Carol Montgomery of Readers Theatre All Year: "I feel much more confident with technology now"
Readers Theatre All Year provides members with access to learning materials online via a subscription. Carol Montgomery and her husband Alan spoke with us about their experiences since starting with SubHub since 2010.
What brought you to SubHub? Carol: I was listening to a business webinar and I got a word from God in my head that said Reader's Theater and I was looking up membership management sites and I found SubHub. There were only three options at that point and time and when I looked at the membership management sites, cos I wasn't a techie at all.
I needed something easy and SubHub came out on the top because it was more affordable and it offered more perks than the other ones. I did most of it because it's Reader's Theater all year and I write the Reader's Theater plays for teachers to help. Children love Reader's Theater and teachers love it. I didn't have it when I was teaching school except I could only get it in books and they didn't have computers or the internet or anything when I was teaching school so I thought, this would be awesome to have a library of Reader's Theater scripts for teachers to use.
So, I chose SubHub and I was glad because they made it easy for me. The customer service has been great from the beginning when I was there and then when you came in it just went from great to awesome.
How did you get started with your SubHub site? Carol: I signed up for the free trial first and I can't remember what that was, but it was like a week or two for free and then it went up after that and I was in a panic because I thought, "Oh God, it's live." But nobody was finding it. I think I set it up in September and then in October, people were finding me, even from Australia and I said, "What? I haven't done anything." I give SubHub the credit for making me global cos I was a nothing and I did no marketing then. Cos, I didn't want people to find me when I was just learning. I used a template at the beginning. We didn't have the customization at the beginning.
How often do you work on your site? Carol:On a weekly basis, sometimes I haven't even checked it if health wise and family wise things are not going well. I do check my emails to make sure I'm interacting with my members, but my husband Alan came in to help with the tech after a year or two, I don't remember when and that's been very helpful…
Alan: The biggest issue we have, which other members may not have, is we have so many plays. We have over 300 plays and the older ones don't look the same. They don't have the same look and feel as the newer ones. So, I'm updating those all the time, I spend probably a good half hour to an hour per day doing that.
Carol: Well, and I update by putting up new content as soon as I get it done, but it varies what's going on in my life when I get the scripts written for the teachers, but I have a waiting list of teachers who have asked for particular topics.
How has SubHub helped you along the way? Carol: I didn't have to figure anything out really because you had the knowledge base to help me learn and I think I would call it now SubHub University for adult or young learners because there's a knowledge base to help and whatever I wasn't understanding, I could write support team like you or someone and they would walk me through it step by step and if there was a glitch happening because of PayPal or someone having a problem getting in, I learned how to do that sort of stuff, so I'm like, wow. And even my kids will say, "Mom, you've come a long way." So, although we've paid for the membership management system through SubHub, I felt like I was also paying for an education and I feel much more confident with technology now.
Why do you think your site is a success? Carol: Well, I have a section of free scripts that people don't have to register for and I know one of the teachers that was a member, sent out an email to her whole county of school teachers about the website and I saw an email from somebody else in the county that said, "You don't even need to sign up for an email list to get access to these." So, I know the free scripts are part of the draw there, but then the Reader's Theater scripts for the script buffet, people, I will see that they found my site by going to a particular title. And because of that it can be title, it can be grade level, people will look for funny Reader's Theater.
Alan: She has written specific scripts, play write scripts for every major holiday in America and even some in other countries. And when those days come up, the readership viewing goes way up. It spikes.
What advice would you give to users thinking of starting their subscription website with SubHub? Carol: I would say, make sure that you tune into marketing as well. SubHub does a lot of the heavy lifting, but they don't do it all. I went on Pinterest, some people have done stuff with Pinterest for me, and for setting it up, I think basically you just have to have your idea and join and then be willing to do the work. The first two years, I worked really, really hard on several hours creating the content that now he's (Alan) trying to update so that…cos now we have branding. We didn't have branding at the beginning, I used the template. And then we did customization. We just did customization again last year, a few little tweaks. So, you have to be willing to grow and learn and change and see what your people want. I think SubHub for a membership site is the best around. I feel like I have friends in the support team and I feel like we're a team. It's not me against them. You asked earlier about the team, it's not just us.
And the updates that keep coming up, it just gets better and better. And it's fun to be able to interact and to see success. Get it uploaded and published all within a day. So, if you're thinking about doing a membership site, I would suggest do SubHub obviously because they make it easy. I was totally non-tech and I call it SubHub University for learning tech and membership sites. They make it super easy. Great support. Great knowledge base. You can learn as you go and you'll succeed. You will.