If you want people to pay attention to you, it helps to be an expert.
But as you know, becoming an expert takes time. You must amass knowledge, apply it and then develop a strong record of practical success before the internet will consider you an authority.
It’s hard to shortcut that process, but today we’re going to look at a business that managed to do just that.
How? By keeping it simple.
In our second ActiveGrowth Simple Business Case Study, I'm going to show you an info-product business that rocketed to success by keeping their focus super tight on one small corner of the fitness industry. By becoming THE experts on a singular exercise for weight loss and muscle building, they quickly built a massive audience of true fans.
The Jump Rope Dudes are a health & fitness duo dedicated to helping people get fit through ONE type of exercise that you can do anywhere – jumping rope.
Dan Witmer and Brandon Epstein are the co-founders of the Jump Rope Dudes and produce jump rope-focused content, offer online training programs and make affiliate product recommendations to their massive YouTube audience of more than 236,000 subscribers...built up in less than 24 months!
The Jump Rope Dudes were both bulky American football players for 10 years before giving up the game and deciding to create more chiseled physiques for themselves (think soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo or Brad Pitt from Fight Club).
By transforming their diets and embracing the jump rope, they discovered a lifestyle that would let them maintain their hard-earned football muscles, but help shed any unwanted defensive end body fat.
Although the jump rope played a feature role in Dan and Brandon’s early content, it wasn’t until around video #53 on their YouTube channel that they pivoted to focus almost exclusively on jump rope fitness. In fact, their original branding was called Zen Dude Fitness in 2015 and changed to the Jump Rope Dudes at the beginning of 2018.
When Dan and Brandon started Zen Dude Fitness in 2015, their content included a much broader range of topics than just jump rope training. Originally, the duo was trying coach corporate bros on how to build shredded physiques through consistent exercise and sustainable nutrition.
If you look through their early YouTube videos, Zen Dude Fitness covered a range of topics including diet, goal setting, exercise motivation, intermittent fasting as well as various types of workouts. Jump rope training was a strong component of their content, but not the cornerstone like it is now:
If you glance at their first 15 videos shown above, notice that the jump rope videos captured significantly more views than virtually all the other content.
That pattern continued as their YouTube channel matured. 5 months after their channel launched, the primary focus turned to jump rope tutorials with nutrition and mindset training taking a secondary content priority.
Here’s what the most recent 15 videos on the Jump Rope Dudes’ YouTube channel looks like. 9 of them are dedicated to jump roping:
Why is specialization such an important lesson to learn from the the Jump Rope Dudes?
Because niching down allowed Dan and Brandon to simplify their business and become THE experts for jump rope weight loss. Jump rope is a fun and interesting sub-niche of the fitness industry and it accelerated the Jump Rope Dudes’ journey to authority status...in a matter of months.
To illustrate how this specialization strategy can make your business way more competitive, let’s do a YouTube search term experiment in a Google Chrome Incognito window.
First, we’ll search for a keyword that resembles Zen Dude Fitness’ earlier, more generic appeal. Then we'll use a more specialized keyword that reflects the Jump Rope Dudes’ specialization strategy:
1) Generic Keyword Search: Upper Body Workout
As you can see from the generic Upper Body Fitness search term, only huge channels that have covered such topics to death will appear in the top search results. As a solopreneur with limited time and resources, you just can't expect to compete with that...
2) Niche Keyword Search: Jump Rope Workout
Out of the first 5 search results for Jump Rope Workout, 4 videos belong to the Jump Rope Dudes and the 5th result offers a “Subscribe” button to their channel. Now that’s what I call crushing organic search!
As Hanne and Shane like to say... the riches really are in the niches.
In less than 24 months, the Jump Rope Dudes have 236,000+ subscribers on their YouTube channel, 3 online courses and a sweet affiliate marketing deal with their favorite jump rope brand.
If our jump rope duo had continued to be all things zen fitness, they would have struggled to carve out a niche for themselves in an already saturated fitness market.
Instead of being all things to all people, become THE expert for one particular aspect of your industry.
For the Jump Rope Dudes, that meant niching down to jump rope weight loss instead of the broader zen fitness approach they began with.
If, for example, your online business is in the food industry, you could specialize yourself by niching down to focus on veganism. But even in a narrow sub-market like vegan cooking, you should take the specialization process a step further.
Become THE expert for a subcategory of vegan foods...like coconut recipes. This will reduce the time it takes you to become an authority in your market since the scope of what you must master is greatly reduced.
Brainstorm: “What sub-niche can I master to accelerate my climb to authority status within my industry?”
Even if you have a tight business focus, should you still try to segment your email list?
Heck yes you should!
Even basic audience segmentation can help boost your conversion rates. The more you tailor your content and products to specific subgroups, the more those people will not just want, but need what you’re selling.
Once again, the Jump Rope Dudes show us how to get this done with a super simple 2 question lead segmentation quiz:
Without adding any real complexity to their opt-in process, the Jump Rope Dudes used a 2 question quiz to learn the gender and primary fitness goals of their new leads:
Question 1: Select your gender - Male or Female?
Question 2: What do you want more? Lose Fat or Build Muscle?
Even these basic segmentations allow Dan and Brandon to create a simple matrix to understand which sub-group of their subscribers resonate best with certain types of content and course offerings:
Simple segmentation of your already specialized business will lead to better conversions since you can market to your customers more strategically.
Keep It Simple. Create a 2 question lead generation quiz to segment your new subscribers and help improve your future conversion goals.
With the Jump Rope Dudes, that meant asking new leads for their gender and primary fitness goal.
If we go back to our vegan coconut expert example from Lesson 1, two important questions they could ask their already niche audience might be:
1. What type of Veganism most reflects your current eating habits?
a) Raw or b) Plant-based / Just Vegan
2. How often do you have time to prepare your own meals?
a) Most meals or b) Rarely
Such simple questions make it easy to segment your already niche audience into 4 sub-groups. You can then offer new subscribers specialized products to boost your conversion rates:
1. Raw Vegan with no time to cook
2. Raw Vegan with time to cook
3. Plain Vegan with no time to cook
4. Plain Vegan with time to cook
Task: Brainstorm 4 important subscriber subgroups for your business. Next, create 2 questions you can use within a lead generation quiz to start segmenting subscribers into one of those 4 groups.
If you need a WordPress plugin to rapidly implement your new lead segmentation quiz, make sure to check out Thrive Quiz Builder.
If you become THE expert in a sub-niche, that means you now have the opportunity to create premium info-products teaching others how to achieve proficiency in your specialty.
And guess what?
That’s exactly what the the Jump Rope Dudes did after dominating the jump rope fitness market. Their two premium jump rope training programs focus on serving the primary goals of their target customers: 1) Fat Loss - Shredded Ninja and 2) Muscle Building - Swole Samurai.
Here at ActiveGrowth, we encourage solopreneurs to create digital info-products when starting out on their entrepreneurial journeys.
By using the Customer First Approach, you can leverage 1-on-1 coaching to learn exactly what solutions your market needs and then scale your solutions to serve more people by creating online info-products.
The Jump Rope Dudes are a great example at what success looks like after following this approach. They started out by personally coaching clients during their Zen Dude Fitness days and eventually evolved their product to become jump rope fitness online training courses.
If you’re not familiar with the Customer First Approach yet, get started by listening to the Forget Traffic series of episodes on the ActiveGrowth podcast.
In just x4, 45-minute podcasts, Shane and Hanne will lay out the step-by-step formula you should follow to bootstrap your first info-product through a get sh*t shipped, rapid implementation process.
The most important gear for jumping rope is… well... a jump rope.
Part of the Jump Rope Dudes’ simplicity behind their info product business is that they can promote their favorite gear to followers and collect affiliate marketing commissions for their efforts:
I have no clue what Dan and Brandon’s affiliate commission looks like for promoting the Crossrope, but I’m guessing it’s a respectable chunk of every sale. Their commission is definitely well earned since their Crossrope recommendation video gets you fired up to pull the trigger on what looks to be the world's best jump rope:
If you become known as THE expert within any niche, the most common question you’re going to get from people asking about what gear or tools you recommend.
For the Jump Rope Dudes, their most common question is “What jump rope do you use?” For daily vlogger Casey Neistat, it’s “What camera gear should I buy?” You get the idea...
When you're an internet famous specialist, people are going to want your advice on gear they should use to get your results so why not strike some win-win affiliate marketing deals with the companies you already recommend?
And never create affiliate marketing deals just for the sake of cashing in. Always focus on promoting the best tools in your market so you can help your audience avoid the crap that will hinder their progress and hurt their pocket-books.
If you’re an expert, recommending your favorite product or tools to people is probably a daily occurrence for you. Why not reach out to the companies that make your favorite products to see if they’ll give you a commission for your referrals?
Many companies have official affiliate marketing programs you can simply apply to online. You apply, get accepted and receive affiliate marketing links that you can embed on your website or message to people. If someone buys your recommended product through your affiliate link, you’ll receive a commission for that sale.
But even if the company doesn’t have a formal affiliate program, you can still contact them to ask if a partnership can be made. The worst they can say is no so you have nothing to lose!
In just 2 years, the Jump Rope Dudes' YouTube channel grew from nothing to over 236,000 subscribers! That just doesn’t happen unless you learn how to make engaging videos around topics people are really interested in.
And here’s another thing to consider...
If your online business sells education or info-products, you must master the art of creating explainer videos. How else will customers learn from you if you can’t teach on camera?
In the case of the Jump Rope Dudes, video is their primary content medium. Eventually, that skill became profitable as they produced premium E-Courses to sell on their website.
You don’t need a massive YouTube audience to experience the benefits of publishing awesome video content.
Getting better at video will make your blog posts more engaging, your sales pages convert better and your premium E-Courses more valuable to your customers.
If you can make videos consistently, you’ll not only get better at them, but also create an ever growing library of content that improve your organic reach through time.
The sad truth is that most of your competition will remain camera shy so video can become your competitive advantage. Not only do online visitors prefer video to text these days, but great videos help potential customers trust you and your products much faster than they would otherwise.
One of the best ways to accelerate your development in any skill is by committing to a 30-Day Challenge. Shane calls this The Grind.
To get better at making online explainer videos, your 30-Day challenge is pretty straightforward:
Create and publish 1 explainer video per day for 30 days. Each day, aim to improve one thing from the previous day’s video.
By the end of 30 days, you’ll surprise yourself at how much better you are at making videos and feel great about how much content you added to your website!
I hope you’ll agree that the Jump Rope Dudes are a great example of how profitable an online business can be if you keep your focus super specific.
You not only accelerate your journey to expert status within your niche, but you attract true fans that will become your repeat customers.
How will you niche down your online business to boost conversions and capture your true fans? Let me know in the comments section below!
Matt's a geologist turned online marketer and digital nomad. He's a Modern Manimal on a mission to cultivate a high-tech, hunter-gatherer lifestyle within our exceedingly domesticated world. When away from his tech, you can find him studying complex human movement through random play or practices like Aikido, AcroYoga and Barefoot Running.
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