Some links on this page are affiliates links and I may, at no additional cost to you, receive compensation if you decide to purchase. Please be assured I only recommend products I believe in and use myself.
In this blog, let’s talk about how to use Ontraport Tasks. Tasks are a pretty cool feature, and one of the oldest functions available in Ontraport. They are useful on their own for managing one-off-items, but one of the reasons I want to feature them is that they can also be a building block to automating larger processes.
For example, I often use Tasks to help my clients manage application and onboarding processes for their programs or services. Specifically, I send Tasks to ask team members to:
- Evaluate an application and make a decision
- Provide further information after a call with a prospect
- Send items in the mail when someone submits their mailing address
Here is a video walkthrough of everything, but the write-up is below, if you prefer written details.
So, what are Tasks in Ontraport?
Tasks in Ontraport are to-do items that can be assigned to anyone and sent to them via an email notification. In its most basic form, it consists or a subject line, an email body, and a link to mark the Task as Complete.
Additionally, you can have a Task include a pre-set variety of outcomes to choose from when it is Marked as Complete, a form to provide more information, and some rule to trigger further automation when it is completed.
How to create Tasks in Ontraport
Let’s get into the details. To create a Task, the procedure is similar to creating an email:
- Got to Messages
- Click Add New
- Click Task
Once your Task is open for editing, name it something that makes it easily identifiable. Follow whatever naming conventions your company uses.
Next, set the subject line. The subject line shows up when someone is notified via email that a Task has been assigned to them. That’s if you set up any notifications for when this Task is assigned, or course.
In the subject, I try to make it clear what the Task is about. I also like to include the name of the contact who triggered the Task. Including the name prevents the inbox provider from grouping Task emails if more than one is assigned in a short period of time.
The due date is not required. You could leave the default, or make it zero. It is only important if your Tasks are time-sensitive and you want to track their completion or automate reminders.
The Task owner is technically the person who owns the Task and should complete it. However, it is common to assign Tasks to team members who don’t have a user seat in Ontraport, so I often just leave it as the contact owner and use the notification settings to get the information to the true assignee.
In the body of the Task, you can be as specific or as general as needed. I try to provide all the information needed to make a decision about the Task outcome. You can use merge fields to include almost any information from the contact’s record. For example, if someone submitted an application for a program and I am asking a team member to decide if they will be invited to join the program or not, then I would include the name of the applicant and the answers to each question in the application (all using merge fields!).
In the next this section is where we set up notifications for the team member who should complete the Task. I mentioned earlier that the person completing the Task isn’t necessarily the Task owner. Once you click the dropdown, you can choose from a few options. If the person who should complete the Task has a user seat in your Ontraport account, you may choose them as users. Otherwise, the Specific Email Address option allows you to send the Task to any email address you choose.
Once you choose the recipient, you can decide when and how often they receive notification about their pending Task. The option I use most commonly is When Task is Assigned, so that the email is sent as soon as the Task is created. However, you can also send notification X days before or after a Task is due, or when the Task is marked as completed.
To create your notifications:
- Click + Add
- Select the recipient from the dropdown (if using Specific Email Address, type that in)
- Choose the timing from the dropdown menu
The next section is where you can set pre-defined outcomes for your Task. If you only need your team member to mark the item as complete, then you can ignore the Task Outcomes section. The Task notification email will have a link they can use to mark the Task as complete, but they won’t be asked to select a specific outcome. This might be the case, for example, if the Task was to send an item in the mail and you only need it marked as done.
In many cases, however, you are asking you team member to make a decision or provide more information. Especially if you then want to trigger further automation based on the decision, it makes sense to pre-define the possible outcomes of the Task.
To define your Outcomes
- Click +Add
- Click +Create New Outcome
- Name your Outcome
- Click Save
For example, if they are evaluating an application to decide if the applicant will be invited to a discovery call, the options might be Invite to Call, Decline Application, or Need More Information. Or if the request is to make a decision after the call, the options might be Invited to Join, or Not Invited.
In each outcome, you also have the ability to define rules and automation steps to follow when the outcome is chosen. These rules are a legacy feature from before campaigns existed in Ontraport. I prefer to build the automation steps for each outcome in a Campaign. That way they are accessible in a visual way to anybody who wants to know how this process works.
The last section allows you to select a form to be filled when a Task is completed. This is a really cool feature. When you complete the Task, you can add information into field in the contact record. It can be used for purely informative purposes, but I have also used it to add personalized feedback to the follow up email triggered by the Task outcomes.
This feature uses the legacy html forms, and you should not include the email address as a field. The system already knows which contacts the Task is referencing and will add the information to the right record.
As I mentioned early in this blog, an email notification can be sent when a Task is assigned. All the elements we have covered play a part in that . The email looks something like this:
When you click the link at the bottom of the email, it opens a window for the Task to be completed. It looks like this:
Once you use that dialogue to mark a Task as complete, the contact can move down a campaign into further automation steps if you have built it that way.
In my next blog, I will write about how to organize a process and automate it using Ontraport Campaigns and Tasks without losing a personal touch.