The 10 Step Framework To Design, Build, Optimize & Scale A High Converting Funnel

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Have you ever thought there is a missing piece from the way you’ve been trying to get more sales?

Something that no one is telling you about?

Deep down you know there is something missing…

… you’ve seen what others are doing, and what everyone is saying…

…but then got frustrated you aren’t getting the results you want.

I don’t think you’re crazy.

The truth is – you are not seeing the full picture.

The businesses that are profitable don’t follow the system that is commonly taught.

Free Quick Start Funnel Kit: Click here to download the kit including a free cheatsheet showing you exactly how to use the strategy from this post (step-by-step), a high converting sales page template, pre-written fill-in-the-blanks copy you can swipe and deploy and an easy to use spreadsheet to evaluate your results from step 6.

What seems like “conventional wisdom” is actually the completely wrong approach.

You May Think You Have a Traffic or Conversion Problem…

If you are currently struggling with getting visitors to your website, or converting the people that do show up, you may think you’ve got a traffic or conversion problem.

In my experience, after working with hundreds of businesses, I’ve found that’s rarely the case.

Low traffic and weak conversion numbers are just symptoms of a much greater problem.

Take the typical case of when I work with a business – they were usually tracking along okay, making enough to survive (but rarely enough to thrive). Then something happens that causes their traffic to drop, or become more expensive, and they are no longer profitable.

Companies like this contact me and tell me they want help with their traffic and conversions. Everyone’s always talking about traffic, traffic, traffic, conversion, conversion, conversion.

They think maybe I’ll help them tweak a headline or change their ad targeting and solve their problems.

But – that’s not where it’s happening.

The problem isn’t a traffic or conversion problem.

It very rarely is.

Instead…

It’s a FUNNEL problem!

A lot of people dismiss this because they don’t think they have a “funnel”.

But here’s the truth – if you have a business and you have customers then you have some type of “funnel” (even if you call it something else).

If you have a business it’s because you have a way to:

  1. Acquire new prospects and leads
  2. Convert those leads into customers
  3. (and ideally) get those customers to buy more or buy more often

It might not be an optimized process (yet) but every business has some way of doing the things listed above.

For example:

  • If you are an author, speaker, coach or consultant you might use one type of funnel focusing on authority.
  • If you have a serviced based businesses you might have a different funnel focused around generating phone calls or consultation requests.
  • If you are a chiropractor, dentist, realtor, or pretty much ANY other type of service business… then you likely use a different type of funnel again – aimed at appointments.
  • And if you are selling e-commerce products or physical products you probably have a different funnel again trying to get online sales.

So regardless of your business type, every business has a “funnel”.

And the majority of businesses think they have a traffic and conversion problem…

…but time after time, the problem is not a traffic problem. The problem is you can’t spend enough to acquire a customer – and the way to fix that is to:

Fix Your Funnel

As Dan Kennedy says:

Ultimately, the business that can spend the most to acquire a customer wins

dan-kennedy-quote
If you fix your funnel so that you start making two to three times more money for each customer then the whole game changes.

Suddenly you can afford to buy more traffic from more places. You can outbid your competitors. You can spend a lot more than you are now and all the while become exponentially more profitable.

So how do you do that?

How can you spend more on traffic even if you don’t have a systemized funnel process in place?

That’s what I’m going to show you in this article…

The 10 Step Framework To Design, Build and Optimize A High Converting Funnel

Free Quick Start Funnel Kit: Click here to download the kit including a free cheatsheet showing you exactly how to use the strategy from this post (step-by-step), a high converting sales page template, pre-written fill-in-the-blanks copy you can swipe and deploy and an easy to use spreadsheet to evaluate your results from step 6.

STEP 1: GET CLARITY

Before you can build a funnel you need to get clarity. For people that don’t have a marketing funnel in place the single biggest thing stopping them is their confidence.

The confidence that what you are going to create will work.

Because what if you spend all this time and money building this thing and it totally bombs?

What if this doesn’t work?

As an entrepreneur, the single most important thing you need to protect is your confidence…

And that confidence comes from knowing that what you’re doing is gonna be successful…

Which comes from having the clarity and knowing what you’re building… creating… selling…

Is something people actually want.

That’s why the first step for every client I work with is to run through the CLARIFY process.

clarify-processThe CLARIFY process is the most powerful way to discover exactly what your customers want, and how to give it to them in a way that makes people fall in love with you and you’re company… whether you’re a total beginner or currently running a successful business.

It’s the most complete, provide method for uncovering the unspoken desires, needs and challenges of your market and it dictates everything that happens in the steps that are to follow.

It’s also the reason why doing “market research” to come up with an “avatar” is a flawed strategy.

An “avatar” is only useful once you have your own large audience and you can develop an “avatar” based on YOUR audience. Not on some theoretical audience that you would one day like to have (but based on reality and results).

The findings you will get from the Clarify process then leads perfectly to step 2:

STEP 2: DEVELOP AND REFINE YOUR OFFER(S)

Your offer (along side the people seeing your offer) is the single most important part of your funnel.

It is more important than your funnel type, your copy, the benefits, your promises and everything else.

It’s how you make money.

If you can’t send people to an offer that converts then you won’t make any money and you won’t have success. Period!

incredible-offerYour offer could be in the form of an information product, software, a service or a physical product. It might be your own offer or it might be an affiliate offer.

And right now we just want to keep it simple. At this stage we don’t need trip wires and upsells and downsells and all of that.

We just want 1 really good offer.

Something that is irresistible and a no-brainer.

What if You Don’t Have Anything To Offer Yet?

What if you are just getting started?

In that case, don’t create anything yet!

If you don’t have your own offering yet, it means you are new to the market. So with that being the case you first want to make sure you can sell products in this market before you potentially waste time creating your own.

So if you don’t already have your own product or service to offer then find some appropriate affiliate offers.

Now of course you won’t make as much money with this initially because you will probably only get about 50% of the revenue. But if you do find an offer that you can make convert then the next step would be to replace that with your own product.

You can find out what’s missing from the affiliate product you are promoting, create something even better and more useful and then just swap out the products in your funnel and immediately double your revenue.

Now that you know a lot more about your market and have an offer to promote it’s time to:

STEP 3: BUILD YOUR MINIMUM VIABLE FUNNEL

The purpose of your first minimum viable funnel is to determine the likelihood of success.

It’s to see if there is a match between your market, your traffic source, the idea and copy in your funnel, the angle you are using and the offer you are presenting.

We don’t want to waste a load of time building a highly elaborate funnel, spending months and months and thousands of dollars, only to discover that it totally sucks.

The clarify process from step 1 will greatly reduce the chance of that happening, but we always want to validate things with real people and real numbers before moving ahead too far.

And here’s the thing…

What I am showing you in these steps is the real secret to designing, building and optimizing a high converting funnel.

Often what happens is you see someone’s final version. And it’s easy to think they just magically came up with it.

But that’s not true at all.

I like to point this out because we tend to compare our unedited footage to someone else’s highlight reel and forget that the real work was done behind the scenes.

You shouldn’t compare your first draft to someone else’s finished piece that has been polished and edited and improved 50 times.

The truth is – the best marketers actually start with small tests and small funnels.

It’s just that not many people actually see that. So by the time they open it up to the masses it looks amazing, but that’s not where it started and it’s certainly not where you should be aiming to start.

Our minimum viable funnel is made up of only 3 parts:

  1. A landing page with your offer
  2. Some way for people to purchase
  3. A thank you/delivery page

We don’t have any upsells or downsells.

We don’t bother with follow-up emails.

We don’t do remarketing.

We don’t use behavioral marketing automation.

We don’t do any of those things.

And despite what you often hear – we don’t even start with a squeeze page/opt-in page.

Free Quick Start Funnel Kit: Click here to download the kit. It includes a high converting sales page template and pre-written fill-in-the-blanks copy you can swipe and deploy (plus more).

Here’s Why:
Let’s say you are sending paid traffic to your funnel at a reasonable cost of $0.50 per click.

If you send 1000 people it’s going to cost you $500.

Funnel 1: Typical Funnel With a Squeeze Page

A good optin rate for a squeeze page is around 25%.

So this means only 250 people will see your offer.

A typical conversion rate for a sales page is 1%.

If your offer is say $49 then you will make (on average) 2.5 sales for a total of $122.5.

Let’s also be generous and say you pick up another 2.5 sales from your email follow-up with people that didn’t buy. That’s an additional $122.5 for a total of $245.

In this example you have lost $255.

typical-funnel-results

Funnel 2: No Squeeze Page

Now let’s consider a simple funnel that goes direct to your offer page.

You are still going to get around 1% conversion however now 1000 people are seeing your offer. So at the same $49 you will be making 10 sales for a total of $490. Now you are just about at break even plus you have 10 customers instead of 5.

no-squeeze-funnel-results

Even if you someone had an amazing opt-in rate of 40%. That’s 400 people that see your offer. With 1% conversion rate on the sales page and another 1% through email follow up that’s still only 8 customers for a loss of $108!

Not only that, but it’s more work to include another page, optimize it to try and get a really high opt-in rate, integrate your email service, write out the emails to get those additional sales, setup automations to remove customers from your follow up emails if they buy etc etc.

But right now, we want to see 1 thing – can you send traffic to your offer and convert people into customers?

I’m not saying we won’t have a squeeze page at some point. Just not right now… (and that you shouldn’t blindly start with a squeeze page just because that’s what everyone tells you to do).

For now let’s focus on just the bare necessities. Let’s get your minimum viable funnel built and your offer up.

But before we start running any traffic to it there is one more step:

STEP 4: SETUP YOUR TRACKING – THE RIGHT WAY

For people that get their funnel built – the single biggest sticking point is the metrics.

Part of this is the technical setup and part of it is knowing what to do with their numbers.

You might not be sure what exactly you need to track and how to track it. Or you might struggle with how to interpret the metrics you have and how to use them to get better results.

So the first step is to ensure you have accurate tracking setup.

Whatever we track and measure will start to improve. And whatever we measure and report on will improve exponentially.

But what often happens is you don’t actually have accurate tracking setup or are tracking the wrong things.

And if you don’t have accurate numbers then every decision you make based on those numbers (if they are inaccurate) is going to be faulty.

But once you have the right tracking in place, there’s no more need for guessing, assuming, wondering, or hoping what you do will work.

The right marketing numbers tell you exactly what’s not working in your marketing — what to fix, change, tweak, or test.

With the right numbers, you as a marketer have a clear path of what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, what needs to change, where it needs to change, how it needs to change, and why… so you’re able to very scientifically maximize your volume of new customers, sales, and profits.

But, the marketers who are not tracking every step, stage, and piece of their marketing are operating blindly.

Because they’re operating without the most important piece of information in this entire business — the numbers!

So for now just get your tracking setup properly. We’ll cover how to use those numbers a bit later on.

Because now it’s time to…

STEP 5: START RUNNING TRAFFIC

This can be quite a big topic and definitely too much to cover in detail in 1 article. But for the main part what we are talking about here is driving traffic to the first page in your funnel – your landing page that has your offer on it.

This could be from:

  • Your own list
  • People that follow you on social media
  • Your podcast
  • Your blog or website
  • Email ads (solo ads, banners, links, mentions)
  • PPC (FB, Google, Twitter, Bing, YouTube etc.)
  • Banner ads (including networks like outbrain, taboola etc.)
  • Native ads
  • and much more…

Generally I start with PPC traffic from Facebook and Twitter.

This gives you a lot of control over who enters your funnel and also allows you to turn it up or turn it off if you need to.

It also gives you a better gauge on if your offer will convert. People that are already on your list or follow you on social networks are more likely to buy your stuff and respond favorably than cold audiences. However there is only a limited number of people on your list and people that already know about you.

What we really want to know is how your offer converts to your market in general.

Once you get some traffic flowing and have at least a couple of hundred people visit your landing page we now want to:

STEP 6: EVALUATE INITIAL RESULTS

Congratulations, you have a minimum viable funnel setup and have started running traffic to it.

Now what?

Now it’s time to look at some high level numbers.

At this stage we don’t want to worry too much about optimization numbers like your conversion rate or average time on page.

Instead we look at:

  • How much did you spend on traffic
  • How much money did you make
  • Your return on ad spend

Your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is the key number we look at when you first start running traffic through your minimum viable funnel.

The way to calculate ROAS is simply “Total Revenue” minus “Traffic Costs” divided by “Traffic Costs” as a percentage. If this number is negative (less than 0%) then you have spent more than your revenue. If it is positive (more than 0%) then you have earned more than you spent.

Note – this is not the same as ROI as it does not look at other costs you might have.

Here is a ROAS calculator you can use (complete with example numbers):



Almost certainly when you first run traffic through your minimum viable funnel your ROAS is going to be negative (less than 0%) because we only have a very basic funnel in place and your advertising is not optimized.

Free Quick Start Funnel Kit: Click here to download the kit. It includes an easy to use spreadsheet to evaluate your ROAS and automatically tell you what to do next (plus more).

Here’s how to evaluate your initial ROAS:

ROAS -50% (or worse)
If your ROAS is -50% (or worse) it means you spent (at least) twice as much as you made. In this case things are not looking great.

It will be hard to optimize that funnel to make it profitable and there is likely a mismatch between:

  • Your market
  • Your traffic source
  • Your ad copy/targeting
  • The idea and copy in your funnel
  • The angle you are using
  • The offer you are presenting

If this is the case there is a very high probability that you skipped over the Clarify process in step 1.

Either way, you will want to go back and re-visit step 1 because something isn’t matching up so you will need to try something else.

Try:

  • A different audience
  • A different traffic source (and/or ad)
  • A different idea for your funnel
  • A different message on your sales page
  • A different offer on your sales page

ROAS -35% (or better)
If your ROAS is -35% (or better) then things are looking good and you can move onto the next step.

ROAS Between -50% and -35%
What about the grey area of between -50% and -35%?

Unfortunately that’s your judgement call.

I’m trying to give you guidance based on my experience but that grey area is tricky. Without being intimately involved in what you have done so far it’s hard to know which way you should go.

If in doubt then I would be more inclined to go back and revisit some of the items listed above and see if you can get your ROAS up a bit.

The time you spend now in getting those things dialled in can be the difference between a mildly profitable funnel and wildly profitable funnel.

It may take a couple of loops and adjustments but once you have a ROAS of at least -35% (or are satisfied enough that you are ready to move on) let’s keep going and…

STEP 7: BUILD OUT YOUR FUNNEL

At this point we want to start adding on a few more pieces to your funnel to try and get the ROAS up. This MIGHT include:

  • A squeeze page at the front
  • Follow-up email sequences for buyers and non-buyers
  • A low cost front end offer that leads to your core offer
  • Upsells and downsells
  • Order form bump to increase the initial transaction value
  • Retargeting ads for each step of your funnel
  • Dynamic deadlines and integration with your emails
  • Continue to refine your offerings, pricing and messaging
  • Behavioral marketing automation to customize the funnel based on actions people take
  • Simple segmentation – a 1 question quiz to personalize the marketing based on each individual that enters your funnel.
  • And the many other ways you can build out a funnel to improve the results you get from it

I say these are things you MIGHT include because adding something on won’t necessarily improve your results. And each thing you add is another thing to optimize and another potential drop-off point.

As we saw with the numbers from Step 3 a squeeze page can often lead to worse results, however if you are not achieving the ROAS you want then it is something worth testing.

Also keep in mind that some of the items you add changes how you determine your results.

Instead of an immediate day 1 ROAS you will want to allow time for your emails, retargeting ads etc to do their job and generate more sales for you. In this case you will want to start looking at say a 7 day ROAS and a 14 day ROAS etc.

As long as you know your numbers you don’t necessarily need to be profitable on day 1 (in fact that is really, really hard), so long as you are profitable in an acceptable time frame for your business and cash flow.

As you add on each of these things first look to get something up rather than something perfect.

You want to be iterating your funnel and get up a crappy first version rather than trying to get a polished version the first time around.

For example, adding segmentation to your quiz is a great way to improve the response.

Based on your findings from the Clarify process in step 1 you should see the different groups of people in your market and the different problems they have.

Now when people opt-in you can ask people to select which “group” they belong to based on their biggest challenge. You can then use that to customize the next steps in the funnel. But using the iteration process it would look something like this:

  1. First Version: Just change the headline. Based on the 80/20 rule this will get you 51% of the results for 0.8% of the effort.
  2. Second Version: Change the first introduction paragraph on your sales page. This will get you 64% of the results for 4% of the effort.
  3. Third Version: Make a short little intro video that echoes back what option they selected and then introduces the content to follow from their perspective. This is 80% of the results for 20% of the effort.
  4. Fourth Version: Produce completely custom content specific to their situation. This is like 100% of the results but takes 100% of the effort.

Follow this same process for each part you add to your funnel.

All the while continue to send traffic and track your numbers to test if it does in fact improve your results or make them worse. So in conjunction with Step 7 you will also want to be following Step 8:

STEP 8: OPTIMIZE WITH METRICS

When it comes to optimizing your funnel the single most important question, is this:

What exactly should you be focusing on in your marketing funnel… And how can you dramatically increase the ROI you are getting?

You see every day, you and I have a million different options on how we can grow our businesses:too-many-options

  1. Find more traffic
  2. Convert more customers
  3. Build more products
  4. Redesign our website
  5. Split-test our pages
  6. And on and on…

When faced with this infinite number of choices, what do we do?

A little bit of everything!

Pretty soon, we wake up and notice we’re jumping from tactic to tactic.

No time to focus.

No time to go deep on the things that matter.

The truth is…

…you’ll always have an overwhelming number of options to grow your business.

It’s your job to decide on the most important levers to pull —

— the ones that move the needle —

and say “no” to the ones that can wait until later.

But with infinite options…

How can you possibly know which lever to pull?

Believe it or not, the answer is right in front of you…

…the answer is in your metrics.

So when it comes to optimizing your funnel we want to look at these numbers:

  1. Cost Per Click of your ads
  2. Optin Rate of your landing page (if using a squeeze page)
  3. Sales Conversion Rate of your offer(s)
  4. Order Form Completion Rate
  5. Upsell/Downsell Take Rate

And by looking at these numbers, you’ll be able to see the “constraint” in your funnel.

The one stage or step in your funnel that, when improved, will have the biggest positive impact on your return on ad spend.

So look at your numbers are try to improve the weakest link until it is no longer the weakest link.

Take a methodical approach to consistently adjust and optimize your funnel to improve your return on ad spend.

All the while focus on the goal of a break-even front-end funnel, and at the same time, so you can maximize the profits you are generating you will want to:

STEP 9: BUILD YOUR BACKEND

The majority of businesses are using only one non-optimized funnel at the front end and trying to get both a customer and make a profit from it.

However the whole goal of your front end funnel is to generate new leads and customers in a predictable, consistent and scalable way at a break-even cost (or break-even in an acceptable time frame).

The actual profit is made from your backend.

It’s the 2nd biggest mistake I see from people who are struggling to get to the next level. They simply don’t have enough products they can sell to their existing customers.

The more you can offer to your customers, the more money you make year after year because your customers are always looking for something else to buy from you (as long as they are getting value).

If you are not sure what products to create then loop back to the Clarify process in Step 1, but instead of focusing on the potential market, run through that process using YOUR customers. They will tell you what they need help with and you can develop products around that.

Here’s an example for an “information” based business:

  • Products similar in price as your front end product, but on more specific topics (in most markets these would be things like eBooks and video courses in the $20 to $100 range)
  • High end courses in the $200 to $2000 range (things like 6 week training programs or home study courses)
  • Coaching
  • Live events and/or workshops
  • A membership community

Sidenote:
Personally I think it’s very important that at least one product in your evergreen back end is a recurring product of some kind like a membership site.

Not only is this one of the best ways to serve your customers and help them to actually achieve the results you are offering, it also provides stability of income from month to month and is one of the best ways to increase the lifetime value of your customers.


The GOOD news is that once you have developed your catalog of backend products, you can pretty much “set and forget” the marketing side for these products and keeping selling them over and over again.

This means that any new customers you get can be offered your catalog of backend products in a certain sequence.

You can connect all of your funnels together like train cars on a train.

People will enter one funnel, then move to the next one and the next one. This can all be setup in your marketing automation software.

You can add in feedback loops that provide a constant loop or feedback to improve your current marketing funnels and then starts them down the next funnel.

Once you have a backend in place it’s time to…

STEP 10: SCALE YOUR FUNNEL!

There’s all sorts of talk here and in other online groups about scaling. But here’s the thing… many business have trouble scaling because their customer value is simply not high enough.

When you’re doing a great job of maximizing your lifetime customer value (by building out your backend), you are NOW in the optimum position to scale your business to the next level.

This is because you’re finally able to spend more money to acquire customers as we talked about above.

The process of scaling once you have the above in place is actually very simple:

  1. Focus on one new traffic source at a time until you maximize it then
  2. Move on to the next traffic source
  3. Repeat steps one and two until you run out of traffic sources

A Review of The 10 Steps

We have covered a LOT in this article!

So to review, here are the 10 steps we covered that will allow you to grow your business in a consistent, predictable and scalable way:

  1. Get Clarity
  2. Develop and Refine Your Offer(s)
  3. Build Your Minimum Viable Funnel
  4. Setup Your Tracking – The Right Way
  5. Start Running Traffic
  6. Evaluate Initial Results
  7. Build Out Your Funnel
  8. Optimize With Metrics
  9. Build Your Backend
  10. Scale Your Funnel!

Once you’ve followed these steps you will have a thriving business that you can scale to whatever level you want.

Free Quick Start Funnel Kit: Click here to download the kit. It includes a free cheatsheet showing you exactly how to use the strategy from this post (step-by-step) (plus more…).

But here’s the thing…

…what I’ve just outlined for you is a very straightforward, somewhat boring way of increasing profits and growing your business.

But instead of being so obsessed with the latest software or “system” I challenge you to focus on those “boring” things that are practically guaranteed to grow your business.

Getting to the next level in your business is simple. All of the steps are outlined above. But just because it is simple doesn’t mean it isn’t easy. It requires focused determination…

It’s not a magic, overnight solution. There is some work involved.

But I guarantee that you’ll achieve great results if you follow it.

Get Free Access To The “Quick Start Funnel Kit”

To help you actually get those results I’ve put together the “Quick Start Funnel Kit” that includes:

  • A checklist covering all of the 10 steps (and sub-steps) so you can quickly see where you are and what to focus on next.
  • A high converting landing page template fully designed and ready to use (anyone can use this template – you don’t need leadpages or clickfunnels or any 3rd party software. I’ll also explain why you SHOULDN’T use those).
  • Included in the landing page template is pre-written fill-in-the-blanks copy you can swipe and deploy. This will get you up and running fast!
  • A “Results Calculation Spreadsheet” to use in Step 6. Just input the numbers from your initial testing and this spreadsheet will do the rest.

Click here to download your own “Quick Start Funnel Kit”.

quick-start-funnel-kit

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