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Michael Maidens
Ash RoyDec 12, 2020 10:42:01 PM60 min read

202. The Offer Creation Process in 5 steps with Michael Maidens

The Offer Creation Process in 5 steps with Michael Maidens


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Ash Roy and Michael Maidens Video Transcript (This transcript has been auto-generated. Artificial Intelligence is still in the process of perfecting itself. There may be some errors in transcription):

Ash Roy (00:00):

So, what does the customer need to believe? In business, we call it Psychographic Segmentation. What sort of Psychological mindset does a customer need to be in, to need to buy a product?

Michael Maidens (00:09):

Yeah. So almost how far down the journey, do you want to pick them up? And then you take them that little bit further on their journey, which usually it’s through content or through an experience, or that can be educational content or whatever it might be. And then your offer fits into a part of their journey. Now what’s also important is where you drop them off on the journey.

Ash Roy (00:32):

Welcome back to the Productive Insights Podcast. This is Ash Roy, the founder of and the host of the Productive Insights podcast. If you’re watching this on YouTube, welcome to our YouTube channel. Over the past 10 years, today’s guest has built a business and a lifestyle around helping knowledge-based businesses reach and impact millions of people online. He’s helped many businesses in the health and personal development industries, launch digital products, physical products, and innovated the way in which documentaries are launched online. We’ll be talking about that a bit later. More recently he’s created a flagship product and coaching group called the Offer Academy, which enables students and clients to see their magic in a new light and empowers them to fall in love with their offer. So others will too. Now, this is important, we’ll talk about this too. However, the majority of his week is spent checking the wind, tides, and swell and planning the next kitesurf, foil surf, CrossFit session or beach adventure.

Ash Roy (01:35):

What an idyllic life, right? His priority is around living and enjoying this ride called life with amazing like-minded people. As it turns out, we have several friends in common. We are just two degrees of separation, Michael and I. Michael was a former software developer, a former full-time tennis player and a certified level two tennis coach. Every year, he spends a week in heaven. On the map, it’s called Fiji and basically his whole life revolves around the rhythm of the ocean. How awesome is that? Today, I’m delighted to welcome Michael Maidens from And we’re going to talk about information products and specifically about offer creation. So you can learn how to grow your business profitably by creating compelling offers that delight your customers. Welcome, Michael.

Michael Maidens (02:23):

Awesome. Thanks so much for having me.

Ash Roy (02:26):

Great to have you on, man.

Michael Maidens (02:26):

Thanks for that warm intro.

Ash Roy (02:29):

You’re welcome. We have some common friends. Jack Borne was on this podcast on episode 197 and Julie Cannes.

Michael Maidens (02:36):

I’ve known Julie for a long time. We created a documentary together and Jack, I think we almost talk every day. We work on some projects together and we talk a lot about kitesurfing.

Ash Roy (02:46):

So you created the Abundance Code with her?

Ash Roy (02:49):

Yeah. Wow. I’ve watched it and it’s awesome. I didn’t realize you were behind that. That’s awesome. Well, congratulations. It’s a really good piece of content. I really enjoyed it.

Michael Maidens (02:59):

Julie’s interview, It was about three years of amazing immersion into so many brilliant minds. So yeah, it was, it was really great to craft a story and get that out into the world and such a wonderful message.

Ash Roy (03:11):

Yeah. So she was on, on episodes 148 & 149. So be sure to check that out and you can find that, which is part two of that conversation is You’re obviously a very skilled and multi-talented person. So talk to us about how you ended up in the world of offer creation and I’m sure your very broad experience, your breadth of experience, being a tennis coach, a software developer, having worked with documentaries – all this has really given you a very broad appreciation for the various elements that go into business and offers. So why don’t you just give us a broad overview of why you think creating compelling offers is really critical to profitable businesses?

Michael Maidens (04:02):

Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. It’s so much fun. It’s actually so interesting when we start summarizing all the different things that I’ve done. It’s just been one big, long, fun adventure, and I’m not sure I’m near the end, hopefully only halfway through. But a lot of the things that I’ve found like as a software developer, I wasn’t, I was actually the business analyst. I was the database architect. I was the software architect, and I’d write all the software as well and then roll it out. And I love doing that. I wrote software for McDonald’s restaurants. I was selling them in South America, or I was writing software for the pharmacy industry and selling them all around Australia. And these were all just projects that I was doing myself. And what I realized was that when I was creating these amazing, well, first of all, I love business. So I love just analyzing people’s businesses and finding efficiencies and then writing software that would actually give them more intelligence about their business so they could make better business decisions either for profit or efficiencies or automate manual tasks.

Michael Maidens (05:00):

And so what I did find was that you could have the most amazing piece of software for example, but how do we actually get it in front of customers in a way? First of all, how do we find the customers? but how do we actually communicate what amazingness that your product in this case software does in a way that they just think that it’s an absolute no-brainer? Because as a software developer, you sit there and you just think of all the magic that it does and all these amazing things, but unless you can communicate that in a way where people can see, all right, what’s, what’s the actual benefit and how does it either make me more money or save me more time or bring more opportunities. They really struggled to actually make the buying decision. Now, as you know, it’s software and tech and things like that, what I found was the natural thing.

Michael Maidens (05:49):

And I see it in digital products. Now you want to talk about all the features, you know, how fast something might go or how many reports it may have. And this is something that we may talk about in more depth. The traps that people get into is they talk about all the stuff, you know, they spend a lot of time or because he put so much effort into the features and that’s where we poured so much of the time. So we want to talk about it and we’re excited about it. And there’s this workbook and there’s this video and there’s this. And then whatever it may be, that’s where we put our time proportionally to build it. But then when it comes to actually talking about it in a way that someone wants to actually be attracted towards buying it, it’s actually the opposite proportion.

Michael Maidens (06:27):

It’s almost like you need to talk about the benefits and the transformation and all these other things, way more than the actual. Oh, okay. So how fast is that going to run all the little details? So what I actually found was tha, when I went on this journey of how do I actually get these amazing products out into the world, I actually realized it was all about, you know, human psychology and behavior. I always did love humans more than computers, but that concreted it for me. And, and so that started off my passion of understanding as humans, the predictable ways that we see value in presenting an offer to people. To be honest, the more that I get into offers, I absolutely love them because I actually see it’s the beautiful thing that connects, you know, an amazing product with an amazing person who’s sitting there with a problem. And I just see the offer as the beautiful thing that brings these two together. I really try and look at things from that perspective. It’s not a selling thing to me, it’s actually just a bringing together thing for me. And that’s what the offers are.

Ash Roy (07:29):

There’s a few things that came to my mind as you were speaking. First of all, I wanted to mention that I too used to work in the software space, but on the other side, so my background was my CPA. And then I did my MBA and I was working as an analyst at one point in these large corporates. And I used to review these business review documents and write the functional specifications. And then we would hand it over to you guys. And you would do the software development. I can’t say I loved that job, but I learned a lot along the way. And I just want to say, Michael, I’ve been watching your posts on Facebook and stuff, and you have this beautiful approach to life and includes a lot of gratitude and openness. And I think you bring that to your approach to offers.

Ash Roy (08:07):

And that just came through when you were explaining how the offer is the conduit between a person and a problem that they’re choosing to solve. And the offer is that thing that meets them in the middle. Something that I’ve been harping about a lot when I teach my 9-step business growth framework to my members in my membership program is the importance of having empathy. Seth Godin and I talked about this at some length in episode 200 and you can find out about that at I told Seth that I think empathy is one of the least used words in marketing and probably one of the most important. And he agreed. And he said, generosity is very important too. And we agreed with that too. If you are empathetic to your customer, you have a more nuanced understanding of their needs and when Steve jobs entered a world of what he considered to be ugly, MP3 players, because they didn’t meet his zen-like expectations of design and so on.

Ash Roy (09:05):

He came up with this tagline “thousand songs in your pocket”. At that time, all these MP3 players, were marketed as 56 MB or 64 MB. He was like, the MP3 players look ugly and for people who are music lovers, they don’t care about megabytes. That’s an engineer speaking to another engineer. They want to how many songs, and so he came up with a thousand songs in your pocket. Around that time, there was the Sony Discman, which would keep jumping because it would keep skipping. And he came up with this other title, saying “no moving parts” when he was promoting the iPod. So I think that empathy can create that slightly different nuanced perspective on an existing product, which makes that offer that much more accessible to your audience, touching on your points around human psychology. Would you agree?

Michael Maidens (09:52):

Yeah, totally. And I think one of the things as product creators, whether it’s digital courses or experiences or whatever our product is, we can have that empathy and go back to that place where we know what their struggles are. We know what they’re thinking. And, and especially if we can enter the words in the way that they’re describing their existing problem, then we can really feel understood and aligned with people. And I feel like almost 80% of people are teaching the journey that they have actually been through themselves. If I was to put a number on it, you know, it’s probably not true, but there is a majority of people out there who are building businesses around basically teaching their experience through which they’ve learned as being, as have gone through it. Therefore, I feel we have this massive opportunity to actually be ultimately empathetic to where your, prospects, they’re not yet customers actually are because potentially you were there back however many years ago.

Michael Maidens (10:50):

So we get to wind back. And that’s sometimes for someone who knows the solution, that’s a very difficult thing to do because you’ll be speaking in almost like selling the solution to the problem, but we need to actually go back and use the words that you were using when you were in and still had the problem without a solution. There was a beautiful art there to be able to go back in time in your mind and really dissolve back, like I almost rolled my eyes back, when I think about it, just to back to that place – what were you feeling and what were you thinking and what was the problem and what weren’t you doing? What was frustrating you? If it’s in the health space, it might be having clear skin, or it might be confusion of what to eat when you’re out or whatever it may be. And just like, what were you thinking at that time? What were you thinking about? What weren’t you doing? What part of your life weren’t you doing? What were you sacrificing because this was such a big problem for you having that empathy.

Ash Roy (11:42):

Another brilliant use case here. I remember I was talking to Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing Institute – this is back in episode 75. And again that’s at He was explaining the importance of creating content that meets your audience, where they are on their journey. To your point. And so I said to him, let me see if I understand you correctly. This is my recollection of the conversation. If I’m looking to buy a washing machine and you have company A, who’s trying to push all this content around how their washing machines are the best in the world made of surgical steel will last a lifetime, but Michael is about to buy his first washing machine. And he’s just trying to figure out the difference between a top loader and a front loader. And he doesn’t care that the washing machines are made out of surgical steel because he’s not at that point of his journey yet in terms of the Five Phases of the Buyer Journey, which we really unwrapped on episode 180 with Alexa Nucleus, again,

Ash Roy (12:43):

The customer may not be at the product discovery stage. There may be problem unaware or solution unaware or something like that. If company B creates content around how to choose between a top loader and a front loader, and Michael goes into Google and types in front, a lot of as top loader, because the problem he’s trying to solve right now is which one do I need, up comes this fantastic, choose a sliding scale and tells them what kind of a machine he should buy, because he has this many people in his family, this is how often he washes, this is how often he does delicate wash, and it recommends a perfect machine for him. There’s a buy now button and it’s sitting on Whirlpool’s website. Who’s he going to buy the washing machine from? Because it’s met the audience where they are on their journey, so that subtle difference can create completely different content and completely different offers. If you take the time to really, as you say, wind back and imagine yourself where your customer is, imagine yourself in that situation, what did the world look like then? And in Episode 117, I talk about how to create an empathy map, which is where you think about what does my customer hearing, feeling, saying, doing, thinking right now in their world.

Michael Maidens (13:49):

Yep. Yeah. That’s that’s exactly. And probably something else to expand on that would be decide where in the customer’s journey that your product actually fits. Even in that simple analogy that they were already at the point, did they believe that they needed clean clothes? You know what I mean? That’s, you know, if you’re selling green juices or something like that, well, it’s your job to market to people who are maybe still eating fast foods or whatever, or where do you pick people up? It’s like, and this is what makes the offer so compelling because you think, Oh, no, well, I need people to actually be aware of their health. I also need them to be maybe considering alternative options.

Ash Roy (14:27):

So what does a customer need to believe? In business, we call it psychographic segmentation. What sort of psychological mindset does a customer need to be in to need to buy a product?

Michael Maidens (14:37):

Yeah. So almost how far down the journey do you want to pick them up? And then you take them that little bit further on their journey, which usually it’s through content or through an experience – that can be educational content or whatever it may be, and then offer fits into a part of their journey. Now what’s also important is where you drop them off on the journey. And, you know, because I’ve got a tennis background, I sort of use a bit of a tennis analogy where it’s not the same tennis coach that teaches you how to hold the racket and how to win a grand slam tournament. It’s not the same coach. You’ll have people that’ll go, you know, different coaches along the way. Well, I’m the person who helps the young tennis player at the beginning, which racket, which hand hold the racket, what all the strokes are and maybe start up a rally.

Michael Maidens (15:19):

And then another coach would come along and say, okay, I’ll take you from a rally to winning points. And then someone else would come along and go, I’ll take you from winning points to winning matches. For example, this is very simple, but you can see that the same coach, you know, although they may be able to take them from there to there, it’s about actually saying, no, this is what I specialize in. I pick people up here and I drop them off here. And that’s where the product drops them off. You may have your own product pyramid, which then takes people on a few little successions of growing throughout your business in, you know, offers that actually lead on to each other, which is what I absolutely love doing. Once people get an awesome offer. It’s about, you know, the next offer as well.

Michael Maidens (15:58):

But acknowledging that maybe there’s a point in your business to where you actually hand people over. You know, if you get people to seven figures, you may not be the right person to get them to eight, nine, 10 is the same business that gets them from, you know, the $100,000 a year. Is he going to take it to, “Hey, I hope people get, you know, 10,000 employees and do a billion dollars or whatever. So, you know, it’s kind of obvious when we speak of it like that. But from when we’re actually putting the offer to people, we also just need to be very aware of ourselves, where we pick people up and where we drop them off. And then that helps us work out what transformation they can expect in the promise that we’re offering them for our product as well.

Ash Roy (16:38):

Let me ask you a question. Michael, does the person who’s creating the product to take a person from say a 6-figure business to a 7-figure business, have to have done that themselves because often you find coaches who are not grand slam winners, but they still coach people doing grand slam tournament. How does that work?

Michael Maidens (16:57):

Often, they aren’t grand slam winners, thaat’s for sure. And that’s the whole thing – a good coach may not be a good player and a good player may not be a good coach either. They do not necessarily have to have done it, but it is also being able to have a lot of experience so they can empathize, like we were talking about before they can actually empathize with them. Okay, look, you’ll be going into this situation. Most likely you’ll start to feel nervous and anxious, and this is how you do it. This is how you adjust and actually be able to immerse themselves with empathy into that world, to the state, that they can almost be living at themselves and go through those emotional journeys with their students and with their clients, and actually learn and coach and motivate.

Ash Roy (17:50):

And co-create the success. So one of the best ways build empathy in my experience, again, through my membership program was you start with an audience of one and you make them a promise you over deliver on that promise, you develop a product around it. And in my nine-step business growth plan, which actually came from working with that many members all the time, I found that it’s all kind of iterative. There’s no straight line. So, you know, empathizing with your customer involves actually making offers, seeing what works, what doesn’t work. And then you develop a deeper sense of empathy. It’s not like a linear progression, right? It’s kind of a zigzag. So offer creation, there’s so much copywriting involved, but to some degree you become a better copywriter after you’ve launched enough offers and you’ve seen what works and doesn’t work. We can open a whole can of worms with copywriting now, which is an important part of our offer creation. We won’t go into it just yet. I guess what I’m trying to get at here is offer creation touches on so many important element, but it’s all built around the customer experience and it is built around getting the customer a result. And I really like your point about not only be clear about where on the journey you’re picking the customer up, but a way of dropping them off. That was something that I hadn’t thought about before. So thank you for sharing

Michael Maidens (19:04):

Welcome. And that is a part of the transformation and the promise that you really are helping people with. And, you know, that’s why I love the Offer Academy, it feels to me like the central place and offers. It’s the central place. I’ve done over 85 launches. And you know, when I start with those, I start with the offer. Well, this is where I found had the biggest return on effort. You know, I love return on effort. Like you said before, the majority of my time, I try and be away from the computer now. So I look for where I can get the biggest return on effort, and I do the same with people in their offers because I can just see that it does, it touches on all these different things and a few tweaks to an offer.

Michael Maidens (19:43):

You know, we were in the middle of a launch and one time for a documentary, which was called Hungry for Change. And that was about all the wellness and the diet industry. And it was so amazing. We had so much traffic and came up with this launch, which actually innovated how documentaries were being launched. People could watch, could see the trailer and then opt in to see the free screening for 10 days. And in the first 21 days we had about 70,000 people give us their email address to be able to watch it. And then as soon as it went live, so it was from the 21st through to the 31st of March. It just went crazy and people were able to not only watch the full documentary, but they could actually buy the DVD and the recipe book. And the opt ins went from, I think by the end of the 30 days, the opt ins, we had 220,000 opt-ins.

Michael Maidens (20:30):

So that was how many people actually gave us their email address to watch the film. So my point was actually talking about the offer, but in the early stages of that offer, we were split testing, different headlines that everything else on the sales page was exactly the same. Then we will split testing headlines. We had one headline converting it 6%, one converting at 8%. And the other one was converting at 12%. Everything else was different except for the headline at the top. But the difference between 6% and 12% conversion is twice the revenue. So when you start to see simple little things like that, that can just make such huge differences. Now that’s the control. And we had so much traffic that we were able to test and retest and have significant conversions in short window, windows of time that we were able to refine and innovate. What’s another headline, what’s another headline. We were trying all these different benefits and promises, which were being delivered, but we were learning so much through this really tight compressed window of time. Yeah. We came up with a headline and in the last 24 hours, that offer page was converting at 21%. So it was basically one in five people who landed on that page were actually going through and purchasing the offer. So we had a great time.

Ash Roy (21:46):

That represents a very high level of engagement. And I want to come back and talk about the Offer Academy in a minute, but something that I don’t enjoy doing myself is sending a whole ton of emails. And one of the challenges I see with the launch model is,it is very email intensive, particularly around the launch time. You’re sending a whole bunch of emails. Is it possible to do a launch without sending that many emails and do this testing and so on. So that you’re only contacting people who are interested. I spoke to Andre Chaperon in Episode 140, and he talked about tagging strategy, which I found very useful. And that way you only email people who put their hand up for something. How do we strike a balance between not sending too many emails, but yet being in people’s inboxes enough to be noticed because it’s very, very crowded in there.

Michael Maidens (22:30):

The inbox is so crowded these days, you’re a hundred percent, right? And it’s a customer experience question as well. I know that some people run the numbers and they know they’re sending huge numbers of emails. And even though their open rates are dropping, they just know that the total number of opens and clicks are at a level that it’s going to get them all device through.

Ash Roy (22:51):

My concern, because that’s causing collateral damage, right? That’s what we would call in economics an Externality. Sending a whole bunch of emails you want achieving your objectives. And you’ll probably end up with a high refund rate as well, which is another issue, but you’re achieving your objectives, but then you’re offending and upsetting a whole lot of people. So how do we do the right thing by society? But also achieve our objective.

Michael Maidens (23:11):

The thing is about what experience do we want people to have in this launch window, but what experience do you want them have as a customer? You know, because if you respect them throughout the journey, you’ll also have reciprocal respect and, you know, beyond the journey as well. So I do feel that if people maybe go a little bit too aggressive, well, it’s a relationship it’s just like speaking to your neighbors or, you know, someone else that you would invite along. I like to think of an offer as, your product or whatever’s going on is it’s almost like there’s a party going on. Know, it’s like, Hey, we’re all going to the movies or we’re all going on a surf trip or something like that. And all you can do is talk about how fun it’s going to be.

Michael Maidens (23:52):

You can tell them all the details, the price, the flights, when we’re leaving and all that sort of stuff. And you can talk about how fun it’s going to be at some stage it’s over to them to decide. And if you just make it so attractive that the party’s happening, whether you’re on board or not, you wouldn’t really start ringing them up every hour. You need to be aware of communicating with them enough that they don’t go, “Oh, I forgot about that. Sorry. I was so busy”, but not so much that they’re just like, even if I was interested, I am now no longer interested because of how you’re acting sort of thing.

Ash Roy (24:23):

What’s that balance. I mean, I’ve seen some people email three or four times a day, which I feel is too much. And then some people like me, are too scared to email more than once every fortnight, which is also probably not good.

Michael Maidens (24:35):

I think it just comes down to the experience that you want to give people. And, you know, in that example, the Hungry for Change documentary. I remember talking to the people in my mastermind and what we did on the very last day. We actually thank them for coming on the journey with us. It was like a gratitude email. It was like, thank you so much for coming on the journey with us. The idea in any of our marketing and launches is to give people an amazing experience, whether they buy or not, you know, and that was always our focus. And that’s what my focus in all the launches are, is just give people an amazing experience. You know, really, you’ve got an opportunity to give people the ability to see something different, to see the world from a different place, to go away, a different person from your marketing experience. And if you did that, and there is a next logical step, which is the offer and the next logical step is the product. Don’t you feel like that if they’ve had a great experience in the free world, that’d be more likely to want to continue that experience inside of the community and the closer, more intimate relationship in the paid world as well. It’s more of a hard approach where you just, if you focus on the experience and you focus on delivering an amazing journey, you kind of let the results take care of itself.

Ash Roy (25:39):

So we are talking about intentionality here, you need to have the right intention.

Michael Maidens (25:42):

Yes. And you have sort of outcome-oriented goals and you have process-oriented goals. So, you know, this is the same thing with tennis. And it’s actually a definition in sports psychology of choking as well. You know, when people, you know, maybe you get to a point and you’ve seen people who are perfectly capable of, let’s say, serving a ball, you know, they’ve done it a million times before, but they ended up choking it.

Ash Roy (26:02):

I’m talented at choking.

Michael Maidens (26:04):

Awesome. Well, usually what it means is you’re actually starting to think about the outcome rather than the process. And you get too far ahead of yourself. You can’t act on the outcome. The outcome is simply the result of a process. You can actually act on the process and in tennis, it’s the ball, you know, make this serve, make this return, make this shot, make this shot. I can do that. And if I keep doing that well, what do you know? I win the point.

Ash Roy (26:31):

In my conversation with James Clear in episode 175, which had a pretty big impact on me. He’s a guy who had “Atomic Habits”. And soon after created a training inside my membership program around how to set goals and what I did was I said to our members, look, I think it’s important that we all have goals and you should set quarterly goals and definitely set yourself stretch goals, but then map the goals to habits and live in the habits. Because if you spend your entire quarter with one eye on the goal, and I’m not saying don’t ever look at your goal during the quarter, but if you spend your entire time agonizing over whether or not you’re going to meet the goal, you’re missing the journey. And the journey is where the fun is. So live in the habits, track your habits, measure your habits. And to some degree, you got to trust that if you do the habits frequently and consistently the goal will take care of itself. But even if it doesn’t take care of itself, 89% of the outcome is usually out of our control. Most outcomes depend upon other factors outside of our individual selves that depend on other people, that are depending on other circumstances. We can only control our own behavior. So focus on what you can control and enjoy that process.

Michael Maidens (27:43):

I actually believe with offers too. I say that we can’t actually sell anything to anyone. They have to sell it to themselves. I love that. Yeah,

Ash Roy (27:51):

We call it Purchase Facilitation. You can facilitate a purchase, but you can’t make a sale.

Michael Maidens (27:56):

They really have to sell it to themselves. And our job is to give them everything they need to be able to make an educated decision about whether this is right for them or not.

Ash Roy (28:07):

The Offer Academy then, how do you teach people to create these offers that enable people to sell those offers to themselves? Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Michael Maidens (28:18):

So I’ve got this, it’s like a five-part framework that I actually do. Everything that I teach sort of fits into this five-part framework and the five parts are alignment, inspiration, clarity, opportunity, and then invitation. The first thing I really try and do is actually create an alignment between you as the, as the product producer and also then the people who are considering your product or who you are taking on your marketing journey. And so there’s so many fun things there about, you know, obviously there’s the story and there’s, you know, who you are and why you’re doing it and all these different things that we actually teach inside of that type of aspect of the Offer Academy. You know, once you feel like you’ve actually aligned with people while creating that offer you then want to inspire people. So, you know, not only do you feel like, Hey, you know, we’ve got some things in common, maybe you’re talking about the same language with the alignment, but now we want to inspire them.

Michael Maidens (29:13):

So we start to talk about case studies. We start to talk about, you know, describing what the transformation would actually look like and what the benefits of that transformation would be, and actually start to really make people feel like, wow, this is actually possible. And I’m inspired by not only the fact that the person teaching me is aligned with me, but also then who’s done it before. And the other types of people that are also a part of this journey as well. Yeah. Then we sort of move into the Clarity module. It’s a super interesting one because we sort of shift from the heart to the head. So those first two are a little bit in the heart, and then we’ve moved to the head a little bit. And the clarity is where the, you know, the brain jumps in and it says, okay, cool.

Michael Maidens (29:55):

You know, I can feel your heart beating. I could feel your heart racing. You know, you get a little bit excited here, but then I know that there’s going to be a credit card transaction coming in. So I need to see some details. And that’s a little bit, you know, where we were talking before about 10,000 songs versus, you know, 60 gigs or whatever it is we’re actually now saying, alright, cool. Here are some details about, you know, the hearts. Oh, wow. I love 10,000 songs. And then, you know, it just needs to go, all right, what does that actually mean? And so they can actually help, you know, with the clarity section of what we talk about is actually helping people, you know, see what the deliverables actually are. And, you know, maybe if there’s going to be the bonuses and like we talked about beforehand, where does the product pick them up and where does it drop them off?

Michael Maidens (30:36):

And how do we structure bonuses? There’s, there’s so many awesome strategies that you can articulate bonuses in a way that are not the sleazy bonuses. I, so much, don’t like people who are just, you know, adding bonuses in for bonuses sake. I mean, I see bonuses as a beautiful opportunity to keep the main thing, the main thing when you’re designing your program, but then accessorize with bonuses, for people who may not feel like that they’re ready for the program yet. So bonus can get them up to speed or the success in the program may create another problem and the bonuses can help that.

Ash Roy (31:13):

So it’s kind of like your, your product may drop them off at a certain point and the bonus may then take them a bit further down from it. Well,

Michael Maidens (31:19):

Yeah. And especially in cases where you know that there may be an objection for wanting next success because they don’t know how to deal with it. Let’s say your program was helping people give up alcohol, for example. Okay. So they’re sitting there going, wow, I really need this. You know, everything’s telling me that these are the reasons why I need it. Maybe there might be a bonus, which sort of gets me prepared for how to prepare for a life without alcohol or something like that, or whatever it might be. I’m just making this up on the fly, but then they might be sitting there going, Whoa, in actual fact, if I did achieve not wanting to drink alcohol, for example, what am I going to do on Friday nights? What am I going to do with my social friends? And we’re going to do on Sunday nights, you know, can I actually still have fun?

Michael Maidens (32:01):

You know, all these sorts of things. So even them having success in the program may actually bring up other objections. There’s all these different strategies that we talk about in the offer Academy, but what you can bonus is then something that aligns with that future problem of how to still go to family barbecues and not need alcohol. I still had, I still have fun with the same friends on a Friday night, without needing alcohol or how to handle these situations or how to politely decline alcohol or whatever it might be. The same thing could be said for if it was about eating vegan and you still had to go to family barbecues or whatever it might be. So the clarity modules and the clarity part of the formula is about, you know, getting so much visual around what they are going to do and what they’re going to achieve and start speaking to your current and then your, your transformation and also the future.

Michael Maidens (32:53):

So then they can really start to see what the program is actually going to do. And so then that brings us to opportunity. Yep. Cool. And then, so when I see the opportunity, I sort of see that as a little bit down into the nuts and bolts of things, where we’re actually talking about the price, you know, the opportunity for them to become onboard. It might be the payment types. It might be the subscriptions. It might be different things about is that trials? Is there no trials? Is there discounting and incentive. I’ve got a lot of philosophies around discounting and dropping your price. We’re just trying to make the offer better and people try and drop the pricing. And that is a price thing, but really it’s a value thing and all these super interesting things that I’ve learned along the way. And so it’s actually then about articulating your pricing and the opportunity in a way.

Michael Maidens (33:39):

And especially if you can align it with a couple of different options, if you do want options, how they can actually sit and stack and you can influence people to either go up to a higher option or to the one that you would prefer them to become a part of. So that becomes the opportunity. Now the opportunity sits separate to the fifth section, which is what I’ve named, I suppose, the invitation. So this is the opportunity. The product might sit there. Your product is not your offer. The offer is different to your product. The product is a part of your offer. So the opportunity has a price and things like that. And then the invitation we sit there and go, okay, well there’s a window of time. And this invitation it’s for the next four days only, or maybe you’ll decide it’s open all the time and then you’ll have other incentives for people to make a decision, you know, by a certain time. And I know that you chatted to Jack Borne about deadlines and about how to create deadline funnel and how to create authentic deadlines as well. That’s definitely something that we definitely want to shy away. I heard a story recently about a client of mine, Susan Garrett, and she was wanting to buy something about taking photos on the iPhone. And then it was like, okay, you know, it ends midnight tonight. And the next day she was reminded ends midnight tonight, then I would have bought it. But yeah, the marketing actually turned me off.

Ash Roy (34:57):

It’s basically being untruthful. And as soon as someone’s, aren’t truthful,

Ash Roy (35:02):

you lose the trust, right?

Michael Maidens (35:04):

Yep. Yep. And then you kind of feel like you’re just buying information. A lot of people, I feel We’ve evolved beyond information, almost like information is probably becoming more on the free side of things and people are buying experience in community and belonging.

Ash Roy (35:18):

That’s a very interesting insight.

Michael Maidens (35:22):

Yeah. And especially then if you know, trust is lost early in the relationship about deadlines, then that might be something that turns people away early in that relationship. So yeah, the invitation I see is, you know, guarantees and the window of time and real deadlines, I’m sure you’re like most humans as well that we make the decisions very, very close to the deadline. You know, when I watch every single launch, it’s so interesting. And this is the thing that I love about human behavior, where usually what ends up happening is, in the last 24 hours of a window, no matter how long the window, we end up doubling the sales, if you’ve done a hundred sales leading up to the last 24 hours, it’ll be 200 sales by the end of midnight that night. It’s just, it just kind of doubled.

Michael Maidens (36:07):

There was only one exception to that. And there’s been a few asteroids hit the earth this year. There was definitely an asteroid when the closed cart was when Trump was coming in and the election was happening and it was the final decisions for that. And it was like we were coming into the last day of the launch and preparing to double and all the traffic was going awesome. And then all of a sudden we’re like, hang on, what’s going on? And everybody’s eyeballs just went to a different place. And so that was the only time that it hasn’t really come in at almost double the result. But what it does is, it sort of highlights the opportunity there for bringing people to a decision. You know, it’s not about twisting people’s arms and selling them something that they don’t need and all that sort of stuff, that’s just all wrong. But what if it does help people make a decision and it does help them to a better version of themselves and feel like that you or your product is the best way for them to actually do that. Then we’re helping people, helping people like that.

Ash Roy (37:03):

What about people’s stepping into a better version of themselves. Something that I wanted to touch on two things, actually, one thing was pricing. You mentioned pricing, and that’s a very challenging thing. I’ve noticed that in a lot of people. In episode 52, I talked about how to 10X your prices with a guy called Kylle Tully. And I loved his approach to it because he, as you said, he said, the pricing is not as big an issue as most of us seem to think it is. There’s a whole lot of other factors of which pricing is one. For example, proximity to the person, delivering the product, accessibility post-purchase. is the person reliable? Is the person trustworthy? Are the claims they’re making claims that sound reasonable and that they can fulfill. And to that point, you know, I am soon going to be closing the founding member intake in my membership program.

Ash Roy (37:50):

And the price is going to go from $99 for founding members to $399 for new members for the same product. So founding members get grandfathered in and they’ll be saving $300 a month for the life of the membership, but I’ve been scared to announce a date because I’m not sure that if all the things I’ve got to be aligned by that day. So I keep on putting it off. But when I do announce a date, I will honor that date and people will not be able to get in as a founding member once I close a founding member intake. So I think having authentic deadlines is important, and I love that the deadline funnel allows you to do that because for whoever goes to that particular page, the countdown timer is unique to them. And so if they go to that page three days later, and it said the deadline closing two days from now, then three days later, it would say it’s closed.

Ash Roy (38:39):

But to another person who just went on there yesterday, it would still be taking over and available to buy it. So I think you made a good point about being authentic. Now on the point of being authentic, I’ve been around in the digital marketing space for almost 10 years now and you’ve been on around for a long time. I’ve seen a lot of very Epic promises that a lot of digital marketers make. In some cases they don’t deliver on them. And while they make that sale, there’s a loss of trust in the brand. Because my view is, if you make an offer, you need to somehow over-deliver on it. Otherwise don’t make it. But then the other challenge is your offer needs to be bold and compelling enough for someone to want to buy it. So what’s the balance between finding an offer that is compelling. And I’m guessing that it’s comes down to empathy and making it compelling to the right person, but something that’s compelling and screams of value, but then you can fulfill that promise and over deliver on it.

Michael Maidens (39:40):

Yeah, it’s, it’s definitely one of those things that a lot of the things with when you do put your promise out there, there’s a bit of a strategy where you actually think about your promise and it’s hard to sort of creep your way up, you know, from a promise. A lot of the times what I try and do is what would you promise if you were never going to get in trouble? There’s no such thing as getting sued or you’re never going to get in, what would you promise? And then that makes you think big, you start to think, Oh wow, they could have this in 90 days. You know, you have to be truthful. It’s like, yes, they could have that 90 days. Okay. Now you tone it down from there. It’s like, all right, cool. Well, what’s real, it’s much easier to start big and then scale it down from a marketing and excitement perspective than it is to sort of start to creep your way up from what you believe is reasonable in a way you, the language completely changes. That is super useful. Thank you. It’s yeah. And you just go, well, just think massive and then scale, you know, bring it back down from there. And I’m trying to turn the promise down, but was your question about the ability to make it sound amazing, but not be something that’s, you know, false promises in a way?

Ash ROy (40:51):

That’s exactly what I was asking because in terms of brand, the brand that I want to build and the people I work with, I want them to build brands that fulfill on the promise and we don’t make false promises. We make bold promises, but we over deliver on the promise. So the customer feels delighted. And as Seth Godin says fulfill for one or two or three or five people. But then they go and tell their friends and their friends send their friends and it grows that way. That’s the kind of product we want to build – that’s the kind of business.

Michael Maidens (41:17):

Yeah. And that’s where, you know, case studies, uh, of your students are your best marketing at the end of the day. If you can help people get amazing results, and then you showcase those results. So you shine the light on your students and the results they were able to achieve. That’s, that’s your best marketing in a way, because it’s actually about real results. And then those real results will make other people want to get real results as well. So it does snowball when you can actually get real results. I’m a hundred percent with you. Unfortunately, a lot of the people that I end up buying a lot of my courses and the people that I’m involved with, and I think we’re in similar sort of circles in that regard. The more, you know, trustworthy and that’s one of their high values as well. I know there’s a whole other world out there where people are just making sales and not caring about people.

Ash Roy (42:11):

Spammy world, absolutely. Make the sale and don’t care.

Michael Maidens (42:12):

There’s a lot of things that are holding people back as well, because I feel like, Oh, hang on. I might have done this in person, but I’m not sure if I can actually help people in a group or will they get the same results in a digital course. And so a lot of the time people want to make an offer and they feel like that they need to start to play small because they get a little bit worried about, can I deliver this? And I’ll actually start to, you know, squash their, their belief and their trust, and they’ll start to lose sight of the value and

Ash Roy (42:41):

How do they tackle that? That’s a very important point. So how do we head that off at the pass? How do we solve that problem?

Michael Maidens (42:46):

We need to remind people to actually see their value and reflect back on the story, reflect back on the empathy of this person who is, who is still stuck, where you previously were stuck in. A lot of the cases of the people online these days is that they’re teaching to the former version of themselves. So you go back to that place and you actually start to see what time am I spending? What money am I spending? You could be helping people have more mental clarity, you know if you had better mental clarity, would that mean that you would perform better in your job? Would you make better decisions? Would you do this? And what impact would that have on your experience of life, but maybe also economically as well. Would you then be able to work more hours because you’re less anxious or ask for a higher paying job because you’re now performing better. And you know, all these different things that you start to actually build up so they can actually see the value, not just try and put a dollar price per module or per video or something like that. Because our brain wants to anchor to something of value and they used to be this big thud factor where it was like, Oh yeah, it comes with 40 DVDs or something like that. But would you pay $2,000 for 40 DVDs? I’ve now got a job. I’ve got a 40-hour job to watch the DVD.

Ash Roy (43:57):

Exactly. You’re paying 40 hours of time. Assuming it’s an hour a DVD.

Michael Maidens (44:01):

I’d buy a $2,000 for the 1-hour version. Actually I’d probably pay $3,000 for the 1-hour version because then I can get on to implementing. So,

Ash Roy (44:09):

Yeah, I’d totally agree. But then again, that depends on who the target audience is. If it’s the target audience is someone who’s time poor, they would pay the extra money for the 1-hour version. So, yeah. Good point to your point about case studies. I learned a framework from one of my mentors and it’s basically a very simple framework, which is the before, during and after. So you just talk about the challenges that your ideal customer was facing before they came along to work with you. That during talks about system or the framework that you, your proprietary system, a framework like my nine-step business growth framework they used. And then the result they got, which was 10%, 20%, 30% increase in profitability within six months or whatever it was. I’ve been using this simple framework to record a lot of video testimonials with my members. I am very excited to put them out there. And at the moment I’ve just been uploading them onto the website. But is there a particular time or place that me and people listening to this episode should be sending their testimonials, their case studies to their audience? Should they be sending it at a certain point after having made the offer? Or where does it fit into that scheme of things ?

Michael Maidens (45:17):

You can be sending them even before, depending on what your marketing is. They can be used as awareness things as well. So you can even just, Oh one, there is people actually leaving their corporate jobs and living this type of life? Oh cool. You know, before they even enter into your marketing journey, they can be used as awareness things, but certainly inside of the marketing journey. And I know you talked before about tags and things like that. So actually in your email software, if you’re able to gather the intelligence of maybe where they’re at, when they actually join your journey, then you can use the intelligence of tags to actually deliver different case studies to different subsets of your audience. So the actual case study matches where they’re at. If I, if I was sitting there and I was in a corporate job, and you’re sending me a case study of how someone went from six to seven figures that may have the opposite effect on me. Yeah. I might because that’s like, Oh, this program may not be for me because it helps people go from six to seven figures. Whereas if the case study that you were able to use the taking intelligence and go, alright, well for everyone who is tagged as this, or, or clicked on this, or read this article about how to leave your corporate job, cool. I’m going to send them the case study that matches where they’re at.

Ash Roy (46:32):

That’ll be like escaping the corporate cubicle case study rather than how to go from six to seven figures. Yeah.

Michael Maidens (46:37):

So we’re using those case studies definitely when, you know, you could be doing that in awareness phase, which is before marketing, but then obviously to remind them and maybe overcome some objections by using case studies while in the decision making phase of an offer as well,

Ash Roy (46:51):

In terms of tagging, by the way, you know, definitely I recommend if you’re listening to this or watching this on YouTube head over to, where I talked to Barry Moore, whose sort of brilliant tagging strategy, which you can download from that episode. And Barry Moore used to be a combat pilot. So he’s very good with process and he also has been dabbling in marketing automation for a few years, but tell me what a software…

Michael Maidens (47:16):

He does very, very well.

Ash Roy (47:18):

Oh, you know, Barry too?

Michael Maidens (47:20):

Yes, I know. Yeah. I actually saw Barry last week. He was walking down the street here.

Ash Roy (47:25):

He’s just very shallow, but I’ve got a lot of time for him. He’s been on the podcast three and yeah, he’s, I love his tagging framework. It’s so simple, but fantastic. The nomenclature he uses, you know, the prefixes that just makes the whole tagging so much more organized and simple. What software do you use for your tagging and what do you recommend by the way, just out of interest.

Michael Maidens (47:45):

Yeah. Active campaign. Obviously back in the day with a AWeber, Infusionsoft, drip, you know, a few of the different ones and they all have different strengths and weaknesses and things like that. But I know enjoy and recommend active campaign at the moment.

Ash Roy (48:00):

We’ve talked about several challenges. We’ve talked about several mental blocks that people can overcome, and you’ve been extremely generous in terms of sharing your knowledge. So thank you for that. What I’d like to do now is I’d like to just go through and quickly summarize our conversation and pull out an action steps for our listeners or viewers. And then we’ll talk a little bit about more of that, where they can find out about you and about the Offer Academy. So we started off talking about your journey and the fact that you worked in software and I did too. You’ve got a very broad range of experience, which has obviously helped you to build a skill around creating really compelling offers. You’ve worked with the likes of Jeff Walker’s, Stu McLaren, some various successful entrepreneurs. So you’ve been around very smart people and that I have no doubt has helped.

Ash Roy (48:47):

You also have a really lovely approach to life. And it’s a very inspired approach, and I’m sure that factors into your offer creation too. So I thought that was a lovely start of the conversa tion. We then talked about the importance of understanding the customer and where they are on their journey. We talked about visualizing where you pick the customer up on their journey and more importantly, or as importantly, where you drop them off in terms of your product. And then you talked about how bonuses sort of take them a bit further down that path. So it wasn’t about just throwing bonuses in there for the sake of it. The bonuses should be relevant and ideally enhance the underlying offer. And I love how Apple has a very interesting and layered approach to their product strategy. And I sense that your approach to bonusing core offers is similar to that.

Ash ROy (49:32):

So we talked about that, and then you talked about your 5-step framework, which I absolutely loved, and that was alignment and inspiration. The first two steps were around the heart-centered elements, and then clarity was more sort of dealing with the head and the logical aspects. And then the opportunity which talked a little bit more about the nuts and bolts of the offer, and then the invitation, which was inviting the customer to make the purchase decision. I love the point you made about not being able to really sell to someone that’s not really possible. Ultimately, the customer sells to himself or to herself. We just facilitate that process. So we provide them with information and this is where Barry Moore was approach to tagging and really understanding your customer-based on behavioral segmentation and tagging helps you use marketing automation to be able to put the right targeted offers or testimonials and so on in front of the right people at the right time. We also talked about the importance of having deadlines and authentic deadlines, not, you know, scammy and spammy deadlines.

Ash Roy (50:36):

We also talked about how to strike a balance between not emailing your customer too much, but at the same time, not squeaking out your offer from the corner of the room, so no one ever hears you. And I think a lot of that lies around again, empathy and understanding your audience and being able to make offers to them based on where they are on their journey. The other big hack for me was when you’re coming up with an offer, don’t start with a fear-based offer where you’re thinking small and then sort of ratcheting up little incrementally, start big, and then think, okay, now where can I get in trouble here? And bring it down to something that is real, that is grassroots down to earth and that you can over deliver on, but you need to start with that big vision. And as I say this, I realized things like the iPhone or any other great products came from this unreasonable, huge vision before the iPhone was created. Getting rid of a keyboard, sounded ludicrous to most people, but it came from that space of real audacity. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Michael Maidens (51:45):

The big things that I really feel and when would love to share and see people do is the step where I believe that you need to fall in love with your offer first. I really, really believe that you need to sit there and you need to say, wow, you know, I am so proud of the transformation that I can give to these people. I’m so proud of the product that I’ve created. I really believe in this offer. I really believe that this person is in this situation, that this is the best place for them to spend their money and their valuable money and their valuable time. You know, don’t forget that people are giving us their time too. And you just fall in love with that. When you can truly believe that, you know, you are, you are in love with your offer. Then you know the thing about the things that you do, you know, you, you speak about all the things that you love doing, whether it’s kitesurfing, surfing, you know, you talk about the things that you love. So I really encourage people to try and approach their offer with that same view of falling in love with their offer first. So that they’re the prospects and the people that hear about it.

Ash Roy (52:51):

So how do we know when we have reached that point? That’s a very important point you’ve made. Thank you for bringing it up. That can be, if there’s no other action, step you’ll take away from this conversation. Take that develop something that you fall in love with, and that you’re proud of. So you follow those five steps that we talked about earlier on, and definitely check out the Offer Academy, which you can find out more about it,, all one word. But how does one know when they have reached that point where they’re just like, yes, this is the offer?

Michael Maidens (53:21):

What I believe is it’s a feeling it’s like a form of love, heart skips a beat, or you just feel lighter. You just feel like you would tell anyone about it, which is always the opposite to what people do when they fear there and feel it, they feel salesy. They’ve if you could walk down and just feel like, wow, you know, whether it’s your mom, your neighbor, whoever it’s like, tell someone about your offer. You’re just so excited.

Ash Roy (53:48):

Sound like an inventor, who’s just invented this new thing.

Michael Maidens (53:49):

And that’s where it is a really a nice outcome of an offer. And this is where, you know, in the Offer Academy, talk about – it’s an art and it’s a science. It’s a, it’s a heart and a head. It’s a dance of communication. And when you do get that, it just feels right. You know, you can deliver on it. You know, that students will get the results. You know, they’ll get more results than what you’re saying, that you are actually promising and you feel like the price is right. It just matches. And you just feel like you’re just like, wow, I love this offer. If someone would have offered me this back when I was in that place in my life, where I would have spent the money without even thinking. Actually fall in love with your offer first.

Ash Roy (54:31):

Great. Thank you. That’s fantastic. So once again, you can learn all about the offer Academy by heading over to That’s one word. And Michael, how do people find out more about you?

Michael Maidens (54:44):

Yeah. is the HQ for most of the things that are going on.

Ash Roy (54:48):

That’s, spelled M I C H A E L M A I D E N Is that right? Yes. Perfect. So I’ll definitely link to that in the show notes of this episode, and you can check out this video and a whole bunch of other videos, everything I’ve mentioned by going to or So thank you very much for being on the show, Michael. And I look forward to having you on again sometime.

Michael Maidens (55:14):

Awesome. Thanks for having me.

Ash Roy (55:17):

Thank you.


Ash Roy

Ash Roy has spent over 15 years working in the corporate world as a financial and strategic analyst and advisor to large multinational banks and telecommunications companies. He suffered through a CPA in 1997 and completed it despite not liking it at all because he believed it was a valuable skill to have. He sacrificed his personality in the process. In 2004 he finished his MBA (Masters In Business Administration) from the Australian Graduate School of Management and loved it! He scored a distinction (average) and got his personality back too!