024: A Membership That Helps People Build a Healthy Relationship with Food

Ward chats with Julie Duffy Dillon, founder of PCOS and Food Peace about her experience as a guest on a reality tv show, how she used that notoriety to build an email list and the benefits of not using scarcity as a marketing tactic.

Show Notes

Show Transcript

Ward: [00:00:00] Hi, Julie. Thanks for joining me today.

Julie: [00:00:02] Hey Ward, it’s so great to connect. Thanks.

Ward: [00:00:04] Yeah, so let’s start off with you telling the listeners a bit about your membership business and who you’re helping.

Julie: [00:00:10] So I help people with PCOS and PCOS is a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome. It affects the one in five of those who are assigned female at Birth. So a lot of people have this condition yet It is a underserved I mean significantly underserved population. And I’m a registered dietitian and also trained as a counselor and I’ve worked with individuals with this condition for close to 15 years now and this is a group of people that just was not really getting any kind of focus outside of just individual kind of meetings. So, yeah, so people with PCOS and then I also have a program where I help dieticians who like me do a similar kind of work and want to help people with PCOS.

Ward: [00:01:00] And what exactly are you providing for the members? Like what do they get?

Julie: [00:01:04] So part of what the members get is. I have a 12 step system that I have developed with, you know doing this for a number of year. Now you had a number of years now and so they get access to. Videos and online training for these 12 steps and along with that I have meditations and then I also have monthly QA type calls and for the people with PCOS. It’s for they basically can ask any question and we can dig deeper. We can also help people with this condition to be able to connect with each other because it is a really kind of embarrassing a condition for many people even though some people have it. They just feel so alone. So it gives people an opportunity to connect with others going through the same thing. And then for the one for Professionals for dietitians, I call it monthly supervision which is basically helping therapists to be better therapists. And so we can discuss their cases or just stumbling places that are. So yeah, so it’s a online type of library of education and then it has monthly live access and then I have other little nuggets I’ll put in there like handouts and bonus road maps and things like that that all I’ve been like putting in overtime and also a workbook passion so many other things that I’ve been adding but that’s the meat of it.

Ward: [00:02:28] Wow. Yeah, that’s a lot of stuff. So it sounds like you have two very different customers members right?

Julie: [00:02:34] Sort of but you know, they are using the same course. So as you know in a way it’s they’re not so different but but yeah there it’s kind of coming from a different angle. What I basically did though is I first had the the course for people with PCOS. And then all these other practitioners were wanting to take it to so I’m like well, why don’t I just make one where you can get continuing education because we need get 75 units every year a scientist or every five years rather as dieticians. So like one just help you like meet the education needs. And so I basically just duplicated the course. And now people can learn from it to help their clients with too.

Ward: [00:03:12] Yeah, that’s smart. And what do you charge for this?

Julie: [00:03:15] So people can pay three different ways. But if they do the lump like one payment, it’s 697 there or they can do three payments of 287. And then I just added a year or one time a month option words sixty seven dollars a month for a year.

Ward: [00:03:34] Gotcha. So why don’t we transition to how you built up an audience to even you know provide this course for what were some of the tactics you use to build up that audience?

Julie: [00:03:44] What the word tactics is really interesting to me because I don’t think my brain really works that way just because like I’m not a big planner and I am someone that’s kind of like, well, this is what I’m doing right now. And I say that because part of how I got this audience was because I had this random opportunity to be on network television, I’m a 44 year old mother of two like reality TV is not really looking for me and so I stumbled upon this opportunity where there’s a reality TV show being filmed in my city. And I just happened to be the expert that was like so fit this person. And so they’re like, hey, can you be on this reality TV show and I’m like, alright, that’s fine. And you know, I probably won’t ever be on reality TV again, but it was a really great like way to start having a bigger audience than just my regional kind of connections that I had. And from there. I was like, well I have this audience. Let’s do something with it. That’s why I’m like tactics. Well, I kind of like this just kind of fell into my lap and so then I was like I got to be smart about it and what I actually did from there because the person that I was helping she experienced PCOS and so I started actually a podcast that doesn’t specialize in PCOS, but it helps people with a complicated relationship with food and people with PCOS often have a complicated relationship with food. And so this podcast started and then after a couple of years, I just started growing an audience in general and I found my episodes that really focused on PCOS or are Justified named PCOS people who were I don’t know just people who had PCOS or people who are influencers on certain platforms who had PCOS would share it and they’re like, thankfully there’s some resource of someone who’s helping people with PCOS in this unique way and so. Like wow, there’s something to this and I started getting a lot of individual clients from all over the world and there’s only one of me and so I didn’t want to see any more clients because I didn’t want to work more. So that’s when I was like, I need to be smart again and think of another way to do this and not like I want to help people, but I also don’t want to kill myself helping people. So the the course became the next option for me that felt like a smart investment and from there you know, I had been doing it for 10 years. So I really feel like I even though I don’t experience this condition, I understand it as much as a person can without it. So my experience helped me really to be able to know how to build the course and like what people need.

Ward: [00:06:16] Right. Okay. So the Big Break initially was that that TV show appear in appearance Now by being on that show how did that directly translate to people? I mean obviously people see your name, but did you have like your website link there? Did you have like an email list? Was it social media? How did that actually translate to people knowing about you?

Julie: [00:06:36] So it’s funny because I thought that’s actually like the month before it aired. I started collecting emails. So yeah people just started Googling me and calling me too. Connect and you know find a way to work with me because of the appearance. And so yeah, I just started to direct people to my website when they would do that and start collecting emails. And then I also on my website after each time, I guess I was on the show twice after each time I was on I made sure I had a summary of the like points and you know, this is why I said this and this is why I said that and then after and within those blog posts that I was posting after each show, I made sure to mention the this podcast was coming up that I was going to be releasing and just to start giving people that like, you know little seed planted. And and again collecting their email address so I could let them know when it was going to be coming out.

Ward: [00:07:29] Yeah, it’s smart and obviously you have a very specific thing that you’re helping with right so that that that’s something we always talk about is that you know, having a certain certain specific Niche if you will can be very helpful because there’s people that are looking for that and by definition because it’s a niche there aren’t a ton of people serving it. So that’s that’s a smart. I mean, it doesn’t sound like you planned it that way but it worked out so that’s great. So let’s transition to what hasn’t really worked at you that you’ve tried unintentionally or intentionally so far for your business?

Julie: [00:08:00] So what I found a because yeah, I do have a very specific Niche and what didn’t work I kind of need to tell you kind of what the specific Niche is an order to understand why I didn’t work. So, you know, not only is it people with PCOS, but I serve my clients in a way that is not using diets or weight loss to help improve health or just you know. Give permission to be around and so there’s that Niche is very specific of course, but it also takes a lot of connection and relationship building and the traditional kind of way of selling anything is of course, like touching on pain points and scarcity and what I found is because I did some kind of online training to help me to figure out how to launch and my launch was not as successful as I thought it would be. I sold some courses but it was it was enough to like okay, I made some money for this but it wasn’t like oh, wow, I can take a month off and go backpack through Europe. It was nothing like that, you know, so I was like, what can I do differently and what I really gathered actually I did two more launches after that, Is that kind of like the typical sales tactics not only do they feel uncomfortable which I feel like they feel uncomfortable for a lot of people but I feel like they were not a good fit for me and how my strengths and the way I connect with my audience and they were not a good fit for the people I serve and so using the typical kind of points that people use in launches. Yeah, they didn’t work for me. And so when I redirected and found other ways to sell the course In a way that felt consistent with me and my brand and focused on the way that like way my strengths come through. That’s when I saw it really picking up steam.

Ward: [00:09:52] Gotcha. Okay. So why don’t we dive into our deep question that we talked about before we started here. So what would you say is the number one most effective membership strategy that you know of or that you’ve implemented that you think listeners could really benefit from?

Julie: [00:10:10] So the thing that has really helped me is I no longer use any scarcity in my selling of my course, which I don’t know who else you’re talking to in this kind of Arena, but I say like I know most people use that and for me what I found is whenever I talk to my audience, which I focus mostly on Instagram and Instagram stories, and when I am sharing about my course or talking about the work I’m doing with in PCOS. And if I just happened to mention the course, I will say, you know, there’s this, I have two times a year typically will have a coupon off and what I really want people to know Is that like hey, I have it during this month. If this is not the right time financially for you. I’m going to have it again this month and so I bet I have now my course instead of launching I’m just doing Evergreen. And then I have these periods where I have a special. And people always just know when the specials are going to be every once in awhile change it and be like, oh, I want to run an extra special just because I added this new like when I added the the yearly payment or like the monthly payment plan instead of just three or one lump sum I changed that I was like, let’s do a special special bonus kind of coupon or something for that and yet but I still like okay if this is not the right time for you September will be the next time that I have a thirty percent off coupon and maybe that’ll be the right time. And so for me again, it feels more consistent because I don’t want to use that scarcity to harm people who financially or more strapped, you know, I feel like it’s the the research behind that kind of system shows that it hurts people who are lower income marginalized populations more than other people. So I’m like that just feels icky to me. So I don’t want to do that and it is more consistent with just how I am I when I’m working with individuals, I’m very transparent congruent and very compassionate and kind of like, hey body autonomy. To do what you want with your body. I am just here to help you along the way however that looks for you. And so yeah, it just felt has felt better and what I’ve seen it not only is it helped improve the number of sales I have but I don’t feel like I need to knock on wood here when I say this. I’ve only had to give two refunds and they both were kind of life situations refunds you know where someone’s like, oh my gosh. I just bought this course. I’m so excited, but I just lost my job. And so I need to get a refund. And you know, somebody had something else similar and so I have just only two refunds that I’ve had to do since I started this course these two courses. So to me that’s like a really good sign that I’m getting the right people to not only is it like helping my sales but I’m connecting with the right people for me.

Ward: [00:13:01] Yeah. Wow, that’s amazing only two refunds of her. How long is the course been out?

Julie: [00:13:06] Two years the September.

Ward: [00:13:08] Wow here might that might be a world record.

Julie: [00:13:10] And I’m knocking on wood right now cause I’m like, oh geez, I hope I didn’t just takes my self.

Ward: [00:13:17] No, I wouldn’t worry about it. Let me let me let me dive into what you just what you just mentioned is that there’s a lot of good stuff in there. So really not focusing on scarcity and and not not employing it. I mean it’s an interesting take I mean, I’ve definitely heard people talk about using scarcity and it being effective. But I think you make a good point that just because something may work doesn’t mean you should do it especially if it doesn’t feel right. If it doesn’t align with you know, your brand who you are your audience excetera and you know using psychology tactics essentially like a scarcity principle concept against people. Yeah, you can definitely see how that could you don’t want to use the word trick, but it could influence people to do something that maybe is not in their best interest right now like you said, so I think that’s a very honest way of looking at. But so instead what you’ve done it sounds like you said you do a coupon or like twice a year basically like a sale of sorts. So what’s the thinking behind that why even do the coupon? Why not? Why not just lower the price in general the course throughout the year with that maybe lead to more sales, you know what I mean?

Julie: [00:14:18] It may I don’t know and. I haven’t thought about it like that. But I also make sure that when I’m doing the coupon it’s in really important times. So September is PCOS awareness month. And so I feel like it’s my way of like offering this for a smaller investment and there’s lots of different work that’s going on with PCOS during that month. So I’m out networking more. So it just gives people more opportunity and a reason to talk about it. But yeah, that’s a good question. Why not even just lower it to allow for it to be more accessible all the time. Although as I say that I’m totally brainstorming out loud the price point, In order for me to be able to allow to have access monthly like I’ve been doing, the price point on average like having the coupon for those two months and then the rest of the other 10 months having it the typical price it basically has allowed me then to have enough income to be able to continue to do those monthly calls. So I don’t think I would be able to do that if I lowered it and that’s what it comes down to for me.

Ward: [00:15:24] Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, it’s just the reality of the world that you know, some people have more money than other people and some people are willing to pay more than other people for something and sometimes that’s okay. It’s not immoral like if somebody is Rich and doesn’t mind paying full price for something and somebody else only wants to buy that thing when it’s at a discount, that’s okay for for essentially for that for the more wealthy person to subsidize the person who’s less Wealthy by buying your course at full price, right? That’s a that’s a business thing that’s been around forever. So yeah, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I’m just kind of curious if you had thought through that?

Julie: [00:16:02] No I hadn’t thought through it. So I’ve like looked at the price and see how I could like it started out lower. It started up 497. And when I look at the depth of information that I’m putting in there, it just didn’t seem to match. That’s why I did increase it and I appreciate it’s a really big investment. But you know, it’s a lot of the work that people go through in that course is the work I would have done with a client individually for a whole year, you know, and so it’s. It has a lot of meat to it. So yeah, and I think what you’re saying, it feels like true to me, you know, there are people who have access to more ability to pay a higher price. And so that allows me then to be able to offer the lower price some mods. So yeah.

Ward: [00:16:51] Yeah, I think that that actually makes a lot of sense and it’s looking for some people to think about is that. You can still use discounts and coupons in a way that doesn’t feel icky because I think the way you’re doing it it makes it is actually a good way to do it. But you’re being clear that hey this isn’t only going to happen once ever. This is the coupon now and it also be available later in the year. So if you’re if you to save up. Yeah, you know like I think that’s a nice way to do it and it makes a lot of sense to me. Like you said it also can be repurposed for for launches around specific months or around certain events that are going on and it’s interesting idea. So yeah, I kind of in closing here, are there any membership type resources you’d recommend in by resources? I mean, you know blogs websites podcasts courses things like that that you know listeners out there. You think we get some benefit from?

Julie: [00:17:44] So I have really appreciated especially when I was trying to figure out the best way to Market this course and connecting with like the traditional marketing. Sound of just ways of launching a course. We’re not sitting well with me and my audience I stumbled upon Kelly deals work. She’s a feminist marketer. And so she’s someone who I’ve been studying under now and you know, she I think she’s writing a book. So as she’s writing the book she’s posting all the blog posts of like each not necessarily each chapter, but most of the book so it’s kind of a nice to be able to read as she’s writing it and she also does some. Trainings just like help you to be able to understand how marginalized populations often can be manipulated my marketing and how to avoid that and then but yet also like I need to be okay with selling this course. Again, 697 is a pretty big investment. I’ve had and you know, I told you earlier I’m a dietitian and dietitians we are for the most part of a female-dominated profession and as females were often taught. To actually those of us who are socialized as females. We’re going to be not feeling very comfortable with money and selling our products for a higher price. But I feel really confident in that like I’m giving a lot when I sell this this course and people are getting a lot in return and I’m still there for my members every month and that’s something that. Feminist marketing kind of ways of studying that has helped me to assert my power and that way and also not feel like I’m manipulating anyone because I do need to get paid for this. I went to school for a very long time. I finally paid off my loans and I need to have a mortgage to pay, you know, so it’s helped me to be able to like provide for my family and also feel like consistent and congruent and also following just what I believe in.

Ward: [00:19:38] Yeah, I mean again the fact that you’ve only given two refunds in that the couple years this has been out I think is very strong evidence that what you’re selling is absolutely worth it to 99.99% of people have bought it. So yeah congrats there and yeah, so how can people learn more about you and what you offer?

Julie: [00:19:58] So my website is the best place to go if you’re interested in just how I set up even just like how I Market this course and all that you can connect to it there. So my website is https://www.juliedillonrd.com, and when you go through there, you’ll find the PCOS course really easily, but if you want to check that out as you’re listening, it’s https://pcosandfoodpeace.com/.

Ward: [00:20:18] Great. Thanks, Julie.

Julie: [00:20:19] Thank you.