TAM 038: Todd Brown – Sales Funnel Strategy, Part 1 - The Active Marketer

TAM 038: Todd Brown – Sales Funnel Strategy, Part 1

Todd Brown Sales Funnels Barry Moore

In episode 38, I chat with Todd Brown -  founder of MarketingFunnelAutomation.com about sales funnel strategy and the steps you need to take to create a killer sales funnel.

There was so much great content in this interview, I have broken it up into two parts. In part one, we talk about how to sit down, away from the tools, and plan out your sales funnel. We cover the key questions you need to ask yourself and what you need to know about your prospect and the marketplace.

We chat about:

  • The process for creating a successful sales funnel
  • Levels of marketplace sophistication
  • The most important thing in the foundation of a good sales funnel
  • The hook and ideas to get the attention of your market
  • Introduction of the unique mechanism
  • The expansions of the unique mechanism
  • Reinventing the unique mechanism
  • The tripwire offer

If you want to give ActiveCampaign a try, you can set up a free trial account here. If you want to take your sales funnel and marketing automation skills to the next level, take our best-selling ActiveCampaign Quick Start training. ActiveCampaign Qucik Start Training

Links Mentioned In The Show

Check out part 2 here.

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Announcer: Welcome to the Active Marketer Podcast, where we talk about how to design automate and scale your business to the next level, using sales and marketing automation. You can find out all the tips, tactics, and techniques you need to get more customers and sell more stuff over at the activemarketer.com. Now here's your host, Barry.

Barry: Welcome back to another episode of the Active Marketer Podcast, the podcast that's all about sales funnels and marketing automation. I'm your host, Barry, and we have another great episode for you today. My guest this week is sales funnel guru rockstar, Todd Brown. If you're not familiar with Todd Brown, you can find him over at marketingfunnelautomation.com. He is the thought-leader. He is an industry leader. He is the sales funnel guy that sales funnel guys go to. He's always innovating. He's always coming up with new techniques, new tactics and new strategies. So it was a real treat to be able to talk to him and he is just really really generous with his time, sharing value bomb after value bomb.

So this episode actually went quite long, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to break it up into two parts because there is a bit of a distinction in the middle where we talk about one thing for a little while and then we move on to another subject. So in part one of this episode, we're going to talk about levels of awareness in your customer base, so how can you design your funnel. How can you design your copy, based on the level of awareness of your particular prospect. Then, part two next week, we're going to move onto The One Big Thing, and we're going to talk about that and what that is, next week.

But before we get into that, of course this shameless social proof section where I read out your reviews from iTunes and Stitcher. This week we got a five star review from David IB in the United States. He says, "I've been listening to the podcast for a little over a month. I've listened to almost every episode at this point and just about every single one -- from the interviews to the tactical 20s, have been useful and inspiring. I'm new the marketing automation world, and specifically to active campaign as as tool. Just picked up Barry's, "Zero to Hero" active campaign training course, so I'm very excited to dig into that and start implementing to my growing list. Thanks loads, Barry." There's also a P.S. "P.S., I found the interview with Dane Maxwell," which is episode 29, "Dane Maxwell from The Foundation, extremely powerful. Absolutely loved it. So thanks to both Dane and Barry for that little gem." Well, thank you very much, David. I do appreciate that review, five stars review in iTunes is always great. It helps push up in the rankings, it helps other people find this great content.

So if you could do me a favour, if you really enjoy the podcast, head over to iTunes or Stitcher and leave us a review and I'll read it out on a future show. One other thing I'd like to mention, just before we get into the episode is a new plug-in that a [00:03:03] Lewis has come up with for active campaign user, and that's your marketing automation platform of choice, head over to automationsplugins.com and check out the G-sync active campaign extension for Chrome and Gmail. It's pretty groovy. You'll love the extension allows you to ... basically interrogate your active campaign account from within Chrome or within Gmail. So if you get an email from somebody, you can open up the little sidebar of the extension there and you can see what lists they're on, what tags they've got, what automations may be running for them. You can check out all the information that's inside active campaign without ever leaving Gmail or without ever leaving Chrome.

So pretty groovy, pretty good little extension for Chrome and Gmail. It'll help save you time from jumping in and out of active campaign to check out your customers when they email you. Again, you can find that at automationsplugins.com, check it out, it's well worth your time to have a look.

All right, so let's get into this week's episode with Todd Brown.

Man I would to welcome to the show, Todd Brown. Todd Brown in the house. He is the sales funnel guy, sales funny guys go to to sort their stuff out. Todd, welcome.

Todd: Thank you, man. I'm super excited to be here with you, dude.

Barry: Super excited to have you on. You know I follow a lot of your stuff online and you're always in innovator when it comes to sales funnels and stuff, so I'm really excited to have you on. So I think most of the listeners probably have a sales funnels or two, or are just getting started with their sales funnels journey. So I thought we'd talk about the process, not so much the tools, but the process on how you go about creating a successful funnel.

So, you know, what's the first base? You're sitting there, you've got your new tool: 10 minute funnels or click funnels or whatever it is, and you've got the blank piece of paper in front of you? How do you start?

Todd: Yeah, first let me say this, man, number one, I think you put the tool aside because the tool is kind of the, for everybody, the tool is secondary. The reality is that if you look at, if you lined up a dozen of the most successful direct response marketers on the Internet and you look at their set of tools, you're going to find a different array of tools being used by potentially all 12. You're not going to find the same tool set from one marketers to the next at all. Some marketers use something like Click Funnels, some use Lead Pages, Optimise Press, there's Kajabi, there's, my gosh, there's Unbounce, there's so many different page creations. Just like there are so many different email auto responder services, or CRMs, some use Infusion Soft, some use Marl Post, some use, you know, Entrepot, Awebber.

The point of all that is the tool is secondary. So the first thing I would tell everybody is put the tool aside. The next thing is, kind of what happens at the very beginning of the process. You know, before you even write a single word of copy, before you craft your headline, start engineering your offer, decide on what the model is, let's talk about one of the first things that needs to be done, assuming that you have a product, right? You're asking me the question based on they have a product, they know it's a product that the market wants, that they've chosen wisely, the market that they're going into, based on the size, that these people congregate together, that they've got money, that they spend money on this particular thing, and now really, just correct me if I'm mistaken, Barry, but you're asking me what do you do? Got the product, now what?

Barry: Yeah, exactly that, that would even be an interesting side question is what if you don't even have a product? But let's assume that we have something that we want to sell. So whatever that happens to be, product service, whatever. So ....

Todd: Yeah.

Barry: We're ready to go. I've been selling it on the side, or I've been selling to people I know and now I want to take my show onto the Internet, basically.

Todd: Yep. So the very first thing that I'm going to do is I'm going to assess my prospects marketplace sophistication. Marketplace sophistication is something that was really popularised by Eugene Schwartz, one of the greatest copywriters, one of the direct response marketing minds of all time. He talks about it in his book, "Breakthrough Advertising." Marketplace sophistication really kind of, it tells us what it is that the market, our prospects, have seen before, have heard before, have been promised before, have been told before by competitors. What claims competitors have made before and what not to the market. So, in essence, what it tells us is ... it tells us what the market will respond to and what they won't respond to. And there are really, without getting into it, because it's kind of tough to really grasp it without some visual, but there are five different levels of marketplace sophistication. At the very beginning, at the very first level of marketplace sophistication is when you have a product that your primary promise, or your primary claim, your primary statement of benefit has never been made before to the market.

Meaning that the claim you are making, the promise that you are making has never been made to them before, right? Well that's an extreme rarity today, where you're able to make a promise that's never been made before. When you have a market that is ... the promise has never been made before, that's a level one marketplace sophistication. All you have to do in your marketing is simply make the promise, make the claim. The example that I give all the time when I do this teaching is the very first fat burner that was released to the market. The very first time that was released, the only thing they had to say was "take this pill and you'll lose weight."

Barry: Yeah.

Todd: Just a straight promise, right. But over time as more and more competitors came along, introduced their own fat burners and were saying the same thing, the market no longer responds to that type of basic promise. So then it goes to level two. At level two we see an expansion of the promise, right, where it's not take this pill and lose ten pounds, take this pill and lose twenty pounds, take this pill and lose fifteen inches, right? Then, over time, same things happens and at that point, you can't simply enlarge the claim anymore. Because if you enlarge the claim, the market doesn't believe it, it's not credible, it's not true, and so they stop responding.

Just like today, you and I came out with a fat burner, and we said take this pill and you'll lose 100 lbs.

Barry: In 20 minutes.

Todd: No one's gonna believe it. Right, it's just not believable. Point is, prospects go through this evolution of their quote on quote "sophistication." As they are exposed to more and more claims and advertisements. What they once use to respond to, they, in many cases, no longer respond to those same things. Just like today, if you and I came out with our own fat burner and we designed the best product, the best packaging, the best design, the best formulation. We had doctors, the best website look format wise, but our marketing promise was, "take this pill and you'll lose weight," we would get clobbered. Because the market today is too sophisticated for that.

So the very first thing that you gatta do, is that you gatta understand marketplace sophistication level for your prospects. Ultimately, it's really nothing more than understanding what it is that they've seen already from competitors. From other individuals that they believe offer a competitive solution. The thing that I'm looking for, I'm really looking for two things. Or what your audience is looking ... should be looking for is two things. One, I'm looking to get an understanding of where are they at? Meaning are they at level two are they at level three? Is this a level one market based on the promise I'm going to be making or I'm considering making to them? Where are they at?

The second thing that I'm looking to know what it is that competitors have said, how they've presented their product, their service, to the market. What's been the unique mechanism, the unique hook, the unique way that they deliver on the promise, the outcome, etc. because ultimately, the most important thing at the foundation of a successful funnel is that you are saying something new and different. The hook, the idea, the angle that you're using to get your markets attention and to get your message out in front of them, needs to be new and different. Needs to be unique, right? So I need to know what has already been said to them because that, right off the bat, tells me what I cannot say.

Barry: Yep.

Todd: So it immediately begins to exclude certain things. Does that make sense?

Barry: Yeah. Absolutely. And just to close off on that, it's just because you opened that loop and in my head I really didn't want to close it. So the five levels never been seen before, then there's an expansion. So what are the other three?

Todd: Yeah, so the third one is my favourite. Let me take a step back and say that level two is the expansion of the product. Like we said, take this pill lose 10 pounds, lose 20 pounds, lose 30 pounds, problem is that, right, at some point, expanding the claim, blowing up the claim is no longer believable or credible, right? Sadly, what I will tell you, if you look at this after our time together today, you'll see it, especially in the Internet marketing, marketing community. Is that so many marketers mistakenly think that the way you compete with competitors is to simply blow up the claim. SO they're stuck as a level two marketer when their market has evolved in sophistication. In other words they think, oh, everyone else is saying how to get a thousand Facebook fans? I'm going to say how to get 10,000 Facebook fans. Oh, everybody's saying 10,000? I'm going to say 100,000. They think that simply making a bigger claim and a bigger promise is the answer and it's not. It is absolutely not the answer and anymore when you've got a market that evolves to the next level of sophistication.

At the next level is when you see the introduction of the unique mechanism. The unique mechanism is the unique piece, part, component, process, system, you know, of your product or service that actually delivers the results. So it's ... you've seen this a dozen times in infomercials. Any time in infomercials when they say "the secret is in the X." The X is the unique mechanism, right? These knives never need to be sharpened, they never ... right? The secret is in the German steel.

Barry: That's right.

Todd: Well, it's the German steel is the unique mechanism that delivers the benefit of never having to sharpen the knives. Right, so it's in your software ... you have a software that gets people top rankings or something like that, let's say, so the secret is in the unique algorithm that discovers the hidden loopholes in competitors websites and exploits it for top rankings. That's the unique mechanism. The reason why it's so powerful is because it allows you to make the same or similar promise to what your competitors are making without expanding the claim beyond the level of believability or truth or credibility, but it gives prospects hope in your product in your offer that maybe now, this time, with what you're offering, things are going to be different because of the unique mechanism. Right?
THey're able to say, "Well maybe it didn't work for me last time because the prior products didn't have ...."

Barry: Yeah, they didn't have the ...

Todd: The unique algorithm.

Barry: Right, they didn't have the German steel.

Todd: Right.

Barry: They had some cheap Portuguese steel.

Todd: Right. Exactly. Or whatever, right. Exactly. So that's level three. Level four, right, is where we see, very similar to level two, we see the expansion of the unique mechanism, so now it becomes ... it's the whatever. Iron forged, you know, or fire forged German steel. Or decade aged German steel. I have no idea, but you get the point. Where now, there's a differentiator even with the unique mechanism, and you need that when ... competitors are coming along and they're also offering German steel. Or competitors now in the fat burning arena, they're all offering garcinia cambogia, so now ... garcinia once was a unique mechanism, today it's no longer a unique mechanism. But maybe if you've got pharmaceutical grade or garcinia in double the dosage or cold pressed garcinia or garcinia with a digestive enzyme blah blah blah, that becomes ....

Barry: Coated in German steel.

Todd: There you go, right. Made with a special algorithm that gets you top rankings, or whatever. Then the fifth and final level is when you stop talking about the product and you really are talking about the prospects experience. For the fat burners, it becomes tired of dieting, exercising, popping pills and never losing weight? You know like that sort of thing. You're talking about the prospects experience. So, yeah I want to look at the market and I want to look at competitors and I want to see are they all operating at level two, right? Because I'm going to roll out with a unique mechanism. And I'm going to smoke them. Or are they at level three and they're rolling out a unique mechanism. Well if so, what are the unique mechanisms that they're using because whatever they're using I don't want to use or can't use. The beautiful thing is that, especially for information marketers, you can operate a level three indefinitely and compete successfully, because you can always reinvent the unique mechanism.

See, the unique mechanism, without spending too much time on this, the unique mechanism is really in two out of three cases, it's a marketing invention. Meaning that there are three ways to come up with a unique mechanism. One is, your product or service legitimately has a unique mechanism, meaning it has an ingredient, it has an aspect that cannot be found in any other competing products, right? That's a legitimate unique mechanism. But more often than not, that doesn't exist for most products. There might be something there to be said about the products, but nevertheless it's the reality of the majority of products. So there are two different ways that you can still engineer a unique mechanism. The first is what Claude Hopkins did many years ago with Schlitz Beer when he was taking a tour of their factory, he saw something going on across the manufacturing facility, and he said, "What's going on over there?" And they said, "Oh, the guy said" ... as the legend goes, they said, "Oh, that is where we sterilise all of our bottles or whatever." And Claude Hopkins said, " Well, why the heck aren't you telling the market about this, right?" The guy said, "Aw, because every beer manufacturer does it." Claude said, "But nobody's talking about it."

So if you talk about an aspect of your product or service that is not necessarily unique in comparison to your competitors products or services, but it is unique in the minds of your prospects because no one else is talking about it, that can be a unique mechanism. At least until another competitor comes along and begins talking about it. That was something I use to teach chiropractors many many moons ago, when I had a company that taught marketing and practise development for chiropractors how to do. Often we had chiropractors that would put the name and model number of the Xray machine that they were using in their practise in their marketing, right? Then they would say, why should I do that? When probably 2/3 of the chiropractors in my area use the same Xray machine, right?

I said because they're not talking about it. By you talking about it, it immediately gives the prospect the idea that there must be something different and better about yours or else why would you mention it? Right, so right off the bat. The third way is the most common way, and we see it all the time in the Internet marketing space. That is by turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. That's often done by giving a proprietary title or a proprietary name to a generic or known methodology. A great example of that is what Ryan Dison and Perry Belcher have done, two, very sharp entrepreneurs, marketers, great at what they do, so this is ... this isn't a criticism, this is me tipping my hat to them, if anything. But there was a point when they released their funnel methodology, the foundation of that funnel methodology was the trip wire offer.

Barry: Yep.

Todd: And, the trip wire offer, for those of you who aren't really familiar with that, is really nothing more than an ultra low price low barrier of entry offer, designed to make it extremely easy for a prospect to become a customer, right? It is new, is it brand new, is it a new thing that Ryan and Perry invented? No. Not at all. It's been around for many many many years. But what they did do is they took the ordinary, just a low price, low barrier of entry offer, and they rebranded it, so to speak. They retitled it as a trip wire, so that trip wire is part of the unique mechanism of their methodology. So when they first rolled that out, what a lot of marketers said is, "you know what? That's why my funnel hasn't worked up to this point, because it didn't have a trip wire. And maybe now once I sign up and I do use a trip wire, ah! That's why it's going to work now."

Barry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Todd: So the unique mechanism becomes the thing that gives your prospects hope.

Barry: In that case, that's an interesting part. It wasn't like a new idea, they just dusted it off, gave it a brand name. I guess, so that people could hang their hat on it and they could easily identify with it.

Todd: Absolutely. It is one of the ... it's a tactic you see used all the time. All the time. It's rare that there's a new ... that there's a truly new strategy. I should really say tactic. Most of the time what you find is that there's a new name, a new title, or there's a slight twist on it and it's given ... it's assigned a title. The beauty is that is allows you to have a unique mechanism. It allows you to present an offer and talk about something different. It allows you to not market and sell the generic. You know, selling the generic for a commodity is never a good thing anyway. But ... one of the more powerful tools for the serious marketer.

Barry: And it gives everybody else talking about your product because if you on any Internet marketing forum, or anything there's always a trip wire this and trip wire that, you know? It's like turning your product into a verb almost.

Todd: It's funny too because I ... I get this is ... I tip my hat to Ry and Perry for kind of indoctrinating the market to such an extent with the whole idea of a trip wire. You know where today, the only successful front end customer acquisition offer is a trip wire and that everybody whose anybody in direct response uses a trip wire. The reality is, if we're really just being brutally honest, the reality is that couldn't be further from the truth. That most of the biggest marketers, where it be my friend J. Abraham or Rich Sheffron or look at Frank Kern, look at my company, look at Jeff Walker, Dan Kennedy, they don't use a trip wire.

Barry: No.

Todd: Right, they don't start low. That's not to say that you can't start low and that's not to say that there isn't a place for low priced offer, but this idea that it's the only way is to have a low priced offer is just not accurate.

Barry: Fair enough. So to loop back there, so you go out into the marketplace to see what the level of sophistication is for everyone whose currently there and what are your competitors doing. Is it really just ... so let's say everyone's just at level two or level three, is it really just as easy as going right ... okay, that's where the market is, I'm going to defcon four with my funnel?

Todd: Yeah. I mean it is. I tend to migrate towards a level three message because, you know, you can always differentiate by introducing a new unique mechanism. It is like looking at where is everybody operating at? It does a lot of things. It tells you how easy it's going to be to do well in that arena, or with a new offer. Like if everybody's at a level two and you roll out with level three, you're going to stand out. Your marketing message is going to stand out and so, it does a lot. So to answer your question, yes. If everybody's at level two, I'm going to level three.

Barry: Fair enough.

Todd: Wow, loved talking to Todd. He's dropping value bombs left right and centre. If you want to find out more about him, you can head over to marketingfunnelautomation.com and check out all his stuff. He's got a great blog over there, lots of products if you want to get into the sales funnel space. And don't forget to come back next week for part two of the episode where he continues to share all his great knowledge about sales funnels with us. I really appreciate him. He's a really generous guy. A really knowledgeable guy and I think you'll love part two of the interview as well.

I would like to thank you, the listener, for stopping by. I know you have lots of choices on how to spend your time, so I really do appreciate that you're spending with us. We like to put out really valuable information for you guys, tailor it to exactly what you'd like to hear, so if you want to hear any subjects covered on the show, by all means, send me an email at barry@theactivemarketer.com and we'll work it into the rotation or just stop by and leave us a comment in the show notes, down below the show notes you'll see the comment box there, just leave us a comment about what you'd like to see and we'll work it in. And you can find all the show notes from this episode over at the activemarketer.com/todd1, that's Todd and the number one for the first part of the interview.

If you'd like to check out our tagging guide, to help you get started with tagging, head over to the activemarketer.com, check out the sidebar there and you will see our tagging guide. Download it for free, it tells you all about how you can get your tags and tagging sorted out in the marketing automation platform of your choice so that it doesn't become a giant mess that you have to sort out later on. Have a plan before you start, that's the best way to get quick results. So we'll see you next week, in the meantime get out there and design, automate and scale your business to the next level using sales and marketing automation.

See you everybody.

Announcer: Thanks for listening the Active Market Podcast. You can find the show notes and all the latest marketing news over at the activemarketer.com.

Barry Moore

Entrepreneur, aviator and former eCommerce and technology executive, Barry Moore is the founder of TheActiveMarketer.com. When he isn't geeking out about how sales and marketing automation can help your business, you can find him in the surf or in an airplane.

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