The business of community with Matt Gartland, CEO of SPI with Pat Flynn

Matt Gartland joins me to talk about the business of community
“If you're not innovating, not keeping the quality higher, not doing something different and if get complacent or if you let your bar drop on quality then you've probably put yourself at more of a risk to get unsubscribed.” -  Matt Gartland

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Matt Gartland:
Matt's Company, Flynndustries, LLC
Matt on Twitter: @MattGartland

Brian Casel:
Brian’s company, ZipMessage
Brian on Twitter: @casjam

Thanks to ZipMessage

ZipMessage (today’s sponsor) is the video messaging tool that replaces live calls with asynchronous conversations.  Use it free or tune into the episode for an exclusive coupon for Open Threads listeners.

Quotes from this episode:

Quote 01:

Matt Gartland: Oh the SPI, again back in its heyday or its starting point. It was so much of it was SEO base, it's an organic search was like putting out great content, having really in-depth articles, which we still put out good articles. But to play the SEO game now in 202 is a very different thing than it was back in 2010. So that form of like if you want to talk like sort of an MBA language, right, like that, that competitive advantage is not as strong as it used to be because there are how many tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of millions of new bloggers, writers, brands online. So you know, continuing to rank in the way that you used to rank and continue to use that as your primary strategy to get traffic to then get passive income through affiliate sales like it's there. Those methods can still work but are that the game we want to be playing and how, how effective is that going forward? You know, these are the big business questions that we've been wrestling with for a while.

Brian Casel: Totally. And it seems like it's like you say look like SEO is increasingly competitive and difficult to rank because there's just so much content out there now. But I think it's also more competition for attention and like. Yeah. And like stickiness. If somebody Googles for something and they land on a website like, yeah, they might get their answer. They might get the answer to that question right now, but are they necessarily going to come back again and again? And I think it's interesting with podcasting, I've always felt like podcasts are difficult to win over a first-time listener. But once you've won them over their loyal right, like there must be how many hundreds of thousands or millions of listeners to Patt who tune into every episode right You know, that just must be a more powerful thing over time.

Would you like to have that?

Matt Gartland: I think so. Now I have a strong bias toward podcasts. I love them. So just being like the consumer, that's one of my favorite mediums for sure. As I know you are too, right? It does seem to have a better retention factor so that you can think about things like software in our community, which maybe would come back around to, you know, it's a concept around community building, but you know, churn matters. So you want retention. You want to keep your churn as low as possible. And I do believe I don't have the best data set to point to validate it but to win someone over through an audio medium. In podcasting, you have a much better chance to retain that person or the lifetime value like the LTV of that audience. Member listening to you through a podcast is going to be much better than just someone that's like reading your blog.

Quote 02:

Matt Gartland: You hit on one of the bigger themes? You know, in effect, I think a lot of us that are entrepreneurs and I'm guessing probably most folks listening is, is that retention factor issue, you know? And it plays across mediums, podcasting, email, and newsletters. People just have less time. It feels like the world is just more fragmented than ever.

Matt Gartland: I'm not like the genius that had that inside. There's more and more conversation about that, even national press and really smart publications. So why and even I as a consumer also like, yeah, I love podcasting, but I don't listen to 30(minutes). I think I actively listen to probably less than five. Right. Yeah, exactly. So that's why I think it's so difficult to even for podcast junkies, like, like myself to write, like there are only a handful of shows that I listen to, like almost every episode.

Brian Casel: And, and when I think of like the act of tuning in versus the act of reading an article or reading an email, an article or an email or a quick Google search is, is quick I mean, the middle of the day, I'm trying to get through something. It's but a podcast. I'm going to put it on and go walk the dog or go for a drive. Right. Like I'm it's much more like I'm much more consumed in listening to and then, you know, as a podcaster, I meet people all the time who listen to, who've listened to my shows for years, and I'm meeting them for the first time. And it's like, you know, I, I know so much about you. Like, I know your whole story and like, I'm just meeting them for the first time, and it's always an awkward one-way thing, but yeah.

Matt Gartland: So, like, it's, of course, function and quality, at least as I see it. So look, if, if people are more discerning about what email newsletters they're saying, subscribe to you and what podcasts, they're also saying Subscribe to you. Like, if you're not innovating if you're not keeping the quality high, if not doing something different, not just for the sake of doing something different, but like genuinely trying to listen and kind of keep up with what's interesting in terms of format, in terms of guests, in terms of just talking points, right? If you get complacent or if you let your bar drop on quality or something, right, then you probably put yourself at more of a risk than ever to get unsubscribed form.

Quote 03:

Matt Gartland: To start from? Maybe. What? What doesn't work out, like, what maybe they shouldn't do is just more content creation. So with community players, these aren't just like, hey, join this and get more content, exclusive content, bonus content. Like, you could see that in there a little bit. But in terms of express demand and I do have data actually to validate this list on our side of the fence.

When we launched the first version of our community over two years ago, we surveyed and then new invalid data released my thesis that people wanted connection like networking and shared experiences more than just more content. And I have data sets that prove it. We're continuing to collect that data. So then the job description at least. So I have a director and then I have two community managers that are a little three-person team and the director of something that is developing strategy with me around like what future programming can we do for our members?

So programming is maybe the magic word. It's almost like a teacher, like a curriculum design, right? That's not content. It's like an experience. What are you trying to lead them through? What sort of journey are you trying to construct within your safe space that is your community? And then you kind of have to stir the pot or fan the basketball spinning and your fingers kind of pick your metaphor to keep that engagement and those cycles going.

So the director or just anyone that can do strategy is kind of working with at least in this case like me. And certainly Pat brings some ideas to the table too, but then really like build out a method and a roadmap of like, okay, these sorts of experiences, these new, these new experiences we just tested a new experience using a new piece of software called Butter, it's like Zoom, but a lot more fun. And you can do more interactive things like with folks that show up on a live event. So we did, at least for this experience, it was our two-year anniversary with our, with our community, and we had a lot of people show up lives and we had different programming, elements built in.

So that's just one quick example. But we bring in knowledge experts, we do challenges, we do like pitch competitions, if you will, you know, with our members, you know, in the entrepreneurial space of our community, we we curate masterminds internally to our community so we don't facilitate them. But we kind of play matchmaker, right? To help, like, oh, this person, you should know this person. So playing that.

Brian Casel
I used to do that was my way to do that with my productized group, which I no longer run our own, but the. Yeah, like the mastermind matching people love that. It's. Yes, you know, because it actually really is difficult to join a mastermind group if you're not easily networked and you might be able to meet some people, but they're not necessarily going after the same goal as you are. But by joining our community, you all are and then getting matched up, it really helps.

Matt Gartland: Yeah.

The business of community with Matt Gartland, CEO of SPI with Pat Flynn
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