Growing with Ontraport
Growing with Ontraport
Ontraport Expert and Growth Studios Founder Ben Jones specializes in giving entrepreneurs their time back.
With over 15 years of experience on the web in marketing and design industries, this Sydney-based Ontraport power user built his digital agency around helping clients realize their online potential in a scalable way with Ontraport.
From Modern Ontrapreneur
We sat down with Ben to learn more about his strategies, advice to other business owners, and plans for the future.
Modern Ontrapreneur: Please tell us about your background before you became an Ontraport Expert.
Ben Jones: After the company I was working for ground to a halt at the end of the GFC (Global Financial Crisis), I started freelancing. Fast forward to 2012 and Growth Studios was born – a company that applied the direct marketing and design skills I had honed over the past decade to the online world. Initially we were working specifically with small businesses because I saw so much need in this area. So many small business owners were strapped for time and knew very little about doing business online, let alone how to implement even basic design and copywriting skills.
We pivoted a few times and upskilled, bringing tools like WordPress, Facebook and Google Ads management into the fold. It wasn’t too long after that we came across Ontraport. Becoming a Certified Expert was a natural progression that made a lot of sense. Our big picture is to provide a holistic digital marketing strategy and Ontraport was obviously one of the cogs in the machine for us.
MO: Why did you decide to become an Ontraport Expert?
BJ: I love the idea that you can easily put a series of actions together, step-by-step, add some logic and create a process that you do once and then the system takes over so you don’t have to do that ever again. The system will do it faster and more accurately than anyone can do manually – and it relieves you from the continual decision-making process required for repetitive actions so you’re free to actually think!
When we get clients’ landing pages to start converting, the next thing they want is more conversions. This inevitably comes through PPC (Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.), and the problem then quickly becomes, “How do I handle all these leads?!” Ontraport was the solution to helping our clients get their time back and scale more reliably.
We realized there was only a small handful globally of people trained to help businesses implement Ontraport automation systems into their business. We noticed that some of our clients were doing things like email marketing with one tool and appointment booking with another tool – but neither tool was talking to the other, so they had no idea what was working. They needed ways to adapt their existing tech stack, improve their systems, improve their customer service, and gain clarity across their business around what was actually working. I saw that we could simplify things for them with Ontraport. If we were going to build world class systems and complex integrations for our clients, we needed to know Ontraport inside out, and getting certified was the way forward.
With the digital marketing industry continuously evolving, businesses struggle to stay on top of things, and with our goal to be always up-to-date with what’s happening and what’s working, we do our best to provide that for our clients. What I love about Ontraport is their committed development of the platform to meet the needs of the market, but further than this is their support and accessibility. Over the years, the Ontraport team has become a bit like an extended family!
MO: Please tell us a bit about your consulting business (What types of clients do you work with? What areas do you focus on?).
BJ: We are a digital marketing agency with expertise in three key areas:
We also provide coaching to our clients.
"Stop giving your time away for free! Stop doing non-productive administration tasks that Ontraport can automate! Stop selling yourself short. This one idea has probably had the single biggest impact on our business."
We work best with clients who are doing well and looking to take their digital marketing and systems to the next level. Often, they are highly leveraged businesses with a very small core team that turn over $1m+. They have a product or service that is already amazing, and now they are looking to invest in:
We can and have developed a bit of a reputation in our ability to build very complex systems and integrations with Ontraport, but our vision is always to help clients simplify their systems as much as possible. Building their system layer upon layer means we can support and pave the way for growth so that clients can understand how to work effectively within their system with ease and confidence.
MO: Which aspects of Ontraport do you think are most useful or underrated?
BJ: This is far from an exhaustive list, but I’d say one of the most useful is custom objects because they open up a world of opportunity! Want a support or enquiry ticketing system? Running multiple live or online events? Need a deal pipeline? Or maybe you’re a vet and need to associate pets with their owners. Whatever related information you need to associate with your contacts, custom objects provide an incredibly flexible way to adapt Ontraport to your unique business needs.
Quick messages / SMS are also amazing for customer support. For some reason, Ontraport users have a tendency to “stay out of Ontraport” rather than live in it. Quick messages mean you can easily and quickly respond to items, such as a customer support enquiry, from inside Ontraport rather than using another tool.
Another useful feature is goals. I love how you can not only get performance metrics from a goal but you can also divert contacts down another path if they don’t achieve that goal – for example, if they don’t open an email – in a certain time frame. It helps to close the loop drastically on missed goals.
One of the most underrated features would have to be marketing tracking. When you’re running multiple campaigns across multiple platforms, you want to be able to see the results in one place. Marketing tracking will do that for you. With just a tiny bit more effort, you can set up UTMs and the data for those big campaigns will start to come alive.
Editing the mobile viewport in Pages is also such a massive value-add. Considering that up to 100% of the traffic you’re buying from platforms like Google Ads, Facebook and Instagram ads will be going to mobile devices, I constantly see page designs that you have to scroll to be able to see a call to action or to click on something, or worse, simply don’t work on mobile devices! Being able to adjust the design of the mobile viewport is a gamechanger for many.
MO: You have your finger on the pulse of the small business owner and entrepreneur. What gaps are you seeing? What’s your advice for them?
BJ: I see a lot of service businesses that don’t have automated booking systems! Build one, or get some help to build one.
Business owners who don’t value their time. Your time is the one asset you only ever have less of. You probably already work too hard, and your time is the most valuable thing you will ever have. Stop giving your time away for free! Stop doing non-productive administration tasks that Ontraport can automate! Stop selling yourself short. This one idea has probably had the single biggest impact on our business.
Repeatable systems. I’ll even put my own hand up for this one. Every single client I’ve had thinks in terms of “I’m at point A and then what happens next is I’m at point B.” Little value or thought is given to the many micro-steps that happen along the way to getting to point B. When you understand what you do in minute detail, it empowers you to make better decisions more quickly and turn your business into a factory that does amazing things. Study your processes and turn them into repeatable systems.
Look for what’s working in your business. If something is working, improve that. Do more of that thing. Don’t go looking for add-ons and shiny objects. That kind of diversification will only water down your efforts across both.
MO: One of your areas of strength is working with Google Ads and Facebook ads. How do you help your clients utilize both of these marketing tools and connect them back to Ontraport?
"The point is, when you start advertising you need a way to keep your finger on the pulse without losing the plot."
BJ: There are so many ways I could answer this question — I could probably speak for a few hours on just this one topic!
We start by adding marketing tracking and UTMs. There’s heaps of info on the Ontraport website and online about what UTMs are, so I won’t go into that here. But this is such a great way to find out which campaigns, offers or ad platforms are working and even see which individuals are taking action inside Ontraport. And if you wanted to, you could even use this information to score leads or segment your contacts based on behaviours they’re taking outside of Ontraport. But what about all the people who aren’t in your database? You can see the UTM data in Google Analytics, too.
We also add contacts to Facebook Custom Audiences automatically. This is a killer feature built right into Ontraport — everything you need to know about this is in the Support Center along with an excellent use case so I won’t go into great detail here. If you’re doing Facebook ads and you’re not using it, you’re missing out.
Ontraport is very powerful when it comes to segmenting your database, and this is critical when it comes to working with PPC. The amazing thing about both of these advertising platforms is that you can take your audience and upload it directly to the ad platform to advertise to. This is extremely advantageous for a number of reasons:
We also work with clients to scale their business. It’s easy to deal with customers one at a time when you’re starting out, but there comes a point when you’re looking to step up and grow your volume. We’ve got clients who are so in-demand that their sole reason for implementing Ontraport is to leverage their time. In fact, they got so busy that they asked us to switch off their ads! The point is, when you start advertising you need a way to keep your finger on the pulse without losing the plot. Ads will give you the volume you’re after and a well set-up Ontraport account will leverage your time by being the scaled delivery platform that lets you run your business on autopilot.
MO: What’s next for you?
BJ: The truth is, we can only help so many people as we work with them one-on-one. What we’ve found is that while suggesting that “digital marketing feels like you just got handed a big box of legos with no instructions” provokes a laugh, it also gets heads nodding every which-way in agreement, right across the board. So now, behind the scenes, we’re working on a top secret program to empower more business owners to piece together their own digital marketing journeys … Watch this space …
MO: Anything else you’d like to share?
BJ: Understand your customers intimately. Most people don’t know anywhere near enough about their customers or clients to market to them effectively. I love being part of the lightbulb moments our clients experience when we go through this piece of analysis with them!
Know your numbers. Know what it costs you to acquire a lead and a customer. Know how much you can afford to spend to acquire a lead and a customer. This is freeing.
Keep things simple. Often, simple funnels perform just as well as elaborate ones!
Always be learning. Approach all of your marketing with a learning or curiosity mindset.
Work with Ben