Sales funnel platforms have been booming in recent years, promising unparalleled income and sales optimization opportunities.
One of the marketers who picked up on the hype was Russell Brunson with his ClickFunnels. Today, this is the service that we would like to talk about.
Are sales funnels worth optimizing, and if so, how does ClickFunnels fare in the field? Find out on our ClickFunnels Review!
What Is A Sales Funnel?
First of all, it’s important to understand what a sales funnel is. The concept of the sales funnel is key to the offering of ClickFunnels.
If you already know what a sales funnel is, then feel free to skip to the next section.
The sales funnel is essentially the buying process that sellers lead their customers through. Whether you are aware of its existence or not, it is always in action whenever you are selling products or services.
The buying process is usually divided into several sub-processes or layers. Some literature will give you 4-5 layers and others 7. A simplified 4-step sales funnel may have the following layers:
Why is this process called the sales funnel? It’s simple – that’s because at any moment, there are many more people at the top of the funnel than the bottom.
You may get 1,000 people to know about you, but only 10 out of them will make the purchase. As the funnel goes deeper and deeper, more people get filtered out, and only a fraction of the people that you’ve initially hooked up reach the end of the funnel.
This as if narrowing funnel-like structure is why the buying process is called the sales funnel.
Why is your sales funnel important?
Your sales funnel is important because it can be optimized. A simple tweak in your sales funnel may dramatically improve your conversion rate.
If you’ve never thought about your sales funnel, maybe you should because it might be the missing piece in the puzzle of your business success.
It’s difficult to say how you should optimize your sales funnel. Ideally, you want to build a consistent but unobtrusive relationship with your customers and be there when they need you the most.
Building a proper sales funnel is more of an art than exact science, unfortunately, so it’s up to you what kind of a sales funnel to make.
There’s no magic formula here that works the best. Some people will find that a 4-step funnel is the best for them, while others will need a little bit deeper funnel.
But no matter what kind of a business you run, it would probably be of great help if your sales funnel building process was easy. Well, here’s where ClickFunnels promises to help you make big changes.
What Is ClickFunnels?
ClickFunnels essentially is a piece of software that allows you to easily create sales funnels.
If you wanted to create a sales funnel without any dedicated tools, you would either have to write the entire code for the funnel yourself, or you would have to hire a few web developers to do the job for you.
Well, ClickFunnels promises to make the creation of sales funnels much easier and much more cost-efficient for you by providing a few ready-made tools.
It will take you some time to wrap your head around all the tools they’ve got, but it should be much quicker than if you were to build everything on your own.
As of January 2021, ClickFunnels had two membership plans. Over the years, ClickFunnels has gone from three plans to two and has also renamed its plans, so a lot of information you are going to find online will likely be more or less obsolete.
The two ClickFunnels plans are as follows:
Number of funnels
Number of pages
Number of users
Number of domains
Follow-Up Funnels (previously Actionetics)
Weekly Peer Review Hackathons
Funnel Hacker Forum
Yes, plus hours of additional courses
For an additional $200, the Platinum plan provides quite a few sizeable benefits – most notably, Follow-Up Funnels (previously Actionetics). Aside from that, you get 6 more payment gateways for getting paid, a higher number of domains you could connect your sales funnels to, and a few other goodies.
ClickFunnels also offers a 14-day free trial for either plan. You’ll need credit card information for the plans, but you don’t have to pay anything if you don’t like the service.
Most of the features above are pretty self-explanatory, but let’s give a short overview to all so that you don’t have any doubts:
- Shareable funnels. This feature allows you to share your funnel templates with other ClickFunnels members.
- Number of funnels/pages. ClickFunnels allows you to create subpages within each funnel. The base ClickFunnels plan is limited to just 100 pages per each of the 20 sales funnels, which probably is more than enough for most people.
- Users. This feature allows you to assign roles to up to 3 people in the Platinum plan. This feature was marked as Coming Soon as of December 2019. Rumors have it that it will be available when Funnel Hacking Live is happening.
- Payment gateways. Payment gateways are the payment channels that your customers pay you through. As of December 2019, ClickFunnels offered 9 payment gateways, as well as allowed members to connect to a few third-party gateways.
- Base members are allowed to have up to 3 gateways in their account, while Platinum members can take 9. Up until a recent plan update, the limit has been 1 and 3 gateways respectively.
- Domains. You may connect your account to one or more domains. This allows you to link your sales funnels with the products or services available on the domain.
- Follow-Up Funnels. The Platinum membership allows you to create post-sale funnels to reconnect with your buyers and sell even more value to them. The Follow-Up Funnels essentially is an email marketing campaign tool.
- Chat support. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but the Platinum membership is promised to provide you with priority support.
- Weekly Peer Review Hackathons. In the weekly Peer Review Hackathons, Platinum members are guided by coaches through the whole funnel building process. The hackathons may not be really necessary for skilled members, but they will probably be informative for newbies.
- Funnel Hacker Forum. This basically is a fancy name for the ClickFunnels community forum.
- Funnel Flix. The Funnel Flix is a catalog of courses from marketing specialists. With the Platinum membership, you will gain access to more courses than with the base plan.
The educational resources provided both in the base and Platinum plan are fairly nice, but they aren’t what sets the two plans apart.
Besides, they aren’t the best things offered by ClickFunnels – we think that the educational resources will be most valuable at the very beginning of your journey with ClickFunnels.
In the long run, what will play a much bigger role are the differences between available payment methods, domains, Follow-Up Funnels, and other features that are more limited in the base membership.
Is ClickFunnels overpriced?
One could argue that ClickFunnels subscriptions are overpriced, with companies like Kyvio or other new offers around that sell for a much cheaper monthly plan than both ClickFunnels plans (for $97 and $297).
But (and yes, there is a but! ), it is fair to say that ClickFunnels is the leading sales funnel software company and after they now have changed their focus for the future on mostly just be the "best sales funnel software" I think it is highly unlikely to beat them and their experience. They are just too far ahead of the competition. Yes, the pricing isn't cheap, but maintenance and good customer service don't work well when you only sell such a complex product for a couple of bucks.
ClickFunnels Vs Keap
ClickFunnels is often compared to Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) because of close pricing. However, there are some both good and bad things to Keap when compared to ClickFunnels.
The benefits of Keap are as follows:
- Keap offers three plans – $49/mo Keap Grow, $99/mo Keap Pro, and $199/mo Infusionsoft. You thus have more flexibility with Keap.
- Keap is much better for beginners thanks to its $49 Keap Grow plan that includes email marketing with unlimited emails, text messaging, and business phone line services.
- Keap allows more than 1 user per plan, though each additional user costs money.
- Keap offers a free trial of its base two plans without a credit card.
On the other hand, Keap has the following downsides:
- The base Keap Grow plan doesn’t include Keap’s landing page builder, smart reports, or marketing & sales automation.
- Keap requires that you purchase 30-day 1-on-1 expert coaching with each of the plans. With that said, the courses are priced differently for each plan - $99, $499, and $999 (one-time payment) respectively.
- The expert courses were offered for free for the two base plans as of early December 2019, but this probably is a limited-time offer.
- The number of contacts is limited to 500 in the cheaper two plans and 2,500 in the top plan.
There are some other, smaller differences between the two marketing platforms, but what’s listed above should give you a good idea of what’s better for you.
While Keap’s base plan is fairly limited in terms of sales automation, it’s probably a better place to start for newbies, especially because it comes with email marketing tools. The forced $99 course is a downside, but it’s a one-time payment.
If you are a more experienced marketer, Keap’s top plan could also be great if you have no more than 2,500 contacts. But if you want a more scalable marketing tool, then ClickFunnels should be a better option.
You can also read: My review of Funnel Scripts 2019
The key feature of the ClickFunnels platform is the Funnel Builder. As you could have guessed, this is the tool that you build funnels with.
You can do the following things with the Funnel Builder:
- Choose from existing funnel templates.
- Connect the selected funnel to existing products.
- Set up your payment gateways and payment frequency (one-time or subscription).
- Integrate the funnel with shipping services.
- Integrate the funnel into an affiliate program (we’ll talk about the ClickFunnels affiliate program later).
The Funnel Builder’s purpose is to set up the basic functionality of your funnels. Then, once you’ve got your funnel set up, you may go ahead and customize the funnel pages via the Etison Editor (more on this later).
There are two types of funnel builders – the Classic Funnel Builder and the Funnel Cookbook. The functionality of the two builder types is very similar.
With the Classic Funnel Builder, you choose a goal, a funnel type, and then choose templates for it.
On the other hand, the Cookbook allows you to filter out funnel templates based on your industry, goal (e.g. lead generation), or type of funnel and then select the proper template.
There are 22 types of sales funnels for you to choose from, and you overall have dozens of funnel templates available. Each funnel has a predefined set of pages (called steps) that you may shuffle around, remove, customize, or add your own.
Some of the templates in the catalog are made by the ClickFunnels team, while others may have been made by ClickFunnels members.
The preset funnel templates will probably be sufficient as-is for many people, but you might customize the template in any way you say fit for your business. You may add your own downsell or upsell pages, set up two-step orders, create opt-in pages, or whatnot.
Also, keep in mind that the quality of the funnels may vary, so you may want to give the desired funnel a good look before choosing it.
The ClickFunnels funnel templates may either be free or paid.
The second important feature of the ClickFunnels platform is the Etison Editor, the drag-and-drop building tool that makes ClickFunnels easy to use for those unfamiliar with web development. The purpose of the Etison Editor is to allow you to quickly make and customizer webpages inside your funnels.
The Etison Editor isn’t just about creating webpages – it’s functionality is well beyond that. Overall, among the things that you make do with this builder are:
- Membership sites.
- Order forms.
- Upsell pages.
- Affiliate centers.
- Automated webinar pages.
There are plenty of built-in page elements provided by ClickFunnels out of the box, including buttons, inputs, text areas, videos, images, audio players, SMS signup buttons, FAQ sections, pricing tables, and a whole lot more.
If you’ve ever dealt with WordPress or other popular CMS, you will probably notice many similarities with ClickFunnels. With that said, since ClickFunnels is designed specifically to make pages that sell, you have many more design elements to choose from.
The WordPress page builder, for example, doesn’t have built-in FAQ sections or pricing tables – that’s because WordPress is more general-purpose out of the box.
The Etison Editor allows you to customize how your webpages will look on mobile. The webpages created via the editor are mobile-friendly by default, but you may actually customize things such as font size or set up how and which sections appear on mobile or desktop.
The Etison Editor also allows you to style your images with little or no use of CSS. Besides, you also aren’t required to write HTML code if you are fine with the base functionality of the page editor. You could place your own HTML elements on your pages though if you need a little more flexibility.
And speaking of flexibility, one thing you need to realize about any kind of drag-and-drop page editor is that their functionality isn’t unlimited.
The Etison Editor seems to be fairly well-equipped for sales page building out of the box, but some really demanding marketers that are perhaps in a very specific niche may need more.
The lack of flexibility is the pitfall of easiness of use – fully-custom HTML and CSS code can be much more functional than something built with a drag-and-drop page builder.
With that said, we don’t imply that the Etison Editor is lacking – we just want to set the right expectations in you.
You can also read: InterFunnels Review – Read first before you buy!
Follow-Up Funnels (formerly Actionetics)
Follow-Up Funnels is the name for ClickFunnels email marketing tool. It’s essentially an email automation system that allows you to maintain connections with your buyers to further nurture them and increase the likelihood that they’ll buy from you again.
Follow-Up Funnels allows fairly flexible and advanced customer segmentation (called Smart Lists). Among the criteria that you could categorize your contacts in the Smart Lists are:
- Where they live.
- How many followers they have.
- What their interests are.
- How recently they have purchased from you.
- Who is more than a one-time buyer.
Stats like these allow you to more flexibly target segments in your contacts and write a little more personalized emails or text messages for them.
When it comes to sending emails or text messages, Follow-Up Funnels allows you to schedule emails, as well as set triggers for them. And given the customer segmentation features with ClickFunnels, you could make some very targeted emails in Follow-Up Funnels.
You get the Follow-Up Funnels feature in the $297 Platinum plan. Follow-Up Funnels is one of the major advantages of the Platinum plan.
With that said, there are many affordable email marketing platforms out there. So even if you opt for the base plan, you won’t be left without an email automation tool, albeit you’ll need to look for one separately.
The fourth major feature of the ClickFunnels platform is the Backpack affiliate platform. Backpack allows you to set up an affiliate program for your contacts, pay them commissions, and track their performance.
Backpack essentially is an affiliate marketing software built into the ClickFunnels sales funnel platform. What this allows for is a seamless integration of your sales funnels with your affiliate program.
Among the key features of Backpack are:
- You can segment your affiliates by their performance and pay them varying commissions (e.g. higher commissions to long-time or profitable affiliates).
- You may receive commissions from two-tier affiliates. That is, if your affiliate brings you a new customer who then promotes your product under their own affiliate link, you receive an extra commission (“like 5% or 10%” according to ClickFunnels).
- Unlike what some people may think, the two-tier system isn’t a pyramid scheme since it is only limited to two tiers. Classical pyramid schemes have no limits on tiers.
- You can hold affiliate contests and give out prizes or bonuses to top-performing affiliates.
Backpack is a good option for you to up your earnings. Not everybody will really need to run an affiliate program, but since Backpack is an integral part of ClickFunnels, you should probably do so.
You would be wasting money otherwise since you are paying for Backpack with the plans by default.
As mentioned above, you are allowed to have up to 3 payment gateways if you are on the base plan and up to 9 if you are on the Platinum plan. Besides, we’ve mentioned that ClickFunnels is natively integrated with 9 API gateways and allows you to connect to a few third-party products.
As of December 2019, the Apple/Android Pay. have been as follows:
Keep in mind that OntraPort was no longer supported at the moment of this review’s writing, so you’re really getting 8 native payment gateway APIs.
You may use OntraPort if you absolutely need it, but as ClickFunnels grows and gets updated, it will probably become very challenging for you to use this payment service, which will defeat the purpose of ClickFunnels as an “easy way to make sales funnels.”
Aside from these, ClickFunnels allows you to integrate with the following third-party APIs:
These three are those third-party APIs that ClickFunnels provides integration guides for. ClickFunnels also provides integration instructions for the native APIs listed above (except for OntraPort).
The available payment gateways should be more than enough for businessmen living around the world. The same applies to customers since they’ll have more payment options to choose from.
Furthermore, it’s very nice that ClickFunnels now provides up to 3 payment gateways for the base plan – previously, the limit was just 1, which has probably been very limiting for both sellers and buyers. 3 also is fairly limited, but it’s way better than 1.
ClickFunnels is also natively integrated with a good number of third-party social media platforms, webinar hosting software, email autoresponders, CRM systems, or whatnot.
The email autoresponder list, in particular, is quite beefy indeed:
- Active Campaign.
- Constant Contact.
- Market Hero.
Among other third-party services that ClickFunnels is integrated with are:
- Twilio (cloud-based communication platform).
- Shopify (e-commerce platform).
- EverWebinar (webinar hosting platform).
- GoToWebinar (webinar hosting platform).
- Kajabi (online course and training hosting platform).
- Maropost (e-commerce, marketing, and sales platform).
- PushCrew (email notification platform).
- SalesForce (CRM platform).
- ShipStation (online shipment platform).
- SkyBroadcast (voice message service).
- WebinarJam Studio (webinar hosting platform).
- Zapier (used for integrations with services like Gmail, Google Sheets, Slack, or whatnot).
- ZenDirect (postcard & greeting card printing and mailing platform).
- Zoom (video conferencing platform).
Out of the box, you are getting plenty of services with ClickFunnels. While ClickFunnels certainly doesn’t offer comprehensive coverage of every CRM or e-commerce platform out there, its native integrations will probably be good enough for most people.
One field where we’d like to see better integration is social media. As of December 2019, ClickFunnels only natively supported Facebook. While Facebook is a powerful tool in the hands of a digital marketer, it certainly isn’t the very best social media platform to be on.
For some perspective, let’s bring some stats:
- Instagram has a much higher engagement rate than Facebook – 1.6% vs 0.09% on average.
- Pinterest is one of the best social media platforms for promoting products since many people use it in their buying decision-making process. Namely, 93% of active pinners have used Pinterest to plan their purchases and 87% have bought something because of Pinterest.
There’s plenty of untapped potential in just Instagram and Pinterest. And while the numbers given above don’t necessarily mean that these two platforms will be better for you, they have shown to be quite capable when it comes to digital marketing.
So there’s much to be desired with ClickFunnels in regard to social media platforms. Otherwise, it’s pretty solid, especially with all kinds of email marketing platforms and autoresponder services.
It’s great that you can share templates on ClickFunnels. However, what’s even greater about the share feature is that you can actually make some good money off of your templates!
One way of doing this is picking your successful templates and then marketing them as a sales funnel that works exceptionally well in your niche. It’s very likely that there will be hundreds of other marketers in your field that will just so happen to be looking for an effective sales funnel template to increase their profit.
Or, if you are experienced with sales funnels, you may offer custom funnel-making services for marketers regardless of their field.
ClickFunnels templates are frankly not the best on the market – they are mostly salesy and too heavy visually. With that said, since you can customize them, this isn’t that big of an issue.
Support is key with any service, and with ClickFunnels, the customer service is solid. Their live chat seems to be prompt most of the time, and they also offer email support for cases that can wait.
The help center of ClickFunnels is fairly decent as well – there, you are going to find step-by-step guides on implementing virtually anything on the platform. ClickFunnels also has fairly recent video guides that have been mostly published in the summer of 2019.
Some of the posts in the help center are outdated – the Payment Gateway FAQ, for example, still claims that you get 1 and 3 integrations with their plans. But overall, the help center should be good for most general issues.
ClickFunnels Pros and Cons
Final Words (Clickfunnels Review)
Overall, Clickfunnels is the ultimate option for anyone interested in building a sales funnel (or even a simple website with a few pages) without the hassle of going through the hosting, domain registration, creating the actual site, integrating with email autoresponders and what not.
Another great benefit about Clickfunnels is the thriving community of entrepreneurs who are eager to help each other succeed. If you are looking to create a blog to monetize it with ads/affiliate offers and if your only marketing strategy is SEO, Clickfunnels might not perform well for you. In all other cases, Clickfunnels is definitely the option to go for.