Scott Smith of Motivation to Move is an entrepreneur, creator, and former top 40 DJ who's an expert in converting free listeners to a paid podcast.
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- ❗ How Scott earned $88,000 in 20 minutes
- 🤗 Scott's exact systems and marketing funnels to turn listeners into customers
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How did Scott Smith get into podcasting?
Jason Sew Hoy: Hey, everyone. Welcome to Supercasters. I'm Jason Sew Hoy, co-founder and CEO of Supercast. And on this show, we interview world-class podcasters, deconstruct their growth strategies and find out how they build sustainable independent businesses that thrive on a strong relationship with their listeners.
Today I'm very excited to be talking to Scott Smith, an entrepreneur, creator, and former top 40 DJ who's an expert in converting free listeners to a paid podcast.
Scott Smith: Are you talking to me, sir?
Jason Sew Hoy: Certainly. Scott's the Chief Motivating Officer of Motivation to Move, a self-help podcast that provides daily 9-minute coaching on the mindset and habits that create happiness, success. and the life you desire. Launched in 2006 Scott's show, Daily Boost, has received over 38 million total downloads. That's a whopping 65,000 downloads for every episode and his paid product Daily Boost Premium provides even more value for his most engaged listeners. Hi Scott. Welcome to the show.
Scott Smith: Hi there, I think I need to update that. We're at 47 million now. Just saying.
Jason Sew Hoy: Wow. Growing at an amazing rate.
Scott Smith: Yeah. Well, I've been doing it a long time, you know? Well, I'm happy to be here. Thanks for having me.
Jason Sew Hoy: So wind us back then. First of all, how did you get into podcasting?
Scott Smith: Well, I was obviously a radio guy as you brought up. And I was kind of kicking around, tired of the freelance, tired of the corporate thing, tired of working hard and then having no money and having to find another gig. And I said, I need something else to do here. And I had kinda meandered my way into the self-help world.
I was teaching kickboxing at the time. And I was in a gym and started to bring kind of what I do to the gym. And I said, well, it's kinda cool, they liked it. I started an email list and I said, well, how do I kind of reach my audience? How do I get out there? And one day, it was in 20004 right at the end of the year, right after Christmas, I was sitting in my bedroom at the time. I was Googling and I found this thing called a podcast.
And I went out to my wife and I said, honey, I found it. It's called a podcast. She said a pod what? I said a podcast and it's how I get my message out. And she said okay. That was it. This was literally two months after it was invented. I mean, Adam Curry was still rocking the day back then. And so I went at it and I figured it out. We wrote the RSS feed. I said, I gotta figure out something to post this thing on. WordPress was garbage back then. I used something called Expression Engine. It took me about three months to get my first podcast written and it was called the Motivation to Move Minute.
And I launched it on something called Podcast Alley and I put 20 of them up and I went out to dinner. It was a fitness podcast. I went out to dinner at TGI Friday's, had some sesame jack chicken wings, had some beer and came back and about 25 people said, where have you been all my life? And there it began.
I started that. I did that for about a month and I said, well, let's do something longer. So I came up with a 30-minute show called the Motivation and Move show that I ran on Saturdays. So I ran free Monday through Friday on a 60-second show, and then a 30-minute show on a Saturday. And about July 4th weekend of 2005, iTunes said, we're going to do podcasts. Would you like to be on our directory? I said, sure we'd like to. And they put me in there and all hell broke loose after that, if I may say.
Jason Sew Hoy: Interesting. So how did people discover you before iTunes? Was it your email list?
How did Scott Smith get discovered before iTunes?
Scott Smith: Well, it was email list and there were people that were looking for podcasts. There was Podcast Alley, Podcast Pickle, all these directories that were out there that are still around some of them anyway. And that was it. That's how you found them. Totally gamed. It was very difficult to rise to the top. The people out there were kind of your Napster crowd. Remember Napster back in the nineties? So Napster was kind of like this outlaw crowd that was finding these audio podcasts out there. And they discovered us.
And when I started, there were less than 10,000 podcasts in the world when I started. iTunes kind of broke it free and made it available to the entire world. We crashed servers. We did everything. It was kind of a fun time for about, probably three years, 2006 through 2008 or nine. It was crazy, but it just rolled. It just grew. And it just ran really, really fast. And people were like, Oh my God, what is this thing? So here we are.
And then we had kind of the second generation that we kind of went up and down for a long time. Serial came about 2014. That was the next big hit. And then people began to discover podcasting. And now here we are at 1.4 million podcasts. So it's been a long time, long ride.
Jason Sew Hoy: It's funny, you said people still talk about podcasting like it's a new thing.
Scott Smith:I have my Feedburner Feed. You know Feedburner?
Jason Sew Hoy: I do.
Scott Smith: All right. I've got a Feedburner feed. And just the other day I was checking on Google and Google is Google and they are what they are, and we're listed on Google and I was Googling around and I realized they were actually drawing off my Feedburner feed. You know, the one they shut down five years ago. Still working. And I said, seriously, you still got my Feedburner feed? It's been that long. We have the original feed from day one, which is really like an asset, like gold hidden in the mountains, because we have all these people from all these years who still have that feed. And so I have the original feed. I started way back in 2005 and it is still serving the world today.
Jason Sew Hoy: Amazing. There's a few threads that kind of came together at that early time. There was the fact that you had been a top 40 DJ, I assume prior to that experience, prior to you discovering podcasting, and then there was you discovering podcasting and saying, hey, this is a way for me to get my story out. And then there's also the idea for the Daily Boost itself and the content topic and type of stuff that you're going to be speaking about on a daily basis. Can you talk a little bit about how that all came together?
How did Daily Boost come together?
Scott Smith: You know, I had the radio background, I had a production background. I was a voiceover guy for a long time. Our microphones are completely messed up today, so you can't tell today, but we're doing this right. I was in a production company. I own production companies, I did TV. I did film. I probably did, my gosh, 300 different infomercials, about 10,000 commercials. I was in the production world. That's what I did. And so I had a background of advertising and production and radio and, and I kind of knew how to do the game.
When I decided I wanted to shift from what I was doing, and I said I'm going into self-help and consulting and helping people kind of make their life better, build their businesses, the whole thing, I'd been doing that kind of brick and mortar door to door, but I didn't have a vehicle to go online. And when podcasting showed up, that was the vehicle, I saw it as the vehicle. I said, okay. I can jump into this thing and I didn't know what to do with it. I just knew that, okay, if I start talking, I figured I could create content people would like. And I knew that I had a personality that I’d been paid to use before.
And I really believe that things have changed today a little bit, but still personality rules online. It rules anywhere. You know the content you want to have. But if you don't have the ability to connect with people on a charismatic level, you're going to have a hard time with it. And we see that all the time. So I knew I had that going for me because I had a track record of that. But listen, dude. The first time I did a podcast, I sat down and I thought I was a podcaster. I've been on CNN, I've been on Fox. I've been all over the world. I've done all kinds of cool things. And I sit down and do my first podcast as hi, my name is Scott. This is my podcast. How are you?
I put my NPR voice on, right? Come on, man. Even before NPR did it. It didn't take me very long, a few episodes before I realized that no, start being yourself. Cheesy or not be who you are. And I ran with it. So the background I had absolutely 100%, because at that time you had to be able to do production to do this thing. These days you go buy a Rodecaster Pro and a microphone and boom, you're done, you're in. Hire Supercast, you got your feed. I had to write my feed way back then. So I jumped in and I went at it, but there was a problem. I wasn't making any money.
Jason Sew Hoy: Right.
Scott Smith: None. I was working 90 hours a week doing my job and making a podcast six days a week and making not a dime. Heard that story before?
Jason Sew Hoy: Certainly.
Scott Smith: Okay. So are you ready for it? You're ready for the real… You want to go deep?
Jason Sew Hoy: Absolutely. We want to go deep.
How did Scott Smith start making money from podcasting?
Scott Smith: Okay. Here's what happened. So we got into this thing and I'm working at it and I'm literally saying to myself, okay, how am I going to make money out of this thing? And I'm looking around, I'm seeing, okay, people are making money online. They're selling courses, they're doing stuff, it's working. Beginnings of the internet kind of thing. I've been online since probably ‘89 with CompuServe and AOL, all that stuff. And I said, well, people are making money. What am I going to do here? I said, well, here's what I'll do. I'll do this new fangled thing called freemium. And I'll make a membership site, of all things. That's going to work.
I'll just give a little bit away. And then I'll say, if you want more, you gotta pay me for it. But I'll say it nicer than that. And then I went to figure it out. My daughter was working with me at the time and we went to something called Amember, which was a membership site. They still sell today. I remember I sent them an email and said, Hey, I want to use your software for my podcast. Will it work? They said, no, it won't work on podcasts. I said, why not? It's just a file. It's got to work. And I went and did it. And two, three years later, Paul Collagen, you've heard the name before.
Paul says, Hey, we have this new thing that works with podcasts, it's called Amember. Well, I figured it out about three years before he did. And with that, I had this crazy idea. I said, okay, we've got this free podcast five days a week and this Saturday podcast. But if you want to get the mindset stuff, because when it came to health and fitness and weight loss and all that, I just knew it wasn't about diet. It was all about your mind. So I created this thing called the Daily Boost and the crazy idea, and I cannot tell you where it came from, was I'll do it on Monday for free, still do. And Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, you got to pay for it. And I launched it one day in September of 2006, I launched it on a Saturday morning.
The day I was moving out of my house, by the way, for the weekend. I had 30 people give me $19.95. I made almost $600, but that day, my wife, my first wife, we moved out and that evening I got a terminal diagnosis for her. She had cancer and we didn't know it was coming. She got sick that day. And so the very day that I launched my business, my wife, we were told she was going to die. And so I reached out to all my folks and I said, Hey, I got your money, I'll send it back. Or I'll be back as soon as I can. And they all said, well, come on back when you're ready. And so for the next 100 days, I took care of my wife.
We moved out, we went to Costa Rica. We did all kinds of crazy treatments, the whole thing. We went into hospice, the whole deal. I decided to record a podcast every single week through the entire process. My entire journey, episode 66 through 99, were recorded as I went through the process. Well, that was one of the biggest things I'd ever done because it played out in real time like a podcast does. It's so intimate. It was so real that you couldn't get away from it, people connected to it. Then she passed away in December of 2006.
And I had tried to do the Daily Boost and get it going like in early December, but I couldn't do it. She was almost dying. I couldn't do it. And so she passed away. I took a couple of weeks off and came back and I said, okay, I'd promised my late wife. I said, listen, I'm going to do what I'm going to do. I called my daughter and I said, here we are, let's get this thing going. And we started doing it and we cried and we went at it and our listeners stayed with us and I kept doing a podcast every week. And it took about the end of January. I think she had died December 6th, but at the end of January, I was ready to go again. I had something ready to go and I came back and said, okay, here we go. I'm live. Give me money. And I literally said that, give me money. Well, I got enough people to give me, I got 150 people to give me 20 bucks a month. So suddenly I had some money.
So it kind of kicked on that way for a long time. So I'm recovering, I'm sharing my story and I can't, I really want to stop for a second because I've sold the story a long time, but because of where I was, I was so transparent and so real. And basically my message was this, look what I'm going through and I'm going to spin it in a positive way to show you how I'm recovering from this and people latched on to that. That's what they did. And so we went for a while and then about a month after that I met my new wife, Joy. I had another issue. I had no money. So I said, okay, I guess I gotta make some more money. I met her the first day. I said, Joy, I am currently making this much per month, 150 times 20. It's what I make. That's it. So I gotta make more money.
I knew I was going to ask her to marry me in about six or seven months because that's what she told me it would be. And I figured I better have my income up by then. And I set off on my path. That's the short story about how I kind of got to where I am today, but I just want to reemphasize really strongly that what happened was I connected with my audience in the only way a podcast can. It's so intimate.
It's the only thing you put in your ear, man. That's it. There's nothing that you insert in your body to listen to. I resonated in the bone structure of their ear canal right down into their heart and told them a story that I could never do today. I could never construct it today. It was so real. And so what I've learned since then is to be real, no matter how bad it is. Just be real. Just go there. Ne nasty, be dirty, be ugly. And then ask for money if you want to get paid. That's how you do it, man.
Jason Sew Hoy: Thank you for sharing that story that speaks to all kinds of things. Not only in terms of what was going through your life at the time and the way you were, I'm sure, grieving and dealing with your loss. But then also to the medium of podcasting as well, and what makes it special that goes beyond words on a page or words on a website. You're speaking right into somebody's ear hole and that sort of stuff can resonate around people's bones.
Scott Smith: Yeah, it did and it was very powerful. But you know the thing that happened was I always had a mindset and the mindset was this. It was that I'm going to share my story because it was very painful. It was hard. I was crying a lot of the podcasts and yet this was not about me. It was about them. It was about the listener. It's how can I take what I'm going through and get them to grasp onto that and grab something from it. How can I do that? And that's never gone away. It was there from the beginning. So I stayed with it. I encourage all podcasters just to do that. if you're trying to connect with somebody then, really think on their behalf, think about what they're going through, think about their journey.
Don't try to manipulate it, but just try to share the story in a way that they can engage. Because that beautiful suspension of disbelief, that point in time when they fall into your story, even though you're talking about you, it doesn't matter. They're in your story, they're following the narrative of your life and they start to relate it to themselves. And if you can think that way you'll always win because it's never about you. It's always about them.
[00:14:29]Jason Sew Hoy: I love it. The suspension of disbelief. I love it. You know it sounds like through what you're saying about, Hey, I make this much money to your new girlfriend and saying, I got to get this up. It sounds like you were all in on your show. What was it about what you were doing that basically made you think, okay, I've just got to make this successful. I've got to get this to where it needs to be, as opposed to going back to what you were previously doing.
When did Scott Smith realize his podcast was going to make money?
Scott Smith: They say if you're gonna overtake the island, burn the ship so you can't go back to it. A lot of people say that. Years ago I was interviewing a guy that owned the company called The Pasta Shop. And I said, they say you should work at this part time. He said, God no, don't do that. You'll always give up. You always go back to the full-time job. So I've always believed that you have to go for it, but I also believe there's a bridge. There's a point in time where you can make the jump. Your skill set has to be there. Your tech set has to be there. You've got to have some momentum. You've got to know your path. You've got to know that you can at least have half a chance to get there. You know what I mean by that? You can't jump too fast. So I teach people that all the time. We build a bridge, let's build this side, let's build that side.
When the span gets close enough together, let's make the leap. So in my case, very special situation, I had the skillset. I had already built the tech because I'd done broadcast my entire life, but I built the tech. I had the podcast out there. I had an audience listening to me already. I remember they opened up my community, I opened up with a thousand members like, boom, just like that. It was crazy. So I had momentum going already. So that was already there. And then this really strange thing that you may or may not understand was that my wife passed away.
And when your wife passes away, you get a free pass. And I knew that. I knew I had a free pass. And what I mean by that is that, wait a second, everybody thinks I'm so grieving and so upset that they're not going to demand anything of me. They're not going to make me pay my rent exactly on time. They're not going to call me to do a job. They’re just going to leave me alone for a while. And I knew that was gonna happen. Because I've been through stuff like that before. And I said, well, what the heck? I've got this all set up. I'm already set up to go. I'm already right dead in the water. I've got some momentum.
If I just go all in I think I can make this work. And so I went all in. I just decided that's it. But again, I was at that stage where I knew that, Hey, if I do this, I can make this happen. A lot of folks, they jump too soon. And they can't get it to go. People would give up and they say, Hey, I'm going to start building my podcast business. You've got to have a skillset to make it happen. I'll tell you here a little bit how I actually got it really rolling, but that really interesting point in time I was I had nothing better to do, honestly. It was a choice. Go back to the old way it used to be or because my life had been so suddenly interrupted, kind of run with it, which is what I did. So I basically burnt the boats, went at it.
Jason Sew Hoy: That's amazing. And this is such a different time as well. These days everyone looks to iTunes and says, wow, if we can just get up those charts, if I can get the ratings in a spot then the traffic will come. But you didn't even have that level of certainty to where your audience was going to come from. So I'm interested to explore further, when you're at that point, 150 people paying you $20 a month, how did you think about growing your listenership from there?
How did Scott Smith grow his audience?
Scott Smith: I had no idea. How do you do it, man? Do you Google it? Facebook wasn't doing advertising back then. And how do you get search engine stuff? And I played all those games and did everything possible. And I just realized you do a good show and do all the things you still do today. Hey subscribe. Hey review, all that kind of stuff. A call to action on the podcast. I just knew. It's basics. Nothing's new here, man. Podcasting seems new, it’s been around nearly 20 years almost. We're getting there. From the very, very beginning if you go back, it actually started way back in the nineties, but it wasn't called that.
So if you look at the marketing that makes any media property or any business successful is hundreds if not thousands of years old, it's the same process. Nothing's changed. Human intellect has not changed in tens of thousands of years. It's the same. So I knew that going in. I said, okay, well, how do I do this thing? And I had a listenership and you don't need a ton of listeners to make a ton of money. You don't. It's been said a thousand good listeners will make you everything you need. I believe in that. Raving fans. And so I knew that was happening and I went, okay, well, listen, I will try to get out all I can, I will try to get as many listeners as I possibly can.
The industry was coming up underneath me, but if I want to make money and I want to get them to join my membership site. And why did I want a membership site? Well, because they pay me every month. That's what you have. It's a good thing. Isn't it? Money comes in every month whether you ask for it or not. I said that's really cool. I want that. How do I get that? But there's one problem with a membership site and people forget. People don't want to buy a monthly payment. They don't want to do it. And so just to have a podcast, it's like, well they're not going to buy just a podcast, man. There's a million podcasts now.
Jason Sew Hoy: Right. And podcasts all free.
Scott Smith: Almost everyone's free. What's the only thing iTunes has never charged for? A podcast. Period, that's it. And they're not going to, it's too much free traffic. They keep using it for their own good. And now they split us off from the iTunes music store, which means we don't get all the traffic we used to get. It's all link bait now. It's more and more difficult to get a listen on a podcast than it ever has been before. It used to be you put it up and you got a hundred thousand listens right away. It's changed. But I recognize that this comes down to marketing. It comes down to, essentially, if you're going to run a business, have to go for money.
You've got to go for the sale. You got to get people to pay you. And the only way you can do that is to provide a value proposition that solves a problem that makes them say, Oh gosh, yes, I want to pay for that. So when I realized that, I said I could sell podcasts all day long, but that's not what grows the business. I have to solve a problem today. And that's what I decided to do. Because I had what I thought was going to be a fiance, and if I didn't make any money, I was in trouble. So I figured I should go ahead and make up something. So I did. You probably want to know what that is, right?
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah, absolutely.
Scott Smith: Okay. So here's what I did. I'd built the audience. I’d built a rapport, we had everything that everybody has right now with podcasts. Everything is going on. We had that. I have less of that now than I used to, because I just don't do it anymore, but I do other things. But back then I had built the audience and literally, and you gotta really listen to what I did here. I said, people have to solve a problem. I was doing health and fitness at the time, and I was doing a daily podcast. So I said, well, listen, it makes sense to me that you would need help every single day.
Plus I needed money for my fiancee or my soon-to-be fiancee. So I called my daughter. I said, daughter, I've gone through all my podcasts for the past two years and I put them in order and I want to make a program for 30 days. I'm going to actually take each subject and put them in an order for 30 days and do a morning podcast, a mid-day podcast, and an evening podcast, each one about nine minutes long. So throughout the course of the day, I'm gonna get you going in the morning, check in with the middle of the day and put you to bed at night with what I call a guided motivation.
I dreamed up this thing. And I went into my podcast, literally went into my archive and I said, okay, what have I talked about? And I put it in order and I made a course out of it. And then I kind of put an outline around that. And then what I decided was I said, I'm gonna launch my membership site. So I created this, I called it Start Moving, Stay Moving. It's a 30-day challenge. And I went on this thing and I stole it from Alex Mendozian who's been around forever. He used to do these postcard things and I said, okay, I basically got all Alex’s free stuff and I go, okay, I know how to launch this thing.
And I launched it with a call and I said, if you join me at conference call, you can buy it for $49 or whatever I was charging or for $19.95 I'll just give it to you. And you can just join my membership site. And by the way, when this call is over tonight, anybody who joins us on a mastermind call with me and they get to talk with me and we get started with a bang and I do a mastermind call every single week for the next four weeks. That's what I did. The psychology behind it was, Wait a second. It's $49 to buy it. Or $19.95 to join the site. I'll just get it, download it and I'll get it all right away. But then they started listening to it. Now I had them every single day. We went from 150 to just shy of a thousand members in 7 days.
So essentially what I did was addressed a need. Gave them a way to come in. I took away the monthly membership and allowed them to come in and pay. And we stayed at that level for a very, very long time. In fact, they just continued to grow and every time I did something, that's what I did. I put a launch on and I brought them in, and I raised the price and they came in and sometimes I would sell it directly and other times I would include it in the membership site.
There was another level later on that I used actually to bring people in later. And I'll talk about that in a second here, but that was the first thing that got me to about a thousand. So do the math on it. So that was six months in and we were doing about $120,000 a year. Just on subscription memberships, no coaching, no consulting, no advertisements, nothing just subscription.
Jason Sew Hoy: Wow. That's incredible. I love that. The fact that you are able to be so confident about bringing people in under that guise of, Hey just come in and get what you want and then leave and yet retain them. We definitely want to drill into that a little bit later.
Scott Smith: Absolutely. Because listen, the reality is that's why we do money-back guarantees. Most people don't ask for the money-back guarantee. That's why we offer bonuses. Hey, talk to me, just give me a call. Talk to me. Nobody ever calls. It's like 2%. So once you understand the concept that most people, I mean your return rate, your cancel rate is going to go up a little bit, but your sales rate goes so high and your retention rate's outrageous. My retention rate now is stupid.
And so what I always do is this: Once I get them in the door, I make sure I continue to deliver so they get exactly what they expect from me. And that keeps retention rates high. You would probably have a real good idea on what churn rate is because you have a lot of people I'm sure. My churn rate's next to nothing, it's super low. It always has been. It's crazy low. And that's because I always keep my eye on that price, which you bring them in solving a certain problem and they buy into that and then they stay with you and then you continue to serve them. That's how you do it.
Jason Sew Hoy: To explore that a little bit more, obviously as well as being a creative and ex -DJ and so on, I know you're also a very, very savvy marketer and most marketers when they're thinking about growing their business, they're thinking in terms of funnels. I'd love if you could maybe describe a little bit more about converting free listeners to paid. You mentioned a few things there already in terms of launches and money-back guarantees. What are the other kinds of things that you've thought about when it comes to the funnel to converting people to paid and what levers you have to pull?
How does Scott Smith convert a free listener into a paid one?
Scott Smith: When people become introduced to you, you're in what we would call, as a marketer, in the indoctrination phase. Some people call it the welcome phase. It's really just about getting to know who you are and whether they like you or not. Now you can call it whatever you want. I think it's kind of both. It's, we're going to welcome you but I want to indoctrinate you to how I think and get you to stay with me. I want you to need me every single day. So every program I do leads to the next day. I like to think of it as a continuing soap opera. No program ends cold. No program stands on its own. It picks up from yesterday. It goes into tomorrow.
And so I'm always trying to hang people on there and to get them there. Now, how do you convert them? Like I said, it's very difficult to convert people. If I go on my podcast right now, on my Monday show or Tuesday, whatever I end up doing for free. We sell ads as well.
And ads frankly get in my way. We make a lot of money for ads. We get high high high CPM. But it gets in the way of my membership site, to be honest with you. That's why I don't sell more ads than I do. It's a six-figure income selling ads, but I don't pursue it full time because it gets in the way of the other business I do.
So if I say, Hey, come join my membership site and get daily motivation. Then I gotta do that. Not going to happen. So the way I do it is I usually attach something to it. Hey, we have a free coaching call tonight. It's a real coaching call. It's not a webinar. You're on a Zoom call with me. We're going to work together. We'll send you the list and get on the call. We'll talk. I will get this unbelievable group of people who come in the door that just want to get that, the value is so high. So what I'm doing is I'm giving them something, again back to what I said before, giving them something they want now, solve the problem now.
And then they come in and then I immediately serve them in that way and then they're really, really happy. If I don't serve them again in another month or so they're going to leave. But it's really about that. I think when you do the podcast, is being consistent, walking your talk, having your philosophy, just doing exactly what you say you're going to do, and then invite them to be part of the next thing. Now, when I bring them in by the way, everybody comes in at a different level. We run everything. We run the opt-ins. We run the low ball offer at $9.95 and $19.95. We take it up to $297. We do application funnels all the way up to 5, $10,000 a month, depending on what they're trying to do.
And really honest, if I'm frank with you, I told this to a client today. I said, I used to say if you were not a member of mine, if you hadn't given me at least a couple of dollars, that I didn't pay attention to you. But about 30% of my high-end coaching clients had never given me a dime. Nothing. They hear something I say. They like my philosophy. They believe I can help them. And suddenly they connect with me and then I take them through a funnel. I do consider, by the way, a podcast funnel to be a social media funnel. I believe that when you connect with somebody, they try to connect you with somebody else and they try to help you grow.
I am such a personality. I do not connect with everybody. I connect with a certain group of people. So I don't try to get out beyond that. But I just believe it's a podcast funnel. I'm not sure if I'm getting to your point here, but I try to bring them in on a very specific idea. And usually they will say, I've been thinking about this for a while. Then they come in and then the next thing I hear is the best thing they ever did.
Jason Sew Hoy: So you're really, kind of all in on the idea of doing it through the daily voice or the regular voice in the air. I'm interested to know whether you have other channels that you work with in terms of their conversion process as well. Do you kind of drive people to an email first, get them on a newsletter list? Are there other touch points that you're thinking about in terms of nurturing people along that funnel?
How does Scott Smith nurture leads through his funnel?
Scott Smith: After that it's standard funnel stuff. You get them in the door. And so, right now we're running the perfect week planner funnel, it's delivering about 1,800 opt-ins a month right now. I've had it for over a year. It's crazy. If I had something brand new, it'd probably be 3 to 4,000 opt-ins a month easy coming in. So when somebody comes in on an opt-in, what is the first thing most people do when they get an email address. Give me a quick answer, take a guess. What's the first thing they do?
Jason Sew Hoy: Send them a welcome email.
Scott Smith: Yeah maybe. Probably not, probably not. And if they do, that's the only thing they do. And so there are now in my funnel so what do I have to do? When they come in the door, I need to begin to make them feel comfortable with what I'm doing. And so I'm going to start to indoctrinate them by giving them a few more emails. Currently what we do and I think I'm going to give you the really big secret. I don't give this to too many people. I'll give it to you about how one of the ways I take these opt-in people and eventually convert them, at the same time keep my stuff ranked on iTunes pretty high. You want that?
Okay. So here's what happens. So when you come in the door, you opt in for my thing, I give it to you. I immediately give you a couple of very high value reminders, use this planner, this is how it works. Some people yell at me and say, stop emailing me. I sy, okay, fine. But for the most part, they stay on the list and I start to send them other things. I have a webinar, I have a coaching call. I have something I want to bring them into and sell them on so I'm going to market to them. I'm going to do standard everyday marketing. But I also want to build my standing cause I know that almost everybody's not going to do a darn thing, right?
They're not, they're not. They clicked on it. It's amazing how many people click on something, download it and when you send them an email 30 minutes later, yell at you for doing that. It's just going to happen. So I know it's going to happen so I don't worry about that. So what I do is, I actually have… Okay, here comes … Write this down. This is the big secret. I take my email list, my current marketing list, which is my opt-in list. Probably it's like 90 or 120 days right now, which means we're sitting at 8 or 10,000 people on just that current opted in, got signed for free stuff, leave me alone list.
I segment the list up into seven. Seven segments, randomly segmented. And then I take my Monday show and I send an email and I send my Daily Nugget, which is the written version of my podcast. And I send it out to somebody on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I divide the list by seven. So I'm taking my opt-in list and what they're getting is two links. This is breaking all the rules because you should have one link, but they get two. One link takes them directly to iTunes. The other link takes them to my website. Most of them go to iTunes to listen to the podcast.
And that's cool because when they go to iTunes, it drives me up in the rankings and keeps you right on top. If you go there today, you'll see I'm like second, except that Rich Roll guy. He's just ahead of me. But then another half of them come to the website to listen, and now they go, my goodness, I could join here. And they come in. I do it every single week. And it just keeps the listenership up there. It’s a minor connection. It keeps me warm with the audience so that when I want to do, like next week I'm launching a couple of coaching calls, launching an operation reinvention call, launching wisdom of the wealthy, which is a business building call, and I will go out to those people and they're not going to hate me now because I've been taking care of them every single week. I'll say, Hey, register for this. Come in, join my free call. Boom. Start to sell them. Savvy marketer going at it.
Jason Sew Hoy: Interesting. So you're not just relying on people's notifications and their podcast players to let them know about a new episode. You're taking destiny into your own hands, so to speak, and emailing them as kind of the first touch point and then splitting off that traffic half into iTunes and half to your own website so that at least half of the people are finding out about and have easy access to your premium products.
Scott Smith: Right, because if I don't keep the iTunes up and driving, and because I have a premium product, I don't want to just do everything for free and do five days a week for free. I want to bring people into me. So in order to keep that high enough so people can find me, that's why I do that and I've done it for years and it works really exceptionally well. That's just a way to tap on people all the time. The other thing I do on top of that, is everybody who opts in goes into a Facebook warm retargeting list. And so once they've hit my website or my podcast or anything, wherever I can track them with a pixel, now they start getting a notification all the time in their feed that here I am here I am here I am.
It's my invisible list and I'm able to bring them back to me. And so I'm at least familiar with them. I’ve become kind of a big star in a very small universe. And so when I send an email saying, Hey, here's something exciting, come give me money, they do. Well, I don't say come give me money, but if you're in business, that's what you're doing. You want them to pay you. I don't know a podcaster out there who doesn't wanna get paid for what he does. And I don't have a million downloads a week and I have a nine-minute show. I don't have an hour show where I can sell five spots. I can't do that. I gotta make it on the backside.
Jason Sew Hoy: Interesting. And can you tell us little bit about the evolution of the products that you're offering?
How have Scott Smith's products evolved?
Scott Smith: Okay. You got two things that are going on here. First off, people really do want to buy stuff from you. They want more from you. Literally people will call you and send you mail. So what else you got? What can I do? Do you coach, do you speak? They will do that but that's rare. You got to get them to do that for you. And so people really do want stuff from you because I generate a ridiculous amount of content on a regular basis. It's something I'm gonna write a book saying what I learned from doing 10,000 podcasts, which I've done over 10,000. I produced them. So they really do want that. So I understand that, but what's the reason I produce a product? I want to make more money. I want to build my business. Right?
So every year here's why, and I don't want to sound like a money monger here, but I am a businessman. That means that every year I want to grow my business bigger. I want to make a dollar more and I'm a happy guy. Okay. I don't want to go to my CPA and him say, Oh, you lost money. I don't want that. And so I'm trying to grow. So what I do is I pay attention to what their needs are. And what are people asking for and where are they? In personal development frankly, it's always the same thing. It's like limiting beliefs, make them feel good about themselves and take action kind of thing. The next thing I came up with was for that reason. Now, why did I do it? Well, I realized that, okay, let's go make some money here. Let's see. These people are asking to buy something.
Let's give them a coaching program that I can help them with so I’m going to create something. So I created a program, my daughter gave it the name, called Face your Passion, and I said, that's a great name. I love that. Face your passion, find your purpose, that kind of thing. I sat down. What did I do? I went back into a couple of years, like at this point 8 or 9 years worth of podcasts, and pulled out all the best stuff people said they loved, all the stuff that really worked, all the stuff that got highest rankings, all the stuff that people talked about. And I began to thread it into a series of six modules. So I created six modules and the layout was this. It was a module one week and then a coaching call the second week and a module and then a coaching call and that made it a 12-week program.
Jason Sew Hoy: So you were repurposing old episodes and just collecting them together into themes.
Scott Smith: And then I put a theme around it. Yeah, that's it. So I took everything I had taught, I'd already generated. I repurposed that content and said, okay, well, listen, this would go here. This will be the fourth episode. Or this would be a third module. This will work here. I had to change it a little bit, but it was my base for what I needed. So I kind of riffed out. I said, this is, I literally went through my podcast prep and I put it in the order of I thought six modules. So here's the theory behind it. I didn't create this thing in advance. I did a seed launch where I went out and did a webinar and I sold it.
I said, listen, first module is done, but here's the cool thing. If you join now, we're going to work together. We're going to have a coaching call. You're going to tell me what you need. We're going to take those changes and put it in the second module. That's what I did. And it turned out to be 12 modules. The very first time we did it, I did a 60-minute webinar. I’ll never forget it. It was like the biggest thing I ever did. I launched it and then I went to the sales page for about 20 minutes and we did $88,000 business in 20 minutes. And it was crazy stuff. My credit card company called me the next day and said, so what's going on?
I said, I had a good day. And that was it. And so we went and we delivered that product over 12 weeks. And then once I got it settled down, I came back again because there's always a group of people that say, gosh, I wanted to do it the first time. We sold over 297 by the way. I came back and I said, well, this group of people would not do it the first time. Maybe they'll do it the second time. And so we found those people. It was about $64,000 in sales the second time around. And so I ran that out for another year and then here's what I did. And this was the key I still do it kind of sort of today. Although it's half ass, to be honest with you. Face Your Passion's still on my membership site.
But back in the day, what I did was this. Here was my opt in. You're ready for it. It was about a 45-50 minute video called the top 10 motivational truths you need to know to face your passion. Opt in here, get it. And so I got their email address and they would watch the video. Well about the last 10 minutes of the video were about, Hey, by the way, the first module of Face Your Passion is included at motivationtomove.com for free. Well, actually it's a $1 trial. So if you take my $1 seven- day trial, you'll get the first module. You can learn all this stuff, plus everything else I offer and stick with it if you want to.
It blew it up. It just blew it up because they wanted that module because they had a taste of what was going on. They came in for the first one and then I dripped the module out for the next five months. I wouldn't sell it to them directly. I would make them pay 20 bucks a month to get the next module, because the average at the time was about four months in terms of… we had a two dropoffs, we had four months and 10 months in terms of drop off or retention. And so I said, well, let's create something that gets us to six months so I make some more money. And it was, so in their mind the psychology was well this is $297. If I pay 20 bucks a month for six months, that's a whole lot cheaper. That's only $120. I'll buy that. It blew us up, man. It blew us up. I think that pushed us to almost 2,000 members at that point. It was crazy.
But again, repurposing content. Serving the need of the person. So I don't want to make it sound like I'm this crazy guy that's going for money. I'm not. I live on 12 acres with alpacas, I'm a lifestyle guy. I'm not a guy that wants to make $20 million. But the point is that if I don't give the consumers something that solves their problem today, and then take them through the process, they're not going to take action. They have too many choices otherwise, and once they get in the system, then I'm like, I'm here for you. And I stay with them. And then it's a retention issue to hang onto them as long as you can.
Jason Sew Hoy: We will definitely want to dive into that and in terms of how you're able to extend that retention. You mentioned over 10,000 episodes, obviously, that is a lot of episodes and requires a lot of creative input. Where does that all come from? How do you plan that out?
How does Scott Smith plan his content?
Scott Smith: So I used to not write anything. Everything was bullet pointed. In fact, the first probably five years, I just wrote it on a legal pad and threw it away. I wish I'd kept it. Now I have it on, I have files on Scrivener. I used to use Evernote. Now I just put it on Scrivener so I can convert that into additional content. Basically what happens is this. Now the one time I did 16 episodes a week and they were all nine or 10 minutes, but I did 16 a week. And I did a Fitness Boost, a Daily Boost, The Business Boost and something else on top of that, I will never do it again. I promise you it's not going to happen.
But when I used to do it, I would sit down. I would just go and I would literally record them in about four hours. That was it. It was done. The way I do it is an old radio trick and people these days don't know how to do it very often. I do it in real time. Usually what happens is I sit down and my music is on my computer, my Pro Tools systems on my computer. I push one button, everything comes through my headset and I record real time. Immediately. I don't do any editing whatsoever. I never do editing unless I make a huge mistake. And so that's how I get them done fast, essentially. I just record in real time.
Start the music, start talking, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. When the timer hits the right time, hit the music again. I'm done, hit export, it's there. So I do that once, I get it exported, then I use—I'm on the Mac— I use the old program called Automator. And I use it to this day for everything I do because Automator basically will tag everything, convert it to MP3. We'll rename it and then upload it for me in one shot, I push one button, I have 16 episodes uploaded in about two minutes. It's done. So I automated using that. Now the big question is where does the content come from?
So this is my super duper secret weapon of how I do this. Pay attention to your life. Once you get busy, I'm on coaching calls all day long, the past two days I literally have gotten off the call and said, I'm gonna do a podcast. Boom, it's done. I write it out into my written form called The Daily Nugget, off it goes, 150 words, and then I record the podcast. But what I really do is this, you cannot sit down and creatively, without spending eight or 10 or 20 hours doing this, you can't sit down and make up stuff for your podcasts. So the way you do this is what really any successful person does is you capture the idea and then you riff it out.
So I use Asana, it's a to-do productivity thing right on my computer. It's on my phone. I hit plus, an idea comes into my head, the first thing I do is drop it into Asana. At the end of every week, I have about 30 or 40 ideas in there. I go into Asana, I say, Hmm, what resonates? What do I want to talk about today? I pull the idea up. I put it on a screen. I would say, let me write out what I want to talk about. And I start riffing riffing riffing, I go for it. I bring it out from there because this is real life. It's something that meant something to me at the time when I did it, there's probably a story behind it.
And I'm able to tap this in to the people who were listening. It probably came from that. So massive content creation comes from capturing the idea in real time and then riffing it when you're ready to come back to it and just go for it. Books are written like this. Many books are. That's how I do it.
Jason Sew Hoy: That's amazing. And do you find tha, there's a certain cyclical nature to this as well? Do you ever kind of going back through your archives and saying, Oh, I haven't talked about that subject in a long time.
Scott Smith: Well sure I do. Yeah. Listen, audiences rotate. And so you're never going to have the same audience forever. And plus people always want something new. They want to learn something new. They want to be reminded about what they used to know. Oh, yeah, I forgot I used to do that. And so we do want to go back in time and bring up some of the things we created and then kind of want to surprise them with something brand new. And so yeah, absolutely. Any good teacher is going to do that. They're going to say, listen, I know you're in 10th grade, but let's go back to 5th grade when you learned this for the first time.
And before class is over, Hey, by the way, look what I found for you.
Yes, you do want to repeat it and you get creative. I actually never repeat a podcast. I do every one original. I've never repeated one ever. I've repeated many subjects. And there are many things that I know resonate with people. So I'll go back and I'll look at it. And I'll say what Scott's take today on what I know now versus what I knew five years ago. And I'll do that so about I'm going to think about 20% of what I do is a repeat, everything else is original. Always make it new.
Jason Sew Hoy: Automation was a topic you just brought up and just in describing your workflow, you said you can export all 16 files in two minutes or something like that. Obviously you get a lot of energy out of having those systems in place. Do you also have other team members or do you have that kind of automation down to a fine art?
Does Scott Smith have any other team members?
Scott Smith: Sadly now I don't have other team members. I have me and my wife and that's it. And I've had people in the past. I could grow faster if I wanted more people. My daughter used to work for me. One day she left and said, dad, I want to be a full-time mom. And I said, okay. And she took with her—because she had done all the tech and everything went with her. It was like, Uh oh what do I do now? And honestly, there was a time when I said I can't do this because we're Infusionsoft-based and so many other things are in place. And when she left, I actually said, I'm going to give up my membership site and I'm going to go to advertising and see if I can make that work.
And I kinda did that because the system was, we started in 2006. I mean, the system was old and archaic. It was a mess. And so I shut it down. I remember my wife, it was December, I don't know, five years ago, something like that. I shut it down. I said, I'm going to turn it off my membership site. I'm going to stop billing people monthly and I'm going to go ad-based. I shut down almost a thousand members in December. I shut down 20K of income in December. For the next year and a half, I tried to get the advertising to work. At the time, it wasn't what it is today. It wasn't just coming at you if you have enough downloads. Then you had to kind of work at it. I didn't like it. And I didn't like it just being free all the time. I liked the paid members. They had skin in the game. I liked that.
And so along the way though, I was working with WordPress and reinventing my systems and connecting everything else together and decided that I would launch a membership site. And I never forget it, the day I did it, I went on my podcast, said guys, I'm tired of this. I'm going back to my membership site. So you're gonna have to pay pretty soon. Okay? That's kind of what I said. And then I checked with my guy who had done my membership software and he had figured out a way to make it work on WordPress. And I went, okay, cool. He's got it fixed. We can do this. And honest to God it’s like a Wednesday and I went, Hmm, well, when are you going to do it dummy? And I said, well, we'll launch on Sunday. I did. And I launched on Sunday, like I said four or five years ago, something like that. And I sent out some emails and said, we launched again.
We're going live on Sunday, give me 20 bucks. It's open and whatever. 900 people came in in four hours. They came back. I stayed on the computer until about midnight that night answering all the tech stuff, figuring it all out. I mean, I did what they did. I Googled it. They sent me a tech support, I said, I don't know. And I Googled it and got the answer, send it back to them. By about midnight I was all done and we have just gone forward since then. Yeah, I have some vendor support. I made a decision a long time ago. In fact, one of the reasons I'm with you guys and I've been with you for pretty early on, is that I said, let you guys do what you do best.
Because we were having trouble with RSS feeds. And that was my issue with coming to Supercast. And so I made a decision to go with software as a service and essentially say, if I have enough computers and if I know what I'm doing and if I have you guys, I don't know how big your team is, but it's bigger than my team. And you're going to work for me if I send you an email, right? And so that's what I've done across the board. So every system I have, I probably have 10,000 people working for me, but it's all for like $150 a month. That's awesome.
So yeah, I could do more and we've considered doing that, but I'm a big fan of automation and a big fan of consistency and a big fan of making my system work. everything as it comes in, just to give you a little detail of how this works because membership sites are difficult to operate and there's a lot going on. But what I do is I have everything, essentially this is the big secret sauce, okay. Everything runs off Infusionsoft. And therefore I've got automation queuing everything for me and everything is monitored with a Slack channel. So every aspect of my business, every sale, every cancellation, every error, everything comes up on a Slack channel, every tech support, everything comes up there. And I do have some people who can monitor that for me when I need to. Essentially, we just have a mission control here to monitor everything. And I do not do it if I can't automate it. So I'm sure I can make about a hundred million dollars more if I hired somebody, but it's not my thing, man. I got alpacas and dogs.
Jason Sew Hoy: Yeah. Got it. Final question: What would you do differently if you were starting over?
What would Scott Smith do differently if he started over?
Scott Smith: Oh, God, that's a hard question, man. It's so different these days, isn't it? It's so different in how things work. I don't know that I’d do anything differently. Here's what I think. People connect to a charismatic personality and good information. If you just have good information, you're going to be fine. If you have just charismatic personality, you're fine for a while. So we have something called slanguage. Have you heard that term before? Slanguage was made from Variety magazine in Hollywood. It's how Hollywood people talk. Slanguage is what your community understands. And so I know this. I know that if I give you really good information that helps your life, it really serves you and puts you on a path to succeeding, all I have to do is do that and then show you the way. And if I do it in a charismatic way, you're going to believe me if I walk in integrity and follow me along.
So if I had to do it again, I would build a podcast that just provided immense value for my audience. And I would work on that personable level to connect with them on a daily basis. And probably—I'm not a big social media guy. I never have been, I'm not good at it to be honest with you. I'm good at other things. I'm not good at social media. But I would probably just employ it, all those organic channels coming in to make it happen. But at the end of the day, I'm telling you, and I tell my clients all the time, podcasts or otherwise it doesn't matter, you are solving a problem. When you can solve the problem people will in fact listen to you and they will do business with you. And you can do that on Facebook ads, Google Ads, YouTube ads. It doesn't matter. If you solve the problem and they begin to follow you, they're going to go wait a second, I like this guy. I need this guy. This guy can help me.
Dude, I tell you what… Because I've talked a lot about business on this because obviously I do a lot of marketing and sales and everything, but I have to tell you the driving force here. It's real simple. We have enough listeners, it's 85, 90,000 listeners per episode. It's in virtually every country in the world. There is not a day that goes by that I don't get an email from somebody somewhere who never has given me a dime and never will give me a dime. But they do give me a thank you. They do tell me what I did for them. Sometimes it's years worth of listening that they've stuck with me all this time. They've gone away, they've come back. And finally, whatever they were working on it happened.
So what drives me every single day is I just know that somebody is out there who needs to hear what I have to say. My knucklehead idea that I come up with today, that makes sense, that resonates with them, that transformed their life. And I see it and hear it all the time. And that's what drives me. So if I did it today, I would be real, be transparent, have full integrity, but never forget, you're in the entertainment medium. And you must deliver on what you say you can. You gotta have a personality, a theme around what you're doing, and you gotta have solid content because you are in that medium. And if you do that within the context of being real and transparent, people will connect with you and you will have no problem growing your podcasts. None.
Jason Sew Hoy: Amazing. What a great note to end on. And this is why I love chatting to you, Scott. You're such a wealth of information and actually hearing the story of your first wife, sad as it is, truly inspiring. If you want to find out more about how Scott retains paid users for years, you can sign up for the Supercast premium feed right now and go behind the curtain, essentially.
Scott Smith: Oh, you didn't even talk about my retention. Did you? My goodness.
Jason Sew Hoy: No, no, we're yet to get to that. So to check it out, head to premium.supercast.com, sign up for free and then you'll get the premium feed in your podcast player in just two taps. So that's premium.supercast.com. Um, there's no special apps or anything like that to download a hundred percent free.
[00:50:36]You can get access to the next segment right now. So Scott, always a pleasure speaking with you and, thank you so much for coming on today.
Scott Smith: Thank you for having me. I appreciate you.
Jason Sew Hoy: That's it folks. I'm Jason Sew Hoy. And if you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to find me on Twitter at @jsewhoy. Scott, where can people find your website?
Scott Smith: motivationtomove.com all spelled out and the daily boost podcast. Just type in the word Scott or motivation and daily boost, you'll find me.
Jason Sew Hoy: All right. Thank you for listening. Bye for now.