Boyd (01:09:40):
And I know from talking to people on the phone, that what I'm saying will resonate with the right people, so it does. And so, people read through this whole thing. Okay. Like I said, I think the current one, the current control is 1,900 words. And at the very end, what they discover is basically something to get attention, obviously, and it's nothing wild or crazy. Again, there's nothing to resist. There's no marketing language or crazy sales language or something. The control headline … This sounds crazy in the copywriting writing world, but my control headline is The Great Guitar Theory Trap. Judging by copywriting principles and rules, that's a really crappy headline, but I've been unable to beat it, and I test all the time.
Jonathan Boyd (01:10:29):
So anyway, so people read that, there's nothing to resist. There's no, “Be a Guitar God in Five Days.” Immediately you're going to resist that. So, again, you read through, you discover that, “Oh, this person is talking about my problem and maybe I should listen to this, or maybe I should keep reading this.” And then you discover that, “Oh, there's this new way of thinking about it. The thing that I thought was causing the problem actually isn't the real thing that's causing the problem. And now, I'm having this paradigm shift and there's a new way of thinking about it.” So, automatically I'm delivering value. The point is to deliver value ahead of time. Jay Abraham's strategy of preeminence, right? Don't wait until money exchanges hands to start caring for a client, to start taking care of them, leading them, giving value to them, et cetera.
Jonathan Boyd (01:11:16):
So, this person is reading through the opt-in page. Eventually they discover that … More or less, it says, “If you want to have more insights like this, if you want to uncover the real way or the thing that you've really been looking for, well, now you can get a free course, free, it's free, The Ultimate Lead Guitar Lightbulb Moment.” That thing that they've been looking for for decades, some of them. And literally, I've taught students who have been playing for seven decades and still are looking for this thing. So, anyway, the point is, if we go back to the hole in the sand with water in it, the water is going to flow somewhere. It's going to fill any gaps or holes or whatever. So, the way to get the water to flow to you-
Jonathan Boyd (01:12:03):
… or whatever. So the way to get the water to flow to you is just spend the time to dig the best channel, to dig the biggest channel, and then the water will start flowing to you. It's a law of nature. It's how it works. If you obey it, it's going to work for you. If you don't obey it, it's going to work against you. Or at least not in your favor. So you dig the channel and then, like I said, people are flowing now to my opt-in page, or this type of opt-in page, and only after I've delivered a lot of value do I ask them to do anything, which is opt in for something. That something is free, by the way, like I've already mentioned.
Jonathan Boyd (01:12:39):
So how does that relate to AOV? I know this is an extremely long answer, but I'm always of the opinion … Maybe I shouldn't say always, but I'm usually of the opinion that being thorough and having a fundamental understanding of the entire landscape is the only way that you can actually understand how any of the components within the landscape operate together, and the different causes and effects that go along with it. So what I discovered overall was that the longer and deeper I made that channel, the higher my AOV was. That's counterintuitive to what a lot of people would say, because in the world of opt-in pages, let's say you want 20 to 30 to 40% or whatever is generally considered a good opt in rate, and you want as many people to opt in as possible, and you want the button to be above the fold right away. So as many people who click on the button as possible, as many people opt in or whatever, and you want those numbers to be the highest as you can, so that the maximum amount of people go to the next step.
Jonathan Boyd (01:13:42):
Well, guess what? We're getting like 200, 220, 250 new customers a day by having a 1900 word opt in page. The opt-in rate is seven and a half percent. It's not 20%, it's not 30%, it's not 40%. It's 7%. Anyway, every time I've gone towards the “more traditional way of thinking,” it's come back to bite me. My AOV has gone down. Every time I've gone against this new way of thinking, my AOV has gone dramatically up. I'm not talking about 50 cents or a dollar. I'm talking about $6, $10, on a $27 product.
Jonathan Boyd (01:14:26):
The reason, and I'm going to round this out by addressing what you've mentioned about traffic temperature. What I think happens is, or what I can at least think about what happens is the people in the market, the people in the pool of water, they find this new channel and they start flowing down this new channel, aka the new opt-in page, and there's nothing to resist. So they start to feel more comfortable. They start to build a little bit of trust and you deliver value through the opt-in page or through this channel, you're delivering value. You're giving them a good experience. You're teaching them something. You're helping them understand something that they didn't understand before, which is causing them to get the wrong results.
Jonathan Boyd (01:15:08):
So they start to trust you, and then after they start to trust you a little bit, after they start to feel more comfortable, then that starts to flip over into … once we cross the zero point that starts to flip over into desire, starts to flip over into, “Okay. I don't know who this guy is. I don't know …” By the way, I don't mention my name in the opt-in page. My name isn't mentioned until way later in the process, but they start to want … Whatever it is that you have, they start to realize that, “Okay, this is different.” That's number one. That's going to get my intention, is different. This is clearly somebody knows what they're talking about. Clearly it's given me a paradigm shift or it's given me some level of value.
Jonathan Boyd (01:15:52):
So this person is not subconsciously … I'm not thinking this consciously, but I'm subconsciously feeling like, “This person isn't out to get me. They're out to get me to just opt into something or give me a free PDF or whatever, and they actually might care about me. They actually might want to help me because they spend all their time to write all this stuff and they're not asking for anything.”
Jonathan Boyd (01:16:13):
Then again, they go through and by the time they get to, in my case, the light bulb moment, they want it. Maybe it's only seven people out of 100, but those seven people out of 100 want it and they go through the next phases and they are … I don't want to use the word selling themselves, but they're getting more and more sold on the idea of that they're buying into, the thing that is going to deliver them value. They're going to get a result, they start believing it, and that's what it's about. It creates more belief and that belief creates momentum or what I call emotional inertia. Think about it. If we go back to the pool of water in the sand, if you dig the deepest, widest biggest channel, all that water doesn't start to trickle or flow. It starts to rush into the channel. As soon as the water starts moving, as soon as you create the channel, as soon as you start creating the channel with your hand, the water starts to flow in the direction of the channel.
Jonathan Boyd (01:17:11):
But the faster you move your hand or the more gradient you have, like a downward slope you have with your channel, the deeper it is, the wider it is, the bigger it is, et cetera, the faster the water is going to go. That's why I call it emotional inertia. For anybody who doesn't know what inertia is, it's kind of like the tendency for something in motion to stay in motion based on its momentum and mass or whatever. Basically saying like a bull running 100 miles an hour, it's so much harder to stop that thing and to turn it around the opposite direction than it is to, say, a feather that's moving at one mile per hour. It's so much easier. My point is, as they build that inertia going through the funnel, it's so much harder to now turn around and stop. There's so much momentum. There's so much desire. There's so much belief is starting to be built up that they want to continue, and that's the whole point.
I wasn't sure that you could top the previous thing and you just did. So I have no idea how you managed to do that because the previous question was so great and I thought, “Well, we probably should have just ended it there,” because what were you possibly going to do next to beat that? Yet, here you are and you've managed to do it. I knew this, but I don't think I fully appreciated how much of a marketing philosopher you've become. So I hope people listen to this over and over and over again, because I'm taking notes furiously. I've been at this a little while and so much of what you're saying is lighting up my thinking too. So I hope everyone's getting that effect.
Jonathan Boyd (01:18:50):
Can I sum this up in one phrase?
Jonathan Boyd (01:18:53):
If you want to change your financials, change your physics. Physics happens. Physics is governed according to physical laws. It always works the same way. If you're not getting the result you want, if your product isn't selling as much as you want to, or you're not getting any sales or whatever, it's because your physics are wrong. The way you're going about it is never going to work. It never has worked, is never going to work. If you want to change your financials, change your physics. If you want to change your physics, then of course you need to discover how the physics work, how the physics of everything that we're talking about, how does it actually work. When you discover how it works, then you can adapt your behavior accordingly, and therefore the financial results will follow.
That's such a great thought. I want to be respectful of your time here and I have one last question, which I think you can use to wrap things together. But before I do that, André, anything you want to throw out there? Questions, comments or anything before I ask this last question?
I did, and then I have, and then I don't anymore because they've all been answered.
Well, it's been an interesting thing. So I have pages of questions that André and I both put together and starting with one question has ended up answering seven questions. As I look through the list, I'm like, “Wow, you answered that better than I asked the question,” which is humbling, but it's been a tour de force from that perspective. So this will be the last question and go anywhere you want with this. So if you could go back … I put 2018, you can pick a different date, whatever is most meaningful to you. But if you could go back to some point in reasonably close history, when you were first working on this project, whatever form that was, and if you can give your younger self one piece of advice and it may very well just be the physics advice that you gave. If you could give yourself one of advice back then, what would that be?
Jonathan Boyd (01:21:03):
That's a good one. Now that I mentioned the physics thing, maybe that's what I would say. Maybe that's what I would explain, but what's coming to mind is that … Let's put this in 2017. Okay. I got it. Let's put this in 2017 when I was busy trying to build a WordPress site and trying to write a few articles and trying to learn how to write webinars and trying to learn all the tactics and the things out there that we should be doing and how are other people doing it? What's popular? What's working right now? By the way what's working right now always works and always has worked.
Jonathan Boyd (01:21:55):
But anyway, I would just encourage myself to try to just completely forget about and eliminate everything that's not going to get me to the fundamental result that I'm looking for right away, which is … I hesitate to say this because I think this term has been abused in the internet marketing space and it means a lot of different things to different people, but I'm going to use the word validate. So the point at which you're trying to get at at the very beginning, or at least you're not necessarily trying to or even knowing that you're trying to, but that you need to get to is validating the idea behind what you're offering to somebody in a market. I don't necessarily mean the big idea as we call it in copywriting. I mean, in general, all of the words that you're saying, whether you have an opt in thing or not, whether you have a product or not.
Jonathan Boyd (01:23:12):
Everything that you're literally … If you can imagine, if we used the word offering in a biblical sense or something, you can imagine having your hands out in front of you in a cup shape with an object, and you're literally reaching your hands out and offering it to someone else. So in total, the way you look, the way you talk, the way you write, the colors on the website, the copy, whatever it says, if you have a lead magnet of some sort, whatever that is, whatever the actual product is, et cetera, all of that combined together you can think of as the actual offer that you're offering with your hands to someone else. Let's say my offer is in total … Here we go again with a metaphysical example, but let's say in total my whole offer, all that stuff I just said, was like a screwdriver in my hand and I'm going to go off or my screwdriver to somebody like Kim Kardashian. Do you think she's going to want a screwdriver?
Jonathan Boyd (01:24:20):
Well, I'll leave the negative comments there, but if you … I don't know. Another example, if you have a beer in your hand and you're going to go to a one-year-old and you offer the one-year-old a beer, do you think the one-year-old is going to want the beer? It's probably going to … Maybe if it even tastes, it is going to just make a sour face or whatever. The point is there's a mismatch. You're not actually filling the hole that we talked about earlier. If you're trying to offer beer to a baby, you have no clue what the holes are at all. But anyway, 2017 self, I would say literally invest the time to talk to … and this is not what people want to hear, but it's the truth and this is what I would do and this is what I would tell people to do. Invest the time to uncover the holes or at least one hole that you think you can create craft a prism that will fit the hole in whatever market you're interested in.
Jonathan Boyd (01:25:28):
Spend the time to talk to people, spend the time to … in the copywriting world, they say do research, but go beyond doing research. It's not a thing that you just need to do because that's the steps that you need to do. The reason we need to do that is because you need to know, you need to discover and understand, not just think you understand, or be able to point to or look at who your market is and what problems they're having and how they feel about it and what they actually want. You need to know that and you need to do the work and do the legwork and do the painful stuff of calling people on the phone. If you're an introverted person, let's be honest, none of us want to talk on the phone. Even if our mom calls, it's like, “Great. Okay, cool. Mom's calling. I love talking to mom, but I don't want to answer the phone right now.”
Jonathan Boyd (01:26:16):
Do it anyway. Pick up the phone call, call somebody who you know, is in whatever market that you're thinking about. For example, let's say your father is a baby boomer and he's worked his whole life, but doesn't really have any retirement savings, et cetera, and you have a financial product that can help people. In fact, at that point, if you're just starting, you shouldn't have a product yet because you should be learning the market so well that the holes become obvious and that the product creates itself. We have a rule in my company that we never create anything. We just discover things. We uncover things, and then we craft it and then give it back to whoever's wanting it or whatever.
Jonathan Boyd (01:27:02):
But anyway, just as a concrete example, your father is a baby boomer. He basically doesn't have retirement and that's the problem. He's always worried about it, et cetera. So in a case like that, find more people like that. Find forums. Talking in person as much as you possibly can is the best, but do the work, do the legwork upfront of talking to people, not just to interview somebody, not just so you can mark it off a checklist and say you've done it to move on to the next, most exciting step, which is actually starting to write a sales letter or starting to make product or whatever, which everybody wants to do. Let's be honest, for most of us is more fun to do those things, but I can tell you it's going to be a hell of a lot more fun if you do what I'm talking about first.
Jonathan Boyd (01:27:49):
So anyway, again, it's not about doing research to check a box, to move on to the next step. It's not about calling five people just so you can say you called five people, so you did it and now you can wipe your hands and you don't have to do that anymore. No, the point is not to check it off or it's just to get through it or to do it. The point is to actually get to know people, get to understand people. I don't know, maybe you go to church or somebody goes to church and you meet Jane and Bob who are neighbors from a few neighborhoods down, and just from going to church every Sunday, whether you go to church or not is irrelevant. It's just an example. But you meet Jane and Bob and then over time, you start to talk to Jane and Bob, and maybe you go to a barbecue at the church or on a Wednesday, and then over time, you start to discover that they have two kids, Bobby and Sue or whatever.
Jonathan Boyd (01:28:46):
Bobby plays baseball and Sue's on the dance club and Sue just has been trying out for the dance club for, I don't know, two years, and she just now made it, she's so excited and her birthday's coming up and she really loves, I don't know, unicorn stuffed animals. So all of that example that I just mentioned sounds irrelevant, but the only way you're going to know what to get her for her birthday is by knowing the couple, knowing the kids, knowing what the kids are doing, knowing what the kids are into, knowing what the girl wants for her birthday, and she just wants a a stuffed unicorn. So I guess what? How easy is it to go to Walmart or go to a store and buy a stuffed unicorn? You know exactly what product to get. There's no question about what it is or how to create it or whatever it. The market tells you.
Jonathan Boyd (01:29:46):
My advice is to learn and really listen and try to deeply understand the market until what they want is so clear that you don't have to even think about what to create it. I'll end this with one quote from Roger Hamilton, from the book Wink and Grow Rich, which please read that book. “Whatever you have to offer, whatever value you have to offer the world is waiting. Anticipating.”
I'll echo your reference to Wink and Grow Rich. You actually are the person who turned me on to that book and I listened to it, which I generally don't do. I generally read, but I listened to it. I think you suggested listening to it. I think I've listened to it probably more than 10 times and every single time I listened to it, and it's really the more you learn about the book, the more you learn it's supposed to be like that. It's a many layered evolution. Your understanding changes each time you listen to it. So highly recommend. Highly, highly recommend that book as well. Anything to add, André, before we wrap up today's call? I mean, obviously this has been a tour de force. I have pages of notes. I'm so, so excited we got to have this conversation because on so many levels, it has been just so far beyond my expectations. I'm so excited that we get to share this with our audience. Any last questions or anything to throw out there, André, before we wrap up?
Yeah. I'll also give a plus one recommendation for that book, the audio. I've listened to it so many times as well and each time you listen to it, there's something new that pops up, which is kind of weird. It's a short book, so you can tear through it in maybe 90 minutes and then it's done. Then you listen to it again few months later and it's always revealing insights. But yeah, otherwise, Jonathan, this has been awesome, man. I mean, [Sean 01:31:54] and I are going to have so much fun in writing some emails and putting out some content to our people and just give them a new lens on the world and how to approach building a business that matters, building a durable business.
Because that's exactly what you've done here. I mean, you said it early on, you're at 25,000 customers and you've only just got out the blocks. You're going to go for 100,000, then when you get to 100,000, maybe 500,000 and that's awesome because you're a serving a market. You're serving a market by listening to them and leading with empathy. You're not doing all the bullshit that you see in our market all the time, everywhere you look. You get the sense that this is how marketing is supposed to get done. When you look at our market at how most people do things and that's not … I mean, you're proof that approaching this thing differently and doing the things that nobody talks about and doing that upfront and spending the time to really do that upfront and enjoy the process.
I mean, all these metaphors that you've philosophized, it's so great because I think hopefully you've given people mental models now that they can remember. Because it's not always easy to remember tactics and whatever, but these mental models, the indentation in the sand with the water and then you creating a channel, that's brilliant. I'll probably borrow them and use myself, but yeah, this has been great.
What's that phrase? Plagiarism is the highest form of compliment? So prepare to be complimented, Jonathan. All right. Thank you very much, Jonathan. As always, a pleasure to hang out with you too, André, and we hope all of you listening to this have gotten one 10th the value out of it that we have. Thanks again.