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Profitable Funnels with John Ainsworth FTH: 088
Episode 897th April 2022 • FtheHUSTLE • Kim Doyal
00:00:00 00:51:26

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Before we get into today’s episode, I have a quick message for my sponsor Cloudways. Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform that simplifies your web hosting experience. The platform allows businesses to focus on their growth and have complete peace of mind with 24/7. Support and flexibility to scale. Can we just say support is hugely important when it comes to hosting and thanks to Cloudways they are offering an exclusive discount for the Kim Doyal show listeners. Visit cloudways calm and use the promo code KIM20 to get 20% off for two months on the hosting plan of your choice. Alright guys, let’s get into today’s episode.

Welcome to F the hustle. I’m your host, Kim Doyal. You want a life that is meaningful and exciting. In this podcast, we’re going to talk about launching and growing an online business that fits your lifestyle. After the hustle is all about doing good work, building real relationships, and most importantly, creating a business that supports how you want to live your life. You don’t have to sacrifice the quality of your life today to create something that sets your soul on fire. And yes, that includes making a lot of money. So we’ll be talking about selling, charging what you’re worth, and how earning more means helping more people. My goal is to help you find freedom and create a business on your terms.

Kim Doyal: 0:00

Hey, what’s up, everybody? Welcome to another episode. I’m really excited. Today, my guest is going to talk about something that we all need are probably not doing well and can do a little bit better. So my guest is John Ainsworth of Data-Driven Marketing. Thank you so much for being here today.

John Ainsworth 1:36

I’m delighted, what an honor.

Kim Doyal 1:40

Yeah, so we connected and we do have to give the listeners a little bit of a backstory because we’re recording this and you’re getting a November and I think it’s kind of fun. We connected through a good friend, Jimmy rose, James rose, depending on where you’re connected with him online. And John is in Mexico, and I’m in Costa Rica. So we’re sort of having this tropical conversation today. Yeah.

John Ainsworth 2:03

We’re both just loving the fact that it’s beautifully warm in November, it is a wonderful thing.

Kim Doyal 2:11

It is, I think I’m going to be in shock going back to California in December, even though it’s California, it definitely cools off in the winter. So I’m like, What am I gonna wear? Did I bring anything to wear?

John Ainsworth 2:23

And I have it on my packing list when I travel. If it’s going to be cold when you go back, pack a jacket, and hat and scarf, and gloves and just like don’t get to the airport and go, Oh God, what am I done?

Kim Doyal 2:37

I mean to wear flip-flops and get out and snow this is.

John Ainsworth 2:41

Exactly yeah.

Kim Doyal 2:43

Anyways. Yeah. So I’m totally excited to talk about this day, John, because, you know, it is there was a time when funnels were not a common marketing language. It’s what you guys do. But before we get into that, how did you get into your funnels? But how did you start your online business what’s a little bit of backstory, I love hearing how people got to where they are.

John Ainsworth 3:05

So this is my second business. And my first one was I used to work in sport and physical activity marketing, I used to be campaigns manager for Sport England, who’s like the National Organization for sport in England. And I’d run campaigns for them. And then I set up a business on my own. And I would do that for local government and health charities. And I would get inactive people into physical activity cancer patients, disabled people, people from teenage girls was a really hard one actually harder the toddler to get teenage girls active than it is to get cancer patients. And I’m

Kim Doyal 3:42

just gonna let that sink in for a minute. But that’s pretty funny. What you should do is send them on a scavenger hunt to find their phones. Go ahead. Yeah.

John Ainsworth 3:51

So I ran that for about 10 years. And it was business and I was running it online most of the time. But it didn’t work for like what I really wanted, which was to work completely remotely, you know, go to Mexico, go to Portugal or go to wherever around the world for long periods of time, because I needed to go to meetings and go connect with people to get jobs in. And so I close it down a few years ago and I set this up. And so I was like looking around and figure out why we’re already been building these funnels for getting people interactivity. Where else do people want funnels? And I didn’t kind of know-how well it would go and I tried it out with E-commerce and online courses. It turns out online businesses want funnels an awful lot more than the government does. They really were like, Oh, that was a lot easier. Why was I making my life so hard for so many years? Like fine, okay. And so I kind of narrowed down to just working with online courses from there because we just found that we had the best bond like it’s I find online course creators tend to be someone who’s a real expert something is a really good person who really wants to Sharan, teach this thing. And they’re spelled spent a long time building up an audience. And so I found like, Oh, these are really good people, I really liked working with them. And this is they tend to be kind of a good fit. And it was somewhere where we got good results as well. So that’s how we kind of got into this niche.

Kim Doyal 5:16

Excuse me, I was gonna try to like, mute that. And it just came on. Why? I would think too, you know, because your niches course craters that I hadn’t said that. So I’m glad you pulled that in his course creators also, you know, unless they’re brand spanking new, but either even with that, they probably help make your job a little easier in the sense that they’ve, they’ve created a curriculum, they’ve got a process, they’ve got steps, so you can pull that out for coffee and marketing and, and how to actually craft the campaign a little bit, right? Because there’s content in there. So. So in terms of the course, craters, so you pivoted, and I’m guessing, did you? Did you create a funnel to find these people that you could work with?

John Ainsworth 6:00

No, it’s an interesting one, right. So that’s kind of, I would say, a funnel is not generally the place to start, you don’t if you’ve got a new business, you’re like doing something for a new audience. And you go and build a funnel if it turns out that you’re wrong in some of your hypotheses is like, Okay, this isn’t the right niche, or I need to change the messaging slightly here or whatever, then it’s a load of work to redo the whole funnel again. So what I was doing is mostly just networking relationship building, like I’m in a business network with Jimmy that you mentioned before, called the DC. And I just would do loads of stuff for free for people in there and find out who wanted some more help, you know, and then I got referrals from in there, and I went on some podcasts and that kind of thing. So that was it for a long time. And we didn’t take on that many clients for quite a long time. Because it’s like, we have to get really, really good at this before we start to scale it at all. Because if you start to scale something kind of mediocre, or, or even if it’s good, but it requires just so much work because everything has to be figured out as you go along. It’s a nightmare. But if you can get like everything dialed in and then start to scale it up, then it’s way easier. So now we have funnels and we’ve tried ad sets doesn’t really work for us, we do most of our work through just going and doing. Probably you would approve. It’s through content. We go and we share content with other people’s audiences. They go on podcasts and teach people about funnels. I go and do presentations for the people’s audience. I just did a webinar for analytics, and their audience earlier today. Oh, yeah, yeah. Might be doing one for teachable at some point this month. So that kind of thing. Just go and teach about this stuff. And some of the people are like, Could you help me more with this? And so that’s just always been my, my kind of style is like, help people as much as you can, and then some of them want more help? So yeah, that was kind of how we got going.

Kim Doyal 7:52

Okay, well, here’s sort of a random and you’ll learn quickly, John, I go off script quite a bit here. But so from that perspective, but because I love that process, you know, and it’s like, I’ve, I’ve recently gotten into just putting an email out, look, I’m going to do this program, it’s a pilot, I only want this many people, we’re gonna do it together. And I, I spend way more time with people than I committed to because I’m trying to find those pain points and have those conversations. And then it’s, it’s been magical, it has been the easiest thing I’ve ever sold or offered, and the relationships really deep. So that being said I have an audience, and I’ve got a list already. So that type of an offer is easy to put out. So if someone’s getting started, is there a way to kind of bring in revenue pre-funnel while you’re gathering that data? Because the thing is, like, I get the doing stuff for free and make and the relationship building. But if someone’s listening, and they’re thinking, that’s great, John, I didn’t have the money to just go work for free. Like, how would you recommend or suggest or what are some ways to kind of step into that?

John Ainsworth 8:57

Yeah, I mean, I can only really, I guess, speak for that one, like what’s worked for me but like when I say I did stuff for free, I only mean for like, it was really a month or something like that I was doing I did these audits. So it was an I did it for six people I think and two of them asked if they could sign up as clients and one of them is still with me now. And I was kind of shocked at the time I was just like testing the market to see what’s out there. But I think like for getting started just going and finding people who have got a pain point like the way of here’s the way I’ve always done it when I’m trying to get started on trying to get going at something is talk to a lot of people as many as I can. So whether it’s at networking groups or in a business network or through masterminds or relationships you know, people you already know who they know whatever. And with no, no pitch at all. Just go and talk to people about their problems. And I find people love to talk about the problems they are they are mad keen to have someone listen to them bitch about their problems. And then if one of those problems is something that I can help with generally say, like, I’ll help them during the conversation if I can. And then like I say, What do you want help with that? And it’s the, it’s the least pitchy pitch that, you know, I could possibly do is like the, they could say no, very, very easily, it’s very comfortable to say no, it doesn’t feel like I’ve just tried to sell them something. But if they say that would be great, okay, cool. And then I would set up a call or you know, a meeting or whatever, and go through it with them. And maybe they just wanted help for an hour or something. But maybe, then they actually want someone to come and do it, what I would often find is people would say, Well, can you just do this for me? Can you just sort this out? You seem right, you know, can you just make this problem go away. And so that will get me started and that I do all kinds of it. I don’t think it’s a long-term way, to run a really profitable business, because you end up doing so many random things, but it gets some money coming in, and you get to identify problems. And when you find, ah, I’ve had three people with that same problem. Okay, cool. Maybe that’s my thing, maybe I’ll try and find more people like that. And you kind of narrow down on to that. So I found that was way easier to get some work in when I started doing that than I, then I do now because we have to turn down most people now. Because most of them don’t fit into our little niche we only helped this specific type of person.

Kim Doyal 11:17

No, I think that’s brilliant. I didn’t think that you meant, you know, like working for free at the same time, like ongoing. I’m always amazed, I don’t know what it is about this space. Or if it’s, you know, online, that people just think I’m going to pay someone to put up a website and where’s, you know, if you build it, they will come kind of mentality. And it’s, it’s, there is so much value in doing that deep dive with people and having those conversations, they will literally tell you, it’s your point, this is my pain point. Well, there’s your headline, there’s you know, and so you know it’s a lot easier. I mean, and not in one conversation, but the more you do that, it’s just gold. And I feel like there’s so much more opportunity to just come back to being a human being and having conversations and really getting clear on it. And then from there, it’s a lot easier to grow and to narrow down so. So how did you come into the space of finding that course craters were your market?

John Ainsworth 12:14

Well, so we were working with SAS businesses, E-commerce, and online course creators and a whole bunch of others. And we did that for I guess about a year where we work with loads of different people, and we sat down and we did an 8020 analysis of it. So my business is called data-driven marketing. So you will not be surprised to learn that I track a lot of things. So we track all of the hours that we spent on stuff. And we tracked all the results that we got for clients. And we tracked how much time it had taken and what the profit was per project. And then we also wrote down for each of them, how much we like it, how much do we like working with them. And what we found was the online fifth graders was one where we like them as people that we felt like this is honestly this is people who are good who are ethical who stand in there doing something originally to help people more than making money. And now they get to make money from it so that we would generally get a group of good people here. Secondly, we found those were the ones we always got the best results for which was brilliant that that lined up so well between the two of them. And then the third one was that we found there were some clients we would work with who we would do a really good job for, we’d build them a great funnel and we get everything running well, and then they’d be booked up, they’d be full. And we’re like, well, that’s no good. Because if you fill somebody up, and then they stop hiring you because you did the job too well. It’s like well, that’s sucks. I mean, honestly, it really sucks. I’ve done it before a number of times, I used to work with gyms. And you can fill up a gym really easily. As you can get a gym to be completely full, all memberships are sold. And then they’re like, great, we’re done now, it’s like, wow, this is horrible. Because like I should, what I should have done is a less good job for you. And I would have made more money from it. And that makes me feel kind of sick. So part of it. And I kind of looked at ecommerce as well. I was like, You know what, technically, if we did an amazing job for E-commerce, they wouldn’t be able to handle it. Like if we really like I was looking at this as long term. I want to be so good at this that it confuses people. If we get to be really really good we double or triple an e-commerce business’s sales, can they actually handle it? Do they have the inventory for it? And so that was a reason why that one was cut out for us. So it was just like, we just had to try a load of stuff, learn what worked, and then narrow down to like, right, this is the bit that works the best online course creators.

Kim Doyal 14:42

Yeah, well, and you were saying too, that people have to fit certain criteria. So when it comes to your court, so we’ve got the course greater market. So what are some of the criteria that you guys look for when working with a horse trader?

John Ainsworth 14:56

So 90% of the audience who is responding to anything about online courses are beginners, like as in, they either don’t have a course, or they’ve just made a course. But they don’t have an audience, they haven’t really started making sales yet like they’re very, very early stage. And what we do our whole shtick is that we help people who are already succeeding, to ramp it up. So they have to be making sales of at least a few 1000 a month, like some of our clients are making hundreds of 1000s a month, but at least 3000 a month, they’ve got to have an email list of at least 3000 people. And they have to there that proves that they’ve got courses that people like because it’s really easy to make a course that you like and that you think people should like, but that doesn’t guarantee that people are actually going to buy it. And it’s really hard to build an audience, like it takes a lot of time to build an organic, we’re working with people with organic traffic. So it could be YouTube, or a podcast or search engine traffic or, you know, whatever, Instagram, Facebook, but it has to be organic traffic that they’ve already got. And that’s what we’re helping to convert more of those into sales. So if they’ve got an email list of at least a few 1000 people, it proves they’ve, they’ve had something work there that’s already made progress. And then that’s kind of our requirements. And what that means is, that our job becomes relatively easy for that specific group of people. A funnel is unbelievably valuable. Like if they don’t have this stuff in place, they can double their revenue in three months, we’ve got people who’ve, I think the best we’ve got so far was like five or eight times or something that went from 38,000 to 225,000, in like five months, something like that. So what’s that like? Just under six times, five times? It’s like, it’s ridiculous. It’s just like, this is incredible potential that they’ve spent years building up. And then we get to help them to tap that untapped potential. So that’s kind of our that’s our particular audience where we really work well with people who’ve got, you know, a lot of traffic, like we had someone start with us the other day, who has got 7 million YouTube subscribers, and so she’ll absolutely crush it in this I know. And she doesn’t even like, to her, this is going to be like, you know, she’ll become a multimillionaire off this stuff. And but I mean, we work with anybody who’s got meets those kinds of criteria, but like, that’s the people who’ve really already spent years building the courses, building the traffic, we can do so much for them. That’s the people were really kind of fit best with.

Kim Doyal 17:29

Wow, okay. So in that sense, let’s kind of back into this as a smidge here. So if somebody wasn’t ready to work with you, what would you suggest they do to get to this point, right, without necessarily giving away like, I mean, I, I’m guessing, right, that you guys are building a funnel on the back end of you’re converting traffic that’s coming to the site, and then you’ve got a funnel on the back end of that. So what are some things that you’d recommend, specifically, for course creators how to how to get the organic traffic...