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If you’ve ever looked up sales funnels, you’ve probably come across Russell Brunson.
Not surprising - he’s one of the first people who popularized the idea of sales funnels, and he created plenty of side projects to promote his own tool.
And during the 10x Growth Conference in 2018, he managed to earn $3 million in just 90 minutes.
His SaaS business, ClickFunnels, had an estimated $360 million value in 2017, and his personal net worth is estimated at $37 million.
But how did he get there, and what can you learn from him?
In this article, I’m going to explain how Russell Brunson reached his $37mil net worth, and how you can do it too!
Russell Brunson was born in 1980, in Utah. Even as a kid, he was obsessed with consuming advertising and marketing materials.
Advertising materials to Russell were what comics were to other kids.
It was during that phase that he got his early direct response marketing beginnings.
As time passed, studying direct response marketing gained significance for Brunson.
As a method that’s meant to encourage prospects to immediately convert, it laid the foundations for his sales funnel methods.
Okay, but where do the potatoes factor in?
And what the heck has that got to do with sales funnels?
Here’s how it went down: in 2005, Russell created “How to Create a Potato Gun” - a series of DVDs meant to promote his potato gun kit.
People who ordered the DVDs were encouraged to buy his kit.
If you’ve seen some of his contemporary methods, you’ll notice that this is an example of up-selling to customers.
It’s something that will go on to define his approach to sales funnels and sales in general.
After, he sold all kinds of products imaginable - from supplements and coupons to software and t-shirts. He even had great success in network marketing.
Not surprising, when you consider his direct response beginnings.
By the time he got his degree and spent a year in the “real world,” Brunson had already made his first million.
The real party starts when ClickFunnels walk in.
In 2014, Brunson launched ClickFunnels with his partner, Todd Dickerson.
ClickFunnels is an online sales funnel builder.
If you take a look at the image above, you’ll see what it does in a nutshell.
In short, ClickFunnels was made to streamline building sales funnels, and create a tightly integrated marketing system.
Wait, what are sales funnels?
Sales funnels are models that visualize how your customers find your products; from becoming aware of them, to purchasing them, and continuing to buy more of your products and recommending you to their friends.
ClickFunnels was the first software to offer everything you need to market your business in one tool.
When you look at the features and at Brunson’s previous experience, you can see how ClickFunnels became a masterpiece of his direct response approach:
You don’t grow to $100,000,000 with luck, so here’s what went down:
Remember when I said Brunson cut his teeth on network marketing?
This business model may get a lot of bad rap for companies who were actually pyramid schemes, but when done legitimately, network marketing can give you plenty of valuable sales lessons.
Primarily, you need to create value with your product, and clearly illustrate how your product is going to help your customers achieve their goals.
In his works and teachings, Brunson calls this “the Value Ladder:”
You start with the bait, delivering a convincing offer.
Then you continue by adding even more value to up-sell your customers, and ultimately, convince them to refer their friends.
And of course, you start your own affiliate marketing program.
In fact, if you’re asking me to find a single thing that helped ClickFunnels succeed, I’d say: affiliate marketing.
Brunson did a great job recruiting affiliates, and having them promote his product.
This is why you’ll often see posts titled as: “Is ClickFunnels legit?”
Unfortunately, Brunson hasn’t been very strict when recruiting affiliates, so the program grew a life of its own, and ultimately, there were some poorly chosen affiliates.
In general, Brunson created his own marketing machine for ClickFunnels out of a network of hundreds and thousands of affiliates promoting his products.
This is a legitimate method. And if you’re a first-time business owner, it’s a cost-effective one, too.
You don’t have to pay affiliates their commission until they successfully sell your products.
It’s no wonder that affiliate marketing became a core part of ClickFunnels’ offer.
In addition to building software for sales and marketing, Brunson also became a prolific writer.
He’s sold hundreds of thousands of copies of his 4 books, all of which deal with marketing your online business.
I’ve recently reviewed DotCom Secrets, and I found it to be a good book when it comes to marketing your business for the first time.
Even if you want to improve your marketing strategy, it’s full of actionable advice:
Brunson really covers a lot of what made him successful in the past, and it all stems from those early direct response days when he’d consume advertising materials.
DotCom Secrets was sold in over 200,000 copies.
The most interesting thing is the fact that you just have to pay for shipping.
The book itself is free.
Another one of Brunson’s up-sell and lead generation gimmicks? Likely.
But it’s successful.
DotCom Secrets is a phenomenal bait, as Brunson would put it.
In order to convert leads into customers, you have to give them something valuable first.
Now, the majority of online businesses create eBooks, videos, webinars, and give them away for free.
However, Brunson turns “baiting” into a work of art, which makes his book worth the read.
Also, pay attention to how his book isn’t an eBook.
You still have to pay for shipping.
This is all a part of the sales funnel strategy; you’ll be making a micro-commitment, which will make you more likely to buy his software by the time you finish reading.
In my opinion, this is one of the most interesting books Brunson wrote, and I can see how it sold over 200k copies.
Business owners have been endlessly fascinated with the so-called belief marketing.
It’s lucrative: you’re not converting leads into customers, you’re converting them into evangelists and believers.
It’s a great way to encourage referral marketing at scale.
Expert Secrets covers the following:
It’s honestly a fascinating read.
I’d recommend Expert Secrets to online business owners who already have customers, and want to increase their lifetime value.
Guess what? I reviewed Traffic Secrets too!
By now, you’ve probably realized how well Brunson does his job. He’s definitely a sales expert.
But while he discussed sales funnels in his previous two books, Traffic Secrets deals with getting traffic into your funnel.
This is definitely the best book if you’re starting an online business.
You could have a nicely structured sales funnel, but you won’t get much use out of it if you don’t get leads and visitors first.
How does Brunson recommend you do it?
Seriously, Traffic Secrets is a great overview of the best traffic generation strategies.
Even if the first time you heard about SEO was three days ago, you’ll learn enough to start generating more visitors.
It’s all about secrets with Russell, but I want to do him justice: he, unlike other entrepreneurs and salesmen, at least shares some of his in his books.
Network Marketing Secrets is all about building your network; from affiliates to leads who are ready to buy from you:
While this book primarily speaks to network marketers(another target group for ClickFunnels), you’ll also find it valuable even if you’re running your independent business.
Let’s be real: business is all about community.And if you can make your leads feel like a part of an exclusive community, you’ll win.
Brunson also generates a lot of money through conferences like the 10X Conference that earned him $3mil in 90 minutes.
His speaking engagements start at $500,000.
All things considered, here’s exactly how Russell Brunson grew his net worth:
He also still has an active role at ClickFunnels.
Was he lucky? Yes. But you can copy his moves just the same in growing your online business.
You may feel pressed to go straight to ClickFunnels, but I’d encourage you to stop right there.
ClickFunnels is expensive, and not all that great.
If you want some of the most effective features like follow-up emails (email marketing automation), you’ll need to pay $297/month.
And you still won’t be getting all the features you need.
Systeme.io is a much better option:
So, what do you say?
Let’s get started!