Making money online through Niche Marketing

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!