Marketing Funnel Academy review and Steve Hofstetter – is it worth your money?
Building a business is hard work, and usually takes time, effort, blood, sweat and tears. In my opinion, there aren’t a lot of short cuts around this. Even when money flows easily early on, most entrepreneurs still struggle with mindset, confidence, value, etc. It takes work.
And when you’re passionate about your business and desperate for it to grow, you start researching ALL-THE-THINGS. You watch webinars, subscribe to YouTube channels, read blogs, download guides.
You see more and more of this type of content, because businesses start targeting and retargeting you in ads. Then…you get sucked into all of them. You subscribe to all the email lists. These entrepreneurs make it seem SO easy.
So, finally… You take the plunge…
You invest a crap-ton of your money for a guru with big promises.
What happens next?
Well, I don’t know what happens next for you.
But I know what happened to me when I hired Steve and his team, and I’m ready to spill the tea.
WARNING: if you’re going to start reading this post, you have to finish. Commit to reading this. Because the conclusion isn’t what you think.
Here’s the spoiler / TL;DR…
I had a bad experience. I also bought from them AGAIN. And I’ll tell you why, and how to know if MFA is right for you.
What Is Marketing Funnel Academy
Before I get into my Marketing Funnel Academy review, I want to share who they are. They started out, from what I recall, to be more like what its name sounds like: an online educational space for training people on how to create and use funnels.
A funnel is an automated lead creation and nurturing system.
Many people use the term to describe a marketing sequence that goes from an ad, to a tripwire offer, to an upsell, to an automated email sequence, etc.
Think of the shape of a funnel: large at the top, narrow at the bottom. A funnel simply describes the process by which you get the attention from a sea of potential clients, get some of their contact information, and eventually sell to them.
But when people use the word “funnel” in the online space, they’re usually referring to some kind of automation.
MFA (Marketing Funnel Academy) has been around a long time, they’ve worked with a ton of people and some huge names. And they wouldn’t be this successful if they weren’t helping people.
Who Is Steve Hofstetter
I don’t know that much about Steve.
He knows his stuff. He’s built a wildly successful business obviously.
From the start of my research in 2017, I couldn’t find examples of Steve publicly engaging on social. I also couldn’t find much info or any communities he led besides his product.
And that’s his gig.
That you don’t have to show up in all the places and in all the ways in order to build a business.
The whole pitch behind Marketing Funnel Academy’s current core offer is automating the success and client-getting strategy that keeps you from having to do all-the-things, so you can do just one thing:
Take sales calls and fulfill your offer with clients.
So, he practices what he preaches.
The Process For MFA: Done For You Funnels
These days, I see a TON of marketers dumping all over the strategies they’re using to get their own clients. You’ll see an ad that says “Stop Blogging! Stop ads! Stop free training!”…
Then…you click on their ad, read their blog and watch their free training only to be told how to get clients without doing all those things…even though that’s what the guru did to get you in their funnel…
Not Marketing Funnel Academy.
They practice what they preach. One ad. One video. One offer. One email every day.
The only variable is that they create slightly different ads and offers for different audiences.
They use the same funnel for their business that they build for you. Which I love.
- So, you see an ad
- Click to a video (or a webinar back in 2017)
- See a call to action to book a sales call
- If you exit the page, you get a bunch of really witty sale emails, all leading to book a call
- You book a call
- Get on the phone with a sales guy (or Steve, back in 2017), and
- Then you get the pitch and a fast action bonus.
After the sales call, you get a lengthy PDF of deliverables for the done-for-you funnel.
It cost $10,000. ($7,000 in 2017)
They’ve added a lot of value since 2017, which I’m going to talk about below.
My Personal Marketing Funnel Academy Review
So, in 2017, my husband got laid off. I was working at a company full time where I was helping a lot of gurus stuff their pockets will millions, while I worked my tail off and was underpaid. (But stayed for “the great opportunity.”)
I was tired of struggling and stressing while so many people made making money seem so easy (it is, but not in the way that most people tell you, which I learned later.)
Out of desperation, I decided I was going to make a big investment in myself to get a business off the ground.
I was in real estate investing at the time, so I thought the easiest thing to do would be to coach real estate agents – because it was in my industry and knowledge but wouldn’t compete with my company or its clients.
Long story short, I found Steve and MFA, and they sold me on a “done for you” funnel.
When I was getting started, there were some signs in 2017 that MFA might not be the best fit for ME *at the time*.
I was a TOTAL newbie to coaching despite having been in online marketing since 2012.
I didn’t even know what my product was.
But I knew I wanted help creating an automated funnel to get sales calls, because I KNEW my knowledge could benefit people and would be worth paying for.
As someone who didn’t have money to invest…paying someone I didn’t know $7,000 felt insane. So I hesitated when I couldn’t find much info.
Another thing that made me hesitate is how few reviews there are online, and that they own or create most of the websites in the search results when you look for Marketing Funnel Academy Review or Steve Hofstetter.
But I was so desperate, and I wanted to understand how a funnel worked.
I couldn’t get my head around it.
They had no hesitation in helping me, even though I didn’t have a business or product yet. They said they’d help with market research and give me advice on deliverables, etc.
THAT sounded amazing and was something I really needed help with.
One thing I struggled with in my first experience with MFA in 2017 was the claim Steve and his team helped with the Facebook ads. In 2017, this amounted to a short video series, which I watched. They also said once I had the ads live, they would help monitor them.
They didn’t monitor the ads (in 2017).
I spent $400 before begging someone to look at the account. Turns out I hadn’t installed the conversion correctly. Even after the custom conversion was corrected, I was spending $15+ per lead. $400 in the trash was devastating back then.
I did eventually start getting potential clients on the phone though!
…And then ran into another problem.
I had no idea how to do a sales call.
And I was so desperate for a sale at this point that it totally messed up my mindset, which didn’t help.
On my first sales call ever, the guy who sold MFA to me hopped on the call to silently listen and text me live advice. It was both hysterical and super helpful.
But, I wasn’t confident in my offer or pricing. Because I’d never done it for individuals rather than companies. A huge reason I decided to work with MFA was that I thought I’d get more support around structuring a program people would buy. The MFA team said they’d help with that. And they did look my outline over, but at the end of the day, I was just really scared.
Later, I sent a second sales call recording to the team and got some advice.
I just…needed WAY more support than that. I had no idea what I was doing and spending THOUSANDS in ads for calls I couldn’t close.
One of the biggest misunderstandings and causes of frustration in this process was that I thought I was getting a COACH.
I NEEDED a coach.
I GOT a funnel for generating leads. Which is to be fair: is the thing they said they did. I just didn’t understand. Their service is cool. But I was using it for a product I didn’t feel confident about, and I truly didn’t know what I was getting myself in to.
The MFA team and Steve did offer some support, but its not their main jam. Back then, I wanted someone to teach me, guide me, etc.
I needed hand holding.
During the process I sent a couple of anxiety-driven angry emails at their unavailability and my frustrations. The bottom line is that they sold their program to someone who wasn’t ready for it.
In my opinion.
You could look at it differently:
They believed in me. And I wasn’t ready.
I did eventually get ONE sale. A pay in full guy for $4400. So, I spent over $15,000 between ad spend and the cost for Marketing Funnel Academy to build the funnel, and got this one sale. (I also paid MFA $1000 for an upsell – so I paid them a total of $8000. But I asked for a refund on the upsell because they hadn’t started work on it, and I was struggling so much – and they refunded me.)
After I fulfilled 3 months of coaching with that buyer, and 2 people I coached for free, I quit.
I think I intuitively knew that I hadn’t found the right thing for me.
I needed help finding it.
Eventually, I stumbled into the coaching I am doing now. Which is easy, profitable, cheap to market, and super fun.
In hindsight: while at the time I felt devastated over a $11,000 loss… It’s pretty cool that I sold a $4400 program and helped someone build their real estate business across the country.
Fast Forward: I Hired MFA Again?
After I honed in on my offer in 2019, I started seeing ads for MFA again.
Their ad copy is so heckin’ good.
I thought: I’d love to have an automated funnel to bring in coaching clients now that I know what the HECK I’m doing…
And I had cash to pay for the program, instead of going into debt.
I’m also a Facebook ad whiz now and great at sales calls. So I knew I wouldn’t struggle with that.
Lastly, I got a discount as a repeat customer, 50% off their current pricing, which was great.
Marketing Funnel Academy Review: Take 2
So, what is my Marketing Funnel Academy review the second time around?
They still built a cool funnel for me with amazing ad copy, and helped me hone in on the main CTA and value proposition.
They have added a few things to their program that would have addressed what I struggled with in 2017:
- Sales call script and training
- Facebook ads training
- Live training calls
Marketing Funnel Academy also manages the ads for you in the beginning now until they’re optimized, in addition to writing all the sales copy.
And lastly, they have a detailed questionnaire that they pass on to their copywriters.
This streamlines the process SO much that my whole funnel was live in less than 3 weeks.
So, the ad copy, email copy and sales pages are highly customized to your offer and your personality.
The only problem with MFA managing the ads this time around is that…its not their money. They told me I shouldn’t spend more than $8 per lead. That expectation meant that when it went much higher than that, I’d get uptight. Every new ad set cost $75 per day to test. Sometimes running multiple ad sets per day.
So, I found myself getting uneasy with the performance of the ads.
I sent off a crappy email fueled by cheap wine (on brand for me honestly), frustrated that they weren’t being more attentive to the ads.
And Steve stepped in to change some copy and try some new audiences.
Steve played around with the ads for a while.
Which was very cool.
But I knew I could get the cost down on my own with TIME (instead of money). I’m sure they would have kept testing if I didn’t micro-manage it, but I didn’t want to keep spending so much on ads.
I did send an email a few weeks later about feedback on the headline, which Steve replied to promptly.
Here’s the huge difference the second time around:
First, I understand the process and the purpose.
Its not a coaching program, its a done for you funnel. (Literally what they call it, who knew.)
That said, there are definitely some coaching components today. I didn’t take advantage of the weekly group video calls because I didn’t have time.
I love that they added more value to address some of the stresses I had in 2017.
Coaching calls, ads management, sales training.
They wrote amazing ad copy, build a landing page, tied it to my automated scheduling tool, built a confirmation page, wrote 10 fabulous emails, implemented them into my email marketing tool, gave me access to all the deliverables in the PDF the sales guy sent me.
So, I was frustrated about the Facebook ad spend, but relieved to have them paused and take the reigns. I knew I just needed more time to build my audience, and then targeting cold audiences would be easier when I had a better handle on it.
I was right.
Ads were off for a month or two while I did my thing.
When I turned them back on, I had two leads and two sales calls within 24 hours (!!!)
Would I Recommend Marketing Funnel Academy?
Yeah, honestly I would.
If, and only if, $10,000 is a stretch for you but not a shocker.
But if you don’t have a product, don’t know who your audience is, and are desperate?
MFA is not for you. In my opinion.
Early in your business, you need to focus on organic strategies so you don’t deplete yourself before you hone in on what the heck you’re selling
If you’ve had some success, are confident in your offer, and are willing to spend money to test something new?
Do MFA. It’ll be cool.
I’m not frustrated that I didn’t take advantage of everything they had to offer this time around. I’m tired of asking for it, and honestly?
It was totally worth $5,000 just for the ad copy and the tech stuff to be done for me.
I knew that going into it.
From the beginning, I knew that if all they did was write great copy based on who I said my audience was and what my personality is, I’d be happy. Yeah, that’s expensive copy. But I have a lot to do, and a lot of people to serve, and sometimes its just easiest to let people help you.
I can’t believe I wrote over 2000 words on this in one sitting. Geezus.
What If You’re Just Starting Out
If you’re like I was in 2017, do not hire a bro marketer off Facebook to dump you into a program they aren’t even involved in.
Hire a coach who is someone you admire, respect and want to be like.
I NEEDED one-on-one face time with someone in order to finally nail down what the heck I was doing.
Most entrepreneurs do too.
But if you have an established business and want a hands off way to add high ticket clients to your pipeline?
Or: take your time and find someone to help you that you know, like and trust.