TMBA615: 8 Simple Steps for Improving Your Sales Funnel

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This week’s episode is full of actionable advice for anyone who is looking to improve their revenue and optimize their sales.

We were taking notes throughout the entire conversation with today’s guest, and by the time it had ended, it felt like we had taken part in an incredible workshop.

John Ainsworth is the founder of Data Driven Marketing, and he has recently started a group that coaches course creators who are looking to increase the revenue of their business.

John joins us on today’s podcast to share the specific steps that he has been using with his own clients that have helped them see immediate results in their sales funnel.

See the full transcript below

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • What a sales funnel really is and the psychology behind it. (2:54)
  • Tips for immediately improving your email marketing. (11:08)
  • How to increase conversions on your checkout page. (23:38)
  • Some of the common mistakes that people make when implementing these strategies. (40:24)
  • Observations from the recent “Not DCx Event” in London. (47:15)

Mentioned in the episode:

Before the Exit – Our New Book
Partner With Us
The Dynamite Circle
Dynamite Jobs
Dynamite Deals
Tropical MBA on YouTube
Post a Remote Job
Dynamite Jobs – Remote Recruiting Sales Page
Let’s Talk High-Level Podcast Strategy for 1 Hour
Data Driven Marketing
15 Elements Every Optimized Sales Page Must Have
Dave Ramsey
Beach Boss Influencers
Human Potential Institute
Values – the undercurrent of your life

Enjoyed this podcast? Check out these:

TMBA601: Creating Meaningful Online Communities
TMBA602: 5 Strategies for Growing an 8-Figure Business
TMBA610: Building Deal Flow from Social Media and Content Marketing

This week’s sponsor:

Today’s podcast is sponsored by AppSumo.

AppSumo is the #1 digital marketplace for entrepreneurs, and their platform offers a tremendous opportunity to get your product in front of more than a million entrepreneurs, founders, affiliate marketers, and small businesses.

This year, AppSumo has decided to give away their entire $1 million Black Friday marketing budget to their creators.

If you list your product on AppSumo between September 15th and November 17th, the first 400 offers to go live will receive $1000. The next 2000 to list their product will get $250, and everyone who lists will get entered to win one of 10 available $10,000 prizes.

Head over to to find out more, and a big thanks to AppSumo for sponsoring the show.

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.


Dan & Ian


Full Transcript

Dan: Welcome back. Today’s episode, I hope you’ll find it incredibly actionable. I’ve already been sending my notes around to the team and discussing it, hopefully you’ll do the same. The idea is essentially this: how do you get folks who come to your website – so you’ve already invested a lot in SEO or social marketing or whatever they arrive at your website – how do you get them to buy more from you? That’s your funnel. How do you get them in your funnel, coming back and buying more? You know how good Amazon is getting you in their funnel and buying a lot of stuff? Then I look at my own business’ website. And I’m like, ‘Man we’re just so far from that’. And it just seems so daunting to improve your funnel, to improve how people can buy things on your site. And today’s conversation is all about the 80/20 of that: what are eight simple steps you can take to improve your funnel and to get your visitors buying more product at higher prices?

Today’s guest is Data Driven Marketing’s John Ainsworth. So John has long been one of the ‘go to’ funnel optimization guys inside our online community, the DC. And recently he started a group coaching course for founders of online courses, helping them to double their revenue through tried and trusted steps which are going to lay out for you in today’s show. And it’s just this idea of taking something that it’s so complicated and daunting, and simplifying it into easy steps that you can take to improve your business right now. Like while you’re listening to this episode. I really felt like this interview, I was attending a worksho,p I was just taking notes: what’s the funnel exactly? What’s an upsell? What’s ‘pain, agitation solution’? And so much more. So this is a good one, let’s get right into it.

John: The people we work with have got online courses, and they’ve got traffic and they’re really good at traffic. Like we’ve got a client who signed up with this recently who’s got millions of subscribers on YouTube. We’ve got people who have hundreds of 1000s, or millions of visits from social media or Google or what have you. And they’ve got courses and people are buying them cuz I’ve got so many people coming to their website. But what, for these guys, they haven’t got is the step in between which is the funnel. So when I say funnel, what I’m meaning is everything from a visitor gets to your website, to they get onto your email list, till they buy something till they buy, the more expensive stuff that you’ve got, like, what does that process look like? And so there’s a number of steps to it in terms of the things that you need people to go through to get from getting to your website into buying, you know, the most expensive things from you. There’s eight that are – the 80/20 of them – that work really well. So the first one is ‘order bumps’.

Dan: You say order bumps?

John: Order bumps, yeah.

Dan: Okay, this is exciting, because I thought you were going to start us off with email capture.

John: So the reason why I don’t start with email capture is because this order that i’m saying is the order that you should do it in, because it’s the simplest things that get the best results through to the ones that take a little bit longer, and you get results a little bit more slowly.

Dan: I can feel us all collectively point our pens out here.

John: The reason I do order bumps first is a couple of things. One is because it’s so easy, it’s mind boggling easy and almost nobody has it in place. And secondly, because you can get results from it in a day’s work and therefore you get excited about it. And therefore, you do more of the stuff in the list.

Dan: It’s like Dave Ramsey’s ‘Steps to Financial Freedom’, the easiest ones first are the highest results ones first. Now, did I read your thread about order bumps, but I have to admit I had no idea about this terminology before. So where did that come from?

John: Some people call them bump orders as well. I’ve heard that one. I don’t know where it comes from. But the concept of them is super simple. It’s when you go to McDonald’s and you buy a burger you say, ‘I want a Big Mac’? And they say, ‘Do you want fries with that?’ That’s it. That’s what an order bump is, right? Where you go to the cinema and you ask for a cinema ticket and they have popcorn available. It’s the cheap ‘other thing’ that goes with what you’re already buying. And that’s the basic idea.

Dan: What are some basic frameworks that you could create an order bump in your business? In terms of how do you execute it from a timing perspective and what percentage of the product price should that order bump be? What are some things that you’re seeing that are working?

John: So the place you put them is on the order page. So it’s when somebody has gone through the sales page, they’ve decided to buy something, they’ve gone to the order page. An order bump is a tick box and two lines of text. And, as a rule of thumb, maybe a third of the price of what the other thing is that you’re selling. Now, that’s a real rule of thumb, because there’s some stuff that completely disagrees with that, in terms of you can sometimes have the order bump be more expensive than your initial offer. But it depends on how much the initial offer is. So if you’re selling something, in the online course space, if you’re selling a course for like 99 bucks, the order bump is probably going to be $37, or thereabouts that kind of thing. But if you’re selling something for $17 – cheap price, get somebody in to buy something from you in the first place, then the order bump could be $37 and that would be fine. Because they’re both cheap, you know, you don’t have to think much about where you’re going to get that as well. So there’s a guy in the DC that he’s selling stuff for e-commerce, and he actually sells his order bumps at the same price as his main offer. And the amount of people that get them is really high. I won’t say what his is exactly. But as a rule of thumb, it’s about 30-60% of people will buy the order bump who are buying the main product, so just huge,

Dan: Can you give us some ideas for cool products to generate? Maybe a lot of our listeners don’t have an order bump because they only have their products solidified in their mind. Are there some ways that you can quickly generate a product that goes along with your service?

John: One of the best things, I think, is to start with what have you already got? Because what happens if I tell people about doing the ideal order bump is that they don’t do anything. And it’s like the goal with this is get it live in like a day. But how can you, if you’ve not got something that seems like it’d be the right fit or the right price, how can you get that? You do something called ‘product splintering’. So you take something else that you’ve got – in the online course space, it’s very easy. You I’ve got this whole big course, I’m going to take out this little resource, there’s one module, there’s one thing that goes with it. Knds of things that work here is something that is – an accompaniment to what you’re already selling. So if you’re selling a course, sell workbooks that go with it, if you’re selling a course that goes with it, if it’s in the e-commerce space, what other products have you got there that are a good fit? So if you’re selling a sleep mask, well then sell some ear muffs that – so if you want to cut out the light, you might want to cut out the sound as well. So it’s something else that’s a good fit that goes alongside what you’ve already got. And it’s crucial, I think, not to stop and go, ‘I’m gonna make something new’. Because if you talk to course creators, they always want to make a new course. They love it. And it’s like, No, I want to make you more money. You’ve got to stop this, please.

Dan: That’s a great one. I love it. Let’s talk about number two. We’re on a roll here. This is great stuff.

John: Number two is upsells. And this is the second easiest. So order bumps, by the way, will probably increase your revenue by about 20% overall. Upsells will be about the same. So the idea of an upsell is it’s what comes after the checkout. Somebody put their credit card details in, they’ve clicked submit, they’ve paid, next page you have something else available for them to buy. And the idea here is that is the next step from whatever they just bought. So, in the course world, if you buy the beginner course when it might be the intermediate one, or if you’re selling a membership, if you sell one month as the initial product it might be, ‘Why not get a year’s worth?’ Or if you’re selling t-shirts you bought one t-shirt, ‘Why not buy three?’

If you look in the supplement space, this is really really common. It’s 1,3,7, people have tested the hell out of it. And for whatever reason, one, three and seven of the numbers. So if you buy one bottle of the supplement, they will offer you three on the upsell page, if you buy the three, they’ll offer you seven on the upsell from that. And it works great. And if you’re doing it with courses, another way of doing it is to have another thing that solves the problem that the first course creates. So as in -now you’ve made all this money, where are you going to invest it or now that you’ve learned how to build a funnel, you might want to drive some more traffic to it, so maybe we’re going to see something about ads, that kind of thing is what comes on the second page. Typically, about 15 to 30% of people will buy this, if you get the product right. You’re typically looking at something about the same price, or maybe more than the original product. In the core space, thekind of place we work in is normally with people selling stuff under about 500 bucks. And so typically, in email promotions, you’ll sell something for like, let’s say $79 to $129 for the original thing, the upsell will be similar, it’ll be $79 to $129. Generally, that’s the kind of price range

Dan: What is that level right now in the industry where you kind of got to talk to people? Do you have a sense for what that is?

John: Yeah, so the absolute cutoff seems to be about $2,000. It’s not that you can’t sell stuff without talking to somebody for more than $2000. But it gets way harder. And the number $2000, interestingly, has stayed the same as inflation has happened. So it’s not the exact value, it’s something in people’s mind about like $2000 is as high as I will go, there’s a big drop off, if you go to $2,500. We generally don’t do stuff at that level either, because most of the people we’re working with, we do a lot of email promotions, if you want to do up to $2000, you’ve got to have an amazing webinar. So you can get up to $1000 with a really good webinar. For $2,000 you need to be an excellent one. Or to be in a space where people have got more money, you know, if it’s a b2b space, that kind of thing.

Dan: Let’s go to No3 element of a sales funnel that you can build. So you’ve got traffic, you’ve got a checkout page, and we’re talking about the eight elements that represent the 80/20 of a sales funnel.

John: Yeah, so the next one that we would do would be to start doing two email promotions a month. So this is something that almost nobody does. In e-commerce, doing email promotions is more common. But in the space we’re working in, almost nobody sends out email promotions to their list. And people normally do three a year, they do July 4, Black Friday, and one other one, maybe New Year, something like that. And there’s a bunch of objections people have to do this. Everyone knows that it makes money. Everyone knows that when they send the promotion, they make a bunch of more money. So I’m like, ‘Well, why don’t you send more?’ There’s a bunch of objections I’ve got. One is, ‘I don’t want to be aggressive and spammy’. So the question there is, well, how can you send emails that are useful and friendly and people don’t think are aggressive and spammy? And then you feel good about it? The second one is people are worried it’s going to take them a long time to write all of these. So the question there as well, either, how can you come to terms with that? Or how can you write them relatively quickly?

The framework that we suggest to people to use, I’m going to give you the really, really simple one that almost anybody feels completely comfortable with and can do immediately. And then I’ll give you the more advanced version of it. So the really basic one is, this is for courses, you take five tips from your course. So let’s say you’ve got a course on language learning – you take five tips from in your course, you send them out via email once a day for five days. And you top and tail that with saying, ‘By the way, the course that this is from is on discount this week’, 30% or 50% off whatever it is. And then the sixth email, on the fifth day, so it’s Monday through Friday, Friday has two emails. On the Friday you send out two emails and the last one is saying, ‘The offer is going to be finished. And so go buy now’. Almost everybody can do that and feel comfortable with that and that will get you a conversion rate of somewhere between 0.1-0.3% of the email list. It’s not a huge percentage but if you do two of these a month, and you’ve got a decent sized amount of traffic,

Dan: So you’re talking about 11 emails?

John: No, six emails over five days.

Dan: So then you would do the six email sequence twice? So 12 emails?

John: Yes.

Dan: Are you saying that what’s intimidating people a little bit Is that just a one off email doesn’t work nearly as well as a sequenced throughout the week?

John: Oh, nowhere near as well because people don’t read your emails. This is one of the crucial things to understand. People are not sitting there waiting for you to email like, ‘Oh, my goodness, I’ve heard from Dan, I must open this and read everything in it’. People kind of just scroll through and go like, is that interesting is that interesting, whatever. That’s the basic version, themore advanced one, what we actually do for people is nine emails over two weeks. And we use a few different frameworks in here: ‘Pain, agitation solution’. So talking to people about what they understand where they’re at, showing them that you understand where they want to get to, talking to them about the fact there is a solution, something that can allow them to succeed in this situation. Then we do a type of email that’s talking to them about the next 90 days of their life, what’s it going to be like? And so it’s saying, ‘After you buy this product, how are you going to feel? What are you going to have?’ And then a day later, a week later, a month later. ‘What is the change in your life going to be because you’ve bought this and you’ve taken the course and you’ve done the thing? How is that going to affect you?’ So it’s called future pacing. And it’s all about helping them understand that and showing that journey of what they are going to be like, once they’ve actually gone through this.

Dan: So we’re on number three now. And you’re saying you can achieve a 3% conversion rate over the entire email list or 0.3%.

John: The average with the really basic email sequence is 0.3% of your email list over the course of the whole thing. If you do this more advanced one, then you can get up to about 1% conversion rate of your whole list. So if you’ve got a 100,000 person list, then you’re going to get 1000 people buying.

Dan: But also more work. I love doing that kind of work personally, like I grab a kitchen napkin and write out: how much does a writer cost? How much time does it take to write these emails, and just figure out if it’s gonna work for you.

John: The crucial thing here, though, and this is where it starts to get really clever is this: you don’t have to write these forever. So let’s say you’re selling courses, this is my world, right? So you have 12 courses, you do this for all 12. And then you just cycle back through to the beginning. So six months later, you’re sending the exact same emails you sent the first time, you could improve them slightly if you want to, or you can just send the exact same ones again. People who are on your email list now weren’t necessarily on six months ago, the ones who were on six months ago, a lot of them didn’t read those emails. They didn’t even open them, the ones who did open them. They didn’t necessarily read them. If they did read them, they weren’t paying that much attention. if they were paying attention, they didn’t necessarily click through to the sales page and go and look at that. If they click through, and they didn’t buy, you know what? It’s alreight for them to hear this again?

Dan: Yeah. And the other thing is like, you have 12 months of data or whatever, that any marketer with their salt could use the best practices to like, just tweak the new ones going forward.

John: We did that recently, we just changed a couple of the emails in the sequence for a client, apart from that the whole thing went out the same the next month, and it made way more money than the first one did, because those two emails were done better.

Dan: Any tricks with the email stuff besides I mean, you just laid out a big framework, but are there any small things that are working nicely in email nowadays in the course world?

John: So the ‘going going gone’ sequences, the last part and it’s absolutely crucial, and it’s so easy. It’s like where most of the money actually comes in and it’s basically saying. “This offer is finishing in … two hours, this offer is finishing in three hours, last chance to get it”. It’s just that scarcity and urgency in the course world – scarcity and urgency are enormous. And so just having those ones, they’re the easiest ones to write because they’re almost always the same. You hardly change anything in them.

Dan: 100% agree with that, one of the bigger questions a lot of us have to answer in our businesses is – yeah nice but why now?

John: Right.

Dan: Let’s move on to number four.

John: Yeah, so number four is improving your sales pages. And the thing with improving your sales pages is that there are 15 crucial elements that you should have on your sales page. And most people haven’t got some of them. And so you don’t have to become a copywriter. You don’t have to write something that’s unbelievable. You just have to make sure – do I have all 15 elements? So a few of them are – start out by calling out to your audience so that people who you’re actually talking to know that you are talking to them, know that it’s them in particular that you are actually communicating with. So they don’t think, ‘Oh, this is interesting, but it’s not for me’. And that means I have one or two sentences at the very, very top of the page.

The next thing is having a compelling headline. And most people do not understand how important headlines are, they do not get it. They’re just like the 80/20 of the sales page. Because if people don’t like the headline, they won’t read the rest of the page. So what most people do, in the course space, is – they write the headline which is the name of the product. And I’m like, this is the most boring headline I have ever seen in my life. Can you imagine if you went into a newspaper, and the headline was just like .. no you’ve got to have something that’s exciting, that gets their attention. So how do you write a good headline, so there’s loads of steps to it. But what I suggest doing is brainstorming. So don’t stop and judge but just write out 50 different ideas of what it is that could speak to your audience. And a great way of getting ideas for that is to search for swipe files or templates for headlines. You just Google it and you can find lists of them. But you take those ideas and you tweak it to be for your product. You need to have a clear call to action. You want to include ‘problem agitation solution’ throughout. Social proof. You have to have bonuses and guarantees, and then you need to make sure to have scarcity and urgency on there as well. Why should somebody take action now? What is it that means that they shouldn’t just come back in two weeks? But yeah, we can put a list of the whole 15 up onto the site.

Dan: Yeah, absolutely. We’ll do that, it’s very cool. Again, that is a more challenging project. So again, I would have to do an ROI calculation. How much would you say what’s the going rate for a decent sales page now for my competent copywriter? I was actually just reading your post. So what’s the budget for that sort of thing, because I’ll tell you what I’ve tried to do, John, I’ve tried to hire a few writers here and there. But now I’m almost done. I’m in the, ‘I’m willing to write a check’ kind of stage.

John: It’s definitely $1000s. for somebody to do a really good sales page. And the reason is, most of the job of writing is not the writing, most of the job is the research. So they’ve got to go and understand your audience. So they have to go through your Facebook group, or they have to go through every survey that you’ve done, they have to read through all of the complaints you’ve ever had, all of the letters that people have sent in of why this thing was great, they have to read your customer avatar, if you haven’t got a customer avatar, then they’re gonna have to do all the research to get a good customer avatar put together so that’s going to understand the pain points, the benefits, everything about your audience.

The reason why I say to people to just do these 15 steps on there is – it’s way more expensive to make a great sales page than it is to just make sure you’ve got all 15 of them on there. So if you do these eight steps in this order, you make twice as much money, now you can afford to hire someone who’s great to go and do the thing for you to make it really, really good. I don’t know exactly, like we have in-house copywriters. And but it’s definitely, it’s definitely 1000s of dollars to get a really good sales page, because all that stuff takes so much time. If you’re a copywriter, and you’re really good and you understand business well enough, then you recognise that you could be making a lot from this and people are going to make a lot of money out of you doing it. So they charge a lot for it.

Dan: Let’s move on to number five.

John: The next one would be checkout pages. Improving checkout pages is really not very complicated. And almost nobody knows that you’re supposed to do it. And what happens is – you should have a conversion rate on your checkout page of somewhere between about 15 and 18%. And that doesn’t sound enormously high and if you’ve got a really warm list or be way higher, but that’s what we normally see.

Dan: And this on a special deal that’s presented after people click through an email campaign for example. It’s like a dedicated product page.

John: This is just the checkout page, someone’s putting in their credit card details to buy something from you. So this is the same page that you would have the order bump on that I mentioned before, but it’s just basically the page that you have for someone to enter their credit card details.

Dan: Oh, so they’re already staring down the barrel of plastic.

John: Yeah. And so because like you say, they’re staring down the barrel of the plastic, it’s like they’re really at a point when tiny things that can help to make them feel more comfortable. So there’s two things that people screw up here. Number one is they make it difficult for people to give their money. So they have questions that do not need to be answered, why do you need my address if I’m buying something online? Why do you need me to create a password at this stage, whatever it happens to be right. And people are busy, and they don’t want to have to work to give you their money. So one is – make it as simple as you can. The second thing is people are nervous. They’re really nervous at this stage. So what can we do to allay those fears? We can put social proof and testimonials on that page, we can show that we are trustworthy, we can have trust badges on that page, you know, are you with any associations, you put the Visa and the MasterCard on that page you put a guarantee, what bonuses that are gonna get like what is included in the product? So that as they’re about to check out it’s like, ‘Yes, that’s what I was buying’. ‘Yes, that’s why I want it – there’s a guarantee so I feel more comfortable about it.’ You know, all of these things that you should have just because most people don’t have them. They just miss them.

Dan: We do, as marketers, a lot of ‘pain agitation solution’. Like you mentioned, this feels like a very good place for – what do you call it future something?

John: Future pacing?

Dan: Future pacing. I don’t know that concept that well. But Amazon does a very basic one, which is like, ‘If you checkout now it will arrive on this date’. So like, I’m imagining my future like I know, once my credit card details go in that I’m going to start this process is going to happen that I’m excited about or whatever.And more more checkout pages have testimonials and like social elements to them now like you know, Johnny just bought this shit while you’re on the checkout page. Other people are doing it. It’s fine. It’s totally fine.

John: Yeah, it’s huge. I’ve had so many checkouts I’ve gone through where it’s like, ‘Am I getting the thing that I meant to be getting becaue it doesn’t mention the price here anywhere. It doesn’t mention the product name anywhere, am I actually definitely getting the right thing?’ And it has made me feel uncomfortable. And you can see an increase in conversion of 30 to 500% by implementing all these steps, that’s what we’ve seen, the highest we’ve ever seen is 500% increase in conversion.

Dan: Just on the credit card input page.

John: Exactly.

Dan: Wow.

John: Not everybody will have that.

Dan: But where do you go to get inspired here? I feel like for a lot of us that are in eecom, you say something like? ‘Well, because I use Shopify, they’re doing a lot of this heavy lifting for me’. How much of this is your own idea versus copying people versus using third party software to do this?

John: Oh, yeah. You shouldn’t come up with your own ideas. Just copy what works already. Yeah, go find the people who you think are doing a really good job, who probably spent a bunch on research, and copy what those guys are doing. But I think the crucial thing is – just include all of those different elements. Include a reminder of what it is they’re getting, what bonuses they get, what’s the price of it, what’s the social proof, you know, testimonials from other people, a guarantee. If you have all of those steps on that, that moves you way further forward. You don’t need to go and figure this all out in terms of coming up with your own ideas, just include those things. This is the biggest problem I find with a lot of these steps is everybody wants to go and do it amazingly. I’m like, ‘No, don’t do it amazingly, just do it better than you’re doing it right now’. It’s huge. And you’ll actually do it then.

Dan: Alright, number six John.

John: So the next one is to increase your opt-in rate. Most people’s websites, they’ve gone to a lot of effort to get a lot of traffic, but they only have a 0.5% to 1% opt in rate. So what I mean is the number of opt-ins you get a month divided by your website traffic times by 100. So if you’re getting 200 opt-ins out of 10,000 visitors then that’s what 2% opt in rate, something like that.

So this is an area where most people have no idea how bad they are at the moment. And most people can double their opt in rate and some people can 10X it. And there’s three steps to it. So step one is make sure you’ve got a good lead magnet. So don’t have the newsletter as your opt-in have something that is a freebie some guide, some download, some resource, it should be useful, it should be easy to use, it’s not like a here’s a whole book, it’s just here’s something you can actually implement in a day or a week or something like that. My, the less time it takes them to implement it, the better generally, Something that’s got high perceived value, high actual value, something that people are gonna think, ‘Oh, I want to get that’. And then they get that and they get into your email list.

Second thing is to put that opt-in, in a lot of places, if you’ve got blog posts, then you should have it inside every blog post within the blog post itself. So, let’s say you’ve got a 3000 word blog post, it’s going to be top, middle and bottom and in the sidebar, it’s in all those places. So people spot it, people aren’t paying attention to this so you need to put it in front of them, put it as an exit pop up, put it as a pop up when someone’s been on your site for 30 seconds or whatever. I know it’s kind of annoying, but it’s huge. And you can get up to about 5% opt in rate for most people, some people can’t get past about two or three, depending on your audience. But generally people get to 5%. So that’s an enormous increase in the number of leads. The best we’ve ever had is someone go from 100 leads a week to 5,000. So the third thing is – put it onto your social media as well, if you’ve got a big social media following, then point them to your lead magnets too. And that’s how those guys went up so much is because they had a huge about million people on Facebook. And they’d never mentioned the lead magnets, it’s like, let’s tell them about your lead magnets.

Dan: One of the things about lead magnets that has always hung me up personally, is that I get a little bit psyched out about how valuable they need to be and how much time it’s going to take for me to create them. Can you help me with some frameworks for some easy to create lead magnets that are really useful and compelling and create a sense of reciprocity With the audience?

John: Yeah, so checklists are good. The ‘Ultimate Guide to ..’, eg here’s the 37 steps you need to go through and you’ve laid it all out for somebody, but it’s just two or three pages, something like that. Something that people can implement straightaway, if you’ve got like a tool, a spreadsheet that someone can do the calculation with. So, for hiring, I don’t know what that might be. But how much are you going to spend? How long is it going to take? What’s this kind of person worth? Something for you guys might be like – here’s what these jobs are worth. I heard you talk about on the podcast of the day. And you said something like, ‘Well, it’s a pain to go and figure it out for those different countries’. But just something, like a general idea. Because people are hiring and nervous. They’re like, Am I going to spend too much money and I just wasted a whole load on too much wages? Or am I going to not put in enough and I’ll get someone shitty. And having someone shed is so hard. It makes such a huge difference to business. So having an idea of this is what you should be paying for these kinds of roles. It should be stuff that you already know that you’re already explaining to people that they already want from you, don’t come up with something. Rather, think what is it that everyone already asks us for? What is it that people are already telling us that they need?

Dan: Love that one. We are working on a salary assessment tool. That’s cool. Yeah. But, you know, taking way too long, as always. Let’s try number seven, John.

John: So number seven is: improve your offers. So most people think that improving the offer means improving their product or making it cheaper. It doesn’t mean either of those things. Generally, we tell most people to increase their prices. What ‘improving your offer’ means is figuring out the transformation someone’s going to get from you. What is it that’s going to happen to their business or to their life? Or have you if they buy what they’re getting from you? And tell them about that. Give them a guarantee. Ideally, the stronger the guarantee, the better not just it could be a 30 day satisfaction guarantee. Great. But could you go stronger? Could you make it something where it’s like, yes, I’m definitely going to get the result. I’m after all, I don’t pay anything for it.

We do like an eight week 110% money back guarantee, we guarantee people are going to increase the amount of money they’re making, and they’ll be delighted. Otherwise they get 110% money back so can you make an amazing guarantee? And then what bonuses can you put with it? So the bonuses should ideally be solving their fears. If they’re like, well, ‘I’m buying this, but I’m nervous that I won’t manage to implement it’ or that ‘I won’t figure out the time for it’ or ‘That it’s going to take me too long or that I’ll read all this course then I won’t remember it’. So what can you do to address those fears? Okay, maybe there’s an additional cheat sheet that goes with it. Maybe there’s an extra course from one of your buddies who has something that – this is going to deal with the mindset side of things. If you’re nervous that you will feel uncomfortable doing it, what can we do about that? Maybe you’re unproductive. So we maybe have got a course about productivity that goes with it – something that supports it. You don’t have to make a new product, you have to figure out what you have either got or what could you source or find that would go with what you’re selling? And those three things, the transformation bonuses and guarantees, hugely improves the offer.

Dan: The bonus I can think of is like in the chest space, it’s like, you’re going to get like an hour long video of basically like this in depth examination of a particular opening, it could be four hours long. And you’re really excited to learn the opening, but you know, it’s gonna take at least a weekend. But then the bonus is – you get to see the 10 greatest games ever play with that opening, like right after you buy it. And that would be really exciting for me, because I’m thinking of myself as this person who masters this skill. But in the meantime, I get to watch people in their own glory, you know, and it could only take me 10 minutes to achieve that kind of fun.

John: Yeah, it’s the fun sexy bit that goes with it. So, one example is we had – somebody was selling training for marketing agencies on how to implement some tactic that was going to make them more money for increasing sales. And the bonus was a q&a with eight agency owners about the biggest mistakes that they made when they were implementing this. We had someone recently – they’re called the ‘Beach Boss Influencers’. So the original product was a 90 day social influence vote. So how to increase your social media influence? And the bonuses that went with it were how to connect with your prospects through stories. How do you grow your influence through live video, a monthly social media content planner, two coaching calls and access to the private Facebook group. And so all of those were bonuses that went with it, then they added in a 14 day money back guarantee. And so all of those helped increase the value of the offer and help people feel more comfortable about it.

Dan: All right, we’re on to number eight.

John: So number eight is a ‘Tripwire funnel’. And the reason we do this last is because it incorporates every element that we’ve gone through so far, and it puts them all together in one place. And I love this. This is a step that basically is an automated front end funnel it’s called. And I helped Alan Matthews who’s another DC-er to implement this. It took him about a day to put him into place because Alan Matthews is crazy smart and capable and can just do things better than some of the rest of us. And it took them a day, making $1,000-$2,500 a month from it. And I talked to him like 18 months later and so it made $40,000 from one day’s work from just putting that in place. It’s phenomenal.

The basic idea is somebody opts into your lead magnet, what happens next? For almost everybody, what happens is it says, ‘Thank you’. Now, Isn’t that nice? You say thank you to people, because they’ve just done the thing that you were hoping they would do. But that is a point when about 10% of people are ready to buy, they are ready to buy something from you right now. And nobody offers anything for them to buy at that point, they wait until a week later or whatever, for someone to come back and get something.

So in the core space you offer something that’s about $17 is the original product is very cheap, you’re not making a huge amount from that. But then you have the order bump, and then you have the upsell. And then you have follow up emails that go after it as well. And you have a good sales page and you have a good checkout page, all of that stuff that we’ve gone through so far. And because you’ve improved your opt-in rate, you’ve got more people coming in and getting stuff at this point. So we had somebody recently who made

Dan: And the term tripwire John, before we get to the example, where does it come from? And how is it different from the strategy that’s implemented on your website?

John: So it was invented, I believe, by a digital marketer, just as a term. This concept has been around a long time. I think they’re the ones who came up with a name for it. They certainly popularised it. Some people talk about OTOs – one time offers, which is basically the same kind of thing. But as pointed out, the tripwire is something so cheap that people feel comfortable buying it, even if they don’t know you yet. Because it’s, ‘Oh, I can afford to lose that. And if it’s no good, I don’t feel stupid, because it was only $17 or $37’, or what have you.

Dan: And so tell us how people might implement something like this, it sounds a little intimidating.

John: You only do this after you’ve implemented all the other steps. So you take a sales page that you have already built for selling something and you put it behind your lead magnet. So when someone opts in for the lead magnet, they go to the sales page, you make a copy of the sales page you built, you just take an exact copy, and you put it behind that lead magnet, and then you put it at the top. This is because you’ve opted in for the lead magnet that is going to be with you in 15 minutes. But you might be interested in this offer, and then you give a big discount on it, let’s say 50/60% off something really, you know, enormous discount, they’re never gonna see again. And that’s it, you’ve already done all the rest of the work, because you already built a really good sales page, you already came up with a great offer, you already had the order bump, you already had the upsells, all of that stuff is in place. And you’re just copying that and you’re putting it behind your lead magnet.

The really genius thing with a tripwire is if you want to get really smart on it, is you set it up so it’s the thing that if somebody buys, then the next obvious thing to happen, will be to buy whatever you really want them to get your main offer, you know, something more expensive from you. But that’s really that’s getting advanced, the most important thing is just to have something up. And about 10% of people will buy something at that stage, if you do it right.

Dan: What are the sticking points are the mistakes that you see people commonly making when implementing this advice you shared with us? One of the things I commend you here, and you’re doing a great job, as I think as an expert and agency owner of just making this feel, like accessible and simple and actionable. I think a lot of experts get so far down, like how much of an expert they are that they can’t communicate with people about it. And sort of like your emails. You know, you were saying like, people don’t read every single email you send and like, yeah, I’ve heard about funnels, but like, I don’t do funnels every day. And so it’s intimidating sometimes for an expert to talk to me about it. Kudos to you on simplifying it. But where are people like me like founders gonna make mistakes when I go try to implement your advice?

John: So the biggest thing we see with our clients when we’re trying to take them through this is that people are nervous about doing it. And the reason that people don’t do it mostly is because they’re worried it’s going to take so much time. And what we used to do is I would teach people these, you know, very complex funnels with all these different steps. And I would see that people just would not do it. And so that’s why I boiled it down to these eight. This was three years of work to figure out which one. The ones that actually would work the best. And it’s why I start with order bumps, because it’s almost impossible. If you’re selling courses, all core software has ‘order bump’ facility in there, it’s almost impossible to do this wrong. And so you’re almost straight away, make money from it. So that’s the biggest thing that I see is people don’t do it, people get nervous, and they don’t go forward with that.

The second thing I see is people try and do this stuff amazingly, they’re like, ‘I want to make the perfect upsell. And I figured out what it would be. But I can’t do that yet. Because that’s gonna take me six months till I have enough time to be able to work on building that thing’. Instead of saying, ‘I’m going to take whatever I’ve got at the moment and put that in place’. And in six months, the amount of extra money that you would have made is just ridiculous. So we had a client recently, she went from $40,000 a month to $100,000 a month by implementing all of this – has she done it perfectly, no, not even slightly. But she’s making an extra $60,000 every month. You don’t have to have these things done brilliantly. Because you’ve already got a business that’s making money, and you’re not doing these things at all. So you’re currently getting a zero out of 10. If we can get you to three out of 10, you’re better. And people don’t always feel like they do something three out of 10 because ‘Oh I don’t like that’. Well, you were zero before, you were making no money, you missed this part of your business completely. You should have this and you haven’t got it at all. So just put something in place there and you’ve moved forward a lot.

Dan: Do you consider, you know, there’s marketing in the title of your company Data Driven Marketing? Is this marketing? Is this what we’re talking about? Because if it is, does it fall under the critique of Hey, bad products need more marketing? Has anybody ever objected to you with that kind of stuff? I’m curious about where this lands philosophically on the landscape for you?

John: Yeah, so for me, I work with online course creators for a very specific reason. It is because they almost always are really good people who are experts in a topic, and they want to share their expertise with the world. They’ve created loads of content, whether it’s through YouTube, or podcast, or blog content, and they put them out there for free to help people. And they make not that much money from it, because they haven’t done the bit in between. So they’ve made great courses, they’ve made great content. So I don’t have to worry about the ethics of – is this going to make the world better if we sell more of this, people are already buying this thing, when they don’t have any of the steps in place. And people are delighted. We just don’t work with people who have rubbish courses and are looking to make a quick buck. Like most of our clients have been doing this for like three years, five years, 10 years to get to the point where they’ve got lots of traffic, and they’ve got lots of courses, and they just don’t have this stuff in place. This is the middle bit.

Dan:They’re already interested in their content, they’re already following them to some degree. It’s almost like you’re offering some kind of facsimile of what a major ecommerce site would offer. I’m a customer of Amazon. So like, when I’m looking for a quote, product content, I look on Amazon, and then they send me a follow up. We’re just trying to level the playing field for niches that don’t have that kind of infrastructure.

John: We invented none of this. What we did is we went and looked at what it is that seven and eight figure online course businesses are doing? And then we tried it all out. And we found what are the bits that actually make a really big difference and what stuff is way too complicated. And just said, ‘Welll just let’s just show everybody, they should be doing thi’s. And so it’s my job to try and spread the word, you know, spread the gospel about like, everybody should have these steps in place. Honestly, you’ve got back a lot of course creators who are on a small scale and have better courses than the people who are running a seven figure business because those guys have figured out business they haven’t bothered spending a lot of time figuring out great courses.

Dan: And that leads me to a question I wanted to ask you is that a lot of people that arrive on your doorstep have already achieved a kind of success, which is an audience. And I’m wondering if you have some observations about some best practices or patterns that lead to that sort of success and how people might emulate those.

John: So almost everybody who is a client of ours has done what I consider to be the hardest parts: they’ve built the audience, and they’ve built the great courses, and they’ve found product market fit. So people love what they are doing already, and people are finding their stuff, and then buying it already, despite the fact they’re not doing anything. I don’t help people with any of those parts. Because that’s really hard years of work doing that. It’s like, you have to become an expert in something, first of all, so you probably have already done that. But that was many years of work. And then you have to go and learn how to create content, and they’re going to either become popular on YouTube, lots of people are posting on YouTube, how come you’re going to get popular? I don’t know, you figure that out. Then you’re gonna have to make sure the courses that you are creating are actually the ones that people like and figure out which ones those are. How do you do that? I don’t know. But I can come along once you’ve done that, and help. But It’s hard, right? It’s one of the reasons why I love the TMBA podcast. It’s like you guys don’t try and cover up the fact that this stuff’s really hard.

Dan: Incredible insights there, I kid you not, I was scribbling notes the entire time and took action on this conversation right when I hung up the phone, I hope you do today. But before I let John go, I wanted to ask him about our first event post pandemic titled, for mostly liability reasons, and also because it’s kind of funny, (Not) DCX London. DCX events are member run events, and they’re coming back strong in 2021. We’re putting together our event schedule as we speak, excited about that. And also he’ll mention ‘juntos’, which are monthly meetups in cities around the world that are just members getting together casually. John, and a great London team put together what looked like a totally rocking event just recently. And I wanted to get his take on it because I haven’t been to a business event since the pandemic. And so for those of you interested, a little bit of riff on what we do and why we do it.

John: We had the ‘(Not) DCx London’ event, and it was almost magical. And I’d forgotten. I thought; This will be cool. This will be fun. I remember this being fun.. But it was way more than that. It’s like there’s a feeling of vibe that you get from it just like an internal kind of energy of feeling that, oh, the world is a cooler, more interesting place. It’s the amount of time that you’re spending and the amount of people who are there and the amount of conversations and the density of it. But it’s so so good. And that’s been really hard, right? like not having that for you know, two years I guess it’s been nearly.

Dan: Maybe we can put on wax some of your sense for … it’s almost like in the scene in the movie when there was like the big storm or the aliens got defeated.. And we’re all like emerging into this world. ‘You made it’. What are some themes that you saw emerging at the London event that were thematic of how people dealt with their business during the pandemic, and their lives?

John: One of the things that I’ve seen in our businesses, we had very much gone into like a head down productivity for a long time, and not that much of a head up looking around, kind of thing. And it’s been super interesting seeing which people have completely crushed it during this period. And then some people who’ve really struggled. I don’t know what to make of that. But it’s definitely interesting. It’s like some people have said, ‘Oh, this is a great opportunity for me, I can do something with this’. Or they managed to figure out a way through or maybe they were lucky, like we work in the online course space. Well, that was fine, right? If we’d been in the event space, that would have been harder.

I find it really inspirational, just having met up with all these people who’ve gone, ‘Oh, I figured out a way through this’, or, ‘This thing was dreadful. But then I decided, I’ll change it in this way. And it turns out that the pandemic was the best thing that ever happened to us, because now we’re doing six times as much’. Like that person I mentioned the other day, before the dog training course creator, she was making about 1000 bucks a month, before the pandemic. And last month, she did $100,000.

Dan: It’s amazing. It’s awesome to see people get it figured out, you know, yeah, it’s special.

John: There was a real joy. In the event, there was just a real feeling of, ‘Oh, my goodness, thank God, we get to do this again, thank God, we get to hang out’. It was because people were just craving it so much. It’s like selling an amazing meal to someone who’s just eaten already, versus selling a dodgy kebab for six days. That’s how it fell. It’s just like, we could have given you anything, and you would have been delighted here, you know?

Dan: A lot of people in our community are very travel focused, or location independent, or digital nomadic? What themes you saw on the location side emerge in the London event?

John: We definitely have seen a lot more people moving to London. And I found that fascinating, because when I joined the DC, I went to a Junto. Somebody else organised and there were three of us in a cafe and Waterloo station, and I was like, ‘This is a bit sad. Is this it? Is this what we got?’ And now like we had a Junto last week, I think, and there were 20 people. Some of it’s the leftovers from the event, but some of it is just like a bunch more people have been moving to London. And it’s super interesting to see I don’t know why I hadn’t started asking people what’s going on with that. But there’s obviously a lot less people going out to Asia, like it’s really hard to get to Thailand, Vietnam just had a really severe lockdown and I know people who are trying to get back out of it and get back over to Europe. So I don’t know exactly why but it’s definitely happening. In London, everything’s open. Everything’s open here at the moment. We organised a conference for 45 people. You can go to the restaurant, you sit inside, there’s just no problem. The amount of people who are vaccinated here is huge. And you got the vaccine pass, you can travel to places, you know, it’s quite civilised, you know, it’s quite normal feeling. It’s amazing.

Dan: Certainly in America, it’s doing well in most places, like the x in terms of the mindset and the atmosphere in terms of the actual disease. I’m not aware, I don’t know how to understand those things. That’s right. Fortunately, yeah, it’s trying to do my best and, and, you know, and that, so? Final thoughts for people who resonate with your idea, John, of you could have just gone and made more money. And in a lot of ways, things have been easier, but you couldn’t face it. And even now, you’re facing a bigger challenge. I think there’s a lot of people that resonate with that. Maybe you could talk a little bit more about people who are thinking about embarking on that journey, you have a family, you have responsibilities, it’s a lot of pressure, you can just immediately alleviate it by taking the job and showing up at the office or the Soom meeting.

John: I think what’s really important is that people need to know what their values are, what is it that matters most to them in life? What is it they’re really after? What kind of life do they want to have? And almost everybody in the DC, their number one value is freedom. If you talk to people about what they value the most, nearly everybody says freedom. And that is the driving force where it allows people to push through enormous amounts of pain in order to get to have this lifestyle where you can go right, I’m going to go work from anywhere, I’m going to be my own boss, I’m going to make the decisions about things. The problem I see for a lot of people, once they get there, is that they don’t know what value number two is. I’m serious. It’s really, really interesting.

Dan: Let’s talk about that, that’s fascinating. How does the problem manifest?

John: So what it looks like, what a lot of people have is a deep sense of ennui. Because they’ve achieved freedom. And they worked like a bastard to get there. And they really enjoyed the rush of getting there. And now they have enough money and they can work from wherever they want to. And they get to decide how their day goes. And they aren’t motivated to work more to get to the next level. And they don’t know why. And they try setting goals in order to try and motivate themselves. And the goals don’t motivate them. And then they beat themselves up about that and get really annoyed and upset at themselves. And then they do it again, because setting goals is what you do in order to drive yourself, in order to achieve something. And what I did was I went through a values workshop, where I figured out what my top values were and this was not something I cleverly figured out my wife did training with human potential Institute, which Dave Asprey from Bulletproof Coffee, he started. And she learned about this approach. And so she took me through. It took about two hours I think to go through the process, and she helped me figure out what all of the values that really mattered to me and then boil it down and then summarise them and then combine them together and be like what is number two? This is crucial. You have to understand what number two is because you’ve achieved number one, you’ve got the freedom and for me I figured out that number two was effortless flow.

And what I mean by that is achieving a level of excellence where people get confused by: how can you do this thing? You didn’t even do anything and you’ve got amazing results. What happened there, what was that? It’s not about not trying to get to that stage, it’s an enormous effort to get to that level of being really good at something. But once you get there, it feels easy to do it, it feels like it just happens. And that’s mine. But that’s not everybody else’s. Like what’s what’s yours? What is it that matters to you? Why are you going to go through all of that pain and suffering in order to achieve that additional outcome? Because if you just go after it for the money, it’s kind of empty. What is the money getting you? Or what is the experience of getting you or how can you line it up so that what you’re doing is an expression of who you are. And if you can achieve that the entire thing feels natural and right and like you’re being yourself the whole time.

Dan: Shout out to John Ainsworth. His website is Data Driven Marketing dot co, links to his guide about optimising your sales page and funnel and also more about the values workshop he mentioned in the show notes, just click through on your phone. Reach out to John as well. He’s an incredibly helpful guy. We appreciate him coming by the show today. That’s it for this week. We’ll be back next Thursday.