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338 - Interview With My Original Mentor - Part 2 of 4

Interview With My Original Mentor - Part 2 of 4

Listen To Today's Episode: 

Episode Recap:

Want to know how ClickFunnels became so popular so fast? Or how we generated over $10,000,000 in revenue our very first year, right out of the gate?

I’ll give you a hint: We didn’t sell ClickFunnels as a software.

To find out how we were able to grow so fast…and how YOU can grow YOUR company by hacking what we did, listen in to part 2 of my interview with Mark Joyner!

Subscribe To Get All Future Episodes:

Best Quote:

And I was like, "Oh my gosh, that's the thing. They have this community. They have a culture. And so when we started doing ClickFunnels, it was that mindset. How do we build a culture? So it's not just like a software. I want to build something where people feel part of it. Like it's not Russell's company, because Russell's company they'll go to whoever's the cheapest. Whoever's got the new feature. If it's their company , it it's their culture, that shifts everything. And so we started this whole thing from day one, of like, "We're funnel hackers. This is our movement. This what we believe in."


-- ClickFunnels: Everything you need to start market, sell, and deliver your products and services online (without having to hire or rely on a tech team!)

-- DotComSecrets: Get a free copy of the "Underground Playbook For Growing Your Company Online With Sales Funnels."

​-- Expert Secrets: Get a free copy of the "Underground Playbook For Converting Your Online Visitors Into Lifelong Customers."

-- ​Traffic Secrets: Get a free copy of the "Underground Playbook For Filling Your Websites And Funnels With Your Dream Customers.


Russell Brunson: Hey everyone. It's Russell Brunson. Welcome back to the Marketing Secrets Show. I hope that our last episode, you enjoyed episode number one of four with my interview with Mark Joyner. And it's fun having chance to relisten to it and rewatch it, and just I had so much fun that night, it was such a cool experience. And so with that said, I'm not going to do too much more other than set up the second part of this interview with Mark. And I hope you guys enjoy it.

If you are enjoying this series, please, please, please take a screenshot of this on your phone, wherever you listen to the podcast and post it on Facebook or Instagram. And tag me in it, do #marketingsecrets, tag me, and please give me your comments or feedback, your ideas, your aha's. I'd love to hear them. And with that said, I'm going to cue up the theme song. When we come back, you'll listen to part two of my interview with Mark Joyner. Mark Joyner: All right, what would be the third, most significant strategic move? Russell: Oh, there's a couple different directions. I could go on this one. Can I give two halves?

Mark: Please, I love it. I love it.

Russell: So one half is when we launched ClickFunnels, It wasn't just that we were going to build a software company. In fact, it was probably a month or two before we came out with ClickFunnels. I went with... I don't if you know David Frye, but David's one of my mentors.

Mark: Yeah, I love David.

Russell: His wife's actually my second aunt. So anyway...

Mark: Oh wow.

Russell: When he was dating his now wife, I was like a little snot nose kid running around at my grandma's house. And anyway.

Mark: I love David. He's my buddy. He's a great guy.

Russell: Yeah, he's amazing. And we were at this network marketing convention, and I remember we were there and the company was a software company. We're sitting there with like 5,000 people in the room. And all the people are coming on stage and they're crying and all this stuff. And I'm just confused, like this doesn't make any sense. And I remember he leaned over to me after two days of watching this and he said, "You see what they're doing?" I'm like, "No, I have no idea what's happening. I'm so confused." He's like, "They're not selling software, so they built a community."

And I was like, "Oh my gosh, that's the thing. They have this community. They have a culture. And so when we started doing ClickFunnels, it was that mindset. How do we build a culture? So it's not just like a software. I want to build something where people feel part of it. Like it's not Russell's company, because Russell's company they'll go to whoever's the cheapest. Whoever's got the new feature. If it's their company , it it's their culture, that shifts everything. And so we started this whole thing from day one, of like, "We're funnel hackers. This is our movement. This what we believe in."

And two weeks ago we had our Funnel Hacking Live. We had 4,500 people in a room and people are going crazy. We got people with ClickFunnels tattooed on their arms, people wearing custom funnels. And we had people coming on stage crying. And I'm looking out and I'm like, six years ago David Frye pointed out to me, that became a big piece of it. So I think it was not just having this as a software product, but having this as a movement, where it's bigger than that.

So, that was one big strategic thing that I think a lot of people miss. And then the second one is, I think, again, it comes back to us as marketers. We get so excited about the next thing. What's the next offer we're going to create, and everything like that. And I remember after the first year, ClickFunnels grew to a certain point, and then me I'm like, "I want to create something new." Even though the market didn't necessarily needs something new, but I wanted to do something else.

And so what I started doing is I realized, this funnel's in the middle of my value add. The webinar funnel and tons of people had seen it. It was starting to fatigue a little bit. And that point, we'd done over $10 million in sales. That's what we launched the second funnel to bring people to ClickFunnels. That's when basically I wrote the DotCom Secrets Book, and that became a book funnel. And people come and they buy the book, they go through the book funnel. And then at the end the book funnel, we just send them up into the webinar.

Mark: See that funnel right there, by the way, the links up there for that.

Russell: Oh, very cool.

Mark: You guys should check that out by the way. That's another very, very interesting thing. You guys need to funnel hack what the guy who teaches funnel hacking does. Because this dude has a mastered this stuff and that funnel is sick. It is sick. Anyway, keep going. Russell: Yeah. Well, so I'll tell you a story that shows why this is so powerful. About a year and a half, two years into ClickFunnels, We started getting all the calls. This is when the VCs and other people start noticing you. And they're like, "Hey, we want to be part of your journey." And I was just like, "I have no desire to do any of that." And then one time, some guy was like, "We're in Boise State, can we meet with you?" I'm like, "Okay, sure, let's go to lunch." And turns out they were in San Francisco, they jumped in a plane, a private plane, flew in and then drove to our office and were like, "Hey." And I'm like, "Where you guys staying?"

"Well, we just flew in." I'm like, "When? Just right...?" It was a whole thing that they tricked me into thinking they were right there. So I went to lunch with these guys and they start asking me all the VC questions like, "Well, how much does it cost to acquire a ClickFunnels customer?" And I was like, "Well, if we drive ads to the homepage, it's like", I can't remember at the time, "$150 to acquire customer." And the guy starts getting all excited and he's like, "Okay. So if we were to give you $40 million in funding", and he was doing the math, like how many customers that would equal all sorts of stuff. And he's getting all excited.

And I was like, "Wait, wait, wait", I was like, "We actually turn those ads off." He was like, "What? Why would you do that? That's a great cost to acquire customer in the bay", or whatever. And I'm like, "because I'm bootstrapping this thing. I'm paying for these customers out of my pocket. I'm not paying $150 for a trial. I'm going to be broke in a week and a half." And so I said, "But instead, what we did is we created these book funnels, where someone comes in, they buy a book." And I said, "On average, we spend about $20 in Facebook ads to sell a book. But then there's a funnel. So the audio book and there's a course. And there's a couple of different products in the funnel. And so we spend $20 to sell a book, but we make $40 in the book funnel. So I net $20 cash in my pocket.And then I tell these people, "After you read this book, you'll understand the strategy of funnels. Now you need to use ClickFunnels. So technically all of our customers actually pays $20 before we introduce them to ClickFunnels."

Mark: And this is the other book funnel, by the way, guys, if you guys want to check that out. Yeah. And both of these are pretty sick, because the first one was Dotcom Secrets and then Expert Secrets.

Russell: And then Traffic Secrets is coming out in like a month. So that's the third book.

Mark: And I'm going to be at that event. Can I say that. Can I say it?

Russell: Yes, please do.

Mark: Can I say it? Russell is holding this awesome live event. He invited a small group of speakers. Only 200 people are going to be there in the audience. But he's going to be broadcasting this live all over the world. I'm going to be there. I'm going to be one of the speakers. I was very flattered and grateful that Russell invited me to be part of this. This is going to be sick. Russell is going to spread this thing all over the place. It's going to be madness.

Everything that Russell has put on since... Well, over the last few years, everything you've done has just been nuts. But it's been getting better and better and better. I'm so excited to see what you do with this one, because I have a feeling this is going to eclipse any of the past campaigns you've ever done. I got a little feeling in my gut.

Russell: I was so excited for it. It's like, as I'm writing the book, all I can think about is how we're going to sell the book, like this is going to be so much fun.

Mark: Oh dude. That's awesome. That's awesome.

Russell: So fun. But what's crazy was I'm sitting there that lunch with the VC, I'm telling this stuff. And he doesn't understand it the first time, I explaining it three or four times. And finally remember he said something really profound. He said, "If what you're telling me is true, this will change business forever." And I was like, that's the whole thing. A software company that's grown to the size we have, all of them have taken on money. I can't find any that didn't.

Mark: That's right. Russell: Maybe a couple. But for the most part, they all took on money to grow. And I was like, instead of bringing on cash to grow, you just use a funnel and it finances itself the whole way. And so I think that's a big strategic thing is like, we drink our own Kool-Aid. I literally today was working with my funnel team on our next funnel for the next campaign, to bring more customers in for free that we can then bring into ClickFunnels. So I think that's another big piece is just understanding you can grow a company without taking on cash, it's just understanding this funnel game where your customers finance the growth. And I think that's the best way to do it.

Mark: Well, I got to tell you what. For me personally, my experience in the VC world and in the acquisition world and all of that, back in the early days of online marketing, you were still in college, but before the first dot-com bubble burst, I'll just give you guys one example of one of the ugly things I saw. Every company that I've ever started was bootstrapped, but we had some of the same things. We had people coming in trying to acquire stuff. I started the second pay-per-click search engine. While Google was still in college. I started the second pay-per-click search engine.

Well, I want to be very careful about how I phrase this here. Let's just say around that same time, there was a group of people who attempted to acquire one of my companies and through some shady, reverse merger, backend, crazy deal, these guys basically bamboozled us out of everything. And it turned out that a lot of the guys who were involved in that ended up going to jail for stock fraud later. And that kind of thing, by the way, people don't understand, this is common.

So not only are the VC guys who were the legit VC guys, those guys are sharks too. But there's a layer underneath those guys who were like straight criminal sharks as well. So you have to be extremely careful when you're swimming in that world. And this is why, for me, I don't want to accept outside funding for anything. I want to bootstrap everything. I want to surround myself around people who are as motivated as I am, so that I can grow it by pulling our own selves up by our own bootstraps. And then we're going to own everything. We're going to get all the profit, and we don't have to worry about some VC jerk off telling us how to run the business when they don't really understand.

Russell: You want to know something cool?

Mark: Please.

Russell: I just bought And my next book is going to be called

Mark: I love it.

Russell: You said it five times. I'm like, "I'm so excited right now."

Mark: That's awesome. Okay, so after the trilogy, you're starting a whole new thing.

Russell: Yeah, because the trilogy has been how-to books. This one's not going to be a how-to book. This is going to be like the story of... And what's crazy, ClickFunnels was built remote, all of our team's remote. So almost every conversation has happened on Boxer. So we've recorded every important conversation in ClickFunnels. So I'm getting them all downloaded and transcribed right now. So it's going to be like, this is actually what Russell said. In fact, you could listen to the conversations. Anyway, I'm excited. That's going to be my next project starting in about a year from now.

Mark: Beautiful. So, man, I'm going to have to skip a couple of these. All right, so here's one… R

ussell: I'm feeling good so we can keep going. Don't worry.

Mark: All right. Awesome. Awesome. Well, you're always super energetic, man. Every time I talk to Russell, I get more energized. I'm generally a pretty energetic guy, but I just vibe, because Russell's got this amazing... He effervesces energy. All right, so what would you say are the three biggest barriers, or bottlenecks for growth in businesses right now?

Russell: In my specific business, or just business as a whole?

Mark: Well, either one. You pick either one.

Russell: Interesting. So three biggest bottlenecks for growth. I think this may be a little early, but I think one of the biggest things people are going to see, right now we've been in this amazing season where advertising has been easy. When I first got started online, grateful for you, because I don't know how you guys can figure it out back in the day. We were building lists and there was no Facebook. Google, wasn't really there the way... I was lucky enough to hear your audio is on viral marketing. And we were building these viral sites to acquire customers email addresses. And I remember sitting listing the farewell package, and you talking about with crazy stuff you guys would do to get a list. So you got my mind thinking like that.

Mark: Yeah, we had to get super creative. We had to get super creative.

Russell: Oh yeah. No one thinks of that anymore. So what's happened is Facebook came out. It's easy. Everyone's in business and it's been like that for the last decade. So business has been so, so simple. And I don't think it's going to last that much longer. I think either some government regulation is going to happen, or they're just going to do a Google, where they start shifting away from smaller brands and just elbow us out and go after bigger companies.

And I think in fact, that's a big reason I wrote the Traffic Secrets book. Hopefully you guys all have a chance to read it when it comes out, but it's very much not tactical, like here's how to run a Facebook app. I don't show the Facebook editor once. It's very much a strategic book, like how do you start thinking differently? Because when Zuckerberg comes and we always joke, it was probably because I was writing the book right when Avengers: Endgame came out. And Thanos, who does the Thanos snap and half the world disappears. We always talk about Zuckerberg. We nicknamed it off as Zanos.

I'm like, Zanos is going to snap his finger, and half the entrepreneurs and businesses will disappear. And we're seeing it. I've had probably five or six people that are friends, in the last week alone, who's got Facebook ads shut down. And it's going to be coming. And so I think the biggest thing is that people have had it really good and really easy, because they've just been like, "I'd run Facebook ads, or I run a Google ad." they're just doing the basics, that are simple. It's going to get harder. And so I think it's time for all of us to start resharpening our marketing mind.

In the Traffic Secrets book, I have a whole chapter on integration marketing. I learned this from my mentor, Mark Joyner, you guys need to start learning this stuff." Just all these different things that, that people haven't had to learn. I'm definitely looking at it and. And I keep giving you so much credit, because so much of my mindset initially was based on your teachings. But we spend so much effort right now focusing on list building, because I know that it's going to get harder to build lists.

Like right now, from site, we get about 1500 opt-ins a day. And then for my other funnels, we get about three to 4,000 opt-ins a day. So we got almost 5,000 people a day opting in. And that's our focal points. Because I'm like, "I'm going to keep building these lists like crazy, because someday these other things might disappear, or get harder, or more expensive. And I'm going to have these lists, and I'll be able to weather the storm." Where a lot of people are not going to be able to, because they're not focusing on list building and building relationships with those lists. They're just out there buying Facebook ads, because it's easy. And I think that's one of the biggest things that I'm fearful for myself. I'm doubling down on, I think other people need to as well.

Mark: I want to interject really quick here about something, because it's funny you bring this up. Because this is something I've been talking about a lot. So I've been doing a lot more public speaking lately. And one of the things that I've been talking about is exactly this. And I want to show everybody a little bit of an interesting phenomenon in it. Russell, I think you'll appreciate this.

So if you guys remember Chris Anderson writing the book about the Long Tail, right? And if this is the unit numbers sold of any particular... Let's say you imagine you take Amazon's entire marketplace. This is the number of units sold and this is the rank. So the number one selling book is going to outsell the number two selling book by an order of magnitude, at least. So it's like the inverse of an exponential growth curve.

So Chris Anderson's whole theory about the long tail, was that because automation is making everything so easy, was that yeah, traditionally people used to focus all their energy in here, because this is where all the money was. But now, because of the improvements we have in supply chain technology and deliveries, there's so much money in the long tail of the graph. And if you could have an inventory of billions and billions and billions of units that represents enormous economic potential.

But here's what happened, the exact opposite of what Chris Anderson predicted is the reality of what happened. See Facebook, YouTube, all of these platforms, they built themselves on our backs. We were the ones that created all of the content so that these guys could be so big. And now we're the eyeballs, but guess who they care about now? If you take this out and you put in, you take this same graph and you speak in terms of ad spending, they only care about this portion of the graph. Why?

While this represents a lot of economic potential. It also represents an enormous pain in the ass for the company that has to manage it.

Russell: They hate customers.

Mark: They hate the customers. And this is why when you're on Facebook and we're on YouTube, now, your ads are getting shut down algorithmically, or they're getting shut down by some low-level employee that doesn't really understand what's going on and they don't give you any explanation. And Russell, you've probably heard so many stories like this. People wake up in the morning and then they have this business, it's going great guns. And they're saying to their wives, "This is it. We've made it." And then the next day they wake up and then because something happened algorithmically in Facebook, they completely get shut down, that their lives are basically shattered as a result of that.

So unless you're here, in terms of ad spend, you don't get their attention. They're not going to explain to you why they shut you down. And this is why we started this thing called integration marketing society. So you talked about integration marketing. So we're building integration marketing society, so people can band together and buttress ourselves against the threat of this. That's what that whole thing is all about. So I want to have another conversation with you about that another time, because I think that there's a lot of potential synergy there. I'm glad you're seeing that same thing. So what would you say is the number two and three bottlenecks now, then?

Russell: Let's see. So definitely traffic's the biggest one, I think. And I don't know historically how all this all works, but advertising's all about the pattern interrupt. We're still seeing stuff happening. And then like the thing that catches our attention, it interrupts. And it used to be, back when we first got started, you figured out a pattern interrupt and nothing would last for months, or years before people caught on and figured it out. And now it's tough because we come out with the new pattern interrupt, we post it on Instagram, and within like 15 minutes, there's 800 other people doing the exact same posts. They see, "It worked for us it must work for me." And they start doing it.

And it's interesting, because it's so easy now to clone and to copy and things like that. And so I think for people who are truly trying to grow companies and serve in a different level and like be creatives, being creative is harder. And I think that it takes... I don't know exactly how to phrase it right. But I think that the me-too stuff's going to get worse and worse, because there's some people copying, right?

Mark: Yes.

Russell: I'm going to get better at the creation and better at creative and better at figuring out how to break the pattern and break the pattern, and stay in front of that all the time. Because it's crazy how fast things get knocked off now. We have a campaign, or something that's working and it's crazy. In fact, I had this conversation with Dean Graziosi, He's become a dear friend and Dean ran infomercials for a year. And he said that he would record a show, an infomercial, and the lifespan was like 18 months. every 18 months, he had to record a new show. Then he came on the internet and he's like I started doing my ads and I would launch them on Facebook, or Instagram. He's like, "They'd be killing it for a day and a half, two days, and then it's gone." And he's like, "What?"

And they couldn't figure it out. And he basically came back, he said I'm testing a bunch of stuff. He said, the biggest thing he figured out, he has to create tons of creative. I said, "Well, how much? One ad a week, two ads a week?" He's like, "No, no, no." He's like, "I carry my phone wherever I go, like two to three ads a day, minimum." And he's walking around with his book, like, "Here's an ad here." He walks to his daughter's soccer game, he's doing an ad there. And then he's in the elevators, doing an ad there. And just tons and tons and tons and tons of creative. And I figured out how to break the pattern, how to like how to grab people's attention.

And so it's like, if you don't love your thing enough to like, "I got to create a lot more creative", it's going to be hard, because people are just knocking you off. So I think that's a big part for us. We used to spend so much time being slow on creating ads and stuff. Now it's more like, how do we stay in front of that curve and get excited where the art isn't in creating next product or the next campaign, or the next funnel, the art becomes, "What's a new way I can sell the thing you already have." And it's that big shift. In fact, in our company, I like building funnels. I'm a little obsessed with it. And so for a long time-

Mark: Yeah, to say the least.

Russell: Yeah. The way we kept growing is I create new funnel and create a new funnel. And the tough things is it's just hard to keep doing that, because then every time you create a new funnel, you got to create the new ads and it's a lot more work and effort. Whereas, now it's like we shifted our focus in less funnels, but more creative for every funnel. And it's just a different mindset shift. And so it's not super clear the way it came out, but it's one of the big problems I've seen that we're having is ad fatigue. It burns out super fast if you're not in front of just creation, always trying to figure out different ways to break the pattern. You're going to get left behind really, really quickly. Because the copycats are so many of now, that even if you are copying the gift pattern, the diminishing return hits so fast.

Mark: Well, the problem is, is people also don't know how to copy. For me, there's like three levels of copying, one is straight out plagiarism. And then the next one is, is people take your surface stuff and they change a few words and then they pop that up. Which to me is just as dumb and is just as shady. Because first of all, changing a couple of words doesn't make sense when you're dealing with a completely different product.

Russell: All sorts of stuff.

Mark: Yeah. So many different things are different. And this is where you really got to get into the real understanding of when you're funnel hacking something, or you're modeling something, what you have to understand is the psychological structure behind it. And this is what Breakthrough Advertising, the classic Eugene Schwartz book that everybody should be reading. I had to read that probably about five times before it finally sunk in. Holy crap. I didn't really understand it at first. I was like, "Oh, okay. It's interesting."

But then when it finally clicked. And his whole idea, it's basically based on the notion that you've got to analyze how to connect your product with the market forces that already exist. And every product, in every market is going to have a different way of connecting that. And you can't copy that from someone. The only way to get that correctly, to have a real big legitimate breakthrough in the business is through the process of analysis.

And this that's the core idea of... There's so many nuggets of wisdom for breakthrough advertising, but that's the core thing that people had better get good at, because I tell you what, if they don't, here's what's going to happen. It's going to become like the quants in the trading game. The quants are like, "Hey, let's see who can shave a quarter of a millisecond off the trading time on the stock market." Well, if the marketing world becomes like that, good luck to you unless you're the guy with the best quants. The only other way to compete then is to train your creative mind, to come up with creative answers.

And as you remember from the farewell package, there are so many ways to do that. There are so many out of the box ways. You don't have to do things the same way everyone else is doing, but everybody's getting lazy now, because they see the quick way to get it done. But I think what's going to happen to those people, it's going to be what happened to the people early on in the early internet era. When the guys got the big, quick SEO money. Because remember I was telling you, "Hey man, don't do the ad set. Don't go too far down that AdSense rabbit hole. Build your list."

Well, remember all those guys who are killing it with AdSense. And then were, boom. Thanos snapped his fingers and then all of them money was gone. That's going to happen to everybody who doesn't build their creative muscle.

Russell: 100%.


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