“Elephant, e-le-phant, c’mon say elephant.”
“Yes! Almost! Elephant.”
This went on for hours, me pointing out an animal in the book and my one-and-a-half-year old niece trying to repeat the names.
By the end of our afternoon together, she learned a few new words all while having fun.
And just as easily and effortlessly as children learn to speak by imitating the grownups, you learn new marketing skills this way too.
We call it “The Mirror Method”.
The Mirror Method Revealed
The principle of the Mirror Method is simple: you find someone who’s doing a good job on marketing their product or service and you analyze every step of their funnel.
But time after time, when we gave this exercise to someone new on the marketing team, we noticed that it wasn’t that easy after all. That’s why I decided to walk you through an example of applying the Mirror Method on one of the funnels of a company I admire: MindValley
Let’s look at the different steps, tools and thinking process involved in the Mirror Method.
Who Should You Mirror?
The goal of the Mirror Method is to discover a new tactic, tool, method, system... that you can then apply to your own business.
But of course, you want to be sure you’re analyzing someone worth mirroring!
Which is why, I suggest you only mirror companies whom you know are making decent money. Those are the people who have their marketing funnel figured out.
Don’t mirror websites because you “like” what they are doing or how their site looks like unless you know they are making significantly more revenue than you are.
An easy Google search for company + revenue will probably give you some pointers.
Where Should You Start?
The homepage or a blog article is always a good start for the Mirror Method.
This means you’re looking at the content marketing of the company and start analyzing the funnel from there.
Another place to start can be social media and, more specifically, the ads you see on your social media profile.
Pro Tip: Did you know that Facebook now shows all the ads a certain company is running?
Pro Tip: Discover all running Facebook Ads
Did you know that Facebook now shows all the ads a company is running? Yes, that's right! This information is freely available.
Step 1: Go to the page of the company
Step 2: Scroll down until you see "Page Transparency" on the left side of the page
Step 3: Click "See all"
Step 4: Scroll down and click "Go to Ad Library"
Questions to Ask & Tools to Use When Going Down the Rabbit Hole
Now it’s time to go down the rabbit hole… You found a starting point of the funnel, so let’s jump in.
And remember, you’re trying to learn something new. Curiosity is your best friend. Don’t simply look at what’s happening but always ask yourself “Why would they be doing this? What’s at play here?”
1. What’s Up With That URL?
When you go through a funnel, pay attention to the URL of the pages you land on. These URLs can reveal more than you think.
First of all, you can learn a lot about how a site organizes their content.
In the MindValley example in the video, you can discover that the landing page is a child page of another page.
When you go to the parent page (www.mindvalley.com/hero-genius-legend), you can see the sales page of the program without the launch discount.
This teaches us several things:
- At MindValley, they organize their lead generation landing pages as child pages of the sales page
- The original sales page is still available even during a launch period
- The “usual” price of the program is $1095
Not only can you discover the internal organization, you can also discover how the company goes about organizing and analyzing their data in Google Analytics.
As you can see, the URL has a “?” after the normal URL.
These are called UTM parameters. With UTM parameters, you can tag your links to gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns.
When you have a landing page in your funnel, you’re most likely getting traffic from different sources. Some people might click on a link in your email newsletter, others might come from the blog, yet others from Facebook, etc.
Adding UTM parameters to links will allow you to see in Google Analytics where your traffic came from and analyze which type of traffic is converting best.
If you’ve never heard about UTM parameters or how to use them, here’s a really good guide that explains it in great detail.
In the MindValley URL, you can see:
Why is this so interesting?
Because it indicates that they are probably testing and analyzing which placement on the blog works better. If you see that in 3 months time they don’t use the sidebar widget anymore but only a Smartbar, you can assume that ribbon won the test and converts better.
You can also see that this launch is part of a campaign for March 2019 which means that the funnel we’re analyzing should have some interesting scarcity elements in it.
Another thing you can discover when looking at the URL is whether the website is A/B testing their traffic or not. If you ran any A/B tests yourself, you know that any A/B testing tool will add a string of characters to identify the test.
When you notice this, you can then go into an incognito browser and see if you can get the other version of the landing page.
Sometimes the URL can also reveal if a website is using a certain tool (some tools will host pages on their own platform such as Leadpages or ClickFunnels) and you’ll be able to discover this by looking at the URL.
2. The Inspect Tool
This tool is without a doubt my favorite hidden weapon. You can discover so much by taking a look under the hood of a site.
If you’re using a Chrome browser, use the right click and “inspect” to bring up the inspector.
The inspector will show you the code that’s running on the page you’re inspecting.
Now, it might look a bit daunting at first but once you get the hang out of it it’s actually really fun!
In the <head> tag you’ll discover what scripts are running on the page. This will give you a nice overview of the different tools that are running on the website.
Here's an example of what this will look like:
So, you can see that, at the time this screenshot was taken, they used Kiss Metrics, Visual Website Optimizer, Hotjar, etc.
Just a quick note about header scripts, these are scripts that are running on the entire website (not only or not necessarily) on this page.
After looking at the <head>, click on the pointer icon and inspect the lead generation element on the page.
This will most likely allow you to discover some more information about the element.
At the time of this video, I was interested in discovering what tool they were using for their automated webinars.
With a quick inspect, I found out it was Blinkwebinars.
4. The Inbox Sanity Trick
When you’re analyzing a funnel, you’ll want to subscribe to that funnel. But as you can imagine, the more you do the Mirror Method, the more newsletter and funnel subscriptions you’re accumulating.
Which is why I like to use a little trick to keep everything neat and organized…
If you’re using a Gmail account, you can simply add +[name of the funnel] behind your normal email address and this will then allow you to set up a filter for this address.
So, if you’re normal address is: [email protected]
You would subscribe with the address: [email protected]
This will still go to your normal Gmail inbox.
Now you can set up a filter in Gmail to make these emails skip your inbox and go into a separate folder.
All you have to do then, is wait a couple of days and the folder is the perfect swipe file for an email launch funnel!
Here's how to set it up:
Step 1: search for all the messages send to your "+" email address
Step 2: Create a Filter
Step 3: Create a new label
Step 4: Skip Inbox, Apply Label, Also apply filter to matching conversations.
4. Visually Represent the Funnel
Now that you found most of the funnel, you’ll want a nice and easy way to represent it.
For this, I suggest you use 2 tools:
AwesomeScreenshot is a Chrome extension that allows you to take full page screenshots in one click. This is the perfect way to capture landing pages and sales pages for later reference. Especially when you know that the funnel is not going to be around for very long.
Draw.io is also a free tool that you can add to your Google Drive which allows to make good looking flowcharts with a few clicks.
These flowcharts can really help you to map out the entire funnel and keep a nice overview over what’s going on.
It also allows you to start with mapping out a very simple funnel (Widget on blog post ⇒ webinar subscription landing page ⇒ sales page)
And then, when you go deeper into the funnel, you can add more elements
Mirror Method Vs. Copycat
By now, I think you understand how passionate I am about the Mirror Method and I hope you can see the value in developing this skill for your own marketing knowledge…
But there is one thing I want to be very clear about.
The Mirror Method is not an excuse for becoming a copycat!
What you’re doing while applying the Mirror Method is analyzing and learning the methods and overall strategies that a company is using.
You’re NOT going to copy their landing page design, button colors etc.
First of all because that’s stealing.
But also because that’s not what matters!
Think about it; what we discovered here in the MindValley funnel is that:
- They use several placements in their blog posts to send traffic to a landing page
- Their landing page links are organized intentionally
- The webinar is LONG
- The call-to-action is only revealed after more than 30 min in the webinar
- The list goes on…
The Mirror Method exposes you to several ways a business optimizes their marketing to boost their conversion rate. If, after studying a business, the only thing you decide to do is change the colors of your buttons on your landing pages...you've missed the whole point!
Ready to Mirror?
What did you think? Was this helpful for you? Will you start applying the Mirror Method to develop your own marketing skills?