Shawn Clement is a golf instructor based in Canada. He’s the most popular golf instructor on YouTube, with more than 22 million views since he started making YouTube videos in 2006.
The Inbound Marketing Grader looks at successful coaches, consultants, trainers, and other solopreneurs who do inbound marketing well. In this post, I grade Shawn Clement’s inbound marketing, with notes about where he excels and where he could improve.
Back in 2006, Clement was just another golf pro who gave lessons at a driving range.
He didn’t even know what YouTube was until a fellow golf pro told him about it; the pro encouraged Clement to make a few videos because he’d be good at it.
Since then Clement has developed a brand (Wisdom In Golf: Dedicated to the Re-Education of the Golf Learning Process), and he’s used inbound marketing to grow his business from “trading time for money” to “making money when he sleeps.”
I’m very familiar with Clement’s work, because I’ve been watching/using his videos for three years. I have great respect for him and for how he’s been able to help people learn and improve. Clement’s love of teaching is very inspiring.
First, a Brief Inbound-Marketing Refresher
Inbound marketing is the process of using online tools to turn strangers into customers. Here are inbound’s steps:
1. Attract strangers, with blog posts, e-books, e-newsletters, podcasts, video, white papers, and social-media platforms.
2. Convert website visitors into leads, using forms, calls to action, and landing pages.
3. Close the leads and make them customers, using customer-relationship management, email, and workflows.
4. Delight your customers (with the products and services you provide) to such a degree that you turn them into evangelists for your business.
Inbound-Marketing “Attraction” Grade: A+
• If you’re a golf instructor, there are three places you want to be online: YouTube. YouTube. YouTube. When golfers want to improve their games, they go to YouTube. And that’s where Clement is.
Video is perfect for Clement because, not only are his customers there, but he’s a natural in front of the camera. He’s also a very gifted teacher. He’s always sharing new images and analogies to help the golfer understand and learn. For example, check out his video below, published in 2010.
• The challenge for any golf instructor on YouTube is competition. YouTube is choking with golf-instructional videos. But golf instruction (in all of its forms — in person, print, video) has always had a problem: most instructors have egos the size of Mount Rushmore. The number-one complaint that people have with golf instruction is that the instructors are intimidating and condescending.
That’s where Clement has a competitive advantage: he doesn’t have an ego. Or if he does, it’s not apparent in his videos. (Interestingly, Clement is a heckuva golfer. Clement can hit the ball a mile and he plays just as well left-handed as right-handed. He doesn’t reveal that in his videos; I learned it from a student of his.)
• He’s been doing videos for seven years, and he has hundreds of them. That’s a problem because his branding has changed from ShawnClementGolf.com to Shawn Clement’s Wisdom In Golf. He solved it by re-directing ShawnClementGolf.com to WisdomInGolf.com. (He still has one branding clean-up to attend to: as of this writing, his website’s forum uses the first iteration of his Wisdom In Golf branding. Note the color palette, typography, and navigation.)
• WisdomInGolf.com is mobile-friendly. I tested it on both MobileTest.me (a very cool tool, by the way, for testing how your site looks on mobile devices) and on my phone, and WIG looked great.
• Extra credit: Clement doesn’t waste time or resources at Twitter or Facebook. He has active accounts, but he uses them primarily to send people to YouTube.
Inbound-Marketing “Conversion” Grade: A-
• The biggest obstacle to conversion for Clement is his generosity. He has so many videos available free that a golfer could get tons of content without having to whip out his/her credit card.
• YouTube is awesome, but it can be difficult to convert the viewers into leads. Clement does it by telling his YouTube viewers, during the videos, about his website.
• The game-changer for Clement is a premium YouTube channel that he launched in December 2014. (How to get a premium YouTube channel.) Clement’s premium channel is brilliant because it basically moves the potential customer directly from the attraction step to the customer step, thus skipping conversion. It also gives Clement the solopreneurs’ Holy Grail: recurring income.
• Until about two years ago, conversion was the weak link in Clement’s inbound marketing. His website wasn’t well-equipped to convert traffic into leads. Today it is.
His front page can capture leads with:
• A sign-up for a 14-day free trial of his premium video.
• A sign-up for his newsletter.
• A sign-up for the forum at his website.
Inbound-Marketing “Close” Grade: A
• Two years ago I would’ve given Clement a “C” in this area.
But his premium YouTube channel bumps him up to a “B.”
Still, he could do better job closing on his leads. I’ve been a member of Clement’s forum for about two years, and I don’t remember receiving any e-mails during that time promoting his products and services. I found out about his new premium YouTube channel when I went to YouTube. In the winter, Clement gives lessons at warm-weather locations, and I’d to be told about those, too, via email.
UPDATE, January 30, 2015: I received an e-newsletter today from Clement, and it was terrific. It offered updates on his teaching schedule, plus information regarding his premium channel. So I’m bumping up his “Close” grade from a “B” to an “A.” And I’m moving his overall grade from a “B+” to an “A.”
Inbound-Marketing “Delight” Grade: B
• Clement certainly delights his customers with his products and services. He builds community with an active, friendly forum, but his grade here suffers because he doesn’t provide easy ways for his happy customers to evangelize for him.
Shawn Clement’s Inbound-Marketing Overall Grade: A
Lessons to be learned from Shawn Clement’s inbound marketing:
• Stay close to your clients and customers. Know what their pain points are and know what your clients want to gain. Clement is a master at this because he’s so connected to his students: he still gives in-person lessons, which are a rich source of ideas for his videos.
If you spend too much time on “make money while you sleep” products, you can lose touch with your market, their pain, and what they want to gain.
• Know what customers/clients hate about your industry. In golf instruction, consumers hate golf instructors’ egos. Clement has little or no ego, and it’s a big reason for his success.
• Assume that success is inevitable. Clement left a lot of money on the table (including quite a bit from me) in his early years on YouTube. He lost out because he didn’t think about he could scale his business if/when the YouTube videos became a hit.
• He’s losing money by not sending a welcome email to new subscribers within an hour of their sign-up — new subscribers are never be more willing to buy than right after they sign up for your stuff. Clement’s email should include a special offer(s) for his products and for his online lessons.
• In the inbound-marketing “attract” category, don’t spread yourself too thin. Clement is very judicious with how he uses his content-development resources. He’s “all in” with YouTube and doesn’t invest many resources at Twitter and Facebook.
Seth Godin is another person who chooses his online tools very carefully; he puts his energy into blog posting, writing books, and speaking. His Twitter and Facebook presences are rudimentary.
Many/most solopreneurs spread themselves way too thin on social media. The next time you hear/read someone say, “You have to be on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest/YouTube, etc.,” remember Clement and Godin.