ConvertKit: Powerful Email Marketing Designed for Bloggers
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ConvertKit is one of the newest additions to the email marketing block. But don’t let its youth fool you. It’s a feature-packed impressive tool that stands out from the crowd. It’s been custom designed with bloggers and other content creators in mind.
It makes effective email marketing easy. A good email marketing tool is essential to increase your website’s traffic, and grow revenue.
In this ConvertKit review, I’ll show you the core features of ConvertKit so you can determine if it’s the right email marketing tool for your blog.
- ConvertKit is a great email marketing platform for bloggers of all levels.
- It’s simple to use for beginners, and there are plenty of good support resources.
- If you need more advanced email marketing features, a different tool is likely better.
Designer Nathan Berry gave up his successful blogging career to create ConvertKit, which he launched in 2013. Since then it’s grown to support a team of over 30 employees.
It’s enjoyed rapid growth over recent years and for a good reason — it’s completely engineered for bloggers.
The goal of this tool is to help optimize your blog for conversions and allow you to easily manage your subscribers and create autoresponders to help deepen your reader relationships.
Can ConvertKit Help Bloggers Become Successful?
In short, it already has.
ConvertKit is used by thousands of hobbyists and small business bloggers, but also some of the most popular professional bloggers on the web.
“If it wasn’t for my email list, I would not be making a full-time income with my blog. ConvertKit has been hands down the best investment I’ve made for my blog and business.”
— Suzi Whitford, Start a Mom Blog
It’s currently being used by some of the biggest blogs out there like Zen Habits and Impossible HQ.
It’s a good idea to look at these sites and learn from how they use ConvertKit to run their business.
Video: A self-taught entrepreneur, Asad Chaudry took his love of magic and grew it into a thriving online venture with help from ConvertKit. His 52 Kards YouTube channel is now closing in on 1 million followers. He’s also launched successful Kickstarter campaigns and online courses. This could be you.
What Can You Do With ConvertKit?
- Put signup forms on your blog content
- Offer giveaways for subscribers
- Offer a bonus for new signups
- Offer an email course for subscribers
- Create a club, sending exclusive content to those who sign up
How to Use Email to Make Money
Once you build your email list, you can make money with it by:
- Selling an email course
- Sending subscribers to your website’s product or services page
- Including affiliate links in emails to products (when someone buys something with your affiliate link, you get a small cut)
So while ConvertKit will cost you money upfront, it will make you money in the long run if used well.
Perks Designed For Bloggers
I don’t want to overwhelm you right now, but ConvertKit can do more for your blogging business as well.
For example, it can be used to create landing pages, which are targeted pages that convert visitors to email subscribers at a much higher rate than a normal blog post.
Video: Mique Provost is a blogger who used ConvertKit to turn her hobby into a full-time job.
Is It Easy to Use?
One thing you’ll be surprised about upon logging into the ConvertKit dashboard is how streamlined it is.
If you’re transferring over from a prior email marketing provider, you’ll be impressed by the user experience of this software.
The user experience is top-notch and stands above most other email marketing providers. It packs some of the core features of high-level email automation tools while keeping a remarkably low learning curve.
On the home screen, you’ll be able to:
- Create sign-up forms for your site
- Manage your “broadcasts” (one-off emails)
- Create courses delivered by email
- Manage your contact list
- Set up various automated actions
You’ll be immediately prompted to create forms you can place on your website to collect new leads.
This tool offers you the option to create simple subscriber forms or complete landing pages.
These subscriber forms are then tied to email automation sequences. An automation sequence is a pre-planned series of emails that gets triggered by an action that you specify.
You’ll also have the ability to send one-off emails to your list as well.
Beginner? “Creator Pass” May Be For You
If you’re new to email marketing and would like coaching and step-by-step guidance on strategy, you will want to look into ConvertKit’s “Creator Pass” service.
In return for a one-time fee, Creator Pass gives you permanent access to all of their step-by-step courses on how to get the best results.
You’ll get weekly live workshops and coaching and access to guest teachers
They’ll even provide a roadmap for turning your online venture into a full-time living.
“I had a waiting list for my first product because I followed the instructions in the course. I got 3 sales on my first day!”
— Laura Goyer, The Culinary Travel Guide
This service, which has tiers for beginners, intermediate or advanced users, can help get you up and running with results in a minimal time frame.
Learn From the Pros: Grow Your Conversions and Sales
You’ll learn and use the same tactics the pros use to grow conversions and sales.
The courses cover topics like:
- Creating a website
- Getting your first 100 subscribers
- Creating a digital product and earning your first dollar
- Strategies for growing your email list and sales
- A roadmap for earning a full-time living from your online venture
Video: These fantasy footballers turned their hobby into a full-time living by using ConvertKit. The “Creator Pass” is ideal for those who have full-time income in mind.
ConvertKit’s Main Features
All of ConvertKit’s features are designed to help you optimize your lead generation process so you can get the most value from your list. Let’s look at the most valuable features.
1. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation sounds complicated but is pretty simple.
Think of “manual” marketing. You want to drive traffic to a new post or product, so you email people who might be interested in it. Then you follow up with them a few days later, and if they buy something, you might send another email.
Imagine doing that for 1,000 people – it would take all of your time!
It’s powerful because you can create email that’s targeted to people’s behaviors and personal interests. A key tactic is to set up a series of emails, designed to be delivered at set time intervals, targeting a single interest.
Example: Let’s say you blog about career topics, and sell your services as an advisor.
- You offer a download on your site of a free e-book you’ve created called “Get the Promotion You Deserve: 5 Negotiation Skills You Need.”
- To get the book, visitors have to sign up for your email list.
- After they sign up, they not only get the book, but they are automatically sent a series of emails with valuable content on that particular topic of “getting a promotion.”
This is far more effective than “blitzing” your entire list with the same content all the time. (That practice, known as “email blasts” or “spray and pray” is widely known to be a poor practice.)
This video provides an overview of the automation features in ConvertKit.
These targeted, pre-planned emails may offer webinars or email courses on the topic of getting a promotion. With ConvertKit you’ll be able to see how your target audience reacts to these offers.
This “communication series” is also called an “automation sequence.” In ConvertKit, you can also plan, in advance, what happens when a recipient doesn’t open one of the emails in the series. (For example, you could have that email automatically re-sent to them in a week.)
What You Can Automate With ConvertKit . . .
ConvertKit shines with its easy to implement automation features.
There are eight different triggers you can use and seven different actions you can apply. For example, if a user subscribes via an opt-in on your site, you can tag them and create a welcome email sequence.
The options get quite advanced (but remain easy to use) and allow you to create multiple automation sequences geared towards specific subscriber groups.
You can also make sure your subscribers don’t get hit with, say, a sales email for a product that they’ve already purchased. Nice!
2. One-Off Emails
Beyond creating automation sequences, you can also send one-off emails. These emails are called “broadcasts.”
To create a broadcast simply select the option from the main navigation menu, select the segment of the list you want to send the message to, craft your email, and hit send. The process is quite simple.
3. Tagging and Segmenting
With ConvertKit, you can tag and segment subscribers in a unique way. Segmenting will increase open rates, and ultimately conversion rates.
Segmenting subscribers essentially means that you’re able to “tag” them with a specific label, then send them email specifically created for that “labeled” group.
For example, you can tag people who sign up through a specific form as being interested in a particular topic (e.g. tag people as “frugal” when they sign up using a form offering discounts and deals to subscribers).
Another example: you could tag people who signed up at a live event so that they get emails referencing the event. (This feels much more personal to them because it indicates you took the time to carefully craft email that’s relevant to them.)
This is a very neat and intuitive way of broadcasting messages to certain portions of your list.
If this seems too complicated, skip it. Tagging and segmenting are powerful tools, but if you’re a beginner, the core email automation features will be more than enough to get started and be successful.
Video: Personal Trainer Krista Stryker launched a blog and then an exercise app. She used ConvertKit to help grow her audience. In this video she breaks down her income sources for you.
If you are comfortable with basic tagging and segmentation, ConvertKit also has some advanced segmentation features.
These allow you to designate certain emails to be sent to individuals who have:
- Purchased a specific product
- Opened a specific prior email you sent
- Joined your subscriber list between certain dates
- And more . . .
There are other email tools out there with more advanced options, but what ConvertKit offers is more than enough for the majority of bloggers.
4. List Engagement Features
ConvertKit has a few unique features that will help you get the most from your list and maximize the reach of every email you create. Check them out below.
Whenever you send an email to your list, not every person is going to open your email. But, with the Resend to Unopens feature, you can have the email re-sent — after a specified time interval — to those who didn’t open it the first time. This will help to maximize the reach of every email you send.
Lead Magnet Opt-In
In order for subscribers to join your list, they’ll need to go through a double opt-in. If you’re using lead magnets to get people to join your list (you really should be), then you’ll be able to deliver the lead magnet as a double opt-in. So, your user will join your list at the same time they download your lead magnet.
What is a Lead Magnet?
Never heard of a “lead magnet”? A lead magnet is something you offer in return for a visitor’s email address. It’s typically something free and valuable to the audience you’re targeting.
Common lead magnets include downloadable items like books, white papers, research studies, how-tos, and checklists. Some lead magnets will simply allow individuals to access some private content online like a video series, an introductory course or a webinar.
ConvertKit and WordPress
Integrating ConvertKit with your WordPress blog is quite simple. You can either copy and paste the form code that’s generated within the tool’s form creator onto any area of your site, like your sidebar, pages, or other widgetized areas.
Or, you can use the ConvertKit plugin. With this plugin, you can easily add a signup form to every post and page on your site. Just install the plugin, select what form you want to display, and add the included shortcode to the pages where you want the form to display.
Customer Support and Help Resources
ConvertKit has over 100+ well-written support articles in their knowledgebase.
How to be Successful With Email Marketing
Some of these articles walk you through how to use ConvertKit, but many also teach you how to be successful with email marketing, which makes the knowledgebase a great resource for bloggers of all experience levels.
ConvertKit also has a solid support team. They offer live help through email and live chat. The live chat is available 24 hours a day during weekdays (not weekends).
Support for Blogging
ConvertKit also provides resources and how-tos for the more mundane aspects of blogging. Some of these are related to WordPress and some are just for blogging generally.
Examples include how to create images for your blog and how to plan a webinar.
They also offer free books like Design for Non-Designers.
This ConvertKit video shows bloggers how to create professional-looking graphics, easily.
Who Should Use ConvertKit?
ConvertKit is the only email marketing software built specifically for bloggers. If you’re a blogger who’s looking to monetize your list, create automation sequences, and even sell online courses, then this is a smart choice.
A lot of email marketing tools that offer advanced automation features have a steep learning curve.
Yes, they’re powerful, but to get the most from the software you really have to know what you’re doing. ConvertKit packs these same powerful features into an incredibly easy to use package.
Need Assistance Migrating From Another Provider?
If you’ve been using another tool, then you can utilize ConvertKit’s free concierge migration process which will handle all of the tasks related to transitioning your opt-in forms and lists to a new provider.
Who Should Use a Different Provider?
ConvertKit isn’t going to be the right tool for everyone. For example, the pricing tiers are a little steeper for those with larger email lists, so that might deter you if you’re trying to cut costs.
Text-Based Emails vs. Fancy Templates
Also, there aren’t any email templates, you only have the ability to send text emails. For most this won’t be a big deal, but if you really want to create an email newsletter that reads like a magazine, you won’t be able to do that with this tool.
Text-Based Emails Get Better Results
Realize though, that flashy-looking templates are so widespread that it seems consumer blindness has set in. As startups have realized, simple text emails cut through the “noise” and command attention because they look different and personal.
They also have a higher chance of landing in the main inbox of email services like Gmail, rather than floundering in the promotional folder.
Text-based emails get you focused on providing content that provides high-value for your subscribers, rather than fussing with design templates.
Finally, there are no existing A/B testing features, which can make it difficult to narrow in on what’s actually working within your campaigns.
SMS and Other Channels
If you want to use one dashboard to plan not just email communications, but also text messages (known as SMS), print postcards, and website pop-ups, you should look for a more advanced tool.
Barron Cuadro took his knowledge of fashion and turned it into a business helping men dress for success. He used ConvertKit to grow his business. Two years after launch, the success of Cuadro’s venture, Effortless Gent, enabled him to quit his full-time job.
Pros and Cons of ConvertKit
With all that said, certain positive and negative aspects of ConvertKit stand out:
- Tailored specifically for bloggers
- Extremely simple to use, even for beginners
- Has all basic features, plus some advanced automation features
- Great support team and knowledgebase if you need help
- Lacks some advanced features like A/B testing that other tools have
- Relatively expensive compared to some competitors
- No email templates
Alternatives to ConvertKit
If ConvertKit doesn’t quite meet your needs, you might like these email marketing tools instead:
- MailChimp – One of the best platforms for email marketing beginners. Relatively cheap prices, and not too complicated to get up and running. See this MailChimp review for more detail.
- Constant Contact – Another beginner-oriented email marketing tool. It’s very easy to get set up, but you may find that you outgrow the platform as you get more subscribers and need more features. See what they offer in our Constant Contact review.
- GetResponse – If you need more power, Get Response offers one of the most complete feature sets you’ll find. However, it’s not tailored for bloggers and is more complicated to use. You can learn more from this GetResponse review.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few questions you might be wondering about.
Is ConvertKit Better Than MailChimp?
They’re both similar tools in that they cater towards beginner email marketers.
Neither is better than the other, they’re just different. If you’re a blogger looking for simplicity, ConvertKit is likely better. Conversely, MailChimp is usually best if you expect to need more advanced features (like A/B testing) later on.
How Much Does ConvertKit Cost?
ConvertKit offers different plans which you can pay for monthly or annually. Explore their plans on their pricing page.
Is ConvertKit a CRM?
Some email marketing tools also have built-in customer relationship management (CRM) features. These are best for B2B businesses that focus on a low volume of high-value subscribers.
Since ConvertKit is for bloggers with hundreds or thousands of readers and subscribers, it doesn’t make sense to have these features, so it doesn’t. ConvertKit is not a CRM. It’s just a good, simple email marketing tool.
Overall, ConvertKit is an effective tool that will help you convert more of your traffic into subscribers, and nurture those subscribers with effective follow-up sequences.
It makes the email creation process dead simple with it’s intuitive and easy-to-use platform.
The prices might be a little steep for those with larger lists, but that could be offset with improved targeting and sales sequences.
Being one of the younger tools on the market, its future looks bright. Expect new features to be added in time that will help bloggers more efficiently manage their lists and engage with their subscribers.
Contributing Writer: Kevin Wood | Contributing Editor: Sherrie Gossett