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#59 – Traffic and Conversions Interview With Caleb Hodges (In The Buzzsprout Booth)

Caleb Hodges

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00:15 Stephen Esketzis: Hey guys, Stephen Esketzis here from Marketing On The Move. And today, I’m coming to you from the Buzzsprout booth, I don’t know, it’s more of like an audio booth, a recording booth, and I’ve got a great guy with me Caleb Hodges. Is that how you say your surname?

00:29 Caleb Hodges: That is right on.

00:30 SE: Alright. Hodges. Caleb Hodges here with me who’s a funnel building expert, similar to myself. Yeah Caleb, take it away, tell me about what you do, tell our audience about what you do, we’d love to hear from you.

00:41 CH: Right on. So what we do is we build intelligent marketing funnels for our customers that enable them to put $1 into paid advertising, get $3 out within 30 days.

00:54 SE: That’s awesome. So, essentially all about ROI yeah?

00:57 CH: Yeah, yeah. Because a lot of people can say they can build funnels, but if you’re not taking a data-driven approach and starting with the metrics, then you can’t make promises like that.

01:07 SE: Yeah, so how do you get people from that? Because it’s a big call, to get someone from $1 in, to $3 out. What was the timeframe?

01:14 CH: Within 30 days.

01:15 SE: 30 days. So how do you do that? What’s your process?

01:16 CH: That takes some time and usually that’ll involve funnel stacking, having multiple funnels. The first benchmark that I try to get customers to is breaking even on their ad spend within 30 days. That way they have a scalable machine where all the profit’s on the back end, and they can spend as much as they want every single month.

01:33 SE: Love it. And what’s your traffic source of choice?

01:36 CH: I’d have to say Facebook.

01:37 SE: Facebook? Yeah, how come?

01:39 CH: For me that’s what I’m most familiar, most experienced with, and it’s definitely finicky, it’s kind of like dating a girl. You have to treat her real nice, you have to go slow and steady, you can’t just do big dramatic things…

01:53 SE: Not just going for the kiss on the first date, right?

01:55 CH: No, no, no, none of that. It’s kind of like a fun puzzle. I do like the social aspect; like for example, one campaign that I’m having a ton of fun with, all the marketers here at TNC, they’re making comments on like, “What was that cowboy ad?” There’s just a picture of a cowboy and some weird copy about letting a cat out of a bag or something like that. They’re like, “Does that even work?” But it’s Facebook, and that’s native content on Facebook. It’s something you would look at and click on, and it’s been one of our most successful ads.

02:23 SE: That’s so cool. And it’s funny, ’cause we’re here at TNC, and I was just sitting in the main room, and they were talking about how everything is going towards more content, right? So we’re driving traffic to a content piece and then retargeting that with the lead magnet or an opt-in bribe or whatever you want. So, it’s funny how everything moves across, so you start form a simple piece of content and now you’re moving it out. Are you starting to say that as well with your clients, like you’ve got to deliver more content up front?

02:44 CH: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. The types of funnels that I like to build now, just flood the customer with the highest quality content possible, and we use so much social proof on those pages that we create because people are just saying, “Man, I didn’t even have to buy your course”.


03:00 CH: No, no, that’s pretty rare. But that’s how they feel, and those people always buy because they’re so in love with your brand and they know that you’re the expert on this and that you can get them to where they wanna be.

03:10 SE: How cool is that? Like with that content you pulled out, again they were talking about this in the first show this morning, in the main section of the TNC, and they’re talking about that providing content essentially building your brand, you’re building that relationship, that trust and rapport. And it’s so interesting how that comes and crosses over into the funnel atmosphere, right?

03:27 CH: Yeah.

03:27 SE: Because you’re doing all this stuff, and it’s not backed by hard numbers at the beginning, because they might just read an article, they’ll like it, they’ll share it. But, you might share that in that instance like a referral, and while it’s not quantified by numbers it could be one of the… He could just buy your course straight out. So it’s kind of like building that brand and building the funnel at the same time, it’s balancing that brand and selling.

03:47 CH: Yeah, yeah, it’s really important. And I think a lot of times people build funnels that don’t build their brand as well, and like you said, I really believe you can do both at the same time by providing amazing content. A lot of people don’t take the content part of a funnel serious enough, and that’s been one of the most powerful tools I’ve seen that gets results for my clients.

04:08 SE: Yeah, I love that. It’s funny because the content… Building a brand is like a long-term play, and then you have the funnel and sometimes people think, “Alright, let’s build a funnel for this product”, and that might only last six months, 12 months or whatever, but once you’re building a brand, that’s evergreen. That’s staying there from day one to whenever you’re business is finished, and people are gonna keep coming back, not because you’re driving ads but because they know you as a brand or as a business. So, yeah it’s an interesting balance. Where do you think it’s going in the future? Do you think that it’s gonna be more intertwined between brands and funnels, or do you think that people are just gonna have to build more high-converting funnels? Where’s the future of funnels do you think heading?

04:43 CH: Yeah, that’s a great question to raise, because the market sophistication is just growing and growing and growing, and so you have to take things from all angles at this point, not only do you need an intelligent marketing funnel, but you also need to be doing the branding plays, and I would say it’s definitely moving in the direction of Evergreen funnels and content marketing being the highlights of the show, but launches aren’t completely out for sure, because they come in and they add like a level, like your Evergreen is the steady line on a chart, and the content marketing is the ever-growing compounding line, and then launches provides spikes that kind of take that whole line up a notch.

05:23 SE: And just lift the bar, yeah.

05:23 CH: Yeah, they lift the bar.

05:24 SE: And it’s crazy, I mean like a launch can be triple or quadruple or 10 times what you do on a regular month, but it kind of lifts that average, so it’s not something you need your business to rely on but it’s a great boost for your revenue.

05:35 CH: It lowers your cost-per-lead, because now people know your face. It allows you to get access to better JVs and partners and more record…

05:44 SE: Build some awesome relationships as well.

05:46 CH: Yeah, yeah.

05:47 SE: It’s funny, I think TNC though, talking to Ryan Deiss was saying that the biggest focus they’ve got for this year is serving the customers, like serving their customers, working with them, finding out where they are and what they’re doing; for example they’re saying… Their venture capitalist they’re working with was saying that, “Don’t run teams,” they don’t run trafficking conversions because it’s not profitable, you know what I mean? Bad business. But his argument was like, “That’s where our customers are, all these people are here, this is where you need to be. We need to run these because we want to get in front of our customers.” I think that was a great point same with your funnels as well. You need to be where your customers are regardless of whether you’re building a funnel or brand.

06:19 CH: It’s such a branding play because everyone is here at TNC, this is the de facto event.

06:24 SE: Relationships are made here, everything is going on.

06:27 CH: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Every year this is a boost to every single person in the industry’s business through partnerships, through getting these customers, the sales out in the time. It’s beautiful.

06:33 SE: And it sales out, I think every year it gets bigger and bigger. So, imagine now… Alright, just to give our listeners a bit of context, I met Caleb literally two days ago on a Facebook post, who was like, “Oh yeah, I’m hosting this Super Bowl party and come and check it out,” and I’m like, “Nah, I got in early, I had few hours to burn.” I saw it posted up on the status, so I ended up rucking up at his house in San Diego and now we’re like best mates, “It’s feels like I’ve known you for the last couple years.” So, it’s just funny how things turn out. I flew 20 hours here, didn’t know anyone. Instantly now, you just make friends and you know things. It’s interesting, you see the value, the ROI of an event like TNC, of course now I’m gonna come back again because everyone I know is gonna be here.

07:11 CH: Yeah, it’s very cool. It’s such a catalyst.

07:13 SE: Yeah, that’s interesting. So, question for you now. What tools do you use, give us some specific tools that you like to use that listeners might wanna try if they’re building funnels?

07:22 CH: My current favourite stack is… On the front end is ClickFunnels, and I’m not just saying that.


07:27 CH: I’ve used a lot of different tools and ClickFunnels has kinda won my heart for being the fastest, easiest way that I can create amazing funnels and not have to get caught up on the tech side; I can focus on the copy, I can focus on the funnel map, and I can deliver quickly for my clients. When it comes to CRM, I work with a lot different CRMs because it’s whatever the customer’s using. I have the most experience with Ontraport, which is fun; Infusionsoft, you can battle it out there. But ActiveCampaign is… It’s getting a lot of attention.

07:57 SE: I love ActiveCampaign. I got to say that their style, their UI, their whole lot is so sexy. It’s like the… Alright. So, I don’t know if it’s the Ferrari but it’s definitely like the Mercedes, it’s got everything that you need without the high-price point of buying a Ferrari.

08:12 CH: That’s what I’m trying to direct people who are just started out, onto…

08:15 SE: It’s affordable, it’s powerful, it can do everything.

08:18 CH: It can do everything. AWeber just doesn’t cut it anymore, you need the marketing automation.

08:23 SE: So you got like, I think InfusionSoft on one end, which is super cool, super robust, it’s got literally everything. I think that’s kind of like the Ferrari plus 10 different things it can do; whereas you got AWeber and MailChimp on the other end of the spectrum, and then ActiveCampaign is pretty much in the center, would you agree?

08:38 CH: Yeah. Yeah, I would agree with that. It’s tough, I’ve one client with a 60k plus list on MailChimp, and it’s just so tough because it wasn’t quite designed for that, feels like how the segmentation just starts getting choked up.

08:50 SE: That’s crazy. I think it’s gonna be interesting going forward to see what tools people start heading towards, what tools get dropped. I think these software companies are gonna have to keep innovating and making it better or easier to use for them to keep using their products, right?

09:03 CH: Yeah, yeah definitely.

09:04 SE: Yeah, that’s cool. So, where… Let’s say… Alright, so I’m gonna give you a scenario, I’m gonna make this easy. So we got a lot of listeners out there that are either beginners, been in the industry for awhile, or experts that have been there forever. So, maybe give us, for the beginners out there, if you had let’s say $200 a month to spend, what would your marketing stack be if you wanted to build a funnel?

09:22 CH: I love that question.

09:24 SE: So I’ll give you $200, let’s see how far we can stretch it.

09:27 CH: Am I allowed to use ClickFunnel’s two-week free trial?

09:31 SE: Yeah, yeah. Alright. Yeah, you can make the most of trials and everything like that. What would you do? Let me rephrase it, let’s start fresh. So, you’re building a funnel; choose the niche that you would enter, choose the traffic source, choose the tools that you would use, and do it all on a budget for under $200. So I’m trying to get… Just to give you an idea, “What would you do?” It’s kinda like if you’re starting from scratch building a funnel out, what industry, what tools would you use, to get you going as fast as possible in two weeks?

09:58 CH: Alright, well I’m gonna make this fun based off a conversation I had last night for the niche. For the niche, let’s say women in their 30s who have just had a baby and wanna get their body back.

10:13 SE: Right, so like fat loss or…

10:14 CH: Yup, fat loss.

10:15 SE: Fat loss, cool. Big industry, big industry.

10:18 CH: I would find weight-loss products that are already targeted to that, I would find bloggers around that.

10:25 SE: So, where would you find these products? Let’s get specific.

10:28 CH: Ooh, nice.

10:29 SE: Like ClickBank, like affiliate products you mean?

10:32 CH: ClickBank for info products probably. I really love studying health and nutrition myself, so I would kinda look at some of my favourite brands for that.

10:40 SE: Got it.

10:41 CH: Do a lot of my own research there, and then mostly I would like to get recommendations from women who are blogging in that space already, ’cause they’re gonna know 10 times better than I am.

10:50 SE: And they’ve already got a list, they’ve got the audience and all that.

10:52 CH: Exactly, exactly. I would leverage that, and I would probably, honestly, with just $200, I would first want to get some money rolling in, right? So I would probably set up a little mini launch with those bloggers, build some relationships, talk about the product offering, and I would build a funnel so that I could show that there’s some strength in the backend and that it’s very likely that it’s gonna do well, and I would offer them a high affiliate commission.

11:17 SE: Alright, cool. So, laying this out. So what we’ve got? We’ve got into the weight-loss niche. The way you gonna get traffic is by JVs essentially; find blogger’s, find podcasters who are all about health and weight loss, and we’re going to use ClickFunnels two-week free trial.

11:30 CH: And Lucidchart first.

11:32 SE: Do they have a free trial as well? I don’t know on the top of my head.

11:34 CH: Lucidchart does but it’s also only like 12 bucks a month or something.

11:37 SE: Cool.

11:39 CH: I would map out my funnel, get my up-sales going. I would map it all out so I could build it, build it in ClickFunnels, set up my tracking, because that’s the most important part.

11:47 SE: You gotta know your numbers right?

11:48 CH: Yup, yup. Exactly, I wanna know my numbers. And then I would do a nice little soft launch with those JV partners, those bloggers, and then I’d be able to get my numbers, and from there, with the money I make even if it was very small, let’s say made 1500 bucks, on a $200 budget, that would be enough money where I could have a proven offer to scale to more JV’s, and it would also allow me to know how much I can spend to acquire a customer and get them into the funnel.

12:19 SE: Yeah, I love that. So essentially you’re kinda doing those building blocks, you’re taking it from one step to the next to the next.

12:23 CH: Yeah.

12:23 SE: That’s awesome. So, I guess, how long do you think you could go for before you can get an ROI on that first initial funnel? When do you… Obviously in your experience, it might be different, it’s hard to judge how quickly do you expect to be profitable, but with all that in mind, how quickly do you expect to become profitable?

12:42 CH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well with the launch hopefully right away.

12:46 SE: Yeah, so that could be anywhere from a week, you think, to like two weeks.

12:47 CH: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I try to keep launches shorter. In my experience when I’ve done long launches, it just stresses the whole team out when you’re doing like a seven-figure launch, and it doesn’t necessarily get any more results, so I like punchy three-day launches. So I would roll that out and I would hope to get the ROI on that within a week, maybe do a cart open, re-open after that, but it’s a different story once you start running traffic to it because now you need to know your cost to acquire a customer, and you need to know how long the payback period is on that cost.

13:19 SE: So it becomes like a long-term plan?

13:20 CH: Yeah.

13:21 SE: Yeah, that’s awesome. I think that’s really cool, I like how you’ve mapped that out, and I think a lot of people are gonna get value and they’re gonna like, “Okay cool, so now I have a nice clear picture of the tools, the process, the niche,” all that sort of stuff.

13:31 CH: Yeah, what I would recommend to give the listeners an awesome tool is, I just make a really, really simple spreadsheet in Google spreadsheets, and at each step of the funnel, I give out… I put down the estimates of what I wanna hit for the conversion percentages, and then I put in how much traffic I think I can drive, so it’s literally a little calculator. And then I can have a goal, a minimum that I need to hit to be profitable, and that way going into it I’m intentionally building in mind with the conversion rates that I need to hit.

14:05 SE: Yeah. That’s awesome. And actually, one of my friends, I think you met Ricky Baldasso who’s also from Australia, here with me today, he’s actually built some ROI calculators that do exactly that, so they’re like Excel documents, which if you want the link just email me, I’ll put it in the actual podcast transcription and the show notes. But essentially what he’s done is he’s got these ROI calculators where you go in, you put in your numbers and you fiddle around with it, and instantly you can see like what the ROI is, what your break even, all the metrics that you really need; whether you’re running a webinar, an opt-in page, a membership site, product launch.

14:34 CH: Yep. That should be the starting point. It’s like, funnel maps have kind of been the sexy thing right now, but what we as funnel managers think it’s moving towards is that funnel metrics dashboards are gonna be what’s sexy because that really drives the business.

14:46 SE: Let’s talk a little bit about that, because… We’ll start wrapping up pretty soon, I don’t wanna keep this too long ’cause I know traffic and conversion and there’s probably someone else here that wants to do an interview in their booth. But what we’re gonna quickly touch on is Funnel Dash. Tell us a little bit about that. I don’t know if you’re allowed to talk a lot about it or not, but tell us a little bit about what that is and what the plans are?

15:02 CH: Yeah, yeah. So, we’re currently building out the first feature set for Funnel Dash, and we’ve got our…

15:08 SE: What is Funnel Dash?

15:10 CH: Funnel Dash is a metrics dashboard software unlike any other.

15:14 SE: Specifically for funnels?

15:15 CH: Specifically for funnels.

15:16 SE: Love it.

15:17 CH: And specifically focused on the metrics that will actually drive your business. There’s a lot of dashboards out there right now, they’re hard to set up and they usually focus on numbers that people think are great, but don’t actually indicate anything meaningful for their business, like vanity metrics.

15:33 SE: Yeah, yeah, right. So that’s really cool, and I saw a little preview screenshot-y thing of it and it’s probably still in it’s really early stages but it looks really promising. Tell us, maybe wrap it up now, but what are the top three metrics that you guys look at when you’re analysing a funnel?

15:47 CH: For me, the time to break even on ad spend is…

15:52 SE: So how many days into the funnel you mean?: So how many days into the funnel you mean?

15:55 CH: Yep. How long does it take to make back the cost of acquire of a customer? So, once I have that number, that determines the velocity that I can spend, on Facebook or Google Adwords, your network of choice, and then lifetime value of a customer. And then a number I like to look at is MROI, which is Marketing ROI, and usually that would be with a number, which is the number of days, so MROI-30 is, “What is my return on my ad spend at 30 days? 45 days? 90 days?”

16:29 SE: Yeah, yeah. So let’s say you break even at seven days, then after 30 days you may be $20 positive.

16:34 CH: Yes.

16:34 SE: So that’s your profit essentially.

16:36 CH: Yes.

16:36 SE: Your ROI on day 20 or day 30, or 60 or 90?

16:39 CH: Yes, exactly. Minus just the marketing spend.

16:40 SE: Just the marketing spend?

16:42 CH: Yeah.

16:43 SE: Cool. And then obviously all the fixed costs and other costs, just kind of how you work that out in your budgeting. Cool. That’s awesome mate, well I appreciate you jumping on today in this…

16:49 CH: Yeah, thank you so much.

16:51 SE: Traffic and conversion booth. I appreciate the Buzzsprout our guys for putting us up today, it’s been an awesome opportunity to do an interview here. So we’ll speak to you soon, but if you guys have any questions make sure you jump on the podcast, go to the website, leave a comment and a review. And where can people reach you Caleb?

17:06 CH: You can hit me up on Facebook, Caleb Hodges, Caleb Nathaniel Hodges, and you can email me at

17:12 SE: Awesome, sounds good Caleb. I appreciate having you on today.

17:15 CH: Awesome, thank you so much Stephen.

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