Can ClickFunnels Help You Make More Money?
Many people who wish to sell products and services online put a great deal of effort into getting visitors to their website. Obviously, that’s a necessary step toward making sales. Unfortunately, a significant number of those vendors are extremely disappointed when very few of those visitors are converted into paying customers.
Well, let’s see how well they execute that plan. But first things first.
What, exactly, is ClickFunnels?ClickFunnels is a software program that provides a service to its users, commonly known as SaaS (software as a service). The service it provides is combining elements of sales funnels that contribute to generating online revenue, so that users don’t have to cobble together various solutions that may not play well together.
Wait…what is a sales funnel and why do I need it?
Ah, yes, this is what you need to know when it comes to turning website visitors into paying customers. It will also help you to understand why ClickFunnels might be useful.
Basically, a sales funnel consists of the 4 stages that consumers go through before they are actually willing to buy a product or service. They are:
- Awareness – This is the stage where people identify a problem they have and start looking online for solutions. You will want to offer information here, bringing your brand to their notice without pushing any specific items to sell. Webinars, videos, infographics are all good tools to use at this point.
- Interest – At this stage, consumers are looking at all the possible solutions, comparing them to each other, trying to determine which best suits their particular needs.
- Decision – This is when people have decided which solution they prefer, and are now comparing individual products that provide it.
- Action – Once customers make that final decision, they hit the BUY button. Hopefully, it will be the one on your website.
What all of those disappointed vendors mentioned above have in common is that they have not tailored their sales process for each of these individual stages. And that is what ClickFunnels was designed to do. Or, rather, ClickFunnels was designed to make it easy for you to do.
The theory is that, by automating a lot of the work that goes into converting website visitors into paying customers, you will generate sales more efficiently…which should translate into more sales in less time, meaning more money for you!
So, the question is, does it work? Well, let’s dig into the details, so you can make an informed decision about that. I’ll go over the features ClickFunnels offers and why you might want them, starting with the best.
The Two Best Click Funnel Features
Best ClickFunnels Feature #1: Most Effective Funnel Templates
You don’t need coding or design skills. All of the elements required to build webpages are contained in the simple drag-and-drop webpage editor. Of course, that feature is pretty standard these days, as are templates. But this is where ClickFunnels shines.
You simply take a short quiz to tell ClickFunnels what type of business you have, and the program will not only show you the types of funnels you should use, it will actually give you the highest converting templates for that type of business. That feature alone is probably worth its weight in gold. There are templates for:
- Blogs and affiliates
- Information Products
- Local Small Businesses
- B2B Lead Generation
- Consulting or Coaching
- Agency or Freelancer
- Network Marketing
The funnel templates will guide visitors to your website step-by-step through your sales funnel with these pages:
1. Squeeze Page – For those who are not aware, this is a type of landing page that is specifically designed for one purpose only, and that is to capture the email addresses of your website visitors. This actually one of the most important goals you need to achieve, because email marketing is one of the most profitable practices in business, and you cannot use email addresses of people who have not opted in with mass email programs. It is the primary step in lead generation.
2. Sales Page
3. Order page
4. Thank you page.
Best ClickFunnels Feature #2: One-Stop Shopping
The main selling point of ClickFunnels is that it combines so many functions that are usually separate, such as:
- Building individual web pages
- Adding a shopping cart
- Creating an autoresponder sequence
- Connecting to a third-party merchant account
Many people would find doing all of these things themselves extremely frustrating. Unfortunately, hiring someone to do it for you could cost thousands of dollars. So just the fact that all of these features are in one program, and optimized to work together, is a pretty big deal.
The ease of use is pretty surprising for such a complex process. You just start with one task and follow directions until you are on to the next. Simply click on the funnel or type of page you like, and then customize it with your own information using drag-and-drop changes.
The best way to judge the effectiveness of ClickFunnels features, though, is to look at them grouped into their own categories. That way, you will be able to tell which ones apply to you and your business, and how helpful they might be. Although, you really should look at all of them, in case there is something you can use that you hadn’t thought of before. If ClickFunnels makes it easy to use, then it’s probably worth giving it a shot.
In any case, here are the three main steps you will go through in order to create your funnels.
1. Choosing a Funnel
According to ClickFunnels, entrepreneurs usually create funnels for 3 reasons. Just as the brand name implies, you simply decide which funnel you want and click on it, then you will see a whole page of them to choose from.
Lead Generation – There are two funnels to choose from on the ClickFunnels platform for lead generation, depending on what information you’re looking for.
- Squeeze Page – As previously explained, this type of page is used when you just need names and email addresses.
- Long-form Leads – You will use this when you need more information from your prospect, such as more detailed contact information or product preferences, or any other type of information you might need to determine the value of a lead.
Generate Sales – ClickFunnels offers three funnels for this purpose, and you are not limited to just one. You can use all three at different times.
- Unboxing Funnel – Sometimes referred to as a tripwire funnel, this is a 2-step process most often used for low priced items, many times loss leaders which will lose money. The goal of this funnel is to have customers hit the buy button, which will automatically take them to a page with a 1-click upsell that will generate a profit for you.
- Sales letter or video sales letter funnel – This is for products that require an explanation, or a little more detail, maybe even a presentation of some kind. 1-click upsells are often used with this funnel, as well, in order to garner more profit from each customer.
- Launch Funnel – This funnel is not only used when you are ready to launch a new product, but it is also very effective when you want to build anticipation in advance of the launch. This tactic lends itself very well to more expensive products, because it gives you so much more time to convince people of the value of what you are trying to sell.
Online Events – ClickFunnels gives you 2 choices for running an event.
- Live webinar – Although you will use third-party software to hold the webinar, ClickFunnels customizes the registration process and helps to increase sales and conversions.
- Evergreen webinar – ClickFunnels allows you to take an existing presentation you’ve created and make it available automatically and on demand, with the platform’s funnels running the entire event.
While all of this may sound a little daunting, ClickFunnels has made it unbelievably easy. With literally just a few mouse clicks, and you will almost instantly have the pages you need. It’s as simple as choosing Build a New Funnel on the drop-down menu; clicking on Leads, Sales or Webinar; and then choosing which funnel in that category you like best.
2. Making Adjustments to Your Funnel
Of course, even though you can create your funnel pages in a few minutes, there is still work to be done. But ClickFunnels has made this a fairly easy process, as well. Here are just a few of the things you can do:
Add pages – One of the best reasons for adding an extra page to your funnel is for an upsell. When you offer additional products to your customers after the initial sale, they won’t have to get through the whole checkout process once more. This will increase the value of your cart dramatically. And ClickFunnels allows you to add any upsell product to your customer with only one click.
Members Pages – No third-party tools are required for you to host your subscription content or training materials on a member’s page. ClickFunnels makes it simple for your customers to create a login that will allow them access to your content. You can even choose between letting them access it all at once or on a schedule you create.
Order Forms – Decrease the instances of cart abandonment by giving your buyers a non-confusing, simple checkout process. You can choose between a traditional order form and a specific 2-part form which captures contact information so that you can reach out to those who do abandon their carts. Best of all, you can create instant add-ons that will increase your profits with products that make tempting impulse buys.
Affiliate Centers – You don’t just have to be an affiliate for other companies, you can have your own affiliate program. And ClickFunnels gives you a complete setup in just 2 pages you can add to the back of a funnel in minutes. One great feature included here is the ability to generate affiliate links that are not funnel-specific, they can go to any of your pages on the platform, which allows your affiliates to earn commissions even for just sharing your free pages. As well as doing payouts, changing affiliate types, commission plans and more in this section, you can create areas for your affiliates with sample copy they can use and banner ads they can download.
3. Customizing Your Funnel
So now you have the framework for your funnel. All that’s left is to add your specific content to it. Again, ClickFunnels has made this as easy as possible by putting placeholders where your own elements will go. For instance, there is a block with a logo in it that you will just replace with your own logo, another with a headline or video for you to replace with your own, and so on.
Now, for those who want even more individuality, there are advanced customization tools. There is custom CSS, color adjustment options, even padding adjustment that lets you change how much space there is around an element.
These features are all very well and good, but there are three features in ClickFunnels that will have direct impact on the amount of revenue you generate, and they all have to do with vital information – getting it and using it effectively.
Three Crucial Features of ClickFunnels
These three features are arguably the ones that make the most difference between successful websites that convert their visitors to paying customers and the ones which may have a lot of visitors, but not as many sales as they’d like to have.
1. Lead Generation
Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of a business. The visitors to your website who are willing to part with their valuable contact information, even if it is just an email address, will be among the most likely to buy whatever it is your selling. Presumably, you’ve offered something to them in exchange for this information, so you have their interest. Therefore, those are the people you want to be able to reach out to when you have something else to offer them.
ClickFunnels has two ways in which you can do that, and they are surprisingly simple:
When you create a new funnel, you’ll see a tab labeled “Automation”. This is where you can create email sequences that will be sent automatically whenever an action triggers it. For instance, you can have emails sent to people as soon as they opt in to your email list, welcoming them to your community. That will be your first step in building a relationship. Then when they buy anything, another email will be sent to them automatically, thanking them for their order and maybe drawing their attention to a few other products they might be interested in based on their purchase.
What’s amazing is that you can do this in just three steps in ClickFunnels, after you open the Automation tab.
Add your email address
Choose a template – yes, there are templates for this, making it even easier.
Add your message
That’s it. It’s really a little mind-boggling how much of an impact this short and easy process can have on the amount of revenue you generate.
The Automation Tab is basically like an email autoresponder on steroids. They generate, schedule and send emails. Follow-up funnels do much more than that. They gather a wealth of information that allows you to separate your prospects and buyers into groups that are so narrow that you can speak to each individual based on their own specific data.
Not only will you know who they are, you will know how recently they bought something from you and what it was, how they arrived at your website and everything they did once they got there. Follow-up funnels also require only three steps to create and use them.
1. Build Lists – Obviously, you can build generic lists, but ClickFunnels also makes it easy to build “Smart Lists”. You simply set rules that will pull only the specific subscribers who match those rules. For instance, you can pull all the visitors – and only the visitors – who put an item in their cart then abandoned it, visitors who come regularly to your website but only for the free content or your best customers who buy everything you offer as well as consuming all of your free content.
2. Broadcast – There is a specific tab that says “Email Broadcasts”, it really doesn’t get much easier than that. Just create the emails you want to send and choose a list to send it to.
3. Adjust to Stats – ClickFunnels will be able to tell you not only who opened your emails, but who clicked through from them to the website. It will also tell you exactly what each person bought and how much revenue each email generated. All of this will tell you which messages performed best, which is the most important information you can ask for in email marketing.
2. A/B Testing
As I’ve just said, the most important information you can have is which of your messages will most increase the number of conversions you receive, because that is what will generate the most revenue for you. But this information isn’t just limited to emails, it applies to every single part of your website. That’s why you need to test one element at a time, such as:
You need to run these split tests before starting to scale traffic to your funnel, because you need the information in order to optimize your funnel so that you will get the most leads and sales from it as you can. Really, you should be testing every day. Because if Version A of your website is converting two or three times more than Version B, that is something you want to know as soon as possible. Fortunately, ClickFunnels makes that easy to do.
In order to make progress, and know whether or not you are making progress, you need to see the numbers in black and white. It’s absolutely necessary for you to know which of your funnels are converting the most, how many people are subscribing to your list, how your business is growing over different periods and more. ClickFunnels makes this almost breathtakingly easy.
All of this information is on a Dashboard that is pre-formulated. You don’t need to do anything at all to set it up, it will automatically track all of the most critical numbers. Best of all, it will then report all of the results on a single page that allows you to see all of this valuable information in an easy-to-read format.
There are several more positive aspects to ClickFunnels that are worth mentioning.
No installation hassles – ClickFunnels is a “software-as-a-service” (SaaS) platform, so you basically just register an account, login and – as the name implies – just start clicking away. All of the pages in your funnels will be built in the members area.
You own all of your data – Everything in your account is 100% your own, even your users. The platform is not allowed to use any of your content, or interact in any way with your users for any reason whatsoever. All it is, really, is a tool that allows you to deliver your content to people who want it.
You can keep your data – Like all software-as-a-service companies, you will not be able to access your data once you cancel your account. However, unlike some platforms, ClickFunnels does give you the option of downloading all of your members and contacts in csv files before you cancel your account. It also gives you the option of just “pausing” your account, and the platform will actually keep all of your stuff backed up, in case you decide to resume it later.
No contracts – ClickFunnels does not require you to commit to anything further than the month you are paying for. There are no long-term contracts, and you can cancel anytime you like.
Super easy cancellation – To cancel your ClickFunnels account, you just need to login, go to account settings and click on “Cancel my account”. You don’t have to email, call or talk to anyone at all. (Just don’t forget to download your contacts and members data before you click on Cancel my account.)
Always up-to-date – ClickFunnels is constantly updating their software. And, since they are a cloud service, whenever they have an update or add new features, those will show up in your account automatically. And it’s free!
Top of the line security – Since security is a top priority for ClickFunnels, the platform was built from the ground up in order to ensure that every single thing in your account – members, subscribers, data and all of your funnels – are as secure as it’s possible for them to be. So you don’t have to worry about needing easily compromised plug-ins to stay up to date.
No slowdown or downtime – The last thing you want is for your hard-earned prospects to show up and have a disastrous user experience that keeps them from making the purchases you both want them to have. Well, the largest public cloud cluster in the world is host to the ClickFunnels platform. Not only does Amazon provide its power, but backup is provided by CloudFlare Security plus CDN, a geographically distributed group of servers. So whether you have a handful of visitors to your website or more than a hundred thousand, your customers will have a fast and smooth user experience.
Exportable HTML – You can’t host your ClickFunnels pages yourself, because the platform wants to be able to deliver new features and updates in a seamless manner that will be sure not to break your funnels. However, not only can you export your contacts any time you like, you can also export any or all of the html in any page you choose of your funnels. So it’s not problem copying your pages to pages that you are hosting yourself.
3rd Party Integration – While ClickFunnels believes most users would probably be better off using only ClickFunnels to run their businesses, the company does understand that many people have been using tools from third parties that they would prefer to continue with. So it’s a fairly simple process to integrate most of the top service providers of things like shopping carts and autoresponders into your funnels.
24/7 Support – If you have any questions, at any time of the day or night, there is someone from the ClickFunnels platform to answer them for you. You will find a “Support” link at the bottom of any of the pages in your account, or you can simply go to http://support.ClickFunnels.com at any time.
In addition to all of these features, ClickFunnels actually has one more trick up its sleeve that rarely comes bundled with other programs: a full-fledged affiliate center called Backpack.
A lot of people might be familiar with being an affiliate of larger companies, but significantly fewer of them fully grasp the merits of having an affiliate program of their own. Of those who do, a large percentage may balk at the work involved. Yet, as with all of its other features, ClickFunnels manages to streamline the process in such a way that almost anyone can easily handle it.
So let’s take a look at why you might benefit from starting an affiliate program, and how ClickFunnels can help you run it.
I started this review saying that a lot of people concentrated so hard on getting visitors to their website and then didn’t generate the revenue they expected because they weren’t converting those visitors into paying customers. That’s where funnels could help.
But there are actually a lot of vendors who are still having trouble even getting traffic to their websites. And that’s where affiliates can help.
Affiliates provide the most effective advertising.
If you think about it, word of mouth has always been the most effective form of advertising. In fact, it converts far better than Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other platform that is telling you to buy ads because it will generate a flood of traffic to your website. And that’s all affiliate marketing is, your affiliates are telling all of their own followers how good your products or services are, sending them merrily straight to your website.
Affiliates are risk-free.
One great thing about affiliate programs is that they are risk-free. Unlike ads on social media that you have to pay for in advance, affiliates are not paid until after they make a sale. So they do all their own advertising, promote your products and you can just take their payment out of the revenue from the sale that they made for you.
Affiliates can multiply your income.
The absolute best thing about affiliates, though, is that they can significantly increase your revenue without adding a single extra expense to your budget or any extra work at all on your part. Of course, you do have to give them a percentage of the sales they bring in, but that is easily covered by the extra volume in sales that they generate. Let’s look at an example.
If you have a product that sells for $100, and with all of the methods you employ to drive traffic to your website, you average 10 sales a day. That means you are making $1,000 a day.
But if you have 10 affiliates, each of whom is sending prospects to your funnel that result in 10 sales a day, now you are making $11,000 a day. And that extra $10,000 a day is flowing in without you doing a single thing or spending a single penny.
Even if you offer all of your affiliates a whopping 40% commission – which should have affiliate applications flooding your inbox – you would still have an extra $6,000 of revenue a day. Those affiliates actually brought your TEN TIMES the revenue you were generating on your own. Yet you certainly didn’t do ten times the work or spend ten times more in advertising. In fact, you did absolutely nothing and ended up with 7 times more revenue a day.
Your affiliates are leveraging their own lists whenever they promote your product. They are devoting their own time and effort doing so. And you don’t have to pay them unless and until they are successful. Now just think about what it would be like to have 25 affiliates, or 75 or more.
If affiliates are so great, why doesn’t everyone have them?
Well, at this point, the question is, why doesn’t everyone have a zillion affiliates?
And the answer is that most people would find it way too difficult to set up an affiliate program of their own. Do you have any idea what’s involved? It would take forever. Or you’d have to pay someone thousands of dollars to do it for you.
First, you’d have to set up the pages. Then you’d have to create the affiliate IDs. Oh, and then there are the tracking pixels. You would have to add custom html code to every single page of your website, plus you’d have to customize all of their shopping carts and who knows what else.
And when you finally finished with all of that, there are all these 3rd party programs that you would have to connect, which may or may not play well with the sales pages on your website. But even if you managed to get that far, you still had to hope and pray that the pixeling technology actually made it all the way to the order form with the people who were clicking on those affiliate ads.
Let’s just say, not a lot of people wanted or had the time to deal with that, or felt they were capable of doing so even if they wanted to. So what does ClickFunnels’s Backpack have to offer in place of that nightmare?
Just like the rest of ClickFunnels features, Backpack is easy to use.
When you have Backpack, everything that is necessary to set up an affiliate program is already included in the ClickFunnels editor. So every time you want to add one to one of your funnels, the set up is fast and seamless.
But there is another reason so many people are switching their affiliate programs to Backpack. It’s because the ClickFunnels developers created a new technology called “Sticky Cookies”.
The sticky cookies in Backpack use a proprietary incentive for your affiliates that keeps them extremely loyal, and more than happy to send traffic to your funnels continuously. Here’s how it works.
Affiliates earn a commission whenever one of your customers purchases a product using a link with that affiliate’s ID. With sticky cookies, that affiliate will also earn a commission for all additional products that customer buys afterward. Why? Because that customer’s specific information “sticks” with that particular affiliate even when the customer didn’t use another of the affiliate’s links to buy the additional products.
Obviously, knowing that they will continue getting commissions whenever that same customer returns to your website will keep your affiliates working hard to send you traffic. But there’s actually another reason why sticky cookies are so important.
It used to be that, if a customer bookmarked or emailed themselves an affiliate link to a product, then clicked on the link from a different device, the cookie didn’t survive the switch. Which meant that affiliate’s were not getting the revenue they deserved for sending you customers, and they were not at all happy with that situation.
Well, who could blame them? But when affiliates are not happy with their programs, they stop spending time and effort to send customers to that vendor’s funnel. Which is not good for you, because the more affiliates you have, the more revenue you have.
With the affiliate program in Backpack, as soon as a customer opts in to subscribe to your list, their email address is linked to the ID of the affiliate who sent them to you, no matter which device a customer uses to buy a product.
By now you should have a fairly good grasp of the features offered in ClickFunnels. And I believe most people will agree that these features are very good, many of them excellent. But the main question of this review was, will the platform help you make more money?
I don’t think there is any question that ClickFunnels has the capacity to help you generate more revenue. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it worth the investment for everyone. Because the main factor against using the platform is that it is extremely pricey.
As of this writing, ClickFunnels has two tiers of pricing, Starter and Platinum/Enterprise. The Starter membership is $97 a month and the Platinum/Enterprise tier is $297 a month. Now, before you start hyperventilating, there are two things you need to keep in mind.
First, ClickFunnels is currently offering a free 14-day trial. So you can try most of the features of the platform completely risk-free. Well, risk-free if you set a reminder to cancel on the 14th day if you decide not to subscribe. Because the free trial sign-up form requires your billing information, and you will be billed at the price of the tier you chose if you fail to cancel in time.
The second thing you need to remember is that the subscription is only month to month. You are never committing to more than the month you have already paid for. So it’s possible that you may decide, after the free trial, that it might be worth it to try a month of the Starter plan.
The crucial factor is what you get for the prices of those tiers.
ClickFunnels Starter Plan $97 a month
You are allowed one user, 20 funnels at a time, 100 landing pages, 3 domain names and 3 payment gateways.
For one person, this might actually seem like a reasonable price. That’s quite a few funnels and landing pages. They might well make a significant difference if your website has quite a lot of visitors, but they have not been converting into paying customers because you have not been using any type of funnels at all. And ClickFunnels will certainly make it a very simple matter for you set them up.
The 14-day free trial may well be a revelation for you, in that case. But it’s worth noting that the most valuable features of the ClickFunnels platform are reserved for the Platinum/Enterprise tier with the eye-watering hefty price tag.
ClickFunnels Platinum/Enterprise Plan $297 a month
Not only will this tier allow 3 users; unlimited landing pages, funnels AND follow-up funnels; 9 domain names and payment gateways; as well as priority support; it will give you all the features that would really turbocharge your sales.
Follow-Up Funnels – This is the feature that allows you to create Smart Lists, which will give you exactly the customers you specify, such as those who have put something in a cart and then abandoned it.
Email Marketing – This includes the autoresponders, automation tab and broadcasts. It is an extremely important feature. It’s certainly possible to use a specialized e-mail marketing program. But even if it is one of the providers that ClickFunnels integrates with, that’s still an extra cost for you. And one of the main selling points of the platform is that it’s an all-in-one solution.
Segmentation – This is the feature that allows you to separate your customers into the groups that will comprise your email Smart Lists.
Lead Scoring – This allows you to rank your customers into the groups where they are in the sales funnel. So you know which prospects can go directly to your sales landing page, and which ones need a little more convincing from one of your other landing pages.
Subscription Plans – If your product is subscription-based, then the ClickFunnels Starter plan will not provide you with an all-in-one solution unless you choose the Platinum/Enterprise plan.
Backpack – This is the full-fledged affiliate center that allows you to easily accumulate the affiliates who could boost your sales with no extra cost or effort from you.
Branded affiliate platform and features – Again, more affiliate goodness that only comes with the higher-priced tier.
So, can ClickFunnels make you more money? I honestly believe the answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Here’s why.
I think the only way the ClickFunnels platform is worth its price is if you meet all of the following criteria:
1. You are already attracting a good number of visitors to your website, but you are having trouble converting them into paying customers.
2. You are willing to take advantage of every single feature offered in the plan you choose, and you put them to use in a timely manner.
3. The pricing of your products means it is realistically possible to recoup the monthly cost of the plan you choose.
Quite honestly, before choosing the Starter plan, I would suggest you do a little research into what makes good copy for landing pages at each stage of the sales funnel. Because you won’t be able to use a/b testing in that ClickFunnels plan to test whatever you come up with. That doesn’t mean you can’t test it, but you should do it before you start paying $97 a month.
I would also check to see if there were any less expensive programs that might give you some of the other features for less than $297 a month.
However, if you are already making a decent profit with your website, to the point that a $300 expense for a month or two would be a reasonable investment to expand your business, then I would give the Platinum/Starter Plan a shot.
Also if you were just getting started and had a spare $300 or so to invest in your new business. Because you could use email and affiliate marketing, as well as a/b testing, to generate traffic.
In both cases, I’d still recommend this only under the 2nd condition listed above, that you are willing to take advantage of every feature on the platform and use them in a timely manner.
In any event, I’d try the free 14-day trial.