The Death Of Website, But Birth Of The ‘FunnelHub’…
A FunnelHub is kind of a NEW term, and it’s something that Mike and AJ Rivera are experts in.
A funnel is NOT a website… but sometimes people still get confused…
About a year ago, somebody reached out to me, and said, “Hey would you please take a look at our funnel it’s not converting very well?”
They hired me to come in and work out what was going on. I went to look at their funnel… I opened up all their URLs, and immediately, off the bat, I could tell:
This is NOT a funnel. This is a website.
When I told them they were like, “No no, no, no, no, no. This is one hundred percent a funnel.”
I said: “No, one hundred percent, without a doubt, I swear on my life… *this* is NOT a funnel… because for starters, you’ve got exits all over the page.”
A funnel is a funnel because there’s only one way to progress. You either have to purchase or opt-in. If you can exit in any other way, besides that one way forward, it’s NOT a funnel. That, by definition, is a website.
- There were exits all over the place in their headers.
- Exits the middle.
- You had to scroll down to the bottom to opt into ANYTHING and move forward.
I was like, “Guys!”
So we switched a few things up to make it a legitimate funnel, and just that one switch alone, BOOM!
WHAT THE FUNNELHUB???
I have a confession to make…
This is the 228th episode of Sales Funnel Radio… and still, a lot of people have no idea about EVERYTHING I offer…
And I get it…
There’s a lot of reasons why:
- I’ve focused on building a lot of stuff and linking it together.
- There have been little launch campaigns together to get noise around them.
- I’ve been working on fulfillment and systems for fulfillment.
- I’ve quietly launched some stuff to hyper-users just to see what would happen.
- Other stuff has made loud entrances with big old launch campaigns behind them.
… it’s a lot of moving pieces.
However, there’s gotta be a way to help everybody understand what it is you’re selling at all times…
And that’s what I’m excited about what I’m gonna share with you next.
I have two very special guests today, and they’ve created what they call a FunnelHub. It’s NOT a website. It’s almost like a directory.
A FunneHub looks very similar to a website but it has a different intent.
This is the official launch of my FunnelHub.
The old Steve J Larsen site is completely gone, and SteveJLarsen.com has been TOTALLY REDESIGNED.
It’s very exciting!
So now you’re going to read an interview I did with my AMAZING FUNNELHUB creators…
You’re gonna learn MORE about FunnelHubs and why your business needs one.
So let me introduce, Mike Schmidt and AJ Rivera…
WEBSITES ARE DEAD…?
Mike and AJ are members of the Inner Circle, and they own an agency called AnchorWave…
Mike: Awesome, thanks so much Stephen for having us.
AJ: Super stoked, man.
Steve: Oh it’s gonna be awesome. You guys approached me… when was this? It was a while ago.
Mike: It was in October, we were at the Traffic Seekers Events in Scottsdale.
Steve: That’s right, yeah, yeah. And basically, they came to me and said something that would be very dumb for me to say no to: “Stephen can we build you something for free?” I said, sure!
… and as kind of a case study, we want to walk through what they built… because I believe that what they’ve got will revolutionize websites.
A lot of us make fun of websites. I make fun of websites. We all know that Russell in ClickFunnels’ world definitely makes fun of websites.
Steve: But you haven’t built a website, you’ve built what you call a FunnelHub. We’re definitely gonna get into that… but beforehand, we’d like to know about you guys.
What do you guys do?
Mike: So we have a web design digital marketing agency based in Tucson, Arizona. We have about a team of 20 people here. We started in 2003, so celebrated 16 years in business this year.
We’ve built A LOT of websites. More than 1300 by our closest count at this point.
Steve: Oh my gosh.
Mike: What’s funny is we heard Russell recently renew his efforts around the death of a website.
Steve: He did.
Mike: And for those of you guys who were at Funnel Hacking Live, he enrolled us in the promotion of that message. I had to turn to Anthony here and say:
“I don’t think that we can share that video for Russell, given what our company does.”
We have a lot of experience helping a lot of different types of clients build websites to build credibility and help them serve a local market.
We joined Russell’s inner circle about four and a half, five years ago, before it was cool to be in the Inner Circle.
It was just a bunch of nerds in a room giving Russell a lot of money to geek out on stuff.
And now, thanks to what he’s done, and what you’ve done, it’s kind of elevated that status quite a bit… but originally, we joined to start our expert business.
Given our experience of running a sizable team, building websites, and doing digital marketing for a local type client, we just kind of understood inherently that there was something we needed to get out there and teach to:
- Our marketplace
- WordPress developers
- Digital marketers
So about three years ago, we started something we call Agency Mastermind – which is a group that’s all about teaching the things that have helped us be successful in our world, to people out there.
We’ve just crossed the threshold, at the end of last year, to achieve our Two Comma Club Award.
Steve: Whoo! Nice!
Mike: We got to officially hang that on the wall not too long ago. So it’s cool.
HOW TO INCREASE SALES
We live in a world where we are:
- An agency of the traditional sort.
- A funnel business.
- An expert business.
So things started to kind of collide for us, and especially with our proximity to a lot the people who are just doing some really, really amazing things with funnels, (yourself being one of them)…
We started to see this picture of how we could really redefine and bring our 16 years and 1300 websites of experience to something that Russell’s currently saying is totally dead.
Steve: If Russell sees this, we still love ya. “Viva la funnels!”
Mike: Totally, and we get where that’s coming from. There’s parts of our bodies that feel that websites are dead for certain things and where the funnel makes more sense… and there’s a lot of places it does.
It’s the most amazing tool we’ve ever implemented for our expert business.
Steve: That’s awesome, that’s awesome.
So, obviously, we throw so many rocks at websites from a direct response marketers viewpoint.
I was looking at some stats just off Shopify; with like a single product on there, or multiple products… I mean they don’t convert except for like maybe one to three percent (if you’re good), you know.
From that standpoint, I can certainly see why Russell throws rocks at websites.
Steve: But you guys, I mean, you’re like scrapping that whole thing, and while it kind of looks like a website, you’re calling this thing a FunnelHub…
Could you talk about that a little bit?
AJ: Yeah, so sure…
VIVA LA FUNNELHUB
The idea behind the FunnelHub is really that, you know… Russell’s right; the funnel’s where the sales are going to happen.
We know that there’s a lot of hot buyers that go through that process. When you’re driving paid traffic, you’re going to get them to a landing page, you’re going to end up getting them to a webinar, or sell them something.
All your hot buyers are going to raise their hand and give you money. But what happens to everybody else that isn’t in that bucket? They’re gonna go, typically, and research your brand.
They’re gonna do a search for you just to see if you’re legit and they end up in the middle of nowhere. They’re not sure what the message is.
Once you reach a certain level of status in doing this, (like yourself), a lot of people are coming to you and searching for your name because they have heard you on a podcast…
Or because someone told them, “Hey you gotta check out Stephen Larsen.”
So, of course, they’re gonna Google that, and now they’re kind of lost.
- They didn’t see your ad.
- They didn’t get to your landing page.
- They didn’t see your videos that kind of explain everything.
… they have to piece all this together on their own.
So the FunnelHub is a spot where we can still guide them through that process.
We can still let them know everything that Stephen’s about… and then get them right back into the sales funnel where we know that conversions are gonna happen.
That’s the goal.
We want to communicate the movement, communicate the message, and then get them right back to where we know they’re gonna actually give you some money.
Mike: Yeah, I think what’s important…
If you figure that we’re all high-fiving and celebrating the fact that we got three or five percent of the people that made it into our funnel to hand over cash…
Or three or five percent of the people who made it to a webinar to sign up for a course…
We’re all really excited about that three-five percent who convert… but what about that other 95 percent?
What do they do? There’s kind of a thought process that goes:
Those 95 percent of people, they’re gonna buy sometime between three months and three years of interacting with you. The question is, are they going to buy from you? Or are they going to buy from somebody else?
CATCHING THE 95 PERCENT
The FunnelHub is about making sure there is a safe landing for that 95 percent of people, (by the way you probably paid for or earned them through your efforts)…
Giving them a place to get back into those funnels and really even cross-pollinate into things that they may not be ready for.
Steve: It’s almost like a way to kind of turn them from warm and cold traffic to a little more hot before they re-enter your funnel.
Mike: And to think of it from a strategy that a lot of us look at in terms of our emails…
We hear about soap opera and Seinfeld emails that go out. For a lot of people, these may be the only other way that they’re nurturing somebody along to build that relationship.
The FunnelHub is the only other platform, aside from email, that you can truly own.
At the end of the day, you’re renting space on Facebook, you’re renting time on YouTube.
Instagram is making it, (at the current moment), pretty easy for you to reach out to people… but those things change.
… but what won’t change is:
You’re going to own your customer database, and you’re going to own your FunnelHub. And those are the two places that you can truly use in order to really nurture that 95 percent along.
Steve: Totally, and you know what’s funny, everyone watching and listening to this, the thing that has made it so starkly real for me that I need this, is I actually have a lot of products that I sell…
But I know the majority of my audience has no idea what it is that I actually sell because they came in on one thing that was attractive to them…but I’ve been testing products, processes, and things like that.
So, there isn’t anything that’s pushing them to the next thing… or saying, “By the way, I also have *these* things.”
Steve: So when you guys first started talking about this, I was like:
“Oh my gosh, yes, it is the death of a website… but the birth of a FunnelHub.”
THE BIRTH OF A FUNNELHUB
When should somebody start looking to build a FunnelHub?
Mike: What we look at is if you’re currently running a successful funnel that’s getting you leads and sales every day, that means that you are building a mass of people who are going to be looking for you and going to be needing something like this.
So it’s a wide spectrum because you could have just one funnel doing that, but many of us have built several funnels that are producing leads and opportunities.
Signs that I look for:
- Are people confused about what you offer?
- They might think of you as the Sales Funnel Radio guy, but do they know that you have an event?
- Do they know about these other things?
- If you get the same questions over and over again, (especially easy ones like support questions). That’s a key indicator.
- If there are things that you’re trying to communicate to people that you just can’t seem to get them to understand.
- If you feel like you’re kind of shouting at a wall as a producer of this content.
How you organize that in a FunnelHub is a really, really key place for that.
AJ: Yeah, I think I’d add to that:
If you’re spending a lot of time getting some earned traffic, (appearing in a lot of podcasts, different publications or articles online where people are just being introduced to you)…
…those are other indicators that you probably got the shadow traffic that’s looking for your brand online.
Mike: And tell me if you think this sounds familiar?
You get introduced to someone, maybe through a Facebook ad or some kind of social post, and maybe you follow them a bit.
Maybe you opt into their funnel…
And then, one day you decide to look up something you saw them advertise…. you do a search for their name and their product…
And what comes up is their 25,000 dollar high ticket coaching application.
You’re kind of brand new into this world, yet the thing they’re leading with, (or Google’s helping them lead with), is the funnel that’s NOT appropriate for you at that point in time.
Steve: Straight to the 25 grand market.
Mike: If we could get those all day long without anything else
Steve: No one would build anything else!
Mike: Totally, but I think we can all relate to that scenario where it’s like, this person has this really deep thing, but all I’m looking for is that thing, lead magnet, this thing they promised they could help me do…
… and I can’t find it anywhere! Right?
I’m ready to start dipping my toe in the water with you… and work my way towards that one-on-one 25,000 dollar Hawaiian vacation that we’re gonna go on.
That’s a scenario that I think a lot of us can relate to…
Where the FunnelHub comes in play to make sure it’s very clear how your world and business works.
I think we see that happening more and more with a lot of people in this space.
PUBLISH YOUR VALUE LADDER
Russell, being a trailblazer that he is, at Funnel Hacking Live, what did he do? He did two things:
#1: He published his value ladder. First time ever.
Being in the inner circle, he had shared with us some months back…
About a year ago, he’s like, “Guys, I’m working on my value ladder. I’ve promised the team that I will never change it for the foreseeable future.”
…’Cause he’s one of those guys, (just like a lot of us), that has a lot of good ideas… and he’s constantly reorganizing what this means and looks like.
Steve: It took him like four months to get serious on that value ladder too. He changed it a million times.
AJ: All of us do, right?
Mike: It’s a living breathing thing, and that’s a totally natural thing.
So the lesson isn’t that you gotta lock it in place, but you do need to publish it… and you do need to help your people understand how they can move through your world.
They wanna know, they wanna buy, they want an offer, so making that clear is really key.
So we saw him put it on the screens and he published it. He printed 5000 plus versions of this thing, then distributed that to all of us so we could understand:
- How to live in his world.
- How to buy from him.
- How to associate ourselves with what he has to offer.
…and that’s really important for a lot of funnel hackers to pay attention to.
If you’re not clearly communicating how to buy, people are going to make up their own story about what it is you do.
CLARITY EQUAL CASH
So the FunnelHub steps in place to really clarify what that is for people. So that way, they know how to move through your world.
Steve: Definitely! You know, there’s a podcast episode I did a little while called Branding Comes Second. And I think when I said that, people heard, branding doesn’t matter.
I was like, no, that’s not what I said. It comes second. It comes way down the road…
In fact, there’s a great book called Niche Down…
Once you have something that sells, once you have an amazing thing, you really should start looking at branding things.
I’m not throwing branding to the wind and saying it doesn’t matter. I’m saying it’s NOT what makes the sale…
But after the sale, it starts to matter for second and third sales.
One of the things that Russell taught me was that when people start saying cool things about you on Facebook or other places, start screenshotting it and keep a folder for it.
Start collecting those kinds of things for in the future, so you can go back and already have assets ready for essentially a FunnelHub.
What assets should somebody start collecting if they’re not quite ready FunnelHub yet?
What should people be collecting along the way that makes it attractive and easy to build one?
So what we find is a lot of people are aware of that, (and they might be communicating a lot that through their funnels), but for somebody that comes to their website… they don’t see any of that.
They don’t get that full picture.
So this is also helping people just do what Russell says and making sure that all of that stuff that they’ve worked hard on is put in a spot where people can actually see it, feel something for that movement… feel like they’re part of that movement… and want to be part of it.
Mike: As you’re working through those things and coming up with your:
- Future-based cause
- Value ladder
- False beliefs
… these are ALL the pieces that need to be represented there.
That’s why this isn’t just some fancy, “Oh, Russell killed websites, so let’s call it something else,” type move.
Steve: No not at all.
Mike: This is very much about how do you align the important lessons from what we’ve learned in Expert Secrets and what we do as building an expert business and having that place where all this belongs.
This isn’t just for the people who might land on that page and your audience.
It’s for you as the expert to really have something to point at.
I know that there have been times where I’ve written my manifesto and re-wrote it. And I’d have like four or eight versions of it in my Google Drive…
Which one of them is the right one?
Being able to point to my FunnelHub and say:
- This is the right one
- This is what I’m standing for
- This is who I’m throwing rocks at
… that’s what takes that nebulous thing and really solidifies it … for not just the audience, but for the expert too.
Steve: Totally! So you’re collecting those things along the way.
Again, a value ladder is a marketing idea, and there are different products that represent that idea along this FunnelHub…
The FunnelHub is a representation of all the marketing idea that you have that’s not just a value ladder… it’s a manifesto and the title of liberty that you hold up and wave the flag around with. It’s really such an awesome platform to do that on.
This is the unveiling of SteveJLarsen.com!
STEVE J LARSEN: THE ORIGIN STORY
The guy who owned SteveLarsen.com wanted like 30 grand, or whatever… and I was like, ‘There’s no way!”
So Stephen Joseph Larsen was available, so I bought it, and I built it … and it was terrible!
It’s always poorly represented of what I do, and now it’s rebuilt. So do you want to walk us through it?
Mike: Yeah, we’d love to.
AJ: We’re super proud of this, man.
Steve: It’s incredible! I think I ran around the house a few times when I saw it the first time. Look at that!
Mike: Here we go. First things first, is I think we’re going to have to get a picture of you with a proper beard here now.
AJ: Photoshop that in or something.
Mike: This FunnelHub is really designed to help guide people through the journey that they have with you.
A big part of that is helping them understand the programs and offerings that you have and really providing that piece.
So we’ve obviously got the events…
These are the things that people want to know about you:
- They want to know who you are and what you stand for, and that’s like one of the reasons we the manifesto that you’ve adopted here letting people know what you stand for.
- In programs, we’ve published your value ladder with this cool little graphic to help people see what steps someone can move through… being able to click on these things.
Steve: I’m so excited for people to see this. I guarantee most of them don’t even know half that exists.
Mike: How many people listening to this knew you had, how many people knew about FunnelStache? They may have come in another funnel…
Obviously, a hundred percent of the people reading this right now know about Sales Funnel Radio, but there is an opportunity to ascend those people through the other things that you offer.
If you didn’t know, Stephen is the offer creation king.
Clarify in your mind that he’s the category king of helping someone clarify and launch an offer to the world…. And that’s what this FunnelHub is really driving at.
As cool and as amazing as the podcast is, (and the stories that are told), at the end of the day, they’re all in service to really building Stephen as the king of the offer creation.
It’s NOT about funnels.
We use funnels, yes, but it’s about, “How do we leverage the offer?” And that’s really what this is doing.
AJ: Yeah, one thing I’d mention on this page is that this is a living breathing thing.
I feel like a lot of people feel like they can’t get started with this unless they’ve got this all planned out and they know everything about their value ladder…
But this can change…
This is electronic. Unlike Russell printed 5,000 copies of his value ladder… this is just a graphic that we can update.
So if you have a smaller value ladder right now, and you know it’s going to get bigger, give us what you’ve got and we can communicate that, and as it grows, we can continue to add that later as well.
Steve: Yeah I’ll say the thing that I was really kind of relieving to me was when you guys said that it could change. When we first started working together, I was feelin’ I can’t ever change it! It’s permanent. It’s like a book, it will be printed… it cannot stop ever.
AJ: It’s NOT a tattoo.
Mike: Absolutely, so one thing that we haven’t touched much on is the media and speaking opportunities…
DO YOU HAVE A BLOG?
One thing that I keep on hearing people say as it relates to their own website is they just call it a blog.
A blog is one component of a FunnelHub. It’s one piece of that.
And so when you just reduce your web presence to just, “Hey it’s where I publish my blog,” …there’s so much more that should be there.
We’re not putting that there just for the just for fun, it’s actually to help people understand:
- What you do
- What you stand for
So our mission here with the FunnelHub is to help people understand that it’s much more…
A FunnelHub is much more than a blog. It’s much more than a website. It’s really helping to help paint that entire picture that needs to be shown.
It’s even a big part of a traffic strategy, and it’s a big part of a Dream 100 Strategy. That it’s NOT something that just kind of gets left off to the side.
AJ: Yeah, I have an example of somebody in the Inner Circle, I’m not gonna mention her name, but she had an opportunity to appear on a pretty big podcast… and they went and searched for her name online, and they didn’t like what came up. So they pulled that opportunity away from her.
So if she’d have had a FunnelHub that clearly outlined her movement, who she was, had all the credibility indicators that they were looking for to feel comfortable to welcome her on their show… then she would’ve been able to take advantage of the earned traffic there.
Steve: So awesome. I love that you guys asked me, “What are all the questions that people ask you over and over and over again?”
You put that in there…
There’s a FAQ…it’s awesome. It helps support everything that I’m doing. Anyway, I’m excited.
Everything is going to have Steve J Larsen in it.
Mike: And kind of like to bring it full circle, what’s cool about helping this audience, and coming from the point of view where we have our own expert business, is that we get that the experts are really busy and have a lot on their plate….
The fact that we got Stephen J. Larsen to dedicate some time to work on this project among all the other things you do, is amazing… But really, what we asked you to do is pretty minimal.
Steve: Oh, that’s what was shocking to me. There’s people who have asked stuff like that, and I’m like, “Ahhhh!”
I was excited to do this, but I think we had like three meetings and you just caught the vision and went and did it. It’s rare.
Everybody listening and watching… it’s rare to have somebody who clearly understands like FunnelHub/ websites, but then, also funnels and the funnel world and the roles between the two.
That’s rare. I don’t see that often. So it was neat. You guys just took it and ran. It was really cool.
Mike: That’s something we see as a unique aspect we provide:
- Being in the Inner Circle
- Building our own funnels
- Having an agency that’s done this for 16 years.
It’s kind of an “Ah-ha,” and I almost feel guilty… or dumb, for not really thinking of this sooner.
They say there’s a reason for everything… you know, some kids take the slow path through school, and that would be me.
Being in the inner circle as long as we have, the timing was just right around this.
AJ: For a long time, we never even talked about that side of the business. We just went to the inner circle asking for advice on our expert business and getting a lot of tips with that.
They didn’t even know we had this agency.
So this is like a coming out for us, not only in the inner circle but everybody else in the Funnel Hacking community… like, “Hey, we’ve got an agency that can help you with all this stuff.”
Steve: Totally awesome. Where can people get information?
I know about half of my audience is already killin’ it… and this actually would very much apply to them.
The other half, they’re kind of brand new, which is great and “Welcomed,” just know this is also what’s in store.
...where should people reach out?
Mike: Absolutely, so the best place to connect with us regarding this is FunnelHub.xyz. Yes, you can get an XYZ domain name!
Steve: I didn’t know that.
Mike: And now we know that too…
But on that page, you’ll find a lot of information about what we’re talking about here today, also a little bit of video preview of Stephen’s website.
You guys who are not watching the video, just head over to FunnelHub.xyz …and you can kind of get the whole story there, as well.
Steve: Yeah, it’s cool too, because they took the reins, they went and built it all out, and then I just did a critique… like, “Hey change this vernacular or whatever.”
They’re always there, (even on a monthly basis), when I reach back out and say, “Hey, my product’s changed… this has changed,” so nothing is cemented. That very much was like, “Ahh…” That helped me a lot.
Mike: As much as I would love to credit for the design or putting this whole thing together, it was absolutely our team here that helped out with that.
Jill one of our project coordinators played a major role in jockeying that. So, what’s cool is, even though we’re busy running our own expert business, you have access to the team that can make that happen.
Steve: You have a pretty big team too.
Mike: We have a team of 20 people here in Tucson, Arizona. So right outside this door right here, Jill’s office is right there.
We’ve got the team that shows up to work every day to do this kind of stuff. That’s something we’re really proud of that and really proud of our team.
I hope that you guys can see the labor of love through the FunnelHub that was created for Stephen.
Steve: Totally! You all know that we focus heavily on hiring the who that knows the how.
Entrepreneurship is NOT about you learning how to play EVERY instrument in the orchestra. It’s about you being the orchestrator. You’re the conductor.
I want you to understand clearly that the who to FunnelHubs is definitely Mike and AJ.
Go to FunnelHub.xyz and check them out. They are the experts, they birthed a lot of this concept. You’re getting it right from the horse’s mouth.
Guys, thanks so much for being on with this. This was awesome.
If you’re just starting out you’re probably studying a lot. That’s good. You’re probably geeking out on all the strategies, right? That’s also good.
But the hardest part is figuring out what the market wants to buy and how you should sell it to them, right?
That’s what I struggled with for a while until I learned the formula.
So I created a special Mastermind called an OfferMind to get you on track with the right offer, and more importantly the right sales script to get it off the ground and sell it.
There are small groups on purpose so I can answer your direct questions in person for two straight days.
You can hold your spot by going to OfferMind.com.
Again, that’s OfferMind.com.