SEO

#336 – 5 Small Sites Making Money Without Google

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59 min read
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️ Overview

  • Real-life Facebook ad funnels that actually work for small sites
  • How these small sites have maximized conversion value
  • Mark and Gael’s analyses and tips from their personal experience

A special thanks to our sponsors for this episode, Digital PR Agency Search Intelligence.

In this episode, Mark and Gael dive deep into real-life Facebook ad funnels that actually work for small sites. Using the free Facebook Ad Library tool, they’ll break down ads from small businesses in several niches that have been profitable over time, including their strategies for maximizing conversion with bumps, upsells and other tactics.

If you’re looking for actionable insights backed by success stories, this is an episode you won’t want to miss.

Meredith Shirk & Svelte Training

  • Summary: A weight loss and general health programme that uses Facebook ads to funnel traffic to their weight-loss infoproduct.
  • Strategies: Their Facebook ads direct to a quiz landing page, which is great for gathering lead information. They also use standard sales tactics like scarcity.
  • Takeaway: Targeted, long-running ads can drive sustainable business even in broad niches like health and fitness.

Dogs 4 Motion Academy

  • Summary: A dog training site offering a range of training courses, that have been successful despite minimal organic traffic.
  • Strategies: Their sales page framework (Problem-Agitation-Solution) has been really well thought out. Video ads seem to be performing better for them than image ads.
  • Takeaway: The site emphasizes the strength of specialized content and direct advertising in building a substantial customer base in niche markets.

iPhone Photography School

  • Summary: A multimillion-dollar business built around courses for iPhone photography, leaning heavily on social media presence and video ads.
  • Strategies: Use countdowns in their offers to create urgency, and their minimalist but impactful sales pages would resonate well with their audience demographic.
  • Takeaway: Their use of high-quality video content and A/B testing sales have created direct and engaging advertising.

Hand Lettered Art by Danielle

  • Summary: Moved from selling digital templates on Etsy to selling comprehensive courses on hand lettering, specifically for iPads.
  • Strategies: Uses a wide range of video ads, including tutorials and sales pitches, to cater to a niche but passionate audience.
  • Takeaway: Despite some sales page and checkouts shortcomings, they’re able to target a hyper-niche audience.

The Practice by Karin Dimitrovova

  • Summary: Focuses on yoga and flexibility, using straight-to-the-point ads that highlight foundational strength for yoga enthusiasts.
  • Strategies: Use PAS (Problem-Agitation-Solution) copy on the landing page and a simple yet effective sales funnel.
  • Takeaway: They balance authentic content with strategic call-outs to their audience, matching their product offerings with customer aspirations well.

Recommendations

You don’t need a large budget or high-level tech skills to create efficient and effective sales funnels. There are plenty of accessible and affordable tools, like GenerateBlocks and GeneratePress for building sales pages, and ThriveCart for checkouts, that can seriously enhance how you build and manage your digital marketing pipeline.

If you’re interested in seeing real-life examples that will help you diversify your traffic sources and business model, you’re in the right place. After seeing the level of interest generated by our latest podcast where we discuss how we use Facebook ads to sell products as a quick and profitable alternative to using Google Search, we decided to dig a little deeper. Because I know many people think that the fact that we have made it work does not mean that it’s replicable by everyone until proven otherwise. For this episode, we spent a few hours using the free Facebook Ads Library tool that lets you see all the ads that are currently running on the Meta ads network. Think about it like a free version of Ahrefs or Semrush, but for Facebook ads. It allows you to plug keywords or pages and see exactly what ads they are running to what landing page and how long they’ve been running for. We use this tool and we looked for small businesses running ads for a long time to an info product funnel in various niches, as you’ll see in the episode. The keyword here is long time. A lot of people are not profitable with ads, so we wanted to find companies that have been doing for a while.

And given that Facebook’s ROI reporting is quite good, if they keep spending, it’s very likely they’re actually making money from this. And to dig even deeper into these funnels, we even checked out for some of the products to see the upsell flow and how they maximise the conversion value with upsells all the bumps, and all the really cool tactics that you will see in the episode. So if you were intrigued by our last episode and wanted to see some real-life examples of small businesses in multiple niches doing the same, you’ve come to the right place.

Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Authority Hacker podcast. My name is Gael Breton. I’m the co-founder of Authority Hacker. And together with Mark, who is also my co-founder, we’re going to present the podcast today. And we’re going to talk about actually real-life funnels on Facebook ads that actually work as a way to follow up on what happened two weeks ago when we shared our own personal experience and how the business model works. We thought that a lot of people would want to see more real-life stuff. So that’s where we went. We went to dig on the Facebook Ad Library, sorry, which is completely free, and dug out some funnels that everyone can do. Everyone can go on the Ad Library and find some funnels. Kind of big takeaways you got from spending some time on the Ad Library.

Yeah. So the bar is very low. Whereas if you’re looking at competitors in SEO, generally, most people in most niches are doing a pretty good job of their SEO, right? You’re not really competing directly against people so much on Facebook as. I mean, you are. It’s a marketplace at the end of the day, but It’s not like you’re targeting a keyword and there’s only 10 places that you can potentially get featured there, right? So there are people who are just very passionate about the topic or the niche they’re in, and they’ve created some content or course and doing pretty okay with Facebook ads in a half-decent funnel. And this is not stuff that they’ve had professional web designers or marketers or video editors put together. It’s all… A lot of it is shot on a phone and just put together with some basic tools. And I think most people, if you’ve built a website or you have any basic marketing skills, you’ll be able to do all of this yourself.

Yeah. And I think on purpose, I didn’t want to pick big companies and people who do things perfectly. There’s one company that does things really well that we’re I’m going to talk about in this podcast. But most importantly, I wanted people to be able to identify to this and be like, I’m just a solo marketer. We’re like a small team or something. Can we do something like this? And these are the people that we’re going to be featuring here. So what I suggest is we just jump into the first one. We don’t waste time. And we talk about the first one, which is Meredys Shirk and Zvelt Training. So don’t ask me how I found that. I did find that. Basically, in a nutshell, it’s like weight loss and general health, I would say, programme. And what we’re going to do for how we break down the funnels is we’re going to start with the ads and we’re going to keep going down on how they’re doing things and explain to you how they do that. So if you are on the video podcast on YouTube, you’ll actually be able to see some bureau and we’re going to show you that.

If you are on the audio, you can either, when you go home, watch it on YouTube if you want to see the video or you would describe it to you. One of the ways I found these businesses that are doing well with ads is Facebook Ads Library. You have a filtering option, and you can philtre for ads that are still active but have had impressions quite a while ago, and that allows you to see ads that have been running for a while. And that tells me that either the owner is making money and it’s working, or they’re stupid and they don’t track their ads properly. It has to be one of these two. But in this case, this company has ads running since December 23rd, 2022, actually. In terms of Facebook ads, that’s pretty old. People do tend to rotate their creatives quite often. As a result, seeing all ads on this funnel, especially seeing them pointing at the same landing page as the recent ads have been pointing to, tells me that they’re doing well. They’re probably making money. The ads are like vertical videos. Vertical or like vertical rectangles, like Instagram posts or like actual reels, actually.

But they’re weird because the videos are just a bunch of mishmash of different things. It’s clips of 20, 30 seconds. It starts with a health tip, for example. Then there’s what I call a UGC review. I don’t know if that’s real, but it’s like some guy on a green screen that says, Oh my God, I check these girls’ health advice. It’s real, it’s legit, guys, you should check it out, and so on.

Then it just jumped. Did it feel inauthentic? Is that what you’re saying?

I feel like I could buy this on Fiverr. I don’t know if that’s real. It could be poor production, let’s be honest. They deserve the benefit of the doubt. But she seems like okay. The girl, she seems okay, but the production, it feels like 80s infomercial, a little bit. It cuts randomly from one to another. But probably it works because she’s been running this ad since 2022, and she’s spending quite a bit of money on that from the amount of ads, creatives I see. We’ll probably put that on the screen, but there’s a lot of them actually. She has this thing called MetaBoost. What she does is she does not send people to buy a product directly, like we mentioned in last week’s podcast. She actually sends people to a quiz. You land on a landing page that is basically you have the whole section above the fold that ask you if you’re a man or woman. Then there’s some random copy below, but basically you’re supposed to click on the button Man or Woman. From there, it’s one of these visual quizzes where you have these big grids and it’s like, Oh, what age are you?

You have 18 to 24, 25 to 34, et cetera. You go through that and you answer the questions. It’s like, Oh, do you want to be thin, medium? Or is your body type thin, medium, et cetera? That stuff. I found it quite interesting because there’s this some pre-sales tactics in these quizzes. Let’s talk about why people do quizzes. First of all, collect information about the lead. Actually, when you get to the last page of the quiz, they give you a pre-written thing for the type of answers that you gave that feels personalised, basically. So it feels like the whole thing was personalised. They make you say yes to a lot of things. So for example, there’s a question that says, Do you want to lose weight fast and safely? I’m like, People who click on the weight loss ad, they’re probably going to say yes to that. So there’s this getting people to say yes.

It’s a common sales tactic that when you’re doing a sales page or a sales letter or any sales, if you just get people to say yes, they get into that, yes, yes, Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And then the thinking is, when you come to offer them something, they’re more likely to say yes. There is some evidence-based… They’ve done some experiments with that stuff before.

So it’s not unfounded. It’s the same tactics as the ’80s infomercials. We’re very much in that vibe here. You basically answer eight questions or something. I’ll be honest, the design of the quiz feels a bit amateurish because there’s some healthy food in the background, but then the text is white and it’s hard to read. The design is like, it could be better. It’s a bit amateurish, but it’s good because you see that even though it’s amateurish, probably it’s working for her and she’s happy to pay for the clicks. Anyway, you get to the last page and then they’re like, Oh, based on your hand, and so you have a medium body type, you’re probably middle-sized. With an hour glass figure or medium frame, blah, blah, blah. Kind of cold reading on you. Then you get to click on a button at the bottom that says see the presentation. Then when you click on that, basically, there’s a 50-minute video of that girl that basically starts with health advice, but eventually it turns into a sales pitch. When you reach a certain point in the video, I think it’s like, I’m trying to check now, but it’s around 20 minutes or something.

Then there’s a get started button that pops up under the video. Very classic like ClickBank formula, I would call this. We used to promote lots of these offers in the past. Then you basically get to essentially check out to product to product if you want. It’s a diet/nutrition product. It seems pretty generic, and it’s $29. I did not check out on this offer. I checked out on some other offers, so we’ll talk about that.

We did have a look at the checkout page for this one, though, and it’s okay. It’s got all your usual elements, like the what’s inside, the $299, scored out, actually $29. Time is running out, only three spots left at this price. That feels a little bit fake.

It’s really badly done as well. You can see it’s just plain text.

They do have a 30-day or 60-day money-back guarantee, which is fantastic. Big fan of these guarantees, but it looks like an image or a JPEG has just been taken from somewhere else. The design is very different to the rest of the site. It’s a standard checkout form for…

They have another bump.

It’s a digital product. They do have an order bump. And that’s something which I think is really important if you’re running Facebook ads, especially, because 30 to 40 % of people, something like that, can be expected to take that bump. And it’s in this case at $12 she’s selling it for. And that just increases her average order value by quite a lot. So again, it allows you to spend more money running ads when you do that.

It’s 40% more money, actually, because it’s only $29 for the product. It’s actually quite a lot more money. I mean, what’s our experience? What’s the take rate on all the bumps?

Around 30 to 40 %.

So it’s quite significant. I mean, in this case, I think it’s almost too cheap. I think she should probably push it to… She probably should push her product to 37 and then sell the bomb to 19 or something.

We didn’t check out on this one, so we don’t know what upsell is behind this, but I would be surprised if there wasn’t some upsell behind this. It’s quite a common… 29 dollars is a common first offer price point. And then there’s a little bit, you get a little bit of extra value with the upsell, and then they’ll hit you with a $200 upsell, something like that immediately. And really, that’s what you’re counting on to really make your profit from running these offers with paid traffic.

Yeah. And she’s building a buyer’s email list by selling a very low-ticket offer. So it’s like she probably has a big email list full of buyers. It’s very easy to do a product launch after that and make lots of money. We didn’t mention as well, but she added some free bonuses to that as well. So it’s pretty classic when you make an offer for an info product. So bonus one, shopping list and recipes, and bonus two is like natural hormone balancing superfood, whatever that means. But yeah, it’s a pretty classic funnel, executed in a bit of an oldish way, I would say. I feel like the 50-minute video, unsolicited 50-minute video, feels like a little bit much to me. She probably drops a lot of people there. But other than that, it looks like it’s working for her. Who am I to criticise? That’s our first example. It shows that even an imperfect funnel can make it on Facebook ads.

Yeah, that’s the thing. Can you imagine applying that same style and approach to an SEO marketing play? You wouldn’t get anywhere with it.

The sites that were built like that, they’re gone from Google now. So it’s like, well, it seems like small lignes when you do Facebook ads. Definitely. Should we jump on to the next example? Yeah.

So the next example is Dogs 4 Motion Academy. It’s a dog training website/course business. It’s They’re only DR14. There’s zero organic traffic. They do some organic social, but not very much. But they do run quite a lot of ads and have been running quite a lot of ads for the past few years. According to their site, they got 7,193 active members of their academy, and they’ve sold over 10,000 courses in total.

Is it recurring? Is it like…

It’s not recurring, no. They do have some ongoing training, and there’s some payment plans and things like that. We’ll get into that in a second. But they don’t have a membership. Could be something that may be missing out on there, but I didn’t see anything advertised for it. One thing I will say is, again, this website is not built amazingly, and I don’t mean to say that in a bad way. The people behind this, they’re clearly very passionate about dog training. They’re clearly very good at what they do. But there are, it’s just a little bit difficult to find out because some of their products, some of the links to some of the products weren’t working, and there was a few just basic issues there. But from what I can tell, they sell two two sets of products, two sets of courses. So some are based on the dog fitness and… Yeah, helping your dog to be very agile so it can compete in shows and do all that stuff. And then some of it is just basic dog training. So the other important thing about this is it’s done by non-native English speakers. I mean, their English is great, probably better than yours, Gael.

Thank you.

But this doesn’t need to be a barrier, is what I’m saying.

If you are not a native English speaker, they’ve sold 10,000 courses on this website. In terms of their ads, so there’s three or four types of ads they have. Again, very, very heavy in video. And one interesting thing, if you look in the Facebook Ads Library, if you look at the active versus inactive ads, they have a lot more inactive ads, which are images, and a lot more active ads, which are video. So that tells you that video ads tend to be performing better over the long run. And that’s something we’ve seen in all our ad campaigns as well. But they have three types. They’ve got the three-second training video. Sorry, three minutes training video. Three minutes training video, which is, as you would imagine, it’s a three minute video. I think it’s actually just taken out from one of their courses, and then it leads into a pitch for one of their products. They’ve got the one minute training video, which, again, is the same thing, just short term. It doesn’t fade in seamlessly. It’s literally they just fade it out and then fade in this other section with jarringly loud music, actually. And here’s this course, etc.

The pitch part. Then they also have a 15 second ad, which shows some of the video training, but there’s no voice audio in that, which is a little bit interesting. I thought maybe this is something for retargeting or something. I wouldn’t imagine that would work so well on cold traffic. And all of these ads, they’ll link to one of their courses, and they have, I think, 12 or 14 different courses, something like It seems to be… They’ll focus on a very specific problem that the dog might be having with their agility, and then there’s a upsell to a fundamentals course or a broader course there. It’s not super clean the way they’ve done it all, but what I do really like is they’ve clearly thought out their sales page framework in a nice way. They’re using this PAS.

I want to go back to the ads for a second before we jump on the sales page. Are they useful? You said they have these training videos. It’s like, could I watch this and teach something to my dog or something?

I wouldn’t say so, no. It’s not like they’re… In the next example we’re doing this next company. They do a fantastic job. You get a lot of value and you can implement that. We’ll see the difference there in a second. It feels like what they’ve done is they’ve just taken a clip out of one of their videos and put it up there. The whole thing on its own, it’s okay, it’s interesting. It gives you a feel for what their courses are going to look like. But what it doesn’t do is just give you bunch of value that you can take away and even if you don’t buy, use all. So you don’t feel like you owe them so much from there. But at the same time, they have been running these ads for over a year now. They’ve probably. I think something’s working there, yeah. And judging by the number of customers they have. Clearly, they’re doing some things right. Their sales pages are okay. Again, visually, they’re not super amazing, but the structure of them, what they’ve got in there, they’ve got the PS framework. So the problem, agitate, and then provide solution.

Here is why dog owners never or your dog never reaches its full potential. You tried this, but it didn’t work. And here’s our solution. And what I really like is they’ve created these models for how their teaching works. So the four key pillars for fundamental success. And it’s like they got this pyramid in one of them where they show all the steps there. And it shows that it’s well thought out and the teaching steps are clear to me before I sign up for this course. One really cool thing from a marketing perspective, I saw, is they have an exit intent pop-up on their sales page where you can opt in to get a, they call it a free taste. Essentially it’s 12 free lessons from the course, which is a lot, but they are offering a tonne of value up front there if you’re on the fence. So anyone opting into that, maybe they get too much value from it, but at the same time, I feel like they would really get a taste of what’s in there. In terms of the structuring of their product, again, it’s very well thought out. It’s not just, oh, here’s a course that teaches you this.

They’ve got here, we’ll first teach you all the fundamentals, then we’ll give you 25 strengthening exercises for isolated body parts and full body workouts. We’ll teach you how to do warmups and cool downs, 52 video lessons in total. You got lifetime access to all of the content. One interesting thing is they say this works on any device, and they got pictures of phones and tablets and all that, because for B2B products, especially, and these these days, a lot of people are browsing not on a desktop computer, not on a laptop, for B2C, rather. So I imagine most of their customers are on these other types of devices. So it’s very important there. The other thing that is good to do is it solidifies that this is not a physical thing that you’re going to get sent out. And believe it or not, a percentage of people that buy your product will believe that they’re going to get sent out some physical thing. Just It’s because of the way a lot of companies do it with illustrations of the course, it looks like it’s something physical. And so sometimes people expect that. It’s a problem we had before on one of our other sites, but it’s not really a problem for Authority Hacker because everyone knows what they’re doing.

Can you imagine if we sent like videotapes or something? That’d be fun, no? Yeah.

There is another example later in this episode where there are some physical things as well, so we’ll get into that. They have, as part of the course, Quizzes to Test Your Learning. Again, teachable Circle, all these platforms, they offer the ability to create a quiz to check if you actually learned it.

That’s Circle, I think. Circle doesn’t do it?

No. Teachable definitely does it. Thinkific and LearnDash does it as well, for sure. I’m surprised circle doesn’t do it, actually.

I mean, they’re still a young company. They don’t have all this.

There’s a Facebook group with support and community, and you get a certificate of completion. I don’t know if that’s physical. I presume that’s a digital one. But a lot of people are really interested in getting a certificate and they feel… People like it, yeah. I’ve got that. It’s a thing. So if you click through to the shopping cart, it’s also quite interesting. It’s a one-step cart. It’s either €247 or €135. I’m not a fan of pricing in euros because I feel like for Americans who in English, a language, are the biggest audience for online courses, I feel like it’s maybe a little bit off-putting to them. You’re going to have to have some segments paying a different currency. Even coming from the UK, I’m used to paying for courses in dollars. Someone come from France, I’m sure you’re used to paying for online courses in dollars if they’re in English.

French people don’t speak English, so that’s not an issue.

Yeah, so you said it, not me. But a couple of good things to do, so they got an order bump. And this is a really cool order bump actually. It’s one on one personal feedback for €30, which is really cheap actually. I feel like that could be more expensive. But you basically get to take some photos of you and your dog, some videos rather, of you and your dog, and someone will give you personalised feedback on that, which is pretty cool. They got the testimonials, their support, their money back guarantee. Another really cool thing, they offer Google Pay and Apple Pay on their shopping cart, which a lot of people, they’re using Thrivecart. So if you’re using Thrivecart, you should absolutely turn that on. If you have Stripe, it’s really, really simple. You just turn it on in Thrivecart. And I think we find five or six % of people that buy from us use that. So, yeah, it’s helpful. One other tip that I would give them is I think they should hide the coupon code field on their cart. When people see that, the first inclination is to go to Google and search for the business name and coupon code.

And if you do that, you actually find some pages there. I’m not sure if there’s coupons on them, but it just sometimes people feel like, Oh, I’m missing out because other people might have coupons. I was also actually able to find their Upsell page because I just googled it and they had named their page Upsell and it was indexed. It wasn’t really an upsell because it was actually the same price as the other offer. They had the puppy goals for agility and then this broader puppy course, which is also €197. I feel like there’s maybe an opportunity to sell all of their courses in a package for €400 or €500.

There’s also a lesson here, which is no index all your funnel pages, except maybe your front-end. It’s okay to index your front-end, but the rest, you should no index. Use Rank Math, it works fine.

So all in all, I think this is a fantastic business. There’s really passionate people behind this.They’re doing well.It It looks like it’s very well received. There’s a lot of testimonials. The effort that goes in the teaching is clearly visible. I like it a lot.

I’m thinking of, obviously, I’m thinking of Google, right? But if you’re a site like that, they’d probably be in a good place to start doing SEO and getting good traffic from that actually.

Absolutely.

Because they have all this brand traffic, I’m sure. I haven’t checked, but I’m sure they have some. If they have this many members, they must have some brand search. They have a store, they have a real contact, they have all of that. I can feel like that’s the businesses where it’s like, Oh, now there’s a big opportunity for SEO, basically. So you build it up the other way, and then you go back to SEO and you get lots of traffic. And yeah, they’re doing really well. It’s a cool business. I would love to work on that. I feel like there’s lots of opportunity to improve as well, especially on their sales pages. I feel their sales pages are a little bit wordy. I was also testing them for mobile responsiveness because these less good sales pages tend to be worse on mobile. And there are some issues. So for example, some images or the Some bullets are really stuck to the side, et cetera. So they could do better being mobile responsive in general. It’s not bad. It’s pretty okay. But there’s lots of… I think they’re too wordy. I think they write too much on their sales pages.

They’ve clearly studied marketing theory and sales page theory and that stuff. And I think they’ve done a pretty good job of it in general. But yeah, just a little bit of refinement would probably yield them pretty significant results.

Also, it’s not very accessible. For example, they have yellow background and white text on it and things like that. And it’s like, actually, Google, it doesn’t really matter in this case, but there is an accessibility score for your website. And contrast ratios of fonts against their background, et cetera, is a big one. And there’s even yellow and yellow in some places. So yeah, it’s like there’s improvements that could be made, but it’s a really cool base business, and it shows you what’s possible without any other traffic source than Facebook has once you actually have a product. Let’s jump on the next one, or do you have anything else to say on this one?

No, let’s go on. The next one is probably the goat of this top five here. We’ve mentioned them before, but it’s been a long time, so I feel like most people probably haven’t heard of them. That is iPhone photography school. And what they sell is they sell a course to take photos on your iPhone, literally just on iPhone, not on Android, not on anything else, just on iPhone. We know for a fact they’re a multimillion dollar per year business, while their main offer is only $29, actually. So that shows you how much shares they’re making. They used to actually do quite well on Google, partially because we actually gave them some tips on that in real life. But they used to get 240,000 visits from Google. Now, they’re down to 40,000, even I know their content is pretty good, actually. Well, obviously, we know what’s going on with Google right now, but they’re killing it on social media, though, with their content.They have 3.7 million.It’s really good. They’re amazing at making videos, basically. They’re really, really, really good. And the main people who run this, they’re eloquent on video. They’re very good at that.

On Instagram, they have 3.7 million followers, and on Facebook, they have 3.1 million likes. But it’s a little bit biassed because when you run lots of ads, you tend to get followers through your ads. It’s not necessarily just because of their content, even though their content is good, it’s because also they pay. This is a testament to how much they spend on that, I think. This is probably a high eight-figure number in my head. They might be closing to nine, actually, if I think of it.They’ve been around for a while, right?

A long time as well. It’s a long time as well.

It’s like they might be closing on nine figures spending on Facebook ads. They also have 772,000 YouTube subscribers, which I think they run Google ads, but not to the same level. That may be why. I think they probably run YouTube ads, given the level of videos they do. So let’s talk about their ads and their strategy, because I think there’s so much to learn from these guys. They’re one of my main inspirations when it comes to funnels. First of all, when you open their ads in the Facebook Ads Library, you’ll see that most of the ads are promoting and offer that ends tonight with an 80% discount. And so if we break down the ads, they tend to be one minute tutorials on something cool to do with your iPhone, how to make some special effect, how to do some special zooming, using the panorama effect to make some vertical videos next to the Eiffel Tower. But they actually go to the Eiffel Tower to make that video and so on. It’s very, very high quality. The video itself is actually cool. You get something, you can do something better with your iPhone camera in one minute just watching that video and not buying anything from them.

And what that does is that massively amplifies the reach because when people watch and when people like, you will get more distribution for less money, even if it’s a net.

The way they often structure this behind the scenes is that there will be maybe seven tips in a video or sometimes just one tip. When they go on and film all of these tips, they’ll maybe plan out a couple of dozen and they’ll test them all against each other on ads and see what performs and then run those ones. So that’s why the ones that you’re probably seeing and the ads that come up regularly, they’re the best ones that resonate really well with people.

So that’s pretty much the video content. And then the text content is different. It’s like, ends tonight, last chance to get the iPhone Video Academy or Photo Academy. They have multiple courses for a huge 80 % discount. If you’re on this and then it just basically sends you to a page that has a countdown. And the countdown, usually has less than 24 hours left. It seems like it ends like midnight my time, so like Central European time because they’re also on the same time zone.

Do you think it would be tailored to your location?

I don’t think so, no, because it’s like, I mean, I’ve been on this page multiple times across the past few days, and every time it’s the same. I don’t… Maybe it is. I don’t think so.

That wouldn’t make sense for… I don’t think we do that to have ending at midnight because I imagine most of your customers, again, probably US.

Could be, yeah. Could be real time, possibly.

They’ve got a lot of custom development in the back end, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if that was the case.They have a custom app.It’s really well put together.They have a customer app.

They have an app now to deliver the course because I actually checked out, and we’ll talk about that. I wanted to see what’s behind because I’ve been looking at them for a while, but never looked at the back of the funnel. I checked out. I actually filmed it, so Matt will be able to overlay that on the podcast, on the video, if you’re listening to the audio. That’s pretty much the ads. You land on the page, you have basically a countdown till midnight your time. They’re really good at sales pages because they’re minimalist. There’s not lots of colours, etc. But they also don’t have a lot of copies. The walls are quite big. I think they’re font size 24. So to give you an idea, most websites have font size 16 to 18. So that’s significantly bigger. And for example, the first lines are horrible, isn’t it? You often see these perfect moments, like dream vacation or your child’s first step. So you grab your iPhone to take a video and that’s it. And then each line is like five, six words, basically. And the structure is perfect, basically. In terms of convincing you, they basically Basically, if we take the photography course, the first section is like, Oh, there’s a secret to taking great photos.

Then if you discover that secret, you will be admired in your social and real life. Then I used to be a loser. Now people think I’m cool because I can take cool photos, basically. Then, introducing the method. They use words that are super bold as well. Like, literally, to introduce a photography course, they say, Learn to see all over again.

It’s a very Apple-esque presentation style But they still… I mean, it’s iPhone, so it’s probably the same people that respond to that when they’re buying their iPhone or their Mac will respond to it.

It’s fun, though. It definitely gives me ideas. But they still have the classic sections of the sales page. Then they’ll just have the what’s inside section. They’ll show you examples of photos that were taken. They have a pricing section. Then they list after they gave you the price. It’s a bit different from how we do it because we tend to stack the value and put a pricing that recaps everything. Whereas for them, they announced the pricing first. Then they announced the bonuses, basically. Then once they announced the bonuses, they announced the risk reversal section. That would be the money back guarantee, for example, the testimonials for social proof. They even use sales clauses that you would find in copywriting books. So it’s like, you’ve got two choice. One, you stay a loser and you keep taking photos fully with your iPhone. Or second, you take your life into your own hands and get people to admire you through your amazing photos you take, Basically, it’s pretty fun to see this classic sales clauses that most people would feel afraid to use in their copy. It’s like it sounds very cheesy and you’re like, People are not going to respond to that.

These guys make fucking bank. And they put that on their sales page at the end of it, that means it works very well and they must have A/B tested it. Then after that, they have an FAQ, and then they have a final CTA, basically. What’s cool with the design as well is while it’s very simple, they have a lot of cool effects, et cetera. I just scroll, things come to your screen, et cetera, but it’s done with taste, and you can see it. So pretty cool. But the thing that’s a little bit more unique, even, is the way the checkout works for them. So when you click on the buy button, you don’t get redirected to a checkout page. You actually get a pop-up that says, where should we send the course to you? And then you just put your email. And the reason they do that is that they can take that email. And if you don’t complete the transaction, they get back to you. They’ll be like, hey, give you an extra discount, give you an extra bonus, something like that. And try to close the realm.

Just retarget you.

Yeah, I mean, they can retarget you without the email because you visited the page, but especially if you come from ads. But it allows them to stack email on top. And so you do that. And then the checkout after you put your email is actually still a pop-up. So it’s just overlaying the page. And you put your credit card, you do all of that, but you don’t have a checkout page. It’s just a pop-up, which is quite interesting. The price, I was wrong, by the way, it’s $49, not $29, and then all three times $19. So So they have a three months payment plan. Three times $19 is definitely the import buy one. $19, it’s basically a Starbucks in US at this point, right? So maybe not, but you get the idea. And then once you check out, you actually get pitched a photo editing course at $99. The sales page structure is very similar. So I’m not necessarily going to go over this, but we can show that to you on the screen on YouTube. But same thing, I used to do things wrong. If you don’t edit your photos properly, they won’t look great.

They have a lot of before/after sliders, so you can see the original philtre.

They’re really cool, actually.

Then they run the same discount timeline. Basically, the Timer just carries over to the upsell for them. What’s interesting, though, is it’s not really cheaper than what they sell it in front-end. I don’t know why the Timer, but I’m sure it works. So you get sold at 99.

I think a lot of people aren’t going to be checking the-Yeah, I know. The intricacies of this, especially in the market. Yeah, exactly.

So there you basically get to say… Because it’s a one-click upsell as well, you don’t need to reach checkout. When you click on the buy button from that second sales page, you get charged right away. You get charged $99, so you probably jump from $49 to $149. And then there’s a second Upsell that is a video editing course that is $49. Again, similar sales page structure, but the difference is it’s not the same instructor. So like, Emails is the one for the first two, and then there’s another instructor for the third one. I guess it’s a smaller course because it’s $49, but they’re basically pushing the card value to $200 doing that. It’s good because it shows a really good player that takes their card value exactly to where we said people should be two weeks ago, actually. The sales pages, they’re all the same. They’re very good, though. Very much worth observing and learning from. I do it, at least, and I recommend people do that. Anything else you want to say about iPhone photography school?

No, just that they’ve obviously built up over more than 10 years now. I think they’ve been going. So don’t I don’t expect to start a business and it look like that on day one. It takes a lot of work to get there. But yeah, you can really go far with this type of model.

Yeah. Should we jump on the next one?

Yeah. So the next one is Handlettered Art by Danielle. So this is a DR her two sites with zero search traffic. She is active on some organic social. So on Facebook, Instagram, she’s on TikTok. I think her Instagram is the biggest with 83,000 followers. So essentially, Actually, what she does is she’s really good at handwriting from an art perspective, design perspective, designing logos or just any art. She’s great at that. And she has a lot of information about how to do that. She teaches that and also how to do that, how to sell that as a service. So she teaches how to sell that as a service as well. Now, I was digging through some of her content, and she said that she used to actually run on Etsy. So she would give away these digital templates or font templates that people could use when designing products. But she since moved to a course model, an info product model, where she has a mixture of tutorials where she will teach, here’s how to get started with having amazing handwriting for doing art stuff. She has a course on how to do that specifically on the iPad, so for digital art, and she includes a bunch of custom brushes and templates and lettering and some tutorials about specifically how to do that on an iPad.

I think I want to to point out how niche you can go with this stuff. You can literally make a course on making lettering on iPad, and there’s a pretty big audience for that because the iPad Pro is actually made for that. It’s the only tablet that’s made for that. And it’s a bit It’s a bit different from SEO, where it’s like, I need to have a broad range of stuff, et cetera. With ads, you can reach exactly the people you want. So you can go much, much, much, much now and essentially avoid competition by doing that, which allows all these companies that make a lot of mistakes to still thrive.

Absolutely. And to go even further with that, she actually combines what she’s doing here from an art perspective with her religion, her faith. So that features a lot in her content as well. Not so much in the products, but in a lot of her free content. She talks about scripture and these types of things as well. So again, you don’t need to do that. But if you’re interested in those two things, this is the perfect place for you. So you could really, really go niche with it. One other interesting on the product side of things, we’ll get the ads in just a second for this, is she offers a subscription service for hand-lettered templates that you can use for whatever digital work you’re doing. So how I imagine this is if I’m a digital artist, an illustrator, a designer, or I’m a product designer, say, it’s like a subscription where you just have all these really fancy hand-lettered fonts that you can use. And whenever you make a product, you just use it and it’s free after you pay the subscription. Kind of like Epidemic Sound is what we use for a lot of the audio for YouTube.

Similar idea there. So it’s $15 a month, $150 per year. And this is, I think, what replaced her old Etsy shop. Now, when it comes to ads, she’s, again, very broad range of ads that she’s running here. On the shorter end, it’s all video. So she leans very heavily into that.

And again-Is anyone not video? Everyone’s doing video, right?

No one just runs image ads. Everyone does video. And image ads can be quite good, especially for retargeting, changes things up. It’s easier to generate more image ads than it is more video ads. But yeah, everybody is into video. First one, she’s got a 30 second tutorial, which leads into her template subscription. She’s very clever in the marketing of this as well. She’s positioning it as an investment in your business rather than just buy this thing. And what was really interesting is she does have the CTA on Facebook, we’ll link to the product page. But she says at the end of the video, if you want to join, comment digital and I’ll send you more info.

That’s classic on Instagram, right?

Well, this is on Facebook. Okay. And what that does is it gets a lot of people obviously commenting and potentially driving reach there. I’m not sure on the viability of that in an ad because does having a lot of comments on a Facebook ad improve your quality score?

No, it’s not that. It’s like she uses many chats. So many chats, basically, you can take people who comment on whatever post and DM them, basically. So if you comment, she DMs them a link automatically, and then it just sends them wherever. So she both gets rich because there’s engagement, so more people are likely to comment. And then at the same time, people receive a DM. It works for sure on Instagram.

Yeah, it’s almost like a soft opt-in without having to give your email.

Exactly. Except it’s in your DM. But then, quite often, it sends you to an opt-in page. So these tactics, that’s how it works.

And the next one she’s got is a 60 seconds, slightly longer ad. It’s very well done from a sales pitch perspective. There’s no training or tutorial in this one. It’s just a pitch. So she starts off by saying, are you trying to do hand lettering on your iPad and not getting results? And then the classic line, it’s not your fault. There’s another reason, It’s not your fault. It’s because of the brushes and the digital settings and all this stuff which she had gone through the pain of figuring out and she’s talking about her journey and then classic sales. It works really well. I was very, very impressed with this, actually.

It’s fun to go through all of these and see the same elements in all these. It’s like, guys, if you want to learn funnels, it’s so easy. Go on the Facebook ads library, go and find some people who do ads and go check their landing pages. And yeah, you’ll learn so much from doing that. We just did that. I’ll probably just do a tutorial at some point and just show people how to do that.

And the next ad she’s got, I’ve never seen someone do this before, but she has a 40, yes, 4-0 minute full video tutorial. It’s basically like a webinar, but there’s a lot of value up front. It’s just literally her… I think she done some Facebook Live or-How long does it run for? Livestream, 40 minutes.

No, but how long did she run the ad for?

She’s only been running this ad for a couple of weeks. So I think she’ll probably to find out that that’s not a good idea.Such a good idea. Just people don’t on an ad, they’re not going to spend 40 minutes watching it. But I assume she’s just taking some content that she had for a webinar or some free training anyway and put that in an ad, just just to try it out. So I’m sure she’ll come to that learning. But yeah, that’s way too long, I think, for that. In terms of her products, though, it’s so good. She’s got her beginner’s course. She’s got this digital library. She got the iPad lettering course. And then she’s got this digital library, she got the iPad lettering course, and then she’s got It’s a sales while you sleep course for how digital artists can make more money and make sales while they sleep. I don’t actually know what it teaches. It wasn’t very clear to me. I couldn’t figure out what exactly she was doing. And I will say that her sales pages are, of all them that we’ve looked at today, maybe on the weaker end. Design-wise, they’re fine, but just in terms of the content, she’s not really explaining, really digging into, here’s the problem that you have, here’s the solution, here’s how I can solve it.

And it’s not very extensive.

It’s not very good design-wise as well. There’s lots of spacing issues and so on. It can be better.

It’s not terrible. It’s not terrible. Her overall website design is fine.

From a designer, it’s disappointing.

Sure, sure, sure. But again, these are solopreneurs.

She probably doesn’t know how to build websites.

We’re not holding people up to the same standards here. So overall, I would say her sales pages are somewhat lacking. And of the one area she could improve her business, I think this would be the first thing to do. Just adding in some more content around her guarantees, testimonials, even just what’s included. That’s And giving more insights there, I think would help people get over the line. Even on a very cheap product, people still want to see those things and they do matter. Now, this is the first time I’ve seen this in a long time is she, for most of her courses, not at the The beginner’s one, but all of her loans, she embeds the checkout in the sales page itself. For the beginner’s one, you click on the buy link and a pop-up appears rather than going to a separate sales page.

That’s okay, I think. I mean, look, I And iPhone Photography School does that, too. I mean, does this in a classier way, but they do something similar. The weird side is she has these massive Facebook screenshots below the checkout, so you can scroll, scroll, scroll, and you’re like, Where am I? Where’s the checkout? So it’s executive a bit poorly, but the pop-up is not a terrible idea, I think.

One thing that I really liked on the cart was that she had a physical workbook with free shipping as an upsell for $18.99. And for the type of product, which is with art, hand lettering, this is for the beginner’s course, that makes a lot of sense. And you don’t need to hold any stock. There are print on demand services where you can make essentially like a PDF of what you’re shipping out. And as soon as someone buys it, an order will be sent. And I think even Amazon do this. They’ll print it out for you and send the physical book. So that’s taken care of as well. I think it’s a good way to add a lot of value and to just sell something else at the point of sell. So yeah, pretty happy with this company overall. Really like what they’re doing. Again, it’s so niche, but it just shows you that you can go be very specific and still make a big business out of this.

I think she makes lots of mistakes, too. And if she’s still doing okay, then it shows that the competition is pretty low, actually. The thing that she has going for her is she’s authentic, like she does this stuff, et cetera. And so that makes up for a lot of mistakes, a lot of marketing mistakes.

I want to just hammer on this point about competition, because for most people, when they’re buying a course, they’re not going and checking out all of the courses on this and deciding which one to buy. They end up following someone or seeing an ad and being intrigued It’s more like at this price point level, it’s an impulse buy, and they will go for it there and then. So it almost doesn’t matter how many competitors there are selling similar courses. As long as she is getting in front of people.

And that’s what the ads do, right?

People are going to buy.

Yeah, that’s the point of the ads. Facebook is very good at finding the right people that convert. If she has some conversion data, it will find them. It will make up for a lot of mistakes by just taking the right people in front of the right offer. But still, I mean, I’m like, fuck, I wish I could just take over that sales page and tweak it now because there’s lots of opportunities. Anyway, let’s jump onto the next example. The next one is basically a yoga/flexibility instructor called Karin Dimitri, Iovo Vaus. I’m not very good at saying the name. But yeah, she’s basically a yoga instructor. I liked her as because they were low effort. Not really, because the videos are her doing handstands, etc. In terms of low effort, I think we’ve seen But she doesn’t talk on the ads. She just literally has her doing handstands or crazy yoga poses and some music and some text over that just says, If you want to learn how to do this, then check out this course. That’s pretty much it. Nothing more. Then the copy goes like, it calls out the audience first, which is a very common thing to do when you do Facebook ads.

It’s like calling out the people. So it’s like, Are you interested in learning arm balances, backends, and handstands? And so the idea is that if people say yes to that, then they will read the rest of the copy. So the first line is pretty classic, and she did study some marketing, basically.

That’s quite interesting from a few perspectives. So if you’re doing ads on YouTube, specifically, you don’t pay for an ad in mission on the skippable ads, I think it is, if people skip within the first 30 seconds, is it? Which is really good because if you just say, this is exactly who this is for, if that’s not me, then I skip it and you don’t pay for the ad. So you save a lot of money that way. On the Facebook side of things, you still pay for it, but you’re sending very strong intent signal or the users that skip away, even though they still pay, Facebook is like, Okay, these people are definitely not interested. And then it’s much easier for it to identify potential buyers and send them your way.

It’s really like if you don’t know how to do your ad copy, you should probably just start with that in your first paragraph. It’s ads 101, basically. So it’s good to see that she does that. And then basically, she explained that there’s a problem. Hold on your horses before you start. You have one crucial thing that you need to work on first, your fundamental strength. Then basically, she pitches her course pretty much right away after that, explaining what’s inside, yoga flows, strength drills, daily practise, etc. A pretty classic sales ad, but same. When I went back, let me actually check on the ad library, but her ads have been running for a while. I’m imagining that she’s seeing some positive return on ad Yeah, October, last October. Actually, even before, sorry. April. Her older stats are April 2023. So one year old at this point, they are still running. So I guess she is making money from that. When it comes to the landing page, I think she does an okay job. She does a better job than the previous person, like the hand lettering. It’s not perfect. The top thing is literally just a giant image of her doing some crazy yoga pose, but she does the problem agitate solution.

It’s like, Oh, do you feel uninspired and seeing no progress in your practise? Do you don’t have enough strengths to go to the next level? Et cetera. She highlights the problem, she agitates it, she talks about how she struggled, and then she found the solution, and then Then after that, she essentially introduces the product. She introduces, it’s called the call play. She actually highlights some, essentially, sales arguments, which it takes 15 minutes per day and it’s fun, basically. Then after that, she has testimonials with a bunch of screenshots from Facebook and students showing some crazy poses they’re doing, etc. Who is this for? Which is actually a section we haven’t seen on other sales pages, but that is a section that actually works. It’s really good in terms of calling out your target market and the people that recognise themselves in who it is for, they’re more likely to convert. While this pushes away some people, it actually works quite well. She tells you, it’s not for you if you expect some quick fixes, or it’s not for you if you’re willing to put the actual work in it. It’s not for you if you don’t like the spiritual and philosophy of yoga.

Okay, probably not for me then. It’s for you if you don’t see much progress, step-by-step plan, etc. It’s doing pretty good. Then she has a really cool visual breakdown of what’s inside with lots of screenshots. People like seeing what happens after you check out. It’s like, you know what it is because you built it, but it’s a a black box for people. I was here for each week, so she breaks it down per week. She has a screenshot of one of the lessons and you see some cool post she’s teaching you or something like that. That gives me a much better idea of what’s inside, what is the user experience, can I expect videos, what do the videos look like, etc. That works pretty well. If I was her, I would have even included a free lesson. I would just have embedded a video and be like, Here, watch one of the lessons so you see what’s in there. Not 14, like the dog guys, but one lesson. But I like the idea of the dog training site, by the way, of the exit pop-up and maybe be offering one free lesson. Maybe we should move that to that.

I think it’s pretty cool.

One other interesting thing I see on her sales page, actually, is she’s using Proof, which is a plugin tool which you can… So there’s a couple of ways this can work. The first way is that you connect your shopping cart directly into it, and then it will pop up at the bottom corner a little thing that says, oh, in the last… Or, Susan from Montana just purchased today, or three purchases today. And And the idea is that it gives you this idea, like social proof, that other people are buying this. It’s in demand and it’s vouched for almost. Now, I think proof. Com does that in a legitimate way. There are a hundred other copycats of this which you can just upload fake data and it will generate that. So my guess is that this somewhat undermines the value of these tools a little bit these days. What do you think?

Yeah, I’m less of a fan. I feel like it was overused for a while. It’s a bit less used now. My guessing is that people stopped using it because it wasn’t lifting conversions anymore. I guess it depends on your market, right?

Interesting fun fact, actually, the guys that created Jasper, the first popular AI tool, created this before they went on to do that.

It went better than Jasper, I guess. Anyway, to keep going to the sales page, they have bonuses as well. I like that they… So they list the bonuses, but they also list the monetary value of the bonuses. In a weird way, because they cross over the price and they just put free next to it, they say it’s worth €47 for the relax and stretch yoga floor. For the mobility routine, it’s worth €67, et cetera. They stack up the value, which is something that’s quite fundamental to how we build sales pages, where we assign a monetary value to each element of the package you’re buying so that we make it essentially show how much value this is worth, and then it feels cheap when you put the real price next to it. But she’s done that and it’s pretty good.

It’s also interesting you mentioned the euros because over here, I’m seeing the pounds. It’s geo. The numbers are the same. So I get 47 pounds, 67 pounds, 37 pounds. I think she just changed it for pounds, dollars, euros, wherever you are.

Except where I live, they use the foreign, but it’s sure. It’s okay. But anyway, I mean, I think I saw she used the to checkout. So I guess that’s what they do. It’s old and shit, yeah. But it changes the currency, at least.

Yeah, I’m really not a big fan of to checkout. It’s an old ear piece of technology It’s missing a lot of good features that you can use with modern carts, things like order bumps, things likeI don’t have Chaz themselves.I don’t know if you Google Pay, Apple Pay. It looks old and almost untrustworthy. It’s Okay, they got the phone numbers at the bottom. It’s maybe a little bit better, but it doesn’t look like a good car like the rest of them. There’s no trust symbols, trust badges, testimonials. It just feels like it’s not very well.

She’s losing money on her check-up. Let’s just say that. She could make more money there. But other than that, the sales page is a bit amateurish in design, but overall, it’s pretty good. She has this FAQ. She has pretty much all the important elements of a good sales page. You can see between that and her ad copy, she definitely studied marketing, so not just yoga. Yeah, it’s despite a disappointing checkout. I think it’s a cool funnel. I think she probably makes decent money actually doing this. She’s running lots of ads, and I see she has over 147,000 likes on Facebook, probably a lot on Instagram as well. That probably is a testament to how much she spent on ads as well, because the more you spend on ads, the more followers you get. Overall, yeah, decent little funnel. I think this is exactly what we wanted to show in this episode. People who are solo entrepreneurs and manage to run a funnel like that and make a decent living from doing this, that’s exactly what this is. Any final words on this example? No. Okay. I just wanted to take 2 seconds to say that, look, we’ve talked about sales pages and we’ve talked checkouts quite a lot in this episode.

You don’t need fancy tools for that. There will be lots of companies that will sell you expensive tools, like even need pages, et cetera. You don’t need any of that. We build everything directly into WordPress with Generate Blocks and Generate Press, even complex sales pages, like stuff that we’ve shown today. You can absolutely do that with that. And it’s free, actually. The basic Generate Blocks is free. So you don’t need to pay for that. And for checkout, we use Thrivecart, which is like a one-off payment. So I think it’s like four, $500 to buy it, but then you don’t pay a recurring payment, so it’s not too bad. But you can, I think Cardflows has a free version as well that plugs into WhoCommerce. So you could literally build your entire setup on just a WordPress site the same way you’ve always built websites and you’re in a familiar environment with WordPress, and you can connect, you can connect, wooCommerce with Zepia to connect to whatever member area if you want to do separately, or you could use something like LearnDash to deliver directly on the site.

You can do all of this without knowing any code or anything like that. It’s much easier now than it used to be even four or five years ago. The tech is pretty good now.

Yeah, and you could do it always in one WordPress instal if you wanted. Maybe it’s not the best way to scale eventually, but to get started, it’s good enough. So I just wanted to highlight the fact that while there seems to be lots of moving parts and that may seem complicated to a lot of people, the tech is actually fairly affordable and quite similar to what you already know if you’ve been building websites before because you’re already on WordPress, That’s pretty much it for me. If you guys enjoyed the episode, tell us in the comments because I want to know if you guys want us to talk more about funnels, et cetera. I’m interested to see if you want us to explore this stuff. We like this a lot with Mark. We enjoy that a lot. I enjoy this at least as much as a CEO. It’s fun for me to actually go through that. I wanted to know if you guys are interested in more of that or if you want us to go back to other things. But yeah, if you do, we’ll make more episodes like that with different angles. Maybe we’ll talk a bit more about tech. We’ll talk more about tech at some point and how to set these things up, etc.

But we want to get your feedback. So thanks for listening. Also, you can subscribe, drop us a comment, a review on the audio podcast and everything. So thanks for listening, and we’ll see you in the next episode. Bye, bye.

about the author
Hey I'm Gael, one of the guys behind Authority Hacker. I make a living working from my laptop in various places in the world and I will use this website to teach you how you could do the same.

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