Johann Berby had a mission to give people a new way to learn and collaborate on the bass guitar. He just needed the right instrument to help him turn it into a business.
Johann Berby has a passion for bass guitar, a passion for groove, and a passion for all the improvisation and collaboration that comes with being a musician. For years, Johann’s passions led him to the life of a touring musician, playing with acclaimed international artists like Oumou Sangaré, Yaël Naïm, and Marcus Miller. As he played, a conviction grew in Johann that he could do more with his abilities than just playing in the background. He knew that if he wanted to make a living doing what he loved, he needed to turn to his creativity to start a business.
“I was touring with a lot of famous artists in France and around the world, and I met one of my favorite musicians who told me I should think about getting into the music publishing business,” explains Johann. “At the time, I didn’t know anything about managing a business, so it took me a few years to act on it. Being a business owner is different from being a performer in the music industry. It’s a lot easier to play for others than it is to manage a team, have a vision, and share that vision with your customer.”
Johann’s vision led him to create online lessons that help others learn how to play the instrument that he loved: the bass. These lessons allowed him to share his passion and the music experience that shaped him with the world. He set out to create an online community of passionate bassists who could share the joy of playing together, learning, and improvising. And just like that, Groove Like a Pig was born.
From great content to persuasive product
“It started out as a blog,” says Johann. “I was following a program to create value for my readers and generate traffic through SEO. I was using Facebook, YouTube, social media, things like that—but then I thought, ‘I need a strategy,’ because it’s one thing to create content—but I need to sell products as well.”
Johann picked up the book Dotcom Secrets by digital entrepreneur Russell Brunson and started exploring the marketing funnel concept. He quickly found his creative instincts coming out while designing a compelling journey for his audience. He just needed the right instrument to shape the experience.
“I took a marketing course, and they introduced me to ActiveCampaign as one of the best tools on the market,” says Johann. “They said, ‘we’re just showing you the basics,’ and I said to myself, ‘Wow! that’s what you can do with just the basics?’ It was a fantastic new world for me. I went through all the ActiveCampaign video content I could find, and what you could do with the platform seemed crazy. So I started thinking about how I could use these ideas to help my customers achieve their dreams: being a better musician, being a better bass player, and just having fun with their instrument.”
If you can draw it, you can build it on ActiveCampaign
Johann crafted the rhythm of his customer journeys with the same enthusiasm that he’d use to play a good bass line. “I found getting started super easy, just like putting together IKEA furniture—you follow the plan, and that’s it,” he says. “Then, when I had ideas and wanted to create different things, I found the tool was fantastic—because it’s so visual. My advice to people would be to start out with a piece of paper and a pen or pencil, draw and write out your ideas, and then when everything is clear in your head, go ahead and build your automation.”
The journeys that Johann designed treated the customer journey like a great jazz track—hooking people in slowly at first and then finding ways to keep surprising and delighting them. Using ActiveCampaign has enabled the Groove Like a Pig experience to unfold in stages, priming people to commit to the bass community—and take their playing to the next level. First, they subscribe to a newsletter for regular content—content that’s so inspiring and informative it leads them to sign up to the community and lessons with Johann.
Personalizing the pipeline
“ActiveCampaign is just incredible—somebody leaves their email address, and then the automations can take care of everything,” he says. “I love the segmentation that’s possible in the pipeline with custom tags. I try to find their interest: Is it improv? Do they want to play blues? Do they mainly want to be a cover artist? Then when they click, it routes them to automations where they get more on that interest. If they’re still clicking and watching videos at the end of that journey, it’s time for them to sign up for a live video session so that I can coach them personally and help them achieve their dreams.”
That sign-up is just one of the ways that ActiveCampaign has made a big impact on Johann’s business strategy. Johann keeps exploring ways to take the Groove Like a Pig experience to the next level long after somebody starts taking lessons.
“As a customer who’s bought the product, they go into what I call the Jacuzzi,” says Johann. “It’s just for relaxing—but they still get automated emails from us with our best blog posts and videos, and we get lots of replies saying ‘thank you.’ Personalization helps people to feel they’re being heard. For example, when they sign up, they have the option of telling us what make of bass guitar they play—and with custom fields in ActiveCampaign, I can reference that model when I’m talking about their pain points.”
It’s the sort of VIP treatment designed to build loyalty and get people talking. “I always try to surprise customers by over-delivering,” says Johann. “When they first subscribe to the course, they get a book delivered to their house with exercises to do. They don’t know they’re going to get it. I don’t promote it at all. It’s just a big surprise that feels really valuable.”
Finding a marketing collective on ActiveCampaign
For Johann, collaboration and integration are key elements of the ActiveCampaign experience. He uses integrations with Bonjoro to send personal videos to everyone who joins—and the Calendly integration to deliver a seamless, branded experience when booking lessons and setting up calls. More than anything, though, he values the support he gets from the ActiveCampaign community.
“There’s this amazing ActiveCampaign community online,” he says. “I talk to people at the company online probably once a week to ask for advice—and they’re amazing. Rockstars. All this advice and support is free, and you can do so much with it.”
Groove Like a Pig proves just how much you can do. Before ActiveCampaign, Johann had been using MailChimp to build up an email subscriber list – and had been going nowhere fast. Putting his creativity to work on ActiveCampaign transformed his subscriber numbers. It also validated his business model—by proving that musicians would invest in the type of community-driven playing and learning experience he offers.
“With ActiveCampaign, we’ve gone from a list of 0 subscribers to 13,000 active ones,” he says. “Another big growth stage for us was being able to sell our programs for €900. Now we’re able to develop products that people are happy to pay €2,000 for. We’ve grown to a business of 12 people, and that’s an amazing experience for me.”
Groove Like a Pig is just getting started. Johann has plans to expand the brand, offering the same highly interactive learning experience for the guitar and the drums, launching Groove Like a Pig Kids, and developing a program to help musicians sell their music online. It’s a groove that shows no sign of stopping. And it will continue to play out on ActiveCampaign.
Find your own marketing groove—try ActiveCampaign for free starting today.