It’s a little bit crazy to think I’m finally writing this update. It’s kinda been a long time coming. Let’s not belabor the fact that I’ve been patiently waiting along side the 7000 users of Office Autopilot for this update. It’s finally here.
Click here to take a look at the new Ontraport.com
Office Autopilot had been sitting on version 2.4 for a long time. We’d all known that a 3.0 was coming for more two years. It’s finally here and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
Here’s the news and a breakdown of the new changes change:
Office Autopilot 2.4 is now Ontraport 3.0.
I gotta say… I have no idea how or why they came up with the name Ontraport. I liked Office Autopilot much better myself… but the new update is bittersweet for me. Fantastic improvements but they killed my favorite feature. Herefollows (is that a word?) the breakdown:
Improvements Included in Ontraport 3.0
My three favorite updates
- Tracking automation. I heard this last year at the user conference. In the new platform, you can automate based off of WHERE the visitor came from… I’m serious.
This allows for some gangster segmentation and follow up and is probably the single feature I’m most excited about. What this means is that if a visitor comes from Facebook, you can literally track the referring website and move that visitor down a funnel specifically built out for visitors from Facebook. I don’t know of any automation platform that does this and I kinda giggled a bit when I heard about it last year.
I told Landon Ray at Ontrapalooza how awesome that feature was and he had no idea it would be that well received, he just thought it would be cool. Well, I love it and it’s a game changer….
Another use case is that you can automate sequences based off of whether or not traffic comes from a link clicked in a PDF or special report you wrote…. I’ll let that one sink in a bit. Nuff said.
- Gmail automation. Did someone subscribe with a Gmail address? Well, you can send them a special note that says “get my junk off of the promotions tab and into your inbox please.”
As you may know, Gmail changed their inbox structure last year and millions of people now have three “buckets” in their inbox. One is “promotions.” Well, you kinda don’t want to be lumped in with all the emails for cheap printer cartridges.
To do that, you just send them a unique email. It used to be you had to send the same email to everyone on your list whether or not they had a Gmail address. Not so anymore. Add a rule in Ontraport and put your worries to bed. Any Gmail user that subscribes to your list can now get a special email just for them.
All the other stuff (in no particular order)
- Infrastructure. The biggest improvement is under the hood. It’s faster, leaner and better equipped for “scale.” Here’s why this is important… it’s completely unlike Infusionsoft who has literally bolted on functionality where they shouldn’t have because the infrastructure couldn’t handle it. That really complicated API development and in hindsight Infusionsoft wishes they hadn’t done that to themselves because growth is harder now.
Ontraport, on the other hand, learned from this and stripped everything down to the studs and rebuilt all the“piping” so that it can literally handle exponential growth and any new features they decide to build with multiple databases and have it all run smoothly. This is a big deal. Means long term solid growth.
I sincerely appreciate that effort even though we don’t reap the benefits of it quite yet. Just wait… a little more 🙂
- Interface redesign. If you ever saw the old Office Autopilot user interface and compared it with the new, I think you’d vomit a little in your mouth as to how we ever got along with the old interface. It looked very archaic compared to the new one, which is slick, lean and much easier to navigate. I heard from users that they canceled just because the interface was so dated. Not anymore. With the new interface, it’s easier to get stuff done. The workflow is seamless and simplified and speedy. Just how l like it. I wish they had built it for compatibility with mobile devices but that’s coming down the line. They wanted to launch the core first and I don’t blame them because they’ve been fielding complaints from users about having to wait for 453 years. Well, it’s hear now. [do a little dance]
- Collections. Everything works in collections now. Forms, messages, products, users, contacts, files, etc. The organization of the data is much, much easier and centralized. Everything “lives” in one place and is pulled from that one place for use in campaigns, sequences, etc. A big one is images and files, which are now organized neatly and not fragmented across the platform in random nooks and crannies. Of note here is the fact that this makes it WAY easier to run several brands from the same account without messing things up. That’s nice because sometimes the old interface caused people to feel like they were putting underwear on their head and socks on their hands.
- Navigation. Is greatly simplified. Though the old interface was archaic, it was nice to have the colored tabs so that at a glance you know where you are. There was a sad funeral at Ontraport to put to bed the colored tabs. Not joking. But with the new interface, the colored tabs are not even necessary because of how simplified and streamlined the navigation is. It’s fast to get around. It’s easy to see where you are and quick to get where you want to be. Best part is that there is a user selectable favorites menu and a “trough” of current things you’re working on to shortcut your navigation to and from key points in a campaign so that you both finish things quicker and don’t leave anything undone. There’s literally a navigation module that keeps track of unfinished items. For how scatter brained and ADD I am, I did a little dance about that one. It’s awesome.
- Messages. Perhaps the biggest workflow problem of Office Autopilot 2.4 was that the messages didn’t really “live” anywhere. They were all over the place. So when I needed to copy or reuse a message I had to go searching for it, copy it and paste it into a new sequence. Now the messages are all centralized. You can even create messages on the fly while you’re building out a campaign without losing your place in the sequence you’re building out. That’s a huge time saver. In addition, writing a broadcast email is much, much faster AND simpler, which is a change I welcomed. Sending email in OP 2.4 was fast, but not easy. It’s now fast and easy. Bling.
- Two-way SMS text messaging. Can I get a heck yes! I saw this feature demoed and I had to smile. This opens up so many marketing strategies that didn’t used to be possible. Two way means that you send a test to someone via a sequence and when they answer back, you can automate additional responses. If they respond yes, do this; no, do this. For webinars, live events and all kinds of local marketing this is amazing. You can also select different capture methods and numbers which is nice as well.
- Products… are no independent of order forms. This was the second most annoying thing about OP 2.4 and it has been completely fixed in Ontraport 3.0. Products are now separated and not tied to smart forms. It used to be that you had to create new order forms for every product variation or package you wanted to sell. Now you can create any number of order forms (but you really only need one) and associated different products with that order form. Yeah! Honestly though, if you have never used the old interface, you wouldn’t notice an improvement here because it now works like it should. Before it was an annoying formality that piled on extra unneccesary work. Thanks for that change though.
- Paypal. Out of the box integration with basic Paypal. Yeah, this was a big deal too. You couldn’t use Paypal in OP 2.4. Now you can… and we can now recooperate 30% of our sales without having to do any extra work. It doesn’t work with Payments Pro yet though.
- Taxes. Again, if you run a business that needs to collect sales tax for physical goods, then you were severely limited in Office Autopilot 2.4 because, well, you were locked in to charging a certain amount in a lot of cases and international taxes were non-existent. Now, in Ontraport 3.0, you can charge different rates for just about any country, state or city.
- Tracking. Brilliantly updated. Ontraport now works with all UTM tracking variables (the ones google and so many other conversion platforms use). This is a astronomically cool update and allows geeks like me to do some tighter tracking which was a gaping on the old platform.
- Field calculations. Reporting is now breaking anti-doping laws. You can now perform calculations in custom fields within Ontraport. This means you can calculate all sorts of things very easily, like net profit (revenue – COGS, etc), on the fly.
- Contact records. No more scrolling for miles to get tiny bits of info about your contacts or customers. All contact fields are organized in neat tabs. Fields can even be dragged and moved around according to your heart’s desire. It’s like playing tetris with your critical info. It goes where you say it goes.
- Voicemail. The built in voicemail is gone. However, they baked in a way to connect to any third party voicemail platform on the fly. I think this is actually BETTER than the way it was before because we’re not limited to extremely basic functionality. You can now use something like Voiceshot, which is very cheap, and set it up in two minutes.
- Tasks. If you ever dealt with tasks in OP 2.4, you were probably annoyed at how limited the task outcomes were (how a person reports the result of a task). Well, when you see the update to task outcomes, I’d understand if you discover you have heart palpitations for the first time. They’re awesome and infinitely flexible based on your unique use case. Huzzah!
- Team and Roles. Way better permissions and role management in Ontraport 3.0. Before in 2.4, you were limited to a few different roles. Now they are more flexible. Speaking of which, if you sign up for Ontraport in March 2014, you get two FREE users for life, which would normally cost you $100/month.
What is lacking?
Well, like I always says, no software is perfect and neither is Ontraport 3.0. There are still issues that bother me. Some of my main gripes weren’t addressed. Below are a few things that were on my personal wishlist that didn’t make the cut yet…
- Not B2B yet. Though don’t fret. It’s coming (no idea when though). This is one of the biggest reasons I turn B2B clients to Infusionsoft. It’s also one of the big reasons why Ontraport gutted their infrastructure… just to accomodate B2B, and do it better than Infusionsoft.
- Mobile interface. I wish they had launched with a mobile interface but that would have delayed things even longer. I’m satisfied with where it’s at now, but seeing how Infusionsoft launched a mobile app recently (with limited functionality) I kinda wanted one too.
- Coupon codes. Well, I’ve wanted this for a while but alas will have to wait. For info marketers like me though, it’s not a big deal.
What is being worked on?
Before I mention these few things, realize there is no time table and it could tage 92 years to get these feature updates. Don’t expect them soon. I’m just saying that I’ve heard this stuff is either in the works or on the radar.
- Payments 2.0, a full redesign of how order forms are made and payments taken.
- Mobile interface for the site.
- Mobile app. (I heard this is just on the radar and not in development yet).
- Quiz and test functionality. The new infrastructure and piping makes this possible.
- B2B functionality. The most oft requested feature.
- Coupon codes. One of my bigger gripes will be fixed with Payments 2.0.
Dadgum. That is a lot. Ontraport is powerful and has tons of functionality I didn’t mention here. Best thing to do is to have a custom demo to check out the new digs.
Click here for a demo of the new Ontraport (they’re backed up for a while since the launch).
That’s my take on the new stuff. If you got some Q’s, I’ll have some A’s. And if I don’t, I’ll find the A. Promise.
Ask your Q’s below.