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Marketing Funnel Hacking: Do You Need It And How Can You Use It?

By Timur Y.
May 12, 2020

Funnel hacking is often used to borrow someone else's successful marketing ideas.

It’s always difficult to be a pioneer. Inventing things from scratch and finding new ways to do something takes time, efforts, imagination and courage. But today, one doesn’t have to be the first one. Many businesses successfully use marketing funnel hacking instead.

Imagine a street with two bakeries on each side. They sell similar products and share the market more or less equally. But one day, the baker from the left side of the street starts getting more customers.

The baker from the right side of the street notices that his competitor is now baking just before people get off work so that they could buy fresh bread. So, the baker from the right side of the street… starts doing the same thing.

This is a simplified example of marketing funnel hacking.

What is funnel hacking?

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Funnel hacking is the process of analyzing your competitor’s sales funnel in order to adapt their strategies for your own business. The term was introduced by Russell Brunson, SEO of Clickfunnels.

Before actually selling anything, a business has to attract potential customers. You start by informing people of a way to solve a problem, then tell them about your product or service and finally make an offer. The process of bringing people through these stages to the purchase is called a sales funnel.

You’re probably thinking that funnel hacking is just copying what your competitors do and how. Well, it’s not that simple. You rather reverse-engineer the method implemented by other businesses.

Yes, it’s legal. While you can’t copy someone else’s brand names, logos, mottos, registered inventions, etc., nobody can forbid borrowing the layout of landing pages, or Facebook posting time, or target audiences.

Does funnel hacking work?

If you weigh up all pros and cons, then yes, funnel hacking does work. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this. But there’s a catch.

A lot of inexperienced entrepreneurs think that if they simply copy competitors’ funnels, they’ll start earning the same amount of money. I mean, if it works for them, why shouldn’t it work for me!

But in reality, you may end up with no results at all.

I watch a YouTube vlogger who simply records how he plays video games. That’s it. I’m serious, it’s all he ever does. But he somehow manages to attract thousands of viewers.

Does it mean I too can play video games and make money on YouTube? Probably not – because the guy has a very unique voice and intonation, which makes his not-so-smart jokes sound unbelievably amusing.

In other words, if you see successful funnels, maybe there’s more to them than just the sales process. It can also be brand awareness, or the charisma of the company’s SEO, or how their customer support team communicates with clients. You can’t copy these.

Besides, if a business is even slightly different from yours, it may not work because of this critical difference in what you sell and to whom. That’s why I defined funnel hacking as “adapting” someone else’s strategies for your business rather than “copying”.

Still, growing your business with funnel hacking can work as long as you adhere to the following rules.

How to make funnel hacking work for you?

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1. Compare your target audiences

A lot of problems can arise from mistakenly thinking your competitor and you are targeting the same audience. Even if two online stores sell identical products to seemingly the same customers, there could be unobvious differences.

For example, people belonging to different cultures have different purchasing habits. In this case, copying will not work.

2. Don’t copy. Analyze!

As I said, blindly copying someone else’s online marketing strategy can bring absolutely random results. Instead of just doing what that guy does, think of why those Facebook ads are so popular, or why this guy is advertising to females only.

Try to discover a reason behind someone’s success and understand why the methods used by this particular business makes people buy the product. If you do, then you can compare your businesses, target audiences, market locations and hypothesize whether the same methods will work in your case.

3. Don’t implement right away. Test!

Even if you think you understand why things are working great for another entrepreneur, don’t rush it. Maybe there’s something you’re unaware of.

That’s why any changes require split testing. Always compare new methods with what you are using right now before deciding to implement them.

4. Measure your opponent

Ok, funnel hacking can really help you find new methods to drive traffic to your store, or reach a larger audience, or convert visitors into customers, or whatever. But think about this! Are you able to use them?

What if you found out that a competitor promotes heavily on YouTube with lots of cool videos? Copying it may work, but do you have enough skills or time to do the same?

In other words, if it seems like you’ll have to bite more than you can chew, maybe you shouldn’t even try. At least before you feel ready to keep up with the given competitor.

Funnel hacking methods

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There are plenty of funnel hacking methods and techniques many of which are really complicated and imply a full step-by-step analysis of all aspects of someone else’s business. But I suppose you don’t really need ALL of them.

For example, there’s no point in analyzing competitors’ website designs if you’re using one of AliDropship’s themes: we have already done that and made what works best.

Here are some methods you may find useful should you decide to start funnel hacking for growing your business.

Finding competitors

Finding competitors and confirming they have high income is probably one of the most challenging tasks unless you are ready to invest a lot of money into spying tools. However, there’s a number of less accurate but cheaper methods.

  • If you explore the niche you have chosen, you will probably meet some competitors even without looking for them. Seeing the same ad or brand name all the time with tons of likes on Facebook? That’s probably your competitor.
  • Another easy way to find who you are competing with is to search for specific keywords in Google. Make sure you use the Incognito mode so that your personal search results don’t interfere. You will see businesses that enjoy a lot of organic traffic since they occupy the top positions.
  • You can also search for popular social media ads on BigSpy. It’s not free but relatively affordable. It’ll show you ads that earned a lot of likes, which could indicate that the seller is enjoying lots of sales. This method is also helpful if you’re looking for ad or product ideas.
  • There’s also SalesSource which can find and sort dropshipping stores by their monthly sales, but this tool is not cheap!
  • Looking for identical products and their sellers on Google Shopping is also a good idea.

Analyzing traffic

It’s also important to find out where most of the traffic of a competitor goes from. This is how you can understand what sources you should focus on.

Your best choice here are Ahrefs and SEMRush, but since they’re pretty costly, I also recommend trying out SimilarWeb which has a free packet.

Analyzing tracking tools

Understanding what tracking tools your competitors use can also be helpful in funnel hacking. Such tools as Ghostery and BuiltWith will show you a number of things including what tracking software a website uses, whether it retargets customers, uses pop-up, etc.

Becoming a customer

Another technique is to become an actual customer of your competitor. Simply order something cheap from another store.

Why would you want to give your money to competitors? Because it’ll get you to their checkout and Thank You pages. You’ll be able to see if they’re using post purchase upsells and how.

Also, make sure to subscribe to their newsletters to analyze their email marketing strategy.

If you like the idea of copying a successful business, think about purchasing one of AliDropship’s Premium Stores. They are precise copies of our own websites that earn several thousand dollars each month. At the same time, they occupy wide niches with so many customers that competing with other similar shops isn’t a problem.

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By Timur Y.
Timur is a senior copywriter at AliDropship who is keen to create easy-to-read educational content for ecommerce newcomers. His area of professional interest is marketing tips for beginners in dropshipping.

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