The Verdict is in – NO CONTEST: ConvertKit Vs. MailChimp

*The following may contain affiliate links. Click here for my FULL affiliate disclosure*

What’s up guys? I know I’ve had a few of you asking me to review ConvertKit. It took me a second to squeeze it into my writing schedule but here it is:

If you have an online business chances are you’ve heard email lists/marketing are/is super important. In fact, when I first started my blog I was told my list was the most important part of my business.

When you think about it it makes sense. Email lists allow you to make a deeper connection with your audience than a blog, webstore, or YouTube channel alone. Sure email marketing “sounds” antiquated. Look at all the different ways we communicate today. We have social media, texting, video messaging and calling, “why on earth would we need to email?” At least that’s what I first thought, but then I found out that email is not dead, it’s far from it actually. For many their email address is more sacred than their phone number.

When someone signs up for your email list it’s like saying they want a more personal connection with you/your brand. Nobody but you and them know who signs up. Typically, email list members get access to special promotions and messages that the general audience doesn’t get to enjoy. Also an email is one of the few places that automation is acceptable. You can schedule prewritten emails and as long as they deliver value no one will mind. Lastly, emails allow you to build trust with your members. How you handle your email list speaks directly to how you view your brand and your audience.

Starting out…

There are many options in the email marketing space. You’ve got Infusionsoft, GetResponse, Aweber, Drip, and Mailchimp to name a few. Their features range so it can be confusing to figure out which platform will meet your needs. Not to mention prices can range from about $10-$30+ per month. I eventually went with Mailchimp. My blogging mentor was using it and it had all the features a beginner like me would need. Ie: sending emails and building lists. Mailchimp didn’t have a steep learning curve. Sure I sent a few emails that I didn’t mean to send but I figured it out quickly.

Three months into my venture I built my first eCourse. As launch day neared I found out that my email marketing platform was going to be a problem. So I started to look for alternatives. After months I finally settled on ConvertKit as my new go to and I’m oh so glad I made the switch. Anyway here are the 5 (main) reasons I ditched the Chimp!

The List

As I mentioned before launching my new product proved to be difficult with MailChimp. For starters when building lists and using products/offers you want to track your traffic. This way you get an idea of what converts and what doesn’t. For example, I set up a lead magnet to capture emails for my FBA eCourse. So I wanted to know whether people were signing up for my newsletter or for the course. What I found out was that to do this I would have to create a separate list, and a headache, for FBA subscribers.

Email marketing platforms charge you based on total number of subscribers. Not a big deal unless you use MailChimp. On MailChimp the email addresses on each list add up to your total count. Even if an email address appears twice it still counts toward your total. This is called double subscribing. I could get into the problems double subscribers cause with pricing but I figure you can paint the picture. Plus I’m going to address that later.

The main issue with multiple lists is that automation sequences are paired with a list. Making it tricky to set up targeted emails without creating multiple email sequences. For example, I have a welcome series and an FBA series. The welcome series introduces the FBA series, for those that want to sign up, but not vice versa. So if someone signed up for my FBA course they wouldn’t get sent my welcome series. There are two ways around this. Create another set of welcome emails, yes copy and pasted but STILL inconvenient, for FBA subscribers. Or ask subscribers to ALSO signup for the welcome series. That second option could work but I don’t want ask for a bunch of “favors” right out of the gate, you know?

ConvertKit more than solves this issue. The key is in the sign up forms. Unlike with MailChimp each sign up form feeds to the same list while still tracking which form an email came from. You can tag and track where traffic is coming from all from your dashboard. Once on your list you can choose “automation rules” that determine what happens next. Say you have a form for dog lovers. Well once someone signs up using that form you can set ConvertKit to tag them as “dog lover.” This way you know where they came from without having to go back and look. Email sequences work in a similar fashion. Now let’s say you have a form for cat lovers as well. If you have a welcome email series setup you can set your automation rules to send both forms the series.

Obviously if you have dog lovers and cat lovers on your list you want to send them different content. But what if you have a dog lover that’s a cat lover too? Simple, you can send an email with a tag in it. Something like “click here if you would also like to receive emails about your 9 lived friends too!” If they click the tag they get auto enrolled into that sequence. And the best part they aren’t double subscribed so they won’t get the welcome email again. This is a small example of the control ConvertKit gives you over your list. Which is why I recommend EVERYONE use ConvertKit regardless of the amount of time you’ve been a blogger.

Lead Capturing

Piggybacking on the last issue, MailChimp had few lead capture options. Sign up forms were very basic plus you needed another platform to make pop-up boxes or landing pages. This lead to me picking up a LeadPages subscription to gain the functionality I wanted for my website. Oh… and another headache. Don’t get me wrong LeadPages is an amazing service. You can use it for creating landing pages, lead boxes, split testing and more. Their tiered system helps you pay for the features you want. Unfortunately, it was a little MORE than what I needed even at the lowest priced subscription.

ConvertKit to the rescue… again! The folks at ConvertKit hook you up from the jump. You get 4 types of sign up forms that can all be used as a full-blown capture page located at your domain. Might I add there’s no tiered system that unlocks more features. You get everything at the entry level price. If you’re like me ConvertKit will meet all of your needs without adding another service. Besides if we ever need more advanced options it’s not like LeadPages is going to disappear.

Money

OK, OK, blogging in general is an inexpensive hobby. The money you spend on an email marketing platform won’t be missed much. Besides I have a full time job so a few subscriptions won’t break the bank. Still the idea is to make money while keeping your expenses low, right? The money conscience entrepreneur should always look for ways to consolidate or lower expenses when possible.  MailChimp  is SUPER affordable for a brand new blogger/marketer. Coming in at a whopping $10 for a list for 500 people or less, the only cheaper option is free!

Now my list isn’t huge but remember how I talked about double and triple subscribers? What if you have a list of 600 people but a third of those are double subscribed? That would mean you would be paying for a list of 600 when in actuality your list is only 400 unique emails. In my situation I needed LeadPages to create landing pages and lead boxes. The most basic LeadPage subscription is $37 per month. This doesn’t include all the services they offer or an affiliate program. So that put me at $47 per month to have the functionality I was looking for. Perhaps if I had access to the affiliate program at the lowest subscription I would justify the expense but that’s not the case sooo…

ConvertKit on the other hand, only charges $29 for a list of 1000 people or less. Yes, I know that’s double the price of MailChimp with the same sized list. The catch is ConvertKit does what MailChimp does not. And right out of the box, I must add, no need for any other services. So it was a no brainer for me. With ConvertKit not only do I get better functionality but I also save myself $18 a month. And I can make a little income when people like yourself decide to use ConvertKit as well.

User Interface

I’ll be the first to admit that MailChimp isn’t that hard to use. However, the amount of hoops I had to jump through to do certain things the way I wanted to was annoying to say the least. Plus I’m still mad that the segment feature was basically useless for my needs.

ConvertKit was built by an internet marketer to suit our needs and that should say something. It took me a couple hours to migrate my list and figure out how to work ConvertKit. And I didn’t need to search through the their knowledge base to do so.

Integration

Mailchimp’s integration with WordPress was not very useful at all. Sure I could link  MailChimp to the sign up forms located on the sidebar and bottom of my website but that’s about it. Yet another reason I needed LeadPages. Without it I would have been limited to one sign up form on the website. And no way to embed one anywhere but the two aforementioned locations.

ConvertKit’s integration is the exact opposite. I can embed signup forms in the page like the one below (enter your info to get my VIP newsletter):

I can make pop-ups and slide-ins with ease. And it’s all included in one package!

All in all I’m not going to sit here and pretend that ConvertKit is the end all be all of email marketing. I haven’t even tested every single platform out there. That’s why I look at the people that use it and I’m confidant that I made the right choice.

After all if it’s good enough for Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and Michelle of Making Sense of Cents it’s good enough for me!

Hands down ConvertKit has been my best tool in my tool box thus far but don’t take my word for it SEE FOR YOURSELF!

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