The Ultimate 2019 Content Marketing Strategy Template: Discover Rand Fishkin’s Secret Weapon that Made Him the SEO King

Introduction

Do you want to make 2019 a year to remember?

To finally climb from your healthy six-figure business to a seven-figure powerhouse?

To walk into 2020 thinking, “We absolutely killed it this year.”

I hope so 🙂

That’s what we’re planning on at Wild Audience, and I’ll let you in on a secret.

The way that can happen for you is through a content marketing strategy template.

2019 is the year of content.

The marketing world knows it.

Everything is pointing toward it.

Here’s how we think about it:

Smart content + effective distribution + Respect-Based Marketing funnels = more qualified leads.

And more qualified leads means higher ROI and more profits for your business.

It’s easy to understand… a little harder to execute 🙂

But that’s exactly why there’s more opportunity than ever.

If you can master the art of intelligent, relationship-building content..

Well… you win 🙂

The stats speak for themselves:

One in ten blog posts are compounding, meaning organic search increases their traffic over time. (HubSpot)

84 percent of millennials don’t trust advertising and sales messages.

Compounding blog posts make up 10% of all blog posts and generate 38% of overall traffic. (HubSpot)

47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report)

55% of business professionals say a great story captures their focus and keeps them engaged with content. (Prezi)

96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report)

Sources: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics) & CMI.

It’s promising, yeah?

But the power of content marketing goes beyond lead generation.

Great content yields a great audience.

And do you know what a good audience is?

Loyal.

They trust you.

They trust your voice, and they will help you create better products for them.

It’s reciprocity at its finest 🙂

This is how Wild Audience started. How Nathan Barry started. How Rand Fishkin grew a multi-million dollar business.

With trust. With education. With content 🙂

I built WA off of content, but in 2018 I really stepped up my game, and the ROI has been amazing.

It’s how we’ve been able to trade ideas with the best marketing minds in the world — people & companies like Todd Brown, Todd Herman, HubSpot, ActiveCampaign and Rand Fishkin.

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.

Anyway.

Here’s what you can expect from this article:

  1. What is content marketing?
  2. Why Content Marketing is the lead generation silver bullet
  3. How content marketing made Rand Fishkin the SEO king.
  4. The 2019 Content Marketing Strategy Template: How to build a future-proof business
  5. 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.

You jump directly there by clicking here.

Ready to discover the lead generation silver bullet?

Let’s roll.

What is Content Marketing?

Quote by CMI

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.)

Things like..

  • Blog posts
  • Podcasts
  • Lead magnets
  • Interviews
  • Virtual summits
  • Emails
  • Ads*
  • Social media
  • Event marketing
  • Experiential marketing
  • Radio
  • TV

*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.
  • Is relevant
  • Tells a story/builds a narrative
  • Builds trust
  • Establishes authority
  • Has an original angle or perspective
  • Spurs action

“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.

Here’s the thing, though.

Content marketing is not a quick-win scenario.

It takes time, dedication, and effort.

Via Marketing Land

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

Via Stevenson Financial Marketing

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.

But why?

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:

  1. He’s using his status as a prominent blogger by letting that audience live on Sparktoro.com through consistent blogs and updates.
  2. 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.

You can get Rand’s latest book here.

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:

  1. Branding and awareness increase is evident.
  2. Email list growth
  3. Free tools become well known.
  4. Baseline level of traffic pretty solid.
  5. SparkToro’s existing audience knows what they are building.
  6. 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 🙂

Go here for more on building minimum viable audiences

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.

Then, you can take this system content system and apply it to your own business immediately by using our content marketing machine blueprint.

It all started with one blog

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.

Wild Audience’s 2019 Content Marketing Strategy Template

Copy and swipe anything as you wish 🙂

Step 1: Start with one awesome piece of content

For Wild Audience, it’s interviews.

And we’ve had all sorts of awesome conversations with people like:

  • Rand Fishkin (obviously)
  • Todd Herman
  • Todd Brown
  • Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne
  • And many more 🙂

You can hear those conversations here.

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?

Boom.

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 🙂

So we write, write, and write until…

Huzzah!

We have a finished product.

Our blogs reference both our videos and podcasts (which you may have noticed in this one).

Notice how everything ties into each other but also offers different ways and avenues for exploring a topic?

That’s content distribution at work 🙂

Step 4: We hook everything up to our Relationship Funnel.

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, ActiveCampaign 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…

5,000+ word article (this article, e.g.).

2 podcast episodes per interview.

One ten minute video for YouTube.

One ten minute video for Facebook.

Three 1 min videos for Facebook & Instagram.

Three 15 second stories for Instagram and Facebook.

And that’s just the organic platform posts. We also post on relevant industry sites like Growth Hacker 🙂

In total we publish 6 social media posts per week on across channels like personal Facebook profiles, Facebook pages, our Facebook groups, the Wild Audience Instagram, LinkedIn, and Youtube.

That’s a lot of opportunity to reach people 🙂

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.

We spent years fine tuning ours, and it’s the same process we work on with our RF Accelerator clients 🙂

You can learn more about that here.

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.

Conclusion

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.

And nothing is better than a Relationship Funnel.

Here’s a link to that Relationship Funnel blog again.

We covered a LOT here, so as a recap we learned that:

  1. A content marketing machine is one of the best tools we have for lead generation.
  2. Rand Fishkin got where he is today through content.
  3. A content marketing machine consists of keyword research, centralized content, and smart outreach.
  4. A content marketing machine is simply the organic traffic generator for your sales funnel.

Ready to discover what a Relationship Funnel can do in your business?

We love working with smart, passionate entrepreneurs who already have a successful high-ticket business and client case studies but want to grow into a sustainable seven-figure business.

Sound like you?

Get in touch and make 2019 a year to remember.

Best of luck!

Bastian – CEO/Founder of Wild Audience

How RF Accelerator Helped Our Client Close $20k in Sales Instantly with a New Offer Strategy

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

Results Achieved

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 :

  1. Around $20k in sales from adjusting their offer to better match customer needs by including coaching.
  2. Closed $10k in sales in one month from cold traffic with only $3,482 in ad spend.
  3. 70% email open rates and 45-60% click through rates from engaged community members.
  4. 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 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 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
  • 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?

Then check out RF Accelerator to learn more about our proven process for scaling and automating businesses.  

What type of results will a new RF Accelerator client achieve if they follow the process and work hard?

Relationship Funnels have already helped dozens of businesses scale their revenue growth by 2-5x or more.

Check out these examples and client success stories:

Justin boosted his sales conversion rate from 0.5% to 2.5% (a 5x increase) and boosted his sales revenue from 500 euros per customer to 800 euros per customer (an increase of 60%).

Adam got 1,800 leads into his funnel using Facebook retargeting and organic traffic with 28% of readers visiting his sales page and 3.44% converting into paying customers.

Mubaid’s has an incredible 90-95% email open rate and his sales funnel converts and 9-10%.

Want to see more?

Check out our love page to see results other businesses have shared with us after they implemented Relationship Funnels into their business.

Want to acquire customers at profit and scale and build an automated business with 7-figure potential?

Then you need a proven system that other businesses have used to successfully scale their business.

Relationship Funnel was created by Wild Audience to help businesses systematize and automate their relationship building so that they can scale their growth.

Do you feel like no matter what you try, your business is stuck and just won’t grow?

Perhaps you are struggling to get more leads.

Or you feel like the leads you are getting aren’t converting into paying customers.

Maybe you are frustrated because you are spending so much time working in your business instead of working on it.

Are you struggling to get your calendar booked with sales calls?

Are you having a hard time figuring out how much to spend on Facebook ads while keeping a healthy profit margin?

Do you know how much a customer is worth to you?

We feel your pain.

If you are struggling with any of the above..

Then check out our Relationship Funnel Accelerator program.

The Relationship Funnel Accelerator is a step-by-step program designed to solve your customer acquisition problem.

Are you prepared to start scaling your business to 7-figures and beyond with our proven and tested 90-day program?

Click this link to get more details about Relationship Funnel Accelerator.

How We Helped Our Client Increase His Sales Conversion Rate By 6X With Relationship Funnel

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

Results Achieved

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 :

  1. Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): 10,000 Euro (6-figure business)
  2. Sales Conversion Rate from 0.5% to 2.5%
  3. Lead CPA (acquisition cost) decreased from 2 Euros to 1 Euro
  4. CLV increased from 500 Euro to 900 Euro
  5. 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:

  1. Funnel Sales Conversion Rate
  2. Number of Leads
  3. ROI

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 ActiveCampaign 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?

https://vimeo.com/317257283

His Relationship Funnel Reverse-Engineered:

  1. Superhero’s Facebook ad attracts their target audience
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

RF Accelerator can help with the following:

  • Solving your customer acquisition problem
  • Especially, systemized customer acquisition at profit and scale
  • Attracting the right leads that will actually convert into customers
  • Improving low conversion rates
  • Decreasing lead acquisition & customer acquisition costs
  • Getting clarity & transparency over how much it costs to acquire leads, how much it costs to 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
  • Systemizing all marketing & sales processes to scale to 7-figures and beyond

Businesses that feel like they are stuck and want to implement a proven system to scale their business on autopilot should check out RF Accelerator.  

What type of results will a new client achieve if they follow the process and work hard?

Dozens of successful businesses have used Relationship Funnels to grow their business by 2-5x or more.

Some examples of results clients have achieved include:

  • Mirna invested $1300 into ads and generated $9,000 back within 30 days of running her very first Relationship Funnel. She’s on target now to hit 7-figures soon!
  • Joe generates now more than 1 million euro in revenue every single year with his Relationship Funnel. Here you see his current month’s sales pipeline of 310,000 Euros.
  • Niklas who is currently buying sales calls for 300 Euros through PPC campaigns and is converting 2 in 3 calls to meet with him personally to close 300,000 Euro deals.
  • Mubaid, who is getting a 9-10% sales funnel conversion rate.
  • Adam who is getting an impressive 28% click-rate from his sales emails to his sales page and in total converts 3.44% of his leads into paying clients.

Need more proof?

Check out our love page to see what kind of results people have achieved by implementing Relationship Funnels into their business.

Need help getting more leads or improving conversion rates?

Relationship Funnels are a proven system created by Wild Audience to help businesses solve their customer acquisition problem and scale their growth by automate their relationship building.

Do you feel like you’re spending a lot of money on ads, but getting low ROAS?

Are you struggling to get your calendar booked with sales calls or close deals on the phone?

Is your math simply not working out and you’re not acquiring customers at a profit and thus you can not scale things probably up?

Or maybe you’re frustrated because no matter what you try, your business just isn’t growing.

We know that feeling.

But..

Relationship Funnels could be the solution that you are looking for…

Relationship Funnel Accelerator is our done-with-you 90 day program to ensure your success and solve your customer acquisition problem.

Are you ready to scale your business to 7-figures or multiple 7-figures?

Click this link to learn more about Relationship Funnel Accelerator and see if you’re fit.

6 Creative Marketing Concepts You Can Steal from Todd Brown’s $296,508 Webinar Email Sequence

Who is Todd Brown?

Today, we’re jumping headfirst into the mind of Todd Brown, but who is this guy?

Todd Brown is the marketer’s marketer.

He’s widely considered the authority on direct response and customer acquisition campaigns.

And when you take a second to look at his experience and his students’ results, it’s easy to see why.

Todd has a rich history in engineering some of the best marketing campaigns and sales funnels around.

Todd Brown's Social Proof Page

He’s worked in 65 different markets in 33 countries, and is said to have built “more six and seven-figure marketing campaigns than any other expert online today.”

This includes helping Todd Herman make $2.4 million in sales and John Hutchison get $100,280.40.

The guy gets results, simple as that 🙂

And Todd practices what he preaches, building up an impressive suite of products and businesses of his own.

Todd’s Product Suite

E5 C.A.M.P / Masterclass
This is Todd’s life work in direct response, and he sells an 8-module workshop that costs $2,487 (more on this later).

Top 1 Masterclass
This an exclusive group of 40-50 top-tier entrepreneurs who meet about coaching, consulting, and guidance in person with Todd a few times a year.

Acquire & Monetize Academy
Todd releases all of his newest thinking and creative marketing concepts through a course membership service / academy. This is the newest addition to his services.

Marketingfunnelautomation.com / MFA Live
This is the home of Todd’s blog and podcast, and it’s also what he organizes various events and conferences he hosts which he then sells the recordings of.

His agency
Todd also runs a successful agency, but they aren’t accepting any more clients for the time being.

Todd’s focus lately has been promoting and generating leads for his E5 camp product, which he promotes through both a multi-day webinar and evergreen webinar.

To give a bit more social proof / context to these webinars, let’s take a look at his most recent webinar test’s numbers:

  • $296,508 in sales.
  • $2.38 per click revenue
  • 1,572 leads
  • Average cart value of $1,335.62

Keep this scale in mind as we dig into the strategies he swears by.

Video Summary

Listen to the Podcast

What you’re about to learn will shape the rest of your career…

Now, I’m going to level with you.

This article is going to be a bit different than our usual funnel breakdowns.

We’ll be covering a bit on his webinar funnel, but we’re mostly going to focus on Todd’s creative marketing concepts and how he uses them across his businesses.

Like most of us who work in and study marketing, we all soak up information from different sources and bring our own experience into the profession.

You could argue Todd has cracked the marketing code, and I love understanding how other successful marketers got to where they are today.

I think it’s useful to compare each other’s strengths and try to get to the bottom of what makes us different.

And believe me… If you take this blog to heart, you’ll immediately start making smarter, faster, and more profitable business decisions.

Here are the creative marketing concepts/ideas you’ll learn about in this article:

  • The importance of marketing history
  • The difference between tactics & strategy
  • Using urgency to spur action with scarcity, time devices, and more
  • The amazing bond of reciprocity
  • The power of a unique mechanism
  • How to organize your ad efforts according to the Rule of 7.

Marketing Concept #1: Human psychology NEVER changes

For Todd, it all began with the marketing greats.

Understanding what worked in the 20th century is your first step to discovering the underlying truths in marketing. Just because we’ve shifted to digital doesn’t mean the strategies have changed.

People like:

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.

Click here for 5 Effective Todd Brown Sales Email Examples

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 Brown's social proof widget

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.

Remember that.

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:

Todd Brown's creative marketing concepts of urgency and scarcity in action

Or his discounts in his email funnel that reward quick action:

Another one of Todd Brown's Creative Marketing Concepts: Time-sensitive incentives in email

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.

E5 Customer Acquisition Marketing Protocol Webinar

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

rec·i·proc·i·ty
/ˌresəˈpräsədē/

noun

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

Another Todd Brown E5 webinar screenshot

2. He explains the unique mechanism and why it will solve their problem

Todd Brown's creative marketing concept of unique mechanisms

3. He positions his product as the best delivery method for the unique mechanism

How Todd Brown pitches his masterclass

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

The rule of seven creative marketing concept — example of a Facebook ad and ad frequency

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

Todd Brown pop-up

6. Reads an email

Todd Brown's evergreen webinar CTA

7. Sees a retargeting ad

Etc. etc.

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.

5 Effective Todd Brown Sales Email Examples

CONCLUSION

So where do you go from here? How do you use these awesomely creative marketing concepts in your own business?

Well…

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:

  1. The importance of learning from the marketing greats.
  2. The difference between tactics and strategy.
  3. The importance of urgency and scarcity.
  4. The power of reciprocity.
  5. What a unique mechanism is.
  6. 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?

And good luck 🙂

How HubSpot Built An Online Sales Funnel That Generates $375.6 Million Every Year

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:

    1. Have a more personalized sales experience.
    2. Have a more automated sales process.
    3. 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 🙂

Video Summary

Listen to the Podcast

Let’s dive into the steps ..

What we’ll be covering:

    1. How to turn prospects into leads.
    2. How to use Key Engagement Indicators to help movement through a sales process.
    3. Using specialized sales reps and pathways to match leads to sales reps.
    4. How to handle a discovery meeting.
    5. How to run a perfect demo/sales meeting and how to use that momentum to close the sale.
    6. Using proper evaluation and incentives. To build a sales machine that is efficient without sacrificing humanity.

Are you ready? Let’s do this 🙂

Online Sales Funnel Step #1: Convert Your Prospects Into Leads

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
    • Certifications

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.

Impact of Monthly Blog Posts on Inbound Leads by Company Size

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.

VideoFruit Case Study PDF Download

  • 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.

HubSpot Sidebar CTA

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).  

Key Engagement indicator example

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 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.

Online sales funnel segmentation survey

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 🙂

Online Sales Funnel Step #2 - Establish Key Engagement Indicators & Evaluate

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:

    1. What one engagement step do all or most of our buyers take?
    2. 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
    3. 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:

HubSpot Free Trial Homepage

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.

Online Sales Funnel Step #3 - Assign Qualified Leads to Sales Reps

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:

Common sales positions via HubSpot

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:

Marketing & Sales Funnels explained by HubSpot

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 🙂

    1. Prospect/Visitor – Visit to the website
    2. Lead – Downloads a lead magnet OR reads >5 blogs OR views the sales page after reading a blog.
    3. MQL – Downloads >3 lead magnets, attends a webinar, attends a conference, has opened and clicked the last 5 marketing emails.
    4. 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).
    5. 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.
    6. 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 🙂

Online Sales Funnel Step #4 - Reach Out to the Lead

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.

That’s it.

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.

HubSpot Meeting Email

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 🙂

Online Sales Funnel Step #5 - Conduct the "Connect" Meeting

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:

    1. HubSpot has worked for other people (social proof).
    2. 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 🙂

Online Sales Funnel Step #6 - Conduct a Demo or Sales Call

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 🙂

Online Sales Funnel Step #7 - Close 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.

Online Sales Funnel Step #8 - Test, Evaluate, Iterate

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.

Key sales metrics you should be traffic PDF Download CTA

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.

Conclusion

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.
  • Close!
  • Evaluate 🙂

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.
  • Match sales incentives with customer retention.

And here’s the link to the full interview again 🙂

Interested in equipping your new sales process with an online sales funnel that converts at 6% or higher?

Imagine what you could do with that level of engagement 🙂

We run a program here called Relationship Funnel Accelerator.

It’s a “done-with-you” service where we take everything we’ve learned at Wild Audience and apply it to your business.

So you can get results like these 🙂

Interested?

Let’s do this.

How To Build A Sales Funnel With ActiveCampaign

When I first started my online business I struggled to sell products ..

I was mainly using product launches. And while this old approach made me some money, it was a lot of hard work.

(I will reveal a better way in a sec ..)

Video Summary

Listen to the Podcast

I had to spend countless days, or even weeks, building new launch sequences every time I wanted to make a buck.

Worst of all, it wasn’t scalable.

Results were subpar because I was sending the same emails to everyone.

My marketing wasn’t personalized to people’s individual needs.

Some of the best salespeople (Like Oren Klaff) close million dollar deals because they build rapport with their prospects and customize their sales pitch.

So I thought to myself ..

What if I could create a virtual salesperson that works 24/7/365 that sells on autopilot?

And what if this salesperson could collect data on each of my prospects and send them information personalized to their interests?

A good salesperson can build relationships, create trust, install buying beliefs and then present the right offer at the right time.

Now picture having an entire sales team delivering your message and selling your products to thousands of people.

The good news is you CAN deliver sales pitches at scale by using email marketing. If you use a full funnel marketing strategy and build an awesome sales funnel.

That is what this article is all about. You will discover exactly how to do that here.

But isn’t email marketing dead?

With the ability to reach customers through other channels, many people are focusing their efforts on other areas like social media, SEO or banner ads ..

However, these are NOT the highest ROI channels.

According to a report by McKinsey and Co, email is 40x more effective than social media marketing. The Direct Marketing Association reports a $38 return for every dollar invested in email marketing. It kills every other channel. By a long margin.

Some business owners avoid email marketing because they are afraid to bombard their customers with sales messages. But a survey by Marketing Sherpa revealed that 91% of people actually want to get promotional emails from companies they do business with.

Email marketing is not dead.

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 ..

Awesome results from Landon Porter after building a sales funnel with the RF Method

We build our email sales funnels with ActiveCampaign.

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:

  1. Awareness Stage – Make prospects aware of your brand and convince them to join your email list.
  2. Relationship Builder Stage – Build a relationship with your prospect by doing things like sending them educational content.
  3. Selling Stage – After you have built trust with your readers, you can sell them products that help them solve their problems.
  4. 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.

Awareness Stage

The awareness stage consists of lead generation and segmentation.

Lead Generation

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 ..

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Segmentation

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:

Example of a lead magnet download in our sales funnel

After someone clicks the image, they’ll get a quick survey like this:

Segmentation survey example

Once someone enters the requested information, their data gets stored in ActiveCampaign.

This is Wild Audience's ActiveCampaign Funnel Dashboard

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:

Full Funnel Marketing Strategy Template in ActiveCampaign

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:

Awesome feedback from people building sales funnels with RF

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.

  1. 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:

Proof of how engaging our sales funnel is

  1. 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?

Email engagement technique example

  1. 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:

  1. 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.

Example of how we personalize our emails when building sales funnels

  1. 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.

  1.      Clicks a link: 5 points
  2.      Replies to email: 10 points
  3.      Visits sales page: 20 points
  4.      Buys frontend product: 100 points
  5.      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:

Using lead scoring to build an awesome sales funnel with ActiveCampaign

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.

People showing love for our Wild Audience Full Funnel Marketing Strategy

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.

Awesome feedback on our webinar about building a sales funnel with Active Campaign

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.

Selling Stage

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.

  1. 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:

https://wildaudience.com/zag/crash/

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

https://wildaudience.com/activecampaign/

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

If you want to see how an evergreen webinar works, check out my Relationship Funnel Workshop webinar:

https://wildaudience.com/webinar/rf/register/

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

https://wildaudience.com/consulting/

  1. 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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Behaviour-Based pitching

Once a user reaches a certain lead score, you can send them through your sales sequence.

Another example of our ActiveCampaign Sales Funnel in Action

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 ..)

Upselling Stage

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)

  1. Email sequence

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.

  1. Call them

With tools like Zapier and Close.io, you can create webhooks from ActiveCampaign 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.

  1. 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.

Creating audiences within Facebook Ads

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.

At Wild Audience, we love ActiveCampaign.

Here’s why  ..

👉 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.

PDF Download on building a six-figures sales funnel for your business

What did you think about this article? Let me know in the comments below.

Have a great day!

What is a Relationship Funnel? How Is It Different Than A Normal Marketing Funnel?

Quick Summary

Here’s a quick summary of this article so you can decide if you are interested in it or not.

I’m going to explain what Relationship Funnels are and how to create them. Including the following…

    1. What is the definition of a Relationship Funnel?
    2. How are Relationship Funnels different from normal marketing funnels or sales funnels?
    3. Do Relationship Funnels actually work?
    4. The strategy behind Relationship Funnels explained.
    5. How you can build your own Relationship Funnel in 9 steps.
    6. Benefits to Relationship Funnels

Video Summary

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.

Relationship funnel conversion rates

3. Do Relationship Funnels Actually Work?

While most online entrepreneurs know about sales funnels, many still haven’t heard about Relationship Funnels.

Are they new?

Do people actually use them?

Do they actually work?

While Relationship Funnels are newer than sales funnels, they have been around for a while. Relationship Funnels have been featured in top media outlets and marketing podcasts including Neil Patel’s Marketing School, Mixergy, Forbes and many more.

More than 1,100 online businesses worldwide use Relationship Funnels in their business to sell their products or services.

Wild Audience clients have gotten results like this:

  • Joe generates 1 million Euros each year with Relationship Funnels 
  • Matias achieved an amazing 34x increase in his click through rate from 1.7% to 58%

More social proof for Relationship Funnel - a 34x increase in Click Rate!

  • Mubaid achieved a 9-10% funnel conversion rate, converting roughly one out of 10 prospects into sales.

And hundreds of other students have shared testimonials, videos and screenshots of their results here.

If you want to see a real-world case study on how a 7-figure online business does this step-by-step, click on the image below and download your PDF.

VideoFruit Case Study PDF Download

4. The Relationship Funnel Strategy Explained

The strategy behind a Relationship Funnel can be explained in 4 simple steps.

Step 1 – Get the attention of your audience & maintain it.

Getting attention is hard, but retaining attention is even harder. Figure out the best way to get the attention of your prospects.

    • Select lead magnets that target the pain points of your prospects.
    • Stimulate their curiosity by sharing information they can’t easily find online.
  • Test out different headlines and copy. See what works and what doesn’t.

Focus on creating awareness for your brand and and keeping their attention once they are in your funnel.

Step 2 – Segment your people. Understand that each person has different problems and different goals. Figure out how you can help them.

You can use your opt-in form to segment new subscribers by asking them 4-5 questions about their goals, problems and interests.

Here’s an example of how we segment people during the sign-up process. After clicking on an image or button to opt-in, the reader can answer a few quick questions.

When people answer these questions, the email marketing software will automatically tag them or segment them into groups based on their interests.

Step 3 – Use the data to personalize the experience.

With email marketing tools like Active Campaign, you can send different emails to different segments of your email list based on what they are interested in.

You want to send content that is relevant to your prospects because it will increase engagement. Higher engagement leads to more sales.

Help your prospects first. Build the relationship and gain trust. Then sell.

Step 4 – Engage your audience through content

Besides creating a personalized experience, you also want people to engage with you and take action.

So how do you engage your readers?

Here are a few suggestions…

    1. Add a CTA within your Relationship Funnel. A simple example might be to ask your readers to post a comment in your Facebook group.
    2. Allow readers to choose how frequently they receive emails. Give your readers a choice so that they can choose their own path.
    3. Use the Gmail-Zapier hack. By integrating Gmail and Zapier, you can send your readers an automated email if they take a specific action.

For example, if they click on the link to your sales page a couple of times, you can send

Then a message like this:

What’s awesome is that even though the email is automated, it looks like a personalized email that I sent directly to one person.

For more ideas on creating engagement, check out these 7 funnel techniques to increase your conversion rate.

Step 5 – Automate the whole thing including the email sequences, advertisements, and the entire sales process. Software tools make it easy for you to scale your business by automating everything.

This is what that looks like inside Active Campaign ..

Wild Audience's ActiveCampaign automation tree

5. How to Build Relationship Funnels in 9 Steps

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 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:

Why Diogo uses the Relationship Funnel Method

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.

Markus getting awesome results with our marketing funnel

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.

To learn more about my Marketing Funnels, read this article.

And if you want to see a real-world case study on how a 7-figure online business does built multiple sales funnels and turns website visitors into paying customers, download your PDF below.

If you enjoyed this article, let me know in the comments below. I would love to connect with you! Peace out!

[Breakdown]: How To Build An 8-Figure Business With Todd Herman’s 5 Stages Of Business Growth

Summary:

  1. [Stage 1] – Start up
  2. [Stage 2] – Ramp up
  3. [Stage 3] – Build up
  4. [Stage 4] – Scale up
  5. [Stage 5] – Leader up

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.Full video Interview with Todd Herman CTATodd 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 know… big surprise. 🙂

If you’d rather see how we increased a client’s conversion rate by 6x

Go here.

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

Definition:

The startup stage is the beginning of everything. It starts with your idea — your dream and ends when you release your initial MVP.

Key objective:  

Validate your product & market.

Pain points:

  1. Feeling of self-doubt.
  2. Getting overwhelmed.
  3. Feeling like your business is unique in its challenges.
  4. Inertia.

Solutions:

  1. Talk to your market
  2. Listen to your market.
  3. Know WHAT to focus on and WHEN.
  4. Just start!

The startup stage has two main components: a dream & an MVP.

This is the stage that kills more businesses than any other.

Why?

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:

  1. Validating your audience
  2. Validating your product
  3. Building an MVP
  4. 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.

Life was good! Steli Efti was an incredible boss.

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…

  1. I wanted to start my own online business and potentially transition in SaaS.
  2. I didn’t have a tech team.
  3. 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.”

Boom.

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.

Here’s what I did with Wild Audience:

  1. I started with one blog. This blog, in fact. 🙂
  2. I offered a free email course through lead magnets.
  3. I began listening and observing my customers for product direction.
  4. I built my initial educational MVP.

How did I learn from my initial tribe?

  1. I observed what questions they asked in email conversations.
  2. I read & analyzed what they talked about in relevant Facebook Groups.
  3. I talked to my customers about my paid educational products.
  4. I asked questions. I surveyed. I kept my ears open.

Listen. Communicate. Iterate.

That should be your mantra in the start up stage.

Collect as much information as you can and compare it to your idea for your initial product. Does it match? If not, how should it change?

Improve your idea and take it back to your audience. See what they think.

They’re going to know best—after all they’re your future customers. 🙂

For more on validating your audience, go here.

Start Up Step #2: Build A Minimal Viable Product


Once you know your audience’s problems  and have interest (preferably monetary proof via educational products) in your topics and potential MVP, it’s time to start building.

At this point, you already have a huge advantage over anyone who is building an MVP without an audience: an audience. 🙂

This allows you to:

  • Access information and data to figure out what problem to solve
  • Build an MVP your audience cares about (because they actually have that problem)
  • Get instant feedback on your MVP while you’re building it
  • Attract early adopters because you have a list of people who want to test your newest stuff
  • Finance your MVP via existing educational products
  • Essentially build an MVP together with your audience—ensuring a perfect product market fit.

By having an audience before you build an MVP, you can minimize the risk of building an MVP no one cares about.

Start Up Step #3: Determine Your Future Trajectory


Okay. At this point you’ll have an engaged audience and an MVP.

Where do you go from here? You need to be thinking long-term.

For Wild Audience, I wanted to eventually create a behaviour-based automation product using AI…

Okay. So I knew a SaaS product was my next step…

But what then…?

Well, I knew I wanted to make enough money from my educational products to fund the creation of my SaaS products.

So in very simple terms, Wild Audience’s trajectory is:

  1. Build an engaged audience
  2. Build an educational MVP (Relationship Funnel)
  3. Scale my educational business
  4. Use those profits to fund a SaaS business
  5. Convert my educational audience into the SaaS early adopters
  6. Scale that business

And just like that, I have tangible steps to work towards. 🙂

Key takeaways:

  1. Validate and build an engaged audience through educational content first.
  2. Work with your audience to test your MVP’s validity.
  3. Build and iterate with audience feedback.
  4. Use this audience to generate initial interest & sales.
  5. Figure out your rough trajectory.

 Stages of Business Growth #2: Ramp Up

Definition:

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.

Key objective:

  1. Build your initial marketing strategy and funnel systems.
  2. Establish company culture.

Pain points:

  1. Hitting a ceiling — becoming a “lifestyle” business (this is a choice!).
  2. Paralysis of choice.
  3. Disconnect between a more in-depth marketing funnel and your existing audience.

Solutions:

  1. Innovate > invent.
  2. 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:

Wild Audience’s Value Ladder

  1. Funnel Crash ($12 tripwire)
  2. Relationship Funnel
    Starter ($600)
    Pro ($800) Webinar Addon
    Rocket ($1050) Strategy Call Addon
  3. RF Mastery

I’ve linked you to the individual landing pages if you want to get an idea of how we sell these (and upsell the next ones).

This will organize your funnel creation process. Now that you’ve identified every piece, you can design your funnel to “pull” each customer from offer to offer.

For more on value ladders, check out our VideoFruit case study.

Build Your Relationship-Based Marketing Funnels

Relationship-based marketing funnels are how I built Wild Audience.

How do they differ from traditional sales funnels?

Well to start…

  1. They’re evergreen.

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:

Overview of Relationship Funnel

                The Relationship Funnel

Download the Relationship Funnel graphic in high quality CTA

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.

These funnels work:

RF Social Proof #2

For a complete rundown of relationship funnels, go here.

Key takeaways:

  1. Finalize your value ladder.
  2. Use respect-based marketing to develop a passionate core audience.
  3. Expand and build out your core funnels.

 Stages of Business Growth #3: Build Up

Definition:

Build Up is the stage where you create everything you need to scale up. It’s the internal scramble before the storm. 🙂

Key objective:

Build long-term infrastructure and systems to prepare for scaling.

Pain points:

  1. Adjusting existing systems
  2. Letting go of control

Solutions:

  1. Don’t do it all yourself! Hire a business or operations manager if you need to.
  2. Build a foolproof data & analytics system.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.

View the page with all the links here

View a video breakdown of these tools here

Business Growth Tools #2

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…

Key takeaways:

  1. 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
  2. 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

Definition:

Scale Up is all about one thing and one thing only: growth.

Key objectives:

  1. Invest heavily in marketing.
  2. Determine which outreach & lead generation mediums are best for you and your existing funnels.
  3. Consider the need for and potentially acquire VC and/or other investments.
  4. Build a team you can count on.

Pain points:

  1. Overcoming the fear of drastically increasing spending.
  2. Growing too fast or not fast enough.
  3. Existing business and processes will have to be updated or remade.

Solutions:

  1. Be methodical not emotional.
  2. Use data and analytics to guide you.
  3. Take calculated risks.
  4. 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.

Sound scary?

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.
  • Facebook advertisers.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

For us, we use a combination of Google Analytics, ActiveCampaign, and Hotjar to keep track of our funnel & purchase data (see our complete list of tools).

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.

Here’s the duplicated landing page:

Lead magnet landing page example

(If you want that ebook, you can grab it here)

Okay. Cool.

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:

WA's Webinar Landing 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.

Key takeaways:

  1. 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.
  2. Build an all-star team whose goals align with yours.
  3. Build a culture of marketing experimentation.
  4. Pay close attention to the metrics of long-time customers & new customers. Specifically LTV & cohort retention.

 Stages of Business Growth #5: Leader Up

Definition:

Leader Up is about finding the long-term human capital to transition your company from a “start up” into a stable, sustainable business.

Key objective:

Acquisition and Responsible Leadership

Pain points:

  1. Vulnerable to more nimble, innovative companies.
  2. Potential for leadership failure.

Solutions:

  1. Use your network.
  2. Take your time.
  3. Complement your expertise
  4. 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.

Considering Acquisition

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.

Key takeaways:

  • 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.

Conclusion

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.

5 Stages of Business Growth quick recap:

  1. Start Up: Validate market & product. Build MVP & start getting initial sales.
  2. Ramp Up: Build out your product and lay basic company structure and systems.
  3. Build Up: Invest in long-term infrastructure and systems. Establish your foundation for scaling.
  4. Scale Up: Develop your team, leadership, and scale your business with intense marketing.
  5. 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.

See how we maintain a funnel conversion rate of 8% at $100 productsI think you’ll like what you find 🙂

And what stage are you at?

Have you experienced any breakthroughs or pain points you can share?

Let’s chat in the comments below.

Talk to you soon, and good luck!

bastian-ernst-sig

[Breakdown]: How To Replicate Tony Robbin’s Million-Dollar Coaching Sales Funnel Template

Summary:

  1. [Tip #1]: How Tony Robbins Built A Coaching Sales Funnel That Generates Him Millions
  2. [Tip #2]: What Tony Robbins Coaching Sales Funnel Is Missing & What I Would Do Better If Tony Would Hire Me
  3. [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:

  1. Main squeeze sales funnel
  2. Blog post sales funnel

But before we do that, let’s talk about Tony Robbins’ impressive segmentation process.

Tony Robbins Impressive Segmentation Process

Segmentation is super important to Tony Robbins business.

Just take a look at this screenshot of the ASKTony page.Tony Robbin's Customer Avatar PageHe 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:Personal or business customer avatar segmentationIf you choose business, you arrive at a page where he gives you an offer for business consultation:Tony Robbin's Strategy Call Email OfferIf 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:
Life-Assessment Quiz CTAClicking 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:Tony Robbin's Sales Funnel Template: Life Quiz Result PageThis is doing two things for Tony Robbins. It allows him to:

  1. Collect information so he can give the right offer to the right person
  2. 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):Sales Funnel Template: Ultimate Edge Landing PageNow 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:Sales Funnel Template: Free PDF from Tony RobbinsAbove 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

(2) The Tony Robbins store:Tony Robbins Store Screenshot(3) Supplements (he probably gets affiliate commissions on):(4) Unleash Power Within sales page:Unleash the power within ticket CTA from his email(5) Another Segmentation quiz:(6) His FB Messenger Bot:Facebook messenger CTAAfter this, he continues his email sequence with two emails every week. Each week he focuses on a different topic.

Here is an example of one of these emails:Sales Funnel Template: Tony Robbin's exampleThe 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:

Need help with your momentum Email from TonyAll 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:

More segmenting opportunities in Tony Robbin's Sales Funnel TemplateAnd 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.

This relationship related blog post:…is linked to this assessment.

Like the assessment in his main squeeze funnel, to see the results of this assessment you have to opt-in.Results page for the intimacy quizAfter signup, he then continues to give people the same main squeeze emails I showed you earlier.

Main takeaways:

  1. Include a segmentation survey in your lead onboarding process (on the main squeeze page + after opt-ins to content upgrades).
  2. Create blog content for your different customer avatars and then use content upgrades or assessment surveys to get them to opt-in.
  3. Segment your prospects deeper after they opt-in.
  4. 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:

  1. Capture emails of leads interacting with Tony’s content
  2. Segment captured leads better
  3. Qualify buyers by selling a frontend offer
  4. Create and send a RBS
  5. Get prospects to convert
  6. Continue the relationship with an evergreen newsletter
  7. 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:Amy Porterfield Slideshare PresentationFor 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:Sales Funnel Template: Wild Audience's segmentation surveyFinally, 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.RBS Series Screenshot2. 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.

(2) The Tony Robbins store:(3) Supplements (he probably gets affiliate commissions on):Sales Funnel Template: Third CTA(4) Unleash Power Within sales page(5) Another Segmentation quiz:Sales Funnel Template: Fifth CTA for his segmentation survey(6) His FB Messenger Bot:After this, he continues his email sequence with two emails every week. Each week he focuses on a different topic.

Here is an example of one of these emails:Tony Robbins email sequence exampleI 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:Wild Audience Course Landing PageWe 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.Download this sales funnel template article and save it for later

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 ActiveCampaign).

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.Wild Audience evergreen newsletter exampleHere 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 AudiencSales Funnel Template: Establishing a multi-channel approach game exampleThis 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:

  1. Define your client avatar
  2. Create a 10-20 page PDF as a lead magnet for that avatar (could be a blog post turned into a PDF)
  3. Set up a 5-question segmentation survey—using tools like Surveyslam or Typeform
  4. Create a 7-part RBS email sequence to installs buying beliefs—you can use Activecampaign or Drip for delivery
  5. Create a sale page with a video above the fold that leads to an application where people can schedule a call with you
  6. Jump on that call and close the client on a paid offer
  7. 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…

  1. Email Tony Robbins (Click Here!)
  2. Tweet Tony Robbins (Click Here!)

Thanks!

bastian-ernst-sig

[Breakdown]: How This SaaS Startup Built a Conversion Funnel & Grew To 50,000 Customers (Reverse Engineered)

Summary:

  1. [Part 1]: Why ActiveCampaign’s SaaS Messaging & Positioning Is Awesome
  2. [Part 2]: ActiveCampaign’s Conversion Funnel Strategy & Why They Are Killing It
  3. [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.

Sound good?

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.

Just last month they announced they’d crossed 50,000 customers. That’s huge for a B2B SaaS company.

Before we jump into their conversion funnel (also known as a sales funnel), there are a few things I want to show you about their strategy…

ActiveCampaign Has Great Positioning

Positioning is how a company creates a perception of uniqueness.

I really like how ActiveCampaign positions itself by saying:

  • “Cloud” and “integrations” = bad
  • “stacks” and “deep data” = good

Here’s how they talk about the “cloud” vs. their idea of “stacks”:ActiveCampaign's Conversion Funnel Landing PageAs someone who pays for a ton of cloud apps, this resonates with me, especially the part about paying only for what you need.

Everyone just assumes that “the cloud” is a good thing. By showing me how the cloud isn’t automatically good, ActiveCampaign creates a unique position in my mind.

This is an example of a company that’s installing beliefs in the mind of potential customers.

That’s really smart.

They’re doing the same thing with their description of “integrations” vs. “deep data”:This resonates with me too.

Integrations are supposed to be a good thing.

But who in marketing doesn’t know the frustration of trying to connect cloud apps through Zapier or some other integration system?

Main Takeaways:

  • Positioning is how you create a perception of uniqueness in the mind of a potential customer
  • A great way to position your product is to install a belief that is “against” a mainstream idea (like the cloud or integrations)

Clear Choice of Customer Avatars

ActiveCampaign knows its customer avatars.

Check out how they’ve organized the main menu of their websiteActiveCampaign's Customer AvatarsInstead of creating navigation based on features, as many SaaS companies do, ActiveCampaign’s navigation is separated by audience.

Whoever you are, you can click the link designed for you:

  1. Bloggers
  2. Agencies
  3. eCommerce
  4. SaaS
  5. Higher Ed

You can also navigate the site by team, which is perfect for people working in bigger organizations:

  1. Customer Success
  2. Marketing
  3. Sales

Once you click, you’ll land on a page designed just for you.

You can tell they’ve done their work to understand the needs of the different avatars:

Here’s the solutions page for bloggers:ActiveCampaign's customized solution page for bloggersAnd here’s the one for SaaS companies:See how the messaging completely changes for the different avatars?

It speaks directly to the needs and wants of the person reading the page.

So simple. But also brilliant marketing.

Contrast that approach with what I see most companies do, like this page from AWeber.

It’s a completely generic page to anyone looking for an email marketing solution.Generic email marketing landing pageOn ActiveCampaign’s site, if I’m in one of their target markets, I feel right at home — like they know me and my needs.

I feel like they get me because they’re speaking my language and talking directly to my problems and my needs.

On AWeber’s site, I have no idea.

Main Takeaways:

  • Create clear customer avatars, then design your messaging around them. It will make a huge positive impact on your marketing.
  • On your website, speak directly to the problems and needs of your avatars. Let them know you get them.

[Part 2]: ActiveCampaign’s Online Conversion Funnel Strategy Broken Down & Why They Are Killing It

Now that we’ve covered ActiveCampaign’s high-level positioning, let’s dive into the specifics of their conversion funnel.

Real quick, let’s look at their pricing strategy so you have context for their sales funnel.

As you’ll see as we dive into the details, ActiveCampaign’s entire funnel strategy revolves around getting people to sign up for a trial.

Their CTAs reflect this:Their pricing strategy is built on retention.

For newbie marketers, ActiveCampaign is just $9/month, one of the cheapest options available.

As you gain subscribers and need more features, the service (and ActiveCampaign’s revenue) grows with you:ActiveCampaign's Pricing ModelSee where we’re headed?

ActiveCampaign’s Value Ladder

As a refresher, the value ladder is your big-picture zoomed-out conversion funnel strategy.

As people ascend your value ladder, they’re offered more value — and that value usually comes at a price ($).

ActiveCampaign’s value ladder is actually very sophisticated.

It looks like this:

  1. Lead Generation: To get people in the door
  1. Frontend Funnel: To qualify buyers & decrease ROI time
  • None (more on this in part 3 below)
  1. Core Funnel: To sell your main product/service
  • ActiveCampaign’s software (with an awesome business model and pricing strategy)
  1. Backend Funnel: To upsell existing customers & increase CLV
  1. Continuity Funnel: To generate recurring revenue

Now let me show you how each step of the sales funnel supports these goals…

1) Lead Generation:

ActiveCampaign has a ton of activity around awareness and lead generation.

Let’s jump into each piece of their strategy.

The ActiveCampaign Blog

Blogging is an awareness strategy.

It gives ActiveCampaign a way to reach people who wouldn’t search for “ActiveCampaign” in Google — and wouldn’t click an ad for the company either.

Remember earlier when I said ActiveCampaign did a great job understanding its customer avatars?

You can see it in their blog topics:

  1. Marketing
  2. Strategy
  3. Product updates
  4. General
  5. Small Business
  6. Insider tips

They publish a lot — 27 articles in March 2018.

These aren’t 500-word fluff articles either.

Here’s an example of a 3,000+ word in-depth resource on copywriting, written for their marketing avatar: The Secret to Writing Great Marketing Copy is Market ResearchTo be fair, not all of their blog articles are this long and detailed.

But many of them are.

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.ActiveCampaign's blog sidebar CTAWhen 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

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.ActiveCampaign's Apps & Integrations PageThese 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:

  1. Do a good job providing the value it promises
  2. Treat its customers well
  3. 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:How AC stays active in community forums around their productSide note: if you haven’t done a Google search for “[your company] + reviews”, you should do that.

Like, now.

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. An example of Activate, a conference specifically for AC usersThey’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. Personalized Marketing Meetup exampleWhy 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.

ActiveCampaign publishes its podcast “The ActiveCampaign Podcast,” weekly.

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:Someone who switched to AC after listening to their podcastHere’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.How influencers are benefiting from talking about ACAnd 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 programActiveCampaign's conversion funnel includes an affiliate program like thisAnd 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.

Main Takeaways:

  • 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.

Main Takeaways:

  • 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:

  1. Setting a low price to attract lots of new users
  2. 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.ActiveCampaign's pricing modelThese 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.

Educational Content

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:

  1. The problems they face
  2. 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.ActiveCampaign's Conversion Funnel Evergreen Webinar CTAs

Customer Communities

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…

There’s a support forum hosted on the ActiveCampaign website.A closed Facebook group with almost 3,000 members.ActiveCampaign's Facebook Group Landing PageThere’s also a Slack chat group, meetups, and the events and the ACTIVATE conference we mentioned earlier.

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.

Day 1

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.AC's resources email after signing up for a free trial10 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.

Days 2–14

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:All of the emails AC sent to a free trial sign-upWhen 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:

  1. Email 1: Welcome to ActiveCampaign
  2. Email 2: Welcome to ActiveCampaign (from Jason VandeBoom)
  3. Email 3: Don’t forget your ActiveCampaign trial…
  4. Email 4: How can we help you?
  5. Email 5: Why not send a message?
  6. Email 6: What can automations do for you?
  7. Email 7: Need some help setting up an automation?
  8. Email 8: Avoid making this mistake with your marketing & sales solution
  9. Email 9: Unleash event-triggered messaging with the ActiveCampaign WordPress plugin
  10. Email 10: Let’s “stack” some apps…
  11. Email 11: Want to keep going with ActiveCampaign?

Broadcast Emails

The broadcast emails were ActiveCampaign’s “standard” newsletter emails — with topics ranging from product announcements to information about GDPR.An example of AC's broadcast emails

Sales Phone Calls

Ernie called Nathan four times in total, leaving similar messages offering help each time he called.

We were impressed that his first call came less than an hour after Nathan’s signup — a sign ActiveCampaign has a strong lead-follow-up sequence in place.

In sequence, Ernie’s calls came on:

  • Day 1
  • Day 4
  • Day 9
  • Day 12

Here are recordings of two of those voicemails (these are actually the third and fourth calls in the sequence).

Sales Emails

Ernie followed up with a voicemail after the first three emails, giving a very professional feel to the interactions.

That was true even though Ernie’s messages are almost certainly templates he uses over and over with new trial signups.Here are copies of all three messages:

  1. Sales Email No. 1
  2. Sales Email No. 2
  3. Sales Email No. 3

Main Takeaways:

  • 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.

4) Backend:

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.

Conference

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. ActiveCampaign conference CTA

Certified Consultant

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).

Design Services

Need help with the design of your emails? ActiveCampaign has design services offering to help for $395.

Marketplace

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.ActiveCampaign's own 3rd-party marketplace

Main Takeaways:

  • Conferences, training, consulting, and add-ons are other ways to increase revenue and LTV for SaaS companies. They can also help improve retention.

5) Continuity

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.

Main Takeaways:

  • 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:

  1. InfusionSoft
  2. MailChimp
  3. ClickFunnels
  4. Drip
  5. ConvertKit

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.

One of my favorite resources is MailChimp’s annual report on email marketing benchmarks.

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.Custom Research Example #1It’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:

  1. Segment new leads into buckets by asking them 5 questions during the sign-up process.
  2. Use this data to personalize and customize your emails, website and bot messages (and any other channels you might use)
  3. As you are more personal, people will perceive you as more relevant.
  4. If you’re more relevant, people will engage more.
  5. Getting the right people engaged will always result in higher sales conversions and more revenue.
  6. Automate the whole process and turn it evergreen.

Here’s an article that was just published on Forbes that describes Respect Based Marketing and I was also interviewed by more than 20 podcasts to talk about Respect-Based Marketing. Here’s one interview I did with Ash from Productive Insights.

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.Example of how I would change an AC emailSee 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:

  1. Getting marketing leads (people who are not ready yet for the trial)
  2. 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:

  1. Marketing Qualified: What does the perfect customer avatar needs to believe before she can sign-up for an ActiveCampaign trial?
  2. Sales Qualified: What does the perfect customer avatar needs to believe before she can become a paying customer?
  3. 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:

  1. Evergreen Email Sequences
  2. Evergreen Ad Retargeting Funnels (Facebook, GDN, YouTube..)
  3. Bot Sequences
  4. Communities (like Facebook groups)
  5. Phone calls
  6. Customer Success Webinars
  7. Etc..

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. Why I would add a promotional tripwire productThat 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. Example of AC's segmentation processWe 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.Overview of a relationship funnel in ActiveCampaignI’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:Awesome feedback for Respect-Based Marketing Conversion FunnelsExample 3:For ActiveCampaign, I would create an email sequence to install beliefs such as:

  • Belief 1: “Email is proven to have the highest ROI”
  • Belief 2: “Email automation doesn’t require computer science knowledge”
  • Belief 3: ..
  • Belief 4 ..
  • etc.

With those beliefs installed, people would be much more likely to accept an offer for a trial — when I finally offered it to them.

If you combine that with email engagement hooks like I describe in this article you will have a winning email sequence.

Final Thoughts and Next Steps

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…Download all the resources for this Conversion Funnel offerKnow Jason VandeBoom or want to let him know via email or Twitter that he should check out this article? You can do that here…

  1. Email Jason VandeBoom from ActiveCampaign (Click Here!)
  2. Tweet Jason VandeBoom from ActiveCampaign (Click Here!)

Thanks!

bastian-ernst-sig

[Breakdown]: How Gary Vaynerchuk Generates $100 Million Every Year With His Digital Marketing Funnel

Summary:

  1. [Tip 1]: Gary Vaynerchuk’s 100 Million Business Strategy Reverse-Engineered
  2. [Tip 2]: What VaynerMedia’s Digital Marketing Funnel Would Look Like If They Hired Me
  3. [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 sales funnel principles to their own products & businesses to increase conversion rates and revenue.

Side note:

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 through his sales funnel, you first need to understand why GaryVee does what he does.

You need to get the big picture…

I got this from an interview on Impact Theory:

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.GaryVee's Digital Marketing Funnel Social PlatformsCrazy, right?

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.

How Gary Vaynerchuk Monetizes His Audience

GaryVee wears a lot of hats, and his revenue streams are diversified. With this in mind, Gary’s monetization strategy and value ladders (for an overview of value ladders check out my VideoFruit case study) depend on the customer avatar, but he has 3 main segments & value propositions:

  1. Wantrepreneurs or current entrepreneurs (books, events, and consumer products like shoes)
  2. Small to medium-sized businesses (SMB consulting services at 10k a pop w/ an exclusive community “VaynerMentors”)
  3. Fortune 500 Marketing Clients for VaynerMedia (multi-million dollar marketing projects & retainers)

All of the marketing GaryVee does in his digital marketing funnel 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

Here’s how GaryVee approaches SMBs:

  1. Lead Magnet = His free entertaining, educational, and motivating content via social media.
  2. Frontend = Books (essentially repurposed blogs & talks at $10-$30 a pop).
  3. Core = VaynerMentors (10k consulting a mentorship program)
  4. Backend = Vayner Experience (Events & Conferences)

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.

Smart, right?

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.

Main Takeaways:

  • Pick your business’s best content medium and focus on that.
  • Tie your personal brand to your business if applicable.
  • Establish your value ladder.
  • Grow your brand through complementary diversification to reduce content load.

Download this article as a PDF to Save & Read Later

[Tip 2]: What VaynerMedia’s Digital Marketing 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:GaryVee's digital marketing funnel sidebar CTAOr you can sign up for his First in Line VIP messaging service:GaryVee's First In Line CTAThat’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.Wild Audience example CTA inside a blogOnce they click, a segmentation form appears.WA's digital marketing funnel segmentation formThe 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).

Or..

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:WA's digital marketing funnel survey segmentation questionMake sense?

Cool.

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:

  1. Channel #1: Evergreen Email Sequence
  2. Channel #2: Bot Sequence (separate from Gary’s First in Line)
  3. 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 by 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).

ActiveCampaign Lead ScoringThe 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 ActiveCampaign for all of our tracking & funnel triggers and love it.

This is our funnel tools stack to build a digital marketing funnel that converts at 8%Get all the tools we use to run our digital marketing funnel business

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.Digital Marketing Funnel Lead Scoring exampleThat 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?

I would…

  1. Continue optimizing for maximum exposure (encourage shareability).
  2. Use an evergreen newsletter (not broadcast style) with a mix of old and new content (increase frequency above more than 1 per week).
  3. Retarget existing audiences with new or unbought offers via TruView & Facebook.

Main Takeaways:

  • 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.Gary Vaynerchuk Instagram content exampleFacebook 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.Gary Vaynerchuk Digital Marketing Funnel Youtube ExampleThe 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:GaryVee's Keynote on FacebookGary 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:GaryVee mash-ups on SoundcloudThis 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 Vaynerchuk Digital Marketing Funnel Youtube to Pinterest Example

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.Gary Vaynerchuk Digital Marketing Funnel Youtube to Instagram ExampleHe 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.Instagram Stories exampleAnd 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.GaryVee on Facebook MessengerIt’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!).

Main Takeaways:

  • 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Take a look at your own digital marketing 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?
  5. 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.
  6. Enjoy the process 🙂

That’s it!

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 sales funnel, you should download all of the resources I’ve included.Download all the resources for this digital marketing funnel article hereAnd if you know GaryVee or think he should see this. Hit him up!

  1. Email Gary Vaynerchuk: (Click Here!)
  2. Tweet @ GaryVee: (Click Here!)

Thanks!

Until next time.

bastian-ernst-sig

[Breakdown]: How This 7-Figure Online Business (VideoFruit) Acquires New Leads And Customers with Smart Marketing

Summary:

  1. [Tip 1]: The 5-Step Value Ladder VideoFruit Bases Its Business On (& How You Can Too!)
  2. [Tip 2]: Step-By-Step Walkthrough Of VideoFruit’s Sales Funnel & Why They Are Killing It With Smart Marketing Tactics
  3. [Tip 3]: Three (Out Of Eleven) Suggestions I Would Implement For VideoFruit If I Would Work For Them

This article is for entrepreneurs who want to learn how an extremely successful online business – VideoFruit – operates to attracts 1000s of customers, generates millions in revenue and became an international role model for many inspiring entrepreneurs with smart marketing tactics.

Interested?

Let’s go!

But before I begin, let me say this..

I have never worked for or with VideoFruit or Bryan Harris (CEO of VideoFruit). Everything below is based on my own experience as a VideoFruit email subscriber and VideoFruit customer. VideoFruit is updating their marketing constantly, meaning what I share with you below might not be their most recent version.

Video Summary

This is a Facebook Live I did to showcase how VideoFruit operates

[Tip 1]: The 5-Step Value Ladder VideoFruit Bases Its Business On (& How You Can Too!)

Before building a sales funnel, you should understand the concept of the “value ladder”. I learned this really smart marketing 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:

  1. Lead Magnet = To get people into the door
  2. Frontend Funnel = To qualify buyers & decrease ROI time
  3. Core Funnel = To sell your main product/service
  4. Backend Funnel = To upsell existing customers & increase CLV
  5. Continuity Funnel = To generate recurring revenue

If you’re just starting out, only focus on Lead Magnet & Core Funnel. Everything else comes later.

What does VideoFruit’s value ladder look like?

  1. Lead Magnet: Blog & Free Tools
  2. Frontend Funnel: Rapid List Building
  3. Core Funnel: Get 10,000 Subscribers
  4. Backend Funnel: 10ksubs Elite
  5. Continuity Funnel: Slingshot

I took a screenshot from their Product Page which gives an almost perfect insight into their value ladder (only Continuity Funnel is missing).

Let’s talk about their offer structure real quick.

I’m sure you have noticed that VideoFruit is all about growing an email list (aka helping businesses to make money online with an email list).

There are multiple milestones to reach when growing an email list:

  1. 0-100 subscribers
  2. 100-1,000 subscribers
  3. 1,000-10,000 subscribers
  4. 10,000-100,000 subscribers

And their offer structure reflects that as well:

  1. 0-100 = Email Course ($0)
  2. 100-1,000 = Rapid List Building ($450)
  3. 1,000-10,000 = Get 10,000 Subscribers (Starts at $997)
  4. 10,000-100,000 = 10ksubs Elite ($4,950)
  5. Launching your product = Slingshot ($750/year)

Each milestone leads to the next one. And each product leads to the next product. That is how VideoFruit can offer the right product to the right person at the right stage in their business journey.

Very smart.

Let me now walk you through their sales funnel.

Main Takeaways:

  • Align your offer structure with your value ladder and journey of your customer
  • Help people ascent your value ladder by offering more value and in return generate more revenue per customer

Smart Marketing Article PDF Download Button

[Tip 2]: Step-By-Step Walk-Through Of VideoFruit’s Funnel & Why They Are Killing It With Smart Marketing

Now that you know their zoomed-out funnel strategy, it’s time to zoom in a little and explore VideoFruit’s sales funnel.

Let’s go!

1) Lead Magnet:

A lead magnet acts as a magnet to attract your ideal customer. It’s important to understand that a lead magnet acts not only as a magnet but also 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).

Videofruit Traffic Sources

So how does their lead magnets look like?

VideoFruit Blog:

They write awesome & actionable blog posts to attract people from Google, Referrals & Social Media.

This blog post for example.

With exact 8,000 words & 99 comments, countless of screenshots & awesome takeaways, this article seems to perform well.

If I search on google “how to launch an online course” (which is one of their main customer avatars), I can find their article on page 1.

Here are some traffic stats I pulled from SemRush.

Not too bad.

semRush VideoFruit traffic analytics

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 reads the article & is interested in its content, will naturally sign-up as the content upgrade is the logical next step.

It looks like this..

Videofruit Smart Marketing Lead Magnet CTA

Once you click that big “Download” image and sign-up, an automated email gets triggered & you get access to the blog post’s member’s area..

Videofruit member email from Bryan Harris

This marks the entry point into the VideoFruit world and their funnel will play out..

It could look like this..
(but if it really does is what I will write about in a bit..)

Blog -> Free Email Course -> Rabid List Building Course (Paid) ->  Get 10,000 Subscribers (Paid) -> Slingshot (Recurring Payment) -> Coaching (Recurring Payment)..

As I said, more about this in a bit.

What else does VideoFruit do to get people into their door?

They engineer lots of free tools to generate leads.

Free Tools To Generate Leads:

What’s the idea here?

Build free online tools that solve problems your ideal customers 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 called Pablo to create beautiful social media images.

Free tool example by Buffer

When building your own free tools, make sure to follow these simple rules:

  1. Give users an immediate payoff. It should only take seconds for them to actually get value from your tool.
  2. 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 end up with a problem.
  3. Give people something of real value. Even though the tool is free, people should see actual returns from using it.

So, what tools has VideoFruit engineered to generate leads for their business?

They have created a few free tools over the last few years:

  1. ListGoal
  2. SmartBribe
  3. Email Service Picker
  4. And a few more..

Let’s talk about ListGoal real quick.

Bryan Harris (CEO of VideoFruit) wants to sell his core offer which is (at the time I write this) Get 10,000 Subscribers (which is about growing an email list)

ListGoal is a chrome extension that monitors your email list growth & health. It also keeps track of your progress. Quite cool.

VideoFruit's uses smart marketing by releasing free tools like this email list counter

VideoFruit uses ListGoal to attract new people into their world (by launching ListGoal on ProductHunt for example) but also to engage & monitor their existing user base.

What I like the most (from a business point of view) is that in order to make ListGoal work, the user needs to connect the tool with his/her ESP (email tool).

This means that VideoFruit knows exactly the email list size of all their ListGoal users. This allows them to segment their user base and offer them the right products or service based on list size.

They can also use ListGoal to track the progress & success of their customers. Here are two things they could do with that:

  1. Monitor list growth of their customers and reach out to customers who reach certain milestones to create customer success case studies.
  2. Reach out to people who are not progressing and try to proactively help them to reduce refunds & churn.

Let’s continue with the frontend now..

Once someone enters the VideoFruit world through one of their lead magnets, what happens next?

Main Takeaways:

  • Create content upgrades that extend your blog posts to get people to enter your sales funnel.
  • If you have engineering power in your team, build small but useful free tools to solve annoying problems your ideal customer is experiencing. The goal of the tool is to attract the right kind of people (customer avatar) into your world so that you can then later sell them one of your products or services.

2) Frontend Funnel

A frontend funnel that sells a frontend product/service is not a must. In fact, if you’re just starting out, you should not focus on having a frontend funnel.

Instead, just create a lead magnet and build a core funnel to sell your core offer. That’s it. Only once this is working, introduce your frontend.

So, does VideoFruit have a frontend?

Well, VideoFruit chose to sell their core product (Get 10,000 Subscribers) through an open/close product launch model. This means they only allow people to buy their core product two times per year (spring and autumn).

The main problem with this decision is that they need to find a way to generate revenue between these launches.

And that is where their frontend product comes into play 🙂

Their frontend product is called Rapid List Building and costs $450.

This is the sales page.

Videofruit sales page

How do they sell that product?

Bryan created a free email course called “Jumpstart Your Email List”.

This email sequence consists of 6 emails to teach people how to grow from 0-100 email subscribers.

The goal of that email sequence is to establish a relationship, create trust and “ready” people to sell then Rapid List Building ($450) – which is their frontend product.

It’s important to understand that this free email course is 100% aligned with VideoFruit’s frontend product & core product.

Where does VideoFruit sell their frontend product?

Unfortunately, only through their Main Squeeze.
(I will comment on what they are missing out on in [Tip 3]..)

VideoFruit landing page

If you decide to opt-in on this page, the frontend funnel will get triggered. If you’re interested, you can have a look at all 6 emails here:

  1. Email 1
  2. Email 2
  3. Email 3
  4. Email 4
  5. Email 5
  6. Email 6

That’s it for now. I will feedback Bryan’s email sequence in [Tip 3].

Main Takeaways:

  • If you sell your core product through a product launch model (PLF style), you need to find a way to generate revenue between the launches. One way VideoFruit solves this problem is by selling an evergreen frontend product.
  • A frontend allows you to qualify your buyers. Some people need less time to make buying decisions. We want to give them the opportunity to pay us money through an evergreen frontend.
  • A frontend enables you to generate your ROI back faster. Depending on what you sell, sales cycles of core funnels can be quite long. Since frontend products are low-priced, you will be able to sell quantity which allows you to re-invest that money into growth again.

3) Core Funnel

How does VideoFruit sell their core offer (Get 10,000 Subscribers)?

That’s what I will reverse engineer now.

The core product is targeted for people who want to start growing an email list.

As I mentioned before, Bryan uses a launch-based sales process to sell this product. This means that two times a year, VideoFruit organizes a huge launch party for a couple of days. Only during that period, people can buy his product.

The reason he does that is because it creates a massive amount of urgency. Bryan has a big email list. Some people are true fans, some are customers of his frontend products, some people are active blog readers and some don’t have a relationship at all with VideoFruit & Bryan Harris.

Let’s assume Bryan’s email list is 100,000 email subscribers big. The questions Bryan was asking himself were something like:

  • Should I launch my product to my entire list?
  • Should I add someone who just joined my email list to my launch event?
  • Should I launch my product to a smaller segment of my email list?
  • Am I missing out on sales if I don’t launch to everyone?

So, how does Bryan solved these problems?

He created a free introductory course called “Audience From Scratch”. The goals of this course are:

  • Prepare people for the big launch event so that once he launches his product people are ready to buy.
  • By offering this free course he can identify the engaged people on his list. This segment will then be the segment he will launch his core product to.
  • “Audience From Scratch” (AFS) is the introductory product to “Get 10,000 subscribers” (Get 10k). Someone who is interested in AFS will automatically qualify as interested in Get10k.
  • This allows him to be hyper-relevant as he only promotes his core product to people who actually show interest. People who’re not ready yet, won’t be part of that sales event (launch).

Bryan sends out six AFS emails to set the stage:

  1. AFS Email 1 (Lesson 1)
  2. AFS Email 2
  3. AFS Email 3 (Lesson 2)
  4. AFS Email 4
  5. AFS Email 5 (Lesson 3)
  6. AFS Email 6 (Live Office Hours)

These 6 emails prepare people for the real launch event which included a few emails:

  1. Email 1 (Open Doors & 15% Discount)
  2. Email 2 (Features)
  3. Email 3 (Webinar Invite)
  4. Email 4 (Closing Doors)
  5. Email 5 (Final Call)

If you’re interested in learning about their entire launch, you can read Bryan’s blog post here.

The question now is: How does VideoFruit communicate with its audience between the two launches? How do they establish relationships & create trust?

VideoFruit uses a very cool 4-part communication strategy..

Every Friday VideoFruit sends out a newsletter to its email list. This results in one email a week and around 4 emails a month. Friday is VideoFruit email day and I, as their subscriber, know this & expect an email from them.

This is VideoFruit’s newsletter strategy:

Every month, VideoFruit announces a new topic to talk about.

In the first email of the month, Bryan announces the topic of the month and shares some cool stats & results (based on their own experiments).

Check out email 1: Test Result Email

The second email is all about giving value without asking for anything. This usually happens in form of a free PDF or video to teach something cool.

Check out email 2: Asset Bundle Email

The third email introduces a new free tool that helps to solve the problem VideoFruit is talking about that month. They build & launch new tools every single month and they offer them for free. Not everyone has the resources to build their own tools. You could also link to other tools on the market instead.

Check out email 3: Free Tool Email

The fourth email is an invitation to a webinar. The webinar has a pitch at the end to sell a product that is related to the month’s topic. By looking through their emails of the last couple of months, I can tell that they didn’t run a webinar every single month. If they don’t, they usually link again in email 4 to their new free tool.

Check out email 4: Webinar Email

If you want to learn more about VideoFruit’s content strategy, you can watch this video.

Main Takeaways:

  • As VideoFruit sells their core product through open/close launch model, they needed to find a way to engage the audience in between launches. They use a very cool 4-part content strategy to communicate with their audience on a weekly basis.
  • To find the right segment to launch your product or service to, you could create a small introductory product and then only launch your product to people who show interest for that pre-launch product.
  • A pre-launch product allows you to find “hot leads”, become more relevant and decrease email unsubscribe rate.

4) Backend

The goal here is to increase revenue & profits from existing customers. It’s always easier to sell to an existing customer again than selling to a person who has never bought from you before.

That’s why you want to cross-sell related products/services or offer upsells in form of upgraded features or packages.

VideoFruit runs a coaching service for people who want 1:1 attention to grow their business.

This is a high-ticket service with lots of value positioned at the top of their value ladder. With higher value comes also a higher price.

  1. Lead Magnet: Blog & Free Tools ($0)
  2. Frontend Funnel: Rapid List Building ($450)
  3. Core Funnel: Get 10,000 Subscribers (around $1,000)
  4. Backend Funnel: 10ksubs Elite ($4,950)
  5. Continuity Funnel: Slingshot ($750/year)

VideoFruit sells their coaching service for $4,950.
(according to their product page..)

This means they need to change the selling environment. It will be hard to sell that service through a simple text-based sales page or a webinar as this service costs a lot of money.

People who consider purchasing this service want to talk to a real person. That is why the sales environment gets changed from a sales page/webinar to a “Strategy Call”.

Smart Marketing: VideoFruit's Strategy Call CTA

This “Strategy Call” has two goals:

  1. Qualify the prospect
  2. Close the prospect if it’s a good fit

There are two ways how VideoFruit promotes their coaching service:

  1. Personal upsell email
  2. 3-Part Email Sequence

The personal email they send looks like this..
(click here to see the full email..)

The content of the email is personalized to existing Get 10,000 Subscriber customers and the call-to-action is to jump on a free strategy call.

The second way is a 3-step email funnel. It looks like this:

Main Takeaways:

  • Send personalized emails to existing customers to upsell a backend product. VideoFruit sends these emails from their ESP. What we do at Wild Audience is to send these “Free Strategy Call Invite Emails” via a Gmail Zapier Hack. You can learn more about it in this article.
  • Use case studies to sell your high-ticket services or products.
  • Change the selling environment from a standard sales page to a personal 1:1 call. Qualify first to see if the prospect is a good fit or not. A strategy call or sales call works well to handle objections.

5) Continuity

Recurring revenue is the holy grail of business. It’s probably one of the best business models ever invented.

The goal of the continuity funnel (I learned this term from Russell Brunson) is to generate recurring revenue.

This could be in form of:

  • Software (SaaS)
  • Service Container (if you run an agency or if you’re a coach/consultant)
  • Subscription

VideoFruit generates recurring revenue with two of their offers:

  1. Slingshot ($750/year)
  2. Coaching Services

Let’s talk about Slingshot.

Slingshot helps you plan & run a launch to sell your product or service. The product is the logical next step for everyone who is a Get 10,000 Subscribers customer. Because once you know how to grow your email list, you – of course – want to monetize your list and make money.

I will show you two different ways how VideoFruit sells Slingshot to generate recurring revenue:

  • Discount Funnel
  • Webinar Funnel

Discount Funnel

The discount campaign is a 2-step email sequence to sell Slingshot and offers a 50% discount to all Get 10,000 Subscribers customers. Here’s a summary of the funnel:

  1. 2 Emails
    1. Email 1
    2. Email 2
  2. Video
  3. PDF
  4. Checkout Page

The idea here is to first provide value through Bryan’s video about automated email sequences and then lead to his product Slingshot which actually helps people to build such an email sequence and then launch their product.

To make it a no-brainer decision, Bryan offers a 50% discount offer for a “limited time only”. This is actually a lie. It’s fake urgency as this offer is still available here.

Webinar Funnel:

This is how the webinar funnel looks like:

  1. Blog Post
  2. 4 Emails
    1. Email 1 (Intro to the blog post)
    2. Email 2 (Webinar Invite)
    3. Email 3 (Webinar Reminder)
    4. Email 4 (Pitch + Discount)
  3. Webinar
  4. Offer: $500 instead of $750 plus some other resources for free

Main Takeaways:

  • VideoFruit uses two different conversion methods to get people to buy Slingshot. This is a great approach as some people prefer to watch a webinar and others prefer to read emails.
  • VideoFruit uses discount codes quite heavily (especially for existing customers) to cross-sell more products.
  • VideoFruit uses fake-scarcity to sell their product. I’m not a big fan and would not suggest doing that as this will impact your trust status with your audience.

Download all of VideoFruit's tools

[Tip 3]: Three (Out Of Eleven) Suggestions I Would Implement For VideoFruit If I Would Work For Them

It’s time to share what I would do differently if they would hire me. I have discovered 11 improvement ideas VideoFruit could consider. But in order to not explode the length of this article (& respect your time), I will only share 3 suggestions for now.

Let’s go!

Smart Marketing Suggestion 1: Add A Segmentation Process

VideoFruit offers all kinds of products/services from email marketing to hiring and copywriting.

Being relevant and personal is a prerequisite of getting the right people engaged. Getting the right people engaged will always (always always) result in higher sales conversions and more revenue

You can read my article “7 Engagement Techniques To Increase Sales Funnel Conversion Rate” to learn more about how to get your audience engaged.

In order to be relevant & personal, you first need to know your people. This is done through a segmentation process.

Here’s how VideoFruit could do that..

Lead-Bucketing Opt-In:

Instead of just asking for email + first name, they could ask a question first to get to know the new lead better: “What’s your biggest problem?”.

I first saw this being implemented by Ryan Levesque (Ask Method). Here’s a screenshot of how we implement this at Wild Audience..

A person has to answer the first question first to then be able to enter their email address.

Onboarding Interview:

After someone signs-up, this person will arrive on a sign-up confirmation page. On this page, we have embedded a second segmentation interview. It’s five questions long and has the goal to collect data so that we can personalize the experience inside our emails, bot messages & on our website pages.

Example of Wild Audience's survey questions

We get around 50% of the people to also complete this survey. Here’s a screenshot of our data of an onboarding survey for cold leads that came in through a Facebook ad (cold audience).

Suggestion 2: Add People Who Opt-In Through A Blog Post To A Frontend Funnel

VideoFruit adds people who read one of their blog posts and then signs-up through a content upgrade directly to their weekly newsletter (at the time I write this).

Here’s what I would do instead:

Segment people (lead opt-in bucketing & onboarding survey) after they sign-up through the content upgrade (as I suggested above) and then add them into an RBS (Relationship Builder Sequence) to establish a relationship, create trust and install buying beliefs.

Once this is accomplished, you would add them to a conversion event (sales page, webinar, VSL..) to sell a frontend product based on data they collected during the onboarding interview. This allows you to systematically establish a relationship (through an RBS), generate revenue and make your ROI back faster.

Only after they went through that mini-funnel I would add them into the weekly email newsletter.

Suggestion 3: Four Ways How VideoFruit Could Improve Their Email Automation & Rock It

I will now feedback VideoFruit’s evergreen email automation called “Jumpstart Your Email List”.

No Images & Social Proof :

VideoFruit’s first email doesn’t have a single image (link to email 1). I tell my clients to add one social proof image per email. This is especially important in the first email as this sets the stage for everything that comes after. I, for example, place three social proof images in email #1. Have a look at two out three social proof screenshots..

WA's Sales Funnel Social Proof

And here’s the second one..

That’s how you set the stage.

VideoFruit has amazing social proof but they don’t use its full potential in my opinion. Here’s how they do it (I took a screenshot of their social proof in email #1)..

Micro-Investments & How VideoFruit Could Use Them:

The goal of micro-investments is to increase the lead’s investment into you over time so that once the prospect sees your offer (which is your big request), they have already said “yes” a few times via micro-investments.

You want to increase your request over time so that your big request (offer) doesn’t seem that big anymore once presented.

VideoFruit asks people to fill out a worksheet at the end of their emails. Bryan borrowed this technique from Brennan Dunn I believe.

When it comes to requests, I always lead with the question..

“What’s in for the reader”?

You want to make it as easy as possible to complete the request and at the same time make the ROR (return of request) as big as possible (value they get).

In my opinion, the worksheet seems pretty “boring” as there is not enough in for the reader. Here’s what I would do instead..

In the first email, I would place a small micro investment: Get your people to respond with one single word. We ask our people to respond with “ready”.

If they complete this step and respond with “ready”, you want to reward them. Here’s what I do..

Reply to be ready engagement technique

People who respond “ready” are getting rewarded with three welcome gifts & have higher chances to engage throughout your sales funnel as they already micro-invested into you.

In email #2, VideoFruit offers another worksheet.

People can submit an answer but then that’s it. It doesn’t have much of an exciting element. What they could do instead is cliffhanger from their email into a video and continue the story there.

Email -> Video (that extends the email) -> Button to go a level “deeper”.

Here’s how I implement that..

Continuing the email story with a relevant video

Email -> Video -> Bot.

This process is something that I call Funnels In Funnels (FIF). It allows people who want to engage with you to go deeper.

Add Personality To Every Email

What I’m missing in Bryans’ emails is personality. Don’t get me wrong. Bryan has a very “Bryan way of writing” and I love it. But what I have seen is that people have an eye for details.

They love if you put a picture of yourself at the end of the email. Like I do for example..

Another smart marketing tactic people love is discovering Easter eggs in the P.S. section of an email. Or enjoying funny quotes in your email footer..

Let’s Spice Up Those Cliffhangers

The cliffhanger is one of the main vehicles to get people to open & engage with your next email. Just think about how your favorite TV series ends.

Yes, exactly. That is called a cliffhanger. It’s the reason why you can’t stop watching House Of Cards.

You want to use the same mechanism at the end of your emails. Because if you do, you might end up getting people to respond to your emails like that..

Let’s look at the cliffhanger of email two of VideoFruit’s email sequence:

“In the next lesson I’m going to show you how to start building your list by using the Testimonial Hack. This strategy can get you featured to thousands of potential subscribers and single-handedly jump start your list.”

Hmn. Not bad but a little boring if you ask me 😉

Instead, try this..

I’m sure you can relate..

You buy this really cool new product and you love it so much that you tell all your friends about it..

Right?

Well, I don’t.

This one day I gave the product creator direct feedback instead..

.. And this changed everything.

Here’s what happened..

I surprisingly got 780 new email subscribers in just 3 short days and made just over $10,500.

I know crazy, no?

Well how I did that and how you can do the same is what I’m going to show you in my next email.

Talk soon!

That’s a bit better, no?

🙂

Next Steps..

There are a few more things I would improve if I would be in charge of VideoFruit’s evergreen funnels..

  1. I’d add Frequency Selectors at the end of each email to decrease ROI time & increase engagement
  2. I’d create email lessons that cliffhanger from the email into a video on a landing page on the VideoFruit website (some people like text, some video)
  3. I’d use Funnels In Funnels (FIF) more often so that people who want to engage have the chance to go deeper and an offer can be made faster
  4. I’d add a different conversion event at the end of the evergreen email sequence to give people another medium (instead of text-based emails I’d use a video-based webinar) to increase sales conversions
  5. etc…

And with that, I would like to end this article.

I hope you found it valuable & educational.

I hope this helps you be a smart marketer.

I tried my best 🙂

If you want to move on (& go deeper), I’d suggest to downloading all the resources that come with this article..Download all the resources related to this articleAnd if you know Bryan or want to let him know via email or Twitter that he should check out this article, you can do that below..

  1. Email Bryan Harris from VideoFruit (Click Here!)
  2. Tweet Bryan Harris from VideoFruit (Click Here!)

Thanks!

And talk soon.

bastian-ernst-sig

[Guide]: 7 Engagement Techniques To Increase Your Sales Funnel’s Average Conversion Rate

Quick Summary

I’m going to cover 7 engagement techniques that increase your average conversion rate. Have a look and see if you’re interested or not..

1) Click-To-Continue CTA

2) Email Frequency Selector

3) Gmail-Zapier Hack

4) Activation Hook

5) (Automated) Welcome Video

6) Open Loops & Cliffhangers

7) 5 Question Interview

A sales funnel is the core engine behind your online business or startup.

That’s for sure.

What Is The Problem?

But the three main problems people (you!) always face are..

1) I don’t have an automated sales funnel for my business. But I need one
2) I don’t have enough traffic. I need more
3) My sales funnel’s average 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, 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.rf conversion rateA sales funnel conversion rate of 8.66% from email subscriber to paying customer.(they sell German language courses..)

Almost 9%.

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.

This is what the Relationship Funnel looks like..

The relationship funnel template

I’ve written a 5,000 word ebook about how the Relationship Funnel works. You can download it below if you’re interested.How the Relationship Funnel Works eBookIn 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 Average Conversion Rate

RBS = Relationship Builder Sequence

It’s an email automation.

And the RBS has the following characteristics..

  • Permission-based.
  • Behavior-based.
  • Story-based.
  • 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’s average 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..)daniel funnel probs smallHere are 52 more of these screenshots. Have a look. (at the time I write this ..)

Goal:

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 #1
  • Email #2
  • Email #3 – Call To Action: Click this link to get email #4
  • 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.

Template:

Have a look at this screenshot of the P.S. section of my third email in my email sequence.Click-to-continue engagement technique exampleSee 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 (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 (ActiveCampaign) to see how many people who sign up here actually click the continue link in email #3. I got these numbers..Email Click-through Rate of 36.63%36.63%.

Not too bad considering that the average click-through rate is 2-3% according to MailChimp’s Email Benchmark Report.

That’s more than 10X the average click-through rate. Just saying 😉

Difficulty to implement:

=> Easy

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 ..Email tag storytelling technique4) Done!

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.

Goal:

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.

Template:

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)..Email frequency selector example

should you use this?

The answer is engagement. This gets people really engaged.. Have a look at this screenshot of my Tagging Dashboard ..Tagging dashboard read and click rates (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..RBS engagement statsI’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 to 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.

3) If the link doesn’t get clicked within two days, the next email gets sent automatically. ActiveCampaign automation technique example4) 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.

Goal:

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).
  • $1 trial.
  • 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.
  • Link to your FAQs or any other resources.
  • Customer testimonials. Have a look at this epic customer testimonial page.

Template:

Here’s the Gmail-Zapier Hack in action ..gmail zapier hack

Why should you use this?

  • The email comes across as super personal. There is no unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email.
  • People that hit your lead score threshold (for example: visited your sales page two times) are clearly interested in what you have to offer. This is the perfect time to attempt the sale.
  • The lead score threshold defines a lead as super hot. There is no better time to sell than now.
  • Personally, I use a strategy call. It works really well. You first solve the lead’s most important problem (add value) and then you move on to qualifying the lead and closing the deal.
  • A strategy call allows you to add value before any money has changed hands (aka the strategy of preeminence).
  • 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.

This is my automation in ActiveCampaign ..gmail zapier hack implementationAnd this is what the Zapier implementation looks like..zapier gmail4) Your lead now has a personal email in her inbox and thinks that you sent it manually to her/him. Pretty awesome!

5) Done!

Tutorial video on implementing our Gmail Zapier Hack

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?

Goal:

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:

  1. 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).
  2. Tell them exactly how to respond. I tell my people to respond with “ready”. Simple. Response rate will be higher than option #1.

Template:

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”.”email automation readyAnd 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 (ActiveCampaign) to see what my response rate was ..

And this is what I found ..Hook Response Rate of 17.68%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.chartAlternatively, 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..mubaid 76 click rateThat’s pretty awesome 🙂

So why should you care about all of this?

And why should you use the Activation Hook?

Two reasons..

Reason #1:

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.

Reason #2:

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.

Simple.

Difficulty to implement:

=> Easy

What are the steps to implement this?

  1. Go to your ESP and open your first email.
  2. Copy my template above.
  3. Add it to your first email.
  4. Done!

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 ..

Goal:

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..welcome email automation

Why should you use this?

The video is a personal welcome message to your new subscriber. If you want to see an example, feel free to have a look here.

Difficulty to implement:

=> Medium

What are the steps to implement this?

1) Record a quick welcome video (1 minute).
2) Upload it to Wistia/YouTube/Vimeo/Facebook.
3) Create a quick landing page and add your video (Here’s an example)
4) Go to your ESP and set up reply tracking for your first email in your email automation. Every advanced email system can do this (ActiveCampaign, InfusionSoft, ConvertKit, Drip etc).email reply tracking5) Create a new automation. Every time someone replies to this first email, trigger an automated email with the link to your welcome video.email automation ready AC6) Done!

Small Fish Response:

If you’re still small and only attract a few subscribers every day, have a look at this. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it 🙂

Goal:

When I first started out, I personally responded to every single new email subscriber who replied with “ready”. People LOVED it. Here’s what I did ..

I recorded a personal video for each email subscriber that responded with “ready” ..

This is the email I sent ..email response manualAnd here’s the video I recorded (1min) ..

Depending on what information I had available, I opened the lead’s ..

  • Twitter/LinkedIn profile.
  • Website.

Why should you use this?

They will be incredibly impressed by your effort. No one does that. Do this at the beginning whilst you still can. It pays off big time – especially at the beginning.

Difficulty to implement:

=> Easy

What are the steps to implement this?

  1. Here are two free chrome extensions you can use to quickly record videos of yourself + your screen. The video can be uploaded to YouTube and/or Google Drive.
    1. Loom (here’s their website for more information)
    2. Screencastify (here’s their website for more information)
  2. Record your video response.
  3. Paste the link to your video into your email.
  4. Done!

And here’s another small but powerful relationship hack ..

Email Relationship Hack:

This little “relationship hack” helps you to..

  • Save time.
  • Type less.
  • Come across as very personal.
  • Move the needle for leads who are on the fence.

Goal:

If you get an email from a subscriber or a long question, record a quick video of yourself and send them a link to your video instead of typing a long answer.

Here’s an example of me answering one of my email subscribers questions (he’s not a customer yet) into the Wild Audience Facebook Group.

Have a look ..Personal video email hackNotice that he can see his own website in the screenshare. It shows that I take the time. It shows that I care.

That simple.

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.keri caring subscribers

Difficulty to implement:

=> Easy

What are the steps to implement this?

  1. Use the two free chrome extensions I already shared. Here they are again ..
    1. Loom (here’s their website for more information).
    2. Screencastify (here’s their website for more information).
  2. Record your video response.
  3. Paste the link to your video into your email.
  4. Done!

If you want to learn how to attract the right people and turn them into paying customers using relationship marketing and sales funnel automation, then click on the image below.

Use this download button to learn how to attract people and turn them into customers!

6) Open loops & Cliffhangers

Think about your favorite TV show now.

You got it in your mind?

House of Cards, Gilmore Girls, Breaking Bad .. Hack, even Gossip Girl..

Each TV series exists of a few episodes.

Now, think about how each episode ends..

Yep, exactly. That’s what a cliffhanger is.

Think about the last paragraph of a chapter in your favorite book.

That’s a cliffhanger too.

A cliffhanger is a story element with a strong element of suspense. It’s when you leave your audience hanging.

Goal:

Your goal is simple but not easy. You want your email subscribers to be waiting for your next email.

That’s what you want. Have a look at this screenshot..landon cliffhangerThat’s the result of a cliffhanger well executed. I’ll show you how you do that in a second ..

Template:

Here’s a screenshot of the end section of one of my RBS emails to demonstrate how to use cliffhangers.cliffhanger email marketing

Why should you use this?

1) A cliffhanger employed at the end of your email can tease about the next email by revealing just enough information to get strong emotional reactions from your email subscribers.Nick cliffhanger2) A cliffhanger is a story element that appeals to something so deeply seated in the human mind that we can not resist it.

3) Whenever the human brain is presented with an open loop (an unfinished idea, thought, or story) .. our brains seek closure.

4) Authors use it all the time to tease the next chapter or book.

5) TV Show creators and Hollywood movie directors use it all the time.

6) The concept of the cliffhanger is borrowed from Hollywood and implemented in my emails. You should do that too.

Difficulty to implement:

This is more art than science. There is no technical difficulty to implement cliffhangers in your email sequence. But a cliffhanger done wrong is a problem. Be warned.

What are the steps to implement this?

  1. Write your email’s main body content.
  2. Place a cliffhanger at the end of your email. See screenshot above.
  3. Continue your next email where you left your reader hanging in the previous email.
  4. Done!

 7) The 5 Question Interview

This is not so sexy.

But it’s (or should be) the foundation of every funnel.

So what is a 5 Question Interview?

The goal of this interview is to ask a bunch of questions in order to collect a bunch of data.

Why?

You want to get to know your leads ..

You want to understand ..

  1. Who they are.
  2. What they do.
  3. What their problems are.
  4. What they want to learn from you (how you can help them).

This is how it works ..

  1. People sign up with their email address (for example from your blog post).
  2. They get an email to confirm their email address (double opt-in).
  3. They click the link. Link goes to the 5 Question Interview.
  4. They answer the questions (3 to 5 questions).
  5. After they’re done, they get access to whatever they signed up for.
  6. Done.

And here’s a gif to show you what a 5 Question Interview could look like ..3 question interview typformHere’s a “dummy example” of a 5 Question Interview, in case you’re interested.(no email signup required ..)

These are the questions you could ask your subscribers ..

  1. How did you first hear about [INSERT YOUR COMPANY]?
  2. What do you do?
  3. What are your problems?
  4. What is your website?
  5. What do you want to learn/improve/work on in the next 30 days?

The 5 Question Interview doesn’t have to have 5 questions. I usually recommend 3-5 questions.

Keep it short.

Keep it relevant.

I use dynamic questions. So based on what a subscriber answers to my question, I show her a different next question. Relevancy is key my friend.

I use SurveySlam to implement all of this.

Remember this client of mine?rf conversion rateHow do they use the 5 Question Interview to achieve a sales funnel conversion rate of almost 9%?

Well, they sell German language courses for different levels ..

  • Beginners.
  • Intermediate.
  • Advanced.

It doesn’t make sense to sell an advanced product to a beginner.

Right?

That is why they use the 5 Question Interview to ..

  1. Figure out their level of German.
  2. Understand what part of their German they want to improve (speaking, reading etc ..)
  3. Find out how they would like to study German (online course, 1:1 calls, local language school).
  4. Subscribe them to the right and most relevant email funnel to teach them German.
  5. And then sell them the right product down the line.

The 5 Question Interview allows you to be relevant.

And relevancy is key nowadays.

If you’re not relevant, you lose your subscriber’s attention. And once attention is gone, it is gone for good.

Always remember that.

Alright.

That’s it 🙂

These are my 7 favorite ways to increase engagement in my sales funnel to ultimately increase my average conversion rate.

I hope you enjoyed it.

If you want to receive all the resources mentioned in this article..

  1. Relationship Funnel Implementation Ebook (37 pages).
  2. Automation Template (Email Frequency Selector).
  3. Video Walk-Through of the Gmail-Zapier Hack.
  4. High Quality Sales Funnel Graphic.

.. Then I suggest you to click on the image below and enter your first name and email address.

Over to you now.

Download this article's resources here!

[Guide]: 8 Steps To Build The Best Sales Funnel Ever

Quick Summary

I always provide a quick summary at the beginning of my blog post so that you can decide if this article is for you or not.

Follow these steps in this particular order to build the best sales funnel ever ..

1) Write a blog post, which is highly related to your paid product/service.

2) Promote this blog post with a couple of promotion techniques (which I explain below) to get people to read it.

3) Convert readers into email subscribers through content upgrades.

4) Retarget everyone with Facebook Ads who don’t convert through your content upgrade. Offer a lead magnet (like an ebook)

5) Use a Relationship Builder Sequence (RBS) to send 7-10 free lessons to new email subscribers. The goal of the RBS is to build trust and establish a relationship with new leads.

6) Once trust & relationship is created, send them to your sales page and sell your online course.

7) Include upsells to increase your customer lifetime value.

8) Use Facebook ads to retarget email subscribers who read your sales page but haven’t purchased yet.

Do you want the step-by-step instructions to implement this funnel? Cool 🙂 Let’s jump right into the good stuff. This is for three kinds of entrepreneurs ..

  1. For people who run online businesses
  2. For people who already sell their own online course.
  3. For people who want to sell their own online course in the near future.

Is that you? Good. Because you’re at the right place, my friend ..

The Relationship Funnel

The Relationship Funnel is the sales funnel I’m going to walk you through today ..

Step-by-step.

It’s the funnel I personally use to pull new leads into my sphere of influence and sell my products.

Notice that the Relationship Funnel is an evergreen sales funnel. It’s not a launch-based funnel ala PLF.

After you’re done reading this article, you’ll have new inspiration & instructions on how to replicate a Relationship Funnel for your own online business.

Sound like a good deal?

Here we go ..

[Sales Funnel Guide] 8 Steps To Build The Best Funnel Ever

The Relationship Funnel.

Do you know what the cool thing about this funnel is ..?

It’s evergreen. You set it up once. You make sure everything works. And it runs on autopilot.

I’ll now zoom in and dive into the details of this 4-system (& 7 step) funnel and show you how you can build the same sales funnel for your own online course.Download the Relationship Funnel Graphic PDF Here

1) Write a Blog Post to Pull new Leads into your Sales Funnel

Promise me something first ..

Your goal is to provide value right up front. Before money has changed hands. Before the reader has opted-in with her email address .. Just pure educational awesomeness ..

OK?

This is called the Strategy of Preeminence by Jay Abraham. It’s how I run my entire business 🙂 I tell you more about it and why this is important a bit later.

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).

Make sense?

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 ..

  1. You can receive super helpful feedback from fellow group members.
  2. 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. A facebook group post showing my audience-first strategy blog 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 .. promote-blog-post-facebook-group 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. Facebook Groups Google Analytics traffic 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 ..

  1. Get your hands on my Google Spreadsheet below (to manage your FB groups outreach ..)
  2. Research 1 FB group in your niche
  3. Join the group
  4. Use the “Related Groups” feature in Facebook to find more groups
  5. Find another 10 groups and join them
  6. Wait until you get approved to join the groups
  7. Research the FB group admin (you’ll find him/her under members)
  8. Reach out to the admin and ask for approval to share your blog post in the group
  9. If yes, post your blog post link + educational text
  10. If no, move on
  11. Repeat the process until you reach around 100 groups on your spreadsheet
  12. 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.Get the Facebook Groups Outreach Management SpreadsheetAnd 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! community-platforms-content-promotion-inboundorg 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.

Here’s an example..

Someone asked “How do you segment your email list?” in this InboundOrg post ..

Since I’m mega passionate about advanced email automation, 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.

Next ..

  • 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 .. Inbound content outreach example on Twitter And after someone upvoted, I showed my appreciation and thanked them .. how-to-get-upvoted-on-inboundorg 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?

Cool 🙂

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. Facebook ads objective explanation 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 ..

  1. 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)
  2. 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.

Why?

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). How to exclude customers in the Facebook ads portion of your funnel 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.

Ok ..?

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. Using interest targeting on Facebook Ads to narrow your audience 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. drive-traffic-marketing-funnel My personal experiments showed that targeting mobile devices is cheaper than desktop. But you need to test this for yourself.

How?

Create one campaign with two ad sets. One for mobile only. Then just duplicate this ad set and target desktop devices. Sales funnel test ad set examples 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 .. facebook-ad-online-course 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..

Well.

Read on to see what’s happening next 🙂

3) Convert Readers into Email Subscribers with Content Upgrades

Listen up..

This is a key paragraph. Why is it important to get people onto your email list?

Well.

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.

But ..

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.

Let me explain ..

How does a Content Upgrade work?

You can check out this blog article of mine on audience-first strategies (444 shares as I write this) where I use two content upgrades (look for the 2 black rectangles ..).

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?

Good.

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” .. Creating custom audiences for your sales funnel evergreen-facebook-ads-funnel 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 .. Excluding certain audiences when retargeting with Facebook retarget-blog-readers-with-facebook-ads 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?

Good 🙂

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?

But ..

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 ..”. A retargeting ad example within our sales funnel This is the structure of my ad ..

  1. Ask a question? (to get attention)
  2. Tell the user exactly what she will get
  3. More details
  4. 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 .. fb-landing-page 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.

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 or ActiveCampaign (the one I use and love). Take a look at my RBS .. Sales funnel overview in Active Campaign for our online marketing course

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.

Never.

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 .. pam-new-web 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 .. 🙂 relationship-funnel-craziness Or this one is even better 🙂 Awesome social proof of Wild Audience's marketing online course 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 .. sell-with-email-marketing 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 .. Upsell funnel overview graphic 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 .. how-to-get-new-customers-with-facebook-ads

(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!

It’s time for action.

Baby. 🙂Download this article's resourcesSee you on the other side ..

Thanks, You rock!

Bastian - Founder of Wild Audience / the sales funnel guy

The “Audience First Strategy” To Start Companies Without Investors And Money

Attention: This approach is for people who want to start companies & launch products.

Here is the 3 Line Summary of this Article:

  1. Adopt an audience-first strategy and use it to build a “minimum viable audience” (MVA) through education.
  2. Build a “minimum viable product” (MVP) together with your audience.
  3. Scale your startup after “product-market fit” (PMF).

That’s it.

That is the Big Picture Overview.

If you’re only here for the key takeaway .. you can leave now 🙂

ah, wait!

One more thing: Check out this screenshot of Morgan Brown’s tweet ..Morgan Brown Minimum Viable Product Tweet

brilliant 🙂

If you want the details .. stick with me ..

It gets better.

The strategy I am going to reveal to you is nothing new. Many entrepreneurs have already built successful companies with exactly this strategy.

(the only new thing is the name. I baptized this startup-building approach “Education First. Startup Second.” Or in short: EFSS)

🙂

Already built your company and want to discover how to acquire customers and profit at scale?

Go to our post on sales funnels that automate relationships and get conversion rates between 6-8%.

Important Announcement:

I’m going to publicly announce how I will start my tech-startup.

I’ll share my plan, roadmap and reasons with you.

Read on to get the full details.

Why “Audience First”?

If everyone zigs..

..Better zag.

Remember?

Many of my friends start companies. But fail.

In fact..

The CEO of Business Insider places the success rate of Y Combinator startups at 10% or less.Startup success rate = 10%The CEO of Dropbox once said..

..You need to build 10 companies to get one BIG hit.

10 companies?

I thought there must be a better way.

And that is why I’m using a different approach..

I’ll use the approach “Education First. Startup Second.”.

I build an audience first (through education). And only second I start my startup.

Let’s get started.

Who already used an Audience-First Strategy & succeeded?

I’m going to share with you 4 stories of how 4 different CEOs got started.

All of them used an audience-first strategy (some of them unintentionally).

Alright .. Let’s dive in.

1) Nathan Barry – ConvertKit

Let me introduce you to Nathan. I look up to this guy!

He is the author of a book called Authority, which I read and love!

He published multiple online courses about design & marketing strategy.

And now ..

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 🙂

Anyhoo ..

This is what Nathan did:

  1. He provided free education through his blog.
  2. He made money with online courses.
  3. He wrote a book to establish himself as an authority.
  4. 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!)Convert Kit's Audience First Strategy Revenue NumbersTo 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

Sounds a lot like an audience-first strategy 🙂

2) Jason Fried – 37signals & Basecamp

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

3) Ryan Hoover – Product Hunt

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 ..Audience first strategy example with Product Hunt

“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

4) Rand Fishkin – MOZ

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 ..

Want me to continue..?

Naa ..

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.

Now ..

Let me share with you how I will execute “Education First. Startup Second.”.

Ready?

This is going to be good 🙂

Who should use an Audience-First Strategy?

This is not for people who already run a successful business.

No.

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 ..

  1. I don’t know what software to build.
  2. I don’t have a (tech) team.
  3. 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.

Now.

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.

BIG time.

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.

But.

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?

lol.

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 ..).

4) Book

Establish yourself as an authority. Build trust. Get speaking engagements. Get press. Write for publications.

Now.

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?

Behavior-Based Email-Automation.

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.

It’s your job to provide value through education.

It’s your job to build trust.

So in my case ..

People sign up because they would like to learn how to build a sales funnel for their online business ..wild-audienceOnce they sign up, it’s my job to create trust and build a relationship with them.

With you? 🙂

And I do this by sending my new subscribers bite-sized lessons via email about the topic they signed up for.

This is called a Relationship Builder Sequence or in short RBS.Audience first strategy email sequence drawingDo you see “E1”, “E2” ect ..?

These are emails.

And all these emails are part of one big email sequence. (RBS #1)

All these emails are automated and behavior based.

Behavior-based?

Yes 🙂

If one of your subscribers reads a blog post about SEO and then clicks a link about SEO in your email .. (look at E2 in the graphic above)

You know something very important ..

This person is interested in SEO and it is your chance to teach that person about SEO.

And that is when RBS #2 is launched (see graphic above).

All these emails are part of one BIG story. They are all connected with each other.

This is how it looks in my email automation tool ..relationship-builder-email-sequence-wildaudience

I know, looks pretty wild, huh? 🙂

We use ActiveCampaign, and I’ve written an entire guide on how to build a conversion funnel with it.

Think about RBS as a TV series like Lost and Breaking Bad. Or Gossip Girl … hell, even Gilmore Girls. Whatever.

Like a TV series has a sequence of episodes..

.. An RBS has a sequence of follow-up emails.

Connected stories are the reason why you start a new TV series ..

.. And can’t stop.

I use techniques like Open Loops, Nested Loops and Cliffhangers to make my email subscribers come back.

I pull them towards me.

Instead of broadcasting irrelevant emails to them.

But enough about that.

It’s powerful.

And advanced ..

If you’re seriously interested in this topic, I created a 1-pager summary about the best engagement hacks and how they work.

You can get access here..1-Page Summary for getting people to wait for your next emailAnd it works like magic ..

If you use cliffhangers right you get people to respond to your emails like that .. 🙂People loving the storytelling in our audience-first strategy emailsOr this one is even better 🙂landon-new-editedAnyways ..

I hope all of this makes sense.

Let’s move on ..

How to Figure out What Startup (SaaS product) to Start?

Now it’s finally time to bring in the minimum viable audience (MVA).

What is a minimum viable audience?

A minimum viable audience helps with finding out what people are willing to buy.

By building an engaged audience you have access to information and data.

1) Market Research:

Use your audience to figure out what problems to solve by observing your audience.

  • You observe what questions they ask in your email conversations.
  • You read & analyze what they talk about in your Facebook Group (that’s my own group).
  • You talk to your customers about your paid educational products (like online courses).
  • You observe what they comment on your blog.
  • You ask them questions. You do surveys.

The key is communication.

Through communication, you will figure out the problems of your audience.

2) Build a Better MVP

Once you know the problems of your audience, you can build an MVP.

But you have a huge advantage to anyone who is building an MVP without an audience.

Why?

Because you have access to an audience, which enables you to ..

  • Access information and data to figure out what problem to solve (MVA).
  • Build an MVP your audience cares about (because they actually have that problem).
  • Get instant feedback for your MVP.
  • Attract early adopters (because you have a list of people who want to test your newest stuff).
  • Finance your MVP (read on to understand this part).

You can basically build an MVP together with your audience.

By having an audience before you build an MVP, you can minimize the risk of building an MVP no-one cares about.

How to finance your Startup with an Audience and Educational Products?

Let me tell you two stories about the two Bryans.

Both Bryans are normal dudes. Just like you and me 🙂

(These are true stories)

1) Let’s start with Bryan Harris

Bryan runs Videofruit, a popular blog where he reverse engineers growth strategies.

He’s an expert in email list building. He teaches people how to grow an email list from 0 -10,000 subscribers.

And he recently completed a product launch of this course ..Bryan Harris Tweet about his launch revenue of $650kHe generated $650K from a 5k email list in 10 days.

Now.

Think about what you can do with that money ..?

Well.

I would re-invest it into my business and build software products to solve my audience’s problems.

Guess what ..?

Bryan is doing this 🙂

He built ListGoal, a little Chrome extension to help you grow your email list.

Or SmartBribe .. A tool to encourage your website visitors to share your stuff.

These apps are all designed to help solve his audience’s problems.

And recently, he launched his latest flagship software product called SlingShot to his email list.

He had no problems getting early revenue and BETA users ..

Why?

Because he has a couple of 10,000 people who know, like and trust him on his email list. Many of them even bought his educational products in the past.

I broke down Bryan’s entire smart marketing funnel here.

2) Let’s talk about Brian Moran’s audience-first strategy now

Bryan is the founder of “Get 10k Fans”, which is a business he founded in 2010. His goal is to teach business owners to create epic marketing & sales funnels with Facebook.

He got really good at it.

Like really good at it.

He had a 1 Million product launch .. That’s crazy.

Look at his funnel ..product-sales-funnel

You can view the above picture in high resolution here.

Pretty cool funnel, eh?

Anyhoo ..

Back to the story.

A couple of years fast forward .. (2013)

Bryan identified a problem ..

Shopping carts sucked. They were ugly and lacked crucial features he as an internet marketer needed.

That is why he built SamCart.

He first created the product entirely for his business Get 10k Fans. Because he really wanted to solve that problem for himself.

But guess what ..?

His audience, which he built up through his education business “Get 10k Fans” were small business owners and internet marketers.

.. In other words ..

The perfect audience and customer base for his new SaaS product “SamCart”.

The best part?

Bryan was able to finance “SamCart” through his education business “Get 10K”.

[End of story.]

And that’s what I’m talking about people 🙂

Bootstrap Longer .. Perhaps Indefinitely?

By using an “education-first approach” you have the advantage of financing your software product without taking money from an external investor (and keep your shares & control!).

Why?

Because you generate money through your educational products, which you can reinvest into your software product.

Or at least you can finance your product development, BETA feedback iteration loops and grow your product enough to get early traction.

Then you take your built product, early traction and results and approach investors to take external money to scale/grow your product even quicker.

Who do you think investors prefer ..?

Someone with an MVP and high early growth or ..

.. Someone with a product that has paying customers, high early growth and an audience of 10,000s of people you can instantly access?

I think you get the point ..

Summary

  1. First, use an audience-first strategy to build an audience of people who trust you through free education.
  2. Further, educate your audience in exchange for money.
  3. Use your audience to identify a problem.
  4. Take the money you generated through your educational products and finance your software product.
  5. Sell the solution to your audience and generate recurring revenue.
  6. Scale from there.

🙂

What are the Disadvantages of “Audience-first” strategies?

Building an audience is hard work. (what isn’t, eh?)

The rejections I get the most are ..

  • “I’m a real business person.”
  • “I’m too busy making money.”
  • “I don’t have time for that kind of stuff.”

That’s cool. Do your thing. Stop reading here.

1) It takes time

The people who really want to take the time to building up a reputation for helping and educating people .. will be the people who create huge engaged audiences.

If you can’t take the time because you’re too busy doing other things .. don’t use “Education First. Startup Second”.

2) You need a part-time job at the beginning

All beginning is hard.

You won’t make money at the beginning by building an audience.

Why?

First of all, you don’t have an audience yet. And therefore no relationship.

That is why ..

You first need to build an email list and establish a relationship with your email subscribers. And you have to create a product (like an online course for example).

All of this takes time and energy.

So until you launch your first product to your audience .. you need some sort of side hustle to make a living.

These are your options:

  • Take a part-time job.
  • Do freelance work.
  • Do consulting.
  • Do coaching.
  • Take a full-time job and work on audience-building at night.
  • Save money. Move to a cheaper country. Hustle.

Are you curious what I did ..?

I moved from San Francisco to Medellin in Columbia.

In the Bay Area, I paid $800/month to share a garage with 5 other dudes.

Here in Columbia, I pay $165/month for a private room in a really nice apartment in the best neighborhood.

Not too bad, huh?

By moving from California to South America, I was able to decrease my cost of living drastically (lunch costs around $3!).

I also did marketing (15 hours/week) for a company in Europe (which was more than enough to cover my costs).

Now onto something else ..

The Product Ecosystem

Listen up friend ..

I’m going to drop a few gold nuggets now 🙂

In order to make an audience-first strategy work ..

.. You need to think about this ..

All your products need to overlap.

What do I mean by that?

Each product needs to serve the same (or very similar) audience.

This is crucial.

If you mess this up .. You’re screwed.

Or at least ..

The audience-first effect will not kick in.

How does that look?

Let me introduce you to my mad photoshop skills. lol 🙂Venn diagram graph on how your products should overlapDo you know what the above graphic means?

It means: You have a problem.

If you want to build an audience and end up with something like this .. you won’t be able to leverage your audience.

Why?

Each circle represents a product.

There are 5 products in the graphic above.

Circles “Blog”, “Free Course” and “Paid Course” have a small overlap.

What does that mean?

Some of the people who read the blog will also sign up for the free course. And a few of those will be interested in your paid course.

Then there is the book, which serves a completely different audience. So does the SaaS company.

The audiences are not overlapping.

This is not an ideal scenario.

Instead, you should aim for something like this ..how-to-launch-a-product

And that is exactly what I’m aiming for 🙂

The Ideal Scenario

In an ideal world ..

All your products serve one big audience.

All your products are part of one product ecosystem.

If you manage to pull this off ..

Well, Nathan said it best ..

“When each new product fits the audience you already have, launching each successive product becomes easier.” – Nathan Barry

Let me explain my graphic below. Because the “devil is the details”…Sales funnel cartoon overviewThis is one possible way ..

  1. Traffic arrives at your blog post.
  2. You offer a content upgrade. User signs up to download the bonus.
  3. New email subscriber receives free email course.
  4. You provide value right upfront without asking for any money (strategy of preeminence). You establish a relationship with your email subscriber. You create trust.
  5. Now it’s time to story-sell your paid course about topic X.
  6. You cross-sell your book about topic Y. (The book is highly related to your paid course).
  7. To improve the outcome you teach in your book and paid course, you offer your software product. The software product helps to overcome certain roadblocks.

Please keep in mind ..

This is only 1 possible funnel!

There are many different ways how a subscriber could go through your funnel.

The key takeaway here is that you have an unfair advantage if you have different products with different price points to sell to the same audience.

Why?

Some products are introductory products with a lower price.

It’s much easier to sell an introductory product to a new lead than your most expensive product.

Once a lead becomes a customer of one of your cheaper products ..

.. He or she is in your sphere of influence.

Let me explain this to you by taking Nathan from ConvertKit as an example..

(this is not a true story)

  1. John dreams of becoming an authority. He would like to speak in front of huge audiences. John wants to inspire other people. He wants to help as many people as possible.
  2. John goes to google.com and types “how to become an authority?
  3. John ends up on one of Nathan’s blog articles.
  4. He reads the article and likes the content. He understands that one of the best ways to become an authority is by writing a book.
  5. He also saw that Nathan sells a book called Authority, which teaches exactly how to self-publish a book.
  6. He buys the book.
  7. John reads the book and learns how important it is to have an email list as an author.
  8. He finds out that Nathan also sells software to solve exactly that for him.
  9. He becomes a customer of ConvertKit (Nathan’s software product) and pays a monthly fee.

[End of story]

Your advantage?

  1. You can cross-sell your products (if your products serve the same audience).
  2. You have the right product for each audience member.
  3. You can onboard customers into your sphere of influence by having. introductory products and then slowly guiding them through your funnel.

Does all of this make sense?

Do you understand the power of a product ecosystem?

First: The educational courses and books build trust, relationship and demonstrate value.

Second: The SaaS company brings in long-term revenue.

That is the magic of “Education First. Startup Second.” 🙂

How to Turn an Education Online Business into a (Multi-Million) SaaS Company

I’m hitting 4k words. It’s time to wrap things up 🙂

At the beginning of this blog post .. I mentioned that I’m going to share with you how I launch my tech startup.

I already explained my strategy.

Now it’s time for the roadmap 🙂

My Roadmap

  1. May 2016: Launch Wild Audience.
  2. June 2016: Launch my 9 lesson free training about “How to build a Marketing Funnel for Online Courses”.
  3. July 2016: Launch my paid online course (“Relationship Funnel”) in BETA.
  4. October 2016: Move paid course out of BETA and start to scale.
  5. 3rd April 2017: Hit 100K in revenue.
  6. End of 2017: Hit 1 million in revenue.
  7. 2018: Launch SaaS startup.

Why am I doing this?

Why do I choose an audience-first strategy?

You might wonder why I just don’t start building software products ..

Well.

I want to build my education focused online business first so that I have money, experience & authority to scale my software business.

It will take around 12 to 15 months to hit the 100k revenue mark (starting from scratch ..).

But once the end of 2017 is around the corner, I will have ..

  • Plenty of insights into my audiences’ problems.
  • Immediate access to an audience that trusts me (that allows me to get instant feedback & generate revenue).
  • Enough money to build software (not depending on outside investments).
  • Experience & a brand that allows me to easier hire & grow a team.

I also really enjoy building relationships with fellow marketers.

And it’s a great way to learn more about my passion, which is marketing automation.

I would like to end this article by sharing a few inspirational quotes with you:

“While we teach, we learn” – Roman philosopher Seneca

“The very best thing you can do as a startup founder is to earn a reputation for helping others.” – Spencer Fry

“By teaching people you see how people react and get insights into their problems.” – Bryan Clark

“Teaching and helping others first through content marketing will help you build a better first MVP.” – Unknown

“One of the key things we’re learning is that you need to build an audience before you build your product. Build your audience not for marketing, but for learning.” – Hiten Shah

“Start by teaching someone something this week.” – Derek Silvers

“Marketing is the first thing we do, not the last.” – Seth Godin

My Final Words

The more I share what I already know, the more I learn. The more I share, the more people I connect with.

The more relationships I establish the sooner I find out what problem I would like to solve. By sharing what I know, I establish myself as an authority.

By becoming an authority, it becomes easier to build a bigger audience and find the right team members to start a tech startup.

🙂

I hope you enjoyed this article.

I hope you understand that there are many different ways to build a startup nowadays.

This is the path I choose.

If you have any suggestions .. please leave a comment below.

I’d love to learn from you.

If you’re aligned with my approach and would like to offer educational products ..

You will probably have a lot of questions by now ..

  1. How do I drive traffic to my blog posts or email course?
  2. How do I establish a relationship with leads that go through my free online course?
  3. How do I create an automated funnel?
  4. How do I sell my online course?

I had these questions too ..

Until I figured them out ..

And created a free course to share with the world 🙂

If you’re interested in what I have to say, I recommend reading this article.

This article explains how online businesses can sell anything, if they have the right funnel.

The funnel is called Relationship Funnel (RF) is designed for online businesses.

I’m sure you will love it 🙂

Anyhoo ..

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Be Bold. Be Different. Start Now.

bastian-ernst-sig