“’s problem wasn’t a traffic or conversion problem. It rarely is. More often than not, it’s a FUNNEL problem.” ― Russell Brunson, DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online

GRKKT: Much of this book feels like it is geared toward building a personal a brand or selling coaching as a service, but I do think there are lessons that can be applied to the B2B space. 



In the front of the book, Russell Brunson lists the names of brilliant marketers who inspired him.  Might be worth looking up some of these people.  FYI, Todd Dickerson and Dylan Jones actually built the software for


Russell feels email marketing, Facebook, YouTube, podcasts and blogs have replaced direct mail, networking, TV ads, radio and newspaper.


He calls over arching themes and systems that work regardless of tactics of implementation “Evergreen”.  He says this book is Evergreen.



Secret 1

The Formula

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • Where they are located?
  • What bait will you give them?
  • What result you want to give them?


Secret 2

The Value Ladder

He believes you NEVER offer a single product.  You always offer a series of upsells he calls a “Value Ladder”, where there is an increase in value as you spend more money.  He uses a dentist as an example. Teeth cleaning to teeth whitening to a retainer to cosmetic surgery. 


In his case he provides

  • A free quiz
  • A book
  • A funnel webinar
  • A home study event
  • Becoming a part of the inner circle


Secret 3

From a Ladder to a Funnel

Your bait product is nearly free but entices them toward a low risk first purchase. Because you over deliver with each rung of the latter, they are further enticed to try the next step which costs more money.

GRKKT: Not sure why he didn’t just start here because the value ladder is a funnel.


Secret 4

How to Find Your Dream Customers

In this chapter he talks about like-minded people hanging out together is like finding a vein of gold within a mountain. He calls them congregations. Once you find out where they are, you have to mine that vein with clickbait titles and that pull them out of the activity they are doing to look at your website or squeeze page, etc.


Page 46 – automation

He explains your goal is to find where these people are and how to best mine them. The strategy behind doing that is your job. Hiring Facebook guys and Google guys to run Facebook and Google ads is something someone else can do. He claims he’s never once run a Google or Facebook ad yet has made millions on both platforms.  He creates the strategy then sets up the systems and hires people who are great at tactics.

GRKKT: Despite the title, the problem with this chapter is it does nothing to tell me how to actually find my dream customer.  He’s only stated that it’s important and the tactics of execution can be delegated.


Secret 5

There are Three Types of Traffic

  1. Traffic you control.
  2. Traffic you don’t control.
  3. Traffic you own.


Obviously, you are trying to make everything traffic you own.


Page 49

He mentions his mentor was Mark Joyner.


Page 50

He explains on average you make about one dollar per month per subscriber. 1,000 subscribers equals a thousand dollars a month revenue.


Traffic you control

This is defined as Pay Per Click (PPC) ads, banner ads or any type of affiliate ads for which you pay. Anytime you want more of it though, you have to spend more money. The primary purpose of creating these ads is to direct someone to a squeeze page.  Squeeze pages have only one goal with no distractions, which is to convert traffic you control and the traffic you own. It does this by offering something like free access to a controversial video with the collection of your email address which of course signed them up for further selling.  He includes a line the bottom that says we will not spam, rent or sell your information.


From here you’ll send out email sequences, but first you must understand Secret 6, 7 and 8.

GRKKT: Of course, the issue I have with this is you specifically tell someone you will not spam them and then you proceed to send them a bunch of sales spam.


Traffic you don’t control

This is when people post on social media, LinkedIn, SEO of traffic, YouTube, guest blog traffic and guest interviews. The goal with this type of traffic is to turn it into traffic you own. The best way to do this is to push that traffic back to your blog. The top of your blog page should be a glorified squeeze page.

GRKKT: Amazingly, if you Google “click funnels” no matter what results link you click, it directs you to a squeeze page where he tries to sell you something.  You can’t find any information about Click Funnels or what it actually is. You just keep getting directed to a page where you’re forced to sign up or leave.  I would (and did) simply leave.



Secret 6

The Attractive Character (aka. Hero)

GRKKT: I think this is great because it personalizes the concept of branding.  It focuses on creating a persona for you (branding), the salesperson, as opposed to personas for your target market.

Page 58

He learned about this concept from John Alanis


He thinks Jared of subway is a perfect example.  Here are the elements you use to create the Attractive Character (he abbreviates as AC).



  • Backstory
  • Parables
  • Character flaws
  • Polarity



  • The leader
  • The adventurer crusader
  • The reporter evangelist
  • The reluctant hero


Story lines

  • Loss and redemption
  • Us vs. them
  • Before and after
  • Amazing discovery
  • Secret telling
  • Third person testimonial



If you don’t have a backstory, then you can share someone else’s. He uses Jared selling his weight loss backstory for subway as an example. He tells a parable about his wrestling coach giving him tapes of himself wrestling and then demanding all the cash in his wallet.  If you get something for free, you’ll never use it. If you’ve paid for it, you made an investment. Now you have an opportunity to learn from it. 


Character Flaws

Sharing character flaws makes you relatable. He feels attractive characters harness the power of polarity. The audience will be split into those that believe in what they’re saying, those that are neutral, and those that disagree. Those that do agree will feel compelled to defend you and promote you.  Howard Stern is his example.


Hero Personas

The leader has all the answers and has already accomplished the result the audience wants to achieve. The adventurer does not have all the answers and is on a journey to discover them and he shares them with his audience as he goes.  The reporter is the identity people have to use when they have not blazed a trail they can share, but they desire to do so. They go out to discover the truth interviewing others and sharing what they have learned along the way.  The reluctant hero is exactly what you think, but they essentially have to have all the answers just like the leader.


These storylines work exactly like you expect.


Secret 7

Soap Opera Sequence

He believes in a five day in a row email sequence after someone signs up.  Here you open and close loops. You open up a loop or question that you answer or close in the next email, but in the process, open another loop or question that can’t be answered until the next email.  On pages 74-85 he provides an example:


Email 1 set the stage for the attractive character

From the very first welcome email your job just to introduce them to the attractive character, using the elements outlined in Chapter 6.

  • I was once just like you….now I’m rich! And I’m going to tell you how I did it.  I’m going to provide so much value for FREE I will guilt you into buying my products, starting with my FREE gift tomorrow. 
  • Look for that email tomorrow.


Email 2 fill-in backstory

Which leads to the second email, and you start the fill-in backstory.  High drama to a backstory that leads to a wall you don’t know how to overcome. 

  • I graduated from college and realized I had run into a financial wall. But I figured out how to get past this.  Click here for the free PDF I promised yesterday.
  • See my email tomorrow to find out how I got past the wall.


Email 3 is the epiphany

This is where are you lead to discovery of your product.

  • I knew I needed a support system to get over addition, that’s when I found out about the Pro Health Cleansing System. Or…..
  • My epiphany was I needed to build a list and that’s when I learned about Click Funnels. Or….
  • I had to address the roots of overeating and that’s when I discovered the Fat Shaming Diet Plan.
    • Here is a video about the plan:
    • Tomorrow I will share hidden benefits of the plan. Benefits you didn’t even know existed!


Email 4 hidden benefits

The goal is to leave the reader thinking, man I really want that for myself!  Bring up benefits they didn’t even think about.

  • Sure, you’ll lose weight, but you’ll also live long enough to see your grandchildren.
  • See my email tomorrow for my special offer.


Email 5 is an urgent Call To Action (CTA)

  • Whatever the reason it needs to be real….
  • Your webinar starts tomorrow. You only have 10 seats left at your event.
  • You only ordered 1,000 books and most of them are already gone.
  • You’re pulling the video off-line in the next 2 days.
  • Special sale ends tomorrow via a coupon expires in 24 hours.


He believes his email should have personality, maybe even grammatical mistakes, allowing the reader to bond with the attractive character.


Secret 8

Daily Seinfeld Sequence

AFTER the 5 day soap opera sequence, his basic philosophy is to send a daily email. He used to believe this was too spammy and tried sending monthly, every two weeks, every three days and ultimately sending emails every day is always what led to the most sales.


He also said he’s made the mistake of delivering really great content and high value is what he had to deliver every single email. He found that 90% entertainment and personal stories with 10% reference to his product were wildly more successful.  Just like the Seinfeld show was basically about nothing, so are his emails. He only does one or two sentences per line and uses lots of white space.


Possible topics

  • What’s going on in your attractive characters life?
  • What’s happened that is embarrassing?
  • How are you getting through the holiday season? What are you planning for your vacation this year?
  • What did you buy recently you regret?
  • What did you buy recently you laugh?
  • What made you scream with rage yesterday that you’re laughing about today?
  • What crazy antics did your kid or dog get into yesterday?
  • What a funny thing happened in your past to teach us a lesson?


Your Seinfeld emails duel as blog posts, so you don’t have to write both.



Secret 9

Funnel Hacking

Find other people who already have a successful funnel and are selling to my target market. Reverse engineer what they’re doing and how they’re getting the traffic.  Never start creating a funnel unless you know 4 of the 5 variables your competitors are already using (per the list below):


Five variables of successful funnels

  1. Demographics
  2. Offer (price, up sells, etc)
  3. Landing page
  4. Traffic source
  5. Ad copy


Exactly copy someone else’s model. Do not try and reinvent the wheel. Start from where they are and tweak from there. Research direct and indirect competitors. Indirect competitors are people who share the same target market but sell a different product.


He recommends to do this research.  Seeing an ad they’ve been running for a long time tells you it’s really working well for them. 


Secret 10

7 Funnel Phases

He feels the difference between having a 6, 7 or 8 figure business is whether you understand the phases of a funnel and can successfully monetize the different points along the line.


  1. Traffic temperature -meaning hot warm or cold
  2. Your pre-frame bridge
  3. Qualify subscribers
  4. Qualify buyers
  5. Identify hyperactive buyers
  6. Age and ascend the relationship
  7. Change the selling environment


How pre-framing works

“But I’ve found there are three critical steps before the visitor even gets to the landing page that have a huge effect on your conversions. There are also several steps in the funnel that happen after someone leaves your landing page. These also have an enormous impact on your conversions and your bottom line.”


Traffic Temperature

GRKKT: I think this section is key because understanding the “temperature” of your potential customer when they hit your page completely changes the presentation strategy.  If you get this wrong, you will have nearly zero results.  Life or death of your idea if you are market testing.  Please note this basically mirrors the traditional AIDA marketing funnel, Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action.  Some call the awareness stage Top of Funnel (ToFu), the middle stages Middle of Funnel (MoFu) and the action or conversion stage Bottom of Funnel (BoFu).


There are three types of traffic that can hit your landing page: hot, warm and cold.

“If your prospect is aware of your product and has realized it can satisfy his desire your headline starts with the product. If he is not aware of your product, but only of the desire itself your headline starts with the desire. If he is not yet aware of what he really seeks but is concerned with the general problem your headline starts with the problem and crystallizes it into a specific need.”


Hot traffic pre-frame bridge

This is people on your email list with whom you have already built a relationship.  an email with a link to your landing page or a blog post or a podcast courage and people to check out your offer is all you need to act as an adequate pre frame bridge.


Warm traffic pre-frame bridge

Comes from affiliate links or from Facebook Instagram Twitter or any social network because you targeted them based on interest they already have.  Joint ventures and direct mail companies usually send out a “lift” letter praising your company and then they take a 50-50 split of the profit.  This letter serves as the pre-frame bridge you need. It could also be a video article or some other communication from the list owner endorsing you.


Cold traffic pre-frame bridge

Banner ads and pay per click ads or someone who stumbled upon your blog.  Creating a proper pre-frame bridge for this type of traffic is the Holy Grail of online marketing. You’ll need a separate page dedicated to pre-framing before they hit the offer page.  You need to educate them a little more about the problem they are having.


Qualify subscribers

Take all traffic warm hot and cold and find out who’s willing to give us an email address exchange for more information. This is called subscribing to a list. 


Qualify buyers

Immediately if you qualify subscribers find out who is a buyer. Don’t wait a day or a week. Find out who is willing to pull out their credit card and buy something at that very moment. The moment they fill out their name and email and click submit to subscribe they should land on a page that offers something to buy.  This is your initial bait product, it is low cost and low risk.  “Free plus shipping”. $5-7. Collect phone number.


At this point you have two separate list subscribers and buyers. Each list gets treated differently.


Identify hyperactive buyers

Here you offer an upsell after your initial offer and create a third category. These people are of course treated differently than subscribers and regular buyers.


Age and ascend the relationship

After completing the above allow some time to pass…long enough they receive your products and have had opportunity to see their value. This is the point where we start to change the type of funnel we use.


Change the selling environment

GRKKT: This means if you sell more expensive products ($8K+), many of the templated ideas in this book won’t work.  IMHO, as price increases, the length of the trust building period and importance of relationship increases.

If you want someone to buy an $8,000 product, you’re not going to do it typically online. You probably will need over the phone or in person contact or presentation of the live event or seminar.


The first thing he talks about is the frame of mind a person is in when they click on your link. He calls this a “pre-frame.”  All clicks to your site are not equal which of course determines your conversion rate. As an example, he shows a three minute promotional video about himself before he speaks. It puts the audience in the right frame of mind.


He mentions the book Sway: the irresistible Pull of irrational behavior by Ori and Rom Brafman. 


Secret 11

23 Building Blocks of a Funnel

These are like modular Lego pieces they can be used interchangeably.  The author’s software at Click sells templates of these different building blocks in pre-formatted email sequences.


Pre-frame bridge

  1. quiz
  2. article
  3. news
  4. blog
  5. video
  6. email
  7. presale page


Qualify subscribers

  1. pop-up
  2. squeeze page
  3. squeeze pop
  4. free plus shipping 2-step
  5. webinar registration
  6. free account
  7. exit pop


Qualified buyers

  1. free plus shipping
  2. trial
  3. tripwire – A splinter of your core product had a huge discount around seven dollars self liquidating offer – between thirty seven and ninety seven dollars. The goal is to have the front end product liquidate (B:cover?) your ad cost so that your upsells become pure profit
  4. self liquidating offer
  5. straight sale


Identify buyers in heat

  1. bumps – impulse buy last second add on
  2. one time offers
  3. down sales – if they say no to the one time offer present a down seal to a different product or a payment plan option on the original offer.
  4. affiliate recommendations – these are just affiliate links to other people’s websites


Page 145

He mentions Ryan Deiss and Perry Belcher as famous digital marketers. Ryan Deiss runs


Secret 12

Frontend vs. Backend Funnels

He doesn’t really explain the difference in this chapter. He says the basic psychology goes back to the product awareness continuum mentioned in secret number nine.


All of the funnels he’s describing in the upcoming chapters skip checking traffic temperature and the pre-frame bridge and start with qualifying subscribers (the third final phase).


Secret 13

The Best Bait: Free

He feels the best bait is something for free plus shipping. He uses something called the 100 visitor test to prove his point.


100 visitors with 1% conversion on a $200 product equals $200.


100 visitors with an 8% conversion on a free plus shipping product that then offers them the same $200 product with 25% conversion equals $400


Page 156

He references a book by Dan Ariely called Predictably Irrational.


To enhance this further, as they check out, he believes in adding a bump conversion which is a checkbox that allows them to buy something additional. Which typically increases revenue by 34%.


The reason he believes in sending out something physical that requires shipping is because you have to simultaneously leverage the word free while getting people into buyer mode. Once they’ve already entered their credit card credentials, it’s all too easy to click the checkbox for the upsell bump as they check out.



Funnels and Scripts

GRKKT: The remainder of the book is dedicated to outlining very specific funnels and scripts using the 23 building blocks he outlined in chapter 11.  In these funnel examples he gives you literally the line-by-line things to say along with a title that explains the sales tactic.


It’s my belief these tactics work best for low dollar figure items. He sees $8,000 is a big online sale. I come from an industry where $100k is a minimum order.  All I’m saying is your mileage may vary.


How can these tactics be modified?  Take from the book what you can and adapt as you see fit.

Frontend funnels

  • Two step free + shipping
  • Self-liquidating offer
  • Continuity funnel (trial plus subscription)


Here he references another one of his mentors David Frey.


Funnels for the middle of the value ladder

  • The perfect webinar
  • Invisible funnel webinar
  • Product launch funnel


Backend funnels

  • High ticket three-step funnel
Dotcom Secrets Book Cover
Dotcom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online with Sales Funnels Paperback – August 9, 2022

4.7 out of 5 stars    1,847 ratings



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