SubHub meets Stephen Mann of Guitarmann
"I was fairly picky in choosing a hosting platform. I remember different options that were cumbersome and static. SubHub was the clear front runner in terms of functionality, great support, and fair pricing." - Stephen Mann.
Voted one of the best training resources of 2012 by Worship Leader Magazine, Guitarmann is a valuable resource for learning to play the guitar, no matter your skill level. The site launched with
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what led
Stephen: "When I was in middle school, I discovered talent and even hunger to play guitar. I would spend 4-5 hours practicing every day I could. Later in high school, I started getting requests to give my friends lessons. Even though I graduated from college with a business degree, I found myself devoting my time and effort toward teaching lessons and developing a bullet-proof way for people to learn everything they need to play guitar at any level. My time teaching paralleled my time leading worship in churches, camps, and other organizations, so I wanted to create a resource that would benefit anyone wanting to play guitar but with song examples geared toward the worship setting. I've been running my site now for over 5 years."
Why did you decide to use
Stephen: "One of my hobbies in college was creating websites, so I was fairly picky in choosing a hosting platform. I remember different options that were cumbersome and static.
Stephen Mann's website Guitarmann.com.
How involved were you in developing the website, and did you have any experience in creating a website before?
Stephen: "I was very involved in developing all of the layers of my site because I enjoy it. I was able to
Stephen: "I personally maintain my site. I could see how outsourcing may be beneficial to others, but I have found it rewarding to be as
How much time do you spend updating your website?
Stephen: "I launched the site with 4 different series of video guitar lessons. Since then, I've posted several articles and music charts to keep the site fresh; however, most of my time spent is creating a new video guitar lesson every week. Even though this can take me a few hours each week, I think fresh content is essential to a subscription site."
How do you interact with members and what's the key to keeping them happy?
Stephen: "I made a commitment when I launched the site to personally answer every email I get within about 24 hours. This is another discipline I've had which has shown my students that I care about them. I think the key to happy members is providing them with what they are signing up
Stephen: "The absolute beauty of a membership site is scalability. Being a business major, I know that growth can ironically hurt businesses. You can grow too fast, run out of product, and be incapable of delivering. With a membership site, you can accommodate rapid growth without worrying about physical warehouse space, etc.
What kind of content is most popular on your website and why do you think that is?
Stephen: "Free content is obviously the most popular content on my site, and I provide a whole lot of it! I have hundreds of music charts that are free and several videos that are free. Free is normal on the internet, so it's expected for potential members to experience content for free before they commit to becoming a member."
How have you grown your email subscribers and how do you manage them?
Stephen: "Over the years, I have amassed an email list of thousands! Even though I have a lot of free content readily available on the site, I also have content that can be accessed only when you sign up for the email list. This is the next step with potential members engaging the site. They are able to provide something of value (their email address) in exchange for something of value (free exclusive lessons). When they see that I respect their privacy, never spam, and let them unsubscribe whenever they wish, credibility builds. I manage the list through MailChimp, which automates much of the work and
How important is your website for your business?
Stephen: "For me, my website is my business. My members aren't an extension of something else, they are the core of what I do. Living in the
Now that you've created a website, how do you make money from it?
Stephen: "The way I make money from my site is primarily through my different membership types which allow access to all of my guitar lessons, all of my bass guitar lessons, or both. Users, simply choose what they want access to, and subscribe. The payments operate on a recurring schedule, just like Netflix, and users can cancel whenever they want."
What has been the most effective way to drive traffic to your website?
Stephen: "Because my website offers video lessons, the best way to generate traffic for me is through my video channel on YouTube. I have almost 2 million total video views on my channel and about 9 thousand YouTube subscribers. Once again, free content is essential to generate new users!"
From your experience, what are the basic steps somebody needs to take to
Stephen: "I have advised several people who have wanted to launch a website on what to do and what not to do. The number one piece of advice is to start something around what you are passionate about. To be successful, find
"The other piece of advice is to copy success. The web has progressed so much in the past few years, so it is important to benchmark what works and why. Finally, think of it as a sprint and then a marathon. It will take a lot of work to get it where you want it, but it will be worth it. Once you have it running, make sure to keep progressing and working. If your idea works, others will try to copy it. This is another reason why you must remain the expert in your field and constantly demonstrate your passion and your commitment to members."
What advice would you give somebody thinking about starting their own website with
Stephen: "I think
What can people expect from your site or company in 2015?
Stephen: "I have had the same design in place for 5 years, so I'm actually in the middle of a redesign process with
Discover more about Guitarmann at www.guitarmann.com or visit their social media channels for more information. To get started with your own website, visit SubHub.com and start your free 14-day trial now.