🥷 Funnel Breakdowns #20: Copyblogger

Published 3 months ago • 8 min read

Hey, Funnel Ninja!

We have a jam-packed edition today.

But we’re doing something slightly different.

We’re not going to break down the funnel of a creator or solopreneur…

Instead, we’re diving into the funnel of a 8-figure company that’s been on my radar for a few months:


If you’re not familiar, Copyblogger is an online training company that’s been teaching people how to create killer content since 2006 (before anyone really used the term “content marketing”).

Now, there’s a few reasons why I find Copyblogger interesting:

  • My friend, Tim Stoddart, bought the company and become its sole proprietor last year.
  • But right after acquiring it, he started making moves and launched a new product line: Copyblogger Academy (which is a low-ticket membership product).
  • He then partnered with Charles Miller (who was one of the very first creators we funnel-hacked & covered in the newsletter) to help him scale things up.
  • And over the past year, Tim & Charles have almost quadrupled this product line (from $9k MRR to over $30k MRR)—and they’ve been able to do this despite having some leaks in their funnel.

Now, since Tim is my friend, I wanted to audit his Copyblogger Academy funnel and share a few low-hanging upgrades he could make to it to continue growing the business without having to completely change what he’s doing (because something is clearly working!).

But then I realize I might as well kill two birds with one stone, and share these “suggestions” with you too!

Now before we get to it, here’s a quick overview of what you can expect to learn by the end of this edition:

  • The downsides of delivering your lead magnet as a PDF
  • A simple copywriting technique to easily attract your ideal readers
  • Why you need to constantly remind new readers of “what’s in it” for them
  • An underrated tactic to prime new subscribers to buy early in your funnel

And plenty more!


Let’s dive in.

Funnel Piece #1 → The Landing Page

First, let’s take a look at the Copyblogger homepage (which they use to collect emails through a “free guide” lead magnet):

Here’re 3 things that stood out:

  • They’re calling out their target audience on the landing page headline. This is always a great way to attract the specific type of person you want on your email list—and to subtly repel everyone who’s NOT that type of person.
  • Their lead magnet value prop has FOMO baked in. The main promise of this free guide is that it’ll help you “understand the future of content marketing.” So implicitly what they’re saying is “things are changing in the content marketing world… don’t get left behind.” Even if you’re not in a niche or industry that’s changing quickly, you could use a similar approach and create a freebie explaining how your niche or industry will change or be disrupted as AI continues to get better and better.
  • They included a second opt-in form near the bottom of the page. This is another one of those small tactics that can make a huge difference in conversion. By having more than one opt-in form throughout your landing page, you reduce friction and make it easier for people to join your list.

Now, there’s 3 low-hanging upgrades they could make here to increase their opt-in rates—and grow their email list faster:

  • The headline could be more tangible, specific, and outcome-focused. They start off on the right foot (by they’re naming their target reader), but then they get vague: What does “succeeding in the creator economy” mean? If I were them, I’d be way more specific on the outcome(s) the reader could unlock by grabbing their free guide.
  • Adding some social proof. Anyone who’s been writing online for a while is familiar with Copyblogger. But obviously, not everyone who lands on this page is. So I’d definitely add some subtle social proof to immediately build trust with new readers—and increase the perceived value of the lead magnet “offer.” It could be as simple as tweaking the CTA button copy to something like: “Join 100k writers on the cutting-edge.”
  • Adding a “sneak peek” section below the fold. When you scroll past the first opt-in form, there’s a “featured blog posts” section. And while there’s some potential benefits to this approach, this isn’t ideal if your goal is to capture emails. So instead, I’d have a “sneak peek” section listing out some of the topics they will cover inside the free guide. This is a great way to set expectations upfront—and seal the deal for readers who might be on the fence about opting in.

Funnel Piece #2 → The Thank You Page

OK, let’s move on and talk about their Thank You Page

First of all, the fact that they do have a Thank You page is a win.

So, shout out to them! 😂

That being said, there’s 2 main things they’re doing well here:

  • They thank you for opting-in. Even if this sounds super obvious, this is a common mistake tons of creators make: Not “thanking” the reader for joining their email list. Don’t take for granted the fact that someone wants to read your content!
  • They give you crystal clear next steps. After confirming your signup was successful, they do a great job explaining exactly what you should do next. And they go the extra mile by specifying who their confirmation email is coming from and sharing instructions to check you spam or promotions folder if you don’t see it in your primary inbox.

But, there are also some easy upgrades they could make to take this page to the next level:

  • Ask people to fill out a quick segmentation survey (3-5 questions max). With this in place, they could gather valuable data from their readers. Then, using this data, they could start personalizing (a) the content they send you and (b) the language they use to pitch their paid offers to each reader. Which is very powerful for both retention and conversion.
  • Hyping up the “transformation” people are going to experience through their free guide. Even though they did a great job explaining the next steps you should take after opting in, they failed to remind you what’s in it for you—and why you should even care to go and follow those instructions. Early on, you want to constantly remind your new readers of the value you’ll provide them with.
  • Adding a quick “welcome video” at the top to reinforce the reader’s decision to join. Lastly, if you want to take things to the next level, you can use video as a medium to welcome new readers and get them excited to dive into your freebie by doing what I explain in the previous bullet. The benefit of using video, though, is that you will (a) surprise the reader (because very few people do this) and (b) immediately build more connection and affinity with them.

Funnel Piece #3 → The Free Guide (And The “Surprise Sales Page“)

Alright, let’s keep rolling.

So right after subscribing to get their free guide, they send you a very basic and simple confirmation email.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of “confirmation emails” because they create more friction for the reader to start getting value.

(Plus, you can always “purge” your email list later!)

But once you click on the “confirmation” link inside, things get more interesting:

You’re redirected to a page that has a link for you to download their free guide—but right underneath, there’s also a sales page for their low-ticket membership product, Copyblogger Academy:

This is a great way to introduce new subscribers to your paid offers—and give superconsumers the chance to buy your stuff early in your funnel.

That being said, I don’t think the Copyblogger team is executing this tactic 100% right.

And as a result, they might be leaving some money on the table.

So, these are the 3 main upgrades I’d make to dial in this page—and increase conversions:

  • Introducing the paid offer pitch with more finesse. Right now, there’s no transition from “here’s your free guide” to “here, buy my thing.” And it feels both confusing and a little pushy. Instead, I’d add some additional copy explaining everything the free guide will help the reader do, frame that as the first step to the “ultimate outcome” they’re aiming for, and then introduce the paid offer as the shortcut to get there exponentially faster. Night and day difference.
  • Offering a limited-time welcome discount. In addition to the “transition copy,” I’d also beef up this page by including some sort of special discount (or bonus) that expires after a few hours. That way, people will feel more urgency to take action immediately (instead of just clicking away and postponing the decision).
  • Including a “who is this for?” section. Lastly, even though most of the sales page copy is solid, it isn’t completely clear who their product is for. (I know they say they help “writers” in the copy of their main landing page, but “writers” is pretty broad. Also, there’s people who might not think of themselves as “writers” who could also benefit from this product.) So I’d definitely add a “Who is this for?” section to this page and break down the most common “customer archetypes” of this offer to make it easier for the reader to go “Man, this is clearly for me!”

As far as the free guide goes, the content inside is great—but the packaging not so much.

Here’s the 2 “packaging”upgrades I’d make to this guide:

  • Finding a more digestible way to deliver the content (like an email course). They deliver all of this valuable content in a 30-page PDF. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember when was the last time I read a long @$$ PDF like this. They can be hard to access and not digestible at all. I don’t recommend using PDFs unless you want people to just skim your freebie, get overwhelmed, and then never read it again.
  • Making the title of the free guide more clear (and less clever). The title of the guide is super clever. As a result, it makes it extremely hard to know what the guide is about (and how it will help you). And yes, they initially mention it will help you “understand the future of content marketing”—but as I said, you want to constantly remind people of what’s in it for them, especially in your titles and headlines.


And that’s a wrap!

As usual, we covered a lot and there are a bunch of tactical golden nuggets in this Breakdown.

So I’m going to quickly recap them all below so you can get a quick refresher and decide which one of these nuggets you’re going implement in your own funnels this week.

Tactics Worth Stealing From Copyblogger’s Funnel

  • Include multiple opt-in forms in your landing page.
  • Use your “download your freebie” page to pitch new subscribers on your paid offer (but do it with finesse!)
  • Call out your target audience in your landing page headline (so you can attract your ideal readers and customers, and repel everyone else).

Potential Upgrades They Could Make (That You Can Learn From)

  • Constantly reminding your readers of what’s in it for them—and hyping up the transformation they’re going to experience as a result of joining your list.
  • Adding a “sneak peek” section below the fold (to explain your lead magnet offer in detail and drive home why someone should opt-in to get your freebie).
  • Delivering your lead magnet as an email course (instead of a long ass PDF) to make your content digestible and easy for people read (and put into action!).

Boom—now the ball is on your court!

Which of these are you going to implement over the next week?

Hit reply and let me know!

Also, if you have any follow-up questions after reading this issue, be sure to let me know too!

I’m here to help :-)

Until next week,

~The Email Marketing Ninja

I spend 20+ hours/week analyzing the email funnels of 6 & 7 figure creators—so you can steal their money-making tactics in 10 minutes or less.

Share this page