Infusionsoft vs Ontraport: What’s the Difference?

Infusionsoft vs Ontraport: What’s the Difference?

I often see this question in forums and online groups: what’s the difference between Infusionsoft and Ontraport? Which one should I choose? How to decide – Infusionsoft vs Ontraport? In many cases responses will be from users of one or another, who are happy to share their experience, but in most cases don’t know both systems well enough to compare. Luckily for you, as a digital marketing strategist, I’ve had years of experience with both systems supporting numerous clients. So here’s my take on this.

Each of these systems includes several functionalities, that otherwise you might need to get separate systems for:

  • CRM (Contact Relationship Management) – tracking information about your leads and customers, tasks to follow up, notes from previous conversions and dealings.
  • Email Marketing – ability to build email lists, send newsletters and autoresponders.
  • E-Commerce – ability to create and sell products online and take payments for orders.
  • Affiliate – ability to recruit and manage affiliates who will be promoting your products to their followers and lists.
  • Marketing Automation – creation of campaigns to send the right information to the right prospects at the right time, based on their previous behaviour or purchases they’ve made.

Ontraport (formerly Office AutoPilot)

Ontraport has definitely improved a lot since 2014 once they’ve relaunched it with the new interface and integrations (and also renamed it from Office AutoPilot), but it’s still got own limitations and quirks.

The new features now include Stripe integration, better interface (some call it Mac-like), better automation campaign management. However Ontraport doesn’t have visual editor for campaigns – so you might need to use a flowchart tool to create a process map for your business and campaigns.

Products are sold through Smart forms – this can be more time consuming to set up. As well as Stripe, it works with PayPal and a host of other payment processing systems. Product creation options are very basic and rely on those being either services or digital products delivered through a membership site.

Ontraport can send newsletters and autoresponders. Designs for emails and landing pages have recently been improved but are still quite limited. Landing pages can be used to place opt in forms, as sales pages, confirmation pages. You can import contacts from other systems without them having to double opt in again, but Ontraport might review your account before you are able to start sending. Autoresponders will be placed inside campaigns (called sequences).

Contact management is based on B2C model, without tracking company names. You can create extra fields to store additional information and you can use tags to track behaviours, buying patterns, lead sources, engagement in your lists.

Ontraport integrates with a WordPress site through its own membership site plugin. It has a basic affiliate management functionality, but you need to host affiliate centre on your membership website.

Reporting is very basic and simple – so if you run a lot of sales, programs and affiliate schemes you will be missing good reporting on what’s really going on in the business.

Personally, I don’t like their tiny interface and I find it hard to read. Plus there are other little issues like you can’t easily see if tags in the list have any people assigned to them, you can’t edit existing tags. There is less functionality compared to Infusionsoft, so less learning – I guess that’s why many users claim that Ontraport is easier.

Infusionsoft

You can see unlimited products with Infusionsoft which can be services (without any delivery), digital products (with access keys generated by Infusionsoft to download the digital file), membership site access (see more on this below), and physical products too. You have many options to set up and customise your products and track your inventory.

Infusionsoft doesn’t support PayPal recurring payments (unless it’s done through 3rd party like Subscription Boss add-on, or WishList Member WordPress plugin, or OptimizePress Member plugin). It integrates with PayPal for one-off payments (plus many other systems). It doesn’t support Stripe directly – there are add-ons again, WordPress membership plugins, or SamCart tool (which is what I use to have recurring VMA Membership payments and WordPress Support & Maintenance packages).

Infusionsoft has a great visual editor for creating complex multi-layer campaigns. It’s drag and drop so it’s very easy to see how your campaign is flowing from the beginning to end. You can also set up upsells, promotions and multiple bundle product offers.

Infusionsoft doesn’t have own membership site support (but it works with WishList Member, OptimizePress Member, Zippy Courses and many others) – unless you purchase CustomerHub add-on product. This will then create a hosted membership site tightly integrated with your Infusionsoft application.

Infusionsoft has a great reliable affiliate program support and tracking. The Affiliate Centre is hosted so you don’t need to worry about setting that up. You can create multiple commission structures and have special programs for your top affiliates or strategic business partners.

Infucionsoft includes unlimited forms, landing pages, campaigns. You could set up landing pages in Infusionsoft. However what many users of LeadPages like is that pages can be split-tested against each other so you will know how well your pages are converting.

You can import your list without double opt in but Infusionsoft team will need to review it first. Templates for newsletters are quite basic – unlike tonnes of pre-built templates in MailChimp, Get Response or Aweber. They use drag and drop functionality to create emails, and the focus is more on emails as part of the campaign (so they look more like emails) rather than extra-fancy newsletters. The new email builder is currently in development so later in 2015 this might get further improved 🙂

Infusionsoft has more functionality including shopping cart, sales funnels, complete CRM support (even a Sales module for companies with a sales team that need to track a lot of more data long the sales pipeline). Subscribers can be organised by company as well as B2C.  CRM part contains a wealth of data about your subscribers, you can create additional fields for people, for orders/sales, for products.

I’ve now been using Infusionsoft for a year in my own business (more about switching and how Infusionsoft compares to MailChimp here) and I love the system 🙂 Unless PayPal/Stripe issues are a deal-breaker for you, I think Infusionsoft would be a better choice than Ontraport.

Grey horse… Simplero?

Simplero is a relatively new tool on the market which you may not have heard of at all yet.

Simplero allows you to sell as many courses and membership sites as you want. Each course can have its own follow up sequences, membership space, offers, coupons, forms, landing pages. You can have an affiliate program too. Basically it’s like a simplified version of Ontraport geared towards selling and delivering digital products. You can sell multiple information products, one at a time. Can create membership areas (that they host) or through Wishlist.

Simplero can send emails, newsletters and autoresponders, which can be set up for all lists, or specific for one product list. Emails have a VERY basic designer interface at the moment so will look pretty much like enhanced text emails with some images added here and there. You can add your own HTML code – but then you need to either be able to design and code your own newsletters, or hire a professional email designer.

Forms and landing pages are also super-basic at the moment so most likely you will still be using something like LeadPages to create your landing pages.

The system works well with PayPal (except recurring payments don’t get charged at the moment) or Stripe. Although its pricing starts at $100/month, on smaller packages you will also be losing a % on all sales you make (in addition to commission you will still pay to PayPal or Stripe). So overall your costs will be comparable.

Over to you…

What do you think now after reading all this? Which system would you prefer and why? Have you got any questions left unanswered? Share in comments below!

There are a lot of similarities between those systems so the final decision depends on your business model, objectives, budget, other systems you already have and will continue using. If you are still unsure or would like to find out more about my Marketing Automation services using those 3 systems – feel free to contact me here.

  • Christi Daniels

    Tamara,
    This article was incredibly helpful! I’m not yet at the point where I can use Infusionsoft. What system would you recommend pre-Infusionsoft? I’m currently on Aweber and have a small email list that is growing, but there are some features I’m not happy with and am looking for recommendations. I’ve heard good things about Emma …

    • Thanks Christi! That would depend on what you are not happy with? There is an extension for Aweber called AW Pro Tools that can extend Aweber somewhat. If that still won’t cover what you are looking for, then you can look into Active Campaign – it’s got good marketing automation tools including a simple campaign builder.

  • Stephen

    Hi Tamara

    Thanks for sharing your thought very insightful.

    Another system that I am just starting to use is Instant customer and traffic 2.0.

    This looks like it can do everything like the above and lots more.

    Not sure if you have any thoughts on this?

    Kind Regards
    Stephen

    • Thanks for your comment Stephen.

      Although I’ve not personally used it, according to the website Instant Customer works with PayPal and Amazon only which is quite limiting, of course there might be other apps and extensions that it could integrate with. I couldn’t see if it support affiliate marketing or not.

      Overall it seems similar to ClickFunnels more than other systems in this post. But taking into account that this was created by Traffic Geyser peeps (Internet Marketers) and ClickFunnels was created by Russell Brunson (also an Internet Marketer) they seem to both cater for that particular market.

      • Stephen

        Yes I see what you mean, thanks for your reply. I will let you know when explor it a bit more, in regards to affiliate. Thanks

  • Clare Josa ?

    Really helpful article – thank you Tamara. Have sent an email to Simplero to find out what’s going on with the recurring payments. I’d really want to have my Mastermind running over the same platform as my courses and eBooks, so that’s a hugely helpful insight you shared. Will report back.

    • Thanks for reading and keep us posted then on Paypal and VAT issues 🙂 You are doing such great work on behalf of all of us fighting the VAT rules changes!

  • I have used Simplero as it is one that is great for a solopreneur. I don’t have time to learn or worry about Infusionsoft, and Ontraport didn’t really impress me for the price; so I’m loving all of the features of Simplero. Makes life easier so I can spend time working with clients.
    Great article, thank you!

    • Thanks Michele! Yes it’s a good solid tool for a solopreneur who wants to sell info-products without complex marketing systems or funnel stacking that Infusionsoft will allow you to do. Calvin & team are doing a good job with developing and adding new features – like form designs and a better email system.