In the last 12 months, I have built 7 ‘Free Plus Shipping’ Funnels across 7 different niches, for clients.
I wish I could say that 7/7 crushed it but the truth is:
- 4/7 crushed it
- 2/7 did well
- 1/7 completely bombed! (Hey, at least I’m honest)
Make sure that you read this entire blog post (especially ALL of lesson 1) so that you can model the things I’ve done right and avoid the things I’ve done wrong.
Lesson #1: Use an ROI calculator to know your ‘break even’ numbers
This is by far the most important of all 7 lessons.
To profit from cold traffic, you need to understand the ‘optimization metrics’ involved in your funnel.
Optimization metrics are the ‘micro’ metrics that you can optimize to increase your overall ‘macro’ metrics, like profit and ROI.
For example, if you’re running Facebook ads to a ‘Free Plus Shipping’ (F+S) funnel, you will have:
- A Cost Per Click (CPC) and a Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising budget
- A percentage of people who opt-in for your F+S offer (leads)
- A percentage of people who cover shipping for your F+S offer (customers)
- A percentage of customers who buy your order bump up-sell
- A percentage of customers who buy your next page up-sell
- A percentage of people who don’t buy your up-sell but do buy your down-sell
- Price points for each of your offers
- Costs to manufacture and ship out your F+S offer
- Costs (merchant fees) to process payments – For example, 2.9% of sales plus $0.30 per transaction (if you’re using Stripe or Authorize.net)
…and each of the above metrics will impact your ROI.
For example, If we plug in the following optimization metrics into my F+S funnel ROI calculator:
…the calculator instantly shows us all the macro metrics we want to know:
Here’s a graphic representation of these numbers:
The difference between ROI and ROAS:
- ROI means the return you got on your TOTAL expenses (Investment) – Profit/Expenses
- ROAS means the return you got on your ADVERTISING expenses (Ad Spend): Profit/Advertising
If I spend $1,000 and make $900, I and many other marketers consider that -10% ROI because PROFIT/Expenses ($-100/$1,000) equals -10%.
However, many marketers consider that exact same 10% loss as 90% ROI because SALES/Expenses ($900/$1,000) equals 90%.
It’s up to you whether you consider ROI to be PROFIT/Expenses or SALES/Expenses – I personally like the former for the following reasons:
- If you focus on sales and neglect profit and cash flow, you can quickly go out of business
- If you’re making a loss (instead of a profit), your ROI should be NEGATIVE (instead of between 0% and 100%), in my opinion
- I like to think like an INVESTOR when it comes to funnels and paid traffic and INVESTORS always calculate ROI as PROFIT/Investment
Similarly, most marketers focus on CPC (Cost Per Click), CPL (Cost Per Lead) and CPA (Cost Per Acquisition of a customer) ONLY from an advertising point of view…
I like to measure those numbers from both an advertising point of view AND an overall point of view because advertising isn’t your only cost when you’re acquiring customers, especially if you’re selling a physical product on the front-end of your info product funnel.
Back To Our Example
A -10% ROI isn’t a bad starting point (it’s actually pretty good) however we want our ROI to be at least 0% (break even) so we can finance our ad costs with our net sales rather than digging into our bank balance to pay for advertising.
One thing you will discover from using my F+S funnel ROI calculator is how small improvements in some of your optimization metrics will massively increase your ROI and profit.
For example, holding all else equal, if we increase the opt-in rate from 20% to 30%…
…Our ROI increases from -10% to +16% and rather than making a $726 LOSS, we make a $1,410 PROFIT:
In other words, after improving only ONE of 10+ optimization metrics, for every dollar you invest in your funnel, rather than making only $0.90 (losing 10 cents), you’ll make $1.16 (profiting 16 cents)!
When I was in high school, I used to play golf every weekend and virtually every single day during the school holidays – My mum would drop my brothers and I off at the golf course as the sun was rising and pick us up as the sun was setting.
I would play 18 holes, write down my score for each hole and add up my total score.
Inevitably I would have 1 or 2 ‘blow up’ holes that ruined my entire round and I would say things like…
“If I just scored a 5 (instead of an 8) on the 7th hole, I would have scored 79″
Similarly, your marketing funnel may have 1 or 2 ‘blow up’ holes that kill your ROI but without a score card, you won’t know where you need to improve.
However, with a funnel ROI calculator (which is like a marketing funnel scorecard), you can discover the ‘blow up’ holes in your marketing funnel, know where to improve and methodically improve your funnel’s performance over time.
NOTE: There are 4 different ways that I usually do up-sells and down-sells for F+S funnels:
- Up-sell (continuity) / Down-sell (continuity trial)
- Up-sell (continuity trial) / NO Down-sell
- Up-sell (unique product) / Down-sell (unique product) – The one I used in the example above
- Up-sell (unique product) / Down-sell (3-pay option)
Usually 1 of these 4 options is best for your business so I have included 4 ROI calculators, for these 4 types of funnels, in my F+S ROI calculator spreadsheet (which can be downloaded at the end of this post). If you want to do your up-sells differently, I highly recommend that you create your own spreadsheet and forecast your ROI before building your funnel.
On a side note: Watch me bomb this drive 270 yards:
Lesson 2: Ensure your F+S offer meets 10-12 points of the following 12-point checklist
- Qualifies your ideal customer/client
- Has mass appeal in your market
- People actually know what it is and extensive education isn’t required to get people to buy it
- Similar products are already being sold to 1000’s of people online every week
- People are likely to buy an info product related to it
- People simply want it because it’s cool
- Weighs less than 10 ounces / 300 grams (Costs less than $4 for shipping + handling)
- Costs less than $2/unit for 500 units
- Retails for $10-$30+ elsewhere
- Customization isn’t required (sizes, colors etc)
- People often buy more than 1 unit
- Can be branded
- Guitar capo
- Makeup brush
- Gun oil
Lesson 3: Up-sell, the right way
There are 4 key places in a F+S funnel to insert up-sells:
- The order form product selection section
There are lots of creative ways you can up-sell people here.
For example, you can offer different quantities of your F+S offer:
You can offer expedited shipping for a higher price:
If your F+S offer is a book, you can offer your book and audio book as a package for a higher price:
If your F+S offer is a book, DVD or USB, you can offer an accompanying workbook for a higher price:
If your F+S offer is a book, DVD or USB, you can offer the option to only get the digital version for a smaller fee (and make more profit because you don’t have to ship a physical product):
I was a little hesitant to test this last one because I thought we might get a few people hating on the whole ‘Digital Access Fee’ frame, but it ended up doing really well and from the most recent 1,000 or so clicks to the funnel, 33% of customers took this option and we haven’t had a single complaint.
From my experience, you should be able to get 10%-40%+ of people to take one of your higher margin options here which can be the difference between your funnel’s ROI being positive or negative.
2. The order form bump
What is an order form bump?
It’s an up-sell that goes at the bottom of your order form.
It’s the online version of the candy bar section in a supermarket checkout lane…
This is one of those rare places in your funnel where you can double your average customer value with very little additional work.
Here’s what an order form bump looks like:
I typically price my order form bumps between $27 and $37 and get between a 20% and 35% conversion rate which increases my average customer value by $5.40-$12.95.
An order form bump offer will convert really well if:
- It’s SIMPLE and its biggest benefit is explained in 2-3 short sentences
- It COMPLIMENTS your front-end offer
- It’s OPTIONAL and not buying it doesn’t take away from the value of your front-end offer
3. The up-sell page
On this page, I’ll typically make one of the following 3 offers:
- Continuity offer (eg. $37/month)
- Continuity trial offer (eg. FREE for 30 days then $37/month)
- Information product for set price (eg. $37)
You’ll get the highest conversion rate on a continuity trial offer and the lowest conversion rate on a straight continuity offer.
With that said, if you lead with a continuity trial offer and get a 20% conversion rate, if only 50% of trial members become paying members after the trial period, you would be better off with a 10% conversion rate to a straight continuity up-sell offer rather than offering a trial because you’ll get paid by members for the first time on day 1 (instead of day 30) and you’ll only have to wait until day 30 (instead of day 60) for the first re-bill.
Similarly, if your continuity program is $20/month and your average stick rate is only 3 months, you might be better off pricing your offer as a one-time payment of $60 because if your conversion rate doesn’t drop too much, your day 1 ACV and ROI will be much higher and you’ll have much more room to scale your funnel with paid traffic without running into cash flow problems.
Ultimately, when it comes to making decisions about what to offer as your up-sell on this page, you need to consider your business goals.
If you’re in a B2C niche (like golf) and your goal is to have a stable lifestyle business that has recurring revenue, offer a continuity program and focus on getting as many members as possible.
If you’re a coach or consultant and your goal is to have a maximum day 1 ACV so you can scale your funnel at breakeven, build a large list of leads and customers and make all your profit from high-ticket offers on the back-end without having to focus your time on running a sub $100 per month continuity program, offer information products as up-sells in your F+S funnel and focus your time, energy and resources on ascending customers into high-ticket clients and serving them at the highest level.
4. The down-sell page
The only people that will see your down-sell offer are those who said NO to your up-sell offer however some might have watched a 10 minute Video Sales Letter (VSL) or read a 2,000 word long-form sales letter, been on the fence and chickened out, so rather than offering a brand new product as a down-sell, I usually just try to overcome their core objection and get them over the fence on the up-sell offer on the down-sell page, by slightly modifying the offer.
If they’re on the fence, the core objection is probably the price point so:
- If the up-sell is a continuity offer, I’ll offer a FREE or $1 trial for 7, 14 or 30 days on the down-sell page whereby they get limited or full access to the continuity program for a trial period and then get billed automatically after the trial period unless they cancel their membership during the trial period
- If the up-sell is an information product priced above $50, I’ll offer a payment plan of 3 installments whereby they’ll pay for installment 1 TODAY, installment 2 in 30 days and installment 3 in 60 days.
- If the up-sell is a continuity trial OR an information product priced below $50, I typically won’t have a down-sell
Here are the reasons I offer a trial or payment plan instead of a completely new product:
- You’ll probably make just as much money, if not more money by getting the people on the fence (about buying your up-sell offer) to say yes than you will by introducing a brand new product
- It takes a lot of time to create a new product and speed of execution is key
- At this point, after a bunch of up-sell offers, if you’re still trying to sell them more stuff, you can be perceived as ‘salesy’ and ruin the relationship with your brand new customer
Other Up-Sell Tips
- Each product in your funnel should solve a different problem
- Changing the deliverable of the products in your funnel can increase conversions – For example, your F+S offer is obviously a physical product, so I would recommend making your order form bump an information product related to your F+S offer and your core up-sell a membership site
- Lots of marketers say that VSL’s (Video Sales Letters) out-convert long-form sales letters however I’ve found that VSL’s don’t perform nearly as well on mobile as they do on desktop and that VSL’s perform better in some markets over others so make sure you’re not blindly following ancient guru advice when you’re building your funnel and that you ‘test the big things’
- I don’t recommend having a ‘Profit Maximizer’ (another up-sell page) because that would just be a pit over-kill in my opinion
Lesson 4: Model page designs proven to convert
Page design is not nearly as important as your offer and your copy.
For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend getting too caught up on the design of your pages.
Instead, model the design of pages proven to convert.
How do you know if a certain page design is proven to convert?
Alternatively, notice Facebook ads that have lots of social proof (likes, shares, comments) and the ads that you’ve seen a lot in your newsfeed over an extended period of time because if an ad has reached a lot of people and stood the test of time, the ads and the funnel are probably doing pretty well.
To keep things simple, you can just trust me when I say that the following design has worked well for me across 6 different niches:
The ‘above the fold’ part must have the following elements:
- Logo (top)
- Headline (top)
- Video (left)
- Top half of the 2 step order form (right)
The rest of the page is essentially a long-form sale letter which is far less important than what is above the fold because I’ve found (from screen recordings and heat maps on all my funnels) that most people start to complete the order form while watching the video and less than 50% of people scroll much below the fold.
The following heat map is of a page that has consistently converted over 20% of cold Facebook ad traffic into F+S customers:
So even without many people scrolling, because our ‘above the fold’ area is solid, we have been able to generate these results from the last couple of thousand visitors to this funnel (all from cold Facebook ad traffic):
Lesson 5: Monetize the back-end by “funnel stacking”
Your goal for your F+S funnel should be to get as many leads and customers at break even or better.
You should then make ALL your profit from continuity re-bills and back-end funnels – product launches, webinars and high-ticket phone sales.
If you do this process of “funnel stacking” well, you can 2X-10X the average lifetime value (LTV) of your customers.
Other than the communication channels I’ll cover in lesson 6, there are 2 great places to transition new customers to your back-end funnels.
The first place is your order confirmation page:
People like to get to an order confirmation page at the end of your funnel and the order confirmation page is the perfect place to invite new leads and customers to register for a free webinar, a free 4 part video series or to apply for a strategy session with you or someone on your team.
What you might not realize though is that the majority of your F+S funnel customers will never get to your order confirmation page.
The only ones who do are the ones that buy your up-sell or buy your down-sell or click the ‘No thanks’ button/link on both your up-sell and down-sell pages.
Most people exit online sales funnels by clicking the big X in the top right corner, mid funnel.
But it’s important to push people through your F+S funnel so at the end, they’re moved into a back-end funnel while you have their attention.
The way you do this is by using exit intent pop-ups that only appear if someone tries to leave your page, on a desktop device.
I always put an exit intent pop-up on my up-sell page that directs customers to my down-sell page:
I also always put an exit intent pop-up on my down-sell page that directs customers to my order confirmation page:
The second place you want to utilize to transition customers to your back-end funnels is IN your front-end funnel products.
For example, if your Order Bump offer was a 2 hour information product about Facebook advertising, have at least one call to action in your 2 hours of content that directs people to apply for a free strategy session with you.
At the end of the strategy session, you can offer your DFY Facebook ads management service if the customer is a good fit to be a private client of yours.
Lesson 6: Follow-up across different mediums
If you do a good job, you’ll get 10%-20% of visitors to your funnel to buy your F+S offer and 10%-20% of them to buy your up-sell or your down-sell.
Hence, you need a mixture of the following to follow-up with the 80%+ of people who don’t get all the way through your funnel:
- Email Marketing
- Direct Mail
- Phone Calls
The following funnel map shows you what I’ve built for 7 clients in the last 12 months to generate thousands of customers:
Here are some key things you should have in place:
- Email sequence, retargeting and SMS for leads – those who abandoned the checkout process
- Have at least 1 email directing leads to a page that has a video like this:
- Email sequence and retargeting for customers who didn’t buy your up-sell or down-sell
- Direct mail piece (promoting your up-sell offer, down-sell offer or one of your back-end funnels) to be sent to your customer with your F+S offer – If your down-sell offer is a $1 trial of your continuity program, attaching a $1 note to your direct mail piece and framing the copy around the idea that you’ll pay their $1 trial has been proven to work
- Exit pops (like I’ve mentioned above)
- Order confirmation page (like I’ve mentioned above) – You actually want to have 4 order confirmation pages for context and advertising conversion tracking purposes:
- Order Confirmation Page 1 tracks up-sell conversions
- Order Confirmation Page 2 tracks down-sell conversions
- Order Confirmation Page 3 doesn’t track any conversions but is for those who say NO to both your up-sell and your down-sell
- Order Confirmation Page 4 tracks down-sell conversions from your follow-up efforts
- In case you’re wondering, your Up-Sell page tracks your F+S offer sales
- Lastly, I encourage you to call your customers or have someone on your team calling your customers to build a relationship with them and offer your other products and services
Lesson 7: Scale with Facebook ads, data and insight
Here’s my process for launching and scaling a free plus shipping funnel:
- Start with $100/day – 20 interests at $5/day each and let it run for 3 days without changing a thing!
- After $15 in ad spend per interest, you should start to get a feel for which interests are converting.
- Determine your break even or target CPA by looking at your key funnel metrics like ACV and slowly scale the interests meeting your target CPA (Hint: Use my ROI Calculator Spreadsheet).
- Keep a close eye on the interests that are close to your target CPA and keep them running to get more data and give them a chance.
- Turn off the interests that are not even close to your target CPA.
- When you know what interests are working, combine them all in a new campaign with gender and age banding (eg. 12 ad sets at $5-$20/day each – M 18-24, M 25-34, M 35-44 etc etc) and test more image and copy variations.
- When you have 500 buyers, create a 1% LA audience.
- When you start to max out your 1% LA audience, test a 1%-2% LA audience then a 2%-3% LA audience etc or test different campaign objectives (clicks to website, page post engagement) to target different pieces of the pie
You should have a saved Facebook Ads report set-up like this so you can see how much you spend per day and how many F+S sales, up-sell sales and down-sell sales you make per day:
The Facebook ad manager dashboard can be a bit buggy at times (for example, I couldn’t order the dates properly in the screenshot above) so I typically export my data to a csv file:
Then I paste the 5 columns above into my Daily ROI Tracking Sheet which calculates my daily ROI, daily revenue, daily expenses and daily Profit/Loss:
In case you’re wondering, your total revenue, total costs and profit are all calculated based on the price points and costs you enter into the ROI calculator spreadsheet:
You can go a step further and use the ROI calculator spreadsheet to forecast your:
…And see how that impacts your Day 30 ROI:
Now you can see how these 2 spreadsheets work together!
- You should use the ROI Calculator to forecast your funnel’s ROI based on different conversion rates, price points and costs
- You should use the Daily ROI Tracking Sheet to measure your funnel’s performance day by day and forecast your Day 30 ROI
If you want a F+S funnel built for your business or if you have a F+S funnel that you want to take to the next level, then a funnel strategy session with me is the ideal next step.
In the session we will do 3 main things:
- Get clear on what your ‘Free Plus Shipping’ offer will be
- Get clear on what your up-sells will be – Your order bump, your up-sell and your down-sell
- Get clear on what your numbers need to look like to be ‘break even’ or better at scale
And at the end of our session if you want me to build your funnel and take care of the copywriting for you and I decide that we’re a good fit to work together, awesome!
Otherwise, you’re more than welcome to take what you get from the call, write your own copy and try to build your funnel by yourself!
To set-up a successful F+S funnel, it obviously take some work so to qualify for a funnel strategy session with me, your answer must be YES to the following criteria:
- I know what niche I serve OR I know what niche I plan to serve
- I have an initial marketing budget of at least $3K, to be invested in either Facebook ads, working with Ricky or both
- I take full responsibility for my success and I am committed to succeeding no matter what!
If that’s you, click here to apply for a funnel strategy session with me, then after completing your application, you’ll be redirected to my calendar to schedule a time with me to chat.
I look forward to talking with you!
To download my ROI Calculator + ROI Tracking Sheet, PM me on Facebook (I haven’t hooked up a leadbox or squeeze page for this yet LOL).