This is Bastian, CEO/Founder of Wild Audience, and today we’re going to talk about Respect-Based Marketing.
Respect-Based Marketing is the backbone of our RF Accelerator Program that often gets 6% conversion rates on products and brings in millions of dollars in revenue each year to businesses all around the world.
It is a uniquely powerful mechanism for converting high-ticket clients and is a fantastic way to approach scaling in a sustainable, smart fashion.
So what is Respect-Based Marketing?
Respect-Based Marketing is a method that combines smart segmentation with compelling storytelling to automate real relationships with prospects.
Not bad… right?
Respect-Based Marketing is a combination of six strategies that all work together to install every key belief prospects need to have before buying.
If you want to scale your high-ticket business this year (which I’m assuming you do), then there is no better way forward than Respect-Based Marketing.
And the best way to bring Respect-Based Marketing to your business is via a Relationship Funnel.
You can think of Respect-Based Marketing like a schema. It’s the big picture, the plan, the strategy. And Relationship Funnel is the engine — the absolute best system for taking advantage of everything Respect-Based Marketing has to offer.
3. A case study of Respect-Based Marketing in action.
But before we talk about the six tenets of Respect-Based Marketing, we need to talk about the anchor behind everything — belief.
Beliefs are everything
Let’s have a look at what stitches it all together.
The bones behind Respect-Based Marketing
The overarching strategy behind Respect-Based Marketing is belief installation, and Respect-Based Marketing is designed to install the exact beliefs your audience needs to buy.
In order to sell anything, your buyers have to have a set of critical beliefs.
Beliefs like expertise, authority, and trust.
They need to believe you are an authority on your subject.
They need to believe you and your product are trustworthy.
They need to believe your product is valuable and priced appropriately.
They need to believe that your product is the best solution for their problem.
Without them, you’ll never sell a single thing 🙂
Your prospects will never accept the desire or need for your products.
Prospects will never pull out their credit cards unless they believe in you, in your product, and in your ability to deliver that product.
Think of it this way. Maybe when you were a kid you had an experience with a bad orange. Maybe it was super tart. Maybe you had brushed your teeth recently. Maybe it was just old. Who knows.
Regardless, you had a bad experience.
So if in the future someone tried to sell you an orange, you’d probably pass.
And I don’t blame past you!
But what would you need to do to convince yourself that oranges are actually delicious?
Doing away with false beliefs
First up is eliminating your false beliefs. You’d have to convince yourself that your previous experience was an anomaly, and that oranges are actually fantastic and healthy.
Then you’d use social proof of other people who had bad experiences with oranges but now love them, and every message would be designed to convince you to reevaluate your opinion on oranges.
This is a simplified example, but it’s really not that far off from the buying process.
Everyone has their own unique belief system about the world based on their own experiences. It’s how we decide between right and wrong.
But the thing is, those past experiences may or may not result in an accurate story or picture of the world.
Two people can have the same experience and take an entirely different belief from it.
And the best way to dispel false beliefs and install new beliefs in your prospects is through Respect-Based Marketing.
Now that we understand a bit more about beliefs, let’s talk about the first aspect of Respect-Based Marketing, attention.
Respect-Based Marketing: Attention
Just like GaryVee says, marketing is the business of attention.
Attention spans seem to be on a sliding scale toward zero.
Everyone is fighting for it, but grabbing someone’s attention is only the first step.
Maintaining it is the hard part 🙂
So how do you actually keep someone’s attention?
By actually building a relationship with them.
Think of it like when you first start dating someone. Or when you find a new friend.
We can replicate the same experience of developing relationships in the offline world in the online world, but why haven’t marketers focused their efforts on building relationships?
It’s bizarre that online marketing has been so separated from an underlying truth that everyone knows: it’s the people you know and the relationships you have that bring success.
Why rely on snake oil marketing, interruption marketing, pushing sales on people, and ultimately sacrificing the integrity of a relationship when you can automate real relationships at scale by using smart engagement triggers and deep personalization in your funnels?
Why not let your customers raise their hands and tell you they’re ready to buy?
A genuine relationship will keep their attention, and that’s also what installs that critical belief of trust.
And this approach really works:
All of these results are through the adoption of Relationship Funnel and is proof of a relationship-first mindset.
And now, let’s dig into the secret of how we make automation create authentic relationships — segmentation.
Respect-Based Marketing: Segmentation
The second cog of Respect-Based Marketing is segmentation.
This is where we divide your existing customer bases into as many meaningful segments as possible based on their responses.
This isn’t arbitrary — it’s based on real data from surveys and forms installed with software.
By challenging prospects to qualify themselves, you can increase your conversion rates while getting rid of people who waste your time. This will make your sales team more efficient and able to get more leads in less time.
Think of how many unqualified leads you talked to last year.
It may feel unnerving to add steps to your initial conversion process, but this works when paired with great content and a compelling lead magnet.
Surveying customers in this way also allows our clients to pitch the right products at the right time.
If you’re selling expensive consulting packages that cost $20k minimum, you shouldn’t be pitching your lower course or tripwire products to seven or eight figure businesses. On the flip side, your $20k pitch is going to fall flat when pitching to someone who only grosses $115k a year.
Knowing your audience and what their goals are both educates your sales process and provides data for future markets you could build products for.
If you notice an influx in wantrepreneurs when you’re hoping to find marketing managers working with larger companies, then you know you need to either adjust your marketing efforts or pitch them an appropriate product.
This an example of a form we built:
Notice how each question helps us learn more about the prospect?
By writing questions that get to the heart of why they found your company, you can increase the efficiency of your marketing and sales machines, resulting in more revenue and happier sales teams.
And the use of this segmentation is known as personalization.
You want to cater your conversation topics toward areas of mutual interest. For example, if you like to sail and so does your new friend or partner, then you’re naturally going to cater to them and find mutual ground.
The same principles apply to marketing.
We use this in our emails, our bot sequences, our ads, you name it — every bit of a Relationship Funnel is built with segmentation.
The questions we want to ask are based on who they are and where they want to be.
Where are they now (current situation)?
Where do they want to go next (desire)?
What is stopping them from getting there (problem)?
The goal of segmentation is to bridge the gap between problem and desire.
Then we ask other questions that help us qualify them for our business. Questions like revenue, type of product sold, etc. This helps us and our clients determine which products are most relevant to the product.
And then when we’re armed with these answers, we personalize.
Respect-Based Marketing: Personalization
Next up is personalization — or segmentation in use.
By personalizing all of your messaging and products to a particular persona, you reach them where they’re at and create a unique customer experience.
We cater journeys for our clients, from prospect to sale.
And personalization goes much further than “Hey, Bastian” at the top of the email.
For context, here’s a picture of our lead tags for a particular prospect:
And here’s a video digging even more into that if you want to swim in the deep end for a bit 🙂
So you can tag people based on their segmentation answers and automate personalization.
You can build entire customer segments based on these tags.
You can even customize landing pages based on these personalization tags.
Want to discover what this level of personalization can do for your ROI? Go here
Every marketing message you send is specific to a prospect’s problem and addresses specific objection questions — that’s when Respect-Based Marketing really starts to take off.
But… I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
First, what happens when you’re that personal? Well… it increases your relevance 🙂
Respect-Based Marketing: Relevance
So if segmentation gives us the ability to personalize, what does personalization do for us?
Personalization allows us to be relevant.
It gives us the ability to be authentic, and authenticity is what fosters real relationships.
When executed correctly, your clients will feel like they know you. They’ll feel comforted by the fact that you know what problem they’re having and have an appropriate solution for it.
Your leads will feel heard, and that’s when your relationships with them start to grow automatically.
By engaging with the right people, with the right content, at the right time, you can develop bonds that last up to and well beyond a sale.
But being relevant only takes people so far… what businesses need is engagement.
Respect-Based Marketing: Engagement
Let’s say you’re a commercial real estate consultancy.
You may target large companies who are currently looking to expand an existing space or buy up new property, but that relevance is nothing without engagement.
And the key to getting the right leads to engage is through micro-investments of engagement.
We love installing micro investments with our RF Accelerator clients in their Relationship-Building Series or RBS for short.
This initial marketing funnel that ends in our first desired conversion event (typically a call or tripwire) is encouraged through email sequences that utilize key psychological and storytelling hooks (e.g. cliffhangers or challenges).
When executed correctly, a Respect-Based-Marketing RBS sequence can get prospects to actually look forward to and save your emails.
Or this 🙂
Think about it. What emails (apart from personal ones) do you save? Forbes? The Wall Street Journal?
Imagine your business being those emails for prospects who have the means to buy your high-ticket product?
That’s the effect of the right RBS, and that’s what we shoot for with our clients.
How micro investments of engagement evolve into real relationships
The way we like to refer to back-and-forth feedback and engagement is relationship building.
By including opportunities to interact and perform “micro investments” of time, engagement, and sometimes money, we can further develop a meaningful relationship.
In every email we can include engagement hooks like open loops, frequency selectors, activation hooks, cliffhangers, and other storytelling techniques.
Maybe we ask a prospect to reply to receive a small bonus or to get an email instantly.
Or maybe we include funnels within funnels and get them to opt-in to a separate funnel via landing pages with additional information.
The more interactive your funnel is, the more opportunities your prospects will have to micro invest.
The goal is to get a prospect used to engaging — for interacting to become the nature of your relationship with them.
And then you take those engagements, track them with software (e.g. lead scoring in Wild Mail), and trigger conversion events once they hit certain thresholds.
Usually, our clients send a virtual sales letter that goes to a qualification quiz OR we send an evergreen webinar.
But by this point they’ve already micro-invested multiple times. Sometimes it only takes two weeks. Sometimes two hours. Sometimes a few months 🙂 But in the end, we know exactly what product to pitch and when.
Pretty awesome, if you ask me 🙂
And all of this combines to affect your ROI & Profits.
Respect-Based Marketing: ROI & Profits
How many times have you said, “if we could just get them on the phone? That’s all we need.”
That’s the beauty of using a system like Relationship Funnel to install Respect-Based Marketing — it even makes the CPAs you already rely on easier.
By the time prospects pick up the phone in a Relationship Funnel, they already understand your business and the way you think. They know why you do what you do.
All you have to do is continue the existing relationship that was built for you automatically 🙂
It almost goes without saying the power that automated relationships has on your ROI & Profits.
But the biggest thing it will do is increase your conversion rates.
And increasing your conversion rates from 1% to 3% or 3% to 6% can be the difference between six figures and seven figures. Between a lifestyle business and a business you can sell.
It all works together in the end
Step by step, we fold every principle of Respect-Based Marketing into every aspect of Relationship Funnel and RF Accelerator.
Understanding a new business and applying this model is what we do best, and to show you an example of that, we’re going to take a look at Justin Junier.
With Respect-Based-Marketing, we increased Justin’s visitor to sales conversion rate from 2% to 6%.
It was pretty wild 🙂
Check it out.
How We Helped Our Client Increase His Sales Conversion Rate By 6X With Respect-Based Marketing
Now that you understand what Respect-Based-Marketing is, let’s walk through an example of how it works.
Remember that Respect-Based Marketing is the unique mechanism that automates relationships, and a Relationship Funnel is the best way to employ Respect-Based Marketing in your business.
Here’s that Relationship Funnel graphic again.
You can learn more about Relationship Funnels and how businesses use them to scale their revenue by reading this article.
How Justin Junier used Respect-Based Marketing to 6x his Conversion Rate
Justin runs a company called Superhero, based out of Holland.
They sell career coaching to young professionals who are looking to switch jobs or jump into entrepreneurship.
His flagship product is a coaching program combined with an online course that lasts between 3 and 4 months. By the end of the program, people walk away with a clear direction of what they want to do with their work lives.
Justin was making a profit, but his conversion rates were low, his leads weren’t where he wanted them to be, and he knew he could do better.
Justin signed up for Relationship Funnel, and after implementing the Respect-Based Marketing tactics things really started to change.
Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): 10,000 Euro (6-figure business)
Sales Conversion Rate from 0.5% to 2.5%
Lead CPA (acquisition cost) decreased from 2 Euros to 1 Euro
CLV increased from 500 Euro to 900 Euro (an 80% increase!)
New Client Case Studies published jumped from 1/month to 4/month
How cool is that?
What could you do with a 2% increase in conversion rates?
“If you really want to serve your customers in the right way, you need to have a great Relationship Funnel.” – Justin Junier
Justin had a classic sales funnel problem. Low conversion rates made ad spend skyrocket, and he wasn’t satisfied with his sales.
He was still pulling a profit, sure, but with some people getting between 6-8% conversion rates with Respect-Based Marketing, he knew he couldn’t reach his 7-figure sales goal without figuring out what was wrong with his funnel.
Justin’s Respect-Based Marketing Journey
The first thing Justin did was rewrite all of his copy and marketing messaging according to Respect-Based Marketing’s belief installation strategies. And then by following the Relationship Funnel template, he used questionnaires and personalized emails to segment his audience by the types of problems they had and why.
After switching over to the Relationship Funnel framework, people were even emailing him saying that they felt like he was inside their heads and were directly asking for his product.
Relationship Funnels outperform typical sales funnels because they focus on building a relationship with your audience.
The reason is a simple as that, although the implementation can be a bit trickier 🙂
“It’s become less feeling like “I am the business” to feeling like “I’m working on the business”. My mindset has shifted more towards developing systems for my business whereas before I was more focused on directly operating my business.” – Justin Junier
We’re not here to sell you something you don’t need 🙂
But like Justin said…
If you’re a business that sells high-ticket services like consulting, training, or coaching and are stuck in 6-figure revenues but want to scale to 7-figures, then adopting Respect-Based Marketing and installing a Relationship Funnel into your business is your best bet to get there.
So it’s sort of understood with those profit metrics, but our RF Accelerator program where we help you install Respect-Based Marketing is best for people who already have proof of product market fit. In other words, your product works, you’ve got testimonials, and you know that once people buy, they’re satisfied. It’s the acquisition part that’s tripping you up.
Ready to solve your customer acquisition problem and finally rely on your sales funnel?
Respect-based Marketing and Relationship Funnels are proven to work and were created by us to help businesses like yours scale high-ticket services.
Ultimately it’s up to you 🙂
We know this system works — we live and breathe it, and every day we see it working.
Do you want to wake up six months from now still not understanding why your ROAS is so low from ads?
Do you want to wake up to a calendar like this?
Then Respect-Based Marketing is exactly what you need, and there’s no better way to implement Respect-Based Marketing then by working alongside our RF Accelerator team to install a Relationship Funnel into your business.
Company name: I Will Teach You a Language – www.iwillteachyoualanguage.com Location: – United Kingdom Industry: Online Language Courses Product purchased: Relationship Funnel Accelerator Rating: 5
Olly Richards turned his language blog into a successful business selling language courses but was having a hard time increasing the lifetime value of his customers. He signed up for Wild Audience’s Relationship Funnel Accelerator to grow his backend funnel and turn his customers into repeat buyers.
Through RF Accelerator Olly achieved:
A 25% increase in revenue
A 30% increase in segmented leads.
3x increase in overall sales
A process for tracking and understanding his analytics
A Facebook Ad retargeting structure toto improve front-end conversion
Systems that can be replicated with every new product they release
Who are you, and what do you sell?
Olly Richards is the founder of I Will Teach You a Language, a blog turned course provider aimed at helping people learn languages at different levels.
What started as a blog in 2013 has turned into a substantial following and customer base.
How did you find out about Wild Audience and what made you jump on board?
After hearing Bastian on a podcast, Olly resonated with Wild Audience’s Respect-Based Marketing strategies. It was similar to what he was already doing with IWTYAL but he knew Wild Audience could help them elevate their current strategy.
“Once a business gets to a certain level, you can’t work with generic advice anymore. I knew Wild Audience would understand the particular nature of my business and could look under the hood and make sense of the numbers.”
What was the main problem you wanted to solve for your business?
Olly never had a problem attracting an audience and generating traffic to his website. He actually had more traffic than he knew what to do with.
The main problem he wanted to solve was to increase his customer’s lifetime value.
He had a lot of products that were selling rapidly, but he didn’t fully understand what the value ladder looked like. In other words, he wasn’t sure how best to offer his other products to existing customers (frequency, method etc).
Why did you want to solve it?
Olly recognized that the way we deliver our message to our audience was the same way he wanted to deliver his message to his own following.
He knew that businesses are grown on the backend, by using Relationship Funnels and Respect-Based Marketing tactics to retain customers and turn them into repeat buyers.
If you’re not familiar with Respect-Based Marketing, here’s a graphic describing how it works.
He also knew that constantly launching products to new audiences was unsustainable. He had never been able to offer a series of products on the backend.
What was it about Wild Audience that made you resonate with us and think that this looks like a good opportunity?
Olly was a huge fan of André Chaperon and had already used his methods to spruce up his email copy. And he got tremendous results from it. His emails open rates were 70-80% and click-throughs averaged at 10-20%.
So he didn’t need any convincing on the power of storytelling and Respect-Based Marketing.
That’s what drove him to invest more in learning how to create engaging, valuable content rather than using in-your-face scarcity tactics.
For Olly, RF Accelerator picked up where André left off. He needed to learn how to implement the more technical aspects of these strategies and incorporate them into email campaigns and funnels.
It followed the same respectful ethos that he had learned from André. RF Accelerator incorporated a more technical framework to help him reach the next level of his business.
What results did you achieve with RF?
During RF Accelerator, Olly saw a 30% increase in segmented leads by changing the opt-in process to ask subscribers for segmentation information at the point of signup.
Previously, subscribers needed to check their email after opting-in and take a quiz which would place them into the right email sequence.
Olly worked with the Wild Audience team to put proper tracking and analytics in place so that they could analyze traffic line by line. This allowed them to identify that nearly 50% of the leads were being lost in this opt-in process.
They also implemented a new retargeting sequence which led to a 3x increase in sales. Now everything they’re running on Facebook is more efficient and more profitable.
What exactly changed for you and your business?
Our team helped Olly look at every single thing they were doing in their marketing strategy in extreme detail.
This allowed him to pick up on where things were and weren’t working. It was information he had suspicions about before, but never had the hard data to prove it.
Now, for every new course or product they launch, IWTYAL can use this information to build out a process with a proven record of success.
As they grow, these systems will help them scale quicker and more efficiently.
How much revenue did you make before? How much revenue do you do now?
After optimizing their Facebook retargeting, and implementing frontend segmentation on their website, Olly saw a 25% bump in revenue.
And that was only from optimizing one of their courses. Olly can now apply this same strategy on the rest of the courses they offer and knows it will exponentially increase sales across his entire site.
What is your ROI now? What was your ROI before?
Olly saw a 30% increase in segmented leads after adjusting his opt-in strategy, which effectively made the leads more valuable.
Additionally, the processes that were put in place during RF Accelerator will work for them exponentially in the future. As IWTYAL continues to scale, their ROI on RF Accelerator will continue to grow for years to come.
Can you walk us through your Relationship Funnel
IWTYAL generates leads through Facebook Ads and organic traffic to their website and blog.
When users land on a blog post, they are asked to opt-in to a language guide by choosing the language they want to learn and at which level (beginner, intermediate or advanced).
Users are then automatically segmented into one of 36 email sequences that nurture the relationship.
At the end of the nurture sequence, subscribers are offered various courses related to the language they want to learn and their skill level.
Here’s a diagram detailing what a Relationship Funnel looks like.
How does the future look for your business? Where would you like to be in 3 years from now with RF?
For Olly, the most significant takeaway from RF Accelerator, (even bigger than the increase in revenue and lead retention) was the systems they were able to put in place.
He knows that these systems can now be replicated at scale whenever they launch a new product in the future.
For Olly being apart of RF Accelerator was about shifting his mindset to re-prioritize and optimize the fundamentals of his business.
Who should invest into RF Accelerator?
RF Accelerator breaks down all of the fundamentals any business owner needs to grow their business. That includes identifying your audience, values, and customer avatar and incorporating Respect-Based Marketing into your copywriting and sequencing.
These might seem like beginner lessons for new business. However, a lot of seasoned business owners skip these crucial steps at establishing a true relationship with their customers.
Olly believes that if you don’t take the time to learn the basics, you’re never going to connect with your customers the way that you need to make them sustainable long term.
The ideal candidate for the 90-day RF Accelerator program should already have a successful product or service that delivers proven results. They have created successful client case studies but are still struggling to acquire customers and increase profits at scale.
The ideal customer has a desire to grow to 7-figures or beyond and is willing to take concrete action and implement the systems outlined in the program.
RF Accelerator can help with the following:
Solving your customer acquisition problem
Systemizing customer acquisition at profit and scale
Attracting the right leads that will actually convert into customers
Increasing conversion rates
Lowering lead acquisition & customer acquisition costs
Gaining clarity & transparency over how much it costs to acquire leads, book sales calls and demos, and how much it costs to acquire customers
Providing a more personalized sales experience and customer journey by using advanced automation techniques (using Wild Mail)
Systemizing all marketing & sales processes to scale to 7-figures and beyond
Why would you recommend RF to other people?
Every business owner has blind spots. Things that they put off as being unimportant and that they will deal with later. If you want to grow, then at some point you need a second set of eyes to look at your numbers and give you a fresh perspective on details you were overlooking.
What type of results will a new client achieve if they follow the process and work hard?
RF Accelerator clients will receive guidance in figuring out the backend of their funnel. They will learn how to efficiently capture and segment leads, and use this information to create proper retargeting campaigns.
In addition to the technical steps, RF Accelerator will put in perspective the mindset needed to systemize your business in order to replicate it to scale in the future.
You will create an evergreen funnel that can be replicated across everything you do in your business.
Here are just a few of the incredible results our clients achieved through RF Accelerator:
That could be you.
Click here to learn more about RF Accelerator, and to find out if you are a fit.
Are you having trouble scaling your customer acquisition?
Are you trying to improve your profitability from six figures to seven figures… To sell more high-ticket services… all to no avail?
Are you unsure how to consistently improve your sales funnel?
I’ve been there, believe me.
You’re only dealing with this because the tide has changed.
Maybe you’ve been following some internet guru who had a flash of success 5 years ago, but has been preaching the same tactics since then.
Maybe you’ve just been unlucky.
Internet marketing is always changing, and right now there is a massive shift toward authenticity and transparency.
This shift isn’t exclusive to internet marketing, either.
Think about it ..
What do the trends of locally-sourced food, corporations taking political stances, and educational reciprocity in marketing have in common?
A consumer’s desire for businesses they can trust.
Or better yet, a business they can build a relationship with.
To build a sustainable business today you need to use respect.
And if you don’t, you’re going to lose.
Your competitors will outperform you.
You’ll be stuck using the same outdated marketing tactics and wondering why your business is failing.
That’s why I use what I like to call, Respect-Based Marketing.
Relationships are more important than ever in marketing.
Your brand and funnel need to be developing trust — in both your product/service and in you ..
Because of the anonymity and distance the internet provides, online marketers often forget about respect.
Facebook & Google’s algorithms are changing. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and shady ads. Google is rewarding only the best, most valuable content, and Facebook is doing the same.
And to them, the “best” means the most aligned with the user’s search and/or intent.
I don’t mean to bring the mood down, this is actually a really awesome 🙂
If you start running a Respect-Based business, you will be leagues ahead of so many others who haven’t caught on to this trend yet.
This is why I created the Relationship Funnel – a proven system for taking cold prospects and turning them into sales.
And faster growth starts by automating relationships 🙂
Relationship Funnels dramatically increases your customer LTV & average checkout price.
Plus, it builds a foundation you can rely on for years to come.
This is why 1,100 businesses (and counting) have already used it ..
And want to know the best part?
Everything is automated. Thus scalable.
Respect-Based Marketing doesn’t mean you work longer.
Quite the opposite, in fact 🙂
We use smart funnel automation to actually save time and make everything super scalable ..
(more on this later)
What if I could save you almost all the time you waste qualifying leads?
What if I told you that you can have a system that qualifies leads on its own?
What if I told you that it’s possible to have a funnel that converts at 6% (compared to the usual 1-2%) on products between $100 & $1,000? With email click rates often coasting past 35% (compared to the industry standard 5-10%)?
Imagine those numbers in your own business for a second.
If your current funnels converts at 2% and you sell 20 $200 products a month, you could potentially increase your monthly revenue from $5k to $15k.
That’s the difference between a decent business and the one you’ve always dreamed of.
Well, that system exists, and we’re going to take you through the steps you need to create it for your biz.
It’s the exact 4-phase process that gets results like these ..
Or take our client Mirna.
This is an email from her 🙂
She turned $1,300 in $9,000 with her very first Relationship Funnel.
Yeah. Pretty impressive.
She was a client of Relationship Funnel Accelerator for 90 days.
RFA is our high-ticket program where we install a Relationship Funnel in your business in 90 days flat and help you solve the biggest challenge of all: Acquiring Customers at Profit and Scale.
We love helping successful, high-ticket businesses grow from six figures to seven figures through automated processes and scalable customer profit and acquisition.
My goal for this article is to break down the Relationship Funnel process, in detail.
But what is a Relationship Funnel?
A Relationship Funnel (RF) isn’t a normal marketing funnel. It uses respect and clever automation to get world-class results.
You can think of it in terms of four main phases.
I am going to show you all of them now ..
This is it ..
We’re opening the doors and inviting you in.
We’re going to cover the four phases that make up a Relationship Funnel. In detail.
It is responsible for wild moments like these:
Or even crazier…
You should be.
And if not…
Just wait 🙂
Breakdown: The exact 4-phase process we use to get 6% visit-to-purchase conversion rates
The best way to get a birds-eye view of all the stages is to look at our actual done-with-you Relationship Funnel template ..
This is the same template we walk all our consulting clients through.
Clients with six-figure businesses and multiple case studies looking to scale to seven figures 🙂
Take a moment to look at the individual tasks.
Some will make sense to you. Some won’t.
Don’t stress though, all will become clear.
In short ..
Each phase builds upon the last to create a foolproof, belief-installing funnel. Then we scale it ” />
Phase 1: Funnel Strategy
This is the big picture phase. It’s the easiest to skimp on but the most important to get right.
Phase 2: Funnel Implementation
This is the minimum-viable-product version of your funnel.
Phase 3: Optimization
Once you start directing some test traffic to the doors, it’s time to analyze how people react and adjust accordingly.
Phase 4: Scaling
After the bolts have all been double checked and tightened, it’s time to strike the traffic match (most people’s favorite part).
Ready to see how we do this?
Awesome. We’re going to go through the major steps of each phase and show you all the tools and strategies you can take to:
Develop a long-term marketing & funnel strategy,
Automate real relationships with people through smart and behaviour-based funnels.
Create organic & PPC lead generation systems.
Start getting the conversion rates of your dreams and measure that success with advanced ROI-tracking.
Revolutionize your business 🙂
Phase 1 – Funnel Strategy
Phase 1 is all big picture stuff.
Building a Relationship Funnel always starts with an airtight strategy.
This prevents our funnels from “leaking” later on down the line.
Without the right preparation, acquiring customers at profit and scale is not possible.
So, you have to take the time to create and review your strategy. First.
Don’t skip this part.
Here’s what Relationship Funnel’s Phase 1 covers:
1) Business Model
2) Offer Strategy
3) Customer Avatar
5) Value Ladder
6) Segmentation & Bucketing
7) Belief System
You should walk out of Phase 1 with a perfect idea of who your customers are, what your offer is, and how you’re going to sell it.
Note: We work with clients who already have product market fit and case studies to boot, but if you aren’t at that point already then your business model analysis is even more important.
For the purposes of this piece, we’re going to focus on the Phase 1 elements that are most important to businesses who are in a position to prepare for rapid scaling.
Finalizing your offer strategy
There may be nothing more important than nailing down your offer strategy as a business owner.
Without a working offer strategy, you don’t really have a business — without it there is no evidence of product-market-fit.
We only work with people who have a proven offer and a client case study to back it up, and that’s because without those you don’t have proof of a working business yet.
Your offer strategy is the relationship between your base pitch, services, and value offered for revenue gained. This can often be tweaked for better results, but if you aren’t selling a product people need and pitching it in a way that conveys its value, then you won’t succeed.
The offer is usually conducted through a sales page. What’s important is to remind people of the benefits they’ll receive — speak to their problem, not your product.
Don’t worry about creating them yet. At this point just think about how you are going to reiterate the beliefs you’ve installed (more on that shortly), while conveying the benefits the customer receives by buying your product.
We use what we like to call the Irresistible Offer Formula.
Highlight the pain they’re experiencing (not enough sales, etc.)
Name a specific solution.
Make a list of the benefits (not product features!) this solution provides.
Showcase the value (guarantee, risk-reversal)
Establish your position (trust, authority, experience, etc.)
Utilize specificity (avatar-specific copy).
Include urgency and scarcity when appropriate.
Address objections directly.
We are continually testing this strategy, but feel free to swipe as you please 🙂
Here are a few of our sales pages for inspiration:
See how our process incorporates elements of our formula?
And now, to the actual construction of your funnel.
Value Ladders: the secret behind successful high-ticket service businesses
Before you can start building any sort of funnel, you need to understand what value ladders are.
Value ladders basically a way of structuring your products/services for optimal customer value.
Organizing your products in a value ladder also functions as a big picture funnel strategy. It makes inserting your offerings into a funnel so much easier. And clearer.
So as people “ascend” your value ladder, they can dig into progressively more comprehensive, higher-priced offers.
Here’s what a value ladder usually looks like:
Lead Generation Funnel = To get people into the door. Front-End Funnel = To qualify buyers & decrease ROI time.
Break-Even Funnel = To reduce acquisition costs and function as a downsell. Profit Funnel = To sell your main product/service. Backend Funnel = To upsell existing customers & increase CLV
At first, you just want to nail down your key lead magnet and profit funnel. Then you fill out the rest as you improve your Relationship Funnel.
We started out with just one big lead magnet and our Relationship Funnel course, and then we decided to expand it into this model:
The Wild Audience Value Ladder
(Click any of the product titles to see our landing pages)
See how it starts off with free content and then goes to a $12 product? And how our core products each have downsells and upsells?
Notice how each product is related to each other? How they build each off each other?
That is what you want.
When one customer finishes one product, they should be interested in the next.
It should make sense to pitch the next product/service to them ..
How you structure your products will depend on your business, but start by putting your services and products into that same outline.
As you start aligning your services into your value ladder, keep an eye out for spaces or holes in between services. Maybe you need to add a tripwire, or maybe you need to add a back-end service that is more hands-on.
Or on the other end, you may find that you are overwhelming your customers with choices. Slimming down your product offering may be a better route (i.e. specialization).
Structure your offers in a way that encourages customers to “journey” or “ascend” through them. This will help you offer more value, increase your customer lifetime value, and organize your funnel strategy.
Creating customer avatars
Your next step is to create your customer avatars.
Marketing is all about psychology, and psychology is the science of the mind and human behavior…
So how can you be good at marketing without knowing your customer?
This doesn’t mean you have to go out and actually meet all of your customers face-to-face. Not only would this be impossible, but you would waste a lot of your time.
Interviewing a few can be super helpful, though. The guys from Airbnb went out and met their first few hosts/guests to figure out what they liked and didn’t like about their service, which led to taking professional photos at host houses, resulting in a major breakthrough.
So if we can’t meet all of our customers, how can we understand them?
The secret is through customer avatars.
You may have heard this referred to as buyer personas or customer personas as well.
Customer avatars are fictional characters that represent the stereotypical customer your business is trying to attract.
You should strive to understand these characters ..
To get inside their heads 🙂
The best way to do this is to brainstorm 3-5 primary personas and a few secondary personas if necessary.
The end goal is for your customer avatars to focus your marketing efforts, not scatter them. You need to pick the most critical personas for your business. If you don’t have product market fit yet, just start with one and go from there.
You can draw from past sales and survey data, interviews with a few of your best customers, or just using your gut and intuition.
Like anything in marketing, the key is to start with something and improve it as you go along.
Wild Audience Customer Avatar Example
Everyone does these a bit differently, but the rule of thumb is to fill out the profile until you feel like you have an innate understanding of the customer, and you feel like someone who read through the profile would feel the same.
This often includes elements such as a name, age, goals, fears, typical buying routes, industry, etc.
Here’s that example:
Meet Ted, 42, CEO at Gorilla Marketing (Customer Avatar 1 – High-ticket service business)
Ted worked around 10 years in the corporate world as a sales guy. He is great at selling but after all of this time he’s sick of the corporate world and seeks to run his online business. He started to buy a few online courses to learn more about business and marketing his services. He has always been passionate about parenting so he thought about starting a parenting company (helping parents to become better parents).
His first side hustle while still doing 9-5 didn’t work. But people started to seek his advice about selling without being salesy or annoying. He knew a lot about it as he worked 10 years in sales and constantly studies what’s new.
He decided to pivot aywar from parenting & double down on selling his sales knowledge. He started a Facebook group and over the period of a year, he attracted a strong following (& community) around him. He started to make money. After making more than $100k in revenue, he decided to scale up and build out a proper sales funnel and different assets to scale up his revenue.
His goal is $1mil in revenue over the next 12-18 months.
He has been following Wild Audience & Bastian for quite some time. He thought hiring Wild Audience to scale up his sales funnel once he is ready. After 1 year in business generating more than $100k in revenue through different campaigns, locating the ideal product market fit, and acquiring a few really strong case studies, it’s time to systemize the sales process and build it out properly.
He jumps on a call with the Wild Audience Sales Team purchases Relationship Funnel Accelerator.
See how detailed that is?
Do you feel like you know them a little now?
Personas are even more powerful if you can tie them to actual people who have bought your services.
Whenever you’re making a product or piece of content, you can think… what would Ted like to read? Or what problem is Ted dealing with?
The closer you can get them to real people, the better.
Understanding segmentation & bucketing
Once you have your customer avatars identified and prioritized, it’s time to translate that into action.
Segmentation & bucketing are just ways of fitting your prospects into customer avatar “buckets”.
When you organize customers into buckets, you can send them more specific content and products.
The more specific the content and service are to a customer’s needs, the better your conversion rates will be.
So how does bucketing actually work?
Bucketing is just a series of questions (with the last one being an email address request) that you ask a prospect before a download or offer.
You can build these question prompts in a system like SurveySlam.
And by incorporating this “lead opt-in buckeintg”, you can automatically build a customer profile based on their answers.
Below is what part of our bucketing system looks like.
Users are prompted to self-select after they decide to download one of our lead magnets (more on that later).
You may have completed our survey to get here, so I apologize if some of these look a bit familiar 🙂
Here are all five of our lead magnet bucketing questions:
See how each question helps us fit them into an avatar?
How they help us figure out how we can help them?
I love this step.
It’s the first step the user take to share a bit of themselves with us 🙂
And those answers play directly into what they believe about Wild Audience.
Discovering the power of belief
“Beliefs form the basis of everything people say, think, and do. When people change their beliefs, they change their behavior, which changes their lives.” – Dave Gray
Once you have identified who your prospects are, you need to install your belief system.
This step will help you understand what you need to put into your RBS email sequence and content so that you can get your audience to buy.
Belief systems can be distilled down to one question:
What does your lead need to believe before he or she will purchase your product or service?
In other words, What content do you need to direct them to? What do you need them to understand before they buy?
Your goal is to convert someone from a visitor into a paying customer ..
But… here’s the thing.
You will never get a sale without beliefs.
Without making sure each prospect gets the right beliefs installed, you’re running the risk of someone getting to your sales page or hopping on a sales call without the right beliefs.
And when that happens, people don’t always buy.
That means leaving money on the table.
Beliefs are tied to identity — your customers’ identity and how they perceive your identity.
And the best way to promote beliefs is through storytelling.
We can use stories to promote and install beliefs in our prospects, which results in sales happening at the right time with the right people.
So what are the types of beliefs?
The 3 Types of Beliefs
Beliefs about opportunity (value, authority, cost, etc.)
Beliefs about themselves (own abilities to succeed)
External beliefs (time, money, etc.)
Our goal is to predict a prospect’s existing beliefs and replace those with a set of our own through smart storytelling.
Here are some examples of opportunity beliefs:
Belief Question: Does the person selling me this product know what they’re talking about? Why should I listen to them?
Installed with: Social proof & demonstration of expertise.
Belief Question: Is the product worth what they are charging?
Installed with: Proof of potential ROI. Case studies. Demonstration of the product itself.
Belief Question: Does this company or person have my best interest at heart?
Installed with: Transparency, integrity, and consistency.
Product -> Solution Fit
Belief Question: Is this product the best solution for my problem?
Installed with: Illustration of process & delivery / social proof of similar problems being solved by your product or service.
See how these are all related to the product?
Now, let’s look at some beliefs people have about themselves in the context of veganism.
Beliefs about themselves
Internal belief: Vegans are extreme. I am not strong enough to refuse food temptations.
Solution/alternative belief: Explanation of food options/recipes for vegans. You need to make them believe that going vegan isn’t as difficult as it may seem.
See how those are related to the person?
And an example of an external belief would be, “I don’t have the time available to take advantage of this product.”
Once you understand what beliefs are common, you can take those and tie them to a specific goal.
This is where a belief system comes in.
We take them from what they believe now .. to what they need to believe before they buy.
Creating a belief system
Here’s how you create a belief system.
Start by defining your destination belief.
Define your belief starting points.
Define the belief steps in between.
Create a narrative to tie it all together 🙂
Your destination belief is the last and most important belief that needs to happen right before the sale.
Once you figure that out, jump to the very beginning and figure out what the first belief you need to address is.
Then you start connecting the dots 🙂
Similar to how you create content with customer avatars in mind, you need to create strategic content that installs these beliefs in order.
And each piece of content you make should install beliefs in the prospect’s own language or style.
This specificity is where the juju is 🙂
Let’s continue with the example of someone deciding to become vegan.
Check out how this spreadsheet matches beliefs to different pieces of content (lead magnets and emails) and begins with the belief of “I love animals” and ends with the destination belief of “I need to become vegan”.
Note: Lead magnets (LMs) are just pieces of content behind email address segmentation fields (more on those later).
By mapping your beliefs out this way, you know exactly what beliefs you need to install in what order. By the end the customer will believe in your process or product.
It’s wielding human psychology to bring about change, and believe me — this stuff is powerful.
Building Your Relationship Funnel Toolset
At this point, it’s time to start thinking about how we’re going to transfer all this to actual content and automations.
When first digging into building a Relationship Funnel, it can be overwhelming to figure out what software to use.
There is no perfect answer to this. The marketing software space is diverse and highly competitive, and sometimes working with an existing but possibly less sophisticated piece of software is better — it all depends.
What’s safe to say is that at Wild Audience, we have tried a lot.
We’ve finally landed on a tool stack that works for us, and everything we cover can be handled with these tools.
You need to think about what formats and types of content your prospects are most familiar with and use them to shape your lead magnet.
As long as your lead magnet is tangible, valuable, and directly related to your customer’s solution, you’ll be fine.
And the more tangible, valuable, and directly related your lead magnet, the better your conversion rates will be. I promise.
Take another lead magnet of ours ..
This is the landing page for it (which prompts them with the segmentation questions before it can be downloaded):
And here’s the first CTA:
A general guide to “customer acquisition” that describes the power of a Relationship Funnel?
Seems pretty related to me 🙂
Or if you were an online business selling high-ticket consulting packages to insurance companies and wrote a blog on digital inefficiencies of the insurance market, which lead magnet would be more effective?
10 Digital Tactics for Online Growth
7 Proven Digital Strategies Insurance Companies Need to Adopt Right Now To Make More Sales
It’s clear that the second one is better. It is specific to the insurance industry and thus it’s far superior to a vague lead magnet.
Create one awesome lead magnet at first.
It should solve one of your prospects most burning problems.
In the insurance example it is helping them solve the problem of sales.
Yours should do the same thing for your market.
It should be good enough for cold prospects to WANT to submit their email.
Once you get a prospect to submit their email address, then the real fun begins 🙂
Nothing is more satisfying then turning on a super relevant automation that brings in sales automatically for your business.
Autopilot profit for the win.
And autopilot does not mean impersonal!
Quite the contrary.
With smart automation and a deep understanding of your service and what your prospects need, you’ll be able to create authentic, long-lasting customers.
You’ll be able to create Relationships.
And that’s the key to all of this — it’s why I named our flagship product and services Relationship Funnel. It’s why I built my entire business around this idea. As soon as I saw how well smart, authentic automations worked, I knew I had stumbled across something important.
At Wild Audience, we create all of our automations with Wild Mail. It’s our favorite software for customer tagging and email management.
We tested over 200 automations to see which ones performed best in high-ticket situations. After all was said and done, we ended up with 5 automation sequences we loved.
If you start using Wild Mail today, you’ll get instant access to those 27 🙂
There are way too many details to cover here (all of those templates and walkthroughs can be found in Relationship Funnel itself), but here are the main pieces you want to have automated:
1. Lead Scoring
Lead scoring is a way Wild Mail and other systems can add “points” to types of engagement and fire actions based off certain thresholds.
It’s safe to say that someone who opens 5 emails in a row and has seen the sales page 3x is much more qualified than someone who ignored your last 3 emails.
Your system should reflect that, and it can when you set up lead scoring.
(example of opening an email scoring)
2. RBS Series
7-10 emails that install beliefs and establish a relationship. More on this shortly!
3. Conversion sequence automations
Emails and actions that initiate a sales process based on engagement / behaviour-based pitching (usually certain emails or CTAs).
4. Lead magnet deliveries / evergreen automations
Additional content that continues to engage and feed people into your conversion sequences.
But automation is ineffective without personalization, and personalization is achieved through segmentation.
Installing your segmentation
Context and timing are the secrets of good automation sequences.
And in order to do provide them, you need to install a segmentation system.
You take bucketing questions similar to what we showed you above and just add them in front of your lead magnets.
Our favorite way to do this is what we call the 5-question interview, and it’s the same system we talked about above!
These guys 🙂
If you have a sales team, ask them what the most critical qualifying information is for leads. What is most useful for them to know?
Collect their answers and start building your bucketing questions from there, it’s often the best place to start.
If you don’t have a sales team, then think about what would be most useful to you / what you need to send someone the right content.
This usually includes:
Budget / revenue ranges.
Their dreams, desires, and goals.
And once people are bucketed, you can send them a specific Relationship-Building-Sequence (RBS) or other personalized content (by exchanging words, phrases, or sentences in emails) that speak directly to their problem 🙂
Write your RBS
*This section is an excerpt from thisblog if you want to continue reading there*
Once your segmentation system is all set up, it’s time to write the actual emails.
This is my favorite part. My absolute favorite part.. Bonding with new leads through email automation.
And I’m telling you .. It’s extremely powerful.
If you know how to do it right.
And today .. I’ll share with you how to write emails that build trust and establish relationships with new leads.
You do this by creating an email sequence. I call this the Relationship Builder Sequence or RBS. An RBS is a sequence of emails you send out automatically.
Yup. On autopilot. ” />
You don’t send them manually.
You use an ESP (Email Service Provider) like ConvertKit, InfusionSoft, ActiveCampaign or Wild Mail. Take a look at my RBS ..
A screenshot of my zoomed out RBS.
That’s the email sequence I use to build trust and establish a relationship with new leads.
It’s a series of 7 lessons to teach new prospects the basics of sales funnels for online business.
My goal is to teach, advise, help and guide my new tribe members to help solve their problems. I want to become their trusted advisor ..
And sometimes I tease them ” />
– I activate people in the first email.
– I ask them to click specific links in order to get the next email ..
– I use engagement techniques like Open Loops, Nested Loops and Cliffhangers to make them wait for future emails.
This has a powerful effect ..
The aim of the emails is to educate and create engagement.
Engagement is important because higher engagement = more sales ..
What should you actually include in the emails?
That’s easy ..
The beliefs you created before.
From those beliefs you will have made a belief map.
Break those beliefs into 7 digestible chunks.
Each email will represent one of those chunks.
The goal of the series is to build a relationship first then draw people towards a key conversion event second.
The first 3-4 emails are all about establishing trust through helpful content.
Here’s an example of the first email of our sequence. Notice how it’s all about reciprocity — giving value upfront in return for something (an ask) later.
It’s not until the later emails that we start pitching our conversion event.
We use video sales letters to get people to fill out a quiz and schedule a call for profit funnels and evergreen webinars for our Break-Even funnels.
Here’s how we get people to sign up to our webinar in Email 7 of our RBS..
It’s all about letting people qualify themselves.
Pretty nifty, right?
And this is an example of what your RBS series would look like in Wild Mail on the backend ..
After your RBS series is set up, you need traffic.
Set up your ads
Now, all you need to do is set up your test ads and start generating traffic.
This is the big moment!
When you finally get to throw people into your Relationship Funnel and see how they react 🙂
First, if you don’t have one already, you’ll need to create a Facebook ad account & install your Facebook pixel.
Then, you’ll need to translate your customer avatars into actual audiences.
You can create your audiences when creating a campaign or directly within the audience tab of Facebook Ads.
Refer back to your avatar stories and profiles and try to think about the key identifiers you can point Facebook toward.
These won’t always be available, but let’s say you’re a marketing agency specializing in luxury travel locations for the U.S., Spain, and the U.K..
You might build an audience like this:
So M & F 26-50
Spain, U.K. & U.S.
Works in hospitality AND likes boutique hotels AND likes travel
Remember to use your persona profiles here!
The easiest way to screw up your test is not getting specific enough.
Shoot for somewhere between 25,000 & 500,000 for your initial tests. By continuing to add AND statements into your interest targeting, you should be able to narrow it down.
And don’t forget to restrict it by location if you only service certain locations.
Creating your test ads
Always refer to your customer avatars & evaluate competitors who are doing well in their space.
They’re talking to your future customers, after all.
What do your avatars like to see, and what are your best competitors doing?
What do you like or not like? Is there an angle you can take to outshine the competitors?
Once you have an idea, create 10-15 ads with varying copy and images and label them in a way that easily helps you analyze them.
I’d do it all within one campaign so you can see all your results in one place.
Then I’d spend between $500-$1000 on testing your ads, ensuring you complete the learning phase for your ad sets & give enough time to see real data.
The goal with this first set of ads is to find the right hook for the right type of leads at an profitable price. Usually we use image ads because they are faster to create.
Then, once we know the winning hook we create a video ad and hit the gas on ad spend (which happens in phase 4).
We recently did another round of testing like this, and after a bunch of variations, this ended up being our best performing ad.
Feel free to steal any part of this for your own business 🙂
Connect your conversion sequence
The next step is to link a conversion event to your RBS.
By conversion event I mean the next step in your funnel. This could be a deeper form of engagement (webinar, event, etc.). Or it could be a sales page or strategy call.
Part of what makes Relationship Funnel so powerful is the system automatically connects your RBS series to your conversion sequence at the right time.
Selling too early ruins a lot of online businesses, but so does selling late 🙂
With Relationship Funnel, the idea is to never hide your next conversion event (e.g. webinar or products) and pitch them when engagement is high.
For example, we send a separate email that looks once someone has opened and clicked on 5 emails (lead scoring!) 🙂
Then, we send them to our sales page, and the retargeting ads we have set up (more on that later) pull them toward the next step at each stage. These ads are relevant and specific to the product they were looking at.
First they’re sent to a landing page that has an overview video full of valuable information and social proof, and then they’re presented a CTA that leads them to a qualification quiz built with Typeform.
And then depending on their answers, they’re either prompted to schedule a call or directed to an appropriate product.
Remember we built all of these pages with the tools discussed above, and if you want to get all of these templates for yourself, go check out Relationship Funnel.
Last step: Throw a launch party!
At this point all the battle stations are ready.
All you do is have to hit activate and start pushing traffic toward your brand new Relationship Funnel 🙂
And once you do, take some time to pat yourself on the back.
Crack some champagne — you deserve it.
Phase 3 – Funnel Optimization
Once your Relationship Funnel MVP is finished, it’s time to monitor and improve it as you go along. This cannot be effectively accomplished without setting systems up for iterative experimentation — it must be prioritized within your company.
Here’s what happens in Phase 3:
Analyze test ad performance
Develop a system of growth-based experimentation
Invest in video ads & widen your ad creatives
Create an automated retargeting funnel
Analyze test ad performance
Running successful ad campaigns is all about testing a bunch of copy, images, and offers. Seeing what works, and turning off what doesn’t.
Now that your ads have been running for a bit, you should turn off all of the lowest performing ads.
Facebook does a good job of serving up the best ones anyway, but go ahead and disable the ones you know aren’t performing so you’re not wasting money.
Take a look at your CPA, CTR, ROAS, and CPC, etc. for each ad, ad set, and campaign.
The results for these and how good they are vary by industry according to competition and product price, but refer back to your average Customer Lifetime Value to help calculate your ROI.
For example, let’s say your main high-ticket service sells for $10k, but your average customer also signs up for your $50/month membership and stays for 3 months.
This brings your total LTV to $10,150, and if you spend up to that amount in ads to acquire that customer, your advertising is still bringing profit.
ROAS is the easiest way to calculate your ROI, so make sure you iron out your pixel on the front end!
We test different titles of the lead magnets to see which titles get the best CTR and CPAs per lead type. We also test different types of targeting to see which audience profiles match best with our customer avatars — then we hook these up to our top-performing landing pages (also based on testing)
It’s all about careful analysis and deliberate iteration 🙂
Develop a system of iterative experimentation / growth-based evaluation
Experimentation is the key to effective marketing.
With Respect-Based Marketing, that principle remains steady.
Marketing begins with guesses, is met with data, and ends with result-driven efforts.
The earlier you can set the standard, and more importantly, the space to run experiments, the better.
Give your marketing team the time and budget to run consistent experiments.
Have them run them for a week and report on the results the next. Make this a fundamental part of your system, and your ROI will thank you for it. Plus, this is what marketing teams love! They’ll be excited to bring their ideas to the table and implement them in a controlled environment.
In our Relationship Funnel, we run tests for all sorts of things.
You can use this list to get you started ..
Swap/upgrade different lead magnets and move them around to different blogs.
Try to reduce your CPA for leads with better copy (e.g. we test different lead magnet titles without changing the content of the PDF).
Monitor click rates and open rates of emails and improve emails by adjusting subject and cliffhanger lines.
Track conversion rates at each step of your sales page & VSL (e.g. analyzing how many people read the sales page -> complete the quiz and then schedule call).
Change blog layouts & store UI.
Swap different images & copy on ads.
Change your RBS call-to-actions.
Change the time windows on your automated funnel.
Replace your older content with newer blogs in your RBS series.
We usually start with a master, deep analysis spreadsheet that lists all of these tests and do two complete iterative cycles before starting to scale.
And remember, all of these tests are geared toward getting your funnel ready for scaling.
Invest in video ads & widening your ad creatives
IF you have a good product and nail your messaging, then you can start seeing a great return on your test ads / basic image ads.
Once you start seeing results and are prepping for more tests, then you need to add video ads.
51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users.
The results are in, and the lesson is clear: video assets outperform almost any other ad type.
If your team doesn’t have the time or skill to invest in video ads, hiring a videographer with experience in advertising is an investment worth your time, believe me.
If your conversion rate even bumps by a couple percentage points via the new asset, it will be worth the upfront costs.
And video ads aren’t the only more advanced creative to experiment with. You could also dip into lead form ads, paying for better images, etc.
The point is to reinvest some of the ROI you’ve already seen into strengthening your ad machine.
Now is not the time to sit back.
At least not yet, but it does get a bit easier when you set up one of the last steps of Phase 3, your retargeting 🙂
Create your automated retargeting funnel
Ads usually fall into two camps:
Awareness ads to cold audiences & retargeting ads to warmer audiences.
If you do NOTHING else, then installing at least a few retargeting ads is what I would recommend.
They are cheap, and the ROAS can be amazing!
Retargeting (also sometimes referred to as remarketing), are ads that only target people who have either seen your website (visit) or interacted with certain content (e.g. watched 25% or more of a video ad).
This dramatically lowers your CPC because you’re targeting a much smaller, more highly engaged (or warmer) audience.
Setting up retargeting ads is easy and inexpensive. Depending on your traffic numbers, you should be able to spend <$15 a day and have a big impact on your bottom line.
The key to effective remarketing is dividing up your audiences according to what step or level that person is on.
Think about it this way:
Level 1 – Cold audiences (no brand awareness yet)
Level 2 – Seen your site / interacted with a piece of content
Level 3 – Subscribed / given email address
Level 4 – Visited sales page or added a particular product to their cart
Level 5 – Went to the checkout page
Level 6 – Back-End funnel ads to existing customers
Then, in order to install retargeting, you just fill in the gaps with the goal of getting the person to get to the next level, and once they reach that level you set up excluding audiences to make sure they aren’t receiving older ads.
So you would exclude site visitors from Level 1, and you would exclude add to cart people from the “viewed a particular product” audience.
Let’s walk through each level briefly:
So Level 1 is just the cold audiences we discussed above. Your goal is to get them to get to your site or interact with content, so your ads should be focused on that. This is where you deliver your best blogs and lead magnets to people who have viewed your blogs before.
For Level 2 ads, you deliver product ads or case studies that are directly related to the lead magnet or content they’ve interacted with.
For Level 3 ads, your goal is to establish a relationship and install beliefs through educational content & social proof. So this where you put your middle and bottom of funnel content.
For Level 4, you remind people of what they left in the cart / point them back toward the sales page / give them more information about that particular product.
For Level 5, you could offer time-based discounts or the chance to speak with a sales representative to help etc.
This is where you continue educating your customers on your Back-End funnel products and help them use their existing products.
And what’s awesome, is that once you set these up, they will always be working for you in the background.
This is where all that backend sales revenue comes from. Retargeting can really up your customer LTV when executed correctly.
And if you want to make the ad management process even more automated, you can set up automated rules that adjust the budget depending on ROAS and frequency.
For example, if your ad frequency is low (<2) but ROAS is super high (>5), you could set up a rule that bumps the ad budget by 10% every 2 days to make sure you’re reaching everyone it should.
Use the bullseye traffic formula to choose your channel(s)
Here’s the thing.
Not all channels work for all businesses.
The bullseye traffic formula was popularized by Gabriel Weinberg of DuckDuckGo fame and Justin Mares, founder of Kettle & Fire, and it makes sure you nail the distribution angle of your business.
Identifying your best channel(s) will make or break your business — even if you have a great product, pitch, etc.
Here are the steps:
Brainstorm and research all available channels.
Pick 2 or 3 that you think will work best.
Run tests on all channels simultaneously.
Choose the best and go all-in.
This process allows you to hone in on the channels that will have the biggest impact on your business. For businesses that deal in creatives, that may be Instagram. For education-based consultancies, that could be Facebook groups.
The idea is to test thoroughly, identify confidently, and then go for it.
This is how we decided on blogging and Facebook originally. After that, we added in podcasts because we knew it would complement those original two.
I conduct an interview and release it as a podcast, go even deeper on those topics in blogs, and then build share those pieces of content with social media (all of which is super duper related to Wild Audience’s products) to pull the right people into my sphere of influence.
My content serves as a filter to attract only the best kind of people into my funnel. I try to get as specific as possible when producing content. You should always be thinking about your ideal user.
If someone interacts with my content, I know that this person is interested in what I have to offer (since the content is pretty much a light version of my paid products).
My podcasts are usually around 20-30 minutes and my blog posts are usually between 3,000 – 7,000 words long and packed with awesomeness. It’s always about actionable advice and step-by-step instructions. And I always include screenshots, graphics and content upgrades when applicable.
Upping ad spend / internal team expansion
After ROI stays consistent across all content creation systems while spending at least >2k+ in ad spend, it’s time to experiment with the advertising end of scaling.
This usually involves picking your top performing assets across all of your campaigns, optimizing them, and then running high budget experiments to different audiences.
In order to scale from 5k to 20k per month, it’s really important to create different ads for each avatar and use copy that speaks directly to that avatar. That way you attract good leads and discourage bad leads. This granularity requires time and expertise, so if you don’t have an internal member with the experience required, investing in a good advertiser can go a long way.
Facebook advertisers typically charge a management fee + % of ad spend.
So if you spent $5,000 per month and they charged $1,000/month + 15%, you would pay around $1,750/month in management fees.
Good advertisers are expensive (that management fee is probably a bit on the low end), but if that person is making you 10k+ a month from the ads, then it’s well worth it.
Be flexible on your contracts with advertisers. The best relationships are when the advertiser is motivated to run additional tests & keep you top of mind because they’re invested in the revenue potential as well.
And keep in mind that it almost always takes an advertiser a month or so of testing to get ROI off the ground, and there are all sorts of variables that go into this. The more assets and help you can give them, the better your results will be.
And believe me, finding that first ad -> audience fit is so damn exciting 🙂
Keep people in mind for that incoming influx of new leads, too. You’ll need team members specifically devoted to these new leads, so either reorganize your existing sales team or make a hire.
The end! What you need to do next…
You should now have a much better understanding of Relationship Funnels 🙂
On how to unlock the power of Respect-Based Marketing in your high-ticket or online business.
On automating the building of real relationships that generate real revenue by delivering value 🙂
It’s a lot of work, but the results speak for themselves.
If you’re ready to join the Respect-Based Marketing movement and create funnels that can exponentially grow your business, then you could start today.
Here’s the deal: faster growth starts with automating relationships.
There are four different ways you could kick things off:
Get us to do it with you: Sometimes a leader’s time is best spent on the business. We live and breathe marketing funnels, so if you want us to help you install your own Relationship Funnel — giving you the system to start acquiring and closing more customers than you ever have before, then go here.
You can become a rebel and learn everything about funnels and automation here.
You can just run with what’s in this super awesome lead magnet 🙂
You can ignore RF and keep wondering why you aren’t acquiring profitable customers at scale.
The choice is yours, but whatever you decide — good luck 🙂
Have an overview of our RF Accelerator and how it will work for you.
Understand the investment required to join.
See real results that clients have achieved using our methods.
Realize that the cost of inaction is far greater than your initial investment.
You need support implementing a scalable funnel strategy that will fill your calendar with sales calls and build a real relationship with your audience.
Ok, let’s get right into it.
What Is RF Accelerator?
To understand what we’re offering with RF Accelerator, we need to zoom out and take a look at how our Relationship Funnel works.
Relationship Funnel is all about acquiring customers at profit and scale.
The screenshot below is a high-level overview of what a Relationship Funnel looks like.
That is the core of everything we do.
In order to grow, you need to systematize your customer acquisition process.
This is where Relationship Funnel comes in.
Systemized customer acquisition at profit and scale is best done through Relationship Funnels and Respect-Based Marketing.
Before your customers believe in your product, you need to build trust and gain their respect.
When you’re selling high-ticket items and services, it’s crucial that your customers resonate with you on a deeper level. Which means you need to dig deeper to identify the value that will impact them the most.
We do this with Respect-Based Marketing.
What Is Respect-Based Marketing And Why Is It Beneficial?
Relationship Funnels are like sales funnels on steroids. It’s how you build relationships and install buying beliefs with your audience before selling to them.
These funnels are powered by Respect-Based Marketing.
Respect-Based Marketing is our approach to install buying beliefs within our audience by bonding on a deep emotional level to move their minds, hearts, and wallets.
And guess what? It works.
For years, we’ve used this system ourselves and taught it to other business owners who are ready to put systems in place to grow their business.
They let you remove yourself from the process as they run on autopilot.
RF Accelerator is a 10 week Program to automate your processes and put your business in a position to acquire customers at profit and scale.
It’s a done-with-you group consulting service to support you and hold you accountable. It will give you the necessary templates, scripts, strategies and support to set you up for success.
RF Accelerator will force you to stop stalling and take action that will make a massive impact on the future of your business.
When you join RF Accelerator, this is what you’ll get:
Access to RF Accelerator Training Program (10 week project plan to successfully setup your RF and get your first sales calls scheduled)
Wild Mail Automation Templates, Landing Page Templates, Email Copy Templates, Scripts for ads, copy for ad copy and Phone Scripts
1 Group Consulting Calls per week (Strategy / Technical / Optimization)
Every week, you’ll dive deeper into Relationship Funnel, and follow a no-surprises schedule. You’ll know exactly what’s coming next and how far along in the process you are.
Here’s a glance at the week-by-week roadmap.
Since RF Accelerator is a done-with-you program, you’re not dependent on an agency who vaguely understands your goals and mission.
And you’re never left in the dark wondering what the hell the agency is even working on right now.
You also don’t have to worry about feeling confused and frustrated by trying to implement all of the steps yourself.
You’ll be part of a private community that will hold you accountable, call you out, and push you to implement your new and improved sales funnel. We are in this together. That means if you have any questions throughout the process, or during implementation, we are on your side and here to help.
Weekly group calls will guide you through the process of building a profitable Relationship Funnel and you’ll be able to ask a million questions along the way.
Who Is RF Accelerator For?
Our RF Accelerator Clients are high-ticket businesses that want to grow from 6 to 7-figures. They have case studies that prove they helped their clients get results.
To us, having a ‘high-ticket business’ means that you have an average customer lifetime value of at least 2,000€ ($). In other words, each customer pays you at least 2,000€ ($) each year.
They’ve put together an email newsletter. Usually not a very good one (that changes quickly after working with us), but a newsletter nonetheless.
They are founders who are still doing a lot of the day-to-day work like writing blog posts, scheduling sales calls, and managing other marketing tasks.
They are from all backgrounds and include a range of tech-experts and creatives.
Don’t’ worry about being non-technical or marketing-averse.
We speak your language. Literally. Not only does our team interact with clients in English, Spanish, and German, but we relate and speak to the pain points of your business.
We break down the steps in terms that you understand, without the vague marketing jargon.
Now for the reason you’re reading this article.
How Much Does RF Accelerator Cost?
To get started with RF Accelerator, you’re going to make an investment of €5800 ($6500) for a 10-week “done-with-you” service. At the end of the program, you’ll have implemented an evergreen Relationship Funnel.
We offer a couple of different payment options to split up the payments.
Now you probably want to know if the money you spend will be worth it to you.
You only need to close 1-5 deals to break even. If you go through the steps we lay out to achieve the results we promise, this turns into the cheapest investment you will ever make.
Just look at what Mirna achieved in her second month of RF Accelerator.
Since working with us, Niklas is buying sales sales calls for around 300 Euros at a 7% conversion rate.
It seems like a steep investment on paper, but let’s break down the lifetime benefits you’ll reap from being on board.
Is RF Accelerator worth the Investment?
There are so many programs out there promising vague results like growth.
Here is exactly what you will get from your investment in RF Accelerator.
Here’s a closer look at what your business can look like 90 days from now.
A perfect implementation of Relationship Funnel means hitting these KPIs.
Increased Number of scheduled sales calls
More leads are signing up for sales calls
Leads are high-quality and exactly who you’re looking for
Your CPA will go down
Just look at how Niklas turned his leads into scheduled sales calls
You Will Have Automated Systems In Place
On completion of the 90-day program you will have the following systems in place:
The implementation of this automated Relationship Funnel and systems will remove yourself from the process and give you more time to focus on growing your business.
Instead of just telling you it’s a good investment. Let’s take a look at some real-life examples of how implementing our Respect-Based Marketing strategies have changed people’s businesses and lives.
RF Accelerator Roadmap Will Fast Track Business Growth
It might be difficult to picture exactly what your business will look like at the end of RF Accelerator, so let’s break it down.
RF Accelerator roadmap will fast-track your business in these 4 ways.
1. Funnel Strategy
You will build a strategy and foundation that include a detailed customer avatar, positioning, offer strategy, belief mapping, bucketing and segmentation, and funnel flow.
2. Funnel Implementation
Implementing your funnel will include building a lead magnet, setting up automations, funnel pages, an RBS email sequence and a conversion sequence.
You will also have a VSL (Virtual Sales Letter) and solid closing process in place ready to go when your funnel launches.
Then your funnel will actually go live!
3. Funnel Optimization
You’ll learn how to effectively monitor funnel performance and make adjustments along the way to create a retargeting funnel.
This process is all about finding the winning funnel. The first version of your funnel is usually not the most profitable, and that’s normal! That’s why it’s on us to collect data, analyze the findings and fix what isn’t working.
At the end of the first month, we should have a winning Relationship Funnel so that by the third month, we can really start to scale.
4. Funnel Scaling
Once all of the pieces are in place, you are ready to scale your funnel! This means Introducing an evergreen newsletter and creating a traffic framework.
You’ll have the framework for creating a PPC lead gen system for cold acquisition & retargeting.
What is the cost of inaction?
How long do you think it would take you to figure out how to implement a funnel like this on your own?
Based on past experience, we estimate probably around 1000-2000 hours.
Assuming you pay yourself $50 an hour (this is a conservative estimate of course ..) That’s easily between $50 – $100k worth of your time [$50/hr x 1000 hours].
Can you afford to spend thousands of dollars and man-hours working on something that you’re not an expert in and that you can’t guarantee results?
You can build these systems yourself or hire freelancers to implement each piece of the puzzle.
But you will still be underestimating the impact of having real experts on your side. We want you to win, whereas others are just there to get the job done.
You will still have to put in the work.
But with your expertise and feedback at your fingertips, the process becomes simplified. We’ve worked with enough clients to know exactly what works and only give you the strategies that we’ve found successful.
Don’t underestimate the time and knowledge it takes to build a funnel that actually works.
One that makes your audience yearn for more.
So the cost of inaction is simple.
You can work with us now, for a tiny fraction of that time and cost. OR try and do it yourself, get frustrated, spend too much time and money trying to figure it out. And then work with us later.
The only difference is that when you put it off, you will already be behind everyone else who invested in themselves and their businesses in prioritizing growth at profit and scale.
This is what we do. We have templates in place that will generate long-term ROI for your business over 6-12 months and years beyond.
Let’s do some math, shall we?
If your product costs 10k then you only need to close 1-2 clients and you break even on your RF Accelerator investment.
Some of the people we work within RF Accelerator are closing double that within the first few months of implementing their new funnel. Depending on the length of your sales cycle, you could have calls booked by the end of the second month, and actually close sales by the third month of RF Accelerator.
Let’s use John as an example.
John currently receives 10 leads per day and has a 0.5% conversion rate. His average order value is $2000, so his projected revenue is $36,500 per year.
After implementing Relationship Funnel we guarantee that his conversion rate will increase to at least 1.25%. That’s $91,250.00 in revenue.
And that’s us being modest. Many of our clients get conversion rates as high as 2.20% which would mean a revenue of $160,600.00!
Without RF Accelerator, you’re missing out on as much as $124,100 every year.
Think about the entire life of your business. What you invest in RF Accelerator now, is a grain of sand compared to the lifetime value your new funnel will continue to generate.
We are building a long-term system that generates steady, sustainable growth.
We make podcasts, turn them into amazing articles, create accompanying videos, and help successful business owners like you build incredible sales funnels every day.
You’re reading a piece of this strategy right now — this article stems from an amazing conversation we had with Rand Fishkin of Moz & SparkToro fame.
He built Moz and Sparktoro through content, and we’re going to cover exactly how he did that in a bit.
Here’s what you can expect from this article:
What is content marketing?
Why Content Marketing is the lead generation silver bullet
How content marketing made Rand Fishkin the SEO king.
The 2019 Content Marketing Strategy Template: How to build a future-proof business
Your next steps for an amazing 2019
Heads up: We think it’s worth demonstrating these tactics through Rand’s story, but the most actionable part of this article (The 2019 Content Marketing Strategy Template: How to build a future-proof business) where we walk through WA’s content machine is toward the bottom.
Some people say if light touches it, it’s content 🙂
That’s a bit much, but the point is that content can be anything that you use to drive customer action.
These pieces of content are also usually what we call “inbound” content. Or content that isn’t strictly interruptive (commercials etc.)
*Digital ads have a wide variety of uses outside of strict interruptive advertising. E.g. they can be used to retarget and amplify existing content.*
Chances are, you’re already doing some of this in your business. There’s no end to your options as a business owner, but whatever you do, you need to make sure it’s good.
What makes good content?
That answer changes for every business. No matter what industry or what audience, each business-to-audience fit is unique, and your content should speak to that 🙂
With that in mind, good (and by good we mean sustainable content that reliably converts) content:
Is specific to an audience.
Tells a story/builds a narrative
Has an original angle or perspective
“Before you ever create content, ask yourself, ‘who will help amplify this, and why?’ If you don’t have a great, specific answer to that question, reconsider whether you should create it at all. Content that doesn’t earn links, shares, email forwards, word-of-mouth, press, etc. probably won’t stand out, won’t rank, and won’t be worth your energy to build.” – Rand Fishkin via Forbes
And that space between average content and great content is where your success in 2018 lies.
Here’s my bit of advice on this:
Do not rush or underestimate the time it takes to create good content.
It’s different for everyone, but whatever it takes to put out genuinely interesting and compelling content, pursue that — regardless of how frequency may suffer. Even if you have to start slow, putting out quality content will always be a differentiator worth investing in.
And then over time, you can start to build up what we call the content growth machine.
This your team and process. How you can reliably and consistently put out content your audience will respond to.
If you already have a system in place but aren’t getting the results you want, I guarantee it’s the existing system that’s incorrect — not content marketing itself.
Why Content Marketing is the Lead Generation Silver Bullet
Content Marketing is one of the best ways to grow a sustainable audience (and therefore business)
There’s no wrong way to grow or start a business, but there are smarter ways 🙂
Content marketing is a fantastic method to invest in. By writing and producing content that speaks to your audience, you can begin to gain an audience and install important beliefs.
If people trust you, are entertained by your company, and look to your content for a type of interaction on a consistent basis — and your product is related to that content, then you’ll succeed.
This graph by Marketing Land does a nice job of summing it up.
Content marketing is an exponential curve. It takes time to stoke the fire. You have to lay branch after branch and strike flint after flint before it catches. But once it does, you’ll find yourself in a rapidly growing business 🙂
Notice how the investment required starts high and climbs up and through the slog. You may find yourself a bit down 6 months in. Maybe you’re only getting a few downloads or reads for the enormous effort you’re putting in.
Under no circumstances should you give up then 🙂
That’s when most people do.
“Don’t assume SEO works right away. It’s the total opposite of advertising. It requires a large, upfront investment of creativity, technical investments, and elbow grease, and the returns will initially be small or nonexistent. It’s only after months or years that SEO begins producing great value, but when it does, it can dwarf the ROI you get from paid investments. The high upfront costs and challenges are what keep the field thin enough to make standing out a true competitive advantage.” – Rand Fishkin via Forbes
The more content you put out, the better at creating content you’ll be. And the better you get and the more content you put out, the more you will be rewarded from an SEO and audience perspective.
And here’s the thing. There is so much to do while you’re creating content and fighting through the slog — that’s also when you’ll be improving or building your product and designing a Relationship Funnel or other sales funnels.
A.k.a. Your conversion strategy.
A typical content-marketing funnel typically falls into segments like these:
Top of the Funnel (Reaches new people)
Blogs, podcasts, interviews, conferences, etc.
Middle of the Funnel (captures email)
MOFU blogs, how-to guides, lead magnets, downloadable PDFs.
Bottom of the Funnel (leads toward sale)
Case studies, blogs on company culture and unique mechanisms, explanations of process, etc.
We’ll cover more on funnel segments (TOFU, MOFU, BOFU) later on.
Content creates authority and builds trust
The secret of a successful content marketing and funnel strategy is the installation of key beliefs.
Beliefs about your company, product, value, etc. all play into a lead’s decision to pull out their credit card.
They need to believe you know what you’re talking about — this is the belief of expertise or authority.
And they need to trust that you are charging fairly, will deliver the product appropriately, and are generally trustworthy.
There are many more beliefs than authority and trust, but content is a fantastic medium for installing these two crucial beliefs.
Content — especially blogs and podcasts, demonstrate expertise through “performance”.
Words let readers inside the writer’s head.
And reading lets the writer get inside your head 🙂
If you read an article or blog and are impressed by the thought process and expertise displayed in the article, you start to believe that the author knows what they’re talking about.
This is how content builds authority.
Trust is a bit more nebulous. Trust may be developed by consistency. If each and every piece of content you interact with is impressive and interesting, then you know a business isn’t a one-shot nobody.
And if the overall branding, style, and community resonates with you, this also plays into the trust.
Make sure you’re thinking about these beliefs when writing content, and you can learn more about belief installations here.
Content takes on a life of its own.
One of my favorite aspects of good content is how it will crop up and reach people you don’t expect.
For example, our Todd Herman article was recently used by Ryan Deiss of DM fame during a high-profile client conference.
He used our content as an example of what investing in content should look like.
And those same methods that got us there is what we’re discussing here. Everything you read here you can take and use for yourself.
The best content is reusable for years to come
One awesome thing about content is its ability to be redistributed and used in different mediums and portions of your funnel.
One blog can be used as the inspiration for a podcast, Facebook video, and Instagram posts. You could create a downloadable version and use that as a lead magnet.
You could use that blog as an ad to attract new subscribers.
You could take a portion of that and use it as an email hook in a marketing automation sequence — using it to both attract new customers through organic traffic and engage with existing subscribers.
And if you have a great piece that you’d like to still use but is getting outdated, then an update is all you need to doctor up an aging piece.
There’s really no limit here.
Why you should invest in Content Marketing alongside PPC
Content marketing drives consistent traffic and conversions without the hard costs of advertising.
And articles with proper keyword research can continue to serve you for years to come.
They can become evergreen 🙂
Think about that in terms of how much you spend on paid advertising.
If you are spending $2 per click on “vegetarian recipes”, then you’d spend $1,000 getting 500 people to your site.
But… if you spent that same $1,000 on a really great, comprehensive article on your favorite vegetarian recipes, it could potentially bring thousands of visits per month for free. If you even got 1,000 people to your site over 3 months it would be more than worth it.
And what if it really took off — attracting over 1,000 visitors a month. This would cost you $2k/month to buy minimum.
That’s what is known as the PPC equivalency. It applies to any form of paid advertising in relation to content marketing.
This also isn’t taking into account the probability of a great long-form piece of content ranking for multiple keywords and being used in other marketing capacities (email content, social content, etc.) — even more so reducing your spend.
Now let’s talk about how Rand built Moz into an SEO empire off the back of good content.
How Content Marketing Made Rand Fishkin the SEO King
There are many entrepreneurs/businesses to look at when searching for examples of businesses built with content.
Seth Godin… Neil Patel… Ryan Levesque… Wild Audience 🙂
And one of the most impressive examples of this model is Rand Fishkin.
Rand Fishkin is the co-founder and former CEO of the SEO giant Moz.
Founded alongside Gillian Muessig in 2004 as a consulting firm, the two of them shifted to SEO software development in 2008.
Rand has since left Moz to found SparkToro (more on that later), but the last full year he was there (2017), the company reported revenues of $47.4 million and averages of nearly 3 million website visits per month.
Rand and I recently spent an hour together discussing his story.
And when I tell you that Rand built his company off content, I really mean it.
Moz was a popular blog for 4 years before the launch of their software. And once they launched, they earned $400,000 in 6 months.
What’s the main lesson?
You have to start early 🙂
The worst idea is to wait until your product is finished to start marketing.
You will destroy your odds.
Rand first grew his audience almost entirely through his blog and a weekly medium Moz dubbed “Whiteboard Fridays”.
Every Friday Rand or another member of the Moz team would set up in front a white board and talk about an in interesting lesson, stat, or technique.
They’d post the video along with a transcript and audio version of the talk.
Whiteboard Fridays eventually became the go-to resource on SEO for thousands of marketers and business owners around the world — even saving the once struggling agency early on.
Why did this work for Rand and didn’t for so many other entrepreneurs working in and around content marketing?
It’s because his content is sharp, encompassing, consistent, and valuable.
All of the boxes of good content we mentioned earlier, he filled 🙂
And he’s using a similar strategy to build his latest venture, SparkToro.
How Rand is using Content Marketing to fuel his next venture, SparkToro.
SparkToro is a “search engine for Audience Intelligence.” It’s not released yet, but Rand is already doing a bunch of work on promoting it (more on that in a second).
SparkToro looks really promising.
Companies can put keywords and audience information into an engine that will pull out a variety of influencers across a variety of channels.
One thing to note:
Sparktoro is not a traditional influencer marketplace, nor does it play favorites.
Instead of focusing on Instagram influencers like many other companies, SparkToro equips entrepreneurs with influencers in less saturated spaces — namely blogs, publications, print magazines, etc.
That doesn’t mean SparkToro is ignoring Instagram, but they are focusing on blogs, podcasts, subreddits, events etc. instead.
The idea is to solve the “discovery” problem. No one likes sourcing influencers for days before a campaign.
And just like Moz, Rand is starting with a variety of content marketing strategies for building his audience.
Here’s everything Rand is doing with SparkToro:
He’s using his status as a prominent blogger by letting that audience live on Sparktoro.com through consistent blogs and updates.
He’s building free tools that are directly related to his future product.
Trending – It’s like Reddit or Hackernews for tech marketers. Trending counts all the URLs you and the community tweet as votes, so you can see what the web marketing world is talking about today.
SparkScore – Figure out your level of influence by measuring your fake accounts etc.
Fake Followers audit – Fake Followers Audit looks at 25+ factors correlated with spam/bot/low quality accounts to return a percentage of followers that are thought to be fake.
3. He’s using his book release engagements to talk about SparkToro.
4. He’s accepting interviews (like this blog!) and other PR/speaking events and plugging his new venture.
By combining these free tools, blogs, speaking events, interviews (like the one that sparked this article), and utilizing his existing Moz/personal brand audience, Rand is already building an audience of buyers before SparkToro is released.
So everything he does points back to his company in some form or fashion, but how does Rand define the success of these efforts? What do you need to be monitoring when building your own business with content?
Here’s how Rand defines content marketing success for SparkToro:
Branding and awareness increase is evident.
Email list growth
Free tools become well known.
Baseline level of traffic pretty solid.
SparkToro’s existing audience knows what they are building.
They develop a list of potential buyers.
Simple and easy, right?
As we mentioned, Rand is launching all of this marketing before the product is finished. This method is known as audience-first, startup second or “minimum viable audience” companies, and it’s one of my favorite topics 🙂
And here’s how Rand thinks about audience-first businesses.
How Rand Fishkin approaches “audience-first” content marketing
For Rand, it’s all about story.
You need to know the story of the problem you’re solving, and you need to be able to distill that into a solution.
That’s where you start.
Then you need to transform that story into something that is accessible and amplifiable 🙂
Start or improve your content marketing strategy by asking yourself questions like:
How do we build things that are consistently engaging and useful until we have the product? How do we both attract and retain future buyers?
That’s the goal, after all.
You also need to know the type of business you want to build on the onset
For Rand, he’s building SparkToro like a zebra instead of a unicorn.
Unicorns are profit-focused — with few succeeding but those who do almost always disrupt society. These are the Facebooks, Ubers, and AirBnBs of the world.
Zebra companies are alternative, more sustainable business models and can be described as such:
“These alternative models will balance profit and purpose, champion democracy, and put a premium on sharing power and resources. Companies that create a more just and responsible society will hear, help, and heal the customers and communities they serve.” – Sex and Startups
It’s slower growth coupled with more cautious investing that prioritizes social impact and culture above profits.
It’s about launching a profitable business out of the gate and having that same business be a place that is genuinely rewarding to work at while building a better world simultaneously.
And for that to happen, you need a low-cost CPA, a good pricing model that means your paid costs are low, strong organic marketing, and to know what culture you want from the beginning.
This doesn’t mean unicorns are inherently evil or that you can’t pursue rapid growth, you just need to know what you want from the get go — that mentality will ultimately shape both your personal life and business culture in profound ways.
Even if you’re already running a healthy business, thinking in terms of lean, smart growth via content marketing is a useful exercise.
Now that you’ve seen a bit on how Rand is approaching SparkToro, let’s take a closer look at building a content marketing machine in the context of the business we know best, Wild Audience 🙂
Scaling Content Marketing: How to build a reliable and rapid-growth content machine
When it comes to building future-proof, audience-first businesses, we have a lot of experience at Wild Audience.
It’s how we built this business after all.
In this section, we’re going to open the doors and show you exactly how we run our content machine.
When I say you can start a business with one blog, I mean it.
For us, it all came to down to this blog. (actually this article)
That’s it 🙂
But it took a lot more than writing it.
Because that blog was built on months of market research and Facebook group relationships.
I spent hours and hours building up to when I would actually release the blog.
For more on building a “minimum viable audience” business, go here.
When Wild Audience first started, blogging was our main traffic driver. These days… it’s a bit more diverse 🙂
But before we look at our evolved content marketing machine, let’s cover the concepts you’ll need to understand it.
The segmenting theory behind successful content marketing
One of the biggest hang-ups with content marketing is knowing what to create and when.
Do you need more case studies? More awareness blogs? More videos?
Sometimes you can feel confident in most mediums but always feel like you don’t know if you’re creating the right content at the right time.
The easiest solution to this is by fitting your content into 3 main stages.
These three funnel stages are based on a customer’s typical journey — aimed at answering the right questions at the right time.
They are split into three branches:
Top of the Funnel (TOFU)
Buyer Question: What exactly is my problem? What is its nature and scope?
Example: I’m not getting enough revenue. I think that’s because my conversion rates are too low, but I’m not sure.
Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
Buyer Question: What are the possible solutions for my problem? Which ones are best for my business and why?
Example: Okay. So it is my conversion rates. What’s better to focus on? Building a marketing automation system? Swapping out designs? Split testing? Okay. Right now it looks like creating a marketing automation is my best bet.
Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)
Buyer Question: Why should I choose your business to provide that solution?
Example: Why is Wild Audience’s Relationship Funnel my best bet for increasing conversion rates? What makes them better than doing it myself or using a different system?
Each piece of content you create should be focused into one of these stages. Typically you have a lot more TOFU than MOFU or BOFU, but down the line you may find that your BOFU content isn’t specific enough and needs reworking or that people always go from TOFU to MOFU but never transition into BOFU.
Different types of content lend themselves to different stages. Check out the graph below for some ideas on how marketers fit content where it works best:
And now to Wild Audience’s current marketing machine.
I conduct all of those interviews and focus on topics we’re currently trying to rank for via our content marketing machine blueprint.
Also known as a funnel silo, it’s the brains behind our entire operation.
This spreadsheet has all of the topics and keywords we’re trying to rank for, what’s been done, who is assigned what, the competitive articles we need to build, and more.
It’s what keeps us sane 🙂
The spreadsheet is designed around umbrella topics. These “topics” are short-tail, high-traffic keywords identified through keyword research.
So things like sales funnel,marketing automation, or any highly competitive keyword that would be fantastic for us to rank for.
Having structure is what will absolutely make or break you in content marketing. Do not rush into this world without a plan in hand and actual structure to back it up.
You can grab the spreadsheet and watch a video of us explaining exactly how you can take this content marketing strategy template and start using it to grow your lead gen efforts below.
Step 2: Turn that interview into a podcast
Podcasting is a great way to speak directly with your audience and earn enough credibility to attract public speaking gigs and other public opportunities.
We’re not alone in thinking this 🙂
17% of marketers plan to add podcasting to their marketing efforts in the next 12 months. (HubSpot, 2018)
For us, our podcast is a curated version of our interviews.
For example, we interviewed HubSpot’s VP of Sales and talked for an hour on everything sales and sales funnels.
Then we took that and edited it into a podcast to start with.
Now have a strong piece of content to start working with 🙂
Step 3: Match the interview with an umbrella topic and identify multiple blog opportunities.
Once we have our interview, we listen down and try to pick out the biggest lessons and most interesting conversation pieces. Then, we open up our content marketing machine blueprint and see where it fits in.
Our HubSpot one is pretty obvious.
Sales funnel, right?
We have our umbrella topic 🙂
Then our team takes a few minutes to think of one long-form (5,000+ words) article on the umbrella topic and as many shorter-form blogs (1,500-3,000+ words) as we can.
The key is to link back to your longer-form piece with your shorter-form pieces. This strategy uses internal linking to boost your SEO and authority around a topic 🙂
Take drip coffee from our content marketing machine blueprint example.
Drip coffee is a short-tail, high traffic keyword. There are tons of blogs on this topic, and it would be great for our fictional drip machine company to rank for this.
Our first step is to create an ultimate guide for making drip coffee. This is a comprehensive, long-form blog that goes into great detail about how to make great drip coffee — mentioning our product as an ancillary piece or potential option.
Then, we split “drip coffee” into a bunch of other blogs ranking for longer-tail keywords that still have drip coffee in them. Things like: “drip coffee machines” or “best drip machine filters” or “drip coffee temperature”.
These give us the opportunity to explore those topics in a bit more depth, link back to our main article, and rank for those longer-tail keywords.
And sometimes these interviews point us in new keyword directions as well — always be keeping an eye out for new keyword opportunities.
Step 4: We write!
Armed with our blog topics, we write our long-form piece first. This often takes a lot of research and time, but the idea is to create something above and beyond anything else that is out there.
We’re going to be using this piece a lot, so the trick is to do whatever it takes to make it a really strong piece 🙂
After we finish writing, we take the blogs, interview, videos, etc. and hook it all up to our Relationship Funnel.
The screenshot above is high-level overview of what a Relationship Funnel consists of.
We use emails, Wild Mail automations (you can get our automations here), lead scoring, Facebook messenger, multi-channel retargeting on social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube) and more to develop real relationships with prospects and earn their trust before asking for a sale.
Including individual emails like this one 🙂
Relationship Funnels are smart automation systems that regularly convert >$100 products at 6% or more.
If you’re looking for ways to grow from six figures to seven figures, just imagine what even a 1% higher conversion rate would do to your monthly revenue.
I recorded a video all about building your own Relationship Funnel, and you can find it down below.
Step 5: Adding fuel to the fire with Retargeting and PPC
Once we have everything prepped and / the Relationship Funnel is ready, we set up the final step — the retargeting and PPC campaigns that will really set things in motion.
PPC can be an incredibly powerful tool when used wisely.
But using it wisely is the catch 🙂
There are two types of advertising we always use in our content marketing 🙂
Retargeting and PPC.
Let’s talk retargeting first.
Retargeting increases engagement and pulls people through your funnel
Retargeting is widely known through Facebook Ads and Google Adwords targeting.
The idea is simple:
When someone visits a specific page on your site, you can then send them curated ads and communications.
This is like Pandora’s box for marketers 🙂
Let’s continue with our HubSpot example.
If someone reads our blog but doesn’t download the HubSpot lead magnet we have, we can encourage that user to take the next step by showing them an ad that is related to the HubSpot article and/or send them and ad that pitches the lead magnet.
We know they were interested enough to read a bit of our article, now we just need to enroll them in our Relationship Funnel by getting their email.
This almost always leads to cheaper CPA costs and higher CTRs (click-through rates).
And retargeting can get extremely sophisticated — moving audiences in and out of ad campaigns to avoid ad fatigue and wasted money by making sure that an ad that a user converts on isn’t shown to them again.
A.k.a. If someone enters our email automation system, we don’t need to show them the lead magnet again 🙂
Retargeting is also an awesome way to engage your existing audience. By uploading customer lists to your ad platform, you can show exact segments of your customer base specific pieces of content or upsells.
Retargeting also opens up some pretty amazing storytelling possibilities through ad sequencing. Ad sequencing is when you set frequency caps and arrange pieces of content to be shown to your audience in a particular order.
So once a lead sees one ad, they will see the next one in the sequence. And once they have seen that ad, the next will be triggered by FB/Instagram/Youtube — it’s a multichannel retargeting effort.
You can also combine this with super specific ad scheduling for really clever ad sequences:
For example, if there was a conference with a bunch of potential customers, you could hyper target the conference location across peak hours advertising your talk, booth, and follow-up contact details in that order.
The possibilities are pretty cool.
We do a lot of retargeting and sequencing with our RF Accelerator clients, which you can learn more about here.
But what about advertising to people who haven’t been to our site?
PPC and lighting the fire
While you have to be a bit more judicious on your spending with PPC, paying for cold clicks can be a great way to reach new audience members or build up social proof for your new content.
If you see great organic results already (high session time, low bounce rate, lots of shares on social media etc.) on a piece of content, then it’s probably worth investing in PPC a bit.
By taking subscribers and customers who you know are already engaged, you can create a lookalike audience that finds people similar to the ones who already enjoy your content.
Then, we take the videos that did well organically and send it that new lookalike audience. Take this Facebook video we did, for example 🙂
This is is only the tip of the iceberg with the power of PPC, but identifying those top performers and amplifying them is a great place to start.
Step 6: We release everything EVERYWHERE
Once everything is set up, we roll out.
Here is an example of how far we take this:
We take one interview with an influencer and turn it into…
The idea is to be consistently ubiquitous and engaging with each piece. This helps you encourage both share ability and depth of value — allowing you to entertain both your internal tribe and pull new audiences into your Relationship Funnel.
Step 7: Repeat
After all is said and done we do it all again.
Good thing we love this stuff 🙂
We currently release two of these articles and all of their ancillary components (interviews, videos, etc.) a month.
And in order for you to maintain consistency like that, you have to have an established content process.
Quick tip: We’ve found content banking to be super helpful. The more articles you can have in your backlog, the better.
So try batching at least 1 interview a week over a few months. This should give you enough time to prep for each interview, keep up with your other responsibilities, and be consistent. Overdoing it just sacrifices quality of work and life 🙂
There’s no better feeling than knowing you have 3 months of content stacked up and ready to go.
Remember that a content marketing machine is only a piece of the puzzle.
Content marketing brings in traffic and can convert on its own in small ways if CTAs are presented, but content marketing is never going to be fully utilized without a sales funnel behind it.
Company Name: The Sales Gorilla (Silverback Media) Website:https://thesalesgorilla.com Location of Client: United States Industry: Coaches and Consultants Product Purchased: Relationship Funnel Accelerator Rating: 5 Stars
John Davie and Landon Porter had a profitable coaching business, but although they were bringing in a good amount of leads, they weren’t getting as many sales as they wanted. John and Landon signed up for Wild Audience’s Relationship Funnel Accelerator and by taking action, they achieved the following results :
Around $20k in sales from adjusting their offer to better match customer needs by including coaching.
Closed $10k in sales in one month from cold traffic with only $3,482 in ad spend.
70% email open rates and 45-60% click through rates from engaged community members.
45-60% email open rates and 6-25% click through rates from cold traffic resulting in 19 booked calls (4% conversion rate)
Who are you and what do you sell?
John Davie and Landon Porter sell a process that helps coaches and consultants get high paying clients without being salesy. They do this by teaching their clients how to build strategic relationships that help automate the lead generation process for high ticket sales.
What was the main problem you wanted to solve for your business?
John and Landon felt like their lead generation campaigns were working well (around $2.30 a lead), but they struggled to convert leads into sales.
John and Landon wanted to improve the following: 1. Funnel Sales Conversion Rates 2. Revenue 3. ROI
Why did you want so solve it?
Having low conversion rates was frustrating for John and Landon because they were spending a lot of money on ads to attract leads. They were also spending a lot time doing webinars, but weren’t getting enough appointments from them.
Thus their return on ad spend (ROAS) was lower than desired. Getting customers felt difficult and they knew their current approach was not scalable.
John and Landon felt stuck and wanted to create a better sales process so that he could start moving towards their goal of owning a 7-figure business.
What made you resonate with Wild Audience and think that this was the right opportunity?
John and Landon wanted to implement a more automated process to attract the ideal prospects, build relationships and turn cold prospects into paying customers.
The main driver for wanting to work with a coach one-on-one was having guidance. They had purchased Wild Audience’s Relationship Funnel course in 2016 and decided to sign up for RF Accelerator in 2018 to boost their results even further.
John and Landon knew that having a mentor to keep them accountable and review the execution would result in faster implementation. And if they could get the whole system running on autopilot, there was no reason not to invest in coaching.
Having someone tell us exactly what to do saved us so much time. The automations are pre-built, so we just had to go in and edit them. With coaching, getting everything set up was easy and the speed of implementation was fast.– John Davie
Can you walk us through your Relationship Funnel?
The first step was to pinpoint the audience that The Sales Gorilla wanted to get into the funnel. Belief mapping was super helpful for developing their messaging for both emails and Facebook.
The goals was to attract cold traffic and install the right buying beliefs in them so that they were ready to purchase the product that would help them get the results they wanted.
John and Landon said that having someone to tell them exactly what to do saved a lot of time. The Wild Mail automations were pre-built, so he just had to go in and edit them. With coaching, getting everything set up was easy and the speed of implementation was fast.
What results did you achieve with RF?
The Sales Gorilla implemented Relationship Funnel and through surveys and digging through the data, they discovered that they weren’t attracting the right people.
Most people in that were coming into the group were beginners. They needed to target people who are already getting clients, but need help taking their business to the next level.
The Relationship Funnel system allowed The Sales Gorilla to target the right audience. Using surveys allowed them to learn more about their audience so that they could send them personalized content tailored to their needs.
Here’s a diagram that shows what a Relationship Funnel looks like:
By implementing Wild Audience system, they also discovered that their ideal customer was more interested in coaching than in the course.
Wild Audience helped them create a new offer strategy and The Sales Gorilla introduced a new coaching offer that generated 20k in sales from 8-12 customers.
Introducing the new offer was a win-win situation.
John and Landon got more data and feedback by working directly with their clients and the clients got more one-on-one coaching time.
To sum it up…
Using surveys allowed The Sales Gorilla to gain data driven insights and use the information to attract higher quality leads
They instantly generated around $20k in revenue by introducing a product that was better aligned with customer expectations
They generated 1,326 leads in one month from cold traffic which resulted in 35 booked calls and around $10,000 in sales. With $3,482 in ad spend, this translated into $6,518 in revenue.
Customer feedback allows them to continue to improve the funnel
Email automation with Wild Mail allowed them to build relationships on autopilot so they can focus on growing the business
They now have a proven system that they can scale in the future.
What is your conversion rate?
The Sales Gorilla has tested multiple email sequences and continues to improve them. One of their sequences resulted in 19 booked calls when targeting cold traffic.
Their initial email went out to 469 people, so that’s about a 4% book rate, which is significantly better than the industry average of 1-2%.
Going through survey data let them iterate not only the front-end messaging and positioning, but the backend as well to send people to a webinar or book higher ticket coaching.
Anything else that changed?
Focusing on the numbers has allowed John and Landon to create high performing emails and content that get great email open and click rates. Testing these Relationship Building Sequences with cold traffic increased John and Landon’s confidence in their system and their ability to attract and sell to the right people.
Another big benefit of implementing Relationship Funnel is that their process is much more automated now. Before, John and Landon were relying on Facebook Live sessions to bring in new clients.
Now, instead of repeatedly doing live webinars, they use email automation to send content to new prospects regularly. Prospects can book a call when they are ready by simply clicking a link in their email.
What are your lessons learned from this experience?
You’re not going to get it right the first time. Test, adjust and re-iterate continually. If you can test it in your Facebook group or community, it helps. But the real test is if you can take cold traffic and convert it.
A few other key lessons:
You need to gather data on your audience to make smart business decisions. Not only do you need data, but you also need the right data.
Doing it yourself is always going to be harder than having a mentor walk you through it.
Make sure that you have a solid and strong offer that is going to convert and work for your audience. The Sales Gorilla tested their offer so that it was strong enough to convert cold traffic.
The ideal situation was to build an automated funnel that automatically built a relationship with the customer and let them know clearly who we are and what we do. We wanted it to be a no-brainer for them to buy by the time the prospect reached the end of the funnel. Ideally, we wanted to be able to bring cold leads into the funnel and turn them into customers at the end. – John Davie
How does the future look like for your business?
John and Landon have tested and built multiple Relationship Building Sequences, which include emails to engage and sell to their audience.
Their short term goal is to continue improving those sequences by incorporating changes to their sales page to filter out clients that aren’t a good fit.
The long term goal is to continue to grow the business and revenues and move towards the dream goal of owning a 7-figure business.
Who should invest in RF Accelerator?
According to John and Landon, someone who wants to build a relationship with their audience and make sure they are the right fit should invest in RF Accelerator. Someone who wants to solve customer acquisition problems, make sure their system is profitable and scale their business to 7-figures in an automated fashion will benefit from RF Accelerator.
The ideal client for the 90-day RF Accelerator program should already have a successful product or service that delivers proven results. They should have client case studies to back up their success, but are still struggling with scaling profits and acquiring the right customers.
The ideal customer should also have a desire to grow to 7-figures or beyond and be willing to take action and implement the system. RF Accelerator can help businesses achieve the following:
Target the right customers and avoid attracting low paying clients
Systemize and scale the customer acquisition process
Boost conversion rates
Reduce lead and customer acquisition costs
Improve clarity and speed of implementation through coaching
Improve engagement from the community by providing a more personalised experience using automation (Wild Mail)
Create systems and processes to scale your business to 7-figures and up
Do you feel like your business has hit a ceiling in terms of growth and income?
Company Name: Superhero – https://www.superheld.nu Location of Client: Holland, Netherlands Industry: Career coaching for young professionals Product Purchased: Relationship Funnel and Funnel Fuel Rating: 5
Justin Junier had a profitable coaching business, but was struggling with low conversion rates and wanted to generate more leads. He signed up for Wild Audience’s Relationship Funnel and after taking action, he achieved the following results :
Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): 10,000 Euro (6-figure business)
Sales Conversion Rate from 0.5% to 2.5%
Lead CPA (acquisition cost) decreased from 2 Euros to 1 Euro
CLV increased from 500 Euro to 900 Euro
New Client Case Studies published jumped from 1/month to 4/month
Who are you and what do you sell?
Justin Junier is the founder of Super Hero, which offers career coaching for young professionals. His main product is a 3-4 month coaching program combined with an online course. The goal of the program is to give people more self-confidence and clarity with what they want to do with their work lives.
How did you find out about Wild Audience and what made you jump on board?
Justin saw a Wild Audience Facebook ad that said, “Do you want your funnel to convert at 8%?”
His funnel was converting at 0.5% so he was definitely interested.
“If you really want to serve your customers in the right way, you need to have a great Relationship Funnel.” – Justin Junier
What was the main problem you wanted to solve for your business?
Justin had a sales funnel, but it was only converting at 0.5%. He was spending money on ads and talking to people, but he was not happy with his conversion rates and the amount of sales he was getting.
He was looking to improve the following KPIs:
Funnel Sales Conversion Rate
Number of Leads
Why did you want so solve it?
Having a low conversion rate was frustrating for Justin as he was spending money to get leads and people weren’t converting. Even though he was making money, he wasn’t satisfied with results and knew he could do better.
In fact, his goal was to scale the business to 7-figures in annual revenue.
Justin also felt like he needed coaching to get clarity on his goals and be able to take action faster. The Wild Audience vision fit into where he wanted the business to go.
What was it about Wild Audience that made you resonate with us and think that this looks like a good opportunity?
Justin told us that the webinar and email sequence felt different than other sales funnels that Justin had been through. He felt that Wild Audience understood his pains and desires, so that was the main factor in his decision to purchase. After reading some testimonials and seeing results other people achieved, he was even more convinced.
What results did you achieve with RF?
Superhero’s monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is now around 10,000 euro per month. That’s a six-figure run rate!
He grew conversion rates from 0.5% to 2.5% (a 5x increase) and the average customer lifetime value is now 800-900 euros, which is up from 500 euros before, which represents roughly 35- 40% increase in revenue per customer.
His lead acquisition cost also dropped from 2 euros per lead to around 1 euro.
Superhero also gets an average of 4 new case studies each month, up from one a month from before.
To sum it up…
5x increase in sales funnel conversion rates
35-40% increase in revenue per customer
Lead acquisition cost reduced by 50%
4x increase in case studies each month
How much revenue did you make before? How much revenue do you do now?
The average customer paid under 500 euros before, but we helped Justin ramp it up to 800 euros. That allowed Superhero to make more money per customer which resulted in a 60% increase in sales. Justin was under pricing his product before, but because he had created a better marketing experience, he felt confident with increasing his prices.
His monthly recurring revenue (MRR) has risen to around 10k euros per month. This represents about a 3-4x increase in revenue from before!
What is your ROI now? What was your ROI before?
His cost per lead was around 2 euros before, but now it’s closer to 1 euro. So we basically cut his acquisition cost in half.
Justin wrote completely new copy based on Wild Audience templates to run new PPC campaigns. Superhero is now only running one ad on Facebook and one ad on Instagram. The targeting is much better due the input he received from Wild Audience. It allowed Justin to really focus on improving his metrics. He has clarity and transparency now on how much it costs him to acquire leads, book sales calls and acquire customers. Knowing these acquisition costs for each event are crucial for scaling any sales funnel and hitting 7-figures or multiple 7-figures.
Superhero achieved over a 3x increase in ROI. They achieved this by cutting down customer acquisition costs and making more money per customer in sales. There is a video recording of the funnel that achieves these results below.
Conversion rate before & after?
Superhero’s conversion rate rose from 0.5% to 2.5-3%, so 5x to what it was before.
The main things that Superhero did to increase conversion rates were dialing into the right beliefs and diving into the right objections. They used questionnaires to personalize emails to their readers so that readers received different case studies and email copy based on who they were, what their problems were and what type of desires they have.
People even emailed Justin saying that they felt like he knew them inside-out and even asked to buy his product.
The improvements that Justin applied were based on Wild Audience’s Relationship Funnel. Relationship Funnels outperform typical sales funnels because they focus on building a relationship with your audience.
High ticket businesses that are already getting customers can improve their results by segmenting their audience into buckets based on what they are interested in.
Then use marketing automation to send them content targeted specifically to their interests. Marketing automation tools like Wild Mail make it possible for businesses to scale relationship building automatically and grow revenues to the 7-figure levels and beyond.
A typical Relationship Funnel looks like this:
You can learn more about Relationship Funnels and how businesses use them to scale their revenue by reading this article.
Anything else that changed?
The automation combined with the personalization made things 10x better than before according to Justin. Justin had more confidence and trust into his marketing & sales process and was not dependant on hope marketing anymore. Especially because paying customers were actually coming out of his Relationship Funnel after Justin spent money on ads.
It also allowed him to systematize other parts of his business. Justin hired two coaches for his clients and the workflows got so much better.
“It’s become less feeling like “I am the business” to feeling like “I’m working on the business”. My mindset has shifted more towards developing systems for my business whereas before I was more focused on directly operating my business.” – Justin Junier
Can you walk us through your Relationship Funnel?
His Relationship Funnel Reverse-Engineered:
Superhero’s Facebook ad attracts their target audience
The ad takes people to a lead magnet where they can sign-up for an email course. When opting-in, a survey places readers into buckets so that Superhero can send them personalised emails.
Email workflow starts in Drip (you can use whatever ESP you choose). Depending on how high the engagement is, readers get different emails. If readers are semi/or a bit engaged but not converted to customers yet, then Superhero sends them into a second email sequence.
Customers can schedule a sales call and sales calls are tracked in Asana. A link in the email (which is only shown to readers that are highly engaged) takes them to a Typeform survey where they can share their dreams and pain points. This information gives Justin a good foundation on how to close them on the call.
After the call, Justin gives the prospect a day or two to think about if they want to join. Then he sends them a link to purchase a slot in the program. Once they complete payment, they are in the program.
In the coaching industry, usually less than 50% of people show up for the first call and only 20% close. But for Superhero, 80-90% of people who filled out the form show up for the first call and over 50% of those people convert into paying customers.
Justin was able to achieve these amazing results because he focused on Respect-Based Marketing, which focuses on building relationships instead of selling first. And the best part is that these relationships can be built on autopilot with email and marketing automation.
How does the future look like for your business? Where would you like to be in 3 years from now with Relationship Funnels?
Justin is on track to grow to about 400 clients or 250,000 euros in revenue. If things continue to go well, 500 clients is achievable (500,000 euros in revenue). Compared to a year ago, Justin’s business growth is at least 5-7x revenue growth.
Who should invest into Relationship Funnels?
According to Justin, businesses that sell high ticket offers (like consulting, coaching, trainings etc..) and are stuck in the 6-figure range, but want to grow to 7-figures and beyond should invest into Relationship Funnels. The ideal client of our 90 day program called RF Accelerator should already have a successful product or service with customer case studies to back it up, but is still struggling to acquire customers at profit and scale.
Studying 20th-century marketers like these three means drawing from a more substantial body of experiments and research.
Marketing has changed dramatically in the last 30 years, but human psychology has not. This intersection of psychology and marketing technology is where Todd Brown (and any marketer worth their salt) operates.
With this in mind, we’re going to take a step back and look at these underlying truths of human behavior and how they apply to marketing.
Many of the following truths were pulled from the greats listed above, and they’re evident throughout Todd’s webinar funnel.
It’s time to think big 🙂
If you want to see examples of Todd Brown’s most effective sales emails, download your PDF below.
Marketing Concept #2 – Don’t confuse tactics with strategy
Tactics are not strategy, and strategy is not a tactic.
Tactics are strategy in action.
In other words, all tactics are driven by strategy.
But… tactics don’t always transfer between strategies 🙂
As you engineer your marketing machine, you need to avoid discarding a proven strategy because a particular tactic failed.
Check out Todd’s example on this:
“If you’re running a new business and notice that someone larger in your space is using a Facebook comments widget, and you decide to steal that tactic without having adequate social proof, it will hinder you instead.”
Todd chose to include a Facebook social proof widget because he has the engagement to back it up. If he didn’t have any engagement, it would hinder his efforts. This doesn’t mean someone without engagement should write off social proof as an inefficient strategy, it means that the Facebook widget tactic isn’t a good fit for this marketing situation.
And it’s not just about strength and size of audience, tactics go in and out of fashion.
Tactics that worked 6 months ago won’t always work today.
Here’s Todd’s example for this scenario:
“Years ago, doodle videos were super useful. They were great for grabbing attention and functioned as a pattern interrupt. Users weren’t expecting them and were intrigued.
But nowadays they are so popular, especially in the fitness industries and sites like Clickbank, that they can’t interrupt in the same way anymore. And that doesn’t mean the strategy of a pattern interrupt is wrong, it just means the tactic or vehicle for executing that strategy is now outdated.”
See how that works?
Tactics are how you execute strategies, and launching tactics without defined strategies will almost certainly fail.
And strategies have longevity, but tactics come and go.
Now, let’s talk specifics.
Marketing Concept #3 – Use urgency and scarcity to your advantage
Urgency and scarcity are not the same thing, either.
Urgency is related to time sensitivity.
So think “the cart closes at 11:35 PM tonight!” etc.
Scarcity is related to finite resources.
But… scarcity often promotes urgency too 🙂 And it’s all around us, for better or worse. Limited time only! Act fast! Only a few tickets left! Time is running out! Don’t wait! From now until we arbitrarily end this sale. Scarcity is a strategy that can be overdone — it is overdone, all the time. Fake scarcity is also a contentious issue, dividing the ClickFunnels diehards from the inbound savants and stirring up opinions in every shade of marketing green in between. Which, I get 🙂 Fake scarcity kinda sucks. It feels unethical because it’s sort of predatory, right?
It’s an exploitation of fundamental human psychology. Humans hate missing out, and many marketers have no issue alluding to X amount of spots being left or explaining that being close to full capacity justifies price hikes when it’s actually bullshit.
But! If it’s true that you only have so much space or are using time windows as a motivator, then that’s okay!
So to be clear, our team at Wild Audience doesn’t mean fake scarcity when we’re talking about scarcity, and nor does Todd Brown.
Fake scarcity undermines trust. It undermines reciprocity, which may be useful for short-term number spikes but affects your customer relationships, business reputation, and customer lifetime value (CLV).
And scarcity… Real scarcity, now that has a lot of amazing uses 🙂
Here’s how Todd Brown uses scarcity and urgency in his own funnels:
In his E5 Masterclass funnel, Todd has an offer that explains that the cart deadline is Sunday AND the first 50 people get a free call and live strategy session with Todd.
That’s a great example of urgency + scarcity + a great offer = action.
This doesn’t have to be tied to inventory, either. Check out how Todd promotes urgency with a time-bound offer when you try to leave his evergreen webinar:
Or his discounts in his email funnel that reward quick action:
Ideally, you want to strike a balance of both. You need to give people a reason to buy right then. It needs to prevent them from leaving right then and come back tomorrow.
And part of what plays into that decision to buy is determined by what has happened in the past… which ties into a lesson we’ll cover later on, reciprocity.
But first… let’s talk about unique mechanisms.
Marketing Concept #4 – The Power of Unique Mechanisms
Todd Brown loves unique mechanisms.
The most important thing you need to understand is that your business’s product is not its unique mechanism.
A unique mechanism is the unique way that your particular product or service delivers its benefit to prospects.
So if you have software that delivers top Google rankings, the benefit or solution is the ranking, the mechanism is the algorithm.
It’s a subtle difference but one that carries wide implications in copy and strategy.
Make sense? Cool.
Every campaign Todd creates begins with identifying its unique mechanism. Without that, you’re marketing commodities. No one buys commodities because they can get that information somewhere else.
For example, if someone just teaches you the first 5 things that benefit you from Facebook advertising, you can get that anywhere.
Instead, Todd would take those benefits and build them into a unique process. His entire message would then by explaining why his unique program for delivering those Facebook ad benefits is the best way to succeed.
This is what Todd did with E5. He isn’t demonstrating the effectiveness of direct response and customer acquisition funnels, he’s explaining why the E5 method is the best way to build them.
His E5 Masterclass is the product, but his unique mechanism is the E5 Camp (Customer Acquisition Marketing Protocol) process.
The Masterclass is simply the vehicle for delivering the C.A.M.P. protocol 🙂
It’s all about marketing your unique mechanism, and what you need to understand is that selling and marketing are not the same thing.
Marketing is telling the prospect why your mechanism is unique. Selling is talking about your product.
Peter Drucker, the famed management consultant, said the job of marketing is to make selling superfluous.
The key is to make a marketing campaign that takes someone’s desire for a result and turn it into demand for a product before even introducing the product.
At the core of that is the unique mechanism.
And the only place someone can get that unique mechanism is your product 🙂
Marketing Concept #5 – Reciprocity
the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another.
As mentioned, marketing and psychology are closely linked. When you boil it down, marketing is just wielding human nature to a brand’s benefit.
The better you are at understanding what makes humans human, the better you’re able to sell your products.
Reciprocity is a fundamental law of social psychology. It’s a social norm to respond to positive action with another positive action, and we’re all familiar with this behavior.
When we were young we let the kid who gave us a seat at lunch cut in front of us in line. When we hold the door open for someone, that same person may hold the next one for us. When our boss gives us more time to recover from the loss of a loved one, we reward them with a stronger work ethic.
But the power of reciprocity extends well beyond simple social interactions.
When used it can spur action exponentially. When we are given something we recognize as valuable for free or little cost, we become socially indebted to that person.
The power of reciprocity comes from the desire that accompanies it. When real reciprocity is reached in a social dynamic, the receiving individual has a legitimate and genuine desire to give back.
But how do you foster genuine reciprocity in online business?
By offering authentic, transparent, and excellent educational content & products.
If you make and achieve those three core tenets, you will succeed.
The most common way is through blogging, video, and email content.
When we approach reciprocity from a marketing perspective, it becomes our job as business owners to give enough value, whether that’s through educational materials, the promise to deliver a solution, the solution itself, or any other offer, to build enough trust to merit a purchase when present the buyer with an “ask”.
Some of you may recognize the “ask” method from our friend Ryan Levesque. He’s built much of his business by capitalizing on reciprocity.
This is exactly what is happening during Todd’s video funnel. Todd Brown uses reciprocity in every bit of his funnel, but he puts the most emphasis on the beginning when approaching new audiences. For example, Todd Brown runs a cold traffic, evergreen webinar funnel.
In the webinar, he makes sure to cover a few important bases:
1. He addresses the problem and why the prospect needs to act
2. He explains the unique mechanism and why it will solve their problem
3. He positions his product as the best delivery method for the unique mechanism
Todd delivers so much expertise and help in that first video (or first three when using a multi-video webinar) that new prospects are completely sold on the unique mechanism and are grateful for the product being delivered. When executed alongside these other strategies, reciprocity functions like the red strike of a match — once a prospect recognizes the value you’re delivering, they appreciate it enough to take that first step, sparking the journey down your marketing and sales funnels. So how can you capitalize on reciprocity? It’s simple 🙂 Make better content. Make more content. Anything you send to your base needs to be excellent.
In effect, what you’re sending should feel like your product. By opening a channel of consistent communication (or value), customers are getting a bit of what it would be like to work with you. They learn your style, what your company is like, how you think.
By anchoring this trust to smart products that tie directly into those thought processes, you can begin to build a base of engaged and paying clients. For more on tying your products to your marketing funnels, go here.
Marketing Concept #6 – The Rule of 7
The Rule of 7:
A prospective buyer should hear or receive the marketing message seven times before they decide to buy.
The Rule of 7 is one of the oldest principles in marketing, spearheaded by the early Hollywood marketing legends in early 20th-century America.
They would organize their efforts around this frequency target.
We can define frequency as such: The number of times a prospect has been exposed to your brand regardless of medium. Social media, banner ads, phone calls, eBooks, webinars, — you name it. The Rule of Seven is exactly what you’d expect. The marketers of old estimated that a consumer needs to see a brand an average of 7 times before they make a purchasing decision. It seems a bit high at first, but when you breakout how easily (and quickly) these can be accomplished across mediums it makes a bit more sense: Here are a few example of Todd’s customer touchpoints: 1. Sees a Facebook Ad once
Notice how Todd is already displaying his unique mechanism in his ads 🙂
2. Sees a second Facebook Ad 3. Hears a podcast advertisement
4. Sees an Adwords Ad
5. Goes to your site and signs up for an email list
6. Reads an email
7. Sees a retargeting ad
That could happen in a matter of days, even hours with a proper funnel. It’s worth noting that the Rule of Seven does not apply to individual ads and is and should be treated with careful respect to ad fatigue. Ad fatigue is when the same prospect is exposed to the same ad too many times and either becomes apathetic when your brand is viewed, or worse, so frustrated that they act out in some way.
So how accurate is the Rule of 7?
Well, that margin is impossible to know, but it’s been reliable for decades. That answer varies based on what you qualify as a touch as well, and not all touches are created equal.
In other words, the quality of your marketing message has a direct impact on the necessary frequency a user needs to make a decision.
No surprises here 🙂
Todd puts a healthy bit of stock and skepticism in the Rule of 7, but still relies on it as a guideline for his advertising and overall strategy.
Download this PDF that dissects a bunch of Todd’s emails and shows you exactly how to employ these strategies in your own evergreen funnel.
So where do you go from here? How do you use these awesomely creative marketing concepts in your own business?
Write them down. Print them out. Internalize them.
You only benefit by referring back to them when creating and upgrading your marketing message(s).
To recap, we covered:
The importance of learning from the marketing greats.
The difference between tactics and strategy.
The importance of urgency and scarcity.
The power of reciprocity.
What a unique mechanism is.
The Rule of 7.
I can’t stress how important these lessons are for establishing your marketing understanding.
At Wild Audience, we’re still finding new ways and uses for these lessons, and part of what makes building funnels so exciting is the chance to discover those latest tactics while using strategies we know we can rely on.
Ready to unlock the power of these lessons in your own funnel?
HubSpot’s Entire Online Sales Funnel Uncovered. How They Convert Cold Prospects Into Customers. This step-by-step sales system (you can easily steal) built a $375.6 Million a Year Online business.
Have you ever struggled or thought about any of these questions?
How do we sell?
Who do we sell to?
How many markets do we go after?
How do we cross-sell vs selling to new prospects?
How many sales reps do we need?
Can we create a more efficient sales process with automation?
If you’ve had any of these problems, this may be the most important article you will ever read.
We’re going to uncover exactly how HubSpot sells …
All the way from A to Z.
This is everything from taking an anonymous visitor all the way to the close. How to get convert cold leads into paying customers. The entire process Hubspot uses to continue this insane growth.
If you even implement 1% of what we talk about, you could build a $300,000 a year business with the right product / service.
This is the “best example” you can follow for establishing a profitable relationship with customers. Using inbound marketing and your existing sales funnel.
Note: this doesn’t mean you have to have a corporate structure to learn from this article.
In fact, a lot of what we will talk about will be even easier to install if you don’t. As long as you have SOME sort of online sales funnel, you’re in the right place.
At the end of this article, you’re going to understand how to:
Have a more personalized sales experience.
Have a more automated sales process.
Increase your sales call close rates.
You’ll get the most out of this article by outlining your own sales process beforehand. Then looking for ways you can “plug in” what Hubspot is doing into your own business. Not everything will fit, but there are a bunch of cool techniques we’ll talk about that you can start implementing right now.
Almost everything we’re going to talk about came out of an amazing conversation I had with Hubspot’s VP of Sales Strategy and Operations. Channing Ferrer.
You can check that out below 🙂
Listen to the Podcast
Let’s dive into the steps ..
What we’ll be covering:
How to turn prospects into leads.
How to use Key Engagement Indicators to help movement through a sales process.
Using specialized sales reps and pathways to match leads to sales reps.
How to handle a discovery meeting.
How to run a perfect demo/sales meeting and how to use that momentum to close the sale.
Using proper evaluation and incentives. To build a sales machine that is efficient without sacrificing humanity.
Are you ready? Let’s do this 🙂
In order to have a functioning sales machine, there is one thing you need above all else: prospects.
Also known as visitors.
Also known as traffic.
If you don’t have your primary traffic generator, you should.
If you don’t know the conversion rates for that traffic source, you should.
(more on how to calculate this later ..)
There are many common sources: social media, ads, organic traffic, etc.
For HubSpot, their main traffic generator is content.
More specifically, their blogs.
Their content machine is almost too big to believe 🙂
They are currently fifth in the online marketing space for overall traffic rank and attract over 25 million visitors per month.
Yeah. Pretty cool huh?
This was accomplished through:
Writing new content
Hosting guest posts
Rehashing old blogs
Releasing free tools (e.g. their Website Grader) that are useful to their target market.
Webinars (both educational and demonstrative)
Events and Conferences
Hubspot’s blog machine is impressive. They create hundreds of articles every month and are constantly switching and matching lead magnets with the best blog posts. They keep a consistent eye on which blog post / lead magnet combos are converting the best. All the way from first-touch to sale.
This style of mix-and-match experimentation is super important for increasing your conversion rates.
You need to evaluate everything.
Your best traffic sources. Your best blog posts.
Weight them accordingly ..
.. And measure them regularly.
Don’t stop at evaluating conversion rates based on sources. Sure, you should know your conversion rates on social, organic traffic, and advertising, but your analysis shouldn’t end there.
HubSpot weights different blogs and white papers as varying levels of ENGAGEMENT. Using lead scoring, HubSpot puts more weight on prospects reading a research article over a short blog post. E.g. a 2,000 word, long-form blog on the effectiveness of blogging in 2018 over a lighter 600 word blog post like 10 Funny Blogging Headlines.
They give the 2,000 word long form blog post more weight.
While both blogs are on the same topic, one is clearly for those digging a bit deeper. Take a close look at your content, and see which pieces demonstrate more depth and weight them accordingly.
When it comes to blogging in your business, it’s all about consistency and quality.
HubSpot recommends a minimum of 1 quality, well-written, 600+ word article per week. These should offer better information than your competitor’s, for the same keywords. Your traffic numbers will only continue to go up as you increase frequency.
These constraints are due to Google’s algorithm placing more value than ever on relevant, informative content. Gone are the days of just keyword stuffing and rehashing other articles without adding any value.
Once you have consistency and quality, you can get a bit more granular with your approach while beginning to scale.
HubSpot’s go-to habits for converting prospects into leads:
Match your blogs with the most relevant lead magnets or next step CTAs. Mix and match these to see which ones work best with which blog posts. An ideal lead magnet conversion rate is between 4 and 10%. If your numbers are lower than this, it’s time to change something!
Use emails to warm up prospects and identify their interests while installing beliefs. This is our favorite thing to do at Wild Audience 🙂
Learn how to use install beliefs to dramatically increase your prospect -> customer rate with our VideoFruit case study.
Use a lead scoring system based on user behavior to rank your prospects. You shouldn’t treat someone who has read 5 blogs and 1 blogs as if they’re the same quality. And again, different blogs can indicate different levels of engagement.
Take your unicorns and amplify them with social advertising. Are user retention, conversion rates, and organic traffic super promising on a new piece? Don’t let that momentum go to waste! Spread that blog around using strategies like GaryVee’s content distribution methods and complement it with Facebook advertising to capitalize. This might be your chance to go viral 🙂
Create a community for your prospects and customers to interact in. Allow your customers to learn from each other.
Don’t hesitate to reach for keywords that aren’t directly related to your product. As long as they are relevant to your audience, then it can be used. For example, HubSpot has a released a bunch of Excel guides. Is this relevant to their product? Not really, but they know that marketers and the people using their product live in that world.
Never cold call! Make absolutely sure a prospect has raised their hand either by responding to an email or requesting more information. Before you reach out.
Apart from the internal data and analysis behind the scenes, there’s a lot to be said about the blog and page design. Considering the sheer amount of time HubSpot spends working on conversion rates, keeping an eye on what they do is a smart move.
Let’s look at how they convert prospects on their site:
What Your Business Can Learn From HubSpot’s Prospect-Converting Website
Tip #1: Use short sidebar forms to get readers into your system.
HubSpot has one initial goal: to get people into their online sales funnel. They worry about collecting information later.
The first step is just getting people involved, and that means keeping forms as short as possible — just an email address will do.
Note: This can be adjusted based on the amount of “noise” in your online sales funnel. If you’re swamped with low-quality leads and don’t have the ability to automate that selection process with software like HubSpot, it may be smart to increase the barrier of entry by including more form fields.
Tip #2: Offer a lead magnet after someone signs up for your blog
Always provide a simple and relevant next step. Someone signs up for your blog? Offer a relevant eBook or lead magnet immediately. Someone signs up for your lead magnet? See if they want to see a case study. Someone views a case study? Send them a demo or free trial. You get the idea.
Tip #3: Put your key offer on the top of your page
Whatever your best offer is (free trial, schedule a demo, free tool), etc., offer it above the fold. HubSpot knows that getting people to try the software is their main priority because it’s a key engagement indicator (more on this later).
Tip #4: Give people options to take the next step immediately if they want.
If someone signs up for your free trial, don’t hide the fact that they can go directly to a demo or purchase.
Don’t force it on them, but make it obvious. You’ll lose revenue if you prevent people from moving at their own pace.
Tip #5: Ask bucketing questions after users agree to try your initial offer.
At Wild Audience, we’re super fans of bucketing and segmentation 🙂
Bucketing questions help your marketing team send the right materials via automations (using Wild Mail) and help your sales reps better understand your leads in order to figure out which services are best for them / which pain points are most important to them.
You can also use these to qualify your leads. For example, if you don’t work with anyone under $10k/month in revenue, then you should have budget as a bucketing question! If they don’t meet that standard, then you know to keep them in your marketing funnel until they’re ready so you don’t waste your sales reps’ resources.
But how does HubSpot decide which offers and upsells are most important to them?
That’s based on something they like to call KEIs. We go into detail on this in the next section 🙂
So what do you do with your prospects once they’re coming in? How do you sift through them, and when do you know when they’re ready to talk to someone?
One of the coolest things we uncovered in our interview with Channing is the idea of key engagement indicators 🙂
Sales is a science. Not an art.
If you know what key actions end up converting your customers at the best rate, then you have the opportunity to increase your close rate. Plain and simple.
To do this you need to know your numbers and what HubSpot calls your key engagement indicators (KEIs).
Key engagement indicators are the most important engagement steps that your prospects take to prove they are ready for your product.
The kinds of questions you need to ask are:
What one engagement step do all or most of our buyers take?
What happens to the sales cycle when they perform this engagement piece? Does it speed up but decrease close rate? Or does it slow down but increase our close rate or vice versa
Does prospect source affect the effectiveness of the key engagement indicator we’re discussing?
And more 🙂
KEIs ultimately vary business to business, and it’s up to you to determine what is most important (by experimenting and evaluating with data), but here are some common online sales funnel metrics to keep an eye on.
Attending an educational webinar
Signing up for a free trial
Using a free tool for X amount of time.
Agreeing to a free strategy call.
Completing a quiz.
HubSpot’s Most Important KEI
Channing said that they have a 25% close rate when someone invites a team member to collaborate within their software.
You best believe they are paying attention to that 🙂
Especially when you think about how expensive HubSpot’s products can be (they charge on a monthly retainer basis) and usually sign contracts for 6 months to a year.
That’s an amazing KEI, and one that they should (and have) immediately prioritized.
Check out what’s on the homepage of a free trial user:
It’s starting to make a bit more sense why they put that there 🙂
Of course, they’re going to pitch this to their prospects!
Once you have …
Your key engagement indicators identified …
You are experimenting with different prospect lead magnets and upsells …
And getting leads …
It’s time to think about who should reach out and when.
Now that we’ve identified a prospect as a lead (using a lead magnet or KEI), it’s time to reach out with an appropriate next step. At the right time. This next step varies depending on what you know about your prospect and the size of your team.
Here’s an overview of common sales positions as outlined by HubSpot themselves:
Take a second and think through your current sales team. Are any of these responsibilities not covered? Even by one person? Even if you think someone is covering them, it’d be smart to take a look — it could be affecting your close rate.
Back to assigning leads to reps and reaching out.
How you reach out and who gets the lead depends on the source and quality of the lead. So let’s start with how your team should evaluate their leads.
How to Evaluate Your Leads and Determine When They’re Ready for Outreach
For HubSpot, someone signing up to their blog is not a lead. They are still a prospect.
Their content machine is just too massive to waste the human capital contacting every single email subscriber. Instead, they let their content and upsells continue to separate prospects based on engagement and pull them toward their KEIs.
If your business is super niche, then this may be different for you. If you know that your blog to close rate is 5%, then your blog subscribers are worth much more to you.
What you need to do is to set a baseline for your sales reps to determine what qualifies someone as Lead, MQL, and SQL.
MQL stands for marketing qualified lead and SQL stands for sales qualified lead. These definitions are unique to each company.
Here’s a graphic that covers this:
For HubSpot, unless the lead is inbound (more on this later), then it’s not smart to reach out directly until someone is at least an MQL or SQL.
Let’s think through how your online business could outline your funnel stages 🙂
Prospect/Visitor – Visit to the website
Lead – Downloads a lead magnet OR reads >5 blogs OR views the sales page after reading a blog.
MQL– Downloads >3 lead magnets, attends a webinar, attends a conference, has opened and clicked the last 5 marketing emails.
SQL– Has downloaded a free trial called OR qualified themselves as an MQL by filling out the appropriate budget amount for your service (via bucketing & segmentation).
Opportunity– Has met with a rep and is attending a strategy or demo call next week OR has finished a demo and is in the closing stage.
Customer– Sweet, sweet victory.
Make sense? Take the time to establish these for your company if you haven’t already. Remember they are fluid. After you run with these definitions for a bit, you should tweak them according to the quality of leads that your sales reps are seeing.
For example, if your pipeline is full of people who aren’t ready, then you need to make it more difficult to qualify as an SQL. And if all of a sudden you see a steep decrease in sales rep communication, then you need to relax the definitions a bit.
You should also see if there’s a way for you to be smarter about who you assign leads to. If you work in a consultancy that services a wide variety of industries, it would be smart to send the lead that works in aviation to someone who has spoken or worked with aviation in the past.
Once you get people in your online sales funnel and they qualify themselves as an SQL, all you need to do is assign them to a rep and get ready to reach out 🙂
The next step is to connect.
This step is for your SQLs, and this responsibility depends on the size of your business.
For HubSpot, they have employees whose only job is to get a meeting booked and hand them off to a sales rep.
Their quota is for meetings booked — not actual sales.
For smaller companies, you may start with having the reps handle the entire process from start to finish.
HubSpot hates cold calling, so once a prospect identifies themselves as an SQL, it’s time to send out an email.
Speed and timing is everything in sales. So the sooner after they perform a KEI, the better.
Here’s how HubSpot approaches it:
Your one goal is to get a meeting.
The day after I performed the KEI of signing up for a free trial and exploring the tool, I got this email.
It’s short, it’s sweet, it has blanket bucketing, and it’s entire purpose is to get on the phone and start a conversation — to get to that connect meeting 🙂
If someone doesn’t respond, then you can follow up a week later. If they don’t respond after that, then you should downgrade them to a MQL until that person performs another KEI or reaches out to you.
Speaking of which…
How Your Plan Changes for Inbound vs. Outbound Leads
As mentioned, you want your website to not block people from moving quickly. So if someone reaches out directly via chat, email, or phone, you need to have a system in place for that as well.
This obviously has a lot more variables for what the next step should be, but you want to give certain sales reps on your team the space to field inbound leads. After all, an inbound lead is almost always further along the sales cycle than an outbound lead — they are performing the ultimate KEI! Initiating a conversation 🙂
Your sales rep should first try to understand and answer all of the bucketing and pain questions that usually happen on a connect call. Listen to the customer, establish authority, identify the key decision maker, and demonstrate value. After that, you try to get them into your complimentary strategy call or demo according to their qualification and needs.
Bonus Tip: Develop a Sales Hook for Your Best Prospects
Another really cool thing that HubSpot does is personalize a sales hook for their best leads. For HubSpot, these are the corporate clients, the multi-million dollar companies who have the potential to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars to the company.
What they do is actually take 5-10 minutes evaluating a lead’s website, shoot a quick screencast (using Zoom or something similar) of what they could do better (SEO is lacking here, design is faulty, no lead magnet there, etc.) and use that delivery of value as the basis point for a conversation.
It wouldn’t be smart to do this for all of your leads, but take a second and think about a scalable sales hook that you can develop for those big fish 🙂
Other misc tips for reaching out:
Use your bucketing questions to get an idea of what your lead is interested in, but don’t prevent the prospect from going in a different direction.
Use templates to cut down on the ad hoc writing, but always personalize when you can.
Don’t be afraid to point prospects toward other pieces of relevant content.
At this point you should have meetings on the books, but what needs to happen in that first meeting? How can your sales team make the most of that first real conversation?
Let’s find out 🙂
Alright! So you or your rep finally has a lead on the phone for the first time. What’s the game plan? Do you even have one?
Well, you should.
HubSpot has this down to a science, and I was curious what actually hopping on the phone with them would be like ..
So I did 🙂
And here’s what happened..
Let the Customer Lead by Asking Why
The initial meeting is all about the why. Why was the person compelled to sign up or display interest in your service? Why are they here? What made them curious? What are their goals for their business, and most importantly, what is making it difficult for them?
Here’s how the HubSpot rep approached this with me. This was her second line:
“Listen. Thanks for booking your call. I’m interested to know what’s driving your interest in HubSpot. What can I help you with today?”
She never pushed or went into some long spiel about the product. It was just establishing a connection, being personable, and listening to what I needed as a business owner. That’s respect-based sales 🙂 If your product isn’t a good fit for someone’s problems, they deserve to know!
Frame your product as the solution
After I responded, she knew I had a basic awareness of the software and its abilities, so she asked based on my goals of growth and formalization of sales, how do YOU see HubSpot fitting in?
This is important 🙂
Do you see what she did there?
She subtly pushed me to internalize HubSpot as the solution to my problem. Letting me work through it on my own. This is a smart technique that you absolutely need to employ.
After I responded, she continued to tie HubSpot’s services to the goals and issues I outlined.
Don’t Limit Your Products Based On Their Engagement
Part of the connect call is learning about the big picture for the lead’s business. Their dreams. Their goals. Be a close, personable listener, and don’t be afraid to mention other products or services that your firm offers that may be a better fit than what the lead originally reached out about.
For example, she referenced the sales product as what makes the most immediate sense for me, but she also referenced a few common problems and HubSpot’s solutions for those.
She’s basing those suggestions off people she has worked with in the past who were in a similar situation. This is a great way to avoid limiting your offerings as a business and incorporate social proof at the same time.
That brings me to my next point.
Discover Their Pain Points & Reference Other Customers in Similar Situations
Repeatedly throughout the conversation, the HubSpot rep would talk about other people and how they thought through the same pain and points and decisions I am. This establishes authority and trust in the process moving forward.
In other words, it establishes these beliefs:
HubSpot has worked for other people (social proof).
The rep I’m talking to knows their stuff (authority).
Discuss the Final Conversion Point
Always establish a next step. This changes based on the goals and product fit, but most of the time this is encouraging a free trial or KEI offer and then setting up a deadline for the next point of contact.
“I’m going to send you some information on how partner agencies are set up, and then you can look over things before I reach out next Thursday. Is that okay?
You’ve got options for this depending on how time-sensitive and qualified the lead is.
You can establish that you’ll be handing them off to someone with more expertise in their space (a sales rep that works in a specific industry etc.). You could go ahead and schedule a proposal review call. You can suggest reading materials or a free trial — that’s ultimately up to your rep and business model.
And that brings us to the most important part of the whole process 🙂
The Purpose of a Demo/Sales Call
All you need to do in a demo is prove that your product / service is a good fit for their problem. If you’ve done your job up to this point, then you know this to be true, and proving that won’t be hard! The only time you’ll lack confidence is if your product / service really isn’t a good solution for them.
How to Conduct a Perfect Demo
This is the most critical part of the close, but conducting a demo doesn’t have to be intimidating or difficult.
For SaaS businesses, this is just walking through your product and personalizing it to your opportunity. For online businesses or consultants, this is when you pitch exactly how your firm will solve their problem, typically through a presentation of data and specific steps.
Here’s how to make the most of it according to HubSpot:
Confirm the meeting is happening the day of and verify that the key decision maker will be there.
Use a personalized slide deck and software like GoToMeeting.
Take time to get to know the prospect before hopping into the presentation. Be human!
Set an agenda at the top of the meeting.
Reference past conversations
Explain the product while always referencing their specific pain points and why your product is the solution.
Always be open to questions and letting the customer figure it out for themselves.
Set expectations & next steps.
Record the presentation. This is useful to send to the opportunity afterward and to review internally to see what went well and what didn’t.
If you do most of those, then your team will already be off to a fantastic start.
HubSpot also has a habit of using multiple sales reps on the call to let a newer sales rep learn and be a part of these conversations before taking lead.
After the call is over, it’s finally time to get the sale 🙂
Nothing kills closes more than letting too much time go by. At the end of your meeting, you need to immediately discuss when the customer how the customer would like to move forward.
This is best done by:
Validating that they enjoyed the presentation. Make them say it in their own words: “So… how did you like our call? In your opinion, do you think (your business) will solve your problems and help you grow?”
Rehashing the problem. Tie your product to the solution (again).
Making them understand the cost of the problem they have. This is also known as the cost of inaction. “Your problem is costing you $20k a year, our product costs $5k a year. Do you agree that this is a smart business decision?”
Offer time-sensitive discounts if necessary. A little extra incentive goes a long way.
After all of that, remember that this is your time to cross-sell if it’s appropriate as well. Think bundled discount on software plans etc. 🙂
After the sale is over (win or loss), it’s time to evaluate what happened.
The thing about your sales process is that it should be constantly evolving based on feedback and experimentation.
Swapping out processes, variables, and techniques HAS to be a fundamental part of your culture, or you will lose out on revenue.
Key Metrics Your Business Should Keep an Eye On:
Visitor-to-Lead Conversion Rate
Lead-to-MQL Conversion Rate
% Sales Accepted Leads
Lead Work Rates
MQL-to-Opportunity Conversion Rate
Opportunity-to-Customer Conversion Rate
Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate
Sales Cycle Length
Average Cost Per Sale
HubSpot obviously makes it really easy to see these numbers in their software, but with different software or a little Google Analytics digging you can figure out any one of these metrics.
Get the list of key metrics your business should be tracking and their definitions here.
Try incorporating a monthly check-in to review all of them and determine where to focus your marketing efforts for the next month.
Tie Your Sales Team’s Incentives to Customer Success
Traditional sales models are outdated and ineffective. Your business isn’t going to survive if your sales reps keep closing unqualified leads through pressuring tactics — all this means is that your user retention is going to be awful.
HubSpot actually claws back commissions of their reps if their customer doesn’t stay on for more than four months (and sometimes even longer). This forces sales reps to only close people who are actually a good fit, and this makes your monthly revenue more reliable and develops a much healthier customer base.
Well, there you have it 🙂
A look inside how one of the biggest online businesses approaches sales.
There is SO much to unpack here 🙂
To summarize, you should:
Establish your sales process.
Determine your lifecycle stage definitions (MQL, SQL, etc.)
Optimize your blog for prospect conversion.
Identify your KEIs
Assign the right leads to the right reps
Reach out to the SQL
Conduct a connect call
Get a demo or sales call on the books.
Other Bits of Sales Gold from HubSpot
Here are few other awesome things Channing & HubSpot recommend for companies building their online sales funnel:
The smaller the business, the smaller the sales cycle.
Use form swaps to allow a customer to submit multiple forms of similarity but be flagged as a high engagement prospect.
Reps should only be allowed so many leads to ensure the quality of outreach.
Hire your salespeople according to a criteria based on company values.
Align marketing and sales by communicating as openly as possible.
Sales funnels that push unwanted products upon your readers are, but email marketing done the right way is alive and well.
You can build sales funnels the right way by using Respect Based Marketing. Use Relationship Funnels and smart funnel automation to send people helpful content and genuine offers. Then results like this are possible ..
We’ve built our email sales funnels with ActiveCampaign in the past (we now use Wild Mail).
In this article, I’ll cover the 4 Stages of an email sales funnel and how to set up each stage with ActiveCampaign.
Want to learn how I create high converting Relationship Funnels and automate everything?
Then let’s get started!
Overview: 4 Stages of building a Sales Funnel
A comprehensive email sales funnel consists of 4 stages:
Awareness Stage – Make prospects aware of your brand and convince them to join your email list.
Relationship Builder Stage – Build a relationship with your prospect by doing things like sending them educational content.
Selling Stage – After you have built trust with your readers, you can sell them products that help them solve their problems.
Upselling Stage – To maximize profits, offer relevant upsells to your customers.
The goal of your sales funnel is to move your prospect from awareness to the point of sale.
In the following sections, I will break down in detail how to use ActiveCampaign to set up each stage of your sales funnel so that you can install buying beliefs, build relationships and sell your products… all on autopilot!
If you would like to see an overview of all the tools we use at Wild Audience to implement our email sales funnel, click on the image below and download your PDF.
Step-by-Step Walkthrough: How to Build a Sales Funnel with ActiveCampaign
Let’s walk through how to build a sales funnel step by step.
The awareness stage consists of lead generation and segmentation.
The email sales funnel sequence begins with lead generation.
Here, you make your target customer aware of your brand and get them to join your email list.
How do you get people to join your email list?
By providing educational content that is interesting to your target customer.
Here are a couple of ways you can do this ..
Create a blog post
Blogging is a great way to establish authority and drive organic traffic… for free!
When writing a blog post, be sure to spend time creating a resource that educates readers and gets them excited about learning more from you.
To persuade readers to join your email list, offer a content upgrade. This will provide even more educational content. To get the content upgrade, the reader will need to opt in to your email list.
Consistent blogging works because blogging attracts organic traffic.
Just make sure that your content is top quality and that you have a content upgrade to entice readers to sign up to your email list.
Produce an EBook or PDF Guide
Another way to grow an email list is to produce an EBook that targets your prospects’ pain points.
Offer that EBook in exchange for their email address.
Then use paid ads (like Facebook, Google or Instagram) to drive targeted traffic to your landing page.
Creating a useful PDF download and promoting it with PPC is a good way to build an email list quickly.
So you’ve figured out how to grow a targeted email list? Great!
Let’s take it to the next level with segmentation.
Segmentation involves gathering data from your email subscribers so that you can send them personalized content geared towards their interests.
Why is segmentation important?
Because sending content targeted towards your reader’s interests increases engagement. Higher engagement leads to more sales.
At Wild Audience, we segment our list by asking 4-5 questions when they opt in. Qualified leads will take the time to answer the questions. We found that 71.74% of people that click the download link actually complete the opt in.
You can see an example of how this works by clicking on the image to download the Relationship Funnel graphic in this article:
After someone clicks the image, they’ll get a quick survey like this:
Once someone enters the requested information, their data gets stored in ActiveCampaign.
After the sign up is complete, ActiveCampaign will automatically deliver the bonus PDF that they signed up for.
After that, we can start building a relationship with our new subscribers using automated email sequences:
Relationship Building Stage
You’ve got your prospect’s email address. Now what?
You can create a Relationship Building Sequence (RBS) to bond with your readers on autopilot. ActiveCampaign is a great tool to use to implement your RBS.
A good RBS will help you achieve the following:
– Establish a relationship. Business will always be relationships between people. Never forget that!
– Build trust.
– Establish authority.
– Install all the necessary buying beliefs.
– Virtually close your prospects: Make your readers imagine what their life will be like when they use your product or work with you.
– Ultimately, the goal for your RBS is to prepare your prospect to purchase your products or services.
How to Automate Your RBS
You can do this by sending them a sequence of 4-7 emails.
These emails should be written to install your belief system into your prospects’ minds.
You should also optimize your emails to maximize engagement, so you can get results like this:
Why is this important?
Because getting people micro-invested in your content will increase your conversion rates.
Here are a few ways to get people to micro-invest in your content and build engagement.
Create an activation hook – One way to get people to become engaged with your content is to simply ask them to reply to your email.
Your new subscriber will be more engaged because you actually took the time to build a relationship with them directly.
Here’s a flow chart of what this automation sequence looks like:
I ask my readers to reply to my email and respond with the word “Ready”. When they do, I send them some free bonuses.
Here’s a screenshot of Matthew replying to my email:
Frequency selectors – Let your users decide on how often to receive emails. This simple step prevents people from unsubscribing because you are sending too many emails.
Subscribers can consume your content in their own time. At a pace they are comfortable with.
You can see how we do that in the screenshot below.
If they click A, they get the next email immediately.
If they click B, they get it in 2 days time.
Pretty cool, huh?
Cliffhangers and open loops – Get readers excited about future emails with cliffhangers and open loops. Hint at the awesome content that you will be sending in your next email to build anticipation.
If your open loops are working, don’t be surprised if you start getting emails like this:
Dynamic content – Use dynamic content to personalize your emails for your readers. Personalization lets readers know that you are talking directly to them!
In this example, our email is personalized for the reader based on their revenue level.
Lead scoring to track engagement – Finally, use lead scoring to track reader engagement.
If specific emails in your sequence aren’t receiving strong engagement, you can rewrite them to improve performance. Or simply remove them from the sequence.
For example, you can create a point system to give points to prospects based on the following actions. Actions like purchasing products increases lead scores more than less committed actions like clicking a link.
Clicks a link: 5 points
Replies to email: 10 points
Visits sales page: 20 points
Buys frontend product: 100 points
Buys core products: 200 points
ActiveCampaign automatically keeps track of lead scores and you can even view each prospect’s lead score individually if you want:
When can you start selling?
When you create your RBS, people should feel eager to purchase your product due to the awesome content you are giving them for free.
Focus on delivering value in your RBS. If you do this ..
People will naturally feel pulled towards your products instead of feeling like products are being pushed onto them.
Then you can insert links to your conversion event into your emails so your readers get the opportunity to buy your stuff.
If you are selling a high ticket item, link to your sales page from the first email in your RBS and every email after that. Simpler sales funnels work for high ticket items because buyers that are purchasing these items already have a lot of knowledge about them.
If you are selling a course, start linking to your sales page somewhere between emails 4-7. People interested in courses need a few emails to educate them about your solution and why they need it, before they make a purchase.
Use your earlier emails to educate the prospect, build anticipation for the course and install buying beliefs.
What is the goal of the RBS?
Most people won’t buy during the RBS. But that’s okay, because making sales is not the goal of the RBS.
The goal of the RBS is to install buying beliefs.
If your prospects are not ready to buy yet, then put them into an “Evergreen Newsletter”. This weekly newsletter will continue to educate your prospect while installing more buying beliefs.
You can link to your sales page at the end of each email so that your reader can buy when they are ready. Once they are ready, your readers will enter your sales sequence.
Now that all the necessary buying beliefs are installed, you’re ready to close the sale!
Choose your conversion event and send your prospects to it. Below are some examples of conversion events.
Text-based sales page – A long or short form text-based sales page can be a good way to sell lower priced products.
Here is an examples of one of my text-based sales pages:
Video Sales Letter (VSL) – A video sales letter is another way to sell your product or service. With video, you can form a more personal connection with your viewers and demonstrate your expertise.
Hybrid – Your selling sequence can incorporate both text and video formats. The advantage of having both is that some people prefer text that they can read quickly while others will prefer the interactivity of video.
Here’s an example of a page that incorporates both text and video:
Live webinar – Live webinars can be a great format as it allows you to interact with your audience, answer questions and address sales objections. People often use live webinars to sell high ticket items or services.
Evergreen webinar – Once you’ve tested your webinar and optimized its selling potential, you can turn your webinar into an evergreen webinar. This will sell your products 24/7. Evergreen webinars run on autopilot and earn you money while you sleep.
Application – If you have limited capacity, you may want prospects to fill out an application to work with you. Ask questions that will allow you to pre-qualify prospects so that you can quickly decide who you want to work with.
Strategy, sales or discovery call – If you are selling a high priced consulting service or product, then you might want to get your prospect on a sales or discovery call.
High priced services usually have a more complex sales process. With a sales call, you can learn more about the buyer’s situation, overcome objections and see if working together makes sense.
Here’s the landing page I use to direct people to my consulting services:
Trial – A inexpensive paid or free trial can be a good way to get people to try out your product, especially if you are selling a site membership or recurring software subscription. If your customer likes your product, then they might become a regular customer.
3 Ways to Close
Now that you know the 8 different conversion events, how do you get your prospects to those pages?
There are 3 ways to send prospects to your conversion event:
Link from your RBS to your sales event.
People go through your RBS, they click a link in there to check out your sales page, and then they purchase.
However, the majority of people will convert a little later.
Link from your Evergreen Newsletter to your sales event.
They recieve your weekly Evergreen Newsletter, and click a link in one of those emails. This will take them to the sales page as well.
The Evergreen Newsletter keeps you on their mind. Weekly.
So, when they are ready to purchase your solution, they will.
Once a user reaches a certain lead score, you can send them through your sales sequence.
Your sales sequence is an automated email sequence that is designed to sell.
You can use scarcity, discounts and bonuses to increase the likelihood that they’ll buy. Just be sure to avoid creating fake scarcity to trick people into buying, because people can often detect that tactic and don’t like it (which could hurt your business long term ..)
Getting a customer is great, but if you really want to make money you absolutely need to upsell other products and services to your existing customers.
Your existing customers already have a relationship with you. If you delivered a great experience with their first purchase, they may want to buy from you again.
Just keep delivering value with each transaction!
How to increase customer lifetime value (CLV)
You should add all new customers to an email onboarding sequence. The onboarding sequence helps customers get started with your product and get the most value from it.
At Wild Audience, we use a 4-part email sequence for our new Relationship Funnel customers.
Once they’ve received value from their initial purchase, add them into an upsell sequence where you upsell them a more expensive premium product or cross sell them a related product.
With tools like Zapier and Close, you can create webhooks from ActiveCampaign (or Wild Mail) so that buyers of your product are automatically sent into your sales CRM.
You can then follow up by calling them to get feedback, to see if they are interested in purchasing one of your higher priced products or services.
Show them ads on Facebook or Instagram
ActiveCampaign actually integrates with Facebook. You can put subscribers into a custom audience from ActiveCampaign automatically. If you do this, these people will see a very specific ad on Facebook or Instagram.
These specific ads form a “retargeting ad sequence”.
These retargeting ads direct buyers to the sales pages for relevant premium products.
Since your buyers are already familiar with your brand they are more likely to click your ad. They are also more likely to buy than cold prospects.
To Sum It Up
I hope you’re pumped about building a sales funnel with ActiveCampaign.
To create a scalable business that runs email campaigns on autopilot, you need a good email marketing automation tool.
You need a tool that can handle the Relationship Building Sequence (RBS), the actual sales funnel and upsells. You need a tool that allows you to segment your prospects based on interests and personalize the experience.
” /> You can react to your contacts behaviour and trigger processes. Like sending an email automatically.
” /> You can see your contacts “lead score”. This lets you identify the people who are highly engaged. I use this to schedule high-ticket sales calls with hot prospects.
” /> You can segment your list easily with tags. This is great if you are using any type of survey opt-in in your funnel. We use a 5 question interview when people opt in, so this is perfect for us. We can send emails to our “sub-lists” with tags.
” /> Their support is incredible. They have sorted out most of the problems we’ve had on the same day.
These are the benefits we like the most.
We love them so much that we decided to team up with them to offer our audience (read: you!) 1-click automation templates & flexible pricing. You can discover more about that here..
And if you would like to see a bonus video walkthrough of a Wild Audience Sales funnel which has generated us 6 figures in revenue every year, click on the image below.
What did you think about this article? Let me know in the comments below.
How are Relationship Funnels different from normal marketing funnels or sales funnels?
Do Relationship Funnels actually work?
The strategy behind Relationship Funnels explained.
How you can build your own Relationship Funnel in 9 steps.
Benefits to Relationship Funnels
Listen To Podcast
When I started my own business selling information products, I struggled to even make a full-time income using marketing funnels and product launches.
With this approach, I also had to keep doing launches which were very time-consuming.
I also knew that if one of my launches failed, my cash flow could be crippled. And one day that’s exactly what happened.
That’s when I came up with the idea for Relationship Funnels and quickly grew my business to 5-figures a month!
Relationship Funnels are a powerful tactic. Other businesses have implemented them to boost engagement, achieve higher email open rates, better conversion rates, and significantly more sales.
And the best part is that it can be fully automated!
Do you want to learn how to implement this powerful marketing funnel in YOUR business?
Great! Let’s get started.
1. Relationship Funnel Definition
So what exactly is a Relationship Funnel?
Relationship Funnel is optimized for two things:
1) To establish a relationship with potential customers on autopilot and install buying beliefs
2) Once they are ready, present our offer as the solution to their problem at the perfect time.
Relationship Funnels focus on building a real relationship first. Build trust by teaching and focus on giving value to your audience.
Later, sell prospects the solutions to their problems. If you’ve done a good job of building the relationship, your prospects will be willing and even eager to buy from you.
2. Relationship Funnels vs a Regular Marketing Funnel – What’s the Difference?
Some people might compare Relationship Funnels to typical sales or marketing funnels, but they have some important differences.
Sales funnels often apply sales pressure tactics like scarcity and urgency to pressure prospects to buy now.
Relationship Funnels, on the other hand, don’t rely on high-pressure sales tactics. Instead, they focus on building relationships with prospects by giving value through content and education.
In fact, good Relationship Funnels may even cause prospects to ask you to buy something even before you present your offer.
Don’t be surprised if you start getting messages like this:
People that are exposed to a Relationship Funnel don’t feel pushed or pressured into buying something. Instead, they feel pulled towards buying due to the positive experience that they received through the Relationship Funnel.
A real-life example..
We achieved an incredible 8.66% sales conversion rate with our company Relationship Funnel.
3. Do Relationship Funnels Actually Work?
While most online entrepreneurs know about sales funnels, many still haven’t heard about Relationship Funnels.
Step 1 – Define Your Value Ladder Start with a lead magnet, which can be a PDF or video or some other type of content.
After that, offer a low-end product that is inexpensive, but has high perceived value. This is called a front end offer.
For example, let’s say you are selling a $10 eBook as your front end product.
Make sure you deliver so much value in this eBook that your customers will be blown away by how much value you gave them for $10.
Focus on creating an experience that will let customers feel like you over delivered and that they got a ton of value for their money.
Why do you want to do this?
Because providing an amazing first purchase experience will get them excited about buying your next product! Since they know you deliver a ton of value in your lower-priced products, they’ll be eager and willing to buy your higher priced products or services.
To break even on your customer acquisition costs have an upsell behind your front end product.
A $50 – $100 upsell can increase the average order value on your front end product. This upsell will help us cover the cost of Google and Facebook ads.
You can then sell your core product to customers who purchased your front end product. Price this product higher than your front end product.
People who purchased your front end product will be pre-sold on this product because you’ve already delivered them a lot of value on their previous purchase.
You can also have additional back-end products that you can sell at even higher prices. For example, a few high-end customers might be willing to purchase a $10,000 done-for-you service or in-person consultation.
Existing customers are more likely to buy from you because they are already familiar with your brand and they’ve already had a positive experience and relationship with you from their previous purchases.
Start with just the core product and lead magnet and come up with your front end product later.
Step 2 – Creating Your Belief System A belief system consists of any biases or beliefs that a person will have about you and your products.
For example, if a person eats an orange for the first time and has a bad experience because the orange was old and rotten, then they may believe that oranges are bad.
To convince the person that oranges are good, you will have to install a new belief. You may have to explain that oranges are healthy and convince the person to try oranges again to overwrite their old belief system.
What does your ideal customer need to believe before he or she can become your customer?
Write down all ideas that come to mind. You may come up with a few ideas or even a dozen beliefs that you will need to install into your customer’s belief system.
Step 3 – Map Your Beliefs Ask yourself where you will install each belief. Each piece of content you create should be designed to install a new belief in your customer’s mind.
Step 4 – Create a Lead Magnet A good lead magnet will filter out the wrong people and lead the right people to you.
Here is an example of one we use at Wild Audience. The article below displays an image that offers a free download of my Relationship Funnel graphic.
Only people that are interested in Relationship Funnels will click on it, which allows us to build a highly targeted list.
Step 5 – Build a Relationship Building Sequence (RBS) Your email sequence will build a relationship with your prospects and also install the right beliefs into their belief system. Your RBS should also be optimized to engage your audience so that they get excited, hyped and eager to purchase your product.
Step 6 – Decide On Your Sales (or Conversion) Event Your sales page can be a text sales letter, video sales letter (VSL) or a hybrid page which contains both text and video. You can also use an evergreen webinar.
Keep in mind that what gets people to buy is not the sales event so much, but everything that happens before it. The RBS gets people excited for your offering.
Step 7 – Launch Your Funnel Try to launch to 250 new prospects to test your funnel. Facebook ads or groups can be a good way to get new prospects into your funnel.
You want to get new prospects into your funnel to test it because your existing customers already know you and are more likely to buy. Testing the funnel with fresh prospects is a great way to make sure that your funnel converts.
Your funnel might not be profitable initially and that’s ok. It may take 2-3 iterations to test your funnel and get it ready to scale.
Step 8 – Optimize Your Funnel Once people have gone through your funnel, look at your numbers and figure out where the weak points in your funnel are. Improve on those areas, fix any mistakes and once you’ve optimized your funnel, you are ready to scale.
Step 9 – Scale Your Growth Now that your funnel works the way you want it to, you can increase ad spend and maximize other lead generation channels to get as many people into your funnel as you want.
6. Benefits to Relationship Funnels
So what are the benefits of a Relationship Funnel? And why not just use a traditional marketing funnel?
a) Relationship Funnels work better (especially over the long run) because they focus on building the relationship first before selling.
Once people trust you and see that you are someone that delivers a lot of value, selling becomes much easier.
b) Relationship Funnels combine marketing automation (using Wild Mail) technology and human psychology to achieve optimal results. They allow you to get into people’s hearts and minds and ultimately generate sales that will allow your business to grow.
c) Wild Audience customers achieve high click-through rates, open rates, and sales conversion rates. They achieve extraordinary results by engaging with the right people using what we call “engagement hooks” including open loops, cliffhangers, micro investments, and frequency selectors.
For example, Landon Porter achieved a 6% conversion rate and made over $6,000 in 6 weeks from his Relationship Funnel:
d) Relationship Funnels also allow you to scale your business while staying relevant and forming a personal connection with your audience.
e) A Relationship Funnel is a 100% evergreen system that works 24/7, 365 days a year to generate more predictable and consistent revenue each month.
f) Unlike other marketing funnels, you won’t have to rely on repeat product launches and your revenue won’t rely on a single launch. You won’t have to go through the stress and work overload of preparing for launches.
Instead, Relationship Funnels are a well-optimized selling machine that you can continue to improve as time goes on. They use automation to continue to sell to new prospects as they enter your funnel.
g) And the best part about Relationship Funnels..
You won’t feel salesy, fake or slimy from doing them. You can just be yourself and use your own personality to establish a real connection with your audience.
Don’t be surprised if you start getting messages like these:
h) Relationship Funnels are future proof because they work with any platform and human psychology won’t change.
i) Because you are focused on creating real value for your audience and forming a real relationship, Relationship Funnels will also allow you to boost your engagement levels, sales conversions, and ROI.
Focus on bringing the right prospects into your funnel and your sales WILL increase.
j) Another benefit of Relationship Funnels is that they are more cost efficient because you won’t waste money on people who won’t naturally engage with your content. Focus on creating engagement and you will end up converting more people with less traffic.
You can actually decrease your marketing spend and achieve a higher level of profitability with this approach.
k) With a Relationship Funnel, you won’t have to worry about finding a constant stream of new customers each month. You also won’t have to come up with new promotions every month to sustain your business.
l) Unlike sales funnels, Relationship Funnels will give you predictable cash flow, profits, and ROI each month.
To Sum It Up
Relationships and trust are everything in business. People seek to connect with other people in business, but many businesses focus on selling rather than building genuine relationships.
Be the business that focuses on relationships and you will experience more growth than you ever thought was possible.
This article is designed to give online business owners and anyone involved in entrepreneurship a framework for growth they can take and run with. We’ll dig into the pains and growth opportunities present in each stage of a business and explore how you can apply those to your own journey.
These stages of growth are based off of Todd Herman’s recently updated 5 Stages of Business Growth.
If you don’t know Todd Herman, you should.Todd is many things: an angel investor, speaker, author, and ultimately an 8-figure business owner. He built a powerful network of corporate and SMB clients across a variety of channels and products.
This is also the same Todd Herman who has worked with 86 Olympians (including some who recently competed in Seoul) and over 10,000 athletes.
Todd Herman helps ambitious people perform, period.
Pretty cool right 🙂
In other words, he knows how to build businesses, and he has fine-tuned those systems into a framework you can adopt and apply to your business. Your idea may be unique, but the challenges and growth pains you’ll experience are almost certainly not, and that means you can learn from those who have walked the path before you.
I had the privilege of sitting down with Todd and talking to him for about an hour or so, and you can check out that super awesome interview here 🙂
When it comes to explaining the stages of business, I think we can all agree it’s best to do so with an actual, viable business. We decided to use Wild Audience..
I’m going to do my best to cover Wild Audience’s pain points at each stage, the decisions that helped us overcome them, and ultimately how we grew into a network of over 30,000 business owners.
By pairing our story with Todd’s 5 Stages of Business Growth framework, I think you’ll walk away with some really useful stuff.
I’m no Todd Herman, but I like to think I’m on my way. 🙂
My goal is to help save you some time and offer some direction in your business. Having an idea of what is coming while analyzing the present and learning from the past is the best pathway to success.
Each stage will begin with a little video talking about where I was at that stage, and then I’ll follow it up with some more insight from Wild Audience’s perspective.
Let’s do this!
Quick note: I have never worked for or with Todd Herman. Everything below is based on my own experience as founder of Wild Audience and being an actual fan of his work. Take a look at the interview, and you’ll see how excited I was to talk to him. 🙂 Also, Todd is updating their marketing strategy a lot right now so what I share with you below might not be their most recent version.
Stages of Business Growth #1: Start Up
The startup stage is the beginning of everything. It starts with your idea — your dream and ends when you release your initial MVP.
Validate your product & market.
Feeling of self-doubt.
Feeling like your business is unique in its challenges.
Talk to your market
Listen to your market.
Know WHAT to focus on and WHEN.
The startup stage has two main components: a dream & an MVP. This is the stage that kills more businesses than any other.
Todd surveyed over 40,000 wantrepreneurs and entrepreneurs and found that fear of failure was the overwhelming response for why people were scared to take the next step.
Scared of what their families would think if they failed. Scared of what would happen if they lost money.
In other words,
It’s the emotional experience of business that was scaring people away.
Fortunately, there’s a way to handle both fears of failure & make sure you don’t waste money: market validation.
The “startup” stage is all about four goals:
Validating your audience
Validating your product
Building an MVP
Acquiring initial sales
The key is to validate your audience and product before you ever build it. 🙂
Start Up Step #1: Build A Minimal Viable Audience
A.k.a. — what are people willing to buy, how many of them are there, and how can I reach them?
Let’s take a little trip back to 2015.
Wild Audience didn’t exist.
I was in Silicon Valley working for a Y-Combinator company called Close.io.
I enjoyed it, but I knew I wanted to start my own company.
So I decided to go to Costa Rica. 🙂
I cut my expenses to a couple hundred dollars a month and easily covered that with a part-time marketing gig…
Now all I had to do was build my business.
This is all I knew…
I wanted to start my own online business and potentially transition in SaaS.
I didn’t have a tech team.
I didn’t have the money to build a product upfront.
Not too much to work with. 🙂
I found the best place to find business inspiration is the crossover between the person you have been, the person you want to be, and rough market potential.
Your interests. Your passions. Everything that makes you who you are now… but also contributes to where you want to be 🙂
For me that was marketing automation, AI, and education.
Now, normally at this point in the start up stage, people would advise you to build a prototype of your product, lean canvas, raise some initial funds, build an MVP…
Exciting stuff, right?
Well, yes. But Todd recommends going about it a bit differently.
Here’s how Todd describes this process:
“Getting out into the market and validating the idea with the target group you want to serve is a necessity. If more people would take the approach of the mad scientist in the laboratory, attempt different combinations, and then go out and introduce the idea, product, or service to target people—then we’d have a lot more great things created – and probably a helluva a lot happier people.”
Identifying product-market fit before heavily investing and pivoting as needed is the key to building a business you can count on. The product you envisioned and the product your market needs may be further apart than you think.
For Wild Audience, I decided to use education as my testing ground for my product & as a way to finance my eventual SaaS business.
Here’s what my market validation steps looked like: 1) Market Research:
I knew I was interested in marketing AI, and I knew marketing/sales funnels were the crux of that tech. With this in mind, I started thinking about all the businesses that need better funnels.
The answer? Everyone wants better funnels.
It’s the key to building a successful online business—the key to increasing revenue—the key to everything!
Now I just needed to begin building a tribe and identify what problems they needed help solving the most.
Convert my educational audience into the SaaS early adopters
Scale that business
And just like that, I have tangible steps to work towards. 🙂
Validate and build an engaged audience through educational content first.
Work with your audience to test your MVP’s validity.
Build and iterate with audience feedback.
Use this audience to generate initial interest & sales.
Figure out your rough trajectory.
Stages of Business Growth #2: Ramp Up
Ramp Up is all about creating the systems that will establish and promote the initial growth of your product & audience. You aren’t investing heavily into infrastructure yet, but you’re laying the initial foundation to do so.
Hitting a ceiling — becoming a “lifestyle” business (this is a choice!).
Paralysis of choice.
Disconnect between a more in-depth marketing funnel and your existing audience.
Innovate > invent.
Trust your data.
Now things are getting “interesting”. 🙂
We have our audience.
We have our MVP.
We have some initial sales…
We could even be comfortably profitable.
For Wild Audience (and for almost all online businesses), your system starts with your funnels.
Specifically your marketing and sales funnels, which I would argue are really one in the same these days. 🙂
How To Build a Ramp Up Funnel For Your High-Ticket Service Business
I started “ramping up” Wild Audience in late 2015. I had beta-tested Relationship Funnel, and I knew people were interested in what I was selling, but the outreach and initial audience building were extremely time intensive, and I wanted to build out my evergreen funnel even more.
I was also teaching “relationship-based marketing” and knew this was a perfect opportunity to use my company as a larger case study.
The first thing to do in the Ramp Up stage is to reevaluate your “value ladder”—the level of services you plan on selling so you can identify your ideal customer trajectory.
While the names have changed, this is essentially the funnel we developed at the time:
How do they differ from traditional sales funnels?
Well to start…
2. They give leads the freedom of choice in how much and how fast they want to engage with you.
3. They center around essential belief installations and use psychology to foster engagement.
Let’s take a look:
The Relationship Funnel
For any online business, this is the system you need to create in your Ramp Up stage. It will serve you for YEARS to come if you set it up correctly, and expanding your range and specificity within it is always an option.
It’s essentially a combination of lead generation ads, emails, and upsells that establish expertise and engagement and ONLY sell the most relevant products to the most engaged audiences.
Use respect-based marketing to develop a passionate core audience.
Expand and build out your core funnels.
Stages of Business Growth #3: Build Up
Build Up is the stage where you create everything you need to scale up. It’s the internal scramble before the storm. 🙂
Build long-term infrastructure and systems to prepare for scaling.
Adjusting existing systems
Letting go of control
Don’t do it all yourself! Hire a business or operations manager if you need to.
Build a foolproof data & analytics system.
Check and proof all existing processes & systems.
Build Up is all about preparing for future scaling.
If you plan on spending thousands of VC & personal cash on marketing in the Scale Up stage, then you need to make sure that:
Your internal processes are efficient. This includes your business hierarchy (management layout), having a company culture that can be taught & understood by the new employees, etc.
2. Your “stack” is foolproof and ready for growth. This includes your hosting & all of the tools you currently use. You need to predict what’s going to happen when you 10x, 25x, or even 100x the amount of users.
3. You have the space for growth. For some businesses, this includes actual office space & being able to provide for the human capital you acquire.
For each of these you need to be thinking about the future costs associated with each and build them into your financial projections.
Be liberal with your estimations—allowing a healthy margin of error (5%) or so on each.
For us, this was when we analyzed ALL of the tools we were using and if they were prepared to take the next step for us.
We run a lean, education-based business, so if you’re an online course creator or online business owner, then we’d be using a similar stack.
That being said, even if you deliver physical products many of ours will apply to your eCommerce store / internal processes.
Here are all the tools we used to “ramp up” our internal system.
We analyzed potential growth costs and pains before settling on this stack.
The amount of time we spent on the phone & trying out new services! I do not miss this part of the process.
I hope this saves you some time. 🙂
Moving on… here are some thing I wish I understood or paid more attention to at this stage.
The Bigger You Get, The Harder It Will Be To Personalize Your Subscriber Experience
This is where smart automation comes into play. 🙂
Look for ways to use technology to retain the level of service your customers are used to. You’re going to have to make some sacrifices, but it’s a necessary growing pain.
Be very careful, here!
The last thing you want to do is lose your tribe’s trust as you build these systems—use their feedback like you did in the start up stage. Listen to them and make sure you continue delivering your product and value to them while making room for new players.
If your business requires hands-on service, then you’re going to have to start identifying customer service candidates to hire in preparation for the next stage…
Check each and every tool and part of your business—especially your internal processes. Run hypothetical situations to feign how your system will react under pressure
Don’t forget to prioritize your customer experience while building new systems. You’re going to have to make sacrifices, but make sure your value add is still compelling.
Stages of Business Growth #4: Scale Up
Scale Up is all about one thing and one thing only: growth.
Invest heavily in marketing.
Determine which outreach & lead generation mediums are best for you and your existing funnels.
Consider the need for and potentially acquire VC and/or other investments.
Build a team you can count on.
Overcoming the fear of drastically increasing spending.
Growing too fast or not fast enough.
Existing business and processes will have to be updated or remade.
Be methodical not emotional.
Use data and analytics to guide you.
Take calculated risks.
Lean on your team for support.
Stage 4 (scale up) It’s when you take your existing ROI and bet on it. It’s when you really test the weight of the market against your business model.
It’s when you not only bet on yourself, but on all the systems and processes you’ve built to get here.
Well, it can be 🙂
But that isn’t a bad thing.
I’ll let you in on a Wild Audience secret…
This is where we are now!
It’s been nuts. In the last two months, we’ve hired:
Multiple content writers
A content strategist mastermind.
A distribution ninja.
It’s been weird. I started this business and ran it for a while before bringing on my good friend James Pazmino to help out.
Then it was just us two for a while…
And now there are 5x as many people… and this is just the beginning!
Here’s what we’ve learned about this stage already:
Be Selective With Your Team
If you want to be the best, hire the best.
The company isn’t going to be just you and a few others anymore.
Your people are the company, and you need to hire people that understand and reflect your vision.
Here are some strategies to employ when hiring:
Get specific. If you’re hiring an advertiser, don’t just hear about where they worked, hear about what they worked on and how involved they were in that project’s success. Get numbers. Get charts. Call references.
You should be impressed. If you don’t think to yourself, “Damn. This guy knows what he’s talking about.” during the interview, then maybe reconsider. Give them the opportunity to demonstrate expertise by asking open-ended questions and discuss how they would tackle the very problems you’re hiring them to solve.
Get an idea of where they’re at. Do they care about your business? Your mission? What are their professional goals? If you know they have a history of leaving companies or that their actual dream is to become a standup comedian… then maybe they’re not the best fit.
Start with a trial project. Especially if you’re working with freelancers, you don’t have to start them on a salary. Employ them in a trial project to get an idea of how they work and then determine the next steps.
Make Data Your Best Friend
Take your funnel metrics for drinks. Go surfing with your overhead costs…
Seriously. You’ll be dreaming of spreadsheets and financial projections during this stage. 🙂
Your job as an online business owner or manager is to foster growth—primarily through team management (delegation) & innovative analysis.
One trick is to use your value ladder to identify conversion bottlenecks. If your awareness, high-level content is doing fantastically (click rates are high, time on site is high), but your conversion to tripwire is low, then there’s either a disconnect between the content and the offer OR the type of people your ads are attracting and the offer.
If your conversion rate from tripwire/RBS series to your main product is low (<2%), then you’re either giving too much away in your free series for it to seem valuable or you’re not pitching your main product correctly.
The solution? Ask the tripwire customers who are extremely engaged but haven’t converted why they haven’t bought yet.
Build a Culture That Prioritizes Experimentation
On top of that, during the scaling period it is critically important to test everything. If you’re jumping from $5k a month in ad spend to $50k, you better be damn sure you’re testing between mediums, channels, existing assets — you name it.
Be rigorous. If a test fails, ditch it in move on. If it succeeds, continue to iterate. Encourage your employees to innovate by promoting autonomy and brand education. If your employees are just as in tune with your brand and direction as you are, then you can trust them to run experiments & push themselves to their limits. It’s more fulfilling for your employees and can have huge upsides for your business.
Let’s look at an example of an experiment we just ran:
We couldn’t decide whether or not it was better to point new leads who have downloaded a lead magnet to a webinar registration or RBS series.
So, we created two landing pages that were identical but led to 2 separate TYPs… One that promoted our RBS series, and one that promoted our webinar.
Then we sent them to one of these two landing pages to see which step converted better, webinar or RBS series:
And here’s the webinar opt-in page:
These both look like solid options, right?
Well… we found that the RBS series converted at a much higher percent (>5%).
The last thing we need to keep an eye on is whether or not the people who converted to the webinar first end up converting to sale at a higher rate.
But! This is just one example of the multitude of tests you should be running across your online marketing & sales funnel business WHILE continuing to put more and more traffic into the high performers.
Trust the systems and processes you developed. You already did the work to prepare for the increase in spend at this stage. Now it’s time to turn up the heat.
Build an all-star team whose goals align with yours.
Build a culture of marketing experimentation.
Pay close attention to the metrics of long-time customers & new customers. Specifically LTV & cohort retention.
Stages of Business Growth #5: Leader Up
Leader Up is about finding the long-term human capital to transition your company from a “start up” into a stable, sustainable business.
Acquisition and Responsible Leadership
Vulnerable to more nimble, innovative companies.
Potential for leadership failure.
Use your network.
Take your time.
Complement your expertise
Pay attention to the market. Don’t be afraid to get rid of people that aren’t performing.
Stage 5 is all about promoting long-term sustainability through top-tier talent that can successfully steer the ship into new and bright waters for years to come.
Even if you’ve done a fantastic job through the first four stages, stage 5 is where a business transitions from a start up into a sustainable business.
You may have to make sacrifices in control to allow someone with more experience navigating this stage to help, and that’s okay 🙂
At this point, you’ve made it.
Finding The Right Leader
The truth is, it is very rare for a founder to develop all the skills a business needs at this point in the game, and that’s okay.
It will be your job to equip your company with veterans who are fantastic at operations & day-to-day operations.
This may be you. It may not be.
If it’s not, some of the first places you should look when expanding your executive team are:
Ask existing partnerships for suggestions. You’ll have undoubtedly made a variety of connections in your industry at this point. Pick the people you trust the most, and ask them for suggestions.
Hire an executive headhunter. These services are expensive, but they often have a wide reach and talent you can trust.
Take your time and use the same processes you developed while hiring your team to make this decision.
At this point you could also be considering an acquisition, which would potentially also fulfil the goal of finding new leaders.
If you’re considering selling, you should:
Keep rigorous books on revenues, expenses, profit analysis, etc.
Seek out buying groups or companies who you think would be interested.
Entertain bids from multiple companies.
Hire a valuation company you trust if applicable.
Keep a close eye on potential buyers and market trends. Make a list of companies and begin acquisition conversations if desired.
Invest in your leaders’ development. Tie their incentives to the success of the company.
Leadership is a mindset, not a goal.
Look. Obviously, businesses carry unique challenges, but most of the problems you’ll face have already been tackled by someone else before. Tapping into that knowledge is one of the best things you can do for your business. I hope that by learning a bit more about our journey in relation to Todd’s 5 Stages of Business, you got a better idea of what to watch for as you move yours forward—regardless of which stage you’re in.
Ramp Up: Build out your product and lay basic company structure and systems.
Build Up: Invest in long-term infrastructure and systems. Establish your foundation for scaling.
Scale Up: Develop your team, leadership, and scale your business with intense marketing.
Leader Up: Maintain market share and growth trajectory through “acquisition and innovation.”
Each stage brings its own challenges, but they also bring their own excitement. Scaling is so stressful right now, but I’ve also never been more excited—expanding my team and pursuing growth is thrilling…
I’m also excited for future partnerships and leaders down the road… 🙂
And remember that for online businesses, your sales funnels are everything. They’re your main revenue driver, your key to scaling, your framework for developing creatives, and so much more.
By strategically planning every asset to fit into a funnel, you won’t waste resources developing assets that won’t serve you in the long run. If you want to learn more about how the respect-based marketing funnel system we discussed can transform your business at any stage, then go here.
[Tip #1]: How Tony Robbins Built A Coaching Sales Funnel That Generates Him Millions
[Tip #2]: What Tony Robbins Coaching Sales Funnel Is Missing & What I Would Do Better If Tony Would Hire Me
[Tip #3]: How To Get Started With Your Coaching Using a Sales Funnel Template
This article is for individual life, business, or relationship coaches who want to learn how to build an automated sales funnel. I will show you how a world-class coach—Tony Robbins—attracts millions of customers and generates hundreds of millions in revenue through his online evergreen sales funnels. I will also arm you with a step-by-step process to create a high performing online coaching sales funnel (that converts even better than Tony’s ;-).
Interested? Let’s go!
But before I begin, let me say this…
I have never worked for or with Robbins Research Inc. or Tony Robbins. Everything below is based on my own experience as a Tony Robbins email subscriber. Tony Robbins is updating his marketing constantly. This means that what I share with you below might not be their most recent version.
[Tip #1]: Step-by-Step Walkthrough of Tony Robbins’ Coaching Sales Funnel Template That Generates Him Millions
Tony Robbins has many different online sales funnels. I wouldn’t be able to do justice to all with a single blog post. Which is why in this tip I am focused on two of his funnels:
Just take a look at this screenshot of the ASKTony page.He helps people in many different industries—business, relationships, performance, productivity etc. And within each of these, he has many different customer avatars with different problems.
Because of this, it is critical for Tony to know who finds their way to him online. Is it a CEO already making a million? Is it a college student just starting out? A person having love problems who wants relationship help? Someone who is insecure and wants to become a better version of himself? Without this, it would be almost impossible to give them the most relevant offer.
And Tony segments to impress. Just take a look at what happens when you click one of Tony’s email offers to start taking action:If you choose business, you arrive at a page where he gives you an offer for business consultation:If you click “take action” on that page, you will then be taken to this sales page:This page has a CTA for a free consultation call with one of Tony’s people.
But if, on the other hand, you chose relationships and share that you already purchased the related online program, he offers his live event:By the way, he also segments people through his main squeeze funnel. Let’s talk about that next.
Tony Robbins’ Main Squeeze Funnel Reverse Engineered
When visiting Tony Robbins home page, you see his main opt-in offer—a life assessment quiz: Clicking this quiz gives you assessment questions around 7 different life areas. Here is an example of assessment question you would answer:To get your results, you then have to opt-in:This is doing two things for Tony Robbins. It allows him to:
Collect information so he can give the right offer to the right person
Collect email addresses so he can reach out over email to continue the conversation
After you sign up, he shows you a results page with recommendations. He also offers to help you fix your problems via a free coaching call.
This free coaching call doubles as a sales call where his coaches will sell his Unleash the Power Within Live event.
He even pre-frames this on the post-call sign up thank you page: He also uses this thank you page to offer a frontend product—Ultimate Edge Program (totals $238):Now that Tony has your email address, he begins sending you his main email sales sequence.
He sends you the first email 3 days after sign-up that goes to this article:At the end of that article you get an offer for a free PDF:Above the fold on that article is a CTA to his Unleash the Power Within Event sales call.If you click the CTA, you will see an offer to jump on a sales call for the event.
A day later, he sends another sales email.
This email is a more aggressive sales email with a total of 6 calls to actions. That is way too many calls to actions that lead to a very bad user experience.
This includes an image that links to
(1) See Tony live, get coaching, and product deals
Here is an example of one of these emails:The second email of the week is essentially the same as the first, the only difference is the subject line.
Here’s the email I received on Thursday:And here’s the email I received on Monday:
All these emails have 6 offers (very aggressive selling too early in the customer relationship in my opinion, but more on that in tip #2). Then after a few weeks, he sends an email offering a 25% discount to his Unleash the Power Within event.What is unique in all these emails is Tony Robbins segments his prospects further. He does this by offering a Facebook messenger experience, a segmentation quiz, or both.
Here is an example of how he segments further using a quiz:
And here using a FB Messenger Bot:Another thing Tony Robbins is doing is personalization. The articles and offers you see in the emails are personalized according to the area you said you need the most help in the initial segmentation quiz.
Let’s talk about his blog post funnel.
Tony Robbins Blog Post Funnel
Tony Robbins not only creates blog posts for different customer avatars. He also goes a step further by creating content upgrades to get people to opt-in.
Here is an example of what this looks like for Tony.
Like the assessment in his main squeeze funnel, to see the results of this assessment you have to opt-in.After signup, he then continues to give people the same main squeeze emails I showed you earlier.
Include a segmentation survey in your lead onboarding process (on the main squeeze page + after opt-ins to content upgrades).
Create blog content for your different customer avatars and then use content upgrades or assessment surveys to get them to opt-in.
Segment your prospects deeper after they opt-in.
Every time you segment your prospects, eventually present them with an offer that is most appropriate to where they are at.
[Tip #2] What Tony Robbins’ Coaching Sales Funnel Is Missing & What I Would Do Better If Tony Would Hire Me
Now imagine if Tony came to me and said: “Hey Bastian, you are awesome. I want to hire you. Please build me an awesome Relationship Funnel!” What would I do?
I would keep the focus on segmentation. Since Tony plays in so many different industries, segmentation is key to his business. And he already does an amazing job at that.
That being said, there are a lot of opportunities to increase his conversions and revenue further by improving both his segmentation and what he offers prospects after segmentation.
Here are the steps I would take to improve Tony’s sales funnel template:
Capture emails of leads interacting with Tony’s content
Segment captured leads better
Qualify buyers by selling a frontend offer
Create and send a RBS
Get prospects to convert
Continue the relationship with an evergreen newsletter
Execute a multi-channel approach
Let’s talk more about each of these.
Step #1: Capture Emails of Leads Interacting with Tony’s Content
Tony Robbins has a lot of phenomenal content across the internet.
The first thing we would do it take this content and distribute it to more people. A simple way to do this would be by repurposing existing content for another medium.
For example, Amy Porterfield repurposed this podcast episode:…into this SlideShare presentation:For Tony, we could take any of his recent great content (such as this recent blog post) and repurpose into a Youtube Video, an Instagram post, a Facebook post etc.
Next, I would capture emails of the leads interacting with the content. This would allow us to gain control over the conversation. We can do this in many ways, but it all starts with pixeling people when they interact with Tony’s content. This means pixeling people who view his Facebook content, YouTube videos, blog posts, Instagram posts, etc.
I would then retarget those people with lead magnets & assessment surveys.
Here is an example of a retargeting ad ThriveThemes shows blog visitors after their recent visit:I would base what I retarget them with on the type of content they consumed. For example, if someone watched a video about business, we would offer them a business-related PDF. If someone reads an article about love, I would offer them a relationship assessment survey.
Step #2: Segment Captured Leads Better
Once we capture leads, we need to segment them so we can be as relevant as possible.
There are several different ways to do this.
The first way is based on the type of content piece they opted in from. For example, if they opted-in from an article on business we tag them as interested in business. If they opted-in from an article on love & relationships, we tag them as interested in love.
Another way would be by integrating a lead bucketing question before the signup. Here is an example of how we do this on the Wild Audience blog:Finally, we can segment them further by giving them a 3-5 question survey. This would be similar to Tony’s current segmentation app. What I would do differently is to include it on the thank you page prospects see after they opt-in. I would pair the survey with an offer for a free course. Obviously, I’d relate the free course to the problem they told us they had right before opting-in.
Step #3: Qualify Buyers by Selling a Frontend Offer
I would then offer those who sign up for the course a frontend product.
Even though Tony already does this on his current thank you page, I don’t think he uses the right product.
He offers his Ultimate Edge program (total of $235.99). This is definitely a valid option but what I would test as an alternative is to offer a low price point, high-value frontend product. This would qualify the buyers vs the non-buyer quickly. It will also allow us to make ad spend back.
Here is an example of one of our frontend products:Notice this is a light product–a 7-page PDF. It is also a very low-price point of only $12.
Step #4: Create and Send a RBS
Currently, after Tony Robbins captures lead emails, the only thing he does via email is selling. He is leaving a lot of money on the table by doing this.
If I were to create a funnel for Tony, I would repurpose some of his existing content to create 7 Relationship Builder Sequence emails (RBS).
I’d keep 3 things in mind with these emails:
1. Be relevant based on collected data Remember the lead bucketing question we used in step #2 to find the problem prospects need help with? I would use the data to dynamically generate different emails for each lead bucket.
For example if we learned from the lead bucketing question that they had a problem with ROI/Conversions we will show the email that speaks to that problem and gives them a solution.2. Install beliefs to prime Tony’s audience to buy from him Our goal would be to install the beliefs that:
Tony Robbins is a rockstar.
He’s the best self-help guru/businessman and personal development master on the planet
He’s the exact guy to solve my problems
This is simply a matter of repurposing some of Tony’s current testimonial content.
You probably noticed a few examples of how we do this at Wild Audience by building social proof via the RBS. Here is one example:3. Use Respect Based Marketing to get people engaged and increase your sales funnel conversion rate Currently Tony bombards people with sales emails right after they opt-in.
Take a look at this email for example, it has 6 sales offers!
(1) See Tony live, get coaching, and product deals.
Here is an example of one of these emails:I would stop doing this.
Instead, I would do Respect-Based Marketing (RBM) to get people engaged first.
RBM is a term we coined to describe the process we use to engage people once they’ve become aware of our brand. It combines tried-and-true business elements like respect, relationship, trust and authority — with modern and advanced sales funnel automation.
It starts with the thank you page people see right after opting in.
Here’s an example of how we do this at Wild Audience:We ask people for permission to help them more with the topic they just told us they need help with. If they say yes, I will then ask them 3-5 questions to further segment them. I would then customize the emails they get after that based on their answers.
Check out some of the results respect-based marketing has gotten us and our clients here.
If you want to learn more about Respect Based Marketing check out this video I’ve recorded for you here.
Step #5: Get Prospects to Convert
As each lead engages with the RBS emails, we would score them based on how much of the content they engaged with. When the lead conversion threshold is achieved, we’d offer a core product (lead scoring can be implemented in advanced ESPs like Wild Mail).
Again, the product we offer would depend on the segmentation information we collected. How we offer the product depends on the product’s price point. So for a $200 course, we would email them a sales page or an evergreen webinar. For high tier products like Tony’s $3k event, we would set up a call. For a coaching offer, we would probably create a video sales letter.
Here is how one of our frontend funnels converts as a result of this strategy:
Step #6: Continue the Relationship With an Evergreen Newsletter
After that, we’d continue having a relationship with Tony’s audience through an evergreen newsletter.
Here is an example of an email we sent in our evergreen newsletter at Wild Audience.Here is another recent example:Notice how in both cases we use stories to build our relationship with our audience by sharing stories and insights to help them with their problems.
While Tony has an evergreen newsletter, currently the only thing he does there is selling. He also reuses the same sales email with a different subject line in the second email of the week.
Instead, I would repurpose existing content to maximize the exposure. Here are a couple of ideas off the top of my head that Tony could send:
Story emails about how Tony transformed people’s lives
Links to Youtube videos showing how awesome Tony is at helping people who had the same problem
Link to Instagram pics so we could retarget them
As people engaged with the content, I would track their lead scores. I‘d set a lead score threshold. Once they hit the threshold, I would then send them an email every two weeks offering a related product.
I might also use the PS section of the content emails to build Tony’s social proof for his live event. For example, to those who have already purchased his Ultimate Edge Product, we might say:
“I know you purchased Ultimate Edge. Did you know around 65% people who buy Ultimate Edge then decide to come to my live event Unleash the Power Within? You should do it too. Here is what Marie thinks about it (linked to a video of Marie sharing her transformation).”
Below the video, I would link to a free coaching call offer. In this coaching call offer, we’d aim to close them for a live event.
Step #7 Execute A Multi-Channel Approach
Finally, I would execute a multi-channel approach to speak to Tony’s prospects. This means I wouldn’t just depend on email to deliver the RBS messaging or to sell. I would also sync the messaging with a bot.
Here is an example of how we have implemented this at Wild AudiencThis is one of the easiest ways to increase the open and click rate. At Wild Audience, we have seen up to 97% open and 36% click rate on the 7th bot message using this strategy.
As I mentioned earlier, Tony’s audience is huge. The nature of social algorithms is that not everyone sees all Tony’s great content all the time. Which is why I would also use ads to retarget new content to anyone who has liked and engaged with Tony’s content before.
[Tip #3] How To Use This Sales Funnel Template to Get Started With Your Own Funnel
I hope that by showing you a breakdown of Tony Robbins sales funnel template I’ve convinced you that you too can create your own coaching sales funnel.
Here are the 7-steps you would need to take to get started:
Define your client avatar
Create a 10-20 page PDF as a lead magnet for that avatar (could be a blog post turned into a PDF)
Set up a 5-question segmentation survey—using tools like Surveyslam or Typeform
Create a 7-part RBS email sequence to installs buying beliefs—you can use Wild Mail or Drip for delivery
Create a sale page with a video above the fold that leads to an application where people can schedule a call with you
Jump on that call and close the client on a paid offer
Keep in touch with non-buyers using one weekly email (you can turn it evergreen for leverage). Include a free coaching call as the email’s CTA
And with that, I would like to end this article.
I hope you found it valuable & educational.If you want to move on (& go deeper), I’d suggest downloading our 8 steps sales funnel ebook here.
Know Tony Robbins or want to let him know via email or Twitter that he should check out this article? You can do that here…
[Part 3]: Where ActiveCampaign Is Missing Out & My 6 Suggestions for How They Could Improve
This article is for marketers and founders at SaaS startups and software firms — or anyone who works with similar companies.
Let’s jump in!
Quick note before I start…
I have never worked with ActiveCampaign or founder and CEO Jason VandeBoom. Everything I describe in this article is based on my own experience as an ActiveCampaign subscriber and user (I’ve been using their service for 3 years). I expect ActiveCampaign will constantly change its tactics (just like any company). What I describe below is what ActiveCampaign is doing today, which may change in the future.
[Part 1]: Why ActiveCampaign’s SaaS Messaging & Positioning Is Awesome
The first thing to say about ActiveCampaign is that they’re totally killing it.
As a guy who has spent weeks writing one piece of epic content for a blog post, I can tell you that it takes a tremendous investment of time and effort to produce 27 quality articles in a month.
Once you get into an article, you’re met with two persistent floating CTAs, both inviting you to sign up for the newsletter.When I entered my email to subscribe, I found it was really just another version of their main CTA: a trial signup.
To get on the “newsletter” it seems, you have to sign up for a trial account.
I couldn’t find content upgrades on any of their posts, only invitations to receive content from ActiveCampaign weekly.
(More on that later in the “missed opportunities” section.)
At the bottom of the blog posts, you see ActiveCampaign’s traditional “sign up for a trial” CTA.
Integration marketing is a way to reach users of other apps.
It’s big for ActiveCampaign. I found over 150 integrations listed on their site.These are direct integration partners too, not just integrations through services like Zapier or If This Then That.
Software Review Pages (That Rank on the First Page of Google)
Check this out.Customer reviews are a huge part of online marketing.
Reviews are social proof.
People want to know:
Does your product work?
Do you treat your customers well?
Are people who use your product happy with it?
Notice that every listing is from a third-party review sites.
Google doesn’t return anything from ActiveCampaign’s website for the search term “ActiveCampaign review.”
That means ActiveCampaign must:
Do a good job providing the value it promises
Treat its customers well
Monitor the review sites to respond to negative reviews
As you can tell when you click through to the reviews, ActiveCampaign is very active in these forums:Side note: if you haven’t done a Google search for “[your company] + reviews”, you should do that.
Events and Meetups
Conferences and meetups are a blend of marketing strategies.
They support lead generation by giving a company a way to talk to prospects.
As I’ll describe in a bit, they also support the core funnel and backend funnel.
The challenge with in-person events for lead generation is that they’re expensive and time-consuming.
Despite the cost, however, they can be a very effective way to reach clients — especially enterprise clients.
ActiveCampaign has a variety of event-marketing activities to achieve this.
They have booths at conferences all over the world to engage with people from their target markets.They also have a brand-new 2-day conference this year in Chicago called ACTIVATE. They’re bringing in Ann Handley and other well-known marketers as featured speakers to attract people to the event.A 2-day conference like this is not meant to draw in the $9/month target audience.
This is for enterprise clients. ActiveCampaign target the high-dollar audience by charging $650 per ticket.
A company would need a significant marketing budget to send a manager or an employee to a conference with that high of a price tag.
And that’s exactly who ActiveCampaign is trying to attract.
For smaller businesses, ActiveCampaign also hosts meetups as another way to connect with its customer personas. Why do events?
Because they work. Even with all the online marketing tools we have, there’s nothing quite like talking to someone face to face.
The question is just whether the ROI justifies the cost, something that will be different for every company.
The ActiveCampaign Podcast
Podcasting is usually for cultivation.
It’s a high-engagement channel, one that lets people feel like they get to know you and your company through the stories you tell.
A podcast is very different than a blog article — where readers often just skim down the page and read over the headlines.
The trick — of course — is creating a podcast people actually enjoy.
If the reviews are any indication, people really like it.If you’re wondering how a podcast is part of lead generation, it’s because people who like podcasts search for new podcasts that match their interests.
It can lead to discoveries like this one:Here’s a customer who was using a different email service, wasn’t happy with it, and switched because he found the ActiveCampaign podcast.
That’s exactly how it’s supposed to work.
Influencers and Third-Party Online Courses
This one’s important.
If you think that lead generation is only done by people directly employed by your company, you’re wrong.
Influencers and third-party sources are a huge part of modern lead generation.
As an example, look at me!
Here’s a screenshot from a Wild Audience sales page promoting our Relationship Funnel program.That’s us at Wild Audience driving people to sign up for the AC service — with no direct instruction from ActiveCampaign.
This is the impact of influencers.
Influencers are also on places like Udemy, teaching courses about how to get the most out of ActiveCampaign.And on Facebook, running groups with thousands of members talking about the product.None of these people are employees of ActiveCampaign.
But they are all driving leads to ActiveCampaign’s service.
How does ActiveCampaign get influencers to become advocates for its service?
Well, first by having an awesome product.
Second, by running a strong affiliate programAnd third, by offering a certification program for consultants who want to help companies get the most from their ActiveCampaign subscription.Taken together, ActiveCampaign is encouraging people to become more than just customers.
They’re creating a network of brand advocates.
Lead generation strategies are a direct result of knowing your audience and defining clear customer avatars.
Employees are not the only people who influence purchase decisions. Influencers and reviews have a huge impact on sales, especially for SaaS companies.
2) Frontend Funnel:
The goal of a frontend funnel is to qualify buyers and decrease ROI time.
As far as I can tell, ActiveCampaign completely skips this step. And I find that extremely interesting.
They don’t have paid frontend products or services.
Instead, they direct all their lead generation efforts directly to their core funnel.
We’ll talk more about what they could do with a frontend funnel later in this article.
I think ActiveCampaign is definitely missing out on some things by skipping this step.
Don’t skip the frontend funnel!
3) Core Funnel:
All the lead generation efforts ActiveCampaign point here, to the core funnel.
An Awesome Business Model and Pricing Strategy
The first thing I want to point out is that ActiveCampaign has an extremely smart pricing strategy.
I’ve read tons of resources on pricing and seen countless debates about “what should I charge” in various forums online.
The debate comes down to an argument between:
Setting a low price to attract lots of new users
Setting a high price so you only attract people who will be committed
ActiveCampaign does both.
The $9/month starting price is low enough for solopreneurs and anyone just looking to get a feel for the system.
As you grow, the price goes up, jumping to $49/month and above, levels where you’d need regular revenue from your email marketing efforts to make it worth it.These are relatively high prices for these higher levels of service.
In other words, ActiveCampaign has a pricing strategy that allows both things to happen.
The low-price intro offer is cheap enough to attract anyone with interest.
The higher tiers are for people who are committed to the service and understand the value it delivers for their business.
If blogging is about awareness, educational content is about engaging people once you have their attention.
That’s why educational content is awesome for SaaS businesses.
It’s meant to help business owners and marketers understand:
The problems they face
Solutions to those problems
These are resources for customer success, not directly for lead generation. It’s a next step people can take if they’re interested in learning more — even before they sign up for a trial.
After they sign up and start using the product, that’s where educational content really fills a need, helping people answer specific questions they have about using the product.
ActiveCampaign gets this, providing a huge library of guides, videos, and webinars.
If you hear about ActiveCampaign and want to hear or see more, there’s a resource for anything you want to know.I really like their webinars — they have this idea of “success webinars” — where they talk about a specific story of how someone has used ActiveCampaign successfully.
People are going to talk about your product online.
Why not own the forum or community where those conversations happen so you can be involved?
ActiveCampaign has several active communities where they cultivate these conversations. Just to show you a few of them…
These all provide channels to engage existing users in addition to prospects.
The Sales Follow-up Sequence
The most important part of ActiveCampaign’s core funnel is its professional sales force.
Using professional salespeople is expensive, but it’s also a great way to increase conversions. There’s really no substitute for one-on-one conversations with a real human being.
It’s been a long time since I signed up for ActiveCampaign, which made me wonder…
What does their sales process look like today? If I signed up for a new trial, what emails or phone calls would I get?
I decided to find out.
I signed up for an account with an email different than the one I already have with ActiveCampaign.
Since I already have an account, I also asked my friend Nathan — who’s based in the U.S. — to sign up for a trial account.
We both kept track of every call and email we received.
The Follow-up Sequence: 4 Phone Calls & 9 Emails Over 14 Days
Let’s take a look at what happened after Nathan signed up for an ActiveCampaign trial.
On April 23 around noon, Nathan signed up. He immediately received a welcome email.20 minutes later, he got another welcome message — this one from Jason VandeBoom’s account.10 minutes after that, Nathan’s phone rang with a number from Chicago, where ActiveCampaign is based.
It was Ernie from the ActiveCampaign sales team, who left a voicemail wanting to know if Nathan needed any help with the new account.
Over the two weeks of the trial, Nathan received a total of 17 emails & 4 phone calls from ActiveCampaign.
Here’s what Nathan’s inbox looked on the last day of the ActiveCampaign trial:When we looked at all the emails and phone calls in detail, they broke down like this:
8 drip emails
4 broadcast emails (announcement, new content, etc.)
4 sales phone calls
3 sales emails
1 confirmation email
1 welcome message
Drip Emails: One Every Other Day
I was expecting something a little more creative in their drip campaign, but honestly it looks like ActiveCampaign is just going with the straightforward “every-other-day” sales messages.
The drip emails started on day 2 of Nathan’s trial. They came every other day after that. Most were topical, encouraging Nathan to take action with his account.There is so much more ActiveCampaign could be doing with this drip campaign. The big miss — in my eyes — is that these emails mostly just cover features — they don’t seek to install buying beliefs that get people engaged and keep them active until they convert.
In part 3, I’ll talk more about what they could do to install these beliefs.
If you’re interested, here are all 11 of the automated emails I received in my account:
It’s super powerful to combine an effective drip email campaign with a direct sales approach.
A professional sales force is a major help in driving conversions — if you can afford the labor cost.
SaaS companies can create pricing models that “grow with you” to give anyone a chance to sign up.
Active customer communities = engagement = better retention.
The point of the backend funnel is to upsell existing customers and increase customer lifetime value.
For SaaS companies, that often means keeping customers activated, using the software and seeing the value of the service.
In a way, reducing churn is part of the backend funnel for SaaS companies.
The support team has as much to do with this as the marketing and sales teams.
Even so, ActiveCampaign has several backend offers to upsell existing customers.
We talked about ActiveCampaign’s new ACTIVATE conference in the frontend funnel.
It costs $650 per ticket to attend, turning events marketing — usually a pure expense — into a revenue-generating activity.
Want to become a certified ActiveCampaign consultant?
It’s a great way to zero in on ActiveCampaign users as potential clients.
Cost: $2,000 (one-time fee).
Need help with the design of your emails? ActiveCampaign has design services offering to help for $395.
ActiveCampaign also maintains a marketplace for third-party sellers who’ve created add-ons for the service.
This generates revenue for both the third-party seller and for ActiveCampaign.
Conferences, training, consulting, and add-ons are other ways to increase revenue and LTV for SaaS companies. They can also help improve retention.
In almost every SaaS business, continuity comes from the month-to-month structure of the core offer — and ActiveCampaign is no different.
Even so, what I really like about ActiveCampaign is what we mentioned before about its business model.
As you grow and gain more subscribers, your business is probably doing well and making more revenue.
Which means when you need a bigger ActiveCampaign account, it won’t be difficult to justify the new $49/month fee.
Or the $129/month, or higher.
In SaaS, continuity comes from the month-to-month structure of the business model.
Retention is the ultimate goal of continuity for SaaS companies.
[Part 3] Where ActiveCampaign Is Missing Out & My 6 Suggestions For How They Could Improve Their Conversion Funnel
With all that ActiveCampaign gets right, I still think they have room to improve.
All you have to do is look at what some of their competitors are doing to see what’s working in a similar space.
Specifically, I looked at:
I also have a few suggestions from my own funnel-building experience working with SaaS companies and online course businesses.
Here are 6 conversion funnel changes I would make if I were to work with ActiveCampaign…
Change #1: Content Upgrades
I love content upgrades.
They’re a simple, effective way to double, triple, or quadruple (or more!) opt-in rates from content marketing (blogs, guides, etc.).
I use them in almost every piece of content I create (including this one!).
Here’s one from one of Wild Audience’s most popular blog posts on sales funnels:The fact that ActiveCampaign isn’t using content upgrades at all was one of the first things I noticed when I started looking at their strategy.
Blog posts should have the main goal to get people to sign up with their email. The best way to do that is a content upgrade.
That doesn’t mean ActiveCampaign has to take away its trial offer. It could still include a trial sign-up in the top navigation or in the right banner.
Reason is that people are in different stages. Some are ready to try a new ESP like AC and this will sign-up for the trial. Others are not in the need of a new ESP as they use a different one or are just not there yet in their business journey.
Regardless of where a person, you want to start building a relationship so that once the person starts to consider ESPs, ActiveCampaign is top of mind.
A content upgrade extends the blog post with further educational content and acts as the entry point to a sales funnel. Once someone signs-up for the content upgrade, the marketing funnel kicks in and starts installing beliefs.
Change #2: Original Research
Original research is both rare and valuable.
Done right, it’s the kind of thing that gets covered in the press and linked to over and over again by people in your target market.
They’re great for lead generation, authority building, and backlinks.
It’s a huge report with benchmarks for email open and click-through rates across dozens of industries — making it a fantastic resource for marketers.It’s one of four deeply-researched resources currently available for free on the MailChimp website.
Drip uses a similar strategy with its reports on entrepreneurship and small business marketing.As far as I can tell, ActiveCampaign isn’t currently doing original research — or at least nothing close to the scale of MailChimp and Drift.
It means they lack the big, substantive resources MailChimp and Drift have to collect email addresses and earn backlinks.
Change #3: Respect-Based Marketing (RBM)
Respect-Based Marketing (RBM) is a term we coined to describe the process we use to engage people once they’ve become aware of our brand.
It combines tried-and-true business elements like respect, relationship, trust and authority — with modern and advanced sales funnel automation to increase conversion rate.
It looks like this:
Segment new leads into buckets by asking them 5 questions during the sign-up process.
Use this data to personalize and customize your emails, website and bot messages (and any other channels you might use)
As you are more personal, people will perceive you as more relevant.
If you’re more relevant, people will engage more.
Getting the right people engaged will always result in higher sales conversions and more revenue.
I have also recorded a video to walk you through the process..
To do RBM effectively, we’d need new ways to increase email signups…
Change #4: Relationship Funnel
Something ActiveCampaign is completely missing right now is any kind of content that is focused on installing buying beliefs.
All of their lead-generation work drives people directly to a 14-day trial. Once someone signs up for a trial, the email and phone call follow-up sequence kicks in.
If you look closely, the messaging in those drip emails is almost totally product focused.See how this is all about what ActiveCampaign can do?
A Relationship Funnel is different, and — I believe — would have a big positive impact on ActiveCampaign’s results.
Relationship Funnels are based on a belief system. We buy stuff based on beliefs… and that’s how we decide between right & wrong.
For that reason, when I help SaaS companies build Relationship Funnels, we spend a lot of time teaching those beliefs to their marketing leads, trial leads & paying customers. If we do that well, conversions go up in all stages of the process.
Here’s a simple example of how I would build a Relationship Funnel for ActiveCampaign optimized for organic traffic:
1) Create Content:
Create blog posts with content upgrades (targeted at their customer avatar) and distribute them to drive organic traffic.
2) Get Them To Sign-Up:
ActiveCampaign should be interested in two things at this point:
Getting marketing leads (people who are not ready yet for the trial)
Getting trial leads
I would use two different call-to-actions to get people to sign-up. I would always place the call-to-action for the trial visible on any page of the website.
What I would add is a content upgrade to drive marketing leads. We can then start an email sequence to install beliefs to move them towards marketing qualified and then sales qualified. See next steps..
They could also use personalization software like RightMessage to personalize the call-to-action on their blog based on what they already know about the website visitors.
Example: Show a trial CTA if visitor is marketing qualified but show a lead magnet if visitor is a first time visitor.
3) Retarget Non-Sign-Ups:
The majority of people won’t sign-up at the first time. That’s not a problem if you have a retargeting funnel installed. Two simple ways to retarget blog post readers & website visitors is through Facebook & Adwords (GDN they already do).They can drive visitors to their trial and to lead magnets. Currently, they only drive leads to the trial as far as I saw. Lead magnets can easily be created by turning blog posts into PDFs & guides and is a great way to capture people who are not ready yet for the trial but are interested in marketing automation.
4) Relationship Building & Installing Buying Beliefs:
Ask yourself these questions:
Marketing Qualified: What does the perfect customer avatar needs to believe before she can sign-up for an ActiveCampaign trial?
Sales Qualified: What does the perfect customer avatar needs to believe before she can become a paying customer?
Customer Success: What does the perfect customer avatar needs to believe to stay an ActiveCampaign customer?
See how beliefs are part of every part of the sales cycle?
Pretty interesting, I know.
Now, how do you get people to believe certain things? You need to communicate the beliefs to them.
At Wild Audience, we build multi-channel Relationship Funnels to install beliefs. Here are some of the channels you can choose from:
Evergreen Email Sequences
Evergreen Ad Retargeting Funnels (Facebook, GDN, YouTube..)
Communities (like Facebook groups)
Customer Success Webinars
Pick your channels and start communicating your beliefs to move people towards your desired outcome (marketing qualified, sales qualified, NPS scores, CLV etc..)
Installing beliefs is not about selling per se. It’s about setting the stage. Establishing a relationship, creating trust, establishing yourself as the authority and getting people to accept the desire or need of ActiveCampaign’s marekting automation software.
The bottom line: You prepare leads for the conversion event.
5) Conversion Event:
The conversion event is all about monetization. The better you do your job during the relationship builder stage (4), the higher your conversions will be on sales calls, sales pages and webinars.
What we have seen work really well, is to use evergreen conversion methods as your foundation and spice them up with timely promotions.
You could run an evergreen webinar and have a regular sales page. You jump on calls with qualified leads. And every quarter you could run a promotion (discount, free product, free onboarding coaching sessions etc..) to qualified leads (use lead scoring).
This is Relationship Funnel in a nutshell.
There is way more to it (especially in the relationship builder stage or what you do with leads who don’t initially convert) ..
But enough for now 🙂
Change #5: Frontend Product
This point builds on the Respect-Based Marketing step (change #3 above).
I’d create a $10 educational product and promote it to attract buyers. I would attach an upsell funnel to increase average order value:
Frontend offer: $10
Upsell 1: $50
Upsell 2: $150
For Wild Audience’s funnel, I did a quick check on how our frontend product is doing. For today, our average order value is $42. That means I can spend $42 to acquire one single customer. I can then send them over to my core offer at zero cost.
If my cost to acquire one single lead (lead CAC) is below $42, I would even get paid for people just testing out my core offer. If my lead CAC is $20, I make $22 for people just giving my core a try.
That’s the magic of frontend funnels. And ActiveCampaign could do the same. They could produce educational products on how to use marketing automation to drive more revenue.
Once a prospect becomes a frontend buyer for one of ActiveCampaign’s educational products, then I’d offer them an ActiveCampaign software trial.
They could even create a frontend product that incorporates ActiveCampaign to help solve the problem the frontend product solves.
If you do this well, you breakeven on your frontend product (or even make a profit). This means you’re getting paid for people to sign up for the trial.
This is the opposite of what normally happens — where SaaS companies pay to get people to try the trial product.
Educational products work extremely well when used together with software trial signups.
Want an example?
Let’s look at ClickFunnels, which does an amazing job at this.
This is a page that offers their book — Expert Secrets — for free if you pay $7.95 shipping and handling. It’s a physical book, not just an eBook download, so the perceived value is extremely high.That $7.95 is the first “level” of ClickFunnel’s frontend offer.
The next offer is a $37 upsell that appears after you enter your contact information, email, and address.
At this point, if you get the book or one of the three upsells, you’ll be added to their funnel to get you to try ClickFunnels’ 14-day trial.
In that way, ClickFunnels has turned its trial sign-up process (usually a money loser for SaaS companies) into a profitable step in its funnel!
Change #6: Email Sequence to Install Beliefs (Respect-Based Marketing Style)
By using tactics like content upgrades and epic research reports, I’d start collecting emails from people who like ActiveCampaign, but who aren’t yet ready to sign up for a trial. (I’d also pixel them and retarget them with ads to get as many email signups as possible.)
I’d segment people who signed up by using the same interview ActiveCampaign already has in place. We use a similar segmentation survey here at Wild Audience.Based on that data, I’d send them customized emails based on their answers. It would look similar to this, which is a zoomed out view of our email sequence at Wild Audience.I’d also personalize the emails based on customer responses. The secret to an email sequence built in the respect-based marketing style?
It doesn’t try to sell a product.
Instead, it seeks to install beliefs.
When you do this well, you create an audience of readers who are crazy-engaged.
Here are a few real-life examples showing the results people have seen using this approach.
Example 1: Example 2:Example 3:For ActiveCampaign, I would create an email sequence to install beliefs such as:
Belief 1: “Email is proven to have the highest ROI”
I could say a lot more about ActiveCampaign, but to respect your time, I’ll bring this article to its end.
If you want to move on (& go deeper), take a moment to download all the resources that come with this article…Know Jason VandeBoom or want to let him know via email or Twitter that he should check out this article? You can do that here…
Email Jason VandeBoom from ActiveCampaign (Click Here!)
Tweet Jason VandeBoom from ActiveCampaign (Click Here!)
[Tip 1]:Gary Vaynerchuk’s 100 Million Business Strategy Reverse-Engineered
[Tip 2]: What VaynerMedia’s Sales Funnel Would Look Like If They Hired Me
[Tip 3]: Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crazy Content Marketing Plan Explained
This article is for online business owners and marketers who want to figure out how Gary Vaynerchuk uses content to fuel his multi-channel, entrepreneurial machine that ultimately brings in over $100 million in revenue each year and learn how to apply those same funnel principles to their own products & businesses to increase conversion rates and revenue.
I have never worked for or with VaynerMedia or Gary Vaynerchuk. Everything in this article was created from my own experiences and research with Gary’s brand and company. Also, Gary’s brand and marketing changes often and rapidly, so keep in mind that by the time you read this some of this may be dated.
[Tip 1]: Gary Vaynerchuk’s 100 Million Agency Strategy Reverse-Engineered
In order to understand how Gary builds awareness and revenue, you first need to understand why GaryVee does what he does.
“I want to be the poster child of the person who built the biggest, baddest empire and did it by being a good dude along the way.”
Gary wants to turn entrepreneurship into something cool, and he wants to inspire current and future wantrepreneurs to take risks and try to build billion-dollar businesses while being the kindest person on the block.
He wants to be the rockstar of good-guy business — to trick the business world into being a kinder place. To leave a legacy.
Got it? Great.
Next up is figuring out how he is fulfilling and funding his mission, and that question can be difficult to answer.
GaryVee does a lot..
He’s a serial entrepreneur, motivational speaker, agency director, content creator, angel investor, and more. He has mastered diversification.
But, I’d argue his true differentiator lies in his ability to produce and distribute content. GaryVee creates multipurpose content that brings in leads to every part of his “empire.”
In other words..
Gary Vaynerchuk is the KING of Repurposing Content
Gary is the master of taking content and spreading it around to a multitude of different outlets with appropriate context. It’s viral lead generation at its best.
GaryVee is all about approaching attention as a precious commodity, and he’s going to do his damndest to get it.
But how does he manage to do that without getting burnt out?
He chose his best medium and stuck with it…
Gary is really good at video content. He recognized this and hired a videographer to follow him around all the time to record his life and general awesomeness. They find viral moments, edit them down, and repurpose, repurpose, repurpose.
Here are just a few of the platforms Gary is active on:
Gary takes videos and sends them to all of his platforms while keeping the platform’s style and personality in mind. He changes the caption or thumbnail to better fit the medium, and that’s the key…
He also lets people find his content on whatever platform they prefer.
Take his podcast for example..
It doesn’t matter what you use. If you want to find GaryVee, you can. And after you’ve engaged with any of his awareness, viral content, he pulls you into his retargeting campaigns via paid social advertising, continuing to bring you into Vayner’s world and maximizing the exposure of each piece.
We’ll cover more on his distribution and repurposing and how you can apply it to your online business later.
Gary Vaynerchuk Always Promotes Virality
Every single piece of content GaryVee puts out is built for sharing. Every post, link, blog, podcast — you name it. Instead of pointing people toward email signups or additional content downloads, GaryVee always asks for the share.
While there’s no doubt this strategy has helped him get to where he is today, there are definitely opportunities for growth… which I’ll cover in a bit.
Wantrepreneurs or current entrepreneurs (books, events, and consumer products like shoes)
Small to medium-sized businesses (SMB consulting services at 10k a pop w/ an exclusive community “VaynorMentors”)
Fortune 500 Marketing Clients for VaynerMedia (multi-million dollar marketing projects & retainers)
All of the marketing GaryVee does fits into each of these three verticals in a pretty fascinating way..
By tying his personal brand to VaynerMedia and demonstrating his expertise through his own business, he’s able to attract massive companies that are searching for the best while training people under him to help the multitude of current and future SMB entrepreneurs he inspires and reaches with his viral content.
Everything sort of blends and swirls together, and once a customer identifies themselves as a particular avatar they are directed to the appropriate channel.
GaryVee’s Value Ladder:
With this framework in mind, let’s focus in on his SMB business value ladder
By focusing almost all of his attention on his lead magnets, he brings in consistent inbound leads to his other, more lucrative services by expanding his personal brand.
How Gary Vaynerchuk Continues to Build His Legacy
As you’d expect from Gary, he doesn’t stop with the revenue he’s generating from VaynerMedia. Instead, he chooses to reinvest that cash into projects he cares about. From investing in tech startups (Facebook, Uber) to buying companies like PureWow and sponsoring musicians & influencers, Gary aims to build a legacy that lasts by diversifying his portfolio and interests. He wants to create his own distribution network that is uniquely GaryVee.
Pick your business’s best content medium and focus on that.
Tie your personal brand to your business if applicable.
Grow your brand through complementary diversification to reduce content load.
[Tip 2]: What VaynerMedia’s Agency Funnel Would Look Like If They Hired Me
Okay. Now that you get GaryVee and know what he stands for, let’s get a bit more specific on what I think he does well and what he could do better. There is no arguing that Gary is one of (if not the) best in the world when it comes to viral content and high-level brand awareness content. As we talked about, GaryVee does a great job repurposing and spreading his viral content around, and there’s nothing I (or anyone else) could teach him.
But, GaryVee optimizes all of his content for maximum exposure — possibly to a fault.
Everything is built around sharing at the moment, and he has only a limited amount of places for leads to take the next step.
As you know from running or working in your own business, capturing an email address is often the key to building a sustainable audience, and Gary’s opportunities for an email capture are pretty limited.
You can sign up for his weekly newsletter (sent out every Monday) on his homepage: You can sign up on the sidebar of blogs: Or you can sign up for his First in Line VIP messaging service:That’s it. No content segmentation or upgrades.
For example, this is how he ends a recent blog post:Sure, it’s on brand and inspirational, but he could be growing his brand insiders faster.
Suggestion #1: Include more specific content upgrades to increase opt-ins.
Considering the sheer amount of people who read and interact with GaryVee’s content, it’s amazing they don’t take advantage of content upgrades more.
The first thing I would do is link every blog post with a relevant content upgrade.
By pointing people toward a lead magnet directly related to the blog, we can capture their email and send them specific content based on the problems they’re facing and goals they want to achieve.
Once we have an email address, we can control the conversation.
Gary wouldn’t have to depend on Facebook’s algorithm to share anymore, and we could target specific segments directly with advertising and email.
If your funnel conversion rates are lower than you want, I guarantee lack of specificity and context are part of the problem.
Suggestion #2: Build a two-step segmentation process.
Gary is building an empire, and he needs to know exactly what types of people are responding to what types of content.
Sure, you can guess based on the content they converted on. But why not ask and qualify people at the same time?
Without customer information, your content is running blind.
Let’s define his segments in a bit more detail.
Gary’s customer segmentation buckets:
Students who don’t know what to do with their lives.
Wantrepreneurs who want to start a business but don’t know how.
People trapped in a 9-5 and are unhappy with their job.
Business owners who want to grow their business to next level.
Brick & mortar businesses (restaurants, etc) who want to get started with digital marketing.
Fortune 500 enterprise businesses.
The hustlers and make money fast people — making a quick buck online.
Marketers interested in learning social media (since he’s the king).
Large companies wanted to modernize their digital presence.
Now we should add a lead bucketing option during sign-ups using condensed versions of these segments.
For example, if someone is on one of Gary’s blogs coupled with one of our new and relevant content upgrades, they could decide to download the accompanying materials.
The next two screenshots are from the last case study we did on VideoFruit.Once they click, a segmentation form appears.The key to creating a good form survey is to create the survey to be focused on their goals and common problems.
For Gary’s avatars, these could be:
“I want to accelerate my small business through viral marketing but I don’t know where to start.” (for his SMB audience).
“I run a multi-million dollar company and am looking to work and learn from the best marketing minds in the biz.” (for his enterprise clients).
You could also create a survey that segments people based on the services they are trying to sell like so:Make sense?
Suggestion #3: Enroll segmented audiences into a multi-channel, evergreen funnel.
Once someone opts-in to the GaryVee community and automatically segments, themselves, we need to establish a relationship and trust.
We can build this trust and install beliefs with a multi-channel, evergreen system:
Channel #1: Evergreen Email Sequence. Channel #2: Bot Sequence (separate from Gary’s First in Line). Channel #3: Facebook Ad Retargeting Funnel.
Email is the key to controlling Gary Vaynerchuk’s audience. He can use these emails to install the most critical beliefs before asking for a sale or upsell.
What is the most important belief to install with this evergreen sequence?
That Gary Vaynerchuk is the baddest badass entrepreneur of them all.
People need to want to be like Gary.
By sending the best content Gary has to new subscribers in the form of 7 evergreen emails and triggering more engagement opportunities through bots and retargeting ads as they move through the funnel, new leads will understand who GaryVee is and why he does what he does in the context of their specific segment (SMB vs. Enterprise vs. Wantrepreneurs, etc.).
Enterprises won’t want to hear “start your own hustle” inspiration. The same way wantrepreneurs won’t find “How viral marketing grew this $10 million dollar business to $100 million” as interesting as startup marketing. It works both ways. The beauty is with segmentation we can send them the exact content we know they’ll like.
With this information in hand, we can begin to control the conversion timing and sell moment based on dynamic engagement tracking, or lead scoring (offered in most CRMs).
The goal is to get people’s lead scores in your CRM up high enough to be ready for the conversion event.
Once we know who they are, what they want, and how engaged they are, we can begin the next step.
We use Wild Mail for all of our tracking & funnel triggers and love it.
This is our funnel tools stack to build a sales funnel that converts at 8%
How I Would Further Monetize Gary’s Audience:
Once they hit a certain score based on actions (opened 4 emails, watched 3 videos and listened to two podcasts, etc.), we can dynamically trigger the next step using our ESP and/or CRM.
E.g.That next step is to aim for a sale using the same multi-channel configuration.
In other words, I would sell specific products based on funnel engagement & customer type using the same tools we’ve already set up.
By using the bot sequence, Facebook advertising, email, etc., we can say things like: “Hey, I noticed you were interested in learning how to hustle a business from $0 to $10,000 in revenue in under 6 months. I actually wrote a book about exactly that. It’s only $10, and it was a New York Times Bestseller. You should get this book if you want to take things to the next level.”
As long as you show social proof, touch on those beliefs installed in the emails (most badass ever etc.), and speak to their specific problems identified in the segmentation process, it will work.
For example, check out this excerpt from the first email in an automation sequence we have set up:Try thinking and writing out 3 beliefs you need to establish from the get-go with your own audience. Then take those and implement them into any of the early funnel experiences someone has with your brand.
We can also turn these funnel pieces off or on based on whether they buy or don’t buy etc. using custom audiences in Facebook and more.
And then, depending on their avatar, we can continue upselling the next piece. So with GaryVee, if they’re a SMB I’d offer the VaynerMentors or Enterprises consulting services.
Even though Gary acts like he hates selling, he sells all the time — he has to. And selling is a good thing. Gary helps his customers make more money and build the lives they want, and I’d approach those sales with that in mind.
What happens after Gary’s Evergreen Funnel?
Continue optimizing for maximum exposure (encourage shareability).
Use an evergreen newsletter (not broadcast style) with a mix of old and new content (increase frequency above more than 1 per week).
Retarget existing audiences with new or unbought offers via TruView & Facebook.
Establish beliefs and answer objection questions early.
Match your content with a relevant content upgrade.
Allow your customers to segment themselves through a two-step form.
Send your customers specific content based on their avatar.
Let their engagement determine the speed at which you sell.
Always offer the next step you’d like customers to take after they complete an engagement action.
[Tip 3]: Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crazy Content Marketing Plan Explained
We talked about how GaryVee is the king of content marketing and repurposing. He’s everywhere, or at least it seems like it. But, once you break down the processes he has it becomes much more realistic to replicate in your own business.
He basically has a bunch of content habits and tricks he and his employees use all the time.
Habit #1: Gary Edits Video Content Differently Across Platforms
Gary always fits into the platform for better engagement. Even if the content is the same, his team changes the cropping and copy to better fit the medium. In his words, it’s “context”. For Instagram, these videos are short, bright, and inspirational.Facebook is a bit more forgiving and engagement for longer videos depends on the audience, but Gary tends to make videos that are slightly longer than Instagram and always have captions for better engagement.Youtube gives Gary the most freedom. This Close Your Eyes Till You’re 29 video is actually a compilation of other videos he released on Youtube, and he generally reserves his longer-form content for Youtube & Facebook. Notice how he always adds in a personal description to make it feel like he’s speaking directly to you.The idea is to experiment with each platform, figure out what works best for you and your audience, and fit your content into those models.
It’s also worth noting that he repurposes image content across platforms as well, for example:
Instagram to Pinterest:
So remember this works for any type of content, not just video!
Habit #2: Gary Takes Video and Translates it to Audio Platforms
Gary excels at public speaking. In order to capitalize on that content, he almost always strips the audio from his videos and puts them out as podcasts or on Soundcloud with a brief intro.
Take his Business Squared Keynote for example:Gary hits this keynote from all angles — the event itself, a version on Facebook in its entirety, and the same audio on all of his audio platforms. Now, that may be a bit long for Facebook audiences, but people also know what they’re getting into when someone says, “Keynote”.
That term carries prestige and immediately conveys a longer time commitment. Without that distinction, this would not do nearly as well.
Here’s that same Keynote on his podcast:Pretty cool.
Habit #3: Gary Makes Mashups Based on Common Themes
As mentioned with the, “Close Your Eyes Until You’re 29” Youtube video, Gary and his team love to repurpose content by making new content out of old content.
Take this podcast short for example:This release is 14 minutes and 17 seconds of GaryVee being inspirational as hell all based around a theme, “No excuses.” There was nothing new shot or recorded for this segment. It’s just Gary being Gary, and these opportunities compound the more content you put out.
Then, once the mash-up is finished, he puts that material onto ALL platforms imaginable.Again, Gary wants to be EVERYWHERE.
He wants to meet you where you’re at…
Habit #4: Gary Cross Promotes Content on Different Platforms
Some content is restricted by medium. For example, you can’t have long videos on Instagram, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote that video on Instagram.
That’s where cross-promotion comes in, and Gary does a great job of it.
Youtube to Pinterest:
Gary will embed his Youtube videos into his Pinterest account with a link going back to Youtube. This allows Pinterest users to choose their preferred platform.
Youtube to Instagram:
One thing that GaryVee does ALL the time is take stills from his popular Youtube videos and slap a caption on the image before sending it out to his social feed. With the amount of video content GaryVee puts out, this is a really common tactic of theirs.It’s simple but really effective.
Instagram & Facebook to Youtube:
Here’s an example of Gary taking a shorter edit of his new Youtube video and using Instagram to push traffic to Youtube.He also includes the link in his bio, and since GaryVee fans know how often he puts out content, his audience gets used to checking there for quick links to the latest videos.Gary also uses Instagram stories to push traffic to his podcasts & Youtube videos. By including the link in the Swipe Up option, he can pull people directly to Youtube or his podcast to get them more involved.And here’s him doing the same thing on Facebook. Notice it’s cropped appropriately & includes captions (Facebook specific habits).
Habit #5 – Contests for Comments/Engagement
If Gary has a big launch or charity he’s interested in promoting, he knows he can motivate his audience to help something go viral by running contests.
Here’s an example of him launching #FirstinLine. He uses Instagram stories to explain the rules and pushes people to his new Messenger Bot with the promise of winning prizes.
It’s not Gary’s Facebook or Gary’s Instagram… It’s this giant social hub of content that all connects to each other seamlessly.
Habit #6 – Retargeting for Maximum Exposure
Once you view almost any piece of GaryVee content, he’ll keep sending you more — even through ads on his own videos!
For example, I was trying to watch a GaryVee video, and I got an ad for another GaryVee video.
By taking his most popular videos and cross-advertising them on his other videos, he makes sure new viewers see him at his best (another form of establishing belief!).
Fit your content into each platform’s culture. A.k.a. context.
Develop ways to repurpose your content in a way that’s both fresh and not super labor-intensive.
Direct traffic to the best platform for viewing that particular piece of content.
Use retargeting to bring people to your best content.
WHAT’S NEXT: Okay, online business owners and marketers, here’s how to start taking advantage of this for your brand or business right now.
Take a look at your mission, your passion. What makes you, you? What’s your end-game? How would you need to diversify to get there? Think top down here. Figure out what makes your business tick and envision your future. Be bold. Be brave.
Find your medium. Is it video? Audio? Text? How is your voice best represented and what’s the most fun/motivating type of content for your business to create? If you have no idea, try EVERYTHING and go from there. Let the data make the decision for you.
Once you have one piece of content you’re really proud of, think about how it should change from platform to platform, and then release it around to as many channels as possible.
Take a look at your own funnel and compare it to the suggestions. Where are the holes? Do you always provide a next step? Have you established the right beliefs at the beginning? Are you segmenting appropriately? Can you be more specific toward your customer avatars?
Establish a good lead scoring system and pair that with retargeting to always supply your leads with the appropriate next step at the right time.
Enjoy the process 🙂
I hope this helps you crush it like GaryVee.
He does even more than what I cover in this article, but this should at least get you in the mindset and give you some ideas on how GaryVee approaches marketing/how you can apply it to your own business.
If you want to take the next step and learn even more about building this style of funnel, you should download all of the resources I’ve included.And if you know GaryVee or think he should see this. Hit him up!
[Tip 1]: The 5-Step Value Ladder You Can Base Your Business On
[Tip 2]:How To Engineer Lead Generation Through Free Tools
[Tip 3]: Give your readers massive value & epic content to wow and attract them into your sphere
[Tip 3]: Use the power of free software for lead generation
[Tip 4]: Give your leads detailed and actionable advice and takeaways to warm ready them for the sale
[Tip 5]: Provide a consistent content spiel to transform even slow lane leads into paying customers
[Tip 6]: Have a clear clarity throughout all channels to make it easy for potential customers to exactly know what they can expect and how you can help them
[Tip 7]: If you want to sell high ticket offers you need to change the selling environment
This article is for entrepreneurs who want to learn how one of the most successful online businesses – VideoFruit – operates to attracts 1000s of customers, generate millions and is one of the main marketing authorities on this planet.
[Tip 1]: The 5-Step Value Ladder You Can Base Your Business On
Before building a sales funnel, you should understand the concept of the “value ladder”. I learned this concept from Russell Brunson.
The value ladder is your big-picture zoomed-out funnel strategy.
As people “ascend” your value ladder, they’re offered more value. However, this value comes at a price ($).
A value ladder usually looks like this:
How does VideoFruit’s value ladder look like?
Lead Magnet: Blog & Free Tools
Frontend Funnel: Rabid List Building
Core Funnel: Get 10,000 Subscribers
Backend Funnel: 10ksubs Elite
Continuity Funnel: Slingshot
Let me walk you through their value ladder now..
1) Lead Magnet:
A lead magnet acts as a magnet to attract your ideal customer. It’s important to understand that a lead magnet is not only a magnet but also acts as a filter. It filters wrong people out and pulls the right people closer to you. A lead magnet is usually a PDF and can be downloaded for an email address in exchange (it doesn’t cost anything).
You drive traffic to your lead magnet with the goal to get people to enter their email address in exchange for the lead magnet.
VideoFruit seems to base their traffic game mainly on free traffic (SimilarWeb).
So how does VideoFruit’s lead magnet look like?
They write awesome & actionable blog posts to attract people from Google.
With exact 8,000 words & 99 comments, countless of screenshots & awesome takeaways, this article seems to perform well.
If I search on google for “how to launch an online course” (which is one of their main customer avatars), I can find this article on page 1.
These are their traffic stats I pulled from SemRush.
Not too bad.
The most important part of the article is their content upgrade though..
The content upgrade is a piece of content (PDF or tool for example) that extends the blog post. Someone who actually read the article & is interested in its content, will naturally sign-up as the content upgrade is the logical next step.
It looks like this..
Once you sign-up, an automated email using tools such as Wild Mail gets triggered & you get access to the blog post’s member’s area..
This marks the entry point into the VideoFruit world and their funnel will play out..
Blog -> Free Email Course -> Rabid List Building Course (Paid) -> 10kSubs (Paid) -> SlingShot (Recurring Payment) -> Coaching (Recurring Payment)
VideoFruit tries all kinds of different traffic strategies & lead magnets. But their blog seems to be one of their best performing one. They also engineered lots of free tools to generate leads. These tools act as a lead magnet as well. I wrote an entire tip about this here. But let’s continue with the frontend now.
2) Frontend Funnel
After someone opts-in through one of VideoFruit’s lead magnets, an email sequence plays out.
This email sequence is a 6-lesson free email course to teach people how to grow an email list.
It’s important that this free course is 100% aligned with the core product and the frontend.
The frontend product is called “Rapid List Building System” and sells for $X.
The sales funnel that sells the frontend is an evergreen sales funnel. The core product (which we’re gonna talk about in a second) on the other hand is sold via an open/close launch model a few times a year (I think Bryan launches Get 10,000 Subscribers two times per year).
How does this evergreen sales system look like?
It’s an email automation consisting of 6 emails. You can check out all 6 emails here:
What You Need To Know About Email Sequences:
The goal should be to install buying beliefs and ready leads for the conversion event
The goal should not be to sell the product per se, but instead to establish a relationship, create trust & authority and install all necessary beliefs so that someone can accept the desire or need of your product or service.
Once all beliefs are installed, the lead is “read” and can move on to the conversion event (sales page, VSL, webinar etc..)
[Tip 2]: How To Engineer Lead Generation Through Free Tools
What’s the idea here?
Build free online tools that solve problems your ideal customer have.
Companies like HubSpot, Shopify or Buffer play the same game. They all engineer free tools to generate leads for their core products.
For example: Buffer sells awesome Social Media software. They decided to create a free but helpful tool to create beautiful social media images called Pablo.
When building your own free tools, make sure to follow these simple rules:
Give users an immediate payoff. It should only take seconds for them to actually get value from your tool.
Make your tool relevant to your core business. Your goal is to turn the people using your free tool into paying customers later on. If you build tools that attract the wrong people, you will have a problem.
Give people something of real value. Even though the tool is free, people should see actual returns from using it.
So, what tools did VideoFruit engineer to generate leads for their business?
They have created a lot of free tools over the last few months:
3) My sales funnel conversion rate is super low. I need more of my people to buy my stuff
Today we talk about problem #3.
When people tell me their conversion rate is low, one of the first things I ask about is their engagement.
My people (aka subscribers) usually have these problems:
Not enough people open my emails
Not enough people click my links
Not enough people respond to my questions
Not enough people visit my sale page
Not enough people hit the buy button
My people are not engaged enough
How low is a low sales funnel conversion rate for online businesses? (from subscriber to customer..)
I won’t be able to answer this question 100% accurately because I don’t have enough data to back this up.
But what I have seen from my limited experience with businesses I work with (businesses that sell online courses, SaaS software, coaching, done for you services, digital products, ecommerce products or books ..) and other entrepreneurs is that they run a 1% sales funnel conversion rate from email subscriber to customer.
So out of 100 people added to your email list, only one person becomes a paying customer.
Again, I don’t have the data to back this up. So please take this with a pinch of salt.
Now, check this screenshot out..
It’s the analytics dashboard of one of my clients.
A sales funnel conversion rate of 8.66% from email subscriber to paying customer. (they sell German language courses..)
That’s pretty epic, huh..? (that’s from 100% organic Google traffic. No ads..)
That’s 8X the conversion rate of any average sales funnel.
So what kind of sales funnel do they have and how they achieve these results..?
That’s what I will discuss in this article.
I will demonstrate 7 ways how my customers and I get great conversion rates & extremely high engagement rates.
We all use a sales funnel called Relationship Funnel.
In this article I won’t discuss the entire Relationship Funnel. Only one part of it, which is the RBS.
7 Engagement Techniques To Boost Your Sales Funnel Conversion Rate
RBS = Relationship Builder Sequence
It’s an email automation.
And the RBS has the following characteristics..
Focuses on Engagement
Based on your subscriber’s behavior, you customize & personalize your message to send them down different paths in your Relationship Funnel.
The RBS is an email sequence that utilises advanced techniques to establish a relationship and create trust with email subscribers. What these techniques are and how they will increase your sales funnel conversion rate is what we will discuss next..
1) Click-To-Continue CTA
CTA stands for Call-To-Action.. (in case you’re not familiar with this..)
The Click-To-Continue CTA is probably one of my favorite engagement techniques to get people hooked..
And when I say hooked, I mean hooked. (I seriously recommend you to click this link. You will love this..)
Here are 52 more of these screenshots. Have a look. (at the time I write this ..)
Get people to click a specific link (“The Continue Link”) in your email series (for example in your third email) in order to progress in your sequence.
Email #3 – Call To Action: Click this link to get email #4
Tell your subscribers that if they want to get the next email lesson in your email sequence, they must click this specific “continue” link.
Have a look at this screenshot of the P.S. section of my third email in my email sequence.
See what I’m doing here?
It’s powerful stuff.
I have only ever seen one other marketer use this technique as well.
Why should you use this?:
People who click the link will love the “continue link” as this is something literally nobody does. It’s very unique
People who click, will deepen their relationship with you and your content. You pull them closer to you. They invest more into your content. (Hint: Micro Investment)
The link can forward your subscriber to a social proof page to build further authority
People that click are more likely to buy your product as they are more engaged & invested
So how well does this work for me ..?
I looked into my ESP (Wild Mail) to see how many people who sign up here actually click the continue link in email #3. I got these numbers..
That’s more than 10X the average click-through rate. Just saying 😉
Difficulty to implement:
What are the steps to implement this?:
1) Open your third email in your email sequence
2) Place a link at the end of your email
3) Link the link to a simple landing page. Here’s an example ..
2) Email Frequency Selector
The next engagement strategy is something I’ve literally just implemented (as I write this).
I didn’t plan to include it in this article. But the numbers are so promising that I had to share it. The previous chapter was about the “Click-To-Continue CTA”. This time, we take it to the next level.
At the end of each email in your email sequence, you insert two different links. The first link says “Get Next Lesson Now”. The second one says “Get Next Lesson In 2 Days”. Each link goes to a specific landing page with more information. Here’s an example.
Here’s a screenshot of the frequency selector in action (that is at the end of the first email in my Relationship Builder Sequence (RBS))..
Why should you use this?:
The answer is engagement. This gets people really engaged.. Have a look at this screenshot of my Tagging Dashboard ..
(because this is so recent, not many leads have been through yet. But I like what I see so far..)
In my email sequence (7 emails), the large majority of people click the “Get Next Lesson Now” link (these are the orange boxes in the screenshot above..).
Around 4 times as many people prefer to have the next email delivered now (compared to in two days..). Or in other words, 79% of the people that click the link, prefer to get the next email now instead of in two days.
But how many people actually click a link? My ESP gives me these numbers..
I’m pretty happy.. (to say the least ..) Again, compare my numbers to an average 2-3 percent click-through-rate. I guess this works..
Difficulty to implement:
=> A little bit more advanced
What are the steps to implement this?:
1) Add your two links into each email
2) After each email gets sent in your automation, set up a wait block. The wait block waits until the “Get Next Lesson Now” link gets clicked – up to a maximum of 2 days. If the link doesn’t get clicked within two days, the next email gets sent automatically. 3) Done!
3) Gmail-Zapier Hack
Now it gets fun.
What is a Gmail-Zapier Hack?
If something special happens, a personal but automated email gets sent via your Gmail account. (I suggest you read this again ..)
The main reason why the Gmail-Zapier Hack rocks is that the email gets sent out automatically but it does not have an unsubscribe link at the bottom. The email comes across as hyper personal. And it is..
I recommend you implement lead scoring throughout your funnel. It means that leads collect points for demographic characteristics and behaviour as they go through your funnel.
As leads collect points, there will be a moment when they hit your lead score threshold.
This threshold defines when a lead is ready to become a customer. And that is where the Gmail-Zapier Hack comes into place.
Here are some examples for a lead score threshold..
Lead score reaches 200 points
Visits sales page two times
Has been on two webinars
Once they hit the threshold, the Gmail-Zapier Hack gets triggered.
The goal of the email is to add the lead into a sales conversion event. This could be..
20 minute free strategy call (that’s what I do)
Frontend product (tripwire or low cost offer)
Invitation to a webinar (could be evergreen)
An email with a question “Do you have any questions about X?”
Coupon code or discount
Extra resources (some people call this bonus) if they buy now
You deepen the relationship by helping, supporting and guiding your leads. You pull them closer to you. And then influence their behavior into your intended direction. You sell your product as the solution to their problem.
Difficulty to implement:
=> A little more advanced
What are the steps to implement this?:
1) Implement lead scoring in your ESP (advanced ESPs can do that ..)
2) Track if a lead visits your sales page two times or reaches your lead scoring threshold
3) If they do, trigger an automation that sends them an email (see template above) via Gmail. You need to use webhooks and connect your ESP through Zapier with Gmail.
And this is what the Zapier implementation looks like..
4) Your lead now has a personal email in her inbox and thinks that you sent it manually to her/him. Pretty awesome!
Alright, what’s next?
4) Activation Hook
You (as a business owner) probably tried to use the Activation Hook before without really knowing and understanding its impact ..
So what’s the Activation Hook?
Your goal is to get your email subscribers to respond to the first email of your RBS (email automation). It doesn’t matter too much how they respond. Just get them to respond.
That being said, there are two ways you can get them to respond:
Ask a real question to get a quality response. This one is great to learn more about your users but the response rate will be lower as it’s more work for the subscriber. I don’t use this one.
Tell them exactly how to respond. I tell my people to respond with “ready”. Simple. Response rate will be higher than option #1.
This is a screenshot of the middle part of my first email that people get when they sign up here.
See how I write “HIT REPLY and write “ready”.”
And once someone replies they get an (automated) response back ..
The reason why I put “automated” in brackets will be discussed in chapter “5” of this article..
Why Should You Use This?:
I went into my ESP (Wild Mail) to see what my response rate was ..
And this is what I found ..
A response rate of 17.68%.
If the average click rate is around 1-3 percent, then the average response rate is probably below 1% (I have no data for that).
But what’s even more impressive in my opinion is that out of my entire customer base 94% replied with “ready”. The graphic below is in percent.
Alternatively, instead of getting them to respond you could also get them to click a “Ready link”. One of my customers gets a 76% click through rate on that..
That’s pretty awesome 🙂
So why should you care about all of this?
And why should you use the Activation Hook?
By responding with “ready”, an email subscriber invests in you, your content and your business.
Once a person makes an initial investment in something (or someone), they feel more compelled to continue.
They will open your next email. Click on your next link. Check out your sales page. Become a customer..
That’s the power of micro investments. To respond to your first email is a micro investment.
The response doesn’t have to be a “ready”. It can be anything. Just make them reply. That’s all.
You tell your email subscriber’s email client that your emails are important. It works because your subscriber responds to your first email. By doing that, it increases your email deliverability for all future emails. And thus the chance that your emails actually arrive in your subscriber’s inbox.
Difficulty to implement:
What are the steps to implement this?:
Go to your ESP and open your first email.
Copy my template above
Add it to your first email
5) (Automated) Welcome Video
So what happens once someone replies to your first email?
They get a response, of course. Depending on how big of a fish you are, there are two ways for you to respond.
Big Fish Response:
If you get a ton of new email subscribers every day, you won’t be able to respond personally as this would take too much time. Here’s the automated but still personal approach ..
As soon as they reply with “ready”, your ESP triggers an automated email with a link to a welcome video and if you want an educational resource (like an ebook).
This is the time to show your face & personality. Move & attract them closer to you.
Here is the email & welcome video I send to my people..
Notice that he can see his own website in the screenshare. It shows that I take the time. It shows that I care.
This technique is even more powerful if potential customers send you an email with some objections about your product/service. Instead of replying with text, record a video and answer their questions and objections. That often moved the needle for me and I won them over as a customer (because my video response blew them away).
Why should you use this?:
You save a ton of time by not needing to type the entire email (especially if your answer requires a long reply)
You come across as super personal(personalized attention) as you took the time to record a specific video just for her/him
You pull people closer into your sphere of influence by showing your face and personality. Show them that you care. If they feel that you care about them, they will care back.
Difficulty to implement:
What are the steps to implement this?:
Use the two free chrome extensions I already shared. Here they are again ..
Let’s talk about content marketing now .. Why not use Facebook ads, Google Ads and other promotion techniques to drive tons of traffic to your landing page and make sales from there?
You could do that. But it might be expensive.
The mistake most advertisers make is to target one audience that doesn’t know you to build leads or sell stuff. – Jon Loomer
That is why I always provide value right up front through educational content (like this blog post). My goal is to start a relationship with people who don’t know me yet.
If you have a small relationship with new readers, it’s much easier (& cheaper) to convert them into email subscribers later on ..
This is how I do it ..
I write a blog post (which is super duper related to my online course) to pull the right people into my sphere of influence. My blog post serves as a filter to attract only the best kind of people into my funnel.
If someone clicks on my article and reads it, I know that this person is interested in what I have to offer (since the blog post is pretty much a very light version of my paid online course).
My blog posts are usually between 3,000 – 7,000 words long and are packed with awesomeness. It’s always about actionable advice and step-by-step instructions. And I always include screenshots, graphics and content upgrades (more about this later).
I follow the 80/20 rule of content promotion by Derek Halpern. I spend 20% of my time creating new content and 80% of my time promoting it. I go for quality than quantity. This results in about one new blog post every 3 weeks.
2) Promote your Blog Post to Attract Readers
I call this part Promotion Madness 🙂 In this blog post, I will walk you through 3 strategies I am going to use to promote the blog post you are reading right now.
2.1) Facebook Groups
As you know there is paid and earned traffic. To promote this blog post, I will use one paid traffic strategy (Facebook ads) and two earned traffic strategies (read below ..).
I like Facebook groups for two reasons ..
You can receive super helpful feedback from fellow group members.
The obvious one: Get people to read your blog article.
In 2016 I joined a group called “The Content Marketing Lounge” by Nathan Collier. It’s my favorite group 🙂 When I posted into Nathan’s group, people were super helpful and provided feedback. Nathan, who is an expert content writer, provided extremely detailed feedback (if you read this Nathan – thanks a lot!). Benji from Grow & Convert really took the time to draft a super helpful answer too. I benefited a lot from these guy’s feedback.
As of traffic, Facebook groups are currently in position 5 on my Google Analytics dashboard .. I recently promoted one of my blog posts through Facebook groups and got 47 people to signup within 1 month. I worked 6 hours on it in total. How do you get traffic from Facebook groups? Never just join a group and drop a link to your blog post. You won’t get much engagement. But instead, follow these 12 steps ..
Get your hands on my Google Spreadsheet below (to manage your FB groups outreach ..)
Research 1 FB group in your niche
Join the group
Use the “Related Groups” feature in Facebook to find more groups
Find another 10 groups and join them
Wait until you get approved to join the groups
Research the FB group admin (you’ll find him/her under members)
Reach out to the admin and ask for approval to share your blog post in the group
If yes, post your blog post link + educational text
If no, move on
Repeat the process until you reach around 100 groups on your spreadsheet
Focus on the best-performing groups (top 15) in the future (once you have figured out which work and which don’t ..)
That was the quick run down .. To make this outreach as efficient as possible, feel free to get access to my Google Sheet below. If there would exist a CRM for Facebook Groups .. This spreadsheet would be it .. lol.And to make it really easy for you, open this Google document(no email signup required!) to get my pre-written templates. You can use them to reach out to admins and to post into Fb groups .. Pay attention to how I structure my Facebook group post ..
Mention the admin
Always (always, always) focus on value (education)
Share lessons learned, actionable advice, results
I hope this helps 🙂
2.2) Community Platforms
As you saw in the Google Analytics screenshot above, Community Platforms (especially Inbound.org) is the fourth best performing traffic source for Wild Audience (at the time I write this).
All the traffic came from only one post on InboundOrg. I’m talking about this post. It was the most upvoted & commented post of the day and stayed in the trending section for around 1 week! My lessons learned – How do you post in Community Platforms?
I don’t think there is a one-solution-fits-all approach .. And there all kind of community platforms out there for every industry. Since I happen to play my game in the marketing industry, I’m going to share my experience with marketing community platforms like InboundOrg.
This is how I did it..
After I signed up for InboundOrg, I joined the conversation. I answered questions and made sure I got upvotes.
Since I’m mega passionate about advanced email automation (check out Wild Audience’s all-in-1 email marketing & automation software Wild Mail), I knew a thing or two about email segmentation. I provided value by sharing a few of my tips and I managed to get the most upvoted & commented answer.
When I say “I made sure I got upvotes” .. I actually invited 1-2 of my email marketing friends to also comment on this question & upvote my answer.
I posted my blog post on a Monday morning EST.
I asked 1-2 of my marketing friends to join the conversation.
I researched a similar submission (topic overlap) on InboundOrg and found this one. This post received 73 comments.
I went through each comment and looked for the person on twitter.
I sent the person a tweet with a question + a link to my InboundOrg submission.
Here’s the tweet .. And after someone upvoted, I showed my appreciation and thanked them .. That was my whole process 🙂 If you’re not in the marketing industry like I am, just use this approach for your industry community platform.
2.3) Facebook Ads
I’m using Facebook ads to drive cold traffic to this blog post. I’ll first show you the math behind my paid acquisition and then share a screenshot of the actual ad and some of my settings with you.
Sound good? 🙂
I’ll use myself and my paid training as an example..
To make the math easy, I’ll only calculate the costs & profit for people who sign up straight through my content upgrade (and not through a second Facebook ad).
Let’s assume, I offer a paid training program for $200. Let’s say I spend $300 in one week for Facebook ads. And for the $300 I spend for Facebook ads, let’s say I get 100 people to sign up through my content upgrade. This means I spend $3 to get a new lead on board ($300/100 leads = $3).
Still with me?
Let’s assume 10 out of 100 people buy my paid training for $200 (conversion rate would be 10% in this case).
10 sales at $200 each = $2000. Because I spend $300 in Facebook ads, my profit is $1700.
This is the math behind my Facebook ads. Nothing too complicated.
Now, onto something else ..
Let’s look behind the scenes of my Facebook ads to drive traffic to this blog post. I’ll also share the targeting settings with you ..
Ready. Set. Go.
Let’s start off by creating a new campaign in the Facebook Power Editor. I use a Link objective. Why?
Well, I want to send people from my Facebook ad to my blog post. My primary goal is NOT to get them to sign up. I want them to read my blog post first. Why?
This has two benefits ..
It acts as a filter to filter out low-quality leads, which will decrease my ad spend later on (more about this in a bit)
I build my custom audience (more about this in a bit)
Some people, who read my blog post, will sign up through my content upgrade. But the majority will not. That’s just how it is..
But this is an opportunity for me to get these people to sign up for less money.
Well, they already read my blog post. They are kind of familiar with my content, my business and myself (they are not cold anymore ..). This will decrease the costs when I show them another Facebook ad later on.
Anyhow, let’s move on..
The next step is to create an Ad Set and define the audience I would like to attract. I always exclude my email list, my customers and the people who already signed up in the last 180 days (180 days is the maximum you can go back in time). By excluding these custom audiences, I can decrease waste (waste = show ads to people who are email subscribers already). If you’re just starting out with Facebook ads, choose a first world country to begin with (to test the waters ..). I leave gender, language settings and age blank.
Let’s talk about targeting now..
There are a few different ways how you can target the right people with Facebook ads. I’m going to explain how to do it, if you’re pretty new to Facebook advertising.
If you’re new, you need to start with interest targeting. If you have around 30 email signups tracked by your Facebook pixel, you can move away from interest targeting. To explain why this is the case, I would need to write a whole new blog article ..
When I first started out with Facebook ads, it took me a whole weekend to really understand which interests I would like to target on Facebook. Make sure you use Facebook Audience Insights to find the right interests for your own online course.After hours of research, I decided to show my ads to people who are interested in “Amy Porterfield” and “Russell Brunson”. These are two successful marketers with similar audiences.
I try to narrow down my audience as targeted as possible. That is why I only show my ad to people who are interested in BOTH marketers. This can be done with the “Narrow Audience” option. My personal experiments showed that targeting mobile devices is cheaper than desktop. But you need to test this for yourself.
Create one campaign with two ad sets. One for mobile only. Then just duplicate this ad set and target desktop devices. Let both ad sets run for at least 3 days and then drop the worse performing one .. And how does my ad look like ..? Voila .. I don’t want to come across as some corporate company. Or marketer. Or business person.
But like a friend.
Why? Because people on Facebook check out what their friends and family are up to. No business suit. Not much fancy marketing language. Just as I would post on my own Facebook profile..
I use UTM parameters to see the visits/conversions of this Facebook ad campaign in my Google Analytics dashboard (just to double check the numbers ..).
That’s it 🙂
This is the ad I use to pull new readers into my sales funnel. Once in my funnel..
Read on to see what’s happening next 🙂
3) Convert Readers into Email Subscribers with Content Upgrades
This is a key paragraph. Why is it important to get people onto your email list?
Everyone who puts themselves on your email list is part of your tribe. And your email list is like the home of your tribe. That’s the place where everyone hangs out. 🙂 And that’s the place where you can create trust with new leads and establish a relationship.
That’s your only focus before you make a sale. Your job is to become the trusted advisor of your tribe. And once someone is on your email list, you get the chance to become this trusted advisor.
How do you get readers on your email list? I use two strategies to convert people from readers into email subscribers.
First: Content Upgrades.
Second: Everyone who doesn’t become an email subscriber through the content upgrade, will be retargeted with a Facebook ad.
A content upgrade in a sales funnel acts like a bonus. If you write a blog post about “How to do SEO Keyword Research”, you could offer your own Keyword Research, which you did for your own blog, as a content upgrade (that’s super helpful & actionable stuff!).
A content upgrade is 100% related to the content of your blog post. A content upgrade is an extension of your blog post. And only the people who are interested in the topic of your blog article will take advantage of the content upgrade.
And since your blog post & content upgrade are highly related to your paid product or service, you have a hyper-targeted potential customer on your email list 🙂
Make sense, right?
But here is the thing ..
Not everyone who reads your blog post will sign up to get the bonuses. This is a problem. But I have a solution, my friend .. 🙂
4) Retarget Everyone with Facebook Ads who don’t Convert through your Content Upgrade
In this chapter, I’ll discuss how to convert everyone who reads your blog post but doesn’t become an email subscriber. I retarget these people with a Conversion FB ad.
Why? Because my goal is to get them to sign up (convert ..). Here’s how I do that for this blog post..
First of all, I create a Facebook custom audience. If you don’t know what this is, you can read this and this article.
Why do I want a Facebook custom audience?
Because I want to track who reads my blog post but doesn’t sign up through my content upgrade. Why is that important? Because I would like to show a Facebook conversion ad to exactly these people.
Let me walk you through how to create a custom audience.. Go to your Facebook Power Editor and select “Audiences” in the top left corner. Hit “Create Audience”, choose “Custom Audience” and select “Website Traffic” .. Remember: I want to track who reads my blog post but doesn’t sign up through my content upgrade. Follow the instructions of the next two screenshots to achieve exactly that .. I’d suggest choosing “URL contains” (rather than “URL equals”) in this case because you might use UTM parameters for tracking purposes and then the whole thing doesn’t work.
I put the URL of this blog post in the first box and the URL of the bonus area or thank-you page (example: /your-bonus) in the second box. The second URL is the place where people arrive after they sign up with their email address.
I want to exclude the people, who arrive on the second URL, from my Facebook ad. Because they already signed up.
Does that make sense?
You now have your custom audience on Facebook. Great job! Let’s move on ..
I use a Facebook conversion ad to talk to people who ALREADY read my blog post but DIDN’T sign up through the content upgrade. Every time someone reads my blog post but doesn’t sign up via my content upgrade, the person will be added to my custom audience on Facebook. Once the person is added to my custom audience (this happens automatically), Facebook will show this person my ad.
Pretty cool, huh?
Why is this so powerful?
To attract cold leads with Facebook ads may get expensive. It’s cheaper to get people onto your email list with Facebook ads, who already know you and your brand. They already read your blog post.. Right? So they know you.
Which means it’s much easier to get that person to give you their email address in exchange for an ebook, a 7-day challenge, email course or boot camp.
Do you agree? Cool.
What kind of Facebook ad could you create? This is up to you. The ad needs to be related to your blog post .. I’ll give you an example.
For the blog post you’re reading right now there will be an opportunity for you to take advantage of my bonus (content upgrade) and enter your email address.
A lot of people will do this 🙂 But some won’t. That’s the way it is..
And all the readers with a Facebook profile, who don’t sign up, will see an ad on their Facebook Newsfeed. The ad could say something like this .. “Download my free ebook to learn how to build a Sales Funnels for your online courses ..”. This is the structure of my ad ..
Ask a question? (to get attention)
Tell the user exactly what she will get
CTA & Link For SignUp
If they click the ad, they will land on my landing page. The landing page has a video and looks like this .. My chance to convert people who already know my blog post is much higher now. One of the Facebook advertisers I learned a ton from is Jon Loomer.
“I’ll say it over and over again, but the number one reason that advertisers fail with Facebook ads is targeting. They go straight for the jugular by targeting people who don’t know them to get the lead or sale.”– Jon Loomer
And this exactly what we try to avoid .. Let’s recap for a second ..
First: Write a killer blog post and promote it through Facebook ads (don’t ask for a sale! just pure value first!) and other promotion techniques to get people to read your blog post.
Second: Convert readers into email subscribers with a content upgrade.
Third: Retarget everyone with a Facebook ad who reads your blog post but haven’t become an email subscriber yet.
5) Create Trust and Establish a Relationship with an Email Sequence
This is my favorite part. My absolute favorite part.. Bonding with new leads through email automation using Wild Mail.
And I’m telling you .. It’s extremely powerful. 🙂
If you know how to do it right .. And today .. I’ll share with you how to write emails that build trust and establish relationships with new leads.
You do this by creating an email sequence. I call this the Relationship Builder Sequence or RBS. An RBS is a sequence of emails you send out automatically.
Yes, on autopilot. 🙂
You don’t send them manually! You use an ESP (Email Service Provider) like ConvertKit, InfusionSoft, ActiveCampaign or Wild Mail (the one I use and love). Take a look at my RBS ..
A screenshot of my zoomed out RBS.
Pretty cool, huh?
That’s the email sequence I use to build trust and establish a relationship with new leads. It’s a series of 9 lessons to teach new prospects the basics of sales funnels for online courses.
It is designed to deliver as much value as possible to my new email subscribers. I give away some of my secrets but never all of them.
My goal is to teach, advise, help and guide my new tribe members to help solve their problems. I want to become their trusted advisor .. And sometimes I tease them 🙂
I activate people in the first email (you could sign up to see how I do it 😉 ) ..
I ask them to click specific links in order to get the next email ..
I use engagement techniques like Open Loops, Nested Loops and Cliffhangers to make them wait for future emails ..
Seriously, this stuff is super duper awesome. But too advanced to cover in this blog post .. If you’re seriously interested though .. I created a summary of the most important engagement techniques for email marketing. You can get access here ..And it works like magic .. If you use cliffhangers right you get people to respond to your emails like that .. 🙂 Or this one is even better 🙂 Anyways .. I hope all of this makes sense .. Because it’s time for ..
6) Story-Sell your Online Course
By this point in your sales funnel, you have already created trust and established a relationship with your email subscribers.
It’s time to offer your email subscribers the opportunity to step up their game.
Or in other words .. It’s time to make the sale.
Let me show you how I do this .. In my RBS I place a few links to my sales page in the PS section of my emails. It looks like this .. The screenshot above is from lesson 5 where I place a “hard-pitch” in the PS section of my email. If the email subscriber clicks the links (I track this btw!), he will land on my sales page, which can only be found if you’re a Wild Audience tribe member.
There’s a lot more to story-selling your online course .. but I already hit the 4000 words mark. It’s time to wrap things up.
7) Include Upsells to Increase your Sales Funnel’s Customer Lifetime Value
What is CLV?
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is the total sales you earn over the lifetime relationship with a customer.
Higher CLV means you can spend more to acquire a customer. Increase your CLV and have a more profitable business. Simple as that.
According to Brian Moran, websites which use just a single 1-Click Upsell increase their average customer value by +78%. That’s pretty powerful.
I think 😉
That is why I include a 1-click upsell (a product upgrade) immediately after someone purchases my paid online course. Instead of sending a new customer to a THANK-YOU page, send her to an OTO page (one-time offer). You could offer a special price for your upsell in this one-time offer. Checkout my upsell funnel .. Not a lot of tools can do that .. I use Thrive Cart to get the job done ..
8) Retarget Everyone who Reads your Sales Page but hasn’t become a Customer yet
Your Relationship Builder Sequence (email sequence) includes a few links to your sales page. You position these links either strategically in your email body or in the PS section of your emails.
And I like to take it a step further..
Instead of relying only on email, I also use Facebook ads to leverage a second communication channel. I “go-after” the people who read my sales page but haven’t become a customer yet. This is how my ad looks like ..
(the price is outdated ..)
Remember, the people who see this ad ..
Read at least 1 blog post.
Open the majority of my emails.
Check out my sales page.
These people are hyper-relevant potential customers, who know me, my brand and my paid product. But they have not yet purchased my paid online course for some reason.
I included the price in my Facebook ad to only attract people who are willing to pay for my product. People who don’t want to spend the money probably won’t click.
Your Next Steps ..
I hope you enjoyed this article on creating a sales funnel ..
Hopefully you learned a thing or two ..
This was my goal 🙂
Let me ask you something ..
Do you run an online business?
If yes ..
Do you have a sales funnel in place that generates sales every single day ..?
Every single day ..? Think about it ..
If you feel like upgrading your “game” ..
Make sure to get all my free resources below (which also gets you access to my free 9 lesson training) and implement the Relationship Funnel into your business!
Nathan is the CEO of a SaaS business called ConvertKit. ConvertKit solves a problem I’m very passionate about ..
Sending the right message. To the right person. At the right time.
= Behavior-Based Email-Automation.
My favorite topic. Ever 🙂
This is what Nathan did:
He provided free education through his blog.
He made money with online courses.
He wrote a book to establish himself as an authority.
He launched a tech startup and turned it into a successful SaaS business.
You can see ConvertKits revenue here. (yes, these are ConvertKit’s real numbers!)To the question what he would do, if he had to start over again with NO audience ..
This is what Nathan answered:
“If I started from scratch I would plan my product first, then start teaching content that the right audience for my product will find helpful. I’d work closely with that audience to shape the product into something they will buy. Then when it comes time to launch I would have an audience that was ready and eager to buy.”– Nathan Bary
“We announced it on our blog. Within a month, we had about a hundred paying customers. Hundreds more followed. Within a year, Basecamp was generating more income for us than our web design business. We had a hit!“– Jason Fried
Curious what blog Jason is talking about?
He is talking about Signal vs. Noise. A place where he shared ideas about design, business, and tech.
“We built up an audience that turned out to be an invaluable head start when we eventually launched Basecamp. It’s a lot easier to market a product when you already have thousands of fans — ones who are the perfect target market for what you’re trying to sell.”– Jason Fried
Ryan brainstormed ways to build a quick MVP without writing a single line of code.
That was when he was reminded about the email-first strategy.
He ended up creating a collaboratively curated email newsletter that featured the best new products every day.
A couple of 100 people signed up in a matter of days.
And we all know what this email-first MVP turned into ..
“The “20-minute Linkydink MVP” was a great starting point. It allowed me to validate some assumptions very quickly and observe real user behavior without a single line of code. Entrepreneurs often assume an MVP needs to be “built.” The purpose of an MVP is to learn, to validate and invalidate assumptions. There are almost always faster ways to do this than building a product.”– Ryan Hoover
Rand wrote about “Marketing First; Product Second” in this article.
Rand (and his mother) started a blog called SEOmoz.org in 2004 to share learnings about SEO. He later launched the SEOMoz Pro Membership subscription product to his existing blog audience.
“Moz was built on the back of a blog.” – Rand Fishkin
“If you build a marketing machine first, you are in an enviable position.” – Rnd Fishkin
“Because we had a large audience – 10,000 marketers a day read the blog when we started our subscription in 2007 – we could iterate, grow, and learn with their help. By late 2008, we had a unique product that was pulling in subscribers far beyond just our community of blog readers. Without that “marketing first” approach, I’m skeptical if we ever could have gotten a product off the ground.” – Rand Fishkin
There are many other well-known entrepreneurs who used exactly this strategy ..
I think you get the point .. There are already a bunch of people out there who used an audience-first strategy, also known as the “Education First. Startup Second.” – approach and now run successful companies.
Let me share with you how I will execute “Education First. Startup Second.”.
This is going to be good 🙂
Who should use an Audience-First Strategy?
This is not for people who already run a successful business.
This is for people – young and old – who would like to start an online business, a startup or company.
For people who have not figured out yet what exact problem to solve. (and what company to start)
It is for people like me ..
I always knew that I wanted to run my own business.
Now I know that I want to build a software company.
But my biggest problems (at the time I write this) are ..
I don’t know what software to build.
I don’t have a (tech) team.
I don’t have money.
How to find your Topic?
Many people struggle with figuring out what kind of audience to build.
How do I find my target audience? Who would I like to attract?
Let me quickly give you some ideas on how to find your topic 🙂
Ask yourself the following 4 questions to find the right kind of audience ..
1) What are you?
Are you a designer? Then build an audience around design. Are you a marketer? Teach marketing. I think you get the idea. It’s a very simple approach. But it worked wonders for me to figure out what kind of tribe I would like to build.
2) What are you interested in?
What are your passions? What did you enjoy doing in the past? Building an audience is hard. Starting a startup is hard. Running a successful business is hard. That is why most people fail. Better work on something you’re naturally interested in and enjoy doing.
3) What do you enjoy helping other people with?
“Education First. Startup Second.” is about helping people. This needs to be your highest priority.
4) Do you see yourself making money with it?
And then, of course, you need to make a living. I need to make a living. We all need to make money.
Why is the above part so important?
You know .. The biggest possible mistake you could probably do is to build an audience and offer them products they aren’t interested in.
That would suck.
That is why Nathan from ConvertKit recommends to first plan a possible product you would like to build and sell in the future.
Don’t build the product, though!
Just think about what you could build in the future.
In my case ..
I would like to build Marketing AI. I love automation.
This is what I know. And how far I planned.
I make sure I build up an audience of marketers and founders who are interested in marketing automation products.
How to Build an Engaged Audience?
Once you figured out your topic ..
.. It’s time to build an engaged audience.
How do you do that?
Ever heard of content marketing?
I’m sure you have 🙂
You build up an engaged tribe with content marketing ..
1) Blog Posts
You create in-depth educational guides to teach people for free. Deliver as much value as possible. Blog posts are a big part of your growth engine to attract new leads. (but not the only one!)
2) Free Course
Once a new lead signs up, it’s time to establish a relationship. Deliver more value for free than what other people charge for. Build trust. Engage with your audience members. Help them. Be their advisor. Answer their questions.
3) Paid Course
At this point .. Your tribe already trusts you. Your audience sees you as the expert. Now it’s time to provide even more value in exchange for money. WOW your audience with a top-notch training. You can use this money to build MVPs (more about this in a bit ..).
Establish yourself as an authority. Build trust. Get speaking engagements. Get press. Write for publications.
It’s time to share with you the not-so-secret tool to connect all of your content marketing activities.
It’s my bread and butter.
It’s what I enjoy doing the most.
Everyone knows how powerful it is.
Still .. Most businesses do it completely wrong.
I’m here to change that.
What am I talking about?
I’m taking “email marketing” to a whole different level.
Email is the tool to create strong relationships with your readers.
Email is the key to building an engaged audience.
Email is the platform (=home) for your audience.
How to Establish a Strong Relationship with your Audience?
This paragraph is key.
I mentioned behavior-based email-automation above ..
Let me tell you a bit more about this topic ..
Your goal: Send the right message. To the right person. At the right time.
As soon as someone signs up, it is your job to establish a strong relationship with your subscriber.