In this article and overview, we will attempt to answer these common questions: What is ClickFunnels? Who owns ClickFunnels? How much is ClickFunnels? What is a ClickFunnel? What is a ClickFunnels Alternative? We also provide a concise ClickFunnels Review. Here we go…
[Latest Update: September 2018]
Introduction to ClickFunnels
“It’s not a matter of if you’re going to use ClickFunnels. It’s a matter of when you’re going to use it. Everyone’s going to be using it.” – Russell Brunson
The quote above, from the ClickFunnels product creator, may sound like hubris, but it’s really the confidence of a world-class marketer at the top of his game. And in our estimation, it may not be far from the truth. Most professional marketers we know are using the SAAS (Software a a service) platform for their businesses. Quite a number of our clients are, too.
There’s a veritable buzz about it throughout the internet marketing world. And it’s lead to lots of people wanting to know more about the platform, as exemplified by the questions above. Well, we hope to address these common questions/concerns about ClickFunnels. If there’s something we missed or other things you want to know, please leave us word in the comments below.
To understand ClickFunnels, you must first understand some basic web marketing and industry standard terms:
- Landing Page: A single web page, sometimes part of a larger website, sometimes not, which is designed for a specific marketing purpose. It usually provides information on a particular subject and asks for visitor info (usually an email opt in), attempts to make a sale or moves people on to another page or sequence of pages.
- Squeeze Page: A landing page specifically designed to force an opt-in, usually in exchange for some kind of consideration, such as a free report, video or mini-course.
- Sales Page: A landing page designed to make a sale, usually seen after a Squeeze Page. For many years, it was common to see a Squeeze Page and a Sales Page in one; these days, the former usually leads to the latter, as part of a Funnel.
- Funnel: A sequence of separate web pages, usually starting with a Squeeze Page of some kind, designed to sell a particular product, add-ons or additions to said product and/or related products and services. Funnels are sometimes also known as Marketing, Sales or Purchase Funnels; the terms are roughly interchangeable. This is not the same as a Conversion Funnel, though the two are related.
- Opt In: The long term goal of most online businesses is to build a list. When someone joins a list, he or she has “Opted in.” Forms designed to capture leads are often referred to as “Opt In Boxes,” and leads who have signed up as “Opt Ins.”
- Up Sell (or UpSell): An additional offering which enhances or improves prior items in a funnel.
- Down Sell (or DownSell): A reduced price offering, usually shown to a visitor who has turned down a higher priced item. Quite often, a downsell is a less capable, but considerably less expensive version, of the higher priced item.
- Cross Sell: An additional product or service offered within a funnel which is not part of the main offering, but is related by purpose or theme.
Landing page builders have been available to online marketers for quite some years now. That’s not news. And building “big business” style, multi-variant sales funnels has been extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the average user and small business person. Until now. ClickFunnels solves these problems, solves them elegantly, and finally makes it possible for folks lacking IT departments and teams of designers and developers to create Fortune 500-style funnels, in every aspect.
Not only do ClickFunnels-created pages look great, they function just as well as – if not better than – the custom built solutions companies have traditionally paid big bucks for. Better still, with ClickFunnels, it can all be done relatively quickly, easily and inexpensively.
To give you a quick data point: It wasn’t too many years ago that we’d charge thousands of dollars – sometimes tens of thousands of dollars – to build custom marketing funnels. The very same kinds of funnels that anyone can now build for themselves with ClickFunnels for one very reasonable monthly fee. Further, I should add that what we had was “locked in” and could not easily be changed once delivered – without charging for the dread “ups and extras” – whereas making changes in ClickFunnels is simply a matter of point and click, drag and drop!
ClickFunnels is a new (a of 2017), cloud-based application which allows anyone – from the expert marketer to the total newbie – to build highly-effective and professional looking sales pages, lead pages and marketing funnels. Perhaps most importantly – as suggested by it’s name – it is particularly suited to modern, multi-stage, integrated sales funnels, with one-click upsells, downsells and cross-sells. It’s fully integrated marketing funnels can be built with as many “stops” along the way as you want, all in a matter of minutes.
This is opposed to other methods, where creating the same kind of funnel could and probably would take, rather than minutes, many hours, or days, or…. Well, ugh. It’s better not to think about it.
Because your marketing pages are hosted on state-of-the-art servers, rather than your own hosting account, you never have to worry about traffic levels effecting your site (by sucking bandwidth) or conflicting with your software. This is one of the many important advantages ClickFunnels offers over “do it yourself” marketing systems tied to your own site. Another is that you can start gathering leads and making sales without having a website; all you need is a ClickFunnels account.
When you use the ClickFunnels platform, technical challenges are are not yours. This is a big deal, if you’ve ever had to deal with same. In other words, you won’t be left hung up, frustrated and scratching your head for days or weeks at a time over some technical problem. ClickFunnels has full-time, dedicated support specifically tasked with solving user problems – promptly.
Furthermore, traffic and traffic spikes are handled by high-end systems and professional operators. Never again will you find out your site (and sales pages) crashed because of an unexpected traffic surge. ClickFunnels has the capacity to handle tsunami-sized waves of traffic. It simply has to, given how many people are now using the platform, and how many of those are “big name” marketers who can send tens of thousands of surfers to a single URL in a matter of minutes.
This means that as marketer at any level, you can simply focus on the things you probably should be focusing on – sales copy, lead capture, graphics, video, conversions, etc. – without having be your own ersatz IT guy, either. To anyone who has blown deadlines or even seen campaigns implode due to unforeseen technical issues, this is an incredible relief!
All questions of technology and feature set aside, in answer the question “What is ClickFunnels?” the “meta” answer is really short; ClickFunnels is a way to maximize your marketing with a minimum of heartache, headache and hassles!
What is a ClickFunnel? - CLICK HERE!
What is a ClickFunnel?
“If you want to be successful online, you just have to use ClickFunnels.” – Russell Brunson
The statement above demonstrates just how strongly Brunson believes in his product, and with good reason. ClickFunnels – all criticism aside – is just that powerful.
As you can probably tell at this point, “a ClickFunnel” is a landing page and/or sales funnel built within the ClickFunnels platform, specifically. The term has developed a life of it’s own because so many online marketers have begun using the platform for all their web marketing needs, and because doing so has almost become an industry standard practice. What Aweber/GetResponse have done for email marketing, ClickFunnels has done for landing pages, squeeze pages, lead capture pages and actual multi-page marketing funnels.
If the term “ClickFunnel” ever comes to mean for sales and marketing funnels what Xerox once meant for copies, then the platform will truly have arrived – and transcended it’s industry to become a cultural reference point. Given the explosive growth of the web and e-commerce in particular, this could happen. Certainly, should this happen, Russell Brunson would not be displeased.
While many, if not most, of the features within ClickFunnels are to found in other dedicated platforms, some are unique, and few are as well implemented – if not better implemented! In software design/development, as in so many other aspects of life, it’s the little things that often make the biggest differences, for both for the funnel builder and the end user. Brunson and his team have made sure that ClickFunnels has the features pros demand, but is simple enough for even a beginner to use. His funnel templates, which allow you to model your lead and sales funnels on proven, highly effective sequences, is what makes building your own ClickFunnels easy and even fun.
All these powerful features help define and differentiate a ClickFunnel from the run-of-the-mill landers and funnels created by so many other pieces of software.
“What’s coming, and what the future is, is really making your funnels understand who the people are that are on the pages and then rebuilding the pages based on that.” – Russell Brunson
Famed internet marketer and “young turk” Russell Brunson founded and owns ClickFunnels. With this service, he has built an “all in one” solution for his own marketing needs, but also knew it would give other online marketers all the tools they needed for effective lead/sales funnels and full-on, “high end,” state-of-the-art marketing campaigns.
The truth is, most work at home online marketers do not have the skills, sophistication or budget to build “Fortune 500” style super professional looking advertising/marketing/sales materials on their own. Generally, you need both a team of designers for the “look and feel,” and a team of coders to make it all function smoothly.
But with ClickFunnels, you need neither. It’s all built-in to the platform. From the interface to the documentation and everything in between, ClickFunnels is all about ease of use and quick implementation.
In fact, Brunson’s super-slick landing page and funnel templates make it nearly brain-dead easy for even a novice to assemble an impressive, attractive, highly effective marketing campaign right off the start line. In a very real sense, ClickFunnels could only have been built by a master online marketer like Brunson, since it takes the insights, understanding and experience of actually working within the field over many years to understand the actual demands.
Knowing this, Brunson directed his team to create a system – along with numerous pre-built templates anyone can base their own funnel work on – which holds the newbie by the hand through the entire process of creating and deploying landing pages and funnels. There are numerous tutorials, both in video and text, along the way, and every button and tool is hinted, meaning you’re never left to wonder “What does this button do?”
His vision for this platform was so sweeping, there is even a ClickFunnels ecosystem which has developed around the platform. It was all part of Brunson’s grand design, with certified experts available to help users achieve their marketing goals, or even build out funnels for them. There is even a thriving market for fully developed funnels users can access (some free, some paid), much like what one sees in the WordPress and Joomla worlds.
ClickFunnels Secret Stash
ClickFunnels Review – CLICK HERE
This article is not so much a full-blown ClickFunnels review as a kind of overview and mini-review. This is by design, as a full-on, point by point, feature for feature comparison would vastly exceed the scope of this article. It would even be over the head of many of the relative newbies considering using ClickFunnels. Not to worry, though; if the demand is there somewhere down the road, we’ll do a much more detailed and exhaustive examination of every aspect of the platform.
For those looking for such, there are plenty of super-dooper-uber detailed reviews of ClickFunnels’s nuts and bolts, just do a search on Google, Youtube, Bing, etc. But we felt it was more important to convey the overall impact of ClickFunnels on the internet marketing community, and why it has become a near industry standard overnight. We say “near” only because it does have competitors. But considering how many professional online marketers have gone over the ClickFunnels in just a very short period of time, it’s fair to say that the platform has a earned a lot of loyalty and trust – with good reason – not to mention a sizeable portion of the market share.
As ClickFunnels customers ourselves, we can speak to the quality, utility and ease-of-use of the platform. While we’ve tried countless different ways to build landing pages and lead funnels – ranging from WordPress plugins to other online platforms – we believe ClickFunnels is the gold-standard. It’s feature set, drag-and-drop user-friendly interface and clear understanding of the needs of marketers makes it second to none. Remember, it was built by a world-class professional marketer and his team for other marketers. This, in fact, might be the key and underlying reason for it’s success.
Sadly, despite the overall brilliance of sites like Lead Pages and GetResponse (which now offers landing pages in addition to email/autoresponder services), it’s clear these are platforms for whom the professional marketer is just another customer and not the key demographic. Features that are easy to access and an intrinsic part of ClickFunnels are often poorly implemented or even lacking entirely in many of these other “big name” platforms. For example, highly flexible, feature-rich countdown clocks – a standard and powerful tool in the pro marketers toolbox these days – are clunkily implemented after-thoughts on most of the “alternative” systems.
Since this is a mini-review rather than a full-blown ClickFunnels review, we’ll set aside the discussion of the specific failings of various competitors for another time, but suffice it to say, in our experience, virtually all of them have serious limitations in one or more areas that are fully developed and feature-rich in ClickFunnels. If you want to build “real” funnels that generate conversions (this means leads and sales), then you won’t find a better solution anywhere. Period. Bar none.
NOTE: We get into more detail on the various “ClickFunnels Alternatives” in the section of the same name below.
How Much is ClickFunnels? – CLICK HERE
The only stumbling block for many users is the price. ClickFunnels, by most people’s standards, is not “cheap.” On the other hand, by business and enterprise standards, it’s dirt cheap at thrice the price! $97/mo. may be a hard bite to swallow an individual – especially a beginner – but it’s almost “a nothing” for businesses used to spending thousands of dollars a month on overhead. Some of the “big name” services may have lower entry price points ($67/mo. and up), but be aware that with most of this “competition,” you’re not getting a fully-integrated, designed-from-the-ground-up funnel builder; you’re getting a landing page builder that can build funnels. Sorta. And that’s a profound and highly significant difference.
So, while budget conscious marketers might be well advised to seek out ClickFunnels alternatives of a sort, it’s also fair to say that less money will generally get you less capability, and more money will not necessarily get you a better platform.
Karta, for instance, which positions itself as an all-in-one online marketing platform ($149/mo. for capability comparable to ClickFunnels) has many valuable features, but in our opinion, is still not as powerful a funnel builder as ClickFunnels. The good news for those concerned about cost is that ClickFunnels provides a 14 DAY FREE TRIAL, so you can try it out and see how it fits into your business model.
As a data point, and by way of comparison, most other pro-level landing page apps can cost about the same as ClickFunnels (or even somewhat less), but as mentioned above, they generally lack the full-blown funnel building capabilities.
However, as Bob Dylan once famously said, the times, they are a changin’! For quite some time after it was introduced, ClickFunnels was the only game in town when it came to building “real” fully integrated funnels with one-click upsells, downsells and cross sells. This is no longer the case. In fact, we have found one alternative to ClickFunnels which may well be superior in just about every category. It’s the new kid on the block, and you can read about it here.
See the following section for more on this subject.
There are many, many high-quality, affordable options for building landing pages today, but only a few are real alternatives to ClickFunnels. If you are looking for a web-based solution, most “alternatives” are really just landing page builders.
Broadly speaking, there are two ways to go: site based solutions, and web based solutions. The former are mostly based around WordPress and WordPress plugins (WordPress being the web’s dominant site building and CMS platform, with over 30% market share), while the latter are, like ClickFunnels, hosted in the cloud or on enterprise-level servers.
Web-Based (Online) Solutions
Of the “big three” of online, web-based “competitors” to ClickFunnels – InstaPage, Lead Pages or Unbounce – we prefer the first. InstaPage is a clean, easy to use page builder and offers tremendous options and support at a great price. The “industry leading” LeadPages – which is and was primarily directed at enterprise level customers (i.e big companies with deep pockets) – does a lot less for a lot more. The same can be said of Unbounce. All build fabulous landing pages, but none can build full-fledged funnels.
• Well known in internet marketing circles is GetResponse. If you’re looking for an email/autoresponder service that is virtually 100% compatible with every other internet marketing platform and tool on the market, inexpensive, and which provides high-quality landing pages, you can do worse (though again, it does not do full-on funnels).
• New ClickFunnels alternatives are Builderall, Convertri and Kartra. They are more direct competitors to ClickFunnels, as they position themselves as more than just landing page services, but full-on funnel building solutions. We don’t believe any are superior to ClickFunnels, in it’s core functions, though each offers aspects of the online marketing equation not offered by the big name in the trade. The first two are considerably less expensive than ClickFunnels, too.
• Builderall is our favorite of the new alternatives to ClickFunnels. In fact, without sounding too hyperbolic, it could well be the ClickFunnels killer! It offers a complete marketing solution – encompassing email, landing pages and funnels, e-commerce and even webinars – for about 1/3 the price of Kartra’s low-level business plan, and offers more for less than either ClickFunnels or Convertri.
In fact, to get what Builderall is offering for about $50/mo, you’d have to buy the “full goose bozo plan” at ClickFunnels for $250/mo.! 😮 Yikes! Frankly, this thing is pretty darn slick, and we don’t say that about any ol’ piece of software!
Site-Based (Self-Hosted WordPress) Solutions
As far as WordPress plugins go, there are also a number of options. These range from Beaver Builder to Divi Visual Builder to InstaBuilder (not to be confused with InstaPage) and a number of others were are not as familiar with. We really like all of these we’ve mentioned, but it is the last that comes the closest to ClickFunnels in terms of fully integrated funnel construction.
In general, WordPress plugins have many advantages over cloud-based landing page builders – the chief of which is far lower costs – but considerable disadvantages too.
When you’re hosting software yourself, you are the tech department, and it is in this one area in which WordPress plugins are greatly inferior. That being said, such solutions generally offer far more flexibility than web-based solutions.
When hosting your own landing pages, as you do with WordPress, you can burn through your own server cycles and even overload your server. By contrast, with ClickFunnels and the other web-based solutions, you never have to worry about such things. Therefore, another worry with going it alone is hosting. If your plan is not up to the task, it can lead to very slow page loads, which is bad enough. Worse yet, you can get the dread 404s, which will kill your marketing and SEO!
The “ups and downs” of each option are worth taking time and considering before plunging into one or the other.
• If you’re looking for a stand-alone solution which can be used with just about any WordPress site, theme or set of plugins, we highly recommend Beaver Builder – it’s great at what it does.
• If you are looking for really high-end design, some truly slick marketing plugins to go with your new themes, and a very, very sophisticated and capable landing page builder, then you’d be hard pressed to do better than Elegant Themes and Divi.
• Mostly, we use the WordPress plugin Thrive Architect – part of the ThriveThemes family of products (themes and plugins) – for our lead funnels and landing pages these days. It is more of a DIY solution than ClickFunnels, but we also find it more to our liking from the standpoint of professional graphic designers, WordPress users and long-time internet marketers. It’s also considerably cheaper.
• For those considering a WordPress-based solution with a one-off cost, which is designed from the ground up to do funnels (which, of course, includes landing pages), there’s really only one choice: InstaBuilder.
If you decide on any WordPress-based solution, and you are expecting high traffic volumes or big spikes of traffic (and these cannot always be predicted), you should only use your plugin of choice on a robust shared hosting plan that can handle such events, or on a VPS or dedicated hosting account (we highly recommend these two inexpensive but expert WordPress hosting companies: Hosting Option #1 – Hosting Option #2).
ClickFunnels Questions – Conclusion
So I hope we’ve answered your questions on “What is Clickfunnels,” “How Much Is Clickfunnels,” “Who Owns ClickFunnels” and the like. If you’re interested in learning more about Russell Brunson, founder/creator of ClickFunnels, you may want to read the companion article about his history, rise to prominence and net worth.
DISCLOSURE: We have been and remain customers of ClickFunnels, though we mostly do work for clients who need to use it for themselves. Currently, we use a different solution for our own landing pages and lead funnels (described above), but this not because we are no longer boosters of ClickFunnels. To the contrary, we still consider it the premier service of it’s kind and the perfect solution for many businesses and online enterprises. UPDATE: We came across the product that we believe could be the true CLICKFUNNELS KILLER– an online app which offers a lot more for less. So unlock the above if you want to learn more.
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