An Interesting Experiment, With Results. (Laziness, or something else?)

14 replies
So what do YOU think is going on here?

I tried a little experiment.

I decided to offer a free "mini" 5-day copywriter coaching
program, to a small marketing list... about 500 subscribers.

Each day, there was a small "Mission" where they could
practice what they learned, and get feedback from me
personally.

I was going to limit it to 20 people, because with feedback, I
figured that's all I could handle at any one time... but I got
about 40 sign-ups in the end, and decided to just go with it as
an experiment, to see how many people would actually take
part.

Here's what surprised me... and maybe YOU could shed some
light on this.

Of the 40 sign-ups (to a FREE coaching program)... only SIX
people actually sent back any missions
!

( Two of those were former students, who'd taken previous
coaching with me, and used it as a mini-refresher... which was
fine with me, by the way )

The other 34 sign-ups still got the information from all 5 days (I
didn't want to exclude them from having the content), but didn't
take part.

I have a couple of questions for you, but first here's a couple of
possible
reasons why only 6 people actively took part...

(1) People are lazy. Maybe ... but still, only 6??

(2) It wasn't targeted enough. Maybe, but keep in mind, the
40 who initially responded had qualified themselves to be
somewhat interested. It wasn't aimed at copywriters, but asked
something like "Could You Become A Copywriter? Try This And
Find Out."

(3) It wasn't good enough. Perhaps, but I actually had a
professional copywriter take part. He said he enjoyed it and
found it useful, so I'm not sure that was the problem.

(4) The missions were too challenging. It's possible that
the later ones might have been, but I'm pretty sure the earlier
ones could be done in 5-10 minutes, by anybody.

So a couple of questions for you...

(A) What do you think was going on? What, if anything, does
this say about people?

(B) If I were to repeat this elsewhere (and I'd like to), what do
you think could be done to increase the rate at which people
actually GET INVOLVED? What would you do?

Thanks!
#experiment #interesting #laziness #results
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I'm sure there will be advice on how to improve interest or entice people to participate....but I have a different 'take' on it.

    If the course were 'paid' it might be more difficult to get 40 signups but chances are the number who participate might increase....but maybe not. If I were you I would repeat the experiment with different numbers. If I wanted 20 active participants I might allow 100-120 signups.

    My guess is there is nothing wrong with your course - or with those who signed up You used a ratio of signup:participant that was not realistic - and you couldn't know that until you tried.

    People sign up because they are curious, they mean to do the course but other things demand their attention (or attract their attention)...some of the signups may have learned from the course but aren't the type to 'personally participate'.

    You don't say how many of the initial 6 completed the course with you.

    Just my thoughts on the subject...
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
      Hi Kay

      >If the course were 'paid' it might be more difficult to get 40
      >signups but chances are the number who participate might
      >increase....but maybe not.

      Good point. It would be interesting to see how a $1 entry price
      would affect participation. It'd probably lower the sign-ups
      significantly, but could result in higher overall participation. I'll
      have to think about that.

      >People sign up because they are curious, they mean to do the
      >course but other things demand their attention (or attract
      >their attention)...some of the signups may have learned from
      >the course but aren't the type to 'personally participate'.

      True. It would be interesting to try some split tests on the
      landing page, i.e. telling people that "Participation Is Required"
      might lower sign-ups but increase participation.

      >You don't say how many of the initial 6 completed the course >with you

      4 completed it, 1 got half-way through, and 1 has done all but
      the last mission.

      Interestingly (at least to me ), of the 4 that completed it...
      two of them were former students of a related coaching
      program.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    • Forgets
    • Life gets in the way
    • Found competition that delivers instantly
    • Changed their mind
    • Window shoppers
    • etc...

    There's a million possibilities.

    It could even be something technical on your end.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Do they know you, Paul? REALLY know you, not just "on my list 'cause they want free stuff"?

    I do. I bought a course of yours through Durham years and years ago.

    Even though I've been studying copywriting and writing since the mid-90s, I'd still be very interested in learning from you.

    Even though I run several businesses including one that is a HUGE time suck, I'd still be committed to doing assignments.

    That's who you want, isn't it?

    People who are eager to learn from you?

    WHO is on your list? Who are you getting in front of? HOW are you qualifying them? Are you showing the opportunity only to those who are qualified? (That's a "secret" I learned a long time ago, and boy does it help with retention, EPCs, attracting affiliates and so on. The rest are still throwing all the traffic at the copy wall and hoping something sticks--ha ha!.)

    Happy to discuss if you like.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Even though I run several businesses including one that is a HUGE time suck, I'd still be committed to doing assignments.

      That's who you want, isn't it?

      People who are eager to learn from you?
      Absolutely

      WHO is on your list? Who are you getting in front of? HOW are you qualifying them? Are you showing the opportunity only to those who are qualified? (That's a "secret" I learned a long time ago, and boy does it help with retention, EPCs, attracting affiliates and so on. The rest are still throwing all the traffic at the copy wall and hoping something sticks--ha ha!.)
      It's one of my lists, more to do with pre-selling than copywriting. I basically wrote them an email about it, and pointed them to a squeeze page. I'll admit, it wasn't a sophisticated marketing campaign!

      I guess part of the reason I want to find out what's going on, is I'd like to consider offering this to selected affiliates, so I want to figure out if I can improve the participation first.

      Happy to discuss if you like.
      I'll send you a PM tomorrow
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    Wish I had known about it. I purchased a course from you several years ago and it offered amazing information. I would have been thrilled to have personal feedback from you.

    What a bunch of goofballs for not taking full advantage of your offer.

    Rose
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Paul,

    Why don't you poll the 34 that didn't even respond and ask them if there was some obstacle standing in their way, if they were too busy, if they forgot about the assignments, etc? (The sad thing about doing this is some people will give you reasons that aren't true.)

    I think your 15% response rate is probably pretty typical for free and even many paid products. I've spoken with many marketers about response rates and most of them say the same things - people online are eager to sign up for things they see as beneficial at the moment ... but then time goes by, they no longer are enthused, the work comes and the will power leaves.

    How many of us (my hand is raised) have e-courses, e-books, reports, images, templates, themes, and even software that we've purchased with great intent ... but have never actually opened or used the product?

    Think of all the PLR that sits on the hard drive waiting to be put into service at some point.

    There are a few marketers that have a close and special relationship with their followers and their conversions are much higher than 15% ... but these are the exceptions.

    Thanks for sharing your experiment.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    I'd have been tempted to include some kind of "mini mission" as a part of the original sign-up process - for example, ask the would-be course takers to submit a headline for a hypothetical project as part of their initial response.

    I might not have got as many as 40 respondents, but those who signed up would, in effect, have already begun the course and that momentum, I suspect, might have carried a higher proportion of them through to the end.
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  • Profile picture of the author quadagon
    A change that I made a couple of years ago was to not release the next section of a course until the task was completed.

    Those that didn't complete a section I placed into a follow up sequence which also includes sales pitches to my books on the subject.

    I use gamification a lot in the design of the course/delivery so that those that complete a task receive some kind of reward. These rewards are sometimes as simple as a print at home cert or advising them they are now silver level (complete 3 more tasks to be gold).

    There is a high drop off at the first hurdle but after that the engagement and competition really takes hold.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
      Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

      Why don't you poll the 34 that didn't even respond and ask them if there was some obstacle standing in their way, if they were too busy, if they forgot about the assignments, etc? (The sad thing about doing this is some people will give you reasons that aren't true.)
      Yeah, good idea. It's worth asking. At the very least, if
      they forgot, it might be a good reminder.

      Originally Posted by quadagon View Post

      A change that I made a couple of years ago was to not release the next section of a course until the task was completed.
      I did that with my paid coaching program. You don't get the next module until you've completed the one before. It works very well.

      I didn't do it for this free program, because I was still happy to give people the information. That said, I may try the "drip feed" approach next time, and see how that turns out.

      I use gamification a lot in the design of the course/delivery so that those that complete a task receive some kind of reward. These rewards are sometimes as simple as a print at home cert or advising them they are now silver level (complete 3 more tasks to be gold).

      There is a high drop off at the first hurdle but after that the engagement and competition really takes hold.
      Ooh, I like that. Psychological rewards.

      That suggestion deserves a Gold Star!

      But seriously, I really like that idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

    I'd have been tempted to include some kind of "mini mission" as a part of the original sign-up process - for example, ask the would-be course takers to submit a headline for a hypothetical project as part of their initial response.

    I might not have got as many as 40 respondents, but those who signed up would, in effect, have already begun the course and that momentum, I suspect, might have carried a higher proportion of them through to the end.
    This was my first thought as well. (Should I be scared?)

    People unwilling to do a simple task, like writing a headline, as a "price of admission" are unlikely to do any of the missions, either. At least, that's my impression.

    Side note, I have your ebook on preselling somewhere on a dead computer's hard drive. Could you remind me of the title or file name so I can hunt for it?

    Either way, welcome back...
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  • Profile picture of the author Judey
    Why not re-target the other 34 that didn't take part.

    Maybe they forgot the task, were distracted or some other reasons.

    Re-targeting an audience that didn't complete an action the initial time is more likely to engage again.

    So try & re-target them
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Just analysis paralysis here as is often the case with silly monkey mind LOL.

    Solution; get clearer on your offering, and sign ups increase. More aligned folks find you. And you feel the course is good enough. All about getting clear on your end by feeling and dissolving doubts.
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  • Profile picture of the author IGotMine
    (1) People are lazy. Maybe ... but still, only 6??
    It's the low cost of entry.

    I think 15% is about average, in my experience.

    I'd be curious to see if you could significantly increase that number. I'd also like to see the results if you charged even a small amount.
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