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A couple of years back, there were two chaps dominating the world of info-product and Facebook ads.
One – Tai Lopez – filmed himself from his garage in front of an (apparently rented) Lamborghini, extolling the benefits of ‘knowledge’.
Many people jumped on the hate train for Tai, but he’s had the last laugh and now owns several large-name retailers in the US, including Pier 1, DressBarn, and Radio Shack.
Turns out, he might be a pretty savvy marketer.
The other was a chap called Sam Ovens.
Sam was known for somewhat more unusual ads. Sure, there were private jets and fancy cars.
But there were also odd elements, like a motorbike sitting in the center of his penthouse apartment.
I remember ads where Sam used some of the more unusual decor to highlight the point of ‘thinking differently’.
Which to me, now makes more sense.
You see, Sam’s approach to selling information products changed the way a lot of others built their info product marketing.
He didn’t do the exact same thing everyone else was doing. He took a slightly different approach.
Say what you want about his accelerator program—plenty of people have both positive and not-so-positive reviews—but that’s not what I want to talk about.
I want to talk about his crazy good sales funnel.
I think Sam is a shining example of smart marketing combined with great sales acumen.
How much money does he actually make? I’m not sure, but this is how he does it.
This case study will be split into two parts:
1- I’m going to share with you the original webinar sales funnel that Sam Ovens used to build his business.
2- I’m going to share with you his current sales funnel and what he’s doing in 2022 to sell his products.
The sales funnel initiates with attention-grabbing social ads. This prompts interested individuals to register. Following this, an automated string of welcome and reminder emails are dispatched, all concluding with a CTA directing the individual back to the webinar registration page
Sam’s got a secret weapon up his sleeve, he’s an amazing copywriter.
All his ads really tap into his personal ‘started from the bottom, now we’re here’ story. They grab people’s attention, pump up the crowd, and make folks want to act, all with the promise of something better at the end.
And dude, they’re LONG. Not quite “like a story”, but they really pack a punch and get readers super hooked way before they tap that first ‘CTA’ button.
These ads are like catnip for the people that are trying to build a successful online business, He’s selling the dream of private jets, being pals with Tai Lopez, and banking $20M in four years. If the audience buys that he’s the real deal, they’re already hooked.
That’s why authority and social proof are key at this stage. You can bet the first thing people do after reading a Sam Ovens ad is checking out if he’s legit. There are a lot of pretenders out there, so your brand needs to stand up to scrutiny on search and social media. If it doesn’t, the whole thing just falls apart.
Just like his Facebook ads, Sam’s sign-up page goes straight for the big wins.
In particular, he promises to show you how he bags 30-50 high-ticket consulting clients every month. The video is pretty slick, too. It’s well-shot and well-spoken. It makes you trust that this is going to be a top-notch show with real goodies.
Take a look at that call to action.
He’s selling it as a live webinar, even though no one would think that’s actually true. But, it helps set the scene and makes it feel special.
When you click Yes! Reserve My Seat Now, you get to pick a time and date that’s close. Again, these are totally made up, but they help with that feeling of exclusivity.
Once you’ve picked your date and time, you get the success page.
Another important thing about the content so far: at every step, he’s been underlining that his webinar is NOT short. He tells you to clear 2.5 hours.
Yeah, 2.5 hours. It’s a smart way to get people committed and start taking you seriously.
Basically, he’s saying if you want the results he’s promising, you gotta be ready to put in the time. It masks the “get rich quick” smell and gets you ready to set aside time just for what he has to say. Super effective.
The calendar and text message reminders are cool, too, which add more steps to the funnel than I showed in the original picture.
The email does an excellent job of reminding you to keep 2 hours free for the webinar. They really don’t want you to be distracted.
Sam won’t let you forget about his webinar, no way!
You get three countdown emails from the webinar system before it starts: 3 hours before, 1 hour before, and right on the dot.
The rest of the reminders look pretty much the same, but the subject line and the opening sentence are tweaked for each countdown time.
If you signed up for text message alerts, you’ll get one saying: “Hey! Sam Ovens’ webinar on how to start a consulting business is starting right now. Check your email to join now!”
Then, all you’ve got to do is click the link in your email, and boom, you’re in!
If you click on the webinar before it starts, you’ll see a professional-looking waiting screen.
When the time comes, you’ll feel like a superfan about to watch the newest blockbuster at an IMAX theater. After a brief loading window, you’re greeted with an exciting opening video:
It sets the mood and gets you excited. He’s telling you, “Sit tight, buckle up, and pay attention, ’cause this is gonna change your life.”
After the video is done, the webinar kicks off.
Let’s make this clear, Sam puts on one heck of a show.
Without going into the content itself (since we’re talking about funnels here), the way he starts the webinar is pretty cool. Knowing it’s two hours long, he uses some time to tell his personal story to hook you in before moving onto the nitty-gritty.
Ok, fast forward two hours.
After walking you through his tactics and strategies, now comes the big question.
What’s he trying to sell?
It’s the Sam Ovens Consulting Accelerator program.
You’re probably wondering, “But how much does it cost???” Finally, after going over the benefits one more time, he lets you in on the price.
Regularly $6,000, but today it’s yours for only $1,999 (or five payments of $599).
Then an offer pops up on the side and a countdown starts from an hour. Limited-time offers & CTAs.
It’s a known tactic in marketing and psychology to offer a deal at the end of your webinar to get people to take action. Even if $1,999 is more of a permanent discount than a limited-time offer, coming up with something makes everyone feel like they’re getting a steal.
Remember: it’s not about the deal you got—it’s about the deal you think you got.
Let’s rewind a bit, remember I said that Sam Ovens’ funnel is a full circle?
Well, once the webinar wraps up, you get a final email that sends you back to the beginning:
The link takes you to the registration page again, and just like that, you’re back to square one.
I reckon everyone gets this email, even if you stayed till the end like I did. (Perhaps he doubts that folks like me are gonna sit through the whole two hours. But if that’s the case, why make it two hours long?)
Surprisingly, this is the only follow-up, aside from some re-marketing.
No mention of the time-limited offer…
No follow-up with the slides or the files he mentioned during the presentation…
Just radio silence.
Here’s the one re-marketing ad, by the way:
I’ve gotten more emails from him since, but they didn’t really relate to the webinar directly. If you ask me, I’d suggest looking at this part of the funnel more closely depending on what you sell and crafting a more solid follow-up plan.
Sam’s been super smart about the services he offers his customers.
He’s broken down his product range into just 3 distinct offers.
Each one is precisely aimed at consultants at different stages of their journey.
So, you have…
It might seem basic, but a lot of brands don’t dive this deep with their products. They usually spread their offers wide.
I’ve bought courses from various information product creators who have other offers that don’t build upon the course I signed up for.
Sam’s deep course model allows him to have a natural funnel built-in.
To draw people into his base-level course, he sets up a kick-ass frontend sales funnel.
Now, those who really throw themselves into that program and get results come out the other end as 6-figure consultants.
Which automatically makes them eligible for his second-tier offering – Uplevel Consulting.
And the folks who exit Uplevel with 7-figure revenues, are the perfect fit for his top-tier offer – Quantum Mastermind.
This is an awesome example of Yes Ladders, or in this case, a paid Yes Ladder.
People pay to get access to the base offering at a reasonable price.
Those who really dig in find their business reaching the next revenue milestone, all thanks to your training. This…
Here’s a snapshot of Sam’s latest funnel:
This is somewhat similar to the old funnel, but now Sam incorporates sales calls into his strategy rather than solely relying on webinars and sales pages. The main reason for this change? His target customers have become more sophisticated. They’ve seen it all before from competitors and understand sales tactics. So, the addition of a consultation call is a logical step to win them over.
Sam rolls out some pretty amazing ads (which I’ll dissect soon).
The ads drive you to a static free training page that requires an email opt-in to access.
He doesn’t use the “webinar starts in 14 minutes 31 seconds” trick.
We all know those “evergreen” webinars are pre-recorded and that we’ll receive a replay afterward.
Instead, Sam sidesteps the high-pressure tactics and focuses on delivering value. His free trainings are often very detailed and quite long.
Once you’ve completed these on-demand videos, the next step is to request a free consultation call with one of his team members.
This approach feels less salesy and like you’re getting more bang for your buck.
But let’s face it, nothing in business is truly free.
I’ve experienced a few of these consultation calls from various brands (though not Sam’s), and they generally follow a specific script:
It’s essentially a sales call disguised as a free consultation.
This strategy is great because it provides enough value to get the prospect excited about what they could achieve with further assistance.
It feels more personal and builds a stronger relationship.
This tactic is also beneficial for those who drop out after the call.
The customer can associate the training with a real person, not just an email account.
So when that person follows up in 2 weeks to check on your business, you’re more likely to respond. It’s a much more effective model of remarketing.
However, there’s one downside to this method.
You can’t implement this with low-price offers and you need to have a well-established lead generation funnel.
You really need to know your numbers:
one thing that is not up for discussion is how Sam manages his Facebook ads. I’ve noticed many imitations of his ads, and have even had numerous paid media specialists tell me they look to him for “inspiration”.
He tends to do things a bit differently.
I recall ads where he was describing the unusual items in his apartment and explaining why he owned them. These were often followed by a somewhat tenuous link to business ideas.
Before I delve into his current peculiarities, I want to highlight some fundamental elements he excels at.
All of Sam’s ads originate from his Facebook page for Sam Ovens, not Consulting.com.
He adheres to a great basic template that begins with a hook. The hook often ends right where you need to click “read more”.
This is fundamental ad copy best practice, but it works effectively, as you can see from the following ad that mentions a current hot topic, NFTs.
A lot of young entrepreneurs drawn to the hype of NFTs and Crypto would be very interested in this introduction. It would entice them to read the rest.
Another aspect I admire about Sam’s ads is their use of regular photos of him, his team, or him and his partner doing everyday activities.
It could be a Zoom meeting, hiking, or simply sitting at a table.
I believe this is ingenious for people running ads through a personal account rather than a brand account.
Many brand ads use branded imagery.
This is something a lot of people subconsciously recognize and instinctively scroll past.
By featuring himself in the ads, Sam makes you pause for a moment. The images he uses in his ads resemble the kind of images your friends and family share on Facebook.
This technique captures more attention because it doesn’t look like an ad.
It appears as though Sam is sharing something personal. This makes you wonder, “who is this guy?“.
It’s an excellent method to counteract the banner blindness that often comes with generic, corporate-feeling Facebook ads and captures that crucial second of attention from people scrolling past.
Sam’s ad copy is also often a bit unconventional. One of my current favorite ads he’s running is shown below.
He explicitly acknowledges that this is an ad. He explains its purpose. And he “leaves” the headline copy as if it were his internal template.
This is bound to capture the attention of his ideal audience of consultants and business owners who require improved digital marketing.
Every marketer out there is a critic when it comes to these things.
By deliberately doing it “incorrectly”, he’s going to draw a lot of double-takes from his target audience.
That’s the thing about Sam’s ads; he’s never afraid to try something new.
You’ll often notice a lot of other brands following his lead and running ads with similar themes or creativity.
I recall a similar ad of his that had a bright colored background. The text overlay stated in clear letters, “This is an ad”. And I remember many people emulating it.
In summary, Sam’s ads adhere to timeless best practices.
He uses the AIDA formula for most of his ads. But he’s not afraid to deviate from the generic messages that many others use.
He uses attention-grabbing creative (by going against the usual trends).
And it’s evident he’s conducting numerous tests.
But he does everything a bit differently from his competitors, which really helps him stand out.
What stands out about Sam’s approach is that he doesn’t often use the long-form sales pages that many other information product brands view as a “best practice”.
In the standard funnel that Sam uses, originating from his ads, the sales page is replaced with a consultation call. These calls usually lead to a straightforward checkout page, featuring some social proof to ease any potential purchase anxieties.
Sam does have sales pages for both his entry-level and top-tier offers. But, they don’t follow the usual long-form, story-driven sales pages.
Instead, they read more like the pages you’d see on a SaaS brand’s website. For example, his Consulting Accelerator page adopts a similar style and approach to a typical SaaS brand’s webpage.
Let’s face it. When you’re marketing online information products, particularly those promising significant financial gains, you’re going to encounter skepticism. It’s simply the nature of the beast.
Sam Ovens is no stranger to this skepticism.
Just run his name through a Google search, and you’ll find plenty of the top search results questioning if he’s running a scam. In my personal view, some of his products might seem a bit pricey, especially those geared towards absolute beginners. It could appear as though he’s taking advantage of them. But hey, it’s his gig and he has every right to price it as he sees fit. Besides, his products do deliver value at the end of the day, so it’s a topic up for debate.
So, how does Sam counteract all these objections? He’s built a massive library of reviews for his products.
As of this writing, he’s got over 3,700 reviews under his belt, with an average rating of 4.9/5. Each of these is a video review – which are generally harder to fake and carry more weight with users.
What’s truly impressive is how these reviews can be filtered based on variables like business size, industry, and location. This makes it incredibly easy to find relevant reviews that match your specific needs.
And the organization of these reviews? Pure genius.
Folks checking out the reviews are just one step away from making a purchase. They’re familiar with the offer and just need assurance that it’s a genuine deal before taking the leap.
To facilitate this, Sam has provided a frictionless way to sign up directly from each review.
Once you’ve filtered and clicked to watch relevant videos, each one offers a simple call-to-action leading you directly to the sales page where you can sign up for a free trial.
This tactic ensures that those who see the review, believe in the program, and decide it’s right for them are guided directly to the purchase page.
I’m genuinely impressed by this approach.
Sam hasn’t gone defensive against the “is this a scam” crowd. He’s kept silent on the issue.
Instead, he’s built a vast library proving that his program isn’t a scam.
When people find these reviews, he’s given them a straightforward way to sign up.
It’s an incredibly smart method of addressing the negative publicity surrounding his brand and incorporating it into his overall conversion funnel
Here’s a complete overview of the entire Consulting.com updated funnel.
Of course, there are smart re-engagement strategies at every stage. If a customer drops off, there are measures in place to recapture their interest and bring them back into the Consulting.com ecosystem.
The structure also allows for a seamless transition between programs. Once a customer has mastered program A, they are ideally suited to tackle program B.
What’s truly ingenious is that Sam has crafted his training in such a way that it can be conveniently repurposed for the other two tiers of the program. There’s a significant amount of overlap in dealing with the main problems, allowing a single funnel to potentially prepare customers for consulting calls for two different products.
All in all, this strategic design minimizes effort while maximizing the potential of a single sales funnel. It’s efficiency and effectiveness wrapped up in one model.