Well, email marketing is obviously pretty important for anyone who wants to survive in the 21st century. In this ConvertKit review I'm going to show you just how many cool things you can do with this new email marketing software.
And if you're reading this, there's a pretty good chance that you are wondering whether ConvertKit is going to be the email marketing solution for you.
So let's dig in and find out what ConvertKit does well, what it doesn't do well, and help you decide whether it's the answer for your needs.
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).
ConvertKit Review Video
If you prefer the visual version, you can get started with this video:
ConvertKit Treats Subscribers Differently to Mailchimp and Aweber
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the ConvertKit software, I wanted to deal with a conceptual change that users of other email marketing software will need.
In many other email marketing apps you have to set up multiple lists for various reasons. If you want to segment your subscribers, offer multiple optin incentives, or simply be able to easily subscribe and unsubscribe people from various types of communication, then you usually have to have them on multiple lists. Usually you're also charged for them multiple times. That's not the case in ConvertKit, and frankly it's lovely.
In ConvertKit each subscriber is treated as…. a person.
That person then has different things they might sign up for, be interested in, or want to know about – and as you'll see below, ConvertKit lets you do just that.
ConvertKit Begins with Forms
So if you've used other email marketing software then you're probably used to a certain workflow – create a list, make a signup form, create your emails.
Because subscribers will only ever exist once with ConvertKit, there's no need to make a “list”. Everyone will be on the same list.
Instead, you want to start by creating a form. A form (at least, the way I use it) is going to be your standard entry point for a new subscriber. So you might, for example, create a form for each different type of optin incentive that you create. That way you can modify how each form behaves to deliver the appropriate optin magnet depending on what the person was looking for.
The form creator itself is fairly basic, but does what it's supposed to do. You can, within reason, style your forms to match your branding. However at this point ConvertKit doesn't have anything resembling the same range of templates that Aweber and Mailchimp have, so if you're looking for something ultra styling you're going to have to run your subscriptions through LeadPages or OptinMonster to get the right look (I use OptinMonster, which is integrated with ConvertKit so it's pretty easy to set up anyway).
Landing Pages with ConvertKit
One of the nifty things that ConvertKit offers is that, when making a form, you can actually create a nice, simple landing page. You can then embed this on your own site, or ConvertKit will host it for you. So if you just want to get your optin magnet out there and have a landing page ready to go, then ConvertKit will let you do that very easily.
Of course, as with the forms, the landing pages in ConvertKit don't come with all the bells and whistles, but I thought it was a nice addition to the software for people who didn't like having to design things, but also didn't want to pay for a dedicated landing page software.
Email AutoResponders with ConvertKit are Called Courses
Yep – you've got to learn some new language,
and in ConvertKit the email autoresponder function is called “courses”. EDIT – now they are called sequences.
This is where ConvertKit has clearly put a lot of focus on making this feature incredibly user friendly. The tedium of creating an autoresponder series in other programs is completely gone. You can set up emails quickly and intuitively. You can set them to be sent when you want. You can re-order the emails easily (which in other programs either can't be done, or is annoyingly difficult).
Email autoresponders in ConvertKit are fantastic – they should pat themselves on the back for just how easy it is to create an effective email sequence to send to your subscribers.
Using the marketing automation features in ConvertKit you can also easily set how and when people actually receive your emails (more on automation below). For example, I could set it so that people who click on a particular link are then allocated to receive a 3 part email series on that subject.
Similarly, however, I can exclude categories of people from receiving a course (for example, if they have been tagged as having done it before).
Segmentation and Tagging Subscribers with ConvertKit
The core of how ConvertKit treats your subscribers is through segmentation and tagging.
Segmentation is really most useful for “big picture” stuff – for example, customers or prospects.
Tagging is something that you will find a million uses for, given how easy and effective it is to tag and untag people. You could tag people as interested in a particular topic (for example, if they subscribe using a particular form on a particular subject, you can tag them as having an interest in that subject for later use). You might also tag people who have/haven't done a particular email sequence. Perhaps you might tag people who click a particular link (for example, people who listen to your podcasts).
The ability to send broadcast emails (that is – a once off email to your subscribers) is much as you would expect. You can create the email, schedule it, and send it.
You can also restrict the email to segments, tags or people who signed up on particular forms – which can be useful if you only want to send something to subscribers who like thing X.
Automation in ConvertKit
This is really where ConvertKit has gone nuts – with its automations.
If you're a user of very expensive email marketing programs (eg Infusionsoft) then you'll understand just how powerful the ability to “do stuff” can be in an email provider. If you've been using Aweber or Mailchimp then ConvertKit is going to blow your mind.
Basically, automation allows you to set up rules: if X then Y.
Here are some examples:
- if someone clicks link X, tag them as interested in X
- if someone signs up with form Y, allocate them to course Y
- if someone completes course Y, allocate them to course Z
- if someone buys product X, add them to form A, course B, and tag them as a customer
- if someone buys product X, stop sending them the product launch emails
You get the idea – the possibilities are amazing in this little section. Here are some examples:
It's good – support are responsive, helpful and know their stuff.
How Much does ConvertKit cost?
That said – I think it's worth the difference for the sheer amount of sophisticated stuff you can do.
Things I Don't Love about ConvertKit
There are, of course, going to be some problems or things that ConvertKit doesn't do that well just yet.
First – the emails aren't very pretty. Some people will care about that, and others won't. But if you are used to having a beautiful template to send your emails to subscribers with, then you're going to have to get over that if you want to use ConvertKit (or make a custom template for yourself, if you know how to).
Next – because it's new, ConvertKit doesn't integrate with everything just yet. However, most major things you might want are either there already, or coming soon (or you can do it with Zapier).
Similar to the first issue, the forms are quite basic, and the level of customisation is not that high (at least, not easily). Support can help out with this, but as I mentioned up the top if you're used to forms looking a particular way, you might not necessarily be able to replicate that in ConvertKit.
ConvertKit Review in a Nutshell
It's an awesome piece of kit, and any blogger who is serious about their email marketing should give it a serious look.
I strongly suspect that the other players in this space will have to pick up their game soon, or ConvertKit will take all of their customers before long.
Have you used ConvertKit – what do you think about it? Let us know in the comments!