How To Quickly Boost Engagement & Build Customer Trust with Matt Barnett of Bonjoro
Co-Founder & CEO of Bonjoro
"If you're starting from day one, the one thing you can do that no one else can do is to put all your time and effort into your customers. Your customers love to know that you will go the extra mile for them and that they can trust you."
No… you’re not hallucinating.
Our guest on today’s episode of the podcast is wearing a bear costume in his professional photo.
Now, before we introduce you to the man in the brown bear onesie, can we ask you a quick question?
When you send an email to your audience or post something on social media, does it ever feel like you’re kind of talking with your imaginary friend…?
Like there’s no one on the other end of your messages who actually cares about what you have to say?
We’ve been there before and know that it’s not fun.
Here’s the good news:
If you can relate to this experience – we have a feeling that you’re going to love what you’ll hear in our conversation with Matt Barnett.
You see, Matt is the founder of an awesome company called Bonjoro. If you’re not familiar with them, Bonjoro is a tool that can help you create personalized videos that will wow, amaze and maybe even shock your audience, leads, and customers (in a good way).
What Matt has discovered over the years is that creating personalized videos is one of the most effective ways for you to actually create meaningful connections and relationships with the people in your audience.
And yes… that means higher email open rates, longer customer retention, and significantly more word of mouth referrals for you and your business.
So, if you’re still wondering how you can turn those anonymous visitors on your site or email list into and engaged customers and raving fans, this episode is for you.
|2:20||Meet Matt "Papa Bear" Barnett from Bonjoro|
|6:53||How personalized video helps online entrepreneurs solve this perpetual problem|
|10:56||Should you always create a personalized video?|
|18:31||What it actually looks like to send a personalized video to your customers|
|24:52||Stories of people who have seriously improved their businesses using personalized video|
|32:23||The "Mike Tyson" lesson Matt has learned in his own journey as an entrepreneur|
|38:40||The surprising marketing channels that Matt finds work best for Bonjoro|
|43:56||Where to learn more about Matt & Bonjoro|
Eric: Hey Matt, welcome to the show.
Matt: Hey, Eric, great to be here.
Eric: Well thank you so much for joining us, I’m really looking forward to chatting with you about this. You’re the founder of a company called Bonjoro, and I’m really excited to talk to you about this because I feel like there’s many angles to what your company does and offers that is really relevant to this time right now. But before we get into all those specifics, can you just tell us a little bit about your background and the background of the company and what you do?
Matt: Sure, so I’m a designer by trade, out of the UK. I moved to Australia about 10 years ago and fell into the tech industry, which I guess was kind of just getting going properly here. Australia’s many years behind the rest of the world, being out where it is. And tried a few different things to get started. Had various successes, we ended up with an agency. And with an agency, try convert leads that were in the UK, New York and London. We weren’t very good at writing content. I’m not a great writer myself and I’m pretty good in person, and so to engage those inquiries we started recording videos whenever we had a lead come in overnight.
I used to take a boat to work, which is pretty handy, so I’d take a ferry that would go past the Opera House, so pretty good background and I’d put on my phone and record a video for Wes from Ogilvy in London who signed up and I would personalize it to him, say, “Hey, Wes. Matt here from the team in Australia? Saw you signed up last night, see that you do X, Y, Z that you live in London. I used to live round there myself,” blah blah blah. “Look, obviously I’m in Australia, you’re in London, but I will be over there in about six weeks. We’d love to come in and say hi and can I share what we do?”
And we send these videos out and we tripled our response rate like straightaway. I think the Opera House helped but people basically replied. General reply was, “Can’t really understand what you’re saying, because it’s so windy, but you sound half asleep. However, I heard you mentioned that you work with these brands and that you’d be in London in six weeks and this is pretty hilarious. So, like come in and see us.”
Eric: The question is when you did fix your audio and you started sending videos out and people could actually hear you, did it increase your response rates more or did it decrease?
Matt: I don’t think it made a huge difference. This is the funny thing. I think it wasn’t the wonderful pitch. It was the fact that I was taking the time and they were just inquiring, obviously taking the time out of my day to get in touch with them. It was quite unique as well, which helped. I was always quite excitable because that’s who I am. So, I think people just enjoyed it and they saw it and they thought this is someone who potentially we would like to work with. So, it didn’t really matter too much what I was saying, I think this is communication. You pick up 90%, get rid of all the words, you can still kind of understand someone. You still work out if you like them, if you want to work with them, if they’re your kind of person. That just seems to shine through.
Long story short, we let one of those clients use this video email tool and then one of their clients used it, and then one of their customers used it. And then me and my CTO were having beers on a Friday. We were a small startup and I looked at him and I’m like, “You know we’re going to have to build this? And he was like, he just kind of sighed and he was like, “Yeah, I know man.” He had so much on his plate. He’s like, “We really shouldn’t try and do two businesses at once.” And I was like, “Well, I think this is the one that we should do.” He’s like, “Yeah. Me to.” And so, we kind of just started building it from there. We’ve just kind of learned on the way.
Eric: How long ago was that?
Matt: That was in 2017, just over three years now. It kind of took over the first business within about 12 months. And now with a lot of the team spread around six countries. It went pretty quick.
Eric: That’s awesome.
Matt: It was a happy mistake. I think that’s how we put it down to.
Eric: I think that those are the most trustworthy things, because we didn’t have as much to do with it starting, so there’s less chance that it’s, we’re messing it up in some way. MemberMouse started in a similar way. Like I had built membership software for this other business that I was working on, and I had no intention of releasing it. And then people started asking, “Hey, like what are you using to do your membership?” I was like, “Ah, something I built, but you can’t use it.” But people kept asking and similar situation, you kind of get the message, “Okay, maybe I should be doing this.”
Matt: You know there’s a need there. And it’s interesting, so many other teams out there who are building things to solve their own problems. They’re running other businesses. And I’m like, actually look at the things that you’re solving. Those are probably the more valuable products, or the more valuable offerings.
Eric: Yeah. Now our audience is primarily made up of online entrepreneurs who are building businesses around content and communities and a lot of them create online courses, membership, subscription products, et cetera. So, how do you think creating personalized video can help them with some of the issues they may be facing? Like decreasing churn, encouraging high email engagement rates, keeping people involved in their community, et cetera.
Matt: We’ve ended up having a lot of online course creators. And the caveat is it wasn’t an industry I understood until we started to get people coming on and using us for that. Where they tend to use us is, so activation is key and this leads on the other parts of the funnel. Essentially when you have your first, it’s either paid course members, or if your funnel is smaller, then just anyone coming in and let’s say downloading the first free course. One of the challenges is obviously getting people to activate on that course in the first place. What I mean here is that they’ve obviously gone and downloaded it or they paid you to come on board, but they’re not necessarily actually consuming that course. And you’ll lose a lot of customers because of this. And this isn’t just courses, this is for a lot of online businesses as well that we see the same thing.
When it comes to tackling churn actually this activation is absolutely crucial because you will lose people quite quickly who have all the intention of engagement with the course, but just get sidetracked by everything else in life. And if you can save those users, or a portion of those and you can keep them active in the first week even, first couple of weeks, then they’ll give the course a proper chance and then they won’t churn. And in fact, then they’re more likely to go and buy secondary courses and tertiary courses.
What we found is that if you step in generally after someone’s come on board a first course, paid or otherwise, if you’re able to tell if that person’s engaging or not, this is useful because potentially if someone’s highly engaged, you don’t necessarily need to go as personal, but if someone’s not engaged, then I would say what you do is you reach out in a personalized message and say, “Hey Mary. Saw you signed up, saw you download the course, but you haven’t started going yet. Just wanted to check in, first of all to say thank you for coming on board, but see if there’s anything you need to get going. My suggestion is that the easiest way to get started is to do X.” And you give them a very, very small hurdle to go and complete that you know that if they complete that one small thing, the chance of them then continuing is much higher.
Obviously, there’s a few things in here. I think you need to work out what that hurdle is. So, what is it you know that is the minimum ask that will get them engaged in the next step. Rather than saying, “Go and read the whole thing.” Again, small steps there. If you that at that stage, the fact that you are a course creator also has this unique piece that essentially you are influencer. You have fame because you are the person that wrote the course or that created the course, which a lot of businesses don’t have. They don’t have the personal brand behind it. So, when you do this, people like, and they go, “Wow, that’s Andy from the course.”
And then you’ll get off the back of that just simple law of reciprocation when people will go, “This is amazing. Andy took the time. I’ll do what he said. I’ll go into that. Yes, yes. I’ve been meaning to do it. Yeah, I’ll go and do it now.” So, really that is, I think the key is really this activation piece. We talk about churn, if you can activate more customers, you will lead to lower churn down the line anyway. There’s obviously points we set for each ad too. Lapsed users as well, people who maybe have been engaged and then they’ve become less engaged. If you’re able to tell that, that’s a point of potential reach out again and just check in and see if you can help. These points of reaching out by the way, I’m not talking like a 30 second check in. This is not a long conversation.
Eric: Right. So, in terms of when you’re choosing to insert these personalized videos, I got the sense that the examples you gave, you’re listening to a particular metric like, “Oh, this person hasn’t engaged with this yet. Or they’ve canceled or they’ve performed some action, which we know indicates they’re basically not going in the direction that we would like them to go and so we’ll reach out at this point and do a personalized video.” Do you also see that some customers just as a part of their onboarding flow, just always do a personalized introduction? How does that have an influence on things?
Matt: It comes down to time and how many course subscribers you’re getting. Well, our numbers are manageable. But yeah, we absolutely have a lot of customers who, as default welcome all new course signups. Again, free, paid doesn’t matter. They’re welcome to have one, but everyone’s thing has a big hit. And you get to things like this. Look, it does obviously happen with activation. It just blankly activates everyone who’s not, who potentially wasn’t going to activate. The ones that were going to activate, it then really starts to pump the whole advocacy part of things, whereby someone is like, “Oh my God, this is amazing. Steve took a minute to welcome me on board. I wasn’t expecting that.”
And because again, you’re the educator, you’re the person of influence, that will have a huge impact, that will blow people away. And as a result, take the people who were going to engage anyway, they will show their friends and they’ll talk about you and they’ll be more engaged because they’ll be like, “I actually know the person who has written this now.” As I was saying at the beginning with me not coming across that clear, but you kind of get someone within a couple of seconds. It doesn’t matter what they say, you’re like, “This is the person.”
Eric: Right, because you can’t forfeit the thing that’s being communicated. And like you said 90% or more of communication is nonverbal. If you’re just restricting things to emails… Well actually this reminds me of something else that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, because since everybody has been forced indoors, you see a lot more live stuff going on. Instagram Live, Facebook Live, YouTube Live, et cetera.
And even in video, even though video is communicating something pictorially and otherwise, there seems to be something about live that’s different than recorded. So, how this applies to course creation businesses, I mean, many of us as course creators may have created a welcome video, right? It says, “Hey, welcome, thank you for purchasing,” et cetera, et cetera. But something about that personalization, it makes all the difference. What do you think that that’s about?
Matt: I think it’s time. So, I think we want to, time is the most expensive commodity. Let’s not forget. People want to see that you’ve spent your time on them. Go back 20 years you walk into the grocer or the baker, he’d know your bread, he would know what it was to you and he’d spent his time every morning welcoming you and so you stay his customer for life. I always use baristas as a good example here. In Australia, we have a very big coffee culture. They do this every day, all day long and they’re fantastic and you will follow a barista to different coffee shops if they moved, because you follow the person.
Eric: You’re loyal to them, yeah.
Matt: You’re loyal to them, yeah. And obviously their skill’s a part of that, but the fact that they get you going in the morning is part of this. Now if you do the live or you do the personalization, people subconsciously know that you’ve actually had to spend a minute of time on them. The perception is distorted. If you spend 30 seconds or a minute welcoming someone, but you say their name potentially you might say where in the world they’re from. And you’re also, the presentation works two ways, in your garden with your dog running around your feet and be like, “Hey, it’s Tuesday morning here.” So, there’s obviously the perception is that you’ve actually invested a lot more than a minute of time into that relationship and this is the point. And then people feel a need to reciprocate on that.
That’s the values, I think really is, this is obviously real. This is obviously spent time. In a world where interactions are online that’s actually quite a rare thing for people to a 100% know that you’re spending time on them.
Eric: Yeah. It reminds me of something you say on your about page on your site. Automate processes, but never relationships. And it’s like we have developed this unfriendly muscle when we’re on the internet that we see everything, but nobody sees us. It’s kind of like if you show up to this site or this video and it says your name, it’s kind of like shocking. You’re like, “Wait, can they see me?” And then, because you don’t expect it, right? We’re so used to not being seen, but seeing the other person, that when we get acknowledged there’s initial shock, but then there’s like, “Hey, this is actually nice.”
Matt: It’s hard to fight with millenniums of evolution, yeah. We’re social creatures. Some is more social than others for sure. And like you said, I think this thing times now, the reason you’re seeing this more as well is because I think people are, people crave relationships and connection and obviously we’re getting less of that right now, less face to face at least. And yet as humans we actually need this to function. And so, I think it’s great, somewhere you’ll see people open to relationships more.
But that said, I think even before this I do think the industry was moving to a stage where, well the reason personalization was working is because we’ve all gone and chased a scale and we’ve used automation. And again, although most people in the world are good, most marketers are good, there are a few bad actors who have kind of filled people’s inboxes, et cetera, and kind of got to the stage where we don’t know who to trust. And unfortunately, with things like written communication, it is really hard to know what’s really legit and which businesses are legit and which ones aren’t. And so, when you actually expose yourself and there’s a whole trust thing as well in it. If you’re willing to do videos with your dogs, with the kids or whatever else and just say, “This is me. Thank you,” that sincerity also builds trust because people like, “This is not,” for the moment, they’re like, “This isn’t faked.”
Eric: Right. Yeah. Well, it makes me think about pretty much like all these emails that I receive these days, especially the ones that come to mind the most is all these emails from airlines. And the first thing I see it’s the airline, and immediately the subject line is something like ‘we’re in this together’ and I’m immediately like delete. I’m not even going read your stuff because I know that’s not honest. I know you’re not emailing me because you want us, you’re doing that because you’ve got that tagline from the collective and you’re trying to build it into your marketing so that people fly your airlines again. If you had the subject line, “Hey, we’re struggling here. We really need people to fly on our airline.” I would totally read that email. But when people aren’t authentic, you get a sense of where they’re at but if they don’t speak from where they’re at, then it becomes distrustful.
Matt: Course creators are all authentic, they are experts. They understand what they’re doing. Often, they might be individuals working. Very, very different to an airline or a corporate. I think people like us are driving this, so I think large businesses will have to adopt and become more authentic because the small businesses are doing it because it’s the way that you compete. Any new business, if you’re starting on day one, the one thing that you can do that no one else can do, is put all your time and effort into customers and be yourself and be unique. And that’s, it sounds like everyone could do that, but they don’t. And it’s actually, again, it’s quite a unique thing that is personal to you. Customers love to know that you will go the extra mile for them and that they can trust you.
Eric: Let’s get down to the specifics of implementation here. And talk about how Bonjoro can actually help you do this. I think conceptually we’ve covered why this is important. Like say people are listening here are like, “Yeah, I’m totally on board with this. I’m interested in spending the time implementing this in my business.” What does that actually look like to use your tool to do that for them?
Matt: Yeah. Whatever you’re using, if you’re using a tool where obviously you have members coming in, so new members, new leads coming in, to that you can generally plug that into Bonjoro. If you use often through Zapier, the reason we suggest doing this is it makes it a lot easier. But you can use the system completely manually, but I’ll talk about the kind of the ideal use case. So, new people coming in to list, as they come in if it’s plugged to Bonjoro, we’ll actually notify you depending on the trigger that you selected.
You mentioned earlier if it is with a new lead coming in, so you have anyone comes in new trigger and then you’ll see in Bonjoro if you’re using the mobile app, or the desktop, you’ll get a notification that will say, “Hey. John just signed up and started course X.” And if you have more information you can choose to pull that in. So, it might show you that John is based in Dallas, he’s already bought three other courses, et cetera, et cetera. If you have different triggers, so if you have paid course purchases only, then it would only file those in then. Potentially if you’re looking at this as a churn, it might say, if somebody hasn’t, or was last seen four weeks ago, maybe they’re firing and you can choose your triggers.
They come in, we pull information so you can hopefully personalize that. You pull open the app, which is the easiest way to do it. You press record, the information’s there, you have everything you need to go and personalize the message. Don’t do it in the office. I mean, now you can’t, but make it unique to you. Have some fun with it. Don’t be shy. I do mine if I’m hiking or walking. I’ll do some with my daughter.
Eric: But you don’t need internet connection at all to store it for when you get back?
Matt: Yeah. Yeah. So, you need to upload it later on. Record it, upload it later. But each one should take you, once you get into the flow, honestly like 40 seconds. And then you go on to the next, and you go onto the next one and then you just get them out. Do it once a day, off they go and we take care of the rest. So, results, tracking, people can then reply those and engage with them.
On each of these videos we allow you to put custom links. My suggestion there, remember the reason you’re doing this. Yes, you are thanking people for joining a course. And be genuine with that and that has its own value, but also give them a next step that you know is great to take. If you’re doing it for all course users, again if you know to go and read chapter one is the thing, or to go and complete task A is the thing that will get them hooked, include the link, the link straight through that and be like, “Go and do this now. Just tell people to go and do it and they, and again, you’ll get a much larger tranche of those customers and leads doing that action in response to what you’ve asked.
Eric: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense.
Matt: If you have different users, if you have different customers who are, again not all customers are equal. If you have different ones doing different courses or different tiers, you might want to have different links for those different pieces. The other thing is, one of the way I haven’t mentioned yet, but I know a couple of users is actually at the end of courses, they then do a follow up and obviously the reason they’re doing it is just to get feedback, see how people found the course, et cetera. What they’re really doing is upselling.
So, what they’re really doing is engage people at the end of the course to get them onto a next course, which if you have multiple courses and multiple tiers, it’s huge again. But the reason you’re doing it and the reason people will do that is because you’re taking the time to check in and say, “I want to make sure the course was great. I want to make sure you got everything out of it that you wanted.”
Eric: Right. If you’re choosing to do these, because we talked about how it’s important to throw in some of those personal details if you have them into the video. Make it short don’t get too crazy with it. Give a directive. Thank them for whatever they’ve done that you appreciate. Now if you’re doing this at multiple times, like so say you do it during the onboarding at some point and then you want to do it later on. What are some of the strategies to not make the personalization seem robotic at that point? Because now that they’ve gotten a second one, they’ve gotten used to okay you’re doing this thing, so how do you handle that follow up conversations, follow up videos?
Matt: Yes. I think there’s a couple of ways. One is again, if you’re triggering this off a customer data source, hopefully you can, we have what we call attributes. We later pull in customer information. Now if someone is then further down the funnel, chances are that information has changed. So, if when they first come in and they were new leads, you’re just saying welcome on board, where they are. If later on you see that they’ve done courses X, Y, Z, they’ve completed this, then what you could do is actually make the video about where they’ve got to on the journey. So, you’ll say, “Hello, so I saw you did X, Y and Z. How did you find this? How you find that?” So, again, you know where they are. It’s not just, it’s still says their name of course, but you don’t use the kind of location and stuff, it’s about the content.
Another way is if you happen to have a couple of team members or if you happen to be slightly larger, then have a different team member do the second video. We do that a lot. We still do all of our leads. We send videos to all of our leads that come in, just as one blanket, which gets quite hard. But we have teams in different countries. The only way we do it is by fielding them in the States and the UK and here in Australia, different team members will do different parts of the funnel. And so, as if, because we do all the leads, but then a couple of teams will specifically do anyone who pays, they will bring on board and say, “Hey look, do you want me to go through your accounts and walk you through some of the best things on setup?”
This is our activation. We make sure that people activate so that they don’t churn down the line. But that’s not the same people who are doing the initial onboarding. So, we kind of mix it up. We find that it’s quite interesting. And then we find that also when people get a couple of videos from different team members and they’re getting the same kind of personality and brand, it’s really nice because they’re like, “This is… everyone’s the same.” And it kind of builds on that as well.
Eric: Does Bonjoro help with that type of routing?
Eric: If you have a team, okay.
Matt: We have essentially like folderization. So, if you like, you can funnel different triggers into different folders with different team members in those. So, those team members will get notifications at certain points. Other team members will get notifications at other points.
Eric: That’s awesome. Do you have any specific stories or examples of your customers who have made serious improvements to their business using personalized video that come to mind for you?
Matt: A couple of ones. I’ll start with someone who’s pretty well known, so Pat Flynn is a pretty well guy who does smart passive income. He does courses. And I think is a good example because he is someone who you would not expect to home record videos with course signups and entrants into his course. He’s a pretty big deal, but he will still run these every single new course entrant that comes in, he will still welcome all of them with videos, generally does them from his kitchen while he’s cooking in the evening. Now the reason he does this is when people come on, they’re pretty active anyway. Because he’s a big influencer, he does it so that people talk about him. The reason he does this is because people share the videos online and everyone sees it and they’re like, “Oh my God, Pat Flynn sent me a video.”
They’ll share it on Twitter and then Pat Flynn gets more signups from that. So, yeah. And you see guys like Gary Vee love him or hate him, does a very similar tactic where they will jump in and do the personalization thing on a regular basis. They will reply to tweets, et cetera. The reason they’re doing it, it’s a channel for more leads. That’s really why he runs it.
One of the courses I do, a guy, Coach Parry he specifically does it around churn. So, he was saying that he’s reduced his churn I think from 3.2 to 1.7% from activating early customers. So, specifically his challenge was that half his churn comes from people who’ve never even got started on the course and so he was looking at reducing that. I mean, 3.2 is pretty good. 1.7 is kind of insane. Especially in the course space. I’m like, “It sounds like you’re big anyway.”
We had another big photography course where they really focused on upsells and they said their upsells have gone up 25%, they do it later in the funnel. They do, after someone’s finished the course, they run a trigger that when people are getting to, I guess course seven out of eight or article seven out of eight, when they hit that step, then they check in and they do it for feedback, but then they also have a discount to go on to the next course straight away. So, again, very specific.
Eric: You mentioned this earlier in passing, but I want to go into this in more detail because it seems like it’s one of the primary ingredients to this working and maybe feel uncomfortable for people who want to actually do this. So, I think there’s a contingent of people, when they think about going on video, they want to produce it as much as possible so that it feels a certain way to them. But what you’re saying and said multiple times is that actually the more casually you can do it, the more low production it is, and actually just what you’re doing, the better. Can you talk about that?
Matt: Yeah. 100%. Me and you have never been on video before. I get a 100% like who you are. I can see you there. You’re like, “Ah, I haven’t done my hair. I’m still out of the shower, it’s quite early here in Australia.” Like this is the thing that works, because I’m like, “Great. You’re my kind of guy.” That’s the stuff that works. People want to connect with people. And if you’re a course creator more than anything, again, go back to the point that you’re an influencer. You’re someone they’re reading from and you’re the experts. Knowing who you are really is important, because people are going to connect with you and be like, “Oh well, if John could do this and John’s a normal guy, like I can do it too.”
And this thing about Pat Flynn again as a good example, because potentially somebody will put him on a pedestal, but then when he does this in the kitchen and his kids are running around his feet and he’s dropping his food and stuff, everyone’s like, “Man, he’s a normal guy like me.” And that, as people suddenly like, “I could do that.” It suddenly makes it real. Not this mythical person, it’s suddenly like a very normal person. If you do it like in your situ, like people are interesting. The reason I do them out in the bush here is because like honestly, I know it’s a unique glimpse. 95% of our customers and not in Australia and so when I’m doing it in the woods, people like, “This is awesome.”
Quite often on a video if I, the kookaburra starts singing, or a cockatoo flies past, I’ll try and get it on video because I know that’s interesting and unique and it makes people smile. And that’s the stuff that people like. And here we are and there’s this tech company and then there’s some weird dude in a wife beater in the woods and people are just like, “This is not what I was expecting. This is…” I don’t have a face for video. So, people see me and they’re like, “Well, if he could do it, anyone can.” People love that. This is how you make connections is with the transparency. People we like and we hang around with are the ones we really understand and really know. When the sales guy or your mortgage broker takes his tie off and has a beer with you. That’s why you stay with him or her.
Eric: Right. And I think it’s important to remember this too, because so much about having a business online can, the gravity of it can tend to pull us away from being ourselves, because nobody’s ever used to or naturally going to build a business online. It’s all new to everybody, whoever starts it. So, part of that is you may be looking to others to figure out how you should do it, which is great. You want to learn from people. But there’s also a balance there. You need to trust yourself too and bring your personality to it because if you just get into the habit of always listening to somebody else, then you never arrive.
You have this mythical place you’re trying to get to that somebody else is telling you, you need to get to a certain revenue goal, a certain number of customers goal, et cetera. And you’re trying to do this with all these strategies, but you’re kind of like becoming an automaton of the training that you’re receiving. Whereas tools like yours, it’s a philosophy first and a tool second. It kind of reminds us how in this digital world that we can still bring personality to things and benefit from it no matter what size we are, whether we have 10 or less customers or thousands.
Matt: Yeah. It’s like you said of the website, that really is the ethos we live by which is the whole automated process but not relationships. At the end of the day, if you’re going to build a business, don’t kid yourself, it’s going to suck you in. It will be a lot of time and sweat and effort. You’ll be thinking about it weekends and night times. If you don’t enjoy that, you need to go do something different. It’s not for the fainthearted and personally I don’t see why you would do something that you spend, like I spend more time with my colleagues than I do with my wife, which I’m sure she loves. It’s crazy, huh? And I’m like, “Well why would I do anything that wasn’t giving me pleasure for that?”
And the thing that gives me most pleasure at the end of the day, is customers coming and saying, “This is great. Thanks so much. You’re helping us here.” That makes me feel great and it reminds us why we’re doing what we’re doing and makes us want to go on every day. If you just follow the mythical numbers, you never get them anyway. “Ah, just get to $100,000.” You get to a $100,000, you’re like, “I need to be at 500.” I get to 500 and like, “I need to get…” Those gate posts, just keep moving. So, as you said, enjoy the journey. It’s all about the journey. You know the customers will make it enjoyable for you and they’ll help you build a better business too.
Eric: Yeah. Sure. What are some surprising things, because you mentioned like the whole catalyst for Bonjoro initially was that you were just building it as a tool for your business and then you decided, “Okay, this is what we’re going to do.” You just kind of indicated when we start a business we can prepare as much as we want, but ultimately, it’s going to take a life of its own and have as much to say in the direction as we do. And so, what are some of the surprises that have happened for you since 2017 you started this?
Matt: Didn’t really start with a plan. Mike Tyson who says, “Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face.”
Eric: I love that.
Matt: We go with that. We’ve had to learn, we’re like, “Okay, what is it really that we’re building here?” At the beginning we’re like, we’re a video tool. Now I’m like, we’re not a video tool at all. We’re a relationship tool. The video is just a medium and this is the whole thing, like you have proper video where you get HD and then you have us. It’s just a medium that helps you communicate better. What’s important is the time that you’re putting in. The reason it works is because customers are not expecting it, it shows that you’re there for them. It shows you’re willing to put personal time in and that’s what converts. The video’s just a medium.
That in mind though, we’ve seen some pretty interesting things. We did some research a while ago and I think something like 24% of all the videos sent are done on the commute, before the current time. So, they’ll be turning their commutes into a time to get work done. So, walking, even to the train station, walking to work, grabbing a coffee, they would do their videos on these pieces, because again, it’s just them how they are. And suddenly you end up with a potentially nonproductive time becoming very productive. It’s very interesting. As you mentioned, the getting dressed up and looking your best videos would be the thing that works. It seems to almost be the opposite. Tell you the extreme we have. We had a look at all our financial clients and even those ones you’re seeing at the beginning they’re very proper about their videos, and by the end of it they are doing them like in the pub.
It sounds crazy but, that’s the real and that’s the point that gets you with their customers anyway. A lot of videos not being watched in the day, they’re being consumed out of hours. Interestingly people are watching these when they get back from work and in the evening. It’s interesting when we think about that because it’s basically you kind of turning up and saying, “Hey,” and you’re being there face to face, but on the user’s own time. I think the idea is asynchronous messaging where it doesn’t have to be two way. I don’t pick up the phone anymore, because the amount of calls I get from unsolicited numbers, like I don’t know who they are. But yet we all do messaging a lot more because it’s on our time. It’s interestingly, this is asynchronous video is on your time, which I think is why it works too.
Yeah, we’ve seen people driving. We’ve seen people attacked by birds. There’s been some pretty funny ones. Then one of my favorites of all time someone sent me, was a financial client, was trying to pull a trick off for one of his customers, spinning a ball on his finger. And he is like full suit and tie with like a whole office and then the ball bounces off and he keeps talking and it hits a coffee cup, which then smashes all over all the computers. And one of the computer dies, but on his call he turns around, he’s like, and then just swears his head off.
Eric: That’s awesome.
Matt: And then he’s like, “Ah, I’m going to send anyway.” And just sends it anyway. And the client, and he seems like a brand-new person, they haven’t met before, they applied and they were like, “I’m in. This is amazing.”
Eric: That’s awesome.
Matt: It’s very hard to stage comedy, but when you get the comedy videos, when you mess up, send it anyway every single time because people will love that. Again, I don’t think you stage it, but-
Eric: No, don’t stage it. Yeah.
Matt: I almost stepped on a tiger snake a couple months ago. I was out hiking and I was in the middle of the video, not looking where I was going. And I heard a noise and looked down and there was a 11-foot tiger snake laying on the track. I lost it. It caught me, quite surprising.
Eric: Oh my God.
Matt: I think my voice went up about four octaves.
Eric: Did you send it?
Matt: Of course, I did!
Eric: Nice. There are archives of these videos somewhere?
Matt: I’ll try and dig and some out.
Matt: For sure.
Eric: Because, it would be great. I would love to see the videos that you mentioned if they’re available somewhere. Obviously, your client ones we probably can’t share, but the ones that you shot, maybe we can include the… on the landing page for the podcast.
But even this, even the fact that we’re getting excited about sharing these videos that you originally shot for your customer, there’s a vibrancy to them. The shareable quality of them, like you were saying, why Pat Flynn is doing it, because there’s unintended consequences, positive unintended consequences of entering into this type of conversation with somebody.
Matt: I had no idea who Pat Flynn was. I’m British and I’m in Australia and I don’t think he’s huge in those countries. And so, when he came in, we just did the same thing that we do to all our customers, which was take the time with them and welcome him, and then him becoming a paying customer and la la la. And then one day, all these sites just started pouring in and someone’s like, “Oh, he’s on stage at some huge event talking about you guys.” And we’re like, “Who’s Pat Flynn? Who’s this guy?” And then we ended up finding out. And we do a few other things in our funnel, so we’ve got the advocacy thing, like we send out bear suits either for them or for their kids when we hit certain milestones on the product stuff. We’ve done this to him and his kids had gone out. He sent us a picture of his kids at Halloween wearing our bear suits. We still didn’t really know who we was, but I’d say since then we obviously got to know him and understand who he is.
It’s been very good for us. But it wasn’t that we did anything different. It was that we just treat every customer well. We gave everyone the best first, I think if you could do it, the first impression thing’s interesting, because you have one chance and if you do it, it actually sets the scene for the rest of the funnel. If you’d taken the effort of day one, if you don’t answer them on day five, they’re going to be more responsive anyway. So, when you start to build these things operationally, it needs to be part of a process. These aren’t random and they’re not off the cuff.
This is why I’ve tried to do all the process tools behind it is that if you continue doing them and in addition to delighting your customers, you’re going to get these moments where something funny will happen and someone will share it out and then people will see that and they’ll come in. Or somebody you know who happens to have a massive social media following just happens to sign up and you have no idea, but then they share it out. Or someone who’s an influencer in a micro niche who tells 20 of their friends to go and hop on your course the next day. You don’t know where these things are. And you don’t know whether they’re going to come, so if you could build a process and treat everyone well, there is a much higher chance of me catching those opportunities.
Eric: That’s a great point. So, you’re running a business just like a lot of us are. And so, what are some of the ways that you’ve chosen to expand your business in terms of the marketing channels you focus on and that you found have worked for you the best?
Matt: Yeah. We’ve tried a lot over the last three years. I think, again, not understanding why we built this, we went out and tested, I think we tested 13 different channels to date. We’ve done that to be able to focus down on just a couple because it’s a lot easier, it’s reasonably successful. So, for us what has worked, first of all is this influencer piece. So, I mentioned that obviously, that we onboard everyone the same. But what we do is we try and track and look for influencers within our customer base. By this I don’t mean all Pat Flynn’s, I mean a lot of these are micro influencers. So, for instance, we’ll have someone who’s an influencer in the financial advisory space, someone who is an influencer in photography in the photography space, or someone who’s an influencer in the online course space or gyms, et cetera.
And we have measures of where we try and pick up who these are and obviously we get them activated on the product first. Once we’ve done that, we proactively reach out and engage them and we end up often hopping on podcasts with them. We end up doing co-creation of content together. We end up seeing what value we could bring to their user base if there’s value there. And we try, and again, build a funnel of these. We’ve also, we also run an affiliate program. This is on advice from the guys at ConvertKit and Pat Flynn where we do like a 30% affiliate for anyone that brings us customers. It’s interesting if you ever choose to do this, it’s not that people are doing it for the money. Your best affiliates are doing it because they know it’s valuable for their customers anyway and the affiliates almost thank you.
I have a lot of customers who end up passing that affiliation on. So, you have a lot of not-for-profit affiliates and they just give it all to the nonprofits, they don’t take any of it themselves. We’ve systematically kind of built that out now into a process whereby we will get notified if someone is a likely influencer in a certain space and we’ll look and see if we can work with them. Second place is content, which obviously course creators are the best at. We’ve always run a blog, but the stuff that’s really worked for us is long-form content. So, we’ve done a few big pieces which are like 35 pages long around specific topics that align with the ethos again. We did a piece on delighting customers, so we interviewed Zapier and Patreon and Pat Flynn and all these guys about how they delight their customers.
So, beyond video, like what else can you do to create these advocates? We do obviously, called the video funnel playbook where we looked at 30 of our biggest customers or biggest as in biggest senders of videos, how they use video specifically in their funnels. And what exactly they say, what the triggers are, what the templates they use are. There’s quite a few course creators in there and then we just publish all those out. A lot of the content we write comes from out of my user base as well. It’s not very hard for us to get great content. We really do leverage those users and off the back of that we do things like run a community as well that’s pretty active for our own customers. So, get a community going. It’s super important.
And then finally we have a natural viral side that people send you messages, people see those messages and come in again. So, my suggestion there is with online courses is obviously you have content going out there. If there’s something in that course people can share out, if it’s something that they can get out of their own networks, whether it’s snippets, whether it’s pieces they pull out, whether it’s something that comes as a result of tracing that course that can link back to yourselves that is the most powerful thing you could potentially do. Because then every customer ends up becoming a channel for more customers, regardless.
Eric: Right. And then of course all of those people when they visit you end up going through your onboarding or opt in sequences, which are then peppered with triggers that lead to videos on Bonjoro.
Matt: Everyone’s always going on about what’s the viral coefficient? I’m like, okay, like the concept behind it is really good. If you can build something whereby every five customers you have or every five leads you have, you know that one of those will invite two more leads. That’s ultimately what you’re trying to think about, is most of our customers, I think something like 70% of our customers are not new customers. They’re people who’ve come through our existing customer base, which basically means we spend $0 million on marketing to them when they come in because they know who we are, they’ve seen it, or they’ve heard about us. They’re much more likely to buy as well, and much more active when they first come in. So, if you can use your customers as your base growth channel, not only is it free, but you’ll get a better quality of leading customer coming in, in the first place.
Eric: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. Well, I’ve certainly learned a lot talking to you and I appreciate you taking the time to come on and chat with me about this. Really, personally, I’m really excited about learning about Bonjoro. I’m launching a new course myself right now and I’m using it, because of my experience, I’m using it to test out all these ideas that I wouldn’t necessarily just launch full force into with MemberMouse. So, I’m excited to try out Bonjoro on that new course and see how I can use it.
Eric: And obviously people know that they can learn about you on bonjoro.com but is there anything else, any other places that you want to share that where people can learn more about you?
Matt: Yeah, sure. If you sign up to Bonjoro, you’ll get a video from one of us somewhere in the world. So, if you want to experience it, maybe that’s it. That’s a good first starting point.
Matt: If you want to hunt me down, type in Papa Bear on LinkedIn. That’s my, it’s my title. I’m the guy in the bear suit, if you want to reach out, no problem. Maybe if we can share a link on this as well. We have that video of funnels playbook I mentioned, because I know there’s quite a few course creators in there. It’s literally like, “Do this, say this, write this. Use these actions,” is probably quite an easy place to get started.
Eric: Yeah. So, we’ll include that link on the show notes for this podcast so that people can get access to that resource. But yeah. Awesome, Matt. Thank you so much. It’s been great talking to you.
Matt: No problem. Thanks for having me.
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