What They Won’t Tell You About ONTRAPORT

Updated March 24, 2017

 

 

5 HUGE ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You’ll notice at the bottom of this page where I talk about what I HATE about ONTRAPORT, that list is getting smaller and smaller and a lot of the things have been fixed, that’s because of the constant updates every week to the app and the launch of cool things like this:

1) ONTRAPages launched and in the wild. ONTRAPORT has just launched their FREE Landing Page creator ONTRAPages. Not kidding. It’s free and awesome. Slick and simple to use. At the annual user conference, ONTRAPalooza announced it to the world. This is the only free landing page software I know of and it happens to be from one of my favorite software companies. Free forever. Click here to get started with ONTRAPAGES and take a look for yourself. They also added a marketplace for Certified ONTRAPORT Consultants to upload and create their own designs and make them for sale inside ONTRAPORT.

NOTE: If you already have ONTRAPORT or are considering subscribing then you get ONTRAPages and everything else mentioned here by default.

This solves a big problem. Notoriously, marketing and business automation platforms have struggled tremendously to incorporate beautiful landing page software with their platform. ONTRAPORT is the first company to pull it off handsomely. Now, they do EVEN MORE for your business with less need for

Is it perfect and full featured with every bell and whistle? No. But it’s lean and fast with tools to appease savvy marketers and I’m happy about it. What’s even better is that it works like a dream with ONTRAPORT.

2) ONTRAForms now includes a brilliant set of features I’ve been wishing for that will help grow email lists quickly. To date, no marketing automation platform has gotten this right either. I couldn’t set up beautiful responsive forms without another piece of software to do it. Enter ONTRAForms… and they do marketing stuff like this…

Exit intent (if they try to leave it’ll pop up an email form), pop overs from anywhere to anywhere on the screen (ability to pop up an email form anywhere at any time), two step optins (they click a button and an email form pops up) AND my prayers have been heard from the man upstairs… beautiful and mobile responsive order forms. ONTRAPORT is the first company to pull that off and it’s awesome.

3) ONTRAMail mobile and responsive… this solves an obvious issue that has plagued us all and continues to plague other platforms. Ugly emails. Well, you can make your emails nice and pretty now and responsive too so they look good in every mobile and desktop browser. Awesome.

4) Brand new ONTRAPORT.com It’s pretty. Way prettier than it was. Take a look here.

5) ONTRAPORT starts at just $79/month? Yep. This is massive and will give those who have new businesses and need slightly less bells and maybe just a few whistles to benefit from full on business automation. Stoked that they did this.

Epic updates. Free landing pages. Saving money on ONTRAPORT and everything is mobilized. All good in the ONTRAPORT hood.

Shortcuts to Skip Around

My Experience with ONTRAPORT

I am extremely happy with ONTRAPORT. I use it every single day. It runs my personal speaking and coaching business. It handles a ton of my internal processes and sells all my online products and programs and automates everything nicely.

As per my industry and business model breakdown, I’d say it’s a great fit for any speaker, author, coach, consultant trainer, information marketer, seminar leaders because literally every feature of ONTRAPORT fits the “expert” industry perfectly.

It’s not all fun and games though. I’ve had very little complaints about OP but the complaints I do have really piss me off. More on that later.

Sales Experience and Setup Process: What to Expect

No Sales Reps and Easy Access

If you have an aversion to salespersons, you’ll like the sales process ONTRAPORT uses… they don’t really have one unless you would like a hands on demo, in which case you sign up for a custom demo and get the fine treat of meeting with my man Dan.

On to the sales process… or the lack thereof.

After you go through the self-serve recommendation and choose that ONTRAPORT is a good fit for you, it only takes a couple seconds to sign up online and there’s no upfront coaching or kickstart fee. The sales process is rather painless.

Here are a few things that make the sales process a bit less overwhelming than some others I know of… like Infusionsoft:

  • ONTRAPORT puts a lot of effort into entertaining and instructing you. Their blog is a wealth of business intel.
  • Unlike Infusionsoft, ONTRAPORT allows you to buy right now, through the website, without having to speak to a salesperson.
  • There is no upfront cost other than the normal monthly subscription, which is to be expected.
  • Consultative sales process with no pressure from a salesperson means you can make a decision on your own time. I personally appreciate that.
  • Sales people are available if you need them to ask question (Better yet, just ask me your question and you won’t have to bother with sales people :)
  • Unlike Infusionsoft, you actually have a 90 day money back guarantee. Meaning if you don’t like it, you can close the account and get your money back without hassle.

There’s one thing I have to mention here: you must know beforehand that ONTRAPORT is a good fit for you because their “platform” section is quite entertaining and a great teaser, but lacking in real “this is the info you need to make your choice now” kind of content. So please hit up the recommendation page or ask me any questions in the form at the bottom of this page and we’ll chat about whether or not it’s a good fit for you.

Back in the day ONTRAPORT used to have a free trial, but have gone away from that for good reason. They went with a 90-day money back guarantee instead.

Why? Because there’s really no logical way to “try” a software this robust because the nature of the software is a “run your business” kinda thing. Why would you go through months of setup only to “try” the software? You wouldn’t.

The only people that cancel are usually those who didn’t put the software to work for them.

Once you’re in, you get an email from your Support Hero. He or she will walk you through setup. In my opinion, this is really where ONTRAPORT shines compared to others. Their service is fantastic.

Startup Costs and Monthly Rates

The answer here is simple. For most everyone there’s only going to be one rate:

Upfront Fees: N/A

Monthly Cost : $79 – $597 ( Click here to see packages and pricing )

They have three packages: BASIC (Brand New), PRO and TEAM. The only difference between the three is the number or users, contacts and emails that are allowed.

NOTE: For the first time, a BASIC version of ONTRAPORT is available for less than a third of the price of PRO. It’s a great option to get started without the full hit to the budget. You get your business started quickly with some powerful automation and roll from the BASIC into the the big brother PRO as needed and when needed.

If you are a heavy mailer (in the hundreds of thousands or millions of email sends) then you’ll need to bump up your subscription and maybe do some custom IP stuff (a nice feature). It’s nice that they have increments of $99 for 100k more emails or 100k contacts.

I used to be really bugged about their pricing but they just launched the lower tier pricing which will bring in a bigger market for them, but I still hate the pricing for Pro and Team, and here’s why:

  • For both the Pro and Team packages they cap the emails at 100,000 sends, which isn’t very much if you email like I do (several times per week and sometimes daily). I hate that the cap is so low… it’s too low and it feels like I’m being nickel and dime-ed for the ability to send email. Granted, I know the reasoning for this but it still drives me nuts. (Infusionsoft lowered their cap even lower than that).
  • Their Pro package allows 25k contacts and only 100k emails. That means that if you have 25k contacts you can only send FOUR emails to your entire database without having to pay $99 for more emails. That’s friggin’ lame sauce right there and I don’t get it. Not one bit. I should be able to send more than four emails to my full database for $297/month.
  • What’s worse, their Team package has 100k contacts allowed and 100k emails… What?!?! That means you can only send ONE email blast to your entire database if you have 100k contacts. Again, lame. They should up the email send for the TEAM package to 400 or 500k.
  • What if you’re not a “pro” yet and are just starting out with only a few contacts and want to benefit from marketing automation? This is what I used to hate, but now love because they just pushed out a lower tier. It’s just $79/month for unlimited emailing to up to 1000 contacts.

Landon Ray, I know you’re going to read this buddy because you’re good at using your Google Alerts to listen to the web and show up where peeps are talking about you… so please hear this:

You need to rethink the packages and at least raise the cap of the Team package to 500k sends. Capping it at 100k makes NO sense at all. In addition to that, paying $300 more for the Team account with no more ability to send emails? Lame.

Painless Setup with Free Help

NEW: ONTRAPORT just added an amazing little feature called ONTRAPORT Projects… which is a little widget that sits in the bottom right corner of your app that contains dozens and dozens of the most common applications for ONTRAPORT’s marketing automation and a step by step walk through of how to implement it. No more hair pulling. No more wondering what to do and how to do it. You get that in ADDITION to some one on one help from your support hero.

Timeline for setup: 1 − 4 weeks.

This is probably my favorite part about ONTRAPORT. They go to bat for you and don’t charge you for it.

Your support hero does some cool stuff for you:

  • Consult with you to find the best use for ONTRAPORT in your business.
  • Walk you through setup so you learn the software quickly.
  • Give you introductory automation campaigns AND connect them to your site… and now this is even easier with ONTRAPORT Projects.
  • Show you how to add ONTRAForms (email capture forms) on your site for you.
  • Integrate WordPress if that’s the website platform you use.

I love their willingness to help without the need to purchase any upfront coaching packages or kick starters.

ONTRAPORT tends to be much simpler and quicker to learn so the setup is actually a good experience and less overwhelming. At least it was for me…

Just like Infusionsoft, their support wiki and help center is very thorough and has the tutorials laid out for you to walk through and with ONTRAPORT Projects is breeze-ier.

ONTRAPORT’s initial training is called “The 9 Moves.” Again, great training and really entertaining. They hit that one out of the park and are able to bring anyone from any background up to speed on the basics of marketing automation.

Expect several emails the first few weeks with training info to make sure you’re on the right track and get on the bus… do the work, use the resources and the set up is way painless.

Since you’re probably curious, I couldn’t leave this out:

What an Infusionsoft Sales Rep will Tell You About ONTRAPORT

I’ve had this conversation a bunch of times with several different Infusionsoft sales people. Here’s what they’ll say about ONTRAPORT to make their point:

  • ONTRAPORT is too small with just 70 employees (number of employees means nothing)
  • They don’t have the resources to grow quickly (right, they grow strategically as they should)
  • They don’t have an official coaching program to ensure your success (they do and it’s free).
  • They don’t have a full featured shopping cart. (true)
  • It’s not meant for traditional small business (true).
  • They have a weak CRM (Not true anymore since the launch of Custom Objects last year).

And that’s the basis of their comparison.

What I LOVE About ONTRAPORT

On-demand postcards in sequences or broadcasts. I absolutely love this feature. I can design the cards on the spot and send a bunch or one at a time in a step sequence. This is killer. I don’t have to worry about coordinating a fulfillment center like I do with Infusionsoft. There’s no extra cost for this other than paying a small fee for the postcard. No printing or pick/pack/ship costs. LOVE this!

2-way Responsive SMS text messaging. This comes built-in and it’s awesome for speaking engagements, intimate automation, direct mail or traditional advertising. The text messages will cost extra at bulk rates with a third party provider, but the ability to send them doesn’t cost extra, unlike Infusionsoft which requires a third party plugin to add that functionality and it’s not 2-way either.

Stats, analytics and tracking. For a marketer like me, this is golden. At-a-glance stats that track everything from the ad click to the sale. They track WAY more stuff than Infusionsoft (which is why they limit the number of emails, because each email has a massive amount of data tied to it). You can see exactly where traffic came from and trace it all the way to the sale which easily gives you lifetime value and profit loss by specific lead source.

Each contact is tracked and associated with their website actions so you can see if someone has visited the website (and if they haven’t visited the site is x amount of time, you can send them an email).

Way more automation capabilities. The if-then statements in ONTRAPORT make every other automation software look silly. That’s why a marketer like me can lay up at night thinking about new ways to scare the pants off of customers because they’ll think I’m stalking them… seriously your automation can get that creepy.

Split testing capability comes standard. You can split test anything. The email subject lines, body text, landing pages, etc. and everything is tracked nicely and stats are available at-a-glance. Can’t tell you how convenient that is.

Again, for a marketer, that kind of thing is so critical. Infusionsoft doesn’t let you do this at all which has hindered some things that I’ve wanted to do with that software and hurts the long term growth of conversion rates, etc.

Easy to learn intuitively. The first time I opened up the software a long time ago, it took about an hour or so to get a complete feel for what was going on. Now that doesn’t mean that my setup happened in an hour but that I was comfortable with it very quickly. Setup takes a lot of work.

Full WordPress integration. This is an awesome feature since I use WordPress for my sites. They have a plugin called Pilot Press that integrates your WordPress installation and allows you to track, create quick landing pages, set up order forms, and even create a membership site using ONTRAPORT.

Fast membership sites. No other automation software can touch this (you have to pay extra for Infusionsoft’s membership software). You can set up a membership site in minutes using your current WordPress site, the Pilot Press plugin (from ONTRAPORT). It all integrates perfectly and functions you’ve had to bootstrap together and spend man hours to manage can be automated.

What I like most about this is that there is no extra software to buy, no additional costs. For speakers, trainers, etc, this is a godsend. All you need to sell your products is right there built-in.

Self-hosted order forms and landing pages. You can create as many beautiful, mobile responsive ONTRAForms or ONTRAPages as you want and host them on your own site. I love this because I can design, edit and maintain order forms nicely on my own server OR have ONTRAPORT host them securely and I don’t have to worry about SSL or PCI Compliance or anything like that. I like to have full control of my sales process and this lets me do it.

For email forms, optin pages and landing pages (to capture email addresses) I use ONTRAPages (It’s free). It’s new and it’s a perfect compliment to ONTRAPORT.

You don’t need your own site. For those nervous about having their own site, you technically don’t have to. You can set a domain to point to ONTRAPORT or use one of theirs with your own unique subdomain, and then make all your pages using ONTRAPages and take all orders using their SSL and secure ordering system. Awesome. Makes it easy for those starting out.

Heavy emailers love ONTRAPORT. Built-in is the ability to run all of your emails through your own private IP address that is clean from any other user. That means your email delivery entirely depends on your own sending and mailing habits. For heavy mailers, that’s priceless. You won’t have to deal with blacklisted IPs and domains as much as you do with Infusionsoft.

What I HATE About ONTRAPORT

Looks cheap. I’m a die hard Apple fan. I like things to look good. I care about esthetics and this software is therefore embarrassing in that regard. This may not mean much to you but it would do a lot to make me feel better about the software if it looked nice. Weird, but true.

I know a new interface is in the works, even after they launched their new version, but it’s worth mentioning, the software looks dated. Really poor esthetics and there are a bunch of little UI things that drive me nuts. Hope they fix that up quick.

There is no visual campaign builder. This is the biggest thing I miss vs. Infusionsoft. I have to draw everything out using Google Draw of Lucidchart in order to make sense of my campaigns. ONTRAPORT is very linear and I’m not the best linear thinker.

No capitalization fix. When people sign up for my free reports with their name and email address, you’d be shocked at how many people don’t capitalize their first name. Well, when sending an email using said first name, which is lower case, it’s an insult to not capitalize their name. That’s not good. ONTRAPORT has no way of fixing that except manually exporting and working it out in a spreadsheet finished by re-uploading the contacts and overwriting the new data.

add their name with their email.

Can’t edit tags. You can delete or add tags, but you can’t edit the name of them. So, unless you get your naming conventions right from the start, you have a mess and no way to clean it up besides deleting and adding.

Customer service availability. I really can’t blame them for this but as a customer, it has been really inconvenient to not have someone there when something goes wrong at night.

UPDATE: They have added a couple teams all over the world to even out hours and that has helped so now there’s only a few hours of the night where nobody is on watch. Not bad and they are striving to improve in this area. Recently, there hasn’t been a time when I wasn’t able to get a response from support.

To scale, it seems like recently they’ve discouraged calling in. They went away from using several support channels to now only using mostly chat and a support ticket interface while logged in to the software. Sometimes I’d like quick answers and it’s nice to just talk to someone once in a while.

Granted, your dedicated support hero is supposed to be that guy, I get that, but not having to dig for the phone number and having an open phone support would be nice for something we’re paying $297/month for.

Duplicate records are rampant. UPDATE: They’ve added the ability to merge records now so this pain point has all but disappeared. It’s not as thorough as I’d like but it gets the job done. Used to be that we couldn’t clean up our list much.

Slow loading javascript. This is a techie thing but it absolutely drives me bonkers. I’m obsessed with getting my sites as fast as possible and the slowest loading thing on my sites are always the ONTRAPORT javascript includes that you have to have in order for the forms to work well. This drives me nuts and I can’t say I haven’t complained more than 8 times about that one. Luckily, it’s getting better. Had a chat with their CTO and fixes are in place.

CRM is not company, sales, or opportunity aware by default. UPDATE: ONTRAPORT launched a feature called Custom Objects which allows you to track relationships over time. So now you do have the ability to track companies however, it’s not out of the box and could be complicated. I wish it were default and simpler. I do a lot of networking and I wish that ONTRAPORT was better for that, but it’s just not yet, without some techie kind of work. It’s not made to track companies and pipelines and sales. It’s just not a strong CRM, though it can now do all that via custom objects.

This one is on my wishlist.

Affiliate center is self-hosted. I hate that the affiliate center is self-hosted. Meaning that you have to build it in to a WordPress site that you create. That is really annoying and cumbersome. Infusionsoft on the other hand, has a hosted Affiliate Center where your partners and affiliates can go to get their links, etc. However, the CTO tells me this is on the radar for the future.

Very little third-party integration. UPDATE: The CTO of ONTRAPORT informed me that they’re close to finishing their new API which will open a whole new world of opportunity for the community… Alas, ONTRAPORT can’t hold a candle to Infusionsoft on this one. But it’s actually not that big of a deal because I use OP for my speaking and training business and it literally does EVERYTHING I need so I haven’t needed any major integrations.

But if you like to integrate third party software, you’ll likely have to get the integration programmer yourself or hire someone to do it. A common integration need is with something like ZenDesk or Desk.com or HelpScout, etc. for customer service. FuzedApp.com is one of the few places to get integrations done out of the box, plug and play.

I’m hoping API cowboys like Zapier.com will create a thicker and deeper integration because right now it’s really really basic and limited to just a one way adding of contacts.

No community. UPDATE: ONTRAPORT Community is coming… and the Facebook group has improved with weekly updates from engineering about app improvements that increases transparency and openness which is one thing I really really appreciate. The community which hasn’t existed until now, will allow for crazy people to chat with each other about issues and how they get around them or customizations they’ve made, etc. Infusionsoft has a robust community of users and developers, which has been extremely useful to me. I miss that here. I think I shed a tear once, but look forward to dry eyes and a smile.

The Future of ONTRAPORT: Is it Good Longterm?

Office Autopilot turned into ONTRAPORT last year in 2014 with a gazillion new features and a new user interface (UI)… thank goodness. They’re months (err.. years) late on the launch of this thing, but they delayed the launch because they care about their product being solid before launching it and they’d rebuilt it from the ground up.

One thing that I like the most about this company is their founder, Landon Ray, who is active on the web, on Facebook and in the community. He’s easy to reach. He shows up all over the web whenever people talk about ONTRAPORT, he listens and cares. I once got an email response from him that was 553 words. What CEO would spend the time to do that if he didn’t care?

I like the fact that they don’t have a lot of employees. Most of their support heroes have been there a long time and they know the software. The new ones are trained well. They manage their growth methodically and strategically with very little marketing and mostly word of mouth.

They are growing and have 70 employees or so last I heard. Which is perfect. They’re able to keep things tight and smooth. Companies that grow quick, like I’m nervous Infusionsoft will, end up creating more problems than they can solve.

ONTRAPORT is a great place for your business to be long term… if it fits the criteria of a business that would do well with marketing automation. You can see my industry and business model specific recommendations here.

Features I’ve never used…

There are a few features I haven’t used:

  1. Clickbank integration, which for some people is a life saver.
  2. Facebook integration (yet). This one will be used soon.
  3. Video hosting that they provide which saves Amazon S3 costs.
  4. SMS text messaging (yet). I’ve got some good plans for it though. Their new SMS text messaging in ONTRAPORT is TWO-WAY messaging… makes you feel like a real live body when responding to people automatically. Very cool.

Word. Last word.

Concluding Words about ONTRAPORT

I first wrote this content in 2012. It’s been over three years and I’ve kept it updated. Back then, trust me, I had a lot more negative to say about both ONTRAPORT and Infusionsoft because I tell the truth, how it is. No software is perfect and there are always things that drive me nuts.

There were SO many things missing or broken with ONTRAPORT, but here I sit writing these words after ONTRAPalooza and I’m happy to say that the list of “I Hates” is relatively small now, aside from the big stuff like the UI (user interface), I’m pretty dang happy with it. It keeps getting better at a faster pace than Infusionsoft.

Happiness. I dig this software and the team behind it. It’s been easy to learn. It works. It runs my business. It does what it says it does. I was nervouse that ONTRAPORT 3.0 would be full of bugs when it came out a bit ago. But, based on their numbers, only 3% of support tickets are for bugs which is massively solid.

I’ve never had something not work yet. Uptime has been great even during the transition from Office Autopilot to ONTRAPORT recently. I can’t tell at all that it’s ever cost me money like Infusionsoft has.

Like any software, I just deal with the things that drive me nuts. Five parts awesome, one part stupid makes it stupid awesome.

Does it work? Yes, it does. It works so much better for a business that wants to not just keep in touch with their customers but truly make them feel like you care about them, love them, watch over them and are a true friend. The automation triggers in OP are amazing and allow you to do that.

Not sure if ONTRAPORT is right for you?

Recommendation. Check out ONTRAPORT or if you need a kick in the right direction just ask me anything using the form below or check out this page.

TIP: Easiest answer is that if you are in the info marketing world as a speaker, trainer, consultant, coach, author, or seminar leader you won’t find a better software to run your business.

If that’s you, go get ONTRAPORT now and don’t look back.

If you’re not sure about whether or not it’s a good fit, just ask me and I’ll do my best to serve you and answer your questions.

Still Confused? I’m happy to help…

If you would like to read the full breakdown between OP and IS then click here: ONTRAPORT vs Infusionsoft