Shedding some light on differences between front end and back end marketing

If you’ve ever taken a dog for a walk in the woods and then turned around to go back home, you can tell that they know exactly where to go; they know exactly what they are looking for. You can see them use their noses to track where they have been, and where they are going.

Many marketers don’t understand the real differences between a front end marketing campaign and a back end marketing campaign. They don’t know what they are looking for, and they try to treat them the same way.

Customers vs. prospects

The first difference is that a back end marketing campaign is not about the product. Because you are talking to customers, not prospects, it’s about the campaign itself. Let’s look at an example of what I mean.

Let’s say Ed has a $97 product. He also has a $7 tripwire.  Let’s say he gets a tripwire buyer and then, as part of his back end for that tripwire buyer, he presents them the $97 product. That’s a back end funnel.

On the other hand, you could still present that same $97 product directly to a prospect, especially as an upsell after they have just bought your $7 tripwire. When you present that $97 product to a prospect it’s the same $97 product that you’re using as a back end for people who were already customers. The difference is in the campaign – what you say in your marketing – not in the product.

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What I mean is, you speak differently to prospects and customers in your marketing (like I discuss in this blogpost). Once someone has become a customer, you can even refer to the content of the tripwire product, assuming they have consumed it. You can’t do that if they either just bought it three seconds ago, or they haven’t bought it yet.

It drives me crazy when I hear other marketers talking about their upsell sequence as if it’s the back end. That’s not the back end. That’s the front end.

In other words, when you get a prospect to buy a $7 tripwire and then you immediately put them through an upsell sequence, that’s still the front end. That’s not the back end because it’s all part of the same transaction which is the first transaction they have with you. The back end is marketing that you do with existing customers.

Tracking important numbers

The second difference is how you track important numbers in the front end vs. the back end.

In the front end, you track your individual traffic sources separately for the purpose of calculating ROI.

That’s not website analytics, that’s not opt in rates, and it’s not sales conversion rates. We’re talking about tracking every dollar that you put into paid traffic so you can see what your return on investment is from every dollar you put in.

When we’re first testing a brand new funnel with some traffic, we track the ads; we track our external traffic sources to see what the ROI is.  We’re looking for every dollar returning us.

The second type of tracking is tracking the conversion rate of each stage of your funnel.

What you’re looking at is your conversions: what is the opt in page conversion, what’s the opt in rate, what’s the sales conversion rate, what’s the order form abandonment rate, what’s the take rate on your upsell offers? That’s a different form of tracking.

So those are two separate types of tracking for two completely different purposes. One purpose is to calculate return on investment to identify the traffic channels that you should scale, and the traffic channels that you need to get rid of.

The other purpose is to identify the constraint in the funnel so you know what part of the funnel to go to work on in order to convert better. Two different types of tracking, two different uses.

So when you look at the differences between front end and back end through the lenses of the campaign and tracking, it becomes clear that you have to spend the time to treat each of them differently if you want to maximize your profit.

Like that dog in the woods, make sure you know where you’ve been, so you can tell where you want to go.

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