The success of any online business startup largely depends on the marketing strategy adopted in the first two years of operation. Research shows that concentrating on selling the products or services at the expense of promoting your business idea is not healthy for your business in its early years. The use of marketing funnels has come a long way in bridging the gap between businesses and their potential or actual markets.
What Is A Sales Funnel?
With increasing competition in the business world, entrepreneurs are continually looking for ways to gain a competitive advantage over others in the market. This has led to creation of marketing funnels in an effort to influence the customer’s decision-making process past their initial interaction with advertisements.
A sales funnel consists of a number of steps to guide customers in making desired decisions:
- You first create a lead and share it on your page. Potential customers come to your landing page.
- On your landing page, you have an enticing offer which intrigues the visitors to sign up for your email updates.
- You then create a tempting sales message and mail it to the subscribers. The message can also be sent via text or postcards, depending on the CRM you are using.
- The potential customers open and read the emails, text or postcards in which you persuade them to purchase your goods.
- You continuously interact with the customers to create loyalty and encourage recurrent purchases.
There are very many sales funnels, and finding the right one to serve your specific marketing needs can be challenging at first. In this review, I am going to talk about what each program has to offer to help you better decide which sales funnel platform to go with between Ontraport and ClickFunnels.
For far too long, the building of funnels for digital marketing has been a preserve of coding experts. This not only made it quite expensive but also unavailable to small businesses. With ClickFunnels, you no longer need any coding expertise to build funnels for your business.
The platform has several affordable package options for sales funnel creation, building and sharing of landing pages. This web-based software has APIs for integration with other third party apps such as Ontraport, Infusionsoft, Twilio, Webinar, Stripe, Sendlane and ShipStation.
How ClickFunnels Works
ClickFunnels integrates all eCommerce business operations into one central platform. With a ClickFunnels account, you can access your online shops, landing pages, and website hosting, which is all integrated with the email autoresponder and payment options. This not only simplifies the shopping experience for customers but also increases the chances of turning prospects into actual paying buyers.
ClickFunnels allows you a grace period of a 14-day free trial during which you get to assess if it addresses your needs and identifies the potential benefits. Once this period elapses, you have the option to upgrade to either a Startup or Platinum package.
Both bundles are considerably affordable and vary in features and capabilities. Plans are also underway to introduce a third package, Users, which will enable subscribers to establish teams whose members also have admin and login rights.
ClickFunnels Pricing Plans
1. ClickFunnels Startup — This bundle, which costs $97 per month allows subscribers to connect their accounts with three domains. It gives you the ability to build up to 20 sales funnels per month. Each of these funnels can host a maximum of 100 landing pages and have three payment gateway connections.
2. ClickFunnels Platinum — This is an improved version of the Startup package with more features and capabilities. It costs $297 per month to access this bundle. With this option, you can build and share unlimited funnels from which you can generate infinite landing pages and connect them to up to nine domains and nine payment gateways.
Unlike in Startup, the Platinum package enables you to interact with customers even after they leave your sales funnels. Other improved features include extra training hours for new subscribers and the ability to participate in weekly peer review hackathons.
You can also opt for Funnel Hacks ($997 for six months), or Funnel Hacks One Year ($1997 for a year). Generally, ClickFunnels can be used by both Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
Main Features of ClickFunnels
1. Drag And Drop Editor
ClickFunnels drag and drop editor feature allows users to edit and customize various marketing templates to suit their campaigns. You can seamlessly select elements and move them to create desired outcomes for your pages.
2. Customizable Templates
In case you are new in the field of creating sales funnels, ClickFunnels offers diverse free or paid customizable templates. You choose and edit a suitable template from the available funnel options.
3. Affiliate Program
ClickFunnels has an affiliate program, awarding 40% commission for referrals, the commission is recurring. If you refer people to the affiliate program itself, you are entitled to a 2% commission up to the second tier.
Promotion of products like Expert Secrets or Dotcom Secrets books, or any other product in the ClickFunnels community also comes with 40% reward. Once you reach 100 active referrals, you stand a chance to win $500.
4. APIs Integration
ClickFunnels offers APIs integration with other third party and apps. Besides, it has internal capacity to integrate with among other apps Ontraport, Infusionsoft, Twilio, Webinar, Stripe, Sendlane and ShipStation. Currently, it does not offer multiuser capability teams.
ClickFunnels Actionetics is an automated emailing tool that generates emails to customers through the analysis of stored contacts and data from credit cards.
6. Customer Support
ClickFunnels has a dedicated ClickFunnels Help desk to help you with any issues that may arise. The customer support also helps with the creation of accounts for new subscribers, building funnels and making follow ups.
Ontraport can be described as a smart automated marketing tool. The software has many useful tools for online marketers and is not exclusive to big companies; it is equally popular with SMEs as it is with large scale enterprises.
Ontraport is an integrated platform that enables handling information management, tracking campaigns and marketing. It offers, among other features a powerful CRM, payment processing, post-card and email campaigns, WordPress connection and membership sites.
Since being launched back in 2008, Ontraport has gradually undergone improvements that have seen it win various accolades including Forbes Most Promising Companies listing.
How Does Ontraport Work?
Ontraport subscribers have the freedom to create their own marketing templates or opt for using available pre-designed ONTRAforms templates. For the latter, all you have to do is to key in your details – both text and pictures – into the templates, and they’ll be ready for publishing either as links, click-to-pop-up images or static forms.
The recently introduced lightbox pop-up allows you to customize when you want your message to show up. You can choose to have them popup once at specific time intervals or once the prospect has interacted with a certain percentage of the document. Once the message design is complete, you then share it with the Ontraport Community.
You also have the option to share your template designs with others either for free or at a cost. Prospects who have interacted with your campaign tools can later be reached out to through emails, postcards or SMS text messages. What’s more, most of these features are automated by the task management feature; this saves you time and energy.
The Ontraport Sales module enables effective monitoring of sales and subsequent generation of various reports that are vital in keeping track of the firm’s progress and prospects. The platform also has a Contacts feature where you can store email, phone numbers or credit card details for actual and potential customers.
Ontraport Main Features
1. Powerful CRM
Ontraport features a powerful CRM that is automated and centralizes all operations. Ontraport is the brainchild of Landon Ray, founder, and CEO, who conceptualized the idea in 2006 when he couldn’t get an automatic centralized CRM to manage a small business he was running back then. Ontraport CRM is pretty easy to upgrade and customize.
2. Marketing Tools
Besides automated email marketing, you can also use postcards on-demand with Ontraport. Customer engagement is made even more productive with the availability of two-way SMS text messaging services. Alternatively, you can engage your audiences through its recently introduced Facebook Connect Buttons and Facebook Custom Audiences.
3. Automated Campaign Workflows
The campaign builder is simple and completely visual, fashioned in the design of a flow-chart that you can easily follow through. In case of confusion in the process, subscribers are free to engage online training resources that are available on the platform.
4. WordPress Integration
Ontraport is value-priced. You can get your landing pages, WordPress integration, autoresponder, CRM and self-hosted order forms for less than a thousand dollars. If it suits you, there may be no need to have your site – Ontraport has the option of hosting your website as a subdomain.
5. Secure Open API Integrations
The platform has a powerful API that enables you to connect it to literally any software. Even without the API, subscribers can still secure integration among other third-party applications WISTIA, UltraCART, Twilio, Facebook, GoToWebinar and WordPress.
Ontraport has a wide range of subscription plans ideal for small, medium-sized and large business enterprises:
- Basic — Goes for $79 a month and allows only one user. You can save up to 1,000 contacts. This plan is complete with unlimited email templates, SMS texting message services, and Ontrapages. It is suitable for small scale enterprises.
- Plus — Costs $147 per month and allows two account users with a saving capacity of up to 2500 contacts. It comes with the benefit of free account setup and unlimited email templates — ideal for small to medium-sized firms.
- Pro — At a subscription fee of $297 each month, this plan grants you access to three account users and can store details of up to 10,000 contacts. Subscribers enjoy free email consultation and free account setup. You can also send unlimited emails. This plan can serve medium to large-scale businesses.
- Enterprise — Designed for large scale businesses and costs $497 per month, which is relatively cheap, given the potential returns on investment. With this plan comes five account users that can send a maximum of 200,000 emails every month. These accounts can store data for over 20,000 contacts. You are not charged for email consultations and your personal accounts are set up absolutely free of charge.
Just like ClickFunnels, Ontraport also offers a 14-day-free trial period, after which you have the option to upgrade to either of the above packages. In case you decide to cancel your subscription after the free trial phase, you can do so at no additional cost.
For all the bundles, there is no setup fee, and you will not be billed within the first two hours into the setup. It is worth noting that Ontraport cannot be used on mobile phones and contacts can only be uploaded in CSV file format.
The Bottom Line
Before making the final decision on which marketing tool to use between Ontraport and ClickFunnels, you should first assess the size of your marketing team as well as your business goals. When weighing the two options, I’d recommend settling for the most affordable platform that offers the most in terms of features.
Also important, consider the number of campaigns you plan to do and how your online business is going to be best managed.