Giving Away the Store?
Back in November of 2014 I sent out the first newsletter to Master Guitar School site members. I was testing the waters, trying to get a handle on the whole make-money-by-selling-guitar-lessons-from-a-website concept. I've used Jeff Walker's book, "Launch" as a model for how to do that.
In March of 2016 - after more than a year of working on all the issues involved in doing something like this - I launched the first Master Guitar School product that people could buy and download. In spite of some very stressful technical problems with the download platform I was using, I made enough money in the 5-day launch period that I concluded this strategy was worth pursuing, and so I have continued to nurture and grow my membership list and create product and content for the website. The membership list consists of people who have opted in...they've filled out the signup form and can take advantage of the value I provide - free - to site members. Those people are the ones to whom I market my products-for-sale.
One of the things I like about Jeff Walker's approach is that you give away massive value up front. Why would I do that? I'm just giving stuff away for free, right? Shouldn't I be concerned with "giving away the store?"
Well, giving away the store can't happen in my case because my "store" is so huge. I have more content than I could create even working at it for the rest of my life. Content is the least of my concerns. What I like is creating and providing value in people's lives. The love of playing the guitar has been a very positive and therapeutic thing in my life and if I can help facilitate that value in other people's lives...well, that's a wonderful thing. The vast majority of my members will never buy a product, yet they have access to tons of free content...and I'm ok with that. Besides the positive moral aspect of creating value in people's lives, providing value-up-front does all kinds of good things just from a marketing standpoint. It establishes my authority and reputation in the field - my members KNOW that I know what I'm talking about and that I have the experience to organize and communicate it. Giving away value-up-front builds trust, likeability and community. It creates a sense of reciprocity - people are more likely to buy a product when they've received massive value for free already. These are just some of the reasons why I give away so much value up front.
One of the strategies I've used to nurture and build my membership list is the monthly newsletter. I try to consistently publish on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Most of these newsletters contain links to a free lesson that isn't available until the newsletter is published. The first newsletter that contained a link to a previously unpublished lesson was on December 14, 2014. It was Part 2 of "Concepts for Basic Improvising" (Part 1 had already been posted on the "Free Lessons" page of the "Members Only" section of the website).
Little did I know how "Concepts for Basic Improvising" would take on a life of it's own. One lesson led to the next and I just kept going, following the logical progression that I've used for decades in teaching my personal students - very little of which is codified in my method book, "Vertical Truth: Chordal Mechanisms for the Guitar." Month after month I created the next lesson - explanatory text, fretboard diagrams and demonstration videos - to include in the next newsletter; all for free to site members.
Now - finally! - more than 2 years later, I am close to completing the "Concepts for Basic Improvising" lesson series. I've got 2 more lessons prepared and they will be given away just like all the others; for free in the next couple of newsletters.
After that, I will offer for sale the entire series - latest count is 54 pages/22 lessons that include explanatory text, 156 fretboard diagrams and 29 videos - all in a single download.
Why try to sell something I've already given away for free?
Firstly, I've taken a very informal survey of a few site members and I think the demand is there. Assuming you were a site member 2 years ago and you wanted to review Part 3. You would have to go back through your email and try to find the newsletter that linked to that lesson. You could go to the "Past Newsletters" page in the "Members Only" section of the website and try to find it that way. You could look for it on the "Free Lessons" page of the "Members Only" section of the website. You could go to any one of the Master Guitar School social media sites and try to find it - OR - you could just open the PDF that you will soon be able to download and that will conveniently reside on YOUR computer, phone, or the device of your choice; the PDF that contains the WHOLE series!
Secondly, I have redesigned most of the graphics. Since I was re-encoding the lessons in PDF format I took the opportunity to improve the graphics and some of the explanatory text. The new-and-improved graphics and text are available ONLY in the PDF download, not the webpage-based originals.
Thirdly, the vast majority of my current site members were not members 2 years ago - the list has grown about 900% since then, so most members never received some of the earlier lessons in the series.
Fourthly, if you took in-person lessons from me for 2 years you would spend a minimum of $1,920.00, plus books. I have not yet settled on a price for this download but I can tell you it will be less than $50.00. That dirt-cheap price will be available to SITE MEMBERS ONLY during the 5-day launch window - probably in April 2017.
Interested? You only have to do one thing: go to MasterGuitarSchool.com and signup as a site member. You'll start receiving the monthly newsletter and that is how I'll let you know when and how you can avail yourself of this opportunity.