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#44: The “Red Letter Funnel” Explained.

It’s funny how a simple 3-minute conversation can turn into something that changes your business (and life) forever. Today, Ben is walking you through a funnel that he used to grow his Chiropractic practice fast and how you can apply this model to just about any business out there. It’s all about this silly little “red letter” that changed everything.

Episode Transcription

 
It’s Monday morning and it’s like, 5:00 AM. I am up way, way too early. But I’ve been working for like an hour or two hours now. And it’s what happens when you get excited about what you’re doing. So today we’ve got a fun podcast. I’m gonna walk you through something that I kind of stumbled into way back when I was a chiropractor. And this helps me to bring in lots and lots of new patients. And it’s funny because it was just this simple little red letter that cost at all. A lot of interesting pieces around that, but a simple little red letter. And today I want to walk you through that and I want to walk you through how it works and how to start any business out there when they use something like this can grow and grow fast. It can grow, especially during times when you know, the economy is a little weird.
 
So that’s what we’re gonna do today. I’m gonna walk you through this simple little red letter thing that we used to do. And I think more importantly how you can use this for just about any business out there to grow. And I think that’s big right now, especially right now. And then, and then we’re gonna kind of walk you through why this funnel later on down the road caused me to build a piece of software, but made the whole thing a lot easier on me and for anybody that we helped with this funnel. And yes, you’re going to hear a lot about this software soon, but yeah, that’s where it got started. Way back when, when I was a chiropractor and I had no real grasp of this internet thing, but it’s funny how those kinds of funnels continuing to work even to this day. Okay. So that’s it, it’s far too early, it’s five in the morning, but let’s get into it. All right. Let’s dive in. Let’s do it.
 
So there I am… this new ish chiropractor and I opened up my office and it was, it was rough. I didn’t know, a whole lot about, you know, running a business at that point. I’m just a chiropractor that had gone to school for, you know, eight years at this point to do this thing because I wanted to help people and had a real passion for helping people. But I didn’t know a lot about, you know, getting people through the door, even though at this point, I had really started to get into the internet and, you know, some cool things going on there. I still didn’t really know a ton about it. But I was about sort of explode my knowledge of this opening up my own business and sort of the panic that ensued because of that and not having a whole lot of money to market myself with traditional means sort of caused me to go into this hyper drive of having to learn how to grow a business.
 
So, you know, with within the first couple months of running my business I started really using Facebook and leveraging Facebook to grow my chiropractic practice. For those of you that are not into chiropractic marketing. That’s okay. What I’m about to explain we can help you with just about any business that you happened to be running out there. But anyways, I started getting into Facebook and growing a business that way, and I learned a lot. And, and I was steadily starting to grow this practice just from getting on Facebook and talking about what I was doing, where I was eating lunch, silly, silly stuff. Right. But just being active. And that was the big thing that I learned right out being active online was important, but there was no way to measure that there was no quantifiable thing that I could say, well, this person came in because I posted this today.
 
I knew they were coming in because I was on Facebook. I knew they were coming in because our business, a website ranked pretty high in Google because we were the only one doing any sort of SEO. I didn’t know a lot about the internet, but I knew enough to buy a, the town name and then chiropractor. And so, you know, it was basic stuff back then, but, but that’s what got me started. And that was what was getting people through the door. And and then just kind of by chance, I was at a chiropractic conference and I run into the sky and he was, he had a booth there. He was trying to sell me something. But what it did was he actually told me this interesting little story. He he’s like, if you do this, you’ll be able to get patients through the door.
 
And he said, you need to hire a massage therapist. If you don’t have one already, and you need to pay that massage therapist to full-time give free chair massages 15 minute chair massages to get people through the door. And if you do that the massage therapist will find things that you are more suited to help with that. And you can refer people over to you and it’s a, it’s an active referral base, but also you can’t advertise her services, you know, in for those of you that don’t know chiropractors. The way you advertise chiropractic is very difficult. You can’t give discounts, you can’t give it none of the stuff that you know, and not that I wanted to give a discount on chiropractic, but there are a lot of really weird rules with healthcare in terms of marketing. You can’t say a lot of things. And so it sort of pins you, but I wasn’t under those same restrictions if I owned a massage therapy clinic. And so this made sense to me, this person sort of gave me this tip and I, in my mind just sort of exploded and of what we could do. So
 
 
 
 
What I did isb I started a separate company. I had a company that was my chiropractic office, you know, for that. And then I had a company that was strictly for the massage therapy clinic that we started. And we started off with one massage therapist and she was great. And you know, we, we started this thing. So some chance encounter that I had with a salesman that was trying to sell me something from a booth at a chiropractic clinic that had a really good tip about bringing in a massage therapist. It would not only help them sash, their priests grow her business. But it would help me grow my business because we’d get people coming through the door that that’s the basis of where this thing starts. Okay. But then we sorta got really advanced with it. As we started doing it, I started doing this thing where we would get on Facebook and we would say, we’ve got three free chair massages today.
 
And within a couple minutes, the phone would be ringing off the hook. And that was the beginning of it. We would just post a post, put up our phone number. That was it. I mean, it was that simple. People would not only claim it, but anytime we did this, they’d share it. And so, you know, we got the phone ringing fast. We got people coming through to see the massage therapist. And somehow they found their way a lot of the time over to me too. And once again, it was like this really rough thing that we were doing. We’d get on Facebook. We post that we had so many massages, you know, call it a claim it for free when the person came in. Most often the massage therapist did such a good job. They’d rebook for a full session, not just the free 15 minutes, but the full session.
 
And then a lot of times they would find their way over to me because they had something that the massage therapist told them, Hey, you should you should go see the chiropractor for this. And so that’s how it worked at first. And, you know, as, as, as time goes by though with something like this, you start to dig into it and figure out ways that you can amplify your results. And so we had this simple little thing that we did that was bringing new people through the door and it was, they were coming in because they wanted a free massage. Now here’s, what’s so simple about this. And, and this is what I didn’t understand at the time, but why it was so powerful, the people that were coming in to see the massage therapists were typically females between the ages of 25 to 40 ish, right around there.
 
That that was the idea. These just happened to be my exact target market. It was exactly what I was after. So this was a really good thing. They, they, you know, they weren’t going to necessarily come in to see a chiropractor right away, but they would come see a massage therapist that was easy. That was an easy, yes. And the thing is, is when they would come into our office, they’d get super comfortable with us and our staff. So when it got to be time for them to need chiropractic, they were already comfortable with the office. So all that works. So like I said, as time goes by, you start figuring this stuff out. And so we started experimenting with ways to make this thing work better and make it more predictable. And that’s what I’m about to walk you through. What I’m about to walk you through is what we call our red letter funnel or red envelope funnel.
 
If you’ve heard me talk about this before, and this funnel was powerful, extremely, extremely powerful. And, and I cannot say this enough. And since that, we’ve sort of figured this out and started growing it and figuring it out, we’ve used it for lots of different kinds of businesses, but at we’ll get to that later. So this is how it worked. We would get on Facebook and we would post up this post that said, you know, we’ve got this many free chair massages to give away from our therapist. And, you know, at first we were just having people call the business and you know, that that’s what they would do. They would just call. But then, you know, we sort of got the idea that, Hey, we should be at least collecting their names, email addresses, and maybe phone numbers. You know, that’d be good, but we didn’t have any technology to do that at the time.
 
So we were thinking, yeah. Okay, that’s great. But at some point we’ve got to actually start collecting their email addresses so that that’s in the back of my mind, I’ve got to, I’ve got to do that because if I can do that, I know people, you know, when they, when they opt in for something, I can always contact them again for free. Later on, if I’ve got them on an, on a list. So I don’t know how to do that yet. I don’t have the tech to do it, but I know that that’s something that’s in my head, but anyways, I can’t fix that. I can’t fix that right now. So all I’m doing is I’m posting on Facebook, they’re calling the phone number. Great. So we do this. And then I’m like, okay, now that we’ve got them coming in for the massage, and it’s sometimes leading to them becoming a patient of mine, it’s definitely sometimes leading to them, you know, coming in becoming a, you know, a more regular massage patient, how do we push this?
 
How do we get it to work faster? And so we came up with this idea and I think I was lying in bed one night when I thought of it. And I don’t know, you know, if I had just eaten something funny where the idea came from, but the idea was this it’s, these people would come through the door, they would get their chair massage. They would come out to be extremely satisfied with the chair massage they just had for free. And inevitably they all would always walk up to the front desk, even though it was free, they would walk up and pretty much say something. Well, do I do anything now? Do I own anything? Even though they know, they knew that they didn’t and the front desk person would say, Nope, you’re good to go and push them on the way. And I, and we thought that was such a wasted opportunity.
 
So I’m laying in bed one night and I’m thinking, okay, we need to do this. We need to give them an envelope. That’s red. So there’s, there’s this red envelope and inside is a letter. And that letter is going to request that they do something. And so we, we actually wrote this letter out and the letter basically said, Hey, we hope you enjoyed your free chair, massage. This is not exact by the way, but it’s close enough. We hope you enjoyed your free chair massage today. We have a special deal for you just because you came in. If you call our office within the next 24 hours and book an hour long massage with our massage therapist, the person that just, you know, rocked it out for you then you’re going to get that massage for half off. Okay. So they just got a free thing.
 
Now, if they call them book, they’re going to get it for half off. And so normally our massages at that point were like 60 bucks. And so they could get a full hour long for 30, right? And so that’s what we did. And we did something else interesting. And this is super important. As my receptionist would hand them this letter that was in a red envelope the receptionist would say, this don’t open this letter and take it home. And it th this was, this was the thing. This was what really sort of transitioned things. Don’t open this letter until you get home. And it never fails. It never fails. I don’t think anybody the entire time I was a chiropractor ever made it home with that letter because they would get out to their car and they would open the letter. It was just something that when you told somebody they couldn’t do something or they shouldn’t do something, they had to do it as quickly as possible.
 
So all these people would get out to their car. They would open the letter and they would get this offer. And it would say, Hey, you know, you, thanks for today. Hopefully you enjoyed it. If you want to book an hour long massage, you can get it for half off. Now, what we understood was this, and this is just from watching people in our practice, in our business. We knew that if we could get someone to come in twice, they were ours, not only where they are massage therapist person, but they were also extremely, extremely likely to not use anybody else for chiropractic services, because they were comfortable with my staff. They were comfortable with me at that point. You know, they’d run into me at least once with all this. And so that’s how it worked. So this red letter, it was amazing. And just to give you percentages around 65 to 70% of everybody that came through the door for that free massage and got a red letter, booked a second massage.
 
And that was powerful. That was extremely, extremely powerful because now all of a sudden I had something that worked day in day out, week in, week out, month in, month out to drive new people into our business. Traffic was coming all the time, and this is something most business owners don’t have. They rely on referrals. They rely on their existing people, you know, word of mouth, which is absolutely great. If you have a good business that should carry your business, that should be a huge, huge part of it. But most businesses don’t have a reliable, trackable thing that they can get people to come in almost on demand. And all of a sudden I had this, I had this. And so once I had this, we were seeing extremely crazy growth. Okay. Not only from people telling their friends about us, you know, and word of mouth, like just about everybody has it.
 
They have a decent business, but now we had something that we could put something up on Facebook, any time we wanted get new people to come through the door. And then we knew how to convert those people from a free offer to a discounted offer, but then to full pay, because here’s the thing that will blow you away. Once they came in twice, even if we had to give away a free thing, and then a discounted thing, once they came in twice, they were a customer of my massage therapist. And more often than not in a very big way, they would convert into chiropractic patients too. And keep in mind, I made money from both things, both things. I made money from the massage therapy. I made money from the actual chiropractic of course, too. So we now had a reliable way to do this.
 
And so this was cool. This was, this was neat. And so I started using it. And, you know, when I kind of got into more marketing stuff, because the, our marketing was working, we had so many people asking us what was working. This was something I helped other clinics like mine use, but then we started adapting this to other businesses too. And this was big. We would, you know, sort of put this together. It was just one problem. The problem was, it was still extremely hard to track the front end. So we had this whole back end funnel. Like if somebody would, you know, see the thing on Facebook, they’d call the number. They’d come in, we’d convert them. We would write this stuff down. We could see what the conversion percentage was of it. And we could track that, but we couldn’t show much track the front end.
 
And the other side of it was like, we had to have people that were already sort of fans of our Facebook page to claim the offer or to share it with their friends. And so that sort of, you know, even though it was working well, it limited our scope. And so right around that time, Facebook ads, that’s sort of this thing, you know, that starts popping up and we run around Facebook ads. But, but when we run a Facebook ad, it’s, it’s still extremely hard to track where the lead comes from. And so this was a problem that I did not solve full disclosure. I did not solve while I was still a chiropractor, but the thought never went away in my head. This was such an effective funnel for us, such an effective, effective funnel to get new people through the door for a lot of our clients.
 
You know, when I sort of started this fledgling agency as I was still a chiropractor, but it was also doing digital marketing. And as I started getting more advanced with it, and so fast forward to 2016, 2017, I’m with a business partner. And I, I want to build something that can do this for small businesses. And so, you know, the idea is this. I wanted something that we could put an ad up on Facebook advertising, like these free massages, which are just 15 minutes, by the way, these free massages, I wanted to advertise them. I wanted somebody to be able to click that ad. I wanted them to go to a webpage and that webpage just had a simple little box that said, Hey, get this for free type in your name, your phone number and your email address. And we could try how many people came to that page, right?
 
So from the ad, how many people clicked on the ad came to the page? We can track that. Now, once we had people that had got to the page, how many people actually filled out the form and so cool. We now way to sort of track the traffic coming through and the interest and things like that based on our Facebook ads that we’re running every day. Awesome. Now here’s the other side of it. I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t like we were giving out coupon because I hate when businesses give out coupons that can be used anytime, because people will put them in their pocket and either use them eight years down the road or never use it. It’s, it’s extremely hard to make money when you’re depending on a coupon to bring someone in. So what we did was is this, when they opted in, when they put in their info to get this free chair massage or whatever, we had lots of different things at this point, but when they put it in, we would do something special.
 
We would take them to a thank you page that said, okay, so we have limited packages. We have limited massages. We need you to call now. And what it would do is it would put a phone number in front of them. Now, this is the interesting thing because of the way that we wanted to do it, this phone number was attractive, or it wasn’t the actual phone number for the business. And the reason we wanted a tracking number is so that we could do some very important things. This is stuff that I learned as I was sort of building an agency. If they were calling the business directly and we were doing this free stuff, we couldn’t track what was happening. We wanted to be able to track and see if the person that was claiming that offer was actually calling the business. Okay.
 
So we wanted to see, not only are they clicking on the ad, are they going to the page? Are they opting in, but did they actually follow through and call the business? And so this is what we did. We built a software that tracked if they actually called once they opted in now, here’s, what’s interesting when they put in their number, we also wanted to make sure that we had some interesting follow-ups. So what happened was, is, you know, I started to learn that when somebody put in their stuff on this, that if we sent them an email that would up the conversion of them actually calling and scheduling an appointment. So we made it. So the software sent out an email right away to give them instructions, to call the business through that tracking number. We also send an instant text message, like they put in their phone number.
 
We wanted to send a text message that when it landed on their phone, all they had to do is click the text message, click the phone number in it, to call, to schedule their appointment, that shot conversions through the roof. And then also just in case that they didn’t claim it, we sent them another email day later to do these things. Now, this was awesome. This works extremely well because now not only do we have this great funnel on the business end, when someone claims this free chair massage through and they get this red letter, they book, and it turns them into a long-term patient. But we also have this very, very trackable piece of software that is going to say, okay, how many people clicked on the ad? How many people that got to the opt-in page put in their information. Once they put in them for information, how many people actually called the business to book that first appointment so that we could get them through the door.
 
And then we could run the back end funnel, which is the red letter funnel. And this software was revolutionary. This for me, this was something that took it to an absolute next level. So that’s the funnel, that’s the ballgame. So now this is, let me just lay out years and years of work of what this funnel looks like. We run an ad on Facebook. This ad sets up an offer. Something that’s not free for everybody necessarily it’s free for a specific group of people. So the thing that I did not mention is most of the time when we run these chair massages, we’re very targeted with who we do them to not, it’s not for everybody. It’s for moms, it’s for teachers, we run them very specific groups of people. And that’s why the conversion is high all the way through is because it’s not something that we’re just offering free to freebie seekers.
 
We’re offing there for very specific things. So for example, you’ll see free chair massage for teachers, teacher appreciation, free chair massage for teachers claim. Now that kind of thing, right? So we’d get it, we’d run the Facebook app and it would offer that it would take them to the page they opt in. They would get a text message. They’d get emails over the next few days. And then we also would get the office if they didn’t hurt, hear from these people, because remember the software, the lead kit software tells us if this person called, if they didn’t call, we’d have the office follow up with them via phone. So they’d call and say, Hey, we hadn’t heard from you, but you opted in for this. Do you want to schedule your appointment now? And so we had all these followups and then once they came in, they got the chair massage that got the red letter was they walked out, they booked the second visit.
 
And then, like I said, we get more massage clients, but also we get lots of chiropractic lines and that’s what we built. So since then I’ve done a lot of work to refine the sleep kit software. And this has sort of been my obsessive focus for not just the last few months, but the last few years to put the software into a position where it can, you know, it’s simple, but it has some very powerful things for business. And so that’s the red letter funnel that, that’s the thing that we’ve built over the last little bit, that’s the process. And so I took this thing that, you know, by chance I just happened to be at this chiropractic convention. I, by chance I happened to run into this guy that taught me this cool thing that we could do you know, in our business, if we had a massage therapist to get new people through the door for, for her, but also for us.
 
And we refined it, we refined it, we refined it. We had this whole funnel that worked inside the business that, you know, turned people that had no idea who we are into full blown customers. And then we built a piece of software around the front of it to actually drive the traffic in the first place as an aid to Facebook ads, as an aid to our website, you know, all the ways that you drive traffic online. And it’s been extremely powerful. It’s been something that, you know, for the chiropractors that I work with now you know, w we use it and for them and it, and it works and it works so well, but also there’s a ton of other businesses that we run funnels like this, and it’s been powerful. So anyways, a lot of rambling early this morning, but I wanted to walk you through a process because of a couple of things.
 
Number one, I think that if you just hear this funnel that we put together and how it works, that it’s something you can go use to help a business. And that’s sort of the name of the game. I’m one of these guys that if you save small business, you save the world. And so, you know, that you can use that sort of funnel with just about any small business out there and rock it out for them. But the other thing is, for those of you that are kind of into, you know, software and how software comes together, that’s where the idea for this lead kit thing that I’m building. And I’ve been, I say, I’m building because software to me has never done. We’ve been building this thing for years now and we keep refining it, keep refining it and keep refining it.
 
So, yeah, that’s the ballgame. I wanted to walk you through all that. So if you’re a software nerd like me, that likes building, you know, software platforms, that’s where lead kit came from. It was from this funnel that at this point is like almost 10 years old, but we needed better technology to make the whole, the funnel that was already working work better and to be more trackable. And that’s where it came from. And so, like I said, as you hear me talking about lead kit more in the next few mine’s the reason I’m going to be talking about it is because I think with what’s going on with, you know, COVID-19 lockdown and you know, other things that are happening it’s more important than ever that businesses are using technology to get people through the door, but also track the effectiveness of what they’re doing.
 
And that’s what lead kit’s always been about. And so I’ve decided to really run with this tool and to build it into something that’s constantly being refined so that we can help more small businesses to grow faster. So that’s it, that’s all I got today. That’s my ramble for the week. And hopefully it’s something that some piece of this that you can use, there’s a lot of good stuff packed into this. That’s made me a lot of money over the years and hopefully you can say, all right, I hope you’re having a good week. I hope that you’re powering through all the distractions that are out there, you’re growing your business, but you’re helping other people while you do that. All right, I’m going to get out of here. I’ll have more good stuff coming up in the next little bit.
 
If you have any questions for me, feel free to hit me up at serial progress, seeker.com and make sure it sets you up. If you dig this, leave us a review. We, we thrive on these not just from a, Hey, it helps us on like iTunes and, you know, to get in front of more people. But from our mood, we lovely. We love your reviews. And we love hearing what you think of the podcast and what you learned and what you wanna hear more of. So make sure you do that. And we would love to hear from you all right. Be good. Take care of yourself. I’ll see you next week.
 
 

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