ClickFunnels Review: The Best Sales Funnel Software?
ClickFunnels is an inbound sales and marketing management software that claims to be an all-in-one solution for collecting leads and converting them into customers. It boasts a wide range of tools to make that happen, from template landing pages to email marketing software and extensive analytics. Is it the best sales funnel software? And is it worth the price tag?
In this review we’ll cover what ClickFunnels does, what it offers creators and edupreneurs and, and the pros and cons about whether or not it’s worth it for your expertise-based business.
What are sales funnels?
ClickFunnels does one thing, and that’s focus on streamlining sales funnels. Funnels are automated systems that attract inbound leads and “funnel” them through a series of steps toward becoming paying customers. The benefit to a funnel is it can generate sales continuously with minimal effort once it has been set up and optimized, leaving you free to concentrate on other areas of your business.
A sales funnel starts with a lead magnet — the content that attracts potential learners. That could be a blog post, a Facebook or Google ad, or a social media page. The purpose of the magnet is to answer a pain point of your target audience. For example, an edupreneur teaching a course about learning to play the piano might use a YouTube video introducing the basics of playing scales as a lead magnet. The magnet identifies the target audience (novices to piano playing) and answers one specific pain point (how to play scales).
Once the magnet has attracted potential learners, the next stage of the funnel is to retain interest. This is usually done by encouraging learners to sign up for a newsletter in order to get more valuable information. Another lead magnet, such as an ebook or guide to the subject, can encourage more people to sign up. Then the funnel delivers automated emails in a drip campaign that establishes your credibility as an edupreneur and encourages subscribers to purchase your course, seminar, book, or other offering.
What does ClickFunnels do?
The process of running a sales funnel is relatively simple in theory, but it can become complex and time-consuming in practice. What ClickFunnels does exceptionally well is streamline that process by providing templates and integrating with major platforms to automate almost every step.
A DIY approach to creating a sales funnel involves a number of steps:
- Building lead magnets
- Linking them to your mailing list
- Automating delivery of additional lead magnets
- Writing a drip campaign
- Linking the emails to the product delivery software
- Setting up a payment gateway
- Manually comparing analytics from several services (e.g. website visitors, newsletter signups and open/click rates, payment processing, and course completion)
ClickFunnels does all of this for you and makes it easier to evaluate the performance of your funnel(s) with detailed analytics and easy A/B testing.
With ClickFunnels, you can generate inbound leads without relying on advertising to attract new customers, automate the sales process, upsell products, and follow up with visitors who failed to complete the funnel in order to recapture their attention.
ClickFunnels Review: Key Features and Benefits
ClickFunnels has three membership tiers, Basic, Platinum, and the Two Comma Club. The top-tier membership runs an eye-watering $2,497/month and is designed to cater to existing ClickFunnels clients on an invite-only basis once they have surpassed $1 million in sales.
|Follow-Up Funnels||Not Included||Unlimited|
|E-mail Marketing||Not Included||Yes|
Of the two available plans, the introductory tier costs $97/month, while Platinum is $297/month. The basic plan has a lot of good features — few edupreneurs will need more than 20 funnels and 100 landing pages when starting to build sales funnels — however the email marketing integrations make the Platinum plan the more valuable offering if true automation is your goal.
ClickFunnels does offer a 14-day free trial of the Platinum plan (credit card required at signup), so you have time to create a funnel and test it to see if the software is right for you.
If you are serious about generating traffic to guide through sales funnels, get a free copy Traffic Secrets by ClickFunnels founder Russell Brunson. (You just have to pay shipping.)
Getting started with ClickFunnels
One of the primary selling points of ClickFunnels is how fast and easy it is to set up. Their claim is to provide “Everything you need to build and launch your sales and marketing funnels in as little as 10 minutes.” That sounds impressive, and (within reason) ClickFunnels really does deliver.
Assuming you already have a website set up, a mailing list, and payment gateway accounts (PayPal, Stripe, etc.), and you aren’t too fussy about the content of your landing pages and emails, you can set up your first funnel in minutes. The more adjustments you make, for example to your landing page elements and text, the longer setup will take, but the process is still fast and easy using the ClickFunnels WYSIWYG editor.
ClickFunnels achieves this by sorting funnels into three main types: Lead Generation, Sales Generation, and Events. Simply choose the primary purpose of your sales funnel and ClickFunnels will launch a template of the pages, emails, and steps that build the funnel.
Lead Generation Funnels
Lead gen is typically carried out one of two ways: through squeeze pages and long-form application funnels. A squeeze page captures email addresses by offering a lead magnet in return, whereas long-form applications collect more information, such as names, phone numbers, addresses, and specific areas of interest.
Squeeze pages typically generate more results, but long-form applications provide more useful data, so many sales funnels use a combination of both to capture leads.
Sales funnels are split into three primary methods: “tripwire” funnels, sales letter or video pitch, and launch funnels.
The tripwire method, also known as an “unboxing” funnel, uses a loss leader to generate the initial sale, then upsells later in the funnel to create profit.
Sales letters and pitches are best for service-based products where the lead has to be convinced of their value before committing to a purchase. Online courses, seminars, and Software as a Service (SaaS — just like ClickFunnels!) often fall into this category.
Finally, launch funnels are used to build anticipation ahead of a product or service release date.
Event hosting funnels
Edupreneurs might be most interested in ClickFunnels’ event hosting templates. These funnels can be used to attract learners to either live or evergreen webinars, and take care of everything from signups and purchases to access to the broadcast and reminders ahead of the scheduled air date. For evergreen or on-demand webinars, ClickFunnels will include member logins and hosting pages to deliver every aspect of the webinar automatically. All you have to do is set it up and collect your income.
After signing up, you’ll have access to your ClickFunnels dashboard. A welcome checklist will walk you through the steps to setting up your first funnel, and if you get stuck you can schedule a free onboarding call to help you get started.
ClickFunnels integrates with a host of other platforms, including 11 payment gateways, and can be used in conjunction with your existing website or subdomain, or you can register a new domain from $20/year directly through ClickFunnels.
Creating your first Funnel
Each template pre-loads a series of steps into your funnel, which can then be customized from the funnel dashboard.
Steps can be added or removed from the menu, and there are hundreds of templates to choose from to design your landing pages, forms, and webinars.
Changes to the templates are made via an intuitive WYSIWYG editor. The editor is based on a block framework that will be familiar to users of SquareSpace, WordPress, and other common web hosts. Elements can be edited, added, or removed easily, and missing actions and integrations are flagged in the editor. This is a really nice touch and makes it easy to see at-a-glance that all the nuts and bolts of the template have been properly adjusted.
ClickFunnels also makes A/B testing a breeze for Platinum members. Once the steps of the funnel have been created, you can mirror them with a click of a button and adjust elements in order to create the A/B test parameters. An analytics counter provides visual feedback on which test is the most successful, meaning one less data set to worry about analyzing.
ClickFunnels affiliate marketing tools
Even with all of ClickFunnels’ technology at your fingertips, the one thing the platform cannot do is increase your visibility to potential learners and customers. This is the crucial first step of your funnel, and the hardest for anyone running an online business to overcome.
One solution is to offer affiliate advertising programs for your sales funnels, an integration ClickFunnels calls Backpack. Backpack is available to Platinum tier members, and provides a cost-effective way of generating word-of-mouth advertising by enabling affiliates to sign up to promote your funnel(s) in return for a commission fee on any sales they generate.
Affiliate marketing has a number of benefits to small businesses, including:
- Low-risk. Because you only pay after sales have been made, there’s no change of racking up a huge advertising bill with nothing to show for it.
- More effective. Word-of-mouth advertising consistently outperforms other methods because it comes from a trusted source.
- Grow brand awareness. Affiliates often choose products and industries that they’re passionate about, and they know how to find other passionate people. That means more of the right people are talking about your business.
- Boost SEO. Because affiliates make money through sales using their referral links, they will post your funnels across the web. This creates a network of valuable, genuine backlinks from numerous sites, helping to increase your website’s SEO.
By including affiliate program tools, Backpack converts ClickFunnel into an all-round marketing and sales management software that can actually help you generate sales, not just manage the ones you attract on your own. This feature, perhaps more than any others, makes the Platinum membership worth the extra cost.
ClickFunnels learning products
Funnel Flix is the name for ClickFunnels’ in-house suite of educational videos and seminars. There are hours of courses and training videos covering everything from ClickFunnels products to marketing, copywriting, sales strategy, and even life and business coaching.
ClickFunnels claims Funnel Flix has “More value than a 4-year college education,” and features videos by company founder Russell Brunson, motivational life and business coach Tony Robbins, and business executive and author Jay Abraham, as well as top-performing affiliates and members of the ClickFunnels Two Commas Club.
There’s a lot to unpack, and while all of the videos won’t be for everybody, some of the content is seriously helpful. Funnel U takes a look at winning funnels and dissects each element to identify what works and why, and daily virtual sessions provide walkthroughs designed to get your funnels up and running as fast as possible.
ClickFunnels Review: Final thoughts
Behind the hard-selling website and dated design, ClickFunnels packs in solid software and tried and tested tools that make automating your sales process a breeze. The learning curve is smooth and ClickFunnels offers extensive support for new members as they get started, even during the free trial period. You really can set up a sales funnel in just 10 minutes, although you’ll probably want to take a little longer to make it look and feel more like your brand.
The prebuilt webinar funnel is an excellent tool for online educators, and the affiliate marketing options provide a great way of generating income without breaking the bank.
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