What are collections?
As you use Ontraport, it will become the central repository for all kinds of data about your prospects and customers as well as all the assets you create and use to communicate with them, such as your landing pages, emails and campaigns.
Collections are the storage centers for each of these types of data. These are the collections in Ontraport:
- Messages (Email, SMS, Tasks)
- Custom Objects
You can think of collections like the folders on your personal computer: You might have folders for your medical records, your tax returns, and your vehicle maintenance receipts. In Ontraport, you have folders, or collections, for your account’s contact records, emails, landing pages, campaigns and more.
Customizing your collection views
All the collections look and work the same way. Within each collection, just like within each folder on your computer, you’ll find a list of items that belong in it. You can click on an item to open it and see its details, and you can also set up your collection to view just the information you want to see to make it easier and faster to find what you need.
Similar to working with folders on your computer or a spreadsheet, you can choose which columns you’d like to see, such as the name of the item and the date it was added, and reorder the columns however you’d like. You can also sort the collection from top to bottom, adjust how many rows you want to see on each page, and more.
Hover just to the left of the column heading, then click and drag the < > symbol to resize the column.
Click and drag to to arrange them wherever you’d like. Then click.
Add new columns
Customize the fields that are displayed by clicking the column editor button in the upper right-hand corner.
Sort the data
Sort your data by clicking on the column headings. Your selected heading will be highlighted orange. Click the heading again to reverse the sort order.
Set the number of items per page
Change the number of items that display on a page at the bottom of the page. This setting will remain in place until changed again. Also note the status bar indicates the page that you are currently viewing.
Using Card View instead of List View
The Contacts and Custom Objects collections have a special viewing option called Card View. This allows you to display your data like business cards rather than in a list – similar to how you might choose to view the items in your computer folder as square images rather than in a list. Card View is more than just a special view, however; it provides a visual home where you can interactively manage your contacts (or custom objects) more easily, including manually or automatically triggering follow-up right from the screen.
Learn more about using Card View for contacts in our Manage Contacts by Stage article; learn more about using Card View for our pre-built Deals and Companies custom objects in our Automate and Manage Your Sales Pipeline article.
Now, here’s where Ontraport takes it a step further than the folders on your computer — and where the real power of Ontraport’s Collections comes into play. Collections are actually living, ever-changing sets of data that you can use as your home base for accomplishing goals in your account. You can search the items, create groups of items, and take action on items (such as sending an email to a contact in the Contacts collection, pausing a campaign in the Campaigns collection; copying or deleting assets in the Pages, Forms or Messages collections, or exporting reports in the Sales collection). You’ll learn more about this in the Features section below.
The Contacts collection
The Contacts collection is the first page you see every time you log in to your Ontraport account and, of all the collections in Ontraport, it’s likely the one you’ll use the most. It’s also the most robust in terms of functionality, as you can interact with the collection to perform actions on contacts, segment your contacts and gain insights into your contacts overall.
With the majority of the other collections, when you click on a row you’ll open up the item itself; if you click on the row for a particular landing page, you’ll open up that landing page. In Contacts, however, when you click on the row for a contact, you open a contact record to find more information about the contact. Similar to opening a folder to find a set of subfolders, in Ontraport when you open a contact record you find a set of tabs and sections.
Here are some of the most important and useful sections of contact records:
- Contact Information tab > Contact Log: This has a record of each interaction with the contact, including visits to landing pages or tracked web pages on your website, forms they’ve filled out, postcards and emails you’ve sent to them, and emails you’ve received from them. You can click on the individual logged items to see more details on each one, including the date and time that a given email was opened and clicked. All interactions are expandable, and you can see details such as what a contact submitted on a form, if a task was completed, or when a contact visited your page.
- Contact Information tab > Automation Log: While the Contact Log shows you the interactions your contact has had with you, such as form fill outs and email opens, the Automation Log shows you the actions taken in your Ontraport system as a result, such as a tag change or campaign change. Checking the corresponding parts of the logs can help you discover and fix issues.
- Notes and Tasks tab > Notes: This is used for jotting down information on the fly that doesn’t fit in any given field. If you have a form on your website on which you are using the notes field for people to fill out, this is where that data will show up. Also, the notes you take from phone calls logged and from tasks will go here. One of the unique features of the notes field is that, unlike other fields, it is not overwritten with new data when your contacts submit forms; instead, a new note is created in the contact’s record so you never lose important information.
- Notes and Tasks tab > Task Manager: This is where any tasks for a contact can be found. Once you’ve finished a task, you can click the check mark to designate it complete (and it will disappear if Hide Completed Tasks box is checked). You can also email the contact, reassign the task to another user, or reschedule it to update the due date. You can manage tasks for all your contacts on the same screen in the Tasks collection.
- Purchases tab > Purchase History: This is where all transaction history and purchases you log for a contact will show up.
- Purchases tab > Transactions: This is where you can manually run or log transactions, and it shows you all attempted, successful and refunded transactions. You can also perform actions
- Purchases tab > Subscriptions and Payment Plans:This area shows you the upcoming charges created through either subscriptions or payment plans. You can cancel these open orders or edit them to change how they will be processed for future payments.
- Purchases tab > Credit Cards on File: You can easily manage your contact’s credit cards through this area by adding new credit cards, setting a default card (if the contact has multiple cards) and updating expiration dates.
- Referral Info tab > Partner Data: This section displays your contacts’ partner information including which partner program they’re a member of, who referred them, and the sales they’ve accrued. You can also view or edit the PayPal address that is used to pay your partners.
- Memberships tab > Website Subscribers: This is where you can add/view the WordPress membership status of your contacts and edit their credentials.
The Contacts collection is one of the main places Ontraport’s data-based functionality comes into play. All the data about each contact is stored in his or her contact record, and that data is what you’ll use to create groups of contacts that you can manually follow-up with from within the Contacts collection. Here are the building blocks that work together to make this happen.
The fields in your contacts’ records are much more influential than simply their ability to store data: They’re often the power behind your manual and automated follow-up in Ontraport. The values within fields, such as purchase dates, products purchased, or even the contact’s job title, can be used to create groups of contacts to manually interact with (which you’ll do in the Contacts collection) or within your automated campaigns to trigger the appropriate next step for that contact (which you’ll do in Campaigns).
Tags are labels for your contacts that you can use to sort them. They work in tandem with fields to enable you to segment your list and provide targeted communications. However, it’s important to note that, unlike some other CRM systems, tags in Ontraport should be used sparingly and not as your main segmentation system. This is because the fields in Ontraport typically cover what’s needed and are a more organized way to manage your data. For example, there’s no need to give contacts who purchase Product A a tag called “Product A” because that information is already automatically stored in a field in their contact record. Likewise, you don’t need to tag contacts who open a particular email or visit a certain page; this information is all stored already in their record. Think of tags as any other field in your account; you should only create one if the field doesn’t exist or wouldn’t make sense to create.
Your tags and fields become the building blocks of groups which allow you to segment your contacts for targeted interactions. Think of groups as saved searches on a search engine like Google; when you create a group, you’re simply searching your database for contacts who meet certain criteria and saving the results. Once you save your group, it will be continually and automatically updated to include or exclude contacts based on whether they meet the criteria of the group — keeping you from having to manually manage your lists.
You may want to perform actions, such as sending an email, assigning/removing a tag, or adding contacts to a campaign, on entire groups or specific contacts. You can do this manually using actions when inside your Contacts collection or automatically via your campaigns.
Here’s how to move your existing contacts into your Ontraport account, where they’ll be stored in your Contacts collection.
Continue the Fundamentals Course
Go to Part 3: Campaigns