- Product Features
- Expert Review
When a powerful CRM meets an intelligent autoresponder, you get Ontraport. It’s an all-in-one marketing automation tool that offers great features such as powerful CRM, email marketing, membership sites, one-click WordPress integration, payment processing, affiliate management and more.
Since our last review of Ontraport the software has evolved considerably, and they’ve added some amazing new features. . At first glance they’ve added several important new features. Let’s explore it in more depth.
About the company
Ontraport founder and CEO Landon Ray created Ontraport while running another small business, when he couldn’t find a CRM that would allow him to run his business on one platform. Conceptualized in 2006 and launched in 2008, Ontraport has grown tremendously during the last few years and now they have more than 100 team members who run the show. They’ve won several awards including #2 nationally for CareerBuilder’s ‘Big Strides in Small Business’, #102 on the Inc 500 list of fastest growing companies in the nation, a spot on the 50 Most Engaged Workplaces list, a Red Herring Top 100, and a Forbes Most Promising Companies listing.
Who is it for?
If you sell info products, offer coaching services, online training or education, or run any sort of paid membership site, you’ll totally love Ontraport. It makes your life easy by automating almost everything other CRMs will force you to do manually.
Just like any other software, Ontraport has its pros and cons. It’s not perfect, and there are things that its competitors can do exponentially better. However, it’s one of the best – if not the best – marketing automation software solutions available for small businesses, especially if they sell their products or services online. Ontraport have re-designed their packages. The Enterprise plan allows Ontraport to grow as the business grows. They now work with businesses of all sizes.
How popular is it?
Short answer is we’re not sure. They weren’t exactly forthcoming about their client base, other than it extends to over 63 countries around the world.
- Best value for money – you get a CRM, an autoresponder, a shopping cart, WordPress membership sites, affiliate management and task automation for only a few hundred dollars. On the contrary, one of their main rivals Infusionsoft charges $1,999 kickstart fee.
- Fantastic rule-based email marketing / business processes
- Highly scalable and customizable CRM
- On-demand postcards
- Extremely affordable two-way SMS text messaging
- Powerful stats, analytics and tracking
- Split testing capability
- Full WordPress integration, membership sites, self-hosted order forms and landing pages
- You don’t even need your own site because Ontraport can also host your site as their sub-domain
- Ontraport now offer “deals,” where users can view deal values, expected win %, and weighted deal values.
- Ontraport now have Facebook Custom Audiences and Facebook Connect buttons
- The Campaign Builder is completely visual, designed in a flowchart format
- While the software may be a bit complex at first, Ontraport do offer training for each new customer and offer extensive online resources to minimize confusion.
- Great customer service
- Mobile app is no longer available
- With all the e-commerce and membership site features, Ontraport should have a customer care module where customers can raise a ticket
- Their two packages allow 25,000 contacts with 100K emails and 100K contacts with 100k emails. That means if you hit the upper limit for your contacts, you can only send four or one email per contact per month respectively, and buying email bundles can be expensive
Getting started with Ontraport is fairly simple. Like many other CRMs, it offers a 14-day free trial. This includes a free setup call and access to all of the software’s features, without requiring a credit card. If you decide to buy the software after the trial and later change your mind, there is no cancellation fee.
Signing up for Ontraport is a little complicated and you can only import contacts in CSV format. Several CRMs allow you to import contacts in different formats, or even directly from third party sources such as Gmail, social media channels, Yahoo, Highrise etc. However, the import process is pretty streamlined and simple, you can even add new fields instantly, to match the data you’re importing, from the same page.
There is no setup fee and you get 2 hours free setup and implementation.
Workspace and user experience
The software seems somewhat less responsive than Infusionsoft, and their main dashboard – though customizable – isn’t very intuitive. The dashboard shows a bunch of boxes that display the metrics you choose, but it can be a little confusing.
Apart from the above mentioned qualms, we really liked several things about the workspace: the interface is customizable, the menus are strategically laid out, and sensible and standard naming conventions have been used. You can add custom columns and up to 150 custom fields to customize the work area according to your business needs. You can easily pin any item by clicking the pin button so that you can instantly access your favorite forms, contacts, landing pages or any other menus.
The work area really excels when you want to go beyond simply managing and contacting your customers. For example, you can create landing pages, web forms and a lot more by just dragging and dropping items.
When we compare the work area of Ontraport and Infusionsoft, it turns out that despite InfusionSoft having a few additional features and bells and whistles, what one can do, the other can also do.
Besides integration with several third party apps such as WordPress, Facebook, WISTIA, Twilio, KAJABI, EVERGREEN, GoToWebinar, Authorize.Net, Elavon, eWay, UltraCART, 1ShoppingCart, and ClickBank, Ontraport has an API that lets you integrate it with virtually any software and recently released more options for webhooks as well.
When we last reviewed Ontraport, their subscription plans were ideal for small- to mid-sized businesses. Since then, they’ve released new pricing with the addition of the Enterprise plan: a subscription designed for bigger businesses that allows for more users, contacts and emails. They also offer custom pricing plans for businesses too large for Enterprise. Meanwhile, the Basic, Plus and Pro plans still accommodate those small- to mid-sized businesses that have built Ontraport’s community.
$79/month, 1,000 contacts, unlimited emails, 1 account user (ONTRApages web pages, email templates, and SMS marketing automation are included in each plan)
$147/month, 2,500 contacts, unlimited emails, 2 account users, free account setup
$297/month, 10,000 contacts, unlimited emails, 3 account users, free account setup, free email consultation
$497/month, 20,000+ contacts, 200,000 emails/month, 5 account users, free account setup, free email consultation, personal account rep
Features of Ontraport
Before we delve into the features of Ontraport, let’s first talk about the three newly added features: Ontraport Forms, Ontraport marketplace, and Ontraport projects, during the yearly event called ONTRApalooza, in 2015.
You can choose to create order or opt-in forms using Ontraport and then host on your webpage. Since there are a lot of professionally designed templates available, all you have to do is add your photos and texts, and publish. By using the click-to-select editor, customizing the built-in blocks and using them over and over again is a matter of a few mouse clicks.
You can publish your forms as static forms, click-to-pop-up image or link, or even a lightbox pop-up. The most interesting and intelligent option is probably the lightbox pop-up, which you can choose to be triggered when a person spends a specified amount of time on your site, scrolls past certain percentage of the page or intends to exit. A decent pop-up tool on its own is quite pricey.
Pretty much like an app store, the Ontraport marketplace allows you to share Ontrapages, Ontramail and Ontraform templates with the Ontraport community. You can use templates created by other users or share the ones you created with others.
When sharing your templates, you can choose them to share for free, free for specific clients or you can even charge for your designs as well as content either a one-time fee or recurring subscription fee. The intelligent software system takes care of everything, and you get 90% of the fee. This is of a higher value than many will realise.
Another interesting and powerful newly introduced feature is Ontraport projects. Basically, it’s an in-app training program that lets you have your business up and running instantly. The CRM collects some data about your business and suggests different projects according to your business needs. When you choose a project, the training module walks you through the rest of the process, one step at a time. You can pause your project in the middle, and resume it from the same point later, or even keep using other features of the CRM.
Let’s say you want to sell a product for a monthly subscription, and you’re using Ontraport for the very first time, you’ll most probably have no idea what to do and where to start. This is where Projects menu comes to your rescue; it’ll guide you to take care of everything from defining a product to choosing subscription fee to referrals and so on.
Ontraport allows you to store a variety of important details about your clients as well as prospects in one, highly customizable screen. While viewing a contact, you can send them an email or a text message, log a phone call, manage their credit card, add a task… and the list goes on and on.
To update any field, just click the value in the particular field, enter the new value and hit save button that appears right next to the field. Adding sequences and tags is also a matter of a couple of clicks. In short, the contact menu is simple yet comprehensive.
This is a highly customizable roadmap that lets you create a series of follow-up actions (i.e. email, SMS, tasks, rules) as well as fulfillments. You can view the full campaign in editing mode or see it in action with live view. It also provides “performance” and “projection” views to see the campaign in context.
You can also create conditions, which let you trigger certain campaign actions based on an if, then criteria. For example, you can create a condition to recharge a declined transaction, send a certain email to customers who respond to a landing page, notify your sales team when someone subscribes to your product, and so on.
Each step of the campaign can be triggered by customers through your blog, email or any other source, and the customer’s request will be processed by Ontraport as per the rules you defined, even while you’re sleeping.
Ontraport allows you to send normal emails, text messages, full color postcards, and last but not least, professionally designed, totally customizable email templates called Ontraport Email. You can send unlimited emails each month (with the exception of Enterprise subscriptions, which max out at 200,000 emails per month). For text messages, you need to pay 2 cents per message – which Ontraport claims is the cheapest in the industry. Likewise, Ontraport charges a little under $1 per postcard.
The best thing about messages is that they are two-way messages i.e. the reply from your customer can trigger a campaign. Also, you can automatically insert merge fields to emails as well as text messages i.e. first name/last name or any other info of the contact.
Event management is yet another unique feature of Ontraport that lets you to conduct and manage online events such as webinars, teleseminars or live events. You can monitor people who attended and those who could not, and tell the CRM to automatically follow up with each group accordingly.
It’s a little menu that allows you add/edit/delete custom fields, import contacts, manage lead routing and scoring, manage scheduled broadcasts, and change the default value of the merge fields.
The task management automates most of the processes and saves a lot of time. You can assign prospects to your relevant teammate, route leads based on several indicators (zip code, job title, website visits etc.). You can even make decisions of routing leads on a percentage or round-robin basis.
It’s disappointing that you can’t add a new task when you’re viewing your tasks; rather you need to go to Messages or Contacts to add a new task. Also, there is no integrated calendar where you can see your tasks and appointments.
If you run an online ecommerce business, you’ll totally love the sales module of Ontraport. Here you can see all the purchases made by your customers, products that you sell, generate different reports such as sales report, subscriber retention report, transaction log, open orders and more.
When it comes to e-commerce, while Ontraport does the basics right, Infusionsoft beats it to the punch. Firstly, Ontraport doesn’t have a fully functional shopping cart as found in Infusionsoft. To get similar functionality, you’ll have to integrate Ontraport with 1 Shopping Cart, a well-known, independent shopping cart product. Handling payments as well as managing payment plans is relatively easier in Infusionsoft: Infusionsoft has a built-in merchant account known as Infusionsoft Payments, a feature missing in Ontraport.
Partner & Affiliate Program Management
This feature lets you manage your affiliate program. Create a branded partner center on your own website in minutes and offer them the desired tools to promote your business. You can create multiple affiliate programs for different products or partner types. You can also automate commissions or manually sanction them after viewing.
This module lets you integrate WordPress sites as well as create amazing landing pages simply by dragging and dropping. Last time we reviewed Ontraport, this module didn’t work on Google Chrome, but we were able to create a nice landing page this time.
It’s a great feature for selling info products or online coaching services. You can host videos and other media for your customers, create unlimited membership levels, and upgrade members over time, when they pay for access.
This menu tells who is engaging with your content. Unlike most other analytic programs, Ontraport tracking not just shows you how many users are viewing your website, but it also tells you who they are, exactly what pages they have viewed, when they viewed it and a lot more.
You can track users either by campaign, by lead source, by medium, by content, or by term and get alerts to follow up when someone downloads your product; a hot prospect visits a particular landing page or anything else.
Ontraport as a CRM impresses, and as a company Ontraport impresses, too. Their progressiveness is reflected in their product. Like most CRM vendors out there, it is a constant game of leapfrog with the competition, and they play it well, continuously enhancing their product. Their CRM is particularly suited to companies that do sophisticated email marketing, and if you run an affiliate reseller program (which is an ideal way to run a little-cost independent sales team), ONTRAPORT is an excellent tool to manage that for you, too.
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