So you’re wondering about funnel hacking?
You’re in the right place…especially if you’re a marketer, business owner, or lifestyle entrepreneur who wants to master the art of online sales.
This is the most epic Ultimate Guide to Funnel Hacking on the internet (okay…I’m a little bias, but you’ll find out soon enough).
In a nutshell, a sales funnel is just a tool to take people where you want them to go (typically the checkout cart).
Russell Brunson, who coined the term “funnel hacking,” ultimately wants to get you into his membership site and mastermind because that’s where he can provide the most value.
That’s Russell’s end game, but what’s yours?
Where does your customer journey end?
If you do it right, your funnel can guide customers up the value ladder, and before they know it, they’ll be itching to buy your best stuff.
This can be a high-level info course, consulting services, or a BIG physical product… it really doesn’t matter.
But here’s the dilemma:
Split testing funnels from scratch can take a TON of time and MASSIVE amounts of money…
So the question is…
“How do you build a high-performing funnel FAST?”
The answer is FUNNEL HACKING.
This epic Ultimate Guide to Funnel Hacking is pretty long, so I included a table of contents below so that you can skip to the parts that most interest you.
Let the hacking begin!
What Is Funnel Hacking? – Definition
I could’ve gotten fancy with my own definition, but I figured why not just go straight to the source?
Here’s Russell’s definition of funnel hacking:
“The process of strategically investigating the sales and marketing process of your competitors, which you can use to model and test within your own sales & marketing processes”Russell Brunson, Co-founder of ClickFunnels
What Funnel Hacking Isn’t
Before we get too far along, I think it’s important to address some of the common misconceptions about funnel hacking.
Funnel hacking is not…
- Copying your competitor’s funnels
- Ripping off your competitor’s hard work
- Using shady marketing tactics
- Manipulating your audience with seductive mind games
If you thought you were going to duplicate your competitor’s funnels and watch the sales roll in…think again.
Funnel hacking is a skill that takes a while to develop, and it’s still hard work.
With that said, it’s also an awesome cheat code that has a ton of benefits.
Benefits Of Funnel Hacking
Funnel hacking is one of the most valuable skills in marketing.
It allows you to leverage all of the split testing that your competitors have done and apply it to your funnels.
Why start from ground zero when you can use you competitor’s funnels as a launching pad?
- Benefit #1: Save MASSIVE amounts of time on split testing.
- Benefit #2: Save MASSIVE amounts of money on optimizing.
- Benefit #3: MAXIMIZE profits faster.
- Benefit #4: Find weaknesses in your competitor’s strategies and capitalize on them.
- Benefit #5: Understand your niche better.
Drawbacks Of Funnel Hacking
As long as you stay true to your audience and keep delivering, there really aren’t any drawbacks to funnel hacking, but…
If you stop funnel hacking and start funnel copying, you could be in for a rude awakening.
- Potential Drawback #1: You can miss the mark for your target audience if you model a funnel too closely without adapting it to your personal brand.
- Potential Drawback #2: A great funnel doesn’t necessarily indicate a successful business, and it’s important to only model thriving businesses. That’s why STEP #2 is all about finding winning businesses to model.
Why Is It Important To Know How To Hack Funnels?
Funnel hacking is the easiest way to build effective funnels fast.
Whatever you’re trying to sell, I guarantee that someone else is already crushing it with something similar…and their funnel is the key to their success.
Funnel hacking is a massive shortcut to growing your business.
- If you have your own product…you should learn funnel hacking.
- If you want to earn recurring revenue as an affiliate…you should learn funnel hacking.
- If you run a business that’s struggling…you should learn funnel hacking.
In fact, if you’re at the selling end of any professional relationship whatsoever…you have to learn funnel hacking.
Being able to dig deep into your competitor’s funnels is essential to making money online…period.
Any successful entrepreneur understands the power of split testing — well, funneling hacking is split testing on steroids.
Because your competitors have already split tested the hell out of their funnels…and funnel hacking is your opportunity to leverage all their hard work.
So get out there and start hacking!
Split test their…
- Landing pages
- Sales pages
- Retargeting ads
- Email sequences
- Price points
Over time, you’ll start to see trends (I cover most of them in this ultimate guide) and your funnel hacking will get more streamlined.
Eventually, you’ll have funnel ideas spreading through your brain like wildfire.
Are you ready to dive in?
How To Get Started With Funnel Hacking – 10 Easy Steps To Follow
Your competitors have a process for turning leads into buyers.
The successful ones do things that others don’t, and this section covers the 10-step process for studying what they do and then implementing those things into your funnel.
It starts with grabbing your audience’s attention with…
- PPC Ads
- Social Media
- Infographics, etc…
Once they subscribe to your email list, they’ll be in the heart of your funnel (the value ladder) where you can warm them up for bigger sales.
The most effective way to optimize this whole process is by hacking your competitors funnels… and here’s the 10-step guide for how to do it:
STEP #1: Define Your Funnel Goals
Before you start hacking funnels, it’s important to have a clear vision.
This means knowing exactly…
- Who you’re targeting…
- …and how much money you’re trying to make.
Who Are You Selling To?
Create a customer avatar (your ideal customer), maybe even 2 or 3…and make them incredibly specific.
Many businesses have crashed and burned because they skipped this step.
I emphasise this point a lot in my Virtual Summit Mastery course, because if you don’t have an ultra-specific picture of who you’re trying to serve, it can ruin your funnel.
I even like to describe how long their commute is, their favorite food, and their greatest fears.
But you’ll at least need the basics like…
- Marital status
- Income level
…and I also recommend diving deeper…
- Where do they congregate online? (this is especially relevant to your funnel)
- What’s their biggest challenge or frustration?
- What’s the ideal solution to their biggest problem?
- What keeps them up at night?
- If they could change one thing about themselves, what would it be?
You get the idea…
You also want to know who your course, online summit, webinar, or service is NOT for…
If you take this step seriously and create the ULTIMATE customer avatar(s), you can achieve funnel greatness.
Reverse Engineering Your Revenue Goals
You should always build funnels with the end goal in mind.
Before you start hacking funnels, decide how much money you want to earn per month with each funnel.
…then work backwards from there.
Russell actually has a great process for doing this, and he walks you through it in his DotCom Ignite webinar (skip ahead to 42:40).
Anytime you hack funnels, it’s critical to use your financial goals and your customer avatars as guiding lights.
If you don’t, you’ll end up with under-optimized funnels that are out of line with your brand.
STEP #2: Find Businesses Worth Hacking
There are great funnels and their are great businesses…but the two don’t necessarily go together.
One of the most common mistakes you can make with funnel hacking is modeling funnels that look great but aren’t leading to incredible results.
Here’s how to find successful businesses that are crushing it with effective funnels:
Make a List of Your Competitors
Before you do anything else, make a list of your top competitors.
You’ll want to start with the ones that you know are out-earning you.
After all, they’re winning for a reason.
Not all of them have to be your immediate competitors either — they can be in parallel niches too.
Either way, their funnels should have relevant concepts that you can borrow in some way or another.
Quickly Find High-Performing Funnels That Get Real Results
ClickBank is an affiliate marketplace that’s packed with over 100,000 of the best affiliate programs out there.
The best part is, they’re all archived by industry and sorted according to which ones are selling the best right now.
You can find funnels for ebooks, weight loss supplements, and software…
They also have a ton of info courses that crush it (one of ClickBank’s most successful programs is a course on woodworking).
But regardless of the product, you’re bound to find streamlined funnels for profitable businesses in your industry.
Many of them give away a ton of affiliate resources like sales pages and quizzes that are proven to convert.
How to Use ClickBank to Find Funnels:
STEP #1: Go to ClickBank.com and head to the Affiliate Marketplace.
STEP #2: On the left hand side menu, click on your industry.
STEP #3: Choose a product that looks similar to your product or service (the ones at the top are selling the best).
STEP #4: Buy the product (including all the upsells), take screenshots, and sketch out their funnel as you go.
In the next few steps, we’re going to cover how to do this in the most efficient way possible…
Here Russell shows you how to make money with ClickBank, even if you’re just starting out:
STEP #3: Buy Their Products
Going through and actually buying their products is the heart of funnel hacking.
The only way you’re going to discover the secrets of top-performing funnels is to whip out your wallet and put your money where your research is.
With Clickbank products, they usually link to their sales page within the platform, so that will be your first step.
Watch all the sales videos, read the sales letters, and buy every version of the of their upsells, downsells, cross sells, and everything else you can get your hands on.
Here’s what it looks like when Russell sketches his competitor’s funnel for the first time:
Nothing fancy, but it doesn’t have to be as long as you jot down the basics.
If you want to know what all that chicken scratch means, you can find the video that I took this from in Funnel Hacks Masterclass, which comes FREE with Funnel Builder Secrets.
Read my full review of Funnel Hacks here.
By the time it’s said and done, you’ll know the complete anatomy of their funnel.
In STEP #7, we’re going to dive deeper into specifically what to take note of…but for now just know that there’s no way around buying their products.
When it comes down to it, you’re going to model the overall flow of their funnel more than anything else.
If you find out they use webinars, attend them.
Record the webinar using a video recording tool, analyze the structure and flow of the presentation, and use it to help craft your own.
This is exactly how Russell perfected his webinar skills, and eventually he turned it into his Perfect Webinar Funnel.
Once you’ve researched some funnels, it’ll be time to see how they drive traffic…
STEP #4: Analyze Their Traffic Sources
It doesn’t matter how great a funnel is, if you can’t drive traffic, you’re not going to make sales.
The top-earning funnels are crushing it for two main reasons:
Reason #1: Their funnels rock.
Reason #2: They know how to find and connect with their audience.
Reason #2 is what we’re going to focus on now.
For now though, we’re going to use a free tool called Similar Web.
Here I used it to research a popular ClickBank product called Red Tea Detox.
Similar Web pulls up a ton of useful stats about their traffic sources.
You can see below that most of their traffic (roughly 80%) comes from direct traffic, while only 4.25% comes from social media.
When you scroll down further, you get a more detailed breakdown of their different traffic streams.
As you can see, they get the majority of their social media traffic from YouTube and Facebook.
If you have a similar product and similar audience, you might consider modeling their social media strategy and targeting the same traffic streams.
Similar Web also suggests other similar sites, so you can easily find and research their competitors.
Now that you’ve seen their funnel and analyzed their traffic sources, it’s time to join their email list and perform some serious espionage…
STEP #5: Join Their Email List
A qualified email list is arguably the most powerful tool in any marketers arsenal.
Once they join your list, they become part of the traffic you control.
Virtual summits are the fastest way to explode your email list, even if you’re starting from ground zero with zero authority…PLUS they can work in any niche.
Do your competitors host virtual conferences?
Do they use ebooks or other freebies to lure them in?
Do they ask people to “apply” first by taking a “quiz” to see if they’re “right for the program.”
Take screenshots of the pop-ups and optin pages your competitors use to get people to subscribe.
Once you’re inside their list, take note of things like:
- How long their email sequences are.
- Do they send daily emails about random stuff that tie back into their product? These are what Russell calls Seinfeld Emails, and he covers them in detail in several of his info products, including Funnel Hacks Masterclass, Funnel Scripts, and The One Funnel Away Challenge.
- Do they use any of Russell’s other classic sequences or scripts?
- If there are links in the emails, where do they go?
And of course, any time there’s an opportunity to click “BUY,” do it.
After all, it’s your #1 duty as a funnel hacker.
STEP #6: What to Look For?
As I mentioned earlier, you’re #1 goal is to model the overall flow of their sales funnel.
If they have a video sales letter followed by an upsell page, followed by a final phase…then you should have a video sales letter followed by an upsell, followed by a final phase.
You’ll also want to model their page layouts and design.
If they have a logo in the top right corner, you should have a logo in the top right corner, etc…
Here are some other important features to look for:
- Do they use social proof?
- What type of headlines do they use?
- Is the header section fixed?
- Where do they mention prices?
- What are their prices?
- What’s the word count on their pages?
- Do they frame their prices as a discount or a one-time offer?
- What’s their color scheme look like?
- Do they use simple optin forms or a longer sign up forms?
- Where are their buttons located?
- What’s located above the fold and what’s located below the fold?
- Do they list the benefits/features, and if so where?
- Do they use videos, text, or both?
What’s less important is the exact copy they use and the style of their writing.
These are the types of things that you’ll need to adapt to your brand and audience.
Keep Your Notes Organized
Things can get messy real fast, so create your folders before you start hacking.
Keep your funnel data organized by creating a separate folder for each of your competitor’s funnels.
This includes every step of the funnel, including emails, landing pages, and checkout pages PLUS Facebook ads and Google ads.
You might also want to create parent folders for front end vs. back end funnels, and another for ad creatives and so on…
At this point, you’ve done all the grunt work of funnel hacking.
Next it’s time to start pulling out the good stuff and keeping it for yourself…
STEP #7: Take The Good Stuff For Yourself
After you hack a handful of successful funnels, you’re going to notice things that the winners do that others don’t.
They might have a certain layout to their sales pages or they might like using sales videos.
You might also notice that they have a similar order to their funnel pages.
All of this is excellent stuff to model.
Pro Tip: Open multiple windows and go through several funnels at the same time. It’s helpful to see them unfolding side-by-side in real time.
Doing this can help you see things that you otherwise might not have noticed, like that the really high-earning ones have faster page load times.
What Can You Do Better?
Brainstorm things that you can improve.
You can always do this later too as you go over your sketches and screenshots, but I find that some of my best ideas come while I’m going through a funnel for the first time.
For example, the funnel itself might be awesome but the VSL script is terribly boring.
Weaknesses like these can be opportunities to beat the competition.
Once you’ve taken all the good stuff, it’ll be time to implement them into your own funnels…
STEP #8: Funnel Hacking the Phases Of Your Funnel
All funnels can be broken down into seven sales funnel phases:
- Phase #1: Traffic Temperature
- Phase #2: Pre-Frame Bridge
- Phase #3: Qualify Subscribers
- Phase #4: Qualify Buyers
- Phase # 5; Identify Hyperactive Buyers
- Phase #6: Age and Ascend the Relationship
- Phase #7: Change the Selling Environment
When it comes to modeling funnels, you don’t want to take elements of Phase #3 and insert them into Phase #4 of your funnels.
Funnels are a science, so if you’re going to mirror your competitors, you’ve got to do it right.
The same goes for cold, warm, and hot traffic: a key concept that’s part of Phase #1: Traffic Temperature.
- Cold traffic needs more convincing before they’re ready to buy.
- Warm traffic is familiar with what your product does, but they’re not sure if it’s right for them.
- Hot traffic is more or less ready to buy.
Keep in mind that if you model sales copy that’s directed at hot traffic and use it to target cold traffic, it isn’t going to convert.
The golden rule here is that whatever you model, it has to be congruent with the phases of your funnel and the temperature of your traffic.
Now that you understand the importance of congruence in funnel hacking, let’s talk about how to optimize the flow of your funnel…
STEP #9: Funnel Hacking the Flow Of Your Funnel
The seven phases of a funnel that we just covered in STEP #8 are more or less mandatory.
However, the specific strategies that you use within each phase are up to you, and this is where you can get creative with the flow of your funnel.
At 2:22:18 of his DotCom Ignite Webinar, Russel explains the different strategies you can use in each phase of your funnel:
For example, in Phase #3 there’s probably three or four different ways you can qualify subscribers.
Let’s say that when you were hacking your competitor’s funnels, you found that almost all of them used squeeze pages to qualify subscribers.
Since the majority of successful funnels use squeeze pages, you should probably split test squeeze pages first.
But what if a handful of your top competitors use a Free + Shipping 2-Step funnel?
In that case, you should split test this as well.
At this point all that’s left is to make sure that everything aligns with your brand…
STEP #10: Adapt Funnels To Your Own Product
The final step in your funnel hacking journey is to adapt your competitor’s funnels to your own brand, product, and audience.
Unlike most of the steps in funnel hacking, this one is less of a science and more of an art.
You and your team know your audience better than anyone else.
That’s why in STEP #1 the first thing you did was design your customer avatar(s).
In STEP #10, this all comes full circle.
Certain offers that work in other funnels aren’t going to work for your customers.
For example, maybe your competitor targets old men but you target middle-aged women…
…or maybe you target a lower income level, so the price point of their bump offer won’t work for you (although maybe the ratio the original offer to the bump offer is still valid).
ONE FINAL NOTE: In order to even consider using elements from a funnel, you have know at least four of these five things about the funnel over all:
- Landing page
- Traffic Source
- Ad copy
You can never have two unknowns — if you do, the funnel is disqualified.
Funnel Hacking Examples
Russell Brunson, the co-founder of
Russell’s Webinar Funnel
Here you’ll get a look at the webinar funnel Russel used to promote his (now retired) Funnel Hacks
It can easily be tweaked for either live or automated webinars.
Russell also shares valuable insights about grabbing attention with pattern interruption and stimulating curiosity.
Russell’s Coaching Funnel
Here Russell shows you two different versions of his $250k/month coaching funnels.
Before switching to these funnels, Russell had a sales team of over 60 employees.
After implementing this funnel, he was able to replace them ALL with just himself and a video camera.
Russell’s Info Product Funnel
Russell uses it for Phase #3 of his funnel: the qualifying subscribers phase.
In exchange for your email, you get a free copy of one of his top-selling books…all you have to do is pay for shipping.
Your Next Steps: Are You Ready To Become a Funnel Hacker?
It’s an exciting time to start funnel hacking (the right way).
With resources like ClickBank and Similar Web, it’s easier than ever to find and analyze high-performing funnels.
Your first step will be to create a detailed customer avatar and clearly define your revenue goals.
Once you’ve got this nailed down, you’ll be ready to…
- Find businesses worth hacking
- Start buying their products
- Go through their funnels
- Analyze their traffic sources
- Hack their email list
… and finally apply what you’ve learned to your brand.
Just make sure that the funnel elements you model are relevant to the phases of your funnel, the temperature of your traffic, and the preferences of your audience…
As long as you do that, you should be golden.
Now get out there and start hacking some funnels!
Which niche are you going to hack first?
Let me know in the comments below.
Want to learn more?