Ep. 82 – Do you want a deeper and more personalized learning experience for your customers? In this episode Chris is joined by Nathalie Lussier to talk about her software AccessAlly. Nathalie is an award-winning entrepreneur who has been making web sites since she was 12 years old. She graduated with a degree in Software Engineering and a job offer from Wall Street, but she turned down this job to start her own business right out of college. Have a listen to learn more about this powerful digital course and membership solution for industry leaders.
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 sale systems in your business the right way. With your host, the professor of automation himself and founder of automation bridge, Chris Davis.
Chris Davis 0:32
Welcome to the All systems go podcast. I’m your host, Chris L. Davis, the founder and chief automation Officer of automation bridge the place online to learn small business marketing automation, where we focus on turning digital marketing professionals into automation service providers. Which means if you want to learn the practice, the tactics, the framework of taking profitable marketing strategies, and scaling them for ongoing success. Go to automationbridge.com/ASP. To find out more find out how to do that and how to get involved. Alright, this episode, I’m joined by Nathalie Lussier, to talk about her software AccessAlly. For those of you who are new to the podcast, my commitment to you is to help you navigate this technological landscape the best way possible. And the only way to do that is to expose you to as much software and its functionality as possible so that you can make a well informed decision. That’s what we have today. Natalie is an award winning entrepreneur. She’s been making websites since she was 12. And she graduated with a degree in software engineering worked got a job offer from Wall Street, but turned it down to start her own business right out of college.
Chris Davis 1:58
If you can’t respect that level of scrappy Listen, you need to you need to learn what respect looks like in the entrepreneur space. As the founder of AccessAlly. It’s a which is a powerful digital course of membership solution for for industry leaders. She believes that access to education can help defy stereotypes and make the world a better place while providing a sustainable livelihood for enterprising teachers. Okay, remember, it’s important to know some of these founders behind the software that you use and what really drives them. She’s been featured in Forbes Inc, Fast Company Success Magazine entrepreneur VentureBeat and Mashable. She’s well decorated. She’s what I refer to as a business buddy, her and I go back to my days at Lead pages. I’ve been a fan of her as a person and as a family person. I just say a spouse, a family praise area as a spouse, her professionally and just her journey. Okay, so that’s what today’s episode is about before we get into it. If you’re new to the podcast, make sure you listen to this one in its entirety. Once you’re done, join the family join the All systems go family joining the podcast we’re available subscribing to the podcast. But listen, everybody, I’m going to struggle with this for a while because Apple just kind of changed the game with pay subscription. So I don’t know whether to say subscribe, join, follow, I don’t know. But do it. We’re an apple podcast, Google podcast and on YouTube. Okay, wherever you get your podcast, we’re there make sure you subscribe. And please leave a five star rating and review while you’re at it. If you’re a listener, there’s nothing stopping you from leaving a five star rating and review right now and subscribing right now. Okay, if for whatever reason you run into issues, leaving a review, we’ve got you covered, go to automation bridge, comm forward slash review. And we can take care of the collection and posting of your review for you. So with that being said, let’s jump right into today’s episode with Natalie so you can learn about access ally. Nathalie, I am so happy to have you on the podcast. How are you doing?
Nathalie Lussier 4:10
I’m great, Chris, thanks for having me. This is gonna be awesome.
Chris Davis 4:13
Yes, yes, you are somebody that I am so proud of. I’ve been a fan and advocate from if it feels like day one. And you had humble beginnings in marketing, which is what I respect the most. So give our listeners a little bit of your background and your bio.
Nathalie Lussier 4:34
Yeah, so I kind of went through what I call a spiral staircase because I loved making websites when I was, you know, just 12 years old, and you know, scrappy and building websites for local businesses and then ended up going into software engineering for university and it was great, you know, I got to work on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley, but I kind of felt like that world was not for me. So when I graduated, I Didn’t take a job offer that I had received to go on Wall Street. And I started my first business, which was all about healthy eating. And my parents, my parents were like, what are you doing, you’re throwing away your education. This is terrible. But yeah, it just felt like I had to follow my passion. And so I didn’t know anything about business at that point, really. So I built my website, and I put up my shingle and I was like, okay, like, you know, maybe clients will start coming in, and I’ll be able to sell some online courses or something. And it took me about a year of like, intense learning about marketing, and, you know, writing, copy and understanding customers needs and actually creating a product that they want to buy. So I went through a lot of that. And eventually, you know, that business started kind of taking off. And people kept coming to me and saying, you know, who built your website? How are you doing all this technology stuff? How are you doing all this marketing stuff. And so it kind of pulled me back into that side of things, which I loved. But it just was the environment that I didn’t love in the tech world, you know, the more corporate tech world. So it kind of spiraled back into the software side. And I realized, you know, a lot of the tools that are out there are really difficult for people to use. And I could use them because I could write code and I could tweak things. So I realized, you know, what, I’m gonna bring my husband on board, we’re going to develop WordPress plugins that make it easier for people to do the things that I was doing. And that’s kind of how we circled back into software. And we ended up building our first plugin pop up ally, which is for list building. And, you know, just designing opt ins and pop ups on your website, and we call it our polite pop up, because you can have it on exit intent, and you don’t have to show it to people who are already on your email list. And so that was our first kind of test to make sure that we could do software and support it well. And then our big flagship product is access ally, which is a membership and online learning platform, also for WordPress. And that was built, because we were using something else at the time. And I ended up getting a lot of people signing up for a free challenge that I was doing. And my website host shut us down multiple times, because they thought we were getting attacked by denial of service, kind of bots or something. But it was just because people were trying to log into my membership site, and my membership plugin couldn’t handle it. So we built it for ourselves. And then we ended up adding like a lot more functionality. And we knew like, Okay, this is eventually going to be a product. And luckily, our community was like, hey, what plugin Are you using for your membership site, and that’s essentially the beginning of access allies.
Chris Davis 7:44
Love the story and so much alignment, you know, with with my journey as well, just being in that that corporate space. And it’s like, I just don’t seem to fit. Right. In then, you know, web web design and development being the gateway. I think that it is, I thought it was unique to me, it’s just like, Well, you know, I started with websites, that’s how I got into online. But most people who are familiar or unintimidated, I’ll say with any level of code, they tend to make that natural migration through to online business through websites. And and I’ll tell you what, you said something, you talked about how you build plugins for people to make their lives easier. Because you could jump in, right, you could jump in you yourself, but having the mindset that you know what, everybody’s not like me, right, like, everybody’s not going to be able to figure this out easily. There may be an opportunity here, which is really to me comes comes off as you weren’t saying hey, you know what I was trying to figure out how to make a million dollars. Yeah, that’s not how it started. For sure. Yes, yes. So now we’re here in the in the topic of discussion is access ally. And the reason why I wanted you to come on to the podcast is I’ve been I’ve never bought into, like course, standalone course. platforms. No, no harm, no foul for those using them. But I just never never bought into them. I’ve always preferred WordPress, okay, a WordPress and LMS environment that I can control. And I wanted to just let you explain to our listeners, the importance of using WordPress and having your LMS and that type of environment. Because right now, Natalie, I I don’t like to prescribe any path for anybody right? But you won’t you will not catch me running a membership site or any form of learning without wordpress that in a plug in that allows me to integrate with my CRM. So tell us to give our listeners a little overview of access ally and what it is.
Nathalie Lussier 10:10
Yeah, so I feel you and like you said, You know, sometimes it makes sense to use a hosted platform, sometimes it makes sense to do use a WordPress site. And my analogy that I like is that you can build your house on land that you own, or you can rent an apartment, right? So you can definitely and I do recommend sometimes starting out on rented land or rented a place, you know, just if you’re just getting started, you don’t know if the business is going to be successful or not, you just want to get, you know, a minimum viable product out first great start there. But know that you’ll probably have to move into a bigger place as your business grows. And you know, you want a little bit more control over everything. And the benefits of WordPress, obviously, are you control the look and feel you’re not boxed in. So if you want to add functionality, you can probably find a plug in to do it. And also you can, you know, control your backups, your content, everything belongs to you. So you’re not if you know, a business goes bust, or, you know, they change their fees, and you’re not like tied into that. So I think that’s huge. So yeah, in terms of AccessAlly, one of the things that kind of sets it apart is like you said, It integrates with your CRM. So one of the things that a lot of plugins do is they kind of handle everything for you, except they don’t think about where else that data needs to go, right. So a lot of times you want to be sending emails, or doing other kinds of automation from your CRM. But if you don’t know who’s a customer, what courses they’re taking, you know, whether they logged in recently, or not like you don’t want to be bombarding them with the wrong information or the wrong emails, or ignoring people who really could be using a little bit more nurturing. So that’s a big piece of it. And one of the things that you can do with access ally is what we call the login opt in. So that’s when you create like a free course or free membership level where somebody can just put in their name and email, join your email list on your CRM, and then get a login for your membership site. And then from there, they can download free resources or kind of taste test your membership or whatever it is you have. And you’re able to then kind of upsell them into a paid membership or a paid course or whatever else you have to offer. And it’s a lot more of a seamless experience. They’re already on your email list, you can follow up with them, you can offer them a special coupon or a special something once they’re in your membership site. And there’s just so much you can do from a marketing perspective, but also from like a nurturing and educational perspective, to make sure that they’re the right customer, that you are the right fit for them too.
Chris Davis 12:40
Yeah, yeah. So So listeners, let me, let me help you understand the importance of all of this. Because unless you’ve been in marketing, and have migrated through the time where email marketing was just getting started, right, and then there was membership sites. And at that time is like WishList Member was the main plugin for marketers. And everybody’s like, what you can build your own membership site. And then things the time goes on. And then you have LMS learning management systems come out, you know, like the teachables, and all of that. And then you have CRM become more widely accepted in marketing, and not just sales. So there are some things that have been taken place over time. And what we’re seeing now is that you take all three of those worlds, and bring them into one. So now somebody can have the membership experience integrated with a learning experience integrated with their CRM. So I just I needed to make that point because somebody may be listening like, okay, so it’s just a membership site? No, no, it is not just a membership site. That’s one one aspect of it, right? It’s the membership functionality. And then you have that tied into the learning management system. Because I find it often I haven’t found many successful learning environments, where it didn’t make sense to have supplementary pages posts or content in some capacity tied to the courses that they have access to. Right. So you guys allow people to do that, based on membership and tag based so So talk about the decision to integrate the learning management system with the CRM, what what was that decision, like? What, what problem did that solve? And how did how was that well received within the your audience?
Nathalie Lussier 14:41
Yeah, so it all kind of started when we wanted to do a challenge or free challenge. If you’re not familiar with the concept, we basically wanted to give people a free opt in, they put in their name and email and then they would get one video a day. And we have a 30 day challenge these days. I recommend shorter because that’s a lot of content for people. So I would They may be a seven day challenge or a five day challenge. So we wanted to tie it into our CRM so that we could send those emails link back to our membership area where they could watch that video. And, you know, we also had a face group group, Facebook group, we had downloads and other things they could get as part of that free challenge. And people were just blown away, we had I think about 15,000 people sign up for that within about a year. And it was just kind of crazy, because they had never seen something like that before. And we were able to offer a paid upgrade. So for example, if people didn’t want to wait for 30 days to go through the whole thing, they could just pay $27 to unlock all of those days on day one, or you know, in the early days, essentially. And so they could go through the content at their own pace, if they preferred or they could wait for the drip content over time. And the benefit of that is we have their email in our CRM, we can follow up with them, we can market to them. And also we know, are they clicking those links? Are they actually on track with the challenge? are they watching those videos, and that is stuff that we can pass between access ally and between the CRM, so you could do some really cool stuff. And if this was, for example, part of something that you’re doing to sell a service and you want it to be a little bit more high touch, you could look at those tags, and say, Okay, these people are watching all of these videos, or they’re going through all of this, they’re really hot prospect, I should probably reach out, or if somebody is not interested and doesn’t seem to be like keeping up with things, you could also have an automation that follows up and says like, Hey, you know, are you not interested in this topic, we also offer these other things. So there’s a lot of nuance that you can build into your marketing. And also just, it feels good as a as a customer, or as you know, a subscriber to not be blasted, you know, the email blasts that go out to everyone all the same for the whole list. And you can really build that experience and kind of have people go through what they need to go through, for example.
Chris Davis 16:55
Yeah, and one of the things that that I like about it is that it places you in a position to take action, right? Traditionally, if we don’t, so Nathalie, if we don’t have this integration with the CRM, all of this data is in the learning platform. And then that learning platform says, Okay, we’re gonna allow you to send an email when they finish, and you can send them a certification. And then you can send one reminder, but you’re really limited to whatever that platform has predefined, as the level of automation and process that you need for for your, for your, for your customers. Now, when you integrate it with the CRM, that data no longer lies just in the LMS. Right now, it’s in an environment where I can take action, and I can start building out all kinds of personalized flows and processes to help supplement the learning journey. Right. And I think it’s, I think it’s more important now than ever, because of the attention span of people for one. And two is how we have all been trained to like binge and consume as much as possible. So there’s even a stronger indicator if somebody is in your in your membership site, and they’re not consuming. That’s That’s it, that red flag is a bit bigger now. Because this is how people are trained, you know, they want, hey, I don’t want it drip. Give it to me all now. So somebody is coming in. And perhaps you’re seeing that, oh, wait a minute, you only watched 30% of the first video, and it’s been five days, what’s going on? I, I I challenge anybody to pull that off in your LMS right now, somebody who’s only watched 30% of the first video, after seven days, send them a reminder, fake try to figure that if you use extra satellites, but these are use cases, I feel like I have to highlight because people don’t always get it. They don’t always get the power in the difference. They’re like, well, I just I use podium or I you you know, whatever you name any LMS out there stand alone. And it’s just like, no, we’re talking about a different level of power and control here. What about somebody that watched two videos of the first course, within two hours? Maybe you want to incentivize them and say, Hey, listen, keep up the good work. If you finish this today, I’m just going to give you access to this course. And it’s all hands off. Because you’re going to be able to control tags and your CRM and then that’s going to give them access to the content when they log in.
Nathalie Lussier 19:51
Exactly. Yeah. And you nailed it. You know, sometimes people feel like okay, my online course is just not, Like people aren’t that engaged. Like what’s going on? And yes, you can like unlock bonuses if they finish something or take a little quiz to make sure that they’re understanding properly. Or we even use quizzes, sometimes the AccessAlly where, you know, let’s say you have three courses, and they don’t know which one to start with, or you have three levels, and they’re not sure if they’re beginner, intermediate or advanced, you know, so they take this little quiz, and then you unlock the one that’s just right for them. So they don’t have to be overwhelmed with like too much content, they can really focus on what they need to focus on next. Yeah. And you also brought up something that made me think of what you can do with the CRM and the automation side. And that’s, like cohorts, and live classes and kind of groups of people going through something at the same time. So in a lot of LMS systems, you know, everything starts when you buy, right, so if you have people buying throughout the month, and but you want to do something that always starts on the first of the month, or you have a launch and then you want everyone to start at the same time, that can be really tricky to do. And with accessally and your CRM, you can basically pick a date for when everything gets unlocked. And so everyone who’s in that cohort would basically go through the class at the same time, but you could still pre sell it or launch it ahead of time and start taking payments ahead of time.
Chris Davis 21:12
Yes, and that is a great, great segue into some of the features that I wanted to highlight that you guys do a bit differently. And I just wanted to give you the floor and talk about why you decided to add those features, instead of relying on, you know, some external plugin, or you know, somebody else to add on that feature. We had Wes Kao of Maven, and she was part of the inception of cohort based marketing with Seth golden back in the day, and now we’re seeing a resurgence of it. And she was talking about the value of having people learning together, right, collectively. Now, when it comes to LMS is native functionality, yours is the only one that I’ve seen intentionally call this functionality out and build around it. So I can in pre pre enrollment, you allow me to say, okay, for when somebody comes in with this tag, or you know, whatever, however, means I want to add them to the cohort, when they’re added to this group. This is the access they get this is the date that they get that access. And it’s all hands off. So what what did you see? What what what, what did you observe that you were like, you know, what, they’re missing this what what went into that cohort, group based functionality?
Nathalie Lussier 22:34
Well, a lot of it came from our own launches. So I was teaching courses at the time, and I didn’t want to run them, like continuously. And I knew that it would be great if I could have live calls with people because they get better results that way. So I would set a date for when we’d be running those live calls. So the pre launch or kind of the pre enrollment before that was when I did all the marketing for it and enrolled people. But then I knew like, you know, everything has to start after that, right. And so once the cart close, that’s when everything needs to become available for people. And you know, we did have like little prereq bonuses that they could start with until the live stuff really kicked off. So that came from our own experience, but also a lot of our features come from our clients. So we get a lot of feedback of like, Hey, this is what I want to run, this is what I’m trying to do. And so we listened to that. And we use that when we are designing things. So for example, we have a free trial and a paid trial. So if you wanted people to experience something for a little bit before, you know, they pay the full membership fee or whatnot, you can do that. We also have people who are like, you know what, my membership is monthly, and I only want to charge on the fifth of the month or whatever, you know, so you can actually specify all of these things when people are signing up. So they might have their first payment out at a specific date. Or you might say my pre enrollment period is this amount of time. And after that, you know, it’s not available anymore. So there’s a lot of that that we’ve built in and that’s a lot of that came from feedback from our customers.
Chris Davis 24:01
I love it. It’s it’s a delicate balance, right? Because, you know, and I know you’re humble and know this, but that feedback has to be ran through a filter. Right? And I believe your experience in marketing and and firsthand, seeing some of these needs being on on the receiving end, like I wish somebody would write I think you hear it differently. You know, you hear the opportunities differently, because a lot of the features and I want to talk about a few more, they really do stand out and it’s just like you know what, this is different. This is not common amongst other LMS is so another one is how you are handle membership levels. Now, this is going to be this pain point comes from those who have been running a membership site okay. So just let me let me preface it. What am I But to say with that, if you haven’t ran a membership site, take note, run your membership site, then come back, go back and listen to this. But there is a functionality that I have found is extremely difficult to pull off. in, in, in maybe marketing has evolved to where this need is more prevalent. But you have your traditional membership levels, say, hey, platinum, gold, bronze, whatever you want to call it. And based on your membership level, that will give you access to one or many courses. Right. So to get access to that course, I have to purchase the appropriate membership level. That sounds fine and dandy, right. But as the creator and owner of the membership site, and I start having these levels, and then I start creating courses, and I realize well, I just want to give somebody access to that course. It’s part of the membership, yes, but I want to also be able to sell it one off. And technically, it’s an or functionality. So it’s like you have this membership, you have this membership level, or you’ve purchased this course one off. As simple as that sounds, that is extremely difficult to pull off with pretty much every platform on the market right now. So I know it probably came from, you know, again, your customers and everything. But talk about that functionality and why you guys chose to approach membership levels differently.
Nathalie Lussier 26:30
Yeah, so what we realized is like you’re explaining it perfectly, you know, people don’t want to have just a membership, or just courses or you know that there’s also something else that for bulk course enrollment. So if they have teams, and they want to assign courses or memberships to other people on their team, so all of these concepts are super useful. And chances are, you’re not going to be using just one. So to force people to use a tear or kind of just like it’s too restrictive, right? So we thought about it from a tagging perspective. So you, if you have the tag, that means you have access to this piece of content, or this page, or this module, or course or membership, whatever you want to call it. So tags are essentially how we control access and access ally. But what we’ve come up with is a new term, it’s not that new, but you know, we kind of using it to help explain this concept. And we’re calling it offerings. So you know, if you have a course that’s an offer, if you have a membership, that’s an offering. And the cool thing is you can nest things within each other, right. So you don’t have to say, Okay, if you have a membership, you know, you you have to create all new content for that membership. No, you can reuse content that you’ve already sold, or that you plan to sell separately. And the same goes if you have different levels of membership, you can say if you have this type of membership, yes, you can also have all the content from the lower levels of that membership to so it’s simplifying the setup a lot for people. And then also it makes such a great experience for customers, right? Because they can start with just a course if that’s all they need. And then if they want to upgrade, they can upgrade to a membership that has everything or you know, the next level that has more content. And so there’s a great upgrade, downgrade functionality and access I like to so that can prorate payments and just make sure that it’s really seamless. So you know, if you have people who start off, you know, they’re not sure yet if they trust you if they like you? And then when they do and they’re like, Oh, yes, but I want to go to the next level, they can do that. So I think that’s it for us it was it just made sense. That’s just kind of how we thought about it, you know, we know that it’s always going to be a combination of things and businesses are going to evolve, content is going to evolve. So it’s going to make sense to use an offering concept to kind of bundle things together if it needs to be or separate things. Yeah,
Chris Davis 28:46
I love it. And just in case you all didn’t know, our we’re not aware of this, however you take payment is that that payment gateway is what controls the rebilling and all of all of any type of billing automation. So you may be restricted by the platform that you’re receiving payments in in terms of some of the features that you mentioned, nathalie, right. prorating, setting the date every month. So you can say hey, at the fifth of every month, we’re going to charge you x, y, z, oh, you downgrade it, we’ll handle that difference. That’s done in the payment processor. The payment processor has control over that. So I want my listeners to understand when they’re selecting Oh, I’m just gonna use gumroad or I’m gonna use PayPal. like wait a minute pause. There’s more involved that you need to consider when you’re thinking about your payment processor. Because what about the billing automation? And I’m glad you brought it up because that is Another unique feature, not just payments, right? That you somebody can argue Yeah, hey, I can take payments with my LMS in my memory. Okay, I get it. But the level of billing automation, subscription management and control that you all Provide native, I guess the key term here is native. Right? These are not additional plugins that you need to have what I would call, I don’t think this is extended functionality. I think this is functionality that should be standard, you know, in these platforms that are, that are allowing you to create these memberships, these membership levels in an environment. So I wanted to point that out for everybody listening. So and I do I love the way that payments are handled, you know, it’s easy. I went into a platform just the other day. And I purchased the mid tier for a year, right? And I realized to say, you know what, I really needed the pro tier, like the higher up tier, but, and I wanted to go monthly. So to my surprise when I went in there, and I just said, What if I upgrade and then select monthly, they handled the pro rating, like everything was handled for me. They said, hey, look, if you don’t use it, we’ll just give you the difference back. So you mentioned it. And I know that that may seem easy for everybody like oh, yeah, sure you should prorate as a as a customer, yes, I prorating makes my life easier. But as the creator, that’s a very complicated functionality to figure out and is refreshing when the plugin does it for you. You don’t have to worry about, you don’t have to worry about it. And then one last thing, too. So I’m getting, I’m trying to control my excitement here. But this is really good. And I hope people are listening. If you’re listening to this podcast at two x, you may need to slow it down some because there’s a lot. We’re saying a lot here. And I want you to internalize it, Nathalie Do you the power in allowing people to be more dynamic with how they how they create their offerings, as you call them and access ally is all it also speaks to the enablement of leveraging your content. So you’re not just stuck in create more and more, I want to give more, so I have to create more. Now, at the end, I think this is a strategic challenge for a lot, of course creators and just content creators is how can you be more strategic with the content that you’ve created and leverage it in various ways, sometimes you don’t need to create another course, the other course you’ve already created in the various courses you already have that exists. And you just need to pick some pieces out and maybe write some copy to appeal to a different angle or a different audience. But the content is good as is. So now if you can conceptualize this, now you don’t have to go and create every time you want to offer something new. You have this dynamic functionality where you can create within what’s being created. You know,
Nathalie Lussier 32:50
yeah, I love how you describe that. And we sometimes say like, you know, membership site creators are stuck on this, like hamster wheel of always creating content. So the more we can do to make it easier for them to still help their customers reach their goals and you know, have great outcomes from their courses or their memberships. But not constantly having to re recreate the wheel all the time. Yeah,
Chris Davis 33:11
yeah, absolutely. And one more feature here, I feel like we’ve, as much as we’ve talked about Nathalie, it’s just a fraction, you guys have to go, you just have to go to access ally comm they do a great job of listing out all of the features, you can look at showcases and see other people and how they’re using it. But I wanted to talk about members, your members directory feature. And at a basic level it you know, you can list all your members in there and see who’s who. But there are so many applications for this, this simple functionality. And I will tell you, I have searched high and low for this functionality. And it is always via a plugin, okay? The plugin very rarely integrates with your LMS or your CRM. And if you don’t want to use a plugin, you have to create like custom post types. And then it starts getting technical. You got a developer involved in the management and custom fields that you add, where is it stored in WordPress, blah, blah, blah. So talk to the audience about your members directory feature first, and then and then give us some some use cases that you’ve seen outside of the norm of just here are all the members in the directory in the membership site?
Nathalie Lussier 34:35
Yeah, so Exactly. So we started with, okay, we want to show members but not just all members that are part of a course or something like that. We want the flexibility that the CRM offers with tags, right. So you could have people who opt in or opt out of the directory just by clicking a button to add and remove a tag on their profile. You could have them, you know, upload an image and maybe put their website link in bio and kind of all those basic things. But also you could have them fill in custom fields that go back to your CRM. So if you wanted to keep track of like what industry people are in, or you know what their favorite colors are, you know, obviously, I’m kind of making things up there. But you can store that data back in your CRM, which you could use for marketing or for, you know, whatever other purposes that you have for that information. And you can also decide what you want to show publicly and what you’re just collecting as well. So it doesn’t all have to be in a public directory. And you can obviously protect the directory. So it could be only for members with certain levels of access. So we’ve seen this in schools where like, a principal will be able to go to the directory, see all the students maybe see a different directory with all the teachers see their grades, their progress, how they’re doing on quizzes. So you can really use that for a lot of information, you can use it as a leaderboard. So if people are getting points inside of your membership, for completing stuff that you can show their points and kind of rank them based on how well they’re doing, to kind of motivate people to keep going, for example, then we’ve also seen people do paid listing. So if you wanted to have this as a public directory, we’ve seen it in say, like a chamber of commerce, you know, version where you know, a company will pay to be higher up in the listings, and then have like a little banner or something that sets them apart. So all of that, both ties back to your LMS. So you can get all of that progress and quiz and all of that information, but also ties back to your CRM. So you can basically, you know, rank or search or filter based on tags and stuff. So for example, we have, you know, we have a directory on our site, and you can filter people based on say, their experience, or, you know, different things like that. So you can kind of see, like, Okay, I’m looking for people in this country, or I’m looking for people who have, you know, this industry that they serve. So it’s, it has a lot of business applications, a lot of learning applications. So yeah, it’s a really great feature.
Chris Davis 37:03
And the good part is the the user can manage it, you know, they can update their profile, they can update their information, and you start to see a marketer’s dream is, is flexibility, right flexibility and control. as a marketer, if you want me to be the least effective as I can be, put all kinds of parameters around me and tell me what I can’t do. Right, as marketers, because it’s too dynamic, right? Just Just how people move is to dynamic, I need to be able to track everything until I know what’s meaningful, right? So when you look at a platform like yours, and you have all of these features, that the the term that just keeps coming to mind is limitless, right, you may not use all of them. But what a value at what a two way value add, this could be right to say, hey, members, for those of you on the next level, or once you complete this course, or this program, or score this high on a quiz, we’re now going to list you publicly, because you have proven that we can be trusted with the content that you’ve that you’ve that you’ve just consumed. Now, we get x amount of visitors to our website, and you’ll be on our website in feature. That’s a total different value add from somebody who just signed up to take a course and could potentially just go on and buy something else. Like you’re helping them stay within your ecosystem, and continue to add value in so many ways. And the reason why this is important, Natalie is I had somebody that I was mentoring years ago, and they were getting sales. And then they were like, okay, I want more sales. So they started to email their existing customers and it didn’t work. And it came back and said, What’s going on? Chris, I thought selling to your customers should be easier than getting new customers. And when I had to tell them I said that is true, but it still requires strategy value. And like affective positioning like your you don’t just hang all of that up because they’re a customer and just say hey, give me more money, you still have to be strategic. And what we found is that the platform was limiting. It was extremely limiting. So when I hear all of these features, I’m not just up here feature drooling, like oh, it could do this it could do that. I’m thinking of real world concepts, right real world use cases that I’ve had and I’ve seen many people have that these features that you offer they solve so I don’t look at it as bloatware right? It’s common in marketing, right everybody has the big sales page with a million bonuses and they know you’re not going to consume one they just you know value stack so you give them money. You guys have been very intentional with the features in and I would say that I don’t see one that’s just kind of like a throw in, like hey, and we do This everything was well thought out. So So I love it. Nathalie, as we come to the end, what’s what’s next for accessally? What do you guys have on the roadmap for 2021? For those who are listening, and just like, Wow, this is amazing. I want to check this out, what would they have to look forward to? For the rest of the year?
Nathalie Lussier 40:23
Yeah, so we are actually rolling out a new interface. So this is probably more relevant for existing customers. But we’re really excited about it, because it just makes everything even easier to use. So it’s a new, we’re calling it our offering wizard, where it basically creates a lot of the stuff and includes templates. So a lot of times, you know, there’s a pattern, right. So people want to do a membership or dripped or a free challenge or something. So they don’t have to start from scratch. And they don’t have to create the structure from scratch. So I think that is going to be a pretty big game changer for access outline. because like you said, it is limitless. And we do run into people being like, well, there’s too many things I could do, like, I’m not sure where to start, right. So we want to give them those starting places. And I think that’s going to be a big thing. Beyond that, you know, we want to keep improving the LMS side, so doing more advanced types of quizzes and things that you know, we have some feature requests around that. And then also our affiliate program. So within SSL, you can have an affiliate program. And so when you’re taking payments, people could become an affiliate and then refer and then you can give them a percentage. So we want to keep improving our affiliate center. So right now, you know, you can grab all of your affiliate links, and you know, maybe get other resources for promoting. But we want to make it even more robust and just kind of give them more stats about what’s working, what’s not working. So affiliates can be more more effective when they’re promoting. So those are kind of some of the bigger things. The big, the big one is the new interface, but then all the other things will kind of come with that.
Chris Davis 41:52
Yeah, and I’ll say this, everybody, I got to Natalie, and I got to connect prior to recording this. And we talked a little bit about the dev cycle and how her and her husband and team approach adding features. And I have to say, you know, you learn to appreciate the care that people take with their software, you could just Hey, version 8.0 look at all of this stuff. But I can’t count how many times companies have tried to do that. And then you go to like support Facebook groups and all of that they’re like it broken, this isn’t the worst thing you can do when you have an existing client base is to make a big upgrade that looks good and maybe appealing to new users. And then it breaks the functionality for all of the existing users who have been with you from day one invested in the platform. So the level of care that you guys take in the caution to say, okay, because I know you as the founder was just like, Can we like get this out yesterday? Like more and more and more fast, fast, fast. But it is it’s admirable to know the the care and I wanted to say that publicly to everybody, that these are not just things that were like, okay, and Natalie said, we’re pushing on lunch. So let’s push it out. Like you guys are taking a very meticulous approach to it. And making sure that the existing functionality stays in place while enhancing the experience of your existing customers and new customers. So really exciting stuff. I know, people have probably been able to figure it out by now. But if they want to find out more about your platform, or you in general, where where do you want them to go?
Nathalie Lussier 43:34
Yeah, so accessally.com is the best place to go. And if you want to experience like a membership site on AccessAlly we have a demo on there. But we also have our 30 day List Building Challenge, which was kind of that original instigator for access ally, so they can go and sign up for that at 30dayListBuildingChallenge.com, follow that link building and you know, all that good stuff.
Chris Davis 43:57
Yeah, love it. Well, we’re gonna have both of those links for you in the show notes. So if you couldn’t write it down fast enough, or type, but you’re on the treadmill, maybe you’re like, oh, sweaty hands, an area to visit. It’s fine. They’ll be in the show notes, you could just click the link there. Natalie, thank you, again, for coming on this. This has been great for me just to be able to talk about a platform. My goal with this is to be as objective as possible. And and let you all as the founders and creators of the software, explain the platform so that the listeners can have good insight on Okay, I think this is the best platform for me and have confidence with that decision. Because we all win, right? If somebody is confident that you had you what you offer is for them, and your offering fits and delivers. We’ve got Listen, my job is done, you know. So thank you for coming on and being able being willing to take the time in it and share with the listeners. Yeah, thank
Nathalie Lussier 44:56
you and if someone is curious, we also offer You know, demo calls, so you can book a demo call. And we will walk you through things. And also, we will tell you if it’s not the right fit, because it isn’t for everyone. So it’s not a sales pitch. It’s really just like, hey, let’s make sure this is gonna do what you want it to do. Yeah, definitely take
Chris Davis 45:14
- And with that, you guys offer migration services as well. Just wanted to add that in. So thank you again, Nathalie. This is great. I know. I’m sure our listeners really enjoyed this. And I hope that you see it on your side with people coming in and inquiring and signing up. Thank you. All right, Nathalie, I’ll see you online.
Nathalie Lussier 45:37
Chris Davis 45:37
Thank you for listening to this episode of the All systems go podcast, I hope you enjoyed. But just not just Nathalie story. But the features, I try my best to highlight as much of the features as I could. So again, that you can make a well, well informed decision. But if you are if, you know, I think we’re at a at a day and age where we can start to expect more tight coupling of our CRM, with our learning management system in our membership sites, it just positioned you to be able to provide a higher level of an experience, you know, for your audience, as well as do some more effective tracking and automating on the back end. So a platform like access ally, answers that call. And it may be the tool that you’ve been looking for, I don’t know. But hopefully this episode has exposed you enough to it, where you can have an intelligent conversation around it. And if it does work, and you end up signing up for access ally, make sure when you do you tell Nathalie, Chris said hi or Chris sent you. Alright, so who needed to hear this? Who is that person that wants to create courses that wants to have some form of membership functionality for recurring revenue. And they want to a deeper experience than what maybe you can find in teachable and kajabi and some of the off the shelf course creation only platforms, share this episode with them, share this episode with them, so that they can start to understand that the additional level of functionality that’s afforded to them with with today’s technology, all right, and if you found value in today’s episode, do me a favor, share. And if you haven’t subscribed, make sure that you’re subscribed to the podcast. Alright. For my first time listeners, this is my official invitation, join the family, come on, come on down, click that button. Whether it says subscribe, follow, join whatever the case is, now’s the time to do that we’re dedicated here in automation bridge, to training digital marketing professionals to train digital marketing professionals to become automation service providers. Automation service providers differ because we focus on the proper matching of technology with your strategy to scale your profitable marketing efforts. So you may start as a digital marketer, but by no means do not stop there, continue go deeper for those of you that want to go deeper, come become an automation service provider. This is what small businesses need. They don’t necessarily need another funnel, they need more out of the funnel that they have. They need to learn how to segment better how to get more out of their email, how to market in a way that puts them in the best position always. And does it in an automated fashion. Okay, that’s what an automation service provider does. And if that’s you, if when I say that it resonates, if you’re ready to scale your digital marketing efforts, or make a lucrative career out of scaling the efforts of others, I need you to go to automationbridge.com/ASP and take the next steps that may be involving you jumping on a call with myself or someone from my team, or it may involve another step. But the best place to start is there. Okay, we’re also accepting guests for the podcast. So if you’re a SaaS founder of a marketing sales software solution, as Nathalie is we love to discuss your software and your journey just as we did on this episode. Okay, and if you’re a marketing automation consultant, experiencing success with your clients, come on in and share with the collective audience. Either way, you go or refer someone to go to automationbridge.com/guest The time is now and the need has never been greater. Trust me. Trust me. It is growing COVID has been a great catalyst, great catalysts. Everybody’s looking to leverage online better. Automation is the key if you want to join me if you if you want to remove the mystery, the cloudiness and the confusion. We have resources we have programs start at automationbridge.com/ASP all of the show notes and podcasts are accessible at automationbridge.com/podcast you can subscribe arrive there to listen to other episodes at your leisure. Okay, so until next time I see you online automate responsibly
- [4:34] Nathalie’s background and what led her to develop her own software
- [10:03] What AccessAlly is and what sets it apart from other plugins
- [12:40] The importance of having a plugin that combines the benefits of a membership site, LMS and CRM all in one
- [14:24] Why Nathalie decided to integrate a Learning Management System with Customer Relationship Management
- [16:55] The problem that AccessAlly solves and why it is so crucial to building a personalized learning experience
- [20:30] How AccessAlly allows you to utilize automation with your cohorts and live classes
- [22:02] What drove Nathalie to add the cohort automation functionality to AccessAlly
- [24:45] How AccessAlly handles membership levels differently than other Learning Management Systems
- [29:35] The pieces you need to consider when choosing a payment processor
- [31:41] How AccessAlly empowers you to be more dynamic when creating your offerings
- [34:22] Unique use cases Nathalie has seen with the membership directory function AccessAlly offers
- [40:05] What’s next for AccessAlly
- [47:31] How to become an Automation Service Provider™
Nathalie Lussier is an award-winning entrepreneur and the founder of AccessAlly, the powerful digital course and membership solution for industry leaders. She believes that access to education can help defy stereotypes and make the world a better place, while providing a sustainable livelihood for enterprising teachers. Nathalie has been featured in Forbes, Inc., Fast Company, Success Magazine, Entrepreneur, Venture Beat, and Mashable.
- Website: https://accessally.com
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On the show, Chris reveals all of his automated marketing strategies he has learned from working in fast growing marketing technology startups so you can put your business on autopilot quickly and without error.
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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