Wish you knew the secrets of funnel hacking to optimize conversions and dominate the market?
We just granted your wish.
This funnel hacking guide will help you get more conversions from your marketing and sales funnels.
This guide will show you how to easily create, optimize and scale funnel hacking strategies for maximum efficiency.
So, read on to understand the intricacies of funnel hacking with our comprehensive guide and see the results for yourself.
But first, what exactly do we mean when we say funnel hacking?
Let’s find out.
What is Funnel Hacking?
Funnel hacking is studying and analyzing your competitors’ funnels and other successful marketing strategies and replicating those for your own business.
The idea behind funnel hacking is to learn from the best in your industry and use their proven techniques across the various stages of a funnel.
If you’re not sure how to build a sales funnel, here’s a quick overview of the various stages of a funnel, for your reference:
- Top of the Funnel – Awareness
- Middle of the Funnel – Interest and Desire
- Bottom of the Funnel – Action
Image via Forbes Advisor
You can use tools like ClickFunnels to create high-converting sales funnels.
Funnel hacking is all about investigating the tactics your competitors' use in their sales funnels to engage leads at each of these stages.
Let’s see what funnel hacking is with an example.
Zendesk is a popular customer service platform. Let’s see how its sales funnel works.
Awareness: Zendesk uses PPC ads, social media content, blogs, press releases, and other inbound marketing strategies, such as blogs, to build awareness. Here’s an Instagram post by Zendesk:
Image via Instagram
And, this is the company’s press release to announce its latest trends report.
Image via Zendesk
Interest & Desire: Once interested people visit its website, Zendesk offers a personalized video demo showcasing the benefits of using the platform to generate interest and desire.
Image via Zendesk
Action: At this stage, leads will either choose to invest in Zendesk or move on. To encourage them to signup for its trial or buy a subscription plan, Zendesk offers coupons and discounts like this:
Image via Zendesk
We now gained an overview of Zendesk’s funnel strategy and the great funnel hack it uses to close the deal.
With funnel hacking, you can:
- Gain valuable insights into what strategies your competitors are using.
- Reduce your sales funnel building time.
- Channel time and money on what actually works.
While you can reverse engineer the process, funnel hacking is not about copy-pasting your competitor’s sales strategies or about using shady marketing tactics.
Now, let’s get into the funnel hacking process.
The Step-by-Step Funnel Hacking Guide
If you want to be one of the great funnel hackers, then this step-by-step guide will show you everything you need to know.
Follow the steps below, and you'll be well on your way to growing your business at lightning speed.
1. Identify Your Competitors
The first step in funnel hacking is finding a competitor that’s already getting great results. This could be an indirect competitor in your industry or a direct competitor.
You may already know who your competitors are. But, if you are unsure, here are some ways to identify them:
- Research key players in your industry: Conduct target market research to identify companies that offer similar products or services as yours.
- Find businesses with a similar target audience: Identify other businesses that target your audience. For example, if you sell products to teenagers, your direct competitors would be other businesses that sell similar products to teenagers.
- Use social media and search engines: Find keywords related to your business and search to see which businesses come up in the results. For instance, Google lists these businesses for the keyword “gardening supplies Arizona.”
Image via Google
- Check industry-specific business directories: Look for directories that list businesses in your niche or target market. You’ll find such directories in the Chamber of Commerce, local business groups, or trade publications.
- Attend trade shows: Attend trade shows and conferences in your industry and note the businesses exhibiting to find suitable competitors.
- Ask customers: Ask your customers which other businesses they have considered buying from. This can help you identify your direct competitors and understand why customers choose them over you.
Once you've found the right set of competitors for funnel hacking, it's time to examine their marketing strategy closely.
2. Make a List of the Funnel Components to Investigate
Here are some important elements you need to asses to identify what’s working for your competitors and which strategies you can replicate.
It’s important to evaluate both front-end and backend landing pages. You land on front-end pages when you click on an ad or a SERP result.
Backend landing pages are used for down-sells, cross-sells, and upsells like this one from Speedo. After adding the product to the cart, the website upsells/cross-sells relevant products.
Image via Speedo
Here are some of the landing page elements (front-end and backend) you should investigate:
- Look at the overall design and layout of the page. Is it easy to navigate and understand? Are the calls-to-action (CTAs) clear and visible?
- Study the headline and subheadings. Are they effective in grabbing attention and communicating the key message of the page?
- Examine the use of images and videos. Do they add value to the page or used simply as a filler?
- Take note of any special features or elements they have used for landing page optimization. This could be anything from an interactive quiz to a countdown timer.
Website Copy and Creatives
Visit your competitor’s website and make a note of the following for your funnel hacking process:
- Content (landing page, headlines, copy, social proof, microcopy, tone, and length of copy)
- Creatives (animation, graphics, infographics, videos, images, etc.)
- Lead magnets (such as ebooks, studies, or templates), offers, and price points
Here is an example of the visuals and copy used on Attrock’s homepage.
Image via Attrock
How are your competitors collecting leads? What type of forms and popups are they using? Visit each competitor’s website to collect this information and note the triggers for popups.
For instance, Blue Bottle Coffee has designed its beautiful opt-in form to appear within seconds of visiting its site. The prominent ‘X’ button on the top ensures the pop-up does not hamper visitors' website experience and offers an easy exit option.
Image via Blue Bottle Coffee
The next step in the funnel hacking process is to note the social media strategy of your direct and indirect competitors. Take a closer look at their profiles, posting frequencies, and types of content shared on various platforms.
PlayStation, for instance, posts multiple videos in a day to engage its followers.
Image via Twitter
You should also analyze your competitors' social media marketing tactics, such as advertising.
Look at the ad copy, design, call-to-action, target audience, and landing page. Take note of the types of ads they run and how frequently they run them to gain insights to fuel your funnel hacking strategy.
There are a few critical elements of your competitors’ email marketing strategy that you should pay close attention to, including:
- The frequency of their emails: How often are they sending them? Is it too much or too less?
- The content and subject lines: What kind of content do they include in their emails? Is it engaging and relevant?
- The design of their emails: Are their emails well-designed and eye-catching? What are the specific design elements that they use?
- The call to action (CTA) in their emails: What are they asking recipients to do? Is the call to action compelling?
You can use SEO tools to see how your competitors’s ads and web pages rank on Google.
Type in the relevant keywords and see the top results on Google.
Take screenshots of retargeting ads, landing pages, website copy, pop-ups/forms, social media profiles, Google results, etc., and organize them in folders.
While you investigate your competitor’s funnel hacking strategy, create folders for each competitor to organize your findings.
For example, you might create a folder for each competitor's website, one for their social media profiles, and one for their retargeting ads. You could also create folders for specific pages on their website, such as their homepages, product pages, or checkout pages.
Once you have your screenshots organized, you can start analyzing your competitors’ funnels.
Look for areas where they are doing well and areas where they could improve. You can also compare their funnels to your own to see how you can improve your own conversion rates.
Next, create sub-folders within each folder to denote the specific element of their sales funnel strategy. Store your screenshots and notes in the respective folders to organize all the data.
Use Smart Funnel Hacking Tools
Studying your competitors’ funnels need not be a complex, manual process. There are plenty of tools available to help you with funnel hacking.
Here are some of them:
- SpyFu: SpyFu is a tool that allows you to spy on your competitors' paid and organic search campaigns. It provides data on keywords, ad copy, and rankings, ad spend, and incoming traffic estimates.
- SimilarWeb: SimilarWeb is a web analytics tool that provides website traffic and engagement data. It can be used to analyze the traffic volume and behavior of your competitors, as well as identify the sources of their organic traffic.
- Semrush: Semrush is an all-in-one SEO and digital marketing tool that offers keyword research, site audit, competitor analysis, and other features.
Image via Semrush
- You can assess your competitors’ monthly website traffic, traffic sources, top performing pages, keywords, and social media strategies. Read our detailed Semrush review to learn more about this tool
- Ghostery: This browser extension and mobile app allow users to block trackers and protect their online privacy. You can also use it to detect third-party trackers embedded in your competitors’ websites, including cookies, pixels, and scripts.
- AdBeat: With AdBeat, businesses can gain valuable insights into their competitors' sales and marketing processes and advertising strategies.
- These insights can include the ad copy and creative they are using, the landing pages they are directing traffic to, and the keywords and retargeting ads they use.
- Email funnel tracking tools: Once you subscribe to your competitors’ email newsletters, you can use MailCharts or SendView to get insights into their content calendar, email tech stack, send times, and more.
Image via SendView
- BuiltWith Technology Profile: The Chrome extension identifies all the technologies used to build and run any website. This includes programming languages, content management systems, ecommerce platforms, analytics tools, and more.
Image via Chrome Web Store
- Social media analytics: You can get a lot of insights from social media analytics tools. For instance, on LinkedIn, you can go to a competitor’s page and click on posts, and then on running Facebook ads to see all their published ads.
Image via LinkedIn
Facebook Meta Ad Library is a searchable database of all ads currently running on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.
Just type the keywords to see all the ads and their details in a niche. For instance, these are some ads related to California real estate.
Image via Facebook
Of course, you can also use social listening tools, such as Brandwatch, that track and analyze your competitors' social media activity, including their brand mentions, sentiment, and audience demographics.
Use tools like AdEspresso, SocialPeta, or Semrush to monitor your competitors' ad spends. This is one of the funnel hacking tactics that gives you an idea of how much they are investing in their social media ads and what platforms they are using.
Go Through Your Competitors’ Sales Funnels
One of the best funnel hacking tactics is to buy a product/service from a competitor and go through their existing funnel to understand their sales and marketing process.
For instance, if you visit Pipedrive’s website, one of the alternatives to ClickFunnels, you’re greeted with one prominent CTA (Try it free) and a second CTA (tell a friend referral program).
Image via Pipedrive
Once you click on “Try it free”, a popup appears asking you to sign in for a 14-day free trial by submitting a few details.
After you sign up, you’ll be greeted with a welcome message and an onboarding video.
Image via Pipedrive
After choosing from the options, you will be taken to the dashboard to start your pipeline building process. You will also receive a welcome email explaining their data collection policy and the next steps.
Depending on your industry, your funnel hack process may include buying a product or service to see what a competitor’s email marketing looks like and how they cross-sell or upsell their products.
As you progress in their sales funnel, observe the marketing tactics they are using, including:
- Design and length of their landing pages/sales pages/web pages
- The words, phrases, and formats used in their marketing copy
- The length of and the words used in headlines, sub-headings, and subject lines
- Price points of products/services
- The opt-in forms and popups they sue
- The lead magnets they offer, such as ebooks, webinar, video, templates, etc.
- The frequency of email marketing
- The number of steps in their marketing funnel
- Their social media profile, posts, and paid advertising
- Retargeting ad, if any
- Whether they use tracking codes
Using the information you gather from analyzing a competitor’s funnel, you can now reverse-engineer it.
Determine what strategies they use to guide customers through the sales funnel. Note any unique features or funnel hacking tactics used.
Once you have implemented changes to your funnel, it's time to test and tweak it. Use A/B testing to compare different versions of your funnel and see which one performs better.
Continue to refine your funnel hacking process until you achieve the desired results.
Q1. What is funnel hacking?
A. Funnel hacking is the process of reverse engineering successful sales funnels to gain insights into why they work so well.
A marketing funnel hack aims to build high-converting funnels by learning how to replicate a great funnel. To do this, you must study the elements that make it successful, such as its design, traffic sources, content, and offers.
Q2. How does the funnel system work?
A. High-performing funnels first capture potential customers' attention, then direct them to a landing page where you can start a conversation and build relationships with them.
From there, each customer is guided down different paths tailored to their needs, eventually leading them to purchase.
Q3. Do funnels still work?
A. Yes! Sales and marketing funnels can help marketers map out the customer journey and capture leads.
But now, successful funnels need to be much more data-driven, personalized, and automated, reflecting today's customer journey while using modern technology like AI and machine learning to improve performance.
Q4. What is a funnel example?
A. A common example of a marketing funnel is using paid Facebook ads to drive people to landing pages, where they can explore different offers and make a purchase.
Q5. Which is the best funnel hacking software?
A. There are several marketing funnel hacking software options available, each with its features and benefits. We have listed some of them in this funnel hacking guide, such as AdBeat, Ghostly, and Semrush.
Go through the blog post to find the best one for your needs.
All Set to Master Funnel Hacking?
Funnel hacking has become a cornerstone of modern marketing processes and can be used effectively.
We hope this guide on funnel hacking has helped provide you with the tools and tips necessary to make the most out of your funnel-hacking efforts.
Don't forget to tailor your sales funnels to your business's unique needs and goals. Once you have a basic sales process in place, you can start to tailor it to your business's unique needs and goals.
With the right funnel hacking strategies, you can maximize your results, increase conversions, and ultimately reach success within your business.
If you need more help building your marketing funnel, our funnel hack experts are here to help.