There’s steep competition when it comes to online businesses.
It’s not enough to simply throw a website up on the internet, pay for some ads, and expect people to buy whatever you’re selling.
These days, you’ll need to go the extra mile to drive traffic to your website to push your products and services.
But finding the right tool for your online business can be tough.
In this review, we take a deep dive into Ontraport to help you decide if this is the tool you need to help grow your online business.
1. What is Ontraport?
Ontraport is an all-in-one platform that includes tools for customer relationship management (CRM), email marketing campaigns, and marketing automation.
Ontraport focuses on the 5 phases of the customer life cycle, and they’ve used that to build their platform: attract, convert, fulfill, delight, and refer.
Ontraport claims to provide it all, allowing you to have every piece of the customer life-cycle with campaign maps and planning capabilities.
This allows you to predict how successful a campaign will be based on your past marketing ventures.
Ontraport extends this marketing far beyond email — they have SMS texting, landing pages, website forms, and direct mail marketing.
You may think that it sounds pretty complex, and if you’ve ever used Active Campaign or Salesforce, you’ll understand what we mean.
Tools that combine many features often have a steep learning curve.
You sign up for the free trial and you end up ditching it because it’s tough to figure it out.
Ontraport says that they’ve continually tweaked the platform to make it easy to use and beginner-friendly.
Let’s see how substantiated this is!
2. Ontraport’s Features
Now let’s get into the good stuff and explore some of the features that stand out the most.
2.1. Contact management
Businesses use customer relationship management tools to build, maintain, and scale relationships with their customers.
Let’s start with the CRM features Ontraport has to offer, namely contact management.
When you’re building a list and trying to grow your database of subscribers, you need a place to put them all and keep it organized.
Ontraport’s contact management system lets you do exactly that.
You have the choice of creating a contact base from scratch or leveraging the landing pages, SMS, or forms.
If you currently have a list using another platform, Ontraport makes it easy to import those contacts either manually or directly using the forms.
Something that stands out when it comes to the contact management feature is having total control over the contact fields and variables used on your profiles.
Many CRM’s in the past usually only provide you with generic fields, such as:
When you have this kind of control, it allows you to customize your offerings when you compile this list into an email marketing campaign.
Ontraport doesn’t stop there.
The platform also provides you with details such as the appointment, engagement and purchase history, account activity, lead score, and more.
You can use all of this important data to customize your email marketing campaigns and segment your audience.
Taking things even further, all of the information that Ontraport compiles for you makes segmentation possible before the lead even makes your list.
You can set custom rules that either qualify or disqualify leads based on their behaviors and interests.
Overall, the contact management system is highly versatile, flexible, and effective.
2.2. Design aspects
Now we’re pivoting away from the plain Jane side of things to the more creative aspects of Ontraport.
There’s only one editor for everything you do on the platform, whether you’re creating landing pages, funnels, or emails — this makes it beginner-friendly and great for newbies.
Ontraport uses a block-based editor that affords you the option to start from scratch or to use one of the pre-built templates.
They offer plenty of block-based templates that make it easy for you to create an attractive piece of content that converts.
Even if you wanted to choose the “start from scratch” option, there’s no need to stress about every small detail.
Since everything is based on a block system, simply drag the blocks over to your landing page to create a section.
Let’s say you wanted to add text.
You just grab a “text block” and move it over to the landing page.
Their templates and all the design features are free with your purchase. No pesky microtransactions.
As far as we’re concerned, designing landing pages, emails, and forms on Ontraport is easy to pick up on as a beginner.
2.3. Email marketing campaigns
An email marketing campaign is a set of messages sent at a specific time to promote a product.
You’ve got your forms, emails, and landing pages, and now you need to put them to work.
Ontraport’s campaign builder is where you’ll do this, and you’ll likely spend the most time here.
Ontraport combines marketing automation with their CRM to create a visual flow builder which you might already be familiar with.
Systeme.io uses the same type of workflow design.
You use all the information you’ve gathered like segments, rules, and tags and incorporate them into a campaign roadmap that provides you with statistics in real-time.
The platform provides live stats about how each step of the funnel is performing.
There’s also a projection and performance mode if you’re looking to compare the two.
You get to choose between a few different roadmap styles, but if you’re a beginner, we recommend keeping it simple.
This funnel style would involve a linear roadmap containing multiple stages (or steps) without dynamic conditions.
When someone moves through one step, they move onto another step, and so on.
As you get more experienced, Ontraport provides flexibility for you to create branches based on the actions of your leads.
For example, if someone opts into something, they would go in a different direction than someone who opts out.
Ontraport also provides visual flow templates for your email marketing campaigns as well.
They offer customizable goal tracking that records statistics about SMS messaging, lead locations on the landing page, clicks on your email, and more.
The platform provides a ton of data to help you determine how successful your campaign is.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll likely spend most of your time here, so you want to familiarize yourself with this section of the platform.
2.4. Marketing automation
Marketing automation is essentially using software to automate activities in this department.
Marketing automation allows you to create fully integrated campaigns.
These guide your leads through their journey to eventually becoming a buyer.
Ontraport takes the leads’ behaviors, demographics, and preferences into account and groups them automatically into the funnel they belong in based on your settings.
You can automate any part of the customer life cycle, and you have complete control over everything that happens.
The bottom line is — you set up the variables, campaigns, and funnels, and then the platform does the rest of the work.
The leads will move through your funnel automatically while you sit back and monitor the results.
The marketing automation will nurture your leads from the second they land on your page until they eventually make a purchase, and beyond.
One of Ontraport’s perks is the flexibility to create a campaign that works for you.
Since they have SMS, you can add that to your sales funnel for a select group that prefers to communicate via text rather than email.
2.5. Salesforce automation
Now, if you have a remote sales team that you manage as part of your process, you’ll want to have salesforce automation sequences in place.
Ontraport provides you with the ability to generate more prospects, nurture more leads, and ultimately close more sales.
With salesforce automation, you can use the visual pipeline builder to organize and oversee deals at every stage.
Your team can also work them through the funnel with the simple drag and drop guide to move them closer to closing.
If your company is more advanced and you’re looking for a better way to keep track and speed up the process of closing your sales, this tool is for you.
Based on different variables, Ontraport will provide you with a deal value and expected win percentage.
This allows you to allocate more time and resources to your most qualified leads.
The platform also provides task automation, which helps you keep your sales team on track with prompts to remind them to reach out to specific leads.
Once the task is complete, the salesperson will select an outcome that will move the lead onto the next step, which then triggers a new action.
Finally, the system automatically assigns leads to users within the account so you can follow up with the right person and have the salesperson on the job.
The Round Robin feature distributes leads one by one to ensure that each team member has the same number of leads.
This is one of the most advanced salesforce automation systems available for inbound and outbound sales.
2.6. Business automation
Using multiple tools often means you’re paying for more than you need.
To avoid unnecessary spending, Ontraport offers an all-in-one solution.
They promise to help you automate your prospect, customer, and partner communications so you can save time and spend more of it on your business.
The business automation suite helps you automate repetitive business processes such as assigning work, replying to inquiries, order fulfillment, and sending emails.
Ontraport will collect relevant information on a weekly or monthly basis so you can create a recurring process that doesn’t interrupt your workflow.
So, as the platform collects information and data, it allows you to automate some of the simple processes that become repetitive.
For example, if you’re responsible for the fulfillment of a specific order at the same time every month, Ontraport will pick up on that and provide you with the opportunity to do it automatically.
You can also automate customer service. Many business owners and managers spend a lot of time onboarding new clients, but you can automate the entire process using Ontraport.
They’ll receive follow-up emails, documents, forms, and everything they need for the onboarding process so you can focus on acquiring new clients.
2.7. Webinar service
Webinars are the perfect way to shift interactions with clients away from emails and towards more personalized video experiences.
Ontraport keeps the features going with a fully integrated webinar service built into the platform.
The platform will record, store, and enable the streaming of your recorded webinars.
You can schedule them and target a specific audience, and then the platform will take care of the launch, reminders, and follow-up emails.
Also, all the actions taken by your audience are recorded in the CRM with analytics, so you can refer back in the future and use the data to determine the best way forward.
If you go for the Enterprise package of Ontraport, you’ll gain access to webinars for up to 500 people.
This feature is a premium offering, so it comes at an additional cost, but we’ll get into more detail about that later.
2.8. Time zone delivery
A huge part of success with email marketing is knowing who to send an email to, but a lot of people overlook “when” these should be sent.
If you’re always sending emails at the same time and aren’t getting the results you want, that’s because you’ve never ventured off the beaten path.
When you only send emails to everyone at the same time, you aren’t doing everything you can to reach that audience at the best times.
Ontraport allows you to use their time travel feature so you can send the same email at 9 am to everyone regardless of what time zone they’re in.
2.9. Direct mail marketing
Can you believe we’re talking about an advanced CRM and marketing tool that offers postcard marketing?
It’s interesting and brilliant at the same time.
Why is it brilliant? Because no one else is doing this, so it gives you a leg up.
When you sign up for an account, it asks you for some information about your pets, such as their name and birthday.
Each year they send you a hand-written postcard with 10% off anything in the store for your pet’s birthday.
Think of how impressed your customer will be when you send them a postcard for their pet’s birthday, saying thank you for their continued support.
You don’t even need to offer them anything because the card says it all.
It’s the little things like this that separate a great company from a good one.
2.10. Membership sites
If you offer a subscription-based service, you’ll enjoy the fact that Ontraport offers membership sites.
It’s great because you can accept monthly membership fees from your members in exchange for the training or services you provide.
For example, this works well if you provide training material, coaching, or mentorship to a group of people.
2.11. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
By now, you realize that Ontraport offers an advanced CRM system that offers many different ways for you to maintain relationships with your customers.
Using the arsenal of tools available, you should have no problem addressing all your customer’s concerns and keeping track of prior and future interactions.
The drag-and-drop layout is what people like most about Ontraport.
We’ve discovered that many customers using the platform are impressed by how easy it is to move people around and change things once they’ve done something.
Since Ontraport uses a drag-and-drop system for almost everything, it’s as simple as dragging a person from one section to another if you need to make a change.
2.12. Reporting and analytics
We could likely sit here and write a 5,000-word article on all the reports and analytics that Ontraport provides, but let’s focus on the primary points.
As with everything else, the platform breaks everything up into basic and advanced, and with that comes varying metrics for you to analyze.
- You can compare the following:
- Desktop versus mobile
- Regional performance
- Global performance
- Specific performance of a demographic
- Age range
- Opportunities based on each salesperson
- The exact results of a specific marketing funnel
The options are endless as you can see, and that’s because of the huge amount of data gathered on each lead.
Since Ontraport does a lot of the data mining on its own, you don’t have to worry about doing any of this yourself either.
You can simply use the data fields you’ve chosen to compile your reports to offer feedback to your sales and marketing staff.
You have the freedom to choose KPIs relevant to your business.
Overall, all of this might seem overwhelming to a new or small business owner because of the amount of data you’re compiling.
Thankfully, you have the flexibility and freedom to only take the information you find useful to your business.
3. Ontraport’s pros and cons
We’ve covered a lot in this breakdown of Ontraport, so let’s take a look at the features that stood out the most.
- It’s more than a CRM or marketing platform, it provides users with sales features as well
- According to other customers, Ontraport has great customer service
- Highly versatile and flexible CRM features let you customize your experience and track data that’s important to you
- The data and analytics are easily translated into actionable steps
- All emails sent from Ontraport use a dedicated IP, which boosts deliverability and decreases the chances of ending in the spam folder
- Offers an array of side features such as SMS messaging, landing pages, forms, membership sites, and webinars
- Ontraport uses a drag-and-drop editor for everything, making it incredibly beginner-friendly, especially if you don’t have a design team
- It provides a solid array of email, form, and landing page templates that are all responsive
- Offers a free trial that doesn’t require any credit card information
To give credit where credit is due, Ontraport has some impressive features.
However, the pitfalls to keep in mind when considering the platform include:
- It has a steep learning curve due to the vast amount of features and benefits, it’ll take time to master
- Limited integrations and supported apps
- Costly at $79 per month for the beginner plan that doesn’t offer half the features you’d expect
4. Ontraport’s pricing
Now let’s talk about the question that’s on everyone’s mind — how much does all of this cost?
We want to give you the most complex breakdown, however, there are a million features, so we’ll try to cover as much as possible.
4.1. Ontraport Basic plan: $79 per month
- Contact segmentation
- Lead capturing and nurturing
- Automated follow-ups
- Landing page personalization
- Goal-based automation
- Automated re-engagement
- It provides 1,000 contacts, and unlimited email sends
4.2. Ontraport Plus plan: $147 per month
- Custom metrics dashboard
- Lead routing and scoring
- Automated partner payments
- Free WordPress hosting
- Cart abandonment automation
- Payment gateway integration
- It offers 2,500 contacts, and unlimited email sends
4.3. Ontraport Pro plan: $297 per month
- It combines all Plus plan features
- Custom objects
- Campaign performance projection
- First and last-click attribution tracking
- UTM link generator
- UTM tracking
- Lead source tracking
- Marketing ROI tracker
- Free email consultation
The list goes on and on and on. You get all of this at their cheapest plan, so you can only imagine what you get as you upgrade.
As we’ve said, while all these features are great, they’re also a bit overwhelming.
An all-in-one marketing platform needs to include features to get the job done — not every single digital marketing feature under the sun.
If you’re new to the game, or still trying to grow your business, you’ll struggle to use Ontraport.
5. Who should use Ontraport?
All in all, Ontraport is an incredible marketing tool that offers more features than should be possible.
This great accomplishment is their biggest downfall.
This platform is not beginner-friendly.
Learning to use Ontraport will take ages, and you don’t have time for that.
There’s no advanced training to help you along either.
If you’re a small business owner or someone who is trying to get their business off the ground, Ontraport shouldn’t be your first choice.
But if you don’t fall into those categories, then Ontraport might be a tool worth considering.
6. The alternative to Ontraport
If Ontraport’s pricing has you concerned about your wallet, there is another option.
If you’re a beginner (and even if you’re not) look to systeme.io as an alternative digital marketing platform.
Our platform is easier to use and focuses on offering only the most important components that help you run and grow your online business.
Best of all, systeme.io is also an all-in-one marketing tool.
This means you can build sales funnels, email lists, send unlimited emails, launch a blog, host webinars, and create membership sites.
Another significant difference between systeme.io and Ontraport is the price.
Here’s a quick breakdown of our pricing structure:
6.1. Systeme.io’s pricing plans
Systeme.io offers a wide range of plans catering to every business, regardless of size and available budget.
All of our plans (including our free plan) include:
- Unlimited emailing to your contacts
- Unlimited file storage space so you can create funnels based on our tried and tested templates
- Unlimited members on your site
- No transaction fees
- Access to our affiliate program to increase your income through referrals to systeme.io
- 24/7 support whenever and wherever you need it
Basically, systeme.io gives you everything that Ontraport has to offer and much more — all for a fraction of the price (or a free plan to get you started).
All things considered, it’s easy to see that systeme.io takes the cake, but don’t take our word for it, sign up for our freemium plan today!
In a nutshell, Ontraport may be based on an interesting concept, but when it comes to pricing and ease of use it falls short of systeme.io.
There are a million time-consuming tasks to perform when starting up or improving your business.
Adding yet another steep learning curve into the mix is hardly appealing.