Perhaps you sell online training programs, memberships, or other digital products. If so, you may be making a huge mistake. This mistake could be costing you money and customers. Chances are you are making this mistake! This can spring a sizable money-leak in your entrepreneurial ship.
I create and sell digital training products and courses. I sell these courses online, and my customers receive their access instantly. They receive a username and password, can log-in and get access to what they paid for without delay. That’s a win for both them and me.
But I recently became aware of a problem with the way I do this. And I'm not the only one doing this. If you run a business like mine, we set up our products on separate websites, as if each product was its own “brand.” This means separate domain names, different logos, etc. This may feel good to us who produce the products. But it creates a big headache for our users (our paying customers).
How so? We force our customers to have separate login URLs, usernames, and passwords for each of our sites/products.
In what way does this serve the customer’s best interest? Most people do not suffer from a shortage of usernames and passwords!
For the customer, this means more hassle, more effort, and more information to keep track of. Ultimately, it could lead to frustration and even refund requests.
Why do we make customers jump thought these hoops? If we have 15 products, why do we force the customer to have 15 different usernames and passwords?
I think the answer is that most of us were just taught this method and we never questioned it.
Clearly, this practice is not good for the customer. But neither is it good for you, the product producer. Multiple sites mean:
- More customer complaints
- More “lost username/password” emails
- More sites to build, maintain, update, host, and secure
- More design work
- More complexity
I believe this leads to more refunds too, which means this practice is costing you money.
I decided to check in with the biggest companies on the Internet and see how they handle this issue. How do Apple, Google, and Amazon solve this dilemma?
Well, look at your Google Account login page, and that tells the whole story. “All Of Google, In One Account.” Same is true of Amazon (your login credentials even work for Audible.com), and Lynda.com. One login, all your stuff, one website.
These companies rake in revenues that start with the letter “b,” as in “billions.” So, maybe they know a thing or two.
“Yes, Ray,” you whisper, “But I am not Apple or Google. There’s no way I can afford that kind of custom development.”
Let me expound on that…
How You Can Be Just Like Amazon and Google
If you want to be like Apple, Google, and Amazon you must have a single login for everything your customers buy. To do this you have several options.
- Custom code. You have total control, but it costs a lot. And you can end up with a convoluted system that nobody else can understand. Your developer can hold you hostage. Because to everyone else your system is a mysterious “black box.” This is too costly and risky.
- Udemy. Easy to use and nice looking with huge built-in traffic. But you have to share the “marketplace” with thousands of other course builders. This makes you one among many. And Udemy apparently discounts course prices without warning or approval from you. This eats into your profits and devalues your brand.
- WordPress + Plugins and Mods. The premiere tool is Wishlist Member. This option allows you to build pretty much exactly what you want… as long as you build it in WordPress. This is the option I have used most often in the past. But it can be complex and frustrating. WARNING: WordPress has some quirks that can cause “hiccups” on your site. If you use Wishlist to build a member's area, install Wordpress separately from your main blog. You don’t want your membership site taking down your entire website if there is a problem.
- Teachable. This one is easy to use both as a site owner and as a customer. It lives on the Teachable server, so they handle all the security, updates, and coding. You never have to do any of that stuff. Teachable lets you take payments. It also pays affiliates a commission when someone refers business to you. Sort of like Udemy without the marketplace.
- New Kajabi. This is the option we currently use. Like Teachable, New Kajabi allows you to keep all your products in a central “library.” This way your customers have access to anything they have bought from you in a single user account. One user name, one password for everything. Simple and elegant. New Kajabi offers built-in forms, landing pages, a shopping cart and stripe integration. (So you can take payments.) It also has its own affiliate program so you can pay people for sending you business. It’s not perfect, but thus far the folks at Kajabi have been quick to respond to feature and bug requests. And the system is quite powerful.
You may choose any of the above options. But New Kajabi or Teachable are probably your best options. They end the hassles of coding, custom programming, and protecting the site from security risks.
Here is our simple plan:
- Users have one set of login credentials
- There is one user account from which they get all their materials
- We offer “Free Opt-ins” for those who signed up for a lead magnet
- All our paid products live in the same “library”
The advantages to taking this approach are clear:
- It’s convenient for the user
- Simple for you
- Less costly for you
- No more reinventing the wheel, or building site after site
- You can still brand each product or course on its own pages
- Less coding, more coaching
And not only does it benefit you, did I mention it’s what customers actually want?
Give your customers a pleasant buying and consumption experience. This will give you an advantage over competitors. Their materials or products might be equal to or even superior to yours. But if they provide people with an inferior user experience, you win.
How many logins do you currently require for all your products and what steps will you take to simplify this?