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Podcast Episode 330: Matt Ackerson, Founder of Autogrow.co and Master of the Sales Funnel
The 'Tripwire' In a Real Estate Syndicator's Arsenal
Matt Ackerson is the founder of Autogrow.co where he helps entrepreneurs with online sales funnels and digital marketing. As such, he's become something of a sales funnel expert with terms such as, "tripwires," "CTAs," "Landing Pages," and much more in his daily arsenal.
He's a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Industrial & Labor Relations and has been a part of the founding of three separate companies within the last decade.
Today Matt and I dive deep into the sales funnel with a particular focus on the tripwire. What is it? How can you use it? Can a tripwire boost your online marketing efforts? Check out the full episode for the answers!
What You're Going to Learn
* What is a Sales Tripwire?
* How Sponsors Can Use Case Studies as a Tripwire for Prospective Investors.
* A Simple Tripwire You Can Implement as a Real Estate Sponsor.
* Not All Tripwires Need a Time Limit.
* How the Law of Alignment Effects Your Online Marketing.
* Why Building Trust is Important to Your Sales Funnel.
* And much, much more.
Listen To or Watch the Full Podcast Here
What is a Sales Tripwire?
Adam: My question is, as wacky as it sounds to anybody that's not heard of it, what is a tripwire? That's pretty random, isn't it? What's a tripwire?
Matt: Sure, absolutely. Actually, Adam, I think that I can define what a tripwire is. Simply put, a tripwire is- it's an inexpensive offer, usually; something that is seen as low cost, low risk, maybe with a 30-day money-back guarantee that you present to a potential, in this case, investor, maybe, for raising project equity online; but generally speaking, customers.
They will buy this ... Maybe it's a $7 template of some kind, for instance, or a case study, or a white paper. People will invest a little bit of money; in exchange, they get a bit of value in return - some sort of information, usually, in this case, like an info product.
The idea behind a tripwire, from a strategy point of view, is that it is a key component of a sales funnel, which I'll define and talk about in a second, because I think that it's so important. We can't just talk about tripwires; we have to talk about sales funnels, and lead magnets.
Adam: Yes, right. Exactly.
Matt: Anyway, the idea, though, of a tripwire and why it is so potentially valuable and such a game-changer for building a system that can build relationships with people, that gets them on the phone, leads to really productive, qualified calls is that it builds trust, because it shows that, "Okay, I've taken out my wallet; I've given you some of my hard-earned money, and you've given me some value in return."
That builds trust; it builds the relationship, and it sets the stage for future transactions, where you can easily say - and there's a lot of data to back up the fact that it's so much easier to sell to existing customers, or clients than it is to go out and find new clients - but it creates this connection in the investor's or customer's mind, where I've given value, and I've gotten value in return.
How Sponsors Can Use Case Studies As A Tripwire For Prospective Investors
Adam: What does a tripwire look like, do you suppose? We can brainstorm this, unless you've seen something in the investment space that would do this; but what do you suppose that would look like that doesn't cheapen the ultimate offer?
Matt: Right. Exactly. I think that I just want to back up for a second and just make sure we're all on the same page. A sales funnel, or funnel for short, marketing funnel - they all mean the same thing, essentially - is best defined as a series of steps that take a prospect from awareness to buying decision, down at the bottom of the funnel. You can literally picture in your mind a funnel, when you think about it in this way.
Those steps, those series of steps that lead to a buying or, in this case, an investment decision are composed of landing pages, and emails, retargeting ads, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google ads. Now, in terms of landing pages, on one of those pages would live your offer for a tripwire.
One of the ideas that I came up with in preparation for this interview, both for a lead magnet, as well as for a tripwire ... First, for the tripwire, I was thinking potentially, and we could actually brainstorm this a little bit back and forth, because I think that seeing that type of interaction could be really helpful to the audience. But it's got to be something that has substantially more value than what you're actually charging for it, so you can actually justify that price.
Don't feel too limited. I think that when some people think about some of these concepts, they think, "Oh, well, if I'm offering already a case study as my lead magnet," which it can be the entry point to your sales funnel, or your lead generation funnel, "that therefore I cannot have a case study, instead of being a lead magnet, be a tripwire." It's really just about value. Can you sell it based on value?
Here's two ideas - very simple - that I came up with. It can be a white paper that talks about the state of the industry and opportunities that are currently out there, or access to some other related type of information that you can't just Google for in five seconds and go and find.
The thing to think about, in terms of a white paper, or some sort of a collection, is that the value is in the curation. It's in the effort that you've put into creating it, in terms of going out and finding this information. So, you've actually put it through your own expert filter, packaged it, and therefore, it's valuable and worth selling.
Another possible tripwire idea that you can package,and sell is it can be more directly related to your interest to raise equity for your project online. In that case, the idea would be a case study, for instance, on a past project that maybe you or others in your industry ...
Let's say that it's you're new in the space, in terms of real estate development and maybe this is even your first project. But that's okay. You want to present a case study that you can actually sell, so maybe you would package up several top-of-the-market case studies; interview the people who were involved with it, even, so there's a video aspect to it, which has high perceived value. Then you can sell that as a tripwire.
Again, the idea of a tripwire here, in this case, is you're selling case studies, or a case study about the success of past projects - returns for the investors involved - and really just telling the story. Telling the story.
A Simple Tripwire You Can Implement As A Real Estate Sponsor
Matt: I think that any well-developed sales funnel, where you, as a real estate developer, there might be a lot of people knocking on your door, ringing your phone, and you need some way to tell the people apart who are truly qualified, potential investors, who are who are serious, and those who are not.
Now, some people might say, "Matt, that's an ideal scenario. I'm just looking to get people in the door to start," and that's fine. A lead magnet to start with as the entry point for your sales funnel will work just fine for you.
But after you get people to opt in and get that initial free nugget of value, which is the lead magnet, that's the point where you want to offer them this tripwire. Because, again, the sales funnel is about taking people on a journey, on an educational journey from A to B, from awareness to decision.
Perhaps, an idea that just came to me now, one of the simplest tripwires that you could possibly come up with, as a real estate developer to really know if the leads, if the investor leads that you're getting, in terms of your goal to raise equity for your projects online, the simplest tripwire that could even require the least amount of work is simply ask for people to make a deposit before you actually get on the phone with them.
Actually charge for a consultation, for example. Use scarcity. Say, "Listen ..." because there are a limited number of slots for most projects that are out there, it's an opportunity. You're giving people an opportunity, and you just want to know ... "It's a refundable deposit before we get on the phone. It's $100. That shows me that you're serious ..." I'm kind of pitching to you now, but this is basically what you might say in this type of a funnel.
Not All Tripwires Need a Time Limit
Adam: Let me ask you this - is a time restriction always necessary on a tripwire? In other words, "It ends today. Do it now, or it's over," basically.
Matt: No, not at all. Not at all. Yeah, because the way that ... For example, we gave the example of a $1,000 deposit. You can get a better interest rate. You can say ... You can structure it different ways, too. You can use scarcity. You can say, "Listen, we have X number of spots available for this project. We're offering this because we're looking to move forward quickly." Another way that you could structure it is, "You won't see this anywhere else." You don't have to have the corny countdown timer, or anything like that.
There's really different ways that you can position it, so that you don't- it doesn't feel like ... To use your words, you're not debasing at all. It's really just offering value, and you're encouraging people to make a decision, while also offering them additional benefit.
How The Law of Alignment Effects Your Online Marketing
Adam: Tripwires are a subtle, and yet sophisticated component in a funnel. What other kinds of techniques are there that can enhance the performance of a funnel?
Matt: Sure. Actually, Adam, I want to go back to the example that you gave earlier, where you told this story/anecdote about how you were running ads, and traffic was coming into a landing page. You got plenty of clicks, but you got no conversions. If you remember, if you could tell me, that landing page, what was it? Were you offering your service, or was it ... What were you actually offering on that page?
Adam: Gosh, you know, it's so long ago, Matt. It's deep in the recesses of ... I can't really remember, but I'm guessing it was probably I had built a real estate investing education course. This was specifically for investors. It was a big sell, actually, on the landing page. I'm guessing now, as I think about it, I can probably imagine where you were going to take that. But go ahead. I'm going to let you do that anyway.
Matt: I've come up with something that I think explains a lot of how people behave online, in terms of their buying decisions. I call it the 11 laws of sales funnel physics. That sounds like something kind of fancy, but it helps to predict, and it helps you to understand why do people buy or not buy? Why do they take my trip? Why or why did they sign up and opt in for my lead magnet, or not? Why did they arrive, after clicking on an ad, on my landing page and then do nothing? They just leave.
Well, the number-one law of the 11 laws is what I call the law of alignment. The law of alignment, if you basically imagine, in its absolute simplest form, two lines. Are they connected, where it's just a straight horizontal line, or is there a mismatch somewhere?
For example, if the ad in this case ... This is very, very common; it's a very common mistake, and a lot of people who get involved in digital marketing, and who create their first sales funnel, or who run their first ad, they will often give up at this point, because what will happen is they'll have the landing page, they'll have the ads running, and it just won't connect, and they're not sure why.
So, for example, if you were to run an ad ... This is something- this is a very common question that we get all the time from members of our audience, too, at AutoGrow. If the ad says, "Oh, this is a real estate investment learning opportunity; risk-free, or whatever."
So, people click on that, they come to the page, and they see, "Oh, wow. It's actually a paid offer. I was expecting risk-free, because maybe it's going to be some sort of a lead magnet. Something I could just put in my email address for; maybe learn something. But I don't know Adam. I'm not familiar with Adam. I'm not familiar with his brand. He looks like a nice guy with a lot of knowledge, but I'm just not ready to pull out my wallet and invest right now."
That's where the whole concept of a funnel comes from, because naturally, as people, we want to buy from people and brands that we are already familiar with and that we already have some sort of trust, or that we already see as an authority on a certain subject. The mismatch in that case ... Again, I don't know the details. I'm sort of inventing some of the details here, just as an example.
Matt: But if the ads were changed, for example, to offer people a lead magnet, that would be a more graceful escalation of the relationship from, "Okay, here's an ad I'm offering you ..." for example - and this was the idea that I came up with for this interview - "the Smart Investor's Checklist." This is something that members of the audience can maybe steal and use, too. The Smart Investors Checklist - Seven Critical Criteria to Look for in Any Real Estate Investment Project.
Adam: It's a checklist, so it's actionable, number one. Number two, it has a number in it - the number seven, which is ... By itself, it just helps to quantify the value; so it's perceived as more valuable for that reason, too. And it's directly aligned. So, again, coming back to law of alignment with not just what the ad said, but it's aligned with what ultimately you want to offer to people, which would be, in this case, the opportunity to invest in a new project that you were looking to raise money for online.
Why Building Trust is Important to Your Sales Funnel
Matt: People are people, and markets are different, based on what you're selling. As you mentioned, buying cycles will vary greatly based on the amount of money that is being spent, and that's generally a direct relationship. If I'm offering - and this is one of- this is our tripwire within the AutoGrow.co sales funnel - is a swipe file - basically a curated collection of examples of different parts of sales funnels that we have found to convert really well - landing pages, pop-ups, lead magnets, all that good stuff, and it's $7, but it's an impulse purchase. So, how long is the buying cycle for that? It could be as little as five minutes.
Obviously, when people are considering investing $25,000, $50,000, $100,000 or more in a new project, well, there's a different level of trust and relationship that is required there. But again, at its core, people are people, and anyone who has ever sold anything, I think would understand what I'm saying when I say that. Because, if you're offering benefit, and if you are following up, and if you have a well-scoped sales funnel that's going to look to, as you call it, a gradual slope over time, probability is in your favor.
What percentage of leads of people that are actually entering your funnel do you need to convert? Well, on average, many of the most successful websites have two-, maybe a three-percent conversion rate, on average. So, you only need to convert two to three percent of all your traffic, or even less, just to be profitable; to raise the money that you need to raise. A sales funnel can help you do it much faster, and much more efficiently.