What is ConvertKit? Does it have a free trial? How much is a monthly subscription?
These are all questions I’ve been asked before.
And today, I’m answering them all. The tool has been heavily advertised for fans of Mailchimp and has gained a significant number of conversions as a result - including me.
Let’s take a deep dive into why this email automation application is good; or not, and how much it’ll cost your business.
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What is ConvertKit?
It’s an automated emailing software that is best used by professional bloggers who want to maximize the potential of their contacts list. One of the best things about the software is that it supports a wide range of features including landing pages.
Think of it as a cross between MailChimp and the Infusionsoft platform - but more affordable, and with a more intuitive user interface.
My personal experience with the software and everything I have to say
Before we get down to the nitty gritty details, I wanted to share my personal experiences using the email autoresponder. As you probably know by now, I’m a professional blogger by trade and have invested a good chunk of my time to review products like these.
So this isn’t the first time I’ve come across something like ConvertKit. That said, the only way I could describe using the emailing software was coming home to something familiar. The user experience was streamlined, simple, easy to navigate, and - best of all, encouraged productivity.
As a writer, I like to keep my workspace clean and free from any distractions. The same can be said for the platforms I use. I’m not a fan of overly dressed up dashboards and too-cluttered designs. One of the things I appreciated with the way ConvertKit was designed was that there were very few diversions.
Another thing I liked was that with most of the plans, you’re getting nearly all the same features with the exception of one or two. For example, the lower price tiers don’t include directory migration. You can only get it by subscribing to a plan that is integrated for up to 5,000 contacts.
Another thing you should consider is that the platform itself is the HTML templates. This might be a dealbreaker for you if you’re not too familiar with coding and text-based platforms. However, for someone like me who has some experience with hypertext software, it was a relatively easy affair.
Which leads me to my next point: it’s a software designed for someone who has at least a bit of experience working with coding. If you want to be able to create attractive prompts for your contacts, you’ll have to be able to incorporate some design work into your newsletters.
That said, even minimal knowledge is good. The software is easy enough to navigate. Plus the range of template options make it easy to start with pre-coded emails.
Who is ConvertKit for?
When you take a look at the features list for the autoresponder, the first thought that will probably pop into your mind is that it’s quite extensive and impressive.
That said, it’s primarily marketed towards bloggers and coders. However, it’s not ideal for you if you want to be able to target a wide audience since it focuses more on one-on-one connection with your leads.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have any technical skill with HTML and coding, you won’t get much use out of the software. But then again, why would you be looking into hypertext-based email responders if you aren’t comfortable?
This means the platform is perfect for you if you’re looking for simpler layouts that are rich in text and don’t have much design elements involved.
ConvertKit features: what can it do for my business?
As I mentioned before, ConvertKit has a wide range of features that look good on paper. It’s ideal if you’re looking for a software to manage your subscriber lists, automated emails, and more.
Before we dive into its key features, let’s go over my thoughts of what the email automation software has to offer. I mentioned at the start of this article that I switched from MailChimp.
This was certainly a personal decision. I liked the way the latter platform made it easy for novices to build content-rich emails. But it was personally a feature I didn’t need in particular.
That said, the former’s editor was easy to use and simple enough that I was able to focus on the content of my email without getting distracted by decorative features.
Unfortunately, that also means your newsletters will be less attractive. One can only assume this is the main reason why the platform doesn’t allow for mass-sending since it would look a bit spammy.
Take a look at its best features:
Let’s start with the weakest link in the software. The editor is certainly a point of weakness for ConvertKit and is one of the things that disappointed me with an otherwise great automation tool.
First, let's start with the design aspect. Now I’m not saying that HTML tools won’t be able to help you send out attractive emails, but this is an aspect in which CK fails miserably.
Their templates are lacking to say the least. Not to mention the fact that editing is quite limited. You’re only able to change certain elements like the background color, font, and button style.
Luckily other aspects like changing the subject line are straightforward and don’t need any technical knowledge. There’s also a handy + button at the left hand side of your screen that you can use to add sections to your email like photos, bulleted lists, and more.
If you’re used to builders like MailChimp that utilize blocks, you’re certainly going to experience a bit of a learning curve with ConvertKit. That said, the interface is easier to use for non-professional HTML users compared to other platforms.
Another thing you need to consider is that there are certain design features that you will have to add in using custom hypertext codes. For example, if you want to add social buttons, you’ll have to add in a snippet of code to do so.
One more thing you need to be aware of is that there are no in-built spam and spell-check features. You’ll need to either rely on third party software for this, or resort to hoping that your efforts don’t end up in the SPAM or junk folder.
ConvertKit relies on email tags to organize your subscriber lists. This allows you to more easily create a personalized list of customer emails. Plus, you can add multiple tags to your contacts so they appear in various “collections”.
It’s also easy to pinpoint exactly what content you want your clients to receive. For example, you can choose certain autoresponders and forms that will be sent to them once you add specific tags.
There are two ways you can add new subscribers: manually adding them and migrating them from another platform like MailChimp. The process is straightforward and easy to do. Unless you have an extremely large mailing list, it should take no more than a few minutes to set up.
One of the best features the tool focuses its energy on is its analytic system. I like how the platform gives you different metric options so you can follow your customer’s activity and adjust your strategies based on that.
The reporting feature covers subscriber progress, click rates, and more. I like how the dashboard is clean, simple, free from confusing terminologies, and allows you to view your reports quickly and with no fuss.
There is also an analytics tool dedicated to those who sell products online. You’ll be able to view customer activity such as how they were directed to your website, what products were purchased the most, and which channels are working the best for your business.
Contact segmenting plays a huge part in being able to deliver content that connects with your customers. For example, if I were to subscribe to the newsletter of a blog that posts all kinds of content, I’m most likely looking for blogs similar to what I’ve read on the site.
The same can be said for online stores that sell different products. I don’t want to be upsold on a heavy wool jacket if I live on a tropical island.
Segmentation or organizing your customers and viewers according to what they do on your website is important if you want to maintain a personal connection with your audience.
This feature allows ConvertKit users to add conditions to certain contacts like location, date of subscription, and their purchase behavior on your website. Of course there are more tags you can add, make sure you maximize this feature according to the needs of your business or blog by personalizing it to suit your audience best.
The form and landing page builder
A big edge the platform has over its competitors is its form and landing page building and editing tool. The design ability is great, and it’s easy to navigate. There aren’t very many distractions, plus the user-interface is smooth and attractive.
Admittedly, this is one of their most advanced features on the platform. In addition to a good selection of templates and basic design ability like changing the fonts, colors, background, and more, you’re also able to access other more high-tech functions like.
For one, you’re able to select what action you want to take for certain signups or clicks on the forms and landing pages you create. This allows you to more easily set automations while you’re building instead of after.
One of the easiest ways to acknowledge a lead and build immediate trust which encourages conversions is to send out incentive newsletters that both welcome and upsell or promote your content, services, or products.
Another thing I really like about this platform is that it allows you to change exactly what your audience sees. For example, if they’ve already signed up, you don’t want to send them a pop-up that would ask them to sign up again, would you?
With this feature, you’re able to set what returning visitors see on your website.
This attribute allows you to change the text shown across all platforms. One thing all marketing experts can agree on is that different outlets require different content. While you can get away with promoting the same information, you may want to change the descriptions or captions you add to them to make sure it suits the channel you’re tapping into whether it’s a meta description for Google or an ad on Facebook.
This allows you to create landing pages on the software even if you don’t own a website yet. They’re basically able to do this for you by hosting your page on their server and domain.
Another important thing you need to make sure of is that you’re able to track the progress of your content. This means you’re able to see which campaigns work and which ones need a bit of alteration.
I like how ConvertKit allows you to set up email sequences through a series of well thought out steps. This makes it easier on the eyes, and less distracting to plan out your auto responses.
What are autoresponders exactly?
If you’re unfamiliar with autoresponders, think of it this way. Have you ever signed up for a newsletter? Did you receive a follow-up email days after? Maybe some kind of promotion, or reason to click through and visit the website again?
Autoresponder emails generate interest and follow up with customers on your behalf. The beauty about setting up dedicated email sequences is that it cuts down the time you need to spend on reaching out to individual customers.
It also removes the hassle of having to send out emails manually each time a customer signs up or performs a certain task on your website.
On ConvertKit, you’re able to add certain triggers that would send out an email series to your target audience. The process takes no more than a few hours if you’re planning something complex, or as fast as a few minutes if you already have everything planned out.
There are also a host of pre-designed content for your automations on the software. For example, if you want to send out a newsletter or autoresponder but have no idea where to start, you can choose from any of the following:
Of course, that’s not all ConvertKit has to offer. But it would take up too much time otherwise to dive into every single feature on the software. Instead, take a quick look at the other tools you’ll find on the platform.
How easy to use is ConvertKit?
I’ll cut it short. This email marketing software is not meant for you if you have no experience or knowledge in HTML coding. The tool heavily relies on hypertext-based commands, and unless you’re willing to hire someone to do it for you, I like to think it’s a waste of good money.
There are plenty of newbie-friendly alternatives out there, but we’ll talk about that later. For now, let’s discuss how user-intuitive the platform really is for those of us who appreciate a good HTML-based email provider.
To start with, I really liked how the platform came with a “goal tracker”. It’s essentially a checklist that lets you know all the tools and steps you need to take to set up your account. This makes it easier to navigate the tool, and nearly impossible to miss out on anything it has to offer.
You’re also prompted with a few questions at the start such as if you have an existing website so it can customize your commands and dashboard according to what the software thinks you need the most for your business.
One thing you need to understand though, is that the platform doesn’t focus on creating highly attractive emails. Instead, it helps you manage your content and your mailing lists. This makes it more ideal for creators or businesses who don’t need to add a lot of visual aspects to their newsletter, but instead would like to focus on the actual components of your campaigns.
If you start feeling lost at any point of the onboarding process, there’s also a helpful video guide that you can view to help you better navigate the nuances of ConvertKit. Each page contains a demo video which helps you maximize the potential of each feature on the website.
ConvertKit pricing: how much does it cost?
The autoresponder allows you to add up to 50,000 subscribers. The pricing relies heavily on the number of subscribers you have instead of limiting your access to certain features on the platform. This means each price tier will offer the same tools with the exception of the number of contacts you can have on your mailing list.
That said, the lower price tiers do not have an integrated automatic contact migration tool. So you’ll have to either upload it manually using a CSV format among others or do it individually. Automatic directory migrating is only available for plans with 5,000 subscribers upward.
I like how the platform also offers a free plan for up to 1,000 leads. Of course, you can also opt for the paid version which starts at under $30 and can cost you upwards of $300 depending on the size of your mailing list.
That said, the free plan is something you should definitely look into before committing to a subscription to the platform’s services just to make sure you’re choosing the right tool for your website.
ConvertKit free trial or free plan
The platform offers a free trial that starts at 14 days for each price tier that gives you access to all the premium features. However, you’re only limited to 1,000 contacts. That said, you could also look into their free plan instead.
The free plan gives you access to nearly all the features of paid plans with the exception of autoresponders and funnels, access to premium customer support, and third party integration capabilities. You also have to consider the fact that you’re only able to add up to 1,000 contacts on the free plan.
Which is why I recommend trying it out first before you make a commitment. But if you have a larger mailing list to start with, you could also give the free trial a run.
ConvertKit pros and pons
My final recommendation: is ConvertKit the right tool for me?
I’m going to keep this sweet and short. ConvertKit is a good platform. However, you’ll need to have at least a basic knowledge of HTML coding to maximize its features. Moreover, it’s also a bit pricey once you sign up for their paid plans. And you also have to factor in the lack of visual aspects when it comes to creating your newsletters.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s not for everyone. And it’s certainly not the best in the market. However, it’s good at what it does. And that’s simplifying what you need to do to automate your email responses.
I suggest you take the time to give the free trial or free plan a whirl before you make a concise decision. After all, there’s nothing to lose and only so much to gain from finding the right tool for your website and business.