How Fisherman Devin Denman Created Online Courses for a Membership Hobby Niche Website

Fisherman Devin Denman Shares How to Excel at Building a Membership Website with LifterLMS

Devin Denman from Louisiana Fishing Blog

 Devin Denman, Louisiana Fishing Blog

Success Story Highlights

14.5K YouTube subscribers

68 courses courses

300 videos

“To catch a fish, you have to think like a fish.” — Hank Hill, King of the Hill

Inshore fishing is a beloved pastime for many people, so it’s not surprising that many who enjoy the hobby seek to improve their existing fishing skills. To do so they might need to find someone who can teach them not only how to “think like a fish,” but also where to fish, how to fish, the equipment that will serve them best, and many other valuable tips for this niche activity.

Aspiring anglers can turn to master fisherman Devin Denman of Louisiana Fishing Blog, who shares his enthusiasm for, and in-depth knowledge of, inshore fishing. Devin’s instructional site, LAFBElite, powered by LifterLMS, is an example of how someone can create monetized online course content, and use it to share their passion, providing enormous educational value to his members who are also interested in the topic.

Devin Denman from Louisiana Fishing Blog

“Choosing LifterLMS was a no-brainer for me. With its intuitive interface and powerful capabilities, it allowed me to seamlessly translate my love for fishing into captivating online courses, empowering anglers worldwide to master the art of inshore fishing.”

—Devin Denman, Louisiana Fishing Blog

I knew that I wanted to create a passive income and have a business that I could scale.

The Fish Niche

Marketing experts often advise that we niche down to our target market, and Devin has certainly done this with inshore fishing. More impressively, he has created a powerful YouTube channel to provide visually compelling content alongside his online courses.

Before venturing into entrepreneurism, Devin served his country in the Marine Corps as a recon marine, and later, for the U.S. State Department as a personal security specialist. With the leadership and people skills gleaned from such a background, it is not surprising  that he puts a premium on excellent service and superb user experience for his customers. 

Louisiana Fishing Blog Home page by Devin Denman

User experience to me is everything… You go to a nice restaurant, it’s an experience that you remember. You’re not really paying for the steak, you’re paying for the experience. I want the same thing at my websites.”

Once back in his native Louisiana, Devin got a stint as a fishing guide, which reminded him how much he loved fishing. Combining that passion with the motivation to be his own boss, he set out to create a niche business that would both bring in passive income and be scalable, and the Louisiana Fishing Blog was born.

Devin already knew how to build a WordPress site, and in its early days the Louisiana Fishing Blog was a simple blog he describes as “the thoughts and ideas of a Louisiana fishing guide.” He used the blog as an inbound marketing tool and a way to build his brand. By posting his own reports on fishing report websites along with a backlink to his blog, he drove traffic to his own site where people could book inshore fishing guiding sessions with him.

Teach a Man to Fish

Most of us are familiar with the Lao Tzu quote “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” In a sense, this is what Devin did. He realized that to really help people learn inshore fishing, he needed to expand beyond what he could teach on a boat in eight hours. He transitioned from guiding clients on day trips to virtually teaching people the skills they need to fish on their own. He already had a good start with the lead generation and email list he had, so he was able to launch his course with a list of ready potential clientele.

To build his course Devin tried a few LMS platforms, including Teachable, but they did not allow him to tailor his user experience the way he wanted. He found LifterLMS to be both intuitive and customizable. On top of that, he found that the marketing automation software he uses, such as Active Campaign and WPFusion, integrated well with LifterLMS, making for a powerful working automation machine for LAFBElite. 

Louisiana Fishing Blog Courses by Devin Denman

Devin’s tech stack includes

A power user Devin of LifterLMS runs his site on:

  • WordPress
  • LifterLMS
  • Active Campaign
  • WP Fusion
  • ScreenFlow
  • GoPro and Canon EOS M50 cameras for recording on boat

Excelling on Social Media

Devin’s use of YouTube together with his LifterLMS powered online course content make for a powerful learning platform. The videos are beautifully produced, with smoothly interspersed calls to action that invite viewers to learn more deeply than what they can get from the fishing tips in the video.

Devin stresses that to build his platform he initially focused on building on his website and his email list which, unlike most social media, give him full control of his audience. YouTube has since become his preferred social media platform, as it encourages viewers to stay on a channel in a way other social media platforms may not, and in the past few years he has ramped up his YouTube video content. The Louisiana Fishing Blog YouTube channel now boasts as many as 14,500 subscribers, and several of its videos reach tens of thousands of viewers.

With those numbers under his belt, Devin shares some advice on making YouTube a successful experience and offer good content:

  • Tell a story.
  • Do not run YouTube ads.
  • Focus on what the audience likes.
  • Use YouTube analytics to see what is working.
  • Include calls-to-action judiciously.
Louisiana Fishing Blog Courses by Devin Denman

At the end of the day, the focus isn’t playing an algorithm or anything like that, it is making good content.

Despite the fact it was very active with 17,000 members, Devin recently disbanded his LAFBElite Facebook group due to time restraints. The group’s success was largely due to its positive community environment, moderation, and requiring the email addresses of members. Not only does the latter discourage negative interaction, it can feed into a lead generation mailing list. 

His recommended checklist for Facebook Group success includes:

  • Post videos, content, and free resources in the group relating to your business.
  • Use moderation.
  • Create a good environment.
  • Encourage those who participate and mute those who do not.
  • Require an email address with approval, which cuts down on spam and unpleasant comments. 
  • Use the Group Leads Google extension to create a Facebook funnel and convert new group members into leads.

What works best changes over time, but what I want to do is get their email address as soon as possible. I also want to demonstrate that I am a subject matter expert.”

It’s important to note that in addition to smart use of social media and email lists, Devin’s courses go further than the nuts and bolts of fishing. He includes lessons on using various fishing resources for forecasting wind, weather and tide, as well as Google Earth and other satellite imagery. These can help to locate navigable water, and identify shallow water and other navigational hazards.

All in all, LAFBElite is an impressive example of how to create a successful online niche hobby business by offering online courses, showcasing expertise, producing unique content, responding to customer demand, and staying on top of what is working.

We have published a podcast episode with Devin Denman on LMScast. You can learn a lot more in detail about “How Fisherman Devin Denman Created Online Courses for a Membership Hobby Niche Website” from this podcast.