This recipe will explain how to create a Product Launch Formula (PLF) style launch funnel on WordPress.
If you’re not familiar with PLF, it’s the creation of Jeff Walker. You can find out more about Jeff at his website.
Over more than a decade, students following his training have generated over a billion dollars through product launches.
Central to PLF is the concept of sharing valuable information through a series of training sessions. Most commonly these training sessions are delivered through video trainings that drip out over a period of time.
While video is very well suited for PLF, it can be effective with training delivered in web pages of text and images. Some even use email as the delivery channel.
In this recipe, I’m not going to discuss any of the PLF strategy. I’m assuming you’re familiar with the concept. If not, try searching for information about Product Launch Formula. You’ll likely come across various free videos Jeff’s released where he describes how it works.
If you’ve already got a WordPress website, skip to step 4.
Go to Namecheap and register a domain name for your site.
You can find domain registrars that are cheaper than Namecheap for the first year, but the price usually jumps significantly when you renew.
I personally use Namecheap when buying domain names now and cost is around $10 or $11 per year.
Go to Siteground and buy their cheapest WordPress hosting plan. That will be fine when you start out and you can upgrade later if your site gets very busy.
Their cheapest account is about $5 per month for the first year. That’s discounted and it’s about $10 per month for subsequent years. You will find cheaper, but Siteground is widely regarded as one of the best hosts in terms of value and performance.
Slow sites lose sales and cheaper hosting will be slower, because they can’t afford to spend as much on their hosting infrastructure.
Many cheaper hosts also include a free domain name, but don’t be tempted.
Firstly, that just means they’ve got even less money to spend on making your site faster.
Secondly, when you get your domain name from you web host, it makes harder for you to move your site to another host. It’s a customer retention tactic, not them offering you a generous gift.
Before pressing on, open the Essential WordPress Setup recipe and work through those steps.
That will run you through some basic WordPress configuration steps. You’ll also install a few essential plugins that will make your site faster and more secure.
Elementor is a page builder plugin for WordPress. This plugin makes it easy for anyone to create good looking pages with no coding knowledge.
There is a bit of a learning curve to Elementor. Considering how powerful and flexible even the free version is, that shouldn’t be a surprise.
A good place for you to start is the Getting Started playlist on Elementor’s YouTube channel [https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZyp9H25CboFCGdA4yjOHr4VlQUAgKxzJ].
Once you understand the basics of using Elementor, it’s surprisingly easy to explore and grow your understanding. Because the controls repeat across different tools, when you understand these controls, you quickly understand new tools.
This plugin by The CSSIgniter Team works as an addon for Elementor.
After activating, go to the Elements Plus! sub menu under Elementor. You’ll see there are various new tools, but the only one we need is Scheduled Plus!. Check the checkbox to activate it and click the Save Changes button.
Go to the Pages section of your WordPress admin and add the pages that will form your funnel. That will be something like:
For each of these, set the Template to Elementor Canvas. Each of these landing pages has a specific job to do. You don’t want your site’s normal header and footer elements distracting visitors.
This is quite a simple page in terms of elements. You’re most likely sending qualified traffic, so there doesn’t need to be much explanation for visitors.
Elementor’s YouTube videos should have got you up and running with laying out pages.
The important thing here is the email opt-in form. Your email service, such as MailChimp or ConvertKit, will provide you with code for an opt-in form. You then embed this code into your page.
In Elementor, you need to add an HTML widget to the page. You then paste the embed code into the widget.
Again, I’m not focusing on explaining how to layout the pages. The YouTube videos should have got you through the basics.
In terms of structure, the training pages usually include previews of all three or four tainings.
The training content then fills the main part of the page. Finally, below the training is usually a Facebook comments box.
The sales page layout is down to what you prefer. This could be another video presentation with button to checkout below.
Alternatively you may prefer a more traditional written sales page. Remember that much of the selling should have been done through the training sequence.
The Elements Plus! Plugin works on UTC time. When you set the date and time for dripping content, you need to use UTC time. Before continuing, now is a good time to convert your release dates and times to UTC.
Enter your timezone or nearest major city. As you type, you should see suggestions displayed. Click the correct location for you.
Then set the date and time for your first release.
Next click the Add another city or time zone… field and enter utc. Click the UTC autosuggestion and the page will now display your release date and time converted to UTC time.
Note that depending on your location and date and time, it’s possible the UTC date may be the day before or after. So be sure to copy the date as well as the time.
Use this same process to get the drip date and times for all your other pieces of content.
This is where the magic of the launch funnel comes in. The training material is released on your schedule. You don’t want people being able to bypass your release schedule and watch content ahead of time
One way to avoid this would be to manually set pages live. That’s not a very attractive option though. Much better to have the content release itself automatically.
That’s why we installed Elements Plus!. That plugin adds the functionality to Elementor that allows us to show and hide parts of page based on date and time.
For each piece of content that needs to be dripped, we need to add two elements to the page. One is a placeholder that displays before the date and time that the content is dripped. The second is the actual content being dripped.
The screenshot should help you understand how dripping works. See that the first arrow highlights a thumbnail image labelled “Coming Soon”. Below it is the same thumbnail, but without the label. Note that only the second of each pair of thumbnail images links to the page containing the content.
The first image will be displayed up until the drip date for the first video. The second image will be hidden up until that same point. When the date and time is reached to show the first video, the first thumbnail will be hidden and the second revealed.
If you’ve seen a Launch Funnel in action, this should be quite familiar.
The screenshot also shows the Scheduled visibility controls for the first thumbnail. The first thumbnail should be set to be Visible until the release date and time. The second thumbnail should be set to be Visible from the release date and time.
You need to schedule all the items on this page that are subject to release dates. That includes the other training preview thumbnails and the main content on this page. You will need to do this for each page in the funnel with scheduled content.
If you preview your page, you should see that elements are visible or hidden depending on the date and time.
Getting visitors to the training pages to leave comments can be a great way to build up excitement.
If you’re running a relatively small launch, you may want to consider whether to skip this.
Lots of people commenting grows excitement and supplies powerful social proof.
If you’ve got crickets instead of comments, the effect can be quite the opposite. Visitors may feel they would be making a mistake buying as no-one else appears to be interested.
To use the Facebook Comments app, you need to register for a Facebook Developer account. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything complex.
Go to https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/comments/ and register for an account if you’re new.
When you have an account, click on My Apps and Add a New App.
Once added, go to the Settings menu and Basic under that.
Complete the form, though you can ignore the Namespace and App Icon.
In the App Domains field, enter the domain of your website both with and without the www. prefix.
Scroll down the form, click + Add Platform and select Website. Click the Save Changes button.
At the top of the page, click the Off switch and confirm you want to make you app public. If it’s your first app, there may be a delay before it goes live.
Go to https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/comments/. Enter the URL of the page this Comments plugin is going to appear on. Enter 100% into the Width field and click the Get Code button.
A popup should open with two bits of code. Copy all the code from the first box. Go to the training page in Elementor and add an HTML widget where you want the comments to appear.
Paste the code into the widget. Go back to the Comments Generator page and copy the second piece of code and paste that into the widget too.
Now if you preview the page, you should see the comments box added. Note in the screenshot, a border and padding was applied to the HTML widget containing the comments.
I’ll outline three options for adding a cart to your funnel.
If your site has WooCommerce installed and configured, it will be easier to use this to handle payments. The slight downside is the fact that there’s a two page process after the sales page. From the sales page you go to the cart and users then have to click to go to the checkout page.
Personally, if a site has WooCommerce, I’d usually favor this approach. It will save additional configuration as taxes and payment services should already be setup.
To use this approach, add your product to WooCommerce and publish it. Go to the product page in the shop of your site and right click the Add to cart button. Select copy link location or similar from the context menu.
On the sales page, select the button for purchasing or registering and enter the URL you just copied to the Link field. This button will now open the cart page and add the product to the cart.
Stripe makes it easy for buyers to checkout without leaving your site. To use Stripe to take payments, your site must have an SSL certificate installed.
You can sign up for a Stripe account at https://stripe.com.
Install and activate the Stripe Payments plugin by Tips and Tricks HQ.
Under the Stripe Payments menu, go to the Settings page and start with the General Settings tab.
This form should be largely self explanatory. For now, I advise leaving the Live Mode checkbox unchecked so you can test it all works without making real payments.
When you’ve completed the form and added the live and test keys from your Stripe account, click the Save Changes button.
You can now work through the Email Settings and Advanced Settings tabs. Again these should be largely self explanatory.
Worthy of special note is the Custom Fields Settings section. This allows you to specify an additional input on your cart. You can use this to capture extra information from your customers.
For example, you could simply add a checkbox to confirm customers accept your terms and conditions.
Next click the Add New Product sub-menu. Adding a product should be quite straight forward.
One thing to note is that while you can apply tax to the product price, you can’t apply based on location. As a result, if you set this, it will be applied to every purchase.
When the product is complete, be sure to click the Publish button. You can then copy the shortcode from the bottom of the page.
Go to the sales page in Elementor and insert a Shortcode widget where you want the pay button to be. Paste the shortcode into the widget and click the Apply button and you should see the Stripe button displayed on your page.
You can preview your page and test the button. You will see a pop-up open to take the payment info. You’ll see a label on the screen to highlight you’re in Test Mode. Remember to set the plugin to Live Mode when you’ve tested it works ok.
There are many plugins that allow you to add Buy Now buttons. However, these can usually be edited by visitors to your site to change the payment amount.
It’s more secure to create your buttons on PayPal. Using PayPal offers an advantage over Stripe in that you can configure taxes by customer location.
Log in to your PayPal account or register at https://paypal.com.
To configure taxes, go to Tools, All Tools and click Sales tax calculator. You can then enter any tax rates you need to apply to domestic and international sales.
When taxes are added, go back to the All Tools page and click PayPal Buttons.
Click the Create new button link and work through the form to configure your payment button.
When the button is created, copy the code for your website.
Open the sales page in Elementor and insert an HTML widget where you want to add the buy now button. Paste the code into the widget and click the Apply button. You should see your button displayed in the page.
That covers all the main points of creating a Product Launch style funnel in WordPress.
Elementor makes it easy for anyone to create good looking landing pages and it’s a small step to link these into a funnel.
Once you combine with other plugins or buy now buttons, you can handle all the main aspects of a typical sales funnel.
If you would like more detail about how to build this funnel, subscribe to our email list. You’ll then be the first to know when we launch our training covering this in more depth.
© Ian Pullen - Shoestring Hustle 2018
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