How Russell Brunson Built a $360 Million SaaS

You can still use Facebook to build a raving community

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If you are on the Internet, there is a very slight chance, you haven’t come across an ad from Russell Brunson. For those who don’t know who the guy in the above picture is, he is Russell Brunson, CEO, and co-founder of Clickfunnels, Newyork Times Bestselling Author, and a legendary marketer.

Russell and his pal Tom started Clickfunnels in 2014. It is a software company that helps people to build sales funnel and websites quickly and easily. Their marketing is inclined towards start-ups and small businesses who want to grow and shift their businesses online.

Clickfunnels grew from $0–$360 million in less than six years without any VC backing or funding. How did they do it? Are they selling their products cheaper than their competitors? They are not cheap either; a Clickfunnels subscription cost $97 a month, which is comparatively higher than their competitors.

So what’s different? The answer is their Marketing! Most of the Software company brandings are dull. We all have seen those dull software ads. They all look the same. They run ads about their product’s features and then re-target with testimonials and free-trials ads. “Get a 14-day free trial of our amazing software” Uhh, no thanks.

But what if your friend or someone you really trust, tells you about a product that can help you to solve a problem. Will you buy it? Maybe. Will you give it a shot by just signing up for a free trial? Hell yeah.

This is how Russell Brunson has Build Clickfunnels to a multi-million-dollar company that has a customer base of 112,400+ people(as of MAY 2020).

What Is Russell Brunson Doing Different Than Other Software Companies?

Community building

I have seen many software companies’ Facebook community groups. They are all dull and boring. Admins are not responding, and the whole group is inactive. On the other hand, Clickfunnel’s Facebook group has more than 251,000 members.

People are sharing their results, their achievements, queries, and even memes sometimes. Most of the questions get solved in the group by members themselves, resulting in less stress on Customer Support. Whenever Russell has a new announcement, all he does is get in the group and post it. The amount of free traffic he generates from his Facebook group is ridiculous.

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He regularly goes live in the group and engages with members. He talks about marketing and gives a lot of free value to the members, and this helps him to win trust and goodwill in the marketplace.

Some of the Clickfunnel members are so obsessed with the software that they wear Clickfunnels t-shirt, socks, hoodies, and one of them even got a Clickfunnel’s Logo’s Tattoo on his arm, not kidding, Google it.

Attractive character

Russell has built himself as a character you can easily relate to. He sells high-ticket products, has a multi-million dollar net worth, but never markets himself as a guru. He markets himself as the guy who made something that works and brings results and how you can get the same thing working for yourself.

He never tries to portray himself as a business guru and always throws out his failures in front of his community so others can learn from it. This is how he earns trust. He talks about his life as a wrestler and all his weird stories, and suddenly we know a lot about him, and we start to look at him as a friend.

He builds a connection with his audience through storytelling, value giving, and helping them.

Content push

Content is king. Actually, good content is king.

How do you connect with people? By coming in front of them daily. Russell does multiple webinars, runs a podcast, creates youtube videos, is active on Instagram, and gives out valuable content for 100% free. He comes out with something new every single day.

People start to realize that what he teaches really works, and when he comes out with a new product or new software, people don’t hesitate to give it a shot. This is how he leverages info-product and content to sell software subscriptions.

Robust customer acquisition system: leveraging books & info products

Technically, Clickfunnels get their customers for free. Their customer acquisition cost is Zero. Zip, Zilch, Nada! How do they do it? What Russell does is he markets Clickfunnels in the backend. Wait! Let me explain with an example.

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The above image is a screenshot of Russell’s website where he sells his book Expert Secrets. Russell sells it for $9.95. He runs ads on Facebook, Youtube, and other social media for selling the book. Ads cost him money, and he loses a few dollars while marketing the book.

But as soon as people buy the book and check-out from the order-page, Russell hits them with a one-time offer for his video-training and his audiobook for $37. Some people move forward and buy his video-training and audiobook, and this is where he recovers his marketing costs and breaks even. Does this mean he sold the book for free? Yes!

Ok! This is all good, but how does he sell Clickfunnel subscriptions from this? In the book, he embedded the use of Clickfunnels and how he and thousands of other users use Clickfunnels to run their businesses. Added a few case studies, built some social-proof, and after reading the book, the reader has engaged with the brand and gets convinced to signup for a free trial.

Few of those free trials eventually get converted into paying members. Amazing, right?

A product that people need

This is the most essential sauce that made Clickfunnels so successful. People pay them $97 each month because Clickfunnels simply solves their problems. I read in a book: Why do people buy a pen? Because they want to write something. There are no tricks involved.

Rather than adding 100+ extra features that no one uses and making their software look fancy, Clickfunnels tried to keep their software pretty simple, user-friendly, and straightforward. This gave Clickfunnels a much broader user-base as people who are not tech-savvy can also use their software.

They are merely following the philosophy of KISS, (Keeping It Simple Stupid). You can build a great brand by focusing more on what your market needs and providing it to them, rather than creating a product and then finding a market for it.

Three lessons that you can learn from Russell and Clickfunnels to grow your own company/brand

  • The easiest way to build a Fan-Base is by creating an amazing product that people desperately need. No one is a fan of average.
  • A person can communicate and connect better than a company. Be the voice of your company.
  • Content is the king only when it satisfies the needs of your audience.

Written by

I study Outliers. I also ghost write for protagonists.

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