Expert Secrets Reviewed – How Does the Russell Brunson Book...
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Looking to generate more leads? Sell more? Grow an online business? If so, you need to master the concept of sales funnels.
Anyone who has been in business can affirm that selling is not easy! It’s a complex blend of understanding the target audience’s psychology, creating products that offer value, making your sales pitch convincing, and battling with increasingly fierce competition. The trick to coming out on top is knowing and applying the best practices. One such practice is the idea of a sales funnel.
“Obstacles are necessary for success because in selling, as in all careers of importance, victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats.”
—Og Mandino, Renowned American author
According to Russel Brunson—an online entrepreneur magnate—sales funnels are all about making things simpler and easier for customers. It’s about addressing a customer’s pain points and building long-lasting relationships. (PS: Russell Brunson is widely credited with popularizing the concept of funnels).
How do I attract more traffic by making prospects aware of my business/brand?
How do I capture the leads and entice them to move to the next
level? With this in mind, is my offer or landing page optimized?
How can I anticipate the needs of the target audience?
Why would they drop off, and what can I do to push them
further down the funnel?
To elaborate on his idea of a sales funnel, Russell uses the example of someone visiting a grocery store. Let’s assume that your website is the grocery store. The conventional website (i.e., one that does not leverage the power of sales funnels to nurture leads and improve conversion) is like someone wandering around in a messy grocery store. The right goods are available, the services are great—but the customers are overwhelmed and they don’t know what they need. Such a customer may leave without checking out – i.e., leads leak out of the sales funnel.
On the other hand, a website that leverages an effective sales funnel is like a grocery store whereby customers are nurtured from the moment they enter the store. Someone gradually and gently guides them through a logical sequence of events (step-by-step) until they successfully checkout at the counter. In this scenario, the grocery store owner (i.e., you…in case you missed the memo) will have made a sale and built a relationship with the buyer. And that’s the whole idea of a sales funnel.
As Russell Brunson explains in DotCom Secrets, a sales funnel should resonate with the customer. And the customer would rather have something personalized and simple experience—rather than an over-the-top and huge experience.
As you’ll soon see in my in-depth review of DotCom Secrets, Brunson simplifies the idea of traffic and funnels into three processes…hook, story, offer. The hook is the catchy idea headline or video that grabs a random user’s attention. The story builds a connection with prospects. And the offer seals the deal! Collectively, these three steps help build lasting relationships while driving sales in your online business.
You’ve decided to leverage the power of sales funnels to generate traffic, nurture leads, and improve conversion rates—but how do you go about it? Which sales funnel software is the best for your business model and needs? Read on as I pull back the curtain on the top software for online businesses—based on popularity, features, and user experiences.
Russell Brunson’s ClickFunnels is easily one of the most popular and widely used sales funnel software – and for good reason. It’s a solid option for online entrepreneurs and small businesses that need a straightforward and simple system for taking advantage of a prospect’s interest to increase revenue by making hard sales.
The SaaS software rapidly grew from a self-funded start-up into a multi-billion dollar business (source: Forbes). ClickFunnels was ranked as one of the 500 fastest-growing companies by Inc. It boasts of an active community of over 100,000 paying users – aka., FunnelHackers. The entrepreneur also ranked the company in its Entrepreneur360 list as the “Best Entrepreneurial Company in America.”
It’s loaded with tons of lead nurturing and funnel conversion features right out of the box. This includes a simple drag-and-drop editor set-up landing pages in minutes, pre-built funnel assets, templates to quickly build tried-and-tested sales funnels, a one-click upsell tool to increase your potential revenue, and a suite of supporting tools—making it a powerful, yet user-friendly sales funnel solution. Its pricing starts at $97 per month, with a 14-day free trial to test the waters. The main drawback is that ClickFunnels does not prioritize customization—opting for templates.
Ever heard of HubSpot? Let’s rephrase this…ever heard of one of the standout digital marketing companies of the last decade? Among its far-reaching list of digital marketing solutions, HubSpot also offers an effective way to maintain a highly functional sales process.
The HubSpot Growth Platform delivers everything you’d expect from a typical sales funnel—plus tools to accommodate all your marketing and service needs. All-in-all, it’s a great resource for attracting leads, delighting, engaging prospects, and retaining customers.
As reflected in its pricing options (starting at $113 per month), the HubSpot Growth Platform falls on the higher side of the budget—making it a tricky option for small businesses or startup. But considering its wealth of features, it may be a worthwhile investment.
Kajabi is arguably one of the most powerful sales funnel platforms for anyone selling or creating online courses. The software focuses on users looking for an easy and effective way to sell digital products – better known as infopreneurs.
It’s a SaaS solution that gives creators all the tools they need to launch their products. The platform houses a truckload of templates to build webinar pages, sales pages, or landing pages. As a sales funnel software, Kajabi offer features to guide users through your course in a step-by-step format. Like the other platforms on this list, it also provides one-click upsells, email automation, and customizable checkouts. Its pricing starts at $119 per month—which is relatively higher than its competitors’ and may not suit startups or small businesses.
Looking to create high-converting and visually appealing alert bars, websites, and landing pages? If so, LeadPages might be the sales funnel solution you need. It offers an easy-to-use interface (ideal for beginners or web design novices) and dozens of engaging templates.
At a starting price of $25, LeadPages is arguably one of the most cost-effective options in the market. It may be a sound investment for mid-sized or small businesses—as long you’re willing to settle for the bare minimum in sales funnel creation.
Katra is the brainchild of two renowned digital marketers, Mike Filsaime and the late Andy Jenkins. It offers the basic features of a sales funnel software—but with a special focus integration with webinar software. (PS: Kartra’s parent company—Genesis Digital—are the makers of WebinarJam and EverWebinar).
The software is marketed as an all-in-one funnel solution for online businesses. It allows users to easily create sales/landing pages with a drag-and-drop editor, run automated email campaigns, host/track video engagement, design optimized checkout pages, offer one-click upsells, manage affiliates, and deliver membership site securely. The basic plan goes for $69 per month. The main drawback of Kartra is their pricing structure. The more traffic you attract, the more you’ll pay—topping at $499 per month.
Russell Brunson—aka, the funnel guy—is what we’d call a digital marketing guru of his time. If someone ‘put a gun your head’ and asked you to name a single character who epitomizes funnels, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone other than Russell (Go on…open another tab right now and run a quick internet check if you need the proof).
Throughout the internet, there are recurring stories (or folktales, if you’re into medieval art) of Russell. They tell of a young man who sold over a million dollars’ worth of services and products from his basement—barely a year after his graduation. Over the years, he honed his skills in the art of online selling.
Around 15 years down the line, he had co-founded a multi-million-dollar company and earned the respect/admiration of a raving community of online entrepreneurs. Not to mention, publishing and selling hundreds of thousands of his DotCom Secrets and Expert Secrets books—both of which turned out to be best sellers. He also released another book (Traffic Secrets) in 2020—but it’s too early to predict whether it’ll achieve the same level of success as its predecessors.
Drawing on his expertise in the field, his success story with ClickFunnels, and my obsession with generating traffic and funnels, I had to give DotCom Secrets a shot. The book allegedly contains the best practices for creating sales funnels that…well, sell!
2nd Edition (2020): Dotcom Secrets—The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online with Sales Funnels
Author: Russell Brunson
E-book ISBN: 9781401960605
Hardcover ISBN: 9781401960469
Audiobook ISBN: 9781977309679
The first edition of DotCom Secrets was written shortly after Russell Brunson and Todd Dickerson launched ClickFunnels in 2014. Russell wrote the book intending to share his knowledge with other online businesses. It contained the same funnels, processes, scripts, frameworks, and techniques used by Brunson to create/scale ClickFunnels. The end game was to help readers grow their businesses faster than ever before.
From an objective outlook, the 1st Edition of DotCom Secrets by Russell Brunson was a success. Since launching the book, Brunson has helped nearly 800 people rake in over one million dollars—solely using his funnels.
DotCom Secrets elaborates on the importance of building an effective sales funnel to drive traffic and convert. The best funnels leverage different strategies (e.g., communication, product, and traffic strategy) to nurture leads and profit your business.
The first book by Russell Brunson, tells you exactly how to go about all this in a step-by-step process—using concise explanations and clear diagrams. According to the book’s prologue, “In truth, this is a proven playbook for growing your company with effective lead generation and sales/conversion methods, which can be used online and offline.”
The 1st Edition explains 13 Secrets—while the 2nd Edition goes a step further with 23 Secrets to grow your business online with sales funnels. In the words of the Russell Brunson, “When you implement these secrets, you will transform your website from a flat, two-dimensional company into a three-dimensional sales and marketing machine that allows you to outspend your competitors, acquire an almost unlimited number of new customers, make (and keep) more money, and most importantly, serve more people.”
DotCom Secrets is the first installment in a trilogy of books that have helped revolutionize digital marketing or online selling as we know it. Each book covers a specific subject and objective:
Collectively, these books are advertised to offer all the necessary tips, tricks, and lessons to thrive in an increasingly competitive online market. They contain everything you need to know about selling online, generating traffic, and funnel building secrets. Here’s a breakdown of how DotCom Secrets compares with the other “Secrets.”
There are tons of ways to learn something—but the easiest and most effective has to be using the example set by another person (i.e., an expert in your field). This is the underlying message in the Expert Secrets Russell Brunson book.
Brunson explains how establishing yourself as an expert business in your industry is a remedy for greater success. Expert Secrets contains precise, clear, and simple guidelines to hone your skills and share the knowledge you’ve acquired with others—hence achieving the coveted ‘expert’ status.
As an expert, a new or established business can create a mass following or a community of other aspiring businesses and entrepreneurs. This concept is applicable to all types of businesses—regardless of size and base of operation (i.e., online or brick-and-mortar stores). Drawing on a quote by Bob Burg (see below), an expert is someone who is known, liked, and trusted in his or her niche industry.
“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust.”
—Bob Burg, Best Selling Author and Famed Speaker
Just like DotCom Secrets, Experts Secrets has been recognized on the bestseller lists of USA Today and Wall Street Journal. While both books share several similarities—including the writing style and approach—they also differ.
Whereas DotCom Secrets focuses on successfully running an online business and improving conversion rates (i.e., scaling and getting more traffic), Expert Secrets highlights important steps to take right from the moment you start a business (i.e., creating initial offers and nurturing a tribe of followers).
In other words, Experts Secrets take a more generalized outlook on online/offline businesses—while DotCom Secrets is more specific, highlighting the concept of sales funnels and selling online.
Interestingly, Russell Brunson advises people to start the trilogy with Experts Secrets—despite DotCom Secrets being the first installment. The reasoning behind this recommendation is rooted in the information contained in the books.
The Expert Secrets Russell Brunson book contains beginner steps—including identifying and establishing meaningful connections. On the other hand, DotCom Secrets elaborate ways of telling stories that sell and building funnels that convert. Following a logical sequence, it makes more sense to start with Expert Secrets. So, even as you contemplate buying DotCom Secrets, consider adding Expert Secrets to your shopping cart. (PS: Every book by Brunson is an excellent resource in itself. Therefore, reading them simultaneously is more of an option than a necessity).
Traffic is key to the success of any online business, period! You may have the best products, services, and conversion process—but if you can’t generate traffic, your funnel is useless. Brunson reiterates this statement in the synopsis to his latest book (Traffic Secrets). “The biggest problem that most entrepreneurs have isn’t creating an amazing product or service. It’s getting the future customers to discover they even exist. Every year tens of thousands of businesses start and fail because the entrepreneurs don’t understand this one essential skill, the art, and science of getting traffic or people to find you.”
Traffic Secrets aims to transform businesses and attract traffic naturally. This frees online entrepreneurs from the ‘shackles’ of social media and other digital marketing platforms. Brunson claims that the tactics highlighted in his book help you thrive in an ever-changing digital landscape. It should show you how to capture the attention and keep the interest of potential customers.
“I spent the last 15-years perfecting the strategies in this book…Helping other entrepreneurs to get their products and services into the hands of customers who need it, is my mission. I’m proud that Traffic Secrets will give people that roadmap to increase their influence and audience,” says Brunson.
Traffic Secrets builds on the lessons, concepts, and secrets highlighted in the previous books by Russell Brunson. With this mind, it offers the most benefits to people who have read the rest of the trilogy.
Similar to DotCom Secrets, Traffic Secrets discusses the concepts of traffic and funnels. Both books are geared to an audience of online entrepreneurs who are interested in generating traffic, capturing leads, and converting prospects into paying customers.
Summarizing the entire trilogy…Experts Secrets tackles the psychological aspect of selling online (i.e., the art), DotCom Secrets looks at the process of building an effective sales funnels (i.e., the science), and Traffic Secrets show you how to pull target audiences into your funnel (i.e., the fuel). Theoretically, reading the three books should propel your business to greater heights. But for now, let’s get back to the main purpose of this article – reviewing DotCom Secrets.
The first edition of the DotCom—which was released in 2015—is divided into 5 sections. Each of them discusses and explains the different secrets of building sales funnels. These 5 sections contain a total of 13 secrets for growing your company online.
Russell’s ‘secret formula’ has four ingredients in the form of questions: This includes:
Who are your dream clients? Consider their characteristics, their desires, dreams, goals, activities, and anything that makes them ‘dreamy’.
What can you find your dream clients? This may include email lists, blogs, Twitter,
Facebook, and other social platforms.
What bait can best attract them? A bait is anything that will capture the attention of your dream customers. It may be an audio recording, a DVD, an e-book, or a physical book. (PS: The Russell Brunson books are a perfect example of bait. The books are offered for free to attract you – i.e., you’re Brunson’s dream customer).
What results will you give your dream clients? Focus on helping clients rather than
just pushing your products and services.
As shown in the diagram, the value ladder is a step-by-step process with which you sell the lowest-priced products first. As customers realize the value you offer from the lower-priced levels, they’ll be willing to pay more as they climb the value ladder.
The 3rd DotCom secret highlights the process of converting the value ladder into a sales funnel. Based on the value ladder and funnel model provided by Brunson, this may include the following four steps (feel free to adapt it to your business model):
Where are your dream customers hanging out? Where is your potential hunting ground? This should be highly targeted demographics—that define everything relevant about the dream customer’s whereabouts.
The traffic you control – This is traffic from paid sources such as
affiliates, and advertisements.
Traffic you don’t control – Cold traffic from sources such as Facebook
and blog posts. The user’s journey or roadmap is beyond your control.
Traffic you own – Your subscriber list, which is acquired by converting
‘traffic you control’ and ‘traffic you don’t control’ into your own.
Even after building your own traffic, selling may still be an uphill battle. The challenges are associated with your persona. Prospects need to trust and like you. You need to be an attractive character. Brunson categories an attractive character into three components (as shown in the figure):
⦁ Elements – This includes a backstory, speaking in parables, sharing character flaws, and polarity by addressing hard matters.
⦁ Identity – Your attractive character should have an identity. You may be a leader, an adventurer, an evangelist, or a reluctant hero.
⦁ Storylines – You need to find a specific perspective to your stories and stick to it. Choose between loss/redemption, us vs them to polarize the audience, stories of transformation, amazing discovery, or third person testimonials.
The whole point of building an email list is to eventually sell products by first building strong bonds. According to Russell Brunson, one way of doing this is through the soap opera sequence. And yes, the name and idea are derived from the likes of Telemundo.
Ever noticed how soap opera always end in suspense—with an unresolved, nagging issue? This is strategically orchestrated to foster a desire for the next episode. In DotCom Secrets, the soap opera sequence aims to make your emails interesting. According to Brunson, this includes—setting the stage by presenting the attractive character, opening with high drama (backstory), the epiphany (big secret or discovery that impacted the attractive character), hidden benefits of the product or service, finally, urgency and call to action.
The soap opera should be followed by more emails—each selling certain products. According to the Seinfeld sequence, your emails don’t have to include anything relevant. 90% of the emails you send to subscribers should be for entertainment purposes—the remaining 10% can be content-rich.
How do you make a successful funnel? You either reverse engineer one that already exists or you start from scratch. The latter is rather difficult, time-consuming, and risky—so we’ll go with the reverse engineering option.
Selling online of offline demands an understanding of the customer’s experience—from the first Ad they see, to being repeat buyers. This process includes 7 activities, namely:
Determining the traffic temperature – Is it hot, warm, or cold?
Set-up the Pre-frame bridge – Make your audience realize that there is a problem that needs a solution before you sell your products.
Qualify subscribers – Ask users for their email addresses.
Qualify buyers – Segment subscribers from buyers. A good example is offering a free product + shipping. Someone willing to pay around $9 for shipping is likely to buy again. Case in point, the Russell Brunson books.
Identify hyperactive buyers – At times there are buyers who are on a shopping spree—and are willing to cash out multiple times. You need to have an offer to cash in on them
Age and ascend the relationship – Give your subscribers or buyers time to discover the value of
Just like Lego pieces, building a sales funnel is all about connecting the pieces. Some combinations work better than others. Russel elaborates 23 building blocks that are based on the 7 phases of a funnel (highlighted in the 10th secret).
The 12th secret builds on everything you’ve learned. It requires you to connect all the elements and create a successful funnel. This includes preparing the offers, creating a funnel, preparing the Soap Opera Sequence, and the setting up the Seinfeld Sequence. DotCom Secrets includes examples of proven funnels designed by Russell Brunson himself.
Nothing is attractive to a consumer as FREE! These four letters with zero monetary value are easily the best bait. The trick lies in offering a free product, but asking the customers to pay for shipping. The first purchase sets up the customer for a higher chance of buying from you again.If you’ve already noticed the trend…Brunson is literally describing the entire process he uses to get you and me to order the “Secrets” trilogy of books. And since it works perfectly for him, it may also be possible to customize the principles to your business’s needs. For example, you can offer free e-books or memberships
The ‘Funnels and Script’ section focuses on ways to promote the sales funnels you build. But it’s not a straightforward process. Russell Brunson highlights the steps to take and rules to follow to create funnels that sell. This process is divided into:
Two-Step, Free-Plus-Shipping – Funnel 1
Self-Liquidating Offer – Funnel 2
Continuity – Funnel 3
The Perfect Webinar – Funnel 4
Invisible Funnel Webinar – Funnel 5
Product Launch – Funnel 6
High-Ticket, Three-Step Application – Funnel 7
The purpose of the final section is in the title…ClickFunnels. This is more or less a handful of pages that advertise Russell Brunson’s software—albeit some useful and actionable tips here and there.
Official Website: Underground Playbook for Growing Your
Amazon:$21-74 (Hardcover) or $12.99 (Kindle)
Barnes & Noble: $26.99 (Hardcover) or $12.99 (NOOK Book)
If you’re wondering why DotCom Secrets is free from the official website, it’s part of the whole funnel building and qualifying buyers process taught by Russell in books. He is basically luring you into his “value ladder”—with the hope that you’ll take the next step and buy something else.
Bonus: As an added advantage, DotCom Secrets comes with Free bonuses as shown below:
The 3 Core Funnels eBook ($47): If you’re looking to scale and grow your business, Russell claims that you only need 3 basic funnels to succeed.
108 Split Test Winners eBook ($47): This e-book contains simple tweaks to significantly increase your rates of conversion. These split tests provide limitless possibilities for improving the effectiveness of your funnels and websites.
Network Marketing Secrets eBook ($47): The e-book is written with network marketing aficionados at heart. It elaborates on different ways to build motivated teams with the help of funnels.
Funnel Audibles ($97): This is more of a backup or safety net for when you funnel flops. Funnel Audibles is adapted from a workshop by Brunson, in which he explains the process of reviving a broken funnel.
30-Day DotCom Secrets Challenge ($97): Wondering where you’ll start? The 30-day DotCom Secrets Challenge is designed to hold your hand and guide you through the daily process of getting where you want.
Official Expert Secrets Website: FREE (you only cover shipping costs of $9.95 in the U.S. or $19.95 internationally)
Amazon:$21.84 (Hardcover) or $12.99 (Kindle E-Book) – shipping costs not included)
Barnes & Noble: $26.99 (Hardcover) or $12.99 (NOOK Book) 0 shipping costs not included
By ordering the book via the official Expert Options website, you become eligible for 5 free bonuses—which total at $585 if purchased separately. These bonuses include:
Expert Evolution ($97): This is a presentation by Brunson on the frameworks you need to create—including steps to establishing yourself as an expert in your field.
Hook, Story, Offer ($97): You get to learn about how to employ proven funnels by either fixing underperforming funnels or building better ones.
The Perfect Webinar Slides ($197): These are basically Keynote and PowerPoint webinar slides created by Brunson. Their design and structure are based on a tried-and-tested framework (PS: the webinar slides are customizable).
The 5-minute Perfect Webinar ($97): This a webinar presented by Jaime Cross—a member of the Two Comma Club who made over $1 million selling lotions and soaps. Cross dives into the actionable strategies she used to achieve her success.
30 Day Expert Secrets Challenge ($97): This is a challenge or roadmap to kickstart your journey and keep you going—one day at a time.
Please note that buying Traffic Secrets allows you to buy The Secret Trilogy Box Set for $97—as an upsell. This includes Expert Secrets, Traffic Secrets, Dotcom Secrets, and Unlock the Secrets Worksheet.
As highlighted earlier, a free copy of DotCom Secrets is only available if you order the book from the official website. You’re welcomed by a landing page that is optimized to guide you towards one single goal…convincing the visitor to reserve a copy of the book.
By clicking on one of the “Reserve My Free Copy” prompts, you’ll be directed to a checkout page—starting with the shipping information. If you take a keen look at the technique used by Russel Brunson throughout the website, you’ll notice that he strategically highlights or underlines key factors to grab the user’s attention. The website is an ideal example of how landing pages should be designed to capture and nurture leads down the sales funnel—as Brunson intended.
The final step in the checkout process requires you to give up your credit card details. Sure, I understand some of you might be apprehensive about the idea pulling out your credit card for a book that’s advertised as free—but it’s necessary to cover the shipping cost or the upsells.
The upsells include a DotCom Secrets Audiobook package (The Order Form Bump, The Invisible Funnel, The Bridge Page, The Yellow Brick Road, and The Funnel Hacker’s Cookbook) for $37 and access to DotCom Secrets book LIVE training for $97. The total of the book’s shipping fees and all upsells tops at $153.95 for international users or $143.95 for U.S. residents.
Engaging and Easy to Follow Writing:
I have to admit…
I’m a sucker for basic hand-drawn art. So when Brunson decided to use stick figure illustrations, it was eye candy galore. Putting my weird taste aside, the text is also engaging, simple, and clear to cater to the
needs of all types of readers.
DotCom Secrets is an Undeniable Resource: Learning about how value ladders and sales funnels can add value to different marketing strategies may prove to be a game-changer for most businesses.
The Book is FREE: I believe this perk is self-explanatory. It’s the perfect bait—and we’re willingly going to bite the hook. For a book with as much value as DotCom Secrets, a free tag is a steal.
Tons of Positive Reviews: As you’ll realize in the next section, DotCom Secrets has managed to amass tons of positive reviews and sold hundreds of thousands of copies over the years. For most, this is the only proof they need to buy the book.
Sales Pitch: As you progress towards the final pages of the book, you can’t help but notice Brunson’s attempt to sell his ClickFunnels Software. While it’s understandable from an objective point of view, not all readers take kindly to the approach (*check out
some testimonials below for more
on what users think about the book’s
Focused on Online Business: What about offline business? Huh? Even as businesses relocate to online markets, there are those that rely on brick-and-mortar stores due to the nature of their industry. DotCom Secrets does not offer an actionable solution for
Well, this depends on your answers to the next questions. Do you think your business could benefit from techniques and strategies used by an expert in online business? Do you want to learn how to build sales funnels that convert? Are you willing to read through, even with the author’s evident attempts to sell ClickFunnels through the book? If yes, then click here and reserve your free copy now.
And if you feel the DotComSecrets book does not provide the information you need at your level of business, then maybe Traffic Secrets and the Expert Secrets Russel Brunson book will meet your needs. Either way, the books are a wonderful resource for any online entrepreneur interested in traffic and funnels.
Please note that this Dotcom Secrets review contains affiliate links. I am an independent affiliate of Dotcom Secrets products and not an employee. The review and opinion highlighted in this article are my own and they are in no way official statements by eBusiness4us or Dotcom Secrets.