In this ClickFunnels review, we visit the key features that make this THE leading funnel software on the market in 2021. We’re holding no punches and revealing exactly what we LOVE and DISLIKE about this software.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
What is Clickfunnels?
If you run a business that needs to create marketing buzz — and that’s every business, even the ones that have gotten so big it seems like they market themselves — you’ve almost certainly done some digging through the racks of subscription software services designed to help you manage your sales funnel.
The sales funnel began as a multi-step metaphor for the lengthy process of turning a person from an uninterested bystander into a loyal repeat customer. Beginning at the “awareness phase,” when a potential customer decides they want or need a service or product, then moving through the “interest” and “evaluation” phases during which the whole range of competitors is open to them, the aim of the sales funnel is to guide a customer through the phases of purchase, re-evaluation (deciding whether your product was good enough to establish a recurring relationship), and re-purchase.
Applying this model to e-commerce created the idea that the most effective sales pages function as sales funnels: a landing page, an offer to act, and a simple process leading from one phase to the next.
So many great services now exist to help you with this process that there’s basically no excuse for trying to do it yourself — not when you could be spending that time doing the fun part. You know, the thing you actually founded a business to do.
Among sales funnel managers, the Clickfunnels brand looms large. Since 2014, Clickfunnels has garnered 70,000 subscribers for its total solution for sales funnels in any industry.
On their landing page, they claim the product can do everything but make you a sandwich: boost B2B sales, market e-books, upsell via shopping carts, host webinars, boost your social media presence, generate leads, and manage your email lists.
How many of these claims are true? And of the things Clickfunnels does, how many of them does it do best? Today, we’re going to walk you through an in-depth review of Clickfunnels to see if it’s the right sales funnel manager for you.
By the end, you should have a good idea of whether or not it’s worth your hard-earned money — and whether it’ll be able to help you earn some more.
What Do You Get With ClickFunnels?
Sales Funnel Templates
The Clickfunnels marketplace hosts over 1,500 templates both free and priced, featuring everything from sparse frameworks designed to be customized to finely focused options for very specific industries.
Almost all funnels are complete solutions from the landing page to the point of sale, and feature targeted, distraction-free marketing designed to keep your customers moving toward the decision you want — which can be anything from gathering their information for an opt-in list to making a sale. Many of the free funnels are highly professional products, so don’t worry that this is a hidden cost.
Templates can also be customized. In Clickfunnels’s editor, you can either build a new funnel from scratch or make changes to a pre-built funnel. You’ll be prompted to answer a few questions, then be able to drag elements around and create new ones with a simple WYSIWYG editor.
You can also make more advanced changes to your pages, such as messing with settings to boost SEO, integrating a third-party email manager, or adding widgets like countdown timers or SMS feeds.
Analytics and Testing
Clickfunnels makes it easy to see how a funnel is performing post-launch. The top of the data page tells you how much money you’re making per click, how much people spend on their shopping carts on average, and how much money this sales funnel has grossed you in total.
You can also see how many views each of your pages has gotten, and apply filters — for example, if you want to know how many people have reached your landing page on a mobile device. This page is also your home for A/B testing, which allows you to directly compare funnels in order to find out which ones are performing the best.
Clickfunnels has a built-in autoresponder called Actionetics, which offers a competitive slate of email marketing features — though it’s only available with a premium subscription. Actionetics includes a contact manager with segmentation, and the ability to automate emails and target them to specific segments of your list.
By creating action funnels that involve integrations, you can also combine email campaigns with efforts to reach subscribers in different ways, like with texts or Facebook ads. If you don’t want to use Actionetics, Clickfunnels supports integration with several other popular marketing services like MailChimp and ActiveCampaign.
Clickfunnels doesn’t include an in-house payment processor, so you’ll need to go with a third party. They personally recommend Stripe, but you can also go with PayPal, Apple Pay, or one of several other supported API integrations (though Square is not currently available).
Some gateways are not supported as direct API integrations, but can still be used as third-party apps — you’ll just need to do a little more work (here’s an example of what that can look like, using Clickbank). And while some, like Square, just aren’t supported, other third-party apps might be able to help you make that connection.
The affiliate program is an additional way for Clickfunnels users to monetize their sales funnels by receiving commissions directly from Clickfunnels itself.
Basically, if you include a link anywhere in your marketing to a Clickfunnels product, you get a percentage if that link encourages anybody to buy. If you create a sales funnel, you can also use that as your affiliate link, which explains how the library of funnels stays so robust.
You can also use the newly integrated Backpack feature to set up your own affiliate system, and advertise your services in the same way Clickfunnels does.
A simple but important feature. Clickfunnels hosts all your pages — landing pages, squeeze pages, shopping carts — on their own platform, so you don’t need to pay extra hosting fees.
If you want a custom domain for your brand, however, you will need to pay a one-time fee of $20. But you can do all of this through Clickfunnels, and subscription plans include a limited number of these for free, so it’s definitely still convenient.
Customer Education and Support
Subscriber tech support is mostly done through chat, from Monday to Friday during business hours. You’ll be prompted to read through their knowledgebase articles first, but can chat directly with an expert if they don’t answer your question, and can also sign up for a premium subscription to get priority in this queue.
However, Clickfunnels is very clear that support experts are not here to help you with sales strategy — it’s only technical support. You can also seek answers from Clickfunnels’s subscriber forum (where you can talk marketing if you want).
A final feature to note here is Funnel Flix, a series of videos teaching you how to get the most out of Clickfunnels, with more content available for higher-level subscriptions.
The Key Features of Clickfunnels
Sales Funnel Creator
Clickfunnels works on a simple assumption: successful marketing results from being as clear and streamlined as possible about your attentions. Their service can best be described as always be closing for the internet age.
From the moment your customer steps onto the showroom floor, you’re greeting them, asking them about themselves, telling them all about what they can drive off the lot with, and making it clear how easy it will be to get to that point.
What does this look like, in practice? The sales funnels Clickfunnels builds are slim and focused. Working on the assumption that distractions make potential customers wander away from the sale, funnels include as few distractions as possible.
Funnels are built from landing pages (the very first thing potential customers see when they click on your link), squeeze pages (also called capture pages; lower-content pages designed to move visitors onto a specific part of the sales funnel, such as info capture), and shopping carts.
Customers never have to think about how to get to the next stage — only about whether the decision is worth their while. Clickfunnels’s targeted templates help you boost the potential of each visitor with upselling and downselling options, plus offer pop-ups, countdowns, and more.
Most Clickfunnels subscribers aren’t selling cars, though the similarity to dealership work might explain why they chose buying your dream car as a reward for top affiliates. Instead, all the available funnel templates are geared toward one of three overarching goals: capturing information for your mailing lists, selling your product, or putting butts in seats for your next event (especially if it’s a webinar).
In Clickfunnels’s easiest funnel-building option, all you have to do is pick one of those three, add a tag for what type of funnel you’d like, and review the list of templates this generates. Once you’ve chosen, all you have to do is make any edits you want to the page elements, and run through the launch checklist. This includes setting up integrations, naming a domain, and saving the funnel — and then you’re ready to go.
If you don’t already know what type of funnel you want to use, use the Funnel Cookbook, which allows you to decide on a type based on your industry and goals. So many people are making so many great funnels available — mostly for free — that no matter how specific your needs, there’s likely to be something geared to you. Advertising a weight loss plan? A book? A feminist newsletter? There’s a template for all of them.
The page editor deserves a mention, as its drag-and-drop interface is excellently intuitive. All page elements can be edited by clicking on them, and sidebar options are organized with simple efficiency. Elements come in many useful forms, too, from text bars and images to interactive widgets.
It’s not especially deep since it’s built for users with no coding experience, but with Clickfunnels’s whole aesthetic being about stripping down distractions, it makes sense for this to be so simple.
But does it work? Enough people have reported success with their marketing strategies that it seems a closed question of whether Clickfunnels increases revenue. The bottom line is that any focused marketing strategy developed by experts will pay off — what we’re trying to do here is help you figure out if Clickfunnels’s builder is the best strategy for your sales funnels.
In most cases, we’re prepared to say the answer is yes. Clickfunnels’s core product combines ease of use with extreme flexibility in a way that will satisfy both total newbies and hardcore marketing experts. It’s never been easier to have a complete funnel launched with less than half an hour of work, and if your funnel isn’t paying dividends, it’s also perfectly easy to change.
So, Clickfunnels’s creator gets our highest recommendation. But while the core product is important, there’s a lot more to it — and how that works will determine whether we can recommend shelling out the money for a subscription.
The shopping cart is a capstone no sales funnel can be complete without. It doesn’t matter how perfect your landing page is or how convincing your squeeze page may be — if your customers get bogged down in a quagmire right when they’re trying to give you their money, information, or time, you’ll lose them. To return to our car dealership metaphor, it’s like if they agreed to buy the car and you just walked away. Not good.
It’s more than that, though. Your shopping cart website has to actively participate in the sale, as history shows businesses whose sites do this pull better numbers. The main way shopping carts serve as an active part of sales is through consistency with the rest of the funnel’s message.
So it’s better to get your cart from the same place you’re getting your funnels — which is one of the main draws of using Clickfunnels’ built-in cart system instead of going third-party.
Of course, this falls apart if the Clickfunnels cart isn’t, you know, good. So, is it strong enough to justify using it instead of SamCart or GumRoad?
It depends on what your goal is. Clickfunnels sales funnels are not for business owners trying to sell any one of a wide range of products — they’re much better at capturing emails so you can tell people about your products. In exactly the same way, Clickfunnels doesn’t host a traditional shopping cart your customers can fill with stuff prior to a checkout.
Because of this, it lacks some of the features you might expect on a dedicated shopping cart app, such as flexible customization, support for international purchasing, or the ability to host the cart on a website not created by Clickfunnels.
However, for a shopping cart inside a sales funnel creator, which is not common among Clickfunnels’s competitors, this cart has a lot going on: multiple item quantities, abandoned cart notifications, a shipping calculator, and the ability to add buttons to other parts of your funnel.
There’s nothing stopping you from building a sales funnel with Clickfunnels for just a few products or services, then using ThriveCart or SamCart for your main e-commerce site. As long as you remember what it’s intended to do, the Clickfunnels shopping cart is a huge help, and has a good chance of directly boosting your revenue.
Payment gateways are any kind of software or platform that enables digital financial transactions. This is a necessary part of your shopping cart.
Clickfunnels does not run its own payment gateway. Instead, payment processing at the end of the sales funnel is handled by approved third-parties. Some of these are supported by Clickfunnels as direct API integrations, meaning that including them in your sales will be extremely easy.
The list of these includes many of the brand names in payments, such as Apple Pay, PayPal, and Stripe (though OntraPort is no longer supported). There’s also some lesser-known options, like EasyPayDirect and Keap.
You can also integrate third-party gateways whose APIs aren’t directly recognized, but which can be inserted into your process with a little more work. If for some reason ClickBank is the only service you’ll ever use, it’s not too difficult (and doesn’t require any coding) to set it up. However, Clickfunnels recommends — and so do we — that you use an API from the supported list.
It’s a bit annoying that two common payment apps, OntraPort (a CRM that used to be able to integrate with Clickfunnels, but no longer) and Square, are not supported. But you should still be able to find an option that works for you.
Clickfunnels’s knowledge center takes pains to inform users that their chosen payment processor is responsible for all financial security, so make sure you choose one you trust to keep your customers’ money safe. For their part, Clickfunnels doesn’t collect any payment information for themselves, so no need to worry that this is all some kind of scheme.
We really like how easy it is to set up any of the affiliate payment gateways — adding PayPal’s API to the end of a sales funnel, for example, is a two-step process requiring just a few clicks and copy-pastes, guided every step of the way by helpful articles. Once embedded, payment gateways do their job of not standing in the way of sales, guiding customers smoothly through the next steps after their shopping carts. In terms of reducing the number of potential pain points that might turn customers away, this feature is a winner.
Actionetics is technically a separate app, available with premium Clickfunnels subscriptions, that integrates email list management with sales funnels. It’s a good idea, in theory — capturing email information is one of the three main goals of this platform’s sales funnels, so it’s nice to have some things you can do with it once you’ve got it.
However, this leads to a problem a lot like what happens with the shopping carts. Because Clickfunnels also supports integration with dedicated mailing list managers like MailChimp, Actionetics has to be better than top-tier standalone apps in order to justify using it.
And since emails aren’t a part of the sales funnel, there’s no concern about creating a choke point where customers might be reluctant to move to a different app.
Without that, being tied to Clickfunnels is a detriment rather than an asset to Actionetics. Put simply, this isn’t a worthwhile premium offering. It’s fantastic that you don’t have to pay extra when you hit a certain number of contacts — like you do with most autoresponders — but when you’re already paying $297 a month, you basically need a huge list or you’re losing money.
Likewise, features such as automated list segmentation and action chains are nice, but they aren’t $200-extra nice. We recommend you start by integrating a different mailing list manager. If your business scales up enough that paying for thousands of contacts becomes a problem, you can always migrate over to Actionetics later on.
Affiliate Program and Backpack
This much-discussed feature is not at all necessary for Clickfunnels to work as a sales platform, but does do wonders to help them sell their own product — and to give their subscribers a whole new way to profit.
We’ve noticed that the Clickfunnels affiliate program seems to confuse a lot of people. Is it legit? Is it a multi-level marketing pyramid scheme?
We can confirm that it’s on the up-and-up. The company is still funded by software subscriptions, and the affiliate program only serves as a marketing tool: you don’t have to pay extra to be a member. All you have to do is include links to Clickfunnels’s landing pages somewhere on your e-commerce site, and if clicks on those links lead to any sales, you win a commission. Think of it as product evangelism (that you might get paid for!).
Plenty of people do make money by advertising Clickfunnels through their own platforms. It’s not a primary reason to sign up for the product, but if you find out that your sales funnel is working for you — and you’re already on the premium subscription level — you’ve got nothing to lose by signing up.
And hey, if your affiliate marketing results in 100 new subscribers, they might literally buy you a car.
The other thing to know about Clickfunnels and affiliates is Backpack. Backpack is the third app in the Full Suite bundle that includes Clickfunnels itself (the sales funnel creator) and Actionetics (the auto-responder). The other side of the coin from the affiliate commission program, Backpack is an app for managing your own affiliate program — you can use the same trick Clickfunnels does, to drive traffic to your landing pages.
Like the rest of Clickfunnels, Backpack has a user-friendly interface. From a single dashboard, you can see how many affiliates you’ve got signed up, the sales they’ve gotten you, the commissions they’ve invoiced, and the invoices you’ve paid. It’s easy to master building a commission plan, monitoring payments, and keeping track of which of your affiliate programs goes with which sales funnel.
Funnel Flix is an exciting addition to Clickfunnels’s knowledge base. Going beyond traditional tech support, this is a “Netflix for marketers,” featuring a wealth of instructive content about how to boost your marketing game. Many videos are available with the basic package, but some are restricted to premium plans.
These courses cover a huge range of business topics, from how to think about your money, to how to build the best sales funnel, to thoughts from famous marketing luminaries like John Reese and Tony Robbins. The premium level includes content like “Funnel U,” which teaches advanced funnel-building, and other courses designed to sharpen your ad game.
Funnel Flix is a great bonus feature which gives you access to a surprising amount of useful content. The fact that part of it comes with the basic plan only raises our opinion of it. Any bonus videos about how to use the product would have been nice, but this is above and beyond, and reflects very well on Clickfunnels as a whole.
Who is Clickfunnels for?
The very first concept that comes to mind when considering Clickfunnels is broad usability. It’s hard to think of anybody involved in any sort of marketing who wouldn’t at least stand a chance of benefitting from a dedicated funnel builder. A sales funnel by no means has to be pushy, obnoxious, or inauthentic — it’s nothing but a way to bring age-old sales techniques into the world of e-commerce.
Clickfunnels is just as useful for new businesses as it is for established enterprises trying to expand. If your business is solely brick-and-mortar, but you use email and social media to advertise, sales funnels can help you increase the size of your mailing list. Same thing if you run a business that sells a lot of items online: you can increase traffic even if you don’t want to push shoppers toward any particular sale.
It’s also helpful for promoters, who can either market webinars or increase word of mouth about IRL events. Rapidly growing businesses might find it useful to have a sales funnel for newly announced initiatives, which might help bring in customers from previously untapped sectors.
You might even need Clickfunnels if you already have a robust marketing plan in place, since it brings together so many different features that might be prohibitively expensive on their own — especially if you have to hire a bespoke designer instead of going with a premade template.
Nor is usability a problem. Clickfunnels backs up its broad appeal with an interface that’s exceedingly kind to first-timers. The learning curve definitely ramps up after you’ve gotten out of the basic levels of marketing, but that’s a strategy problem, not one with the software. Whether you’re trying to make $100 or $1,000,000, Clickfunnels stays just as user-friendly.
Is Clickfunnels Worth it?
If there’s anybody we wouldn’t recommend Clickfunnels to, it’s people who are advertising things they aren’t looking to monetize. If you just want people to check out your blog, look at your cool artwork, download your open-source projects, etc., the subscription prices for a sales funnel creator just aren’t worth it (unless you’ve got an alternative source of wealth).
If you’re offering something for free — and aren’t intending it as a foot in the door to sell something later — you might be better off with more traditional word-of-mouth marketing.
Clickfunnels offers two main pricing tiers. Before we list out what each one gets you, it’s worth noting that you can get a free trial of Clickfunnels to try it out before you buy.
Clickfunnels Free Trial
For your free 14-day trial, click here and sign up for your account and take their software for a spin before you decide to buy.
The Starter subscription costs $97 per month and includes:
- 20 sales funnels
- 100 pages
- 20,000 visitors
- Generate unlimited leads
- 3 custom domains
- 1 payment gateway integration
- All editors
- Shopping carts
- Mobile-responsive pages
- 3rd-party email integrations
- Upsells, downsells, cross-sells
- A/B testing
- Customer support
The Full Suite subscription costs $297 per month and includes everything in the Starter package, plus:
- Unlimited sales funnels
- Unlimited pages
- Unlimited visitors
- Unlimited custom domains
- Actionetics auto-responder
- Backpack affiliate manager
- Affiliate program integration
- 3 payment gateway integrations
- Priority customer support
Clickfunnels also offers a package deal called Funnel Hacks, which costs $997 for six months, or $1997 for a full year.
In addition to effectively cutting the price of a year’s Full Suite subscription in half, Funnel Hacks includes a six-week masterclass in funnel building and throws in several sales scripts and sequences to get you started.
Wrapping Up This Clickfunnels Review
Before we get to our final recommendation, let’s run down the pros and cons of Clickfunnels.
- Easy to build sales funnels that work
- Large community, and expansive library of pre-made funnels for every purpose
- Comes with important features like site hosting and A/B testing
- Useful for almost any sort of business
- User-friendly interface
- Autoresponder is not worth the money
- Difficult to afford for a low-budget business
- Some popular payment gateways aren’t supported
- The shopping cart doesn’t have as many options as third-party carts
- The affiliate program only available for premium subscribers
Hopefully, by now, you’ve got a sense of what a powerful app Clickfunnels can be. Combining entire sales and marketing departments into a single platform, it succeeds admirably at its mission to strip away all the detritus around internet shopping. It’s almost a sure thing that you’ve taken a trip down one of their sales funnels before.
Clickfunnels does not do everything. It doesn’t handle email management without a premium subscription, for example, so it can’t be called a complete customer relationship manager. It doesn’t build whole e-commerce stores or complex websites, and it can only do so much to help you come up with your marketing strategy.
It’s best to think of Clickfunnels as an app that does one thing, and does it well. It says it’s going to boost your sales, and everything it does is geared toward making that happen. We give it a strong recommendation, with one caveat: don’t go in expecting it to do all the work for you.
Don’t let the friendly UI and wealth of pre-made templates fool you. If you don’t have a strong business plan and sales strategy, Clickfunnels is no replacement. But if you’ve got one, there’s no better choice to launch it into the stratosphere.
There are of course plenty of Clickfunnels alternatives for you to choose from if it doesn’t quite meet the needs of your business.
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