Just last week, I decided to completely cancel my Click Funnel account + leave the software for the foreseeable future.
So what happened? Click Funnels is easily the #1 top of mind software when someone thinks of funnels. I see it being recommended in forums, in Facebook groups, in subreddits… pretty much, in most places around the web where people are talking about funnels.
If you’re part of the Click Funnels Facebook group, you know it has a cult-like following – thanks, in part, to the massive amount of content its founder Russell Brunson has been putting out there year after year.
I own both of his books and, once upon a time, bought his core funnel training program. He puts out great content. Up until just recently, even I promoted Click Funnels as my chosen funnel tool. So what changed?
The simple answer is: I needed more and better functionality for my funnel flows.
The problem, for me, is this: Click Funnels isn’t the best funnel tool for a growing digital business.
Though, I’ve enjoyed how fast + easy it is to build landing pages, I’ve been unhappy with several aspects of the platform for a while. My top 3 biggest pain points were:
#1. It’s not possible to manage products + services from one central dashboard. You have to recreate products in every single funnel you build. So if you decide to change the price of product X. You have to go modify every single funnel. This is a time suck if you build or manage many funnels. And it’s easy to miss something.
#2. It’s not possible to control “stock” or create discount codes… or do the basics that a typical cart would do. That means, if you’re selling anything not available in unlimited quantities, you need to keep a close eye on your funnel to make sure you don’t sell out while still accepting orders.
#3. The email automation is primitive compared to other tools available. There’s no tagging or visual automation builder. You can’t build sophisticated automations. And the contact profiles are poorly designed, making it more difficult to find information. You’ll be hunting for every bit of info you collect with a custom form field.
Sure, it was a super easy-to-use landing page builder. But it’s lacking in every other aspect.
For the past year or so, I’ve not seen any visible add-ons in functionality. That’s a problem because I’ve seen other landing page builders doing exactly the opposite. They’re constantly innovating to add more and more functionality to what their tools can do.
That means, for users like me, it’s becoming easier and more imperative to leave CF for a better tool stack that supports a growing digital business.
- you’re building affiliate funnels, and all you need to set up is landing pages with affiliate links…
- you don’t need to process orders…
- you don’t need to setup sophisticated email automations…
- you’re only selling a few digital products with unlimited quantity…
… You can use other tools to do the same things (often better) for cheaper. And especially…
If you’re building a digital empire, you’re going to need more than Click Funnels can give you:
I’m always trying + experimenting with new tools. I’m looking for cost-effective, great functionality, and time-saving efficiencies. So, what does my new stack look like? Here’s what I’m using right now in place of Click Funnels:
For LANDING PAGES: WordPress + Divi
Divi is a WordPress theme sold by Elegant themes. And it uses a visual builder similar to Click Funnels. So it’s just as fast + easy to build pages – cheaper too.
The best part is: You can use the SAME Divi theme for both your website AND your funnel pages. That’s a 2-for-1 combo right there!
Not to mention, it comes with WAY more design functionality than CF. So, you can do a lot more with your pages design-wise.
Another big benefit is that you can build your landing + sales pages on your core domain – instead of a subdomain like CF requires. You get the benefits of the traffic + backlinks for SEO. Plus, it’s much easier to maintain your website + your funnels from one dashboard.
- Drag-and-drop visual builder
- More design options
- Integrated with your website in 1 dashboard
- One tool instead of 2
- Better for SEO
For EMAIL AUTOMATION: Active Campaign (AC)
I never liked Actionetics. For me, it wasn’t easy to visualize an automation. So if I wanted to send a more sophisticated email sequence, it wasn’t easy to set up.
I thought, “why use Actionetics when there’s so many great email automation tools out there?”
I chose Active Campaign for a few reasons, including the fact that it has a built in CRM. I know several other funnel builders who use Active Campaign also. But, I have business owner friends who prefer Convert Kit and Drip. Both of these are similar to AC but don’t offer CRM functionality.
Active Campaign also integrates nicely with Divi’s “email opt-in” module. Opt-ins are added automatically to my chosen list in AC. Divi also comes with a bunch of email service provider (ESP) integrations in addition to Active Campaign. So if you do decide to use Divi, you want to make sure it plays nicely with your ESP.
- Drag-and-drop automation builder
- Advanced segmentation + tagging
- Built-in CRM + sales automation (only available on some plans)
- Integrates with Zapier
For CHECKOUT: Shopify lite ($9/mo)
The two things I’m selling right now with funnels are productized services + digital products. For a checkout/cart solution, I needed the ability to manage my digital products easily from a central dashboard. And for productized services, I needed to be able to control quantity, since I can only fulfill so many of these service per month.
I can do neither of those things currently in Click Funnels.
I tried probably about 20 different shopping cart platforms + plugins. The best solution I found was Shopify Lite.
It’s not a full store. I don’t need that yet. What the lite plan gives you is an inventory management system + secure checkout with the ability to embed those products into your regular site. I know most people associate Shopify with physical products, but it can be used for digital products + services too.
- For digital products, just install the free Digital Downloads Shopify app, so you can add downloadable files to your shop items. Then disable shipping.
- For productized services, you can control your stock. I make a certain number available every month. After they’re all sold, they’re out of stock until the next month.
Embedding Shopify products into a Divi site is easy. The theme comes with a “code” module that you just drag + drop into your landing page. You copy + past the code from Shopify’s “buy button”.. And voila, you’ve just integrated your product into your site – shopping cart + all.
As long as you can embed code into your landing page tool, this should work for you too.
- Control stock for productized services
- Secure checkout via Shopify
- Manage all your offers from one place
- Create discount coupons
- Generate a code I can plug directly into my Divi landing page
For FORMS: Typeform
You can create forms with Click Funnels. But it can be hard to find the responses in your contact record. It’s just not built for ease.
Since I run a service-based business, forms are a huge part of the workflow. Intake forms for different services, funnel detail forms, productized service forms, feedback forms, and so on.
The best form tool I’ve found is Typeform. It integrates seamlessly with my landing pages. Again, with Divi’s “code” module, I keep everything on my site by embedding the form directly into the landing page.
This reduces the number of steps a client needs to take because the form’s already on the page. Plus, it means you can tailor your forms to different services easily.
- Looks amazing
- Advanced functionality
- Generate code I can embed into landing pages
To connect everything else: Zapier
Zapier is a must-have when building funnels. Though lots of tools integrate, they don’t all do exactly what you want. Enter Zapier, the ultimate connector.
(Side note, whenever I decide to buy a new tool, I make sure it works with Zapier. If it doesn’t, you’re going to create a lot of manual work for yourself.)
I use zaps to:
- Transfer info to Active Campaign when they submit a Typeform
- Add a contact in Active Campaign when they purchase something from Shopify (requires a paid Zapier account)
- Trigger an Active Campaign automation when they purchase something from Shopify (requires a paid Zapier account)
There’s so much more you can do with Zapier. This is the bare minimum I need for my tools to “talk to each other”.
- Helps other tools talk to each other
“But what about the cost? Isn’t it cheaper to use 1 tool?”
Spoiler alert! This isn’t just about functionality. It’s about more functionality at a lower cost. Let’s break down the numbers.
|Tool||Free Version||Per year|
|Click Funnels full suite||no||$2997|
|Divi||no||$89 (or $249 one-time for lifetime access)|
|Active Campaign, for 1000 contacts, no CRM||no||$276|
|Zapier (must have paid account to integrate with Shopify)||yes||$240|
Click Funnels: $2997 / year
My stack, with free Typeform – $713/year
My stack, with paid Typeform – $1013/year
FYI, Depending on your form needs, you might can use the free Typeform account. But you will need a paid Zapier account to integrate with Shopify.
My stack is less than half the cost of Click Funnels with drastically more functionality.
Note, this doesn’t factor in a referral program. CF comes with Backpack built in. I don’t have a referral tool in my stack because I don’t need one.
Also note, the more contacts you collect in Active Campaign, the more this gap narrows. For example, if I had 25,000 contacts in Active Campaign, the cost of email automation would be $2148 per year.
With all the other paid plans listed above, the total cost per year of my stack would be $2885 per year, which STILL comes in lower than the CF full suite. You’d only start to pay more when you cross the 25K contact line.
The point I’m trying to make is:
With Click Funnels, I’d be paying more money per year for less than half the functionality I could put together with other tools.
That perfectly sums up why I canceled my CF account and moved on to a full funnel stack: more functionality at half the cost.
Does this mean you should go cancel your Click Funnels account right now?
Um. No. Not necessarily. What you need in your business may be very different from what I need in mine. You have to do your due diligence.
I always try to bring the #realtalk, #nohype. Because in the online funnel space, there’s a lot of hype. And it’s easy to get swept up.
Just like there’s a lot of cult-like adoration around Click Funnels as the “best” tool for building funnels. But more and more funnel builders, including myself, are leaving CF in search of better tools.
And we’re finding them.
If you think CF may not be the best for you…. Or if there’s some functionality you know you’re missing, I recommend going through the same process as I did above:
- List out the functionality you need
- Find the right tools
- And break down the costs
What makes the most sense for you? Click Funnels or something else?