Creating and Using Forms in ConvertKit

Well, I'm a bit of a convert to… ConvertKit (funny, right?).

But I know that some people are going to take some convincing, so in addition to my comprehensive review of the platform, I'm going to do a series of how to articles/videos on the ConvertKit email marketing software. If you're on the fence deciding whether to change your email provider, then these will give you a first hand look at the ConvertKit email marketing software.

NB – Links in this article may be Affiliate Links, which means I get a small commission if you decide to purchase something after clicking the link.  There is no additional cost to you for this (and sometimes there is a special discount).

Getting Started with ConvertKit

As I mention in the full convertkit review, one of the first things you need to come to grips with in ConvertKit is the absence of “lists”.  They're just not there.

Instead, you're going to want to start with some forms – the basic building blocks of your ConvertKit usage.

Creating forms is pretty easy – you just click the forms tab, design your form, and voila – a new form.

Different Settings with ConvertKit forms

One of the slightly bothersome things about ConvertKit is that the forms, although simple and good looking, aren't susceptible to too much manipulation.  You can tweak colours and, to some extent, a bit of the design – but unless you know CSS or feel like annoying the support team, sophisticated changes to the forms aren't really available within the platform itself.

However, that's not a big deal most of the time, because the forms do the job.  Personally, because I use the Rainmaker Platform or OptinMonster for most of my stuff, I don't need to worry too much about the design side of things.

In the settings tab when you're creating your form, there are a few cool features you might not realise exist.

Cool Features of ConvertKit Forms

Firstly, even when you're sending a confirmation email to get someone to confirm an email address, it doesn't need to actually look like a confirmation.

Instead, for example, you can change your email to say “Download your Toolkit Now” – create a link to your toolkit, and instead of having someone click “confirm” they will confirm their email address by actually clicking the download link.

Cool, right?

The next is your ability to integrate with Twitter cards in your form – so you can send it straight out, rather than having to stuff around with creating a page on your site, embedding the form, setting the SEO settings, and then sharing that page – you can just share your form directly.

Finally, with forms being the core building block of a ConvertKit email system, you can easily create multiple optins.  If you've got your form looking the way you want, and all your other settings done – just duplicate your form, change the optin incentive, and presto – you've got multiple optins that can easily be integrated on your site.

Full ConvertKit Forms Video (with Transcript)

A Closer Look at Forms with ConvertKit

This is a modified transcript of the video above

We're going to have a more detailed look at ConvertKit.

Now, email marketing of course is a pretty big area at the moment, and a lot of people will be familiar with some of the more common providers like AWeber and MailChimp and certainly I have used both of those and have no issues recommending them.

ConvertKit is, to some extent, the newer kid on the block and I've got to say I do really like it.

It is slightly more expensive than either AWeber or MailChimp.  However, it does come with a significantly greater degree of sophistication than either of those platforms, and you're going to see what that's like as I take you through the ConvertKit system.

If you've ever looked at some of the higher-end email providers like Infusionsoft, ConvertKit is somewhere inbetween Infusionsoft and AWeber or MailChimp.

So, at its most fundamental, it's an email marketing provider.

It allows you to collect email addresses, to use double opt-in or single opt-in options, and to send emails to those people. That's its core functionality.

However, it is of course, more sophisticated than that and that's what we're going to see today, as I take you through some of the ConvertKit functionalities.

So what we see at the moment is the homepage that you get when you get in ConvertKit. I've just had this setup for a little while and I've collected a few email addresses, which of course I'm not going to show you, but I am going to show you how ConvertKit works, so on this homepage.

What you will see is of course this area where the subscriber information, the fundamental information, like how many subscribers have you got, where are they coming from, what are you doing. If you scroll down, and we're going to have a look at forms in a minute, you will see all the forms that I've created.

Now, this includes landing pages and ConvertKit does provide you with some basic landing page functionality which a lot of people will appreciate, and forms.

The reason I have so many forms is because, of course, they are for different things. Now, some of them are functional, some of them are just for tests, so I can show you at various different times what I'm doing.  But at the end of the day, forms are so you can track where people are coming from by identifying which form they used.

And depending on which form they use, you can then of course allocate them to different things, and that is where ConvertKit functionality comes in to its own which is, it is an extremely powerful segmentation and tagging system, so that you can ensure that your email subscribers get information that is relevant to them, that is important to them, and that they are more likely to click upon and read and get value out of.

With ConvertKit the email subscribers, unlike a lot of the other systems, if they are on two different tags or two different segments, they do not get counted twice.  This is one of the big downsides to a lot of the other email service providers: people in fact get counted twice.  So if you want people to be on two different lists, or you want to have a customers list and a prospect list or you want to have people for different lists for different autoresponders, or you want to have people with different courses that they're getting or different emails that they're getting, or different categories that they're getting, then you need to be able to segment them effectively.

Now, MailChimp has some functionality here. AWeber has just introduced some functionality in that respect, and I'm going to take another look at that in a further review at another time, but for now we're looking at ConvertKit, and it is designed specifically to allow you to do that.

The first and most obvious difference between ConvertKit and a lot of other systems is that each email subscriber will only be in ConvertKit once, so if you have them on multiple different email courses, they're still there once, and that's helpful when your list grows and you start paying more money because if you're paying for two, the same person to be on three different lists, you're paying triple the price for that person, and over time, that can actually start to add up, so it can be quite irritating to have them on multiple lists and to have them counted as two subscribers when it's actually only one potential customer.

Let's start with a form, and if I go to the Forms tab at the top, you'll see that here are my forms. That is the most common place to start and a form is exactly what you think it is, which is a place to get email subscribers, and you can see here I have an option to create a form or a landing page. First up, I'm going to do a form. And you can see that there are three different options. Here, we have a relatively medium-level detail form, here we have a quite a detailed form with a picture on the side, and here we have a minimal form. Now, if you're going to simply import this into something else, like OptinMonster, for example, or you're going to hook it up, all you really need is this minimal form because the design elements don't count.

All you're doing is creating a specific location that you can then track so you know where people are coming from, so if you just wanted to create a particular way of capturing emails and call it something meaningful, then you go for the minimal form, but for the moment, let's just go for the first and most obvious option, and here you are, this is what it's going to look like.

I could go straight away now and I could actually just use this form if I were to save it, but we're going to have a look at some other things too. You can of course change the text very easily. Now, of course here you have email address, and Subscribe button, very, very simple.

Form Settings in ConvertKit

Let's have a look at the settings. We can obviously change the name of our form (I'll use My New List), and you can do different things with it, so you can create a full landing page and I'm going to show you that option in a minute, or you can just create a form to embed. At this point, we just want a form to embed, and we want a little success message.

You could, as you can with all the other software, redirect it to another page. You would enter your thank you page, and then of course, it would redirect successful submissions to that page.

If you had instructions you needed to deliver to your subscribers or a further call to action, or an upsell or something like that, that's what you would do at that point.

Now, at the bottom of the settings page you'll see Sequence Settings, and I've just created a fictitious course here and we're going to have a look at them in a minute.

Straight from the form settings in ConvertKit you can allocate people who subscribe using this form to a particular email sequence.  If I were to, for example, have three different opt-in forms on my site, and I wanted them to have slightly different calls to action, because I had three different main areas on my site, I might have an autoresponder email relating to podcasting, I might have one related to building a website, and I might have one related to content marketing.

Now, not necessarily all of those people are interested in all of them, so what you can do is you can have people who sign up to the most comprehensive guide to content marketing in the universe, and you're getting a lot of traffic to that, you could create a sequence (which is the ConvertKit language for an autoresponder) and you can then use a particular form on that page, embed it in your page.  People who sign up from that page are obviously interested in content marketing, so you can use a discrete call to action, and you can then ensure that they are allocated to the correct course/sequence, as a result of signing up using this particular form. It's very, very useful for segmenting your subscribers.

Now, that's just one way of doing it. You can tag and segment your email subscribers, which we're going to look at a bit later.

Email Incentives in ConvertKit

Next in setting up your form, you of course have an incentive or a double opt-in email. This is where ConvertKit actually does really well. Of course, you probably want to use double opt-in – a lot of people do, a lot of people don't.  I'm not going to have that debate right now, but what you actually can do is you can send your confirmation email and instead of just having a button that says “Confirm Your Subscription”, what you can actually do is change that to say “Download”, and that will act as a confirmation of their email address.

So it's not like some email providers that force you to do a specific “Confirm Your Email” button.  You can use the download, then you can hook it up to a file that you upload to the ConvertKit system as the confirmation.  That way you know that they intended to get it, you know that they're interested in downloading your thing and it's not quite so clumsy as asking them to confirm and then sending them another email.

They only get one email from you, and they can download and simultaneously confirm their email address. I really, really like that functionality.

Styling Forms in ConvertKit

Here you see the different styles.  You have a full style  (and these are just reflective of the styles you saw when you were setting up), a minimum style, or a very minimal style, which they call “naked”.

And you can also do, again, without any further software:

  1. an inline style, so this is what you'd put in the middle of a post;
  2. a modal style which is code for a pop-up; or
  3. a slide-in style, if you wanted it to come in on the side of the screen at a particular point.

You can add custom CSS to the form as well, but it's really not essential.

Hiding ConvertKit Forms from Subscribers

When people have already subscribed come back, to the extent that they haven't removed their cookies or otherwise cleansed their computer, you can change what they see.

So if you want to show them something particular to subscribers but not another subscribe button, you could do that here.

You can just continue to show the form because that's what they're used to.

Or you could disappear it entirely, so that you're not distracting existing subscribers.

Embedding your ConvertKit Form and Final Options

Now, embed codes. Easy, cut and paste.

Just pick the code, and cut and paste this where you want it to go.

It doesn't matter what site you are using, but you can use a WordPress plugin (I'm not going to go through that today), but the WordPress plugin makes that slightly more easy to do.

The other options are simply Delete, Archive, and Duplicate the Form.

Duplicating forms is useful if you don't want to go through all of those setup again and you just want to do some slight tweaks in your form, that can be useful as well.

Obviously you then save your form. You should actually save as you go.

If you want to tweak the look you can go back to the content tab click on the little wand, and change the colors pretty easily. You can change the text in the form easily as well.

That is how you can go about ensuring that you're using setting up your forms and using ConvertKit to its highest.

Got any tricks?

Want to know more, or got any tricks for ConvertKit forms yourself?  Let us know in the comments!

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