Welcome to Learning #7, where I’m going to speak to a trend that actually, I had a big part in starting in our industry. I’ll get to that. But also, I’m going to then transition into sharing some thoughts on where I see this trend going in the next couple of years.
I’m referring to this trend as “The Era of Elegance.”
What I mean by this is that you may have noticed that over the last two, three, four, some window of time, recent years, there’s been a transition in our space where leaders in our community, like myself and Callan Rush, my business partner, and many others, we’ve been investing a lot of our time, energy, and money into increasing the production value or the production quality of our marketing content.
You might notice that sales pages nowadays are becoming more and more elegant. They’re becoming more and more beautiful, the layout, and the colors, and the design, and the branding. I’m not meaning to suggest in any way, shape, or form that, on a sales page, that there’s not as much pressure as there ever was for the copy to be really great, or for the scripting of the video to be good. Of course, the message has to be solid. But what we’re noticing more and more is that elegance is out-converting “ugly,” or a lack of elegance. In our space anyway, we were one of the core players in initiating this trend a few years ago.We’re noticing more and more is that elegance is out-converting “ugly,” or a lack of elegance Click To Tweet
We did a launch about a year and a half ago for a program called “The Leap,” and we really pushed the bounds of this idea of elegance. One of the ways that we did that was with our sales page. We created just a work of art. Now, before I go taking too much credit for that, the copy on that page was very elegant. I did not write it, Callan Rush did.
She happens to be watching this video, so kudos to you, Callan, for the copy on that page. Marisa Murgatroyd and her team designed the page. Talented group, and to their credit, Marisa and her team, they had been preaching this movement into the importance of design and elegance. Marisa has been saying that for many years, and working with some clients doing great work.
It just so happens that when we had them do that page, that was the very first time where one of her pages met with the degree of exposure that we tend to get in our launches. So this had really significant impact on our business for sure, but on the space in its entirety. With some of these ideas, again, I’m trying not give myself too much credit, because if you look at our space and go out a little bit wider, there’s a woman named Marie Forleo, who’s really been, in my opinion, the originator of this movement in the transformation space with regards to elegance and the importance of design, and the quality of marketing content, the production quality.
Even if you go a little bit bigger, my opinion is that the Apple brand itself has been really the key initiator and the key driver, and the ripple effect has been seen through many markets, not just ours. But it wasn’t all that long ago, like if you were learning internet marketing, as an example, at the same time I was, which wasn’t all that long ago, you would’ve learned at that time that in most cases, ugly converted better than pretty.
Of course, I’m speaking in very general terms. But more often than not, it was actually lack of elegance that out-converted things looking pretty. What I learned, when I first started teaching some of the things we teach now, we would have taught people, “Hey, you’re better off making it ugly,” but times have changed. Definitely, as I see it, we’re right smack in the middle of this idea of the era of elegance.
In 2015, not only did we create the sales page, but the videos. This is where you may have noticed the trend really picking up over the last year and a half, in our space. I set about with that Leap Launch back in, I think it was May of last year, of really changing the way video is used in our space. If you happened to see that launch, you’d remember. If not, I’ll explain it to you.
We were the first ones to start using a lot of what they call “B-roll,” and a lot of stock footage to communicate the emotionality of the story, and of the lessons, and of the elements that I was teaching. It’s interesting, at that time, it was really my first time being on video in any big way, so my delivery in the videos was actually kind of clumsy, relatively speaking. My delivery on the videos wasn’t all that great. I was a bit, even, awkward, you might say.
However, all of the B-roll footage that we got…so an example. If I was telling a story about having a meeting with my team, as opposed to it just being my face to camera, like you see right now, you would’ve saw footage of me sitting at a table with my team in a meeting, maybe with a flipchart or something. When I was talking about being out to dinner with Callan and our team, you would’ve seen footage of us in a restaurant sitting around a table, having a good time. If I was talking about being in the gym, you would’ve seen footage of me at the gym.
I remember a couple times, I used as a metaphor, I told some stories about my training in martial arts, then you would’ve seen footage of me actually in the dojo, sparring or training or whatever. That’s what’s called B-roll, and then, stock footage is just random. I’m talking about a business meeting, you just see two random people in that context. So a lot of this, we’re really starting to push the bounds of what was happening in our space at the time.
So we did this massive…it was a big success. It was like a $4 million launch. And at the time, it was the biggest thing that our little community had seen, anyway. Then there’s a gentleman named Jeff Walker, who approached me and said, “Wow, those videos, that was really inspiring. I’m going to really up my game.” Then it was only a few months later that Jeff Walker, he upped the game again with his talented son, Daniel, producing his videos.
His videos, if you remember or were paying attention at that time, were much, much better than the Leap videos. So he did this amazing thing. Keep in mind, that Leap Launch was only a year and a half ago. Now it’s commonplace, right? You see Christian Mickelsen, Lisa Sasevich, Eben Pagan, Bill Baren, Ryan Levesque, Stu McLaren, Ryan Eliason, all of the leaders in our space are now investing a lot of time, a lot of their energy, a lot of their money. Producing videos like that is more expensive than not.
They’re investing a lot of their time, energy and money into increasing the quality, the production value, the production quality of their marketing content.
So where does this go next?
I’ll tell you a funny story, actually, because again, even with those Leap videos, I don’t want to be taking all the credit here. How I came about the commitment to do that was out of a conversation with a gentleman named Stu McLaren, who you may know. He was doing some advising for a couple of clients that he had at the time, and they were in completely different markets. One was in dog training, and another one, I can’t remember what it was. So it came out of a conversation I had.
He had already started playing around with this idea in some other markets, and they’re having huge success. I just decided to commit to it. Then he introduced me to a video producer, Dean Rainey, who we still use for all of our videos. We went out for dinner the night before we started the video shoot for the launch videos. That night I said to him, “You know what? This has never been done in our space.” And I said, “You know what my favorite thing about this is? I’m going to look like an absolute genius here, and you’re going to do all the work.”
How to look like an absolute genius…
Because I don’t know the first thing about video production or quality. I just made the commitment to do it, but I went out and found someone who does know. Of course, Dean Rainey was the brains behind the actual videos themselves. I didn’t have anything to do with that. I don’t know anything about video, nor do I aspire to.
My point is, yeah, we were initiators in all this, but really, we didn’t have anything to do with it. Marisa Murgatroyd and her team did all our visuals. Dean Rainey and his team did all the videos. Now our community and our space, looks entirely different than it did a year and a half ago.
It’s amazing. That’s the trend. So where is this going?
Because that’s where the big learning here is. Or I won’t even say “learning,” because it’s just my opinion.
The next phase of this era of elegance, as I’m calling it, is, there’s about to be a new movement, of which I intend our business to be at the forefront of, and it’s in increasing the production value or the production quality of the paid content that people consume.The next phase of the era of elegance is increasing the production value of the paid content people consume. Click To Tweet
Why this is so important moving forward
That’d be your programs that you’re selling or the products that you’re selling. These need to match the production value of the marketing content. When there’s this big value on the production in the marketing content, or stuff that we’re giving away for free, that sets an expectation for what’s coming next, what people are actually investing in.
Here’s what is happening
Well, what’s happening, for the most part, in our space, is there’s a lag now. We have these people, including us, who have completely changed the way that we put ourselves out there with regards to our marketing, but then the programs we’re leading into, especially the digital stuff, like members areas and videos, trainings, that tends to still have a real lack of production quality to it or production value. Usually just voiceovers to PowerPoint slides or whatever. What’s happening is, because of that, there’s an incongruence there.
How this is impacting business
What’s happening is that cancellation rates actually start to rise, because there’s an expectation that the quality on the back end is going to be as good as the front end, which is natural, of course. In some cases, that expectation wouldn’t be there had the production quality not been so good on the front end. So it can kind of bite you in the butt a little bit if you don’t have that follow-through.
I think that’s where this trend is going, and what you’re going to see now is an arms race, so to speak. I don’t know if that’s quite the right way to phrase it, but you’re going to see the leaders in our community putting a lot of time and attention, and even investing money into the production quality, the production value, of the content that they’re giving away in their paid programs.
Don’t let this stop you
One of the things that I want to stress about this, though, is my fear in communicating this. I think it’s long overdue. However, I suspect that some people will use it as a reason to not get started.
I don’t see it that way, because none of this is meant to replace a message. Meaning that just because better production quality converts better, it’s not in lieu of the message itself. You can’t take a crappy message and put it out there expecting it to do well. But a really great message, given to someone at the right time, will still convert just fine.
Hopefully that makes sense.
This is something, if you’re just starting out, to aspire to. You don’t got to do all this stuff right out of the gate. Just know this is the trend that’s been occurring, and then this is where I see it heading next.
Just take a look. This is the fourth video I’ve done in this series. Of course, at the time of shooting, didn’t have much in the way of likes and comments and shares. But if you look back at all the videos did they do now.
Take the video above as an example
There’s no production quality here, right? The lighting isn’t particularly good, I clearly haven’t shaven forever. I’ve been showering at the very least, I just had a shower, so we’re good there. Haven’t been prettying myself up, per se. The camera’s at the wrong angle here, I’m kind of looking down at you. I’m looking at myself on the screen, so my eyes are off-center.
This is not a well-produced video, yet, I believe. Obviously, I’m a bit biased, but the content is good, and it’s been getting, if you go back and look at the previous videos, which you should if you haven’t seen them, thousands and thousands of views, tons of comments, and shares, and likes, and loves, and wows, and all those crazy things, just because the message is good.
So there’s still room for that.
It’s not like everything that you produce, you have to put all of this effort and invest money into. Just know that, especially when it comes to your primary marketing campaigns, launches, optimized webinar sequence, or whatever other campaigns that you’re doing, the key ones, the ones that are the lifeblood of your business, it’s going to behoove you moving forward to be putting more and more and more onus, attention, and yes, even a financial investment into the production quality of those elements.
Then, like I said, the next phase, making sure you’re doing the same thing on the back end as well, that you’re meeting that expectation. If you’ve got great production quality on the front end, make sure you’ve got it on the back end.
One last thing
The last thing I’ll say about where I see this going, the kind of thing I’ve been thinking of lately is, where do I see this going beyond the next couple of years? Again, this is no more than a slightly educated guess, I’m anticipating seeing things like launch videos, as an example, not maybe have any face-to-camera actual teaching.
They’ll be more like documentary or even movie-trailer style. One of the elements to consider when it comes to this production quality or production value, is entertainment. It’s not all about just your message and what you can teach people. People will take it in, and absorb it, watching more of your videos if they’re being entertained. That’s the downside of a video like this.
It’s not because the message is any weaker
I bet, even if I go back to the very first video, it’s had, I don’t know, 5,000 views, something like that. If I were able to go back and track how much of the video every person watched, it would probably be relatively low compared to a launch video or something. The reason would be, not that this message is any weaker, just simply it’s not as entertaining. It’s just my head on a screen.
Sure, I’ve got this pretty thing in the background, but that’s about it, right? So that lack of entertainment value, I suspect, would be having people pay attention less.
We are in the the Edutainment Business
Someone years ago coined the term “edutainment,” which is the idea of combining entertainment and education. As we move forward in the transformation space that entertainment piece is going to become more important and more significant.