4 big things that $million-dollar products have in place, that yours doesn’t.

Stephen Pratley
10 min readMay 24, 2018

(First published at The Conversion Academy)

Credit: Pok Rie

Have you ever had a campaign fail?

Have you ever spent days, weeks, even months getting together the moving parts?

You’ve got your landing pages, videos, copy and email follow-ups. You’ve spent weeks getting the whole process on point. You’ve followed one of your guru blueprints to the absolute letter, and then the thing flops.

It makes you want to chuck your laptop out the window and go get a job. Only for a minute though.

It’s even more frustrating if you’re watching somebody in your own market making millions. Meanwhile you make dents in the wall from hitting your head against it.

You can’t figure out what’s the difference between them and you. Your product is better than theirs. Your clients are getting more consistent results than them. You can’t figure it out.

Now, I’ve seen under the hood of plenty of campaigns with 7-figure revenues. I’ve been on the inside of businesses with huge lists and an army of marketers behind them.

There are 4 big differences between million-dollar businesses and people who are getting started. The ones who are still proving their product and making their first few organic sales.

I want to talk you through these, because some of these are fundamental and you can work on now. Some of them are more like keep your eye on how the big teams work.

It should help you spot the opportunities to introduce next-level skills at the right time. Not too early and not too late.

It’ll help you know when you’re see some progress, and you know that what you’re doing is worth investing into.

The four things I’m going to go through in this post are:

  • The Offer
  • The Conversion Mechanism
  • The Traffic Source
  • The Product Range

So, the first one is not the funnel itself. It’s what I call a next stage offer.

A next stage offer, this comes from the idea of market sophistication, which Eugene Schwarz wrote about in the 1920’s in his book “Scientific Advertising”.

What Schwarz says is that at each stage of a market’s development, people have new objections and you need to overcome them. So right at the start, you could say to the weight loss market, “Take this tablet and lose 16 pounds in two weeks”. That would be unbelievable now, but back then when brands had more authority, that’s all you’d need. State a claim. That’s it.

Then people would have objections to that. Fore example, they would be hungry, so you would have to start to bring up a product which would actually face the objections in the market.

A next level offer would be “Lose 16 pounds in two weeks without feeling hungry”.

For any market that you’re in, there’s all sorts of reasons why people say, “Ah, this won’t work for me.”

You’re going to have to dig those objections out and face them. Your product needs to address those problems. You cannot shy away from them. You can’t expect people to buy a product which is the same as everything else in the market just off the strength of your copy, or your character. You need to say how your product addresses issues that other products don’t.

There are very, very few what we call first level products. Ones where you can say, “Here’s the product, it gets your result,” and people rush out and buy it.

There’s almost none of those left. Certainly not in the west where we’re bombarded with sales messages at every turn.

Every market we deal in has products out there, or solutions to the same problem as you’re bringing. If there aren’t, I’d say you should be asking whether you have an anyone actually wants.

There are also objections to buying any product. If you can overcome the objection to buying the other products in the market, then you have an opportunity to sell.

So that’s the first thing the big guys have got right. A product that people want, that deals with an objection that their competition has.

The second thing is a conversion mechanism. Let me explain what that is. It’s not a term a lot of people use.

A conversion mechanism might be a webinar, it might be a video sales letter, it might be a long form sales letter. It might be a series of emails, it might be a live event.

I doesn’t matter how you’re selling; there’s a step which turns people from, stone cold traffic, into customers.

The million dollar funnels have got those conversion mechanisms down pat, and the reason why they work is because the conversion mechanisms address the same objections that your product does.

They bring that objection up front, and they deal with it. They present the product as being a solution to the problem that overcomes the objection. So the product and conversion mechanism both deal with the same objection, and they don’t shy away from it.

If your product isn’t facing an objection that exists in the market, then you’re stuffed from the start, and you can’t create a conversion mechanism that will convince people.

Don’t forget, the offer and the product are separate things. Particularly in information products. Your product is on the other side of a pay wall. You can’t try it on like a pair of jeans. You can’t decide whether it’s going to work or not before you pay.

You need to believe in the marketing, and the marketing has to address the same objections that the product does.

You can’t just reveal the whole product in an information product arena, you need to tell them about the solution it’s going to get.

Then, inside the conversion mechanism, but just as important, the thing that the big products have that you don’t is proof.

Proof is like fuel on the fire of sales. Great products spend months in beta testing. They build up case studies, testimonials and word of mouth that they can unleash when the big launch happens.

That’s what allows them to scale with cold traffic.

With organic sales, you’re building up a reputation bit by bit with your content. You’re showing you have skills. You’re showing an understanding of the problem, and you’re showing up regularly. You’re proving you’re in this for the long game.

All that means your customer can take a leap of faith when you release a product without seeing the results others have had from it. They already know like & trust you enough to take that leap.

Cold traffic doesn’t have that affinity. They have a problem. They can see more than one person offering a solution, and they have to make a choice. They have to lower the risk of failure. They have to lower the risk of wasted time, as well as wasted money.

Your conversion mechanism is going to focus on 2 things.

  1. Does your product squash objections that your competitors face?
  2. Can you prove your method works?

The third thing the best selling products have is an actionable understanding of who their customer is.

This understanding goes beyond the sort of avatar that copywriters talk about. It goes into definitions that media buyers can work with.

  • What do they read?
  • When are they online?
  • What countries are they in?
  • What devices do they use most?
  • What formats do they read? Images, video, do they read, watch or listen?
  • What do we know about them that Facebook knows about them?
  • What words do they type into Google to find solutions to the problem?

Let’s take an example.

One of my client’s products is about memory, it’s about people who have frustration that they are not learning things as quickly as they could do because they can’t read fast. They can’t remember enough of it, they have to keep going over materials again and again.

That frustration is definitely something that we know about our customers.

We know a lot about them. About the fact that they are quite often post graduate students who have an enormous work load. Quite often they’re lawyers and doctors, who also have a lot to learn and a lot of regurgitate on demand. But where do we find these people?

Students are actually quite difficult to reach online. They don’t identify themselves as students. You can walk around a university campus and find them face to face, but to find them online is actually quite hard. A lot of students don’t use their EDU email addresses. They carry on using their regular work emails or gmail addresses when they’re purchasing things online for themselves.

But, we have insights that help us buy ads too.

We know that they have interest in certain products. We know they’re fans of certain other facebook pages.

There are indicators that they are in our target market that we can use. Facebook tells us if somebody’s interested in Tim Ferris, they’re also interested in our product.

We know the age range of them, we know where they’re mostly male or female.

These are criteria that you can select within your Facebook ads.

A prospect might tells us “I struggle to read without skipping back over the page several times”.

That isn’t something you’ll find in Facebook.

We hear them say it. It’s great to repeat back to them in copy. It will create huge affinity when we do that.

But it won’t help us find them.

We also know what they search for online. We know the kind of products that they look for. We know the kind of “how to do this” type phrases that they look for. So we can use Google adwords ads and YouTube ads to find people who are looking for solutions for that problem.

And we also know some of the other websites that they read, other than Facebook and Google, which means that we can go after them with display ads.

So we have a set of criteria which actually help us to find those people online.

If your definition of your customer is that they’re “heart centred entrepreneurs wanting to make a dent in the world”,

That criteria does not exist in your Facebook targeting, in your search marketing, or anywhere else.

You need to find the criteria that will help you find those people online. You won’t be exact, but you need to find the ones that fit your market most closest.

Once you can do that, you can get cold traffic from around the world, and you have an almost bottomless pit of customers.

OK, so that’s our third criteria. A definition of our customer that matches the targeting our ads can access.

The last one is a big one, and you won’t get there straight away.

The successful funnels have more than one product.

They start off with free content, which might be a blog, your YouTube videos, even the conversion mechanism itself.

Something like a webinar has value. If somebody’s turning up to your webinar, they are going to learn some things which are going to be useful whether they buy or not. So that’s the first step.

Then there’s usually a smaller bite sized product. It might be a book, it might be an audio book, it might be a small PDF or short version of the course that only deals with one aspect of the problem.

Then you have your core product, which is usually selling somewhere between $500 up to a couple of thousand if you’re really well established.

Then after that, there’s what’s known as the “back end”.

There’s extra products they can buy to supplement the original one. Things that will get them there fasytter or get a more dramatic result. Maybe small group training, or very high ticket one to one consulting.

What the big guys understand is that if you can just break even on some of your ads, you will get two things happening.

If your paid advertising is breaking even, it’s going to create ripples.

People are going to come across your Facebook posts, they’re going to see customers sharing your tips. They’re going to find all kinds of stuff about you. There’s going to be some over spill from that paid ads, and you’ll get a certain amount of free purchases from referrals and other organic routes.

Sometimes that can be as much as double what the paid ads are bringing in. You’re buying customers at the same time, and it’s much easier to sell extra products to people who have already bought from you once.

So you can sell at the time when they make the original purchase. You can sell them upsells, extra items.

Or, you can go back to them and sell new products as they’re released. You can sell much higher ticket items, and at that point you’re selling at 100% profit, you’re not spending anything on ads at all. Just emails which cost next to nothing.

That’s our fourth thing — several products, which sell with almost no extra ad spend.

So, let’s recap.

The most important thing is that you have a next stage offer. One that addresses objections that your competitors don’t.

Second is that you have a conversion mechanism which also talks about the objections that you’re competitors don’t talk about.

Third is you know where to find your customers using the terms that your media outlets use. So, interests that Facebook knows about, search terms that Google knows about, websites that your display network knows about.

Fourth and last, you have many products, from your free content that you’re giving out, to entry level items like books, to your core products, to add ons, to premium products.

Once you’ve got all those in place, that’s how you hit the millions.

But to start off with, you absolutely need a next stage product, a conversion mechanism that talks about the objections, and you need to know where to find some of those customers and just get yourself to break even on your core product.

These three are just table stakes now. You can’t play the game without them.

Then once you’ve achieved that, then you can start adding in other products before and after the core product, where your real profits will come from, and that’s how you scale up to the big bucks.

I hope this has given a few insights into where to focus your energies if you want to be making an income from your knowledge.

It’s daunting, but it’s far from impossible.

If you want to know more about how the pieces of a great campaign fit together, the best place to start is with this checklist I put together at my training site — The Conversion Academy.

Get the checklist here.



Stephen Pratley

Marketing for experts with something to share. Get weekly campaign breakdowns at stephenpratley.com