I have been obsessed with landing page builders lately as you tell from my most recent posts over the last couple of months.
Well today, I’m going to take a deep-dive into yet another landing page product called ClickFunnels.
I’ve been using it for more than a month on a client project of mine, and I am starting to think of it as LeadPages on steroids.
Last updated: March 11, 2017
Initially published on: June 14, 2015
That’s not to say that it’s perfect, and in this ClickFunnels review I’m going to show you how I’ve been using it and how it compares to Leadpages and SamCart.
By showing you the strengths and weaknesses of each, I hope it will help you make the best decision for which one to adopt in your own business.
What is ClickFunnels
ClickFunnels is now a fairly mature service developed by Russell Brunson and his team. It’s now been up and running for more than 3 years at the time of this review.
Unlike competitor products which allow you create single standalone pages, ClickFunnels is all about building different types of marketing funnels.
A funnel is basically a series of pages your visitors go through to reach a certain goal and it might look like this.
A simple Lead Capture Funnel might consist of 2 pages which collects a visitor’s email address and then sends them to a Thank you page when signing up.
Or you could have more sophisticated sales funnels which are made up of multiple pages which sell to a visitor through each step of the funnel.
With ClickFunnels you can easily create:
- Optin/Lead Capture Funnels – Used to capture email addresses of your visitors and grow your mailing list.
- Sales Page Funnels – Create this to sell products and services, with the ability to add any upsells/downsells to your sales process.
- Webinar Funnels – Useful for helping people register for your webinars.
- Membership Sites – Generate a recurring income by creating a full blown membership site.
ClickFunnels comes with its own distinctive set of templates for each of the different funnel types it allows you to create.
Or you can start from scratch and build pages directly using the ClickFunnels editor.
The editor is where ClickFunnels really shines.
It enables you to easily put together different pages in your funnel through an easy point and click interface.
No coding is required and really, anyone can use it to whip up something nice. Everything is live, so all design changes you make can see in real-time.
ClickFunnels gives you quite a bit of flexibility in creating your pages. For example, you can easily move elements around and place them where you want, which is something the Leadpages editor does not allow.
Getting Started with ClickFunnels
I was immediately impressed by the ClickFunnels on-boarding process. They do a really smart thing where they offer you a free ClickFunnels t-shirt just for watching the introduction training videos.
It takes about 10 minutes, and the the training videos do give you a good overview of how ClickFunnels works.
Creating your first funnel is easy. Click the Add Funnels button and you are taken to a screen showing all the funnel types available.
If you are unclear with what each funnel does, there’s an embedded video you can watch which explains how it works.
Pick the Funnel you want and click the Create Funnel button. You will be asked to give your funnel a name.
ClickFunnels will then generate a set of pages for you based on the funnel you’ve chosen. So for a sales funnel you would get:
Pages can be removed from the funnel by hovering and clicking the giant ‘X’ next to the page.
For each page in your funnel, you can select from the available templates. Each template is professionally designed and there is a good selection to choose from. Plus, more are being added all the time.
If you don’t see a template that matches your current vision, I’ve found that it’s just as easy to start from scratch. This can be done by picking any template and then quickly deleting each of the sections on the page.
The basic building block of a ClickFunnels page is a section. A typical funnel might have a header section, an above the fold content section and a footer section.
A long form sales page might also have a section for highlighting specific features or a section for testimonials.
ClickFunnels is flexible enough to support all types of designs.
Sections are then further divided into column rows. You can pick from a single column to up to 6 columns and any number in between.
Finally, inside each column is where you insert various ClickFunnels elements.
Basic widgets include Headline, Image, Text, Button, Input forms and Video elements.
But you can also include more advanced elements like:
- SMS Signup
- Pricing Table
- Video Unlocker
- Facebook Comments
- FAQ Blocks
- Countdown Timers
- Custom HTML
As you mouseover any section, row or element, it will get highlighted and clicking slide in the contextual editor from the right hand side where you can change its properties.
Background colors, margins, fonts, alignment can all be changed as well as element specific properties like a specific image url for the Image element.
It’s all quite intuitive to use once you’ve played around with things a bit.
I’ve been quite impressed by the editor as it strikes a nice balance between flexibility and ease of use.
If you are selling a product, then you want to integrate with a payment processor.
if you don’t use any of those services, then I recommend using the Stripe integration since it is free to signup for and use.
I didn’t have any experience with Stripe until I tested it with ClickFunnels, but I found that it’s an extremely simple way to take credit card payments.
Once you have created your Stripe account, just follow the simple instructions to link it to your ClickFunnels account and you’re all set.
Whenever anyone goes through the Order Page form of your funnel, it will automatically be used to collect payment from your customer.
In addition to helping you create each of the pages in your sales funnel, ClickFunnels also helps you track how each page in your funnel performs.
At the top of each page, you can see in real-time the total number of visitors for each page in the funnel, how many visitors clicked on the next button of the page, and the conversion rate.
You will also see a graph showing your stats over a specified time period.
Split testing is also baked into ClickFunnels which is essential for helping you optimize the conversion rate of your funnels.
If you click in the Split Test tab, you can see the stats of all your existing split tests. Plus you will see the button to create a New Split Test.
Setting up a new split tests is quite easy. The best way is to clone an existing page and then tweak it from there.
Unfortunately, ClickFunnels does not have a lot of advanced split testing features that I’ve seen implemented in other products like Thrive Leads.
For example, there doesn’t seem to be a way to automatically rotate your split tests. And I would love to see ClickFunnels pick a “winning” split test after a statistically significant amount of data has been collected.
Actionetics and Backpack
When it was first released, ClickFunnels was all about creating…well funnels. But Russell had even bigger ambitions for the product and that’s how Actionetics and Backpack came about.
Actionetics aims to be a replacement for your favorite email service provider.
With Actionetics, you can see everyone who has opted into your lists through your ClickFunnels in the Contact Profiles page.
What’s cool is that each of your leads is given an Action Score, which is based on recency, frequency, monetary value and social scores. It basically gives you an idea of which leads are more likely to buy from you.
You can use Actionetics to send email broadcasts and the email builder allows you to design nice looking emails. And Action Funnels are Actionetics way of creating autoresponders with some limited marketing automation features.
While some of its features are interesting, Actionetics still can’t compete with a full fledged email service provider like ActiveCampaign, Drip or ConvertKit. Personally, I just prefer a standalone service where I’m not tied into an all-in-one solution.
One of the best ways to boost the sales of your product is to have a great affiliate program that attracts some top affiliates.
That’s what Backpack can do for you. It’s essentialy a complete affiliate platform for ClickFunnels that you can attach to any of your created funnels.
Inside Backpack, you can add everything you need for affiliates to promote your product including affiliate links, email swipe copy, and banner ads. You can also setup your affiliate payouts and see how well each of your affiliates is performing.
There’s even support for 2nd tier commissions which is an extremely powerful incentive.
Over time, ClickFunnels has evolved their pricing plans. In the beginning, they had 3 different pricing tiers, but its now been consolidated into 2.
The cheapest ClickFunnels plan is $97 a month. On this plan you get access to all the funnel creation tools, but you are limited to creating 20 funnels, 100 pages and 20,000 visitors. Unfortunately, you don’t get access to Actionetics and Backpack with this plan.
For that, you’ll need to choose the Etison Suite plan. It includes everything, including Actionetics and Backpack. You also get unlimited funnels, pages and visitors. However, this will run you $297 a month which is quite steep.
Both plans also have a 14 day free trial so you can test things out before you buy.
- Super easy to create complete funnel workflows
- Editor balances ease of use with flexibility
- Integrates with major email and payment providers
- Nice looking templates for each type of funnel
- Good training materials and ongoing weekly webinars
- New features being consistently added
- 2-tier affiliate program
- 14 day free trial
- Comparatively expensive, especially the Etison plan
- Limits on the number of funnels, pages and visitors with the standard plan
- Lots of things to learn, steep learning curve
- Split testing is very basic
ClickFunnels vs LeadPages
If you are reading this review, you are probably wondering how ClickFunnels compares to LeadPages.
At this current point in time, LeadPages is the dominant leader in this landing page builder space.
You can easily see who is using LeadPages because their templates are so recognizable. Since it is so well known, many of the top marketers are using the service.
ClickFunnels hasn’t been out as long, but it does have the marketing power of Russell Brunson behind it.
Russell is gearing ClickFunnels to become his flagship product, so what you see now is just a taste of what the product is going to look like in the future.
The strength of ClickFunnels is it’s easy to use editor. It is far more flexible than the LeadPages editor although Leadpages has caught up with their new drag and drop editor.
Limiting flexibility is not necessarily a bad thing. Because it makes constructing pages fast! And that’s where LeadPages really shines.
The most effective strategy for growing your email list right now is using content upgrades. By creating targeted lead magnets to your most popular posts you can get optin conversion rates that far surpass your standard popup.
LeadPages is the best service for implementing this strategy with its LeadBoxes, 2 step optins, and automatic lead magnet delivery. This is why LeadBoxes are the most popular popup you will see today.
However, some people want more control to create pages to their exact specifications. That’s the power that ClickFunnels gives you. The cost of the power is added complexity. ClickFunnels certainly has a higher learning curve than LeadPages.
The other main advantage is that ClickFunnels creates complete sales funnels for you. And all your stats through each stage of your funnel are tracked.
With LeadPages, you can only create single pages. So creating that initial sales page is simple.
But what about adding on an order form? Upsells and downsells? LeadPages can’t do that, while ClickFunnels can.
ClickFunnels vs SamCart
Another ClickFunnels alternative you may of heard of is SamCart. SamCart is a product that allows users to create beautiful, high converting checkout pages. Which gives it a lot in common with ClickFunnels.
SamCart is geared towards getting you up and selling your product fast. It supports both Stripe and Paypal and it comes with 17 different checkout page templates which you can customize.
In terms of flexibility, there is no comparison between ClickFunnel’s drag and drop editor and SamCart’s. ClickFunnels is infinitely more powerful in that you can design any checkout page you can dream of.
But again, there is a big difference in learning curves. Are you someone that wants to fiddle around with creating the perfect design, or are you someone that just wants to use a proven template to start selling right away?
SamCart comes with a lot of ways to increase the value of each customer in your funnel. You can add order bumps, which allow you to present an additional offer on your checkout page.
Or you can easily add upsells (or downsells) to your funnel that get presented to your customer after they purchase your primary product. You can also easily create coupons for your products which is another great way to increase conversions.
If ClickFunnel’s Backpack affiliate system looks appealing to you, SamCart also offers its own affiliate center as well. Both products offer everything you need to create a great affiliate program.
One big advantage I like about SamCart over ClickFunnels is the fact there are no restrictions attached to any of their plans. ClickFunnels limits you on the number of funnels you can create and the number of visitors to them.
With SamCart, there are no such limits. You can sell unlimited products in your account and send as much traffic to your checkout pages as you want.
Which way you go should depend on the requirements of your business.
If you don’t mind the learning curve and want an all-in-one solution to sell your own product and be able to customize every step of your funnels then ClickFunnels is certainly worth a look.
If you’re not that technically savvy or just want to start selling something fast, then I would suggest giving SamCart a try. It’s just easier to get started with and cheaper too.
However, if all you want to do is collect optin emails via popups and landing pages, then I would go with LeadPages or Thrive Leads instead. While you can do the same with ClickFunnels, I don’t think you can justify the high monthly price tag if you are not using its more advanced features.
In the end, I would just recommend trying out ClickFunnels to see how you like it. They offer a 14 day free trial, so you can test out all the features and see how it works for you.