Are you finally down to the last two, ConvertKit vs Mailchimp? As a business investing in an email marketing provider is important and essential.
However, actually making the final decision can prove troublesome if you have never used any of the providers before.
Ensuring that you understand what is included and how their services work compared to the standard operating procedures already employed by your startup is almost impossible without a proper review.
Many small businesses know that they need to have an email list but they are not quite sure how to get it started and what features they need to get the results that they want.
They also struggle with the fear of actually understanding how they should communicate with these people who are interested in what they offer.
The truth is that email marketing can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. For a small business or a startup, there is no need to overthink things. In fact, the biggest action you need to take is to get started.
In this post, I will look at what is an email marketing provider, why it is important, a review of ConvertKit, how to go about choosing the best one for your needs and comparison chart with ConvertKit vs Mailchimp vs Aweber.
Disclaimer: please note that this post may contain affiliate links which means that if you buy one of my recommended products I get paid a commission for sharing the link. I only recommend products that I have tried myself and have experienced success.
Email Marketing Provider
As the name may suggest an email marketing provider assist a business or organisation with their email marketing requirements.
Email marketing as a whole involves collecting emails from your followers, members or subscribers with a view to keeping them in the know. Also, to generate revenue.
The process can range from sending emails about upcoming events, sales, change in company information, running competitions or just general broadcasts.
You are probably thinking that it is just as easy for you to send these messages using your email client but this is not as simple as it sounds.
In one sense your email marketing service can double as a butler service in that it knows who your prospects and customers are (not personally) and what prompted their interest.
Why Use an Email Marketing Provider
Imagine for a second that you had 1,000 customers and you sold 20 different kinds of widgets ranging in different colours or sizes.
These 1,000 customers have their own preference when it comes to buying your widgets. In fact, when they signed up they indicated what their preferences were so you know based on that information.
Let’s say you have an event in 1 month around these 20 widgets which is a week-long event and each day will be focused on 4 of those widgets.
How on earth will you be able to efficiently send a message to 1,000 customers about their specific interest if the information resides on an Excel sheet somewhere?
Yes, I know you can use a CRM (customer relationship management) software to check the information but how can you actually send the message?
Email marketing software gives you the ability to not only segment the data about your customers but also tag them based on the link that they clicked.
In fact, the most important reason for using an email marketing service is for the safe delivery of emails as well as not getting your domain name blacklisted as spam.
My Favourite ConvertKit Features
I have been using ConvertKit for a while and there are a number of features that come as standard that makes life easy for me.
1. Easy Form Creation
2. Integration with WordPress.org
3. List Segmentation
4. Tagging based on link click
5. Integration with Thrive Leads
6. Smooth delivery of Content Upgrades
7. Intelligent broadcast features
8. Cool Autoresponder sequences
9. Visual Automation
10. Clever Reporting
Easy Form Creation
If you have no idea what I mean by form creation just think of it as the thing that you use to capture the name and email address of a prospect or customer.
You can create as many of these forms as you like which will help you with segmentation later on.
For example, in my blog, I discuss many topics around digital marketing as it relates to blogging. The topics can, therefore, have a wide range and include social media marketing, SEO, Pinterest marketing, lead generation and starting a blog.
Because of this, I need to segment my list before they go into my email marketing service and the best way to do that is to have a separate lead capture form for each broad topic.
Here is an example of one of my forms showing the conversion ratios based on visitors and subscribers.
Here is the actual visual of the form in the WYSIWYG editor. You have the ability to add an image and change the colours to match your brand.
Integration With WordPress.org
Another great feature is the fact that ConvertKit has a plugin that allows for seamless integration with my blog.
When someone signs up using one of my ‘lead capture forms’ their information is passed seamlessly through to ConvertKit.
No need to go in and copy and paste the person’s information. They are also placed in their segmented container as you can see in my example above.
Only the people interested in my start a blog checklist are labelled as interested in that specific content upgrade.
List Segmentation + Tagging
As I mentioned above they offer segmented list and this comes in really handy when you need to send an email to everyone interested in a specific topic.
You can even do more with that list that is already segmented and do a survey of your list.
If for example, you have free T-shirts for 5 people who are interested in Starting a blog. If you have 25 people on your list how do you decide who to give those T-shirts to?
You can run a survey and ask those people to click on a link in the next 24 hours in order to win some goodies.
Do ask a sensible question, of course, like “Have you started your blog successfully what do you need help with?”
ConvertKit gives you the feature to tag those who clicked on the link as interested in the T-shirt. Check out the screenshot below:
When they click on the link you can set up an automation rule for them to be added to another list and sent a congratulatory message informing them that they won a free t-shirt.
Integration With Thrive Leads
I already covered an entire blog post about the awesomeness of the Thrive leads plugin. It is so cool that I can create a lead capture form with Thrive leads then quickly link it to ConvertKit.
There you can see an end to end seamless integration between Thrive leads and ConvertKit.
You are probably wondering why would you need the Thrive leads plugin if ConvertKit already creates lead capture forms?
Well, because Thrive leads forms have proven to improve the conversion rates of the lead capture process.
So instead of getting 1% conversion rates, you get 9, 16 or 33% conversions. Look at this form below and compare it with the one I included already above.
Also, Thrive leads offer a wider variety of forms types like exit pop up, lightbox, ribbon, full page, inline and widgets.
These forms have been tested over the years and are proving to get higher converting rates.
Smooth Delivery of Content Upgrades
As you can imagine the fun does not end after your prospects have signed up to your freebie. In fact, it is just beginning.
What should happen next is the delivery of that freebie. As you can see from the screenshot below you can send your prospect to a Thank you page or allow ConvertKit to let them download the freebie.
Easy right? Think about it as a puzzle. You can hire someone to sit all day and manually send the freebie to each individual subscriber or you can let ConvertKit do that for you.
Intelligent Broadcast Features
A broadcast is just the ability to send a one time message to a group of people on your list.
What if you don’t want to send it to everyone but only a group of people who fit specific criteria like who love brown widgets and are interested in blue widgets who has been on your list for at least 12 months?
Well, I do hope that your requirements are not that complicated but here is an example of their Broadcast features.
As you can see you have the ability to really filter your list of subscribers so that your message is reaching the right people who will be interested.
Cool Autoresponder Sequences
Once a prospect joins your list you would want to automatically send them a welcome email within a day even if it means sending them an email at 4 a.m. in Paris when it is only 7 or 8 pm in their country or state.
This is when an autoresponder comes in handy you can just set it and forget it and the system will do all of that for you automatically.
ConvertKit even has instructions on what to do in case you get stuck. Not all of us are copywriters so if you are really stuck you can hire me to write your email sequence here.
The important thing is that you need to get it done otherwise your entire process of email marketing will be pointless if all you do is collect email addresses.
Visual Automation Anyone?
You gotta love visual automation. They are just the bomb of setting up an entire nurturing process without the big price tag.
Just in case I have totally lost you let me explain what these visual automation tools are all about and why you’ll need it.
Think of it as an employee who is assigned to segment your list based on an action that your prospect or customer takes.
For example, if someone signs up to your lead capture form for the start a blog checklist and later they indicate that they want one of the free T-shirts.
You can get the system to automatically tag them or move them to a different special list using automation.
If they then purchase a course on Pinterest Marketing you can get the system to tag them accordingly and assign them to a different nurture queue.
What that means is that you have now reduced the incidence of human error and save on the cost of a VA for your business because it is now all automated. Woohoo!
Now if this was all that ConvertKit did and reporting was not included that would still be good because they saved you a lot of time and money.
However, the icing on the cake is the reporting. It’s like that dashboard in your car that tells you how far you’ve travelled and how much gas you have left.
In each area listed above, there is a report available for each section. For example here is a report from one of my Broadcasts.
As you can see I sent 78 emails and there was a 60.3% open rate and a 16.7% click rate.
There are buttons on the right that allows me to see a further breakdown of who opened and who clicked.
I am able to see which landing pages are giving me the most opt-ins as well as if my email sequence is good or bad due to opens, clicks and unsubscribes.
Digestible Blog Posts
I almost forgot to mention that ConvertKit can take your blog posts and import them as a broadcast ready to send out to your list.
Say what? Yes, you can add a feed under automation so that each time you publish a blog post it pulls it in as an RSS feed.
It then creates a draft broadcast for you to edit and then send to your list. Check out the screenshot below.
Here is an example draft broadcast of what gets pulled into ConvertKit.
Not very pretty but at least the content is there and you can chop, change and edit it according to your taste.
Now that we know what ConvertKit has to offer let’s compare it with MailChimp.
My MailChimp Review
ConvertKit vs AWeber
AWeber will charge you for every subscriber on every list even if that person is on 3 or 4 list so you can get charged multiple times for the same person.
ConvertKit on the other hand has one list so if someone unsubscribes they are gone. However, there are ways to work around this using ConvertKit.
Their precision when it comes to filtering to target your exact audience is not as good as what is being offered by ConvertKit.
You are not able to filter down a specific list by opens vs unopened in ConvertKit but you can in AWeber.
AWeber has the option available if you have more than one site but this is not available with ConvertKit.
Although ConvertKit is not as powerful as Infusionsoft or ActiveCampaign where you get lead scoring and many other Enterprise level feature it is a step above the standard AWeber or MailChimp features.
AWeber has a cool Stats app that allows you access to your account on the road which can be quite handy. I rarely need to access ConvertKit when I am out on about so this would be an added benefit for me.
Aweber has over 700 templates which is quite attractive but I use Thrive leads for my lead forms and Thrive Architect for my landing pages so not an added bonus for me.
Their number one feature would have to be their visual automation as it reminds me of those Enterprise level CRM filtering system without the expensive price tag.
ConvertKit vs MailChimp vs AWeber
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Simple, fast and effective flexible move
It is really important to decide which solution is not only suitable for you and your business now but also for the next 3 years.
How fast are you growing as a business? What budget can you afford for the next 36 months as you grow?
Do you need sophisticated segmentation without the price tag and lots of flexibility?
Do you need an all in one solution for landing pages, email marketing and award winning lead capture forms?
Spend some time really considering what kind of budget is available and what are your expected conversion rates per 1,000 impressions.
If you are just starting out and all this sounds way too complicated then go for ConvertKit it is the least clunky options that is dead easy to use.
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