We have to admit that online marketing is no easy feat. Especially with thousands of businesses popping up every day, standing out and creating a loyal customer base is an uphill battle.
However, we have a myriad of online marketing automation tool kits dedicated to helping us grow online businesses with ease.
And today, we’ll talk about two powerful marketing automation platforms, Ontraport vs ClickFunnels.
Looking for a button line upfront summary? Here we go!
Ontraport is a fully-fledged email marketing platform with a powerful in-built CRM and marketing automation capabilities.
Anyone using Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign will enjoy their basic package. The Pro package is for those who want rave engines as powerful as the Bugatti Chiron. It packs the same power as HubSpot or Infusionsoft.
No wonder Inc. placed it No.10 on the Top 100 Software companies.
ClickFunnels, on the other hand, best serves you if you want to go down and dirty into funnel building. I call it the ‘definitive guide to lead gen’ as it has the power to create funnels/landing pages that turn your ice-cold traffic to number one fan.
Basically, it’s one of the best sales funnel solutions in the market today.
Ready for an in-depth review of both? Let’s get stuck in.
- They have a full-featured email marketing automation toolkit. You can create both simple and complicated workflows for your email campaigns. And you have ready-to-use workflow templates making work easier for you.
- They have a versatile and powerful visual workflow builder. In addition to creating flows, you get to see live stats on where your contracts are on the flow.
- They have a powerful list segmentation feature that allows you to create hyper-targeted emails. You can handle complex tag scenarios like a pro. As a result, you can easily move customers down your sales pipeline based on their behavior on your site.
- You can send SMS and postcards to your audience helping you increase your communication channels. You can reach both your online and offline audiences with ease. Plus, you get to personalize the texts you send to your customers.
- They have a powerful and flexible block-based email editor. You can easily add pre-built blocks to your emails to create laser-focused campaigns.
- Great customer support. You get a wide range of support options. From live chat, phone, email, rich knowledge base, and an active Facebook group.
- It works well for both SMBs and large enterprises looking to automate their sales process.
- You have an all-in-one sales funnel builder. They’ve made it very easy to build sales funnels even without prior tech experience. You just have to be patient to learn on the go.
- They are a powerful and robust website builder. No need to use different software to have your website up and running.
- When it comes to membership areas and funnels, ClickFunnels allows you to create with ease. You don’t have to use other applications.
- It provides a platform to manage all your affiliate programs under one roof. You get to effortlessly boost your sales and make payouts on one dashboard.
- You have tons of sales funnels and landing page templates to choose from. Also, you can save or share your templates with others.
- They have a robust landing page builder that allows you to easily customize your funnels and web pages to suit your business and brand. You get to add multiple ready-to-use features that take lead scoring and conversion to another level.
The features aren’t the only thing that sets a tool apart from others but also the UX and interface design.
Design elements when done well help a user navigate the platform with ease. It also helps them maximize the tool’s functionality.
Over to Ontraport.
Their dashboard is relatively simple when compared to the raw power of the platform.
You can see all the major features (contacts, tasks, campaigns, sales, and landing pages) at a glance, and getting started is easy. And then the complexity that comes with a fully-fledged platform kicks in.
Thanks to their minimalistic design, navigation is easier.
You’ll need a bit of training before you can fully take advantage of all the tools Ontraport has to offer. A whole month is given or take.
I was a bit frustrated trying to go back to the dashboard homepage after creating a campaign or a landing page. It’s so annoying having to retrace your way back through countless clicks.
The good news is that they have a help icon on every page to help you with links to the relevant tutorial to see you through the platform.
And guess what? The dashboard is customizable! You can organize it to suit your preference. You don’t see this often.
ClickFunnels, on the other hand, prides itself in simplicity.
Honestly, Russel Brunson made it dummy-proof. They have a straightforward drag and drop interface that allows people to create sales funnels easily.
The dashboard has 3 well-organized features: Sales funnels, Actionetics, and Affiliate.
Actionetics is where you manage your contacts(CRM) and do email marketing. Sales funnels sort you out with landing pages while affiliate helps you run and manage your affiliate programs.
They have quite a lot to put together so you have to be patient until you get the hang of it.
The onboarding process isn’t a pain in the butt so you don’t have to be a rocket scientist.
I love that they have a 7-day onboarding challenge to help you navigate the platform. Believe me, if you stick to the end, you’ll know all the ins and outs of the platform.
And the best thing, the training comes with some merchandise that you can win and swag up.
Navigation is easy. However, sometimes the platform might take a while (10 seconds) to load. If you have experienced the ActiveCampaign clunkiness then you can relate. It’s annoying but not a deal-breaker.
Each and every contact you have is unique and they would love to be treated as such. CRM platforms are known to help businesses build personal relationships with their audience.
Let’s dive into the Ontraport contact management system.
Honestly, they have an excellent inbuilt CRM contact management feature. Adding contacts is straightforward. You can do it manually or using CSV, Salesforce, Google Contacts among others.
If you need to add any additional details under your contact name address, Ontraport has you covered. They call it records. If you have used Constant Contact then you’ll be at home here.
However, Ontraport’s records are thousand times more efficient. Whether it’s transaction details or phone calls, SMS, double opt-in links, and salesperson notes, there is space for that.
It’s so immersive that it’s super impressive. And editing or updating records isn’t as manual as it is on Constant Contact.
You can group your audience to add them to different email marketing campaigns. Hence, you can do micro-level contact management with Ontraport like other popular CRMs such as Zoho.
Further, you can create custom marketing campaigns for each contact or by using tags.
Combining the segmentation tools with their automation suite and the customer journey for all your contacts are personalized. I was also amazed that you can qualify or disqualify contacts from their groups.
In short, all the details sent out to your contacts can be tracked to the last bit. Even small details like coupon codes. If you want to have a simple and digestible view of your audience in a card-by-card visual, give Ontraport a shot.
Oh! Did I forget to mention that you can merge duplicate contacts so no paying for non-existent lists? If you’ve used Mailchimp you will understand how important this feature is.
Overall, Ontraport is a powerful CRM at its core.
Coming from amazing Ontraport, it’s more like going downhill here.
The good news is you can easily segment your audience using different lists. Contacts are automatically added onto different lists based on their actions on your funnel or where they subscribed from.
It’s pretty straightforward to segment the audience based on their behavior, interests, purchasing culture, and how they were inducted into the funnel.
As a result, you have the opportunity to send the right email at the right time so as to harvest when the fruits are ripe.
Now onto the big problem.
Their automation tool Actionetics (Follow-up Funnels) can take your segmentation to another level. It comes with ClickFunnels platinum which costs $297 a month.
But Russell says that Follow-up Funnels are the future of tagging so maybe you’re paying for the future price. They create smart lists that increase conversion hundredfold.
I know they are superb, and the conversion rate is off the hook but $297 monthly? It literally costs an arm and a leg.
Well, Actionetics include both CRM and email marketing capabilities. Again with Actionetics, you can manage the contact profiles of each subscriber. Here is where you can manage a list of unlimited subscribers.
You can send them automated email marketing and SMS messages using Action Funnels. And, you can even do email list segmentation like any other CRM.
Winner: Ontraport. They have a more sophisticated CRM than ClickFunnels’ Actionetics. They’re doing better than Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign. If that doesn’t tell you how powerful they are, I don’t know what will.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective solutions to sell your products. And, with Ontraport, this becomes easier as it ensures high delivery rates of emails and inbox placement. This is done via Ontraport’s Private IPs.
The platform also ensures strong email sender reputation management and list import review so that you never run into reputation issues.
There is also an automated re-engagement campaign feature within Ontraport that helps you get rid of unresponsive contacts in your list to better your email marketing game.
The email campaign builder has professionally designed templates that you can customize to fit your own brand identity.
Considering how complex the Ontraport is, I was amazed at how easy it was to create an email campaign.
They have a pretty straight forward block-based editor. And I like that it allows you to preview your email on desktop and mobile before you send them.
They have an adequate number of ready-made and easily customizable templates you just need to brand them.
You need to add videos, images, testimonials, CTA buttons, links, countdown timers, or anything else, simply drag and drop them to your email template. They give your emails the oomph needed to be visually appealing and engaging.
They really do have beautiful yet professional email templates. Not forgetting that they are mobile responsive. You have three options to create a template, Raw HTML, Simple Mail, and OntraMail.
And hey, you can share your newsletter template with the Ontraport community for free or at a price.
Over to ClickFunnels.
Well, they aren’t really an email marketing platform but a sales-funnel builder with an in-built email marketing software. And to access it you’ve got to cough out some platinum worth cash.
However, email marketing comes under its Actionetics now known as Follow-up Funnels. You can create your autoresponder emails here using the beautiful templates provided.
You can even go one step ahead and create funnel actions. Funnel actions are when different email campaigns are sent to a subscriber based on what actions they perform while going through your sales funnel.
But you get an option to A/B test your email marketing campaigns in both ClickFunnels and Ontraport.
Winner: Ontraport. Well, ClickFunnels is mainly used as a funnel builder rather than an email marketing platform. With Ontraport, there is value for your money. The templates are stunning, responsive, and customizable. What’s not to love.
Both Ontraport and ClickFunnels have fantastic marketing features such as the ability to upsell, down-sell, and cross-sell.
But let’s get inside Ontraport automation.
The centerpiece is the Ontraport visual campaign builder and for a good reason. They have made workflow creation visualized for you to easily work through your sales funnel. Just like ConvertKit but better.
If you have never created a workflow on Ontraport before, fret not. They have ready-to-use automation templates to show you the road.
And the best part about the templates, they come accompanied with a checklist for you to counter check if you’ve got everything needed to build your flow.
Amazing, right? They are like Moosend Recipes.
However, if you’re a pro, go ahead and create your workflow from scratch. The visual builder was meant for you. You get to edit everything inline. No back and forth trips.
And it’s not just about email marketing automation with Ontraport, you can automate workflows on SMS and social media. Set your triggers and actions and you’re done!
I loved that you can collaborate with your co-workers while creating workflows.
They capture page visits, link clicks, all filled out forms, purchases, and whatever else you deem necessary. As a result, you get so much more data and information on your contacts than on any other platform.
What else do you need from an automation tool?
Over to ClickFunnels.
Their automation is action-based so you can add automation to your funnel based on visitors’ actions on your funnel.
They don’t have a visual workflow builder but it’s pretty easy to create automation series.
To access the automation feature you need to pay for the Platinum plan or higher. And all the psyche to try out their automation died right here.
The automation builder of Ontraport is more feature-rich than that of ClickFunnels.
Winner: Ontraport. If heavy marketing automation is required for your business then go for Ontraport rather than ClickFunnels.
Ontraport has one of the most robust split testing capabilities I have come across.
You get to A/B test almost anything across your different marketing channels so there is no way you’re going in blind. From your broadcast emails to workflow automation, landing pages, forms, SMSes, and even retargeting ads.
With your automation and email broadcasts, you can split test the content, subject lines, sender, and even images. It’s super impressive.
Now over to ClickFunnels.
Forget about email A/B testing because they don’t do email automation. But, they have a great landing page A/B testing functionality. You can A/B test every single sale funnel you build so you know what your audience will respond to.
But that’s all there on A/B testing.
Winner: Ontraport. They win hands down on this one. The A/B testing is robust, actually, you can only compare it to Sendinblue as they both look into all aspects of your marketing.
Ontraport has a native built-in landing page builder. It is a drag and drop builder wherein you can use blocks and elements such as images, text, countdown timers, GIFs, and others to design a page that stands out. A lot of page templates are available to start.
You can customize these page templates to suit your own needs. One can even custom code the HTML and CSS for the blocks of the pages.
And, because Ontraport is a CRM first, you can use it to personalize the presentation of a landing page to your customers.
Also, landing page builder customizations of Ontraport is built for marketers to help them increase leads and conversion rates.
This is done by offering more powerful personalizations. Such as offering specific coupon codes or even addressing the contact by their first and last names in the email content. This kind of hyper-personalization is hard to find in most marketing tools today.
With forms, you can opt to either create them from scratch or use the ready-made templates. You can create pop-up and exit intent forms using the same process as landing pages.
And you have the freedom to determine how and when they’ll appear on a page.
These kinds of landing page customizations aren’t available with ClickFunnels. ClickFunnels focuses more on building sales funnel pages with its drag and drop builder.
So let’s talk about the sales funnels.
They have a simple drag and drop’ page editor, that makes it super simple to build sales funnels from scratch in less than 10 minutes.
They offer plenty of ready to use sales funnel templates. From lead generation to products or services sales pages, and membership sites.
But what puts ClickFunnels on the map is their ready-to-use elements and widgets. You need to personalize a sales page, this is the place to run to.
They have widgets like SMS Sign up, Countdown Timers, Pricing Tables, Facebook Comments, Progress Bars, and many more.
They give you all the resources needed to line more money in your pocket. ClickFunnel’s sales page builder is like nothing else in the market.
When it comes to forms, ClickFunnels calls them input elements. Don’t shoot me, I was a bit confused as well. I think it’s because they’re mainly used to collect your funnel visitors’ data.
So, you’ll add them as an element (input element) to your page or sales funnel. You don’t have ready-to-use templates but you get to add whatever fields you want to use for the data collection on your form.
My advice, if you want really awesome pop-up or exit intent forms, a third-party tool like Paperform will do.
If you’re looking for analytics in spades, I promise, Ontraport is dope.
It provides you with basic details on your email campaigns such as bounce rate, message opens, CTRs, and opt-outs.
And then they get immersive.
The Performance Mode reporting kicks in. This is a system that allows you to track real-time campaign performance. It shows you real-time customer interaction with your emails, site, forms, landing pages, and heat maps during your campaigns.
My only issue with them is that you’ll need a Pro account to access ROI stats and UTM filters stats.
And ClickFunnels hasn’t been left behind either.
They provide basic reporting metrics and advanced analytics. They show you who opened, clicked, or made a purchase. And even how much they spent. It gives you a clear picture of your ROI.
Winner: Tie. They both provide detailed analytics on your email campaigns and sales page performance.
Let’s look at Ontraport.
Well, I have to say their eCommerce prowess knocked my socks off. I know they were a robust CRM platform but I confirmed it.
If there is one thing they have made simple is the creation of shoppable email series. I like that you can easily add your product listing to your workflows and make them mini-stores.
This way you can sell your digital or physical products seamlessly. You can even create payment types such as payment plans or subscriptions for your products.
The only shortfall is the lack of a payment gateway. But you can tie your orders to a payment gateway of choice (Stripe or Paypal) for secured transactions.
If you’re looking for hustle free upsells, Ontraport can easily sort you out.
One can even create special coupon codes for customers and deliver them via emails and SMS.
For those running affiliate programs, you can register for a Partner program. With this, you can manage your affiliates as they can log in and access their links and promotional assets.
Their eCommerce can comfortably rival Drip and ActiveCampaign eCommerce.
Pretty awesome, right? Also, they natively integrate with big eCommerce third parties like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, among other eCommerce apps.
But hey, they haven’t gotten to Klaviyo eCommerce prowess.
Over to ClickFunnels.
Well, you can create a shopping cart and storefront entirely with ClickFunnels. You get to create any type of checkout page. Okay, Ontraport does this too.
Also, they help you build highly-converting complex sales funnels with a shopping cart feature. It can be natively integrated with Shopify if you have a product(digital or physical) on your Shopify store.
Well, they don’t have the coupon code marketing so that’s a bummer. But like Ontraport, you can create a secured payment gateway of your choice such as PayPal, 2checkout, and stripe.
You can abandon cart and credit card decline customer follow-ups with Ontraport but you can only do abandoned cart follow-ups with ClickFunnels.
Winner: ClickFunnels. They have the superpower to help you convert stone-cold traffic to loyal customers. Their sales funnels are responsible for their skyrocketing popularity. No other platform walks with your customer all through their buying journey as ClickFunnels does.
Both Ontraport and ClickFunnels haven’t been around for as long as Mailchimp or ActiveCampaign. So they don’t have hundreds of integration options.
The good news is they have the necessary integrations needed to run your marketing automation successfully.
Ontraport has quite a few integrations across a variety of functions. Some of these functions are marketing, business operations, accounting, and tracking & reporting. Check the list of available native integrations here.
For example, Ontraport can natively integrate with the following:
- Quickbooks for accounting
- Shopify and SamCart for e-commerce
- Wistia for hosting videos and much more.
You can also build integrations using Ontraport’s API.
Or use Zapier, PieSync, WebMerge, and Apiant, to connect Ontraport CRM with 1000s of 3rd party apps in the market.
ClickFunnels also connects to quite a few 3rd party apps natively.
For email marketing, you can connect ClickFunnels with Constant Contact, Aweber, and Drip.
For CRM you can connect it with your Hubspot account and much more.
ClickFunnels too connects with Zapier. With Zapier you can then in turn connect it to 1000s of 3rd party apps in the market.
Ontraport has customer support available through all 3 channels – phone, email, and chat. Their customer support team has a 97% satisfaction rate.
Their customer support staff works from 1 location, which could mean a delayed response depending on your time zone.
Their Facebook community is very active and responsive. This is where you can interact with fellow Ontraport users and ask questions. They have a free education site for paying users.
Also, we can’t forget their knowledge base of articles and video tutorials.
Ontraport has a certified Ontraport consultant course. These certified consultants can help other users use Ontraport effectively.
ClickFunnels‘ customer support is good enough. You can chat with their customer support team using the Intercom chat support on CF’s website. You will at most get a response within a few hours. No instant support is available.
However, they do offer priority support for their Platinum plan buyers. They have a sturdy knowledge base and help resources available if you’re stuck.
Plus they have a big team of the partner network, you’ll be able to find a ton of videos online on how to leverage ClickFunnels to grow your business.
The good thing is ClickFunnels’ FB community/group is quite active. It has a lot of experienced sales funnel builders and business owners too. You can post your queries in the group as well and get a ton of helpful responses.
However, ClickFunnels’ FB group in recent history has been caught blocking people who complain and heavily moderating the entire experience. Disappointing, right?
Winner: Ontraport. They have a wide range of support platforms and they are super responsive. They aren’t Aweber with the best customer support but they rank up high.
Ontraport has 4 pricing plans and it charges on a month to month basis only. Across all 4 pricing plans, you get 1 on 1 onboarding and customer support.
These 4 pricing plans are:
Basic: This costs $79 a month. It provides a CRM to manage up to 1000 contacts and send unlimited emails to these contacts. This plan only works as a CRM and email marketing tool. Hence, it lacks e-commerce capabilities. If you’re a beginner with a small contact list then it can work as a reliable email marketing tool.
Plus: This costs $147 a month. This allows for up to 2500 contacts and unlimited emails. It also upgrades you with 2 user accounts instead of 1 in the Basic plan. If you’re a business willing to sell products online then it has e-commerce features too.
Pro: This plan costs $297 a month. It allows for up to 10000 contacts, unlimited email sends, and 3 user accounts. If you’re a growing business with advanced marketing automation needs then pick this plan.
Enterprise: This costs $497 a month. And, you get a dedicated Ontraport representative for your account. Allows for up to 20000 contacts but only 200,000 emails in a month.
The marketing features spread across 4 plans of Ontraport are quite exhaustive. Hence, I’d advise you to go through its pricing page before making a choice.
On the other hand, ClickFunnels has 2 pricing plans.
ClickFunnels Starter plan costs $97 a month. You can have up to 20 sales funnels, 100 landing pages, and add up to3 domains. The problem with this plan is that it only has sales funnel building capability. You can’t build follow up sales funnels or do email marketing.
And, email marketing is necessary to build profitable sales funnels. Hence, you’d need to use a 3rd party email provider or switch to the ClickFunnels’ Platinum plan. $97 a month is already a high cost for beginner businesses intending to use the platform.
I’d recommend GetResponse which has CRM, email marketing, sales funnels, and landing pages. Get Response is a good alternative if you’re starting out.
ClickFunnels’ higher plan called Platinum costs $297 a month. It allows you to create unlimited sales funnels and landing pages.
You can add up to 9 domains with this plan. And hence this plan is also suitable for marketing agencies.
In this plan, you finally get email marketing as well. But to be honest you don’t need to sign up for the platinum plan only to use email marketing. There are many better email marketing tools such as the above recommended GetResponse.
Winner: Ontraport. You get value for money with this fully-fledged market automation tool. ClickFunnels is way too expensive if you want a great online selling tool. Plus they don’t give you the email marketing solution.
Have you ever thought of generating passive income? If the answer is yes, you’ll need a membership site.
Ontraport enables you to create and manage a membership site without any 3rd party integration.
Templates for membership sites are available within Ontraport to help you build one.
And your specifications will dictate how to customize the templates. Just use the page builder to create your membership pages. Your membership subscribers get login with a password reset facility.
Not only you can set membership levels but set different access to each membership page. This depends on what information you have about your contacts from Ontraport’s CRM. You can also drip feed the content to your membership users.
But the best thing about Ontraport’s membership site is its automated management. Forget the hustle of onboarding members and scary admin work. The management is seamlessly automated.
Also, Ontraport also comes with a WordPress plugin called PilotPress to convert your existing WordPress site into a membership site. This will help you manage your members and automation in Ontraport and membership content on your WP site.
With ClickFunnels too you can create membership-specific funnels. You can also create a membership area just like Ontraport.
Your audience will be guided through your membership funnel until they make a purchase. Afterward, they can log in to access membership benefits.
And you also have the option to drip feed and schedule content as you do on Ontraport.
What is Ontraport?
Ontraport markets itself as software that brings all marketing tools in one place. These tools are of 2 broad categories: CRM and marketing automation. Its marketing automation tools include the primary capability of solid email marketing. Other tools under Ontraport’s umbrella are SMS, landing pages, forms, and membership sites.
What is ClickFunnels?
ClickFunnels markets itself as software that allows entrepreneurs to build sales funnels. It allows you to do so without actually needing a tech team. But, much like Ontraport it also has robust email marketing capabilities. It allows you to send your customers targeted emails, SMS, and desktop notifications.
Can I try out these platforms for free?
Both Ontraport and ClickFunnels come with a free 14-day trial. But, to use Ontraport you’ll not need to put in your credit card details, unlike ClickFunnels. Once your ClickFunnels 14-day free trial is over and you don’t want to use it further, then it will charge you. Do remember to cancel your ClickFunnels subscription within 14 days if you don’t plan to use it.
What if I don’t like these platforms, can I get a refund?
Both ClickFunnels and Ontraport offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, if you don’t want to use these platforms within 30 days of purchase then you can get a refund. You’ll need to reach out to their respective customer support teams to do so.
There we have it!
Just to give you a recap, use Ontraport if:
- You run an SMB or large enterprise and email marketing automation is of utmost importance to you.
- You need a top-notch list management system to tag your audience based on their interests or behavior on your platform.
- You need more value for your money. Ontraport gives you the best of both worlds. Email automation and sales funnels.
Use ClickFunnels if:
- You are an online marketer who is looking to build sales funnels that convert.
- You are an affiliate marketer or growth hacker who is into creating highly-converting landing pages.
- You’re looking for an easy-to-use platform to create your sales pages and do email marketing.
Both have 30 days money-back guarantee so pick up both of them on a free trial and give them a go-to make your own best judgment.
Let’s know what it’s going to be.