ConvertKit Review: Email Marketing Automation For Bloggers

This ConvertKit review covers all the important features, its overall pricing, plus its suitability as an email marketing automation tool.

As a regular blogger, I’ve also seen the results first-hand. Even when you’re not particularly selling anything, email marketing will get you those content shares you target. As a matter of fact, email subscribers are three times more likely to share your pieces on social media than other types of readers.

That’s why I’ve always been particularly keen about email automation tools. Mailchimp, Salesforce, Hubspot, Marketo, Constant Contact, you name it. I’ve tried them all. Including some of the latest solutions that haven’t been on the market for long.

Now, I admit that I might not have the time to follow up with all the debutantes. I only focus on the ones that outstandingly seem and smell different.

And you know what? This specific one stood out principally because it touches on something close to my heart- blogging. It’s a new email marketing automation tool built specifically for bloggers.

So, how good is it? What are its strengths? Any observable weaknesses?

Well, let’s find out…

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.

ConvertKit

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 Features

Email Automation

Let’s start off with why we’re even looking into this tool in the first place- email automation.

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.

ConvertKit Triggers & Actions

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 at the 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.

Email Broadcasts

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.

And to leverage your selected tag segmentation, or add merge tags, ConvertKit provides an additional personalization option.

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.

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.

ConvertKit forms

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.

Managing Subscribers

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.

ConvertKit tags

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 Integrations

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:

Zapier is particularly critical here because it serves as a gateway to hundreds of other possible integrations.

ConvertKit Pricing

Thankfully, ConvertKit extends its overall simplicity theme to the pricing schedule.

Everything is pretty straightforward here. Instead of locking out selected users from certain features, the service grants full access to all levels of subscribers. The corresponding billing is only based on the number of subscribers on your mailing list.

And if you want to get a feel of ConvertKit’s provisions before proceeding, you can give it a try for 14 days free of charge. But, sadly, this is only applicable to users dealing with up to 5,000 subscribers. Past that level is the advanced user level, which is only open to demos.

Now, to continue leveraging the service past the two week period, there are four possible pricing options:

  • For up to 1,000 subscribers, users are required to pay $29 per month.
  • For 1,000 to 3,000 subscribers, users are required to pay $49 per month.
  • For 3,000 to 5,000 subscribers, users are required to pay $79 per month.
  • For 5,000 to 8,000 subscribers, users are required to pay $99 per month. This is the only package supporting free concierge migration.

ConvertKit pricing

Fortunately, there’s a way to make your package cheaper. But there’s a catch. You have to stick around for at least one year, since only annual prepay would qualify you for 2 months free. Basically, you end up paying for 10 months cumulatively, to get two more at no additional cost.

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.

 

ConvertKit Rating: 4.0 - Review by

Davis Porter

Davis Porter is a B2B and B2C ecommerce pundit who’s particularly obsessed with digital selling platforms, online marketing, hosting solutions, web design, cloud tech, plus customer relationship management software. When he’s not testing out various applications, you’ll probably find him building a website, or cheering Arsenal F.C. on.