Funnel hacking is a must if you’re an online marketer or business-builder serving a niche industry. You owe it yourself to get good at it. Real good.
Successful sales funnels are hard to build, especially if you’re not familiar with coding, copywriting, and testing. Once you get the thing built, then you have to get traffic to the page–both paid and organic traffic.
It’s enough to quit sometimes even before you get started!
I’ve talked about the “why” behind my decision elsewhere. But the main reason I picked ClickFunnels was because I needed to “hack” other people’s sales pages.
If you’re wondering what funnel hacking actually is, here’s an official sounding definition to make it concrete:
The immersive step-by-step process of dissecting a competitor’s sales funnel through experience. You document each step of the funnel and build your own version. The competitor has proven the concept works (or they wouldn’t be in business). They take the risk while you reap the rewards.
As I said, all my funnels are hacked inside of my ClickFunnels account. If you don’t have a CF account for yourself, get one. All of the examples in this Action Guide come directly from ClickFunnels. Plus, if you use my affiliate link, you can get a free 14-day trial to check it out for yourself.
Most everything I learned about funnel hacking comes from ClickFunnels founder, Russell Brunson. The ClickFunnels community also provides a tremendous amount of support and fresh ideas. (Not to mention their lightning fast support and extensive documentation.)
Funnel Hacking is a Skill You MUST Acquire
Fast success is not only possible, it’s expected when you funnel hack. Why? Because you’re modeling a sales funnel that is already working. Call it reverse engineering if you’d like, but you:
- Take a proven concept
- Strip it down to the essentials
- Build your own versions of the essentials in ClickFunnels
- Substitute your product or service for your competitor’s
- BOOM! Instant traction
For an online business, you can funnel hack just about anything: landing pages, email sequences, ad copy, split testing upsell, and much more.
You probably already know this, but it’s worth mentioning: the sloooowest way to grow is blindly creating your own sales funnel and sending it out into the wild. You’re taking all the risk. You have to experiment. YOU’RE the one out in front leading the charge. That’s not what funnel hacking is about.
When you “move first” and create your own stuff as opposed to funnel hack (a.k.a. “reverse engineer”), you’re the one taking all the risk. Funnel hacking takes the risk off you and puts it onto your competitors. Brilliant! You immediately have a successful base to build off of (and this saves you tons of time testing and wasting your own time and money).
Ready To Funnel Hack? Start HERE!
If you ask 100 different marketers who use funnel hacking (a.k.a. “funnel hackers”), you’ll get 100 different answers as to the best approach. Below is the action guide I personally follow. Use it step-by-step. Modify it. Tweak it. It’s your choice. But let me show you what works.
Funnel Hacking Step #1: Write Down All Your Niche Competitors
Start an Evernote list. Bust out your moleskine Whiteboard it. Write it on your bathroom mirror. Get every conceivable competitor down in a list somewhere. Classify them in two ways:
- Main Competitors
- Marginal Competitors
This list will function as your home base. Your North Star. Your competitors–certainly your Main Competitors–already have models that are working. You can hack these. Easy (I’ll show you how).
Funnel Hacking Step #2: Screenshot Everything You See
Find a good screenshot app or extension to use. Capture everything. You want to catalog every web page, or funnel step, your competition has. I use Droplr and Skitch. There’s also a great Chrome Extension called Awesome Screenshot that’s FREE.
Capture images of every step. Even if it’s seems unnecessary. Get it all down.
Some common steps to capture along the way include:
- Ads pointing to a landing page (Facebook ads, targeted display, or even AdWords)
- Landing pages (opt-in pages)
- Landing pages (delivery pages where free PDFs, ebooks, or offers reside)
- Ad copy
I highly recommend creating a “Funnel Action Guide” folder in Evernote. This is a notebook within Evernote you can go back to over and over again. Everything is collected in one nice and tidy place. It’s your funnel hacking Encyclopedia. Your brain. This is where the magic happens.
In addition to screenshots, you’ll put notes, personal evaluations, and strategies for your funnel hacking strategy.
In your Funnel Action Guide, I recommend having an action checklist to help you evaluate every single funnel you want to hack. Here are the questions I ask in mine:
- Is there a consistent headline structure used in their copywriting?
- What is the color scheme(s)
- Where are the buttons located? What is the call-to-action (CTA) on every button? Are they the same or different? Do they appear above the fold or below?
- Is a video present or just long form sales copy?
- Do they stress features (“product ABC has XYZ”) or benefits (“product ABC makes you feel XYZ”)?
- Does the funnel have success stories?
- Are there any popups? Exit popups?
- Is there a fixed header section on the pages/site?
- What kind of lead capture form is in place? Are there more than one?
- Do they have one- or tw0-step optins?
- Do they reveal price or conceal it?
- And on and on and on…
One way to speed the funnel hacking process up is to have several competitor funnels open at one time. Put all the notes in your Action Guide. This will give you superhuman insight and recognition into the trends and consistencies. You’ll become an industry pro 10 times faster than anyone else!
Take note of every trend and record it. No matter how insignificant it may seem.
Funnel Hacking Step #3: Uncover The “Hidden Web” With Your Superman X-Ray Vision
I want to let you in on a little secret: there’s a “hidden Web”, beyond the scope of what you and I can see when we go online. It’s the bits and pixels that largely go unseen…until now. It’s important for us to uncover the hidden Web behind your competitor’s funnels because they tell us the rest of the story.
You’ll be able to see the invisible activity of a funnel. Stuff that shows you where they drive traffic from and what they do to convert the traffic. Really valuable stuff.
And you’re going to uncover it. All for free.
Knowing this information will help you be profitable, faster.
One tool to beef up your superhuman x-ray vision is a Chrome Extension called Ghostery. It shows you the invisible activity happening on every page of your competitor’s funnel.
Ghostery detects trackers, web bugs, pixels. tracking cookies, and beacons placed on sites by Facebook, Google, and other sites (usually ad or analytics-based).
While this tool flies below the radar for trackers, it’s super helpful for us online marketers to cheat and see what competitors are deploying in terms of traffic and conversion tactics.
Your second must-have tool is a Google Chrome extension called Built With. It’s one of my favorites because it tells you what the guts of your competitor’s site is made of.
Once you have your “spy kit” installed you can really get to work. Ask the following questions:
- Are they retargeting their visitors? (Ghostery will tell you)
- Are they using Adwords, Facebook, or other ad platforms? (Ghostery)
- Are they using conversion-tracking software like ClickFunnels? (Built With)
- Which extensions, plugins, or other third party apps are they using to convert visitors into customers?
By now you get the idea. Put all this data into your Funnel Action Guide for later use in your strategy.
Funnel Hacking Step #4: Become A Customer Of Your Competitor (Yep, You Heard Me Right!)
This one’ll rattle some cages.
Tools are great. But nothing beats the experience of actually buying a product and learning everything about your competition’s funnel. Don’t forget to screenshot every step of the way. You’re on a mission. A recon mission for data. If it feels like you’re wasting money buying your competition’s product…you’re not. At all. You’re getting a goldmine of data.
You will dissect every last step of their sales funnel and use it to YOUR advantage.
Take all of the upsells, downsells, and cross-sells. It’s there for the taking.
Funnel Hacking Step #5: Re-Construct Your Own Iron-Clad Sales Funnel
After completing steps 1-4, you’re ready to take all the goodness you’ve been storing up in your Action Guide and get to work.
It’s time for you to model the look/feel, the positioning, the traffic strategies, and conversion tactics and build your sales funnel to compete and DOMINATE in the market or niche of your choice.
This is super important: using the funnel hacking methodology, you can become a player in any market of your choosing. While I recommend starting in the market you’re most knowledgable in, you can pivot in literally hundreds of different directions. Funnel hacking works regardless of industry. Very cool!
“So, Justin…how do I build my funnel?”
Well, if it isn’t clear by now…I recommend ClickFunnels. It’s the only landing page solution that’s fully customizable, i.e. you can hack any funnel on the planet swiftly and easily. You can start a free, 14-day trial right now with this link.
If you’re prone to taking action (and not just dreaming about taking action), you know the competitor you want to funnel hack, you absolutely need to start a ClickFunnels account right now.
The Anatomy Of The Perfect Funnel Hack
There are a few different parts to a hacked funnel. We’ve covered the different steps you need to take, sure. But let’s look a little bit deeper at the parts of your hacked funnel.
Funnel Hacking Part #1: Front-End Funnel Hacking
Only start hacking 2-3 funnels at once. Make sure they’re similar to each other or you’ll get pulled into 100 different directions. No bueno. Keep it in the same category to start.
If you are funnel hacking home pages or landing pages (ClickFunnels lets you do both and even teaches you how to do it in their free training videos), you don’t have to make a carbon copy of the design. In fact, you should not do it this way. I prefer the term “modeling”. We are “modeling” the look we want, not copying.
This is where your Action Guide is gonna come in handy. Consult your screenshots and get down to work.
Aside from the graphic design aspect, there are other key areas to keep in mind when funnel hacking:
- Adding tracking codes
- Videos/videos sales letters (VSLs)
- Custom graphics/images
If you don’t feel like tackling those areas yourself, make sure to join the ClickFunnels Facebook Group or The Dotcom Secrets Facebook Group. These online communities are chock full of peers and fellow funnel hackers with speciality areas you can hire or barter with.
Funnel Hacking Part #2: The Upsells and Downsells
You’ve built your homepage and/or landing pages, taking care to model the areas listed above. But now it’s time to go deeper and build out the funnel upsells and downsells your competitors are offering.
You may come across these offers after an action is taken on their site, such as filling out a web form, making a purchase, watching a video, taking a survey, or even just clicking a button. Test out everything and be sure to watch what people do.
Funnel Hacking Part #3: Back-End Funnel Hacking
I’m not gonna sugarcoat it: this is the most difficult part of the funnel hacking process.
See, the back end is where most of a funnel’s profits are generated. And unless you want to spend hundreds (thousands?) of dollars hacking a competitor’s funnel, you’ll likely miss out on most of the back end. In short, it’s difficult to uncover everything that’s going on.
But don’t fear! There’s a good compromise. It’s called Dotcom Secrets and it’s a free book by ClickFunnels founder, Russell Brunson. Russell goes through practically all the different ways a funnel back end is set up in this book. Best part? It’s free!
As a general rule, the back end also ties directly into email marketing sequences. So when an email address is acquired in a funnel, it’s sent to an email nurture campaign. If a conversion doesn’t occur directly in your funnel, smart marketers know this is where the majority of sales are made.
I advise signing up for as many competitor funnels as possible. Take note of the email campaigns they put you in. Hack the emails the same way you hacked their funnels. Use their emails to create a swipe file where you can save and replicate the emails they send.
There are all sorts of funnels out there. You don’t need all of them. I’m going to give you the five funnels you need most. That’s right. I’ll give ’em to you for free. All you need to do is sign up for a free 14-day ClickFunnels trial, send me an email at justin(at)justinwise.net, and I’ll beam the funnels straight into your account.
All the work has been done. That’s another reason I like ClickFunnels. They make funnel hacking as easy as clicking a link! But let’s get one thing straight: funnel hacking is NOT copying your competitor’s content. You are modeling the structure and customer pathway. That’s it. You are NOT ripping off their product, their logo, their brand, or anything else that is theirs.
Here’s a list of the funnels I’ll send you, complete with their definitions.