This is my initial-impression review of ClickFunnels vs. Instapage. It is not a full technical review, it is my initial impressions and key feature comparison. For some reason, I did not find answers to my questions about what these platforms do and don’t do until I gave both of these platforms my credit card and tried them for myself.
My first experience was with ClickFunnels because they have the most marketing, good beginner training, and a nice affiliate program that makes everyone using them want to promote it. However, I found it expensive and super salesy.
I researched alternatives, but none clearly answered my questions like, “Can I create funnels here?” or “Can I easily upsell or downsell with these alternative platforms?”
Before we jump in, I want to give you my background – I am not an ecommerce expert or a marketing guru (I do have a marketing degree though). I am a beginner in this space, and what I need(ed) from a platform is something EASY, SIMPLE, and AFFORDABLE.
My other caveat is that I’m sure these platforms are constantly changing and competing to be better, so I suspect constant changes, but as of early 2021, this is how they stacked up.
On those conditions, here’s how InstaPage stacked up against ClickFunnels on the following categories listed in my personal order of priority:
Overall Winner: ClickFunnels (but barely)
Based on my criteria, ClickFunnels won due to better capabilities with some of the most important features like upsell and payment capabilities. However, we can’t discount some of the key categories like templates and scalability cost where InstaPage was a clear winner.
Read below for my full review by category.
Template Design: InstaPage Wins!
The InstaPage templates are really nice, so easy to create, and versatile. I know when I’m on a ClickFunnels page even when the URL and everything else is specific to the business brand just because their templates are kind of the same look and feel. ClickFunnels just has a really basic and obvious template. It works, don’t get me wrong, but for those who really care about their branding, visuals, and overall design, InstaPage will give you more options and beautiful creations.
Payment Capability: ClickFunnels Wins!
This was super annoying to find out, but there is no native payment option within InstaPage. It is possible to connect to Stripe through a bit of setup, but if you’re not technical, this could be a hurdle for you to overcome. If you are technical, this might be a good thing because you have more flexibility in payment options if you have the know-how on getting it set up, coded, or plugged in. Otherwise, this is a major set back especially if you do truly care about design, you want the payment plug-in or code to look right with the rest of the website.
If you are planning to create a funnel for leads or something that doesn’t require online payment, InstaPage could be great as a form or lead generator to another website. It has a relatively easy form to connect to MailChimp, too, so you can gather leads in a beautifully designed space. Otherwise, many ecommerce people are here to make money and take payments online, so in that case, I have to give it to ClickFunnels.
Upsell Capability: ClickFunnels Wins!
The ability to easily set up an upsell within ClickFunnels is what makes this platform a major money maker and super attractive to ecommerce businesses. Clickfunnels was made for upsells (and downsells). When I became familiar with ClickFunnels, I was super impressed with this capability and type of offer selling. It just makes tons of sense once you understand it, and they have tons of training to help you understand it.
Once someone is willing to buy something, they’re likely to need something similar or something more or something complimentary. It’s the “do you want fries with that?” model, but online. This was the key capability I was looking for in alternative platforms that I did not really find. With InstaPage, you can create a sort of funnel, but again if it includes payment, it won’t be straight forward, and it’s not native to the platform, so you have to set it up through a bit of interesting configurations which are a tad time consuming.
On the other hand, almost every ClickFunnel template has an upsell offer. You have to intentionally not want to upsell in order to remove this from the ClickFunnel templates. This is a huge differentiator and one of the main reasons why I placed ClickFunnels as the overall winner against InstaPage.
Scalability Cost: InstaPage Wins!
Scalability cost is a big deal. Imagine if your business takes off, but you set up everything in ClickFunnels where they will continue to get more money from you the bigger you are. They are not leaving any money on the table.
They’re betting on and banking on the fact that you will blow up, so they can make more money. It is a win-win strategy, but something to consider now if you are thinking about costs on your potential future earnings. Instapage does not continue to take more money as you grow. What this means though is that InstaPage is more expensive upfront. However, they have a 30-day free trial. So you can check them out, or try to cover your costs within the 30-days to make sure it’s worth the annual fee.
Contrarily, Clickfunnels begins with a modest $99/month model, but once traffic and purchases grow, you might quickly realize that InstaPage could’ve been the cheaper option after all. My only two cents on this is that although dollar for dollar InstaPage wins on the scalability cost factor, if you’re just getting started, paying $99/month and allowing costs to grow with you might make the most sense. This is simply the idea that it takes money to make money, so it’s okay if costs grow gradually with you. If you’re already a big company that’s moving their traffic or launching a new campaign or new product, InstaPage might make more sense financially.
Domain: Tie between ClickFunnels and InstaPage
The domain is what shows in the URL, it’s how people access your website. Although ClickFunnels and InstaPage handle this very differently, I can’t really choose which one is better. I think it depends on what you have going on already or how you want to expand your brand.
ClickFunnels easily lets you purchase a domain name to host your website and it’s just easy, simple, native to their app, and about $20 depending on what name you are choosing. It’s not super cheap or super expensive. For those starting new or launching a website for the first time, ClickFunnels might be a better option for you.
InstaPage allows you to easily connect to existing domain names and create a sub-domain through your existing domain. They do not have the option to purchase a domain name, so you will have to figure out the connection piece. The validation process was pretty straight forward though. For example, I own www.mayraleen.com and www.beoutofyourmind.com. A sub-domain would be doing something like services.beoutofyourmind.com.
So, InstaPage would allow me to continue to use my domain name and branding which I love especially for those of you who want to grow your existing business and brand and continue to use your domain name. Although I wouldn’t completely reject the option of ClickFunnels to existing brands because many people have multiple domain names and keep the same branding. For example, I could buy mayraleenservices.com or something similar to build my ClickFunnels website.
Support: Tie between ClickFunnels and InstaPage
There’s not too much to say here. Both platforms were great at responding to my emails in a timely manner. But primarily they both have very helpful support and information on their website. ClickFunnels does have tiered support depending on the size of your business (of course they do!) while I didn’t see that for InstaPage.
Training: ClickFunnels Wins!
I don’t know why I hate to admit this, but ClickFunnels has a really good training for wannabe online and ecommerce entrepreneurs. I think I hate to admit it because it’s what they use to reel people into their ecosystem, and yeah, they are salesy and so good at marketing, but they teach you how to be, too. So that’s why it’s so good! The training also provides both technical, strategic, and mindset tips for getting started.
I didn’t opt into some of their super hard sales pitches within their training or even some of their advice on how to make money, but I learned a lot. Bottom line, great training.
The training is called One Funnel Away Challenge and it’s 30 days of content, videos, calls, and more for only $99. I would pay specific attention to how they market themselves and their products because that’s the gold. Notice how they practically give away really valuable information to reel people in, how they upsell during the training, and how they get you going super easily. They do want you to succeed.
Their affiliate program is also so easy to opt into even while you’re in the training. Affiliate marketing is when businesses allow people to promote their stuff for commission. In fact, I’ll get commission if you choose to do their challenge using this link. Think of it as a referral program. All of these things are tactics you can use to scale and build your business, and they literally show and tell you how to do it.
This is why ClickFunnels has die-hard fans. InstaPage is just a technology, they give you tech support, but they’re not really going to train you on being an entrepreneur or launching your whole business.
Usability: InstaPage Wins!
Now back to the review. InstaPage is easier to use especially if you have never created a website. It’s so simple with InstaPage. ClickFunnels is easy, too. There’s no coding in either place, but InstaPage just had a more friendly user interface for creating the web pages.
Responsive Design: ClickFunnels Wins!
Responsive Design is the ability for your website to easily convert its design despite device – mobile, tablet or desktop. In my experience, InstaPage was a little buggy. I had to constantly edit my mobile view separately to make sure images or spacing was ok. I don’t remember having this issue with ClickFunnels.
Both have responsive designs, so the edits and tweaks weren’t major, but they were constant. Once I added a new section on my InspaPage template, I had to re-do the mobile changes again. It was a little annoying. For responsive design, I give it to ClickFunnels for sure.
Conclusion: ClickFunnels Wins!
Trust me, I wanted to find an alternative to ClickFunnels just because I felt like they were a bit too aggressive with some of their sales tactics, but at the end of this experience, I learned that they do have a really good platform.
I’m sure others will try to compete, but they were first to market. I’m still super interested in exploring other platforms that are true funnel alternatives.
Let me know if you know any other platforms I should try.
Oh, and I will say, once you understand the concept of funnels through their training, you can probably find a way to create a funnel with tools you already use like email campaigns or even in conversations with clients. ClickFunnels is a technology that enables funnels to happen in a very specific and immediate way (which is great!).
If you don’t know what a funnel is, the training will be so worth it, but it is a lot of content and can be easy to get overwhelmed, but don’t. Take the training at your own pace, learn the concepts, and then apply them in a way that makes sense to you. You don’t have to do it exactly how they say, and you don’t have to do it at their pace. Relax and enjoy!