Episode #70 – Ryan Levesque on His Highly Profitable and Unique Survey Funnel Formula

What do you get when you put a neuroscientist, a Wallstreet banker and a highly successful AIG sales professional all in one?

Ryan Levesque.

This guy is a baller.

His first online business going from ZERO to $25K per month in its first 18 months was only the beginning.

Ryan’s built and sold multiple internet companies…

As well as coached over 45 clients –

…generating over 37 MILLION bucks for them in the process.

Ryan takes your basic survey and turns it around on it’s head –

…creating a distinct survey funnel strategy that when used,

Guarantees to SKYROCKET your conversion rates

And your business revenues as well.

In this episode, Ryan talks funnels

He breaks down his GOLDEN unique funnel strategy into 7 easy to follow steps

He’s used it to generate 2.8 million leads and 175 THOUSAND customers across 17 different markets.

In other words –

It WILL work for you.

Tune in to bask in the greatness that this surefire funnel strategy is.


In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • The trick to using Ryan’s bulletproof formula in any current or future business you will ever create (it’s easy and infinitely profitable)
  • How to convert catastrophic life-events into fuel for success (don’t let anything bring you down)
  • The hampering herd mentality that will hamper your conversion rates when following-up on completed surveys
  • The biggest mistake people make when creating and then offering surveys (learn a simple trick to avoid it)
  • A perfect funnel execution if you have multiple front-end products (guide people to their perfectly matched product)
  • How to best funnel people into your product VSL if you have only one product (hint… use marketing angles)
  • How to use neuroscience to take advantage of people’s subconscious cognitive biases (never worry about conversion rates again)
  • The ultimate custom merge field email strategy that creates extremely personalized autoresponder sequences (no one does this… don’t be generic like everyone else and you’ll have to thank Ryan later)
  • How to mirror Ryan’s distinct survey funnel strategy with ease
  • The micro-commitment survey method that trumps your basic squeeze page optin (builds action-taking momentum that will blow up your optin conversion rates)

Email Marketing Podcast Episode 1


Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO


Raw transcript:

Download PDF transcript here.

John:Hey, it’s John McIntyre here, the autoresponding guy, and it’s time for episode 70 – the big seven zero – of the McMethod e-mail marketing podcast where you get, every week, nitty-gritty techniques, tips, and strategies to make more money with e-mail marketing and sales funnels in your business.

This podcast is really just about the [outsides 00:00:16] of making money online, but I like to have a little cool catchy intro there, so I’m tweaking things and changing things as we go.  Today, I’ll be talking to Ryan Leveque – or Levesque – I think it’s Leveque – about survey funnels.  

Ryan is very well known for his survey funnel formula, which is basically a way of building sales funnels that uses surveys, and today, we’re going to talk about exactly what the survey funnel formula is, why it works so much better than ordinary typical funnels, and [inaudible 00:00:44] the survey, what to do with the survey data, how to use the survey data to boost your conversions throughout the autoresponder.

What I love about Ryan’s strategy is that it’s very simple, it’s very straightforward.  It sounds complex, which is why a lot of people aren’t doing it, but because it’s easy – it’s quite straightforward, I think – that you can go and set it up and you can execute on it, so there’s some great information in this podcast.  You might want to pen and paper for this one or some sort of note-taking device.

To get the show notes for this episode of the e-mail marketing podcast, go to themcmethod.com seven zero 70, okay?

This week’s McMaster’s inside of the week – if you don’t know, McMaster’s is my private training community where you can learn more about e-mail marketing, sales funnels, how to write pages that convert, how to tell stories, all that sort of stuff, that’s weekly – sorry, monthly – webinars, and expert interviews and a bunch of stuff inside there.  

Now one thing I’ve been talking about on some of the latest training webinars – we call them the McMaster’s Roundtable – is upsells.  I’ve been running paid traffic on Facebook – well, sorry, I’ve been running a campaign on Facebook – for the last month or two, and what’s blown me away so far is that the upsells that I have in that funnel – which someone buys the first product and then there’s a series of upsells after that – have been making up two thirds of the revenue on the campaign, and so now it’s now a profitable campaign.

I’ve never been into upsells.  It’s never really been my thing.  I’ve heard about it, but I just thought, oh, I’ll wait for that, I don’t need to do that stuff.  But now when I look at the sales funnel, the whole reason that sales funnel and the paid traffic campaign is making money is because of those upsells, and that’s why I’ve been talking about it inside McMaster’s on the training webinars, because it’s one of the easiest ways for you to make more money in your business is to increase the amount of money that each person spends with you, and the easiest way to do that is to create relevant products – which is a lot easier than it sounds – but create products and sell them as upsells.

If you have a book that you’re selling for a hundred bucks, create another product to sell them straight after they make that purchase for another hundred dollars.  You could be in services.  Maybe someone wants to pay you $2000 to write a sales letter and you say, “Well, how about we do the sales letter for 2000 and then I optimize and then split test it for another thousand?”  Figure out ways to do upsell.  This is, by far, the easiest way to increase the amount of money you’re already making in your business.

It’s hard to get traffic, it’s hard to boost conversions.  Upsells are such a simple, simple hack, but most people aren’t going to do it.  Most people won’t do it because it makes them feel uncomfortable, right?  So you gain an instant advantage if you can get over that discomfort and just do what makes – I think, what makes very good business sense, which is just increasing or improving the economics of your business.

I’ve got one review this week, another five-star.  This one comes in from Dylan Sigurd from the United States.  He says, “Five stars, insider scoop on e-mail marketing and more.  McIntyre is basically the e-mail expert in this podcast and he sheds more light on very profitable e-mail marketing methods.  Thanks for giving us a lot of value, John.”

Thank you for the review, Dylan Sigurd.  I hope I said your name right there.  I don’t know which one’s the first name.  Anyway, but thanks for the review.  If you want to leave a review for the show, you can go to iTunes, search for McMethod, search for the e-mail marketing podcast, jump in there, leave me a review, it totally makes my day, blows me away, and it really gives me a hit of motivation to keep doing these podcast interviews.  So yeah.

Let’s get into this interview, this little podcast with Mr. Ryan Leveque.  It’s John McIntyre here, the autoresponding guy.  I’m here with Ryan Leveque.  Ryan is a marketing expert, a business coach, and I’ll give a quick little intro and then I’ll hand it over to him, but he went zero to $25,000 a month in 18 months with his first online business.  

He’s launched, built, and sold multiple Internet companies.  He’s coached over 45 clients through the process, and he’s helped generate $37 million in revenue for these clients during that time, so he’s done some cool stuff, and I thought we’d get on today to talk about the specific funnel that uses … Sort of like a different way of doing a sales funnel that’s very intriguing, and I don’t know too much about myself because I’ve never used it, but I’ve heard good things from him and from a lot of other people who do it.  Andre Chaperon, I think, has used this approach before, so we’ll get into that.

Ryan, how are you doing?

Ryan:I’m doing great, and I’m pumped, really excited to be here, man.

John:Good to have you on the show, man.  Good to … You don’t have a green juice or green smoothie right now, do you?

Ryan:I don’t.  I just have water.  It’s funny you bring that up, because before the call we were just chatting about our obsession over green smoothies, green juice, salads, and just living healthy.  You got to fuel the body to fuel the mind.

John:But do it fast as well.  That’s part of the point with the smoothies, is you can … You don’t want to sit down for an hour and eat a meal.  You don’t have time for that.

Ryan:Because I have too many e-mails to write.  No, you’re absolutely right.  Originally I did it out of necessity.  I don’t know if I mentioned this, but two years ago, I was diagnosed with type I diabetes, and it was a complete shock to me, because I’m in my 30s right now.  Type I diabetes is juvenile diabetes, so it’s usually kids that are diagnosed, but the reason why the way I found out is I applied for life insurance and I was rejected, and I’m an otherwise … 

If you look at me, you would say, “Oh, he’s a healthy guy.”  I’m not overweight.  I’m in pretty good shape.  But I was, again, rejected for life insurance, and I went to the doctor and said, “Here are my labs.  Do you think we should get some labs done to corroborate the results and see if they’re real or not?”  We did that, and I got a phone call from my doctor about an hour later and he said, “You need to go to the emergency room now.  You’re in what’s called DKA, diabetic ketoacidosis, and you could literally slip into a coma any day.”

My wife was freaking out, I was freaking out.  We went to the emergency room.  I spent four days in the ICU, the intensive care unit.  I was pumped with 15 pounds of fluids.  I had lost a bunch of weight leading up to this, and I had all sorts of other symptoms, but I just never really attributed it to a disease.  I was just working really hard and I thought I lost all this weight because I wasn’t eating, and I wasn’t eating because I was working really hard, and I was weak and tired because I was spending so much time working, and we just had a baby, so I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep.

Anyways, long story short, the reason why I bring all that up is that’s been a huge motivator for me and a real kind of eye opener that, listen, we’re not here forever.  I was the last person to think that something like that was going to happen to me.  

Bringing it back to the green smoothie, one of the reasons why I eat the way I eat now, which is three green smoothies a day, one green juice in the morning, two salads, and high-quality protein at night, like an organic grass-fed steak or wild salmon or something like that – the reason why I eat so healthy now is basically out of necessity.  I do it because I want to limit the amount of medications I need to take and just really be healthy.  I’ve got a son and another one on the way, and so I think all of us have our own motivations for what drives us to do well in business and be successful.

For me, it’s to provide for my family knowing that if I take care of myself, I’ll be around for a long time, but if I don’t take care of myself, a type I diabetic’s life expectancy in a place like Africa is really … It’s pretty sad.  After diagnosis, it’s like 15 or 17 years, so you have to take care of yourself, and we were just joking, “Feel the body, feel the mind,” and it all comes back to what you put into your body, so for me that’s what drives me, and what’s interesting is after I was diagnosed, we had literally the best year ever in our business and I’ve been doing this full-time since 2008, and this was, I guess, 2013?  Yeah, 2013, the next full year after diagnosis, and now in 2014, we’re five months into the year, and I’m already 150% over entire last year.

In other words, what we did in 2013, I’m already 150% better, and ahead of the game there.  It just goes to show you that if something like that happens to you, if it’s bad or whatever, you can use it as motivation to drive you to take things … Step up your game and take things to the next level, so anyways.  I know that was a real long introduction.  You weren’t probably planning on talking about it, but I think it’s interesting to hear when I’m listening to interviews with people to understand what motivates them, what drives them, and a little bit of background before we dive into the nuts and bolts of the business side of things.

John:Okay.  Cool.  Thanks for sharing that.  One thing I’m curious about – this is to stay on this story just for a little bit longer – is to think, well, you have this huge motivation that’s come from diabetes and we’re not around forever.  How do you convert that?  How does that propel you in business, say, instead of saying, “Well, I’m not going to work as much anymore, I’m going to spend more time with my family,” or whatever.  I don’t know how.  How do you frame that up?

Ryan:Yeah, it’s a really good question.  I remember when I was – I think, 25 – I had this feeling … I was working in a corporate job, I was living in Asia, I was working for an insurance company, AIG, I had a really great job, high-paying job.  I think I was making like $278,000 a year, and I was running a team of 24 people.  I was opening up sales offices all around the country, and I had another one of these moments, and I said, I don’t want to spend the rest my life doing this, and I just had this feeling that if I don’t do something now, if I don’t just … 

I had this flicker of entrepreneurialism in my gut that was about to be extinguished.  It was just a little bit of a flicker there, and I just had this feeling that if I didn’t do something now, that flame was going to go out, and it was going to go out forever, so I made the bold decision to quit my job, move in with my wife who, at the time, was getting her PhD in a 400-square foot apartment, and started my first Internet company, and that’s when I went from zero to 25,000 in 18 months, and I had a similar …

The reason why I had that feeling was – whatever, this number feeling, like, I’m going to be turning 30 in a couple years – just felt like it was so close.  It was right there, and it felt like … In my early 20s, I felt like I had all the time in the world, but just seeing that that number was there, like if I didn’t do it now, I was never going to do it, and I don’t want to look back at my life, 75, 85 years old, and saying, I wonder what if.  

This time around, when I got sick, it was a little bit of that.  It was a little bit, well, I might not be around forever, and so I want to earn as much money as possible for my family so that if something did happen to me that I would leave them in a really great position.  I’m not in a position where I’m three months away from dying.  I don’t want to create that misconception, but that was the thought going through my head, especially when I was sick.  I think anyone who has kids … You don’t have kids, right, John?  You’re single?


Ryan:Yeah.  I think when you have kids, it’s sort of like this daddy gene kicks in where you’re like, I got to step things up.  I want my boys to look up to me and say, “Wow, Dad did amazing things,” and really proud for me to be their father on the one hand, and on the other hand, I’m working really hard now so that I don’t have to work hard forever.  Whether this happens or not, I’m in a position where I could conceivably retire in a few years, as crazy as that sounds, in my 30s, and so there’s that that appeals to me as well.  That if I just really burn the midnight oil for another year or two, I could legitimately just say, done.  

Not that we’d be living crazy millionaire lifestyle where we’re riding Rolls-Royces and living on private yachts, but we could live a comfortable lifestyle and I wouldn’t have any work obligation, so I’ve thought about things like that.  If I just do the sprint for a couple more years and then, secondarily, if not, well then I can take things down a notch and the pressure is off and I can work really, really short hours.  

At the same time too, I’ve engineered my schedules that I work in very set, specific times and I take time off to be with the family and, just like you, I could work anywhere, so we take vacations all the time and just bring my laptop and everything like that.  

I think the way things are set up right now is pretty good, and I know we’ve spent a little bit more time talking about the lifestyle side of things, but we can bring it back to business, and the thing that’s allowed me to do that is, like you, I’ve invested a tremendous amount of time in becoming a really skilled copywriter and then taking that skill and bringing it one step further and focus on becoming a funnel specialist, building end-to-end online funnels, and my contribution to the marketing world is a very specific type of funnel that I have … I’m the only one that does this funnel in this specific way and it’s something I call my survey funnel.

This is something that I’ve used to generate 2.8 million leads, 175,000 customers across 17 different markets in the last 23 months alone, and I’ve just since added two more markets that I’m going into, and I basically work with and partner with large seven, eight, and nine-figure businesses.  I build their entire funnels on a fee plus royalty basis, and I get paid handsomely to do it.  We can talk about some of the mechanics of that funnel and maybe how some people on the call can use elements of that in their business and take what’s working so well for me and my business and maybe apply parts of it in their world.

John:Sure, let’s dig in.  Let’s talk about … I’m curious about what this survey funnel looks like.  I’ve seen … My idea from what it sounds like and what I’ve seen out there before is when someone opts in, use a survey to segment them.  But now that you mention it, it actually sounds like it’s probably a bit more involved than just simply giving someone a survey and segmenting them when they sign up.  Let’s start off with a broad view.  What is it, and what does it look like, and then we can dive into the nitty-gritty.

Ryan:Sure, absolutely.  Typically, in a lead capture funnel, we all know the squeeze page, right?  You go to a squeeze page, it’s opt in for X, Y, Z, free report or free video or whatever.  What this does is it turns it on its head, and I’ll talk very high level, and then I’ll talk a little bit about the psychology behind why it works.  

One of the things I didn’t bring up is that in a prior life – what feels like a prior life – before getting into business, before getting into marketing, I actually studied and taught neuroscience at the Ivy League level at Brown University, and I was actually intending on going into academia, going into grad school, and becoming a neuroscientist.  My best friend in college is a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic.  We went through all of our classes together.  He just took it all the way.

But I decided that wasn’t for me.  I kind of meandered for a while.  I worked on Wall Street for the investment bank Goldman Sachs and then, like I said, lived in China for five years working for AIG and then got into our world.  The reason why I bring that up is because one of the things that makes this approach unique is – and in my marketing – is I tend to really focus on the neuroscience and the psychology of what’s going on behind the scenes, and so a lot of times there’s these effects that are going on that aren’t apparent.  Taking advantage of cognitive biases that people don’t realize that they have, and doing it in a way that drives up conversions tremendously.

30,000 foot view: the way that this funnel works is, you send traffic from any number of sources, whether it’s PPC, SEO, video traffic, Facebook, whatever.  Traffic goes to a landing page.  On the landing page is a short video.  The short video has a button below it.  The video sells people on why they should take the survey.  Now, it’s not positioned as a survey.  That’s the biggest mistake that people make.  “Take the survey, and I’ll send you to the right sales page,” or whatever.  It’s not positioned as a survey, and we’ll get back to that in just a moment, but I just want to take the 30,000 foot view.

After they click on that button to take the survey, the survey typically culminates in an opt-in form: name, e-mail.  From there, the survey does a couple different things.  Number one, it funnels people into one of several different, typically video, sales letters.  So that’s number one.  Now, it depends on how they answer the survey, what responses that they give, and they’re sent to either … If there’s just one product that’s being sold, different marketing angles for that one product, or if it’s a situation where you have dozens of products on the shelf, so to speak, it’ll funnel people into the best match product based on how they answer the series of survey questions.

In addition to that, from there, all the responses that people take in the survey are incorporated into the e-mail follow-ups.  Not only are people sent to potentially different autoresponder sequences based on the results of the survey, the autoresponders are also customized.  We all know the merge field, you know, “Dear First Name,” but what we do is we create merge fields for every single question that people answer.  

A very basic one, a question in the survey might be, “Are you a man or a woman?”  The reason why I ask is because men and women suffer from different … Take weight loss.  Different weight loss challenges.  We would then capture that data in a merge field and then in the e-mail follow-ups, the person who says that they’re a man, the e-mails are customized, and the e-mail might say something like this: “You know what’s interesting about guys who are looking to lose weight and guys specifically, is that they tend to have a very unique challenge.”  

That same e-mail could be read, “You know what’s interesting about women who are looking to lose weight and women specifically, is that women are looking to solve a very unique challenge.”  So the effect – and that’s just a very basic example, you can imagine taking that to the nth degree across a number of different questions – but the net effect is that when people go through that AR sequence, they say, “Holy crap, this is squarely, exactly for me.”

Nobody does this.  Nobody takes this level of customization and tailoring to the same extremes that we do, and it’s one of the reasons why it’s so effective.  It’s so refreshing for people to have a customized response rather than a generic, one-size-fits-all answer marketing approach, which is what 99% of businesses do.  

There are some other things that we do with one-click upsell paths and re-marketing and buyer e-mail sequences, but at a 30,000-foot view level, that is what the survey final is, in a nutshell.

John:Okay.  Is it something that … I think I could put this together.  You could do this for, say, AWeber, fairly straightforward.  It would be simple to do with something like AWeber, but you’d have to be good at, say, the tech side of things, knowing how to set up … [URL variables 00:19:20] and filling those hidden fields with the data.  But is this something that, say, an average person who’s probably not so techy but they’ve got some e-mail software like AWeber or Infusionsoft or this kind of thing …

It sounds cool.  It sounds awesome.  But how hard is it for someone to actually set up and then actually get the e-mails written so they make sense no matter what someone answers in the survey?

Ryan:Right.  That’s a good question.  Again, the main thing that I do is I implement this for very large companies.  The whole thing.  In that process, my partner and I found that there was no software in the market that did exactly what we needed it to do, so we developed a piece of software that’s called surveyfunnel.io.  We just recently made it available to the public.  That’s the software that we use to create that survey that pops up that I describe that captures all that merge field data and sends people into the best match video sales letter page and funnels them into one of several autoresponder sequences or a single autoresponder sequence that uses merge fields to give the appearance of customization.

That software ties into whatever e-mail service provider that you use, so it ties into AWeber, it ties into Infusionsoft, Constant Contact, [Entreport 00:20:38], whatever you use, the software integrates with that.  That’s the software that allows you to create those surveys that I’ve described, capture the merge data, send that data to the appropriate hidden fields in AWeber, and then have the ability to use the merge fields.  Technically, it’s actually not that difficult to do if you have access and use that software, and that software, by the way, it’s a SASS program.  What that means is, it’s not a WordPress plug-in.  It’s platform-agnostic so it doesn’t really matter what technology you use to build your website, whether it’s WordPress or Joomla! or just straight HTML.  

Literally, you just do all the setup work in the dashboard and then you just plug a line of JavaScript in your website where you want the survey to pop up and, like I said, the path that we use is, we use just a video to sell people on why they should take the survey.  Typically there’s a button below the video.  When they click on the button, it pops up the survey and a light box and you go question by question by question and you fill it out.

Technically, it’s not that difficult.  As far as thinking through all the possible permutations on how you might integrate the merge fields into your e-mail, well, that’s something that you can go as far or as not involved as you’d like, so at the bare minimum, you might want to make one very basic segmentation, like men and women.  If it’s appropriate.  If you are a business consultant, you might want to find out if someone is either a business owner or maybe another business consultant.  Do you own the business or do you help other businesses grow their revenue?  With that, you might use that to customize things.

You do need to think it through.  You need to think through the different permutations.  One very basic example I’ll give you is, if you’re going to be using the gender thing when you, for example, set things up – and you don’t have to use our software, you could have something custom coded if you wanted, but our software just makes it easy – but in the software, for example, you would want to set up a gender singular merge field and a gender plural, so that we could say, “As a man, you probably ask yourself, why is it that I struggle with weight?  And the reason why is because men” – gender plural – “tend to have different metabolism and women, especially as they get older,” right?  You just flip that around.  You want to think through certain things like that, so gender singular and gender plural is a good example.

The other thing that we haven’t talked about that I think is important when you do this is the psychology of why this works.  Why does his work better than just a squeeze page?  There are a couple things going on.  The first is the power of what I call micro-commitments.  Micro-commitments are basically asking your prospect to take infinitesimally small steps to move them towards the action that you want them to take, and it’s akin to when you’re in a relationship with someone.  

Going straight from new visitor, landing page, to squeeze page is like … If it’s cold traffic, unendorsed traffic, where people don’t know who you are, it’s akin to meeting someone for the first time and maybe reaching in for a hug.  Some people might be cool with it, but it’s a little bit too much, right?

Instead, the micro-commitment thing, instead of going straight from, “Hey, sign it, give me your name and e-mail, and I’ll give you this thing,” which, by the way, when people see that, you’re going to get a lot of fake e-mail addresses, bogus e-mail addresses, or someone’s third tier e-mail address, some Yahoo e-mail address or Hotmail e-mail address that they barely track, just to get the thing that they came there for.  

But when you instead start with, “Before we get started, tell me a little bit about yourself.  Are you a man or a woman?  The reason why I ask is because I want to point you in touch with the best possible resource for you.”  Man, woman.  It’s an easy, low-threshold question to answer, so it doesn’t take a lot of brain power.  Man, woman is … Unless you’re being a smartass, you know the answer, right, so there’s basically zero thought that goes into it.  They don’t have to think about the response, and it builds what I call action-taking momentum.

They click on that one little thing and it’s that first, dipping that toe in the pool, and it’s much easier to get things moving from there than that very high-threshold decision which engages that flight or fight response where people are saying, “Do I really want to opt in?” or, “Maybe I’m just going to get the hell out of here.”  This is the baby step that leads up to it.  The net result is that, A, your opt-in rate is going to be significantly higher, and B, you’re gathering all this extremely useful intelligence along the way and, if nothing else, just using the gender one as an example, think about what you can do from a segmentation standpoint when you’re doing broadcast offers.

Perfect example.  If you operate in a health market and you just know your prospect’s gender coming in.  For men, you could do broadcast.  You could create a custom segment for just men and only broadcast to them an erectile dysfunction product or a low-T product, low testosterone.  Then for women, conversely, you could offer a perimenopause product or if you get a gender and age, you could focus on the women of childbearing age and do some sort of pregnancy or mom type products, and I’m just giving you very basic examples, but you can start to see how, really, the possibilities are endless when you start going down this path.

John:It’s funny, because there’s that philosophy with squeeze pages or with any sort of conversion process that the easier you make it for someone to sign up or join, the more conversions you’re going to get.  But in a sense, what you’re proposing, it does make it easier in the sense of micro-commitments, but it’s almost like putting a barrier.  Instead of just … Some people would be like, “No, the best way to get someone to opt in is just give them the opt-in straightaway.”  If you give them the survey, they’re going to be like, “Well, I don’t want to do the survey,” and every time you add another step in that journey to the opt-in, you’re going to lose people.  But it sounds like that’s not actually the case.

Ryan:It’s not the case for two reasons.  Number one is even if your opt-in rate is a little bit lower doing this – which, to be perfectly honest, and some markets, it is, it will be – I will take 10 opt-ins where I know age, gender, their hot buttons, the biggest objections they have, what their single biggest goal is in this particular space over 100 opt-ins where all I have is the e-mail address, because I can market so much more effectively knowing just a little bit of information about the prospect, so those 10 people, I might get five sales.  I might have a 50% conversion rate because I’m able to tie them into the absolute best match offer, but if I only have their e-mail address, it’s a finger in the wind exercise, and it’s also key if you ever want to scale.

If you’re in an niche market and you’re only going after, for example, a keyword – I’m in Austin, Texas right now, so if you’re a plumber and you advertise on the keyword “how to fix a leaky toilet Austin Texas” or with a geo-targeting Austin, Texas, you can have a very targeted squeeze page.  “Discover how to fix a leaky toilet in just three simple steps.  Enter your name and e-mail here.”  That’s great.  

But what if you advertise on the keyword “weight loss”?  Weight loss represents a million things under the sun.  I discovered this in one of my own businesses.  I have a six-figure business in the information product space in addition to the client work that I do and the business is rocketmemory.com and it’s a series of courses that teach people how to improve their memory.  It leverages my background in neuroscience.  

But anyways, long story short, I was advertising on the keyword “improve memory” and I couldn’t make it work.  Could not make it work.  Just my lead cost, my cost per sale was so high, it just … The economics didn’t work.  When I started digging into the data, I started realizing the reason why is because that keyword represented a massive spectrum of people, everyone from the college-age student who is looking for memory tips to study for the test all the way through the 65-year-old man who’s concerned about mental decline and everything in between.

It’s no wonder that you can’t make a keyword like that work when you have such a spectrum of people searching on that keyword.  What I realized is that if I just asked a few simple questions about who the person was and then tailored the sales message and sent them in the right direction, all of a sudden that traffic worked, and those were the highest-volume keywords in my market, improve memory, how to improve memory, memory improvement, which were too vague to know what was the rationale behind the search query.

If you want to scale – and again, I’m in environments where I’m generating, in some markets, up to 6000 leads a day – you don’t generate 6000 leads a day on some niche keyword.  To do that, you are doing media buys, banner advertising, a lot of display advertising, and the search keyword advertising, the PPC advertising that you’re doing, the keywords phase, is on high-volume keywords.  

To answer your question, is it adding more friction?  Even if it is, I’d rather have that data so I can market more effectively.  That’s the first thing.  

The second thing is that – you brought up the point of, is it slowing down the process, putting friction in the sales process by putting these additional steps?  If you just say, “Hey, take my survey,” it will.  But what you need to do, the way I do it, is I find a way to present and position the survey as an opportunity for self discovery.  What I mean by that is – I never talk about specific client examples whenever I do interviews like this because, for competitive reasons, I don’t want to give the psychology and rationale behind it, but I’ll try to make one up right now.

It would be, instead of saying, “Hey, take the survey,” it would be … Pick a market.  If it’s a market that I’m not in, we’ll come up with an example right on the fly.  Just pick any market that …

John:Mobile phones.

Ryan:Okay, mobile phones.  Most of the markets that I’m – not all of them –are information-based markets where –

John:[inaudible 00:30:40] how to crack a mobile phone?  How to jailbreak it?

Ryan:Perfect.  It’s not the best example, but we can do this.  It would be … Okay, this would be a little bit different angle than I normally take in most of the markets, but you could do something like this.  You could say, “Discover the number one reason why people who try to jailbreak their phone basically screw up their phone for life.”  Then you’d have a short video that basically sells people on the idea.

“Hey, listen.  Do you realize that there are three common mistakes that people tend to make when they jailbreak their phone, and all three of these things will render your phone useless if you make them. But the problem is, because there are so many mobile phones out there – literally, there are thousands of models and hundreds of brands across the world that if you try to search for information online, it’s almost impossible to find your specific make, model, and year.  But the good news is, we’ve put together a simple little database that covers every mobile phone under the sun, and if you just take a moment now to click on the button below, tell us what’s your mobile phone brand, the year you purchased it, and the generation, we can send you directly to the specific jailbreak instructions for your particular phone as well as how to avoid those three simple mistakes that I meant.  

“And by the way, these three mistakes are different – slightly – depending on the phone that you’re trying to jailbreak.  The only catch is, we haven’t decided how much longer we’re going to make this service available for free online, so go ahead and do this right now while you’re on this page and you’re still thinking about it.  Click on the button below, enter your information, and I’ll see you on the other side.”

It’s not the best example, but you can see the way I worded it right there.  It’s not a survey, right?  It’s about getting some sort of end results and it just makes sense, and along the way, you could find out, shit, what their phone is, you could find out … You wouldn’t even need to really ask the question, but you could ask it, what their geolocation is if that was relevant to you as a marketer.  It would be a stretch to ask for gender, but you could ask for certain things like, “What’s the reason why you’re trying to jailbreak your phone?” and the rationale, you would say, the reason why is because there’s some subtle differences depending on what your goals are and we want to make sure that we put you in touch with the best possible guide to do this, and that’s just off the top of our head right now, just coming up with something.

I’m sure we could come up with a better angle, but the point is, it’s all about making it … We came up with this right now, on the fly, and if you’re trying to jailbreak your phone … If I’m jailbreaking my phone, I’m sold.  I don’t want to wade through forums, and I’ve never tried to jailbreak my phone, but I don’t want to wade through forums and hundreds of pages of information.  I just want to find my phone right now, get the thing done, and move on with my life, so I feel like it’s a pretty compelling offer.  That’s just one example, but you can hopefully see when you do this sort of approach why it’s potentially so effective.

John:Absolutely.  I’m really seeing it.  Absolutely.  We’re right on time here, Ryan, but before we go, I know you mentioned the software a couple times, so let’s talk about … If people want to learn more about you or about the software, where should they go?

Ryan:A couple different places.  If you just want the software itself, you can go to surveyfunnel.io.  That’s a site directly to the software.  I will say at the time of this interview, this is my own internal software that I use in my company for our high-level implementations.  We literally within the last couple months just released it to the general public and we had doubts if we wanted to do that because it’s kind of like our secret sauce, so if you go to that page, you’re not going to find a real fancy, slick sales message or sales letter or anything like that.  You may just see a simple form to opt in to find out about the software itself, so that’s the first thing.

If you’re interested in learning the nuts and bolts and details behind how to create one of these funnels from end-to-end, I do periodically teach this at a site called surveyfunnelformula.com.  It’s a paid program in which I take people through my six-week process of building one of these funnels from end-to-end.  

The reason why I put together this program, to be perfectly honest, was I never intended on making it for sale to the public, but when I expanded my team earlier this year, I brought on a couple different team members and I wanted them to understand the process so they could take off a lot of the work that was on my desk, so what I did is I actually created a real-live funnel from beginning to end and I had them go through the whole process with me, take notes so they could then replicate it, and then we put in our internal company website and periodically I let people in and go through that training as well.  That’s if you want to learn how to do the whole thing.  Both of those are paid software, paid programs.

If people would just like to get some of my free stuff, I put out a daily marketing e-mail where I talk about some of the tests that I do and the markets that I’m in and the insights that I’ve picked up and it’s fun, it’s like this interview, it’s not super formal or anything like that.  It’s just a cool little thing, and if you want to sign up for that, you can go to thefunnelspecialist.com and then you’ll see a nice little form on the right hand side to sign up for that free daily marketing tip.  Those are probably the three best ways to learn more about what I do and to get some good stuff.

John:Cool.  I have links to those other sites on the show notes at themcmethod.com.  Ryan, thanks for coming on.

Ryan:This was awesome, man.  Really, really happy to do this, and look forward to chatting again sometime soon, my friend.