Episode Description

In this episode, Chris invites on the Co-founder and CEO of LifterLMS, Chris Badget. Chris’ main focus is educating entrepreneurs to create, launch and scale high value online training platforms. They talk about learning trends and what makes LifterLMS so special. Chris also gives exciting updates for all of the existing users and potential users of LifterLMS, on what’s coming down the pike in the near future.

Check Out Our Show Notes

Narrator 0:00
You’re listening to the all systems go podcast, the show that teaches you everything you need to know to put your business on autopilot. Learn how to deploy automated marketing and sell systems in your business the right way with your host, the professor of automation himself and founder of automation bridge, Chris Davis.

Chris Davis 0:33
Welcome everyone to another episode of The all systems go podcast where we interview digital marketers and founders alike to discuss strategies and software that you can use to scale your business. I’m your host, the founder of automation bridge, Chris L. Davis, and I have a special treat. My guest today is Chris Badgett, the CEO and founder of lifter LMS if you go to the website, it’s the best LMS for WordPress. I didn’t realize that rock, Chris. But lifter LMS is a learning management system for WordPress. And Chris helps educate entrepreneurs to create launch and scale high value online training platforms. He believes in democratizing education in the digital classroom, and contribute contributing as much to the WordPress community as possible. We’re going to talk about learning trends. We’re going to talk about what makes lifter LMS so special. And Chris is also going to be able to just gret to have the floor and update all of the existing users and potential users of what’s coming down the pike for lifter LMS. Chris, welcome to the podcast man Great to have you on how you doing.

Chris Badget 2:01
I’m doing great, Chris, I’m so happy to be here. Automation, marketing, entrepreneurship is are some of my favorite topics. So I’m excited.

Chris Davis 2:09
Yes. And before before I get into it, I have to give you props here. What what they say now the young folks they say give give you your roses. While you’re here. You are one of my favorite founders in with respect of how you run your company. Right? We got a chance to talk before the podcast. And I just

Chris Davis 2:37
I don’t want to say this in a way where it’s like playing one against the other. It’s just a preference in today’s economy, digital economy, it’s refreshing to see a founder like yourself, that is in it. Right, you’re still actively running podcast creating videos, you’re helping your users, ensuring support is top notch. Right? I think the cats out the bag now that support is is extremely important when it comes to the software that you choose. So I just love your approach to your your your platform. And you you have definitely set a tone and a culture. There are a there is a growing tribe of lifter LMS users that have nothing but great things to say. And you have to attribute it to the head it flows from the head. So wanted to give you your flowers before we get started. But I Chris, I’m familiar with you this is actually our second time this is the best time though because this is on my podcast my platform, but I’m familiar with you. I don’t want to let it I don’t want everyone else to miss out on that opportunity. Give us a little bit about your background what led you to lifterLMS in and how you got started. Awesome. So the quick background story is I used to live on a glacier in Alaska and run sled dogs and you could only get there by helicopter. So I came from a non technical background. I

Chris Badget 4:13
I studied in university anthropology and sociology and psychology. That’s where I get a lot of my foundation as a marketer, not from business school. And then when I had my first child, I decided to make a career change and I really wanted to work online and and have that location independence in that freedom. I always kind of did my own thing and just followed my passion that led me to WordPress and creating websites, building an agency ultimately specializing in the Infusionsoft community actually where where we had high end clients who were doing tons of automation who were teaching online billing information products. This is back in 2012 You And so are our first customers of lifter LMS when it launched in 2014, were these big clients that there was no solid off the shelf tool that combines the needs on a WordPress site, which is a stack we use of learning management system, memberships, ecommerce, and engagement or gamification. So that’s the foundation of why we created lifter LMS. And if you’re somewhat new to the lingo, LMS stands for learning management system, which some people what they create, they call it an online course some people call it a membership site. Some people call it a remote school or company training portal, it goes by a lot of flavors. But that’s what a learning management system is. And I’m just a guy through that journey, I started creating some of my own courses, actually, with other experts in a niche of organic gardening of all things and permaculture. So I really understand the user because not only did I have them as agency clients, I also made my own courses and, you know, made money with those as a side hustle. This whole thing has like become my life. So my personal mission is my company mentioned mission, which is to lift up others through education.

Chris Davis 6:17
I love it, man. I love it whenever you can get a founder that is so aligned with the marketplace. It is your insurance, everybody that the development of that product will not veer far from your needs. You know, as a business owner, tell me this. When you started when you got the idea, you say, You know what, I’m going to build an online course platform. Given that you had never done anything of this magnitude, what were some of those early hurdles? I mean, this was, what, eight years ago, eight or nine years ago, right? Code was nowhere near as easily accessible as it is today. Tell tell us a bit about that founders journey of getting started, did you hire a developer? Did you roll up your sleeves and just figure it out yourself? What was that process like?

Chris Badget 7:09
Well, I’m a people person. And very quickly, I realized, you know, I can’t do all this alone, you know, I need to, and sometimes I’m kind of a marketing and a salesperson. So I would oversell something that I didn’t know how to create. And I just figured that out later. So through all that I ended up, you know, finding a technical co founder, and building out this agency as well. And using the the profits from the agency to bootstrap the product, which is extremely hard and painful. And there were times in that period, where I hired another developer to come in to specifically build the prototype of lifter LMS, where that developer was taking home five times as much money per month as I was. And that is like, well, I call it the trough of despair and a bootstrappers journey. Essentially, when we launched lifter LMS, I said, if we didn’t get 100 customers, we would shut it down, we got 42 on that first launch, and we didn’t shut it down, because passionate about it. So that was, that was the beginning, it’s very hard to bootstrap a product and also try to run an agency and a product at the same time without outside funding, but we the I think the demand in the market, and our opinions on it, in terms of what the product does was enough to carry us through.

Chris Davis 8:30
I love it, I will say, um, this is a common theme that I’m I’m seeing with new SAS founders. They are they’re using a service base. So the what I’m seeing is that you may start service based. And then out of that service fulfillment, you come up with an idea to scratch your own itch, you create software, but then you use the funds from your service base to fund the product until the product can stand on its own. And it’s like a handoff, right? That’s like, Okay, we started out 90% service 10% product now, or 90%, Product 10% service, and that that handoff that ramp up and ramp down. There’s no timetable. There’s so many variables, there’s no way that you can predict there’s no way you can properly even plan. It’s just the nature of a founder and as a SaaS founder, that that’s the balance that you’re gonna have to figure out. And for you, you you got your first 42 And you say, You know what, we’re going full throttle. And you keep developing where would you say within those first nine years where where would you say was the tipping point where you realize that well wait a minute, we we don’t need the services anymore. This this lifter LMS thing is really holding its own. It probably

Chris Badget 9:56
took about two years and really the real escape velocity The velocity happened when we switched the business model, I really wanted to have a free product, I believe in free, it’s kind of part of the WordPress ethos to to contribute in some way. Yeah. But I didn’t want to start the business with a free product, I wanted to validate with a paid product. And once we got through kind of that initial period of validation, and early adopter customers and stuff like that, we felt comfortable making the switch. And then as soon as we did that, you know, if you look at our revenue chart, it just shot up like crazy. So it was, it was the right move to do for us at that time. And that’s when I knew Alright, we’re gonna make it by giving away as much as we can for free while having this viable business model on it. Some premium add ons it that worked for us,

Chris Davis 10:53
I love it, man, a great business model sound strict strategy there. Let me validate it. And I tell everybody, if you want to prove your process, do it with profit. Okay, you’re building out anything, money is going to validate that it works. And then you said, Okay, we’ve got a working model. Let’s open this thing up. We’re confident in what we built. Let’s have some users let let them have that experience. And then let’s, let’s see what it does. And it definitely has taken off. I’m so happy for you. If if anything, COVID has really exposed the online learning space, right? Whether it is zoom, you’re attending live trainings for your job that used to be in person, or just the idea that learning online is no longer something that has been cheapened. I got I have my master’s degree from an online school. And this was over 10 years ago, where people weren’t going online for masters. And I always had a question in the back of my mind, is this going to be as reputable as if as if I went to a university. And now that’s that that narrative has totally changed. So there’s more of an influx going online? I feel like there’s more confusion in the marketplace than than ever. Your solution is WordPress based. Tell us a little bit about the the benefits of having a WordPress based solution with respect to some of them. The other hosted platforms like Kajabi, teachable thinkific and things of that nature.

Chris Badget 12:30
So WordPress powers somewhere around 43% of the internet. So it’s it’s very common out there. Really the biggest, like I mentioned, I’m a people person. And what WordPress is, is it’s a community, also of creators who make software products and service providers and freelancers that work in that space. But by building on top of WordPress, it’s almost it’s a little bit of a shortcut in terms of, okay, there’s this foundational, like website technology here for people to express themselves or their businesses through a website. But what if you could just take the website you already have on WordPress, and turn it into an money generating online course, or remote school or company training portal. So that that kind of user adoption of just mass adoption of WordPress is awesome. But it’s also the community if you have some kind of niche thing you want to do, there’s probably a plugin for that. Or if there’s not, you can hire somebody, a developer to build that for you. And I’m a fan of Jack Arturo at WP fusion as an example. You know, I reached out to him five years ago when we were trying to integrate with Active Campaign and others. And he just added lifter. So boom, now we’re integrated so and I’m not against SaaS, or hosted platforms that have their place. I use many traditional hosted SaaS tools in my business. But you can kind of get the best of both worlds by using both where it makes sense.

Chris Davis 14:09
Yeah, not, excuse me, I would say, I never I guess I never questioned WordPress, you know, as as technical as I am. And as much as I like to assess technology. WordPress was never one of those. I always knew the value of a website. And it was just so flexible. And you get me every time with control and flexibility. Every time if a platform gives me that you’ve got my money in WordPress out the box. Did that I know that there’s a lot of people that kind of shy away from it. But what I found, in all honesty, Chris, what I found is that developing on the internet, there is no shortcut. You can get a hosted platform, and it may eliminate five issues, but it later on down the line. There’s 10 more and You just swapped instead of having 10. Up front, you’ve got 10 on the backend. So they’re the idea that, Oh, I’m using this because I don’t have to worry about servers This isn’t that, okay? Those are some things that you took off the plate. But you don’t realize what you put on later by going with that platform. And again, no shot at hosted platforms, I use them, you use them. But if my if you were to ask me my preference, I’m going to always lean towards a WordPress solution, just because of the extendibility of it. I trust my servers that I purchased, right, WordPress runs on those. And then the ecosystem and you mentioned, having, you know, plugins, or, or having someone write something for you, it is so cost effective. If there’s some basic that you need done in WordPress, there are so many people on Upwork, or insert any Freelancer platform that can build out that functionality. And because of WordPress is extendibility, you could do I’m getting technical here, everybody, you could do something simple, like add that code to your functions php file, and it won’t mess up your entire website, you don’t have to worry about the white screen of death and all of that. So my experience with WordPress is you just need somebody who understands the ecosystem and builds it out and you’ll be just fine. But understanding the logic, very strategic, Chris, I see you, you look at Hey, wait a minute, almost half of websites are powered by WordPress. What if we just added the capability on your existing WordPress to learn to have courses. And here we are. So eight years later in the game, Chris, and I have to reiterate this. You’re doing videos, podcasts, writing blog content, as you see you’re featured on other people’s platforms, you’re doing the work, what are some of the and it’s paying off? Because your the user base is growing. Amongst that growing user base? What are some of the learning trends that you’re seeing? And have you seen a big shift in since COVID?

Chris Badget 17:12
Well, says COVID, there is definitely an acceleration of adoption in our product and other products, as well. It’s a combination of factors. One of just people and companies needing to explore online learning solutions, whether that’s a teacher or somebody who used to speak at public events. Or the other big trend is for people looking for alternative income sources. So to be able to, you know, work from home and take their knowledge and experience and turn it into courses or coaching programs, and that kind of thing really accelerated with the pandemic time period. And I don’t think it’s not I’m not seeing any kind of pullback. Here we are. This is this is like two years, I think from the start of that, that period. Or maybe it’s more maybe it’s but anyways, it’s not pulling back, it just kind of accelerated the future. In terms of adoption. And in terms of trends, there’s there’s a bunch micro learning is definitely a trend. So we see people tend to be more kind of micro course focused. So with lifter as an example, it’s a membership solution to so one of our friends and power users KPC as an example, she has a membership site powered by lifter LMS. And she has micro courses within there that focus on particular issues. So in the online learning world, one of the one of the biggest challenges that’s also come to light is overwhelm. And some people in live learning, they call it Zoom, zoom fatigue and stuff like that. So really the minimum effective course the smallest possible the video as short as possible. The quiz as short as possible to do whatever it’s supposed to do that micro learning is definitely a Trend Micro quizzing and things like that. So So thinking about not overwhelming users. And that also has led to an increase in interest in the field of instructional design because what people inevitably discover is that as an expert, you may have actually no real experience as a teacher or how to actually translate that into a you know a product that’s not just that you could make it but that people will like it, get the value out of it, learn from it, get the result promised in the market in the marketing. So there’s death there’s also an increase of demand and people figuring out how to, you know, kind of escape what’s called the experts curse and actually productize what they know without overwhelming people. So that’s, that’s another big one. And then One more for you is I come from a background in the outdoor, wilderness and climbing and mountaineering and stuff like that. And when you first start learning how to climb a mountain, or go backpacking, you carry all this gear, and it gets heavy and stuff. But as you get good, you actually get lighter gear, you know, you wear less clothes, you move faster, you turn into fast and light. So what I’m seeing now in the market is, people are maturing, and this happens with people that build a WordPress website, they fall in love with WordPress, and install all these plugins and all this free stuff, and they get really excited. And then as you mature, you start becoming a minimalist, and you start carving out essential tools. So that’s what we’re seeing to the people that are successful. They’re, they’re, they’re kind of choosy on what they use. And they, when they’re creating automations. And building platforms for clients or for themselves, they’re getting their stack becomes smaller, but more powerful, and they kind of deliver faster. And that is also more future proof. You know, the challenge of WordPress, you got this huge community, but you still need to kind of keep it simple and not over build over engineer. That’s it with automation in particular, you kind of got to go through at once and carry a lot of stuff and then really simplify to what works.

Chris Davis 21:23
Chris, man, I am so glad you said that. It’s almost like I need to check if you’ve got my office wiretap. It’s been one of the biggest conversations I’ve been having. And it’s the simplification of automation. Yeah. And it is exactly what you mentioned. It’s, it’s, I liken it to that person that you sit next to, and you say, hey, what do you do for a living? And they go through a 30 minute spiel, and by the end of it, you’re still kind of confused. I don’t know what you do. And then you go to your other side, say, hey, what do you do, and this person is able to explain what they do so concisely, within two sentences. And you’re like, Oh, wow. Well, to get from this big Jarbo 30 minute explanation in two sentence, is mastery. This means that through repetition, you have figured out out of everything that you’re doing what is really responsible for moving the needle. And let me trim the fat. So I’m so glad to hear you say that, because as I look at myself, I’m embodying the true minimalist Automator. At this point, I’m always looking at the functionality in my in my LMS, in my CMS, in my, in my website, everything and saying, Okay, now that, you know, I had to do a lot, I needed a lot of plugins, I needed a lot of process. Now that stuff is working. What’s required to keep this working? Oh, I guess I don’t need these plugins anymore. I guess I don’t need this tool, or I guess I don’t need that. And to your point, it’s, it’s required for future proofing because the more points of failure that you have through extending functionality and introducing tools, I have nothing against Zapier, nothing against Zapier Integra mat, all of those third party tools. But if I can eliminate it, I will is just one less place. And you mentioned WP fusion. It’s one of the I don’t know any other plugin that that integrates in syncs your WordPress website so cleanly, effectively. And powerfully. I mean, the code is beautiful for all of my techie folks out there. It’s just beautiful code. It’s lightweight, doesn’t feel heavy. But it allows you to do a lot of stuff that in the past people will rely on like a Zapier or something else to do. Now, right within my WordPress website, I can sync to my CRM, and I can do things like that. And it saves me from all of these other tools. So I love it. I’m here for the evolution of technology to help us continue to simplify. And I’m glad to see that the trend is even beyond just what I’m seeing and what I’m doing. What about completion rates? Are you I know, let me let me let me put myself in a time capsule here, I think it was about was that active cam so as about maybe five years ago or so. And there is a big talk online completion rates are dropping, here’s what you need to ensure people are completing your courses. Now, truth be told, I’ve never had that issue. I think that the strategic creation of courses, making sure you’re creating content that you know resonates with your audience goes a long way. But there are there is a place to say okay, sometimes people need to be incentivized to finish that course. What have you seen in terms of completion rates? Have they been pretty stable from from your vantage point and all the users are they dropping or they rise? And what kind of trends are you seeing there?

Chris Badget 24:52
It’s really a spectrum. The folks that have really high completion rates tend to have a clearly defined cost simmer avatar, like a strong, like promise that, and also micro wins along the way. So we were talking earlier about like the micro courses and a good micro course is really designed around a specific problem. And then that becomes addicted. Okay, I solve that problem. Now I’m going to take the next one. And it also, it’s really about the focus on the user. So maybe you don’t chain everything together into like this giant course that goes a particular way, you allow people to jump around, like kind of like a doctor prescribing certain things based on their unique situation. So it becomes a little more flexible. But we do see the platform’s that struggle with completion rates tend to be over built in the sense of what I call, like, the giant course, or, you know, the content is too long to get than a lot, much longer than it needs to be and things like that. So it’s really a spectrum. The, the industry standard, the research I heard was around 10% completion rates, which is pretty bad. Yeah. You know, there is an argument against that for well, some some courses or memberships, or whatever. People don’t necessarily have to finish everything to get the value. So depending upon how you design it, completion rate isn’t necessarily the be all end all. But that’s, that’s a factor. And also, motivation is a big factor. So if there’s intrinsic motivation, where someone inside is compelled to take your your online learning, and then there’s external motivation, like, Okay, I have to take this to keep my job or my license or whatever. And really, digging into motivation is where a lot of the big gains are in completion rates. And, yeah, having those micro wins and content that doesn’t feel too overwhelming are things that help keep motivation when it is president, keep it up, keep it strong.

Chris Davis 27:03
You know, I’m realizing we could probably record an entire episode on increasing your completion rates. You just mentioned a lot there. And I’m just assessing myself. And some of this, I’m doing intentionally, and some of it unintentionally, like, I can’t say I sat down and said, I want to make sure there’s motivation to complete. But because I had another strategic objective, that became a byproduct, right. And I think that completion rates with courses, you summarized it better than I may have ever seen online or read anywhere. It’s multifaceted. And just like anything in marketing and sales, it all ties back to your avatar, you understanding what their drivers are their motivations, and creating content that really speaks to that. I don’t think there’s any tactic, I don’t think there’s any feature in your product that can replace the lack of that, right here. There’s just no way you can add badges and say, look, we’ve got badges complete, people don’t really care about them, they look cool, right? They don’t care about the badge unless it actually represents something or gives them that level of success to a greater need fulfilled. So I’m so glad you mentioned that. I was I’m always always, so I’m always on YouTube, watching how other people use platforms. I’m always going through various SAS products, websites and everything. And one of the things that I loved about your website, when I went to lifter LMS, you have a showcase. And you showcase a lot of your users, and sometimes the users will even give you a tour of their LMS setup. Yeah. And it’s such a wide variety. You’ve got online digital marketers, you have people doing, like really big education, things, people who are more like offline, but using lifter LMS is kind of like that portal, between offline and in online. What are you seeing is some of the top features that your, your your users just rave about? With lifter? LMS

Chris Badget 29:20
I mean, probably the biggest one is is really the Course Builder in the sense that one of the biggest challenges an expert or a teacher has with a WordPress site is alright, I got the content, but how do I organize it? How do I structure it? So that’s, that’s there. One of the biggest ways I think about designing product and this will come to your answer is that I always put my Custer customer at the center of my business, not my product. So what does the customer need to be successful? All there is actually there a learner that needs to be successful. So what does that person need and then we surround them with the things that they need. So courses and well structured learning content is one thing. But there’s also community aspects. So we have, we have like a social learning feature set or as kind of like a private Facebook group. But on your website, sometimes they may need private coaching, like the relationship between the learner and the instructor can be expanded on. So we have a private. It’s called private areas. It’s like a private blog, communication channel between instructor and student. And you can sell that as an upsell and things like that. Advanced quizzing is something that people get excited about. And it quizzing and tests kind of give us a bad taste in our mouth, from traditional school or whatever. But if you look at quizzing more as like a way to reinforce learning, and maybe there’s no grade or there is a grade, but it’s more there to just make sure people got the key ideas. So having a powerful quiz interface, it’s more than just multiple choice people get excited about. There’s really a lot I mean, there’s it’s a full platform. So there’s a lot you can do. And it depends on the use case, like you said, you’re on the website, people do all these different things where they focus and what they get most excited about. But those are some of the top ones.

Chris Davis 31:16
And one of the things I was glad to see I can’t remember the exact website, I think it was WordPress tutorials, but they had millions of users. Now millions of users, for their LMS using lifter LMS. And I frequent a lot of Facebook groups, and people always, I don’t know where this comes from, but people always get nervous. Can it handle scale amount of users, right? Can it scale? And I don’t see that question asked much with hosted platforms, I guess they just think that it’s magic. And they can add whatever they want. But hosted platforms have those same limitations. And you get enough users on there, trust me support, we’ll reach out to you. We’ve got actually enterprise plan for people like you will, that’s code for look, too many users on this server, we need to put you on another. So again, you’re not really eliminating issues a lot of the time, you’re just kind of swapping in and switching them around. But that was monumental to see that see somebody with millions of users using your platform, when you caught wind of it that that surprised you a little bit? Or were you like, yeah, of course. Of course, you can use our I wasn’t that

Chris Badget 32:27
surprised? Because this is the beauty of WordPress is there’s always this like, you know, long tail of just scale, you know, you’ll have somebody who, you know, has like two students, and then you’ll have somebody with like 2 million, but most people have like 200. So it’s just the kind of the distribution curve. And, you know, hosting is a challenge with WordPress. And I, you know, the great thing is, to my pleasure, I’ve watched the the hosting industry evolve earlier in this interview, you mentioned the idea of like, okay, well, I have to have my own server, that used to be a piece of hardware that people stuck in their bedroom closet. Yeah, now it’s all in the cloud. You know, there’s some great hosting companies like cloudways, WP Engine Kinsta, there’s more. That are, they’re not the cheapest on the block. But they, they handle websites that have high demands, like E commerce or LMS site is gonna have, and they’re not crazy expensive. And if you scale, like you’re starting to get tons of concurrent users, and like tons of traffic, you just move up the pricing plan. And, you know, as your business gets more successful, your bill goes up a little bit, but it’s not. It’s just like having a, you know, an auto physical office and you’re renting spaces and as your needs, you need more space. So hosting has never been easier. And certain hosts like cloudways Have, have even have like, you know, pre configured lifter LMS setups as an example that that just make make that easy. But yeah, at scale, in the Facebook groups, what I see, the question is always on, what if it scales and then like, which platform do you recommend? And then you just watch like this huge? Yep. Like people share. Like, it’s almost tribal. Like it’s a it’s just wild. Like, it’s like sports teams. And the LMS space is crowded, super crowded, and different tools hosted or in WordPress or whatever. It’s wild. There’s just a lot of options. And when people are exploring, they do get a little overwhelmed and I totally get it because there’s just so many options and you don’t know what to believe and what to read online. Is this affiliate marketing. Is this a real review? Like what’s Yeah, it’s exhausting. People are exhausted when they’re when they’re shopping. I noticed that.

Chris Davis 34:53
Yeah, and I’ll say this. I think that when it comes to an LMS what I’m learning is appreciating the entire experience. So I’m familiar with the space. I’m, I’m like an edge case here, because my job was education. You know, when I was at Active Campaign, that was my role. So I’m very familiar with implementing internal LMS is for your your employees, external learning platforms for users, I get it. However, I know that there are a lot of small business owners. And there’s a lot of CEOs listening to this now that have a desire to move their intelligence, their speaking platform, their expertise, whatever, to an online course. And they get overwhelmed. And what I’ve seen is sometimes even when they can figure it out themselves, or they hire a digital marketer to do it, they can get the course in the LMS. But then there’s ongoing support that’s needed training, if there’s a way where I could just see what other people are doing. Ask questions, get more, and you provide more than just the software, I wanted to talk about, what are some of the other service elements? We talked about service in product earlier? But what are some of the other service elements that your users get to partake in as at when they when they sign up for lifter? LMS?

Chris Badget 36:19
Well, the first thing I’ll say at a high level, and this is the anthropologist coming out is learning is what makes us human, like literally the way our when we engage with another human and there’s mirror neurons firing and conversation and the brain, like learning is fundamental to the human experience. So it’s complicated, like it’s there’s a lot going on there. And from a support perspective, we see at lifter LMS support is not a cost center, a lot of companies will try to outsource support, or keep the cost down. We see it as actually a feature of the product. Because to integrate an online learning platform into whatever the use cases, there’s going to be a lot of questions. There’s a lot of there’s a big learning curve. You know, users can overcomplicate it, or maybe they have these other needs they need to integrate in, it can be complex. So one of the things we do is we offer, it’s just comes with every purchase, we have these live zoom based liftoff sessions, we call them where people come to the call for the first 30 days and get whatever they need done. And what you’ll find people are often just over overjoyed, I should say, because what software company gets on the on the zoom with screen sharing, we have support tickets, and people communicate that way. But sometimes just having a quick back and forth screenshare you can accomplish what would take like two weeks and seven back and forth in like a five minute conversation on Zoom. And then at our highest level, we have a that happens every week. And we also kind of have some mastermind elements where users help each other. You know, we’re we have a lot of knowledge, but also our community has a lot of knowledge. And that’s that’s been really powerful. There have been people that come to that call for years. It’s amazing to me that people started businesses together inside that call. Wow. And then, of course, we have a Facebook group, which just recently crossed 8000 users and congratulations, that’s eight years to overnight success, I like to say and, and I’m a huge marketing automation guy. But also I believe in one on one human relationships, which I think you’ve kind of mentioned, you see, see us out there you know, no car, no posts left on commented, you know, protected, people get any kind of scammers or mean people out of there, and, and really build a community. I mean, we also have a more technical community on Slack. There’s people that hate Facebook, and they’re more technical and they love slack. Our developers are in that I’d probably miss some of the support stuff we do. But that’s, that’s the culture of it. For us. It’s, it’s just part of the deal.

Chris Davis 39:10
I love it, man. Last question. And this is about user user management. It’s one of the things that I feel like are the most over the most overlooked feature or functionality. And a lot of platforms. Just kind of give you the basic Hey, export a list of all of your users and that’s it right and as cold as that sounds that is very standard, you know, across the board, give our listeners some insight on how you do user management, whether you can easily segment within lifter LMS who’s completed a course you know, progress, things of that nature. How is that handled?

Chris Badget 39:54
The reporting is very robust in that sense, you know, in the early days of membership sites People would build a paywall, and they put the content behind them. And then when we came in in 2014, we’re like, well, there’s there’s a lot more to do than just that. We need reporting, we need progress tracking. And we need, but specifically in that user management, that’s actually an area we’ve really focused on. Even letting the users themselves manage other users. So we have a group’s add on, well, if you let’s say, you create a training, and you sell it into a company, and they have 1000 seats, and some HR manager needs to monitor the progress of their users that they invite into the system. We got that too. If you want to, you know, you can even do fancy stuff with the CRM, this is one of the great things with WP fusion is you can apply a tag in the CRM to 10,000 people and they’ll instantly be enrolled in a course on the LMS website. So users are awesome. From a feature set and and also if a user wants to disappear, like the whole GDPR privacy thing. We really led the that in the WordPress community when that became a big issue several years ago, so that the users in their privacy and their data can also comply with the modern, you know, privacy standards out there.

Chris Davis 41:20
Yeah. Yep. Man, great to hear. I, I tell you, it’s one of my oversights. And that’s why I mentioned it is that I was so when I first got in an LMS I was so excited to just get a course up and make money. Yeah, then people start going through and you’re like, Huh, I wonder where everybody’s where everybody is that what are people doing? And then it’s you start to realize, oh, I should have thought about that. Or, you know, I that should have been a consideration. So Chris, man, I, man, I can go on for days with you. But I can’t thank you enough for jumping on the podcast. I know it probably is straightforward. By now you’ve heard the term lifter LMS enough times to probably figure out you can go to that website but if they want to start with lifter LMS join the community or whatever, just connect with you. Where should they go?

Chris Badget 42:15
lifterLMS.com it’s all there. And if you are listening to this as a podcast, we do have our own podcast called LMS cast, which is, uh, you know, we’re approaching 400 episodes on there. That’s also a great resource.

Chris Davis 42:30
Congratulations. We’ll we’ll link to both of them. The lifterLMS.com And then lifter cast.

Chris Badget 42:37
It’s called LMS cast

Chris Davis 42:39
LMS cast LMS cast, we’ll have both of those linked, Chris, I can’t thank you enough again for coming on to the podcast. Wishing you nothing but the best of success. We we talked about it earlier I put on my nostre dom Chris hat while we were speaking and I can’t see anything but big things coming man so uh, from from my my mouth to you to your ears. Keep up the good work, the market is seeing it and responding. And sometimes the best thing that we can do is just stay consistent. I know I’m preaching to the choir, and you have no plans on quitting anytime soon. No plans on letting up. And I’m just happy for you for now and your continued success, man. Thanks for coming on to the podcast. Thanks, Chris. Yep. And I’ll see you online buddy.

Chris Badget 43:30
All right. Sounds good.

Chris Davis 43:31
All right. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The all systems go podcast. If you enjoyed it, make sure that you’re subscribed at the time of recording the all systems go podcast is free to subscribe to, and it can be found in Apple podcast, Google podcast, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts new episodes are released every Thursday. So make sure you’re subscribed so that you don’t miss out and while you’re at it, please leave us a five star rating and review to show some love but also to help future listeners more easily find the podcast so they can experience the value of goodness as well. We’ve compiled all resources mentioned on the podcast, as well as other resources that are extremely valuable and effective at helping you grow your marketing automation skills quickly and you can access them all at allsystemsgopodcast.com. Thanks again for listening. And until next time, I see you online. Automate responsibly, my friends

You'll Learn

  • [3:50] A little about Chris’ background and what led him to LifterLMS
  • [6:35] Chris shares the early struggles of building an online course platform
  • [10:53] “If you want to prove your process, do it with profit.”
  • [12:10] Benefits of having a WordPress based solution compared to other hosted platforms
  • [17:09] Recent learning trends Chris has been seeing and the shifts that have happened since Covid
  • [24:17] Chris discusses online course completion rates and how design and motivation contribute to this
  • [29:11] Top features of LifterLMS that users are raving about
  • [36:08] Uncommon service elements the LifterLMS users get access to
  • [39:54] What the user management and reporting looks like with LifterLMS

Today's Guest

Chris Badget is the cofounder and CEO of LifterLMS, a learning management system for WordPress. He helps education entrepreneurs create, launch, and scale high value online training platforms. He believes in democratizing education in the digital classroom and contributing as much as possible to the WordPress community.

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Chris L. Davis - Chief Automation Officer
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Chris L. Davis

Chris is an Electrical Engineer turned entrepreneur who is the Founder of Automation Bridge, an international speaker and facilitator, and startup consultant