ClickFunnels vs Systeme.io
Knowing what separates the two platforms is key before choosing one and investing the time and effort it takes to build the lead generation pages and sales funnels your business needs to grow online.
Here at Systeme.io, we’ve built a full-scale, online marketing suite for our customers, but we understand that different businesses require different features and services.
Knowing that ClickFunnels (or another lead and sales funnel suite) might be a better option for your current circumstances, we want to transparently lay out the pros and cons of how our platform compares to ClickFunnels.
We hope that at the end of this review, you will have all the information you need to make an objective assessment about which marketing suite is the best option for your business.
Let’s get started.
ClickFunnels celebrated its fifth anniversary at the end of September 2019. The self-proclaimed “fastest-growing non-venture backed software company in the world" celebrated with a big birthday bash that the company streamed live on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
This is not your traditional marketing software business. The company creates massive amounts of informational products as front-end lead magnets to sell their ClickFunnels software.
The CEO and co-founder, Russell Brunson, announced several big changes for their platform and pricing model during the anniversary celebration.
One of the biggest changes they announced will drastically impact both new and existing users—a new pricing tier. The new pricing for ClickFunnels Platinum will replace its enterprise service, which is currently $297 a month for users.
During the company anniversary, Russell also announced that the platform would refocus on being the “category king” (a concept from the book “Play Bigger”) by putting their focus into platform integrations with other leading marketing and sales services.
Here’s an example. For years, the company offered a service called Actionetics, which was developed around their email autoresponder.
The plan was for Actionetics and ClickFunnels to become their own email service provider (ESP) service. With the new strategy, Actionetics is being retired.
Instead, the company will point new users who need an ESP and autoresponder to mature services where they already have existing integrations (think MailChimp and SendGrid).
The rationale for this new strategic focus was born when Russell Brunson and his leadership team visited Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference last year.
Salesforce’s AppExchange has over 3,500 integrations for their marketing, sales, and service cloud computing platform today.
It appears that the team is attempting to emulate the cloud service giant’s strategy for its growing sales funnel company with more enterprise clients and work towards being the category king for the sales funnel category space.
We might have something to say about that here at Systeme.io.
The big announcement was the launch of Funnel Flix. It is a library of training for small business owners to learn how to market and sell products and services online.
It is paired with the Platinum pricing tier to help soften the new (high) price for funnel builders that need more funnels, pages, and contacts.
The other big announcement was that Russell Brunson apologized to users for recent app support response lag issues.
He stated that the company would open Support to expert users who would like to earn some extra money by solving Support tickets for $3 each.
More on that in a moment.
Let’s rewind for a moment and talk about the company's history.
ClickFunnels, launched in 2014, is landing page and sales funnel building SaaS software.
Co-founders Russel Brunson, Todd Dickerson, and Dylan Jones built the web-based platform to solve the marketing challenges most businesses face when building web pages and funnels.
Brunson is a self-proclaimed “non-techie” who says that the marketing platform was built with the goal of helping “free businesses from dependencies of web developers” to easily build sales funnels and landing pages.
The ClickFunnels platform is loaded with features and functionality.
As mentioned, ClickFunnels recently announced a change to its pricing tiers at its fifth-anniversary bash at the end of September 2019.
During that celebration, they launched the previously mentioned Platinum service, which includes training videos for business owners called Funnel Flix, paired with their Platinum level service.
The Platinum service will replace their existing Enterprise level for which users paid $297 a month.
This Platinum service will eventually cost users $697 a month, but those who choose to upgrade from their basic service at $97 a month will get everything for the $297-a-month price.
Existing enterprise users will get all the new features from the Funnel Flix upgrade added to their existing service at no extra charge.
Alternatively, Systeme.io offers three levels of service. Each plan is pay-as-you-go with no long-term commitment. Our Startup plan is $27 a month, Webinars is $47, and Enterprise is $97 a month.
By contrast, ClickFunnels meters their pricing tiers on a number of different, somewhat-complex options for users.
To determine which pricing plan you need, you will need to ask yourself a couple of questions.
How many custom sites do you need? How many contacts do you have today? Do you need to manage Affiliates? How many emails will you send? What about membership sites?
If you want to manage affiliates, you have to be on the ClickFunnels Platinum plan. At Systeme.io, we understand that affiliates help your business to grow, so it is included with all our plans.
The same is true for the number of emails you send. If you are using SendGrid with your ClickFunnels account as an autoresponder, there is an additional cost with ClickFunnels.
Unlimited emails are included in our plans.
Email services, combined with your funnels, are vital for any growing business.
You can build as many funnels as you like with Systeme.io. That is not the case with ClickFunnels. For unlimited funnels, users pay $297 a month.
Like Systeme.io, ClickFunnels comes with plenty of free sales funnel templates. They also offer premium templates that are available for purchase inside the platform.
Templates for both Systeme.io and ClickFunnels are organized based on the goal of your funnel.
Do you want to drive more leads through a squeeze page or landing page? For most, this is why you want a sales funnel in the first place—to drive more leads through opt-ins.
Both ClickFunnels and Systeme.io come with pre-made lead funnel templates that you can edit quickly and easily.
squeeze page templates
Maybe you need to create a webinar registration. As you might expect, Russell Brunson has created volumes of educational content for delivering the perfect sales pitch through webinars.
Systeme.io gets down to business by offering easy access to expert Webinar templates.
Paying 3X to 10X for content and services that you don’t need or want is bad for your bottom line.
If you are a small business owner just starting out, you only need a funnel or two. Signing up for ClickFunnels’ two-week trial is how everyone starts. You get the opportunity to test drive their software with their full feature set.
You will be required to pick one of their plans upfront ($97 or $297) and provide a credit card for future billing when signing up for their free trial.
Systeme.io also has a 2-week free trial—with no credit card required to begin. You can upgrade to one of the three paid tiers with Systeme.io at any time and without a long-term commitment.
The ClickFunnels platform is split into three main areas: Funnel Building, Email Responder/Follow-up Funnels(called Actionetics), and Affiliate (called Backpack) services. The last two are reserved as Platinum services.
The One Funnel Away (OFA) Challenge is not your typical customer software onboarding program. ClickFunnels uses the month-long OFA Challenge to educate new users about how to launch their first funnel.
In typical Russel Brunson fashion, they won’t just show you how to navigate the software and build out your funnel. Instead, it is about the compelling hook, story, and offer delivered through their software.
First and foremost, it begins with belief. Sometimes the greatest hurdle for small business owners new to online sales is overcoming a belief is, “Will this work for me and my business? How?”
Russell Brunson, Steve Larsen, and Julie Stoian answer those questions for challenge participants through a daily series of video training and homework.
The first week of the OFA Challenge is spent teaching users how to define their product offer and tell their story. The second week is about the marketing and presentation of the product. The final week is (finally) about building and launching a funnel.
The cost to do the challenge is $100.
Systeme.io has online video training and a growing community to help funnel builders get started right away, and at no cost.
The ClickFunnels affiliate service comes with features for users who want to offer a structured commission plan for other marketers and businesses who refer potential customers to their products and services.
Again, it’s only available to Platinum subscribers.
Systeme.io offers a similar Affiliate service for every user of our platform.
When someone refers a prospect who becomes a customer, it is nice to be able to reward them with a 40% commission (as an example) like the team at ClickFunnels does for their affiliates.
ClickFunnels offers a Bootcamp that helps new and existing affiliates get up to speed on managing the links that they will use on their digital marketing properties to refer customers to ClickFunnels.
Many companies simply slap an FAQ page on their site for self-service and offer chat and live support to their community. ClickFunnels delivers different levels of training.
There is a cost, however. That recent Affiliate Bootcamp was packaged with the successful “One Funnel Away Challenge” as a bonus for signing up and handing over $100.
Software platforms like Systeme.io deliver similar features and functionality without all of the extra products and services of marketing books, challenges, video marketing education, and the expense of live events.
The recent announcement of pricing at $697, up from $297 a month, seems like a signal that the business is moving away from new and small business owners to enterprise-like pricing that larger companies won’t hesitate to pay.
That will not be possible or practical for most small business owners.
With ClickFunnels, you definitely pay a premium for marketing education (whether you want/need it or not) and what we would call the “packaging” of their platform.
One of the things that Russell states during his OFA Challenge, on blogs, and from the stage, is that people will “pay more for the same product packaged in a different way.”
One of the stories that Russell tells about paying more is taken from the book by Napoleon Hill, “Think and Grow Rich.”
The book was written before 1923 and is in the public domain. It means that you can reproduce the book without paying a royalty to the original creator of the book—which today would be owned by the Napoleon Hill Foundation.
Brunson stated that he had the book (that he paid $10 for) sitting on his nightstand. He could have found a digital version online for free. He explained he had already paid for the value in print, but he still was having trouble finding time to read the book.
He heard someone had made an audio version of the book that he could get for $99 on eBay, so he bought it and finally listened to it. He paid 10 times the cost of print, and essentially 100 times the free version.
The education we all need to be great online marketers and small business owners is freely available on the internet. You don’t need a Platinum service to access it.
The methodologies for marketing and persuasion are sewn into every fabric of the ClickFunnels product and Community.
The ClickFunnels Facebook community has over 30K active subscribers to their community page. During the birthday celebration, ClickFunnels announced a new forum for Platinum users.
At this point in its journey, ClickFunnels has experts on the platform that have migrated to their own communities because of repetitive questions from new users litter the feed on Facebook.
A private forum is the solution to get more users away from Facebook’s open group.
If you are ambitious enough to search through the muck on Facebook, you may find topics and discussion threads from posts that answer the challenges you may face with your business or the software platform.
What once was a very vibrant and valuable community for the ClickFunnels “FunnelHackers,” (what they call their most loyal users and followers) has been described by some as a wasteland on Facebook.
It is filled with rampant self-promoters and so-called “experts” that simply want to push you to their affiliate link or product/service offering.
Smaller, more intimate communities like the one growing around System.io give active members more of the one-to-one community and support that users hope to find inside a private group.
Certainly, every business will go through these evolutions as the community matures.
But more moderation by the ClickFunnels team could have built more trust with community members who are now migrating to other private groups to get a community like the one System.io is building right now.
ClickFunnels is now over five years old. The company admitted that it was not able to handle the Support tickets to help their users, so they are turning to their expert users for help.
They are planning to raise prices to $697 a month with their Platinum service, which replaces their current $297-a-month enterprise service.
ClickFunnels offers a premium service with a hefty price tag for funnel builders who need their hand held.
They have developed more content to sell and packaged it in Funnel Flix to entice $97 a month users to upgrade to the $297 service (before they eventually double the price).
If you don’t need all of the extra hype, Systeme.io offers an economical, expert alternative that may have all the features you need for funnel building--starting at just $27 a month.
Why pay over 10X more than our Startup plan to get the same results?
Sign up for a free, two-week trial of Systeme.io to see how simple it can be to launch and scale your online business.