ConvertKit Review 2021: Better Than Mailchimp?

ConvertKit is a powerful email service provider and landing page builder. Thanks to a free trial, it’s a good choice for content creators. This ConvertKit review explains more.

I migrated from Mailchimp and took out a ConvertKit subscription back in 2016.

Since then, this email service provider has evolved a lot. I still use ConvertKit today as part of my online business. I regularly use the ConvertKit to create landing pages, send broadcast emails and even to automate sales of products and services.

In this updated review,  I’ll explain the eight key ways I use ConvertKit in detail, so you can see if it’s the right choice for your business. Plus, we’ll cover the ConvertKit free trial.

Convertkit Review

What Is ConvertKit?

ConvertKit is an email marketing tool built for content creators, i.e. professional bloggers, writers, course creators and more.

It also helps users build landing pages and sell products and services over email. Think of it as a cross between Infusionsoft and MailChimp–except more affordable and easier to use.

Getting Started With Email Marketing

Email marketing offers a larger return than social media. Once you master it, expect a return of up to USD44 for every dollar invested (according to a study by Experian).

Bloggers and writers who are serious about building a lasting relationship with readers need a list. Some still find email marketing off-putting, but think of it this way: it’s not marketing, you’re writing a letter to a friend.

Through email marketing, you tell readers stories about your work and offer them helpful products and services… all while growing an online business.

The most popular email marketing tools for small businesses are MailChimp and AWeber. Some bigger bloggers and businesses rely on more powerful solutions like Infusionsoft for advanced email marketing and automation. However, these email marketing tools are comparatively complex or expensive to use.

How to Switch from MailChimp to ConvertKit

If you’re going to switch, you’ll need to:

  • Export your email lists from MailChimp and then upload them to ConvertKit.
  • Copy the text and images from your autoresponder and other campaigns to a ConvertKit sequence.
  • Change all of your opt-ins and landing pages so they connect to ConvertKit and not MailChimp.

Alternatively, you can connect to the MailChimp API and sync subscribers from one email provider to the other. Now, let’s cover what I use ConvertKit for.

1. Growing An Email List

Using ConvertKit, you can gather email subscribers by either creating a landing page or a form.

You can embed these forms on blog posts or other web pages and change the look and feel of them, so they match your website design. I publish forms regularly on this site to generate new subscribers.

After creating a form, write a short welcome email for a new subscriber. ConvertKit will send this to anyone who joints the form. You can even include a content upgrade or bonus.

ConvertKit provides a piece of code to use on your site to embed the form. You can also use a variation of this code to create a clickable button (my preferred option) calling on readers to subscribe.

Alternatively, use WordPress plugin, and it will appear automatically beneath posts. It’s easy to duplicate these forms across multiple posts and pages.

If you get stuck, check out the helpful videos in the ConvertKit Knowledgebase. Their support team usually reply to emails quickly.

The ConvertKit dashboard shows information about subscribers and list growth and what people opted in for.

It highlights how each landing page and content upgrade is performing. You can tracklist growth over the past 30, 60 or 90 days.

Having this information about an email list upfront should help professional bloggers and content creators concentrate on valuable marketing activities.

Creating a new form inside of ConvertKit
Creating a new form inside of ConvertKit

2. Promoting Blog Posts

It’s not enough to publish a blog post and hope readers will find it. You need to promote your writing, and you can’t count on a single tweet or Facebook update to attract new readers.

Email marketing should form an essential part of every content creator’s marketing strategy.

Here’s what I do:

Every Thursday, I publish a new blog post about writing on my site, on Medium or elsewhere. I send a broadcast email in ConvertKit to some of my email subscribers to promote weekly blog posts. I send one of two of these broadcast emails a week.

Now, people are busy, their inboxes fill up quickly, and they often miss these emails. So, my open rates usually hover around 30 per cent.

With the click of a button inside ConvertKit, I can resend this broadcasts to people who didn’t open the first email. I can even change the subject line and amend the copy within the email.

This resend email feature is a great way of increasing open rates and sending posts to subscribers who missed the article the first time around.

Resending emails to un-opens is a clever way of getting your writing in front of more people on your list, without sending the same emails to everyone on your list. You can even use this feature when launching a book or course to increase sales.

ConvertKit Broadcasts
ConvertKit broadcasts

3. Delivering Content Upgrades

Content upgrades are a great way of growing your email list faster.

What is a content upgrade? It’s a free bonus you offer readers of your articles or blog posts. To get the bonus, a reader must opt-in to your list with their email address.

Examples of content upgrades include book chapters, videos, worksheets and so on. On Become a Writer Today, I offer:

  • a blogging template for Scrivener users.
  • a spreadsheet for tracking a daily word-count.
  • a budget-breaking down how much it costs to write a book
  • a free book of writing prompts.

I upload these content upgrades to ConvertKit and then deliver them automatically to readers who opt-in. This tactic is one of my favourites for growing an email list faster.

Tracking net new subscribers inside of ConvertKit
Tracking net new subscribers inside of ConvertKit

4. Basic Email Marketing

I set up an email sequence inside of ConvertKit for readers of my book The Power of Creativity. When a reader clicks on a link to this book inside an email, ConvertKit automatically sends them follow-up several days later. This broadcast email asks if them to leave a review.

If somebody clicks on a link, they’re automatically added to a new sequence or series of emails.

Users of ConvertKit can search for cold email subscribers and send an email prompting them to engage. Users can remove non-responses from their lists. Pruning a list like this helps with deliverability.

I spend an hour setting up several automations, writing email copy and tested it all worked. After that, I only needed to check my stats once a week to see if readers were engaged.

Services like Infusionsoft offer similar automation features, but unlike ConvertKit, they cost thousands of dollars to get and running.

5. Hosting Landing Pages

ConvertKit offers over a dozen different types of landing page templates. You can customize the look and feel of these to match your branding. Using a WordPress plugin, users can publish landing pages on their site or use a version hosted by ConvertKit.

I use my landing page to attract email subscribers for book readers. At the start of the book, I offer readers a free bonus if they opt. This links to a ConvertKit landing page.

The ConvertKit landing pages aren’t as powerful as what a premium landing page software like LeadPages offers, but they cover most basic use cases.

ConvertKit landing page
A ConvertKit landing page editor

6. Email Autoresponders

Most professional bloggers and content creators have an autoresponder series. It’s a series of emails automatically sent to new email subscribers.

What should you include in your autoresponder? Well, you could:

  • Introduce yourself and your writing.
  • Send a series of educational messages or tips based on your latest book.
  • Send new subscribers links to your most popular blog posts.
  • Send new email subscribers a short survey so you can find out more about their hopes/fears/dreams/frustrations (like a good copywriter!).
  • Introduce a soft-sell wherein you talk about one of your books and ask readers to buy it.

Putting an autoresponder together for the first time can feel intimidating. ConvertKit provides an autoresponder series template that is quick and easy to build out using a drag and drop visual editor.

ConvertKit sequences
ConvertKit sequences

7. Selling Products and Services

Inside of your ConvertKit account, you can easily set up products and services and sell them directly over email. You could sell:

  • A book
  • A course
  • Coaching
  • A webinar

It tracks sales of these products or services on a dashboard and assign a monetary value to email subscribers. You’ll also receive payment via Stripe.

Another cool feature?

You can set up an automated email that targets specific subscribers. That means, customers will receive one set of emails, whereas new subscribers will get another. I use this to send out discounts for some software I’m an affiliate for, to interested subscribers only.

8. Advanced Marketing Automation

ConvertKit offers several advanced marketing automation features.

For example, I have set up a rule set up for my course Write Your Book.

When somebody buys this course on Teachable, ConvertKit automatically adds the tag ‘student’ and sends this student a series of emails related to this course.

I can even use this tag to email these subscribers directly and track the dollar value of leads.

ConvertKit integrates with services like GumRoad, SamCart, WebinarNinja, LeadPages and more. Or you can connect it to Zapier. Then you can set up automations based on how you use these services.

That said, marketing automation is complex. I’ve dozens of forms and sequences inside of ConvertKit. Although the visual automation tools are insightful, the sequences and automation rules can become overwhelming.

ConvertKit automation
ConvertKit automation

ConvertKit Pricing

ConvertKit offers a free trial so you can test it for yourself. After that, expect to pay about $29 per month for basic features. The creator Pro version of ConvertKit (what I use) costs $59 per month.

However, those prices assume you have 1,000 email subscribers. As your list grows, costs increase. ConvertKit offers a slidable scale so you can check pricing for yourself.

ConvertKit Creator Pro

I started with the basic version back in 2016, and I signed up to ConvertKit Creator Pro in 2019. It offers several useful features for people with larger lists, such as:

  • Advanced reports on the ConvertKit dashboard so I can see which forms are generating the most leads
  • A free Sparkloop account: essentially this enables me to reward email subscribers who refer new subscribers.
  • Support for Facebook custom audiences for running ads
  • An ability to change URLS after I send a broadcast email with the wrong link. I use this feature the most.
  • Support for adding team members like a virtual assistant
  • Priority customer support

Is ConvertKit Worth the Money?

At USD29 a month, content creators may feel put off by paying for ConvertKit. However, you can take always test the free plan before moving your list over.

If you have a modest list and are happy selling some products or services, it’s relatively easy to cover the cost of your subscription using email marketing.

ConvertKit Creator Pro is only worth it if you have a large list over 10,000 or need advanced analytics.

ConvertKit Review: The Final Word

Nathan Barry and the of ConvertKit developed this email marketing software program with content creators, i.e. bloggers and authors, in mind. These days, most small businesses with an online presence could benefit from it.

Although slightly more expensive than MailChimp, it costs far less than the likes of Infusionsoft. ConvertKit blends power and ease of use better than other software I’ve tried.

The ConvertKit team regularly add new features to this email marketing software. ConvertKit is essential for growing my online business. I’ve been a happy customer since 2016.

Take a Free Trial of ConvertKit today

Sources

25 mind blowing email marketing stats – Salesforce

Search Engine Optimization Statistics – Hubspot

ConvertKit Review

Name: ConvertKit

Description: A great email service provider for creatives

Price: USD

Operating System: SaaS

Application Category: Email marketing

Find out more

  • Affordability
  • Support
  • Features
  • Ease of Use
4.5

ConvertKit Review: Summary

ConvertKit is a great email service provider for content creators. It offers lots of advanced features that will help build an online business. It’s easy to use and the support is great too.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use
  • Powerful automation and tagging
  • Great integration with services like teachable
  • You’re not charged for multiple subscribers
  • Free trial available

Cons

  • Potentially expensive for new content creators
  • Doesn’t offer advanced template customisation
  • Automations can get confusing

16 thoughts on “ConvertKit Review 2021: Better Than Mailchimp?”

  1. Jascha Brinkmann

    We started out with MailChimp’s free plan and stayed with them until we hit arround 10,000 subscribers. Than we got increasingly frustrated setting up various Content Upgrades for our Blog Posts and simple automation sequences and decided to switch to ConvertKit. We stayed with ConvertKit until we hit arround 30,000 subscribers and than switched once again to Drip. We now have arround 50,000 subscribers and are really happy with Drip and their advanced automation features.

    So my general recommendation is similar to yours:

    MailChimp is great to start out, especially if you are tight on money. There are a lot of things you can do with MailChimp that not everybody is aware of but that are easy to do once you know they exist (I wrote a pretty in depth Tutorial on it over here: https://growtheme.com/mailchimp-tutorial/).

    ConvertKit removes a lot of headaches and is a great option once you hit a couple of thousand subscribers or have some money to invest. Especially for Bloggers and Content Creators.

    And afterwards you have to decide what type of email marketing promotions you want to run. ConvertKit is great for simple sequences and automations. Drip would be my recommendation if you want to do some more advanced and complex automations where several things happen at once.

  2. Currently using Mailchimp since it’s free and I’m still starting out. Would love to try Convertkit. Is there a free version we can try out?

    1. You can take out a 30-day trial. They’ll return your money no questions asked if it’s not for you. Support are very helpful

  3. Essays Solutions

    Such a detailed review – now I totally know every difference and I can sort out my priorities. Thanks a lot for sharing this post with us! I am looking forward to reading more!

  4. TLDR; – use Mautic and Amazon Simple Email Service for the best price / feature / performance balance.

    One tip for those who have very popular mailing lists, or, a potentially very large audience, and have a reasonable level of technical knowledge with regards to cloud computing (or access to someone who does); use Mautic.

    Mautic is a *free, open source* mail management system, with workflows, campaigns, landing pages, email templates, etc. etc. etc.
    https://www.mautic.org/tour/

    There are many video tutorials online; here is an example of integration with Zapier for advanced workflows and integration with other systems:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWVJlMOhHtQ

    And more:
    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=mautic&atb=v81-3&iax=1&ia=videos&iai=yWVJlMOhHtQ

    It needs a little technical knowledge for the initial setup, but to make life easier, there are pre-configured installations available that can be deployed automatically to cloud providers such as Azure and Amazon.

    Here is a pre-built Mautic image to host on Amazon
    https://aws.amazon.com/marketplace/pp/B00YAY9OX6

    Amazon offers an always free tier, which also includes one year free usage of a small virtual machine. This set up will get you *unlimited number of registered users – for free*.

    Now, this does not handle the actual email *sending* – for that you need a third-party email provider. The good news is, Amazon offers its Simple Email Service, which is usually what the major email marketing providers use behind the scenes themselves.
    https://aws.amazon.com/ses/

    It has very high delivery rates (i.e. your customers email providers trust it as a sender, and do not automatically flag emails as spam, as they might do if you tried to send thousands of emails from your own email server).

    And, it includes an *always free quota of 62,000 Outbound Messages per month* to any recipient when you call Amazon SES from an Amazon hosted virtual machine.

    After the first free year, it would costs around $91 per month to host a t2.small virtual machine on Amazon.

    As an alternative, you can deploy a Mautic virtual machine on Microsoft Azure:
    https://azuremarketplace.microsoft.com/en-us/marketplace/apps/bitnami.mautic?tab=PlansAndPrice

    Tip: Use the Azure US West 2 region, it has the cheapest prices, e,g .US$37.944 per month for similar performance to t2.small on Amazon.

    There are several free programs offered by Microsoft (including BizSpark, which grants up to $750 per month of free usage to *qualifying* companies, for 3 years). You would need to research your eligibility.

    When calculating costs, Azure quotes are per month, Amazon per hour. Allow 744 hours for a typical calendar month.

    Note that hosting on Azure still allows you to use Amazon’s SES, but you do not get the free 62,000 outgoing emails per month. But it might still work out cheaper, depending on your needs. Here is Mautic’s “choosing an email service” video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vkel5Ym2-k

    DISCLOSURE: I am not advertising my services, or affiliated with Mautic or Amazon in any way. I do not benefit by describing their products or services. None of my links are ‘affiliate links’. I am a Software Architect with 27 years experience,having built Motorola’s intranet for their European Cellular Infrastructure Group, a multi-lingual CRM system for Scania used in 17 countries, a custom CRM system for General Motors Europe, and the GEMS system for publishing the UK Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments. And I love dogs. I am posting my recommendations based on first-hand knowledge of many services such as MailChimp, First Response, Aweber, SendGrid, Amazon SES, Mautic, etc etc etc.

    My LinkedIN profile is here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidmcquiggin/

  5. Appreciate your analysis; thanks. I will look into ConvertKit.

    One slight correction: MailChimp _does_ support segmentation. Using multiple lists in one account to achieve “segmentation” is strongly discouraged, for all the reasons you discovered yourself.

  6. Well, I was searching for better alternative for MailChimp for my website and I think I made my decision reading this post.

  7. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn anything like this before. So good to find anyone with some original ideas on this subject. realy thanks for beginning this up. this website is one thing that’s wanted on the net, someone with just a little originality. helpful job for bringing one thing new to the web!

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