What Exactly Is ClickFunnels? – Brutally Honest Review! (2021)

What Exactly Is ClickFunnels?

What is ClickFunnels? It’s an online store maker and page builder for people who want to do eCommerce but can’t afford to hire a team to do the groundwork.

If you wanted to do eCommerce, what’s the first thing you would do? Obviously, you would find a cool product or service to sell.

You could sell:

  • T-shirts with funny quotes
  • coffee mugs with funny quotes
  • T-shirts with pictures of coffee mugs

You get the point — you can sell pretty much anything. Trust me, finding a product that sells is actually the easy part.

The next step is making a store and that’s what I’d term the hard part of eCommerce. You need a team of professionals to set up a store, let alone an online store.

That’s where ClickFunnels comes in.

ClickFunnels promises to give you all the tools you need to sell whatever you want to anyone on the planet. Sounds good?

I suggest you do a bit more reading before you jump in.

Read on and find out:

  • what is a ClickFunnels affiliate
  • what are clickfunnels
  • how does ClickFunnels work
  • what is ClickFunnels’ biggest benefit
  • how to use ClickFunnels

ClickFunnels Review 2021 — in a nutshell

ClickFunnels is a bundle of features that help you launch an online store. You can:

  • build webpages
  • send automated e-mails
  • show videos
  • manage memberships
  • make surveys
  • generate lead magnets

and much more. All of that is designed for use by everyone but there’s still training and help if you need it.

How does ClickFunnels work?

  1. You choose a template.
  2. You choose the design you like
  3. You tweak the template and the design
  4. Your store is ready to start selling and you publish it

As simple as that. ClickFunnels gets you the power of a team of web developers without the hassle of managing them.

I actually worked with programmers and let me tell you — working with a team of them is like herding cats. They’ll get the job done but it’s a mess and there’s nothing like having the reins in your hands.

You can go expand the ClickFunnels feature list by using your own programming skills. That lets you experiment with the templates and stand out or simply learn to code.

What are clickfunnels anyway?

Marketers have a way of turning everything into a buzzword so let me explain. Funnels are a way to convey a customer from one point to the next.

Funnels exist in supermarkets too, it’s just that you’re already used to them. You’ve probably followed arrows, colored lines and stenciled footsteps, all of which are funnels.

When done right, a funnel helps the customer make a purchase quickly, easily and without wasting any time on thinking.

A “clickfunnel” is the exact same thing, only online. It is a setup that has the customer intuitively click from one point to the next without getting confused, distracted or lost.

Basically, a click funnel is a conveyor belt for online customers. They hop on and have a smooth ride to wherever you take them.

Now imagine you’ve lined up your products next to the conveyor belt. Customers don’t have to think, only choose and pay.

Still, the customer is never forced into anything and can leave the ride at any point, no strings attached.

Do you really need ClickFunnels?

If you have the skills and the team to make your online store from scratch, you don’t need ClickFunnels or anything else. The problem is that getting the skills and finding the team are two major obstacles.

If you just want to start with your dropshipping store, you don’t have the time or the patience for a programming bootcamp. I understand it because I went through it too and realized that programming is exhausting work.

Up until recently, everyone actually made their own funnel from scratch. There was simply no other way to do it.

That was painful, most often took a lot of tries and there was no way to make repeat success guaranteed

Even the tiniest change could boost your sales but you wouldn’t know it without extensive research. For example, Pinterest engineers found out white text on black background boosts their funnel efficiency by 10%.

Why? Well, nobody really knows, but I’d guess it has to do with increased contrast or maybe that’s just how the human brain works.

So, ClickFunnels gives you as many tools as possible so you can experiment and find out cool ideas like that Pinterest one. You can mix and match ClickFunnels features in any way you like to suit your and your customers’ needs.

ClickFunnels creators got the idea to make a global platform where all eCommerce aficionados can use templates and presets to get in the game right away.

That way, they raise the overall clickfunnel quality, help vendors put up their stores online ASAP and give customers a similar experience across vendors.

How does ClickFunnels work?

ClickFunnels helps you get through the initial eCommerce growth stage that is plagued with the most issues. Instead of building from scratch, you’ll have an online store but you’ll still need research and refinement to grow.

It all comes down to how willing you are to learn the nuances.

By learning how to use ClickFunnels, you’ll start using nuanced features, such as:

  • e-mail integration
  • A/B split testing
  • custom domain hosting
  • funnel type testing
  • additional sales templates

Let’s quickly go over each of them.

E-mail integration

E-mails have been around for about 60 years and they aren’t going away. In fact, eCommerce uses more e-mails and with greater nuance than ever before.

If you can master the e-mail game, you’ll have tremendous success in any eCommerce niche. So, what is ClickFunnels e-mail integration?

You can either send out e-mails from ClickFunnels or integrate your own e-mail manager. The e-mails can be sent out for some actions, at certain dates or both.

Of course, you can customize which e-mail goes when and where but you can also program it yourself. The more you tinker with e-mails, the more tricks you’ll learn that will bump up your engagement and sales.

That same Pinterest article I linked above also says teasing your customers with information and appealing to their curiosity converts like nothing else. So, use that in e-mails and see how it works.

You can integrate other tools, such as shopping carts, from other developers into ClickFunnels as well. That’s why I often say that ClickFunnels isn’t just a platform but the platform for learning and experimenting with eCommerce.

Many other tools can be integrated with ClickFunnels too. The more tools you’re already using, the more utility you’ll get out of ClickFunnels.

A/B split testing

How did Pinterest engineers figure out white text on black background boosts a funnel by 10%? They did A/B split testing.

The engineers created two versions of a page or an element, A and B. One half of visitors would be served A and the other half B.

Then they measured the funnel efficiency on both and used the better one going forward. The faster they could test and use their results, the faster they grew.

For some of these, there’s no obvious reason why they work but that doesn’t matter. You don’t have to delve through the human psyche to understand eCommerce.

All you need is data and a way to experiment with it. When you get good results, you build off of them and repeat.

When you do something right, your customers will reward you. When you make a mistake, you’ll see the dip in traffic, sales, signups and so on.

The more traffic and sales you get, the faster you can check your new theories. eCommerce isn’t guesswork but science, data and experiments.

If you do a fine job, you can expect big players ringing you and offering to buy your store.

Custom domain hosting

At first, you’ll be tied to ClickFunnels like with an umbilical cord. It doesn’t have to be like that and you can sever the cord through branding, which includes custom domain hosting.

In essence, you set up your own web address and can later add your own web servers. The sky’s the limit when it comes to sprucing up your ideas on your own domain.

There will be a lot of maintenance but the work is rewarding. My advice is that you find a programming crew that knows:

  • Javascript
  • C#
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • PHP

That will help you shoulder some of the upkeep tasks. In my opinion, Java, Python and mobile dev skills are optional.

Of course, it really depends on the complexity of your business model. If you are selling a basic membership course or have a single-product business model, the basics provided by ClickFunnels are more than enough. If you are launching an international online store with hundreds of product categories, you are going to need some developers—and ClickFunnels with scale with you when you do need them.

Funnel type testing

There are many funnel types, such as:

  • webinars
  • memberships
  • opt-in funnels

They all have the same goal — make your audience stick around long enough to buy your wares.

It’s not all just a cash transaction, because those who don’t have the money can spend their time. That’s worth something too and translates into more views, social media likes etc.

You ought to work on building your audience too, since loyal fans will be your biggest asset if you decide to move to something else.

I think the best strategy is choosing one funnel type and mastering it. In my experience, skills you hone to perfection tend to give a much bigger payout than a slew of low-level one-off routines.

Additional sales templates

You don’t have to settle for simply selling that one thing the customer wants. Remember the conveyor belt analogy?

If customers want to grab an extra 20 or 50 items, just let them do it. It doesn’t matter if the request makes sense to you — customer’s wishes come first.

So, selling just that one thing the customer wants is the typical order sales template. That extra stuff could be sold using:

  • upsells
  • downsells
  • cross-sell
  • add-ons

and other types.

An upsell is when the client shows interest in buying the product but you offer the premium version of it too. I found that some people enjoy being pampered and that’s what deluxe  purchases do for them.

A downsell is when the buyer for some reason pulls the ejection cord and bails out. At that moment, you offer a heavily discounted version of the item or an entry-level trinket that does the same purpose.

A cross-sell is when you offer a bauble that has little to do with the original purchase. For example, if the visitor wants a soda, you can offer Mentos candies for the frothy fountain experiment.

Add-ons spice up the original buy and give some unexpected value. Let’s say you’re selling notebooks; you can offer pens, stickers or whatever else as add-ons.

There are many other eCommerce tricks that all come down to snatching a golden opportunity in the blink of an eye.

What is a ClickFunnels affiliate?

Many eCommerce problems stem from the lack of infrastructure. People want to get involved and send you money but don’t even know where to start.

So, what is a ClickFunnels affiliate?

It’s someone who creates a framework for others to join and do eCommerce with the site. You can add special offers for people signing up through your links and create a web of affiliates all the way down.

As an affiliate, you will have two great features to start you off:

  • ClickFunnels Actionetics
  • ClickFunnels Backpack

Actionetics is an e-mail drawing board that’s baked into the platform. In case you’re already used to an e-mail module, that’s usable too but otherwise you’ll be using Actionetics.

Within the Actionetics bundle, you can do all sorts of fun stuff, such as sending out triggered messages. You can and should analyze your success rates to avoid spamming the recipients.

Your goal is to eventually send out hundreds of thousands of messages to people but never have them be marked as spam.

You want your e-mails so useful that your clients can’t wait to get another one. They should be spamming you for the next nugget of wisdom.

My best advice is to customize your campaigns as much as possible. You ought to never be pushy or aggressive but simply strive for a friendly relationship.

Ask people what you can do for them and they’ll be more than happy to tell you. Find a way to give them that value and you’re golden.

Can’t land a sale right away? That’s fine, I’ve had sales happen a couple years down the line from the first contact.

In my experience, you should get in eCommerce for the long haul, not the immediate riches. That way, you’ll get the kind of mettle that survives and actually thrives in crises.

If I gave you success, someone could take it away from you. It’s when you earn success yourself that nobody can take it away.

The Backpack feature is where you’ll manage affiliates. There you will:

  • create affiliate categories
  • set up commission plans for each category
  • track their success and metrics

A nice bonus here is the sample swipe copy, though I recommend to tweak it a bit for your needs.

Another bonus feature is Sticky Cookie. It stays with the visitor for 30 days and you get rewarded for the purchase as long as the visitor doesn’t click another affiliate link.

Let’s say someone visits your ClickFunnels affiliate link but then clicks away. That same someone remembers ClickFunnels and visits the official site to buy a subscription.

Thanks to the Sticky Cookie feature, you still get a commission.

In my opinion, the best use of Backpack is to create a small but tightly knit community. Be cordial and give your affiliates not just value but a sense of purpose as well.

They’ll give you loyalty in return and do free marketing for you. You’re bound to find some of these people have programming skills so you can recruit them right then and there.

My advice is to be grateful for small successes but keep dreaming big and aim for the stars.

How to use ClickFunnels

I mentioned above that almost everyone used to build their eCommerce store from scratch. Despite tools and platforms, that’s still largely the case.

I suppose most people like doing things the hard way and that’s their right. But, you can do it much easier and faster.

People don’t know any better and bang their heads against the wall trying to crack eCommerce secrets. Your advantage is that you have ClickFunnels and can simply get inspired by their success, gather data and experiment faster than them.

You simply visit any number of your competitors and analyze the way they’ve set up their pages. You might even buy a product from their store or subscribe to their newsletter.

Do it while using some Firefox extensions, such as Ghostery. When you visit any website with Ghostery, it shows exactly the kinds of tracking technology used and also blocks it so you don’t out yourself.

Visit 15, 20 or a 100 competitors, figure out what they’re all using and use it as well. This isn’t a foolproof system and it doesn’t give you total independence but it will work for starters.

SEMrush and Google Trends are two more free tools, this time used to analyze keywords. By peppering your store page with the right keywords, search engines know what you’re selling and send traffic your way.

The same idea applies to e-mails. Subscribing to a ton of newsletters lets you figure out what your competitors are using; what works for them will likely work for you too.

Use that data you’ve gathered to make a theory, test it on your store page and see the results. From my personal experience, that’s the best possible way to use ClickFunnels because it gives you the most leverage in eCommerce.

What is ClickFunnels’ biggest benefit?

In my opinion, it’s flexibility. I can jump in and adapt whatever template to whatever need arises.

No matter what happens in the market, I can always adapt to it and keep going. When I want to move to another tool, I can use the skills honed in ClickFunnels and vice versa.

There is a learning curve to ClickFunnels but that is smoothed out by the training resources. If I were starting ClickFunnels anew today, I’d devour all the manuals and tutorials.

They are a treasure trove of info on how to do eCommerce and can also prepare the user for writing, programming and so on.

ClickFunnels to me feels like a big digital sandbox. I can play in it without worrying about cost or side effects.

I think that’s the best way to teach yourself any new skill — have a big, open space where you can have fun and experiment.

I’d be remiss not to mention how ClickFunnels is great for the elderly or others who aren’t digital natives. They too can join in, learn useful skills and potentially spend their time productively.

ClickFunnels Pricing

As of December 2020, there are two pricing plans:

  • Basic at $97 a month
  • Platinum at $297 a month

The main difference is in scale. The Basic plan has about half the features I listed here and is limited to 20 funnels, 100 pages and 20,000 visitors a month.

Over that cap, your funnels get a “made with ClickFunnels” affiliate badge, from which you earn no commission. You also miss out on those nuanced e-mail and affiliate features I mentioned above, such as Backpack.

The Platinum plan gives you all features, total customization across them and lifts all caps.

You have a 14-day free trial, which I warmly recommend.

ClickFunnels Conclusion

Now you have a glimpse of how to use Clickfunnels to get involved in eCommerce. There’s so much more to learn there, so think big and dream bold.

Many people I talk to think eCommerce is fishing for minnows in the kiddie pool but it’s actually going for the leviathan. Since there are sharks out there, you will need a bigger boat.

In my heart of hearts, I feel that eCommerce is the next big thing. Just like with every big thing, it’s going to go ignored for quite a bit before it enters the mainstream.

If you wait that long, you’ll have to claw your way into the arena just to get a chance to prove yourself.

Get involved right now and start learning, reading and testing things out. Try out the 14-day free trial and get on the monthly plan that suits you.

Disclosure: I am an independent ClickFunnels Affiliate, not an employee.  I receive referral payments from ClickFunnels.  The opinions expressed here are my own and are not official statements of ClickFunnels or its parent company, Etison LLC.


Disclaimer: Thank you for reading this article and I hope you got some value from it. I just want to make you aware that some of the links on this website are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally use and believe will add value to my readers.