It’s often said that Dan Kennedy’s principles have a life changing effect on entrepreneurs. On this episode of the Magnetic Marketing Podcast is Trent Chapman, the COO of FixYourFunnel.com. Trent talks about how he uses Dan’s direct response marketing techniques in the world of SMS or text marketing, how he blends automation with a human touch, and how he was able to build a business that generated $1.2M in sales in one year with just 3 employees.
About Trent Chapman:
Trent is the COO of FixYourFunnel.com and also the co-founder of two other texting programs for businesses – YetiText.com and EngageCRM.io. Trent and his brother/business partner Ryan had years of failure in business until finally, they had their first “win” in 2007. After attending SuperConference and Info-Summit (two annual events run by GKIC at the time) and being introduced to Dan Kennedy’s courses on direct response marketing, everything changed. They went to start a business in August 2007 that had generated $1.2M in sales by August 2008 with just 3 employees.
Trent Chapman - Magnetic Marketing
Joe Pardavila: This is Dan Kennedy's Magnetic Marketing podcast. You'll meet folks that are using the Magnetic Marketing principles to take control of their advertising and marketing dollars. I'm Joe Pardavila. Let's do this.
How do Dan's direct response marketing principles work best in the world of SMS or text marketing? This week, I'm joined by Trent Chapman. The COO of FixYourFunnel.com. Wait till you hear how Dan Kennedy's courses changed his life forever. Trent, welcome to the podcast.
Trent Chapman: Hey Joe, thanks for having me on.
Joe Pardavila: I guess the first question I want to ask you is about your website, which is FixYourFunnel.com. And I will say it caught me because there's a little red box at the top that says, try Fix Your Funnel for $1. Me being quite a frugal fellow saw that and thought hey, I'd like to fix my funnel for a dollar. So talk to me about first of all, what Fix Your Funnel does?
Trent Chapman: Basically the name might be a little misleading because we're not going to go in and do it for you. So a lot of people think, oh, great, they're going to fix my funnel, sales are going to be happening like clockwork, with the automation there.
What we do is we help enhance the automation that a lot of businesses are already using to incorporate text messaging and having text message conversations be part of the sales process and for a lot of businesses relying just on email, we're able to double and sometimes triple sales by enhancing that, by incorporating text messaging into the sales funnel.
Joe Pardavila: Interesting. And why do you think there's such an instant reaction or success or high success rate for texts? Do you have anecdotal information as to why that works?
Trent Chapman: We also have some evidence, we've used machine learning to go through 65 million messages that we and our customers have sent out over the years to identify what are the things that make text messaging so great.
When we send a text from a 10 digit number, a normal phone number. If I text you from my number, you respond, we have a conversation. That's the experience people expect with texting. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses use texting like email, like they're talking at someone, go buy my product, go do this.
Where we try to help it businesses realize, no, this is a relationship and we're having a conversation. So we'll ask questions and we'll send content to help generate more conversations, not just talk at people and try to command them what to do. And so by having this approach to marketing and sales, there might be a little bit more labor involved because I have to respond to messages, but I also have a lot more sales and I also have a better return on investment for my marketing dollar.
So texting is more efficient in that it is seen as a medium that people feel like they can have a conversation, whereas email marketing with businesses, most people don't think to reply to emails they get from marketers or from businesses. They think that's just information I have, I click a link and watch a video. That's it.
With texting, we try to open that door to have a two-way conversation. And that leads to a lot more opportunities to answer that one or two questions that they have to get them to now make a buying decision.
Joe Pardavila: Interesting. And you know, one thing that kind of sparked my interest with that was, I think we're not really inundated with so much spam via text, no matter how old you are.
Trent Chapman: It's getting there.
Joe Pardavila: It is getting there, but we're still not to the point where Oh my God, here's this other email I got to unsubscribe from. And I will say, I do this from time to time with those, as you said, it's getting there.
It's such an easy way to stop. You type the word stuff and that you'll never hear from that person again. Whereas with email and subscribe, it could be like, This could take two to four weeks to unsubscribe from your email, which is the most annoying thing in the world.
Trent Chapman: It might just import you into a different system and then spam you from that one.
Joe Pardavila: Exactly.
It almost sounds like you're humanizing the AI portion of this text messaging thread, because it doesn't seem as robotic, as you mentioned, click the link here to go here. How are you doing that?
Trent Chapman: So we do use automation. That's a good point you bring up. We do use automation to do some of the heavy liftings.
For example, let's say we're speaking from the stage, or we're doing a webinar or maybe we're even doing a booth at an event. And those types of situations. A lot of times we want to capture leads and then follow up with them later. And so we'll use automation in that case where they'll text a keyword to a phone number. For example, hey, if you want a copy of my slides, plus this PDF I prepared for you, just answer these three questions so you can get this benefit, go ahead and text slides to this number. It's up on the screen right now.
And they'll do that. And then when they do that, we ask them great, what's your first name? Perfect. What's your email address? And then what most interested you about my presentation today? And that's kinda like an open-ended leading question to get them to talk about the presentation.
And then on the back end once that message comes in, someone on our team can jump in and respond as if they're the speaker, and that gives them the opportunity now to have a two-way conversation after the automation has taken place. We've already captured the information, put them into an automation sequence to send them a text or an email in the future with that information we promised.
But now we can also go to a live person. So automation is great. I love it. It's helped revolutionize our businesses, but the human element, the human touch, that's where we see the biggest increase in sales. Because nobody wants to ask questions to a robot, right? They want to have a person give them the answer because they don't trust robots enough. In the future, maybe.
If automation and AI get to the point where it can actually answer questions effectively and get the right answer, maybe. But right now, most people are leery of talking to bots. They don't want us to have a conversation with the bot. They just want to have a conversation with a human. And so we transitioned from automation to a human conversation.
And that allows us to do a lot of the heavy lifting automatically. And then the sales happen with an individual.
Joe Pardavila: Wow. And so without spilling your state secrets, because this sounds like a pretty cool process you have, how do you do the handoff from the AI bot to the human? How does that happen on your end?
Trent Chapman: That's a great question.
And that's something that we've been frustrated with within the market because when we first started doing texting, we created our own texting service for our own business. So this wasn't like, hey, let's create software. It'll be texting software. This actually started back in 2009, 2010, my brother and I had a real estate training company.
We'd go around the United States. And our sales guy would do three to four presentations a week going to a different city every day. So he was on the road all the time and we had to make sure that his time spent going to these different places was worthwhile. So to get people into the seats, to make sure they showed up, everyone that registered we'd send them a direct mail piece a week before emails leading up to it.
And back then fax, for those who don't know what that is, it's like an email but paper and we'd fax them, but we'd also collect their cell phone numbers so we could text them. And so we started using texting in 2009, 2010 to remind them an hour before, give them the address to the hotel, where the presentation would be.
And to get them to show up. And so by doing this, we increased our show-up rate and kind of built this into our CRM, which at the time was Infusionsoft. And so this kind of became a product because of our necessity. Then people started asking, hey, how are you guys doing this with Infusionsoft? That's amazing.
And then that kind of spawn to what we are today. But to answer the question, I went off track there. Our frustration with the market is that we see a lot of people treating texting as a spamming mechanism and as talking at people. And we built our tools around having two-way conversations. So we have mobile apps that are native to Android and iPhone.
So when someone answers one of those live questions and not an automated question, a live question, then some will get notified. So I can have five people on one phone number, all getting notified. One of the people can claim that and then have that conversation. As a manager, I can jump in and see all the team chats and I can see who's claimed what conversations.
I can see in the new chat folder, which ones haven't been claimed, and then could see in my chats, which ones I'm working on. And I get notified of new chats and my chats, and the people have claimed conversations, they get notified of theirs. That way we're not all being overwhelmed and over notified, but at the same time, we can manage as a team, all these conversations that come in when we have these sales opportunities.
So this is great for a solopreneur. It's also great for bigger businesses as well.
Joe Pardavila: The great element about it is you don't have to worry about the redundancy. You won't have two people respond to the same person you can keep track of. Oh, okay. Trent's got this guy, I'll let him handle it.
And then obviously, whoever the manager is, who's overseeing the project who can keep an eye on it without having to stick their nose into the business.
Trent Chapman: The other thing is some people want to be on a computer, so we built it around mobile because that's the experience most people are used to with texting, but we also have a desktop interface where they can log in on the browser and see their messenger and chat just like you're like on Facebook messenger and you can grab conversations and continue those on, see the history, see all the automation that happened beforehand.
So you're stepping into a conversation fully knowing what's going on now. It's frustrating in the market, I see a lot of texting solutions that still, if someone replies you get an email that someone replied to, okay great. I've got an email now what? So we try to make this into a native experience.
Just like you're used to with your own personal phone number, but built into our app on your phone. That way you can keep your personal phone lines separate from your business phone line, but just use one device. And so it just makes it simple for our business customers to have that separation of the personal self, business self, and then still have the automation that can do all the heavy lift for them.
Joe Pardavila: Wow.
And can you talk about some of the businesses you do work with?
Trent Chapman: I'll do it by the industry where we have the most success. And I will open this up. I don't know if I admitted this clearly when I talked to you earlier, but Fix Your Funnel is one of three companies that we manage that do texting. And the reason why we have three, people always ask why don't just keep one, Fix Your Funnel was built around Infusionsoft, which is now Keap.
And it's built so tightly around that. So tightly integrated that in order to make this work with other systems, it would just be a nightmare. So we decided to create a separate entity called YetiText. Now, YetiText will work with HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, and other CRMs like that. And then our third company is a standalone system.
It doesn't need to have extra automation software that runs automation in itself is a baby CRM. We call it, but it's focused on texting and that's EngageCRM.io. And so those three companies we leveraged the experience we get from all the different customer bases and we bring in the solutions we find that work to increase the delivery rate, to reduce your spam complaints, reduce your opt-outs.
And make sure that you have a clean texting platform. And so going into that with texting something that's really important to note is that these different systems out there, don't always have your best interests at heart.
They're just trying to send out as many messages as possible. Now, you asked what's our clientele, it is usually speakers, authors, and coaches, small businesses that are local businesses that are trying to get recurring customers to come back in. Or medical, dental, and chiropractic.
We have a lot that is in the space of information marketers, online marketing, just because they usually sell high ticket products and services. And texting is a great medium for selling high ticket sales. Real estate, insurance, so we have a lot of different industries but pretty much any industry when I work with them, one-on-one is talking about, Hey, what's your goal?
What are you trying to do? Where are your lead sources right now coming from? And then identifying that we can usually help them find a great strategy to implement, to help them to leverage the lead they're already getting. And that way, when they do start spending more on marketing, they're gonna have a better return on investment overall versus just spending more but not converting at a higher rate.
It kinda covers the whole spectrum of small and medium-sized businesses. And in various industries.
Joe Pardavila: And are you able to share like any big, huge, like ROI for any of these companies that have used your service, whether it's one of the three that you run?
Trent Chapman: I think what's probably most applicable would be more of like a startup story.
Because I know that a lot of people in Magnetic Marketing are small to medium-sized businesses. They're not enterprise. Some something around that lines of how do you take a business that's got a good baseline, but then just saw a dramatic result in adding texting their business. One example is a friend of mine who actually came to me and he's Hey, I want to grow this business.
It's an information marketing business. It's a $1,500 product, how to start your business in this space. And I just don't know how to sell it. I'm getting a few sales here and there, but just doing ads online, through Craigslist, and all these other online posting sites. But I'm just not having the results that I want.
I can't live off of $5,000 to $8,000 a month. And so he had sales. He had proven that the product was something that people wanted to pay for. He just needed help getting that out there and just using email follow-up and personal follow-up, it was just too much for him to get the sales he wanted.
And so what we did in that case, we took the message that was working and we did about 40 different variations of that same message on Facebook. Now I don't usually do this. This is a friend, and he gave me some ownership in the business. So I felt a little bit more wanting to be more involved in it.
We usually just help you with the strategy part, let you implement it. And then taking the automation and the software to help you leverage this. But I'll go into the details of what we did because I'm allowed to share more details on something that I was actually part owner in versus sharing confidential information from our customers.
I don't want to get into that. So anyway, what we did is we took the messaging that was working and we started doing ads on Facebook, we did 40 different variations to find the one that would work best. Many of you have probably done that. You just kinda start with five, then expand out to 10, then 20 and 40.
And the kind of just figuring out which messaging and which images, and which call to action work best. And a lot of that stuff we got from our history learning from Dan Kennedy back in 2007. My brother and I went to our first Dan Kennedy event, I think it was Info-SUMMIT. It might've been SuperConference.
It just blew our minds just to understand this whole world of direct response marketing. And so a lot of these principles I learned 10, 13 years ago had been applied to my businesses since then. And it's really helped us to have high leverage with our marketing because now our marketing dollars are much more effective than just shotgun blast, which I see a lot of people doing.
So anyway, we created these Facebook ads that lead to a Facebook lead ad. Now Facebook lead ads are basically, instead of sending them to a form that I create Facebook will dish up their name, email, and phone number that Facebook has in their profile.
So the person doesn't actually have to type anything in, the data is usually pretty good. We took a sampling of 10,000 leads. That we generated from Facebook and ran those through a check number bot to find out how many of those were cell phone numbers, and how many were valid numbers and over 85% of those were valid cell phone numbers.
So it's really good data. Unlike when you get an email opt-in form or your phone field forms. A lot of times they'll put in bad data just to get through the form. So we did this Facebook lead ad and in that lead ad, we asked them for permission to text, this is important because texting is a new medium for marketing.
You do want to follow the TCPA guidelines and get permission and opt-in. So in the form, it says, would you act to receive this via video immediately by text? Now we were going to send them a video anyway, by email right away. But because we worded that to text opt-in with, would you like to see this video immediately by text?
And they just showed interest in this because they clicked on the ad. I think about 90% of them said, yes, you can text me right away. So we've got a very high opt-in rate for texting. Whereas before when we said, can we text you? That was a horrible question to ask.
Most people said maybe so like we had about 50% to 60% that would opt-in. So we had a much higher opt-in rate just by reframing the question with a way of providing a benefit. Would you like to receive this video immediately by text? We're getting the opt-in, but we're also saying there's a benefit here.
So they're more likely to say yes to that opt-in. So that was a great marketing lesson that we just happened upon. We realized our opt-in question was horrible, and that's why we're getting no opt-in for texting. Anyway, we take that opt-in and put them into a text campaign.
And started asking them questions. So basically went from $5,000 to $8,000 a month. That's what our revenue was for that business. He was just making $5,000 to $8,000 a month just paying his own personal bills, just getting by, to then spending about $10,000 to $20,000 a month on Facebook ads and generating about $90,000 a month in sales consistently from that ad spend with very little overhead, besides just one salesperson that would do phone calls with those people after they watched a 30-minute video.
And then scheduled a one-on-one call with that salesperson. So that salesperson would have 15 to 20 appointments a day. And it was just like clockwork. We wouldn't have to do anything, but just keep the ad budget consistent. And it was consistently feeding him appointments every day. And about one in eight he'd close on a $1,500 package.
So it was very easy for him. 15-minute phone call. He'd do about two hours of calls and then you'd have a close. He'd do about four hours total in a day and that was about it for him. So that was a very easy business to scale up to that. Now, unfortunately, this is where the story gets sad.
My business partner in that business decided that he didn't want to continue to scale. He liked that where it was. I wanted to see it go up higher. He said I'm happy with this. This is awesome. This is more than I've ever made, and so it just hung out at that point until he decided to go off and do another business because he learned all these tools and all these things, and you went off and did his own thing.
And now his brother, who was our sales guy, runs that business on his own, and I just sold out to him and he runs it. So that success story for me, was awesome because I got to be involved. Like I've done my own businesses and we've gone from zero to a million in sales in 12 months.
And that was great because I'd done that on my own, but helping someone else to take the tools and the resources that I had learned and created over the years and be able to apply that to them and let them run with that. Just being a small impact there and seeing that same result, was very validating to me personally, I've seen it with our customers of course, over the years, but just to be personally involved in it again from startup to that was really fun experience for me. And really validated these strategies are powerful when they're just put together in the right order.
Joe Pardavila: Pretty cool. And the aforementioned Dan Kennedy and the aforementioned Fix Your Funnel for $1 offer that I mentioned at the top of the podcast, a very Dan Kennedy-esque move there. You mentioned 2007 when you first experienced Dan Kennedy at one of the conferences. Do you remember how you even found out who Dan Kennedy was?
Trent Chapman: Yeah, that's a great story. So my brother and I, we're about six years apart. He's my older brother. I think I was 27 at the time. So he was about 33 and he had just frustration after frustration as most small businesses can relate to. You have a lot of failures on your way to success.
And that's not to say that you fail, you're a failure, but you will fail along the way. Businesses don't work out. He just finished with his second failure. We like to call it that, we finished the second failure. I'd invested money in both of his businesses because I believe in him and I believe in his instincts and his gut, but we were lacking something in our businesses that we were doing.
I was in the real estate mortgage business. And so that was kinda my bread and butter. I'd take some of that to invest in his ideas because I really love that he was in that entrepreneurial spirit and is trying to figure something out. And the first two businesses didn't work out and he was playing basketball.
My brother is 6'7", and he's playing basketball. He's a tall guy. And the guy who was playing against was also like 6'7", but you think 6'7" guys, usually they're not outside suitors. And so he got this guy out in the three-point line and this guy kept draining on him and he'd make a three-pointer after a three-pointer.
And so my brother was impressed with the skills on the court. So after where they talked, he's like, hey you're really good at basketball. You must be, really honing your craft. What else do you do? I'm just curious. Oh, I'm a marketer. And that's how we found out about Dan Kennedy.
This guy was actually a chapter leader for Dan Kennedy, GKIC, inner circle chapter. And so he talked to him for a little bit, and then he took my brother by the credit card and led them to Dan Kennedy and basically got us involved in learning about marketing. We had no idea this whole world of marketing existed.
We were just so naive. That was our introduction in 2006 to Dan Kennedy. And from there, if anyone asked me, who's your number one influence on business and marketing, it's always Dan Kennedy, for those that are new to the world of Dan Kennedy, dive in. There's so much depth here. There's so much content.
You could go for a year studying and not even know it all, but you only need a couple of months worth of study to really be able to start applying and seeing results and success. That's what's great about Dan Kennedy, the strategies I've learned from him, the direct response marketing, the Ultimate Sales Letter was a great introduction for me to direct response marketing.
Back then we did a lot more direct mail. Now we use the same principles for direct mail. Just applied to digital marketing. And so a lot of these tools and resources that I had access to back then, I'm still referring people to the same stuff. Those programs are still to this day, just as valuable even if the medium's changed.
The whole concept of a market to message to media match that all still exists today. It doesn't matter that we're now doing more texting instead of direct mail. It's still, you apply those same principles.
Joe Pardavila: You just took the words right out of my mouth. It's really not about what you're doing.
It's the principles. And we joked about fax machines earlier and that's Dan Kennedy's I think favorite form of communication.
Trent Chapman: He got us into that.
Joe Pardavila: Sure. Just the idea of using those and bringing them to the 21st century, with this texting. Because when Dan was writing those NO BS books, there was no digital marketing via texts available at the time.
So you're just using those elements. Do you think you would have been able to create, Fix Your Funnel and have it be so successful and your other two companies if you didn't have that sort of Dan Kennedy baseline?
Trent Chapman: No, to be honest, our first company that we did together, actually was a success directly after learning about Dan Kennedy’s marketing.
So we'd both struggled to figure out what would be great for ourselves in business. And like I said, I really just had two businesses that failed that I'd invested in. And so we were really frustrated. In 2007, we learned about Dan and that was just like the mortgage market meltdown.
So my business was starting to go into chaos. And I was starting to have a lot of fear and doubt. And just at that point, we created a real estate education business based on my experience doing short sales. And we got a guy to leave a bank. He was working as an employee for the bank, negotiating short sales that's where someone owes more on their house than it is worth.
Joe Pardavila: The Big Short, I've read the book and I've seen the movie.
Trent Chapman: So we basically had to short sell these real estate transactions so that people could get out of their houses. And move on without foreclosure. And so we learned this skillset during this mortgage market meltdown, and then we started to teach other people and that information business, the way we established it was by going to Info-SUMMIT and learning from Dan Kennedy and the speakers there on how do you establish the information marketing business?
How do you add on a recurring service or product? In this case, we had software we add on the backend for $79 a month after they spent $1,200 on the upfront training program. And that training program funded our growth. We basically had this big chunk of money coming in every month from our sales and on the back end, we're growing recurring revenue.
So that's what got us addicted to recurring revenue. And so the reason why we're in software today is that we love recurring revenue and we love being able to provide a valuable service. It has a great return on investment so that people stick long-term with us.
And no doubt in my mind, we would not have gotten from zero in revenue to $1.2 million, 12 months later. So that was during 12 months. It wasn't like we started going to $100,000 a month every month. We started at zero, went up to $25,000, $50,000, $100,000, $200,000. By the end of the year, we'd done $1.2 million in revenue in just a 12 month period from start-up.
And so that was all because of understanding Dan Kennedy’s marketing. How do you approach marketing and sales and then also using the leverage of Infusionsoft to help with the automation so that we didn't have to have 10 employees to do what we could do with three and use the automation?
So the combination was just perfect. The timing and the market were perfect. The timing of learning about Dan Kennedy, learning about Infusionsoft, putting all that together with automation, awesome marketing, and follow-up. And then with the market just having that turmoil, it created a perfect storm for us and that business went on to grow to a multi-million dollar a year business.
And then we transitioned from that into the software in 2010, 2011. So that's our origin story, but it all started with, and this isn't just because I'm on a podcast about Magnetic Marketing. It all started with our introduction to Dan Kennedy. If you talked to my brother today and asked him the same question, you'd get the same answer.
That the number one thing that changed our course for our lives as business owners were getting access to that information at that time. I think we would have still struggled for years to come to try and find the answers you're seeking. If we hadn't found out about the GKIC inner circle and Dan Kennedy, and Magnetic Marketing back in 2007 from our good friend, Travis Tollestrup.
Trent, thank you very much for sharing all that information. That was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoyed the conversation.
Trent Chapman: Thanks, Joe, I did!
Joe Pardavila: So join us for our next virtual events on March 4th and fifth, where you can get hands-on assistance focused on turning your business into a 24/7, 365 finely tuned machine attracting a flood of new customers, clients, and patients to your doorstep reliably, predictably, without fail, guaranteed.