One thing missing from Ontraport for many new users is you can’t add contacts into steps within an autoresponder. Everyone needs to start at the beginning.
So what do you do if you’re moving over an existing list from another system like MailChimp or Aweber?
The old advice has been to build a bunch of different sequences of varying length and add people to them. But then you end up with a mess in your account. It makes it difficult to update and to track metrics.
Here’s a much better way to do it.
Yesterday morning, while pumping gas, I had this crazy idea pop in my head out of nowhere, and I have no idea why. It’s like I’m dreaming on Ontraport. Anyway, the question that I see asked every once in a while is, “How do I bring over an existing step sequence from AWeber or MailChimp, wherever I’m moving from, and get everyone in the right step, and get them in the right place in there, and get it all set up just like I had in the previous system?”
The popular answer to that so far has been, “You can’t,” or, “You have to build a whole series of sequences that have different steps.” If I had somebody that had already finished step one … This is my little five-step sequence here that I’m going to recreate, but if I had somebody that only done step … already done step one, then I’d have to have the second sequence that I could start them on that only had steps two through five. If somebody had already done steps one and two, then I could have one with only steps three through five and put them on that. So then, you ended up with all these sequences. They really were the same sequence, but you had everybody in different sequences, and you could never get them back in that same sequence. It’s messy.
Yesterday, I had this idea, and I tested it, and it works, and I can get … I can show you how to get everyone in the sequence, where they belong exactly in the right spot, and get them started in Ontraport. Not simple, but … Here, I’m going to show you how to do it. Again, here is my little five-step sequence that I created as an example. In this example, they get something immediately when they sign up. These are five emails, and then a week later, they get an email. Another week, another week, and another week, they get an email. I’m calling each one of these a step, so we’ve got step one, two, three, four, and five.
Now, if we zoom in a little bit here, in between each of these steps, since there’s seven days here, there’s a whole week, they could actually be on any one of these days in between, and that would look like this. Now, here, I’ve got them backwards because I’m counting down the days. When I set this up, I want to count down the days until they receive the next email.
They could be six days out from getting this email, five days out, four, three, two, one, or we want them to get it immediately, day zero. Same between step two and three. Same thing could happen, we’ve got … and because these are all evenly spaced steps, they’re all one week apart. We’d have the same little mini countdown timer going in between each step, and this would tell us what day they’re on in this system.
Now, this is important because we’re going to need this info when we bring in our contacts into Ontraport. We move everyone into Ontraport. We’re going to need … Here’s what we’re going to need in Ontraport. We’re going to have two sequences. We’re going to have our recreated step sequence with the twist to it, so I’m going to show you how to do that. We’re going to have this recreated five-step sequence. We’re going to have what I call the “little mini countdown step” which is going to take advantage of these countdown days, and then we’re going to need three tags for each contact.
We’re going to know the next step that they need to have fired … the next step that they need to have fired, so if they’ve already received step one, the next one they would need is step two, so we need to know which is the next email they get at step two, step three, step four, step five, and then, we need to know how many days until that next step fires, so zero, one, two, three, four, five, six. Each contact is going to need to know the next step they receive and how many days before they receive it. Then, everyone, no matter where they are in the system, is going to get a tag, and it could be anything. In this case, I’m going to call it “Pause,” and we’ll see how to use that.
Let’s go into Ontraport and look. I’ve got five contacts in here, one for each step. I mean, I’ve got four contacts in here, one for each step because if they were going to get … In this example, if I wanted them to get the zero step, that’s somebody new that’s signing up, so they would just get the zero step. Anyway, I’ve got somebody here that’s going to be on step two, and I’ve already brought them in and tagged them. Here, they’re going to get step two. They’re going to get it immediately, day zero, and I’ve got this pause tag in here, which is just controlling how I bring people in. We’re going to see how to use that.
Let’s look at another example. This person still needs to get step four. It’s going to be three days before they get it, and we’ve got them with the pause tag. Everyone has to have these pieces of … these three tags. Two pieces of information just to control and tag.
All right. Let’s look at the step sequences we’ve created now. I’m going to have this mini countdown step, and I’m going to have my existing step. Here’s the secret to the whole thing. We’re going to build this step sequence backwards. In other words, I’m going to start with step five, and then I’m going to import everyone who gets step five.
Here’s step five. It’s the last in the sequence. It’s deliver week four here, so deliver week four. We’re starting with that step. Now, here’s the twist. Before that step, I need a rule, and this rule is going to hold this person in place until that email is supposed to fire. Here, I’m saying, “If they come in, if someone is added to this sequence with the tag ‘pause,’ then we’re going to pause their subscription to this sequence,” so we’re going to pause subscription to test existing step which is this sequence. We’re going to pause that subscription. This is going to be everyone because … so as everyone comes in, they’re going to be paused here when we initially add them.
Now, the beauty of Ontraport … This is why this is going to work is because if I bring somebody in, if somebody has already gotten this step in the sequence and I add another step before it, they don’t get the previous steps. They are here stuck on this step. All right. Let’s see how that looks. If I go back to my contacts and I look at the person who still needs step five, let’s add them to my test. Before they show up, we might have to refresh this here.
I’ve added them to my test. Yeah. Now, I got one subscriber to my test step sequence. Look at that. There they are. It ran one time, and now they’re frozen right here. They’re stuck. Even though this is day zero and day zero, this should fire immediately, right? But because we put this rule in here with the condition if they have this tag, we’ve paused this sequence, and now they’re stuck there. We could actually go in here and see. Here’s step five. Person step five is stuck on step one. They’re on step one.
Now, let’s add the fourth step. We’re going to build it backwards. If we add the fourth step, I go in and find my week three email, which is my fourth step, and I want it before, and then I’m going to need a rule again. I’m going to need the exact same rule I had in the other step which is if they have the tag “pause,” we are going to pause their subscription to this sequence. Again, I want this at the top.
Now, I can change the timing on this one to seven days after. Look. Now, my email becomes seven days after this email. These are both day seven. Now, I can save this, go back to my contacts, find my step four person who needs this next step, and add them into that sequence. Let’s go back here. Refresh this again. I’ve got two people. Let’s see where they’re at. Look at that. I got one person stuck on this rule and one person stopped on this rule. Again, we can go in and look at them, and see that somebody is on step one and somebody is on step three.
Then, we just keep building this sequence backwards until we have all the steps in here and have everyone imported, so we add our step, import contacts. Add a step, import contacts. All right. I won’t bore you by watching this, so hold on and I’ll be right back with the completed sequence.
We’re back. All right, so I recreated this entire sequence and added everyone on the step they need to receive still, so let’s go into Ontraport. We’ll look at what that looks like, and there it is. I have step zero, no immediate, which is step one. Step two is seven days later. Step three is seven days later. Step four, step five. Now, each one of these has a rule, and look at that. I have a contact frozen in each one of those rules waiting for me to release them. If we go in, we can see that step two is stuck on step two. Step three is on step four, six, and eight. If we look, we’ve got somebody on step two, step four, step six, and step eight.
Now, as people start to move through these, we can get rid of these rules, but for now, let’s keep them at least until somebody has run through all of this and we don’t really need them anymore. I don’t want to delete them at this point because I just … Better safe than sorry. I’m going to hold on to these rules and let people stay here. Even though we’ve got them in the right places now, I’m going to leave that until I’m sure I don’t need it anymore, so let’s go. How do we get them moving now?
That’s where this mini countdown comes in. I’m going to add everyone to this step sequence, and this is my little mini countdown timer. This is going to take care of getting people that are on six days out, five days out to the next step. What it’s doing is on day zero, so immediately, somebody that’s only got zero days until the next step, we need to find them.
We’re going to look for those people that have that “day zero” tag on day zero. You know immediately, and we’re going to unpause their subscription to the main subsequence, and we’re going to remove that tag “pause.” When they hit that rule again as they’re moving down through, that rule is there several times looking for that tag “pause.” We don’t want them to pause on the next step if they should happen to hit that before we delete those rules.
Then, the next day … Oops, it should be the next day, so the next day, we’re going to look for people that have the “day one” tag, and we’re going to do the same thing. We’re going to unpause them, and we’re going to remove that tag, and then the next day, we’re going to look for people that have the “day two” tag that are two days out. We’re going to unpause them, and we’re going to remove the tag. People are just going to flow through till we get everybody down here on day six that was six days out from receiving the next email.
Now, when this runs … Let’s save that because I made a change. When this runs, it’s going to release them and move them to the next step, which is immediate, right, because we didn’t put any time in between the rule and the email, so when this unpauses, it’s immediately going to run this email. It’s immediately going to send that email, so let’s try that. We had one person in here.
Here’s how we would do it. We would take everyone at this point and add them to our pause or our mini … What did I call it? I called it our mini countdown. I’m going to take everyone and add them to that. All right. It takes a few minutes for Ontraport to group add everyone to a sequence, but now you can see I’ve got four subscribers in the mini countdown.
If we go in there, you can see that I ran this first step a couple times for different people, but you can see that those people that had the “day zero” tag were unpaused and had their tag removed. Let’s look at one of those, so that would be … I know this person, so right here. Day zero. They’re unpaused. Their “pause” tag is removed, and we can go back to sequences into step sequence, and we can see that step two, the email fired, sent them an email right here.
Now, a note about pause and unpause in sequences. When you unpause a sequence, immediate is not truly immediate. In Ontraport lingo, it’s immediate, but it’s the next time your account hits 10:00 a.m., so this … It’s only going to fire the next step when it hits 10:00 a.m. in your account. You’ll see here it did it for me at 12:00 p.m., but that’s because I tricked it and reset my account, my account time zone to Pacific time, so I could get it to fire because I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow morning to finish this video, but I wanted you to see that this email did fire.
Just know that immediate is not immediate. It’s not going to do anything till 10:00 a.m. the next morning in your account, but now, all these other people who are three days out, four days out, five days out, they’re going to be unpaused, and then it’s going to wait till 10:00 a.m. the next morning and fire that, so we’ll start to see these emails fire more often in here. After about a week’s time, after everyone has finished all these holds, we could go in and delete all these rules.
We don’t have to because they’re not going to do anything now because our contacts don’t have the “pause” tag anymore, but we could go in and delete all those rules, and just have our five email steps just like we started out with over here in our example. We’d get back to our five email steps just like we had set up in AWeber, MailChimp, or wherever we moved this from.
All right. That’s it. Importing people … importing a sequence with people already pre-loaded in the right steps. There’s how you can do it. An advanced thing, so it’s ironic because if you’re a beginner, if you’re just moving to Ontraport, this is probably a little bit out of your comfort zone, so you might want to hit up a certified consultant to help you out with that. There’s a bunch of us over listed on Ontraport’s website, and I’m sure any of us could help you get this going. All right. That’s it. Thanks.