From $0 to $70 Million: Inside The ClickFunnels Marketing Machine

ClickFunnels is one of the most popular marketing platforms on the market. How did it grow from scratch in 2014 to become $70+ million company by 2018? The company relies on a few strategies to attract and retain customers but there’s no VCs picking up the tab here.

In this interview, you will find out:

  • how the company attracts customers by marketing books
  • the two marketing metrics the company constantly track (hint: it’s not pageviews)
  • how the company leverages partnerships with other SaaS companies to grow
  • the company’s blog and podcast marketing strategies.

Thanks to Dave Woodward, chief business development officer at ClickFunnels, for generously sharing his insights in this interview. I can’t wait to read “Dot Com Secrets” and “Expert Secrets” later this month.  

Dave Woodward, Chief Business Development Officer at ClickFunnels

1) How does ClickFunnels help its customers?

ClickFunnels is a marketing platform that helps companies generate leads and convert customers through a series of steps.

We have helped a wide variety of customers achieve marketing success. Over 250 companies have generated over $1 million in revenue using our platform. One customer has used ClickFunnels to promote his Big Foot tourism service. We have another company that uses ClickFunnels to generate leads for a franchise company. Ecommerce companies have used the platform to sell more products.

Note: Like other sales and marketing SaaS companies, ClickFunnels has a consultant program of marketers who can help you with implementing the product in your business.

2) What is your role in the company?

I am a partner in the company with a focus on business development. In addition, I run the FunnelHacker Radio podcast at the company. Arranging integrations with other companies has been a focus for me lately.

3) How does ClickFunnels grow through integrations with other SaaS products?

ClickFunnels has integrations with multiple other software products. For example, we have an integration with Go To Webinar so customers can easily use webinars as part of their marketing process. We also have an integration with Shopify – a great option for companies who want a direct relationship with their customers. That direct customer connection isn’t available if you sell via the Amazon platform.

Other integrations include Salesforce, Zapier, dropshipping and payment processors like Stripe. Overall, we operate as the front end for many different tools. We also have a white label relationship with SendGrid for email.

Software integrations are important to our growth because it increases customer stickiness. When a customer can do webinars, CRM and payments through integrations, they are more likely to stay. Integrations help us to provide more value to customers without having to build out those features.

4) The company’s founder has published two books: Dot Com Secrets and Expert Secrets. How have these books contributed to the company’s success?

The Expert Secrets Funnel


Books have tremendous value because authors put years of experience and research into a book. In our marketing, we have used several free plus shipping offers. Through that approach, we have given away over 100,000 copies of each of the books. In turn, a percentage of the book recipients become customers for ClickFunnels.

In 2017, we launched “Expert Secrets” in April/May 2017. We ended up giving away 35,000 copies of the books in a few weeks. A lot of our current customers have become raving fans. Part of that success is due to our founder, Russell Brunson. His personality and style resonates with a  lot of people.

We come from the direct response marketing world and that background has informed our approach. For example, in promoting the books, we had a contest with awards for affiliates who helped to promote the book.

Generally speaking, we are finding that it costs around $120-$130 cost to acquire a customer. In terms of the dollars and cents, our approach is to break even on the book funnels. After the person picks up the book, there are additional offers however. As a result, we often make $30 or more on the offer where  the cost to give away the book is around $22 per copy.

5) What is your approach to the ClickFunnels blog?

Our blog marketing approach has evolved over time. In the past, we had a couple of strong writers internally. In 2018, we have established an “internal agency” For more information on the creation of the internal agency, take a look at Russell’s YouTube video – Returning And Reporting Back On Week One Of Our New Agency.

Thematically, we have two core themes. First, we want to give hope to business owners that they can succeed. Second, we want readers to come away with practical ideas and ways to grow their business. A few of our most popular blog posts include The Ultimate Marketer’s Blueprint To Funnel Hacking [A to Z] and  Hacks to Becoming The Fastest Funnel Builder in the World.

6) How do you find guests for the podcast Funnel Hacker Radio?

Our guest selection tends to fall into two categories. A lot of the people I’m interviewing are from the two comma club success stories – customers who have generated millions of dollars in revenue. These interviews provide hope as well as tips, tricks and tools to help other people to achieve success.

When looking for guests, I am looking for a few qualities. First, is the person successful? Second, does the interviewee have a roadmap that they can share with the audience? Finally, does the guest have some other practical value they can share? For example, I sometimes interview an integration partner (e.g. How Zapier and ClickFunnels Make You More Productive) so they can explain how to grow using that partner’s service.

In addition to guests, I’m starting to add in my own words of wisdom through my travels. For example, I’m planning episodes with some of my learnings from attending conferences and the relationships at Traffic & Conversion and Social Media Marketing World.

7) What is a content marketing technique or strategy that the company has stopped using in the past year?

Today, we have focused on three primary channels: Facebook, Youtube and Instagram are the top channels.

We have moved away from attempting to do all of our marketing ourselves. To achieve that, we have built an “internal agency” which has eight people.  The team includes a project manager, copywriters, graphic artists, funnel builders, traffic specialists and social media experts on the team. Russell generates the ideas and gets things started. Everyone else jumps in to focus on their specialty. 

On the stop doing list, there are a few items. We stopped using Snapchat and Periscope. We also paused producing the “Drop The Mic” show.

8) What marketing metrics do you consider most helpful to track in the business?

There are two related metrics critical to our business:

  • cost to acquire a customer
  • average cart value.

Our goal is to get our average cart value metric equal to or higher than the cost to acquire a customer metric. If the average cart value was $100 and cost was $99, then that would be attractive. At

present, we have six break even funnels that relate to our front end offers including the books. It is important periodically to change the advertising approach. You get ad fatigue so we need to continue trying to use different ad creative.

9)  What websites, communities and other places do you use to stay informed on industry news?

For websites, there are a few that stand out for me. I frequently check TechCrunch, MarTech Today, and SaaStr. My favorite podcasts include Andrew Warner’s Mixergy and the Nathan Latka’s The Top Podcast.

10) Where should readers go to learn more about you and the company? is the best place to go to learn about the company. To find out more about the books and see our funnels in action, visit DotComSecrets and ExpertSecrets.

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