068: How to upsell higher-tier plans to your members – with Matt Inglot

Matt Inglot is the founder of Tilted Pixel, an agency specializing in growing membership sites. In this episode, he joins Ward to discuss how understanding your audience and asking the right questions can help you upsell higher-tier plans.

✍️ Show Notes

📄 Show Transcript

This transcript is computer generated, please excuse any errors 🙂

Ward Sandler: Welcome, everybody. Today I’m talking with Matt Inglot of Tilted Pixel, an agency specializing in growing membership sites. Matt’s agency has worked with numerous 6 and 7 figure membership sites and has a deep playbook on what works and what doesn’t in the membership space. Matt, welcome to the Membership Maker podcast.

Matt Inglot: Thanks so much for having me, Ward!

Ward Sandler: Sure thing. All right. A big concern for creators is how to convert members to higher tiers. What’s your take on that?

Matt Inglot: Yeah. So there’s a few things here. It all starts with setting up your tiers correctly now. So you’re setting yourself up for success by actually taking the time to figure out what those tiers should be, and what happens is a lot of people do it as an afterthought. So they’ll set up the base of membership, you know, you pay X dollars a month for a year, and you get so so-and-so, and they think to themselves, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a higher tier?’ and then they try to think of something that kind of sounds valuable that they could throw on there. Right? In addition to the membership site, you get these bonus videos every month or access this podcast or just more stuff, and unfortunately, we live in a world that’s very content-rich. Most people already have access to enough stuff, and what they’re willing to pay for is a better solution to their problem or a solution to a more expensive problem. So when we think about creating tiers and we’ve been able to do this for clients where we’ve really been able to move the needle on revenue is to actually look at who your audience is and see if there are natural segments that, your audience falls into. So the example I like to use is a car repair. So let’s pretend you have a car repair membership site, and you realize after serving your audience, talking to them, figuring out who they are, that there are actually two types of people, right? There’s the weekend, DIY wires that just like to work on their car in their driveway and do stuff on it. And then there’s actually like professional mechanics who are using it to get really detailed information on maybe like obscure repairs or something. But the person that that’s the skilled mechanic is actually making money. Off of this content, whereas the person that’s DIY buying their own car, um, they’re just doing it to fix their own car. Probably have some fun in the process. They’re going to be a lot more price-sensitive, and they’re also going to have very different needs than the mechanic. For example, the DIY or just needs the basic repairs that you can do in your driveway. They’re not going to be doing a transmission or an engine swap, whereas the professional will be, so then you can start tearing it down where, you know at the base tier, you only get access to certain common models of cars, you know, you got your forwards, your GMCs, your Toyota’s as a professional, you get access to the more exotic things. As a standard membership, you get access to these repair guides as a professional, you get access to these more advanced repair guides, and suddenly you’re not just trying to get someone to pay you more money because you want more money. You’re actually splitting it based on who is receiving what type of value from the membership and how they’re using it, and that is light years more effective.

Ward Sandler: Right. So I guess it kind of boils down to the perceived value of the different segments your members, of your customers, right? So like, yeah, if they’re using your membership as something that they do for fun on the weekends, you know, that’s a certain amount of value to that. But if they’re using your membership to make money professionally, they’re naturally going to be willing to pay more for it. And they’re naturally going to value it more and put a higher price tag on it because it’s helping them make money. So that makes a lot of sense. I guess the one thing there that people would need to know, it’s like, okay, that makes sense. In theory, I think most people would agree with all of that. What if you don’t know the segments of your customers or it’s not, you know, it’s a little murky, it’s like, I have some people that are kind of in this industry, I have some people kind of in that industry, some are using it professionally. Some are, you know, aspirational. How would you recommend people kind of figure out the different segments of the customer they have?

Matt Inglot: I’ll tell you what we do for our clients and we do two things. First of all, we survey their audience, and it sounds like the most obvious thing, but we also find people are almost never serving their audience enough. And really figuring out who it is that they are. So part of it actually sends a survey, and part of it is asked the right questions. So if you really don’t know who they are are, then you ask very open-ended questions. You know, what is it that you do? Why did you buy the membership in the first place and so on and on find a question, set that right for you. If you already kind of have an idea of what those are buckets are, and you’re just trying to figure out the distribution, then you can start actually asking them, are you this, this or this? And they can self-select them to one of us. But to get that survey out and start mining that, we spend tons and tons of hours going through the surveys, going through every single response, categorizing them and drilling deep into the patterns that emerge. And that’s incredibly valuable to do, whether you’re hiring someone to do it, or you’re doing it yourself, put into work. And then the second thing that we do is usually after we send out a survey, then we actually do customer interviews. So we actually get people on the phone or on zoom, and we have conversations about what they’re challenges, and pain points are, how they use their site and dig deeper and deeper into these problems. And by the time we’ve done all that, it’s pretty much guaranteed that we found some patterns. It would be a very unusual business where everybody is different, and there’s absolutely nothing binding them together. Like even take something incredibly general, like a business we all know McDonald’s, there’s going to be a lot of different professionals in the driveway and the drive through. Right? They’re all doing different things. They’re all, all different ages. It’s just incredibly universal, but what binds them all together is they’re in a hurry, and they probably want something cheap, fast and easy. And that’s what binds them together, right? And then that probably segments down further. There are people in the drive-through, and then there are the people eating in the restaurant. And that might be a very different pattern that you find. So that definitely exist. And what you’re looking for is you’re looking for those broad stroke patterns, right? So you want like two or three buckets in your business? Not 20, then you’ve gone too deep, right? Cause you can’t really practically have 20 tiers.

Ward Sandler: Right. And do you have like sample size of like, if you get 10 of these surveys back, is that enough to make a conclusion or do you think you need like a hundred or 50? Is there kind of like a minimum threshold?

Matt Inglot: Fantastic question. So, yeah. If your audience size is small enough that you’re getting 10 responses back, definitely survey your audience. Definitely do customer interviews. The beauty of it is when your business is that small, you can talk to anybody. That’ll talk to you, and that’s fantastic. But at that point, I wouldn’t necessarily worry about creating tiers. I’d be worried about using that product information in other ways, in the customer information, other ways, such as the development of a product and figuring out who these people are so that you can create effective marketing that actually reaches them properly. But when you have ten responses, I mean, trying to segment it. Yeah, you could do it, but the big growth point is going to be, for your business, to figure out who these people are, figure out how to make an amazing product for them that solves their problems and figure out how to reach them. You could get too many responses as well. I mean, we’ve got in situations where we’ve gotten thousands and in which case we start taking samples, and we don’t go through literally every single response. But, I mean, we’re not afraid to look at 500 or a thousand responses if we can get them. And even if you can get like two or 300, that’s certainly valid and can tell you a lot.

Ward Sandler: Yeah. And one last quick point, I think it’s important for people to remember that surveys are good. There are obviously flaws to any survey, and it’s easier for you as a site owner to survey than it is to get on the phone and talk to somebody. And some people are also shy about that or just not as comfortable. And so they kind of look for reasons not to get on the phone with customers or not get on a Zoom call. And I strongly advise against that. There is definitely a lot of qualitative feedback, and there are just nuances to people’s body language and the way they say things. When you’re, even if you’re asking the exact same questions that are on the survey, just to hear them say it, will give you different feedback than just reading it as text in an Excel sheet. So just something to keep in mind, if you’re one of those people that has a natural aversion to getting on the phone, you got to kind of fight past that. I don’t know any business that’s been successful that has only done surveys and never actually speaks to people on the phone, right?

Matt Inglot: Yeah. It’s a completely different level of detail, right? Someone might give you a one or two-sentence answer in a survey, but you get them on the phone. First of all, they’re way more likely to tell you more. But then the beauty of this is you can always ask why. And that’s the most powerful question in the world, and you can ask it several times, and then you can finally dig into what the real reasons are. For example, then maybe they joined your site because you have a gardening site and they want to learn how to build a better garden, and that’s what they answer in the survey. And then we go and get them on the phone and then we can ask them, well, why do you want to build a better garden? And that’s really where the big value is because then suddenly realize, okay, what does the garden mean to them? Do they want to do it because their parents and grandparents have gardens? And this is just what their family does? Is it because they’re trying to grow organic food for their family as a cause they want a really pretty landscape and have lots of flowers and bees and everything. There’s a lot of reasons people would get into it. And when you dig deep enough, and you get the real answers, Then you can make the product and the marketing that just speaks to exactly that problem.

Ward Sandler: Matt, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. We really appreciate it. Would you like to share any resources or recommendation for folks that are trying to learn more about Tilted Pixel?

Matt Inglot: Yeah, absolutely. Well, first and foremost, just go to our website, tiltedpixel.com and right there on the homepage and the footer. You can find our newsletter. You can subscribe there. You’ll immediately get a few lessons on optimizing your membership site, and we also periodically send out more information, more ideas on how you can grow your membership site. And of course, if you want to work with us, then that’s the same resource tiltedpixel.com. Get in touch, and let’s see if we’re a fit.

Ward Sandler: Excellent. And I just want to really throw my hat behind Matt here for folks to definitely reach out, they definitely know what they’re talking about, and they’ll definitely help you scale up your membership. So thank you.

Matt Inglot: Thanks so much, Ward.