ClickFunnels Review - the best Marketing Tool in 2017?
If your marketing efforts fall short, it’s no use having a great product. Online entrepreneurs know this well, which is why they spend enormous sums monthly on marketing, just to get more visitors and ultimately sales. One of the tools that make marketing easy is called ClickFunnels, and we’ll take a look at its features today.
But, first things first...
What is a sales funnel?
In order to understand the wild success of ClickFunnels, it’s necessary to have some background information first. Funnels are one of the backbones of digital marketing today, and the way they function is pretty straightforward.
Every time a visitor lands on your website, they are at the beginning of your funnel. The function of a funnel is to track the stages of conversion, i.e. the different stages your client goes through. Ideally, a visitor will turn from a prospect to a lead to a customer and finally into a repeat customer. A good funnel tracks each step of the way. The word ‘funnel’ signifies the ideal pathway, where your client gets from top of the funnel to the bottom, with your guidance.
How about an example? Let’s say that you’re a personal fitness trainer and you’ve set up a website to get more clients. Besides the standard info such as pricing, expertise, testimonials, you’re sure to have a contact page. This may get some potential clients, but on its own, it is not enough.
In order to get more leads, you decide to provide value to your site visitors. You offer them a lead magnet - a free meal plan or exercise guide. You provide them with something useful, and ask for very little in return - their email address.
Now that you have this precious bit of information, you can put it to good use. Once a month, you will send every person on your mailing list a newsletter. It can contain weight loss tips, recipes, fun articles, you name it. You also use your email list to send out coupons, limited offers, special reports, other lead magnets.
Ideally, your sales funnel will convert a visitor into a customer, if they follow each step of the funnel. In this simplified example, a visitor will grab your freebie and through time become a regular client. Not only is this type of marketing ethical, it’s also simple and fairly easy to set up.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. A more sophisticated funnel will have multiple stages. It segments your leads into cold and hot leads, nudging them along the way and making sure they end up at the very bottom of the funnel as buyers and repeat customers.
What is ClickFunnels?
If you’ve been in online marketing for a bit, you must have at least heard of Russell Brunson. He knew that the average entrepreneur did not have the time or the skills to make and customize a sales funnel. For example, our entire Abundance campaign had to be created manually from scratch. In the days before landing page editors, each page had to be designed and coded individually, which required significant investments in time and money.
This is why Brunson created ClickFunnels - the comprehensive marketing solution that helps you turn visitors into customers with ease. His promise is that it will take you 10 minutes to create something that would have taken weeks of coding and design. If you’re feeling skeptical, read on.
The essential service in the ClickFunnels package is aptly named… ClickFunnels. On the face of it, you may confuse it with another landing page editor, but its capabilities extend far beyond. Once you get the software going, you will be faced with a myriad of design options for your landing pages.
These templates offer great ideas on how to set up a funnel, but for a more experienced marketer, they will be more of a limitation than a benefit. For the best results, start a funnel from scratch and experiment as you go. Don’t worry, you can split-test and see what works. You can use traditional 50/50 testing, as well as 70/30 and 90/10, splitting the traffic to your liking.
If you’re new to sales funnels, again, no reason to worry. ClickFunnels themselves offer a series of useful tutorials to get your ideas going and show you some options. There is even a Udemy course if you want to dedicate some extra time to learning about the platform.
ClickFunnels works for beginners as it is fairly easy to navigate and use. Once you choose a funnel type, you will be given a layout divided into sections and column rows. These can be filled out with basic elements such as images, text, forms, videos etc. For the more advanced user, you can integrate custom HTML code, countdown timers, social media comments and much more.
On its own, the funnel builder is an incredibly versatile tool which can do incredible things, if you take the time to learn the basics and know how to split test your final designs. Coupled with the addons in the Etison Suite (more on plans and pricing later on), it becomes a marketing one-stop shop. Speaking of addons…
The best marketing efforts won’t cut it if you don’t have a good way of communicating with your clients. Fortunately, the ClickFunnels team has already thought of this. Actionetics is a marketing automation tool which builds on the funnels you have set up. In other words, your sales funnel will get your client to a certain point, and Actionetics will allow you to easily communicate with them.
If you already have an established mailing list, don’t worry. You can easily import it into Actionetics using the Import Contacts feature. Does this mean you can stop using other email automation services? Absolutely.
Instead of just automating the way you send emails, Actionetics allows much more, thanks to its integration with sales funnels. You can use it to segment your email list based on where the client is currently in the funnel. You can do this using tags. This nifty feature labels the customer according to their interests, previous purchases, interactions on your site and so on. You can then set up an action for all clients with a certain tag and lead them where you want to in the sales funnel.
Besides making the funnel streamlining even easier, Actionetics can be set up as an autoresponder service. This practically means that you have the features of an email service such as Mailchimp bundled together with a sales funnel service. Win-win situation.
If you upgrade from the basic plan to the Etison Suite (more on pricing later on), you get the Backpack tool in ClickFunnels. Backpack is an affiliate marketing application integrated into ClickFunnels. It’s important to note that you cannot purchase Backpack separately.
If you’re unfamiliar with the basics of affiliate marketing, it’s fairly simple. Instead of paying for clicks or impressions, you only pay once a conversion happens. The key benefit of affiliate marketing is using other people to market your product/services for you and effortlessly increasing traffic to your website.
In the main Backpack dashboard, you can see an overview of the general affiliate information, such as the number of affiliates, how much they made in sales, their commissions and so on. The most important part of the Backpack app is the Affiliates section. Here you can add and edit your affiliates, either automatically as they sign up, or manually as individual entries. A really handy feature is being able to see your affiliates’ dashboard and get an overview of individual affiliate's performance. The Commissions and Payments tabs are self-explanatory and extremely useful.
On its own, Backpack is a very handy tool that makes affiliate marketing a breeze. When coupled with powerful options such as funnel creation and Actionetics, it’s a great addition to an already powerful marketing package.
Two Comma Club
Reserved for the best of the best, Russel Brunson created a club for the most elite. The Two Comma Club is a group of entrepreneurs and business owners who made over $1 million using a ClickFunnels sales funnel. You can take a look at some of the club members on the official club website. The businesses range from fitness, marketing, real estate, healthcare and many others, showing the multitude of applications for sales funnels.
If you want to get a sneak peek at what ClickFunnels offers, you can take their free 14 day trial. Your credit card is required to prevent interruption of your service, and you can cancel any time.
There are only two plans available at the moment: ClickFunnels (the basic plan) and the Etison Suite. The basic plan will set you back $97 per month and the Etison Suite will cost you $297 per month.
Even though the basic plan is only one third of the price of the Etison Suite, it comes with serious limitations. First off, the only tool you have at your disposal is the funnel builder, and you can only build 20 funnels with 100 pages. Additionally, you’re only allowed 20,000 visitors per month.
On the other hand, the Etison Suite gives you the full ClickFunnels package, including the funnel builder, Actionetics and Backpack. The number of funnels, pages, visitors and custom domains is unlimited.
Finally, there is a huge range of features which don’t come with the basic plan. These include the ability to manage your email lists in detail and increase your email marketing efforts. If you’re not already using another email marketing service, this may be a good two-for-one solution.
When it comes to deciding on the best buy option, you should evaluate your current business needs and choose accordingly. Both paid plans can be purchased and cancelled on a monthly basis, so you can give them a test drive before committing. If you’re unfamiliar with sales funnels and how they work, we strongly suggest going for the free trial to give it a spin and see how they work for you. The basic plan is good for smaller businesses but if you want to use the full potential of ClickFunnels, the Etison Suite is worth the price. Actionetics and Backpack are two excellent tools which will prove as worthwhile investments if used in the right way.
Given how prosperous the field of marketing is, there’s no wonder that there are various solutions to sales funnel management. One of the tools we recently discussed is LeadPages. As we mentioned, LeadPages is more of a specialist tool. It allows you to create landing pages with ease using its drag and drop editor. However, LeadPages is excellent at building landing pages… and that is it. On the other hand, ClickFunnels is much more comprehensive and offers more marketing back for your buck, albeit being inferior when it comes to landing page design.
Unbounce is another popular landing page editor worth taking a look at. It has similar capabilities, but in essence, it is primarily a landing page builder and nothing more. It has three payment plans, ranging from $99 to $499, so ClickFunnels offers more return for your investment.
For those willing to experiment, one of the up-and-coming marketing tools to keep in mind is Builderall. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and Builderall has lots to offer. Landing page creation, sales funnel, visitor heatmaps, email management, you name it, Builderall does it. At $49.90 per month, it’s also very affordable.
Another tool which is similar in nature, but largely focused on order forms is SamCart. Promising to increase your conversions, SamCart is simpler in design and relatively easy to use. Its main advantages include the options of upsells and downsells, along with an affiliate program similar to Backpack. Compared to the basic ClickFunnels service, SamCart might be the better of the two, but it is no match to the Etison Suite.
If you’re an experienced marketer, it’s very likely that you’re already using ClickFunnels. If you’re considering it as an option to automate your marketing and improve your sales funnels, it may or may not be the best choice, depending on your needs and budget.
If you’re looking for a marketing automation service that will do much more than simple landing page design, ClickFunnels is the right choice. If you don’t already use an email marketing service, the benefits to using Actionetics are enormous. Couple that with a powerful affiliate marketing tool as Backpack and it is a marketer’s dream come true.
However, you only get to enjoy the full benefits of ClickFunnels if you opt for the Etison Suite. The basic plan is precisely what it says - barebones package which leaves lots to be desired.