-end marketing

Do not index
Do not index
I was at an affiliate marketing conference last month and had the chance to speak with a renowned Italian marketer, Joe Di Siena.
This is something I frequently do: go to a conference that is not necessarily strictly about my industry (SaaS), but is kind of complementary, or adjacent. It allows you to mix and match ideas from other industries to grow your business.
Anyways, I saw Joe speak many times, and this time, yet again, he was stressing the concept of having back-end offers in addition to front-end offers.
Let’s clarify the two terms.

Front end vs Back end

The front end is the first product that a new customer buys. It’s your foot in the door. The aim of front-end marketing is to generate a new customer, to generate a sale from somebody who has never participated in a transaction with you before, and to get them to participate in that transaction for the first time.
The back end is all the marketing that you do with existing customers. The back end includes all of the additional products that a customer will purchase from you over the course of their relationship with you. The goal is to generate a profit by increasing customer LTV.
 

Internal funnels

Now, in SaaS, we typically have a front end where the customer subscribes to our product. Then, in the back end, we might try to increase customer lifetime value by upselling a larger pricing plan. Maybe we do that by pricing per unit, per seat, or using a metered approach. That’s fine, that’s the tip of the iceberg.
 
The internal funnel of a SaaS can and should have front-end and back-end offers, but what if we approached the entire SaaS product as part of a funnel that had a front-end and back-end, too?
 

External funnels

The problem is that in SaaS, we only typically sell one product. We should sell more things. The SaaS product can only be the front-end or back-end of an offer. Our offer might consist of multiple things: a course, a consulting practice, another SaaS, affiliate deals, you name it!
 
I’ve done this in the past. For example, I run a SaaS called FastLien where the front-end offer is a course, and the back-end is the actual SaaS product. That gives me the ability to market the course (front-end) and make a profit with the SaaS product (back-end).
 

From funnel to circle

If any of the parts of your funnel can be a front-end or a back-end, then you are not looking at a funnel anymore, but if you think about it, you are really looking at a circle.
In the example above, if I was to market the SaaS product, I could cross-sell the course in the back end. And, if I was to market the course, I could cross-sell the SaaS product in the back end. That’s the power of having interchangeable ends.