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The Sales Funnel Part 3: Back End Profits

By Yaro Starak
17 Comments

The Sales Funnel Back EndNow we head into the meaty section of the Sales Funnel, the back end, where the big profits are made. If you haven’t read the first two parts of this series make sure to catch up, starting with the sales funnel explained and a look at front end marketing.

As I discussed in the last article, the front end of your sales funnel is all about capturing the attention of prospects, people inclined to desire want you provide. Potential customers are called “leads”. The expectation is a certain number of your leads will convert into customers and a small but very responsive group, will buy up everything you offer. This last group are called your “hyper-responsives” and it’s this group that is responsible for a significant proportion of your profits because they fuel your back end sales.

Pricing Points

Your back end is made up of your higher priced items, products and services that present significant value – or at least perceived value. Essentially we are talking about meeting the same need (or needs within a niche), just with different media. This might include information distributed via audio (CDs/DVDs/MP3s/Podcasts) or visually (Video/Movies) or live (Conferences/Seminars/Workshops/Retreats) or privately (Phone Calls/Coaching) or even common front end media such as ebooks, newsletters (electronic and print), subscription services and teleconferences.

The specific distinction between the front end and the back end is all about the type of customer and the price paid. In the back end all your customers have traveled through your front end, sampled your free materials, purchased an entry level product or service (or several) and have enjoyed significant value from what you offer, so much so, that they are eager to buy more from you.

At this point it becomes much easier to make sales, although since the idea behind a sales funnel is to filter prospects to find hyper-responsives, you don’t have nearly as many people reaching your back end as you do entering your front end. In many cases it’s common that only a small percentage, say 1-2% of the overall people entering your front end make it through to the back end. That’s okay because that small group are spending big bucks.

While front end products might cost under $100, back end products are usually priced in the several hundreds or thousands. There is no strict formula for pricing a back end product, or a front end product for that matter, but in nearly all cases the profit margin is significant at the back end.

The Sales Funnel - Back End Sales

Taking the Double Your Dating sales funnel again as an example model, we can look at their pricing structure. I can’t remember specifics because it has been a while since I was in the Double Your Dating funnel, but as I recall, it went something along the lines of this:

  1. Free newsletter
  2. $19.95 eBook
  3. $97 CD Video Series
  4. $19.95/month Interview Series Subscription
  5. $997-$2,997 Live Bootcamp
  6. $2,997-$9,997 Small Group/Private Coaching

I’m not certain of the bootcamp/private coaching product pricing points and all the numbers above are rough guesstimates. I’m also pretty certain there are additional products available from Double Your Dating, but for the purposes of demonstrating the pricing structure of a sales funnel, I think you should get the idea.

The back end – the high priced items – are bought only by the hardcore, well-matched, target customer group. These clients have the funds, time and inclination to attend events, spend big and care enough about their specific problem to justify the expense in time and money. The end justifies the means, and the particulars – including how much it costs – are not a significant concern. It’s all about solving a problem and consuming as much of the proposed solution (information/education in this case) as required.

Stable and Predictable

The back end is the core profit center for business because it is stable and predictable. Most problems occur in the front end because the customers are more price sensitive, they are not “perfectly matched” and may grumble, ask questions and generally cause greater customer support issues. As I mentioned in part two, the front end is the dynamic area of your marketing, hence you are more prone to unpredictable results.

The entire sales funnel is about numbers – opt-in rates and conversion rates. How many people sign up to each of your opt-in mechanisms, like landing pages, newsletter sign-up forms and free report downloads. How many people buy your entry level products and then go on to buy higher priced products in the back end.

Once again, the back end proves reliable and predictable and this is the main reason for establishing a back end in the first place. If you knew, with relative consistency, that for every 100 people you brought into your front end, two of them would make it all the way through and buy your back end product(s) you would know how much each customer is worth to you.

If you knew, with reasonable consistency, that your back end offers convert at certain rates then you could go to work testing as many front end mechanisms as you can handle in order to drive as many leads through your funnel as possible.

Losing Money On The Front End

You should recall in my discussion of the front end I mentioned that the Double Your Dating affiliate program pays 200% commissions on each ebook sale. That means they pay out $39.95 to affiliates for every $19.95 book they sell.

The only reason they can do this is because they know the numbers. They know that a certain percentage of ebook buyers go on to buy higher priced products and what percentage go all the way through the back end, buying the big margin products like boot camp attendance and private coaching. If they didn’t have a stable and consistent back end, they could not afford to make a loss on the front end.

Long Term Competitive Advantage

In Rich Schefren’s Strategic Profits coaching program, which I am a member of, Rich explores the front end/back end combination and strongly recommends all of his students consider a back end as the true path to business success long term.

I’ve never owned a business with a significant back end (I’m building one now in the blogging world), but what I’ve learnt from Rich Schefren, who has ample experience from his own businesses and coaching his many clients, is that in order to compete long term you have to know your metrics at every point along the sales funnel.

With a stable and predictable back end you can strategically beat the competition and dominate your market through initiatives similar to the Double Your Dating 200% affiliate program. Imagine what your affiliates would do if they were paid 200% commissions? Do you think they would chose to promote your products over those of your competitors?

Do a search now for Double Your Dating and you will see there are literally thousands of affiliates, and I expect the front end of David DeAngelo’s business is driven mostly by affiliate marketing.

How about if you conducted some competitive intelligence (Rich’s course has GREAT stuff on conducting competitive intelligence by the way), found out the significant affiliates for your competition’s products and contacted these affiliates offering 200% commissions AND you could show them very specific numbers on how much money they could make.

Given that you know the metrics of your sales funnel you can tell potential affiliates to expect a certain amount per visitor they send through. Take this small sample from the Double Your Dating affiliate program for example:

I usually have conversion rates of 1:50 to 1:200 depending on the quality of traffic sent. This is, of course no guarantee of what kind of conversion your traffic will produce. If you send 1000 visitors a day, and your conversion is 1:100, that would equal about 300 sales per month, which would net you around $11,985.00 a month. If you send more and/or your conversion is higher, you’ll make more.

David DeAngelo, Double Your Dating affiliate program

That’s a pretty enticing proposition for affiliates. The more numbers you know and can provide to interested parties, based on your tested sales funnel, the greater the advantage you have in your market.

The advantages go beyond affiliate marketing. With a defined sales funnel you can conduct tests on elements like your pricing, product sequence, create segmented lists to refine each customer group and increase conversions, provide highly specialized products specifically for your segmented, hyper responsive customers, find the customers who love your work and spend most of your time with them, solicit amazing testimonials from your evangelist customers, who also act as great word of mouth lead generators.

Rich Schefren covers many areas where having a sales funnel leads to greater competitive advantage, increased profits and long term business stability – too many to mention here – but I think you can see just from the few examples I list what the potential is from having a well constructed sales funnel, with a stable back end.

Of course actually building a sales funnel is easier said than done. Your back end products better be pretty good if you are charging a premium price for them. Perceived value can only carry you so far – you have to offer real value as well – which is generally easier when working with your hyper-responsive customers because they are in the ideal situation to act on what you offer and therefore stand to benefit the most, but it’s not a forgone conclusion, there is work involved.

Long Term Plans

It may take many months, even years, to fully establish a refined sales funnel, but if you have your sales funnel in mind as the “big picture” it makes the process of building your business that much more enjoyable and grants you some strategic freedoms you might not otherwise have if you weren’t building a funnel.

Knowing that you may not necessarily have to profit on your front end products can come as a relief when you realize sales of your $27 ebook are not going to make you rich. You can go to work building in some form of back end where your margins will be better. Once you start singling out your hyper-responsive customers then you know you’re onto a profitable business model and if product creation is your only constraint then half the battle is over – you just need to start building some great stuff for your back end.

In the final piece of this four part article puzzle on the Sales Funnel I’m going to get practical with you and break down a very basic sales funnel I’m currently working on. I’ll also attempt to offer you some form of guidance to start constructing your own sales funnel based Internet business.

Part four is now available: How To Set-Up A Sales Funnel and Profit

Yaro Starak
Has A Great Back End ;-)

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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17 Comments

  • I’m having a hard time trying to figure you all out. Ever since your move to become an internet marketer, in the evil sense, I’ve put you back on my radar and off the gaydar.

    Why? Because, you’re doing things in the cover of darkness and it’s fun to figure out where you’re hiding now. No big squeal with all your affiliated soft sells, you’re a pro, it shows. Just, you’ve got an image that’s pure and trustworthy. Where do you draw the line when dipping dark side style?

    I’m just curious how you’ll ambush your share of ignorant visitors. Ignorance is what makes internet marketer’s wealthy and the fact that your blog is knowledge based opposed to entertainment, you’ve got a pretty ripe crop ready for harvest.

    I’ll just assume you’re in the process of getting to your more important, “how” you did it.

    Well, that’s my guess anyway. Wish you would tell me how you’re doing it though. ;) haha

    Down the sales funnel or down Satan’s tunnel? Just joking with you Yaro.

  • JR – That’s one wacky comment man! I’m still trying to figure out what you are saying?

    Dark side? How I did what? ….gaydar?!?

    You might need to get simple with me, I can’t read between the lines with this one!

    Oh, and I’m not gay either, not that there is anything wrong with that…

  • Yaro,
    I’ve really been enjoying reading about the sales funnel approach to business.

    I know I’m not in your usual demographic (I’m 40 something, female, not tech oriented). So I’m curious to see how this technique can be applied to a sales funnel focused on knitting or skin care and makeup.

    I do have some ideas about that though. Will need to further refine after your next post!

    And even if you are joining the evil empire and trying to seduce us into it in the process, you seem like a really smart and nice guy! :)

    Take care

  • Rhonda – Hmm, I’m not so sure you are not in my demographic – if you are an entrepreneur/blogger/Internet business owner then you fit :)

    The next article in the series will definitely appeal to you I expect, so stay tuned for that. The funnel can be applied to any industry, certainly the two examples you list.

  • Thanks for the advice. I think that I will look into improving my own back end. I haven’t put enough time into figuring out all of the conversions rates and how much each visitor is worth, but this article makes me want to give it a second look

  • Great Post Yaro! I found this series so far on the sales funnel very interesting. We’ve never thought about our business in those terms but realize that we actually have set up the structure unknowingly so that most of our high-margin services are sold once a new user signs up for our free trial. Feel free to check us out at http://www.oncardmarketing.com. Oh, and by the way, I always thought the sales funnel was about converting leads into sales, never thought it was about how much money could be made from each customer as they pass through the funnel. It’s a great additional dimension I never thought about… Keep the posts coming!

  • Yaro, excellent post – thanks for this. I don’t see anything dark here from your part :)

    You should have a newsletter where you’d say when you have posted/finished these ‘bigger’ series. I read your RSS, but might skip some days now and then.

    Anyway, all the best and as others already mentioned ‘keep the posts coming!’

  • Aww, Juuso, you mean you ONLY want to read my pillar article series?

    How can I convince you buy affiliate products if you don’t read my other articles…???

    Is that “dark” enough ;)

    No, seriously, I understand some people enjoy the meaty articles the most and rightly so, I put significant creative energy into them and they take the longest to write. Consequently I can’t do them all the time, but they will keep coming as long as I keep blogging here.

  • Jim

    Nice post… I like the long term bit, it seems far too many people in the Internet based business segment go for the quick dollars instead of thinking it out for the long haul.

    -Jim

  • Hi everybody from Germany,

    I have a question: I wanna create a webinar serie about trading options. It´s an instruction serie over 10 hours. In Germany options trading is a niche. And I think, I have a good chance to built me a name. At the moment in Germany it´s a hype on the stock market.

    Now my question:

    If I sell the seminar for maybe 97 Euro and I give my affiliaites 70%,

    What should I do, if some of my new costumers is going to buy in half a year my home study course for 997 Euro. Should I give a one time affiliate his hole life a commission or how should I do it?

    And when I create an advisory membership site with live trading tips, get the affiliate every time the commission? Or how should I handle it?

    Example:

    Yesterday I bought the the butterflymarketing manuskript. The affiliate was Russel Brunson, because he sold the e-book for $60.

    If I am going to by the home study course from Mike Filsaime for $1500 what I am not going to do), will Russel get his commission for my new purchase?

    Or if I join the coaching program from Rich Schefren with the link from Yaro, will Yaro get money if I buy in the future someting from Rich?

    Thanks a lot

    dominik

  • Burton

    Yaro,

    One problem I’ve had is I use aweber, and they’re not very flexible about helping you move leads through the funnel. For example, I’d like to have lists for front end products (support), and a main list for buyers.

    Aweber just doesn’t support this.

    They also don’t support DYD’s strategy of selling the front-end ebook, then moving them to a different list when they’ve purchased.

    Have you found any way around this? I’m thinking about switching to GetResponse instead to deal with this.

    Burton

  • Burton – You can use AWeber to automatically unsubscribe a lead from one list after they join another.

    So for example they join the free content list, then when they make a purchase they join the paid content list and are removed from the free content list at the same time.

    AWeber can do this automatically – I currently use the feature with Blog Mastermind.

  • I learned a lot from Eben Pagan, and anyone not having these three:

    1. Membershipt site
    2. Upsell
    3. Backend

    May be leaving a LOT of money on the table.

    Franck

  • Great article and a lot of value Yaro. Very detailed mate, especially on sales funnel. I read the other parts as well.

    Great to see other marketer’s provide great value.

    Adam

  • Sar

    Hey Yaro,

    Great article. Thanks for the ‘food for thought’:)
    As a canine naturopath I started a blog last year (to try to educate the public about safer alternatives for their dog’s health and to help sell my eBook ‘Heal Your Dog Naturally’) but I’ve been quite surprised by the amount of people leaving comments every day…….I have never really considered ‘making money’ from my blog before – but maybe I need to think about this now that I have read your great information. Thank you again for your free advice. It’s really appreciated.
    Kind regards
    Sar

  • George Donnelly

    Typo: “you know your onto a profitable business model”

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