Ponder these song lyrics for a moment:
If language is sound, and sound is music, well then that sounds like music is language.
But if music is sound, and sound is language, then that means language is music.
That logic brings your attention to the similarities between learning music and learning language, right?
Because when you think about it, most people find learning music much less intimidating than learning a new language. In fact, why are we not all learning foreign languages through songs rather than sounds?!
But if such logic is sound, is it sound enough to grow a profitable online language business on?
Actually, it definitely takes more than clever lyrics to make an info-product venture succeed.
You also need a powerful content creation toolkit to build, ship and promote your virtual language courses without having to spend a small fortune to get it all started.
Read on to see how one linguistic solopreneur bootstraped a mid-six-figure business by using Thrive Architect in just a few short years.
Meet Your New Cavaquinho Rapping Language Sensei
First off, let me introduce you to the solopreneur behind this case study. The best way to do that is by sharing the clever, ukulele accompanied rap stanza I mentioned at the very start of this article:
That musically talented polyglot in the video is Idahosa Ness, founder of the online pronunciation and phonetics language school known as The Mimic Method.
He created it to help himself learn multiple languages — and
sound like a native speaker in all of them! He’s now fluent in six languages and counting.
Idahosa eventually turned his unique approach to learning languages into an educational business and now provides courses in 10 different languages including:
Where most language acquisition approaches begin by teaching reading and writing, The Mimic Method does the exact opposite.
Idahosa’s students master hearing and pronunciation skills first so their ears, mouth and brain can pick up the sounds, rhythms and connections of the language they're trying to learn.
The Mimic Method helps students pick up new words and expressions “by ear” so they can then listen to native speakers and then accurately mimic the sounds they hear.
His online training programs have been so successful that over 5,000 students in the past 3 years have bought and studied them — many of whom returned to purchase a course in a different language later on!
Setting Up The Mimic Method Language School
Like many online solopreneurs, Idahosa’s first attempt at building his online school was done with a platform based website builder (Weebly in his case) back in December, 2011:
Although Weebly had a visual drag & drop builder to create the website with, Idahosa soon found that he couldn’t create the Ecourse products he wanted to with it. Of course such mass-marketed solutions are easy to get websites started with, but soon become inadequate for building solid online businesses on.
Eventually, someone recommended that he switch from Weebly to WordPress and try using the Thrive Themes plugins to build his business with instead.
That’s when his site underwent a fast rebuild implementing Thrive Architect for much of the work. Here's a snapshot showing one of Idahosa's cornerstone pages explaining how The Mimic Method works:
At first, Idahosa felt overwhelmed by the learning curve of WordPress. There were several new self-hosted tools and tasks to grasp compared to Weebly.
However, because Thrive Architect’s What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) content builder was intuitive and provided the same kind of drag & drop environment, he quickly got the hang of it.
Not only could Idahosa customize his site exactly as he needed to with Thrive Architect, its professionally-designed landing page templates significantly reduced his new landing page production times.
In fact, launching new pages became a simple 4-step process:
- Select a Thrive Architect template
- Modify the text
- Swap the template colors out to match The Mimic Method’s branding
- Replace the template images and video content with his own
Simple. Fast. Easy.
As you’ll soon see, Thrive Architect became Idahosa’s secret weapon. He was able to grow his business by shipping great content faster rather than wasting time deliberating on design details that didn’t matter.
The Big Takeaway
Need to build and ship something like an Ecourse for your online business?
Take a leaf from Idahosa's business and understand that you don't need to re-invent the wheel each time you create new pages for your website.
Especially for the first iteration of a landing page, it's okay to use professional designed templates to knock out ship-worthy results fast.
Just iteratively improve on whatever design you ship with A/B tests to steadily boost your conversion rates over time.
Cost & Time Savings Breakthrough
When Idahosa was creating his latest batch of premium online courses called "The Elemental Sounds Master Classes," he found himself scratching his head wondering how to design a decent course quickly and cost effectively.
The language enthusiast wondered if he should use Teachable or some other dedicated Learning Management System (LMS) solution...
I promised our customers I would make this course in all 10 of the languages offered, but I had not decided how I was going to quickly deliver these courses without the use of custom — and expensive — outside contractors and services.
But one day, as Idahosa was designing a new landing page for his website with Thrive Architect, the idea hit him to just use its templates to fascilitate the course creation process.
I ended up creating over 1,000 pages on The Mimic Method website all using Thrive Architect. I was able to get all 10 of the new courses built and launched in under 6 months. They all currently operate as my flagship products.
Because Idahosa already used Infusionsoft for his Customer Relationship Management (CRM), email marketing, and payment gateway needs, he only required an additional plugin integration with Memberium to limit access to his Ecourses.
The Memberium plugin allows him to group lesson pages into unique Ecourses and lock away page content to non-paying visitors based on tags in Infusionsoft.
With the membership website functionality added, Idahosa’s 10 “Elemental Sounds Master Classes” were launch ready.
Grinding From Solopreneur To Automated Business Wizard
Like most online businesses out there, overnight success is not the norm. It takes a few years of consistent progress and learning from your mistakes to build a sustainable business. Idahosa’s Mimic Method education venture was no different.
In fact, if you’ve read any of our past Thrive Themes customer case studies (here's the links to Louise’s story, Aja’s story, and Brad’s story), you’ll see that slow, consistent growth should be expected for any solopreneur just getting started.
Here’s how it went for Idahosa in the first few years of his Mimic Method online business:
4 Years To Build a Mid 6-Figure Business
Although it didn’t take him very long to see a little profit, it did take a few years of trial and error to reach a point of significant profit and automation in The Mimic Method business.
Annual product launches and new automation sequences produced occasional jumps in revenue that became very satisfying entrepreneurial milestones.
Idahosa also found that leveraging the power of scarcity marketing by using the Thrive Ultimatum plugin helped boost sales during each of his product launches.
To show you just how powerful those product launches were to The Mimic Method's growth — both during launches and in the months after — check out the revenue chart below.
Notice how the revenue spikes during each product launch and is followed by an increased sales baseline from January 2016 to September 2018:
Four years after Idahosa began, The Mimic Method finally grew to become a mid six-figure business ($300k to $400k annual revenue), with a team of 3 employees and some additional freelance help.
Growing a Healthy and Engaged Email List
Part of Idahosa's success in selling Ecourses comes from learning how to prepare and execute product launches as well as grow an engaged email list.
The current Mimic Method email list has around 30,000 contacts, with weekly increases of ~300 contacts. Course sales are currently in the ~25 products per week range.
The majority of new Mimic Method leads subscribe through the lightbox on the homepage with a conversion rate of ~15%:
What's even better is that Idahosa's list is super engaged. He thinks that's due to all the effort spent ensuring each and every email sent out is packed full of value for the readers.
Of course, all email lists start at zero subscribers and the big growth bumps of The Mimic Method list coincided with each new product launch. In fact, the lead generation growth curve mirrored the sales curve shown earlier (subscriber spikes after product launches followed by an increased subscription baselines).
In addition to product launches, Idahosa said the other email list growth factor for his list came from affiliate marketing efforts. Specifically, partnering and collaborating with other traffic heavy sites that helped boost The Mimic Method's exposure to more readers and potential customers.
Content Creation and Conversion Optimization
Creating new content in the form of online courses, blog posts, lead generation funnels and sales funnels has been key to Idahosa’s success.
When you create 1000+ pages for 10 different paid Ecourse products, as well as 100+ blog posts to promote your site with, you must have a solid content creation system to pull that off.
Here’s how The Mimic Method team works to get it all done...
Creating Blog Content
First, Idahosa and team identify new content opportunities through Keyword Research, their readers' blog post comments and customer feedback about Ecourses.
Idahosa then asks his in-house and freelance writers to create specialty blog posts to get new content to the 80% complete mark.
After that, any multimedia materials needed within new posts (primarily audio and image files) are outsourced to freelance designers. The in-house team will also design and build new lead magnets when needed for posts.
Finally, blog posts go to Idahosa for a round of edits. He then sends updated articles back to the team so they can build the publish ready version with Thrive Architect.
Creating Lead Generation Funnels, Landing Pages and Sales Funnels
Idahosa uses both Thrive Leads and Thrive Architect templates to produce lead generation forms and landing pages for The Mimic Method website.
He relies heavily on Rapid Landing Page Principles to quickly create any page or funnel needed for the site.
That means keeping the pre-designed structure of most opt-in form and landing page templates and simply editing the copy, media, and branding colors to match the look and feel of The Mimic Method website.
To give you an idea of how fast — and successful — modifying a Thrive Leads template can be, take a look at the Thrive Leads template Idahosa used (shown below) to create the actual screen filler lightbox he's currently using to convert visitors at 15% (shown above).
The lead generation form is then linked to Infusionsoft where it can trigger the delivery of the PDF or a completely automated multi-email sales sequence.
Boosting Traffic and Optimizing Conversions
Finally, Idahosa is always trying to increase his conversions through consistent A/B testing.
When it comes to lead generation, a Thrive Leads A/B test is always run whenever a new opt-in form is launched.
Idahosa lets the campaign run for a few weeks and then checks the test to make sure it's achieved statistical significance before picking a winner. He then has his team rinse and repeat that A/B testing process a few more times to try and achieve the best conversion rate possible.
To try and boost the traffic to those tests, a range of strategies are employed including content marketing on The Mimic Method Blog, posting on social media, and creating Search Engine Optimized (SEO) articles to capture more organic traffic.
To date, very few paid traffic strategies have been used — just in case you were wondering.
However, Idahosa and his team found that creating guest content for other websites that aligned well with the foreign language learning niche gives a great low investment, high reward boost their business.
For example, recording podcasts with travel bloggers and publishing guest posts on other language blogs are usually profitable traffic boosting activities.
When you look at Idahosa and the online business he built, here’s a few lessons he learned along the way that will probably help you too:
- Although it's good to be swift and efficient, be extra-sensitive to the details.
For example, during one of Idahosa’s product launches, he accidentally sent a sales email out to his list with the wrong contact email address. Just imagine how awkward it was responding to — let alone trying to sell to — over 30,000 people who noticed that.
- Never overpromise and underdeliver.
“This is a very tempting thing to do in sales, because you want your offers to be very attractive. But if you cannot deliver on what you say, it will just disappoint customers in the long run and hurt your business.”
- Automate and systematize as much as possible.
Idahosa says his biggest wins came from getting his online business to a point of pure automation.
When working, Idahosa always asks himself “How can I effectively systematize and outsource this?" to help grow the business instead of constantly putting out fires.
Grab a Template, Make Some Modifications and Ship It!
By far, the biggest lesson to take away from Idahosa’s story is how powerful the Thrive Architect landing page templates are for shipping high-quality info-products rapidly.
In fact, I'd bet money you can apply that competitive advantage to your own business if you gave it a try... so why not take a crack at it right now?
If you don't have a lead magnet up and running yet on your website, I challenge you to pick a Thrive Architect lead gen template set and ship a list building funnel over the next 48 hours!
Think you got what it takes to get that done? Of course you do. 😉
If you have any questions, comments or thoughts about Idahosa’s business journey or rapid implementation strategies, make sure to post your comment down below!