Marketing Secrets Blackbook by Russell Brunson Summary
Russel Brunson's best tips on marketing and business.
Opinions don’t matter. Only sales matter. The opinions of customers and other people don’t matter. Their actions speak louder than words. Are they buying? Complaints don’t matter if sales are going up. Russell says that his predictions of which split test would be better were wrong 80-90% off the time. You have to go by the numbers—not opinions.
Become obsessed with marketing, product development, and investing. You will become rich.
Marketing is the LIFEBLOOD of your business. You have to pay for marketing to get it going—don’t get it going before you start marketing.
Invest in yourself: do a $40,000+ mastermind.
Write your sales letter first, then make the product. Then develop your product in real time to make it live up to the sales letter.
You know when your product or course is done when you’re proud of if. This is the only metric that matters.
Focus on the parts of your business that are copy-proof. Growing your team, your work ethic, your character, message, and vibe. This makes you unique.
Focus on sales: sales is a webinar, a live, etc. You have to get good at this. Perfect your presentation.
Networking and sales: be at the top of mind. Email customers often. Send texts to friends. The first real estate agent to answer a call is the one who gets the sale. Always be contacting people (and have an offer ready).
Set deadlines: If I had not had a deadline for launching ClickFunnels, it would never have gotten done. And it doesn’t matter if your deadline is a week or a month or a year out, because right before the clock strikes midnight, you will be pulling an all-nighter and doing whatever it takes to get it done.
- Make your deadlines public to force yourself to meet them.
- Act like if you don’t hit your deadlines you die.
- Do what you have to do to turn your soft deadlines to hard ones. Announce it on social media or to your list. Create a big event
Underachievers have a secret we can all learn from: don’t fall in love with a product or idea; fall in love with a hot market instead.
- Find a hot market.
- Ask them what they want.
- Give it to them.
Don’t let your desire to be one-of-a-kind, unique, or innovative blind you to the fact that there needs to be a hot market if you want to stand a chance of making it on the internet. And there’s a super awesome, fail-proof secret to the Underachiever’s Method.
If you attach yourself to the market instead of to the product, you won’t care if your first idea isn’t a home run.
- If you build a following online, you have unlimited shots at making a great product. Ask the people what they want.
My mentor Dan Kennedy says, “If you haven’t offended someone by noon each day, you’re not doing it right.”
The interesting fact about polarity is that when you make a group of people dislike you, the people who do love you, start to love you 10 times more! People who are in love with you will spend more money and spend it more often
Become an Expert
Business is becoming less transactional and more transformational. It’s about gathering people and customers together, creating community, and figuring out how to serve them at the highest level possible. Part of the success of ClickFunnels is directly related to positioning myself as a marketing expert. I give, I teach, I inspire—and this creates a culture that produces loyal fans rather than apathetic customers.
There are multibillion dollar brands that create culture through Attractive Characters. Think about Oprah. She’s a perfect example of an empire driven by herself as the expert, the guru, the Attractive Character. Ellen DeGeneres. Martha Stewart. Duck Dynasty. Magnolia Farms. At the top of these organizations is an expert (or several experts).
Give too much access to yourself and your products and your followers will get bored.
If you’re trying to raise prices on your services, apply the strategy of rareness to create more demand. This could be through waitlists, limited opportunities for calls, or even through hiring a gatekeeper to filter your emails and your leads.
If you’re a blogger or an infopreneur, start writing less. Hire guest experts to handle content so when you publish something you wrote yourself, it will be more treasured.
One of my mentors Dan Kennedy talks about positioning yourself as the guru on the mountain. Not in a weird “I’m perfect” way, but to create distance from your audience so they must pay more the closer they get to you.
People can see where you are, but they can’t get to you directly. They have to buy things to get closer and closer to you. Dan’s company has a $40 or $50 a month newsletter, a $200 a month newsletter, and mastermind groups. The more money you pay, the closer you get to the guru, Dan.
Of course, some take this principle to the extreme and as a result become out of touch with their audience. You don’t want to become irrelevant or unrelatable. It’s always a balance. The best marketers are ones who can hold “conflicting” ideas in their minds and execute both with a balance.
Try making something rare by removing supply and watch disinterested leads become raving customers.
People buy from those they aspire to be like.
Be authentic. If you frame yourself as a perfect guru, people will be upset if you mess up. But if you position yourself as someone who sometimes messes up but learns from it, then you have permission to take risks.
- Be open about past failures and explain that you’re always learning and testing new things.
Keep up-to-date with what is hot. Sometimes membership groups are hot. Sometimes blogs are hot. Sometimes medium is hot. Find the next hot platform and sell your offer on that. Newsletter vs app. YouTube vs TikTok. Figuring out the hottest platform and hottest product vehicle will make you money. It keeps you relevant.
The dream 100 [a concept from Brunson's Secrets trilogy] is about making relationships with influencers. When you have a big product launch, pay for ads on their channel and then give them an affiliate link—so it’s win-win and low effort for them.
Only hire A players: When you’re just starting out, you might try to get B and C players because it’s cheaper, but in reality it’s way more expensive in the long run. One A player can do the work of 10, 15, or 20 people. It may seem hard to believe, but it’s true.
My partner Todd is a good example of this. In the past, we had six full-time programmers in Boise trying to build our shopping cart software. We spent three years and probably $300–400k working on it, but we never got to a point where anyone could use it. Todd came in and looked at the shopping cart software we were thinking about using, spent the next two days rebuilding it from the ground up...and it worked! As an A player, it took him only two days to do what six B players in three years couldn’t.
Invest in customer acquisition. It is worth it to make a funnel that can give you a good lifetime value per customer.
Write a book to become a true expert in your field. It will force you to connect the dots and simplify.
Russell uses a ghostwriter to write his books.
Make offers (bundles), not products.
- If I’m just selling a supplement bottle, it’s only worth whatever that one bottle contains. And if you sell on some place like Amazon, people are going to price shop and figure out which one is the cheapest and they’re going to go for that. It’s nearly impossible to compete like this. Now let’s take that supplement but instead create an offer. I will offer the supplement, but I will add to the bundle a weight-loss guide, some recipes, meal-planning guides, and a calorie tracker. Now it’s worth way more than any other supplement. And I can also give deals for buying more in a pack.
Nobody wants to be sold something that will make them “just a bit better” than who they are right now. This is called an improvement offer and 98% of the population will hate it.
Do a $1 offer or a Free + shipping offer to get their credit card info. This allows you to do a 1-click upsell on the next page.
The power of the secret. Tell customers to keep your product/service/content a secret because if it gets too big, we start to move the market and our returns won’t be as good or people could short our investments. This will make people want to talk about you. Why? Because people love to share things that make them feel smart, make them laugh, or make them feel like they are “in the know.” Tell people to keep your webinar a secret.
Make your monthly price 1.75x your yearly cost to make the yearly look like a steal.
Limited pricing is the most common tactic and is a good standby. Offering a discount is okay (and people do it all the time), but the better thing to do is to tack on bonuses that drive up the value of the offer with- out having to put your offer “on sale.” Then just make those bonuses expire at a certain time so the price value expires.
Copy Life Math Money urgency tactic. He tweets that the next 100 people get a discount on his course. Then he tweets out that the spots are filling up. This creates urgency and makes people think it's valuable.
You need to find the sexiest part of your offer and make it free.
- When we first started selling ClickFunnels, I did a live webinar every week for a year. It was my Funnel Hacks offer for $997, which included a course plus six months of ClickFunnels.
- The thing that everybody really wanted was ClickFunnels, not the course. At first we said, “Hey, buy a six-month pass to ClickFunnels and get this course for free...” but it didn’t work so well.
- So we changed it to this: “When you buy this course Funnel Hacks, you’ll get ClickFunnels FREE for six months!”
- So I shifted the offer. Same products, same deliverables, different structure. It sold like crazy. People couldn’t believe they were getting ClickFunnels for free when they bought a course.
- You want to make as many of your products and services FREE as possible. It’s such an important word in your offer. The idea is to find the thing people want most and make THAT thing free. So if you’re selling a set of 10 books or CDs or courses or anything, make it so that the best 9 of them are FREE when you buy Book 10 or CD 10.
Make your products as easy to use and get started as possible.
The gold nugget. When selling a course, reiterate that just one new piece of information can make the entire course worth buying.
- Your one gold nugget can reel in buyers who might pass on a purchase when they think they already know the subject matter.
- Always reiterate that just one gold nugget in the offer could pay for the course and change their life.
I think sometimes we do ourselves a disservice. Sometimes our customers jump in too far too fast, spend a bunch of money they don’t have, then try your offer but it doesn’t really work because they don’t have the foundational stuff they needed to get there. Business is about increasing capacity. If you create an easy way to shortcut all the lower offers and go right for the big stuff through a payment plan, your customers might not have the capacity to really handle it.
- The value ladder is like courses at college. You have to learn the basics first. There are prerequisite courses you have to take first.
Launching a million-dollar sales funnel comes down to a few core skills:
- Create an amazing offer.
- Learn how to write great copy.
- Master the art of traffic (getting people into your funnel).
- Notice how he just lists the steps and you assume he knows them well. Do this in your presentation. No need to teach, just list out the framework.
Funnels increase the LTV of your customers. That allows you to spend more for customer acquisition. That allows you to get all the customers and beat your competitors who don’t use funnels.
Build your own funnel. Because funnels are like babies. They need food (traffic) and attention (optimization). You can’t birth a funnel and put it on the shelf two minutes later.
Copywriting is the single most important part of a funnel. Even Russell (a marketing expert) hires a great copywriter.
KPI stands for key performance indicator. In your funnels, you want to watch a few indicators:
- Active members: How many of those buyers are consuming more?
- Sales: How many of those people are buying your first product?
- Subscribers: How many of those people are becoming subscribers to your list?
- Traffic: How many people are coming into your funnel?
Three metrics for you: $1+ per email list name per month; 1,000 people paying continuity is worth $1 million a year; try to get 500 transactions a month coming into your merchant account. If you do those things, you’ll have a very healthy business.
The tripwire: A tripwire offer is something that’s so amazing, so good, and so super cheap that people feel compelled buy it.
A lot of amateur funnel builders spend so much time on their big profitable offer, they leave the crumbs for the low-end offer. That’s a mistake. Tripwires are so amazing when they are done right because the HARDEST sale is always the first one. Once you get someone in the buying mood, they will start buying upsells and other products. Because of this, your tripwire has to be insane. So irresistible it would be idiocy to say no.
BAIT: Your tripwire can be set up one of two ways. You can give a person something free (like a course or a PDF download or a newsletter) and on the thank-you page, offer your tripwire. Or you can make your tripwire part of a free + shipping offer. This is so powerful because you’re using the word “free” so even though they have to pay for shipping, there’s this sense of getting something for nothing.
- If you want to do a tripwire offer in a free + shipping funnel, look for those small things. If it’s a physical product, that’s easy. Pick something that doesn’t cost you too much but works as a stand-alone gift. If it’s digi- tal, you’ll need to create either a print version in book format, audio ver- sion on an MP3 player, or a USB drive that can be mailed out.
- If you want to do a digital tripwire that comes after a free gift, create reports or e-books that focus on one hack, one technique. Make sure it’s really sexy and something people want to know!
- Tripwires are not designed to make you money. They are used to help you break even and acquire a lead for free. If you spend $5 a day on Facebook ads and it gets you one customer, they might spend $7.95 on a tripwire. That $8 goes toward the cost of the tripwire ($3) and the Facebook ad ($5). You’ve now just acquired a customer for free and everything they buy from here on in is all profit. And remember, now they are in a buying mood.
Book order bump strategy: If you sell something for $27 on a thank-you page after them getting a free download or quiz or whatever it is you’re giving away, you will have to push that funnel SO MUCH harder than if you create a free + shipping offer (for $7.95) and then add an order bump of $20.
Why? Because almost half will take the order bump and actually spend $27.95. And you’ll get a LOT more people to buy a $7.95 free + shipping offer than you will a $27 book on a thank-you page. It’s just psychology and math.
- Some of you might say, “But I don’t have an order bump for my product.” Well, you need to find one. Add info-product order bumps or warranties to physical products. Add templates, swipe files, or mixed media to courses and e-books. Find a way to get a bump on your order form because it’s one of the most powerful things you can do with just 30–40 words.
I love to sell with webinars. This is hilarious because I almost NEVER buy off of a webinar because I’m too busy to attend them. I buy after reading books from experts or downloading a case study or listening to their podcast. I almost never read blogs.
I’m just one person with a set of preferences, but now imagine 5,000 people coming through your funnel. If all you do is use words, you will miss out on selling to the people who love video and pictures and sound! If all you ever use is video, you’ll miss the people who want to download something to read.
The first thing you want to do is pick the sales modality you think will make you the most money. If it’s a video, spend the bulk of your time on that. Your funnel should be built to highlight the one modality you’re focusing on. But you know there are still a lot of people who won’t want watch a video. It’s too long, or maybe they’re at work and they can’t have the volume up. There are a million different reasons
- Sell in books, text, webinars, audio, videos, etc. different people have different consumption preferences.
So your funnel is up and running. You have an irresistible tripwire. You’re using the order bump. You have upsells and downsells. You’re making sure to hit people with all the different types of sales modalities (text, video, images, audio). You are creating a choreographed sequence that leads them to the sale with excitement and the taste of new opportu- nity. Now what? How do you figure out if your funnel is working?
You want to look at several KPI’s:
- What is your cost to acquire a customer? How much money are you spending in ads in order to get one buyer?
- What is the average cart value? How much is the aver- age customer spending when in your funnel?
- What’s the conversion rate on the landing page?
- When traffic hits the landing page, how many people are opting in?
- What’s the conversion rate on the upsell? How many people are taking the upsells and downsells?
That’s why I’m not afraid to use aggressive sales and marketing tactics to get ClickFunnels into the hands of every entrepreneur I can find. Because I know it is the best product out there to help entrepreneurs spread their message. That’s how the world gets changed.
Make a one line pitch that anyone can understand.
- Get attention.
- Build rapport.
- Train your audience on what you want them to do.
- Justify the price (or pre-frame).
- Do the show.
- Give a call to action.
- Follow up with those who don’t listen
- Most of your presentation pitch should be #1-4 This is your foreplay. The sex is the 5 minute show (#5). Then ask them to pay you.
Study the other people in your market and their offers. How are they making money? How are they getting traffic?
Go after the premium market, because again, you can either go after the cheapest or the premium, but you don’t want to be in the middle.
If you put it in their hands by sending them a quote then waiting to hear back from them, you’ve lost everything. You’ve lost all your strategic advantage, your ability to price things the way that makes sense. Get a commitment right at the start.
- You have to get the sale when their emotion is peaked. Dont try to follow up. Don’t send them an invoice. Sell them right there.
- Make it where you are the high-end leader. You’re so busy that you cannot and will not take on everyone. They have to apply and jump through hoops and justify why you should work with them. When you do it that way, everything changes. Now you’re in the driver’s seat, and now you can run your business the way that you want to, as opposed to doing it the way your customers prefer.
The goal in any sales process is to get your prospect to believe that it will work for them. That’s it. So many people think teaching and tactics and strategies are a part of the sales process, but they aren’t. It’s about belief.
There are a few things that produce change in humans:
Think about it. If you believe in something really deeply, your life will reflect that belief.
If you feel pain when you put your hand on the stove, you will stop doing that.
If you take positive action (like doing something nice for your spouse after they’ve been really mean to you), that action will help to change how you feel about the situation.
- This is why people need either a breakdown (pain), positive brainwashing from books or podcasts (belief), or taking action on something positive (inspiration)—it can create a positive feedback loop.
- Finally, connection. Creating a bond through authenticity, vulner- ability, and storytelling bonds you to your prospect so they want to work with YOU to accomplish their dreams.
****The back-door method to selling: Sometimes you have things that are hard to sell. Use the backdoor method and it becomes worlds easier.
- I sell a mastermind program. Lots of people have mastermind groups, and it’s a difficult thing to sell because you feel like you have to brag about yourself and why you’re better than anyone else. Using the backdoor selling method takes out any weird salesy and boastful feeling you might have about self-promotion.
- Find something in your program or offer that people really want. In our mastermind, there’s a Black Box Program. I wrote a four-page sales letter talking about Black Box—how incredible it is and how it literally changed our business and is changing other people’s.
- We had this one thing that’s really powerful that people want. Instead of selling the mastermind, we sell the one product they really, truly want. Then at the point where we close the prospect, the angle is “It’s FREE when you join our mastermind program!”
- Another example is with my friend who’s a chiropractor. He’s been trying to sell people adjustments and it’s a constant struggle. So instead, he created this presentation that teaches people a 30-minute morning rou- tine. It has exercise, yoga, stretching, and all this stuff. Then at the end of that presentation, he gives them a foam roller, a bottle of special oil, and a meditation CD...but only if they come to his clinic and get adjusted.
- He’s just trained them for 30 minutes on why they need these three things. They can either go out and buy it on their own, or if they join his program, they can get it for free. The positioning is so powerful because the sale doesn’t feel like a sale at all!
Give away T-shirts. Makes customers sticky and it’s a walking ad.
How can you change the channel and take your show on the road? If you’re heavily on Facebook and killing it, don’t start a new product. Move onto Instagram or Twitter or Pinterest or YouTube, or try direct mail or podcasts.
Go to each new channel, bring your offer there, and continue to make money.
ONLY FOCUS ON CUSTOMER ACQUISITION IF YOU’RE UNDER $1 million/year profit.
When you’re working toward your first million dollars in revenue, the goal is to get customers. Get as many as possible. This has a snowball effect because at a certain point, referrals and word of mouth will start to kick in. Once you hit $1 million, it’s time to move to the next phase.
I call Phase Two ascension. To get your customers to spend more, you have to get them to buy the more expensive products. It might mean you have to make more expensive products. It might mean you have to create more trust and culture and expertise so that you are the person they think of first when they have a problem they can’t solve.
Once you have customers ascending up into more expensive products, move to Phase Three. Now it’s about consumption. Figure out how to get them to use your product so much that they need to buy more of it more often. In our software, consumption means we’re trying to get them to use it more so they stay longer on the subscription plan. Consumption for a physical product is a bit different. If you sell hand lotion, it could mean sending them print materials showing them how to apply it several times a day so they run out of it more quickly.
Whereas the average person might try to dissect and examine what about the design or the layout makes an ugly page convert better than a beautiful one, they’re missing the MOST obvious reason. Ugly pages typically LOAD FASTER because they don’t have large images or heavy amounts of special coding. Something as simple as page-speed load time can literally double your sales because more people are actually seeing the offer.
How to get email leads: If you’re trying to collect leads for a product that isn’t ready yet, you can leverage content that other people have already created to build your email list.
The first step is to use a tool like BuzzSumo to figure out what articles and videos are already trending on the internet. You need to find content that will attract the type of people most likely to buy your product.
Once you find the content, it’s time to make a bridge funnel to it. The funnel is so easy yet so powerful. Design an opt-in form and create a great hook and headline that encourage lots of curiosity. Ask for the email address and redirect them to the content after they provide that info. If it’s a video, you can easily embed it on a thank-you page that is branded for your business. If it’s an article, create a thank-you page with a link to the article.
This removes the time and money it takes to create your own free content. Plus when you choose things that are already viral and trending, the market has shown that it’s highly interesting and shareable already. You’re simply piggybacking on the trend to collect email addresses. The cost per lead shouldn’t be too expensive, and then you can build your list while finishing your product.
Set huge goals and then take huge actions to achieve them. Russell calls them hail Mary attempts.
Memberships are difficult to sell online. So here’s a selling strategy that gets people in by the hundreds. The key is a combination of scarcity and framing.
Here’s what you do. You lead in with a hook of discovery. Something like, “Hey, guys! You’ll never believe it. I just learned this cool new thing and I want to show you. I’m going to walk through it live and take you behind the scenes.”
This is an invitation to a webinar-like event. You can do it however you want, with whatever tools you want, but it must be live! Build curios- ity and buzz and get people registered to attend. This event should also be free. Send out a couple of emails and go on your social channels and talk up the event.
The live event will be a modification of the perfect webinar but not exactly the same. It’s a 45-minute presentation where you show them the WHAT of your discovery.
I used this exact same strategy when I discovered how to generate 3,000 leads a day. I didn’t show them how to do it step-by-step, but I told the story about how I discovered it and what I had done.
Storytelling is important here. Show the journey to your discovery. Explain what you found. Show them what it’s doing for your business. For my example, I showed them how we found CPA networks to sell us leads (something I do not recommend now, by the way), and I walked them through how these leads were getting plugged into our autoresponder.
By the end of the 45 minutes—if you do it right—people are going to WANT to do what you’re doing. What they won’t know is HOW to do it. Using my example, they didn’t know how to find the best CPA offers, how to negotiate, how to pay, or things like that. There were all these missing pieces.
Right at the end of the presentation, you want to say, “Okay, so I’m going to be doing a 90-minute breakdown of this training in my member- ship group, where I’ll show you exactly how to do this. I’ll go step-by-step through each detail so you can replicate it exactly in your business.”
Then you can say something like, “If you’re a member, congratulations! Log in to the members area, and the link for the live training will be right there. I’m not recording it, and I’m not going to share it ever again. It’s happening one time and one time only. If you want it, now is the time!”
This frames all the listeners on the call so they understand that if they are not members, they are going to lose out.
So you say, “If you’re not a member yet, you’ve got exactly 15 minutes before this training starts. In 15 minutes, I pull it off the page, and if you wait even 5 more minutes, you will miss your shot. It’s gone forever. The only way to ever understand how to do this is to be on that live training. In fact, we have three other experts—the people you need to meet who will help you get this thing started—are going to be there on the call. But this is a one-time-only offer, it’s not being recorded, and it starts in exactly 14 minutes. So you better hurry. Go sign up right now for the trial at...”
You’ll get a ton of signups because people don’t want to miss that live event. And yes, some of them will cancel after it’s done, but some of them will stay because of your cool content and other live event trainings.
ONLY HAVE 1 BUSINESS. Be laser focused. If you’re doing more than one business, stop. It doesn’t compound. Every one of your efforts is actually watered down by half because you’re splitting your focus and time with each separate business. Now imagine how watered down efforts are when you have three or four or five businesses.
Second, in your ONE business, there should be ONE focal point. That means no matter how many products or funnels or campaigns you create, they all eventually lead to that one core product you’re trying to sell. For me, it’s ClickFunnels. Every book and free webinar and extra piece of content is all driving toward that ONE core product in the ONE business.
It also gives you a chance to get better. To practice and tweak and optimize your sales process, so that over time your systems are perfected.
Compound your focus with one business and one core product and everything will get worlds easier.
Create the minimum viable product and test as soon as possible. Let the market decide.