How to Create a Fishbowl Funnel For High Quality Subs!

How to Create a Fishbowl Funnel For High Quality Subs!

Want to grow your email list? The fishbowl funnel, when implemented effectively, has the potential not only to ensure that you gain high-quality subscribers but also to amplify your reach, potentially even making your content go viral. 

This isn’t just about quantity – it’s about quality at scale

In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to leverage the fishbowl funnel to its maximum potential. Let’s get started.

What is a Fishbowl Funnel?

A fishbowl funnel revolves around offering a valuable incentive, often in the form of a giveaway or contest, in order to get email addresses. In return for this incentive, participants provide their contact information, be it their email or phone number.

Here’s an example from Disney…

What is a Fishbowl Funnel?

And here’s an example from Muddy Bites…

Free Bag example from Muddy Bites

Weird name, though, right? 

The fishbowl funnel harks back to the age-old practice where people would drop a ticket or business card into a physical fishbowl, hoping to win a prize. It’s a modern take on an old tradition but with a digital spin and broader implications.

The primary objective of the fishbowl funnel is to efficiently amass a targeted email list. This list isn’t just for show. Once you’ve got a participant’s attention and they’ve opted into your offer, it’s the prime time to nurture that lead.

Check out our email marketing guide here!

This is where the magic happens. Subsequent marketing campaigns can be tailored to engage these fresh leads, leading them down a path to conversion.

This is where the magic happens. Subsequent marketing campaigns can be tailored to engage these fresh leads, leading them down a path to conversion.

And to sweeten the pot and expedite the conversion process, it’s common to present these leads with a special offer, maybe a discount or an exclusive bonus — considering using a soap opera sequence! This approach significantly reduces the time it typically takes to transform a lead into a bona fide customer.

Drawing Page, Upsell, Thank You email sequence diagram.

3 Key Principles To Create An Effective Fishbowl Funnel

Of course, not every fishbowl funnel is created equal. 

Here are three things every fishbowl funnel needs from the get-go if it’s going to succeed…

  • Attractive Prize: The heart of your fishbowl funnel is the incentive you’re offering. It needs to hit the sweet spot – not only should it be compelling, but it should also resonate deeply with your target audience (and ONLY with your target market). Furthermore, it’s vital that the prize aligns with your brand. Offering a random prize, no matter how valuable, that doesn’t fit within your brand ethos might attract many entries but may not yield the quality subscribers you desire.

For example, here’s a bridal company that gives away a $200 gift card to their story every month – simple and it’ll only attract their target market (i.e. people who want to buy from their store!).

3 Key Principles To Create An Effective Fishbowl Funnel
  • Minimal Friction: Think back to the traditional fishbowl – participants simply dropped in their business card, no fuss, no muss. Your digital fishbowl funnel should emulate this ease. Streamline the entry process. Avoid lengthy forms or convoluted steps. The quicker and more intuitive the participation, the more entries you’re likely to receive, and the more willing participants will be to join.
  • Targeted Promotion: While it might be tempting to broadcast your giveaway or contest far and wide, it’s crucial to ensure that your marketing is laser-focused. Your goal is to attract individuals who will find genuine value in your prize, and by extension, in what your brand offers. This targeted approach ensures that the email list you cultivate is populated with individuals who have a genuine interest in what comes next from your brand.

Fishbowl Funnel Example #1: Notebook Therapy

The best way to learn any skill is to look at great examples of that skill being executed — in a word, mimicry. So before we walk through the steps to building your own fishbowl funnel, let’s take a look at a few real-world examples. The first comes from Notebook Therapy.

Here’s their landing page for a $50 gift card. What’s great about this is that you could just give away a $50 gift card to your store and get several hundred or even several thousand subscribers through that funnel… talk about a great cost per subscriber!

Fishbowl Funnel Example #1: Notebook Therapy. Landing page for a $50 gift card

Here’s the first email they send after you subscribe — they encourage you to browse their store even before you know the giveaway results (and why not?).

Here’s the first email they send after you subscribe — they encourage you to browse their store even before you know the giveaway results (and why not?).

And here’s the second email they send to fishbowl funnel subs, welcoming them to the community… 

And here’s the second email they send to fishbowl funnel subs, welcoming them to the community… 

Fishbowl Funnel Example #2: Hiut Denim

This next example comes from the jeans company, Hiut Denim. And I absolutely love their funnel because ANYONE could do something similar. 

They send this email to their current subscribers, asking you to sign up for their newsletter. And this email is pure gold. Read it.

Fishbowl Funnel Example #2: Hiut Denim

Who wouldn’t click and enter THAT giveaway, right? 

It’s a no-brainer offer. 

If you click, here’s what the landing page looks like.

Hiut Denim Co. $500 gift card example

And what’s absolutely genius is that not only can you get an entry for signing up for their newsletter, but you get 3 additional entries for every friend you refer to the newsletter… giving this giveaway the potential for exponential and viral growth.

Once I referred my friend, here are some nurture emails he got… 

Once I referred my friend, here are some nurture emails he got… 

Fishbowl Funnel Example #3: Biltong

This final example comes from Bilton. Here’s the promotion from a social media post.

Fishbowl Funnel Example #3: Biltong

Even though it’s on social media, the first task is to sign up for the newsletters — a great example of converting social media audiences into newsletter subscribers that can be nurtured later.

How to Build Your Own Fishbowl Funnel (Step-By-Step)

Okay – now let’s talk about how to build your own fishbowl funnel for maximum success, step by step 🙂 

Nab yourself a free ClickFunnels trial below if you need software to execute the steps below (you can use ClickFunnels, to build your fishbowl funnel, host your giveaway, add urgency, and LOTS MORE)… 

Try ClickFunnels FREE Now!

Step 1. Decide What to Give Away

This is the MOST IMPORTANT decision in your entire fishbowl funnel: what are you going to give away? 

It should be A) appealing to ONLY your target market. You don’t want to try and sell dog treats to cat owners. If you have an e-commerce store, gift cards are pretty much perfect. And it should be B) affordable. When you look at how many subscribers you got and how much you spent on the giveaway, the numbers should make sense… ideally, you should be getting subscribers at $0.50 or less each with a fishbowl funnel. 

Here are some more things to keep in mind…

  • Understand Your Audience: Start by diving into what your audience truly desires. Use tools at your disposal like surveys, social media polls, or data analytics platforms to glean insights about their preferences and pain points.
  • Stay Aligned with Your Brand: Whatever you decide to give away should be a natural extension of your business offerings. If you sell gourmet kitchen equipment, a free cooking workshop or a premium knife set might be fitting. Such alignment ensures that your prize not only attracts participants but also familiarizes them with your brand’s core products or services.
  • Determine Quantity & Scale: As you decide on the giveaway, ponder over the quantity. Is it a singular, lavish prize or several smaller ones? Sometimes, offering multiple prizes can spur more entries, as participants perceive a higher likelihood of winning something. Evaluate what aligns with your budget and what might generate the most buzz and participation.
Step 1. Decide What to Give Away

Step 2. Think About Your Upsell

Yay – email subscribers!

But obviously, the end goal isn’t email subscribers… it’s sales. And just as important as nailing your giveaway is nailing what comes after

What emails do you send when someone enters your fishbowl funnel? What is the upsell or the frontend product you offer to turn them into a paying customer? 

After participating in the drawing, users are in a state of engagement and anticipation. Capitalize on this momentum & offer an upsell. Make the upsell offer feel special. Whether it’s a discount, a bundle, or early access, the lead should feel they’re getting a unique deal that they can’t get elsewhere.

Step 2. Think About Your Upsell

For example, imagine…

  1. You’re a fitness coach, and your primary fishbowl funnel giveaway is a 3-month subscription for high-quality protein powder.
  2. As an upsell you can offer – a one-time coaching session with you at a special rate.
  3. Why it works — If people are interested in your initial offer (protein powder) it shows that they’re committed to a healthier lifestyle and fitter body. That’s why the upsell of the coaching session fits very well here. You’re tapping into a pre-existing motivation.

But how can you hasten the speed with which people sign up and even buy your upsell? That’s where urgency comes in.

Step 3. Add Urgency

You want people to buy. Urgency is how you get people to buy right now

Creating an effective fishbowl funnel goes beyond just having an attractive prize; it’s also about driving action. Here’s how you can infuse a sense of urgency into your funnel to motivate quicker and more abundant participation:

Limited Time Offer: Clearly communicate that the contest or giveaway has a definitive end date. This ticking clock can push potential participants to act immediately rather than postpone their entry, only to forget about it.

Step 3. Add Urgency

Countdown Timers: Make use of visual aids like countdown timers on your landing page or promotional materials. Seeing time slip away can be a powerful motivator for users to enter while they still can.

Countdown Timers

Scarcity Tactics: If you’re offering multiple prizes or limited spots for an exclusive event, regularly update participants on how many are left. Statements like “Only 10 prizes remaining!” can prompt quick entries.

Early Bird Bonuses: Consider offering additional incentives for those who act early. This could be in the form of bonus entries or a small freebie for the first 100 participants, further incentivizing swift action.

Reminder Emails or Notifications: For those who might have shown initial interest but haven’t entered, a gentle reminder about the dwindling time can give them the nudge they need to participate.

By weaving in these elements of urgency, you not only enhance participation rates but also increase the momentum and buzz around your fishbowl funnel, making it more likely to be shared and spread organically.

Check Out ClickFunnels Countdown Funnels!

Step 4. Create Your Soap Opera Sequence

Once participants are drawn into your fishbowl funnel, the next phase is to build trust and turn them into paying customers as quickly as possible. 

That’s what the soap opera sequence is for. 

This email sequence aims to captivate your audience’s attention, drawing them deeper into your brand’s story, much like the episodic nature of a soap opera keeps viewers hooked.

Step 4. Create Your Soap Opera Sequence

Here’s the basic overview… 

  • Set The Stage: Say hi, tell them a bit about you, and hint at what’s coming in the next emails to keep them interested.
  • High Drama → Backstory → Wall: Share a catchy story, give some background, and talk about a big problem you faced.
  • Epiphany → The One Thing: Tell them about your ‘aha!’ moment and what you learned from it.
  • Hidden Benefits: Mention the benefits of your product that people might not know.
  • Urgency CTA: Remind them time’s ticking or there’s limited time to get them to act fast.

Here’s a video breakdown…

Why does it work so well? 

  • Humans like stories
  • Soap opera sequence creates anticipation 
  • It taps into psychology — emotional investment in a story builds the desire to see a journey through till the end.

Here’s a sneak peek into my inbox showing a set of emails by copywriter Alex Cattoni that follows the soap opera sequence…

Here's a sneak peek into my inbox showing a set of emails by copywriter Alex Cattoni that follows the soap opera sequence…

If you want to see how to write such emails, check out Russell Brunson’s bestseller, DotCom Secrets… 

Get a FREE Copy of DotCom Secrets Here!

Step 5. Build it & Launch!

Now you just need to build everything, launch it, and track your results! 

You can get a free ClickFunnels trial here — which will give you all the tools you need in a single place — landing pages, email marketing, tracking, and tons more (in fact, take a peak at THIS).

You can select a squeeze magnet funnel and customize it or start from scratch…

You can select a squeeze magnet funnel and customize it or start from scratch…

You can split-test your upsell pages, easily…

You can split-test your upsell pages, easily…

You can modify anything on the page — customize it to suit your branding, change the copy… all without knowing how to code…

You can modify anything on the page — customize it to suit your branding, change the copy… all without knowing how to code…

Once you get your email subscribers, you can run email sequences…

Once you get your email subscribers, you can run email sequences…

Edit all your emails using drag-and-drop email editor…

Edit all your emails using drag-and-drop email editor…

And you’re off the races. With our software, you could literally have your fishbowl funnel live in the next 30 minutes. 

So what are you waiting for? 

Click the button below to get started!

Try ClickFunnels FREE Now!

Final Thoughts on Fishbowl Funnels

Fishbowl funnels represent more than just a marketing strategy; they embody a shift in approach to audience engagement, ensuring quality over mere quantity. As we’ve navigated the steps and intricacies of creating an effective fishbowl funnel, several key takeaways emerge:

Value Alignment: At its core, the fishbowl funnel is about offering something of tangible value to your target audience. But this value isn’t just in the initial giveaway; it should permeate every interaction, from the first touchpoint to the last email in your Soap Opera Sequence.

Quality Over Quantity: It’s tempting to measure success by sheer numbers, but with fishbowl funnels, the emphasis is on attracting individuals genuinely interested in your offerings. This refined approach leads to a more engaged and potentially lucrative subscriber list.

Consistent Engagement: The funnel doesn’t end once a subscriber is added. Keeping them engaged, be it through well-crafted email sequences or exclusive offers, ensures they remain connected to your brand and are more likely to convert.

Adaptability: While we’ve outlined a structured approach, it’s essential to remain adaptable. Monitor your metrics, gather feedback, and be willing to tweak your strategy as you learn more about your audience.

The fishbowl funnel is a dynamic tool in the modern marketer’s toolkit. When executed with precision and authenticity, it can be a game-changer, turning casual observers into dedicated brand advocates. As with any strategy, the key lies in understanding your audience, offering genuine value, and nurturing the relationship every step of the way.

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