Written by Laura Farkas

Updated May 18, 2023

How to Build Digital Marketing Funnels Without ClickFunnels

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When we get an enquiry about building  digital marketing funnels, we usually talk to someone who has tried ClickFunnels or any other funnel builder and didn’t’ get anywhere. The truth is that you might have the tools but if you don’t know how to put things together, you will be wasting your time and money. I would say that – based on our data – over 50 percent of new clients come to us because they didn’t succeed building their digital marketing funnels using ClickFunnels, Kartra, Groove, or LeadPages. 


Honestly: if you gave me a huge box of motorbike parts, I would know that they go together somehow, but I could be looking at it for years, I would still not be able to build a motorbike. It’s because I don’t understand how it works. I don’t have the experience servicing and building bikes. So, in digital marketing, the main step is connecting the dots (or the jigsaw pieces, hence our logo). 

woman trying to build a motorbike compared with trying to build a funnel

Here’s a quick guide to building a funnel from scratch (with our) without any of the software out there and succeeding. 


Start with the End Result in Mind

The truth is that most funnel builders, including Clickfunnels are designed to start with the first step. And they don’t encourage you to create a strategy and a map to follow. So, you are more than likely to start with the landing page. Wrong! 


You have to start with the end result; what action do you want your leads to take? And in which order? So, if you jump straight into the builder without a strategy – even if you copy an existing template – you will be likely to fail. 


When we take on a new digital marketing funnels client, we usually ask them what their revenue goal is, what they would like to sell, and who their target audience is. So, in a way, we can reverse engineer the process and get them there. Most of the funnel builders don’t work like this. 

reverse funnel process

You can map the funnel process using visualisation tools. We love using Miro boards, as it allows us to collaborate with clients. But there are plenty more free software you can use. If you are thinking about starting with this step you can get help from us. Check out our custom funnel mapping services.


Choose the Niche

When I say choose a niche, I mean choose one. Don’t change your mind every second. We’ve had clients like that and – guess what – we fired them! We need you to have a vision for your business to be able to collaborate with us. 


After you’ve chosen a niche, you can drill down further, and choose a sub-niche. Then you’ll have to find the problem that they are most motivated to solve. And then you will have to find the segment of the sub niche that is most likely to buy from you. And target those people. I know, it’s easier said than done. If you need help, why not try our ideal client exercise for free?


Once you have chosen the target audience and the problem, it’s time to craft your main message. Brainstorming on a huge piece of paper or on a mind mapping tool will get you the best results. Alternatively, why not do it together? Check out our Marketing SWOT service to see if it would help you build a profitable digital marketing funnels.

Pick the Most Suitable Lead Magnet

Now that you are at the stage where you can probably get started with building a funnel, you can go back to the drawing board and look at the different types of landing pages. To be completely honest, crafting a high conversion landing page is kind of like an art. So you will have to be very clear about the problem you are solving. Remember that you are not selling what you do, but the solution. And most people will be motivated to move away from pain or move towards pleasure, as Russell Brunson says. 


When it comes to lead magnets, you can choose a gated video (something people can only watch after they submitted their details), an eBook, a free course, or even a checklist or workbook. However, when you choose the lead magnet, you will have to think about the preferences of your audience. Do they like reading, watching videos, getting involved in the process? Chances are that this is a question you have never asked yourself, and that might be why you never made money with ClickFunnels. 


Your lead magnet will need to be presented in a way that it entices the audience. It also has to be related to what you are selling. So, if you are selling parenting support on a one-to-one basis, or a course, you might want to give away a free checklist, so people realise that they have a problem. If you are a business coach, you could create a quiz or questionnaire that scores the visitor’s answers and highlights the problems. You can offer a free consultation right after this. If you are thinking about using a quiz as a lead magnet, you can check out this guide


Once you have the landing page set up with or without a funnel builder, (you can design one on WordPress or use a freelancer) you can add the next steps and get started with sending traffic to the site.


The Recipe: What You’ll Need:

funnel building checklist

You will either need a website with a drag and drop design feature, or a template to work from. This will help you build the landing page at ease without having to subscribe to ClickFunnels or any other funnel builder. 


You should also have marketing automation added to the site. If you want a confirmation email to go out automatically, you will need an autoresponder. It can send out the links to the downloads on autopilot, follow up with prospects, track your traffic, and segment your leads based on their level of interest. We use ActiveCampaign, but you can use any other email marketing software. If you want to know more about the features of ActiveCampaign and why we teamed up with the company, you can check out this post. 


Bear in mind that some funnel builders have their own autoresponder built in. Groove is an all-in-one marketing automation platform, and we have recently worked on Systeme.io that is easy to use and offers email automation. 


Once you have these in place, you might want to work with a marketing automation agency to set everything up, or get a freelancer to write the email copy and create the designs. 


You will also need a payment processor to take care of invoicing and payments, as well as refunds. You don’t want to be bogged down with admin, after all!


And that’s it. You are ready to build  high converting digital marketing funnels without Clickfunnels. 

Test, Test, Test

When you budget for a funnel, you will always have to add the cost of traffic, too. This is something most people forget about. The truth is that there’s no point building digital marketing funnels if you don’t have enough traffic to generate conversions. It would be like building a superstore in the desert… A waste of time, money, energy, and resources. 


So, with your allocated budget, you will get started with testing. Create variations of the headline, images, buttons, and – perhaps even the lead magnet format – to determine what your audience likes. You can try multiple sources or traffic, too, and calculate the return on marketing investment


We usually use about 10 percent of the allocated ad budget on spending. It’s well worth it, as you will be able to maximise your conversions and improve your campaign profitability. It’s like building the groundwork for a building. It will not show much improvement, just a hole in the ground, but it is necessary to build it if you want a solid building. 


Evaluate Your Digital Marketing Funnel Performance

Once you have used up your ad budget, you can review the statistics. The best advice I can give you here is: 


Lose the losers and keep the winners. 


This means that the bottom half of variations will be eliminated. The top half (best performing) ads will be scaled up. This way, you will no longer be shooting in the dark. In fact, you will be able to run ads that are proven to convert from the beginning of the campaign. 


It might be necessary to do the evaluation every 4-12 weeks again, to see if the market’s behaviour has changed. 



Once you have reached a conversion rate of 1-6 percent (depending on what you offer), you might want to decide to increase your budget. Once you are getting £2-3 back on every £1 spent, it does make sense to do so. 


Scaling can happen when you target different demographics or expand your reach, too. Or you might decide to add more products to increase your customer spend and return on ad campaigns. 


You could also scale your campaigns by running retargeting campaigns. These are basically ad campaigns that target people who visited your site but didn’t take action. Alternatively, you might want to use your autoresponder to send out retargeting campaigns, but you need to have your tracking set up. If you need any help with creating an email marketing campaign, please check out this blog post


Add Steps to Maximise Revenue

Once the basic funnel is working (only two or three steps and a couple of emails will be enough in the beginning), you can start thinking about what else you can offer. You might have a recording of a webinar that you could put on repeat and sell. Or you could create a course. Maybe you can upsell a group coaching to people who are already on your course. 


The opportunities are endless, but it’s necessary to take a pause and get brainstorming at this point. What else could you add to your funnel that has a low cost to you but has a high perceived value to your customers? That’s the most likely suspect. 


It’s easier to start with a simple funnel and build on it than to try to get everything ready before you would even get your first lead in. 

Multiply Your Results By Working Smarter

Once you have your first funnel optimised, you can start working on the next one. But only then. At least that’s Russell Brunson’s advice, and he really knows about funnels. He actually says that you are not allowed to start a new funnel until you have made at least $1M from the first one. 


Now, $1M might sound like a long shot. However, you can really work smarter and get it done. As an example, adding high ticket offers will increase your revenue massively. Employing sales staff to close high ticket offers might be necessary, though. You can also go down the affiliate route. This means that you will need to recruit people who have access to your ideal clients and are willing to add them to your funnel for a percentage of the sale value. It’s a win-win situation. 


The good thing is that you will not have to pay for running the funnel any more; it is easy to manage, customisable, and ready 24 hours a day. In fact, you could be sitting on a beach while people buy your programme, or you get one-to-one bookings, Now, wouldn’t it be nice?


In conclusion, it is possible to set up digital marketing funnels without ClickFunnels. You can fail or succeed with or without a funnel builder if you don’t have the foundations right. Follow the steps in this post and you will be able to crack the code of marketing your business and running your sales on autopilot. 









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