Today, we have a really great conversation with Kyle LeMarie. Kyle is here in Orlando, not too far from me, and he's making some wild innovations in the independent musician space.
He's really cracking the code, helping independent artists taking matters into their own hands, taking it back some of the power that big corporations have had in control of the music industry and making it easy and kind of forging a path for independent musicians to get their voice heard, to build their audience and to really apply the 8-Profit Activators to the independent musician.
He has a lot of great things that are going on and it was surprising to hear just how thoughtful he's been in applying the 8-Profit Activators to independent musicians and the success they've had.
This is a great conversation about the mechanisms that are easily deployed to build an audience and how to progress people through all stages of the Profit Activator stages.
I'm doing 5 small group masterminds over the summer in: Orlando, Toronto, London, Amsterdam, Sydney. We're going to spend 3 days going deep in applying the 8 Profit Activators to your business.
Would you like to join us?
Just send me email to firstname.lastname@example.org, put your city in the subject line and I'll get you all the details!
Want to be a guest on the show? Simply follow the 'Be a Guest' link on the left & I'll be in touch.
Download a free copy of the Breakthrough DNA book all about the 8 Profit Activators we talk about here on More Cheese, Less Whiskers...
Transcript - More Cheese Less Whiskers 039
Kyle: Hey, Dean. How's it going?
Dean: How are you doing? So good.
Kyle: I'm doing so fantastic. It's great to hear your voice.
Dean: Well, I am excited to hatch some evil schemes with you today. We're already recording. We got the whole hour and I'm anxious to hear what kind of things you got cooking.
Kyle: All right. Do you want me to launch right into what we do or…
Dean: Yeah, tell me a little bit about what you do, the whole situation, kind of set some context and then we can hatch some evil schemes here.
Kyle: Absolutely. I, basically, have been a lifelong independent musician and I've worked in the music industry for about five years, six years. I started realizing there was a huge problem in the way that the industry marketed artists and saw very mass marketing, a lot of branding, not a lot of direct response marketing going on in the music industry in terms of building artists. I started following you and Joe and started following Ryan Deiss and Neil Patel, and really getting into direct response as it applies to digital marketing because I'm a digital native. Then started applying that to musicians and start realizing, wow, this stuff works really really well for musicians and it really illustrates a lot of the problems with the record industry and where we can go in the next 10, 20 years.
Dean: That's awesome.
Kyle: Yeah. We're just trying to return private industry to independent musicians.
Dean: That's so great. Maybe before and after, what were you doing? Then when you got your case of how this stuff that we talked about could apply, what was your journey there?
Kyle: Yeah, definitely. Before, it was a lot like the industry passes down methodologies in interviews and broad advice columns and stuff like that about how to market yourself, it's a lot of get out there and have a website and be communicative. It's not a lot of direct strategy, it's just broad scale advice. What was going on in the industry when I started getting into direct response was get on blogs for a year and some label will sign you and then they'll take care of all the business for you. Digital PR, getting on blogs, that was a huge thing, SoundCloud was a huge thing. We tried that out a lot and it just had no predictability, no reliability to it. That was the before.
Then getting into direct response, first, when I really understood how it works and really applied it was with my buddy Nino Bless who's an independent hip-hop artist and he always book the major label system. He had an album coming out and I was like, "I want to try something out with this." His album was called AudioTrip. We created a landing page where his fans could sign up to the AudioTrip which is really just an email marketing sequence with some landing pages for content. It was going to deliver song by song, the album experience with behind the scenes content, exclusive content, bonus tracks and stuff. That was where we started. It was really cool. We got about 800 sign-ups before it actually launched and people loved it. It really brought them into our world, we were doing live conference calls and live streams and really connecting with fans. Then on the 12th day, they downloaded every single song in the album and more and we offer them the exact same album in a physical copy signed, made about 2,000, $3,000 in five hours and we were like, "Wow."
It really illustrates how fans don't really want to possess your music, that's not what it's about, they just want a relationship to be there. When we realize that worked, we were like, "Okay, does this work for rock? Does this work for pop," so we tried that on multiple genres and found success there too. Then we started a company to really get this message out and show people, "Okay, you don't have to surrender to some lottery system, you can take control over your own music career."
Dean: That's so great. Well, good for you. I mean, that's way to apply stuff and think out of the box there and realize that it's really about the relationship more than anything.
Dean: Very cool. Where does that leave you now? What's the thing that you're puzzling over and trying to figure out where the next steps are, where to go from there?
Kyle: Well, we've launched a company called Indepreneur. Currently, we have, basically, a Ryan Deiss style perpetual traffic machine that's getting our message out there. We have a free tool which is how we do audience targeting in Facebook for indie musicians, and that's like a PDF download. Then we offer a $7 course, it's like a three-day bootcamp, it has you boosting posts and finding your best performing audience. Then we have a larger course.
Now, the best value that I think we could get out of this talk would really be helping indies with how they apply the eight profit activators. I love some help on doing it for my business but we're just launching and I think probably the best thing that I could do here is talk through that process and innovate there.
Dean: Yeah, absolutely. Because that's going to be the driver of everything anyway, right? I mean, when you really get down to it, part of the fundamental thing that I always start with people is what would you do if you only got paid if your client gets the result. If you're saying what would you do if you only got paid if your independent musician gets result, what would that result be? This is the thing that gets to you clear on what it is that you're able to deliver rather than trying to figure out the marketing of it or how to convince people to do stuff. Let's just strip it back to if you have your core set of understandings and experiences that you had so far, your strategies and an independent musician came to you and just surrendered themselves to you and let's say it was a really good friend of yours or somebody from your family, I always ask people like what would be the best thing that you could do for them if they would just get out of the way and let you do it for them.
Kyle: I mean, it would probably be something akin to the AudioTrip that we ran. They would need a website or a landing page and then they would need an autoresponder account and then we need several music videos to market ... The big thing that we realize applying direct response to music was we can't just offer lead magnets because nobody wants your song if they have no idea who you are.
Dean: Right, exactly.
Kyle: Yeah. It's an absolute necessity for us to run warming content and we do that with video view campaigns in Facebook.
Dean: I was thinking and just observing how things like the ... I was talking about Boyce Avenue specifically, do you know those guys?
Dean: Boyce Avenue is one of the independent success stories. They are one of the top YouTube channels on YouTube. I was reading about it, that they're doing like $5 million a year on their YouTube channel. They're not, they're a band.
The ways that they broke through was that for years ... I mean, this is not an overnight success thing. They started out, they would do these really great cover songs. Like whatever the popular songs were, they would break them down and do a semi-acoustic or a strip down version of that song. Typically, the one guy, he's got a great voice, really great tone and he would take a song like One Direction's You Don't Know You're Beautiful song and kind of strip it down and do this really great, almost, you want to say, better than the original version of it because he's really good. It would be filmed in a really great professional way but simple. I mean, they would just have a nice well-lit kind of set and it will just be around him just with the guitar playing that song.
They would do this for ... Just constantly put out new cover songs and they were really great and that would build subscribers. Then all of a sudden, they would throw in an original song that they did. You think about how many people have broken through that way doing cover stuff and then when they know you and like you, then they're open to your new stuff. In a lot of ways ...
Kyle: It's the hugest thing to overcome like how do you get someone ... Because as soon you see an independent musician who's thirsty, that's the biggest turnoff in the world, isn't it? Nobody wants to listen to that.
Dean: Exactly, nobody is looking for new music. I don't think that when you don't have a context for it, the way that that works is that you don't know ... When your first experience with somebody is an original song that they've done and you have no idea what this song is or what the melody is or it's not familiar in any way to you, it's like too much new information. Whereas when you take a familiar song ... That's why covers really, I think, are the magic gateway to build an audience, that when you take a cover, it takes the familiarity and the love for this song, "I love this song so I'm going to hang in here and see what he does with it." Because by the time they were doing the covers, it was right at the peak of the popularity of that song which is another strategy, lots of searches for that song. I think that that is a bridge to introduce new people.
It's not unlike the way that hip-hop artists will do some bars on a more popular artist like they'll introduce somebody, they'll do some bars on somebody else's song and that's how they get broken. You go all the way back ... I mean, Mase and you look at all of those ...
Kyle: Run–D.M.C. on Aerosmith.
Dean: Exactly. All that stuff, right? You ride along on something that's more popular.
Kyle: …traffic to cover songs could be great. We haven't even tried that because when it came to ... We develop the strategies of the hip-hop artist, he's not going to do covers and then move to the others so it never occurred to us, that's brilliant.
Dean: I watched the evolution of what Boyce Avenue had done because it kind of snuck up all of a sudden. When I saw them first, they had a few hundred thousand subscribers and then it's growing, growing, growing. I think they're over 10 million subscribers now, maybe even more. That was their strategy, just cover, cover, cover, cover, "These guys are great, I can't wait to hear their next one," that's really what it is. Now, you really like them. I think there's a lot of wisdom in that.
I was talking about American Idol versus The Voice too as an example of how American Idol really, basically, covered that cover model and building an audience of people who like you because they like the way you sing their favorite songs. Then by the time they've heard you after all these weeks of getting behind you and voting you up and creating the situation there, by the time you win American Idol, that your audience who built you to that is invested in you and want to, as soon as you come out with your album, jump right on it. By the time ...
Kyle: The problem is that American Idol owns that, they own a lot of that album. I mean, the majority…
Dean: Maybe that's part of the thing that's a great model for you. When you think about this, you think about the brilliance of what Simon Cowell did and Simon Fuller thinking that through, that's really, perhaps, a great opportunity for you to create environments that can help independent artists showcase themselves, that you can create that kind of thing. That's mogul thinking, you know.
Kyle: A lot of what we've found success with is applying Cialdini to the artists to stay in relationship.
Dean: Tell me how.
Kyle: The first big success we had was that we ran a video view campaign on Facebook for ... We're actually located right here in Orlando, Florida.
Dean: I didn't realize that, okay.
Kyle: Yeah. I went to college out here in Full Sail University and came up in the indie music scene here which if you don't know, it's a great music scene in Central Florida. The buddy of mine, the hip-hop artist Bless, he filmed a video out here called Mind Altering which is all about how brands control us. He's a very woke kind of guy, he's very into alternative thinking and all that stuff. His video is all about how brands are controlling our minds and it's pretty just anti-brand control.
We ran a headline with it, that was find out how this rapper just ruined every major endorsement deal and that's what got us in like that video went huge. A lot of the psychology behind that and why we made that headline was we wanted to polarize people and really just show like we're looking only for the people who were anti-establishment. We just selected them out with this headline and that worked really well, and then we developed a relationship with them. The big pivot with Cialdini was we really wanted them to express their opinion about their allegiance to the music because I was reading Influence and it was about commitment and consistency, that's really the major thing that rang true for me. Through a series of micro-commitments, we got them to just express publicly why they were here, what they felt about the music and all that. It wasn't even a coerce kind of thing, it was just like just tell us your actual opinion. They send it up on his Facebook reviews and off of those reviews, we've gotten label offers, label...
Dean: If you break down American Idol, that's exactly what's happening is commitment and consistency. I vote, I vote, I vote, I vote and now when they win, I feel responsible for it. That was the conversation I was having with somebody about The Voice. For as long as it's been on the air, The Voice has not had a breakout star. Like American Idol has had this track record, all the way from Kelly Clarkson to all of the winners of American Idol have gone on to be legitimate, make ...
Kyle: Even some of the losers.
Dean: Even some of the losers, exactly, because they really built this fan base that's invested in their success and feels part of it. Now, the fundamental difference in The Voice is that the focus of The Voice is not the artist and who wins, it's that Blake won The Voice and Adam has won The Voice, it's all about the coach. Even though the voting is in because there're so much shenanigans going on with the Knockout Rounds and the coaches are making the decisions kind of thing and they're taking the credit, I don't think that people feel as invested in the artist at the end of the run because they haven't given them that chance, right?
Kyle: Yeah. There's also this element of like The Voice is more of a television show. It was after the advent of these talent contests and they were like, "Okay, maybe we can produce this better," than it went when it was just America controlling it. I think it had a profound affect on exactly what you're talking about.
Dean: Yeah. That's pretty fascinating, what you're able to do with the video things.
Kyle: Well, the video just warmed them. You don't want to go up to someone at a party and just start singing in front of them, even if you know they like your brand of music, that's weird, that's an off-putting introduction. We teach indirect introductions, what if you could play your music at a party that was populated only by the people who are likely to enjoy it. That's what Facebook ads is. If you put a video ad in someone's newsfeed and you don't have a link, it's single action, direct response, just watch this video, there's no other action to take, then it's really indirect, really non-intimidating way to get them to take part in your music. That's a huge part of music discovery is we want to feel like we owned it, like we found this artist and it's our baby.
We've been doing that and warming up huge swaths of target audiences. Then we save those in Facebook and then we run the follow-up ads for offers like the AudioTrip. Then we put them through some kind of content sequence that gets them into our world. Those who do take it, we offer them follow-up products. We don't really have a great referral orchestration system, we don't have a concerted way to make this spread. They do spread it, people become soldiers for this music and they go and they tell other people about it but we don't control that.
Dean: Do you do it through live performances? I mean, that could be, certainly, a way to orchestrate referrals or orchestrate people bringing other people into gatherings.
Kyle: Well, we're not very local. Our fan base is primarily in New York, California, United Kingdom. We have fans in Japan and Sweden. Touring is not a huge thing for our testing ground artists right now because we're just building these fan bases on the internet and Facebook pages. That will be a great way to orchestrate a referral is to tour and get their friends to come out.
Dean: Yeah. You're doing these ads and stuff but what if you targeted the things for complete saturation in one market like, let's say, Orlando, for instance, that you do the same strategy.
Kyle: We kind of live and die on the idea that we don't want indies to change anymore. A lot of times, independent artists have had to compromise their individuality to fit a more concerted market. There wasn't the internet before so if you wanted to dominate your local area, you better be very likable by everyone in your local area, niche. That's one of our major revelations is that with the whole world at your fingertips with the internet, you can be very niche and so bridging the gap between that and how to dominate locally has been a challenge.
Dean: When you start to think about it though, when somebody is going to tour like, ultimately, they're going to ... In order to have an audience big enough to tour, it still is like a localized thing anyway, isn't it? If you just look at even the biggest bands would come to a market, and that's where they're drawing from that audience, that's local. It's just the volume of it that makes it bigger but the people who, largely, are coming to a concert in Orlando live somewhere between Daytona and Tampa, I mean, that's really where you're drawing from, right?
Kyle: Absolutely. In that context, yeah. I think you're right, you can get a large enough audience to a show.
Dean: Yeah. That's part of the thing, right? If that's part of what it is building up that fan base, if you want to call it that, initially, that you're building that groundswell is performing live. A big piece of the whole puzzle here is that you want people to get to or did they want to not tour and be a studio.
Kyle: A lot of the musicians that we talked to, they have an album, they do products. We really want to inspire independent musicians to take control and become entrepreneurs, build your own business. We offer for our first testing ground artists which is Nino Bless, the local guy, he offers two CDs, a hoodie and a T-shirt. He's built a six-figure business off of those four products and a fan base of ... I mean, he's got 15,000 on Facebook, he's got about 1,400 on email and that's a six-figure business right there. It took only three weeks of preparation and set up.
What we're really trying to teach independent musicians is build your own e-commerce style business, build a fan base online. We haven't really evolved that to touring just yet. Me and Nino have some dates in Canada. I'm a soul and blues singer, I've been obsessed with 1950s music since I was very very young and so we're collaborating hip-hop and that kind of music like Otis Redding type stuff. We're going to go tour Canada, your neck of the woods. We haven't evolved that part of the business yet but I'm very interested to do so.
Dean: Are you focused in a specific genre like are you working primarily with hip-hop artists? I mean, is there a contextual piece to what you're doing?
Kyle: No. We work with all different genres and we test our strategies across different genres. I have an artist named Duke out in LA who is an electronic funk producer. There's another artist locally, Palmer Reed who's an R and B artist and we've run some strategy with him. We test it out across multiple different genres and then we try to work with anyone who's willing to be independent and take the charge of developing a business.
Dean: The reason I was asking about that is whether it would makes sense to create an event or a festival or some sort of group experience where you're highlighting all these artists or these three or four artists are touring together to create an experience of it kind of thing.
Kyle: Yeah. Well, ultimately, there is some crossover like I have a fan base because of Nino. Nino's fans, they know me, they know that I help set up the AudioTrip and so I have a fan base there and we can introduce my album through them as well. There's not a whole lot of crossover. Ultimately, I want to show artists that basically what you and Joe teach specifically this before, during and after and the eight profit activators, what you guys teach, it applies directly to building your own music business. We really teach a lot about the history of the music industry, some of the more CD stuff. We really try to show indies like, "Listen, in 2017, getting signed up with a major record label should not be your goal, your goal should be building your own private industry online." I really take to heart More Cheese Less Whiskers and really put that into every step of building a fan. Really, it's about building fans. It's less about ...
Dean: Can independent artists get on Spotify or can anybody get on Spotify?
Kyle: Yeah, definitely.
Dean: Yeah. It's like the barriers and stuff are really falling. You can get on iTunes, you can get on Spotify, you can do your own tours, you can get right to your Facebook, you can record from your MacBook, I mean, there's really ... Yeah, I get it, that it certainly is ...
Kyle: The last silo is marketing. They think that, "Oh, the record labels will help me market," and we're trying to show them, "Listen, they won't. That's not what they're good at, they sign you by the time that you've already marketed yourself successfully." That's not their wheelhouse, their wheelhouse is like global mass marketing kind of stuff that just really is not going to help you at this level.
Dean: Yeah. I get it. Let's talk a little bit more about this micro-targeting then because that might be something to that. What's the progression here? If you take what you did with Nino, that you started out with that video campaign and it was just to watch the video, were you pixeling or what did you ...
Kyle: Well, Facebook allows you to save audiences based on video view percentages so we just save anyone who watch 25% or more of that video.
Dean: Okay. You got the video view audience and you built that into ... Walk me through the numbers on how this works out. You did the video view campaign, who were you targeting?
Kyle: For the first video, it was like very anti-establishment so we built out one asset or one audience that was called info warriors. They had to like all kinds of conspiracy theories and illuminati and all this stuff and then, also, like alternative hip-hop. I saw the ad. Then we also built out tons of audiences based on similar artists to Nino. Nino had a pretty all right career already in independent music so he's got a lot of soundalike artists and artists he's collaborated with so we targeted a lot of them. We teach indies to do multivariate interest targeting based on ... You think up seven artists you sound like and then you build out those audiences, you run seven audiences, you see which one's worth best.
Dean: I got you. Very good. What are the economics of that? How much do you pay per views and how are you budgeting to build that audience?
Kyle: We typically recommend do a 2 to $400 video view campaign and that'll net you probably anywhere from 100 to 300,000 views depending on your genre. Because pop people, they can only typically get views around 1 to 2 cents per video view, it's a very competitive market. Independent hip-hop artists, alternatives, they are able to dial it into fractions of a cent per view. Then we choose them to look at how many views are you getting people watching the whole video because these are the types of people who are going to be your fan.
Dean: Yeah. Got you. You build that for 2 to $400, you get 100 to 300,000 views, and how many people would watch more than 25%?
Kyle: Probably about 2.5% of the actual view audience, 2.5 to 6% usually. You get about anywhere from 2,500 to, I guess, 15,000, right? Works out, 100 video views. Then you retarget that audience with a follow-up ad.
Dean: Then it's another ad or video specifically for Nino?
Kyle: We tried all sorts of things with multiple different artists so we tried a single free download of this song in the video they watched, we've tried image based opt-in offers with long copy, we've tried all types of stuff, videos that introduce the offer. What we find is that the more unique the offer is, the more that you can actually market how groundbreaking the offer is, the more opt ins you'll get because people really love when you're pushing the envelope with music and business, that's something people really respond to. With Nino, we're able to be like, you know, "No one's ever released an album this way, we're going to change how music distribution works, direct to fan marketing." We really sold that on the opt-in offer and people dug it, people were psyched about that. When we're offering just free download, it works very less. We want to find a foolproof way for artists to leverage their creativity to build an interesting offer, I would love if they had that.
Dean: Yeah. Good for you. I mean, this is some pretty revolutionary thinking here.
Kyle: Well, it's all thanks to you guys.
Dean: Well, thank you.
Kyle: Every morning, I'm listening to two to three hours.
Dean: Do you do any geographic constraining on those? Like when you're saying you're targeting the info warriors ... I love that idea of all these conspiracy theory guys plus alternative hip-hop. What kind of geography do you do around that or are you doing it globally?
Kyle: One thing artists get wrong all the time and they end up saying Facebook ads don't work is they target like Saudi Arabia and places where they're going to get cheap views. We do United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, sometimes Germany and France, they're very supportive of American music. Those are our touch zone countries. We don't do a whole lot of local targeting but when we noticed it, it's getting a lot of concentration in California and New York and then Florida. We try targeting them and building it out but it's not very direct response to do so. I can't measure the results because we, obviously, receive higher ad cost because we're not giving Facebook a wide enough dataset to optimize and find us the people most likely. We're kind of fighting the tide of people who don't care. That's great because we're getting more of a concentrated effort and we can do touring following up but the measuring of that value is very difficult.
Dean: Yeah. The way I was thinking about that was really looking at, narrowly, that focus just a little bit for just that because where's the monetization, is it album sales, is it ...
Kyle: We play around with that. It's still very very new. We prove with the AudioTrip that physical media isn't dead, the relationship that artists have with fans, that may be dead. The physical media is not dead because people will buy your CD if they like you enough. We sold a lot of CDs. We didn't have the money to print a CD at first so we did pre-orders and we got enough money to print the CDs, and then we printed them and that works really well. T-shirts worked well, hoodies ... People want to wear the music, they want to wear that sort of branding of who they are and how they think because that's the identification they have with the artist. We're about to play around with the subscription model, digital distribution so that's all coming. I'm really interested to see how artists innovate that space, how they decide what product am I going to offer. Yeah, CDs is typically it.
Dean: Are you documenting all of this? Are you interacting on the social media like through Facebook, Snapchat and all that?
Kyle: Morning, noon and night.
Dean: Yeah, okay. You're recording and documenting all of the stuff that's going on?
Kyle: Yeah. When we have a shipping day, I'll make a video about it and show everyone who ordered and where they ordered from.
Dean: That's so great. I've been observing what's happening now with the ... You go all the way from Casey Neistat and the things that Gary Vaynerchuk is doing now just on the documenting of everything. People get invested in those relationships with that kind of stuff, getting taught into it. I think that these special event kind of things might be a next step of it, you know?
Dean: I mean, it feels like.
Kyle: Also, that could happen digitally, it doesn't have to happen. Like if we could run a digital show, we could reach the whole world.
Dean: It's very funny but I do these Breakthrough Blueprint events in Orlando here. One of the guys who's coming to the one at the end of the month has a video studio in Phoenix. He adjusted the first official one a couple of weeks ago where ... Have you seen the show Live at Daryl's House with Daryl?
Kyle: Yeah, I love Live at Daryl's House, really good.
Dean: Okay. That's kind of the vibe that he's got going in Phoenix here so that was like multi-camera, live switching, doing an interview with the artist and then they're doing a live set. That's really the thing he's looking at building out. I agree with you, there's an intimacy. There was only 20 people live in the studio but the intimacy of it and the stuff went out, that it was a live cast all on Facebook, kind of a neat thing. Now that the access to 4K TVs, you can have an app on a smart TV that somebody could watch your channel and have ...
Kyle: Well, you know, as soon as Kinect for Xbox came out where they can track your body and all that, the first thing I thought was, "Man, you got a VR on your head, you got this thing tracking your movements, you're at a concert with your buddy who's in Japan."
Dean: That's exactly it. It's so funny because it's exactly where I was going, of the things that we imagine that the ... We're not going to need to go to events like that in the future, you'll be able to be immersed in it right where you are. That's what I said to Richard, these 360 cameras and stuff to be able for somebody to really feel like they're right there. What a great experience ...
Kyle: I could participate in the Breakthrough Blueprint from the comfort of my home.
Dean: That's exactly right, yeah. That's kind of a cool thing. I just see so much opportunity around that, I mean, you're really thinking all the right thoughts and going down the right paths.
Kyle: Yeah. I tell everyone I can to listen to you guys' podcast because it really changed my life in a lot of ways. I think what's going to help the most is getting that confidence back like, "Hey, don't hand over your business to someone else, you don't need all these people. Get some marketing spam in there and build it yourself because the rewards are amazing compare to the actual work." I really want to show them smarter methods. Taking a single target audience, that stuff, we can teach really well to indies. I think there's opportunity for exponential growth of a fan base that happens automatically and effortlessly once you have people in your wheelhouse, that's an innovation that I'm searching for. I think live events could really help. Doing a live stream where you can have an opener and you can expose one person's internet audience to a whole new artist, that's cross-business referrals...
Dean: My thing for you will be that if I'm in your situation, I would be looking to create the vehicles that can become the new discovery models. I mean, you go back to American Bandstand and the Dick Clark Shows and all those things that were introducing artists all the way in the 90s then to Total Request Live on MTV, that was action central of everything then. How old are you?
Kyle: I'm 27.
Dean: 27. When you were 10, Total Request Live, that was it, Carson Daly. If you see on CRL, that's the thing. The amazing thing about it and you've seen American Idol come up, you've seen all of that is all of those were very controlled vehicles with the ...
Kyle: Well, as with American Bandstand and Radio.
Dean: That's exactly it, that's the whole point. A lot of people don't realize that Procter and Gamble invented the soap opera. They created soap operas to gather the audience of women who were at home so that they could run ads to sell them their soap and their products. That's something that's brilliant. You've got this idea now of the opportunity now to have your own American Bandstand or your own whatever it is.
Kyle: The problem is that I'm very anti-platform because I think that ... I'm not against people making money whatsoever, the problem I have is the effect that controlled platforms, controlled methods of discovery not by artists but by business people. What it does to creative children is it causes this broad advice that parents have for children to just have a fallback because the chances of success in music are so rare, but success is so accessible using this stuff that you guys teach especially for independent artists. If we can show a world of indie artists that they can create their own industry and not be succumb to the fate of picking that lottery system, we can really change the conversation about what it means to be a creative individual, that there is a future for you. That's a passion of mine so I really don't want to create a platform or any kind of gatekeeper, I want to show people, "No, you're the platform, you can find your audience. You can be the voice of the person that is only like you, you're this unique voice."
That's kind of why I shied away from ... People post their links to me, they send me stuff and I don't really want to become a throughput, I want to show people how they can do it.
Dean: I get that. I guess where I was going with that is that the likelihood of artists who are creative and very talented, having the ability to dive into understanding direct response and understanding the kinds of things that you're talking about, it's an uphill climb in a way like teaching somebody how to do something versus providing a service that does something for them. I mean, are you familiar with CD Baby? Were you old enough to ...
Kyle: They're still around. They have a great blog called DIY Musician, it's kind of the same vein of what we do.
Dean: Do you know the story of it or how it started?
Kyle: I don't know a whole lot but I'm good friends with some of the people who handle Ani DiFranco and then a few other artists who came through that method.
Dean: Perfect. I mean, it basically started out that Derek Sivers figured out how to create a CD and get a barcode, do all that stuff. He just started offering to do that for some of his friends and then word started getting out and everybody wanted him to do it. He created the service for it to help independent artists get their CDs to sell the CDs online. I think if you're thinking, you're a visionary who's seeing how this is happening, that could be an opportunity maybe not in creating the platform as Kyle presents or whatever, that you're the gateway into something which is a great idea. If you're philosophically opposed to it, that's another thing. There's nothing stopping you from providing the tools for people to do that, the tools and the services and the guidance to let the artist do that, not just ...
Kyle: Well, that's the company we've started, that's what Indepreneur does is we try to teach the same motto we started off with that video view strategy because I think that's what people want the most is to see attention coming in and new fans and then we can teach them how to monetize it later. It's very much in its infancy, that's probably why it's been so not prevalent in this talk but that does exist to a degree. I really just want to inspire people to apply the methodologies that you guys have brought forth.
Dean: Right. Yeah, I like it. I think it's pretty exciting what you're doing. If you could solve one big challenge or one thing, what's the thing that we could focus on here coming towards the end? How can I help you the most?
Kyle: For a lot of these indies, they've got people who have signed up to an email list, taking some kind of innovative music experience, kind of a multi-content ...
Dean: Profit activator three.
Dean: You got everybody in profit activator three. You got a brilliant selection process, info warriors. You got a way to compel them. You're going to introduce them through this video view campaign, build up that audience and then get them to raise their hand in some way whether it's to download something interesting. Now you got, on the other side of that, this group of people that are sitting there in profit activator three right now, people who have raised their hand, they are interested in this. That could be the people who opt in and it's also, to a lesser degree, the likes on the pages or even setting up pages for people, you're just doing it.
Kyle: Yeah. The likes are pretty valuable. We try not to build our house on someone else's territory but Facebook likes are pretty valuable and we can run direct offers to them and it works pretty well.
Dean: If we're making the jump from profit activator one being who we've selected as the audience and two being we're compelling them to raise their hand, that I would call that kind of stuff, you're somewhere in 1.5 here, that you got a more targeted audience but they haven't yet raised their hand to get their invisible prospects.
Kyle: Right. Yeah, exactly. Then once they've gotten into this list, it's typically a value pack experience. I mean, for just giving us their email, we give them stuff, in terms of raw dollar value what it will be priced at, it's probably only $35 over the course of 12 days of relationship building experience. We know how to do that pretty well, pretty good at email marketing, taking Deiss' machine and very interested in your email marketing mastery stuff so pretty good at that. We give them really unique experiences. When it comes time to say, "Okay, here's how you can spread the movement, here's how you can activate other people that you know would like this music," we don't have a great plan for that, we're not very good.
Dean: Right. That's all the way into the after unit here to now. If we're breaking it down, you've got your info warriors, you've got your way to get them to opt in, how many people would you say are in profit activator three? Let's just take that one artist as an example. You said you got about 1,500 ...
Kyle: For Nino, it's probably 14 to 1,500, yeah.
Dean: 1,400 people who've raised their hand. In profit activator four being the offers that you made to these people, you've made an offer of ... What? The CD.
Kyle: Yeah. As soon as they opt in, there's an offer for a flash sale for the CD where it's only, I believe, $13 and they can also add on his last CD for $12, they're both signed. In this one, the one that we're offering, we only printed 400 copies and it's a limited edition, I think there's 20 copies left. It comes signed and it comes with a lifetime VIP meet and greet pass so anytime he tours, anytime he has a signing or anything, it's a VIP pass.
Dean: How much is that?
Kyle: That's the first offer. I mean, it ranges from 12 to $20 depending on how they're seeing the offer.
Dean: Okay, great. How many of those 1,400 have taken that offer?
Kyle: I would say probably about 550.
Dean: Okay. 550 people have bought the ...
Kyle: 550 customers. I apologize, not actually bought the CD but 550 customers for one product or another.
Dean: That's what I mean, that's all I'm looking for. 550 people have moved into profit activator five which is they've given you money and now they got that experience. That is a phenomenal conversion rate, I mean, you're doing a great thing there. If we just added zeros to all of this, that's a pretty cool thing. How much revenue have the 550 generated?
Kyle: For Nino, over the past three months, it's been about 9,300 to 10,000, I haven't checked the numbers in a few days.
Dean: Right. That has all happened in the last 90 days?
Kyle: Yeah. I think we offered our first product on December 5th so that's when it really all came to a head. Since then, we had a big spike. Then we started retargeting our email list and those who had ...
Dean: Some of these 550 comes from other places or is that the 550 of the 1,400?
Kyle: I got to admit, some of them probably came just called off of his Facebook audience.
Dean: I got you. Right. Okay. Because it's important to know the throughput metrics here just to get a sense of this.
Kyle: We don't have a very strong attribution, I got to say.
Dean: No, that's fine. It makes the difference, just to be able to know. The thing that I'm looking at now is what is the ongoing communication with this profit activator three group. What's your flagship communication that every week is in front of them?
Kyle: Yeah. There's a 12-day email sequence that they get, that just start. We want to expand that because we have tons more content and more coming but we've been very bad about weekly communication. That's why recently Nino has been live streaming almost every day, every night rather with his audience and that's building a lot more of a relationship because he's actually meeting these people more and more, he's calling them individually sometimes. There has been regular communication or rather there's been frequent communication just not consistent communication and that's something that we've been focusing on is getting a weekly email newsletter, that kind of stuff.
Dean: That weekly email along with a super signature, I call it, in every email to show that those offers are there for people, that they can get the CD or get the last CD, get the limited edition, here's how to get more Nino.
Kyle: You set it as a signature template.
Dean: Super signature. Yeah, that's what I call it, the super signature that is ... You watch with every email that I send out, it's got a PS and then it always ends, "Whenever you're ready, here are four ways I can help you hatch some evil schemes for your business."
Kyle: Right. Okay, that's great.
Dean: Yeah. I think that's the big thing is what's this going to be over the next ... When you look at your ongoing like what's the 12-month outlook of these 1,400 people that you got and how does that play out.
Kyle: Yeah. We've been building subscribers in Facebook as well and how Facebook messenger is trying to ... There's a lot of third-party services trying to make Facebook messenger into, effectively, an autoresponder but with even more capability like really putting video and audio. We're really exploring that. We want to get our original 1,400 or our original customer list and offer for a subscription model where we're just releasing content frequently through this membership area, we want to try that out. Then how we see it is if we can build our list in the next 12 months, then we can really stop focusing on growth for a little bit, we'll have natural growth activators in place ...
Dean: Bite your tongue, you never want to stop focusing on growth for a little bit.
Kyle: What I mean, I would rather automate growth over the next 12 months.
Dean: There you go. Yeah. First thing is that every week, a newsletter going out to everybody with clips from the live streams that he's doing, it was always the here's what to do next. That's the question that you always have to keep in front of people is, basically, here's what to do next, join us every night this week for our live stream on Facebook or get the limited edition CD, get that here, that you're constantly keeping those things or get your swag here.
Dean: I think that's really going to be the big thing is always to keep that in front. At the very least, you look at that, you got these 1,400 people rather than it being just eight or 12 emails like a series over a little period of time, let's focus on building the long-term relationship with these people.
Kyle: Yeah. We know a lot of them. I see names on the live streams and I'm like, "Hey, I know where this guy lives, I send him out a package last week." We're building that lifelong relationship but we don't really know how to ask or what the appropriate way, especially for music which is dicey, to orchestrate referrals is. We don't know what the offer is for referrals, really scratching our heads over.
Dean: The same way that referrals happen for anything, they happen for music, all referrals happen as a result of conversation. That really comes down to people doing three things, they have to notice that the conversation is about music, they have to think about Nino or they think about you or they think about whatever artist that is and they have to introduce you, that connect you to that person. This is especially true for your after unit. Now, the people who like you, who have bought these experiences, bought the CDs, bought the limited editions, whatever, they're going to be more likely to talk about it especially if you make something tangible. I'm not sure how you package the CDs or what you package along with them but ... That's why things like T-shirts and stickers and things that are visual, iconic things that spread, that's really an important thing.
Kyle: Yeah. It's putting all the referral capability focus on fulfillment, if you can get referrals through your fulfillment process.
Dean: Right, that's exactly right.
Kyle: That's brilliant. We really don't have a lot in place for that so that could really be a game changer.
Dean: That's part of surprising and delighting. Like when people buy the CDs and stuff, if there's something that you can send people like stickers or something that's cheap, that is spreadable, that's an amazing opportunity.
Kyle: I mean, there's a lot of innovative ideas in that department available.
Dean: Yeah. Making the email is easy to spread too.
Kyle: Now, explain that.
Dean: If you give somebody an MP3 download code that they can spread to somebody, that might be a way to ...
Kyle: Like give them a way to activate the experience for someone else that has exclusivity to it.
Dean: That's exactly right.
Kyle: Okay. It goes all the way back to the 1920s but thank you for waking it up again.
Dean: Yeah. This is awesome. It's been great, really enjoyed hatching these evil schemes with you.
Kyle: Thank you so much.
Dean: You got a great thing.
Kyle: Yeah. Thank you so much, Dean. Just wanted to let you know, when we got the email where you invited me on, a few days before, my coworker, my partner in crime here, he's just like, "You know, this year we're going to meet Dean Jackson," and I was like, "That's a pretty oddly specific goal." It just goes to show you, man, the secret.
Dean: When did you guys first send in to on the show?
Kyle: I think it was like a month or two months ago.
Dean: Exactly. Cool. Here we are.
Dean: That's great. If you're in Orlando here, I'll connect with you because when Richard Miller is here, I'd like maybe to connect the two of you guys too.
Kyle: That will be great.
Dean: He's done some really cool stuff in that same space. A couple of weeks?
Kyle: Yeah. I'm actually going back to Massachusetts on Wednesday and then I'm back on Friday or Saturday so that's the only time I'll be...
Kyle: Then also, if you ever want to see some great live music or catch some great food in Orlando, I'm connected to all the spots.
Dean: That's awesome. Cool. All right. Thanks for coming on.
Kyle: Thank you so much, Dean. I appreciate this call. Bye-bye.
Dean: There we have it, another great episode. That was a really interesting conversation I got. It's really nice to see somebody so thoughtfully thinking about each of the steps of the eight profit activators and how they actually apply. It was nice to break it out there at the end to overlay where people are in the process to understand that once somebody starts from just being recorded as somebody who viewed a video, to making an offer that encourages them, to now identify themselves and become visible prospects to get that group of 1,400 people in profit activator three, setting up now that weekly opportunity to continue to communicate with those people, make special offers in profit activator four and bring people into the fold here in profit activator five and then continue to build that relationship with them and make it easy for them to spread the news about the new artist.
It's amazing how even an artistic business like music still really follows this eight profit activator model. They're universally present. I've always said that every business, they're happening whether you are consciously applying them or whether they are being applied without your control. The fact of the matter is that all of these things are present in your business.
It was very exciting. I'm happy that I got to spend that time with Kyle. If you'd like to continue the conversation here, you can go to morecheeselesswhiskers.com. You can download a copy of the More Cheese Less Whiskers book. If you'd like, press on the be a guest button and be a guest on the show and we can hatch some evil schemes for your business. If you want to see how the profit activators are active in your business, the best way to get a sense of where you are right now is to complete our profit activator scorecard. You can do that at profitactivatorscore.com where you can download a copy of the profit activator scorecard, you can go through it right there online and two books that you get with it, the Breakthrough DNA book which really explains all of the eight profit activators and the Profit Activator Scorecard book which goes through and interprets your scorecard for you, show you how to improve your score on each of the eight profit activators. It's a really great place to start. Take advantage of those and I will see you next time.