Now we’ll take a deep dive into actions. Remember, actions are the elements within an automation that make something happen to your contacts. For example, you might send them an email, update a field in their record, or even send a webhook to another system with their information. Action steps are the work that actually gets done by your automation.
An action happens immediately when a contact arrives at the element, and then the contact moves on to the next element. That is, unless the action is “add to campaign” or there’s a wait that slows a contact moving down a path.
There are more than a dozen different actions you can automate with Ontraport. Each action does something different and has its own settings.
I’ll start with an easy one: send a contact an email or SMS.
To do that, click on the plus and add an email or SMS action. You’ll see the settings palette for this action open on the left.
Select the message you want to send from the drop down in the elements settings — this is the same for email and SMS. If you’re sending a text, select the number you want to send from. To learn how to get a number, pop over to our video on SMS messaging in the Marketing course.
Another very popular action is update contact. This’ll change the value of a field in a contact record. Select the field you want to update, then choose what to change it to. For example, after someone has achieved a purchasing goal, you can update the sales funnel status field from “lead” to “client” by adding an “update contact” element beneath the goal.
The change tags action is used to add or remove tags to a contact. Just click here to add or remove the tags you’d like to change. If you’re a veterinarian, maybe you’d add a “dog owner” tag to someone who already has a “cat owner” tag.
Assign a task will create a task for yourself or a team member to do something about a contact. For example, you could create a “Hot Lead Task” that would be assigned to someone on your sales team when a lead achieves a high lead score. Or maybe the task gets created when a lead visits your site for the first time in a while.
Tasks can be pretty sweet for internal processes, too. Maybe you want to assign a task to your team to onboard new customers. After someone pays, your team member could be alerted to make a call and get them set up. Get more ideas about tasks in the Ontraport for sales course.
Ok, moving on to our next set of actions: Notify with email and notify with SMS. These actions will send a message to someone — usually a member of your own team who has access to your Ontraport account. You can also notify someone outside of your organization.
You might set this up when you want to alert your team about something, but you don’t need them to complete a task right away. For example, your team could be alerted each time a new appointment is booked. Or you could send yourself a text each time you make a new sale, just for feels.
Add or remove contacts from automations is, well, what it sounds like. You can add contacts to or remove contacts from automations. To do this, select the automation you want to add or remove contacts from using the drop down. When you add them to another automation, they’ll start at the default trigger at the top left in the new automation. Contacts added to a new automation will be paused on the old automation until they exit the new one.
This action type can be really good for ‘housekeeping’ contacts on their way into a new automation. For example, if this new customer automation is triggered by a purchase, you can ensure they’re first removed from all lead automations before interacting with them as a new customer.
If you’d rather the contact keeps moving forward on this automation as well, you can do that with a fork, but we’ll talk more about that in the video on “Filters.”
The pause/unpause automations action lets you pause, or unpause, a contact’s flow through an automation. For example, you may have a new promotion that you want to run, but you don’t want the leads on your long term follow up to get bombarded with too many emails at once. No problem — you can pause those other automations while you send this promotion, then unpause them at the end. How thoughtful of you!
One little note about this one: if contacts are on a wait when you pause them, their ‘clock’ stops, and it won’t start again until they’re unpaused. So, if a contact is 2 days into a 4 day wait, and you pause them for a week, the automation will still wait the remaining 2 days after the contact is unpaused before moving on.
Ok, I’ll talk now about the action: update membership access. If you have a membership site, you’d use an action step to add, remove, or suspend a contact’s access to the site. You’d give them access after they purchase membership, or suspend access after a credit card decline.
To do this, select the site, and select the status. You’ll learn a lot more about membership access and statuses in the Ontraport for memberships course
Next, you can add or remove contacts from a fulfillment list. A fulfillment list is simply a list of contacts who get aggregated and then, according to settings you configure, sent off to some email address as a CSV file on some date.
Usually this is to notify someone that some action needs to be taken for these contacts that’s outside the scope of what Ontraport can do for you automatically. For example, if you want to send new clients a welcome gift, like a box of gourmet donuts, you COULD send yourself a notification each time you get a sale… but, really, you don’t want to stop what you’re doing and go get donuts every time someone buys. And you don’t want a bunch of random emails to gather up when it’s time to buy donuts; you might miss someone. Instead, you can use a fulfillment list to make sure all new purchasers get onto the list, and have the system send you or your assistant the list once a week or so, all organized for you.
Setting this up is simple: select the list from the drop down that you want to add to or remove from. You’ll need to set up the fulfillment list separately of course.
Ontraport also has several actions that manage transactions and payments.
The first is: cancel an open order of an existing subscription product. This will cancel any open orders that contain the product you select. For example, if you’re building a cancellation automation, you can remove someone’s open order and remove their access to your product, such as a membership site.
Recharge transactions in collections will attempt to recharge any subscription or payment plan transactions that previously failed. So if you’re building a declined card automation, you can attempt to recharge a card every so often, or whenever someone enters a new card. More on that in the Ontraport for payments course.
Add a product to a contact’s purchase history is an action used to log a purchase in Ontraport without charging a card. For example, maybe you made the sale offline, in another system or gifted a product, but you still want all the applicable automation to fire. In settings, just select the product from the drop down, like this.
You can also add a contact to a lead router. You can learn a ton more about lead routers in the Ontraport for Sales course. In settings, select the lead router from the drop down. This is a great first action for a new lead automation, which could then be followed up with an email appearing to come from their newly assigned rep.
Next, these are advanced elements.
These two WordPress elements give and remove membership access for people who use our PilotPress plugin to create a membership site on WordPress. You’re more likely to be using Ontraport Pages for membership, so these won’t apply to you… but in case you do want to do this, we have a whole lesson where we’ll cover Pilotpress.
Last are Webhooks, which are a way of sending data from Ontraport to a third-party app, script or website.
You may want to send data to other systems automatically. For example, sending marketing event data over to Google and Facebook is a great idea if you’re advertising on those platforms.
So, this element sends the data you choose to a destination of your choice.
The settings for this element are pretty important, and really meant for engineer types. If you don’t already know what this stuff is, you may want to skip it for now. If you do, this will all be really self-explanatory.
You just select the URL where you want to send the data, the method you want to use, any header information you’d like us to send along, and then the actual data.
Typically, the data you send is going to contain a bunch of merge fields, which you can add by clicking here.
And that’s it for all the actions in Ontraport’s automation editor.
Thanks for sticking with me -- that was pretty deep into the weeds, but now you’re ready to start building automated funnels for your customers, leads, and others. In future videos we’re going to dive into goals, which allow you to create relevant and personalized experiences.