Learn By Doing!
As you work through the training materials here and on the next module, I urge you to put each technique to work as you go. You can literally set up dozens of offers to learn these processes and they will continue to run… and pay out… indefinitely, so this is a great way to learn…
- Make a simple opt-in funnel
- Sent some traffic to test it
- Make it better
- Try a different design or lead magnet
- Test it, make it better.
- Add a back-end affiliate offer…
- Test it, make it better!
- Create your own product…
You get the idea… every funnel you create is a potential passive revenue stream… and it won’t cost you a cent to leave it running… so any leads or sales generated while you learn are a major bonus.
When you’re ready to start setting up your own funnels, you only really need the few key elements we’ve already discussed. In terms of setting it up, you simple need a platform to create and host your webpages, an autoresponder and your offer(s).
For this tutorial, we’re going to start at the end and work back…
For this training, we’re assuming you don’t have your own products just yet, so we’ll mostly focus on Affiliate Offers. This is definitely the best way to learn the business… it lets you get set up very quickly so you can test and improve your traffic generation, lead capture and email marketing systems.
If you haven’t already done so, you can download our Affiliate Marketing Cheatsheet here. It will give you plenty of ideas on how to get started and choose your first few offers to promote.
Mautic is a free/open-source email marketing platform that has all the same features as the top-end platforms that charge $100-$200 or more a month. You will only pay for your basic/standard web hosting ($5-$10 month)
You’re going to need a web hosting account anyway, so why not set up your own professional autoresponder service? There will be a bit of a learning curve for most people, but even if it takes you a week to get it all set up, that will still be the best investment you make in your business this year!
If you really don’t want to manage this yourself, either find a free autoresponder or one that DOESN’T punish you for being successful.
Don’t fall for the ‘free to start’ accounts… they let you operate free of charge until you get to 500 or 1000 subscribers, but you’ll quickly find you want a whole lot more than that. And as soon as you do, the price goes up fast.
They get away with charging big bucks for big lists, because they know by then you’re very unlikely to bother moving… it will be easier to just pay them hundreds of dollars every month!
Also be careful applying to the big name autoresponders… most have clauses in their terms prohibiting all kinds of stuff, including affiliate marketing!
Yep, I know, they all have their own affiliate programs, but they can cancel your account if they decide they don’t like an affiliate program you choose to promote!? If you are set on using one of these, show them a very generic website in your application, no affiliate links, no MLM, no cryptos etc… and proceed with caution.
MailRelay seems to be a safe free option without too many catches in the fine print… but please do you own due diligence.
If you are new to this and still need to set up an Autoresponder, I’ll encourage you to work through our List Marketing training. You’ll find a heap of great resources and downloads to get you set up and operational as quickly as possible.
A Website Platform
A Website is essential if you are serious about doing ANY business online.
A lot of people make excuses and opt for expensive packaged services, but they are really just making things difficult and seriously limiting their options.
The sooner you take the plunge and set up your first WordPress blog, the sooner you’ll realise just how easy it is… and what a rip-off so many of these SAAS platforms are.
The instant website builders have their place… mostly they’re for people who already have a business.
If you’re building an online business from scratch, you need to set up your own platform where you are in total control and can create the pages and functionality you want… especially with regards your Conversion Funnels.
Whatever you do, DO NOT start out with a paid funnel platform.
They are expensive ($100/month) and despite the sales pitch, most people will tell you they’re quite complicated to learn… mostly because they try to do everything, and most people only need a small portion of the full feature set… so it can be seriously overwhelming.
It might look like a quick way to get started, but they are designed so that once you do start with them, it just gets harder and harder to ever move away.
If you just want ‘easy’, stick with me and I’ll share an option that does all you need for about 1/4 of the price, and you can walk away from any time without losing all your work!
The fact is, you can do everything manually using WordPress for the price of web hosting… ie. a few bucks a month. Cost savings aside, you’ll have far more control over the entire process. You can implement just the tools and features you actually need, keeping things simple and easy to learn.
And creating a new WordPress website is incredibly EASY.
1. Register a Domain Name. 3 minutes.
2. Create a Hosting Account. 3 minutes.
3. Delegate your Domain. 1 minute.
3. Install WordPress. 3 minutes.
After that there’s some basic configuration to do, you select and install a theme, then you’re pretty much ready to get to work! If you need to with this, you will find some excellent checklists and tutorials in the Recommended Resources module.
For the purposes of this tutorial we’re going to assume you have a WordPress site set up and you’re comfortable creating pages and installing plugins. If you’re not at that point, keep reading for now, but make sure you use the Recommended Resources (next module) to set up a WordPress site and get familiar with the basic processes.
For now though, we’ll press on…
Setting Up WordPress For Funnels
All you really need here is a way to create a few simple page types… landing pages, optin pages, download pages, thank you pages. These are simply by design, so they are simple to make.
Later on, you can add your own offers, but the tools we use now are also excellent for that, so you’ll find that’s pretty straightforward too when you get to it…
But for now, we’re focusing on affiliate offers instead, so it’s just a matter of linking to those pages on someone else’s site.
Selecting a WordPress Theme
You will need to install a suitable theme for your website. There are thousands of free themes to choose from so you can lose a lot of time searching and testing different themes if you’re not careful, so my recommendation is that you start with the Astra Theme for now.
It is free, has all the features we need, including a Full Width Template and the option to Disable Headers, Titles, Sidebars and the Footer. If you want to find your own theme, that’s fine, just make sure it has those options!
Beyond that, we need to enable a few key functions on our website, and with WordPress that is as simple as installing a plugin. Here’s a quick list of those essential functions and the FREE Plugins we use to make it happen:
(Search the WordPress Plugin Archive for these by name when you’re ready to install).
Web Page Creation:
Page Builder by SiteOrigin is my page builder of choice. There’s a lot of great page builder plugins out there, but most of the good ones are pretty much useless unless you pay an expensive upgrade. This one has everything we need, is simple to use/learn, with no upgrades are required!
It has an easy Clone Page option, so you can import our page templates fro mthe Recommended Resources page to get you started, then just clone those to create your own. Once you have your own base designs for each of your key pages, you can delete our drafts and keep developing you own style and feel!
Just make sure you also install the SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle. We use a couple of these on our funnel pages, plus you’ll be able to create great looking sales pages as well, when the time comes.
Tracking, Statistics & Testing:
This is where it gets personal… you can basically track as much or as little as you want. If you’re just getting started, I’d recommend you aim to keep it simple because it can get out of hand very quickly!
Slimstat Analytics is one plugin I use on every website. It provides loads of information on who’s coming through your website and what they’re doing, how long they’re doing it for and where you lose them.
Pretty Links URL shortener and click tracker gives me an instant overview of where my traffic is going when they leave and how my affiliate offers are performing. This tells you very quickly what’s working on your site, and what needs attention.
(Don’t just use this for affiliate links either. I track any link I share so I can see whether people are actually interested!)
The Mautic Plugin connects my autoresponder and allows additional tracking of not just on email-opens and link-clicks, but also specific page views and file downloads generated by my marketing emails. Mautic itself offers a lot of information that usually tells me more than my web stats.
A lot of people still prefer to use Google Analytics for web and email stats… in which case you just grab a plugin to add the code to each page on your site.
Personally I find it way more complicated than I need… and I like to keep my information in-house. I don’t have to go off to Google to see what’s happening on my sites…
ClickerVolt is an alternate option if you do need more extensive Google-like stats, especially if you are paying for traffic. It connects directly to your ad sources and your affiliate platforms, so you can measure your performance and ROI in great detail on every campaign.
Simple Page Tester is a handy little A/B Split Tester that lets you create variations of your pages and split your traffic between the two, to see which one works best. It’s quick and easy, and is probably all you need at least to begin with.
eCommerce & Payment Processing
WooCommerce is really the only option you need consider if you’re selling on your website. It’s free, quick and easy to set up and it connects to dozens of payment processors. You’ll find you can just add a new product in a minute or two then use the custom shortcode provided to add that to any page… and be live and ready for business ‘instantly’!
There are plenty of other options for connecting payment options and then just create individual checkout pages, but if you do it once with WooCommerce you’ll never bother with any of that again.
The One Paid Plugin In This Set…
CartFlows is a powerful tool for creating your pages and then dynamically connecting them to create your funnels. It is geared towards eCommerce Funnels and has easy options for creating an optimized checkout process, order bumps, upsells, downsells and more.
The most useful feature.. and the one that puts it on par with ClickFunnels, is it’s dynamic linking… this means you can add pages or even entire mini-funnels… to your site structure, and CartFlows will automatically update all the interlinking.
It’s definitely not essential and I do recommend you at least try to learn how to do it all manually first…
But if you’re struggling to fit the pieces together to create your funnels, connect payment options and checkout flows, and keep track of all the moving parts… you might decide it’s worth the monthly subscription.
At $25 a month it’s about a quarter the cost of ClickFunnels… and you get to keep full control of your business… and if you decide to cancel, you still have all your pages and funnels one your own website, so you can simply go back and connect them manually to
I haven’t used this myself, but I did try the free version. It gives you a good taste of what the paid plugin can do, but is too limited to be of any real use. Try that if you want to test it, but know you will need to upgrade for any useful functionality.
Other Recommended Plugins
I have a core set of WP Plugins I install on very new site I create using the WPCore Plugin. I install that, paste in a collection code and click install… it then installs everything saving me a load of time.
I don’t always use them all, but it’s easier to just delete the ones I don’t want than to go through and download and install everything I do need!
I’ve added some information on that in the Recommended Resources section, plus the Collection code, so you can install the complete set yourself, if you want. There’ also a PDF download with a few notes on how and why I use each of them.
OK, if you’ve got all you tools in place, it’s time to build a funnels…
Building Your First Funnel
What I’d suggest for beginners is that you start by setting up a very simple opt-in funnel, with a redirect to an affiliate offer.
Landing Page => Optin => Thank You => Offer
… Email => Download Page
Step 1. Find An Affiliate Offer
If you’re just getting started, I strongly recommend you start with a product or service you use yourself and really like! That authenticity is priceless in the long-term, and your first hand knowledge of the offer will make the funnel creation process significantly easier and more effective!
Once you decide, check the affiliate tools page for some artwork… cover graphics, logos, screenshots etc can all work. If you don’t find anything suitable, check and see if there’s anything on the sales page, even as your own screen grab… or even inside the members area?
Check any available the email swipes for ideas for your written copy. Subject lines can often be a good starting point for ‘headlines’… and the emails will often include bullet points and summary type info that can get you started with your own copy.
Step 2. Find / Create a Lead Magnet
This is the most important step and should take up more of your time and all the other steps put together! Study the offer and work out what you can create and/or offer, that will make the offer even more attractive for your visitors?
You want something that has standalone value, but also gets your visitor thinking about the problem the offer addresses. You want them to jump at the lead magnet… but also recognise the offer as an even better solution when they get to it.
Take your time on this and create something with real relevance and value that you can be 100% proud of. It doesn’t need to be a work of art if it addresses a real issue well, so don’t waste time on fancy formatting… just focus on delivering quality information or ideas.
When that’s ready, I upload that to the web… I load small files to my website, while larger video files get loaded to Amazon s3 storage. I make a note of the download URL for the next step.
Step 3. Create Your Three Pages
I like to work backwards on these to save a bit of back-and-forth, so I usually create the Download page first. This is the easiest of the lot, and gives me a ‘design’ I can clone for the Thank You page and then the Opt-in page.
The Download page includes the link to the uploaded file, and usually a copy of any box or cover graphic if available, and any unadvertised bonus items. I’ll usually add a very brief push for the affiliate offer…
if you missed it earlier make sure you check out XYZ here…
The Thank You page is next, and opens with the basic housekeeping info…
we’ve received your request for XYZ report and we’ll be sending you a link in about X minutes. In the meantime have a look at this…
What follows is basically a low-key landing page for the offer… ie. you want to write some copy that does everything a good landing page does, without trying to sell too hard! If the offer has splash pages set up, sometimes I’ll copy the basic text from that and just tone it down a bit!
The main thing is to frame this as the next logical step…
They requested your lead magnet as the solution to deal with the problem…
Since you’re interested in learning how to (the solution)
then you’ll definitely want to check out (the offer)
which takes handing (the problem) to a whole new level…
Then just link that to the offer with your affiliate link. I use Pretty Links to make a tracking link so I have a n easy way to check how things are going at any time. Remember to make a note of the URL for the Thank You page, which is required when we create the form at Step 4.
I create the Opt-in page last. By now I’ve got a clear idea of what I’m delivering, so I find the headline and bullets almost write themselves… if not I refer to the email swipes for some ideas.
I leave the Opt-in Page open in the editor so I can come back and insert the autoresponder form…
Step 4. Create Optin Form
We’re going to assume you have your autoresponder set up with a list for this optin, so it should just be a matter of creating a new form, and making sure that redirects to your Thank You Page… the URL you saved earlier.
Then just copy and paste the supplied form code into your Opt-in page.
I tend to use a plain text version, no styling, so my website styles are applied instead. The first few times you do this, you’ll probably need to spend a little time tweaking the form design and layout on the page, but once you work it out, you’ll be able to re-use that everywhere.
Step 5. Write Your Offer Email
This goes out soon after your visitor opts-in and directs them to the download page. It should be short and too the point, but still talk up the download a bit to make sure they do it immediately…
If you’ve added an unadvertised bonus of some description, it doesn’t hurt to tease that a little bit, as a bit of curiosity might make all the difference.
Congratulations on Your First Funnel!
That’s pretty much all there is too the set up.
You can now send visitors to your landing page,
Some will opt-in and get sent to the thank you page…
Some will check out the offer while they wait.
Your Email will arrive shortly after…
They’ll grab their download and reconsider checking out the offer…
Either way they are in your autoresponder, so you have the option to resend that offer, or any others you come up with in the future!
I hope this is making sense to you, but if not, you will find a wealth of excellent training materials in the next module, so please just take your time and consume as much of that as you have to, until you’re confident to dice in and make a start.
Just don’t put it off for too long, because this is the final piece, and once you get it, the sky is the limit.