If you've heard the phrase, "websites are dead, and sales funnels are the way to go" then you probably want to know how to build your first sales funnel the right way and that you're probably looking for the best sales funnel software right now
I've worked with almost all of the landing page builders and sales funnel software available today.
And I've had the first-hand experience in using and creating sales funnels in almost all of them.
My goal in this article is to help you decide which software to use for creating your sales funnels.
My criteria for choosing the best sales funnel software in 2019
- Years in business - How long have the software been around. Generally, the longer it is, the more stable the software has become. We also want to make sure that it's been updated with the changes in technology and web updates.
- Benefits and Unique Selling Proposition - We also want to make sure that it has the features and benefits that are truly beneficial in building an online business. What is it's unique selling proposition? What makes it unique than the other sales funnel software out there?
- All in one solution - Does it provide alternative solutions to most of the software needed to run a successful sales funnel? Or do you still need other tools and software to "glue" all things together?
- Ease of use - Is it easy to use even for a beginner? Does it require advanced knowledge in web design, landing page design and sales funnel design in order to be able to launch something new?
- Affordability and Cost-effectiveness - lastly, how does the pricing compare with others? Is it cost-effective? What's the most practical solution for beginners?
What Are Sales Funnels?
A sales funnel is a collection of landing pages that includes a combination of opt-in pages, webinar pages, thank you pages, sales pages, membership pages, upsell pages, etc where the common goal is to drive people into a series of steps that turns people into website visitors, then into leads, and then into customers.
Sales funnels have been around ever since man learned how to sell something. We might just not know it. One of the best analogies around the difference between a website and a sales funnel is when you look at a local store.
A website is kinda like a store employee that waits around for new customers to come in. Once they are in your store, they passively wait for people to "ask them" around. If people leave the store without purchasing anything, they'll probably not even notice.
On the other hand, a "sales funnel" is kinda like your top-performing sales agent. When you have your top "sales guy/gal" in the store, there's a huge influx of sales. It's because you're top salesperson does this. When people enter your store, they are immediately greeted with a warm welcome by your top salesperson. They ask the potential customer, how they are and compliments them, and helps find out what they need. Your top salesperson then directs the potential customer to the right path based on what they are looking for, and finally, your top salesperson helps close the sale by making the shopping experience a personalized one.
I hope that analogy makes sense. A sales funnel is focused on "ONE THING" and usually that is to get a sale, and maximize the potential revenue from a customer. A website, on the other hand, has MILLIONS of OPTIONS that usually just distracts the lead into becoming a customer.
How do I create an online sales funnel?
Today, you'll learn what's needed to create a highly effective sales funnel. In order to be able to launch your sales funnel, you'll need to have the following:
- You need to have an Offer to promote - An offer is not the same as a product. A product is a tangible piece, product or service that you provide. An offer is an irresistible package of the product that entices that person to buy it from you.
- You need to be able to have the right COPY and messages in each part of your sales funnel - Writing copy is where a lot of people gets stuck as they don't know what messages to put in each part of their sales funnel. I'll show how you can create copy for your funnels even if you're not a copywriter or hiring an expensive one.
- You need to use a sales funnel software to help build your sales funnels - We'll dive deep into the top 5 sales funnel software available today and let you decide what's best for your particular needs
Top 3 Sales Funnel Software in 2019
I've been using these sales funnel software and landing page builders ever since they've launched. And it's interesting to see who is the market leader nowadays and why. So let's get started with the #1 sales funnel software in 2019 and why it's #1
Russell Brunson is arguably the world's most famous person when it comes to "sales funnels".
What I've liked about his take on sales funnels is that he "drinks" his own "kool-aid" which means he has literally built his entire business on sales funnels and that he has used Clickfunnels in his business. Something that some of the other competitors are not doing.
Because of that, he "knows" what's working and he added those inside Clickfunnels. If it's a feature in Clickfunnels, you know that it's something that's working for a sales funnel. If you want a more in-depth review of Clickfunnels, click to read my review.
But let's quickly assess how Clickfunnels stack to my 5 criteria:
Years in business - Clickfunnels is less than 5 years old, but it has already gone from $0 to $100 Million in just 3 years, something that a lot of its competitors were not able to do. In fact, the opposite is happening, where the previous top software are losing ground.
Benefits and unique selling proposition - Obviously, Clickfunnels is NOT the most advanced sales funnel software out there. It doesn't have the latest bells and whistles, but as I've mentioned before, if it's something that's not included in Clickfunnels, it's probably a vanity feature and not a necessary one. Probably the biggest benefit of using
Clickfunnels is that it has a track record of helping launch some of the most profitable sales funnels on the planet. It can handle a funnel that can generate leads, but it can also handle funnels that can bring in millions of dollars in revenue.
Another unique selling proposition of Clickfunnels is that it has Russell Brunson. Russell has created a movement and a community of "Funnelhackers" and that's something that no competitor will be able to compete with because there is only one Russell Brunson and one true "Funnelhacker" community.
All in one solution - When you get at least the $297/mo plan on Clickfunnels, you'll get an all-one-solution that you can use to replace ALL if not most of what you need for marketing online. You'll be able to replace :
- Website Hosting - You'll be able to host unlimited pages, unlimited traffic
- Landing page software - You'll be able to build unlimited landing funnels
- Email software - You'll be able to send unlimited marketing emails
- Membership software - You'll be able to replace your membership software
- Webinar software - You'll be able to run automated and live webinars
- Popup software - You'll be able to run exit and timed popups
- Sales pages - You'll be able to take online payments
- Upsells - You'll be able to sell more with upsells
- Affiliate marketing software - You'll be able to manage affiliates
- CRM - You'll be able to see a person's marketing activity and social profiles within the platform
- Sharefunnels - You'll be able to share your funnels and designs in one-click
If you're not planning to use all of the benefits of features of Clickfunnels, just the email software (which you'll always need) is already worth it if you have thousands of email subscribers.
The other competitors are usually low priced when getting started, but ramps up the pricing once you hit more than 5K subscribers. With the $297/mo Clickfunnels plan, there's no subscriber limit to that. You can have 5K or 500K subscribers and you'll pay the same amount to Clickfunnels monthly.
Ease of use - Generally, any website based software as a service is much easier to use than a self-hosted solution installed on your site like WordPress. It's because it's faster and doesn't need updates, configurations, etc. All you need to do is login and start building your sales funnels.
I'd rate the use of Clickfunnels as "very easy to use" especially with the ability to use "sharefunnels" which are one-click imports of any sales funnel template that you like. So if you don't want to design from scratch, you can definitely import an existing one and start working on it.
Affordability - The starting price for Clickfunnels is $97/mo without the Actionetics and the Backpack features. The Actionetics part includes the email marketing software, and the backpack features includes the Affiliate marketing software to help you recruit and manage affiliates. The $297/mo plan is the all-in-one package and the one that I recommend.
Let's talk about affordability. If you're starting an online business and if you have $0 revenue online, then spending $97 - $297/mo might be a big investment. But think of it this way. Not all the things that you spend on can make a return on investment.
Does your Netflix subscription give you a return on investment? Does your Cable TV subscription help you earn online? I believe that if you're serious in building your online business (which you should be if you want to succeed online), then you'll be able to find that money to invest $97/mo in your online business.
If you're already earning some revenue online and if you're not tied to using a particular software to build your online business, I strongly recommend that you replace ALL your marketing stack with Clickfunnels. You'll avoid headaches, integration is much faster and you'll be logging into ONE dashboard for your marketing business instead of logging into multiple ones.
Kartra was launched I think sometime in April of 2017. It's barely new but it's already getting a lot of traction. This software is from the guys who created EverWebinar and WebinarJam, two of the most popular webinar platforms today.
I'm putting it at number 2 because I believe it's a powerful alternative to those who don't want to use Clickfunnels or are looking for something different.
My Kartra assessment on the 5 criteria:
Years in business - Kartra is barely 3 years old, but the Genesis team including Mike Filsaime and Andy Jenkins has been around for quite some time in the internet marketing niche. I've promoted some of their products in the past.
Benefits and Unique selling proposition - When you look closely at Kartra and what Clickfunnels has to offer, it would seem that Kartra is more advanced and with more features, but are they features that are "necessary" or "nice to have"?
One of the features that I really like about Kartra is it's ability to import a "Done for you" Funnel which includes every funnel, email and marketing automation. I've only been able to access one "Done For You Funnel" by Frank Kern's book. It would be nice if they would have more "Done for You" Features templates inside Kartra.
All in One Solution - Just like Clickfunnels, Kartra has an all-in-one solution approach. Although you have to be careful and pick the right plan because there are different pricing tiers based on how many subscribers you'll have.
Ease of use - I'll be honest, it's not as user-friendly as I thought it would be when compared with Clickfunnels. The landing page builder looks and feels like an old WordPress visual page builder. So if you've used those before, you know how clunky it would feel. But because it's a hosted solution, with enough time and practice, you'll get used to it.
Affordability - When you choose the annual or bi-annual plans, you can get huge savings. But you can get started at $99/mo with a $1 trial for 30 days. Of course, if you want to build your online business, 30 days is not enough and it's just for barely getting started. Their pricing plan is in line with Clickfunnels and I think it's because they need to provide all of these features and bandwidth to existing and new subscribers. If they've priced it too low, I'll be concerned with the long term viability of this software.
I've been a Thrive Themes user since 2015, and have used their suite of WordPress plugins on almost all of my websites.
By far, the plugin that I've used the most is Thrive Architect. It's a WordPress plugin that's able to create landing pages which you can combine to create your own sales funnel.
My Thrive Architect assessment on the 5 criteria
Years in business - Shane Melaugh the guy behind Thrive Themes has been one of the top SEO marketers for quite a long time. He is the guy behind Hybrid Connect, another popular plugin that was now replaced by Thrive Leads (part of the Thrive Themes suite). The Thrive Themes suite has been around since 2014/2015 so it's been one of the oldest and most popular WordPress suite of plugins today.
Benefits and unique selling proposition - Just like Clickfunnels, the goal of Thrive Themes is to be your all-in-one solution for most of your WordPress needs. They have a lead generation plugin, a testimonial plugin, a commenting plugin, a countdown timer plugin, a split-testing plugin, and a widgets plugin.
All-in-one solution - When it comes to building sales funnels, you'll be able to use almost all of the plugins inside the Thrive Themes suite of plugins. You won't have full funnel tracking capabilities to measure traffic and conversion rates in each step of your funnel, but you can use funnel-mapping tools like Funnelytics PRO to do that. And you'll have to make sure that each step of the sales funnel connects to the right landing page. You'll also need to have a CART processor like ThriveCart to process payments and take orders online.
Ease of use - Since these are WordPress plugins, you'll need to know how to install, update and use WordPress. But once you know how to use WordPress, it's very easy to install and use these plugins.
There's also a Thrive University that contains a lot of information and knowledge bombs on how to build your online business and sales funnels.
Affordability - The annual cost of Clickfunnels and Kartra alone is around $1,000+ but with the complete annual membership of Thrive Themes, you'll only around $228 for the personal license or $588 for the agency license (if you want to build for client websites)
What's your favorite funnel software?
Now back at you, what's your pick? What are you using right now?
Let me know in the comments below.