Around October 2019, I was taking the One Funnel Away Challenge (OFAC) (affiliate link) for the second time. One of the ideas Russell Brunson, one of the mentors in the OFAC, talked about was funnel hacking. In my words, funnel hacking is the act of looking through your competitors’ websites and products and then modeling your own website and products after your competitors.
Although I was hearing the funnel hacking concept for the third time, I finally realized its true power. You can take the fundamental idea of funnel hacking and apply it to all areas of your business and life.
What Is Ethical Business Hacking?
At first, you may have looked at the term “hacking” and immediately thought of a person or group of people typing rapidly trying to hack the password to your bank account.
This is not happening. Nobody is hacking into your business or any important accounts. You can relax.
Ethical business hacking is a term I coined for the act of researching and spying on successful competitors and then modeling your own business after them to try and reach similar success.
This works for many parts of your business. You can ethically business hack your website design, ads, marketing, products, and even operations by investigating your competitors.
How To Use Ethical Business Hacking To Become Successful
Ethical business hacking is incredibly powerful for start-ups in large markets where there are already successful businesses. Ethical business hacking is all about finding a profitable path fast. Once you’re making a profit, then you can experiment and test more extensively.
The main idea is to not necessarily be matching your competitors in sales, but be at a comfortable level to expand. If your competitor is making $1 million every month in profit, making 10% of that ($100,000 per month) would still provide many opportunities for you to expand.
There are three steps in the execution of ethical business hacking:
- Find successful players in your market.
- Investigate and research those businesses.
- Implement what you learned.
Suppose you’re selling cookbooks for the Keto diet. The first thing you would want to do is look for the top brands in your market. Think about the Keto brands that have hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers on social media. Usually, I would start by searching for something like “Keto diet cookbook” on Google and see what comes up. Then I would go through each option on the first page and see what websites are listed. Then I would repeat on social media such as Facebook and Instagram and look at pages and profiles instead. As I’m searching, I would write down the businesses that really catch my eye.
The next step is to investigate and research the successful businesses you found. Go look at their websites and use tools like similarweb.com to see if you can discover how much traffic they’re getting. I also highly recommend you buy their products, subscribe to their email lists, and thoroughly examine the marketing and selling process. Refer to the Ethical Business Hacking Tools And Resources section of this article for ethical business hacking strategies you can use.
Finally, you must implement what you learned. If I was ethically hacking someone’s Keto business, I would implement many things I found on their site. For example, if they offered their cookbook as an e-book, that’s what I’ll do. If they use Pinterest as their primary marketing channel, I’ll use that too. If they sold their cookbook at $47, that’s what I’ll do. I will also look to create a similar website in terms of layout and even color scheme.
Do note that while you can model your competitors, you cannot directly copy them. KAZSMoney and I are not responsible for any legal trouble you may run into. There is a very fine line between modeling and copying that you cannot cross. Here’s a general list of things you can copy and things you cannot copy:
I just want to talk about products a little bit. In certain industries, you can copy products, and in others, you can’t. If you’re in the retail sector, you have the green light to copy products as long as no retailer holds exclusive rights. Best Buy and Amazon almost always sell the same tech products along with a plethora of other stores. However, it is still a good idea to talk to the brand that you want to sell. For example, if you’re going to sell Apple computers, it’s a good idea to directly contact Apple for selling rights. I am no legal advisor or attorney, so make sure you do your due diligence beforehand.
On the other hand, in almost every other industry (noticeable exception is farming), you cannot sell the exact same product. You can sell the same kind of product, but it must be different in some way. For example, Pepsi does not sell Coca-Cola; it sells Pepsi. They’re the same kind of product but are different in branding and how they make it. Again, I’m not a legal advisor or attorney, so double-check with a professional before investing your life-savings.
Back on the topic of Keto cookbooks, the idea is that if you’re modeling after a successful company, you’re implementing tactics that are working for them and, thus, have a high chance of working for you. You’ve basically skipped all the monetary losses from trying to make something work and created a profitable business foundation you can work off of.
Of course, ethical business hacking will not get you the exact same results as a competitor most of the time. If your competitor is making $1 million per month, expect to make only one to ten percent of that. Additionally, sometimes ethical business hacking will not work. In that case, analyze what’s wrong, learn, and try again.
Innovation Concerning Ethical Business Hacking
Ethical business hacking is a growth tool. It’s a strategy you use to become profitable quicker than the traditional face-diving method where you experiment with no information.
However, you cannot use ethical business hacking to become more prominent than your competitors. You cannot win by copying what your competitor is doing because you will always be one step behind. To become number one, you must do something new and different from what everybody else is doing.
In other words, you must innovate.
One thing I’ve come to understand over time is that new ideas are just a complex combination of old ideas. Humanity has always been about taking old ideas, combining them, and creating new things. Take math, for example. You start with basic arithmetic, then build into algebra, then calculus, and who knows what’s next.
It’s the same thing in business. There are always a plethora of “optimal” business strategies around us. The mentality a business owner must have is that there’s never the best way to do things. There are only better or worse ways.
In advertising, people might tell you that Facebook ads are the best way to get traffic, and other people will tell you that email lists convert the best. By combining these two ideas, you might run Facebook ads to collect emails and then sell directly to your email list rather than selling to cold traffic from Facebook.
When you combine ethical business hacking and innovation, magic happens. As you ethically hack many different businesses, you’ll see patterns and anomalies. When you stack all these ideas together, you start coming up with new strategies and operating ways to succeed. The next step would be testing these new strategies.
For example, suppose I were to sell courses on making money online. In that case, I might look through other internet business gurus and look at their strategies. Someone might offer a bonus blueprint on succeeding, and someone else might offer a bonus software. What if I took the two, combined them, and offered a bonus blueprint and software along with my course?
Sometimes, the strategies will flop, but when they succeed, you have a business that can overtake the competition that you initially modeled after.
Ethical Business Hacking Tools And Resources
In this section, I want to list some of the research tools and strategies for investigating into your competitors and ethically hack them.
Finding your competitors best-selling products:
If your competitor sells multiple products on a website, you can often find their best selling products and figure out what products you should sell. Add this to the end of an e-commerce store URL: “/collections/all?sort_by=best-selling” to find what’s selling well. This works best for stores using the Shopify platform.
You can also click on sort by best-selling if your competitors have the feature on their stores.
Find your competitor’s traffic sources:
Head over to similarweb.com and type in your competitor’s website URL to get estimates of the number of visitors a website receives and where they come from.
Facebook ad hacking:
If your competitor has a Facebook page, scroll down, and you will see “Page Transparency” (Facebook design often changes, so this might not be in the same place when you’re reading this article). Click “See All” to look at what ads your competitor is running. You can get a lot of great information about what’s working and not working.
Generally, the longer an ad has been up, the more successful it is. You can look to replicate the same type of ads.
Additionally, it’s also good to start noticing the ads people throw your way. Think about why they are or aren’t successful and look to incorporate those elements into your advertising.
Scrolling down to the end of the page:
Many websites have something at the bottom of their page, such as “Powered By WordPress.” You can learn a lot about what tools and platforms people are using to create their website.
Take notice of everything successful businesses are doing:
Take notice of absolutely everything. Look at product descriptions, ad copy, sales copy, product images, website layout, fonts, colors, pricing, upsells, downsells, cross-sells, email marketing tactics, etc. You’ll learn a lot, and that knowledge will help you become more successful.
Buy your competitor’s products:
When you take notice of everything, buying your competitor’s products becomes so much more valuable. You’re not only getting whatever they’re selling to you, but you’re getting their sales tactics, product design strategies, marketing strategies, and more. So if you have the money, I highly recommend you buy your competitor’s products to see what works and doesn’t work.
The strategies I listed above are strategies I personally use when executing the ethical business hacking tactic. There are also various software programs out there that can do these things for you. Personally, I have never used one before, so I cannot vouch for any of them.
The main takeaway I want you to get out of this aren’t ways to execute ethical business hacking, but learning to be super aware and conscious of things around you. Awareness is the key to successful ethical business hacking.
Ethical Business Hacking And Modelling For Success
To build a profitable business fast, you may want to use ethical business hacking. This strategy allows you to model after successful companies and avoid much of the potential losses from experimenting. Once you create a profitable base, then experimenting more and growing your company bigger is pretty straightforward.
If you have any questions or comments about ethical business hacking, leave them down below, and I will be happy to respond!
Affiliate disclosure: All links marked with (affiliate link) are affiliate links where I will earn a commission if you buy through the link. Please read our affiliate disclosure for more detail.