The two most popular email platforms amongst bloggers and online business owners are MailChimp and ConvertKit. Let me give you a brief background on each one. MailChimp is a free email platform for those with an email list below 2,000 subscribers, making it ideal for new bloggers that are starting out, but it does have several limitations. Whereas ConvertKit has many extra features that make building your list easy and email marketing a dream! However, there is a monthly fee right from the start.
A common question asked among new bloggers and creative entrepreneurs is - ‘I’m just starting out creating an email list and I want to work on growing its size, but I’m not currently making much income, should I stick with MailChimp for now, or make the investment in ConvertKit?’ Does that sound familiar? Then this post is just for you!
I want to quickly mention that I am an affiliate for ConvertKit. This just means I receive a small commission if you purchase through the links in this post. But don’t let that put you off, I still love and recommend them regardless!
The limitations of MailChimp
Before we get started, please note that I don’t mean to bash MailChimp at all in this post. I still think it’s a great platform for beginners and those who can’t afford to invest much yet, however, there are several limitations I struggled with whilst using their service and I’m going to share those with you.
Firstly, It’s a list-based platform. This basically means it’s based on the lists you have, rather than the subscribers. If you have more than one list and the same subscriber signs up to multiple lists, it gets counted as multiple subscribers even though it's the same person. This means if you have the free MailChimp plan, you’re using up your free 2,000 subscribers faster and if you have a paid MailChimp plan, you’re paying to have the same person multiple times! Annoying right?
My second limitation with MailChimp is that auto-responders aren’t included in the free plan, so if you’re trying to start your new business cost-free, it means trying to work around needing an autoresponder. For me I was willing to spend the money, but MailChimp wasn’t a system I loved using, so I was just reluctant to invest in it.
That brings me onto my next point. I just didn’t find MailChimp simple to set up. Once everything was set up it worked great and did the job, but I found myself spending a long time looking up tutorials on how to do everything. Things that I would expect to be easy just seemed a complicated and a bit of a hassle.
My last MailChimp struggle, which was a big one for me, is it was a tricky trying to implement content upgrades. As I mentioned, the free plan doesn’t include an auto-responder so I found myself figuring out other ways to send a content upgrade. I ended up using the welcome email to send them to a password-protected page on my site where they could download their freebie, but that method had several faults and it just wasn’t what I wanted. Of course this would have all been solved if I had upgraded to the paid plan and made use of the autoresponder, but I knew ConvertKit was a better system and if I was going to pay for my email platform, I wanted to go with them.
The advantages of choosing ConvertKit
ConvertKit was specifically created with bloggers and online business owners in mind, so it’s features are a lot more targeted towards our needs.
It’s a subscriber-based platform, meaning that the annoying issue of duplicate subscribers that occurs in MailChimp isn't a problem. You’re subscribers can be in as many lists, sequences, tags and forms as you like without having to pay for them multiple times. Hooray!
It’s easy to set up opt-in forms and content upgrades. You just create a new form for each opt-in and you can add the download directly to the confirmation email. ConvertKit also shows you the conversion rate of each form so you can track the success of each opt-in!
Email sequences makes it easy to set up email courses and sales funnels. ConvertKit also includes a template sequence with handy tips to get started!
Tags and Segments
You can organise your subscribers with tags and segments. This allows you to learn more about your subscribers and optimise your email marketing towards them. You can include or exclude groups of subscribers from certain forms, broadcasts, and sequences depending on their interests and send more targeted promotional emails depending on your customer's previous purchases.
Automations allows your email system to run efficiently by itself! The ‘trigger’ and ‘action’ method means you can give specific rules to improve the flow of your marketing system. For example, every time someone subscribes them to a new form, you can set it to automatically add them to certain sequence.
I haven’t experimented too much with the additional features yet, but I’ll definitely be using them in the future. These consist of landing pages, pop-up forms and the ability to show different content to those that have already subscribed to the displayed form. Nifty!
Why I recommend investing now, not later!
When I was using MailChimp my email list was pretty stationary. I wasn’t getting much growth each month and I knew I wasn’t reaching my potential, so I decided it was time to change things up. Since switching my email list to ConvertKit and incorporating more content upgrades, I grew by list by 800% in a month! Admittedly I did have a very small list at the time so it wasn’t too difficult, but it was an achievement nevertheless!
If you want to build a successful list quickly, your tools should aid the process, not hinder you. I recommend you just bite the bullet and get everything set up the way you want now, then you don’t have to worry about swapping it over later. It’s going to be harder to swap over a bigger list, so why wait and make thing more complicated later down the line.
I feel like the saying “go big or go home” pretty much sums it up. If you’re devoted to building your list, ConvertKit is the choice for you, not only will it help grow your list faster, but it will also make it easier to expand in the future.