ConvertKit Review (Feb 2023): Email Marketing Automation For Bloggers
In this ConvertKit review, we’re looking at one of the world’s top email marketing platform options, and what it can do to make your business grow.
ConvertKit is a tool most companies are familiar with at this stage. Launched in 2013, the solution promises businesses an opportunity to grow their email list, but it can also do so much more than that. As a solution for lead capturing and lead nurturing, ConvertKit combines email marketing software and automation tools with sales funnel solutions to help you access new opportunities.
ConvertKit promises excellent results year after year, with more than 428,000 people now using the service to reach customers, including names like Neil Patel and Lindsey Stirling.
Let’s discover what ConvertKit can do.
ConvertKit Review: Overview
ConvertKit Commerce Tools
ConvertKit Review: Verdict
ConvertKit Review: Overview
Meet ConvertKit. Barely 5 years old, but well into the 20,000 active users’ zone, and already generating over $1 million a month.
The driving force behind ConvertKit is none other than Nathan Barry. He’s a designer and marketer. Most importantly, however, he’s also a blogger.
So, he embarked on a journey to develop an email service provider that would be optimized for bloggers, podcasters, and similar setups seeking to expand their audience bases.
Then ConvertKit was born in 2013.
With a customer base that stretches across all industries, ConvertKit’s fundamental mission is to empower small enterprises and bloggers, to help them grow their audiences. It aims to capitalize on the subsequent mailing list, and ultimately facilitate the conversion of the subscribers into paying customers.
To achieve this, it apparently offers a horde of features that supposedly rival even the biggest players like Aweber and Mailchimp.
But, how true is this, really? We’ve seen a number of providers come and go. All with basically the same script at the start. That they would eventually revolutionize the whole concept of email marketing.
So, what exactly does ConvertKit offer? And is it any good for your business?
I tell you what. I’ll help you there. This ConvertKit review covers all the important features, its overall pricing, plus its suitability as an email marketing automation tool.
ConvertKit is an email marketing tool designed to help creators earn a living in the digital world by building tools to grow their audience, connect with fans, and drive conversions. The company has updated its feature list over the years with a host of offerings from subscription forms and landing pages, to email marketing.
With ConvertKit, users can collect all kinds of potential leads, from social media followers and YouTube viewers to blog fans. You can get fans excited with custom landing pages, provide access to free downloads, and even set up fully automated email marketing campaigns where you can develop your connection with your target audience.
There’s segmentation in your email marketing efforts so you can send more personalized content, email templates so you don’t need to design from scratch, and so much more. You can even sell products and automate your sales funnel with ConvertKit.
- Email marketing with email automation options
- Landing pages and sign-up forms
- Ecommerce tools for selling online
- Drag-and-drop email designer
- Creator Pro for advanced creation features
To manage this, ConvertKit uses two primary tools. It came with a traditional rule builder as it started out, then it recently introduced a visual workflow builder. Something like what’ve we’ve seen on Drip and ActiveCampaign.
They are both powerful email automation managers. But, all things considered, the traditional rule builder is ConvertKit’s strong point.
It’s refreshingly simple and straightforward, since all the processes are basically grouped into triggers and actions. Trigger operations are matched to their corresponding system actions to initiate selected processes according to site visitor behavior.
The consequent list of automation rules is quite clear. But only for simple automations. The whole thing starts getting a bit messy when you come up with complex automations, complete with combined rules affecting multiple channels simultaneously.
So, to solve this problem, ConvertKit threw in a visual automation builder. And even made it the default window for automations.
This system essentially outlines your workflows according to the corresponding outcome context.
And the best thing is?
All the operations are coordinated inline. Including adding forms and entire emails.
Now that’s much cleaner than what we’ve used on other services, including ActiveCampaign. It even puts some established brands to shame.
However, the likes of ActiveCampaign don’t take this lying down. They make up for it with extensively flexible workflows.
While ConvertKit is pleasantly simple to manage, its workflows are seemingly static. Ideal for the average blogger. But not for professional marketers, who are better off with services that offer more powerful workflow managers.
Automations are perfectly ideal for handling your audience in numbers. But that’s only a part of the whole email marketing ecosystem. The other part is made up of those one-off emails you might need to send to individuals.
And ConvertKit makes that simple.
Instead of creating complex sets of broadcast rules, users can capitalize on the filtering tool to pick out specific parties they’d like to send emails to.
The best filter here is the Subscribed To, which allows you to further segment the broadcast to particular products, tags, sequences, and forms.
When you proceed, you’ll notice that ConvertKit uses the standard HTML email editor, which also comes with several additional options. Clicking the A/B command adjacent to the subject field, for example, launches a headline split test.
The email designer from ConvertKit is designed to help you create emails that make an impact, without spending forever on your campaigns. There’s a simple and convenient design system in place where you can change the font, alignment, or color of emails in seconds. There are no cluttered menu bars, so you can find everything with ease.
The “content” components of your email designer allow you to add personalization headers, buttons, dividers, and more through the content menu. You can simply click the icon, choose your content type and go from there. Other ways to edit include adding instant images to your emails. ConvertKit can store commonly used images like logos so you can access them faster.
Clickable CTA buttons help to convert your customers rapidly, so you can start making sales. There’s also the option to access code changes by adding HTML boxes to your email to adjust certain parts of your content – rather than the whole thing.
There’s no limit on how many templates you can create, and all of the designs you make with ConvertKit will be automatically suitable for any device.
There are various ways ConvertKit can help you to access new customers for your company. One option is to help you build landing pages. There are a variety of well-designed templates to get you started here, so you don’t need a lot of coding knowledge to begin.
The landing pages available are designed by world-class professional artists, so you know you’re getting a good quality design. There’s also access to a host of customization options to help you make your landing page match your brand. Although custom CSS is available for those who want to customize the code, you don’t have to use this feature.
There’s access to hundreds of thousands of stock images too, so you can quickly add visual interest to your landing pages. Plus, all the designs you create will automatically look good on any device, so you can enjoy a fully responsive strategy for converting clients.
The landing pages you create will connect to your email automations perfect, collect data for your campaigns, and even give you access to GDPR compliance settings. You can integrate with other tools and create customizable success messages to thank customers after they sign-up too.
If you’re more interested in subscription forms than landing pages, ConvertKit can help with that too. The sign-up forms available from ConvertKit are ultra-customizable solutions with custom fields, responsive templates, and GPPR compliance. You can add an image to your sign-up form if you want to capture customer attention with visuals, and choose exactly which form fields you need to add for data collection.
Collecting customer data is quick and simple, so you can segment each of the customers who end up on your email list too.
Forms and Landing Pages
If there’s one thing we all know about email marketing, it’s this- you need a list of legitimate prospect email addresses to market to. And since they won’t randomly contact you to submit their details, you’ll need to implement a reliable system of compelling your site visitors to willingly subscribe to the marketing emails.
For this, ConvertKit provides two options- forms and landing pages. Forms, of course, have always been the favorite mode because they’re flexible enough to be embedded onto pretty much any web page.
You can create unlimited sign-up forms, add custom fields, create responsive templates, implement customizable designs, and more. It’s also worth noting ConvertKit forms are GDPR compliant, so they’re excellent if you’re selling in locations around the world.
One interesting feature of ConvertKit forms is the ability to add freebies like incentives and content upgrades to your form. When someone signs up for your newsletter or email list, the system will automatically deliver the incentive they’ve signed up for.
ConvertKit forms look good on all devices and offer a range of custom fields to gather important data, such as first name and last name. You can also add as many forms as you like to your website in a short space of time, thanks to the simple embedding experience.
And the good news here is that ConvertKit realizes that for optimal mailing list building, you’re going to need different types of forms. So it supports slide-in, modal, and in-line forms, which can be strategically placed on pages your target audience frequents.
Unfortunately, these forms can be pretty bland, and customization here is not really much of an option. The only thing you’ll be able to change comfortably is the color. Beyond that, you’ll have to use custom CSS.
To make matters worse, it doesn’t end there. Going by such limitations on forms, it’s no surprise that ConvertKit is also fairly challenged when it comes to landing pages. Its landing page builder has inadequate customization options, to say the least.
So, you’re much better off with a dedicated page builder like Leadpages. And if you’re particularly insistent on ConvertKit, you might want to focus on ones that can integrate with it.
Admit it. How you manage the subscribers ultimately dictates your overall targeting protocol, emails you send, and the consequent results.
To streamline the whole thing and optimize your systems’ capability, ConvertKit uses a tag-based methodology to manage subscribers. This is also leveraged heavily in automation to set rules for different types of subscribers.
Now, the tag-system has numerous critical benefits. And the most outstanding one has got to be the ability to segment subscribers according to their distinctive behaviors.
For instance, you can set a tag for subscribers who open a particular email, then proceed to apply a different one for the selected few who also click on a certain link. Now that alone forms two different sets of subscribers that you can later target with varying emails and offers.
Well, it’s also possible to combine multiple groups by merging tags. This allows you to send dynamic marketing messages that collectively apply to different subgroups at the same time.
And to further simplify the process of assigning tags, ConvertKit released an updated plugin for WordPress users. Among other features, it comes with the ability to track website visitors and subsequently allocate tags according to their individual behaviors.
Now that’s one extremely useful feature. But, here’s the kicker. You might have to wait for now if your site isn’t WordPress-based.
ConvertKit Commerce Tools
ConvertKit has it’s own “ConvertKit Commerce” offering, which helps creators to get paid for their work much faster, without the need for complex websites. The Commerce system is very easy to use. All you need to do is add your product details to a page and set the price. You can customize your product pages to suit your brand, and send your buyers purchases automatically.
ConvertKit’s Commerce tools are intended for digital products, rather than physical items. You’d use them to sell things like eBooks or subscriptions to premium newsletters. There’s no limit to the number of products you can sell, though.
ConvertKit commerce allows you to add PDF, Mobi, and other eBook files to your store, as well as things like photography and picture editing pre-sets, musical files, and so on. The customizable product pages available make it easy to highlight the most important aspects of your product. You can even brand your product page URL and embed buy-now buttons into existing websites.
Once you’ve built your product pages with ConvertKit, you can use the extensive sales funnels toolkit to create a sales and follow-up funnel for every lead. All your sales are available to track in one dashboard too, so it’s much easier to see which of your products are having the best impact on customers.
ConvertKit Creator Pro
Another interesting feature available from ConvertKit is Creator Pro. This service is intended for professional influencers and social media innovators. Within the Creator Pro plan, you’ll have access to features like subscriber referral systems, subscriber scoring, deliverability reporting, and so on. The Pro plan also comes with a flexible pricing plan, so you can scale as needed.
The subscriber sorting feature within Creator Pro is a particularly compelling component. With this service, you can determine which of your subscribers and customers deserve the most attention in your campaign. It’s also easy to spot which of your customers are losing interest so you can re-engage them.
New always feels good, and smells fresh. But, when it comes to SaaS, new also means limited adaptability and extensions. The latest market entrants always have the least number of integrations.
And ConvertKit is not any different. But, you’ve got to give it to them for emerging from nowhere, to build integrations for more than 70 services that are commonly used by creatives. Some of the most notable ones include:
- WP Engine
- Google Analytics
- Click Funnels
Zapier is particularly critical here because it serves as a gateway to hundreds of other possible integrations.
Pricing is one of the most important factors to look at when deciding which software solutions to use. If you want to create opt-in forms, email sequences, and autoresponders with ConvertKit, you need to make sure you can afford the right package. The good news? ConvertKit is quite affordable.
There’s a free plan for new subscribers who want to test out the functionality, but you will be missing some more advanced tools here. It’s also worth noting you can save on two months’ worth of subscription costs by choosing to pay annually instead of monthly.
Aside from the free plan, ConvertKit has two premium plans. Notably, the cost of your ConvertKit account will depend both on the features you want, such as A/B testing, popup forms, and broadcast emails, and on your number of subscribers.
Here’s what you get from each plan:
- Free: You can manage up to 1,000 subscribers, use unlimited forms and landing pages, send email broadcasts, sell subscriptions and digital products, and get extensive customer support.
- Creator: $9 per month (with 300 subscribers). The Creator kit starts at $9 per month, with support for up to 300 subscribers, all the features of “free”, and free migration from another tool. This is also the first package you can use for automated sequences.
- Creator Pro: $29 per month (for 300 subscribers). Starting at $29, Creator Pro features everything you get from Creator, plus Facebook custom audiences, a newsletter referral system, advanced reporting, and subscriber scoring.
If you’re worried about ease of use with ConvertKit, you’ll also get a number of courses to help you figure out the basics. The webinar and tutorials are great for teaching a small business about automation features and the other advanced features of ConvertKit.
ConvertKit Review: Verdict
There are plenty of ConvertKit alternatives out there if you feel you’re not getting enough functionality. You can compare ConvertKit vs Mailchimp, look at the landing page templates and knowledge base of GetResponse, or explore ActiveCampaign. However, for many online business owners, ConvertKit will be a great pick.
The solution is great for segmenting audiences and sending genuinely effective automated campaigns to each customer. The ConvertKit email marketing service works perfectly with other aspects of your online business, to ensure you get results. Even if it’s your first time measuring email metrics and designing campaigns, you can still generate excellent outcomes.
- Excellent email campaigns with good deliverability
- Integrates with existing site builders and CRM tools
- API and developer tools available
- A/B testing for everything from subject lines to CTAs
- Good insights into open rates and click through
- Free plan available
- Easy to use with lots of support
- Can be expensive depending on your plan
- Not great for agencies
Who Should Consider Using ConvertKit?
Well, it seems ConvertKit was indeed built for bloggers, podcasters and small enterprises seeking to grow their audience base, and ultimately convert the subscribers into customers.
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much it. Although they would be impressed by ConvertKit’s overall simplicity, high-level marketers would feel very restricted on this platform. Only advanced email marketing solutions come with just the right amount of flexibility and provisions for extensive targeting, marketing, plus consequent conversion.