March 10, 2017

In today’s interview, I interview Eli Natoli about her online course journey, from starting with Udemy to hosting on Teachable – and how that’s affected her business’ ability to grow.

JB: Hey, this is Jack Born. I’m the founder of Deadline Funnel dot com and I’m here with Eli Natoli. Great to have you here. Thank you so much for taking the time. We’d love to hear about … A little bit about your business. What you do. I know you and your husband have a really interesting business. Something that when I heard about it, really piqued my interest and I’d love to hear some ideas about how you guys first got started and catch us up to what you’re doing now. Eli, great to have you here.

EN: Hi Jack. Thank you for having me here. I’m really excited. My husband and I started this software development firm and design company. This was back almost 12 13 years ago. I found, five six years ago, I really got interested into internet marketing part of things. Not so much about our company, but in general. I was hearing about passive income. People making money online and I was actually getting bored of what I was doing. I was managing the projects on my end and I wanted to tap into something more exciting.

JB: Right.

EN: What I did was, I started this online type of website where I was activating free and legitimate websites. That’s how I really got into this. I started reading about SCOs and how to drive traffic and, actually, I was putting a little bit of time and then shortly, not even six months we were getting passive income to this site.

JB: That’s great.

EN: Then that really made me excited and I started thinking, “Well, what can we do with this internet marketing part and how we can actually bring it into our own business?” My husband does user experience design.

ENHe’s really … He’s been doing this for 20 years. He’s really good at it. When we go into a meeting, number one thing that everybody loves about the way he approaches the business, is how passionate he is about user experience. I thought, “Well, he’s a natural teacher. This is something we can tap into.”

JB: Right.

EN: What we decided to do was do an online training. We decided to put together a course. It was … He was doing the course. I was doing the internet marketing part of it.

That was the beginning of tapping into this internet marketing part of things.

JB: When you said that you were getting passive income before you even started the course, were you … What were you doing to generate the passive income?

EN: This was back in the day where people were just doing Google Ads.

I was just trying to do some SEO work to make sure there was traffic.

JB: Sure.

EN: The site is visible on Google and just basic stuff. Doing all that. It’s funny because I was putting little time into it. Maybe, not even, 30 minutes a day and, believe it or not, I was generating a thousand dollars a month just by Google Ads.

JB: Wow. Wow. That’s …

EN: It was pretty cool.

JB: That’s one of the better results I’ve heard with Google Adsense. That’s great. Even though it starts small, I think everyone I talk to … I had this experience as well. That first dollar is so exciting like, “Oh, my gosh.”

EN: It is.

JB: That’s great.

EN: The potential. I know. It is.

JB: From that point, you get hooked. You created this online course where your husband is taking what he knows and what he’s been doing for 20 years and you package it up into an online course. You guys chose Udemy as your platform, right?

EN: We chose Udemy because I didn’t have much experience in intermarketing and how we can sell a course. I thought, “Well, there’s a platform there, there’s a market there. Why don’t we tap into that market?”

JB: Right.

EN: That’s where we started and the course just did really well. Right now, I haven’t checked lately, but the last time I checked two months ago, we had about 55,000 students just in one of the courses. It’s doing really well. Udemy actually approached us and asked us to create another course. We … As soon as we launched that, four months into it we launched another. We worked on launching another course together. That was launched about six eight months after that. When things actually start taking off for us, was when I started thinking, “Well, there has to be a way that we can do this actually on our own. We can put … Create a course, put it on our own platform, drive our own traffic.” All these audience that we were getting, they were all Udemy’s audience. We had no access to these visitors … To these students. We couldn’t really sell anything else to them except more Udemy courses.

JB: Right.

EN: That’s actually when things started happening for us. Which was about two years ago.

JB: Awesome. What did you … Once you left Udemy, did you go to Teachable or … okay.

EN: Yeah. We haven’t left Udemy.

JB: Okay.

EN: We still have those two initial courses there.

JB: Okay.

EN: We researched. When we went to Teachable it seems the best of. We were still getting everything we needed, as far as having a platform that looks really user friendly like Udemy. Then we also had everything that we needed to market it ourselves.

JB: Right. You guys control it and you guys … The people who are students, they’re added to your list?

EN: Absolutely. That’s the benefit because now that we have the students added to our list, then we can actually launch more products, we can do other things. These are actually our subscribers. These are our students. That’s the best part about it.

JB: When you and I first started talking … I guess it’s been months now. You were just in the process of making the change. You were bringing over your list of Udemy people and you were kick starting this launch. Actually, you may have just done your first launch. Take me back to what was going on in your mind when you were looking for a solution that Deadline Funnel filled?

EN: Actually, when we were first … I think it was last July. Those weren’t actually our Udemy students. We don’t have access to the Udemy students.

JB: Oh, okay.

EN: Those were our own subscribers that over the two years we had little … maybe a little less than 2,000 subscribers we had to acquire ourselves by just giving away freebies. Going through … I’m sorry. What was the question again?

JB: What was going through your mind that lead you to finding Deadline Funnel? What sort of problem were you trying to solve or what were you trying to achieve?

EN: When we first … When we went through our first launch, I was really successful then. I really love to get educated. I read, read, read every day. I thought, “Well, there’s … We can do more with this launch. We can run this promotions.” After the launch was over, after the cart was closed, what I wanted to do was tap into Facebook ads, bring people into our sales funnel, and sell to them. It seemed like if we had some element of scarcity added to the whole sales funnel that would have actually motivate people…

JB: Right.

EN: To buy. Once we walked them through the sales funnel. Then I start looking for solutions to add to that element of scarcity to our sales funnel.

JB:  Cool. Can you give me some ideas about how that worked for you once you added it in? Were you able to evergreenize your funnel?

EN: Yes. We actually … We’ve changed. We tweet that over the last seven eight months to see what works and what doesn’t work. At the beginning, the way we were going about it was once people came through the funnel … At the very beginning we wouldn’t say anything about discounts or bonuses, but a couple days in we would say, “Oh, you know, we added this bonus.” Then a couple more days, “Oh, we added another bonus.” Then two three days before it was closing, we would say, “Oh. You get additional discounts.” We rounded up with that for awhile.

That was a long actually sales funnel. It was about 11 to 12 emails in that sales funnel over the [inaudible 00:08:27] of two weeks. It was good, but then I decided to try something else because I was reading all these things about, “Well, maybe motivate people and not giving him discounts, but maybe give bonuses and do it right off from the beginning.” Then we tried that and that seems actually to really work with our audience. From the very beginning, we’re very transparent with them. You get this many bonuses. The funnel was shortened up because we’ve noticed it works better when you shorten it.

We do five emails in a period of week and a half, with an additional two emails on the last day. Reminding them the offer will go away. All we’re doing is just adding bonuses.

JB: Good. That’s terrific. Some key points that I think are really important is … I’ve heard from other people as well, that shortening it from a two week cycle to something less than a week. People don’t have a tremendously long attention span. Try to get to the point. You can still take everything that you’re doing in terms of the psychology and building trust and knowledge and also the urgency at the end and just compress it down like you were talking about. Then the other thing is you mentioned one of my favorite things that I talk about in all of my trainings and webinars, is that don’t just send one email on the last day. You got to send at least two. If you’re sending two, you might want to try three. It’s incredible, isn’t it? How people just wait until the last minute. It’s that deadline that gets added to it.

EN: That’s absolutely true. We get a lot of our sellers actually come through the last two days and then the during of the last day. Especially when we do five launches. The very last days is when we get the bulk of our sale.

JB: Right.

EN: Absolutely right.

JB: Very cool. What’s on the horizon for you? Where are you guys taking this next?

EN: I’ve actually launched my own marketing business.

JB: Alright.

EN: I launched it about two months ago. I started, actually, with a Udemy course. Which has been fantastic as well. I don’t have my own user base or my own students so I’m starting really from zero. From scratch. I want to put in all these things that I’ve been doing for our business. Putting it in a documented way so people can follow and get the same results that we’ve gotten. It’s been amazing. I, so far, in the last month, I’ve actually have been able to enroll close to 2,000 students.

JB: That’s terrific.

EN: Received really, really well.

JB: That’s great. That’s great. Do you have any tips that you can share on … For someone who wants to follow your same path if they just want to get on Udemy as a way to kickstart their audience growth? What has worked for you? Even on Udemy, I imagine that it’s not simply create the course and sit back. You’ve got to actually do stuff.

EN: Exactly. To me, the key to whether you want to do it on Udemy, on your own platform, it’s research. Research, research, research. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear that, but I think that’s actually been the number one key for our success. What we do is we actually take the time to … We stop people. Nicely. Not in a creepy way. We have our own Facebook groups, we go to our competitors social sites, and we listen. We listen to what people are saying and all of our products. The product that I launched. The products that we launched through my … Our business. Everything has been as a result of us listening to what the need is, what that pain is, what that struggle is, and then creating a product based on that need. Then we tap into that every single word that we use in our sales page, in our sales funnel, in our Facebook ads. It’s exactly the words that they’re using to describe their pain.

JB: Gotcha.

EN: If you do that, no matter where you launch your course, which platform you use, people will actually identify themselves with that pain and that solution. I think that’s the key.

JB: Right. I’ve heard others describe it as being able to read. It’s almost like someone read a page out of your own diary. That you’re seeing these words where you have the internal thought of, “Wow. This person really gets me. How did they know this?” Type of thing.

EN: Exactly.

JB: It’s really, really powerful. That’s great. Anything … Let me end with this, is there a tip that you can share? It can be something that we’ve already talked about or something new, but one major thing that you picked up over the past six to 12 months that you would give to someone that was just starting out.

EN: Subscribers. Get as many subscribers on your email list as you can because that is the key. When we started, I had no idea. People always talk about, “Grow your list. Grow your list.” I really didn’t know how important it is to grow your list, but if you work on that consistently on a daily basis, then you can grow your business authentically. Organically. It doesn’t … You don’t have to have a course to begin with. You don’t have to have a website even to begin with. Start with building your list today if you’re thinking about getting into online business.

JB: Right. The best time to start was five years ago. The second best time is today.

EN: Exactly. It’s never too late.

JB: That’s right. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate you sharing this.

EN: Thank you. Thank you for having me.