How Anne Johnston is using the Oversubscribed model to generate more sales

Listen and subscribe on: iTunes | Stitcher | Soundcloud

In this episode Chris shares a success case study about how Anne Johnston has used the Oversubscribed model to generate more sales for her business.

Full transcription:

Hi there, welcome to the Content Marketing Agency Podcast Show, with me, your host Chris Marr. In this episode, I wanna share with you an oversubscribed success story from Ann Johnson, who has managed to generate more revenue, more sales, and more profit for her business.

‘Sup, squad? Welcome back. Hopefully [00:00:30] you’ll remember an episode I did a while ago, I think it was maybe nine or ten episodes ago. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes for you. Anyway, about, I think it was Five Steps to Becoming Oversubscribed, or Becoming Oversubscribed. And in that episode, I covered things like capacity, campaign mindset, staged release deadlines, and signalling as being five of the main things that were required for becoming oversubscribed. Hopefully you’ll remember that.

And, I’ve been teaching [00:01:00] this … First of all, we studied it and I’ve read about it, and then we put it into practise in our own events. So some of it worked, some of it didn’t, and then we had more and more success with it, and we’ll continue to use that methodology, I think, forever. I think there’s a lot of stuff we’ve learned in there that’s just been instilled into what we do every day.

And we’ve been starting to teach this in CMA as well, so we did a live training this month, in August 2017, and I also helped and coached Ann Johnson with her [00:01:30] business as well, just for a single campaign. And I’m gonna take you through that, just to give you an example of how it can be used and how it has been used for success in a business. And also want to get across to you, as well, that it isn’t just for things like live events, ’cause that’s how I usually talk about oversubscribed, in the context of live events, but it actually works very well for client businesses, products. It works really well for B2B, B2C, live events as well, so there’s lots of ways this can be applied.

So, in this episode, it’s gonna be a short episode, but [00:02:00] I think I wanna encourage you to just think open-minded about this, how you could use these methods to perhaps drive in a little bit more revenue, a little bit more profit into your business, ’cause end of the day that’s really what it’s all about.

Ann Johnson reached out to me. Ann’s been a CMA member for a while now, and she reached out and said, “Chris, I’d love to get a hand just looking at how I can make a little bit more revenue for our business.”

And I said, “Sure, sure thing.”

And the first thing I asked Ann to do was to, and you can do this as well, is to get a blank piece of paper and just write down as many [00:02:30] ways as you can, at least ten ideas for generating some instant revenue in your business. That’s one of the first steps to it, is just try and think about what different ways can you create some revenue.

And once we’ve kinda got through that, we kinda picked out the things that can be done immediately, and we looked at all the things that could be done later, and we started to separate all that out. And one of the things that we really picked up on was her calendar sales for 2018. So keep in mind this is August 2017, and [00:03:00] there’s a lot of questions or answers, one of them being, “Do I need to have a product before I sell it?”

And I think that’s our, “Do I need to have something to sell before I sell it?”

And the answer is no, you don’t. In this example, with Ann’s 2018 calendars, she doesn’t actually have them yet. She’s not produced them, she’s not created them, she’s not printed them, she’s not shipping them. She’s simply selling them. And I think that this is really key to understand this

I wanna take you through how she did it this year versus how [00:03:30] she did it last year, and perhaps the things that she learned, and hopefully we’ll take it forward into next year as well. I want you to think as well about how this longer term mindset fits in with exactly what I’m gonna go through with you today.

First of all, I was aware of a need for more sales. Okay, that’s the first thing. And I think the great thing about getting creative about selling and thinking about the ways that you could make more money and make more sales is that you get [00:04:00] excited about your business again. It can increase your confidence in your self-esteem as well. I think that it can’t really go without saying, I think it’s really, really important to mention that, because that’s what happens. As soon as you start to get excited and having fun, and you start to make some more money, it kind of rubs off on everything else in your business as well, and it helps you to make sales in other areas.

Just want to make people aware that it’s not just about the hard numbers and the sale of a product or service, there’s other things at [00:04:30] play as well, which includes self-esteem and confidence in mindset. First of all, we talked about our targets, so I pushed Ann on this. Last year, she sold we’re just gonna do round numbers, but last year she sold 100 calendars. And I said to her, “Push yourself this year with your target. I want a revenue target, I want a profit percentage, and I want a number of calendars sold.”

And I wanted to push her on this because I know for a fact [00:05:00] that if you, you’ll know this yourself as well, whatever target you choose, you’ll strive towards that, and you’ll keep pushing yourself until you get there. If a target’s too low, there’s a good chance that you could have pushed yourself further. So I wanted her to push herself, because even a good example of this is that, see on the last day of a campaign. If you’re quite happy with where you are, like you say, “You know what, it’s fine, I won’t bother sending out the last email for this campaign or doing the Facebook Live, it’s fine, we’ve got enough sales, it will be fine.”

Instead, [00:05:30] with a target, you do send that last email, and you do do that last Facebook Live, and you do push it that last day to get to your targets. It does make you do things that you’re maybe a little bit uncomfortable with, but do make a difference. For example, Ann was, I think it was one of the final days of her campaign. This time, on our Facebook Live, there were people buying calendars while she was actually live on Facebook, which is really, really cool. So with the target, something that will push you, right, you have to be pushing yourself or you’re not gonna learn and you’re not gonna try different things. So, that’s the first thing.

[00:06:00] The second thing was, going back to the earlier episode episode, we talked about something called signalling, and that involves creating a waiting list, in this case. So basically signposting people, or saying to them something like, “Hey, our calendars for next year are gonna go on sale next week, if you wanna get in first for the early bird prices, pop your name on the list and we’ll make sure you get first dibs.”

That’s an example of what you can do leading up to this part of the campaign, is to build up that interest. You start signalling people about when you’re gonna go out with [00:06:30] your sale with your product, in this case the calendars. So it’s getting people to … The great thing about signalling is that you don’t have to get them to commit to buying. They don’t have to buy [inaudible 00:06:40]. And they don’t even have to be that committed and they’ll sign up to the list and that builds that waiting list up.

The next thing for Ann was putting the deadlines in place. So, when does the campaign start, when do the early bird prices go on sale, when does the campaign end? So for Ann, that over about a three-week period. She [00:07:00] set up a thank you page and a landing page created for that campaign so she could share it on social media, Facebook Lives, and her emails, and all the rest of it as well. So she created deadlines around all of that and using those pages on her website to manage that whole campaign.

And one of the things that she learned was she should probably shorten that whole campaign period down from about two weeks to maybe about a week. That may be too short, but I think what she’s saying is it felt like the campaign was too long and that sense of urgency may [00:07:30] be lulled a little bit in the middle. I think that’s true. You do need to get the timing right, but the great thing about this is that Ann wouldn’t have known that had she not tried this. So this is always learning, always learning.

And then, obviously, setting a capacity, which comes back to our target. She wanted to sell 200 calendars. She’s still got the ability to do that. In reality the results for Ann were that she sold 100 calendars last year and she also sold 100 calendars so far this year, but she did the 100 this year in a two-week window, [00:08:00] and last year that wasn’t the case at all. And by having a campaign, she’s managed to get everybody to buy from her at once in one little window of time. And she’s got the ability to run another campaign later in the year, let’s say October, at the real price of the calendars.

She’s got tonnes of scope, right, loads and loads of scope to excel. She could sell another 100, she could sell another 200 calendars if she does it properly, she runs more campaigns over the next few months. So that staged release is important. It’s an important part of the whole [00:08:30] communication piece that goes around oversubscribed is to kind of say, “This is when the early bird sales are going on, this is when they’re gonna be finished, or be completed. They’re not available, and then we’re gonna close the sales, and when we open the sales back up again …”

And you’re running these campaigns, and it creates that sense of urgency, get everyone buying at once at a certain time. I think it’s really important, if you are going to do anything to do with discounting prices or a price offer, that it’s around a capacity and a deadline, because that’s what makes people want to [00:09:00] buy.

So Ann was out there doing Facebook Live. She’s doing her email marketing. She’s doing social media activity. She’s got audience participation, so she’s quite creative, Ann. She loves a good competition, and she had audience participation in competitions, in voting. She was releasing the images from the calendar in stages as well, so she could really get as much from her marketing as possible, which I think’s really, really smart. She’s very creative with her marketing, which is great.

And the results [00:09:30] for Ann were more revenue and cash flow in her business. Remember, this product hasn’t been created yet, therefore she hasn’t paid for it yet. Obviously, she’ll need to keep the cash back for the cost of the goods, but she’s created revenue in her business that she never had before. She’s created a significant amount of profit in her business as well, for a product that’s not being shipped ’til later in the year. And just to kinda finish up on this example, I think this is the key part, that I think most people won’t even think about, is that she’s now got, I think it’s something like 61 new customers, or 61 customers [00:10:00] that have purchased something from her in the last few weeks.

Now, what does that mean for Ann? That gives her, now, the opportunity to sell them something else. To cross-sell, upsell, get recommendations and testimonials from them. I’m sure she can do something to encourage them to tell their friends about what they’ve purchased from Ann as well. And if you focus on the real long term here, by increasing the average lifetime of this customer, and the average lifetime value of the customer, is that those 61 customers could quite easily become 150 customers [00:10:30] next year, and 300 the next, and 500 the next year after that. And she can get real value from those customers because they’ve already bought from her.

So she’s now got 61 paying customers that she can increase the average value. So if the average value of the customer just now, if that 61 is 15 pounds, that challenge to Ann is, how could you get that up to 50 pounds? What could you sell to them? What else could you do for them that would get them to spend more money with you? I think that is really what we’re trying to get from this, is a [00:11:00] customer for life.

I’ve talked about that before, customer continuity. A customer for life. Some of the ones to stay with you, buy from you, tell other people about you, and that keeps you in business for years to come. As long as you’re able to understand what the marketplace wants from you, and how you can serve your customers better and add more value, and create products and services around their needs. I think Ann’s got an amazing opportunity here to look after those 61 customers really well, and give as much and get as much from them as she can.

And the challenge for you and I [00:11:30] is to think about how we can use this campaign mindset to increase profits, get more revenue, cash flow into our business, around using these main elements: deadlines, capacity, signalling, the campaign mindset, and that staged release. And that really helps people to buy from you all at once. It gets people excited about what it is that you’re doing. It gives you a reason to turn up and communicate. It increases sales. It increases confidence, it increases self-esteem.

And I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so [00:12:00] if you’ve got any questions about this whole thing, this oversubscribed thing. I hope this story’s inspired you, from Ann. And if Ann can do it and I can do it, you certainly can do it. Email me,, or tweet me @chrismarr101. Always look forward to hearing from you, and, like I said, if you wanna pick my brain, you’ve got any questions, just get in touch.

Hope you’ve had a great day, and don’t forget to be awesome.