On Episode 73 of The Paper Planes Podcast Simon chats with Zane Bacic, Founder and Funnel Builder at Maverick Marketing.

Show Notes

Maverick Marketing is a ‘full-funnel’ agency that works with some of the countries most successful and renowned coaches, consultants and expert services businesses.

You can contact Zane Bacic on LinkedIn.


Simon Dell: Welcome to the show, Zane Bacic from Sydney. You own a company down there called Maverick Marketing. Tell us a little bit about what you do down there.

Zane Bacic: Sure. Maverick Marketing, what we call ourselves, is a full funnel agency. I specialize in building customer acquisition journeys. So basically, the idea of getting someone to just click through on an ad, hit a landing page, see this incredible offer, go ahead and opt-in, and then taking them through a journey where they end up getting one of their problems solved, getting an epiphany or a breakthrough throughout that process, and becoming a customer in a very predictable way. And then when you build that out, this sort of funnel, this system, you can actually break down things in a quite granular way and find out how people are coming in, and what it costs to get people to come in, and it becomes this very predictable system. So, we specialize in doing that.

Simon Dell: And you’ve probably answered my first question there because people often use the word funnel quite a lot, and I think it’s one of those words that’s been fairly mistreated in the marketing world. I wanted to get your understanding of what an actual funnel is for basic 101 people who’ve never really understood the concept of it.

Zane Bacic: Fair enough. Funnel is funny word because you have this image in your head where it’s wide at the top and it gets smaller and smaller at the bottom. I don’t see it that way. I see it as a customer journey. In business, the way I like to think about it is in terms of systemization. 

Everything can be basically bottled into a system, whether that’s how you go ahead and attract customers, all the way through to how you deliver your service to your customers. The idea is if you can make that replicatable and if you can bottle it, then the idea is you can actually predict the results ongoing and you can have something that has the potential to be automated. 

The idea of a funnel is, on a high level, it is a customer journey that you can bottle. It’s about taking yourself and basically putting it online, putting yourself on line, taking the process you would normally walk through with a client and creating videos, for example, saying things that you would normally say, putting them on a page with copy, with writing that basically explains the value of each of the offers that you’re presenting. 

And then making it sequential, so having something for free up front, then naturally walking people through to a small buying decision is an example. And then through a small buying decision actually getting them perhaps on the phone or getting them interested in becoming a fully-fledged customer. 

That would be a step-by-step sequential journey where each step is slightly more investment for the customer. So in that way, it is like a funnel. You get more people in the top and then there’s less in the bottom, but you’ve built this journey that’s you. You’ve bottled your expertise into a customer journey. That’s really what a funnel is. I can understand why it’s a bit confusing because there’s no one way to do it. 

There’s so many different types of funnels out there, but yeah. Where to begin and where to start is just thinking of it on a high level as a customer journey where you bottle your expertise.

Simon Dell: Does it work better with some types of businesses rather than others? I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you specialize in certain areas, but do you find that some industries, some types of businesses get better results than others?

Zane Bacic: Where funnel really came from and where it really started being used popularly, the reason why it’s all over the place is for a lot of coaches, consultants and experts out there, that are able to bottle their expertise, which is what we just talked about… I mean, funnel is a term that’s been around for eons because every business has a sales funnel, a marketing funnel, a process that customers go through. 

And it’s going to be applicable for any business whether you’re in e-commerce, you’re a service-based business, whatever it is, you’re going to need some sort of funnel. And so, whatever business you run, it is going to work for you. But the reason why I work specifically with coaches, and consultants, and agencies, and service-based businesses is because they’re built on expertise. 

And if you’re built on expertise, then you’re able to bottle that expertise and put it into a proven system or a proven flow. So I wouldn’t say it necessarily works better for some businesses than others. I would say the type of funnel that you will build will depend on what your business is.

Simon Dell: Right, okay. That expert business when you can actually give advice is where it works best. How do you see it working with more of a product-based business? Maybe e-commerce, online retail, that kind of thing.

Zane Bacic: The idea of having something like a sequential process that customers go through works for any business, right? So, if it was an e-commerce based business and — the way that I even just see business in general is just a sequential series of solving problems for customers. So, in an e-commerce business, let’s take an example of you’re selling supplements or something like that. 

What you might do, the very first touch point, you need a top of funnel offer. You need a way to get people in the door. So what you might do is you might give out a free sample, and that’ll be completely free. They might just have to pay the shipping or something like that. So, you’d run that and that would be your way, your lead magnet, your way to get as many people in the top as possible. 

And then once they’ve gone through and they’ve got it, then the very next page would say, “Hey, great, you’ve obviously opted in to get it for a very specific reason. Why don’t we also give you this great offer next where you can actually go ahead and get this entire supplement pack, and we’ll give it to you for a great deal or great discount?” 

And at that point, that second tier, the reason why we’re presenting that at that point is because we know up front they’re already interested in the supplements to begin with. So, it’s only after that point do we actually have that information. Anything before that is just straight up advertising probably to a bit of a cold audience. 

So, that’s how that would work for a supplement business. And then when they go ahead and they get it, let’s say the special offer where they actually pay something, then there’s another tier which is like, “Alright. You’ve just got this supplement pack on its way to you. You’ve paid for it for a great discount. Why don’t we continue to send these to you every single month?”

If you can see that, it’s sequentially, step by step, we’re asking for a little bit more every step of the way. And wherever people fall off along the journey, we have an opportunity to push them further along that journey through all the different touch points that we have, like more ads, emails, all that sort of stuff. 

So whatever business you’re running, the idea of walking a customer through step-by-step through a sequential journey is going to be applicable. So, that’s how it would work for any business.

Simon Dell: You’ve mentioned free samples there. You mentioned video in an earlier comment as well. What are some of the other key components that people need to invest in in terms of building a successful funnel?

Zane Bacic: Like I said at the start, there’s really no one way to do it per se, but all the different components, all they are is they’re ways of explaining the value of an offer. Now, one of the most powerful things that — the thing that actually got me interested in marketing funnels in general was copywriting. 

So, I’m a huge copywriting buff. I’ll actually go through people’s funnels and just read their copy. I’ll go through — I’ll open emails just to read the copy. Any way that you can basically explain the value of an offer is what you want to use within your funnel. So if I’ve got this page where I’m giving away something for free, I may use video to explain exactly what it is and to show it off, to show exactly what it is. 

But then what’s going to work and complement that is copy. So, not everyone’s going to watch my video, maybe like 20% of the people that click through my page are going to watch my video. 

So, I may want to walk them through in copy and basically explain as effectively as I can the value of the thing that I’m giving away, why it’s so good, where it came from, how it was made, why it’s special, all those things. So, copywriting is something that you should definitely invest in if you want to put together an effective funnel.

Simon Dell: I know a lot of people use video. What’s your thoughts on that if people can do that well? I mean, obviously, bad video is never a success, but do you think people should definitely be trying to sort of build video into that funnel?

Zane Bacic: Yeah. The idea of video is that it has the positive effect of being able to showcase what it is that you’re actually trying to sell, but if you put yourself, your face in that video, it basically creates this personal element to your sales funnels and it shows who you are upfront. 

And this is especially true for experts, and coaches, and consultants. But one of the main video styles that we use is something called a video sales letter. Like, I’m a very direct response in how we build funnel. So, a video sales letter is you literally face to a camera talking about your product or your service. 

And the benefit of doing that is if you’re a service-based business, you’re a coach or consultant agency, is that they get to meet you almost up front. And this just comes back to what we were talking about the start where it’s like — you basically bottle how you would speak to customers, and you use all the tools at your disposal. 

You create this video that has your face front and center. Just simply talking, just talking to the camera, a lot of the times that is good enough. And the idea is you don’t need to have professional video. You don’t even need to do incredible production at all. Like in fact, being personal is oftentimes a lot more effective than being overly professional.

Simon Dell: What are some of the mistakes that you see people making when they’re trying to build their own funnels? I mean, I guess you must get called into some clients who’ve tried to do it themselves. What are the obvious ones? What are the ones that you see repeatedly?

Zane Bacic: Just not really having a compelling offer. That would be hands down probably the biggest type of mistake. I mean, I want to give an example here. I’m sure a lot of the listeners might be familiar with koala mattresses.

Simon Dell: I actually sleep in a koala mattress every night.

Zane Bacic: So do I. They’ve got this offer going around right now. It’s 120-night free trial. Imagine this. We’ve got this mattress and they’re basically saying, “Hey, take this mattress, sleep on it for 120 nights.” That’s like four months. 

And then only if you like it then we’ll ask you to pay for it. Yeah, so if you think about that, what is that really going to do? It’s going to give you an opportunity to say yes really easily because you’re there’s no pain associated with saying yes. It’s like you’re going to try it for four months. 

And then the idea is on their side, if you do try it for these four months, you’re going to love it so much that you’re going to want to buy it. So, you’re going to get this breakthrough. You’re going to realize that you know, holy shit, like, I was sleeping in a match that was just killing my back. This is so much better. 

And then asking for the payment after at that point, asking for the investment from the customer is so simple. And it’s like a no-brainer for them because they’ve already tried it and they know it. They know they like it. 

That is an example of a really compelling offer. So, how many businesses out there are actually running something like that? I mean, allowing someone to try your product or service for four months before you are asked for a payment. That is what we call a really high-value compelling offer.

Simon Dell: I was going to say, a lot of software companies do the same. They obviously do the 30-day trials and things like that. It just reminds me of a piece of writing software called [INAUDIBLE 00:16:05] which actually does a 30-day trial. 

But the most interesting thing I thought about that when I first saw it was that the 30 days only count down when you actually use them. So it’s not calendar days, it’s actually usage day. So they give you 30 day’s worth of free use even if there’s a seven-day gap between them. It still doesn’t count those days down, which I thought was a really innovative way of approaching that compelling offer for end users.

Zane Bacic: That’s super interesting, and you’re definitely right. Software companies are the pioneers here and they’ve had to be because the software market is so competitive and there’s so many different tools out there that they’ve made it as easy as possible just to get customers in the door. And that’s part of the funnel, the top of the funnel offer. How do we get customers in the door? How do we get them actually using our product and loving it? So, they eventually, down the end of the funnel, they want to actually become customers and pay for it

Simon Dell: I’m going to throw a couple of curly questions at you now. They’re more critical questions about funnels. There’s a danger that giving away a compelling offer devalues the product. First of all, is that actually a danger, that the offer is too good that people then feel they don’t want to pay for it? Do you think that that’s a challenge with these kind of tactics?

Zane Bacic: Well, the idea of funnels is that — and it depends on how you see business? So, how important is being exclusive to you? Sometimes, and this is really strange, but if you’re a bit selective with your customers, you don’t allow free trials, and you have this different brand positioning where if somebody is, to become a customer, they actually have to go through some hoops to do it, and you take the complete opposite approach, there’s no doubt that actually works as well. There’s no doubt. It depends on your brand for sure.

With funnels, it comes down to the numbers at the end of the day. If this is how you think about business, as a marketer, this is usually how we think about business. Let’s say I’ve got two approaches. 

One, I’ve got this epic free trial that goes for 30 days. The other one is, I insist that they pay for the full 30 days up front. I insist they pay for an entire year upfront just to use my tool. Those are two approaches that you see quite often. At the end of the day, you’re going to be able to see which one is more profitable just by breaking down the numbers, and there’s going to be pros and cons to each.

So for the free trial, I’m going to get a whole lot of email subscribers. I’m going to be able to build a whole bunch of sequences that come through and nurture these people. I may end up with more customers down the line. 

But on the other approach, I’m asking for the full upfront payment, I may be able to maybe not get as many customers, but the ones that I do get are perhaps extremely loyal or they’re just specifically the customers that I want to have. There’s going to be pros and cons at the end of the day. I wouldn’t say there’s a danger to it unless you’re extremely conscious of your brand and the exclusivity behind it.

Simon Dell: Okay. I’m going to put that scenario to you for us. For us as a business, the consultancy business Paper Planes, we do similar to what you do, digital marketing. And maybe you can think about this in your terms as well. 

Now, if we went out and we charged let’s say normally a half a day rate for X amount of hundreds of dollars, my challenge with this is that if I gave away a free half-day consultancy, and let’s say we price that $700, $800, whatever that might be, my challenge is with a tactic like you’re suggesting, I could end up with let’s say 10, 20, 30 people taking me up on that offer who then don’t financially have the capacity to transfer as a full-time paying customer. How would you tackle that?

Zane Bacic: It comes down to the call to action. You’re absolutely right, that pricing is the most effective quality barrier that you can even put forth. Because if you say something is worth hundreds of dollars, then the only people that are going to be interested in even hearing you out are people who can afford hundreds of dollars, whatever that product is, or thousands of dollars in this case. 

So, what we’ve done in the past is we’ve made things free, yes, but limited. It’s free but only for the next 10 people. And instead of saying claim now, we say, “Find out if you qualify.” And then the work that adding a price to it would do, which is to qualify people out, we would just basically systemize, create a system around that where it’s like, “Find out if you qualify.” 

Then go ahead and give you all the details of their business, let’s say in this example, and then you basically have a conversation with them. It’s like, okay, “Well, look, this is for people who are actually capable of implementing this into their business, capable of running with this and have the financial resources that will allow them to do it.” 

And then you basically field all those leads that you’re going to capture by making it free, and you pick out the ones that it’s going to be the best fit for. And there’s a lot of stuff you can do as well, like including on your landing pages who this is for. That one section right there, who this is for… 

Let’s say it’s a free offer but you’ve got who this is for as a section on that page. That in and of itself is going to qualify people in and out. And there’s very specific ways to do that from a psychology perspective, which I could dive into if you want me to or if you’ve got some…

Simon Dell: Absolutely. I’d love to hear it.

Zane Bacic: There’s an idea of painting a picture of who the ideal person is that you want to get. I’ll give an example of one of my clients that has just signed up. They are a cryptocurrency training company. We’ve got the section on one of the sales pages that we’re running. They’ve got this offer. It’s a membership. 

It’s a $200 per month training membership where they learn how to trade cryptocurrencies. And we wanted to be very selective of who we brought in. So we say, “This is for people who may not have any experience with trading but are capable of setting aside an income, setting aside a part of their income and investing the time to learn this skill. 

This is for people who are decision makers. This is for people who are capable of making decisions and are capable of dealing with the emotions that come through when you’re trading. This is for people who don’t just accept failure at the first sign. They actually follow through and they continue to push forward. 

And so, what we do is we say — we incorporate that, right? This is for people who are capable of financially investing in their business and are ready both professionally and personally for growth. By saying something like that, by incorporating the psychological elements, the labelling elements, like you’re a decision maker, you’re someone who’s emotionally ready, you’re someone who’s dedicated. Alongside barriers like — this is for people who are capable of doing it financially. 

By doing that they, all of a sudden they read that copy and they’re like, “Well, you know what? Yes. I am that sort of person.” That’s an aspirational label that you’ve given them that they can actually step into. It works great.

Simon Dell: That’s answered the question perfectly, so thank you. I guess my last question is perhaps a more technical question. If people do want to do this themselves, what are some of the software and the tools out there that you recommend that people tap into to try and build these things?

Zane Bacic: Over the last seven years, I’ve used so many different tools to go ahead and build pages and funnels. There’s a lot of choice out there. I mean, one of the biggest ones that a lot of people probably heard of is Clickfunnels. It’s a basic and all-in-one system where you can actually build landing pages and connect everything. 

You can even send emails out and host memberships on that platform. So that would be a way to begin if you’re looking for a simple tool. There’s another one that personally I use and it’s called Convertri. It’s crazy what these tools can do right now. What Convertri actually allows you to do is you — and this is what I teach a lot of my clients to do. Model what works. 

There’s going to be people in your space right now that are building funnels, that are running ads, that have landing pages. If you actually go out and you find one of those landing pages, you can actually basically give that page, take the URL, put it into Convertri, and Convertri will model that page for you in a matter of seconds. So, you can go ahead and redesign it and restructure it for yourself and your business. 

That’s how simple it is to build pages right now. It’s actually really crazy. When you see it being done. It’ll take a lot of the photos, the placements, a lot of the copy, and just put it out there on the page. Even the form elements, have everything just be really easy to build for your business as well. So, it’s amazing all the tools that are coming out in this space and how easy they make it.

Simon Dell: What do you use to measure the success? Are you looking to Google Analytics. Do you use any other tools that you might use with these things?

Zane Bacic: I mean, Google Analytics is a big one. So, you’d want to have the Google Analytics tracking code installed at all times because it’s going to be the most reliable data. A lot of the stuff that we do is Facebook ads related, so we can see I guess a lot of the metrics over there. 

When you’re running ads, there’s just going to be a few key ones. It’s like CPM. CPM is always the main metric, it’s like, “How much does it cost to reach a thousand people in this space?” and then click through rate when you’re running ads is extremely important. So, how many people are actually clicking through when they see your ads? We try to benchmark for at least 1.5-2%. 

And then when they hit the page, it’s just a matter of, “Alright, 100 people have hit the page, 5 have opted-in. We’ve got a 5% conversion. How can we improve that? By changing the copy of the videos, all that sort of stuff that we talked about. And what we do personally is we just put everything into a specific tracking sheet that we’ve created.

Simon Dell: You’re just sharing that with clients. Is that how it works?

Zane Bacic: Yeah. It’s basically built out as a template, and we’ve given this template out actually for free as well. It’s just a matter of breaking down how many people are hitting the pages and what the conversion rates are.

Simon Dell: Okay, cool. I guess my very last question with all of this: You mentioned Koala as a company that does this well. Who else do you see out there that people could go and have a look and sort of get a little bit of inspiration from?

Zane Bacic: If this is something new to you and you’re interested in the idea of building an automated funnel that that basically predictably gets you leads and convert them into customers, the OG of this entire thing, the person to look at is probably Russell Brunson. Russell Brunson is the founder of Clickfunnels. 

And it’s really interesting because he’s got this software. It’s a landing page building software, but he’s never marketed it as software. He doesn’t necessarily give out free trials or anything as the main sort of offer on his page. He doesn’t market it like a normal software or tech company would market it. 

Instead, he talks about how to grow your business with funnels, and how to grow your business with digital marketing, and he has the software as a vehicle to do that. So, he would be the main person to go to to just get a complete understanding, actually the person who basically popularize the term funnel in the first place. That’d be a great place to start.

Simon Dell: Cool, awesome. Thank you very much for your time today. I think there’s a lot of people who have a lot of questions around funnels. I think the challenge is that certainly on Facebook, I suspect small business owners see a lot of people pushing funnels as an idea, or pushing funnels as a solution for everybody’s marketing woes and marketing challenges. 

And I think it’s really helpful to have someone like you to clear up some of those key terms and key things. Before we finish up, any sort of final piece of advice that you would give for people out there who do want to at least try and give this a go themself?

Zane Bacic: I would just encourage you to first understand who your customer is, have a customer archetype and then ask yourself, “What’s a pervasive problem that they have right now, and what can I do to solve that problem straight away, and how can I put that into a 100% free offer up front and make it really about the customer and less about you and your service?”

Because the biggest mistake a lot of businesses are making is that even their websites and — you might compare a funnel to a website. Your website is going to be about us, contact us, our story. It’s very much about you. Where a funnel isn’t like that. It’s not a brochure. It’s just you’re solving one specific problem per page. 

So, have a think about who it is your customer is, what pervasive problem they have, how you can solve it, and put together a really epic offer for it. Just use the tools at your disposal to go ahead and do that. Clickfunnels, Convertri. These tools allow you to build pages very quickly, and maybe just start there. 

Start putting that solution on a page. Just ask for a name and email and see what cost pillar you can get down to. And then the next page soon as they opt in, the thank you page is the most underrated real estate on the planet. 

As soon as they opt-in, basically give them a way to get started, whether that’s just, “Hey, let’s have a phone call. Let’s do a strategy session together. Just do that. That’s a simple two-step funnel that’s going to work for almost any business definitely service-based businesses. That’d be a way to get started, and yeah.

Simon Dell: Brilliant. Zane, thank you very much for your time today. If anybody wants to get a hold of you, where’s the best place for them to find you?

Zane Bacic: You can find me on LinkedIn for sure. What is my LinkedIn URL?

Simon Dell: To be honest with you, they search for you, that is Zane Bacic and that’s spelt B-A-C-I-C. I think you’re the only Zane Bacic on there aren’t you?

Zane Bacic: Yep. That would be the way to do it. Go to MaverickAgency.com.au. You can check us out. We actually have some free training on marketing funnels there as well. It’s about an hour and a half. It actually goes deep and explains what a lot of the biggest people in this space are actually doing and why it’s working.

Simon Dell: Brilliant. Mate, thank you very much for your time today. It has been very, very informative. We wish you well in the future.

Zane Bacic: Loved it. Thank you so much.


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