What is Ontraport?

What is Ontraport?

by on 01/04/2014

What is Ontraport?
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What is Ontraport? That’s a good question because it’s quite hard to get your head around it. Hence this Ontraport tutorial.

Although its heart is an email marketing service, Ontraport performs many additional functions.

Ontraport‘s aim is to run your whole business – email, sales platform, affiliate program, CRM, and membership site access. On top of that, they try to get it all running on autopilot.

So, do they succeed?

This Ontraport tutorial video gives you all the answers.

I cover all the features of Ontraport, so that you can understand exactly what it offers you.

And then I’ll tell you how I use it in my business. I tell you:

  • Which features I love
  • Which features I avoid
  • How using Ontraport doubles your income
  • Why you should have Ontraport

Once you are earning over $200 or so a month from email marketing investing in Ontraport is a no-brainer.

The video answers the question: “What is Ontraport?”, and tells you all the pros and cons. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

You can check out Ontraport here.


What is Ontraport?

What you will learn

  • What Ontraport says it is
  • My view on Ontraport
  • Why I pick and choose

…the features of Ontraport I want to use – and you should too!

Why you MUST have Ontraport

Then a bit more detail on

Two important features:

  • Membership sites
  • If/Then rules

And finally,

Why Ontraport is a winner

It’s quite hard to get your head around Ontraport completely, so this Ontraport tutorial will touch on some of Ontraport’s features several times, to try and give you a better understanding of all it can do for you.

First of all,

What Ontraport says it is:

They say it’s a…

Complete system

…to run your whole internet-based business. This includes…

Email Marketing

With advanced options,

…plus a…

Sales platform

Which includes the usual things you’d expect from a sales platform…

  • Order forms
  • Payment processing
  • Handling of refunds

…and also an

Affiliate marketing system

Because if you create your own products, you may well want affiliates to sell them for you on commission – and Ontraport will track those sales and commissions.

This way, you can pay your affiliates regularly.

Then Ontraport has good…


…features, which stands for Customer Relationship Management.

Ontraport‘s CRM systems help you to contact the

Right customers

with the

Right offer

for the

Right product

at the

Right time

And, on top of that, they help you to


…the whole thing using Ontraport‘s “If/Then rules” which I’ll be returning to several times in this tutorial.

If you get this automation right – you will have a powerhouse of a business.

Finally, using Ontraport, you can create…

Membership sites

The way this works, is that you can turn a WordPress site into a membership site by simply installing their WP plugin. This communicates directly with Ontraport so that only genuine members can log in.

Ontraport knows who is a member because of the options you select when you create the Ontraport form which you get a person to sign up with. That works well.

So, there you go: they say they are a…

“Complete System”


  • Email Marketing
  • Sales platform


Affiliate marketing system

A good

Customer Relationship Management

…system with extensive


…built in, and also the ability to build and manage

Membership sites

One more point I’ll mention is that Ontraport have what they call a “concierge service”, which basically means you can get…

Any of their services “done for you.”

…which can get you up and running quickly, if you need to.

And, by the way, you get

2 hours free training

when you sign up to Ontraport and you can take this any time you want to, even splitting it if you want. (This compares with Infusionsoft, where the initial training package is $2,000.)

So now let’s move on to:

My view of Ontraport

I give it three thumbs up: and half a thumb down!

Let me be clear, I am very much in favour of Ontraport. I love it and would not be without it.

But to help you understand: “What is Ontraport?” – let me ask myself a question:

Do I want one system

…running my whole business? “

Well, I do like the idea of everything being integrated.

But is it completely practical?

No, not really. Firstly, there are just…

Too many parts

…there for me.

I can’t believe that each separate part will do what I want.

I’d want the freedom to connect up a different component when I want to – which Ontraport is quite happy for you to do, using the API (or “Application Programmer Interface” – more about this later).

Then, there are other parts of their system, I’d simply rather not use. For example, the

Sales / Affiliate Platform

…or system.

Running your own – or, rather, Ontraport‘s – sales and affiliate system, rather than outsourcing it, is definitely going to generate extra work, for you or your team. This will be from…


…who can’t work out how to get a refund, or…

whose credit card has been chewed up by the dog, [image?] or similar problems which you it does not pay you to get involved with.

Then there will be queries from…


…who have a question over their commissions, or whose PayPal ID has been cancelled or a multitude of other time-consuming problems which it’s much better to get someone else to deal wtih.

For most people with a product to sell, it’s preferable to

Outsource Sales/Affiliate Administration

…by using a third party, and letting them handle all the day-to-day queries and problems which it doesn’t pay you to deal with.

Two prominent examples of third parties in the Internet marketing arena are:

JVZoo and Clickbank

They’ll be delighted to take this admin off your hands for a cut of the profits – and it’s worth it.

One exception, perhaps, is when you have a product which you won’t sell many of (a high ticket item, maybe) and if you don’t plan to have affiliates. Then, you might want to use this part of the Ontraport system.

Now, I’m not saying outsource ALL customer queries about your product and how to use it: you need to answer those. I am just talking about admin questions, such as:

“What is a 3-digit security code for my credit card”.

You need to outsource that, and spend that time on selling more stuff, or split-testing, and so on.

So, it won’t surprise you to hear that I prefer to…

I Pick and choose

…which parts of Ontraport‘s system to use and in this Ontraport tutorial I tell you exactly which parts they are.

And there are some real “goodies” there!

The first part I’d choose is the absolutely brilliant

Email marketing service

And for me this, along with the If/Then rules, is the heart of Ontraport.

It is many times better than the cheaper, “plain vanilla” email systems such as Aweber, MailChimp and iContact.

Ontraport is worth using for its email marketing capabilities alone.

It’s really THAT good.

The second brilliant part of Ontraport is where you can…

Track customer actions

…such as

  • Which products they bought
  • Last order date


Membership sites

…they are members of and the date they joined.

(And I’ll be returning to memberships a bit later in this tutorial.)

So, both the email marketing service and the tracking capabilities of Ontraport allow you to make excellent use of another great feature of Ontraport I’ve already mentioned, their very advanced:

“If/Then” rules

This is truly a ground-breaking  feature for Ontraport and no other emailing service has it…

…apart from Infusionsoft which is very expensive and difficult to learn and convoluted.

If/then rules are only limited by your imagination.

They are easy to set up in Ontraport, and once set up are completely automated – which is why they are so powerful. A bit more about these later.

The next feature I use is:

Membership sites

The membership functionality of Ontraport works very well.

Ontraport‘s Plugin turns a WordPress site into a membership site which synchronises with your Ontraport contact records.

Whenever someone tries to sign in to the WordPress Membership site, the plugin instantly goes back to Ontraport and checks in their contact record to see if they should be allowed in…

…and if it’s a multi-level membership site, it checks which level they have access to.

Let me give you a quick taster of how to combine the

If/Then rules + Membership sites

Bought level one

.. of your membership, but

Didn’t upgrade to level two

and then

Send them a sequence of emails

…telling them all the wonderful benefits of level 2 and you can even make them a special offer to temp them – maybe in the third or fourth email in the sequence.

And you can tell the sequence to automatically

Stop sequence when they upgrade

To set this extra step takes literally a few seconds.

Isn’t that brilliant? I think so.

So, more about the memberships, and if/then rules later.

These are the main feature of Ontraport I think are excellent.

Now I want to cover:

Why you MUST have Ontraport

…, and this section will include some new information, plus a second look at some of the information I’ve already told you, but from a different perspective.

The thing is, Ontraport takes a little bit of getting your head around [image] and by presenting it in a different way I hope I will convince you of just how brilliant it really is.

But first of all, the main reason you need to have Ontraport is that, assuming your email marketing is starting to show results, then you are simply leaving money on the table.

Most of us are aiming to increase our income from email marketing, and to do so painlessly.

And that’s why I use Ontraport!

And the first great feature of Ontraport I want to look at in this section is its fantastic…

Ease of use

The technical reason for this is because Ontraport is built using a proper database – like Microsoft Access, if you are familiar with that, and not a series of disconnected lists, which is the way Aweber works.

To give you a comparison, I would probably give

Ontraport = 8.5/10

for ease-of-use, whereas I would give

Aweber = 4 or 5 /10

Ontraport has clearly been designed to make it as easy to use as possible – and they have succeeded.

Now onto the money side of things.

Ontraport can only enhance your results, and your income. This is all down to leverage – or leverage – and comes down to a simple question: Would you like to…

Double your income?

I am guessing so.

Well, just by using the …

Email Marketing

…features alone you can double your income – because you can double your open rate – the number of people opening your emails.

If up to twice as many people are opening your emails, then up to twice as many people are going to be taking action – and buying your stuff.

When I send email through Ontraport I often get double my open rates using a unique Ontraport feature (one of the “If/Then rules”), which is…

…the ability to automatically

Resend email to “unopens”

In other words, if someone does not open your first email, then you resend them the email 1 or 2 days later.

This is simple to set up in Ontraport, again in the “Autopilot” section, when you schedule your original email, and only takes an extra minute or so to set up.

As for your email message itself, once it has been written, it is easily sent out to a selection of your contacts or pulled into a sequence of emails in the Autopilot section of Ontraport which you can send now, schedule for a later date, or set up to be triggered by an event using those brilliant if/then rules – more about these later.

Now, let’s look at the contact record Ontraport gives you. This is powerful and so useful.

Every contact has a full data record which you can look at, and add or remove data from.

This can be done automatically from within Ontraport, manually by you, or a techie can do it using Ontraport’s API.

You can see

  • which emails they have received
  • what they have bought
  • and which membership sites they are members of in one easy view.

A contact record can also have an unlimited number of Tags.

These can be used for anything that suits your business. They can be added automatically by forms people submit, by you manually, or by other automatic processes within Ontraport which you set up.

By the way, if someone fills in another form later with their email address, the tags in that second form are simply added to their existing customer record.

Ontraport tags give you very precise control within Ontraport of exactly what happens to every one of your contacts.

You’ll see this shortly with the coverage of the if/then rules.

The Competition…

The competition – the second-level services like, etc – are simply outclassed with these features.

They have no way to record, or access, this amount of highly valuable data.

Which is fine – that’s why they are cheaper. But just remember that they are very much less powerful than Ontraport and the small number of features they do have are harder to use.

I just mentioned Membership sites.

While on that topic let me briefly cover how Ontraport makes it easy to set up and manage your own membership sites.

If you have set up a WordPress site, you will know that there is not an easier way of creating a website and getting it to do whatever you want it to using plugins.

There is a free Ontraport plugin for WordPress, which turns any WordPress site into a membership site.

Once set up, when someone wants to log into the site the plug-in checks their customer record at Ontraport to make sure that they are a signed up member.

How brilliant is that??

Also, if your membership has more than one level – such as silver and gold membership – it even checks which level they should have access to.

I used Ontraport‘s membership plugin to sell and deliver my Get Organised Now.

It worked very well and I would definitely recommend it.

Now, you might be thinking: “If I sell my membership on Clickbank or JVZoo – how does Ontraport know?” How can Clickbank…

“Talk” to Ontraport?

Well, they can. This is where you get your techie to use Ontraport’s

The A.P.I.

… their Application Programmer Interface. In other words, how you get one programme to talk to another. This is a bread-and-butter job for a techie – pretty simple.

For Get Organised Now, my techie let Ontraport know who had bought the membership, which level membership they bought, and also if they cancelled or simply didn’t renew.

All this is straightforward, works well and doesn’t cost much to set up.

Now I want to get onto the hidden treasure of Ontraport.

It’s what makes Ontraport stand head and shoulders above all the other email marketing offerings on the web.

It’s – at last –  the…

If/Then rules

The if/then rules allow you to set up automatic processes which will make your business a powerhouse. And these are all located in the “Autopilot” tab of Ontraport. If you understand how to apply the if/then rules you can easily double the results from virtually any existing process in your business.

They are called if/then rules because this is how they work.


A certain event happens…


… automatically perform a specific action.

The event that happens – the “If” rule – could be

“If” examples…

A certain email

has been sent to that person, or IF it’s been opened, or even IF it’s not been opened. IF…

A product

…has been bought – or refunded. IF

A certain form has been submitted

by them from your website

Or even, simply, if a certain amount of

Time has elapsed

since they… filled in a form, or bought a product – or even since they were added to your database.

Your IF can be if they…

Are a member

of a certain membership site of yours, or if their membership has lapsed.

And so on

Altogether, there are a total of…

23 “If” factors

in the “Autopilot” section of Ontraport

And you can use…

Multiple factors

…too any time it makes sense.

For example, “If someone is a silver member of my membership site AND they didn’t open email xyz AND they have bought product ABC, then… take an action”.

So, those are the “if” factors and you can see there are a lot of them. There is a lot of flexibility for you which, in practice, turns out to be easy to use.

Now let’s look at second part of the “if/then” rules – the “then” factors.

We say that IF one of these factors is either true or not true,

“Then ” examples…

…take a certain action.

This action could be to do with…


For example,

Resend an email

…that you’ve already sent once – optionally, with a different subject line. The action can be to

Start an email sequence

…of several emails to somebody.

It can be to

SCHEDULE a sequence

to be sent at some future time – perhaps in 7 or 14 days.

The action can be to

Add or remove a tag

…from a certain person’s contact record.

You’ll remember I touched on tags earlier:

…Adding and removing tags, and using them in your if/then rules allows you to tell Ontraport to do just about anything with one of your contacts.

Another thing you can do is to:

Send an email or a text message

…to yourself or a team member.

For example, if someone bought a specific product, or joined a specific membership site, a certain number of weeks or months ago, you can decide that, at this time, it’s a good idea for them to get a phone call.

You can set things up so that you, or a team member automatically gets an email or text at the time you specify.

Another action you can trigger is to:

Send a postcard

You can go “old school”, and combine electronic with postal communication by “buying” postcards from Ontraport which you can then schedule to be sent completely automatically – by using the if/then rules.

You design your postcard – Ontraport sends it for you at the right time.

Many marketers get brilliant results by incorporating postcards into their marketing.

A postcard can often have a strong impact on recipients, who are dulled by getting so many emails – and a postcard can be a refreshing change.

Another possible action is that you can…

Add or remove someone from a membership site

In fact, altogether there are …

20 “Then” Actions

can trigger using Ontraport‘s if/then rules

So you probably get a feel now for how powerful the if/then rules are, and how much flexibility it gives you to squeeze the maximum out of your marketing.

So, a quick summary of the

Benefits of the If/Then Rules

Which allow you to


…in your business, so that you get the maximum done with the least effort.

The If/Then rules allow you to “set it and forget it”.

First, you can easily generate

More sales

by setting up

Email follow-ups

Or you can send

Follow-up tasks

To yourself or team members, triggered by events which happen to one of your contacts.

You can also build tremendous…

Customer loyalty

…using if/then rules.

How about impressing your customers by sending appropriate follow-up emails, perhaps 7 and 21 days after they have bought a specific product?

You can ask:

  • Is everything okay?
  • Can we do anything to help?
  • Don’t forget our unlimited guarantee.
  • Do you need any top up supplies?
  • Have you got any queries or concerns?
  • This type of action seriously impresses customers and is much more likely to get them to buy again – and to recommend you to their friends.

Next, the if/then rules

Save you time

Do you ever wish you had more hours in the day?

Ontraport gives you more time – by automating contact with your customers and prospects, when you decided that is appropriate, and freeing up more personal time to spend with them where it really counts.

This way you can…

Maximise your marketing efforts

…by deciding where best to spend your time.

For example, “Did you receive your order, okay?”, Can probably be asked with an automated email three days after sending the product.

Whereas, “Are you getting the most out of your $1,000 purchase?”, is a question which you may decide is better asked in person – with a phone call, 2 or 3 weeks after purchase.

Ontraport allows you to decide where your time is best spent.

Final Word on the API

I have talked several times about the API – the programmer interface.

Now, don’t get bogged down with this if you are new to the concept: but it’s important to know that this is a simple means by which a techie can:

Exchange information between

  • Ontraport
  • Any other system

Without the API, you are stuck with doing all your marketing inside Ontraport, which is restricting.

But by using the Programmer Interface, you can use whichever system suits you best and then get that system to pass necessary information to Ontraport to record it in the correct customer record.

Your techie will get the APIs from

System A

This will give you…

More flexibility

…as to which systems you want to use in your business.

In my experience, you can…

Set it and Forget it

If you get it set up and test it, it works fine for ages.

If you are technical you can do this yourself: but I don’t recommend you learn it unless you really want to. Do what I do – find a techie and give them these jobs.

Ontraport is a winner

You’ve probably worked out from this Ontraport tutorial that …

I like Ontraport!


When should you get it?

I suggest that you invest when your earnings from email marketing are growing, and they have passed.

Earnings $200+ a month

That is because by “resending to unopens” which I described earlier, you can virtually double that income easily and so it will soon be paying for itself.

It amazes me that more marketers – even successful ones – don’t use Ontraport in their businesses and I suppose it’s because people – even many Internet marketers – don’t like change.

But you don’t have to be like that:

Get ahead of the game

…and when it makes sense for you, invest in Ontraport immediately!

What is Ontraport?

I hope this Ontraport tutorial has answered the question: “What is Ontraport“, and that you have now pretty much got your head around it. If you want to try Ontraport there is a 90 day money back guarantee with it. So if you’re teetering on the edge of trying it – you can do so without risking a penny for those three months.

I do hope you try it – I wouldn’t be without it.

Check out Ontraport here.

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