eCommerce Podcast

Our podcast is raw, honest and damn right insightful, as we chat to some of the best minds in eCommerce

Hosted by Richard Hill

Ep 05:
Ryan Carruthers:
The Importance of Building an Community for Online Success

Ep 05: Ryan Carruthers  – The Importance of Building an Community for Online Success 

We first met Ryan when we moved to the Mosaic Digital Hub in Lincoln last November. Richard bonded very quickly with Ryan due to his humour and quick-witted attitude, the bromance of the building. 

It soon became apparent that Ryan was a budding entrepreneur and master in his field, so conversations soon turned into everything business. 

Ryan does top quality content and has formed a real strong community feel with his business and that is why we had to get him on our podcast. 

 

eCom@One Presents 

Ryan Carruthers 

Ryan is the CEO of two companies, Betfair Trading Community and Carruthers, his property development business. He found his passion while studying at University and found a gap in the market which led to the development of his company. 

Ryan shares the success of his online business, his business model. His business model is solely focused on building a strong community and relationships with his consumers. He talks about his journey as a business owner, realising University wasn’t for him, he used his quick wit and passion for data, to achieve success. 

He discusses the power of email marketing and the tips and tricks which transformed his business. 

 

Topics Covered

3:22 – How Betfair evolved from nothing 

11:02 – Scaling his business using marketing channels and tools

16:35 – How his community transformed his business

19:39 – How he added value to his community 

23:36 – His one strategy for his success

25:12 – Soap opera sequence

28:10 – Telling your story through an email marketing sequence 

31:18 – Fitting content with your brand 

34:24 – Tips for reducing his churn rate within the community

37:41 – Creating a collaborative culture with a remote team 

40:23 – Taking the emotion out of his trading strategy 

42:40 – His favourite business book

 

Transcript 

Richard:
Hi, welcome to eCom@One Podcast. Today I've got Ryan Carruthers with me. How are you doing, Ryan?
Ryan:
I'm very well Richard, how are you?
Richard:
I'm very well, thank you. So I met Ryan about three months ago, I think it was middle of November when I moved in the business to the Mosaic, which is the new digital creative hub in the middle of Lincoln, in the UK, and Ryan is also attending there and it became quite apparent that very, very quickly that myself and Ryan had quite a lot in common when it came to marketing, running businesses and scaling businesses, so I thought it'd be fantastic to get round on the podcast.
Ryan:
Thank you for having me. That's a pretty good introduction. I don't know how I'm going to follow that.
Richard:
So Ryan has a couple of businesses. He has a property development business here in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, but he also, he has a Betfair trading business, education business, which is what I'd like to delve into today with you Ryan if that's okay?
Ryan:
Yep.
Richard:
So Betfair, it's not something I am that familiar with. So if you could maybe kick off and explain what Betfair is, that'd be great.
Ryan:
Yeah. So not many people are that au fair with Betfair. So it's a betting exchange. So your traditional bookmaker, you go and you place a back bet. And then whether you win or you lose, that's what happens. You either win your money or you lose your money, but with Betfair, it matches people up that wants to bet against each other. So you can place a back bet saying something is going to win and a lay bet that something isn't going to win, and then Betfair matches those up. But because it's an exchange, you can basically buy and sell your bets on there, so you can actually trade on it. And then yeah, many, oh gosh, many years ago now I spotted that you could do that and then started trading on it. And then that's where all of this started.
Richard:
So if there was a spot so for example, we've got a fairly big fight, one very big fight coming up on the 22nd of February, I think it is. Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
Ryan:
Yes.
Richard:
So if I want to bet on Betfair, what scenarios could you bet on them on the Betfair side of things.
Ryan:
You can bet on absolutely anything. So you can bet on knockouts, you can bet on the round of the knockout, you could bet on who's going to win the fight eventually, but you could even then take a slightly different view on that and say, for example, you think Deontay Wilder is going to come out strong. And then if his odds look good, you could back him and then when he comes out strong, you could lay him and then guarantee a profit over the win or the loss.
Richard:
You set up a bet before the event to say, "Well, what's going to happen initially" And then throughout the event for that first round, for example, you can then place another bet on the outcome of the next 30 seconds, minutes. But I know that people on the platform, they're betting against you. Explain that to me. I don't.
Ryan:
Yeah, so that's just traditional bookmaking. So when you place a back bet with a bookmaker, they lay that bet off, they match that bet. So they pay you the liability should you win. So what that happens with Betfair is you can actually be a bookmaker. So you can lay people off-
Richard:
Match off buyers with sellers?
Ryan:
Yes, that's exactly what that is-
Richard:
Is matching buyers and sellers.
Ryan:
Yeah.
Richard:
So did you get into this firstly to gamble, basically or was it more of an education? It became an education business.
Ryan:
So it evolved. It's really strange that when I was 18, I was at Lincoln University studying business and I absolutely hated being at university, hated it with a passion. But on a Monday I had a huge gap. And I used to go to the bookmakers because a friend of mine liked the roulette machines. And I was like, "That is stupid. The roulette is for losers."-
Richard:
An actual roulette machine in the bookmakers or a fruit machine.
Ryan:
No, it was a fruit machine one and he was daft. He just loved it. But I really liked the horses and I used to back horses, just messing around. And I couldn't pick one to win to save my life and I just threw my bet slip and said If only I could pick a horse to lose. And then this old man said that's what Betfair is-
Richard:
And that's when you're 18?
Ryan:
Yeah. And then I went home, deposited my student loan into my Betfair account. Yep-
Richard:
So the parents were-
Ryan:
No. They had no idea. They had no idea at all. And then yeah, over then I had a car accident and left university and decided that while I was deciding what to do, I was going to lay horses pretty much professionally straight away. I'm very data driven, I'm very analytical. So I was very selective on what I did. And then I managed to turn that student loan into 22,000 Pounds over the course of a few months, and that became my trading bank. I don't know how. I just saw the numbers moving and it just made sense to me while they were moving. And then the more and more I spent researching and educating myself, then I was like, "I understand why they move in." And then I started effectively trading on the exchange.
Richard:
Was that a group of specific sports or have been a mixture or.
Ryan:
So I started on horses, football, and then I moved into tennis. And now my two sports are predominately just football and tennis.
Richard:
There's a lot of tennis on them to bet.
Ryan:
Yes. So tennis runs for 11 months of the year. The season's quite hectic. And it's one of the big sports for Betfair so there's a lot of money matched on the markets.
Richard:
Interesting. So your business now then, so going back, so this is about 12 years ago, is it? Something like that-
Ryan:
Yeah-
Richard:
Yeah. 12 years. Wow. That's quite some time, isn't it?
Ryan:
Yeah.
Richard:
So you started off and you were like, "Oh, if only we could do this, oh, we can do this then." And then, a year down the line, you've made 22K or a few months down the line, you made 22K, but then you must have, obviously at some point transitioned from doing it yourself and doing very well at it, I think in this university game, is pretty much what you're saying, to then transition into an education business where you've decided then, "I'm going to teach people." So how did that come about? Because that's quite a jump, isn't it? It was a big thing, earning a bit of money, quite a bit of money when you're 18 and 12 years ago, it's a lot of money. But then being able to be in a position to then teach at a great platform to teach... Tell me how did that come about?
Ryan:
Well, so that came about by people just coming up to me or emailing me and saying, "I really want to do what you're doing. Can you show me what you're doing?" And at the time, there wasn't really anyone doing that. But there was a couple of Betfair superstars back in the day that found it quite easy. And I just wanted to do it. I was trading. I was on my own a lot of the time and it was nice to talk to other people. So I created this business called BetGreen, which was a membership business.
Ryan:
So you paid me every single month to be on an email list. And I mean, if I look back now, I can see the website that I did. I did a Wix website. It was horrendous. Honestly, it was awful. It cost me 10 Pound a month. And it had a PayPal button on it. My skin is crawling now, because of how far we've come since those dark days. And if you paid on PayPal, I added you manually to my email list that I manually emailed out every morning. So in the morning, I would go through all of the potential trades that I was going to do for that day and then I would write up my notes on them and email them out to people. And that went on for-
Richard:
What would they pay? Or can I ask you, so it's a monthly reoccurring-
Ryan:
Monthly recurring-
Richard:
For a subscribe button on PayPal, which you've copied and pasted and somehow it's worked, sort of thing-
Ryan:
Yeah. Couldn't believe it.
Richard:
Right at the beginning. And then there's no connection between that and an email systems. And then you're just literally copying that email from back end to PayPal or from your inbox. Oh, we've got an order for the subscription. We'll copy paste into my email. Did you have a proper email autoresponder? Or was it Outlook-
Ryan:
No. It was the worst as well. It was mail.com, which is the worst, because everybody thinks that your email should have been gmail.com. And it was no, it was @mail.com. So loads of emails didn't work. And yeah, I was charging them 14.99 a month. I had quite a few members at the time. And, yeah, we didn't even have an affiliate setup. So I had to rely on when people sent me a person, I'd have to connect with that person to say, "Did this person actually send you." Yeah, and then I'd have to pay them out-
Richard:
I think it's just a brilliant example of just getting started, just moving through an idea and seeing it through because you could have spent six months faffing around, in effect trying to connect the dots with the PayPal and the autoresponder or just get something out there.
Ryan:
My auto responder was PHP list. Have you ever seen PHP list?
Richard:
No.
Ryan:
It's just horrendous. It's just the worst emailer that you could possibly think of. But, yeah, somebody at the time, it was one of the only ones that integrated with PayPal, in terms of automatically adding them to a list, but it was shocking.
Richard:
So that will be what? Eight years ago, somewhere there then, give or take?
Ryan:
Probably slightly longer. Yeah, eight, nine years ago.
Richard:
Eight, nine years ago. Yeah. So you're still obviously going very strong. One of the main players in the UK for the BTC or Betfair trading training. So that's the start point, your personal interest in it. Personal interest grew into almost an obsession because you're making money and some friends that go, "How did you do that?" I think that's quite an interesting one because a lot of businesses, my business very much started like that way, where you are doing SEO and paid ads and whatnot, and then, "How can we do in that? Can you help us?" "Well, not really, not really." And you get asked two, three, four, five times, I start to think, "Actually, what the hell."
Richard:
Spin the dice and help one, two, three, four, five, hang on. How can we now scale? So you've got that initial PayPal button on there. You've got your few initial subscribers, but then what would you say is the next step that you did that made it more sustainable, helped you scale it because obviously you copy pasted your PayPal, you then integrate, so you then did a copy paste from PayPal, email address, sorry, to a manual email address, but what are some of the phases you've gone through over the years to go from maybe 10 members to 50 members to your thousands of members you've got now.
Ryan:
Yeah. So strangely instead of scaling the one website, the BetGreen website, I thought, "I want another one."
Richard:
What was the green? Is it green?
Ryan:
Yeah. So when you do your trade and you've traded in and you've traded out, then you've tried to create a green screen, so I called it BetGreen-
Richard:
And that's the terminology they would be familiar with.
Ryan:
Yeah. But then instead of scaling that I did scale that on the side but was like, "I want another website, which is everything that BetGreen isn't and that's when I bought the URL, betfairtradingcommunity.com, .uk, .org, .everything.
Richard:
So you bought, there was nothing on it, it was just an idea-
Ryan:
Nothing on it.
Richard:
A $10 ad at the time.
Ryan:
Didn't even know about SEO at this point. And then I was just breaking into that. And then people said I need a good strong URL. And I thought, "Ah." Everybody is Betfair trading, so if I get Betfair trading something, this will work out quite well. And it turns out that that worked out really well. So then I wanted to create more of a traders haven and a community hub, because there was the Betfair forum, which was a horrible, horrible place to be. It was just horrible. And I thought, "I want to create this ethos within my new website where any question that anyone wants to ask isn't a daft question. So that you can come in and nobody will say anything to you."
Richard:
The community being the key driver. A place where they can come-
Ryan:
And now, just even saying it now looking back, that ethos and that culture in the business runs all the way through from, the guys that work for us to the members. So that was one of the key things. And it started out as a Facebook group. So, people paid to be in the Facebook group. And then I was in that every day.
Richard:
Was that quite a challenge to please in terms of when they've paid to be in a group connecting the payments to a Facebook group as well. Is that more of a manual process?
Ryan:
Yeah, that was manual. So loads of things that were doing was still manual.
Richard:
But still thinking right? Going from the odd customer to how we're going to scale, scale, scale.
Ryan:
Yeah.
Richard:
Community. People have got a lot of questions, a lot of queries, but they're probably all very similar questions.
Ryan:
Yeah. So from there, I started to document all of their questions and decided to create content on it. And then this is where I started to learn a bit more about content marketing, about SEO, about everything. About YouTube about, everything that you need to do, funnels, the law. But at the time, I was doing absolutely everything. And I also wanted, because I was getting a lot of information from different websites to create these trading lists for the day. I've got to create something that brings this into one. So we created some software that basically crunched all the numbers for you. So now these people are paying access to a Facebook group and a stats software. So they're getting a stats platform-
Richard:
That's what they're getting now.
Ryan:
Yeah-
Richard:
This was a few years.
Ryan:
This is a few years ago. So then it started to get too much for me to handle. And I listened to a really good podcast which said, you need to write down everything you do daily, everything you do weekly, everything you do monthly, put it on a Trello board. So I had a daily list. I had a weekly list. I had a monthly list and I started to write down all of these things. And then I started to look at how we can automate those or get a VA or somebody to handle some of that-
Richard:
if you're doing it every day, then you shouldn't be doing it, somebody should be doing it for you-
Ryan:
Exactly-
Richard:
And then some of the monthly stuff, harder to do maybe but as you get the tasks that are less frequent, maybe they're harder.
Ryan:
Yeah, because otherwise I couldn't scale. And I was at this time, I was going more and more down this hole of marketing that I just absolutely loved it. I loved writing copy. I loved writing emails, I loved everything about it. I loved creating content, which is strange because that's the real trench of-
Richard:
Yeah, you're going to do them miles under the hours.
Ryan:
But I just loved it. And I found it so easy. And I think because we created this ethos in the group that no question was a daft question, the members were just giving me so much information and so many ideas for content that it never stopped. And then we just kept building and building and building upon that, and I've always been very member focused. So then I moved the members on to ActiveCampaign. So then we started to have these email sequences and I refined them all the time, even up to now but one of the things that somebody told me was, "You've got to know your customer better than anybody. The better you know your customer, you can solve their problems better." So I used to randomly ring five people in my email list every single month, wherever there was a member or not, and just say, "Hello, it's Ryan from Betfair Trading Community."
Richard:
They're like, "What?"
Ryan:
They were like, "Oh my God." And I'm like, "Can I just have five minutes of your time? I'm going to help you."
Richard:
Because, they're probably like, yeah, I'd be quiet. I think. You've got a lot of presence out there. And you've got literally hundreds of YouTube, hundreds of videos out there.
Ryan:
Yeah, I've got hundreds of videos, hundreds of blog lists.
Richard:
The face of Betfair trading training. And then you're ringing them out of the blue, "Hi, it's Ryan from."
Ryan:
Yeah, I had some very, very fun conversations. But that gave me so much data to be able to make sure that I drive the business forward all the time. And then it just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And we just kept adding to add people and our software. And then we had this amazing community of people that actually started to help out. And then I had to have VAs and it was just yeah, it's just-
Richard:
So then to start off where you're doing everything and then you're looking at the daily, weekly, monthly time and that up and then the community really takes hold and the community start or basically the community are paying a monthly fee to be in the community but they are then all also delivering the content for other members-
Ryan:
And then that carried on into videos and courses.
Richard:
You see that? And I'm in a lot of reasonable level communities and mastermind groups, I think, mastermind is the most high end courses, I guess. It's quite expensive courses over the years and they've got the face of that business i.e you in that instance but quite often the beginning of a course or a beginning of a Facebook group launch, they're very active, and then half a dozen people come out of the smoke that they obviously sort of real, what's the word? Real advocates of the course and the way that things are done and the way that you run your business. And then they answer the questions for you-
Ryan:
Yes. We have that now. I've got a group of super users as my members. And they just answer loads and loads of questions. But then, one of the things that I'm really hot on is that because they are of that level, they get things first. So when we're bringing out new software, we go to them and say, "Do you want to touch this up first? You're the beta group. What do you think to this? What do you think to that? How do you think this would work?" I've had some absolutely amazing members come through.
Richard:
So, huge takeaway there. I think with the community aspect, I think that gives you a lot of longevity. I mean, we could probably talk about the community aspect, and the benefit, and definitely the commercial benefit, as well as obviously the retention and things like that. But I think we'll just move on, and we'll come back to that in a minute. But, so are we still on a Facebook group now then?
Ryan:
No.
Richard:
No. That's the end.
Ryan:
So now we are a fully dedicated forum with everything that they need.
Richard:
So what would you say, I think there is this question out there, or this discussion of community or Facebook community, community, everyone's on Facebook. Everyone's going to go on Facebook. Everyone's going to interact or I've got to come off Facebook and I've got to go and login to this other community. Why would I do that? Why do people do that with your.
Ryan:
Well, I think if you take the friction out of it, so you make it easy for them to do so. So when I said to my team, "We're going to take this group off Facebook." They were a little bit like, "Oh my God." So then I went out to as many people as I could find who've done it and said, "How did you do it? What went right? What went wrong?" And I usually do that before I do most things. And I'm very fortunate that I've got some very good people around me. And now you as well who I can pull on their ear and say, "What do you think to this." And we just made sure that we create so much value in the community.
Ryan:
And we did little things like, we filmed a video of adding the BTC app to your phone. And we said, "Put it next to Facebook." So that you're already in the mode of doing it. And I think when we did it, we lost probably 10 members. But one of the things that was really driving me to do it was James Schramko's, Own The Racecourse. So, we'd had a few issues with Facebook and groups. And some of our posts were being deleted and lots of other different bits and bobs. And then I came across in my quest of trying to be a best marketer ever, I came across this amazing guy called James Schramko-
Richard:
Yeah, I agree.
Ryan:
We've geeked out about Schramko a lot, haven't we?
Richard:
Yeah.
Ryan:
And he follows me on Instagram.
Richard:
Does he?
Ryan:
Oh, yeah. And I was just like, "This is what we need to do. We can get more data, we can better serve our members, which is our goal. And why are we not doing it?"
Richard:
Yeah. See, as he calls it, own the racecourse rather than-
Ryan:
Yeah.
Richard:
The premise being Facebook can change the goals by that.
Ryan:
And they did.
Richard:
Something's gone, or they decide that actually groups are no longer viable, unless you pay 15 quid a member or, whereas you own your own asset, i.e, your website that's got a community function within it. Nobody can take that away from you which gives you that longevity, gives you something that is, I think, saleable as opposed to a Facebook group. Yeah, maybe but it's tough. Who's going to give you a strong multiple of X if you're selling a Facebook group as a big asset? It's quite challenging, isn't it? So, yeah.
Ryan:
Yeah. And there was, things were getting lost on the Facebook group as well. People were commenting on friends as you would and it was just messy. We were losing things and it was just not what I wanted.
Richard:
So I guess on a bit of an offshoot techie question, techie stroke, the people that are listening in, what have you built the community on. Is it some special WordPress-
Ryan:
No. We're built on Drupal.
Richard:
Drupal. Okay.
Ryan:
So one of my members had, when I was looking for coders to create some PHP programs to do this number crunching and create this stat software, he'd already built it because he was a trader or-
Richard:
Already existed.
Ryan:
So then he said, "I know that's what you're looking for. Do you want to jump in and we'll do a deal and we'll put that on." And then he started to build out these elements of the site. He was a Drupal coder. So we're still built on Drupal, although we will probably in the next six to eight weeks move over to WordPress.
Richard:
You will. Yeah.
Ryan:
We will, yeah.
Richard:
And why's that? Why would you say is that?
Ryan:
There's just so much I want to do and I want to move at a faster speed and redesigning home pages, we can use drag and drop builders easier on WordPress.
Richard:
Because I know you've got some of the technology we use on our site, on your site. So it's probably a bit more challenging until our-
Ryan:
ConvertBox, Five Card. We've also got Learn Dutch as well.
Richard:
You know I've got a certain code as in-
Ryan:
Yeah, I have to create it as a task on Asana. It has to go out to the developers and then they have to go through it and.
Richard:
Okay, so we've painted quite a good picture there. Obviously was the started as a basically, a bedroom idea, which is where I think all the best ideas do start. And then you've various iterations. But I know now we usually lose about 45 minutes to a half an hour marketing chats about various tools and various strategies and platforms and things like that. And I know a lot of marketers now put you up, I think you've definitely made the top 10.
Ryan:
Oh, you charmer.
Richard:
So, very strong in terms of the way your brain works in that some of the ideas we've thrashed out I think have been amazing, but I know you're working on a lot of different things to market the business. But what would you say if you was going to tell talk about or you have to focus on one strategy moving forward and one strategy you would recommend to market your business or people that have got businesses similar to you which ultimately is selling a training product? What would that one strategy be? And so tell us a bit about what you do with in that strategy.
Ryan:
Email.
Richard:
Email.
Ryan:
Collect emails, I think, email is the best strategy there is. And, you can do all these Facebook chat bots and all that stuff. But for me, email we get all of sales from, majority of our sales come from email. We do the whole lead magnet, we give something away and then you get an email sequence in which you can move through at your own speed. And it's the Andre Chaperon model, where it's like a soap opera sequence, we actually help you, we give you so much value in those emails. And if you reply to those, I personally read them. So I will personally be replying to you-
Richard:
It's you, isn't it?
Ryan:
Yeah, I mean, that's a big thing. That's a big thing in my community. Anyway, I'm active in that community so you will see me in it and answering questions. So for me, if I'm going to do that in the community, and I take that step back and I'm like, "Okay, so if you're interacting with me as a potential customer, I want you to be able to know that I'm going to be the same the whole way through the transaction." So I write all the emails, I split test all the emails, I come up with new ideas for all the emails, I come up with the lead magnets.
Richard:
So when you said, you mentioned earlier soap opera sequence for those that are listening in, do you want to explain more on what those is.
Ryan:
Yeah, so all the soap opera sequence is, you're basically starting out a little bit of a story and then you're building upon that story through every single email. And then through that, there's different themes. So exactly like you'd watch a soap. There's multiple stories going on in episode one-
Richard:
It's based on where they've come in on your website, or what they've raised their hand on the website, and you've maybe said, maybe the front end is three choices. Based on choice three, you said you're down a sequence that is very specific to tennis, gambling as an example.
Ryan:
Yeah.
Richard:
And then you're then to tell a story of where to start. I was frustrated when I first started. I wasn't quite sure where to go. So what I did, I took it slowly and did, no risk, no backed. I don't know who knows this, something like that?
Ryan:
It's exactly like that. Well actually, we've gone one step deeper than that now, so I've just bought a scorecard as a lead magnet. So this is 12 years of experience of trading broken down into three main categories. You answer that, it highlights where you're weakest-
Richard:
Smart.
Ryan:
And then we just give you our context-
Richard:
So based on their score walls, we'll send them down a specific say proper stroke sequence based on if they're mega experienced, you know the level they'll then go-
Ryan:
So you'll get slightly different one. And then if you're not so experienced, you'll get a different sequence and then if you're brand spanking new, we'll give you, "Okay, this is where you need to go, this is what to." And then we'll go from there.
Richard:
Okay. So what softwares do you use for your email then?
Ryan:
So I have to use GetResponse because I am in the betting niche, so I'm not allowed to use ActiveCampaign.
Richard:
If you could use it, you'd use Active?
Ryan:
I'd use ActiveCampaign every day of the week.
Richard:
Yeah, there's got hundred million today. I think it was a hundred million last week in investment. So I think they're definitely for those investors that are listening in when they float?
Ryan:
Oh, yes.
Richard:
Well keep an eye on that one. So GetResponse. And you've used that for a while because you can't use AC.
Ryan:
Yeah.
Richard:
You prefer AC when you could use it.
Ryan:
Yeah, ActiveCampaign is just brilliant to set up these sequences. You could tag people when they've come in. You could take them on specific actions, it was easier for goals as well. So when you're creating your automations, you could have a goal put in there that automatically stop them. It was just for the marketing geek, it was just Christmas.
Richard:
I think email marketing, I'm very aware of the benefit but what I find is quite challenging is for those that which is me, definitely, is where to start? Well, where to start but what to write is the challenge. I know my pain points of my customers and I know I've got to create six emails or whatever it may be, 60 emails or whatever. But what tips you'd give us to get that creative juices flowing. Any techniques of what we can do to help speed that process up. And I know a lot of people I speak to is like, "Well, I just write six emails." "God. Oh, you're joking, I can't do that."
Ryan:
Well, I think that's the thing. A lot of people get caught up in starting, and not knowing what to do, but you're better off just starting, and then just getting it wrong and see what works, see what doesn't work. So, I mean, I used to have all these crazy email sequences where I just like, I give you your pain points, and then blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and you just get it all. And then I just tested it. So I'd say for absolutely anybody, if you're going to write six emails, I use TextEdit and this is an Andre Chaperon trick. You have the six windows, email one, two, three, four, five, six, all on the one screen and then you can see it.
Richard:
That's smart, isn't it?
Ryan:
It's really smart-
Richard:
Very simple, but then you can visualize the whole thing and actually tell the story through six emails rather than write one. Open into the word doc or whatever, you keep them separate, you're connecting the six pieces together.
Ryan:
Exactly. And if you know your pain points of your customer as well, you'll most likely know your customer journey. So all you're trying to do with your emails is trying to get the targeted people to raise their hand up the right point. So just put that thought for your email. So for me, my first email is that you can't actually buy BTC. It's closed. So the subject line is, you plus BTC equals the dynamic duo. That gets a ridiculous open rates.
Richard:
You can't buy anything off your website, you can only subscribe to email. So that tells you a story there, the email. The only way you can buy is through clicking a link in an email, no doubt that's after they've had four or five emails-
Ryan:
Oh, yeah.
Richard:
And they've had the-
Ryan:
In their first email, it's this, were completely different to everybody else. That's how I started. So you've probably got an email from a competitor who's trying to sell you a product or a course. I'm not like that. I want to know what your problem is when it comes to trading. And for me that serves two outcomes. It gets them interacting with me so they're telling me their problem. So then I can survey all of those and make the next email better-
Richard:
What do use to surveying. Any stuff?
Ryan:
Google Forms.
Richard:
Google Forms.
Ryan:
Just simply Google Forms. It's really straightforward. It's really easy. And you can get all their responses in a nice Excel format, and you just go through them. And then also it gets them chatting to me. And if they reply to me in that email, then I reply back to them. Nine out of 10 times, I'm giving them a link to a video that I've already created, because we've gone through this process for so many years that I've seen all of these and I know when they're talking to me where they're going with the issue.
Richard:
So I think the thing is you seem who you are, a real creator. I see you doing videos most days. I see you recording your own podcast. I think you said before we came on this podcast you've done about 180 podcasts, which is insane. I'm just going to say that out loud again. 180 podcasts. Oh my God. That's crazy. So, you're a natural communicating buff. You're very chatty, very confident, and very good at creating content, copy, video. But a lot of people are, I think so you would suggest opening the six boxes, creating a list of the pain points, what else? Sort of try and help them through that initial.
Ryan:
I would say though, if that's not your personality, that doesn't matter, you don't have to be like me and be really outgoing. If your personality is more reserved, then put that into your emails as well. Because if you're selling a product that someone's buying from you, and they get a me, really outgoing on these emails, and then they sign up to your product, and then you're very dry, and very different, that's not going to fit with your brand-
Richard:
It's not going to last is it?
Ryan:
And so, the thing that I think is, that people are fundamentally motivated by their own self interest. They want to move towards pleasure or they want to move towards pain, they want to increase their status. So think about that when you're writing these emails. Think about what you what people need to believe in order to buy from you, and can you service that need with your product? Does it actually solve that? And if it does, then take them on a story-
Richard:
Going back to direct response, copywriting.
Ryan:
Yes. The old stuff's the best. Yeah.
Richard:
Yeah, the health, the wealth.
Ryan:
Yeah, take them through the story, call them out, give them a question that they can say yes to. Tell them what you do and then take them on a story.
Richard:
I think a lot of people they'll be listening in will have e-commerce stores. And I think, quite often, the clients that we work with, I find that email is a missing piece. Most platforms now they'll do the, where they've gone to buy something that maybe, they've put their email on the first step and then they'll be not checked out and then the system will take over and send them reminders. And that's quite often all you see if you're lucky in a lot of e-commerce stores where obviously your model is slightly different to traditional e-commerce store but still, email for you drives 100% of your revenue pretty much. And then a few email direct messages are but are still email. But I think e-commerce stores as a whole really miss a trick with email. There's so much you can do in terms of that lifetime value as well. Obviously you get that initial value of a trade, sorry, as a member, but then obviously, within your community, I believe you have then higher value, you have that staircase of products, where people can buy different levels of access to you and your team.
Richard:
And obviously, that can be sold through email and same with an e-commerce store and somebody buys that initial product, having something in place where the system is automatically upsell, cross sell, newsletter types. Consistency is in place and then we see that missing a lot. All right, so email, big fan of email now, obviously so they're in the community. They've bought into the community via email, but then maybe, a month in, two months, three months in, four months in and like all membership type businesses, there's this word of retention or churn which is the opposite end should I say which is key, absolutely the key for your type of business, any type of SaaS business, all the software's that we all buy. So churn retention, churn, strip retention. What are some of the things you're doing on the BTC Community to reduce churn?
Ryan:
Yeah, so first of all, my churn is 7%. I use email to keep people engaged as well. So I have pillars of content as well. So every single month, we have a members Q&A. So they send in their questions anonymously. I record a video going deep in details-
Richard:
It's you on videos.
Ryan:
It's me on video. A list of questions that these members have done, put it private in the community. So we have that element. Then we also have the forum. So we are very, very much active in that forum. We do things like Meet the Member Series.
Ryan:
I'm personally into all the team. So you can reach out ask us a question, we'll answer it on an open forum. We also have a private coaching section of the forum where you get one on one coaching, you get access to me and the team. So you can ask as many questions as you want-
Richard:
That's a separate?
Ryan:
That is a separate-
Richard:
Different level.
Ryan:
That's a different level. But we're active in the community, we have these Meet the Member Series. So we will focus on one member every single month. We will tell you a little bit more detail about that member, not just in a trading capacity as well. We'll have lots of different ones. We have different threads as well. So we have a fitness thread, an off topic thread. We have a membership manager who knows most of the members pretty much personally as well. So they're looking out for things and making notes on people so that they can connect over people to keep them accountable and build this community. And alongside that we have an email sequence so we check in with you at the points where we think you would drop off previously-
Richard:
Based on the data-
Ryan:
Based on the data, so what you're stuck with. But then because we have this, the software element as well that people stay for that because we're unique, and we let you save your filters. So other companies, you have to put the numbers in every single day.
Richard:
So you've got a pain of disconnection, because you get used to using a particular software set that speeds up the process, you can go back, look at your data. If you obviously stop paying the subscription, you lose that. And then it sounds like it comes back to all those touch points and that personal, it goes back to that community word again, doesn't it? That sort of a brand-
Ryan:
Yeah, it's the ethos of the business.
Richard:
I think it comes back to the also, you know what you're doing. I think in the BTC Community, just away from the marketing community, I think people really obviously want to know that where they're investing or paying a monthly fee, whatever it is that you give a damn about them. And you're obviously very knowledgeable in that area. So, okay. Right. We've got a couple more questions there. So I know obviously, like I said at the beginning, we've not known each other that long, probably about three months.
Richard:
And we've had a lot of chats about lots of stuff. But one thing that strikes me most days when I walk past where you were, it's just you sat there, but I know you have a team. And I'm really intrigued to find out a bit more about how you manage your business in terms of... I know you've got quite a few remote employees, you use different softwares, and you've got various systems in place to keep everybody accountable. And you've grown a very substantial business. What are some other things you would be willing to tell us about that?
Ryan:
So it all started with the book Traction, Gino Whitman, read that book changed my life and changed BTC's life as well. And read a couple of people all over the place and we never really had meetings or anything like that. So now, first and foremost, we have a weekly level 10 meeting. So that's me and the two senior management. And we go through the scorecard of the business. So we've broken the business down into metrics, which are weekly metrics that track and then everybody has their own role and they take part in that. And then if they have people underneath them, they have to report to them and then they mention that in the meeting-
Richard:
So in your meeting is for you and your management team-
Ryan:
Yes.
Richard:
Not other guys under the management team.
Ryan:
Yeah, so just me and the management team. We go through the scorecard, then we go through the rocks for that quarter then we go through the to dos that have been done or-
Richard:
What are some key strategic three month long-
Ryan:
The three month things-
Richard:
Three month things.
Ryan:
Yeah.
Richard:
And then under that you've got the things that made that up. So maybe they're the five or six things.
Ryan:
Exactly that and that process is managed in Asana. So all the staff are in Asana. And then we have a very keen eye on focus and community, not just with the members, but with the staff as well, because I think they're the biggest assets of the business. So I want this culture in BTC. That yes, we will expect a lot from you, but you are going to get a hell of a lot from me, in terms of, we buy them Amazon books, it's something that I got from you. We put them on courses in their chosen topic. We have this Google Sheet that they fill in everyday as well. And then we have a Zapier alert to me, directly to me-
Richard:
So if something goes in the sheet.
Ryan:
If something goes in the sheet, I can see it and I check it and if they feel like they're working over 100%, then I get on the phone to them. I get on the phone to them and say, "What tasks are you doing that pushing you over?" I'll get someone else in to do that. I never want anybody to feel like they're running on empty. I want everybody to know that, yes, I am going to expect a lot but the culture here is that I want you to be the best coder, the best membership manager, the best VA, the best membership manager, whatever it may be, I want you to be the best in your role. So I'm really going to look after you to do that. So we manage a lot of stuff just simply through Google for Business.
Richard:
Are you Zoom, Skype-
Ryan:
I'm Zoom, Asana and Google for pretty much everything.
Richard:
Yeah. Yeah, very slick. Very slick indeed. I like that a lot. Okay. So you talk a lot about trading with your head, not your heart. What do you mean by that?
Ryan:
So, as human beings, we're not predisposed to lose money, or to actually do this trading thing. Are we? I could relive my life 100 times, I'd probably never be a trader again. So you can't be emotional about it. You've got to think about, rather sweet questions I think about before I do any trade. What's the upside? What's the downside and can I handle the downside? And then knowing that, I create a trading plan for my trade. I know when I'm getting in, I know when I'm getting out. So I'm using my head. If I used my heart, that's one of the reasons I'm a massive Liverpool fan. I never, ever, ever trade Liverpool because I would see things that weren't there. Liverpool are definitely going to score, aren't they? And I would kick myself, but they're going to because my heart tells me they are.
Richard:
Because you love them.
Ryan:
Because I love them, exactly. So I have to use my head and I have to be totally logical and take emotion out of it.
Richard:
It takes some doing that sometimes, isn't it? Is that something you've always had or you've had to develop that over time?
Ryan:
I've always been quite laid back. And I've always been quite I don't really react straight away-
Richard:
Because I've known you as I do. And obviously I know that other things you're involved with, you're a big numbers man. So I guess, like you said at the beginning, assessing the downside and understanding what's the worst that can happen. If you don't really think right, well, the reality is, it's not that bad. But the upside is pretty good. So, okay. And with your communication skill, community aspect, push, push, push. Yeah. Okay. Interesting. So we're going to wrap this up. We're nearly there.
Ryan:
I don't know if I want it to end.
Richard:
Podcast at number 181 for Ryan. So I think there's been a lot of good stuff there. I think it's interesting to hear your story from really starting out. It's something I'm really intrigued about. Something I'm really trying to get across on this podcast. I think a lot of people, you're just afraid to start, and that's normally when they're not all that worried or scared, or do you know what? Just do the damn thing and what's the worst that's going to happen? I think it's just amazing what you've achieved over, obviously in a very short period, but now you've had it, you've obviously had the BTC Community for quite some time now. And it's doing phenomenally well. So one thing I do like to ask on the podcast is, what's one book you would recommend?
Ryan:
Gino Wickman, Traction.
Richard:
Traction.
Ryan:
Yeah.
Richard:
Okay.
Ryan:
That book is essentially the best business book that I've ever had the pleasure of reading. I mean, yeah-
Richard:
And that's where you've implemented... Where you talked about that with your remote team.
Ryan:
Yes.
Richard:
You did some rocks in the business.
Ryan:
It's just an incredible book. Most people will read The E Myth. The E Myth gets you started and gives you an idea. This is like the play book-
Richard:
Right. Do this, do this monthly, weekly. Yeah. I have to admit, I have it on the shelf at home and I haven't read it.
Ryan:
Oh, I don't know if we could be friends anymore.
Richard:
I know. I know. It's got the red, orangey, black-
Ryan:
But you have read The Road Less Stupid, which probably would have been my other book of choice if I had not picked Traction. You have read that one, haven't you?
Richard:
Should we move on?
Ryan:
Oh, no. This bookshelf is just for show.
Richard:
There's a couple. I've got a bit of catching up to do to say the least. Yeah. Okay. So, for those that are listening in, they want to find out more about the BTC Community and Ryan Carruthers. What's the best way to get hold of you and find out more about what you do?
Ryan:
Yeah, so I'm quite active on LinkedIn. So if they want me on LinkedIn, it's just Ryan Carruthers and then you will see a picture of a young, ginger man, and that's me and if you want to check BTC out, it is www.betfairtradingcommunity.com and yeah, if you want to send an email it's info@betfairtradingcommunity.com, just put FAO Ryan and then it'll get to me.
Richard:
Fantastic. Well thank you very much Ryan. It's been a pleasure.
Ryan:
Thank you for having me.
Richard:
Thank you

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