Erin Kelly, MV CEO & Co-founder on the backstory and what she loves most about MV

Hello again. I’m Erin Kelly, MemberVault CEO and co founder. So if you listen to the introduction episode, you got the backstory on why we’re doing this podcast how we’re doing this podcast, what has been working in terms of the workflow.

So I know people always love to hear the behind the scenes in case you want to maybe do this with your own users. If you have a membership or a course or something that you want to be able to use sort of as a testimonial, use case kind of thing. People love hearing the behind the scenes. So we will continue to share those we will continue to share what’s working, what’s not working, as we evolve this podcast.

So on this episode, I want to share my story. So both how we started MemberVault, and it was actually fixed one of my clients needs, but then also why I love MemberVault. And what I think is just a really, really cool aspect of the platform. So we started MemberVault out to fix one of my clients needs. So I’ve, several years ago, I was an online business manager. And my husband is and he is the fellow co founder, Mike Kelly, and CTO, he is a developer. And so he was doing all kinds of like really cool high level development for big firms and big companies. While I was doing the OBM, online entrepreneur thing, and one of my big clients, we tried a couple of different course platforms, and we just were not happy with them, we kept running into a lot of issues.

There were a lot of bugs, it just felt like every single day, we would look and there would be some kind of customer service issue related to it just not working correctly. And it was incredibly frustrating. And so I found myself complaining to Mike quite frequently, and being like, ah, like, why can’t this just work?

And typical small, good developer, he was like, well, I could build something better. And I sort of laughed him off. Because I’m like, Yeah, like you’re busy. I’m busy, like, Cool story, let me just bet. But it kept coming up until finally, we actually spoke with my client. And we decided to actually create a custom solution for her. And so she and Mike had discussed, you know, the needs and everything. And one of the things that I definitely applaud Mike for being so forward thinking because in my mind, I was like, I love being an IBM. And this is just going to help out my client, but like, it’s not going to go beyond that. But Mike has always wanted to have some kind of software that he could just continue working on year after year after year.

And so when he was actually scoping out the project and writing the proposal, he actually gave a big discount on it to my client, because with the expectation that he would be able to resell that, that product if he chose to at a future date. So and she was like, cool, go for it. And then I remember her, you know, after he had built it, he would talk about doing that. And I was like Mike, there’s so many course platform tools, do you know how much work that is to do the marketing and all the customer service? And like, we both really like what we’re doing, like, why would we do that. And he just kept plugging away at it.

And so I just I give so much credit to him, because number one would not exist without him being so just focused on making it happen. And so very early on MemberVault, it was basically it was just a course platform like it didn’t do well, most of the stuff that it does now. But the thing that we saw is a lot of our client that I should say the clients of my client would reach out and they would say like, what are you using? I really like it. And it happened enough times that I was like, okay, maybe we do have, maybe we do have something here.

And so I told Mike I was like, okay, like, let’s go for it. I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing with my online business job. But like, if you want to go all in on this, you can. And so he actually started really building more features into member vault and working on it during nap times. At the time, we were actually digital nomads, we were travelling around the country and a 30 foot trailer. And we had a toddler and life was very busy. It was a very full life. And again, you know, I was not very involved at that point. It was it was all Mike doing development stuff.

We had a handful of one time paying clients like, again, MemberVault had didn’t really look like what it does now. But at the time, like we were doing a lot of customer conversations and like what do you like about this? What do you wish that it did, and learning a lot just about running a software tool. And so that was a really great experience. And it was actually right after I became pregnant with our second kiddo that we realised that member about really needed my marketing strategy brain. So if we really wanted to go all in on it, like we really needed to both of us be invested in it. And that was a really tough decision. We had a toddler and I was pregnant with our second kid. And we decided okay, like let’s do this, like we’re both gonna go all in on MemberVault. We did not have that many clients at that point. That many users.

We trusted that we had something really cool. And so that is how member vault started. And from there, it really just started when it had both of our attention. So it had Mike’s technical know how and I had my strategy and marketing brain like, that’s when we really, really started to pick up traction. And it has been about two years since that point. And I’m just so excited about, I’m so excited that we have this platform, I’m so glad that Mike was so tenacious about doing it. Because there’s just so many exciting things that are coming in the future for the platform. And I literally, it’s, it was so hard for me to let go of being an IBM, because I really liked that job. But like, literally being the CEO of a sass company is a dream come true. Because now, it’s almost like I get to be an OBM for all of our users. Because I get to see opportunities and you know, help map out features, and how we support our users how we create things like this, like this podcast. So it really is a dream come true for both of us.

And that’s the backstory of MemberVault. And I’m so excited to see what’s going to come from it. So my favourite thing, really, from almost the beginning of November rolls is that it brings your email list to life. So I’m an email marketing geek, like I love segmenting and tagging, and all that stuff. And I know that that is not the norm, like most people don’t feel like that they actually hate sending emails, or they don’t, you know, they know that they should be tying or they should be segmenting, but like it feels super overwhelming. And so I know that I’m not the norm. And it was actually really funny, because early on with MemberVault, we were really leaning into the fact that you can tag for all of these things based on actions inside of your member vault, and then be able to send really segmented emails. And people were like, yeah, that’s really cool. But like, I’m not there yet. And so it really was not a great, unique selling proposition for the platform, because people just weren’t there yet. Like they were really excited by the possibility. But it was sort of like that’s nice for the future.

But the thing that I really like, so I like the tagging in the segmenting capabilities. But even beyond that, the thing that I have really come to just absolutely love is again, that it brings your email list to life. So even if you’re not using tagging, even if you’re not like taking those tags, and creating really amazing personalised segments inside of your email tool, just sending an email and making sure that you have links back to your MemberVault account, whether it’s, you know, selling a paid offer, or it’s, you know, promoting something free that people have access to, or it’s sending them just to your marketplace page, like your main page, or it’s sending them to a teaser module. So it’s like an unlocked public module that has some content, it gets them into remember well, and then they can go and check out all of the paid stuff that you have.

The thing I love is that you can go immediately after you send an email, you can go and look in your memory wall and see that people are coming and checking it out. And even better, like you can see that you have people over multiple days, like coming back and checking things out, again, you becoming hot leads for your products. And so even though I am an email geek, and I know that I can do a lot of that tracking type thing inside of my email system, you know, I can go and I can say like, Okay, how many people clicked on this link? For a paid product? Like they must be interested? It still doesn’t tell me as much as looking at the reports in MemberVault, where I can say, Wow, so Molly, Molly not only clicked on my paid product once, but she came back and looked at it like five more times. But she hasn’t purchased yet. Like let me reach out to her. And we used to actually do this all the time.

When MemberVault was really small, we were selling annuals and stuff inside of our member account. Like we would go and reach out to people manually and it works so so well, because it feels really personal. And you just have a much clearer idea of like, what is getting people interested. And the other tracking is like, let’s say you’re running a challenge, and you’re sending emails to get people to check out your challenge, you can actually go in and see, okay, it’s like a five day challenge and people are dropping off. After day two, like okay, that informs what I’m going to send on day three, or day four of the challenge or when I revamped the challenge. And so there’s just so much information for you that you can see in the reports.

And so that’s what I always like to say like it brings our email list to life because even though you can see some of that reporting, some of that reporting inside of your email tool, you can see so much more by looking at the the Tracking and Data inside of your member vault and the report.

So then the other thing that like, helps you go even deeper into your email list, and it actually makes them makes you see your email list as like real people is quiz answers. So we use quiz answers inside of all of our products inside of pretty much every lesson. And so there’s like testimonial quiz questions. There’s market research questions. There’s Do you have any other questions about this? You know, was this helpful? so much information has come from that it is insane. I just I can’t even like quiz questions, quiz, quiz questions. And quiz answers are by far my favourite thing. Because again, like at all tracking, and the quiz answers kind of all come together to again, like, bring your email list to life.

So instead of just thinking like I’m sending out into the void, I have no idea if people are clicking, I have no idea if they’re interested in my paid products, like, I have no idea what they’re doing inside of my challenge. Like now you can actually see Oh, yeah, actually, they are loving the challenge. And they’re writing answers to the quiz questions to tell me even more about their experience and what they want more of and like, you know, what they loved about the the challenge and like, it just it to me, it makes it so much more fun, because you now have all of this information. And it starts to feel more like a collaborative creation process with your people instead of you just like sending to an email list and kind of wondering what’s going on.

That by far is my absolute favourite thing about member vaults. And we will be continuing to develop things or features around that to make it even easier, like the ability for people to do thumbs up and thumbs down. So that you can see that in your reports like, Oh, this lesson is trending really well. People are really liking it, or this lesson isn’t. And again, this would be for your information only. So yeah, I mean, I just, that’s my favourite thing.

You are going to if you keep listening to this podcast, you’re going to hear other users favourite things, and how they have used member vaults to really support their businesses. And there’s also a few people that are sharing that they left some other tool and they came to MemberVault. And this is why they love MemberVault. So we will continue to be on Season One, we will continue to share even more user stories. I’m so excited for you to hear them for you to potentially even be someone that we showcase on the podcast, and for all of us to learn more about running an online business from each other. So very exciting things.

I’m so excited about this podcast and again, if you want to hear more about how we are creating this podcast, listen to the introduction episode. If you don’t have a MemberVault account yet, definitely sign up. Sign up for a forever fully free plan at and if you do have an account or after you sign up definitely come chat with us in our Collaborative community on Facebook, and that is at Hope you have a fantastic day.

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