I started using ConvertKit in April 2016 and the features have drastically changed since then. While I wrote an honest ConvertKit review back in July 2016, I wanted to write a fresh review that combines not only my personal feelings about the product but also my professional expertise.
After reading the review, I hope you are able to judge for yourself whether ConvertKit is right for you and whether it’s time for you to take the plunge and join the ConvertKit family.
I will be honest with you, I do not exclusively use ConvertKit anymore due to my professional needs, but I am an active user and I am a ConvertKit Certified Expert. Also, any links mentioned in this post may be affiliate links and I may be paid a nice commission if you sign up using one of my links (at no extra cost to you of course).
It’s been an exciting year for ConvertKit, and I am honestly proud to be an advocate for those whose needs are met by ConvertKit. This tool played a massive role in growing my list in the early stages of my business and while you may be thinking “well any email marketing system can do that,” you may be right, but none made it as easy for me as ConvertKit.
What Is ConvertKit?
ConvertKit is an email automation software, that allows you to collect leads and automate the email process. The platform was designed with mainly bloggers in mind, but I can attest to the fact that it can be used by any business.
The tool can be integrated with many other third-party tools such as WordPress, Leadpages, ClickFunnels, Instapage, and more so that people can automatically join your list without any manual work.
The History Behind ConvertKit
ConvertKit was started to make it easier for creators to make an income online. I recall the biggest thing about ConvertKit in the past was their ability to make delivering lead magnets easier. This is still true, but I believe the beauty behind ConvertKit is the fact it was started by a blogger like us, who truly understands our needs and what is important vs. what is not.
ConvertKit was started by Nathan Barry. (The below is quoted from ConvertKit.com)
In previous careers Nathan has been a designer, author, and blogger. After learning the power of email marketing he gave up a successful blogging career to build ConvertKit. Outside of work Nathan spends his time playing soccer, woodworking, and chasing after his two little boys.
My First Interaction With ConvertKit
When venturing out to start my own business from home, I knew it was important to grow my list. That’s all people were talking about, and I felt the pressure to begin there and then. At the time, the go-to tool was ConvertKit. There was a free 30-day trial being offered, so I thought I may as well try it. If I didn’t like it, I could always cancel, right?
I will be honest; I didn’t feel the magic initially, but when my list began to grow, I started using more features and began to see why this is a great tool for anyone beginning their journey with online business and email marketing.
Why You Need To Take Email Marketing Seriously
If you need more information on how to get started with email marketing, I have written a complete guide on email marketing that you may find useful. I explain nine things you need to do to increase your chances of having a successful email marketing campaign.
Why You Should Consider Using ConvertKit Today
It would be unfair for me to tell you that you must switch without giving you a explanation of why, so I want to share with you the powerful features of ConvertKit to show you what you could do to improve your email marketing campaigns with one simple tool.
EASY TO UNDERSTAND DASHBOARD
When you first log in to your account, you will land on the Subscribers tab. You will automatically get a glance of how many people have joined your list, and you will also see a list of your most recent subscribers at the bottom of the graph.
This helps you view the days where you gained the most followers and helps you identify trends in your email list growth.
When you select the Forms tab, you will see a graph that breaks down which forms people joined on each day. With ConvertKit, you can see at a glance which forms are bringing in the most subscribers and check the conversion rates.
If the conversion rates are low for any given form, you can then see what you can do to optimise the opt-in form.
I love this new “Net new subscribers” graph that has recently been introduced. You can see on a daily basis how many people have joined vs. how many people have cancelled their subscriptions, giving you an idea of how many net new subscribers you are receiving daily.
If you had an unusually large number of unsubscribes on one day, you could check if you had a broadcast that went out on that day and see if the contents of the email were responsible for the unsubscribe rate.
When your email list and your business grow, your needs become bigger. Quite often, your automation needs may grow, and it can become harder to keep track of what happens when and where.
Visual automations make it easier for you to visualize the path that your subscribers go through and make changes as necessary right there and then.
You can begin automations based on links that people have clicked within emails. This is useful if you send a welcome email with links asking people to let you know what they are interested in. It helps to segment your list automatically and send each prospect down a unique route just for them.
I love the tagging system. It allows you to tag based on specific things. You can tag people based on forms they have joined, things they have purchased, pages on your site they have visited, and links they have clicked.
EASILY SEGMENT YOUR AUDIENCE
As time goes on, the number of forms, landing pages, and tags you have may increase. When you want to send a broadcast to a specific set of people, it is easier to send a broadcast to a segment than to select each and every form, landing page, or tag.
Segments speed up the process of sending broadcasts to a certain group of people.
ConvertKit makes sending broadcasts a breeze. You can send an email to your whole list or to people in specific tags, segments, automations, or even based on people’s locations. There are also a few other little things I love about ConvertKit broadcasts.
YOU CAN A/B TEST SUBJECT LINES
The titles you use on emails are so important as they are the difference between someone opening your email and someone ignoring it. If you’re not sure which title would work better, you can split test two titles.
ConvertKit will send your email to a small percentage of the people chosen to receive your broadcast. Of that small percentage, 50% will receive subject line A and 50% will receive subject line B. The subject line that receives the most opens will then be sent to the rest of your list.
RESEND TO UNOPENS
If you have had a large number of people who have not opened your broadcast, you have the option to resend it to them and change/edit the subject line before you send it.
TAG PEOPLE WHO CLICK LINKS WITHIN YOUR BROADCAST
If you want to tag people who click specific links in your broadcast emails, you can do that too!
SHARE BROADCAST PUBLICALLY
For a long time, I had only seen this option available with MailChimp, but now ConvertKit users can share their broadcasts with the public. A link will be generated once the email has been sent and not before.
The simple and non-clunky editor makes it easy for you to write and edit emails without distractions. When you view a visual automation, you can also click on an email and ConvertKit will open the email screen for you to edit there and then.
I love the clean interface that allows you to focus on your content and nothing else.
Making a sequence is so easy in ConvertKit. If you’re not sure how you want your sequence to work immediately, you can enter all your emails in draft mode and then make them live when you’re ready. You can separate emails by days or hours.
One of the amazing things I love about their sequences is the ability to send one email and vary the content using tags. This can save you having to write and send multiple emails. You can also skip specific emails based on tags and other filters.
INBUILT LANDING PAGES
If you do not want to invest in another tool to create landing pages and if you don’t have a website, you can actually create your own landing pages within ConvertKit.
The templates are simple but can help you get your offer up and running in a matter of minutes rather than hours or days. I don’t think their templates are ugly, but they are not as customizable as some may like.
You can also add custom CSS if you like to make the form even more on brand than the stock templates that they have.
EASY TO CREATE & CUSTOMIZE FORMS
Forms are very easy to make and are also customizable with CSS. Forms are usually used to embed in pages on your website to allow subscribers to sign up to your list. They can all be customized to match your brand fonts and colors and can be embedded anywhere that allows custom HTML embed codes.
There are three types of forms:
This is usually used when all you want to collect is an email address and all you want is an email address.
I like to call this form naked. It’s the bare bones of all the forms.
The form takes up a little more space on the page than the other two forms, and you can also add a picture if you like.
If you do decide to customize your forms with CSS, you can do quite a few things to make the forms match your brand as closely as possible.
If you are integrating ConvertKit with third-party software, it doesn’t actually matter what the form looks like. Some third-party software use APIs to send the information back to ConvertKit. This means that while you may be asked to connect the application to a form, it is only for you to add the name to the form.
PLENTY OF INTEGRATIONS
There are multiple native integrations that make it easier for ConvertKit to communicate with the applications you use to sell your products and services. If there is no native integration, Zapier can help you expand the possibilities.
EASY SUBSCRIBER MANAGEMENT
When I started doing ConvertKit migrations for customers, one of the things they loved about ConvertKit compared to other email service providers such as MailChimp is the fact that it is based on how many subscribers are on your list, not how many times an email has been added to your list.
Confused? Let me explain…
Usually, with a service like MailChimp, if I sign up ten times, MailChimp will count this as ten email addresses on your list. This eats into your free allowance. If someone signs up ten times for your offer in ConvertKit, their email address is only counted once. Awesome, right?
When you view each customer, you have a detailed customer profile that lets you know every form the subscriber has signed up for, every email they have received and the delivery status, and every purchase they have made (more on that later).
One thing that subscribers can do that they were not able to do before is update their profile. This means, subscribers do not have to contact you to update their details, they can do this themselves with a link at the bottom of your emails.
It has also been made easy for you to see the types of subscribers on your list. You will have five different types.
These are subscribers who have joined your list and confirmed that they have signed up (if you used double opt-in). If you did not use double opt-in, they will automatically show up as confirmed.
If you have double opt-in turned on, someone who signs up is unconfirmed until they click the link in the confirmation email. If they do not click that link, they will remain an unconfirmed subscriber in this list. These do not count as part of your subscriber limit.
These are subscribers who have signed up with an email address that ConvertKit has failed to deliver to. This often happens when people have given an incorrect email address. These do not count as part of your subscriber limit.
These are people who have unsubscribed from your email list. They do not count as part of your subscriber limit.
These are subscribers who are on your list but have not opened any of your emails for over 90 days.
THEIR GDPR COMPLIANCE SOLUTION IS ONE OF THE BEST
I love this feature!
They have set it up so that anyone that who signs up from Europe is greeted with an additional screen to confirm that the subscriber is happy to receive further promotional emails from you and is happy for their data to be used for marketing purposes.
This takes the guesswork away from you having to do it yourself, especially if you’re not tech savvy.
For a very long time, the only native integration with Squarespace was MailChimp. Now ConvertKit natively integrates with Squarespace, expanding your possibilities and simplifying your email marketing without wasting time importing and exporting data to and from Squarespace.
ConvertKit created a WordPress plugin that allows you to automatically add forms to all pages and simplifies the process of adding forms to specific pages without having to copy and paste code all the time.
LEAD MAGNET DELIVERABILITY
Most of the time, you will be growing your email list by offering prospects a lead magnet. You have the option to send customers to a link to get their item or you can upload a file to be delivered to subscribers immediately.
It makes the process of delivering files so much easier, and it’s one feature that saves so much time for bloggers.
MULTIPLE BUSINESSES IN ONE ACCOUNT
If you have multiple businesses and don’t want to pay for a separate account for each business, then you can run more than one business from the same account. You will have to add the sending email address for each business to your account and create separate forms, landing pages, and sequences for each business.
GREAT FOR AFFILIATE MARKETERS
There are email service providers that do not allow affiliate marketing, but ConvertKit allows it as long as you are not promoting something that is against their terms of service.
You can separate your affiliate offers by forms and send separate sequences that help you understand which content is engaging your audience more than others. This can help you understand which affiliate offers your audience respond to the most and which ones they do not.
SHOW CUSTOM CONTENT BASED ON ACTIONS
This feature is a game changer, and if you do not understand what it means for your business, then you’re about to.
If you are using WordPress, ConvertKit can tell if someone on your list with a specific tag visited your website. You can choose to fire an email sequence to anyone with a given tag.
Maybe someone visits a sales page and this person has shown an interest in the product being sold on this sales page. You can tell ConvertKit to automatically fire the sequence to anyone who has shown an interest in this product (via the allocated tag) and start the nurturing sequence automatically.
You can also automatically add tags based on pages people have visited. Again, you have to be using ConvertKit to take advantage of these amazing features.
I love data, and I am sure I am not the only one. ConvertKit makes it easy for you to retrieve data. Some of the best features I love are:
- Viewing which forms have the best click-through rates (this is great if you are analyzing the performance of your opt-ins)
- Observing which emails within sequences have the highest open rates & click-through rates
- Viewing which days/weeks/months brought in the most subscribers
- Clearly viewing the number of subscribers per broadcast
- Clearly viewing the number of people who didn’t open my broadcasts
You can now see when a customer has purchased an item from you. You can see the exact item they purchased and how much they spent. Their profile will show all their purchases from you making it easier for you to see the lifetime value of each customer.
Image borrowed from ConvertKit on Medium
With the automation feature mentioned above, you can start automations based on a product a customer has purchased. How cool is that?
Gif borrowed from ConvertKit on Medium
Let’s Get Real…What Are The Pros And Cons Of Using ConvertKit?
Let’s be honest, no matter what tool you use, there isn’t one tool that is 100% perfect all the time. This is why ConvertKit may not be for everyone, or why your current automation tool may not be right for you, which is why you’re considering ConvertKit.
Having used the application for two years, these are the major pros and cons I have discovered. You can decide whether these are deal breakers for you or not.
EASY TO GET STARTED
If you’re going to make a change, you want it to at least be easy, right? ConvertKit has created a clean and easy to use interface that anyone can adapt to.
I saw an increase in open rates when I switched to ConvertKit. And many of my migration clients saw an increase in open rates also. We can probably thank the text-based editor for this. Emails without multiple images have proven to show better deliverability.
I love the fact that it’s so easy to get hold of support. They have made it easy with multiple options. You can contact them via email, live chat from within your dashboard, and they have a very active ConvertKit Family Facebook Group. They have also provided willing customers with access to ConvertKit Certified Experts who can help them with their ConvertKit needs for a fee.
FEATURES CAN BE EXPANDED WITH ZAPIER
If there is an automation that you would love to see, but you do not see a native integration, you can expand its possibilities by using Zapier. I have found the Zapier integration to be a brilliant add-on to my toolbox. It helps you do things you couldn’t otherwise imagine.
MAY NOT BE FOR THE PENNY PINCHERS
If you’re a penny pincher, this may not be the best option for you, but if you’re serious about investing in a quality service, then you can try a free 30-day trial today. While I do agree that it is not the cheapest email marketing software out there, I feel that the simplicity it provides me is 100% worth it. I am all about paying for simplicity to make my life easier.
LANDING PAGES ARE NOT VERY CUSTOMIZABLE
While they have given their forms and landing pages a well overdue revamp, you are still limited in terms of what you can do with their landing pages. If you are not very concerned with creating super customized landing pages or are using a third party like ClickFunnels or Leadpages, then this may not be a con for you at all.
If you are looking to use ConvertKit for your landing pages to keep everything in one place or to reduce costs, then you may be a little disappointed with the lack of customization options.
CAN’T ADD THE FACEBOOK PIXEL TO CONVERTKIT LANDING PAGES
If you rely heavily on Facebook Ads and need to pixel your landing page, this is not possible on ConvertKit’s landing pages. You will have to build a landing page on your website if you have one or on a landing page software like Leadpages or ClickFunnels.
CAN ONLY JOIN AN EMAIL SEQUENCE OR LIST ONCE
Sometimes people (like me) sign up for a free email sequence. The sequence gets lost in the inbox, so you attempt to sign up again so that you can receive it again. You can’t do that in ConvertKit. The subscriber has to sign up with a new email address or you have to email them the sequence using another means.
When managing large clients, this became a pain for me. Allowing customers to easily sign up again would be the ultimate solution, but it can’t be done 🙁
NO WAY TO GIVE MULTIPLE PEOPLE DIFFERENT USERNAMES AND PASSWORDS
Offering logins for multiple people is something that has become more important to me and my clients as I find myself working with bigger and bigger clients. Having one login can make things a little hard. I even had one client who had a VA change my client’s password and send a horrible broadcast to her whole list. She was locked out of her account, and needless to say, there was drama.
This client did not use ConvertKit, but it did make me wonder about the best way to handle such accounts when multiple people need access to one application.
LIMITED EMAIL TEMPLATE DESIGNS
I am adding this as a limitation not because I think it is but because I have heard many people complain about it. ConvertKit uses a simple template for emails, and if you are willing to learn a little HTML and CSS, you can make them look a little prettier, but if you are not willing or are unable, then your templates can look a little boring.
I have an unfair advantage because I know how to make these customizations but if you don’t, you may end up a little frustrated with it all.
NO SYNCING WITH FACEBOOK CUSTOM AUDIENCES
At the time of writing this (and I say that as I hope that this changes), if you wanted to create a custom audience based off people on your email list, you currently have to download the list and manually upload it to Facebook Custom Audiences.
As a Facebook marketer, I know that this takes up a lot of time. Having the options to do this automatically is a godsend, but ConvertKit currently does not offer this solution. At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that I use other email marketing platforms and for certain businesses, this is why I use Drip or ActiveCampaign.
If Facebook marketing is not an issue for you and you don’t see yourself ever needing something like this, then it’s not a problem for you at all.
The price of ConvertKit is based on how many subscribers you have. The great thing is, you are not excluded from any features for being on a smaller package.
If you are on annual plan, you start by paying $24 a month if you have up to 1,000 subscribers, and you are offered two months free. If you sign up monthly, then you end up paying $29 a month for up to 1,000 subscriber,s and the price goes up when your list grows.
If you end up reaching 1,000 subscribers mid-month, you will automatically be moved up to the next tier and billed accordingly.
Do I think it’s worth it? Absolutely! I recommend you judge for yourself and trial it.
There are many options out there, and I have tried most of them. As you and your business evolve, you may find yourself having to switch tools to keep up with business needs.
If you really want to, you can create popups, landing pages, and use ConvertKit as your email service provider without investing in any other third-party tool. This alone is worth far more than the $29 a month.
ConvertKit does an excellent job at bridging the gap between the excellent free tools and the super expensive tools out there and blends them together to make a perfect tool for both solopreneurs and entrepreneurs alike.
It is true that in order to grow, you need to be open to change, but when it comes to business tools, the fewer changes you have to make the better. ConvertKit is a tool that will grow with your business needs, and they are constantly making changes to the platform to make it even better.
I still use it for certain aspects of my business as I have found it easier to use than some other tools, and I will continue to use it for the foreseeable future.
New businesses often fear investing in tools with price tags starting from $29 a month, which is why I have created a free course for anyone who signs up under my affiliate link in order to get them started successfully. Those who feel that they have made a bad investment often did not have a strategy in place, and no matter what tool that you use, I would love to see you succeed.
If and when your business needs to evolve, there are tools out there that you can migrate to, but for most businesses, you will find that ConvertKit is enough.
Thinking of making the switch?
I am a ConvertKit Certified Expert and offer migration and set up services for people looking to make the switch from their current email service provider. If you need assistance in making the switch, check out our ConvertKit certified services here for more information.