:Mindset / Success and goal setting

Case study: How one creator’s Circle community is paying for itself

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Community may be a buzzword in the creator economy. For Graham Nicholls, owner and creator of The Priority Academy, it’s not a new concept. However, how he’s running his community is evolving thanks to Teachable’s integration with Circle. Prior to testing and adopting the Teachable x Circle.so integration this April, Graham ran a private Facebook group of 15,000. 

“It’s a big community, and it’s very active,” he said. “It’s looking like about 9,000 posts or interactions a week. So, it’s a pretty active community, and that’s where I try and filter my students to—or, that’s where I was filtering my students to.”

Full circle moment

Graham has a unique situation for his business. After funneling students from a platform outside Teachable to his free Facebook group, he collects members’ email addresses and promotes his Teachable courses within his community.  

Although his Facebook community group is robust, Graham had been considering other options. He knew not every student would have a Facebook account. He also knew there had to be a better way to share content and promote his courses, more specifically the new membership offer he just launched on Teachable. 

“I’ve wanted to launch a membership with Teachable for probably over a year now,” said Graham. “And while I had a subscription bundle, that really just was all the courses. I wanted the whole membership thing with the community and all of everything that goes with it. And Facebook just doesn’t do that for me at the level I want to do it at. It’s just not organizable enough.”

He was really looking for a way to launch the membership offer he wanted and offer a community component. Teachable’s Circle.so integration allowed him to do just that.

The shift from, “Oh that’s quite expensive” to “How can I make that work profitably?” helped me create a space that effectively pays for itself and benefits my students.

A bevy of benefits

Graham wasn’t quite sure of the benefits of a non-Facebook community at first. More importantly, he wondered if the added expense of a paid service like Circle would help him achieve his goals. 

“My initial concern is obviously $79 a month is a fair chunk out of my business, and how I was going to recoup that?” he said. He was also concerned if his student base would transition to an independent community outside Facebook.

So, when he decided to test out the Circle integration with Teachable, Graham’s focus became making the new community pay for itself through the sales of both his membership and other courses. 

When Graham launched his community through Circle, he made it free to any of his students who wanted to join. He expected only a small number to transition over but was pleasantly surprised to find over 280 had joined.

Not all of his 15,000-strong audience funnels through his Teachable courses (although that’s the goal), but he wanted to promote his courses and make sales via Teachable. He soon found community members could view and click on links in Circle more easily than they could in the Facebook group.

Since the launch of his community, Graham’s sales have gone up. In fact, the sales of the products Graham drives to within his Circle community are actually paying for his $79 Circle expense. Even without the revenue generated by his membership launch, Graham’s Circle community works and pays for itself. 

Any other revenue on top of that is a bonus.

Marketing a membership

Now that Graham proved he’s able to recoup his Circle expense for his business, he’s setting his goals on growing his membership. “My target is to have 400 members by the end of the year, and that private space will be really useful, as I get more people into it,” he said.

As Graham continues to work towards his membership goal, he promotes his private membership community right on his sales page. And, he continues to add value to that private space through workshops, articles, and more. 

“It’s just about keeping up adding content, which will eventually become a marketing tool,” he said. “Because if I can say there are 50 pre-recorded workshops and 100 articles as an extra marketing tool, [it’s encouragement] for people to join the membership,” he added. 

Practicing what he teaches

While Graham doesn’t think that having a community with Circle changes the flow of his business funnel, he does think it adds to his offering, particularly his memberships. 

“It adds that there’s a private space that only members can get into,” he said. “I’ve got 110 members, so it’s quite a unique space only they get access to at the moment. So it’s not changed the flow, but it’s certainly added to my offering.”

And, so far student response has been positive. Graham noted that students aren’t having any difficulty locating his community. He also said that having an iOS app through Circle is particularly helpful to students. But ultimately, students are pleased to have an exclusive space.

“They love that there’s another space that’s private that they can comment in,” he said. “And, they love that there’s another option for them. Something I’m very big on is adding value to my students. And I encourage them to add value to their clients if they’re going out and working with people coaching. So if I can follow through and do that myself, then they’re more likely to do it for themselves.” 

Author: Caitlin Miller, Caitlin Miller is the Manager of Content Marketing Strategy at Teachable. In her spare time, she's often found listening to vinyl records, buying too many house plants, and enjoying a run on the streets of Brooklyn.

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