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Growth Hack Your Ecommerce with Self Liquidating Funnels

by Pedro Franca
8 minutes
self liquidating offer
Sales funnels are, in essence, strategic marketing campaigns that have multiple steps. They are also known as conversion funnels and should be an essential part of your eCommerce customer journey. This article will introduce you to the most important eCommerce marketing strategy – Self-Liquidating Funnels.

Sales funnels are, in essence, strategic marketing campaigns that have multiple steps. They are also known as conversion funnels and should be an essential part of your eCommerce customer journey. This article will introduce you to the most important ecommerce marketing strategy – Self-Liquidating Funnels.

Every step of the funnel is designed to guide your customers to the next step or action. A funnel’s goal is to guide prospects to a specific action, and by breaking down the buyer’s journey into smaller steps, you have greater control over presenting offers to your consumers.

Unfortunately, funnels are usually designed to convert people after they complete all necessary steps, taking days – if not weeks – to convert. With such a negative cash flow model, it is hard to be profitable. 

A simple solution to this is to splinter your core offer into a small commitment that will give you some cash to offset your ad spend. Consequently, it will allow you to invest more upfront and grow faster. This is called a Self-Liquidating Offer.

Today, we’re going to be talking about self-liquidating offers – a growth-hacking sales funnel designed for ecommerce businesses. Before we get to the meat and bones of this strategy, let’s begin with some background information on Funnels.

Funnels vs Websites

Why Use Funnels Over Websites?

In short, websites are designed to cover all information about the business, while funnels are built to get customers to take specific actions.

Think of your website as a mountain and a funnel as a hiking trail. If you want people to reach the top of the mountain, the most efficient way would be to take them through a trail instead of leaving them at the bottom of the mountain.

Sales funnels allow you to guide prospects along from one page to the next one by narrowing down their action choices to just one. At each stage of the funnel, you can guide your customers and influence their desire to continue to the next page, and so on. Furthermore:

  • It eliminates distractions for your customers by limiting action options.
  • You can monitor how effective each step in the funnel is.
  • It allows for easy optimization based on bottlenecks.
  • You can keep track of sales and conversion data.
  • You can direct customers to specific sales paths based on past actions/behaviors.

Self-Liquidating Funnels in Ecommerce

A self-liquidating funnel or self-liquidating offer (SLO) is a funnel with the goal of being profitable right off the gate. You pick a low-ticket with a high market-appeal product to promote, and the main idea is to cover your advertising costs and at least break even. 

This offer should provide an extreme amount of value to your customers for a small price tag.

You may choose to promote this offer organically or to pay for some ads, such as Facebook Ads or Google Shopping Ads. The goal is for the revenue generated by the SLO to cover the advertising cost. This provides you with neutral or even positive cash flow. In other words, it’s a way to generate customers for free!

Truly, SLOs are an essential part of digital marketing and are great for acquiring paying customers for eCommerce stores. To achieve the highest effectiveness, you should promote items that retail around $15 to $40. 

While “break-even” isn’t always the most inspiring term to hear when you’re hoping to maximize growth and profit, it’s really a great strategy because you are able to acquire leads at basically no cost. Any money you make from these leads in the future is 100% profit.

Breaking even is not exciting. Getting a new customer for free is!

eCommerce Self Liquidating Offers

How Does Ecommerce Self-Liquidating Offers Work?

Self-Liquidating Offers allow customers to get their feet wet without a big commitment. It gives your brand the opportunity to conquer them in the long run. 

These offers also allow you to maximize your upfront profit for first-time consumers. First, you promote a splintered offer which is self-liquidating. Then, pick a product that has a high market appeal and a low price point – that is related to your eCommerce brand’s core offer. Lastly, add up-sells, down-sells, and/or cross-sells to increase profit further.

Don’t know what they are? We break them down for you:


This is when you sell a better, more advanced (and more expensive) product to your customer rather than the one they initially intended to purchase.


When the customer backs away from completing their purchase, try offering something of lesser value. You offer them a cheaper product because there is a higher chance of them accepting it. Remember, you might not make as much profit, but the main goal here is to acquire a customer.


This involves offering other products or services to the customer in addition to the one they purchased. They might be related or complementary goods. Use this technique to increase profits, as well as to solidify the relationship with the customer.

Up sell Down sell and Cross Sell

For example, you choose a coffee maker as your self-liquidating offer. To induce FOMO (fear of missing out), you offer the coffee maker for $29 instead of its retail price ($40), but only for a limited time.

When a customer places it in their cart, you ask if they want the better, stainless steel version for an additional $25 – this is up-selling. Once they’ve reached the checkout, you offer them the chance to add high-end coffee filters for a cost of $10 or a monthly subscription for $5/mo – cross-sell. 

If they refuse, it’s time to down-sell, so you ask if they want to add regular filters for $7 or $3/mo.

The key point here is that rather than doing advertising for everything in your store, you advertise the cheaper coffee maker and then offer different things to increase the order value.

By adding this strategy, we usually see a 50% increase in AOV (average order value). 

Which allows you to spend more to acquire a customer. Remember marketing rule #1:

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“Whoever is willing to spend the most to acquire a customer, wins!”

Dan Kennedy

Through up-sells and cross-sells, you increase your average order value from $29 – the cost of one coffee machine in this example – to around $45. This gives you more money to invest in advertising and, therefore, grow faster.

Building a Bridge Between Your Self-Liquidating Funnel and Your Ecommerce Customer Journey

You’ve designed and optimized your Self-Liquidating Offer. Sales are coming in, and you can now scale advertising. But you’re still barely breaking even… 

Remember the importance of not leaving your bridges half-built? Everything that you sell afterward, through email marketing and promotions, is all profit. And profit means that you can continue to grow your business by reinvesting it in more advertising.

For this reason, it’s important that you don’t simply put the Self-Liquidating Offer in place and move on once you break even. Even if you just break even on the Self-Liquidating Funnel, you’ll gain a customer inclined to buy more.

Benefits of Using Self-Liquidating Funnels on Ecommerce

We recommend that all eCommerce stores use Self-Liquidating Offers. If you’ve got an online store and you’re not already doing it, you could be missing out on profit and customers.

If you effectively use Self-Liquidating Funnels, there are a number of benefits. These include:

  • Offsetting your advertising costs.
  • No customer acquisition costs.
  • Gain customers likely to buy more.
  • The ability to grow faster than your competitors.

Remember that, when done right, it’s essentially a free lead generation machine! 

When you present the right offer to the right audience, it becomes an unstoppable source of free customers.

Schedule a call with us to discuss how we could help you effectively implement Self-Liquidating Funnels in your eCommerce.

Get in Touch

Want effective digital marketing that makes the most of sales funnels? At Harpia, we are dedicated to helping eCommerce businesses grow. Better yet, we can help you with SLO promotions and make sure you’re not missing out on major growth and profit opportunities!

Schedule a call with Harpia today to find out what we can offer you! We promise excellent communication and a wealth of experience, ready to take your business to the next level.

headshot sig 03

Pedro Franca

Pedro is the founder at Harpia, an ecommerce growth agency focused on scaling inspiring brands through email marketing and advertising. He helped over 50 brands sell $100+ million with the Harpia Method.

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