The SLO Funnel Stages of Grief

September 8, 2020
POSTED IN BLOGS › Marketing    

This post first appeared on Juliestoian.com.

If I could spare even just one more person from this rollercoaster, I would. Which is why I’m writing this post today.

Many of you know that I am a 1:1 private coach to everyone in my Digital Insiders mastermind. Inside my program they get access to my content, an incredible community, some amazing coaches, plus access to me in three ways…

  • 1:1 via Voxer daily (yes I will answer Voxers every single weekday so many of them I speak to on the daily)
  • Weekly audit (I will review one piece of your business a week – funnel, ad, email, P&L, etc.)
  • Weekly group meetings (this month we’re doing a Copy Clinic as we work along the new FG Society Phase 2 Content)
  • Periodic hotseats – Sometimes you just need 20-25 minutes to hash out one particular issue so I’ll do Zoom calls for these moments

This means I’m in the unique position of working with 75 people in a really integrated and deep way on their businesses and their funnels. And if I could give you a sneak peek into my Voxer account when someone is building, launching, starting an SLO funnel (sometimes called a low ticket funnel or a tiny offer), then you would start to see REMARKABLE patterns emerging.

They are SO obvious to me now but that’s the great honor and privilege I have as a coach who is helping others. So now I’d like to outline the typical life cycle of grief that one goes through when building this type of funnel.

I say grief because there is a lot of letting go in this process. More than you might think. And yes, even when things go SUPER well (as you’ll see).

Without further ado, let’s begin.

Before You Launch Your SLO Funnel

1. Someone joins Digital Insiders and sees all the talk about the SLO and gets REALLY excited to build one for their business. Using the Offer Cure and a few other resources, usually within a few weeks – they have a solid idea and a ton of momentum. We are SQUARELY in the honeymoon phase here. In fact, sometimes my job as a coach is to convince them that they shouldn’t build two SLO’s at once. 🤣

2. After going back and forth on Voxer, and me doing an audit on their idea – it’s time to build. Some people decide to do the copy and build themselves (they use Offer Cure, Phase 2 of FG Society, as well as an FG template and they get it built). It goes through a few weekly audits as Helen (one of my coaches) helps with copy, and then it comes to me for copy review and design review. It’s normal for this to come through my audit board at least 3 or 4 times before launch.

3. At this stage, there’s a bit of 🥵 going on. Every time they send it to me, there are revisions. And more revisions. And that doesn’t even include building the content itself. If they haven’t let go of the idea that this “tiny” offer is actually mammoth in effort, they will now. SLO’s are some of the hardest types of funnels to build! There’s a bit of grief here. It comes in the form of “How the hell with this thing get launched and I’m never doing this again!” One of my other coaches Jessie, is a huge help to most people who need tech support and automation help as the logistics of the building are taking place.

4. What happens next depends on if you’re a Tatiana type SLO builder or a Ashley type SLO builder. Tatiana (an original Insider) was so busy in her service business, it seemed her original SLO would NEVER launch. At some point, I had major bribes and warnings that if she didn’t get it out the door, I’d stop answering her Voxers. 🤣 Ashley was different. She was moving at lightning speed because she had an agenda. She was gonna crack six figures come hell or high water because she was ready to be done with service based work. I see all variations of Tatiana’s and Ashley’s in my group – and both really end up at the same finish line, just with slightly different timelines. *Both went on to have six figure funnels*

During The Launch Of Your SLO Funnel

5. This has the same level of excitement and nerves as a wedding day. Again, you’ll notice there are a few types of people here in this moment.

  • Those that want to know EVERY LITTLE DETAIL about ads, obsessing about everything from time of day, to day of the week, to exact budgets, creative, etc. Their desire for information helps quell the nerves about spending (and really – betting $1000) on themselves and their work.
  • Then there are those that can’t bear learning ONE MORE THING and want to just hand it off to someone else. Either way, the butterflies and “moment of truth” feeling is intense. These folks have spent all their energy just getting it built, it’s like asking someone who just finished a marathon to go ahead and run another one with Facebook Ads. Just.No.
  • I’ve gotten late night Voxers where people have decided their SLO sucks and they want to totally redo it, right before it’s done. I also have people who launch it WITHOUT doing all the things I advise, in sort of a “Well if it doesn’t do well, I’m just testing it anyway” type of self-sabotage response. All in an attempt to mitigate their expectation if it doesn’t work.
  • And then there are the people that are sure they will have $100k in their account in just a few days (none of these people are in Digital Insiders because I am working with them 1:1 and I want to be DAMN sure they have reasonable expectations before they switch on ads).

6. Approximately 4-24 hours into the test… everyone in DI knows that they need to spend $1000 in just a few days. I don’t want them to launch with less. So another layer of grief sets in if they hit one of the following scenarios…

  • They have a trickle of sales and realize as much as they mentally prepared for not quite making their money back in the first test, it’s one thing to expect it, and another thing to feel it. The urge to turn off the ads is STRONG. The voxer convo goes something like this, “Send me the stats. Let’s take a look. Don’t turn off the ads yet. We’re not at $1000.”
  • They have a CRAZY amount of sales, way more than they thought, and there is no grief in sight. It’s just “HOLY CRAP!” Screenshots of Stripe accounts, Apple Watches with Stripe dings, and all kinds of excitement. This is insane! My job now is to celebrate with them, but I’m still looking at the stats, wanting to see what about the funnel and/or ads is doing so well. The urge here is to make big decisions quickly because you’re on a high. We work on not doing that just yet. I remember Ashley was ready to close up shop in her other business about a week into her funnel and I was like…HOLY WOW. Okay hang on. LOL (turns out her funnel was a unicorn type and she went on to crack six figures in 30 days).
  • No sales. Heart crushing even if you’re ready for it. The Internet didn’t like it. After 24 hours of no sales if you’re running $300 a day in ads, we pause the ads to see what is not connecting. This is a really hard pill to swallow but it happens more than you think. The only people who really lose in this game are the ones who give up entirely. If you don’t, you’ll eventually get it working. One of our best tactics here is to see if we can find a warm/hot body of traffic to send the funnel to so we can see if it’s a rapport or trust building issue. Grief here is self-explanatory.

Post Launch SLO Funnel

7. This is the part most people don’t talk about. Up until now, you might have expected most of this. But here’s where the rubber meets the road in this funnel game, and what happens here, is everything. Before we dive in, a few things I want to share. Most people post launch with an SLO fall into one of four camps…

  1. They spent $1000 and made $500 back (ish).
  2. They spent $1000 and broke even.
  3. They spent $1000 and made $1200.
  4. They spent $1000 and made $3000+.

8. In the case of #1 + #2, the name of the game is going back to the drawing board, not to redo things, but to optimize. If they’ve got the right mindset that this is a long term game, the horizon is bright. The hardest work is done. Now it’s singular focus on optimization and experimentation. It’s important to note that I work with them to make sure they understand whether or not the funnel was broken or working. MANY working funnels are not profitable. I repeat, many working funnels are not profitable. This is another stage of grief. Recognizing you can have a working funnel that isn’t on its own profitable.

9. In the case of #3, these are the hardest waters to swim in. There’s a lot of grief and frustration when they try to scale because the profit margins are so slim, it’s like just enough candy to think they can hit these crazy goals, but as is true with scaling, scaling typically eats some profit and will push these WORKING funnels into no profit land. If they are working with a FB ads agency and that ads agency isn’t doing ads for any other funnels, the monthly management fee immediately pushes these funnels into the negative as well.

In essence, it feels like a catch 22. If you want to scale, you have to be ready to eat profit. If you want to use an agency, you have to be ready to eat profit. No one wants to do either because the funnel is “teasing” them with ROAS that looks like with enough tweaking, it’ll become a unicorn.

IMPORTANT! I’ve seen funnels (for example Jennifer) who’s funnel started like this and after 12 months of continual optimization (and her doing her own ads) she got it to $20k profitability per month (which is epic for a $27 offer). That takes dedication. And moving through your grief of what you thought this would look like. And it means not giving up when your ad account goes down (which it did for her). It was not a smooth ride and most people would have given up.

Others sort of toggle back and forth between using an ads manager, and then doing it themselves. Each time trying to eeek out a bit of profit while still optimizing. The most important thing I can do here as a coach is work with them to understand lifetime value and to continue to build out a company, not just place all the hopes and dreams on one funnel. We also work to “catch” the fall off with excellent follow up, launches, etc.

I’ve seen funnels like this grow and grow in profitability, and I’ve seen others sort of hang in this minimal ROAS space for months.

10. In the case of #4, this is one of the most fun results, but also – the higher the high, the harder the crash. With these funnels, they do amazingly well for a month or two or even three. But ALL of them, even the incredible ones, do crash and burn. Whether it’s a disabled ad account, rising CPA’s, hiring an agency that didn’t scale properly, or just fatigue, eventually the unicorn funnel stops producing at that level.

The grief is intense here. And it can be mixed with fear because as they funnels grow, so do expenses. The ads team, the customer service, and most importantly, the pressure. So when things inevitably tank, the pressure is on to figure it out and get it back to its heyday fast.

Over time, the people in this camp come to accept that this is a pretty typical lifecycle for a unicorn funnel. And just like in the other scenarios, my job as a coach is to help the person build a company and suite of products that help mitigate a few bad months on a funnel. We build out a whole value ladder. Look at lifetime value.

I remind them the importance of spending to acquire a customer, even if you’re not getting 10x out like you once were.

Many of these people will go back and forth between agencies, doing it themselves, and hiring an in person team. Most importantly, as their business grows, something cool happens…

They stop focusing so much on the metrics of JUST one funnel. They start seeing the marketing budget as a part of a system that feeds the whole. They see the interconnectivity of organic traffic, paid traffic, and multiple offers through a customer journey.

And that’s really the end goal of all of these scenarios. Because once you get here, you can truly appreciate the POWER of a funnel and what it can do, no matter which kind you happen to get.

  • Waking up to sales you didn’t have to personally close
  • Learning that the side benefit of building a customer list vs. a subscriber list is you have people ready to buy further products
  • Developing a system to continue to build funnels in your company
  • The acceptance of how paid traffic works in a company and taking a more holistic view of your business than just one funnel

Funnels are amazing and like children, also a pain in the ass.

Many of these businesses have moved through this cycle, stuck with it, and come out the other side ready to keep building, keep growing, and keep letting go.

 

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