Are you having trouble scaling your customer acquisition?
Are you trying to improve your profitability from six figures to seven figures… To sell more high-ticket services… all to no avail?
Are you unsure how to consistently improve your sales funnel?
I’ve been there, believe me.
You’re only dealing with this because the tide has changed.
Maybe you’ve been following some internet guru who had a flash of success 5 years ago, but has been preaching the same tactics since then.
Maybe you’ve just been unlucky.
Internet marketing is always changing, and right now there is a massive shift toward authenticity and transparency.
This shift isn’t exclusive to internet marketing, either.
Think about it ..
What do the trends of locally-sourced food, corporations taking political stances, and educational reciprocity in marketing have in common?
A consumer’s desire for businesses they can trust.
Or better yet, a business they can build a relationship with.
To build a sustainable business today you need to use respect.
And if you don’t, you’re going to lose.
Your competitors will outperform you.
You’ll be stuck using the same outdated marketing tactics and wondering why your business is failing.
That’s why I use what I like to call, Respect-Based Marketing.
Relationships are more important than ever in marketing.
Your brand and funnel need to be developing trust — in both your product/service and in you ..
Because of the anonymity and distance the internet provides, online marketers often forget about respect.
Facebook & Google’s algorithms are changing. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and shady ads. Google is rewarding only the best, most valuable content, and Facebook is doing the same.
And to them, the “best” means the most aligned with the user’s search and/or intent.
I don’t mean to bring the mood down, this is actually a really awesome 🙂
If you start running a Respect-Based business, you will be leagues ahead of so many others who haven’t caught on to this trend yet.
This is why I created the Relationship Funnel – a proven system for taking cold prospects and turning them into sales.
And faster growth starts by automating relationships 🙂
Relationship Funnels dramatically increases your customer LTV & average checkout price.
Plus, it builds a foundation you can rely on for years to come.
This is why 1,100 businesses (and counting) have already used it ..
And want to know the best part?
Everything is automated. Thus scalable.
Respect-Based Marketing doesn’t mean you work longer.
Quite the opposite, in fact 🙂
We use smart funnel automation to actually save time and make everything super scalable ..
What if I could save you almost all the time you waste qualifying leads?
What if I told you that you can have a system that qualifies leads on its own?
What if I told you that it’s possible to have a funnel that converts at 6% (compared to the usual 1-2%) on products between $100 & $1,000? With email click rates often coasting past 35% (compared to the industry standard 5-10%)?
Imagine those numbers in your own business for a second.
If your current funnels converts at 2% and you sell 20 $200 products a month, you could potentially increase your monthly revenue from $5k to $15k.
That’s the difference between a decent business and the one you’ve always dreamed of.
Well, that system exists, and we’re going to take you through the steps you need to create it for your biz.
It’s the exact 4-phase process that gets results like these ..
Or take our client Mirna.
This is an email from her 🙂
She turned $1,300 in $9,000 with her very first Relationship Funnel.
Yeah. Pretty impressive.
She was a client of Relationship Funnel Accelerator for 90 days.
RFA is our high-ticket program where we install a Relationship Funnel in your business in 90 days flat and help you solve the biggest challenge of all: Acquiring Customers at Profit and Scale.
We love helping successful, high-ticket businesses grow from six figures to seven figures through automated processes and scalable customer profit and acquisition.
You can discover more about our growth accelerator here.
My goal for this article is to break down the Relationship Funnel process, in detail.
But what is a Relationship Funnel?
A Relationship Funnel (RF) isn’t a normal marketing funnel. It uses respect and clever automation to get world-class results.
You can think of it in terms of four main phases.
I am going to show you all of them now ..
This is it ..
We’re opening the doors and inviting you in.
We’re going to cover the four phases that make up a Relationship Funnel. In detail.
It is responsible for wild moments like these:
Or even crazier…
You should be.
And if not…
Just wait 🙂
Breakdown: The exact 4-phase process we use to get 6% visit-to-purchase conversion rates
The best way to get a birds-eye view of all the stages is to look at our actual done-with-you Relationship Funnel template ..
This is the same template we walk all our consulting clients through.
Clients with six-figure businesses and multiple case studies looking to scale to seven figures 🙂
Take a moment to look at the individual tasks.
Some will make sense to you. Some won’t.
Don’t stress though, all will become clear.
In short ..
Each phase builds upon the last to create a foolproof, belief-installing funnel. Then we scale it ” />
Phase 1: Funnel Strategy
This is the big picture phase. It’s the easiest to skimp on but the most important to get right.
Phase 2: Funnel Implementation
This is the minimum-viable-product version of your funnel.
Phase 3: Optimization
Once you start directing some test traffic to the doors, it’s time to analyze how people react and adjust accordingly.
Phase 4: Scaling
After the bolts have all been double checked and tightened, it’s time to strike the traffic match (most people’s favorite part).
Ready to see how we do this?
Awesome. We’re going to go through the major steps of each phase and show you all the tools and strategies you can take to:
- Develop a long-term marketing & funnel strategy,
- Automate real relationships with people through smart and behaviour-based funnels.
- Create organic & PPC lead generation systems.
- Start getting the conversion rates of your dreams and measure that success with advanced ROI-tracking.
- Revolutionize your business 🙂
Phase 1 – Funnel Strategy
Phase 1 is all big picture stuff.
Building a Relationship Funnel always starts with an airtight strategy.
This prevents our funnels from “leaking” later on down the line.
Without the right preparation, acquiring customers at profit and scale is not possible.
So, you have to take the time to create and review your strategy. First.
Don’t skip this part.
Here’s what Relationship Funnel’s Phase 1 covers:
1) Business Model
2) Offer Strategy
3) Customer Avatar
5) Value Ladder
6) Segmentation & Bucketing
7) Belief System
You should walk out of Phase 1 with a perfect idea of who your customers are, what your offer is, and how you’re going to sell it.
Note: We work with clients who already have product market fit and case studies to boot, but if you aren’t at that point already then your business model analysis is even more important.
For the purposes of this piece, we’re going to focus on the Phase 1 elements that are most important to businesses who are in a position to prepare for rapid scaling.
Finalizing your offer strategy
There may be nothing more important than nailing down your offer strategy as a business owner.
Without a working offer strategy, you don’t really have a business — without it there is no evidence of product-market-fit.
We only work with people who have a proven offer and a client case study to back it up, and that’s because without those you don’t have proof of a working business yet.
Your offer strategy is the relationship between your base pitch, services, and value offered for revenue gained. This can often be tweaked for better results, but if you aren’t selling a product people need and pitching it in a way that conveys its value, then you won’t succeed.
The offer is usually conducted through a sales page. What’s important is to remind people of the benefits they’ll receive — speak to their problem, not your product.
Don’t worry about creating them yet. At this point just think about how you are going to reiterate the beliefs you’ve installed (more on that shortly), while conveying the benefits the customer receives by buying your product.
We use what we like to call the Irresistible Offer Formula.
- Highlight the pain they’re experiencing (not enough sales, etc.)
- Name a specific solution.
- Make a list of the benefits (not product features!) this solution provides.
- Showcase the value (guarantee, risk-reversal)
- Establish your position (trust, authority, experience, etc.)
- Utilize specificity (avatar-specific copy).
- Include urgency and scarcity when appropriate.
- Address objections directly.
We are continually testing this strategy, but feel free to swipe as you please 🙂
Here are a few of our sales pages for inspiration:
See how our process incorporates elements of our formula?
And now, to the actual construction of your funnel.
Value Ladders: the secret behind successful high-ticket service businesses
Before you can start building any sort of funnel, you need to understand what value ladders are.
Value ladders basically a way of structuring your products/services for optimal customer value.
Organizing your products in a value ladder also functions as a big picture funnel strategy. It makes inserting your offerings into a funnel so much easier. And clearer.
So as people “ascend” your value ladder, they can dig into progressively more comprehensive, higher-priced offers.
Here’s what a value ladder usually looks like:
Lead Generation Funnel = To get people into the door.
Front-End Funnel = To qualify buyers & decrease ROI time.
Break-Even Funnel = To reduce acquisition costs and function as a downsell.
Profit Funnel = To sell your main product/service.
Backend Funnel = To upsell existing customers & increase CLV
At first, you just want to nail down your key lead magnet and profit funnel. Then you fill out the rest as you improve your Relationship Funnel.
We started out with just one big lead magnet and our Relationship Funnel course, and then we decided to expand it into this model:
The Wild Audience Value Ladder
(Click any of the product titles to see our landing pages)
Lead Generation Funnel: You’re in it right now!
Front-End 1: Funnel Strategy Mini Course ($12)
Front-End 2: ActiveCampaign Partner Subscription (monthly recurring revenue)
Profit Funnel: Relationship Funnel Accelerator (done-with-you)
Downsell 1: Everyone who can not afford to join Relationship Funnel Accelerator, we down-sell RF Advisory.
Break-Even Funnel: Relationship Funnel (course)
Pro: $800 (Webinar + Pro Lessons Addon)
RF Advisory: (RF Pro + 1 month consulting)
Downsell 2: Everyone who can not afford Relationship Funnel Accelerator & RF Advisory, we down-sell Relationship Funnel ($600-$800)
Back-End 1: Funnel Fuel ($225)
Back-End 2: Funnel Bots ($500)
Back-End 3: RF Mastermind ($20k)
See how it starts off with free content and then goes to a $12 product? And how our core products each have downsells and upsells?
Notice how each product is related to each other? How they build each off each other?
That is what you want.
When one customer finishes one product, they should be interested in the next.
It should make sense to pitch the next product/service to them ..
How you structure your products will depend on your business, but start by putting your services and products into that same outline.
As you start aligning your services into your value ladder, keep an eye out for spaces or holes in between services. Maybe you need to add a tripwire, or maybe you need to add a back-end service that is more hands-on.
Or on the other end, you may find that you are overwhelming your customers with choices. Slimming down your product offering may be a better route (i.e. specialization).
Structure your offers in a way that encourages customers to “journey” or “ascend” through them. This will help you offer more value, increase your customer lifetime value, and organize your funnel strategy.
Creating customer avatars
Your next step is to create your customer avatars.
Marketing is all about psychology, and psychology is the science of the mind and human behavior…
So how can you be good at marketing without knowing your customer?
This doesn’t mean you have to go out and actually meet all of your customers face-to-face. Not only would this be impossible, but you would waste a lot of your time.
Interviewing a few can be super helpful, though. The guys from Airbnb went out and met their first few hosts/guests to figure out what they liked and didn’t like about their service, which led to taking professional photos at host houses, resulting in a major breakthrough.
So if we can’t meet all of our customers, how can we understand them?
The secret is through customer avatars.
You may have heard this referred to as buyer personas or customer personas as well.
Customer avatars are fictional characters that represent the stereotypical customer your business is trying to attract.
You should strive to understand these characters ..
To get inside their heads 🙂
The best way to do this is to brainstorm 3-5 primary personas and a few secondary personas if necessary.
The end goal is for your customer avatars to focus your marketing efforts, not scatter them. You need to pick the most critical personas for your business. If you don’t have product market fit yet, just start with one and go from there.
You can draw from past sales and survey data, interviews with a few of your best customers, or just using your gut and intuition.
Like anything in marketing, the key is to start with something and improve it as you go along.
Wild Audience Customer Avatar Example
Everyone does these a bit differently, but the rule of thumb is to fill out the profile until you feel like you have an innate understanding of the customer, and you feel like someone who read through the profile would feel the same.
This often includes elements such as a name, age, goals, fears, typical buying routes, industry, etc.
Here’s that example:
Meet Ted, 42, CEO at Gorilla Marketing (Customer Avatar 1 – High-ticket service business)
Ted worked around 10 years in the corporate world as a sales guy. He is great at selling but after all of this time he’s sick of the corporate world and seeks to run his online business. He started to buy a few online courses to learn more about business and marketing his services. He has always been passionate about parenting so he thought about starting a parenting company (helping parents to become better parents).
His first side hustle while still doing 9-5 didn’t work. But people started to seek his advice about selling without being salesy or annoying. He knew a lot about it as he worked 10 years in sales and constantly studies what’s new.
He decided to pivot aywar from parenting & double down on selling his sales knowledge. He started a Facebook group and over the period of a year, he attracted a strong following (& community) around him. He started to make money. After making more than $100k in revenue, he decided to scale up and build out a proper sales funnel and different assets to scale up his revenue.
His goal is $1mil in revenue over the next 12-18 months.
He has been following Wild Audience & Bastian for quite some time. He thought hiring Wild Audience to scale up his sales funnel once he is ready. After 1 year in business generating more than $100k in revenue through different campaigns, locating the ideal product market fit, and acquiring a few really strong case studies, it’s time to systemize the sales process and build it out properly.
He jumps on a call with the Wild Audience Sales Team purchases Relationship Funnel Accelerator.
See how detailed that is?
Do you feel like you know them a little now?
Personas are even more powerful if you can tie them to actual people who have bought your services.
Whenever you’re making a product or piece of content, you can think… what would Ted like to read? Or what problem is Ted dealing with?
The closer you can get them to real people, the better.
Understanding segmentation & bucketing
Once you have your customer avatars identified and prioritized, it’s time to translate that into action.
Segmentation & bucketing are just ways of fitting your prospects into customer avatar “buckets”.
When you organize customers into buckets, you can send them more specific content and products.
The more specific the content and service are to a customer’s needs, the better your conversion rates will be.
So how does bucketing actually work?
Bucketing is just a series of questions (with the last one being an email address request) that you ask a prospect before a download or offer.
You can build these question prompts in a system like SurveySlam.
And by incorporating this “lead opt-in buckeintg”, you can automatically build a customer profile based on their answers.
Below is what part of our bucketing system looks like.
Users are prompted to self-select after they decide to download one of our lead magnets (more on that later).
You may have completed our survey to get here, so I apologize if some of these look a bit familiar 🙂
Here are all five of our lead magnet bucketing questions:
See how each question helps us fit them into an avatar?
How they help us figure out how we can help them?
I love this step.
It’s the first step the user take to share a bit of themselves with us 🙂
And those answers play directly into what they believe about Wild Audience.
Discovering the power of belief
“Beliefs form the basis of everything people say, think, and do. When people change their beliefs, they change their behavior, which changes their lives.” – Dave Gray
Once you have identified who your prospects are, you need to install your belief system.
This step will help you understand what you need to put into your RBS email sequence and content so that you can get your audience to buy.
Belief systems can be distilled down to one question:
What does your lead need to believe before he or she will purchase your product or service?
In other words, What content do you need to direct them to? What do you need them to understand before they buy?
Your goal is to convert someone from a visitor into a paying customer ..
But… here’s the thing.
You will never get a sale without beliefs.
Without making sure each prospect gets the right beliefs installed, you’re running the risk of someone getting to your sales page or hopping on a sales call without the right beliefs.
And when that happens, people don’t always buy.
That means leaving money on the table.
Beliefs are tied to identity — your customers’ identity and how they perceive your identity.
And the best way to promote beliefs is through storytelling.
We can use stories to promote and install beliefs in our prospects, which results in sales happening at the right time with the right people.
So what are the types of beliefs?
The 3 Types of Beliefs
- Beliefs about opportunity (value, authority, cost, etc.)
- Beliefs about themselves (own abilities to succeed)
- External beliefs (time, money, etc.)
Our goal is to predict a prospect’s existing beliefs and replace those with a set of our own through smart storytelling.
Here are some examples of opportunity beliefs:
Belief Question: Does the person selling me this product know what they’re talking about? Why should I listen to them?
Installed with: Social proof & demonstration of expertise.
Belief Question: Is the product worth what they are charging?
Installed with: Proof of potential ROI. Case studies. Demonstration of the product itself.
Belief Question: Does this company or person have my best interest at heart?
Installed with: Transparency, integrity, and consistency.
Product -> Solution Fit
Belief Question: Is this product the best solution for my problem?
Installed with: Illustration of process & delivery / social proof of similar problems being solved by your product or service.
See how these are all related to the product?
Now, let’s look at some beliefs people have about themselves in the context of veganism.
Beliefs about themselves
Internal belief: Vegans are extreme. I am not strong enough to refuse food temptations.
Solution/alternative belief: Explanation of food options/recipes for vegans. You need to make them believe that going vegan isn’t as difficult as it may seem.
See how those are related to the person?
And an example of an external belief would be, “I don’t have the time available to take advantage of this product.”
Once you understand what beliefs are common, you can take those and tie them to a specific goal.
This is where a belief system comes in.
We take them from what they believe now .. to what they need to believe before they buy.
Creating a belief system
Here’s how you create a belief system.
- Start by defining your destination belief.
- Define your belief starting points.
- Define the belief steps in between.
- Create a narrative to tie it all together 🙂
Your destination belief is the last and most important belief that needs to happen right before the sale.
Once you figure that out, jump to the very beginning and figure out what the first belief you need to address is.
Then you start connecting the dots 🙂
Similar to how you create content with customer avatars in mind, you need to create strategic content that installs these beliefs in order.
And each piece of content you make should install beliefs in the prospect’s own language or style.
This specificity is where the juju is 🙂
Let’s continue with the example of someone deciding to become vegan.
Check out how this spreadsheet matches beliefs to different pieces of content (lead magnets and emails) and begins with the belief of “I love animals” and ends with the destination belief of “I need to become vegan”.
Note: Lead magnets (LMs) are just pieces of content behind email address segmentation fields (more on those later).
By mapping your beliefs out this way, you know exactly what beliefs you need to install in what order. By the end the customer will believe in your process or product.
It’s wielding human psychology to bring about change, and believe me — this stuff is powerful.
Building Your Relationship Funnel Toolset
At this point, it’s time to start thinking about how we’re going to transfer all this to actual content and automations.
When first digging into building a Relationship Funnel, it can be overwhelming to figure out what software to use.
There is no perfect answer to this. The marketing software space is diverse and highly competitive, and sometimes working with an existing but possibly less sophisticated piece of software is better — it all depends.
What’s safe to say is that at Wild Audience, we have tried a lot.
We’ve finally landed on a tool stack that works for us, and everything we cover can be handled with these tools.
Here’s our list, in its entirety — exactly how I advise our RF Accelerator clients to build their funnels.
*Affiliate links below*
Relationship Funnel Tools
Email Automation – ActiveCampaign
Lead Opt-in Forms – SurveySlam
Landing Page Builder – Thrive Architect
Live Webinars – Demio
Survey Segmentation – SurveySlam
Evergreen Webinars – EverWebinar
Automate Tasks – Zapier
Bot Funnels – ManyChat
Sales Calls – Zoom
Personalization – RightMessage
Calendar Booking – Calendly
Scarcity – Ultimatum
This is what works for us, but even if you don’t use the same tools, all of the principles and strategies for Relationship Funnel still apply.
For the rest of the tools I use to run my business, including what I use for team communication and analytics, go here 🙂
Phase 2 – Funnel Implementation
Phase two is all about getting the MVP version of your Relationship Funnel up and running.
We want it to be functioning, we want it to convert, and we want it set up for easy adjustments.
Here are Phase 2’s steps:
- Make the ultimate lead magnet
- Build your automations
- Install your segmentation
- Write your RBS Email Sequence
- Connect your conversion sequence
- Set up your lead generation ads
- Throw a launch party!
Make the ultimate lead magnet
Lead magnets are how you collect email addresses and continue delivering value, establishing authority, and installing all of the other beliefs we talked about.
Lead magnets can be anything, although they are most commonly a downloadable PDF, video, or file related to the content the prospect just engaged with.
We like to create content and then turn our absolute best articles into PDFs and then create lead generation videos like this to promote that PDF.
What you’re reading right now is actually a lead magnet 🙂
Pretty cool, right?
We use PDFs most often, like so:
You need to think about what formats and types of content your prospects are most familiar with and use them to shape your lead magnet.
As long as your lead magnet is tangible, valuable, and directly related to your customer’s solution, you’ll be fine.
And the more tangible, valuable, and directly related your lead magnet, the better your conversion rates will be. I promise.
Take another lead magnet of ours ..
This is the landing page for it (which prompts them with the segmentation questions before it can be downloaded):
And here’s the first CTA:
A general guide to “customer acquisition” that describes the power of a Relationship Funnel?
Seems pretty related to me 🙂
Or if you were an online business selling high-ticket consulting packages to insurance companies and wrote a blog on digital inefficiencies of the insurance market, which lead magnet would be more effective?
10 Digital Tactics for Online Growth
7 Proven Digital Strategies Insurance Companies Need to Adopt Right Now To Make More Sales
It’s clear that the second one is better. It is specific to the insurance industry and thus it’s far superior to a vague lead magnet.
Create one awesome lead magnet at first.
It should solve one of your prospects most burning problems.
In the insurance example it is helping them solve the problem of sales.
Yours should do the same thing for your market.
It should be good enough for cold prospects to WANT to submit their email.
Once you get a prospect to submit their email address, then the real fun begins 🙂
Build your automations
We are automation junkies.
So much so that ActiveCampaign even featured us 🙂
And Marketing School
And Forbes 🙂
Nothing is more satisfying then turning on a super relevant automation that brings in sales automatically for your business.
Autopilot profit for the win.
And autopilot does not mean impersonal!
Quite the contrary.
With smart automation and a deep understanding of your service and what your prospects need, you’ll be able to create authentic, long-lasting customers.
You’ll be able to create Relationships.
And that’s the key to all of this — it’s why I named our flagship product and services Relationship Funnel. It’s why I built my entire business around this idea. As soon as I saw how well smart, authentic automations worked, I knew I had stumbled across something important.
At Wild Audience, we create all of our automations with ActiveCampaign. It’s our favorite software for customer tagging and email management.
We tested over 200 automations to see which ones performed best in high-ticket situations. After all was said and done, we ended up with 27 automation sequences we loved.
If you start using ActiveCampaign through Wild Audience, you’ll get instant access to those 27 🙂
Just go here to get started.
Relationship Funnel automations are automated emailing systems that combine segmentation with personalization to build an experience unique to the prospect.
Here’s what some of our system looks like (in ActiveCampaign) ..
There are way too many details to cover here (all of those templates and walkthroughs can be found in Relationship Funnel itself), but here are the main pieces you want to have automated:
1. Lead Scoring
Lead scoring is a way ActiveCampaign and other systems can add “points” to types of engagement and fire actions based off certain thresholds.
It’s safe to say that someone who opens 5 emails in a row and has seen the sales page 3x is much more qualified than someone who ignored your last 3 emails.
Your system should reflect that, and it can when you set up lead scoring.
(example of opening an email scoring)
2. RBS Series
7-10 emails that install beliefs and establish a relationship. More on this shortly!
3. Conversion sequence automations
Emails and actions that initiate a sales process based on engagement / behaviour-based pitching (usually certain emails or CTAs).
4. Lead magnet deliveries / evergreen automations
Additional content that continues to engage and feed people into your conversion sequences.
But automation is ineffective without personalization, and personalization is achieved through segmentation.
Installing your segmentation
Context and timing are the secrets of good automation sequences.
And in order to do provide them, you need to install a segmentation system.
You take bucketing questions similar to what we showed you above and just add them in front of your lead magnets.
Our favorite way to do this is what we call the 5-question interview, and it’s the same system we talked about above!
These guys 🙂
If you have a sales team, ask them what the most critical qualifying information is for leads. What is most useful for them to know?
Collect their answers and start building your bucketing questions from there, it’s often the best place to start.
If you don’t have a sales team, then think about what would be most useful to you / what you need to send someone the right content.
This usually includes:
- Biggest problems.
- Budget / revenue ranges.
- Their dreams, desires, and goals.
And once people are bucketed, you can send them a specific Relationship-Building-Sequence (RBS) or other personalized content (by exchanging words, phrases, or sentences in emails) that speak directly to their problem 🙂
Write your RBS
*This section is an excerpt from this blog if you want to continue reading there*
Once your segmentation system is all set up, it’s time to write the actual emails.
This is my favorite part. My absolute favorite part.. Bonding with new leads through email automation.
And I’m telling you .. It’s extremely powerful.
If you know how to do it right.
And today .. I’ll share with you how to write emails that build trust and establish relationships with new leads.
You do this by creating an email sequence. I call this the Relationship Builder Sequence or RBS. An RBS is a sequence of emails you send out automatically.
Yup. On autopilot. ” />
You don’t send them manually.
You use an ESP (Email Service Provider) like ConvertKit, InfusionSoft or ActiveCampaign. Take a look at my RBS ..
A screenshot of my zoomed out RBS.
That’s the email sequence I use to build trust and establish a relationship with new leads.
It’s a series of 7 lessons to teach new prospects the basics of sales funnels for online business.
My goal is to teach, advise, help and guide my new tribe members to help solve their problems. I want to become their trusted advisor ..
And sometimes I tease them ” />
– I activate people in the first email.
– I ask them to click specific links in order to get the next email ..
– I use engagement techniques like Open Loops, Nested Loops and Cliffhangers to make them wait for future emails.
This has a powerful effect ..
The aim of the emails is to educate and create engagement.
Engagement is important because higher engagement = more sales ..
What should you actually include in the emails?
That’s easy ..
The beliefs you created before.
From those beliefs you will have made a belief map.
Break those beliefs into 7 digestible chunks.
Each email will represent one of those chunks.
The goal of the series is to build a relationship first then draw people towards a key conversion event second.
The first 3-4 emails are all about establishing trust through helpful content.
Here’s an example of the first email of our sequence. Notice how it’s all about reciprocity — giving value upfront in return for something (an ask) later.
It’s not until the later emails that we start pitching our conversion event.
We use video sales letters to get people to fill out a quiz and schedule a call for profit funnels and evergreen webinars for our Break-Even funnels.
Here’s how we get people to sign up to our webinar in Email 7 of our RBS..
It’s all about letting people qualify themselves.
Pretty nifty, right?
And this is an example of what your RBS series would look like in ActiveCampaign on the backend ..
After your RBS series is set up, you need traffic.
Set up your ads
Now, all you need to do is set up your test ads and start generating traffic.
This is the big moment!
When you finally get to throw people into your Relationship Funnel and see how they react 🙂
First, if you don’t have one already, you’ll need to create a Facebook ad account & install your Facebook pixel.
You can learn more about doing that here.
Then, you’ll need to translate your customer avatars into actual audiences.
You can create your audiences when creating a campaign or directly within the audience tab of Facebook Ads.
Refer back to your avatar stories and profiles and try to think about the key identifiers you can point Facebook toward.
These won’t always be available, but let’s say you’re a marketing agency specializing in luxury travel locations for the U.S., Spain, and the U.K..
You might build an audience like this:
So M & F 26-50
Spain, U.K. & U.S.
Works in hospitality AND likes boutique hotels AND likes travel
Remember to use your persona profiles here!
The easiest way to screw up your test is not getting specific enough.
Shoot for somewhere between 25,000 & 500,000 for your initial tests. By continuing to add AND statements into your interest targeting, you should be able to narrow it down.
And don’t forget to restrict it by location if you only service certain locations.
Creating your test ads
Always refer to your customer avatars & evaluate competitors who are doing well in their space.
They’re talking to your future customers, after all.
What do your avatars like to see, and what are your best competitors doing?
What do you like or not like? Is there an angle you can take to outshine the competitors?
Once you have an idea, create 10-15 ads with varying copy and images and label them in a way that easily helps you analyze them.
I’d do it all within one campaign so you can see all your results in one place.
Then I’d spend between $500-$1000 on testing your ads, ensuring you complete the learning phase for your ad sets & give enough time to see real data.
The goal with this first set of ads is to find the right hook for the right type of leads at an profitable price. Usually we use image ads because they are faster to create.
Then, once we know the winning hook we create a video ad and hit the gas on ad spend (which happens in phase 4).
We recently did another round of testing like this, and after a bunch of variations, this ended up being our best performing ad.
Feel free to steal any part of this for your own business 🙂
Connect your conversion sequence
The next step is to link a conversion event to your RBS.
By conversion event I mean the next step in your funnel. This could be a deeper form of engagement (webinar, event, etc.). Or it could be a sales page or strategy call.
Part of what makes Relationship Funnel so powerful is the system automatically connects your RBS series to your conversion sequence at the right time.
Selling too early ruins a lot of online businesses, but so does selling late 🙂
With Relationship Funnel, the idea is to never hide your next conversion event (e.g. webinar or products) and pitch them when engagement is high.
For example, we send a separate email that looks once someone has opened and clicked on 5 emails (lead scoring!) 🙂
Then, we send them to our sales page, and the retargeting ads we have set up (more on that later) pull them toward the next step at each stage. These ads are relevant and specific to the product they were looking at.
Here’s our Relationship Funnel Accelerator sales page process:
First they’re sent to a landing page that has an overview video full of valuable information and social proof, and then they’re presented a CTA that leads them to a qualification quiz built with Typeform.
And then depending on their answers, they’re either prompted to schedule a call or directed to an appropriate product.
Remember we built all of these pages with the tools discussed above, and if you want to get all of these templates for yourself, go check out Relationship Funnel.
Last step: Throw a launch party!
At this point all the battle stations are ready.
All you do is have to hit activate and start pushing traffic toward your brand new Relationship Funnel 🙂
And once you do, take some time to pat yourself on the back.
Crack some champagne — you deserve it.
Phase 3 – Funnel Optimization
Once your Relationship Funnel MVP is finished, it’s time to monitor and improve it as you go along. This cannot be effectively accomplished without setting systems up for iterative experimentation — it must be prioritized within your company.
Here’s what happens in Phase 3:
- Analyze test ad performance
- Develop a system of growth-based experimentation
- Invest in video ads & widen your ad creatives
- Create an automated retargeting funnel
Analyze test ad performance
Running successful ad campaigns is all about testing a bunch of copy, images, and offers. Seeing what works, and turning off what doesn’t.
Now that your ads have been running for a bit, you should turn off all of the lowest performing ads.
Facebook does a good job of serving up the best ones anyway, but go ahead and disable the ones you know aren’t performing so you’re not wasting money.
Take a look at your CPA, CTR, ROAS, and CPC, etc. for each ad, ad set, and campaign.
The results for these and how good they are vary by industry according to competition and product price, but refer back to your average Customer Lifetime Value to help calculate your ROI.
For example, let’s say your main high-ticket service sells for $10k, but your average customer also signs up for your $50/month membership and stays for 3 months.
This brings your total LTV to $10,150, and if you spend up to that amount in ads to acquire that customer, your advertising is still bringing profit.
ROAS is the easiest way to calculate your ROI, so make sure you iron out your pixel on the front end!
We test different titles of the lead magnets to see which titles get the best CTR and CPAs per lead type. We also test different types of targeting to see which audience profiles match best with our customer avatars — then we hook these up to our top-performing landing pages (also based on testing)
It’s all about careful analysis and deliberate iteration 🙂
Develop a system of iterative experimentation / growth-based evaluation
Experimentation is the key to effective marketing.
With Respect-Based Marketing, that principle remains steady.
Marketing begins with guesses, is met with data, and ends with result-driven efforts.
The earlier you can set the standard, and more importantly, the space to run experiments, the better.
Give your marketing team the time and budget to run consistent experiments.
Have them run them for a week and report on the results the next. Make this a fundamental part of your system, and your ROI will thank you for it. Plus, this is what marketing teams love! They’ll be excited to bring their ideas to the table and implement them in a controlled environment.
In our Relationship Funnel, we run tests for all sorts of things.
You can use this list to get you started ..
- Swap/upgrade different lead magnets and move them around to different blogs.
- Try to reduce your CPA for leads with better copy (e.g. we test different lead magnet titles without changing the content of the PDF).
- Monitor click rates and open rates of emails and improve emails by adjusting subject and cliffhanger lines.
- Track conversion rates at each step of your sales page & VSL (e.g. analyzing how many people read the sales page -> complete the quiz and then schedule call).
- Change blog layouts & store UI.
- Swap different images & copy on ads.
- Change your RBS call-to-actions.
- Change the time windows on your automated funnel.
- Replace your older content with newer blogs in your RBS series.
We usually start with a master, deep analysis spreadsheet that lists all of these tests and do two complete iterative cycles before starting to scale.
And remember, all of these tests are geared toward getting your funnel ready for scaling.
Invest in video ads & widening your ad creatives
IF you have a good product and nail your messaging, then you can start seeing a great return on your test ads / basic image ads.
Once you start seeing results and are prepping for more tests, then you need to add video ads.
According to Wordstream,
51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users.
The results are in, and the lesson is clear: video assets outperform almost any other ad type.
If your team doesn’t have the time or skill to invest in video ads, hiring a videographer with experience in advertising is an investment worth your time, believe me.
If your conversion rate even bumps by a couple percentage points via the new asset, it will be worth the upfront costs.
And video ads aren’t the only more advanced creative to experiment with. You could also dip into lead form ads, paying for better images, etc.
The point is to reinvest some of the ROI you’ve already seen into strengthening your ad machine.
Now is not the time to sit back.
At least not yet, but it does get a bit easier when you set up one of the last steps of Phase 3, your retargeting 🙂
Create your automated retargeting funnel
Ads usually fall into two camps:
Awareness ads to cold audiences & retargeting ads to warmer audiences.
If you do NOTHING else, then installing at least a few retargeting ads is what I would recommend.
They are cheap, and the ROAS can be amazing!
Retargeting (also sometimes referred to as remarketing), are ads that only target people who have either seen your website (visit) or interacted with certain content (e.g. watched 25% or more of a video ad).
This dramatically lowers your CPC because you’re targeting a much smaller, more highly engaged (or warmer) audience.
Setting up retargeting ads is easy and inexpensive. Depending on your traffic numbers, you should be able to spend <$15 a day and have a big impact on your bottom line.
The key to effective remarketing is dividing up your audiences according to what step or level that person is on.
Think about it this way:
Level 1 – Cold audiences (no brand awareness yet)
Level 2 – Seen your site / interacted with a piece of content
Level 3 – Subscribed / given email address
Level 4 – Visited sales page or added a particular product to their cart
Level 5 – Went to the checkout page
Level 6 – Back-End funnel ads to existing customers
Then, in order to install retargeting, you just fill in the gaps with the goal of getting the person to get to the next level, and once they reach that level you set up excluding audiences to make sure they aren’t receiving older ads.
So you would exclude site visitors from Level 1, and you would exclude add to cart people from the “viewed a particular product” audience.
Let’s walk through each level briefly:
So Level 1 is just the cold audiences we discussed above. Your goal is to get them to get to your site or interact with content, so your ads should be focused on that. This is where you deliver your best blogs and lead magnets to people who have viewed your blogs before.
For Level 2 ads, you deliver product ads or case studies that are directly related to the lead magnet or content they’ve interacted with.
For Level 3 ads, your goal is to establish a relationship and install beliefs through educational content & social proof. So this where you put your middle and bottom of funnel content.
For Level 4, you remind people of what they left in the cart / point them back toward the sales page / give them more information about that particular product.
For Level 5, you could offer time-based discounts or the chance to speak with a sales representative to help etc.
This is where you continue educating your customers on your Back-End funnel products and help them use their existing products.
And what’s awesome, is that once you set these up, they will always be working for you in the background.
This is where all that backend sales revenue comes from. Retargeting can really up your customer LTV when executed correctly.
And if you want to make the ad management process even more automated, you can set up automated rules that adjust the budget depending on ROAS and frequency.
For example, if your ad frequency is low (<2) but ROAS is super high (>5), you could set up a rule that bumps the ad budget by 10% every 2 days to make sure you’re reaching everyone it should.
For more on rules, go here.
Phase 4 – Funnel Scaling
At this point, your Relationship Funnel is exactly where you want it to be 🙂
Conversion rates are high and leads are consistent. This is super exciting!
At this point you’re ready to scale, to really invest money into your funnel — aiming to bring in as many qualified leads as possible.
The most important thing is to watch your KPIs like a hawk.
For us, it’s our CPA of sales conversations and cost per sale.
As long as that stays where we want it, we can continue to scale. If it starts to slip, we slow things down and improve our conversion rates before continuing.
With that in mind, here’s what happens in Phase 4.
- Taking advantage of evergreen content
- Expanding your audience with the Bullseye Traffic Framework
- Upping ad spend and sales efforts.
Scaling with evergreen content
What we want at this stage is more leads.
We’ve already established trust in the funnel itself ..
Now we just need to pour more traffic in the top while increasing conversion rates through smart content that directly answers customer objections etc.
Organic traffic and thought leadership are fantastic outlets for inbound leads, and investing in more super strong pieces of content that you can spread around your business goes a long way.
And content doesn’t just mean blogging. The most common awareness generators are: blogging, podcasting, public speaking, and social media.
What you choose to focus on depends on your team and what your audience responds best to, but whatever you do — do it well and do it consistently.
Treat every piece like something you could rely on for years.
Chances are, you will.
For blogging, remember that the time of putting out crappy blogs that are couple paragraphs long are over.
You need to create something valuable.
Not rehashing someone else’s blog or saying something everyone else has said.
It needs to be substantial, and it needs to be useful.
If the content you’re writing doesn’t fulfill those requirements, then it’s not worth doing.
Take Eric Siu’s Single Grain, for example.
They aim for 1,500-2,000 words per blog, minimum.
They only give guest post spots to people they trust (like us), and they work with them to make sure that content is the right quality.
And when you make something good, it can be useful in multiple ways.
Think about it in terms of your Relationship Funnel.
You could use a great blog in:
- Your site to get organic traffic that installs beliefs and captures email addresses via lead magnets.
- Your advertising.
- Your RBS sequence.
- Your sales conversations.
The list goes on.
It’s also important to create “Middle of the Funnel” and “Bottom of the Funnel” content here, so pieces of content that address:
What is the best solution for my product? (MOFU)
- So strategy analysis/efficacy content, etc.
And why should I choose your company to provide that solution? (BOFU)
- Case studies.
- Your service as an alternative to x, etc.
Talking about general industry topics isn’t enough. You need to think deeply about your avatar and create the content that’s going to convince them that they need your service.
Once you create that content, you should spread that around with content redistribution strategies and plug it into your overall marketing silo.
Use the bullseye traffic formula to choose your channel(s)
Here’s the thing.
Not all channels work for all businesses.
The bullseye traffic formula was popularized by Gabriel Weinberg of DuckDuckGo fame and Justin Mares, founder of Kettle & Fire, and it makes sure you nail the distribution angle of your business.
Identifying your best channel(s) will make or break your business — even if you have a great product, pitch, etc.
Here are the steps:
- Brainstorm and research all available channels.
- Pick 2 or 3 that you think will work best.
- Run tests on all channels simultaneously.
- Choose the best and go all-in.
This process allows you to hone in on the channels that will have the biggest impact on your business. For businesses that deal in creatives, that may be Instagram. For education-based consultancies, that could be Facebook groups.
The idea is to test thoroughly, identify confidently, and then go for it.
This is how we decided on blogging and Facebook originally. After that, we added in podcasts because we knew it would complement those original two.
We have three main lead generation channels:
Facebook Ads, Google Ads, etc.
I conduct an interview and release it as a podcast, go even deeper on those topics in blogs, and then build share those pieces of content with social media (all of which is super duper related to Wild Audience’s products) to pull the right people into my sphere of influence.
My content serves as a filter to attract only the best kind of people into my funnel. I try to get as specific as possible when producing content. You should always be thinking about your ideal user.
If someone interacts with my content, I know that this person is interested in what I have to offer (since the content is pretty much a light version of my paid products).
My podcasts are usually around 20-30 minutes and my blog posts are usually between 3,000 – 7,000 words long and packed with awesomeness. It’s always about actionable advice and step-by-step instructions. And I always include screenshots, graphics and content upgrades when applicable.
Upping ad spend / internal team expansion
After ROI stays consistent across all content creation systems while spending at least >2k+ in ad spend, it’s time to experiment with the advertising end of scaling.
This usually involves picking your top performing assets across all of your campaigns, optimizing them, and then running high budget experiments to different audiences.
In order to scale from 5k to 20k per month, it’s really important to create different ads for each avatar and use copy that speaks directly to that avatar. That way you attract good leads and discourage bad leads. This granularity requires time and expertise, so if you don’t have an internal member with the experience required, investing in a good advertiser can go a long way.
Facebook advertisers typically charge a management fee + % of ad spend.
So if you spent $5,000 per month and they charged $1,000/month + 15%, you would pay around $1,750/month in management fees.
Good advertisers are expensive (that management fee is probably a bit on the low end), but if that person is making you 10k+ a month from the ads, then it’s well worth it.
Be flexible on your contracts with advertisers. The best relationships are when the advertiser is motivated to run additional tests & keep you top of mind because they’re invested in the revenue potential as well.
And keep in mind that it almost always takes an advertiser a month or so of testing to get ROI off the ground, and there are all sorts of variables that go into this. The more assets and help you can give them, the better your results will be.
And believe me, finding that first ad -> audience fit is so damn exciting 🙂
Keep people in mind for that incoming influx of new leads, too. You’ll need team members specifically devoted to these new leads, so either reorganize your existing sales team or make a hire.
The end! What you need to do next…
You should now have a much better understanding of Relationship Funnels 🙂
On how to unlock the power of Respect-Based Marketing in your high-ticket or online business.
On automating the building of real relationships that generate real revenue by delivering value 🙂
It’s a lot of work, but the results speak for themselves.
If you’re ready to join the Respect-Based Marketing movement and create funnels that can exponentially grow your business, then you could start today.
Here’s the deal: faster growth starts with automating relationships.
There are four different ways you could kick things off:
- Get us to do it with you: Sometimes a leader’s time is best spent on the business. We live and breathe marketing funnels, so if you want us to help you install your own Relationship Funnel — giving you the system to start acquiring and closing more customers than you ever have before, then go here.
- You can download the complete Relationship Funnel course that includes templates and swipe files for you to create the funnel yourself.
- You can just run with what’s in this super awesome lead magnet 🙂
- You can ignore RF and keep wondering why you aren’t acquiring profitable customers at scale.
The choice is yours, but whatever you decide — good luck 🙂