How ClickFunnels Grew Into a $100-Million Business In Just 5 Years (And The 5 Funnels That Made It Possible)

7 min read

Five years ago, in 2014, Russell Brunson had a dream…He wanted to help entrepreneurs launch and scale their businesses using sales funnels, without forcing those same entrepreneurs to pay developers huge fees in order to get high-converting funnels built and launched.

And thus ClickFunnels was born.

In October 2014, Russell launched ClickFunnels with a small team and no venture capital funding. 2019, ClickFunnels is one of the fastest-growing, privately-owned SaaS companies in North America with over $100 million in annual sales and over 100,000 paying customers.

But the question is, how did Russell and his team achieve all of this?

Well, in this post, I am going to show you how Russell and his team have used five key sales funnel models to launch and grow ClickFunnels and how they use them to acquire thousands of customers every single day.

More importantly, my hope is after you have read this post, you can apply the same sales funnel strategies that we have used so that you can grow your business to the levels that you desire.

Let’s dive in!

The Launch Of ClickFunnels & Funnel #1: The Webinar

It didn’t start pretty. 

On launch day, we thought that we’d pull in 5,000 customers, maybe 10,000… who knew! The sky was the limit in our minds. 

But when we opened the proverbial curtain on our new shiny product, no one wanted to buy. We stared in disbelief as ad campaigns failed and conversion rates plummeted. 

(Been there?)

Then, as a last-ditch effort to find ClickFunnels’ first customers, Russell put together a presentation, delivered it on stage, and received a staggering 30% close rate. 

It was clear then, that we’d stumbled upon something that would radically change the future of marketing (for us and thousands of entrepreneurs around the world).

We’d discovered the webinar. 

ClickFunnels was launched in October 2014 with a small team, a few webinars, and some affiliate partners. 

We turned Russell’s wicked effective presentation into the below webinar. 

First Ever Webinar | ClickFunnels
First-Ever Webinar | ClickFunnels

The strategy was simple…

On the webinar training, Russell revealed a simple funnel model he was using and then gave prospects access to the very same funnel templates inside of ClickFunnels and invited prospects to sign up for a two-week trial.

In addition to the original webinar that Russell created, they tested and leveraged many other webinars as well. For instance…

SecretFunnelStrategy.com
One of the webinars that we use is called “Secret Funnel Strategy.” This webinar offers training where Russell reveals a new secret funnel strategy that helps businesses grow quickly.

The strategy behind the webinar is to provide value and ultimately build desire for the offer which is the product that is sold at the end of the webinar.

Below is an image of the funnel.

Webinars are an extremely powerful marketing tool and when used correctly, they can be a great sales funnel to acquire new customers, especially for higher-priced or more complex products.

These webinars were promoted by his affiliate partners and with paid advertising. Eventually, we hit our goal of 10,000 paying customers.

But… one win doesn’t equal massive future success…

How could Russell and his team consistently acquire new ClickFunnels customers predictably and profitably day-in and day-out, without having to raise millions in venture capital funding?

Russell and his team quickly realised that selling ClickFunnels subscriptions to cold audiences was very difficult, so they had to come up with a multi-pronged strategy in order to acquire new ClickFunnels customers.

And the strategy that they came up with was multifaceted: create sales funnels using webinars, free reports, free books, and an enticing challenge. By doing so, they would first acquire new customers through multiple products and then upsell these new customers into ClickFunnels at a profit. 

So let’s take a look at 4 other sales funnels that Russell and his team have used to acquire customers and grow ClickFunnels into the massive business that it is today.

The Customer Acquisition Engine – The Free Book Funnel

The free book funnel is one of ClickFunnels key sales funnel models that is used to acquire upwards of 1,000 new customers per day.

Russell and his team use the free book funnel to sell his books, Dotcom Secrets, Expert Secrets and Network Marketing Secrets. 

The strategy used here is to give the book away for free with a small shipping fee applied to cover shipping costs. 

There is also an upsell in the funnel to cover the cost of acquiring a new customer so ultimately, a new customer can be acquired profitably. 

Here are some images of our book funnels below.

Once a new customer is acquired, many of them become a customer of ClickFunnels because they have a great positive first experience after reading one of Russell’s books. 

However, this is just one of the funnels ClickFunnels uses to acquire new customers and ultimately upgrade them into ClickFunnels users.

The next funnel that we use is one of the key strategies for acquiring new ClickFunnels customers…

The Challenge Funnel – The One Funnel Away Challenge

Challenge funnels are one of the most effective ways to get people motivated to buy a product or service. 

The strategy is simple…

Walk people through your system — your process for getting results with your product or service (in our case its building sales funnels) — and then sell the people in the challenge your product or service. 

Russell and his team realised the power of challenge funnels and hence, the One Funnel Away Challenge was born. 

The strategy behind this funnel is simple…

A challenge user will get 30 days of expert sales funnel coaching to plan and launch a new funnel so ultimately, a lot of challenge participants will end up building their new funnel in ClickFunnels and hence, they become a ClickFunnels customer.

Genius, right? ☺

People pay $100 to join the One Funnel Away Challenge so we can acquire a new customer profitably and hence this is how we can use this challenge funnel not only to acquire new customers profitably but also get people using ClickFunnels. 

Below is an image of our One Funnel Away Challenge Funnel.

The sales funnels that I have shown you so far focus on acquiring new customers straight away with a low ticket product but Russell also wanted to use free training, reports and ultimately email to acquire more customers at scale. 

And the next funnel is one of the most effective sales funnel models that we use to grow our email lists and get people using ClickFunnels…

The Lead Magnet – Marketing Secrets Black Book

One of the core ways that Russell has grown ClickFunnels is by using email marketing. 

Email marketing remains one of ClickFunnels most profitable marketing activities and hence we strive to continually grow our email lists on a monthly basis. 

And one of the most effective ways that we have grown our email list to hundreds of thousands of subscribers is with our legendary Marketing Secrets Black Book. 

This simple free black book has generated hundreds of thousands of new leads for us and generated thousands of new customers as a consequence.

This free book has been one of the core marketing activities that Russell and his team has used to grow ClickFunnels through the power of email marketing. 

And one little tip I’ll share with you…Email marketing definitely isn’t dead, it is very much alive and kicking!

Here is an image of the Marketing Secrets Blackbook Funnel below.

And last but not least, the final funnel that we use to grow ClickFunnels is….

Our Main Funnel – lickFunnels.com

The funnel that I am about to reveal is responsible for acquiring all of our ClickFunnels customers: ClickFunnels.com

This is effectively our shop front for ClickFunnels and it is central to all of our marketing efforts. 

Even though we use multiple funnels and products to acquire new customers, ultimately, all marketing roads will lead to ClickFunnels.com. 

Here is an image of the ClickFunnels home page below.

The homepage is designed to essentially be the offer as to why people should join ClickFunnels. 

So generally, we only send people to our homepage who already know about ClickFunnels and hence they are warm prospects and just want to know what they get when they join ClickFunnels.

We also have lots of other educational pages and our blog attached to this page for people who want more information about ClickFunnels and how it works. 

So now you know the five funnels Russell and his team have used to grow ClickFunnels to be a $100 million business in just five short years. 

So my question now is…

Ready To Use These Funnels To Grow Your Business?

Yes, you heard that right, you now have the opportunity to model and implement these five types of funnels so that you can grow and scale your business to the levels that you desire.

You don’t have to use all five of these sales funnels straight away, my advice is to pick one, create an awesome offer and message and use your chosen sales funnel to start acquiring customers consistently and predictably day-in and day-out.

And you can do that by…

Trying ClickFunnels Free For 14 Days!

You’ve seen how effective sales funnels can be for your business — they’ve grown our business to $100 million. 

I wonder…

What could they do for your business? 

By signing up for a ClickFunnels free trial, you can put our money where our mouth is and allow us to prove to you just how powerful sales funnels will be for your business. 

For two weeks, you can collect leads and sales with our service totally for free. Just choose from our sales funnel templates, use our drag-and-drop editor to customize each page, and then hit the “Publish” button. 

Plus — by clicking here, you’ll get tons of free bonuses. 😉

If our sales funnels do even one tenth as well for you as they have for us, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful business. 

What are you waiting for?

Try ClickFunnels Free For 14 Days!

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