Are you building funnels…or playing Mousetrap?

Do you remember Mousetrap?

The greatest board game of them all.

Forget Ker-Plunk! Forget Buckaroo. To hell with Operation. If you were a kid of the 70s, you were no-one in the schoolyard if you didn’t play Mousetrap.

While wearing flares. On a space hopper.

(At least, that’s how I remember it.)

But you know what?

Thinking back…I never actually caught a mouse. Not one. After hundreds of attempts, my mouse haul never reached single figures.

Sure, I got the over-sized ball down the chute. So it dropped out of the bathtub, and knocked the diver into the big yellow bucket. All that stuff.

But the endgame – with that trap suspended at the top of a rickety pole? Failed, every time.

The trap always got stuck, half way down. And the little plastic mice went undefeated.

Frustrating, wasn’t it?

I mean, all that effort. All for nothing.

Yeah, I know it’s only a game. But I can’t help thinking…an old-fashioned wooden trap with a bit of cheese would be more effective.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

Yep – the overblown marketing funnel.

Here’s the thing…

Funnels rock. The right system will attract and seduce your ideal customers. Target them well…then take them through a tight sequence of ads, videos, emails and more…and they’re more than half-way to buying before your first conversation.

But there’s a problem – the Mousetrap Factor.

There are so many shiny objects out there. Those amazing gadgets and gizmos you can plug into your funnel. Tools for optimisation…personalisation…deep-dive” analytics.

They’re seductive. You want to…no, have to…incorporate them.

Don’t you? Well, they say you should.

So you go all “kid in a candy store”, and go on a shopping spree. And your funnel gets more and more elaborate…more widgets…more steps. Until suddenly, it looks like the Mousetrap board…rigged up to the max.

It’s bonkers. Because –

…Chances are, there’s an easier way. A smaller, simpler funnel…like a letter, a follow-up call, and a batch of emails…might be all you need.

…The extra steps add extra risk. If one part fails…like the trap stuck on the pole…the whole system crashes.

…You’re delaying – and losing business while you build the extra steps.

…And the gizmos are often redundant! Unless you’re flooding your system with traffic…which most SMEs won’t…you’ve got very little there to test and optimise.

All you’ve got is a giant sledgehammer cracking a tiny nut.

So my advice: build out the funnel, bit by bit. Start with the minimum viable system. Then test new steps, one at a time.

When a step works, add the next one. If it fails, step back and regroup.

That way, you’re rooting out the errors as you go. And you stop before you’ve got a crazy Mousetrap on your hands.

Meet the Author

James Daniel

You might not know who James is...but you've probably read his copy. Through high street clients like Hidden Hearing, or big gun marketers like Jonathan Jay and Chris Cardell. His words are out there, pulling in new business every month. What else? Well his books, Do You Talk Like That at Home? and Direct Mail 101 will help you squeeze out more sales. Oh yeah - and his next book Before You JFDI will help you plan your next campaign. Get on the list for a free advance copy here.

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