It’s been over a year since I wrote my last review of Infusionsoft, and given that it’s gone through many changes since then, I’d love to give you an updated review. You can find the earlier part of this review here, though I’ll review the major points that are still valid from that post in this updated version.
In my private tech consulting sessions that I used to do, I ended up spending a lot of time talking about Infusionsoft, since many folks are interested in using it. They continue to grow as a company, thanks in part to a very large round of investment money they’ve recently received, and when you’re considering building an online business, they are hard to ignore.
Infusionsoft is a powerful platform, but it has its downsides. There are many situations where it may not be the best option for you. Deciding to use software like this will be a big decision, and a costly one, in terms of the time and money you put into setting it up and learning it. So, it’s worth it to take your time and make an informed decision.
If you’re seriously considering Infusionsoft, I’d highly recommend spending some time comparing it to Office Autopilot (Ontraport).
The feature sets between Infusionsoft and Ontraport are very similar, but there are some very interesting things that Ontraport can do that can’t be done with Infusionsoft currently.
A full on comparison between Infusionsoft and Ontraport is beyond the scope of this post, but it would be well worth your time to check out Office Autopilot’s (Ontraport’s) site and get a tour of it from one of their sales people.
I will say two things about Ontraport though, before diving into a full review of Infusionsoft:
1. If Infusionsoft’s required $2,000 training fee bothers you, Ontraport doesn’t have that as part of their sign up process. If you chose Ontraport, you’d get a very similar feature set and you’d have $2,000 to spend on, for example, driving new prospects (and thus more new customers) to your site with an Adwords campaign.
2. I know of at least two big internet marketing folks (Marie Forleo and Brendon Burchard) who, over the past year, have moved from Infusionsoft to Ontraport.
I know that, at least in the case of Brendon, he moved from Infusionsoft to Ontraport largely because he had a big problem with Infusionsoft’s affiliate tracking not working properly during one of his multi-million dollar product launches. When your business model is based on affiliate sales, as Brendon’s is, you don’t want to have any big problems with the affiliate tracking.
Between the three businesses that are in our household, two of them run on Infusionsoft.
Over the years of running these businesses, I’ve seen only two cases where we saw some problems with Infusionsoft’s affiliate tracking, but they were not system wide issues. These potential problems with affiliate tracking are just something to keep in mind when considering Infusionsoft.
The larger point here is that Infusionsoft isn’t the only game in town. Office AutoPilot (Ontraport) is a solid competitor that many people are choosing instead of Infusionsoft.
Alright, let’s move on to the review.
First, let me quickly review the good things about Infusionsoft I mentioned in my first review of it. All of these are still accurate in my opinion.
1. Infusionsoft is really powerful.
You’ll have email marketing, ecommerce, affiliate sale tracking, and customer relationship management tools all built into one app.
In addition, the kind of automated actions you can create, based on different things prospects or customers do or don’t do, are pretty amazing.
2. Good integration with apps for creating membership sites.
It integrates well with some third party apps to create paid access only membership sites, allowing you to sell information products like home study programs or e-courses.
3. Very flexible email list segmentation.
Infusionsoft has super flexible email list segmentation. Separate email lists in Infusionsoft are created by simply creating separate tags, and then tagging people in your contact list with any number of tags.
Sending out emails to different segments of your list is as easy as having people automatically tagged with different tags based on actions they do or don’t take, and then targeting emails to people with certain tags.
4. Tight integration between email marketing and ecommerce.
It has a tight integration between the email marketing side and the ecommerce side of things in your business. You know those automated actions I mentioned above? It becomes really obvious how powerful and helpful they are when you see what can be done automatically after someone buys something from you.
You can do things like tag people with multiple tags, remove old prospect tags, start a series of auto response emails, and trigger many other things to happen. In other words, the automation possibilities are really pretty amazing.
5. Phone support rocks.
Infusionsoft’s phone support continues to be top notch. If you sign up for Infusionsoft, you’ll get some one-on-one hours with a trainer who will show you the ropes of how to use it, but once those hours are used up, you can still call their phone support and get help figuring out how to do things.
That said, there are times, frustrating times, when you’ll come across a bug in Infusionsoft that causes problems in your business, and it can take the higher levels of support people months to fix the bug. It doesn’t happen often, but over the past 4 years of using Infusionsoft, I’ve seen that happen on two occasions, and it can get infuriating.
A few more new good things
Alright, so those are the good bits I pointed out in my first review of Infusionsoft. Here’s a few more good things that have changed since my first review.
6. User interface is much better now.
The entire user interface of Infusionsoft has been through a major overhaul since I did my first review. Here’s a screenshot of one of the pages of Infusionsoft, so you can get a sense of it.
This user interface redesign is a big step up in terms of making Infusionsoft easier to use. I still think there’s a lot of room for improvement with their user interface and usability, but it’s gotten a lot better with this redesign.
7. Cart, checkout, and order forms look much, much better now.
The Infusionsoft hosted ecommerce cart, checkout, and order form pages have all gotten an overhaul in terms of their default design. Those pages now look quite nice by default, instead of looking like they were designed in the late 1990’s, which is what they looked like before the update.
8. Visual campaign builder is liked by many.
There’s a new campaign builder in Infusionsoft now. The campaign builder is where you build the steps of the automated processes that you want to have happen, like someone signing up for a free offer on your website via a web form, getting tagged with tags, and having a series of autoresponse emails start after they get your free goodie.
Here’s a screenshot of a typical campaign in the campaign builder. As you can see, it’s a visual campaign building tool, with steps flowing in the process from left to right.
Once you get used to the logic of how the campaign builder works, which is different than any other type of setup I’ve seen in apps like Infusionsoft, it’s actually pretty cool and easy to use.
Okay, on to the not-so-good things about Infusionsoft. First, a review of the points I covered in this category in my first review:
1. It’s expensive.
Infusionsoft will likely seem expensive if you’re just starting out.
You’ll be looking at paying $299/mo plus a required $2,000 training package fee up front. That’s a tall order for many solopreneurs just starting out.
You get a lot with Infusionsoft, but you’ll be paying a fair amount of money for it.
The one-on-one training will really help you get up to speed quickly with the software, but personally, I’ve never been a fan of this required training fee. If there’s good documentation and phone support, I’d rather learn to use the software myself, and I know others are in the same camp…but we may be in the minority.
I think most people who sign up for Infusionsoft will fall into the category of benefiting from, and appreciating, the one-on-one training. I’m just not a fan of a business model that requires people to pay a large amount of money upfront for training on how to use a product.
I feel like it’s the responsibility of the software creator to create training materials that are good enough to show people how to use their software, and then provide those training materials as part of the regular monthly fee for using the software. But again, that’s just my opinion.
Ontraport (formerly Office AutoPilot) has a similar feature set to Infusionsoft, costs the same per month, but they don’t have a required $2,000 training fee. What they have is really great video tutorials (some of the funniest video tutorials I’ve ever seen actually) and great support.
Now, with Infusionsoft’s monthly fee of $299 and the $2,000 up front training fee, keep in mind that those fees are not really set in stone, which leads me to my next negative point about Infusionsoft:
2. Signing up for Infusionsoft is like buying a used car.
There is still a culture of price haggling in place at Infusionsoft, and their sales people tend to be on the more aggressive side of the spectrum.
What the haggling culture means is that depending on which salesman you end up talking with, and what part of their quarterly or monthly sales cycle they happen to be in when you talk to them, you can often haggle your way down to a much lower monthly fee and required training package rate.
I’ve seen clients I’ve referred to Infusionsoft end up paying $249/mo for the Plus package (which is normally $299/mo), and have seen folks haggle the required training fee down to $1,000 or $1,500, instead of the stated $2,000 shown on their website.
I’ve heard from an Infusionsoft sales rep that they’re working towards removing the haggling environment, but as far as I know, it’s still in place as of a couple months ago.
And just be aware that once you get in their sales funnel, you’ll likely be getting a lot of emails and phone calls from a sales rep. They will stop contacting you if you ask them to though.
The environment where haggling is accepted, or even expected, coupled with more aggressive sales tactics makes purchasing software from Infusionsoft feel like buying a used car, which is unfortunate in my opinion.
It’s really great software, but their sales tactics put a damper on things when you’re in the beginning phases with Infusionsoft.
3. Their email builder isn’t great.
Their email template builder is better than it used to be, but still falls way behind the email builders available in email marketing apps like Aweber or Mailchimp.
If you want to create a nice, pretty looking HTML email template that matches the branding on your website, it’s going to require either strong knowledge of HTML and CSS, or, you’ll need to hire someone to create a custom HTML email template for you.
4. Their web form builder is lacking.
Along the same vein, the web form builder, which is now inside of the campaign builder I mentioned earlier, still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of giving you easy to use tools to create great looking web forms that you can embed on your site.
A web form, for those of you who may not be familiar with that terminology, is simply a small form that can have graphics, header text, a short text message, and fields for things like your name and email address.
You put web forms on your website to give people a place to sign up for things like your newsletter.
Creating really nice web forms is super easy with an email marketing app like Aweber, so if that’s important to you, keep this in mind. It’s not super easy to create really good looking web forms in Infusionsoft.
5. Still can’t process recurring payments with paypal.
It’s been this way for years, and you still can’t process recurring payments via Paypal through the Infusionsoft cart or order forms (actually, you can’t offer Paypal as a payment option at all on order forms, whether it’s a one-time payment or a recurring monthly payment.)
So, if you’re selling some kind of a product that has a monthly payment plan, or a recurring monthly subscription, you won’t be able to provide an option for people to pay via Paypal, which means you’ll lose some sales from folks who will only use Paypal for payments like this. And yes, there’s more folks like that in the world than you’d guess.
6. There’s no self-service “My Account” area for customer billing info management.
Right now, there is no way for customers to login to a secure, hosted “My Account” page that would allow them to update their own billing information, change their email and password, or make a payment if they’re behind.
Without a self-service “my account” area, what ends up happening is that when your customers need to update their billing information, because their payments to you are failing, the only option that most people feel comfortable with is for them to call you on the phone and give you their new billing information that way.
That’s a waste of your time, and even though people feel safer exchanging credit card info that way, it’s less secure than them updating their own billing info on a secure web page that encrypts all of their sensitive data.
If you use Customer Hub for your membership site area, it does have a My Account page with self-service billing information options, but if you’re not using Customer Hub, you’ll be stuck with taking phone calls when people need to update their billing information…and it will inevitably happen to many of your customers.
The Bottom Line
Infusionsoft is a great option to build your business on if you’re at a stage where you’ve built up your email list with a good amount of people on it, say 1,000 people or so, and you’re ready to have a tech system that has a lot of tight integration, which opens up many opportunities for automating things that previously would have been done manually.
In other words, if you’ve been using WordPress for your marketing site, an app like Aweber or Mailchimp for email marketing, a WordPress plugin like Wishlist or Digital Access Pass for a membership area, Paypal and a payment gateway like Authorize.net to process payments, and a separate app like Post Affiliate Pro to track affiliate sales, a combination of apps like that will be much less expensive than Infusionsoft, but you’ll run into many limitations in terms of the kind of automated actions you can create, because all of those apps are not tightly integrated.
Using Infusionsoft gets you that kind of tight integration, and thus automation. More automation means less manual work that needs to be done by you or people on your team.
If you’re just starting out with your business and have a small budget to get started, I wouldn’t recommend Infusionsoft. Take the less expensive path, using a combination of software similar to what I mentioned a couple of paragraphs up. Build your list up. Get some money coming in from selling products or services.
Then, when your business has some momentum, there will be an obvious time to start considering upgrading your tech system to something more robust and powerful.
As for the decision between Infusionsoft and Office Autopilot (Ontraport), my full opinion on that would require a separate in-depth post on the topic, but in short, it would be worth your time to do some research on both of them. Talk to sales people at both companies. Get a live tour of each app. Ask lots of questions of each of them. See what you think for yourself.
Ontraport does things that Infusionsoft doesn’t do, and vice versa, but their feature sets are very, very similar. So, if you’re considering Infusionsoft, do yourself a favor and check out Office AutoPilot (Ontraport) as well. As I mentioned earlier, Marie Forleo and Brendon Burchard moved from Infusionsoft over to Ontraport, and both of them are earning multiple millions of dollars in revenue each year.
Alright, that’s it for this (long) post. I hope it helps you in some way if you’re considering Infusionsoft!