I slowly peeled my eyes open, one sleep-filled eyelid at a time. My head was pounding and, even though I couldn’t believe it, it was already morning.
My back and shoulders ached and I felt like I had just been ran over by a dump truck loaded down with rocks. I had just spent 18 hours a day, for the past 9 days straight, strategizing, fleshing out, and building the funnel to end all funnels. Or at least that’s how it felt. I slowly rolled over and grabbed my phone and hit the “lock” button so I could see my notifications without accidentally unlocking my phone.
I had 92 alerts since 1am (it was now 6am).
I couldn’t believe my eyes!
Cha-ching! Someone just bought my product - for $8.20!
It. Finally. Worked.
The hours and weeks of hard work had finally paid off…
But before I go into details, let me back up a little bit.
- The First Block Of Building The Ultimate Authority Funnel
When it comes to building authority, regardless of niche or expertise, there’s one thing that you can do to command the precipice of “Expert Mountain”. The one thing that will make you the “Absolute Authority”.
It reminds me of growing up with two older brothers in our small, suburban home in Texas. We seemed to always find ourselves in the same position every weekend: attempting to one-up the others with feats of physical strength (and mental weakness). The winner, who was nearly always my middle brother, was the one who could climb the tree the highest, or jump the furthest over the creek, or scale up the side of a random building next to the baseball field (don’t ask).
But there were times when he didn’t win. There were times when I won. And those were the times when I beat my two older brothers at their own games, and it made me feel unstoppable. I felt like I was Superman, Batman, and Wolverine all wrapped up in one god-like badass. I felt like I had just slayed the dragon that had been terrorizing the world for eons. Ok, I was an excessive dramatic child. You get the point though… But! That is exactly what you are trying to do when you are building an authority funnel. Your goal is to take out all of your competitors in one swing. You want to make everyone in your niche completely irrelevant and seem like white noise when compared to you.
How do you do that? Well, it’s simple! You have to be the person who wrote “the book” about your “thing”, in your niche or subject. Think about it! How many times have you heard “he/she know so much about *insert topic here* that they wrote a book on it!” I would venture to say a lot. And it makes your opinion and projected value/authority of that person go way up! That needs to be you! You have to be that guy/girl, you have to leverage the general population’s perceived value/authority of printed media to become an instant expert.
Long story short, what I’m saying is… you need to write a book – more specifically, a book teaching people in your niche how to do something you are good at, and that you have a product around. That is, if you want to craft a funnel of Ultimate Authority…
Why? Because a book does just that… Brings authority.
- The Three Ways To Write A Killer Book – With Little To No Work
For some of us, the thought of sitting down behind the faint glow of a laptop, or computer monitor, staring at the blank pages of a Word document, is extremely intimidating. For others, not so much, and they’re able to whip up thousands of polished words per hour. Everyone is different, but that doesn’t change the fact that a book needs to be written!
If you’re more like me, and less like the literary freaks that could write a book fast enough to make George R. R. Martin squirm with jealousy, then I have a few, easy-breezy, alternatives to putting together an effective, authoritative, book that you can start leveraging relatively quickly in all of your marketing.
- Option #1. Repurposing Content To Book Strategy
If you’ve been in your niche or industry for a little while, chances are you’ve spent some time writing content for your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, or some other social network.
And, if you’ve been following Russell Brunson for as long as I have, then you’ve probably tried your hand at making a video (or a few hundred), have spent some time in front of your phone staring down that tiny lens as you do Facebook Live videos. That is KILLER content that you can be and should be repurposing in more ways than one. If you don’t already have a process for turning videos into podcasts and blog posts, here’s your wake up call. While I’m not giving you the process to create blog posts and podcasts, the process that I am going to give you, the step by step process for is turning your current content into an authority building book, can be altered just slightly to accomplish pretty much anything with repurposed content.
Step 1: Identify the best of the best, cream of the crop articles, videos, podcasts, and/or Facebook Live videos that you’ve created for your niche.
Step 2: Collate your best content into one place; even if that’s just you putting the links to your content into a Google Doc.
Step 3: Leverage the power of delegation. You’re going to need to log into Upwork (or similar service) and post two jobs. (Don’t worry, I’ll tell you what they are).
- Job #1: This is going to be for someone who is fluent in the language you want the book to be written in, and someone who can take videos, blogs, posts, etc. and turn them into a single coherent book. More than likely you’re going to want to post the job for someone who would consider themselves a “copywriter”. – They are going to write your book.
- Job #2: Is for an editor, also fluent in the language you want the book to be written in. This person’s sole job is to take the finished work your copywriter provides, and edit it for grammar, punctuation, and flow. In my opinion, a good editor is worth their weight in gold. – They are going to edit your book.
Step 4: Start funneling all of your best content, and any new pieces of content you create, directly to your copywriter.
Step 5: Work with your 2 new book creators. Yes, you will have to work at this. You are the one in charge of determining how the book flows, the content, the chapters, the overall message, and approving several rough drafts. Be proactive and involved. Yes, it is going to take work (and time). But, when it is all finished, you’ll have your book! And in the end – that’s all that matters.
Overall Project Completion Time: 3-8 weeks.
- Option 2. Have Someone Else Do It To Book Strategy
A more expensive, but typically better quality, way to obtain a well-written book is by hiring someone who already has book writing experience, to write your book for you. Typically, this person is called a ghostwriter, and is someone who has written books for other people, and doesn’t require, or even want, any authorship credit toward the book. While some people may consider this “cheating”, there are a wide range of people who don’t have the ability or time to sit down and write a book. Some examples of authors who have done this include: Donald Trump, George Takei, Pamela Anderson, and Beyonce, just to name a few. Using a ghostwriter is definitely a time and effort saver, but again, you’re still expected to do some work. Providing the content and knowledge can only be done by you, as it is your book. Especially if you don’t have any previous content to provide to your ghostwriter. They interview you, pick your brain with very detail questions, and then craft/write a book in a way that reflects your styles and beliefs.
You’ll also be expected to review things such as the Table of Contents, your chapter names, the chapters themselves, and the overall book. Again, I would highly suggest that your ghostwriter uses an editor. If they don’t have one they use or have a relationship with, it is your job to provide one you trust. Remember, even though you are not the technical writer, you are responsible for the overall quality of the book. It’s a direct reflection on you. If you don’t take the reins and direct the project in the way you want it to be – the only one to blame is yourself.
Overall Project Completion Time: 8-12 weeks
Do It Yourself To Book Strategy
If you truly are the subject matter expert in your niche or industry, and you have, or can make, the time to sit behind your laptop, then sit down and rock out! This is by far the most authentic, yet I would still highly recommend hiring an editor. (Yes, it is that important, and no matter how hard you try to perfect it, having a second set of eyes for grammar and editing is crucial.)
I’ve found three helpful tips that always help me finish writing projects that I’ve started.
Tip #1: Schedule Time to Write – and Stick To It
The number one excuse that my friends, colleagues, and clients tell me about why they didn’t finish a blog post, social media post, or book they have supposedly started is that they just didn’t have time. But they found time to go shopping, they spent time watching movies, and, even worse, they actively spent time trying to figure out something to do other than write. Don’t be that person. Set aside a specific amount of time to write each day, even if it’s just 20 minutes. Then stick to it, and write.
Tip #2: Map Out Your Idea
There are many tips on writing a book, but one of the most crucial is plotting out your book. You don't need a full outline, but it's best to prepare (at minimum) a short timeline of the biggest events (plot points) you want to cover. You can always change it, but by having a plan in place from the beginning you know where you are heading, making it less likely you'll get stuck.
Tip #3: Never Stop Writing At The End Of a Chapter
One of the hardest parts of writing is starting with a blank page. If you stop writing mid-chapter, you'll always have a lead-in to get you going the next time you sit down to write. If you're someone who needs the closure of a chapter or are in a writing groove and can't stop, that's OK—just write the first paragraph of the next chapter before calling it a night. This will increase your chances of avoiding writer's block and help you more easily dive into book writing the next day. You’re welcome.
Overall Project Completion Time: 8-52 weeks
(TIP: One of the best tips that I’ve ever found about leveraging the authority of a book involves building anticipation for the book. By simply saying that you’re the author of the upcoming book “Title of Book” in your bio online, email signature, or blog posts, starts to build authority without a single page of your book ever being written.)
You’ve Got Your Book – Now What?
Alright! So you’ve crushed your first book, sent it to the editor, received a copy back from the editor, and you’re ready to do something with it. What now? If you have a list, or a group of people in your niche and industry that you trust, I would float it by them first. Let them take a read and give you their opinion. Now, if you’ve followed this guide to the letter, you will have produced a “how to” book that teaches the reader a little bit about you, your business, and have provided the reader with the confidence that they need to execute the plan. Kind of like this article…
How Do You Eat An Elephant? One Bite At A Time
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
We had 92 people buy our book in 5 hours. Even in my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have believed that it was possible. But that’s what happens when you build funnels – they work while you sleep!
Ding! Cha-ching! Someone bought something for $8.20!
I sat up in bed and tried to rub my eyes open. I was so excited! However, what I didn’t know at the time was that it was going to go on like this for the next two weeks. But, what I did know then, was that I was going to have to go into the office and figure out the toughest part of this entire equation – how the heck were we going to fulfill these orders? There are several options for fulfilling on a self-published book. Believe me, I’ve tried most of them. Finally, I found Create Space from Amazon. It made fulfillment simple. We hired a VA to go through and complete the orders for the books using a stored credit card and then ship them to our customers as the orders came in. By charging $8.20, we were able to cover the full cost of printing the book AND shipping the book to our customers. I think we even made $0.10-$0.25 per book… which is a lot better than losing money!
(Over 2500 books shipped in about 6-7 weeks)
Defining the Free + Shipping Book Strategy
So you may have noticed that I said we charged $8.20 for the book, (including shipping!?) and thought, “oh, that must be their cost or something”.
The fact of the matter is, we actually gave the book away for free… Well, kinda. See, there’s a common misconception when it comes to writing a book. That being that the author is going to be able to sell the book and actually make money from it. Deals where you use an agent and a publishing house to write and publish a book, and make a profit from it, are typically few and far between.
Because most people can’t find someone to publish their book AND pay them money for it, they typically give and don’t do anything. It’s human psychology. Things get hard – people give up. It’s that simple.
Now, I am not saying it is impossible to make money with a book. BUT, for with the book we are writing, our goal is NOT to make a profit with the book itself… Let me explain. Utilizing the book in a funnel has authority in and of itself. Most people don’t understand, or know how to accomplish, self-publishing. So if you have a book - a tangible, bound book, which people can hold in their hands – you’ve skyrocketed in perceived value and expertise.
So, doing just that – utilizing your book in an authority funnel - becomes your goal. That is where you make your money. So, if your cost to print and ship the book is $8.20, and you make $8.20 per book, you are winning, and set up for success. The era of the “millionaire” author is gone and long forgotten. Unless you’re Stephen King or Tom Clancy, or you’ve built a following of hundreds of thousands, it’s getting harder and harder to get published. That’s why we give our books away for “free”. The book itself isn’t what we’re after. It’s just the first step in our funnel.
Let me explain…
- The $140 PROFIT Per “Free” Book Sold Funnel
Traffic -> Sales Page for “Strategy” Book (this is your book) -> OTO -> Webinar Registration -> Webinar -> Application
Now I can’t take credit for the entirety of this funnel. I’ve had some amazing teachers, mentors, and collaborators that have definitely helped me along the path of becoming a fully-fledged “Digital Marketer”. And by now you’ve probably read more books and articles than I could ever hope to write about the proper way to setup a funnel. What I’m going to ask you to do is a little counterintuitive. But bare with me… I need you to forget everything you know about funnels, and dive into this funnel with me.
Funnel Step #1: Driving Traffic
Most of our traffic was driven from either our list via email, or from a custom audience we created on Facebook. The messaging was all very similar, and we used images that would help us catch their attention (such as a picture of someone holding our book in their hand). Our goal was to get them to the page. Then, if they didn’t purchase the book outright, we retargeted them on Facebook with advancing degrees of urgency and scarcity.
Funnel Step #2: The “Free Offer” Page
Instead of having them opt in for a step one (with their email address and first name only), we drove traffic directly to a sales page. Why? Because over 50% of the traffic to our free offer page came from our list anyway. There was no reason to capture their email address again if they weren’t interested in purchasing the book.
The page had images of the book, testimonials, and compelling copy as to why they would want to purchase the book, the benefits the strategies in the book we were offering would have their business, and how it had produced stellar results for other businesses just like theirs. Looking back, I think we could have had a much higher initial conversion to our “luke warm” list if we would have added a video from our author on the page. You live, you learn.
Funnel Step #3: The One Time Offer
As discussed, the book is used to introduce the idea of a specific strategy to the audience. It gives a step-by-step detailing of how it was implemented in our business, and how the reader can implement this same strategy in their business as well, and why it will work. Our one time offer, which was also a one-click upsell, is a $297 course with ad templates for hiring the best type of person to fill the role that would execute the strategy in your business so the business owner wasn’t doing the job himself or herself. We also tend to call this type of offer a “liquidator offer”. It’s entire job is to make enough revenue to cover the ad spend that we’re using to generate the traffic. And it did – it actually covered an average of 98% of our ad spend. So we were able to grow our list AND put people into an extremely profitable funnel nearly for free.
- Funnel Step #4: Webinar Registration Page
We modified this funnel for a few weeks before we started main-lining traffic into it. We discovered that it was possible for us to tack-on a high-ticket offer to the back end of a “free + shipping” offer with immense success. The best way for us to indoctrinate luke warm or cold prospects on the offer was to create a webinar. The webinar page was in constant flux as we ran prospects through to it, but it’s job was to have the traffic self-segment into one of three segments based on where they were in their business. We knew the bottom two segments (segments 1 and 2) couldn’t afford the high ticket offer, so we ran them through a separate webinar and funnel to pick up a few more of our lower ticket offers.
- Funnel Step #5: The Webinar
The top segment, (segments 3) are the ones that we knew could afford our high-ticket offer. So we ran them through an evergreen webinar to indoctrinate them even further on the strategy outlined in the book – showing them the results that we hadn’t included in the book – and offering to teach them 1-on-1. If they were interested in attending a live, hands on event, they could apply for 1 of 5 spots available. They had to qualify themselves in order to purchase our high-ticket offer.
- Funnel Step #6: The Follow Up
Something I learned along time ago was that only a portion of the people who ever go through a webinar will purchase… regardless of if they actually want to purchase the product or service. Some people are just not buyers. Don’t stress it. We focused a lot of our time on perfecting the email sequence, Facebook, and phone follow-ups with those people in the top segment (Segment 3) as they are most likely to purchase. By staying focused and committing to our process, we were able to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of revenue out of a “free + shipping” offer.
- Why Building Authority Matters
If you’ve made it this far in this article, chances are you are serious about building and leveraging authority. You also now know one of the strategies I use to help my clients leverage authority and become perceived as experts in their industry.
However, one thing we haven’t touched on is why authority matters.
If you’re anything like me, and I would assume that most of us in the funnel building industry are similar, then you’ve probably spent an exorbitant amount of time learning about human psychology and marketing. I’m also guessing you’ve probably watched a ton of Russell Brunson videos or listened to his podcast a time or two. I firmly believe that it’s exactly as he says. Everyone is an expert at something. But therein lies the dilemma – if everyone is the expert at something, then we all have to do something to be able to stand out to our audience. If your audience is subscribed to your list, and four of your competitors’ lists, that means that they’re getting emails from 5 (or more) people about the same thing... about the same problem… and about the same solution.
YOU NEED TO RENDER YOUR COMPETITION IRRELEVANT
(By Standing Out From The Crowd)
You have to find the thing that makes you, you! That “something” that makes you stand out from the noise. Think about it, regardless of your view on our current educational system and whether or not it’s worth going to school right now, if you take 5 people and compare them side-by-side.
If everything is the same…
They all have blue eyes, blonde hair, all are women, all are 26 years old, all are wearing the exact same grey dress and black heels. All of them drive the same type of car, live in the same subdivision, in the same house, married to the same type of guy, and have the same aged children… But one of them has an MBA and the others only have a high school diploma. At first blush – who would you hire? If you didn’t have the opportunity to dive into a conversation and ask tough questions, it’s easy to see why human resource departments all over the country would favor the one with the master’s degree. The reason? That person has set himself or herself apart.
Putting Yourself In Your Audience’s Shoes
Think about it – your audience doesn’t have time to sit down and get to know everyone that is grabbing for their attention. On top of that, you, and everyone else, is trying to get them to spend their hard earned money on something. They have to make snap judgments based solely on what information they have. What better way to help you stand out from the crowd then becoming the author of a book? Automatic authority. Not only does it help elevate you above your competition, but a well-written book also builds rapport between you and the reader, lengthening and strengthening your relationship with them. That’s all marketing is about. Building a relationship with your prospective customers, and leveraging that rapport in ever increasing value. So go, write a book. Leverage it for authority. Create a community and culture around it, and sell your products and services to customers that already know who you are, and appreciate you. People buy people… people don’t buy products.
Josh Ellis is the Co-Founder at Impact Media Co. and Former Director of Marketing at National Association of Expert Advisors. He's a Sales Funnel, Architect, Marketing Strategist, Marketing Automation Expert, and Copywriter. Truly a Genius in his own right. Lives in Plano, Texas with his loving family.