Here in this post, I’ll be presenting you the ConvertKit review together with comparing ConvertKit with other email marketing softwares like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, Aweber, and others.
|Email marketing software
|1. Visual automation
2. No charge for duplicates
3. Easy WordPress integration
4. Subscriber tagging
5. Reliable support
6. Customizable forms
ConvertKit is one of the new email marketing softwares found by Nathan Barry. It’s described as one of the best email marketing solutions out there for bloggers, creators and book authors.
Earlier brands and bloggers with advanced email automation requirements were using InfusionSoft, later ConvertKit came into the market and changed everything.
It offered features comparable to that of InfusionSoft at a much lower price.
Let’s get started.
- Ease of use: I think a straight forward interface with easy to use UI, yet highly powerful automation builder is the huge advantage with ConvertKit.
- Easy WordPress integration: As ConvertKit is specially made for bloggers, they make WordPress integration very easy with embed codes and forms.
- Tag-based subscriber system: Unlike other email marketing softwares, the subscriber system is tag-based not list based. It adds flexibility when it comes to segmentation. You can send hyper-targeted emails with tags which in turn improves deliverability.
- Dynamic emails: You can make use of powerful merge tags to personalize your emails
- Autoresending: You can easily auto-resend your broadcasts to the people who have not opened your campaign.
- Visual automation builder: The automation builder offered by ConvertKit is very advanced when compared to others which lack flexibility or outdated.
- No charge for duplicates: The charge is based on the number of unique subscribers you have (you won’t get charged for duplicate subscribers like MailChimp and Aweber)
- Live chat and email support: Unlike other email service providers they offer you 24×365 live chat and email support
- Integrations: They have great integrations with the majority of the digital marketing platforms and tools. They also have a powerful Zapier integration in place.
- Updated constantly: The new features are regularly being rolled out on ConvertKit almost every month. They have an actively managed roadmap page.
- Limited A/B testing: You can do A/B split testing for only the subject lines, you cannot do it for sender name and sending time. Along with that, there are only 2 subject line variations you can create for A/B testing (as of writing this review) it may be a downside if you are looking to create more than 2 subject line variations to choose the winner. I think this is quite a major downside.
- Lack of cold subscribers customization: By default, ConvertKit adds the subscribers who are inactive to the “cold” tag. But there’s little you can do about it when it comes to customization.
- Lack of template customization: I think more customization options can be added for templates. For making some changes you need to dig in the HTML and create new templates.
- Lack of test emails for autoresponders: You can send test emails to yourself only for broadcast but not for autoresponders.
The interface of ConvertKit is pretty straightforward. On the main screen, you’ll see the number of subscribers you have, growth graph, click rate, total emails sent, and also options to import the subscribers.
You can switch the graph from growth to net subscribers.
You can search the subscribers and also edit or delete the existing subscribers.
The complete ConvertKit is divided into 5 sections:
The options are present in the relevant sections and the UI is designed very intuitively. It’s surprising to see how familiar the UI will feel like the moment you start using the app.
If you’ve ever used ActiveCampaign, you know how outdated and clunky their interface and email editor is. It takes a lot of time for some pages to load and feels like a decade old software.
On the other hand, ConvertKit has a more refined user interface similar to Drip (if you are familiar).
In order to remain organized when there are lots of subscribers in your lists, there are mainly three methods:
Forms will most of the times be the name of the offer/form from which you got your email subscribers on the first hand. Did they sign up from a specific lead magnet? Then name that form as “My lead magnet”.
Segments are the broad categorization of your subscribers. One segment can have subscribers from multiple forms. It’s similar to WordPress categories.
If you cover course creation and marketing in your blog – you can consider having two segments – marketing and course creation. You can edit or add the parameters to these segments at any time.
Tags: These are the labels you apply for your subscribers when they take certain action – registering for a webinar or purchasing a course.
The tagging feature offered by ConvertKit is extremely powerful in sending hyper-targeted email newsletters and broadcasts. Many of the popular email marketing softwares still lack this functionality.
The important thing to note when it comes to email templates is that ConvertKit has only three types of templates – text, classic, and modern with subtle differences.
It does not have shiny email newsletter templates as you have in MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, and others.
Just head over to account settings of ConvertKit, then you’ll be able to see the email templates section.
There are three premade email templates to choose from.
You can also create your own custom email template.
Here you need to code in the HTML along with the variables as displayed in the right sidebar to create a template and use them in your email newsletters.
You need to enclose the appropriate variables inside the HTML tags and also add inline or other CSS styles.
The downside here is that there’s no way for you to export the templates as files other than copying and pasting the code to another ConvertKit account.
Personally, if you ask me – that’s awesome and makes no difference for me. In fact, using plain text templates increases deliverability.
If you are a seasoned email marketer, you already know that sending very beautiful email newsletters is an outdated practice. Subscribers find them not personalized and the emails also get often triggered as promotional in nature by Gmail.
I’ve been using MailChimp previously, and I have never used their shiny email templates.
Once you start creating a broadcast, the ConvertKit will ask for your email address and lets you choose the audience you need to send your broadcast to.
You can add filters or create filter groups for advanced targeting. It’s great that ConvertKit allows you to select the recipients even before composing the email.
The email composer has the options for you to add links, bold text, italics, underlines, quotes, headings, modify font size, images, etc.
I highly recommend you to use only the plain text as it increases the deliverability of your emails a lot.
After adding a link in your email, you can add tags to the subscribers who click links. You can set it up under “Automations” which I’ll discuss in the next section of this review.
After you compose your broadcast, you can preview your broadcast as an email subscriber you have in your list. This is extremely useful and prevents you from sending a test email to ensure that the merge fields have been replaced.
Now you can either schedule the send or send the broadcast immediately.
ConvertKit comes with a very powerful visual automation builder. It ’s great to build automation workflows and feels so fluid.
First, you need to select a trigger for the automation to start working. You can have multiple triggers for an automation workflow.
After the trigger is selected, you can start building your automation sequence
For example, if you need to deliver a single ebook or a course for the people who subscribed to a form, you can do it by selecting the form as a trigger and start creating your email automation.
The email composer that pops right in the side is very handy when creating very long autoresponder sequence.
In other popular autoresponder tools, you need to switch back and forth the webpages to compose emails at each stage of the funnel. This approach seems so fluid and seamless.
There’s a separate section inside the “Automations” called automation rules that lets you maintain a list of rules.
It’s a straightforward interface for you to list, modify or add the various automation rules you’ve set up throughout the app. This comes really handy to view all the scattered rules you created while dealing with campaigns.
When you compare the advanced automation functionalities, ActiveCampaign has an edge when compared to ConvertKit. However, it doesn’t make any huge difference if you are not an advanced digital marketer.
One great use I can think of when it comes to automation is that whenever you get new subscribers you can immediately send them an email asking them to make a choice – the nature of emails they want to receive from you.
Later, based on their choice you can tag them – and target them with another automation workflow.
If you are looking for more advanced email marketing automations, you may want to consider getting either ActiveCampaign or Drip.
There’s a lack of flexibility in ConvertKit when it comes to creating complex user segments (based on dozens of variables) and defining the outcomes after the users behave for an event.
With ConvertKit it’s possible for you to conduct A/B split testing of the subject lines and test which one performs better.
Every time you create a new broadcast, you can click on the A/B icon present next to the subject line field.
Here you need to just enter the two variations of the subject lines to test which one gets the more open rate.
One of the limitations of the ConvertKit’s A/B testing is the lack of testing the whole emails against each other, from names and also the send time.
I would think it’ll not be a major deal-breaker for most of the people as the subject line A/B testing is good enough.
With ConvertKit you can build landing pages and also lead capture forms to embed on your site.
To get started with this, you need to head over to the “Forms” section of your ConvertKit account.
Here you need to select whether you need to create a form or a landing page.
First, let us create a form.
There are three formats of forms you can create. Most of the times, if you are using plugins like Thrive Leads or any other lead generation plugins, you’ll not be using this form functionality.
Let me select a modal form and choose one of the available 5 templates.
As you can see, there are various customization options when it comes to forms. There are also various trigger options like scroll-based, exit-intent and time-based popups.
The forms functionality is fully-fledged and not barebones like that of some other email providers.
There’s a dedicated ConvertKit plugin for WordPress and you can display your forms on any page using their shortcode.
If you don’t have a website, you can create email optin landing pages right within ConvertKit dashboard.
There is a variety of landing page templates that you can choose. As of writing this post, there were around 18 landing page templates.
Similar to that of any landing page builder, you can modify many aspects of your landing page including colors, font size, and weight.
After you save the changes, you can grab the landing page link and promote it or use their plugin to host the page on your WordPress site.
Landing page building is one of the unique features which ConvertKit offers that Drip and ActiveCampaign don’t offer.
As you’ve noticed in the first section, ConvertKit also displays the subscriber growth information in the “Subscribers” section of the app.
ConvertKit does a great job of tracking the open rates and reporting the key performance metrics in the reporting section.
You can go to the individual forms and click on the reports link to display the conversion data of that report.
Here are some of the data and metrics ConvertKit displays:
- Conversion rate
- Top referrers
- Others based on integrations
The reporting for broadcast is also available for you.
It includes key performance metrics like recipients, open rate, click rate, top links clicked, and also the number of unsubscribes.
You can also notice that there’s a button that says “resend to unopens” that enables you to resend the campaign editing the original email to those people who have not opened your original email.
The awesome thing is that the deliverability offered by ConvertKit is often better than its competitors due to the fact that it enforces users to use plain text email templates instead of overly design-centric newsletter template emails (that often lands in spam or promotions).
But I would still think that the deliverability can be improved a lot as sometimes emails land in the promotions tab.
I always suggest you use ConvertKit’s custom domain feature with SPF and DKIM verification. By this, the emails will be sent under your domain and result in higher deliverability.
You also need to clean up your list and delete cold inactive subscribers regularly to maintain the health of your list and also boost deliverability.
Here are some of the tips to improve deliverability:
- Use custom domain
- Use SPF and DKIM records
- Don’t use overly promotional words
- Do list cleanup regularly
- Ask questions and encourage replies to your emails (right from the initial email itself)
- Keep the number of links in the emails less than 5
- Instruct users to mark your emails as important and drag it to their primary tab
- Use segmentation and tags and send only relevant emails to the right set of subscribers
- Make proper use of A/B split testing functionality offered by ConvertKit
As ConvertKit has very strict regulations on whom they accept to use their product, often the deliverability rates are good.
ConvertKit integrates with a number of different apps and also has Zapier integration.
They have 90+ as of writing, in various categories like ecommerce, lead capture, webinar services, affiliate management, CRM, FB ads, and also Zapier to open a whole new realm of integrations. You can refer their integrations page for more info.
Personally, I use Thrive Leads on most of my sites, and ConvertKit has native API integration with it.
If you are using Thrivecart, unfortunately when writing this review there was no integration. If you are using Thrivecart double check on their integrations page and then buy.
It is great that they add new integrations and features on a monthly basis. They are one of the email marketing software who listens to what their customers tell and implement.
The pricing of ConvertKit is bit on the higher side, if you are on a budget you may want to use ConvertKit for nurturing only your qualified subscribers.
Here you can see the pricing comparison I’ve created for some of the major email marketing softwares out there on the market.
I would like to again note that ConvertKit doesn’t count duplicate subscribers to the total list size, whereas MailChimp and Aweber does this.
When it comes to supporting, they offer you 24x7x365 live chat and email support. Live chat is the most unique selling proposition for them when it comes to support.
They also have an extensive knowledge base, video tutorials and vlogs to refer and stay updated.
If you are migrating from any other email marketing software to ConvertKit, they have their migration assistance system. You’ll be able to import your previous lists, subscribers, forms, automations, timeline, sequences, to ConvertKit.
This is a great unique feature that ConvertKit offers when compared to other softwares.
Is there any trial offer available for ConvertKit?
ConvertKit offers a 15-day trial for its new users. However, the awesome folks at ConvertKit have enabled a 30-day trial for our blog readers that you can avail here.
What about the refund policy of ConvertKit?
They have a 30-days refund policy. So, if you are not satisfied with the tool you can issue a refund within a span of 30 days.
How can I migrate to ConvertKit?
As I mentioned above you need to make use of their Concierge Migration service to export all the subscribers, automation, and all other data from any other email marketing tool to ConvertKit.
Does ConvertKit allow affiliate marketing?
Unlike ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit allows you to do affiliate marketing but it has a strict policy towards spammers and promoting irrelevant offers.
Can I send bulk emails?
You can send bulk emails only to the people who have subscribed to your list and have granted you permission to send them emails.
How good is ConvertKit’s deliverability?
ConvertKit’s deliverability is better than other contenders like MailChimp. Most of the times emails will be delivered in the “updates” tab, and even in the “primary” tab if subscribers interact well with your emails. More info I’ve covered in the above sections.
Is there any roadmap for ConvertKit?
They do have an actively maintained roadmap page which you can find here.
Again, you are the one to decide whether ConvertKit is right for you or not.
ConvertKit is created especially taking bloggers, content creators, vloggers, and course creators in mind. Creators like Pat Flynn, Joanna Penn, and Ramit Sethi make it a point to use ConvertKit in their business.
If you are someone who wants to have a very easy to use and yet very versatile email marketing solution, give ConvertKit a try. Their app interface is simply fluid without any glitches whatsoever.
It just gets your stuff done without you worrying about any technical nuances.
It’s a perfect blend of advanced email marketing automation and ease of use.
On the other hand, if you are a casual blogger who is pretty sure that you won’t get a positive ROI with ConvertKit, it may not be for you.
For the price, ConvertKit is certainly a value for money if you are looking for good email marketing automation.
You need to always make a decision to buy email marketing softwares based on your mid-term business goals.