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The Ontraport Review That Matters in 2020

A Detailed Look At Ontraport

What Ontraport has achieved to build with a small, bootstrapped team is nothing short of a miracle. The Ontraport platform is a feature-rich, reliable, well designed CRM, email marketing, and marketing automation tool that can do almost anything out of the box. With no startup fee, month to month billing and a 14 days free trial, the entry and commitment level is somewhat lower than with Infusionsoft by Keap. It also features the lowest ongoing fees as the number of contacts and emails per month increases.

Feature richness, flexibility and scalability, together with the refreshingly sincere and open company culture (founder and CEO Landon Ray still takes the time to personally reply to requests and complaints in forums) have caused a sizeable number of well-known and respected online personalities, bloggers and coaches to move their businesses over to Ontraport over the last few years.

Yup, some of the links below are affiliate links. That means if you click on them and purchase items or services linked to, in some cases I will receive a referral commission. This will never increase the cost for you, but it helps support this site and allows me to continue to provide free, well researched content. I only recommend products that I have experience with and use (or used to use) in my own business. Thank you for your support!

Pleasure Score

  • Features 90% 90%
  • User Experience 85% 85%
  • Pricing 95% 95%
  • Overall 90% 90%

Ontraport Features

Of all the all-in-one automation solutions, Ontraport provides the largest number of features out of the box, which makes it a great tool for people who prefer to have everything in one place. If you get Ontraport, everything is right there: top-notch responsive landing page and form builders that don’t need to fear a direct comparison with LeadPages, A-B-C-D split-testing, 2-way text messaging, order forms, 1-click upsells, custom objects, Facebook custom audience integration, personalized URLs, membership site, affiliate programs, and more. In its current form, Ontraport is already feature packed.

Nonetheless, it continues to develop new sophisticated features which add more more power to this all-in-one automation tool. One such exciting experimental feature is the Projection Mode of the campaign builder. It allows you to play around with what-if scenarios based on your current stats. You could manually adjust figures on certain campaign elements to predict how those changes would impact other elements further downstream.

Pleasure Points

✔ It’s the most feature packed all-in-one marketing automation tool

✔ Powerful visual campaign builder and reporting tool

✔ Custom record types which can be linked together in the fashion of a true relational database

Pain Points

✖ Small number of 3rd party integrations

✖ Basic pricing plan is not too scalable

Why Ontraport?

1) Award-winning Visual Campaign Builder
Ontraport used to have only a step-based automation builder using if-then rules. Geeky. However, things changed BIG when they introduced their Visual Campaign Builder and it became a game changer for the industry.

Although this came out in 2017, relatively later than other tools in this market, it is the most easy-to-use and intuitive campaign builder out there. Getting used to it takes relatively less time than the other competitors!

2) Responsive Landing Pages That Can Be Hosted Within Ontraport or Your Domain

Ontraport allows users to customize pages using an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface.

Landing pages are made up of elements, such as text and images, which are placed inside blocks. These blocks are the frames that create the layout of your page. It only takes a couple of arranging blocks via drag-and-drop and then designing the elements based on your preferences.

Plus, it’s very cool to have the option to host your landing pages hosted either on Ontraport or your own domain.

3) All Your Data in One Place
If you are using multiple tools/platforms or “single-point” solutions for your business and link them together, transferring data for your analytics, chances are data can be inaccurate, delayed or in some cases, lost.

When you have all your customer data in one place, it makes it easier and more efficient for data to be transferred from the different stages of marketing retaining accuracy and precision! It allows a degree of automation and personalization that is hardly attainable by having multiple solutions.

Also, if you invest in only one or a few tools, chances are that you’d get to get to save more in money and time and all your customer interactions are complete and in place. These are important factors in choosing the right software too empower your business.

Everything should be in one place, working together like a smooth machine.

4) Kanban-like Card View Feature for Data

The Card View is a feature which let’s you build a Kanban-like visual representation of any pipeline you want.

This is a table-based view of your contacts which are contained in cards where they can be clicked and dragged onto different columns that represent a part of the funnel on your campaign. It is fully customizable and allows color coding so you can easily identify segments of the pipeline.

The Card View is also available for Companies, Deals, Events, among others.

These are powerful stuff for customer relationship management and segmentation and it allows easy identification and tracking of what stage your customers are currently at! And this leaves me wondering why this is a subtle feature that no one else seems to be utilizing fully.

5) Built-in Membership Sites

Nowadays, there are a lot of businesses that need membership sites. Most of these business are educational, coaching or informational in nature and require exclusive access their premium content (in most cases, subscription-based).

Every aspect of membership like logging in, page creation, subscription payments, automated follow-ups are done in one place.

The membership feature works well with WordPress via the PilotPress plugin. Setting it up is as easy as linking it to your Ontraport account! Creating pages is done within Ontraport and pages can be displayed on the WordPress site.

Book More Brides is a wedding business that uses Ontraport to power its membership site.

 

6) Seamless WordPress Integration
According to W3Techs, approximately 35% of websites in the whole wide world is powered by WordPress.

That’s huge.

Ontraport works smoothly with WordPress through its integration called PilotPress.

7) 14-Day No Credit Card Free Trial

If you have your doubts on this marketing automation heavyweight, why not try their 14-day free trial?

It’s great that they offer this especially when pricing makes you hesitant to proceed with commitment to this, and this company is probably one of the few who does.

They even offer free 2 hours of setup so you can make the most of this trial!

8) Custom Objects
This. Is. HUGE! Ontraport is the only small business CRM that allows you to build custom record types and link them together in the fashion of a true relational database (1-to-1, 1-to-many and many-to-many relationships).

Use custom objects to create and link records for opportunities, companies, bids or quotes, customer installs, courses and students, trips, pets or any other data you’d like to store and put in relation with each other. Automations can be created for every object, they even have their own API.

No other system that we are aware of, in this price segment, in the world of small to medium sized business sales and marketing automation has anything even close to it.

9) Predictive Analytics with Projection Mode
This feature utilizes all your past and present campaign data and tries to make “what-if” scenarios to predict how newer campaigns can perform. This is very important to make informed business decisions based on practical data that is already available.

Although this is still an experimental feature, it is very promising as it uses predictive analytics and machine learning (a much growing and trending discipline in computer science and businesses) to generate these intelligent predictions and how campaigns might .

If your business does not have this, then you could be left biting the dust.

10) Powerful API
Ontraport allows us to connect any other app directly that offers webhooks without the need to sign up for a 3rd party connector like Zapier or to hire an API developer.

It even has an entire documentation section dedicated to it.

However, it does have quite a few 3rd party integrations. The team only fully supports the following built-in integrations:

  • 1ShoppingCart
  • ClickBank
  • UltraCart Shopping Cart
  • Facebook Connect Button
  • Facebook Custom Audiences

It’s not bad. In fact, it’s a handy arsenal. It is my hope that they can build on this in the future.

11) Great Customer Support and Contextual Help

Even though Ontraport’s system may be easier and more user-friendly than other tools in the market – with great power and lots of features comes a steep-ish learning curve, depending on your experience. That’s natural.

But fear not, Ontraport’s customer service is one of the best out there, and contacting them is highly encouraged.

If you would rather DIY your way out a problem or a question you may have, the help files are very comprehensive and in most cases, can get your inquiry solved immediately. I like how easily a help section can pop up. It’s easy – just click the “i” or “question mark” at the lower right of the window which provides access to the “About This Page” and Help Center sections, respectively.

The Help Center gives you many options on how to tackle your problem or inquiry.

There are Quick Start Checklist, Step by Step Guides, or you can contact support directly through Live Chat, or by submitting a ticket, or …. drumroll … scheduling a screenshare session with one of their support ninjas. Why the drumroll? Well, this, again, is a unique and very user friendly approach in the marketplace. You click a button, choose a time slot (most of the time a screenshare session is available within 15-30 minutes) and you will receive an invite to do a video / screenshare conference with their support. Sharing your screen has tremendous advantage over just talking / chatting with someone, as you can show them directly on your screen where you’re stuck, and then they walk you through how to resolve your issue. Excellent!

But lastly, and definitely not the least, they have an active Facebook support community with more then 6,000 members now. Here the community is active and you can get tips from other users or even find people having the same questions as you. Ontraport CEO Landon Ray himself is active on this group, as is his VP of development. Direct product feedback is being listened to and sometimes changes implemented within days.

12) Referral Management

Nowadays, businesses thrive with referral programs. If customers are pleased, lead generation becomes quite automatic already as they start referring other people in. And especially if leads who come in are referred by trusted friends, conversion improves.

With the all-in-one system that Ontraport is, tracking and managing referrals is easy and can bring in more web traffic, leads and sales for businesses.

And if you like Ontraport so much that you would refer it to friends, you get to earn a 25% referral bonus of the monthly fees for each account for as long as they are subscribed!

Ontraport Key Features In Detail

Visual Campaign Builder and Reporting Tool
Ontraport’s new campaign builder (introduced in June 2017) is the easiest and the most powerful visual campaign builder on the market. It is loaded with powerful features, boasts a user interface that is intuitive, and packs advanced reporting capabilities. It allows you to build campaign maps that automate every part of the customer life cycle and it’s the first ever which can show all parts of a business on a single map. This gives the business owner a complete picture of how the business works, providing unprecedented marketing insights which translate to smarter business decisions.

 

The visual campaign builder is also head and shoulders above the competition for ease of use. One prime example is the campaign builder’s ability to let you work on the assets associated with your campaign from WITHIN the campaign map workflow. It makes the whole process really easy and super efficient. The campaign builder’s performance mode is without question the most powerful built-in visual reporting tool available inside an all-in-one automation platform. It shows you the real time statistics of the different elements of your campaign map. Among others, you’ll find here the conversion rates, the lifetime value of your customers, the time it takes to achieve goals, and the number of contacts passing through a campaign element. Most importantly, this is where you actually see which lead sources achieve better goal conversions. It provides invaluable insights so you can improve your workflow and maximize your results.

In short, you get a visual campaign builder that’s loaded with powerful features and optimized for ease of use. That’s a one-two punch that puts Ontraport on a dominant position in the all-in-one marketing automation slugfest. As a matter of fact, Ontraport was recently named the Bronze winner in the Best in Biz Awards for Best New Product Feature of the Year – Enterprise/SMB category for its visual campaign builder.

Flexibility
Ontraport has dozens of different trigger types (“when this happens…”) and dozens of different action types (“…then do that…”), there is almost no automation that I can think of that you can’t build out. No other system in this segment has as many trigger and action types.

The CRM is fully customizable (pages, tabs and fields can be arranged however it is best for your purposes), and the ability to create custom object types is a very unique selling point (see below).

Custom Objects

Ontraport is the only small business CRM that allows you to build custom record types and link them together in the fashion of a true relational database (1-to-1, 1-to-many and many-to-many relationships).

Use custom objects to create and link records for opportunities, companies, bids or quotes, customer installs, courses and students, trips, pets or any other data you’d like to store and put in relation with each other. Automations can be created for every object, they even have their own API.

As of November 13, 2019, it was announced that there’s a new “View Custom Object Relationships.” This makes it easier to see how relationships are configured especially for advanced custom objects with multiple relationships attributed to it.

Complete Features List

FeatureAvailabilityDescription
Visual Campaign BuilderVery easy-to-use and intuitive visual campaign builder
Built-in CRMComprehensive ad powerful CRM with fully customizable layout
Email and landing page buildersDrag-and-drop editors that are so easy-to-use and convenient. There is also an option to build using HTML editors or just text-based emails or pages
Mobile-responsive TemplatesBuilt-in both for emails and landing pages if you don't want to start from scratch
E-commerce CapabilityBe able to create checkout forms, create offers and track orders
Custom ObjectsA unique feature that's very powerful for CRM. No other all-in-one platform uses this yet
Membership SitesCompatible with WordPress plugin via PilotPress
Free Trial14-Day Free Trial which includes a 2-Hour Setup
APIPowerful library of API integrations that's continuing to grow
A/B TestingSplit testing is a key to optimizing emails and landing pages and Ontraport allows you to do so quickly within the editors
Referral ManagementTrack and manage referrals easily

Summary

Ontraport is the near perfect all-in-one marketing automation toolbox as has all the features a small business or startup entrepreneurs would be able to make the most of. With the number of tools available, it does take some learning curve to connect the dots and get a working knowledge of but without getting a state of “overwhelm” as they are easy-to-use and intuitive.

Ontraport User Experience

Ontraport has a very intuitive interface. One can do well by just doing trial and error to familiarize how the system works. The features are carefully planned and intelligently connected so that campaigns can be crafted easily without any major confusion.

By now you can probably tell that I am biased toward Ontraport. It’s not a surprise, but these are all from my experience with working on this for years and I have had a very good run with it and still counting!

What are the highlights for user experience with Ontraport? Read on.

Pleasure Points

✔ Most easy-to-use marketing automation platform in the market

✔ Intuitive user-interface

✔ Seamless and well-integrated features

✔ Customizeable columns makes experience more personal and tweakable

Pain Points

✖ None at the moment, TBD

How Good is User Experience with Ontraport?

1) Ease of Use with the Drag-and-Drop Visual Builder
When Ontraport first came out, there was no visual campaign builder. Even without it, It fared well against its competitors.

But when they finally released, it came out with a blast!

You get a visual campaign builder powerful features and optimized for ease of use. Adding elements are very intuitive and it’s hard to add anything that’s unnecessary.

It’s drag-and-drop features makes it easy to link every part of the campaign or sequence to each other. Zooming in using the keyboard and mouse makes it easy to see the bigger picture.

There is also a helpful Checklist Items feature so you can take down note of where you are or what to do next for you campaign.

2) Fully Customizable CRM Layout

Ontraport does not have the conventional concept of “Lists” like in other competitors, but it does have a single database of contacts in one account. This is good to avoid duplicate contacts that are in multiple lists.

Its CRM system is the hub of all contact information including email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, transaction history, page visit history, among many others. Ontraport is a powerhouse in this area.

When you log in to Ontraport, you are immediately presented with the Kanban-like Card View (as mentioned above).

There is an option to view the contacts or (companies, deals, etc.) in a simpler List View if that is your preference.

And it’s not just the Contacts that can be treated as “objects” but you can also do so with Companies, Deals, and Events which are readily available as tabs on the top navigation menu. They also each have their respective relevant information and history once you click on them individually.

Clicking a single contact (or company, etc.) will give you access to more of their detailed information and the layout of is fully customizable in tabs, sections and fields (standard and custom fields). But the default layout in itself is already powerful and user-friendly.

3) WYSIWYG Email and Landing Page Editors

Emails can be edited very easily with its drag-and-drop builder.

“What you see is what you get.” and if you’re not convinced, you can just hit the Preview button to view the email you crafted on another tab. And like most email marketing platforms, you can just easily send a test email.

There is freedom in crafting the emails as their are 3 main categories to on how to build your emails:

  • Simple Email (text-based email)
  • OntraMail (The best! This is the WYSIWYG drag-and-drop builder)
  • Raw HTML Editor (for the DIY people)

I am going to highlight only OntraMail. An email is structured by blocks (and within them, the elements) and are listed on the left pane so you can easily navigate through them.

When you add blocks, you are also given the option to use the tool’s many built-in templates which are already beautifully made or you can just copy from an existing email which you’ve already created.

Creating and editing landing pages (Ontraport Pages) are no different and can be built pretty much the same way as emails. You have access to a similar drag-and-drop interface and can access from an extensive library of plug-and-play templates if you don’t want to start from scratch.

4) Help is Available Throughout All Pages

Stuck on what to do? Don’t know which page or section you’re in on the platform?

Well, as mentioned on item no. 10 on the features above, on the bottom right there are the About this Page and Help Center buttons readily available to those that need help.

Summary

It seems that Ontraport has a culture of placing its customers first. User experience with the platform seems to be the best bar none.

Even though it takes some time of familiarization (as all tools), ease of use and its intuitively structured layout and features are perfect even for the beginner with marketing automation and CRM.

Ontraport Culture

Ontraport’s open and modern company culture receives a lot of praise across the board. As a bootstrapped company with just over 100 employees they are still in a position to engage in personal conversations and to react quickly to feature requests or when upsets happen. Their founder and CEO Landon Ray personally responds to people on social media, and the company has a track record of communicating proactively and openly in the rare cases that something goes south.

Pleasure Points

✔ The CEO is almost always reachable and is actively engaging with customers on social media

✔ They focus on slow steady growth

✔ They build relationships with clients/customers

✔ Active Facebook user community where users can interact with fellow users and the company

Pain Points

✖ There is none I can think of for the time being

Ontraport Pricing

Ontraport’s pricing is very competitive, both in the short term and for future scalabilty. Taking into account the feature richness, you get a lot of functionality for your monthly fee right from the beginning. As your database or list of subscribers grow, Ontraport still has pretty much the best monthly rates for large lists, compared to its competitors.

It has four different pricing plans to cater to different sizes of business and capability: Basic, Plus, Pro, and Enterprise.

You can purchase additional contacts/mo, emails/mo and users.

*Custom pricing is available for accounts with more than 20,000 contacts.

Choose Ontraport if you:

✔ Want a significant BOOST IN BUSINESS overall whether in lead gen or sales

✔ Prefer to invest in an ALL-IN-ONE PLATFORM that can do everything versus collecting dozens of tools that can cause costs to pile up

✔ Don’t have a complete system that can turn your LEADS into CUSTOMERS into REFERRALS

✔ Need to REDUCE STRESS from your work and life

Final Verdict

Ontraport has proven itself to be the true all-in-one automation package and most solid email marketing and marketing automation software in the market today. Although its close competitors come close, it is more comprehensive than ActiveCampaign and certainly more robust and easier to navigate than Infusionsoft.

Its CRM is powerful, flexible and fully customizable. There’s a huge number of Ontraport’s built-in features that are either impossible to do in the other tools, or only available through a 3rd party add-on at extra monthly cost.

The company’s culture could be the root of its success, seeing it values slow steady growth and improvement. And I am almost certain we can expect more great things from them.

Ontraport solidified its position as the benchmark in the all-in-one marketing automation and CRM quest for dominance.

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