Gabe Schillinger is a music producer who took his passion for marketing and turned it into a 7-figure business, Legion Beats. Today, he also teaches entrepreneurs in music and other industries how to grow and scale their businesses.
In today’s interview, I interview him about how he uses Deadline Funnel in his business, including how he adds limited-time tripwire offers to his viral contest funnels.
Watch the video of my interview with Gabe or read the transcript below!
Jack Born: Hey, everyone. This is Jack Born, founder of Deadline Funnel, and I’m here with Gabe Schillinger, who is a client of Deadline Funnel and just a super smart guy. Behind him in his studio he’s got several awards from the music industry and also from the marketing industry. And I asked Gabe to show up on this call to share some of his experience and to tell us his story, his transformation in his business, and also how Deadline Funnel fits into that. And so, Gabe, thanks so much for being here.
Gabe Schillinger: Man, I’m excited. Happy to geek out with you. I appreciate the kind words, and you are a very smart guy, somebody I’ve watched and studied for a while. And I’m, as we’ll talk about, a big Deadline Funnel fan, so excited to be here.
Jack Born: Awesome. Well, so let’s back up and talk about your story. So I mentioned the music industry. Why don’t you take us back to your success in the music industry and where you are today and how that transition happened.
Gabe Schillinger: Yeah, well, I’ll start with my failure in the music industry, and then we can get to where we are today. So for me I’m a music producer and engineer, generally working in sort of the hip hop and R&B space. So mainly working with rappers and singers. And as a producer, usually what I’m doing is creating the music that a rapper or singer is going to rap or sing to. So you’ll hear me refer to “beats”. I’m not talking about the headphones or drums. That’s the name for the instrumental which is essentially the product that I sell or offer. And the way that I tried to sell or offer that product for years was the only way that I thought you could which is essentially to sell it to record labels or work with artists that are signed to the big record labels and then trying to get a check cut from that record label. And so that’s kinda the traditional music industry route, right? And I tried that out. Did actually okay, better than most. I sort of worked my way up the local hip hop scene here in the Bay Area in California. Got to work with a few names even outside the Bay Area like Kendrick Lamar and Snoop and a couple other people and had some fun highlights. Heard my songs on the radio a few times, on TV. went to see the Warriors play and got to hear my songs in the big arena there. And all the stuff where it’s like, “oh, wow, that sounds like you’ve probably kinda made it”, but I was actually broke, frustrated. At that time, this was about 10 years ago, I was approaching 30 years old, and I’d moved back in at my dad’s house and not feeling great about where I was as a person, just being frustrated with everything. And so I was kinda ready to give up on music, and say, “you know what? I’ll do it for fun, but I’m gonna have to find a real job.” And ended up luckily thinking, “let me try selling beats online. Let me just give that a shot.” And then from there I’m super, super grateful that I actually did that before giving up because that’s what opened me up to this whole world of direct response marketing and funnels and all this cool stuff that I’m excited to get into in a minute that I just never had any interest in. You know, I never thought of myself as a business owner. Even though technically I had a studio, I sort of own a business, but never thought of myself as a marketer, an entrepreneur. I just never had that identity. I just wanted to be the guy in the studio. I just wanted to make beats. I just wanted to work on my craft, but when I started to learn some of these cool marketing things, and then applying them and actually getting results and actually getting sales and getting my music out to more people, then I got excited about it. And then I was able to actually transfer all that or some of that excitement and creativity, passion, time, energy, all those resources that I just only put into my music I realized I could actually put that into my marketing, and not only will it get me these cool results, it’s actually pretty fun. And so for me that’s like a big… And then the result from there was, you know, able to do the first six-figure launch in my industry, and I’ve now grown that business to seven figures, and then another business teaching producers how to do this and grown that to seven figures. And so to me it’s like, I love to geek out on all these little specifics that I’m sure we’ll get into, but also like for creative entrepreneurs, for musicians specifically is who I speak to a lot of times, if nothing else getting across that point that it can actually be really fun. And just like creating music is fun, building these campaigns can be really fun. And it’s the same idea, you’re taking that fan, that audience, that customer through a journey with your music. Same thing with your funnel, your campaign. And it sounds dumb maybe. If you’re a musician you’re like, “there’s no way.” But the messages that I love to get the most these days is, you know, I love to see, “hey, I’m making this revenue goal. Hey, I was able to quit my day job.” That’s amazing. But the favorite messages I get was, “hey, before I came across you I used to hate marketing. I used to hate business, and now I’m excited about entrepreneurship. Now I’m growing my business. I’m working on my music and having fun doing both.” And to me when you’re combining those things now you have ownership. You’re not relying on the music industry. You are your own business, and that’s the message that I like to get out there these days.
Jack Born: Isn’t that amazing to have that feedback from your clients? It’s the same thing that I love, and it really fuels me. And I love to share with my team when an entrepreneur says, “man, your platform, what you guys have created, your training, et cetera, has really helped take my business to the next level. And I wouldn’t be able to do what I do, and I’m able to support my family. Thank you so much.” And so when those messages come through that just really makes my month so…
Gabe Schillinger: Yeah, and by the way, let me take this opportunity to say Deadline Funnel has been a huge part of what I’ve been able to do. It’s something that has definitely, you know, when you’re in music, I mean, any niche is tough. There’s no business that’s easy to start, but music is really hard. And so having these little, not little, but these ninja hacks like Deadline Funnel really literally make the difference between a business being profitable and one that you have to give up on. So I’m super grateful because it’s one of the things that’s allowed me to actually stay in business long enough to start getting some momentum and continue to grow to where I am today. So thank you.
Jack Born: Oh, absolutely. It’s like I said, comments like that are what I live for. So thank you for sharing that. Why don’t you just give us a little bit deeper, just slightly deeper insight into how you use Deadline Funnel in your business ’cause that might give someone inspiration and some ideas about how they could also do the same in their business.
Gabe Schillinger: Yeah, for sure. So I’ve used them in all kinds of different types of funnels. One of them is in sort of this viral contest giveaway funnel. But essentially the idea is we’re doing a viral giveaway where people opt in, they’re incentivized to bring other people in, and they get points and prizes when they refer other people. And as part of that funnel we’ll be selling usually a low-ticket item. It’s sort of like a self-liquidating offer type of funnel. And so a lot of times what we’ll do is we’ll say even though we’re running this contest for let’s say six months, or however long we’re running it for, when you opt in we only give them seven days to make that first purchase. And so what ends up happening is now there’s some actual urgency. If they opt in and they see, “oh, this contest goes for six months”, there’s no urgency for them to buy that first thing. In my case it’s a beat pack for rappers and singers, but it could go for anything. And so adding that urgency is, through Deadline Funnel by saying, “hey, if you opt in on day one, whatever your day one is, you have seven days to buy this before either the offer goes away or the price increases.” I’ve done both, and both work great. And so that way I’m increasing my conversions. That’s what allows me to now increase my ad spend and bring more people in, and ultimately be more profitable. So that’s one version. So I’ve used Deadline Funnel for webinars, and I’ve used them both for autowebinars and actually also for live webinars. I’ll start with the live webinars ’cause I find it’s kind of like a great hack, and I think maybe, I dunno, maybe when people think of Deadline Funnel they just think of sort of these evergreen things. But for me it’s been great because I’ll do a live webinar, you know, for awhile I was doing them every week, and then kind of sporadically, and now it’s sort of every once in a while. And so what I’ll have is I have two deadlines. I have one deadline which is when the webinar actually starts, and then another webinar when the offer ends, right? So we’ll usually do the webinar on a Thursday, and then they’ll have til Sunday before the price goes up or the deal goes away. And so what I’ll do is I’ll just have those be fixed-rate deadlines, but whenever I’m doing my new one I can just go ahead and insert the deadline for when the webinar’s gonna be, and when the deadline for the thing to buy is, and now I’ve got everything inserted. So all of the emails when they opt in, on the page where they opt in it’ll say, “here’s when the webinar is.” Then once they opt in after Thursday when they go to the replay page or to the order form, now they’re seeing that countdown until Sunday, until that next one. And instead of having to go in and on every single order form page, every opt-in page, every email, go and update all these different timers, I literally just change it in those two places. And now every single time we do a live webinar everything just works. Everything’s in place. Bam. They know when it starts. They know when the deadline is. If they go there past the deadline it’ll redirect to an order form with the higher price. And so that’s really helped. We’ve been able to actually grow that business to over seven figures. We got a Two Comma Club Award for just that process. Just this one webinar selling this one course using Deadline Funnel, combination of live and then also an autowebinar as well.
Jack Born: Very, very cool. So this is sort of like you’re hitting the reset button and just moving it out to a future date. You’ve done it in the past, and now you’re going to do it again as a live webinar, right? Very cool. Very, very cool. So you mentioned this other recording that we just did, and there’s something that you mentioned that I just wanna bring up because I thought this was really smart. And so anyone who’s purchased something, so let me set the context. For the self-liquidating offer, in the previous recording that we did, you mentioned that one way that you’ve done this in the past is that it was an upgrade to the lead magnet that they already opted in for. And I believe if I understood correctly the example that you gave from your previous promotions was something where the free lead magnet was a certain set of licenses to beat. But then the upgrade was a more powerful license that gave them expanded rights. Do I have that correct, and can you talk a little bit about that?
Gabe Schillinger: That’s exactly right. Yeah, and so a lot of times that’s, you know, if you are gonna do that type of funnel which is very common where there’s like, here’s a lead magnet, here’s something free, right? And that’s a great way to get people to opt in in the first place. But now you wanna capitalize on that, and you wanna sell them something. Which by the way, I wanna mention something that’s like, I know everybody has their own process, right? And different things work for different audiences and whatever. I’ve always found I wanna give them that offer right away. ‘Cause to me, you know, one version is, okay, you have an opt in for the free thing, and then you have a seven-day email sequence. And on day seven you finally mention, “hey, I have this thing for sale.” But if you look at those email open rates, you might have a 20 or 30% open rate on that last email, and whatever percentage click. So now it’s like very few people. It’s a very small percentage of the people who opted in in the first place are even gonna see that offer. So to me, it’s like I want them to opt in and pretty much all the time see an offer right away. That’s just for me, I’m like, why not? I paid for this lead through Facebook or one way or another. Like why not? If they just opted in, they’re probably the most excited they’re gonna be. They’re in momentum. So that’s one thing, is that tends to be my general philosophy. Obviously it depends on the situation, but I think sometimes people are scared to sell. And it’s like, you know, if that’s the way that you can serve your audience the best, and you have a great product then sell them right away ’cause that’s when they’re most likely to buy.
Jack Born: Well, I think one of the things that I haven’t heard spoken about enough is that I think the self-liquidating offers that I’ve seen work the best are the ones where you’re not selling them something new on that thank you page. It’s really an upgrade. Like you’ve already sold them, so to speak, on the free lead magnet, and so you’re not saying, “oh, now that you’ve opted in for A, let’s talk about B.” It’s really a better version of A that they’ve already opted in for. So an example, and I wanna turn this back over to you as soon as I give this example, but another example would be everyone who has ever registered for a free virtual summit. You see the list of speakers. You see the topic. You’re obviously interested or else you wouldn’t register. And then on the thank you page they’re not selling you something different, it’s the recordings for these things so you don’t have to attend live. And so it’s an upgrade to what they already opted in for. So with that let me hand it back to you. What do you say to that?
Gabe Schillinger: Super important, yes, absolutely. So, you know, you want your lead magnet to be something that, first of all, qualifies somebody as a potential customer, right? So just like we talked about in that last one if you’re doing a giveaway, and you’re talking about your grand prize, same thing with your lead magnet you want it to be something that’s exciting to your customers but not to everybody else. So that’s the first thing, is don’t offer them some general thing that people who are not your potential customers are gonna be interested in. So for me if I’m selling to rappers or singers, and I’m gonna be selling them beats I can just offer them some free beats. It’s like a cheat code. That’s kind of an easy one, right? And then it’s just the natural progression from there, right? And that’s, okay, they already want this thing. They opted in for this thing, this free thing, so now it’s just the natural progression for them to upgrade that thing. Or let’s say you’re selling information. Maybe the lead magnet is, you know, maybe you have a whole framework for how to, I don’t know, increase sales with urgency, great. So maybe the lead magnet is sort of like step one of that five-step framework. Now the first thing you’re selling could be that full training that gives you step four, five, and six. So something that’s a natural progression or an upgrade is super important. And actually same thing on your upsells. This is something that I’ve noticed as well. And again this varies depending on sort of the industry and different things like that, but I noticed when we were doing our contest we had some upsells that were just some beat packs, right? And they did okay. I think we had some OTOs. I think the first one was like 10 or 12%. The second one was like 4 or 5%. Not great. I’d like to see better on an OTO or upsell meaning, you know, the-
Jack Born: The one-time offer.
Gabe Schillinger: Yes, exactly. The one-time offer. As soon as we said, “hey, if you get this beat pack in this upsell, you also get an additional entry into the contest,” all of a sudden we went to 30% on the first OTO and like 12% on the second one; a huge increase. And so what it says is the same thing that you’re talking about here which is sort of like they’re there for this thing. They’re in this mindset of, “okay, I just entered this contest. Now I want more things related to that, an upgrade to that.” So, yeah, so it’s the same thing. It’s having something cohesive. It’s not just like this other random thing. It relates to it in a certain way. And I’ll just give one sort of caveat. This is something that I learned from Russell Brunson. If you are selling information you probably don’t want the upsell or the next thing to be more of the same information or to solve the exact same problem. Because in their mind they’ve kind of like, “well, I already solved that problem with the previous product.” So it’s maybe, “how can I get that faster or easier?”, or maybe, “what is the next step?” Like cool I figured out, you taught me how to work out better, but now you’re gonna teach me the meal plan or something, but tie it back into whatever sort of your bigger theme. So hopefully that makes sense. I think it’s a little different with information compared to if you’re selling like beats or templates, or something like that, you can kinda just do more of the same thing.
Jack Born: Yeah, so to pick up on that last example I’ll give an example from my past business experience. Many years ago I sold a WordPress plugin that helped people to increase the rate at which people would opt in to their lists. And on the thank you page the upsell was, “hey, your list is gonna be growing really, really fast, but it’s not gonna do you any good if you don’t know what emails to send them. So here’s an email copywriting course that we’ve teamed up with this amazing email copywriter, so that you know what to say, how frequently to say it, et cetera. Otherwise you’re just wasting your time growing your list. You’re sending the wrong thing. you’re not emailing them often enough, et cetera.” So that sold really, really well. So that was sort of like the next problem like, “okay, great, now that your list is gonna grow, what’s the next problem?” The next problem is you need to be competent at writing powerful emails or else having a big list isn’t gonna do anything for you. So does that fall in line with what you were describing?
Gabe Schillinger: 100%. And I would just even add on to that, you know, sometimes more information will work, and sometimes it’s not necessarily more information, but it’s more tools or resources, right? So again maybe the first thing is a mini-training about using urgency and scarcity, and then the upsell is the Deadline Funnel software, where it’s like, “this is just gonna do it for you.” You know what I mean? That’s better, right? Or a template or a script or something, because sometimes there can be too much information. So I would just add that little thing onto it, but definitely that’s the idea, is just, you know, what’s the next thing, or what’s the next logical progression, or what’s the upgrade as opposed to just something completely random and different that you just hope they’re gonna wanna buy ’cause they probably won’t.
Jack Born: So Gabe, even though we weren’t intending on doing a geek-out session on OTOs and self-liquidating offers, I appreciate you sharing this because this is really, really powerful stuff. And I know no matter what level someone is at there’s gonna be some gems of wisdom that they can apply in their own business. So thank you, Gabe. I really appreciate it. And thanks so much for sharing.
Gabe Schillinger: Yeah, my pleasure.