June 20, 2016

Today we’re unveiling the seven key levers that we analyze, test, and iterate on when working on our own marketing funnels and our clients’ marketing funnels!

Here’s a quick outline:

  1. Lead Generation
  2. Segmentation
  3. Education-based marketing + strategy of preeminence
  4. Scarcity
  5. Main offer
  6. If they don’t buy
  7. If they do buy

In each section we also include some A/B tests you can run as well as our favorite software that’s related to that point.

We’d love to hear any questions or feedback that you have in the comments below, or by emailing us at help@deadlinefunnel.com. 🙂

1. Lead generation

Lead generation is one of the biggest levers in each funnel that we build, because by increasing the number of people who enter the funnel as a new lead, we’re ultimately increasing the end number of customers who sign up.

And if we’re able to acquire a new lead for less money than we were spending before, then we’re able to spend more money to acquire more customers.

It seems like each “guru” has their own strategies and methods for effective lead generation, but the strategy that we’ve found that works best for us is testing different traction channels (social media, paid ads, content marketing, webinars, etc.) and then doubling down on the channel that shows more promise than any other ones.

And to keep things simple, we only focus on two questions:

acquiring new leads

So in some cases we may be able to acquire lead very cheaply, but they don’t convert to anything after that.

They don’t sign up for a free trial.

They never become a paying customer.

In those cases, we have to try a different lead source – even though it started out looking good and was inexpensive to acquire them.


LeadPages and ClickFunnels are two of the most popular solutions. Both offer A/B testing features that let you quickly set up multiple pages and test to see which ones are converting better.


Create multiple versions of your landing page and run them against each other. Think outside the box: try what you currently have, a long-form landing page, and short above-the-fold design, and something ugly. And test multiple traction channels to determine which one works best for your business.

2. Segmentation

When someone is signing up to your list, take advantage of that moment and ask them a few questions to identify their interests and needs.

Generating a new sign-up to your email list is great, but being able to segment that lead into one of 3-5 pre-defined segments is 10X better.

Because you can take that knowledge of which segment they fall into and shape your message and marketing to them in each communication you have in the future.

Our good friend (and email marketing genius!) Andre Chaperon created an email marketing framework that uses this idea of segmentation to increase relevancy and then lead into “hyper-focused promotions” … that are specifically targeted towards subscribers who already pre-qualified themselves to buy. His Storyfluence training is brilliant!

Let’s say you’re selling landing page software. Here’s a simple question you could ask:

“How do you plan on using this software?”

  • I work for myself and need to build a landing page for my client(s)
  • I’m an employee and need to build a landing page for my company
  • I’m a manager and need to train my employees so they can build landing pages

Asking easy questions not only segments your lists into sub-lists but it can grow your list faster at the same time. That’s the power of using “micro-commitments” to build trust with prospects before asking for a bigger commitment.


Neil Patel wrote about this a few years ago and described it as Hoop Theory:

“If you force your visitors to jump through hoops and to make micro-commitments before you ask them to purchase something, your conversion rate should go up.”

And you can use these questions as micro-commitments before asking for their email address, or as micro-commitments after they opt-in but before you try to make the sale. Test both options!


Hot Jar and Google Forms


Test different questions, as well as placement – before they opt in vs after. We’ve seen big increases in conversion when using a simple image for each answer in your micro-commitment survey. For example, if you’re asking a “yes/no” question, consider using a clickable image for Yes and a separate one for No.

By adjusting the number of questions you can optimize your funnel to either generate more leads with less qualification or fewer leads that are highly qualified.

Another best practice is to use a progress bar to let prospects see that they are close to being finished.

3. Education-based marketing + strategy of preeminence

The greatest opportunity you have in your funnel to build trust with your leads and engage them is in the emails and communications they receive after signing up.

When crafting our email series our most effective strategy has been to combine these two models:

  • Education-based marketing
  • Jay Abraham’s strategy of preeminence

The strategy of preeminence is described by an overwhelming desire to provide as much value as possible to your audience as possible, even before receiving anything from them in return:

“Its focus is on the receiver and their best interest. It boils down to ‘I’m not trying to serve you — I want to serve you.’”

And that jives perfectly with education-based marketing… because we’re able to teach our leads (and customers) not only how to better use Deadline Funnel, but how to create powerful funnels and work on massively growing their business.

Here’s an example of how Drip masterfully pulled this off in their email marketing over just the last 30 days…

zackAnother friend we need to mention is Ben Settle, master of the dark arts of email.

Ben has a monthly newsletter (Email Players) about email marketing that is a constant source of fresh inspiration, and it will keep you on top of your email game. One of our favorite resources! And now he has his “Antipreneur” podcast – not for the easily offended. 🙂


Give ConvertKit  or Drip a try if you’d like to use an email app that’s focused on you being able to deliver educational content to your list.


If you already have an educational sequence in place, create a new educational sequence (similar topic but different angle, or a completely unrelated topic) and test it against the current one (based on open/clickthrough/engagement rates).

4. Scarcity

There’s a lot of flexibility with how you can use deadlines in your marketing – but the key benefit is that by introducing a deadline into your funnel you are taking advantage of the psychological principle of loss aversion.

Scientific studies of loss aversion tell us that “losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains.”

People don’t want to miss out on a great offer!

That’s why you see the successes of all kinds of daily deal and other deadline-focused sites (like AppSumo).

Every big retailer uses deadlines in their marketing, and most of the big Internet marketers talk about scarcity in their launch strategies – Jeff Walker, Frank Kern, Ryan Deiss, and many others.

Recently Bryan Harris of VideoFruit did a big launch and inserted scarcity into three different points in his launch plan:

  • The First 72 Hours
  • Mid-Launch Push
  • The Home Stretch

And after adding a deadline and scarcity to that middle component of his launch – the Mid-Launch Push – Bryan generated an additional $85,000 in revenue.

mid-launch push

Photo credit: VideoFruit.com

A common misconception in some marketing circles is that scarcity and deadlines are an unethical tactic… because what if tell your audience there’s a deadline but then they can easily circumvent it and then lose faith in you because of that?

And we couldn’t agree more – which is why our team has invested years of time and resources into creating the best scarcity campaign builder available today.

Using our patent-pending Deadline Fingerprint technology, you can add deadlines into your campaigns with the confidence that they are authentic and can’t be circumvented.


Try Deadline Funnel free for 14 days! We integrate with almost every email provider and landing page builder, and offer the most powerful deadline campaign builder available today – with proven technology that tracks visitors across every browser, device, and network.


Test different deadline lengths and experiment with when you introduce the deadline to your lead.

5. Main offer

Everything you’ve done up until now builds up to your main offer.

This is the first time you’re asking your prospect to purchase from you, but it’s not the first time you’ve asked them for anything (because of the micro-commitments you’ve asked for already – their email address, and relevant segmentation questions).

There’s a principle that Eugene Schwartz originally wrote about that guides us as we create our offers and test them in the market, and we highly recommend watching this video by our friend and marketing mastermind Todd Brown to learn more…

It’s the idea that a marketplace for a product is at one of five stages at any given point in time, and if you do not recognize which stage the marketplace is in, you are not going to sell nearly as much as you should be selling.

Understanding marketplace sophistication is a BIG idea that’s allowed us to unlock a lot of growth.

If you feel like sales are stagnating or you’re ready to expand by several factors beyond what you’re currently doing, take the time to learn and implement this into your business!


We love the simplicity of SamCart for setting up secure sales pages with built-in upsells and downsells.


Test a different offer, higher/lower pricing, headlines, VSL, long-/short-form sales page

6. If they don’t purchase


There are three specific strategies we use if someone doesn’t buy to try to win back the sale:

  • Second chance sequence – automatically send these prospects to a modified version of your original offer (with a slightly different price, or without one of the original bonuses)
  • Send a “Do you hate me?” email to find out why they didn’t buy
  • Send a pivot email with 3-5 other related areas of interest that they can select, which will trigger a new sequence for them

ActiveCampaign is an email app that we use for automatically sending out emails based on specific events and we think it’s a great solution that’s easy to use and very powerful! Another popular choice with our clients is Infusionsoft.


Test two different second-chance sequences/offers, and multiple variations of the “Do you hate me” and pivot emails.

7. If they do purchase

Cha-ching! ? Time for a bottle of celebratory champagne and…it’s time to dig in for the long haul.

Now that you have a customer, your next goal should be to move them along the circles of trust to where they become a raving, true fan.

Your focus in this stage needs to be on helping your clients master your product quickly through onboarding and providing amazing customer support.


Photo credit: 500hats.typepad.com

Now your focus goes from acquisition and revenue to the other three parts of the AARRR startup metrics framework:

  • Acquisition
  • Activation
  • Retention
  • Revenue
  • Referral

MixPanel and Heap are two great analytics options for analyzing and improving your user experience. Beyond just metrics, MixPanel makes it a snap to send out emails based on what actions your clients take – even if they haven’t taken the action YOU want them to take within a specific period of time.

Helpscout is our tool of choice for help desk and knowledge base software. It’s simple to use and never requires the client to log in to check a ticket. And with their new Beacon feature it’s easier than ever to make your knowledge base searchable.


Dig into the AARRR startup framework by Dave McClure and start running growth experiments to increase activation, retention, and referral

Ready for more? Click here to download our free Ultimate Evergreen Funnel – a step-by-step guide to setting up your own evergreen funnel with true scarcity. 🙂