Yes There is An Alternative to Infusionsoft and OfficeAutopilot/Ontraport

Infusionsoft – otherwise known as confusionsoft – is widely touted as being the leading edge of online marketing support software, or you might also have used Ontraport (formerly OfficeAutopilot), as I had. It was a great alternative to Infusionsoft, which has a really high entry price point.

But both of them are expensive when you’re starting out, and are SO complex that for me anyway, they were just much more than I wanted.

And yet, I wanted something that delivered a lot of what these big players offered:

  • Online payment processing that integrated with my email lists, autoresponder and affiliate program
  • Membership that was easy to use and integrated with my products and autoresponder
  • Tech support that actually answered my questions and gave me the help I needed that was not wrapped in condescension and assumptions that I’m actually too dumb to use their software-version-of-God
  • Easy form creation to easily add to my WordPress site
  • A built-in-forum
  • A built-in-affiliate program that integrated with my products and membership so that when I sent email to release new content I didn’t have to work out the timezones of the different servers and adjust – yes I have had to do that in the past. WTF?
  • And actually feeling like a person in their business, not just another credit card number.

I’ve been working online a long time – I built my first website in 1996. Yes I know, dinosaur 🙂

So it’s a fair guess that I’ve got a bit of a clue about what I’m doing, that I’ve tried a lot of systems, and that what I really want to be spending my time doing is creating new products and programs and supporting my members, not burning hours and hours and HOURS every week wrangling various systems to talk to my WordPress website.

Many times I thought, “There must be something out there that actually is simple to use and does what I need!”

I honestly thought that answer had come with OfficeAutopilot’s membership plugin for WordPress. I was on their early beta test a few years ago, for a few months. But sadly it just never worked for me despite lots of new builds and hand-holding- something about my server or whatever just didn’t like their membership plugin. And at $297 a month at that time, it was $900 not well spent – it never quite worked properly and it chewed up hours and hours of my time. I was so frustrated I pulled the site down.

Like it did for me, the wrong or out-of-price-range software could actually be slowing down your business and product development.

Then big life stuff happened and I essentially went offline for a couple of years while I sorted my life out, downgrading to the $79/month plan to maintain my list and autoresponders. So the OAP plugin might well be working very well now, I didn’t go back for another try.

It’s expensive trying, you know? Expensive in time more than money even!

Instead I tried WishList Member. I know a lot of people have worked well with this but again it was just a brain bender for me. I even did a five week course on it. Still too much hard work to understand their system – I’m not dumb but it never made sense to me.

So I kind of abandoned the idea of a membership site at all. I had all my stuff set up on email autoresponders only. But every time I was a member of someone else’s online browser-based program I was just jealous!

And one day in a mastermind group I asked what others was using – and the answer that came back has been a DREAM!

Here’s the Alternative to Infusionsoft and Ontraport that I LOVE

That answer is Simplero and while I’m trying to keep this post factual, I might get a bit gushy because this system solves SO many problems of having an online information-based business.

The system is an all-in-one developed by a US-based Dane, Calvin Corelli, whose tech support team spans Europe and India.

Techs who answer your questions with a voice-over video filmed INSIDE YOUR OWN SITE to show you exactly what goes where.

Yes really!

And accessing tech support – it’s right inside your site, you just click the ‘help me’ icon and the help interface pops right up – no going to another site, creating an account, searching their knowledge base and not finding an answer before you post a question – though they do have a helpful knowledge base!

Oh, and a users’ FaceBook group that isn’t super busy but you can get help there. Their support isn’t instant – I’m in Australia so very different timezone – but it is always within 12 hours.

The whole interface is quite similar to WordPress – main nav down the left hand side of the screen, most-used features appear again in a menu across the top of the screen. The ‘help me’ icon is part of that set.

Why it’s a great alternative to Infusionsoft and OAP/Ontraport

You get everything listed above, and MORE, for $100 a month.

For 15,000 contacts.

I was paying OAP $79 for 5000 contacts and an autoresponder. Plus I was paying for a shop plugin, $11 a month. Plus I was paying for MemberMouse at $20 a month. Plus I paid $179 for IDevAffiliate, with $100 for a developer to upgrade that everytime it was necessary. (I do all other upgrades myself).

Plus I paid for an annual Pro account at Vimeo.

Plus I paid Amazon S3 for file storage/download.

That lot added up to well over $150 a month.

For stuff that took hours and hours to maintain. I honestly lived in abject fear that something would just randomly update and stop communicating with something else….

Email Autoresponder with Features Plus

Speaking of email, you can set up unlimited lists (and there’s a cool tagging feature coming – Simplero will explain what that’s about and how you can use it :)) and any number of forms for each list.

For example I have a form for the subscribes at the end of my blog posts, a second form (for the same list/freebie offer) on my home page, and a third form on my freebie page. Knowing where people sign up helps me keep track of what works when.

Also, the system automatically checks any links you put into any email, to see that they work.

And it automatically checks your spam score, to help get more emails delivered.

And of course it tracks open rates, click rates etc.

Plus you can be really selective about who you email – the system even checks for duplicates if you’re emailing several lists, and sends just one email.

Calvin Corelli, the founder and owner of Simplero is an information marketer himself. He built the system he needed for his business – so he’s very hands-on!

Simplero is under constant development and Calvin keeps you updated with the progress of those new features via your Simplero Dashboard – when you login the updates are right there, often in video format.

You can watch or close so you can get back to managing your business through the simple dashboard.

And Even More Features

But wait – there’s more!

  • Landing page and squeeze page creator. (I use LandingPages so I don’t use the Simplero version – others in the FaceBook group do and love it). This is separate from the signup forms you use to allow people to subscribe to your site.
  • Hosting for your videos, audios and documents (goodbye Vimeo and Amazon S3)
  • Subscriptions for your membership site
  • Coupons!!!! Configure them any way you like – even a one-use coupon for one person!
  • Yes you can drip content
  • You can add more administrators to your account – no need to pay for extra ‘seats’
  • Calvin is also an information marketer and coach so he blogs regularly about online marketing – so it’s like best-practice training, all built into your monthly subscription.

They care about their customers

Any time there are system problems you’ll get an email, FaceBook status updates and updates inside Simplero.

There has been a bit of outage (about an hour) in the couple of weeks before I’m writing this post (Aug 27) and the updates were amazing. As they tracked the problem they let us know via all the above methods.

Afterwards they gave a blow-by-blow explanation for those who are technically minded and want that level of info.

My Favourite Feature of Simplero

Okay when I first saw this I thought ‘oh that’s cute but I already know how to do that’ – but it’s become one of my favourite features because of how much time it saves.

And now I write this, I’m thinking “is that really my favourite” because there are a few really cool make-it-easy features that I love so I’ll talk about them all 🙂

First, the media manager.

Simplero calls images, video, audio and any kind of document ‘media’. You manage them all through the single media interface, which you can access from anywhere in the dashboard. The media interface sorts the media types for you so that if you’ve got a load of items in there you can see them all easily. So click on “PDFs” to see only your pdfs.

simplero2

 

When you upload a pic, Simplero processes the images into a bunch of sizes for you (this is the favourite mentioned above – Simplero does it so much faster and easier!) Here’s a pic that’s part of my Month of Good Days, and the size variations below.

simplero1

So you can add only the one you want to use without worrying about download speeds for your users using mobile data – just add the size that makes the most sense. Simplero optimises them for speed!

Managing your media library is a doddle. If you want to delete a file you just click the x beside any item and after checking you really meant to do that, it’s gone.

Link to anything in your library from anywhere – Simplero gives you a link to copy/paste to your blog, facebook page, where ever.

And of course you can access the media library from within the email editor or the membership site – just click the media button and your whole library is available to you, just click the icon and you see it all with the same sorting feature right there.

Drool-Worthy Audio and Video Handling

My membership content is all delivered by video and PDF. Guess what? Simplero AUTOMATICALLY CREATES AN AUDIO VERSION of your video as you upload it. And it adds the file sizes to inform your members about download times. AND they can download the files as a podcast. You don’t have to lift a finger to even click those features ON, they just work out of the box.

Okay so clearly I love Simplero, honest to God it’s made working online a pleasure again instead of a massive grind. I have so much time on my hands I’m able to work on my long-held dream of writing a novel! Yes, no more checking that everything is still working everytime WordPress or one of my plugins updates. Simplero all just WORKS.

What I Don’t Like

  • The membership site is a different domain name – zenlearning.com. I haven’t found that my members are at all confused though – they just click the links in the email they get and go right to the site. I CAN set up my own domain on there, but I haven’t done it. When I moved over I was really irritated by yet another round of trying to get my membership plugin to work the way I needed it to (even after paying a developer to tweak it!) and had a launch deadline looming!
  •  I’m not mad about the styling inside the membership area; it’s black and white. You can style it differently if you know how to use CSS. I do, but I haven’t changed the styling because at first I just wanted to see if the thing would work for me, and since it does work so easily and beautifully, I’ve just been getting on with what I really love doing, creating content 🙂 You can set basic styling, headers etc through an easy point-and-click interface but that doesn’t let you choose fonts, font sizes or colours etc. That would be a lovely feature!
  • And so it goes without saying that you can’t use Google fonts. Well maybe you can, likely Calvin would have workaround for it – but for me it’s not a big issue though I do use Google Fonts here on BBCentral.

A Free Trial You Can’t Beat

If you want to take a look at Simplero, you get a free trial.

Yes lots of people offer free trials.

This one is different – it’s an almost-unlimited free trial – you can set up your membership, landing pages, forms to collect email addresses, your products – anything really. For as long as you want to. Without paying a cent.

You will only start to pay when you want to send email or sell products because Simplero pays fees to third parties for those servises.

But you can set up and tweak away to your heart’s content for as long as you like, without paying a cent – I did. It took me about three weeks to have all my questions answered and my memberships working the way I wanted them to work. At all times during setup and since I’ve become a paying customer, tech support was fantastic.

And you know those metrics that you’re ‘supposed’ to watch – like lifetime value of a customer? Right there, in the dashboard, nothing more to do! And you also immediately see all your sales, subscribes, unsubscribes.

I could go on and on and on about Simplero but really there’s only thing to say: give it a go.

Yes this is an affiliate link (if you sign up for the service using my link I get a 20% commission for referring you – it doesn’t cost you anything extra and you don’t save money by skipping my link). It’s Simplero’s way of saying “thanks for telling your audience about us”.

I rarely recommend any products, and only recommend product I use myself, and love.

Honestly, try Simplero. It’s the only alternative to Infusionsoft and OAP/Ontraport I’ve found that is so easy to set up and use, and it costs 2/3 less. It’s put the joy back into my online business because if there are any problems I just “Calvin” it and it’s sorted!

Such bliss because:

Simplero just WORKS!

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15 Comments

  1. Dale Reardon on June 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Hi,

    Is the system still performing really well?

    Just getting frustrated with current system and wishing I had Ontraport and found your article.

    Thanks,
    Dale.

    • Sandy Ross on June 18, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      Hey Dale – yes it is – still performing well, still using it, still happy 🙂

      Sandy

  2. Nicole on July 28, 2015 at 7:20 am

    Hi there,

    This article was so helpful – thank you so much. I’m looking at options for membership sites and the styling/look is really important for me. Have you found that Simplero has made improvements to customization?

    Thanks!

    • Sandy Ross on August 9, 2015 at 9:20 am

      Hi Nicole – sorry for the late reply, didn’t see your comment! I haven’t looked at the styling options lately to be honest – I found them pretty simple when I set up all my stuff and haven’t looked since. I would be inclined to try it and see how it goes – there is an awesome trial system!

  3. David on September 20, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Hi Sandy,

    I clicked one of the links to the Simplero site you’ve posted in this article – it took about 30 seconds for their website to load, not exactly confidence inspiring, and it’s not on my end, we have rock solid internet connections here in Switzerland – so I wonder, can they be really trusted?

    Regards, David

    • Sandy Ross on September 22, 2015 at 6:44 am

      Hi David – I can’t say why their site was slow for you to load. I can say that I trust them. If you decide to try them you may like them 🙂

      Kindest,
      Sandy

  4. LaCharla on September 22, 2015 at 1:49 am

    Thank you for this article. I’m just building my digital program and using multiple service providers and WordPress plugins is getting crazy. Ontraport and Infusionsoft are not priced for starters. So I’m heading over to check on Simplero. Thank you again for sharing this.

    • Sandy Ross on September 22, 2015 at 6:45 am

      You’re welcome LaCharla. When I got to the crazy-making stage it was a total sanity saver!! Best luck, I think you’ll love them as much as I do.

    • Sandy Ross on September 22, 2015 at 7:02 am

      Oh, and it’s so scalable that if you get to the size where you need more, it can handle that.

  5. r.rohena@dirinc.us on September 23, 2015 at 6:20 am

    Hi Sandy,

    I think this is a great post. Very detailed and strategy focused for small businesses.

    Back on June 17th of this year, I wrote a similar post discussing Hatchbuck as another alternative to Infusionsoft. I would be interested on your thought about how Ontraport compares to other low cost marketing automation like Hatchbuck, Greenrope, etc.

    If you are interested in reading my article, I will gladly post it here, but, do not wish to re-direct your traffic without your permission.

    • Sandy Ross on September 23, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Sorry, I don’t know hatchback. I looked at a few options when I switched to Simplero from Ontraport and since it does the job and is always innovating to add extra features, I don’t look further 🙂

      • Rob Rohena on September 23, 2015 at 11:02 pm

        @Sandy,

        Thanks for the quick response. What you say makes sense. “If it is not broken why fix it.”

        Best of luck!

  6. Vickie Falcone on October 31, 2015 at 4:20 am

    I appreciate your thorough article. I clicked through to start my free trial. I have been researching for hours and am excited to start with what seems to be a delightfully simple program. Thank you for this…- Vickie

    • Sandy Ross on November 1, 2015 at 6:55 am

      You’re welcome Vicki. Simplero changed my online life after years of frustration in cobbling together solutions!

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