Making money online through Niche Marketing

Should You Use Calendly for Appointment Scheduling? [App Review]

Right now, Calendly is one of the most popular scheduling apps. So, it might seem like a natural choice to automate your appointments. But, because of all the work that goes into setting up systems, selecting software is a big decision.

You can’t just hop on a bandwagon without knowing where it’s headed. Here’s everything you need to know about Calendly so that you can decide if its the right platform for you. 

Here’s what’s in store:

So, keep reading if this might answer your questions.  

What is Calendly? 

Calendly Logo

In a nutshell, Calendly is modern, cloud-based scheduling software. The platform integrates with other online tools to streamline appointment, meeting, and event scheduling and can be used by virtually anyone from anywhere. 

Business owners, independent service providers, and coaches can use Calendly to set appointments with clients and customers. Teachers can use it to schedule meetings with students or parents. Healthcare practitioners can use it to plan office or telemedicine visits with patients.  

The versatility doesn’t end there. Calendly is dedicated to a streamlined end-to-end experience for international users and supports multiple currencies and languages. 

Review Calendly

The best part is that it enables you to get appointments scheduled without the hassle of back and forth emails. 

How Much Does Calendly Cost?

Calendly does offer a free basic plan. From there, the price goes up as high as $10 per user per month for premium and $15 for pro. Annual billing can save you $24 to $36 per year. 

The free version is limited to integrations with Intercom, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and GoToMeeting for conferencing. Premium allows you to enable Zapier and custom web hooks.  Pro users have access to Salesforce, Hubspot, Mailchimp, Stripe, PayPal, Google Analytics, and Facebook Pixel integrations. 

Calendly free

The most obvious reason people upgrade to a paid version is the fact that Calendly’s free plan only allows one “event type.” 

What this means is that basic users can’t enable invitees to select the type or length of meeting being scheduled — only 30-minute meetings are available. All appointments scheduled via a free Calendly account will be the same by default. Both premium and pro plans offer unlimited event types. 

Calendly login

Calendly Pro is for the user who wants to take advantage of all the bells and whistles this software offers. 

Is Calendly Secure?  

If you’re going to collect customer data, it’s crucial to comply with regulations. So, is Calendly GDPR compliant? And, for folks in healthcare, is it HIPAA compliant? Here’s what you need to know. 

Calendly is in compliance with the latest GDPR legislature. So, general data collection is secure and safe — your clients and customers can trust that they won’t get spammed or have their information stolen. 

Calendly review security

However, while full security measures are taken, sensitive patient data should never be shared via the platform. Technically, the app itself isn’t HIPAA compliant. So, healthcare professionals should never include personal or medical questions when scheduling with this system. 

How to Use Calendly: An Overview 

When you first sign up, you will automatically enter the pro plan on a 14 day trial, which is great. This provides enough time for you to find out which features and integrations you will need. 

Next, you’ll be asked to connect your Google account to give Calendly access to your Google Calendar. 

With the basic plan, you can use only one calendar. This means that the plaform will not check for scheduling conflicts between multiple calendars with the free plan. With the premium plan, you can connect two calendars and up to six with pro. 

Note that Calendly uses your schedule and existing calendar appointments to determine your available times and dates. So, if you schedule an all day reminder for a two week online course or webinar and forget to check the “available” box, Calendly will book you out the entire time (at no fault of their own).  

Once you’re all set up, you simply share your personalized link via email or on your website and invitees can select an available slot. In my experience, this saves a ton of time that would otherwise be spent emailing back and forth to find an hour that works for multiple parties. 

Calendly embed

If you want to fully leverage the system, take Calendly across all platforms. 

Calendly Apps, Chrome Extension, & Integrations 

As a standalone app, Calendly is useful, but the available apps, integrations, and extensions can help you automate most of the appointment scheduling process. 

First, the Calendly Mobile iOS app and Android app make it easier for you to share links to your calendar from anywhere. From your phone, you can use the mobile app to copy and share links or view upcoming meetings.

Calendly apps

Next, the Calendly Chrome Extension and Firefox Browser Add-On can provide access to your appointments when browsing from your computer. A browser extension can help you access event links without logging into your account each time you want to share them. 

With the Chrome extension, you can also offer specific times with ad hoc meetings that can then be added directly to emails in Gmail. 

Calendly review

Then, business owners, service providers, and coaches might want to enable their customers and clients to schedule appointments from their website. WordPress users can leverage the Embed Calendly Scheduling plugin by Shycoder (though, plugins can sometimes be a bit code-heavy, so proceed with caution). All others can use Calendly’s built-in embed features.  

Calendly WordPress

Then, Paypal and Stripe integrations make it easy to collect payments as an invitee schedules a certain type of appointment. This feature is especially helpful for consultants who charge for their time. 

Finally, Calendly can integrate easily with 80+ conferencing, sales, marketing, and CRM apps that you already use to streamline tasks associated with setting up an appointment or event. 

Does Calendly work with Zoom?

And, if you don’t see your tool on the list, there’s a chance you can use Zapier to create it

One of the most popular integrations is Zoom. Pre-COVID, an automated link to a Zoom meeting was a pro feature. Now, even basic users can leverage this option. My guess is that the feature will continue to be free into the foreseeable future. 

Calendly Alternatives: How Do They Stack up?

You know you have options. So, how do the top competitors compare? Here’s a quick breakdown. 

Appointment Scheduling Software Comparison

PlatformPricingSynced CalendarsIntegrationsMobile AppsBrowser Extensions
Calendly$0 to $15 monthly Up to 680+iOS, AndroidChrome, Mozilla
Acuity$0 to 45 monthlyUp to 3639+iOS, AndroidNA
Appointy$0 to $99.99 monthly2+5+iOS, AndroidChrome, Mozilla
Setmore$0 to $5 monthly2+41+iOS, AndroidNA
SimplyBook$0 to $59.90 monthlyUnlimitedZaps onlyiOS, AndroidNA

Acuity vs Calendly 

Being Calendly’s top competitor, it’s key to look a bit deeper how these two platforms compare before you make a final decision about which scheduling software to use. So, here’s a few key comparisons of Calendly vs Acuity. 

  1. Best Pricing: Calendly 

The most calendars you can sync with Calendly is six, which costs around $15 per month, depending on your billing choice. To integrate six calendars with Acuity will cost $23 per month when paid monthly. 

  1. Best Payment Processing Options: Acuity (Sorta)

Acuity has an integration with Square for payment processing. Calendly doesn’t. But, don’t let this deter you — you can still integrate Calendly with the payment processor used by millions of merchants…  

Calendly plugin

There’s a Zap for that

  1. Most Synced Calendars: Acuity

Now, if you have a large team involved in scheduled meetings and events or you run multiple companies with multiple calendars, Acuity might be the best option for one reason. Their platform enables you to sync up to 36 calendars. That’s 30 more than you get with Calendly’s pro plan. 

Final Takeaway

So, should you use Calendly for appointment scheduling? I say “yes.” If you’re a solopreneur or your team is small, as long as you can set a schedule syncing 6 calendars or less, Calendly is an excellent app. I love the software, use it daily, and highly recommend it. 

It would be nice to see a bit more diversification with calendar syncs, SMS in addition to email reminders would be nice, and an internal communication platform would be nice for teams. But, it hits the mark in a lot of ways. 

So, go try Calendly for yourself and let me know what you think. 

Is the One Funnel Away Challenge Worth Investing in?

After it’s relaunch in January 2019, the One Funnel Away Challenge from Russell Brunson is gaining new traction. And, digital marketers are asking if this is simply a bunch of hype or if the challenge is worth undertaking. As a three-time veteran of the course, I’d like to thoroughly answer that question for you. 

So, if you’re on the fence about the system and want to find out if it’s for you before you commit, read on. 

First, What is the One Funnel Away Challenge? 

The One Funnel Away Challenge is a 30-day challenge, created by Russell Brunson that is meant to teach digital marketers how to launch a successful online business. 

What is the one funnel away challenge?
  • First, the “challenge” (not course) focuses on mindset transformation. 
  • Next, it teaches through action on how to research competitors. 
  • Then, marketers learn how to create hooks, effective messaging, and converting calls to action (CTAs). 
  • After that, students discover how to identify and understand key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine which parts of their funnel are broken and the elements that need to be fixed. 

The challenge is led by Russell Brunson who delivers the central concepts. And, it includes powerful Q&A sessions that move learners through the strategies and concepts. Deep dives on each idea are delivered by Julie Stoian and Steve Larsen.

And, What do These “Gurus” Know About Digital Marketing?  

I noticed that one of my all-time favorite marketers, Miles Beckler, doesn’t have nice things to say about the challenge. If you’re researching whether or not this system is right for you, you’ve likely come across his opinion. 

One Funnel Away Objections

In full disclosure, I am a client of Beckler’s and I believe in 90% of what he says. But, on this topic, he and I wholeheartedly disagree.

Beckler’s core message seems to be that it will take years to build a following and online marketers should put out a video a day for six months, then continue this for over a year. He says you must be willing to make a significant time investment in your marketing. And, by following this system, he claims you will be successful. In saying this, he is 100% correct. 

However, there is another way to find success: you can build a self-liquidating offer (SLO) that covers the cost of ads (for free / break even on the front end) and any revenue generated after that is profit. Within days, new leads will break into your funnel on higher-ticket transactions. And, this is what you learn with the challenge. 

For such an intelligent and detail-oriented person, I think Beckler chose the wrong point to argue because he was literally one funnel away from success before he found success. He continually tests his sales funnels to find the one that will generate consistent revenue. And, the point he stated above doesn’t line up with what I’ve learned from him. 

If you already know and love Beckler, but you’re not familiar with Brunson, Larsen, and Stoian, it’s important for you to learn more about them before you take this particular opinion as gospel. 

Who is Russell Brunson? 

Russell Brunson, “The Strategist” is the co-founder of ClickFunnels. He has a following of over a million entrepreneurs and he popularized the concept of sales funnels. Russell’s training, teaching, and software have helped 728 people (members of the Two Comma Club) become millionaires. 

Who is Julie Stoian? 

Julie Stoian, “The Transformer” is a digital marketer, funnel builder, and business strategist. She built a six-figure freelance business and a million-dollar brand business in under three years. Now, she helps Russell Brunson teach the masses how to change the world. 

Who is Steve Larsen? 

Steve Larsen, “The Executioner” is a Funnelologist who used to be the lead funnel builder at ClickFunnels. After he joined the Two Comma Club, he left the company. He now hosts a digital marketing podcast and helps coach the One Funnel Away Challenge. 

So, What do I Know About the Challenge? 

I’ve participated in the One Funnel Away Challenge three times throughout the course of my career. Each time, I take away something new and valuable to enhance my funnels and redirect my business trajectory. 

In Winter 2019, I completed the One Funnel Away Challenge for my current business and was able to skyrocket my success almost immediately. 

Before this, I tried to sell my offer as something that I, myself would purchase. As an analytical buyer, I am obsessed with technical features. So, I was listing tons of technical offer features. Later, I realized what I should be selling instead to attract the type of customers that I want. 

I used offline networking and Facebook groups (basically old school mixers) to attract new clientele to my offer. And, while I had success with these channels, I didn’t know how much easier and scalable my company could be until I completed the challenge. 

It only took a couple of weeks for me to see measurable, positive results. After finishing the challenge, what we spent on advertising we earned in revenue on the same day. I had to work through the materials a few times to understand an SLO. But once I did, it made all the difference in the world. 

The first twelve months after completing the challenge resulted in 4,052 new opt-ins to my funnel with a 50.96% opt-in rate. Within a year, I am now making $15K per month and on-track for growth. I can attest to the fact that this system works if you work it (and the results are tremendous). 

Read More: How to Make $10K+ Online… Without Losing Money on Ad Spend

Now, What Can You Take Away From the One Funnel Away Challenge? 

If you’ve landed on the One Funnel website, you’ve seen the massive list of what you get for the $100 cost of the training. The pre-loaded MP3 player alone is worth more than the cost of the entire package. But, what will this mean for your business, exactly? 

What does the one funnel away challenge teach you?

In real terms, here are some of the key concepts you can take away from the challenge. 

1. You are NOT Your Best Customer

I mentioned this above, but want to dig a bit deeper on this point (and, if you complete the challenge you will be able to delve into it fully): your ideal audience is not you. So, something that you would buy yourself probably will not become a successful business for you. On the contrary, you need to define your best audience and learn to appeal to them. 

The best market to target is the market you want to work with. So, it is crucial to determine who this is. Who do you want your customers or clients to be? 

Furthermore, your target market likely falls into one of two categories: 

  1. A niche that is being ignored. For example, a computer keyboard is just a computer keyboard. But, someone had the idea to split it in half for ergonomic support. This offer was created for a specific demographic that was being ignored: people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. 
  2. An audience that does not love your competitors’ product (but is still paying for them). To find out who these people are and what they really want, look at your competitors’ three-star reviews. You’ll find people likely to buy from you and what they’re missing (which will factor into how you can create an irresistible offer). 

So, stop selling to yourself and learn how you can get in front of and sell to your ideal audience. 

2. Features Don’t Sell an Offer (& What to Showcase Instead)

I don’t know about you, but I am hyper-analytical. As a buyer, I want to learn about technical features. So, before the challenge, I was highlighting offer features. Then, I had a total mind shift. 

While you do need to list the features of your offer, this is not how you will sell it. Instead, the results of your offer are what will make people want to buy it. 

For example, imagine that you have a sponge to sell. And, as a bonus, you offer a free sponge as a bonus to anyone who buys it. So, in your messaging, you say, “Use it on your boat, in the bathroom, or give it to your friend.” An analytical buyer like myself doesn’t like this – I can figure out what to do with an extra sponge on my own. But, an emotional buyer (like the ones I want to sell to) respond when you spell-out results.

Another hypothetical example would be a cure for cancer. If you have a cure for cancer, you tell people your offer can cure their cancer. Your audience isn’t going to be as moved by the fact that your pill is soft-coated and easy to swallow because they want the end result, and that is what will sell the offer. 

So, tell people that you’re fixing their problem. And, you don’t necessarily need to bother with the technical aspects of how you’re going to fix it. 

3. It is Easier Than You Think to Create an Irresistible Offer

The most helpful concept I learned from the challenge is how to analyze existing offers to create my own irresistible offer. If you complete the challenge, you will learn to find gaps in the marketplace. In some cases, this will be a niche that your competitors are missing or a void that needs to be filled. 

This concept is called “offer hacking” and is a lot like funnel hacking. To hack an offer, you study competing offers and look for gaps in the market. A lot of times, your ideal market is already screaming for what they want. And, the best market consists of people that already use a product like yours, but don’t love it yet. Product reviews come in handy here. 

As a shopper, five-star and one-star reviews aren’t very helpful because these come from people who either love or hate the product. But, if you read three-star reviews, you get a true idea of what might be wrong with a product from someone who mostly likes it. As an offer achiever, the same three-star reviews will help you. 

For example, my wife and I purchased a pool vacuum on Amazon recently. While shopping, we read all of the three-star reviews and found a Dolphin pool cleaner with apparent problems we are pretty sure we can live with. And, this is the one we purchased. 

How to optimize your sales funnel

If you were an offer achiever looking to bring a new pool vacuum to the market, you would go through a similar process, highlighting the gaps in your niche. Then, you could start with an existing product design that works, add a larger bag for collecting leaves, make sure all power supplies are waterproof (not just water-resistant), and voila! You have created something irresistible that an existing market already wants to buy. 

If you’re interested, check out a deeper dive into becoming an offer achiever

4. How to Strengthen Your Offer With a Value Ladder

Once you have your offer, you will do well to strengthen it with a value ascension ladder, which gives you the potential to upsell and down-sell as you nurture your audience. For every product and service, this will look a bit different. 

But, a value ascension ladder is essentially a range of products that ascend from the lowest price to the highest price. Clients and customers ideally ascend from the bottom of the ladder to the top on their journey with your business.  

When I added a value ladder to my offer, it remarkably increased my success. And, in my case, it started out fairly simple. 

  1. Free ebook for lead generation 
  2. Paid course as a low-value offer
  3. Higher-ticket coaching as a high-value offer (where almost all profit is made)

Now, my leads enter my funnel through the free ebook and start receiving emails. Those looking to take the next step are directed to a paid course. And, when they love the paid course they eventually upgrade to coaching. 

5. How to Implement a Self-Liquidating Offer (SLO)

It took me a few passes through the challenge to absorb why this is imperative because, at first, an SLO seemed counter-intuitive to me. But, I found that this is the glue that holds the entire system together. With an SLO, I was able to create a positive return on ad spend (ROAS) with FB ads, grow my list essentially for free, and boost my monthly income. 

How a Self-Liquidating Offer Works

I learned how to spend $75 per day on ads and earn $85 per day. On the surface, it looks like I’m only earning $10 per day. But, down the funnel is where the profits happen. All of this is done with ad spend, but my list building is essentially free — it’s as if I didn’t spend it. 

And, $75 per day is not all that much. It only comes to $2,250 per month. But, you don’t have to start at $75 — you can start at $10 or $25 per day and scale-up. 

Start with an SLO to break people into your funnel, and don’t give away all the keys to the palace. Give more than anyone else, but leave your market wanting more. Then, on day two or three on their journey with your brand, ask leads to take the next step on your value ladder and give them a few more keys. If they want all the keys, offer your high-value item around day seven or ten. 

6. What it Truly Means to Niche-Down

If I could only share one thing from the challenge with people, it would be to create an offer that blows your competitors out of the water and speaks to your target audience. To make this happen, you have to niche-down.  

And, you need to like your target niche (and they need to like you) if you want to be happy in business. Otherwise, you will build animosity over time. If you want your offer to convert, you must speak to your target niche. 

And, to speak to your dream customer, you need to define who that is. 

  • If you’re already in business, who do you currently sell to that you just love? 
  • If you’re just starting out, what markets are being ignored?
    • Can you take an existing model and bring it to a new niche? 
  • What do these people have in common? 

This will tell you about your dream customers. And, the more niched-down you are, the better equipped you can be to sell to the right market. You can put messaging in front of people that they are likely to respond to. For example, if you want to sell to cat lovers, you have to share pictures of cats. 

Finally, Should You Complete the One Funnel Away Challenge? 

What’s mentioned here barely scratches the surface of what you will learn when you pencil out 30 days of your time to launch an online business with the One Funnel Away Challenge. If you liked this and you want to learn more, the challenge is probably right for you. And, if you’re still not sure, here are a few more points I would like to make: 

  • This is not a traditional course, it is a hands-on challenge that delivers more substantial results than your typical business training. 
  • $100 is extremely underpriced for what you get. Coming from someone who has purchased nearly every digital marketing course out there, I would expect to pay between $3-5K for everything you get with Clickfunnels’ One Funnel Away Challenge. 
  • This is simultaneously one of the most powerful online marketing trainings around and still one of the most inexpensive (the company banks on the fact that you’ll pay for ClickFunnels after you take the course). 
  • You will have to block off a lot of time over the month-long span it takes to complete the challenge. And, I almost guarantee it’s worth canceling anything you have going on during that time. 

Everyone thinks their product is worth clearing your schedule for. But, most of them are not. Nobody else out there will provide you with this much information and action steps for just $100. So take the leap and complete the challengeASAP — it will transform your business and your life!

Here’s the Only Funnel Hacking Guide You Ever Need to Read

Funnel hacking hat

No matter what stage you’re at in business, idea/prototype, startup, or growth, you’ve got the mindset of an entrepreneur, not a nine-to-fiver. So, of course you want to learn as much as you can about every tactic that can break through the barriers that keep you from living the life you want. Enter funnel hacking, a system that could change your business forever. 

Learn how to blow your competition out of the water and create a sales funnel that generates long-term revenue. Here’s what’s in store: 

What is Funnel Hacking? 

To master funnel hacking, you first need to understand marketing funnels. 

The most common framework for building a marketing funnel is AIDA, which is an acronym for Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. Another system, which is, in essence, the same, is the Buyer’s Journey. The latter assumes that consumers go through three rather than four stages before making a purchase choice: 

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision

Either way you look at it, your target audience will first become aware of your offer and eventually become a customer or client through your marketing funnel where you will (hopefully) attract, engage, convert, and retain them. 

What is a funnel in marketing

Essentially, a marketing funnel is a guided path that you send people through to lead them to the eventual purchase of your product, service, or other paid offer. And, for each niche, funnels work a bit differently because each offer solves a different consumer problem. 

A marketing funnel is crucial because 96% of the people who land on your website aren’t ready to buy anything yet. And, without capturing visitors, nurturing leads, and delighting (and up-selling) customers, all of that traffic is wasted. Yet, 68% of brands have not identified or measured their sales funnels

Do funnels really work?

Without a strategic, measured sales funnel, you miss out on a ton of sales. And, you need to come up with a plan to close the gap and generate more revenue from your products or service. 

Now, funnel hacking is a strategy (coined by Russell Brunson) wherein you study your competitors’ marketing funnels and apply your findings to your own sales strategy. 

So, How Does Funnel Hacking Work?

In a nutshell, funnel hacking works by taking all of the guesswork out of creating your initial sales funnel. You simply enter your competitors’ funnels (ideally those that are generating a lot of traffic) and move all the way through the conversion process. You buy their products and even reach out to customer service and see how they handle customer interaction. 

  1. Make a list of your competitors that have offers that are doing well (you can also pick a different market completely than the market you want to go in and still study what is working for them and then just apply it to your niche)
    1. You can use free tools like alexa traffic competitive analysis to see how much traffic a site is getting
  2. Move through each of your competitors’ sales funnels and study their offers
    1. Price points, what they are offering, who their target market is, sales messages, pain points they focus on, how they “hook” their audience
    2. Study what is missing
      1. Sub market / niche that isn’t being served
      2. Pain points that customers have that is being ignored
      3. Technical pieces missing from the offer like templates, e-book, video training, webinars, seminars, audio training
  3. Buy the competing offers
    1. Get a feel for the product/service first hand if you need to
  4. Record your findings
    1. Write it all out on paper!
  5. Reverse engineer a funnel based on your discoveries
    1. Write out different ideas as far as working sales messages, ads, offers, the actual delivery of the product/service
    2. Put it all on paper and start to circle pieces from different funnels you’ve studied so that you can model (not copy) the frameworks into your own unique offer
    3. One of the  most common conclusions is to fill the gaps that others are not serving
      1. This gap could be a missing component or an underserved sub market

Essentially, funnel hacking is deep competitive research used to create a digital marketing funnel. And, this type of intelligence is vital for business success. 

(Almost Legitimate) Objections to Funnel Hacking 

Is funnel hacking legal? Is it moral? Is it an MLM scheme? What if… 

Okay, stop right there. Not only is funnel hacking perfectly legal, but it is also precisely how businesses have made their way amongst competitors as far back as they’ve had competitors. There’s a crucial reason why business plans contain a competitive analysis: you need to know what is happening in your market at all times if you want to succeed. 

Competitive intelligence puts you on the map. It provides insights about what’s working and not working in your industry. And, in the case of funnel hacking, the intelligence you receive provides a framework for your marketing and sales path and cuts initial guesswork out of the equation. 

So, what are some of the more legitimate objections people have to funnel hacking? 

Objection #1: It Can Be a Financial Risk 

In addition to the costs and/or energy you put into tools, content, and testing to create a sales funnel, reverse engineering requires that you invest in your competitors’ products. And, depending on what those products are, this can be a high-ticket investment. So, this is certainly a legitimate objection. 

But, if you educate yourself on the principles and methods that marketers have trusted for decades, you’re likely to see a huge payout. 

Your biggest risk is not taking any risks - Mark Zuckerberg

So, if you’re willing to take risks and you know how to intelligently weigh the rewards, this objection is null. 

Objection #2: It’s Not Cool to Copy Other Brands

You are not actually copying your competitor’s funnels when funnel hacking. Rather you are looking for what their offer is and what works and what does not work. Most importantly you want to see what is missing from their offer. This can be something as simple as a template or video training module that your client would benefit from or more importantly a pain point that your competitor has not touched on. Remember clients buy because they need a solution to their problem. So don’t ignore their pain points.

Further, if you funnel hack a shady competitor and you mimic their processes, you can end up in with a disaster on your hands — this is true. Competitor A may have terrible customer service and Competitor B might have awful website UX. So, if you copy them, you’ll end up with dissatisfied website visitors and customers. But, this point is moot if you know what you’re doing.

Just because you analyze and take notes on what a competitor has done doesn’t mean that you will make the same mistakes. In fact, it’s pretty easy to read customer reviews and find out about the most common complaints so that you can determine what not to do. 

As with all things in life, when it comes to funnel hacking, you get to take what you like and leave the rest. And, you absolutely must add your own spin to the final product. 

And did you know you can build a final product modeled off a completely different industry? For example, you don’t just have to funnel hack competitors but funnel hack any working business model. Let’s say you sell a life coaching program but you’re having trouble scaling. You could look at what some of the top coaching programs do to scale their business. The industry you are “hacking” doesn’t have to be your own. You could look at what is working in the real estate coaching industry and model their frameworks from there (IE – weekly zoom calls, account manager, group training in the field, live seminars, etc).

Funnel Hacking Tips to Skyrocket Your Success 

If you’ve made it this far, you’re ready to move forward with the process. So, it’s time to get into the meat and potatoes of this system. Here’s what you need to know before you hack your competitors’ funnels. 

Funnel hacking secrets | Funnel hacker shirt

1. Look at Both Direct and Indirect Competitors

A complete funnel hacking project will examine your competitors, both direct and indirect, under a microscope. And, while you want to look at those who have a comparable offer, you also want to look at brands that provide a different solution to the same problem. 

For example, you may sell weight loss supplements. If so, you naturally want to know how other weight loss supplement brands move website visitors to their offer. In addition, you would do well to know what other top weight loss nutrition and/or exercise programs do. 

Look at direct and indirect competition

The most successful companies solve problems, they don’t just sell products and services. So, it’s important to look at your indirect competitors in an attempt to learn more about messaging, objections to your offer vs theirs, and how multiple solutions might be used in tandem. 

2. Don’t Limit Research to Websites and Newsletters

Of course, you should check out your competitors’ websites and subscribe to their newsletters. But, there’s typically more to a sales funnel than email nurturing and competitive pricing. And, you want to find out more like where website traffic comes from and where sales primarily happen. 

  • What social media platforms are your competitors on? 
  • How much engagement do they get from which types of posts? 
  • Can products and services be ordered on multiple platforms or marketplaces? 
  • How well do they do on these platforms/ 
  • Do they follow up with marketplace buyers and invite them to their website? 
  • Are reviews accessible? 

If your offer happens to be consumer packaged goods, you may compete with brands that sell on larger marketplaces like Walmart, Amazon, Etsy, or eBay. And, if you offer a professional service, rivals may provide their on niche marketplaces or directories. Remember that these sites are part of the funnel as well. 

3. Pay Attention to Retargeting Ads & Backlinks

Many people miss this detail, but you can’t really afford to. After you visit your competitor’s website, it’s helpful to see which sites they advertise on and how they get traffic to come back to their website. 

So, here what to do: 

  1. Don’t browse the web incognito. Instead, when prompted, allow cookies on your competitors’ websites then pay close attention to retargeting ads that show up as you go about your business. Screenshot the ads and note where they appeared. 
Modern Mint Retargeting Ad
  1. Conduct backlink research. Run a competitor backlink audit (consider a tool like ahrefs) for each of your competitor’s websites and find out which external sites your competitors might be getting traffic from. Also, which type of content do they have links from? Are they blog posts, directories, or something else? 
Modern Mint Backlinks
  1. Set a Google Alert for new mentions of your competitors on the web. This way, you’re first in line when a new mention is published.  
Modern Mint Google Alerts

By doing so, you get an idea of all potential traffic sources you might be able to leverage for your own funnel. 

Bonus Tip: Don’t Hide From Your Competitors’ Salespeople

While email, mobile, and digital marketing make up a huge portion of sales, phone calls aren’t dead. In fact, according to one study, 57% of C-level buyers still prefer that salespeople call them. So, if you have a chance to study the phone sales process and learn some tricks, don’t pass it up. 

4. Stay Relevant to Your Target Demographic

While you’re in the process of reverse-engineering a working funnel to create an optimized customer journey, you MUST stay relevant to your target audience. Customer delight is the true name of the game. 

Make a customer, not a sale - Kathering Barchetti

So, while moving through competitor funnels, note whether or not their target audience matches yours — this is super important because the same tactics don’t appeal to a 60-year-old male in Boston as a 20-year-old female in rural Idaho. You need to know your audience so that you can work to solve their most common problems through your offer and your content. 

5. Keep Track of Everything

Create a folder in your GDrive or Dropbox and fill it with screenshots of your competitors’ funnels and notes about your thoughts. Organize your findings by brand or by element (home page, landing page, about page, email sequence, etc.). And, you want to keep track of everything you find because you may come back to a retargeting ad or a popup later and notice something that you didn’t see before. 

Record all stages of the funnel with plenty of notes and screenshots: 

  • Advertisements on facebook, youtube, google, websites and other platforms
  • Website page layouts
  • Calls to action, copywriting, sales messages, offers
  • Product descriptions 
  • Videos & graphics
  • Popups & forms
  • Blog topics 
  • Retargeting ads & landing pages
  • Social media profiles and groups
  • Forum communications
  • Relevant customer reviews
  • Emails (both welcome & nurture)
  • Affiliate program details 
  • Website traffic stats
  • Backlinks from external websites
  • Forum communications
  • Customer service conversations
  • Marketing tools & resources
  • *Upsells, down-sells, & cross-sells

Watch for holes in these funnels and keep notes about trends.

Look for the hooks that grab your attention, sales messages & stories that you connect to, and offers being made that are irresistible.

And keep your eye out for other things like page layout, color, copywriting, communication frequency. Keeping your research organized will make it easier to recreate a single, honed funnel built from scratch that completely surpasses the others in your niche. 

Furthermore, it’s crucial to understand that upsells, down-sells, and cross-sells are central to nearly every successful sales funnel. So, if your competitors aren’t offering these things, you can rise to the top by learning how to effectively implement sales and increase cart value. This will result in allowing you to spend more (if needed) to acquire a customer and having this ability allows you to really scale up advertising.

Tools to Streamline the Funnel Hacking Processes

Advanced competitive intelligence tools and sales funnel software will make your funnel hacking work so much easier. If you start out with a typical WordPress website and tons of plugins, it will be more difficult to streamline your internal processes. Take it from me: get in on technology where it is today by using higher-level tools instead of an outdated system. 

Here are some of the tools I recommend: 

Click Funnels 

Click Funnels

ClickFunnels is a merchant platform designed specifically for marketing funnels. It was co-founded by Russell Brunson, who originally coined the term, “funnel hacking.” And, to this day, it’s my platform of choice, though I do have a second favorite. 



I use Kartra in addition to ClickFunnels because I don’t like to put all of my eggs in one basket, so to speak. For more information about pricing, plans, and comparisons, read my full Kartra review

Active Campaign

Active Campaign

My favorite email marketing platform is definitely Active Campaign. It provides much more than just email marketing and has a truly intuitive interface.  



In place of Active Campaign, you might prefer Drip as an up-to-date, full-featured email marketing platform (many people do). Try them both out for yourself before you choose. 

Recommended Reading: Active Campaign vs Drip



Stripe is a leading online payment platform. But, it gives you much more than just transaction processing. Invoice, get business credit offers, and more. 

Chrome Extensions

In addition to the standalone tools above. You can enhance your research experience in Google Chrome with the following extensions. 

  • MozBar – Get a quick look at page metrics for SEO and traffic research. 
  • ColorZilla – Find out which exact colors/color schemes are used on a page.
  • FontNinja – Discover what font is being used on a page. 
  • Full Page Screen Capture – Take a screenshot of entire web pages when you want more than a section of a page. 

Leverage the tools above for an optimized funnel hacking process. 

Final Thoughts

Funnel hacking is a competitive intelligence method that enables you to reverse engineer your rivals’ sales funnels. Use the advice above to create optimized funnels in no time. With the right tools and the right data, hack your way to building a superior offer that’ll bring you more revenue and long term sales!