If you are looking for a book to read that will take your online marketing skills to the next level, then you are in luck. Selling online is quite different from face-to-face or brick and mortar sales. If you have not done it before, you’ll face a steep learning curve.
Why not learn the art of selling products online through an expert? Tony Robbins said “If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.”
There is someone who is an expert on the topic and has created successful online businesses. I am talking about Russell Brunson. He can definitely explain what works and what does not in selling products online. Russell is the author of a book called DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook For Growing Your Company Online.
I’ve just finished reading it and as someone who has read a lot of marketing books, this is one of my favourites. There was a great mixture of both theory and actionable steps. It’s one of those books that you have to read multiple times to fully grasp it. And even then, it’s still not enough.
Brunson said in the introduction of the book that his goal was to keep the book evergreen for years and years to come. By evergreen, he wants to keep the book relevant. Even with marketing methods constantly changing, this book will remain incredibly useful in marketing no matter the year.
This review will tell you why it is a must have for your collection.
Who is Russell Brunson?
Russell Brunson is a highly successful online entrepreneur. His first online success was back in college where he sold DVDs teaching people how to make potato guns. From there, he started selling everything from t-shirts to supplements.
He co-founded Etison LLC in 2014, where they launched the hugely successful ClickFunnels software which is a piece of online software that helps you build sales funnel with ease.
Part of the reason why the software is so successful is because Russell created an entire ecosystem around ClickFunnels. This includes books like DotCom Secrets, as well as information products and live events. According to an article from Forbes, Etison LLC is now a 360 million dollar business. That article was way back in 2017, since then ClickFunnels have grown substantially. More impressively, the company was entirely self-funded.
Personally, I’ve listened to lots of different marketing and sales guru’s, but Russell is probably one of, if not the best. He has copious amounts of knowledge that he shares, but it is how he shares it, that makes him special. Russell focuses on making his knowledge something that an average person can understand. It’s not just about technobabble and attempting to show that he is the smartest person around. By building a plan with simple, actionable steps, he helps his clients and students actually achieve their goals.
As a fan, I can say that Russell believes in results. He actually walks the talk and you can see this by spending just five minutes in one of webinars or read a chapter in any of his books.
Everyone seeking income online, whether it’s for your business or personal brand, needs a sales funnel. In short, this book tells you some advanced online marketing techniques necessary to increasing your conversion rates and making the most out of every single visitor that lands your page/site.
Who Should Read DotCom Secrets?
This book is for anyone who is interested in learning what is necessary to make a business successful online. The book was initially published in 2015 but the advice and strategies it provides holds as true today as it did then. If you are planning on starting an online business, or you’re currently running one, this is a must have book on your shelf. DotCom Secrets is what I would call a complete blueprint for running your online business.
At just over 250 pages, DotCom Secrets is an easy read and Russell’s writing is very enjoyable. He provides excellent and useful examples that help make his points clear. Real world stories from his own trials and tribulations help explain the “secrets” in a clear way. You will get a ton of actionable advice from reading this book.
What’s In The Book?
The book is split into five clearly defined sections, which walk you through the process step-by-step.
Ladders and Funnels
The value ladder is all about guiding your customers through a sales funnel that extracts maximum revenue from each of them.
Your Communication Funnel
The attractive character is someone consumers can relate too.
Each step on the buyers path is a step closer to sales.
Funnels and Scripts
Scripting is everything!
Focus on how to use ClickFunnels building blocks.
1. Ladders and Funnels
One of the biggest issues businesses face when advertising online (Facebook or elsewhere) is coming up with an offer/message that is enticing enough for someone to click on.
Often businesses will go straight for the sale, advertising their main product (to people that have never heard of them). Then… they see no results.
Because people aren’t going to whip out their wallets and pay a lot of money to someone they don’t know or trust.
Ladders– unlike snakes and ladders, the funnels here are useful to your business. Value ladders is a means of describing your pricing catalog, but in visual terms. Basically, a value ladder is a visual map of all the products and services you have available. Each step of the ladder is a higher price point with additional products and services.
Think about your ideal client. You’d want them to purchase your most expensive product, right? The chances of them doing that from day one are somewhat slim since they don’t know much you or your company yet. This is where a value ladder comes into play. You can start selling them your least expensive products, the whole point here is to get them pulling out their wallets. As they understand the value that you bring, you will attempt to move your customers up the ladder to purchase your more expensive, but also more value-packed products.
Funnels are somewhat different. Here, people start out at the wide end (opening) of the funnel and gradually move down as they progress through the sales process. The goal is to move them through the funnel quickly and as they convert, get them back to the top for more!
In addition to ladders and funnels, Russell also talks about traffic. He explains the differences between traffic you control and do not control and gets into further details about traffic you own. This is really important and quite possibly worth the cost of the book by itself.
Rather than going straight for the sale, we might give something away for free, to get people through the door. You offer something for free, then something for cheap and you continue upselling to that person as you continue to provide more value.
2. Communication Funnel
While the previous chapter discussed funnels, this one goes into more detail about your communication funnel. Russell talks about the important of an “attractive character” and how it is a crucial part of your funnels.
The attractive character is someone who had the same issues as your target consumer. By demonstrating how the strategies proposed are successful for them, it helps the consumers relate to their own problems that they are trying to solve with your products or services.
Russell also shows you how to draft proper emails to send to your customers after they have signed up for your email list. He even gives you scripts! At the end of the chapter, he gives you his “daily Seinfeld sequence” for emails.
Always Have Continuity. In business, many of the rich say that “a business without continuity, isn’t a business at all”. If you can put yourself in a position to charge customers regularly (monthly/annually etc) for a product that that they end up relying on, then you are onto a winner. If somebody relies on value from a subscription product, then the pressure to cancel their subscription is higher.
Just when you think you’ve learned everything you need to about funnels, Russell gives you even more.
This section is all about funnels. How to create them, how to manage them, how to use them in the best possible way so you can see the best results.
He talks about the different types of funnels and the proper way to use each of those, where to place them, and he talks about the building blocks of a funnel which was really cool to see.
I was surprised by just how much information he gave away in this section. He could’ve held back a little bit, but he went full throttle in providing detail.
Before you start to build out any sales funnel, you want to find people who already have a successful funnel in place and are targeting the same people you want to. For example, you might want to look at people like Russell Brunson and other internet marketers to see what their funnels look like: what words they use, what colours they use, what are they selling, how are they selling it etc.
4. Funnels And Scripts
In this section, Brunson discusses the different types of offers you can do for your funnels.
Do you know what else he does in this section? He gives more email scripts! The scripts he gives work for the different types of funnels you run. And finally, he goes into greater detail about the different types of funnels (i.e frontend funnel, middle and value ladder funnel, and backend funnels).
In the subsection on webinars for example, Russell walks you through the different email scripts you should use to make your webinars successful. He also talks about the different types of funnels like frontend funnel, middle and value ladder funnel, and backend funnels.
Hereafter are the funnel hacking steps Russell warmly recommend:
In the same way, the one hundred visitors principle is so simple yet so effective.
Whenever you build a new sales funnel, even if you do ‘hack’ your competitors funnel, you’re still guessing. You don’t know if it’s going to work or not, and so you need to have some way of monitoring the success of it.
The hundred visitors principle is a way of doing that.
You send 100 visitors to your landing page and you see what happens.
In DotCom Secrets, Russell gives the example of a $197 product. For every 100 people they sent to the landing page for that $197 product, 1% purchased. So for every 100 people, they made $197.
Then they started experimenting by offering something for free. They took a part of the $197 product and offered it away for free, as long as the consumer paid the shipping cost.
As soon as someone signed up for the free-plus-shipping offer, they were upsold to the same $197 product.
On average 8% people signed up to the free-plus-shipping offer (because it was less a commitment) and 25% of those people then purchased the $197 product!
So for every 100 visitors, they generated $394. Pretty much doubling their money by offering that free-plus-shipping offer.
The 100 visitors principle gives you a benchmark which allows you to determine the success of your funnel before making changes. Don’t make any drastic changes or decisions until you’ve had that 100 people land on the first page and go through your funnel.
Not only can you look at how their funnel is set up, but you can use tools like SimilarWeb to look at competitor websites, to see where they get their traffic from! How cool is that?!
In the last section, Russell shows you the power of ClickFunnels. As mentioned earlier, it’s the software for creating the types of sales funnels that Russell has been teaching you in the book.
For those of you who don’t know what Clickfunnels is, it is simply a website where you can pick and choose templates for a funnel and edit it to your liking.
ClickFunnels offers one avenue for helping you to build a business and generate a real income online. Whether you’re looking to directly exchange your time for money, or you’re looking to build a passive income business, this money funnel approach is one way you can get from zero to hero quickly. When you go out there and you model what the most successful people in the world are doing, that’s where the real magic happens. Russell Brunson calls this funnel hacking. The better you are at doing these three things, the more likely you’re going to succeed in the long term :
My overall thoughts
I enjoyed DotCom Secrets because it is a very practical book – it gives you the tools and information that you need to get started straight away.
Yes, it does also give you the theory behind why things work and why you need to do things in a certain way, but it also gives you, in black and white, the sales funnels and email templates – you can copy them from the book and put them to work.
If you sell anything online – product, service or software – then you need to have this book and you need to understand these principles. They are key to increasing your sales and improving conversions.
A really great book and definitely worth the read.