Ontraport – Why you should use it
What is a business automation software?
Business automation software helps you automate your business processes so you can maintain cost and efficiency. In simpler terms, it's something that helps you automate your online business.
How it works
Ontraport is a system that you log into online. Within the system you have your address book that contains the contact information of people who signed up on your website and a message designer to help you design your newsletters and broadcast emails. You design your template once and then you can reuse it over and over at the click of a mouse. Message sends can be scheduled and will arrive to in box’s in a seamless manner.
Ontraport collects customer info, tracks behavior, manages online payments, automates billing and allows you to build out email 'sequences' that help with your marketing. It also contains access to an affiliate program and WordPress membership site integration.
Ontraport acts as a CRM, or a customer relationship manager.
All in one system. No more going back and forth between membership plugins, payment providers, wordpress and file/program delivery methods. This system will be your hub for all things money and email related.
You'll need to run the system or hire someone to do it for you. Right now most consultants charge $65 or more per hour. There are a few VA's out there that handle it but be sure they know their sh*t before you hire them. Also, in my opinion Ontraport is not a beast like Infusionsoft, it just doesn't take a lot to learn all the ins and outs so don't fret!
It's one system running your entire business. If it goes down, your business goes down.
You'll need to have a support system in place to manage the customers who purchase from you. It's automated but there needs to be a human trailing behind that automation.
What's new as of 09/08/15
Ohhh man, they release an all new version of ONTRApages and ONTRAMail. This means NO MORE LEADPAGES and a new drag and drop email builder. I mean for serious guys! No more trying to track affiliates through LEADPAGES and paying for several systems.
They also added coupon codes and several other things earlier this year and they have another major release coming soon.
Set up requirements
Let me start off by saying that with any system you'll need to PLAN first. If you decide to go with Ontraport you'll need to absolutely plan out your future plans so you can start off on the right foot. I prefer using a visual mind map software to lay out my entire business and everywhere I need to collect names from.
First, let's start with the basics...
To setup the system you'll need to go to www.ontraport.com and sign up for an account. You'll need a name, address and phone # to assign to the account. You'll also need to upload a .csv Excel file of all the contacts you wish to add to your system. This can easily done by using a 3 column spreadsheet that contains First name, Last name and Email Address all in their own column. If you are upgrading from an old system, just export your list from them and upload the .csv.
If you decide to do HTML messages ( the ones with pretty graphics instead of just text ) then next you'll need a header graphic that is approx. 600 pixels wide by 200 pixels high. There are several online programs to create these quickly such as Canva.com. Once you have a header graphic you can view the templates within the system and choose one that works best for your design. Update: 09/08/15 there is a new version of ONTRAMail that makes it easier to setup messages that are GORGEOUS!
Now for the not so basics...
You'll need to decide on a naming convention for all tags, sequences, landing pages etc within Ontraport. Since Ontraport doesn't work like Mailchimp there really aren't any 'buckets' or 'lists'. People are added to the system and tagged with names that you design before you setup the opt-in form. They are then 'grouped' together by their tags which in essence is your list.
First, I suggest that you design your naming convention based on the branches of your business and then use a colon followed by a more detailed identifies.
TIP: Do not make these long as you won't be able to see them fully in the the dropdown boxes in ontraport. Also, if you use initials, make sure you know what they mean!
So for tags I would use something like this that describes the location of where the opt in form is.
Website: Blog (this is for an opt in form)
Website: Footer (let's say you have several forms, you want to make sure you can identify them)
or maybe something like this if you have webinars etc:
Whatever you use, be sure to stick to it and keep a key for your entire team to reference.
Can you handle the system all by yourself? Sure! If you are trained and also if you busienss model is fairly simple, I can't see why not.
The ongoing support of Ontraport is a little more involved than just using a cheaper/less robust system. You'll need to do maintenance. You'll need to check your contacts and be sure there aren't any duplicates. You'll also need someone to clean up the old sequences etc so the system doesn't get overwhelming.
I suggest a minimum of 3 hours per month of maintenance in this system but remember that when you use Ontraport, chances are you'll be making TONS more money ( if setup right ). As you grow, you'll need to do more maintenance so remember that for your budgeting needs.