TAM 039: Todd Brown – Sales Funnel Strategy, Part 2 - The Active Marketer

TAM 039: Todd Brown – Sales Funnel Strategy, Part 2

Sales Funnels Todd Brown ActiveCampaign Barry Moore

In the episode 39, we finish up with part 2 of my chat with Todd Brown - founder of Marketing Funnel Automation. We talk further about creating a successful sales funnel and finding your big idea. On part 1, we spoke about the process, marketplace sophistication and the different levels of your unique mechanism.

In part 2, Todd Brown shares more secrets and techniques to creating a successful sales funnel and finding your big idea.

We chat about:

  • Developing a big idea for the funnel
  • Difference between marketing and selling
  • Best resources to become a great marketer
  • Using persuasive arguments in your marketing
  • Rhetoric for marketing
  • How to design and put together an argument
  • Common errors people make with their sales funnels
  • Copywriting

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 1 here.

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Todd: People paid 10,000 dollars to fly in and learn about this, so I'm going to try to kind of consolidate this for everybody listening.

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 TheActiveMarketer.com, now here's your host, Barry Moore.

Barry: Welcome to the Active Marketer, the podcast that's all about sales, funnels and marketing automation, I am your host, Barry, and this week we got the second half of our interview with sales funnel rockstar, Todd Brown. If you haven't listened to the first half yet, I'd urge you to go back and download episode number 38, some great tips, tactics and techniques that you can use in your sales funnels in that episode. In this episode we're going to continue on with a completely kind of different topic and that's the big idea. So I don't want to take up anymore of the time, let's dive straight into part two of our interview with Todd.

All right so we got our level of sophistication, what do we do next?

Todd: So to keep things real simple, the very next thing that I'm going to do is, I'm going to develop a big idea for my funnel. And this is a topic that, I held a two day event down here in West Palm Beach, Florida, just about this topic alone, people paid 10,000 dollars to fly in and learn about this, so I'm going to try to kind of consolidate this into a three minute snippet for everybody listening. But the thing I want everybody to understand is that, number one there's a difference between marketing and selling. Most people confuse the two, most people conflate the two, most people think they're the same activity or same actions with the same objective and outcome. Well the reality is that they are two vastly different things, two vastly different activities with two vastly different objectives or desirable outcomes.

And the job of marketing is to make selling unnecessary, to make it superfluous as Peter Drucker said, to make it easy, to make it smooth, to make it a natural extension of everything that you've said. And so I share that in this context because, I'll just tell you that, 75%, give or take, of every marketing funnel that we create, create for clients, help students create. 75%, regardless of how long the funnel is, regardless of what the funnel looks like in terms of the funnel model. 75% is marketing, we're not talking about the product, we're not talking about the features, we're not talking about the advantages, the benefits, the price point, the premiums, the bonuses, the risk reversal. We're not talking about the urgency, scarcity, giving testimonials about the product, me, the company, none of that. 75% is all about the prospect, their situation, their fears, their concerns, their desire, the best solution to their needs. The information that they need to know and understand and absorb to be able to see the perfect solution and the perfect action for them to take, which of course is behind the scenes ultimately going to be to take advantage of the thing that I offer them in the other 25% of the funnel, which is the sales portion.

I say all of that to stress the point that we need an idea that that 75% of our marketing funnel is going to fall under. In other words, I need to come up with a big idea, a compelling, arresting, intellectually interesting, emotionally stimulating, easily understandable idea that prospects have never heard before. Right? I can't simply regurgitate the same idea that everybody else is saying because when that happens, you create mental opt-out, meaning prospects come to your funnels, they come to your opt-in page, your squeeze page and they say, "Oh, I've seen that before, oh heard that, oh that again, oh more of that, oh I've seen that on YouTube, or oh I heard so and so talk about that." And they bail, they bounce, and so we need something that we can say, we need an idea, this is before you write a single word of copy. Understand that the headline is not the idea, the headline simply communicates the idea, but it's the underlying idea behind the headline that I'm going to develop into a big, startling, arresting, unique, timely, fresh, easily understandable idea that is both intellectually interesting and emotionally compelling.

Once I have that idea developed and that idea comes from diving deep into the product, the, let's say if it's an information product, if it's a book, going into the book and digging, doing research. I'm finishing up a funnel for a client that works with a certain type of attorneys and these attorneys practise a certain type of law. And so I was able to do a bunch of research and have research done on this particular area of the law and from there I even found other little tid bits that I was able to explore, that all gave me fodder, that gave me information to pull from to develop a big idea that I was then going to use to build the rest of the funnel so that I had something that would capture their attention.

And the perfect example of this and the place to see this in action every day is with a company like Agora, Agora is a half a billion dollar a year information marketing leviathan, a beast of a company. And they really sell investing newsletters and alternative health newsletters. The bulk is investing newsletter, how to invest in the stock market and build your retirement and that sort of thing. Well if you look, why aren't, why don't Agora, why don't most of their funnels, their promotions, their campaigns simply say, simply have headlines that say things like, "How to get rich in the stock market." Or, "How to double your retirement account." Or "How to fund your retirement account with dividend stocks." Right, or, "How to day trade your way wealth." Why don't they say those sort of things?

Well they don't say those sorts of things because the market's too sophisticated for that, and so they need a unique way to capture their attention to create interest, to captivate their prospects intellectually and so they have big idea based campaigns. The end of America, it's the new rail road, it's the new internet, it's Obama's third term, it's Obama's mistress. All of these, the underground currency, it's all of these things that are, all they are are ideas that are used to captivate the market's attention, generate interest to ultimately lead them in to a marketing message whereby the time that marketing message is delivered, they are sold on needing the information or wanting the information at which point they go into the selling portion of their marketing campaign or their marketing promotion.

And I think that that's, it's a big somewhat lofty topic, this idea of marketing versus selling, but it's one of those areas that I think, "Man, I think the majority of marketers personally, especially online that have come through the internet marketing world, they don't, they just miss it." They don't get the fact that, there are lots of salespeople that are terrible marketers, lots of great marketers that are terrible salespeople, they are two vastly different activities. You can sell a lot with, you can sell a lot comfortably with great marketings chops, but with poor marketing chops, it's a lot more difficult to sell a lot because you're not creating the desire, you're not setting the frame, you're not establishing the beliefs in the mind of the prospect and I believe, I'll leave it at this cause I know we're running short on time, that it's in my opinion and this is one of the things I teach.

I talk about this often, my kind of thesis if you will for designing high conversation marketing funnels is that, that 75% of the marketing funnel is more akin to being a prosecutor trying to prove a case to a jury before asking them, before giving your closing arguments and asking them to make a decision, it's more akin to that than it is to being a slick salesperson. Because it's not, the salesmanship comes in the end, and you don't need a whole lot of salesmanship when you've got tremendous marketing chops. That's why my good buddy Rich Schefren always says, I'm, he's, about himself he always says, "I'm a terrible salesperson, I'm not a salesperson." He says. "I'm a marketer, if it was about selling I would be in trouble, but it's not, it's about marketing and marketing does the heavy lifting for me so that when it comes to selling all I have to do is make a great offer." That's it.

Barry: All right, that leads into an interesting part. So what do you think are some of the best resources for someone who wants to really dive deep and become a good marketer.

Todd: That's a great question man. What are some of the best resources, resources in terms of where can they learn more?

Barry: Yeah exactly. "I want to learn to be a great marketer, where do I go, how do I do that?"

Todd: Yeah, well so first let me give the self serving answer. You come over to marketingfunnelautomation.com, at a bare minimum you go through our blog and you subscribe to our e-mail list and you read our content. That would be the best thing, but again I'm a little biassed there, so.

Barry: No it's great material, I've been through heaps of it.

Todd: And so let me give you some other resources, one I mentioned a book earlier that I feel is required reading every year, not just once, but every year and that's "Break Through Advertising" by 'Gene Schwartz. I also think another great book by my buddy and mentor, Mark Ford, is a book called, "Great Leads." It's another fantastic book, it's more about copyrighting and creating the first, call it, 800 words let's say of a VSL or a long form sales letter, or any marketing promotion, but it gives you some of the key strategies used by Agora to create the success that they have. The other thing, there are two other things that are going to sound so bizarre that you've probably never heard anybody recommend before for marketers, but I think it's two areas of study that have served me and my clients extraordinarily well and it can do the same for your audience.

The first one is study rhetoric. Rhetoric is how we structure what it is that we say. It's not what you say, we've always heard this, it's not what you say it's how you say it, that's rhetoric. Right, rhetoric is what you say. There's a great book, I'll, let me pull up a great book, it's a book that you would never think would be a valuable book, it's designed for students, but it's one of my favourite books that, truly when it comes to writing and rhetoric. It's called "Rhetorical Devices: A Handbook and Activities for Student Writers." A great book, it's like a nine dollar little book, it's for studying and learning rhetoric. Great great first book to go through, you'll go through it dozens of times. I mean and again you'll, rhetoric is used, most people don't know what rhetoric is and they don't realise that it's not this dated, old, Greek skillset. It's used by the greatest communicators, right? So it's choosing what you want to say and then using rhetoric to understand how to deliver it.

The second area that I recommend everybody study, and there's a small handful of books that you can use, is argumentation. How to design and put together a cogent, irrefutable argument, right? So that logically you can't dispute what it is that's being presented, meaning like what a lot of marketers think is a great marketing funnel is simply making a bunch of claims. One claim after another like, "Hey you can experience this benefit and this benefit and this benefit and this benefit and this benefit" and they think that that's a marketing funnel. Well the reality is that anybody can make a string of claims, it doesn't take a great marketer to make a string of claims. But what we do is during that marketing portion, we're presenting a case, we're presenting an argument, we're presenting a thesis and getting them to buy into our thesis, right? Real persuasion is when somebody has a change of heart, a change of feeling, and a change of perspective, change of belief, change of mindset.

And so that comes about by being able to present a rock solid argument. And so argumentation, you can study Gerry Spence, he's like one of the winning-est trial attorneys, he's got, let me make sure I give you the right, on my bookshelf I've got, "Win Your Case" and "How to Argue and Win Every time." Those are both good books from Gerry Spence and there's another book, let me just see something here, that I actually bought a copy for all of the folks that flew in, were in attendance for my Big Idea Bootcamp, it's called, it's small also like a six dollar Kindle, 10 dollar paperback. It's called, "A Rulebook for Arguments" by Anthony Weston. Ironically it's also really designed for students, but it'll help you to understand what is a logical argument and what is an illogical argument.

And the key components of a solid, concrete argument and that's really what you're doing, in a real marketing funnel, see here's the thing, that most marketers when they make claim after claim after claim after claim after claim, what they're doing is, number one. They're expecting the prospect to simply believe them because they've said it. Because I said it, I believe the prospect is going to believe me when the reality is that couldn't be further from the truth. Most prospects are going to doubt everything that you say because people are more sceptical, more cynical than ever before because they hear about people being burned left and right, because the internet, blah blah blah.

And so the second thing is that they're not providing that logical, rational, justification. They're leaving out a key component of the persuasion element and all they're strictly trying to do is move the person emotionally. Well when you do that, and all you are relying on is claim after claim after claim after claim, that's when your marketing feels like marketing. That's when your marketing feels like salesmanship, it feels like, because you're expecting to the prospect to put aside all of their doubt and scepticism and simply to operate on hope. Whereas when we present an argument where they can't refute it and we get them emotional and they're even more emotional because intellectually, logically, rationally, they get it. They see that what you're saying is true and legitimate, incredible and spot on. Then emotionally they allow themselves to get sucked in because they logically believe it and that's when you truly have a persuasive message.

Barry: Yeah and an argument, has a bit of a negative connotation to it, but what it really is, is conversation whereas all those bullet points of benefits just kind of feels like you getting hit over the head with a hammer, "Doing doing doing doing." You're like, "Okay, okay, okay, okay." But like with a persuasive argument it's more of a conversation and you're engaging the person, it's me as a lead, you're engaging me in a conversation as to why it's better instead of just belching out bullet points that it's better.

Todd: Yeah exactly. And I think it also goes beyond just simply just offering proof. Proof is a huge part of the argument process, or when constructing an argument, but it's funny, I just pulled it up just for the heck of it, you're absolutely right, most people do think of an argument or the word argument as like this verbal squabble, this verbal fight. But here's, there are two definitions that I pulled up, one says, "A reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong." In our case, it's a reason, it's really, our marketing funnel is a set of reasons given with the aim of persuading our prospects that the action that we're about to ask them to take is right. That's what we're doing right? And the first definition just said, "An exchange of diverging or opposite views."

Right? And so it's kind of like, look if you said to me, "Hey Todd I believe you should be following a vegetarian diet." Well I'm going to ask you, "Well, why, tell me why." And if you really want to persuade me to the value and benefit of a vegetarian diet, you're going to present an argument. Anything that you say after I say, "Tell me why." That is an argument, whether you realise it or not, whether you design it effectively or not, whether you present it effectively or not, it's an argument. It can be a weak argument, it can be an inefficient argument, it can an argument with a tonne of holes in it, it can be an argument that has all kinds of gaps or it could be a rock solid, irrefutable, indisputable argument that naturally leads me to the conclusion, "Dang, you are right, I better start following a vegetarian diet." At which point I hope you sell me on your kit to get started with a vegetarian diet. Makes sense?

Barry: Yeah very good, very cool, absolutely. All right Todd, just to close things off quickly, maybe just a few common errors that you see every time that kind of make you face palm and just say, "Oh, please stop doing that."

Todd: Yeah, I think one we just said, which is not, making claims that are not backed by proof. Where, recognising that if you make one claim and you don't back it up with proof, you allow your prospect to say, "Yeah right." And if they say yeah right to one thing, you've just allowed doubt to creep into your entire message. Not proving all of your claims, or simply I should say, making claims that you don't have proof to back up, that's one.

Another one is thinking that good copy feels or reads like good copy. In other words, good copy doesn't read like good copy or what most people consider good copy. Good copy isn't loaded with or filled with adjectives. That's the sign of mediocre copy, it's the amazing, fantastic, steroid-like tomato growing machine, right? That's just weak copy, weak copy is adjective driven copy. Strong copy is, doesn't read like that, it doesn't feel like that, it doesn't sound like copy and it's driven by verbs. And it is choosing the right, most powerful verbs and when you utilise verbs, that gives your copy punch, that gives your copy movement, that gives your copy power. So being selective and intentional about choosing the best, most impactful, most powerful verb that you can.

The next one I would say is not spending, and this is in no particular order. Not spending nearly enough time engineering and putting together a truly irresistible, over the top, superior offer. Most marketers, especially in the internet marketing community, they're lucky to spend 30 minutes crafting the offer. Most I would say are, they don't invest more than 15 minutes thinking about brainstorming, engineering the offer. Yet the offer is more important than the copy, right? It goes list, offer, copy. List, who you're talking to is the most important. Second most important is the offer, right? The different offer can radically change your conversations.

We can take the same exact copy, the same exact product, the same exact target audience, we can take the offer and instead of, the same price point, and instead of being a hard offer meaning pay today, we can make it a soft offer where pay nothing today, you get the product, use it and only if you love it in 30 days do you pay the 39 or 49 dollars. That one little change in the offer, not the copy, not the paragraph, not one of your subheads, not the call to action, not the PS, that one change can double, triple conversations. Whereas, lots and lots of marketers, they will invest days and days if not weeks and weeks working on the nitty gritty copy of their VSL, a paragraph
on page four of the VSL, but they spend 12 minutes on the offer. That is just a massive mistake.

Another one is, man and I can rattle, I can keep rattling, I'll give you one more. Another mistake that I see is, this is a little bit somewhat advanced. I'll give you two more. One is they use hyperbole in their copy, which is a rhetorical device, you can read about it in any book about rhetoric, but you'll read about it in that book I mentioned. And the problem is though that they use hyperbole in a way where the prospect doesn't realise or doesn't know, it's not clear that the marketer is trying to be hyperbolic and it sounds like they're making just a ridiculous claim.

In other words hyperbole used correctly is when you say something that, you say something for a fact, meaning like, "There were more people at." Like if I said something like, "There were more people at the concert than there are grains of sand on the east coast of the United States." Right well that's clearly hyperbole, nobody thinks that I am really truly trying to convince them that legitimately there were more people there than there were grains of sand. That's clearly, but when you say things like, "People will flood your store." Or, "Your store will be flooded with." That is, it's not clear that you're being hyperbolic there and it's not clear that you're using hyperbole and so to prospects, that comes across as simple hype, that's all it is. And there's a huge difference between a hyperbole and hype. The big difference is that your audience knows when you're being, when it's hyperbole and it's simply intended for effect and that's it whereas lots of marketers make the mistake of, they'll say things that just make them look like all they're doing is exaggerating. All they're doing is, it looks to the prospect like all they're doing is trying to talk up how great their product is.

The last one is more of a bigger picture thing and it is marketers that think the answer is more in the marketing funnel model instead of realising that the answer, if they're struggling with conversations, is in the quality of the idea behind their funnel and the design of their marketing funnel message. You get a lot of people that think, "Oh, I couldn't convert, I'm not converting in a trip wire funnel and so let me change it from a trip wire funnel to an evergreen webinar funnel. Let me change it from an evergreen webinar funnel to a survey funnel. Let me change it from a survey funnel to an invisible funnel, to whatever." And they think that that's the answer, they bring the same mediocre, cruddy, crappy idea, the same weak offer, the same poorly constructed marketing funnel argument and they bring it into a different model.

And they think the model is what's going to carry the success of the funnel when the reality is that we can take one of let's say Agora's marketing campaigns and we can turn it into a webinar, we can turn it into a multi part video sequence, we can turn it into and all of those are going to work. They might work at different levels, but they're all going to work. It's not the model, it's the idea and the message and the message construction and the quality of the offer that is presented that is the majority of your conversations. It's why when clients come to me and they say, "Well what is the best type of marketing funnel model?" There might be one that is my favourite, that is my go to type of funnel, but they're, I don't care what funnel you use, what funnel model you use, as long as you got the idea nailed, the marketplace sophistication nailed, you've got the marketing funnel message designed effectively to present an irrefutable, indisputable argument. And you've got an over the top, superior, irresistible offer, you're going to do well.

Barry: Awesome, awesome. Thank you so much Todd, I'd like to thank you for being so generous with your time today, I know that you're really slammed this week and I appreciate it and I know the listeners appreciate it as well. And I would urge all the listeners to head over to marketingfunnelautomation.com and go through Todd's assist framework for setting up your funnels. So thanks Tood I really appreciate it, and is that the best place for people to find you? Marketingfunnelautomation.com?

Todd: Yeah they can go to marketingfunnelautomation.com, check out our site. Also we've got a cool four part video series that you can find at six figure funnel formula, that's "S" "I" "X" figure funnel formula dot com, so sixfigurefunnelformula.com. There is an offer at the end of that, but that four part video sequence is better than some paid programmes on designing your first funnel, if you've yet to design a funnel. But both of those are great spots to check out and learn more.

Barry: And I would urge everybody to get over and check it out, Todd always puts out gold out there, if you're in the sales funnel space. So once again thank you very much Todd, I really really appreciate it.

Todd: You're very welcome my man, it was my pleasure.

Barry: Wow, I'd really like to thank Todd for being so generous with his time and sharing his insider tactics and techniques with us. I'd also like to thank you the listener for spending your time with us, really means a lot to be able to put out these podcasts, interview these great guests and get that knowledge out there into your hands so that you can design, automate, and scale your business to the next level. If you liked it, if you enjoyed it, please share it out or head over to iTunes, give us a five star review and we'll read it out on a future episode. In the meantime, head over to the blog, you can find all the show notes for this episode at theactivemarketer.com/todd2. That's "T" "O" "DD" and the number two. We'll be back next week with another tactical 20 podcast, in the meantime get out there and design, automate and scale your business to the next level with sales and marketing automation. See you everybody.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to The Active Marketer Podcast, you can find the show notes and all the latest marketing automation news over at theactivemarketer.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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