At BitsFromBytes, we’re all about helping you get the most out of the services available to you on the internet, especially if you run a business.
Today, we’re going to focus on the best offerings in a separate but related area: sales funneling.
The concept of a “sales funnel” existed before commerce started to be conducted on the internet. It describes the multi-stage process by which a seller guides a customer from potential buyer to repeat client.
Starting at the “awareness phase,” when the customer realizes they want or need a product or service, and moving to the “interest phase” when the whole range of competitors is open to them, the aim of a seller is to “funnel” the customer toward their own services and products.
Enter the internet, and suddenly the interest phase has gotten a whole lot more cutthroat. In the e-commerce environment, a customer can click to your sales landing page, decide they don’t want anything and leap out of the sales funnel without even the minor embarrassment of having to be seen leaving a store.
What’s the solution? Well, you could build an amazing series of landing pages, squeeze pages, upsells, downsells, webinars, and the rest of the jargons that make up a sales funnel all by yourself…or you could trust it to software-as-a-service (SaaS).
And let’s face it– there are so many options out there, I really can’t think of a reason you wouldn’t pick the option that gets you some professional help.
If you’ve done even a bit of research on this particular kind of service, there’s no chance you haven’t heard of Clickfunnels.
Since being founded in 2014, Clickfunnels has grown to boast over 70,000 subscribers and aims to offer an all-in-one solution for building sales funnels for any industry.
On their own landing page, they claim the product will help with everything from B2B sales to marketing your e-books, through a comprehensive suite of services including a simple webpage editor for funnels, a shopping cart for upselling, webinar support, social media integration, lead generation, and email management.
In short, they’re the Squarespace of sales funneling: the option for the person who doesn’t want to code, with the versatility offered through a wide range of affiliates.
Yet honestly, for many business owners, Clickfunnels might feel a bit like taking a rocket ship to the grocery store. You don’t necessarily need all the options they throw out, especially with the $300 price tag to access them.
So what’s to be done if you want a sales funnel service, but don’t want the overkill of Clickfunnels?
Read on for a list of the best ClickFunnels alternatives we’ve found on offer in 2019, organized by general type (page editor, checkout editor, WordPress Plugin, complete sales funnel, complete CRM).
For each, we’ll run down the features, decide who it’s the best option for, list some pros and cons, and go over the pricing, plans, and free trials on offer.
Skip to the end for a quick reference about which service is best for what kind of customer.
Focused Page Editors
Leadpages is the king that Clickfunnels dethroned. As one of the internet’s very first lead generation services, Leadpages started out with the singular focus of helping you build the perfect landing page–in contrast to Clickfunnels, which is all about uniting the entire sales funnel under a single service.
Leadpages is the kind of Squarespace-like editor that’s meant to help business operators who don’t want to code their web backends and centers around a flexible drag-and-drop landing page editor.
As Leadpages makes clear on their own blog, their service isn’t a comprehensive customer relationship manager–it won’t, for example, drive up visitor numbers for your product blog, or serve as an email list manager.
Instead, Leadpages and other landing page services are about generating email addresses to put on your list. Think of it as a “middle layer” for creating a loyal and reliable sales base.
So long as you don’t expect Leadpages to be something it’s not, you’ll find a strong suite of features for your landing page.
Two standout examples are Leadboxes, an opt-in form that can gather addresses even on other sites (say if you’re marketing your product through a third-party blog or directly from a Facebook page), and Leaddigits, which gathers email subscribers via text message.
Who is it for? Business owners with a plan for getting visitors to their website, and a plan for making the most of leads once they’re generated, who just need a little bit of help with step two.
- Two different landing page editors depending on your level of design expertise
- Includes webinar integration and popup generation
- Integrates with popular email management systems such as MailChimp
- Wide variety of templates
- Very affordable pricing
- Not a complete sales funnel–no mailing list management or e-commerce
- Fewer features than many other products
- Integration is not consistent across all webinar platforms
Pricing: All these prices are monthly fees billed annually.
- Standard ($25/month): This affordable tier includes unlimited landing pages, lead analytics, and 200 free funnel templates including mobile-responsive options; however, you can only connect one domain.
- Pro ($48/month): Allows three domains, plus access to text-message opt-in and e-mail trigger links.
- Advanced ($199/month): For marketing agencies. Includes 5 pro subscriptions, 50 connected domains, extra text opt-ins, and advanced integrations.
Free trial? 14 days.
Another focused landing-page builder that aims to optimize design and performance on the first thing your prospective customers will see. Unbounce’s editor is designed to combine ease of use with freedom and comes with an impressive library of features.
In the builder, which is mobile friendly and includes dynamic text, you can add targeted convertibles to hit your prospects at the perfect moment. Feel free to start with a battle-tested template, or build your own.
Outside of the builder itself, Unbounce offers a suite of testing and analytics tools to ensure the best possible conversation rate and prides itself on strong customer support.
Not trying to be an all-in-one solution, Unbounce doesn’t do much outside its area–don’t expect email subscriptions or a shopping cart/checkout anywhere as smooth as what you could get from SamCart. But it integrates well with programs that do, like mail managers and CRMs like Salesforce and HubSpot.
How does Unbounce’s builder stack up against the similar features offered by Clickfunnels and Leadpages?
It doesn’t have quite as many features, but since many people look for alternatives to Clickfunnels precisely because it’s overkill for lots of businesses, this might not even be a bad thing.
As one final point in Unbounce’s favor, it’s been trusted by several powerful brands, including The New York Times, New Balance, and Vimeo.
Who is it for? A similar market as Leadpages: business owners who can use other marketing methods to get customers to their landing pages, and to shepherd them down the rest of the sales funnel.
Compared to Leadpages, Unbounce is better for owners who don’t want to get quite as deep into the weeds.
- Friendly landing page editor with a wide variety of templates, which can also be easily customized
- Features like A/B testing and targeted convertibles drive up click rates
- Easy to integrate
- The price compares very well to Clickfunnels
- Landing pages only
- Not all builder features are intuitive to apply
Pricing: Opting for annual billing grants a 20% yearly discount.
- Essential ($79/month): 75 landing pages, 8 popups
- Premium ($159/month): 150 landing pages, 16 popups, premium integrations
- Enterprise ($399+/month, varies based on traffic): Custom-built to your business’s needs
Free trial? 14 days.
Instapage has a reputation as the sophisticated user’s landing page builder. While it offers a feature set that easily competes with Unbounce, Leadpages and the suite of WordPress options, what truly sets this service apart is its focus on analytics.
You might have heard of the “heatmap” feature that shows how much activity happens on each part of your page, allowing you to tell which of your links are drawing clicks and which are underperforming.
Instapage also comes with strong A/B testing and other conversion analytics–almost all of which are available on their core subscription.
Outside of analytics, the rest of the service is competitive. Subscribers enjoy over 200 templates, useful widgets, and “Instablocks,” a tool that saves parts of landing pages to reuse later.
This blog post offers a useful guided tour of how the landing page builder actually works and demonstrates that it’s got a “true drag and drop” design: you don’t have to fit your objects to a pre-defined grid.
Instapage’s huge template selection and innovative analytics alone are enough to make it stand out in the page builder-centric market where it competes with Leadpages and Unbounce.
It’s a touch more expensive, but that’s reflected in what you get.
And, as is standard for this space, you won’t get a shopping cart, checkout page, or email subscription service here–nor will Instapage do the legwork to get people to your landing page for the first time. That’s still got to come from you.
Who is it for? Business owners who have marketing and lead management down and need a landing page solution to bridge that gap, and who are real data geeks or practiced at leveraging analytics.
- True drag-and-drop page builder
- Sophisticated analytics
- Tied with Leadpages for the widest range of templates on the market
- Unlimited A/B testing from the basic plan
- Does not handle initial marketing, checkout, or lead management
- Not many images included with templates
- Slightly more expensive than competitors in the same service
- Core ($129/month, $99/month if billed annually): Includes builder, Instablocks, analytics, and integrations
- Enterprise (custom pricing): All core features plus collaboration, and professional services including a personal Customer Success Manager
Free trial? Core plan for 14 days.
Checkout Page Editors
Another service competing to be the best in its own niche, SamCart focuses on what happens at the end of the sales funnel: the purchase stage.
All the sleekly-designed squeeze pages and witty email campaigns in the world won’t do you any good if your customers run into a bottleneck right before they actually give you their money.
SamCart comes to the rescue by offering arguably the smoothest shopping cart solution on the web.
Their shopping cart looks good, feels good to build, and is quick and easy to use. Features allow you to upsell, downsell, and create gateways to and from your sales and checkout success pages (especially if you use WordPress).
And its focus on integrating easily with other major services means you won’t really miss the things SamCart doesn’t nail in its quest to own the shopping cart world.
Much like Leadpages, don’t expect SamCart to be something other than what it is. It’s not a tool for landing pages, though you can build it into a stack with Leadpages or something similar, and while it does have a funnel builder, it’s not very well-supported.
We’d also be remiss not to mention the lack of an Add to Cart feature, meaning customers can’t buy more than one item at a time. But if you want a service that’s going to help you always be closing, SamCart is not to be overlooked.
Who is it for? Business owners who want to make sure they convert shoppers into loyal return customers instead of losing them with a clunky checkout experience.
However, without the ability to buy multiple items at once, it’s far better suited for subscriptions or services than physical products.
- Does one thing very well: shopping carts and checkouts
- Easy integration with other parts of your online business, including sales pages, email managers, and payment gateways
- Upsell and downsell options
- High retention rate
- Non-cart features like funnel creator don’t hold up
- Does not automate or handle email lists
- Customers can’t buy more than one item at a time
- The basic plan offers poor value
- Basic ($19/month): Up to five products, includes SamCart marketing and processing fees
- Pro ($99/month): Removes processing fees and branding, includes access to full template library, adds upsell/downsell features
- Premium ($199/month): Adds recurring payment assistance and the Affiliate Center
Free trial? 14 days.
We've written a complete review of SamCart if you're interested to find out more.
WordPress Sales Plugins
Yes, it’s a WordPress plugin, but given that as of 2018 WordPress powered 27 percent of the entire internet, that really shouldn’t be turning anybody off at this point.
OptimizePress is not just a sales funnel and landing page plugin for WordPress, it’s the original king of WP sales plugins and has recently fended off charges of growing dated by rolling out a highly anticipated version 3.0.
No longer able to coast on being the only product in its space, OptimizePress 3.0 has buckled down on high-performance pages with short load times, and an editor that works to streamline performance by eliminating distracting popups from the UI.
Their feature options, while not as extensive as BuilderAll’s (almost nobody’s are), range widely from landing pages to blogs, memberships, and webinars.
The end result of all this is that OptimizePress claims 4.5 million conversions per year (that’s 4.5 million people visiting its landing pages and opting into something).
On their website, they state that this is because their landing pages are tested and optimized for the easiest possible opt-ins. It’s a good tool to have on your side, especially if you’re already powered by WordPress.
Who is it for? Small businesses on budgets, and anybody who’s comfortable with the WordPress ecosystem.
- Wide variety of features across the sales funnel
- Focus on short load times and ease of design
- A flexible set of templates
- Some of the sector’s best customer service
- Does not always respond well to mobile
- Requires WordPress
- Can’t easily be used with other WordPress themes
Pricing: Each of these is a one-time charge that includes a year of updates and support. Future years cost $39 each.
- Core ($97): For solo entrepreneurs. Works on three websites and builds unlimited pages.
- Publisher ($197): Includes A/B split testing and an advanced elements library. Works on ten websites.
- Pro ($297): Works on thirty websites with features designed for professional marketers.
Free trial? None, but there’s 30-day money-back guarantee.
Thrive Themes is a sales-funnel WordPress plugin and an alternative to both Clickfunnels and OptimizePress. As always, your feelings about this will depend on your feelings about WordPress at large–on the one hand, you have to get a separate hosting service, but on the other hand, you get to have a separate hosting service. If you’re not comfortable about hosting on your SaaS for any reason, this can be a godsend.
Let’s get beyond the platform into the actual features. Starting with the content builder, we can see right away that the somewhat cobbled-together nature of Thrive’s service (it was originally several different plugins that were integrated together) hasn’t hurt it any.
Its drag-and-drop WYSIWYG editor, a large selection of templates, and ability to tinker with HTML and CSS lead to an experience friendly to all levels of design skill.
Other features that are available as either individual plugins or with the Thrive bundle include opt-in form creator Thrive Leads, split-testing Thrive Headline Optimizer, and Ultimatum, a clever little tool to drive up lead generation by creating a sense of urgency.
It’s also compatible with other plugins you’re likely to want on a commercial WordPress platform, such as WooCommerce.
Who is it for? WordPress users who want an alternative to older marketing plugins and who like the idea of being able to get certain services a la carte.
- A huge suite of features offered either individually or as a package
- An intuitive editor that circumvents a lot of what makes WordPress intimidating
- Save a lot of money on a similar service to Clickfunnels
- Tools focused on optimizing difficult spots like headlines
- Requires a WordPress platform and a separate hosting location
- Amount of plugins/features can lead to slowdowns and analysis paralysis
- Lacking in user support
Pricing: Both of these memberships offer access to the full suite of plugins (i.e. individual plugin prices should be researched separately). Quotes from Thrive’s website.
- Thrive Membership ($19/month): “Use all of our plugins & themes on 25 of your own websites.”
- Agency Membership ($49/month): “Use all of our plugins & themes on 50 of your sites and clients’ websites.”
Free trial? None.
Complete Sales Funnels
Welcome to the “ease of use” option. While Clickfunnels and BuilderAll are all about versatility and Leadpages laser-focuses on the landing page, 10 Minute Funnels has its own simple niche: faster creation, faster launching, and conversions that start right away. Shooting to be completely accessible even to business owners who are totally new to the online business world, 10 Minute Funnels has won a small but growing customer community.
Careful not pigeonhole it as the stripped-down option, though: the ease of use here comes not from a lack of features but from a deftly designed user interface that greatly appeals to people intimidated by the lengthy checklists online marketing requires in 2019.
Their code-free drag-and-drop designer can create mobile-responsive pages for use in every part of the funnel, and their templates have reportedly been tested in successful businesses.
If there’s a downside, it’s that 10 Minute Funnels is both younger and higher-priced than some of its competitors–you’ll need to shell out extra per month for that superior UI.
Being less established than Clickfunnels also means less access to that dedicated user community that can be critical to your success with any SaaS, though 10 Minute Funnels does offer dedicated professional support.
Who is it for? Anyone who wants to create an online sales funnel with as little headache as possible and doesn’t mind paying more for an easier experience. They can’t guarantee it will literally take 10 minutes, but it’s close.
- Intuitive, code-free design UI for all pages
- Pages are immediately mobile-responsive
- Complete hosting ensures speed and security
- Only two pricing levels with fewer restricted features
- Total functionality requires a more expensive plan
- Newer and less-tested
- Not set up for native advertising
- Premium ($97/month): Build up to 20 funnels and 100 total pages; includes 14 funnel templates and all 84-page templates
- Enterprise ($197/month): Build unlimited funnels and pages; access an additional 22+ funnel templates
Free trial? None, but a 14-day trial of either level is available for $1 (and if you can’t fit that into your budget, you’ve got bigger problems than your sales funnel).
Here we’ve got a newer program that’s aiming to be a total solution for online marketing. BuilderAll isn’t just a name–check out their landing page and you’ll see their ambition clearly.
This is a service that wants to help you build a website that’s synonymous with your business. They offer, at last check, 26 separate marketing tools, all on the cloud so you can work entirely within your browser.
These include dynamic landing pages, a full sales funnel, automation, analytics, and more.
Does Builderall collapse under the weight of all that ambition? The answer is murky. On the one hand, they are a new company still working out all the kinks and have already had to relaunch their service once because of all the bugs in their initial offering.
On the other hand, a range of features this massive is nothing to scoff at, and that relaunch actually did demonstrate that they’re sincerely committed to improving their product.
All in all, we’re looking at a complete, very affordable marketing solution, ideal for lovers of centralization, that is maybe more exciting for its future potential than for what’s on offer right now.
Who is it for? Business owners on a budget, or anybody who prefers having all their marketing in one place to messing with a snarl of integrations.
- One of the most complete marketing solutions available
- Unlimited pages and subdomains
- Very low price
- Trying to offer so many apps that none of them individually stand out
- Glitches still encountered even after re-launch
- No live chat support and less robust support in general due to smaller community
- Web Presence ($9.90/month): For subscribers who only need to build a business website, and will market it themselves or with another tool
- Digital Marketing ($29.90/month): Adds email and marketing features
- BuilderAll Business ($49.90/month): Additional access to BuilderAll tools and applications
Free trial? 7 days.
Pipedrive is a complete CRM solution that has lately been receiving a lot of positive attention, even winning some Expert’s Choice awards.
The crux of Pipedrive’s appeal is that it’s the fruit of a collaboration between developers and sales professionals, thus ensuring it’s something a sales team will be prepared (and excited) to use with minimal training.
Any salesperson can use it to capture new leads, manage lead relationships, make deals, close sales, or do anything else familiar to them from their career–whether they’ve been working offline, or cobbling together an online presence from emails, spreadsheets, and static pages, Pipedrive can up their game.
Workflow automation and broad customizability ensure your sales reps will save huge amounts of effort every day.
This is a lead-to-closure relationship manager that’s less focused on designing individual pages or shopping cart experiences, but at the same, is not trying to be as comprehensive as something like BuilderAll.
After its friendliness to sales teams, the big draw of Pipedrive is its affordability, which blows Clickfunnels’ value out of the water.
Like any good business system, it’s also simple to integrate, with its API easily serviced by Dropbox, MailChimp, Zapier, and the other popular elements in the modern sales stack.
Who is it for? Businesses working to keep track of a large and growing customer base, especially if they’ve got a large sales team or a number of reps who have never used a CRM before.
- Built by salespeople, for salespeople
- Vastly more affordable than Clickfunnels for a similar feature suite
- Complete and award-winning sales funnel management
- Lacks a sophisticated webpage builder
- Steps for individual product funnels can’t contain much information
- Customer service by phone is not supported
Pricing: Each of these plans features a 17% monthly savings if billed annually.
- Silver ($15/user/month): Includes pipelines, contact sync, reports, sales goals, web forms with Pipedrive branding
- Gold ($29/user/month): Adds sales automation. Also removes branding from web forms, and adds email sync, meeting scheduler, important field prompts
- Platinum ($49/user/month): Adds advanced forecasting and security, and team management tools
Free trial? 21 days with the promo code “IAMSMART”
Content is the word for Ontraport, which understands that no amount of sharp automation can substitute for content people want to read.
Because of that, their line of features looks less like Pipedrive or Copper more like a blogging platform like Wix, Weebly, or WordPress.org, with an array of content management choices you can use to build up your emails and landing pages.
From there, Ontraport branches out into a full business automation suite that leverages the potential of its unified marketing-sales platform.
The service aims to make personalized content easy by helping you sort your leads into segments based on demographics and engagement.
From there you can take that funnel directly to sales without missing a beat, ensuring every sales rep is showing every customer just what they want to see to build a stronger relationship.
Its CRM also does a good job of keeping a full team of users in sync.
Its list of integrations is also impressive, including pay gates and e-commerce stores. Ontraport also doesn’t stop at just hosting other services–if you’re selling online, it’s got native features to make that seamless, including order forms and upselling pathways.
Who is it for? Businesses looking to grow quickly, whatever size they are now.
- Content-focused automation pipeline lets you be sure you’re putting your best foot forward for customers
- Sales and marketing on a unified platform
- E-commerce integration
- Tracks high-quality leads for you
- No setup fees
- No free plan (though a longer free trial than most)
- Difficult-to-read reporting dashboard
- Text-based campaign builder might not appeal to visually-minded users
Pricing: Each of these includes unlimited emails.
- Basic ($79/month): 1,000 contacts, 1 user
- Plus ($147/month): 2,500 contacts, 2 users, setup services
- Pro ($297/month): 10,000 contacts, 3 users, postmaster consultation
- Enterprise ($497/month): 20,000 contacts, 5 users, account management
Free trial? 90 days.
Infusionsoft is working to position itself as the go-to CRM for small businesses. It’s got all the basic features you could ask for from any other service: contact and lead management, social media, email tracking, reporting, a mobile app.
But it builds on top of them with features focused specifically around growth. You can think of it similarly to Wishpond, with less focus on creative customization and a lot more on nurturing every lead into a reliable returning customer.
The gambit of building for the SME segment of the market seems to be paying off so far: as far back as 2015, Infusionsoft boasted 25,000 customers for a total of 87,000 people using its service.
They also boast a lot of good reviews on their site, where they tout an average 24 percent increase in customer retention and 28 hours saved each month.
Too good to be true?
The only way to answer that is to consider your business’s needs against the features Infusionsoft offers. For growth, they’ve got automatic lead capture and manual tagging, plus analytics.
Along with automating marketing emails, their platform includes a coordinated sales workflow, and–in a strong move–e-commerce capability, allowing you to create a storefront complete with payment platform right there on your CRM.
Who is it for? As their web presence tries to make clear, small or medium businesses who see a well-leveraged CRM as their ticket to growth.
- Relatively affordable, especially compared to documented ROI
- Tools focus on lead management for SMEs
- Single platform for all sales and marketing workflow
- Mobile app
- Purchase requires a mandatory $1,999 kickstarting program
- Third-party integrations aren’t a priority
- Less flexible and customizable than competitors
- Essentials ($199/month): Contact management and marketing automation; 2,500 contacts, 12,500 emails, 3 users
- Deluxe Sales ($299/month): Adds sales automation to Essentials; 5,000 contacts, 25,000 emails, 4 users
- Deluxe e-Commerce ($299/month): Adds e-commerce to Essentials; 5,000 contacts, 25,000 emails, 4 users
- Complete ($379/month): All features, 10,000 contacts, 50,000 emails, 5 users
- Higher-scaled plans available on direct request
Free trial? 14 days.
12. Copper CRM
Formerly known as ProsperWorks, Copper is a customer relationship manager focused on time-saving automation and building a holistic view of the customer.
While the rebrand might make people suspicious, rest assured it’s just because they wanted to focus more on working with the G-suite.
The rebranding didn’t hurt Copper’s ability to serve as a friendly gateway CRM, and the Google integrations, for the most part, make a sleeker solution for minimizing data entry in the sales process.
As one example of how it pursues its goals, once customer data is entered into Copper, it will automatically search online for further data and add it to the customer’s file.
Meetings or calls with that customer will immediately integrate with your email and calendar, and the process of developing that lead can be managed via a personal drag-and-drop pipeline.
This level of automation does require a bit more data mapping than some other services, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it, the time-saving flow is very rewarding.
So what doesn’t Copper do? Unfortunately, it doesn’t really make pages. It’s about relating to the customer once they’ve already been established as a sales lead, not about getting them in the door (or cleanly out again with a checkout page).
If you decide on Copper, it’s best to get a dedicated service like Unbounce or Instapage to help build your user experience.
Who is it for? Companies who are largely powered by the Google ecosystem and who want to grow their business and save time for their sales team.
- Automation is very successful at cutting down on wasted time
- Wide range of integrations with other services, both in and out of G-suite
- Welcoming to sales reps
- Not a page builder
- Can be expensive, and the Basic plan doesn’t include flagship automation options
- Database mapping can be cumbersome when initially adopting
- Basic ($19/month/user): Integration with entire G-suite, 3 email templates, 1 bulk send, basic analytics, 30,000 database records
- Professional ($49/month/user): Adds workflow automation; allows 10 templates and bulk sends, advanced analytics, extra integrations including MailChimp, Quickbooks, HubSpot, and Zendesk; 100,000 records
- Business ($119/month/user): Unlimited email templates and bulk sends, 500,000 records, embedded integrations
Free trial? Any plan for 14 days.
Conclusion & Which Software Should You Buy?
Decisions about software subscriptions should always be based on your personal/business requirements and make sure to remember the ‘popular option' isn’t always the right one for you. If you’ve decided Clickfunnels costs too much or has too many bells and whistles for your needs, here’s a quick reference for out recommended ClickFunnels alternatives.
If you’ve got a way to lure in customers but don’t have a funnel to lead them into when they arrive at your page, go with 10 Minute Funnels for a quick solution or BuilderAll for a comprehensive one. You could always grab out free sales funnel templates here too.
If you need a strong shopping cart that won’t bottleneck your customers, pick SamCart.
Good luck boosting your sales and growing your business in 2019–and if you’ve got a favorite subscription service we didn’t mention, share it in the comments!