The search for the best sales funnel builder software can be crucial to an online business’ success. Choosing the right tool for the job (and learning to use it correctly) is often half the battle.
To help folks that are starting out making money online choose a sales funnel software, I decided to review the top sales funnel tools on the market. This article will provide an overview of each platform and its main benefits and drawbacks. It will also take an in depth look at what each one is best for, and some use cases. Enjoy!
Note: I’m an affiliate marketer and this article does contain affiliate links. If you follow them and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.
The problem with this type of “best of” article is that many affiliates just recommend the affiliate program that gives them the best deal. For example, most people who use ClickFunnels swear by it, despite the fact that there are multiple platforms that have superior functionality for the same price.
But let’s get right into it; here are the best free and paid sales funnel builders of 2021:
Now, don’t let other articles with similar titles confuse you. The seven software platforms listed above are fully hosted tools. For most of them you will have to integrate other pieces of software, but none of these require that you buy web hosting separately.
If you’re looking for a WordPress funnel builder, I recommend using Divi by Elegant Themes and integrating it with your favorite payment plugin. But that topic really requires a whole separate article. There is no point in comparing self-hosted WordPress tools to fully hosted software platforms.
- What is a Sales Funnel Builder?
- What Are the Best Sales Funnel Builder Software Platforms?
- The Best Sales Funnel Builders in My Personal Order of Preference
- Ranking the Top Sales Funnel Builders
- How to Choose the Right Funnel Builder For Your Business
What is a Sales Funnel Builder?
A sales funnel builder is a piece of software you can use to create a sales funnel. These exist in many forms, from WordPress plugins and themes to fully hosted platforms. As powerful as WordPress plugins can be, they can’t match up against the hosted platforms. That’s like putting a jack-of-all-trades up against a specialist in their area of specialization.
Hosted sales funnel builder platforms tend to have more features out of the box, and those features are arranged in an easy-to-manage way. They have a specific purpose, which is to sell things, and are designed to do that as efficiently as possible.
What is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is just a process used to sell stuff, but in this article I’m talking about sales funnel software platforms. These are platforms where you can build an online sales funnel (which is like a very focused website) and easily market it to your target audience.
What Are the Best Sales Funnel Builder Software Platforms?
I’m going to go ahead and spoil the surprise. If you want the quick version, the most powerful sales funnel builders are GoHighLevel and Kartra. They are the only omni channel marketing platforms that come with native integrations for email marketing, SMS marketing, ringless voicemail drops, and more.
Go High Level is especially powerful for building and scaling a marketing agency, but it has many other use cases which I’ll get into further on. Kartra on the other hand is most powerful for running your own business(es), although they recently added an agency feature to upper tier accounts as well.
However, there are other good options on the list, and one of them may be right for you depending on your needs.
What is the Best FREE Sales Funnel Software Platform?
Again there are two strong contenders. If you’re wanting to capture leads and set up sales funnels for your own products, services, or affiliate marketing, GrooveFunnels is the way to go. On the other hand if you’re more interested in creating online courses, you’re going to want to try out NewZenler. Both of these platforms have a free tier and feature a ton of functionality and powerful integrations – they’re just newer and less polished than those mentioned above.
If you’re completely new to funnel building, I recommend starting with GrooveFunnels and/or NewZenler. This way you can get an idea of how sales funnels work and come together for free before investing in a premium tool. If the one you try feels right, then upgrade! If it doesn’t, then start experimenting with the free trials available for most of the others.
The Best Sales Funnel Builders in My Personal Order of Preference
Anyone who says that they’ve created “the ultimate list” or a “completely data-backed list” of the “REAL best” funnel builders is likely full of shit. Most people who write these articles haven’t even tried all of the platforms they promote. Personally, I have at least done a trial of each of the software platforms on this list. And you know what? I’m still on the fence about which is “best”. As I mentioned, GoHighLevel and Kartra have the strongest range of features… but that doesn’t necessarily make them “best” for you.
So, I’m being honest; while there are good reasons for each of these builders being on my list, the list is ultimately based on my personal preference and experience.
Why Isn’t ClickFunnels On the List?
ClickFunnels is not on the list for two very good reasons; 1) it’s massively overpriced, and 2) when I used it, it wouldn’t even let me log in to my account most of the time. I did the ClickFunnels 14-day trial with every intention of buying at least a few months of access to the platform… but the fact that the software wouldn’t work for me and the spotty support made me rethink that.
Don’t get me wrong, ClickFunnels certainly can work, and I know lots of people who use it happily. But every single one of them has the same story; ClickFunnels was either the first or second builder they tried. They started making some money, so they just stuck with it despite any issues they ran into. And they continue to stick with it despite there being better options on the market.
ClickFunnels does two things incredibly well; marketing and training. They make you want to buy their product with their marketing, and they make you want to remain a paying member with their training. So my recommendation is to use one of the superior sales funnel builders listed here, but definitely take some of ClickFunnels’ training. In particular the One Funnel Away challenge is extremely helpful for helping newbies get going.
Ranking the Top Sales Funnel Builders
Alright, let’s take a closer look at each of these excellent software platforms.
|Software Platform Name||Kartra|
|Best Feature||Does everything from one dashboard|
|Biggest Area For Improvement||The affiliate dashboard could be improved as could several other parts of the user experience.|
Kartra is the ultimate behemoth in the world of sales funnels and online marketing. If I started listing all of Kartra’s features, the list would be almost as long as the internet itself. Just kidding! I will actually list all of its features in a minute, but first lets go over some of the highlights.
Kartra Works For Almost Any Business Model
Whether you own a digital marketing agency or you’re just running your own website and funnel, Kartra has an appropriately priced and sized tier for you. Kartra’s size and efficiency allows it to be better priced and more flexible than any of the other contenders. And the fact that you can do almost anything with Kartra is a huge feather in its cap. Kartra can even work for affiliate marketers, although their Terms of Service does mention that affiliate marketing may fall under closer scrutiny than other business models.
Kartra Makes Many Integrations Unnecessary
Kartra is one of the only platforms that has its own native email marketing system. What’s even more impressive is that they’re known for having good deliverability. While other platforms such as ClickFunnels, LeadPages, and even GoHighLevel require that you integrate external email tools, Kartra provides their own mature solution. Kartra also makes it possible to great affiliate or referral links for your products and services, create membership websites, and schedule appointments all beneath their banner. On most platforms at least one of those features would require an external integration.
Kartra Comes With Advanced Funnel Templates (Not Just Page Templates)
Most funnel/landing page builders will come with at least a few tested templates you can import to easily work with. Kartra has more than most, but they don’t stop there. They also have entire funnel templates which you can use to get started, including things like pre-built automations and pre-written emails. All you need to do to get started with Kartra is import a template, customize it to your liking, and start driving traffic to your offer.
Kartra Has the Most Built-In Features and More Overall Benefits Than Most
Here’s a list (probably not entirely inclusive) of the stuff you can do with Kartra’s native tools:
- Build optin pages, landing pages, and sales funnels
- Process sales using multiple payment portals
- Record, manage, and automatically contact your leads
- Visually design funnels and campaigns
- Email marketing with advanced automation
- Create membership websites
- Host videos
- Accept bookings/appointments with fully integrate Google Calendar
- Build custom forms
- Create affiliate programs for your products or services
- Control client accounts (agency-tier accounts only)
- Take advantage of advanced analytics
- Buy/sell products and services on an internal marketplace
And here’s a list of what Kartra can do with its native integrations:
- SMS and voice marketing (Twilio and Plivo)
- Update your Google Calendar
- Integrate with your favorite payment processor
- Integrate with your favorite membership platform
- Use your own email platform/SMTP if desired
(I had to take a break and make more coffee after listing all of these features. Now let’s dig into some of the benefits!)
Main Benefits and Advantages of Kartra
Kartra allows you to control all or almost all of your tools from a single dashboard. It massively reduces the amount of marketing headaches which can arise from using multiple integrated platforms. Honestly, if you rely on Zapier or one of its competitors to tie your systems together, I take pity on you. Not only is that expensive, it’s a problem waiting to happen.
By lumping all of these powerful features together, Kartra also creates a bundled deal that is more cost effective than most competitors. For example, you can get everything (and more) included in ClickFunnels $300/month plan just by buying into Kartra’s $150/month plan.
|Software Platform Name||Go High Level|
|Best Feature||Integrates with everything you need to automate appointment booking and follow up, complete whitelabel option available|
|Affiliate Platform||None (can be integrated from third party)|
|Biggest Area For Improvement||No affiliate platform, and it’s difficult (though not impossible) to create websites that observe SEO best practices.|
GoHighLevel is the best marketing platform for large and growing agencies. While their unlimited tier is pricey at $300/month, it comes with pretty much unlimited everything. You can host unlimited websites and funnels on unlimited domains for unlimited clients. That allows for “free” scalability that even Kartra can’t match.
A lot of Go High Level’s perks allow the platform’s users to pass advantages and savings directly to their clients. This makes it easier to get clients in the door and establish a trusting relationship before expecting them to pay for more expensive services. The only issue I have with GHL is that it’s so complex it’s a bit intimidating to get started with. Also it requires a lot of external integrations in order to use all of its features. But if you can look past those small disadvantages, it’s probably the pound-for-pound most powerful platform on the market.
GoHighLevel Allows For Completely Customized White-Label Marketing
One thing that some folks don’t like about Kartra is that it automatically includes its name and logo in the footer of all marketing emails it sends. You won’t have that problem with GHL. In fact, with GHL you can whitelabel everything from emails to the platform itself. You can upload your own logo, customize client access, and change the look and feel of the dashboard with custom code. This is a huge value-add for agencies that give clients access to their own dashboard rather than just managing it for them.
GoHighLevel Makes Building Websites, Funnels and Automations Easy
While getting your account set up in GHL can be intimidating because of all the options and integrations, once it is set up you can do almost anything relatively easily. You can create your own materials and automations from scratch, or you can import one of many “snapshots” that include prebuilt funnels, websites, automations, and even marketing materials. You can also get snapshots from other GHL users, and a lot of people in the community are happy to give away their hard work for free to help other businesses get started.
GoHighLevel is Always Growing and Improving
Even though it’s quite mature and advanced, GHL is still pretty new to the online marketing scene. Their developer team is constantly testing and perfecting new features, starting with the features that get the most upvotes from their community of active members. This means that as useful as GHL is, it’s getting more useful every day.
GoHighLevel vs. Kartra: Which Should You Choose?
Ultimately, the choice between GHL and Kartra depends on two things; how comfortable are you with managing integrations, and how many clients do you want to manage? If you’re not especially tech savvy and/or you only have your own business or a few clients to manage, Kartra is probably the better choice. But if you’re comfortable with technical stuff and you have a large agency (or an agency you’d like to aggressively grow) then GoHighLevel is almost certainly the best option for you.
|Software Platform Name||GrooveFunnels|
|Best Feature||Lifetime free tier with tons of tools|
|Biggest Area For Improvement||It’s still in beta, so some features are not available and others are still buggy.|
GrooveFunnels offers something that none of the other platforms on this list can compete with; a robust free tier which you can use to make money for no investment. I’ll repeat that; GrooveFunnels has a free-for-life tier which you can use to sell products or services or for affiliate marketing. If you’re just starting out in the world of online marketing, getting a GrooveFunnels account is a no-brainer. It can save you anywhere from $50 to $300+ per month while providing you with serviceable tools for everything from funnels to blogging to membership sites.
Yes, GrooveFunnels is Really Free
According to GrooveDigital CEO Mike Filsaime, the free GrooveFunnels tier started out as an experiment, almost a marketing gimmick. But it grew their platform so quickly and successfully (and created such a massive outpouring of gratitude from entrepreneurs) that they decided to make the free tier “for life”. While NewZenler has a decent free tier, it doesn’t compare to the power and flexibility of GrooveFunnels for most use cases.
GrooveFunnels is Actively Developed and Growing Fast
While there are obvious disadvantages to using a platform that’s still in beta – not everything always works correctly, and there are bugs – there are also good things about getting in on a software platform’s ground floor. If you buy into GrooveFunnels premium right now, you become a lifetime platinum member. This means that you’ll never have to pay recurring fees for access to Groove’s growing selection of tools.
GrooveFunnels is Incredibly Flexible (and Reaching For the Moon)
While all of these platforms can be used to sell stuff, only GrooveFunnels provides the option of having both sales funnels AND ecommerce stores. You get to make one ecommerce store for free on GrooveKart with a free GrooveFunnels account, and if you go platinum like I did you get unlimited ecommerce stores, as well as unlimited funnels, domains, blogs, membership sites, and more. For a full list of what you get with GrooveFunnels (and what’s coming to Groove in the future) check out my regularly updated GrooveFunnels review.
Kartra vs. GrooveFunnels: Which is Better For Your Business?
For the moment Kartra is the more powerful and polished tool. But if you’re just getting started, Groove’s pricing structure may appeal to you more. It’s pretty incredible that GrooveFunnels’ free tier allows you to create multiple websites/funnels with custom domains and connect multiple payment gateways via GrooveSell or GrooveKart. If you have something to sell online but you’re just starting out, GrooveFunnels’ free tier is the perfect way to test the waters.
|Software Platform Name||NewZenler|
|Best Feature||Fully integrated memberships, online courses, and livestreaming|
|Affiliate Platform||None (can be integrated)|
|Biggest Area For Improvement||Still in development, could use more features on the free tier for trial purposes.|
NewZenler (previously called Zenler) is a funnel builder and marketing platform that focuses on online courses and membership websites. It has an extremely smooth and intuitive interface, but similar to GrooveFunnels is still in beta at the time I’m writing this. While certain features are still being developed, NewZenler promises to be a top choice for anyone who wants to teach using prerecorded or live video.
If you’re interested in creating online courses, NewZenler is definitely worth a closer look. I recommend signing up for a free account and joining their Facebook group so you can learn whether or not it’s right for you.
|Software Platform Name||Ontraport|
|Best Feature||Everything in one dashboard WITHOUT integrations being necessary|
|Biggest Area For Improvement||The page and form builders are a bit sluggish and overall the user experience could use significant improvement.|
Ontraport is an all-in-one marketing platform similar to Kartra, although it actually requires fewer integrations because it has its own SMS system. Ontraport is favorably priced if you’re after an all-in-one tool, and it integrates seamlessly with some other products I love such as ConvertBox. However, during my free trial I found the user interface and the dashboard’s load speed both lagged behind my expectations.
That said, if you want all your tools in one place and your budget is limited, Ontraport could be the perfect platform for you. I have pretty high expectations for the marketing tools I work with; I’ve experimented with literally dozens of different website builders, marketing platforms, and so on. If you’re new and Ontraport’s features and pricing match your needs, I’d recommend signing up for a free trial and setting up a complimentary onboarding call. Their staff are super friendly and helpful, the exact opposite of “hard selling”.
|Software Platform Name||LeadPages|
|Best Feature||Easy to create awesome landing pages|
|Affiliate Platform||None (can be integrated)|
|Biggest Area For Improvement||Could use more features, even if limited, on cheaper tiers.|
LeadPages is primarily a landing page builder that also includes sales funnel functionality on its higher tiers. While LeadPages is not a multi-tool like some of the platforms on this list, it does integrate with 40+ other tools natively. This means that if you’re already set up wit han email marketing or webinar platform you like, you can probably continue using it while building your pages and/or funnels with LeadPages.
While it may not have as much overall marketing power, LeadPages does what it’s supposed to do extremely well. And it’s hard to argue with a 14-day free trial! If you’re committed to an existing marketing platform for your emails, webinars, or memberships, LeadPages may be the solution you’re looking for.
|Software Platform Name||FunnelBolt|
|Best Feature||Integrations for email SMTP and SMS/voicemail drop via Twilio|
|Affiliate Platform||None (can be integrated)|
|Biggest Area For Improvement||The page builder is a bit more difficult to manage than most, and complex automations currently require Zapier.|
FunnelBolt is a landing page and sales funnel builder that comes complete with SMTP and Twilio integrations. This means that you need to have an email platform whose SMTP you can connect to, as well as an active Twilio account if you want to use SMS and ringless voicemail.
While it’s landing page builder is fairly basic, FunnelBolt comes out ahead of a number of other platforms because of its SMS and ringless voicemail functionality. It’s also capable of complex automations via a Zapier integration, something which many autoresponders lack.
If you’re looking for a lifetime deal that’s more affordable than GrooveFunnels and you want to be able to use Twilio, I recommend grabbing the FunnelBolt LTD on Appsumo. That’s how I bought it, and I’m quite happy with the purchase.
How to Choose the Right Funnel Builder For Your Business
Well, that was a long 3000 words, wasn’t it! I hope you found my assessment of each platform helpful. I intend to continue working on and expanding each section seen above, but I think they’re each well rounded enough to publish this article. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or contact me – it may help me round out the article even more!
To choose the best funnel builder for your business, I recommend starting with GrooveFunnels and/or NewZenler. That way you’ll have free accounts with no time limitation to stress you out. Get a feel for how they work, and then pick 2-3 other platforms to do trials for. If you consider the features listed above carefully, it should be easy to pick your top 3 candidates and test them thoroughly. Then you’ll know which platform is worth your investment.