Want to know if ConvertKit is the right email service provider for your business? Read our comprehensive ConvertKit review.
If you’re looking for your next email marketing platform, and you’re curious if ConvertKit is right for you, well, you’re in the right place! Here’s our comprehensive ConvertKit review for 2023, which will cover:
- What Is ConvertKit?
- Why do I need an email service provider (ESP)?
- ConvertKit Features
- ConvertKit Pricing
- Key Benefits of ConvertKit
- Drawbacks of ConvertKit
- ConvertKit & Email Marketing: More Resources to Read, Listen & Learn
What Is ConvertKit?
ConvertKit is an email service provider (ESP). Essentially, it’s a technology service that lets you send email campaigns to a list of subscribers. ConvertKit is one of literally hundreds of ESPs out there, and—full disclosure—it happens to be the one we prefer and use at AffiliateMaster.
Although we’re biased, in this post we’ll cover the features, benefits, and drawbacks of ConvertKit as we see them, to help you decide if it’s the right ESP for your business.
Email Marketing Strategy: Why You Need an ESP
If you’re reading this, you might already know what an ESP is and why you need one. But in case you don’t, an ESP is the most important piece of technology to support your email marketing strategy.
Email marketing is one of the most powerful methods to build relationships and market your products and services to your audience. Let’s talk about why that is.
In its most basic form, email marketing involves you sending emails to a group of people who’ve chosen to hear from you by “subscribing” to receive emails from you. You could technically use a simple email program like Gmail to accomplish this—but we don’t recommend it, because you’ll quickly find it insufficient (and because your personal email account will get flagged as spam if you send too many emails from it!).
As your business grows and more people subscribe to get your emails, you’ll want the ability to do more sophisticated things with your email marketing, like customizing the emails people get according to their interests, and using reports and analytics to determine what’s working well or not.
You also need to make sure you’re respecting people’s privacy and not spamming anyone. An email service provider also helps you to stay in compliance with government regulations around the world, such as the CAN-SPAM act in the United States, the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union (GDPR), and the Canada Anti-Spam Law (CASL).
Things can quickly get out of hand without the help of a dedicated email marketing platform. That’s where an ESP like ConvertKit comes in.
Okay, let’s get into the nitty gritty of ConvertKit’s features!
Psst… Want to grow your email list and learn powerful segmentation and automation strategies that allow your business to run on its own? Check out the Email Marketing Magic course.
These are the key features of ConvertKit, organized by how you’ll use them.
- Autoresponders/drip campaigns. Send a sequence of prewritten emails automatically to a specific segment of subscribers on your list, triggered by a specific event or action, with the aim of guiding them to take a specific action.
- Broadcast emails. Send standard announcements or one-time emails to your subscribers on a specific date.
- CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and CASL compliance. CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and CASL are laws that set the rules and requirements for commercial email messages, and give recipients the right to have you stop emailing them—so compliance is crucial!
- Dynamic (personalized) email content. Your email content can display different text or images, according to your customer segmentation.
- Responsive email templates: Ready-to-go email designs, as well as the ability to create your own custom templates. ConvertKit automatically formats your landing pages for various devices, such as desktop computers and mobile phones.
- WYSIWYG email editor. The built-in email editor lets you see how your email will look with your template’s styling applied while you’re composing it.
Collecting New Subscribers
- Custom responsive landing pages. Use the included tool to quickly create a landing page to collect email addresses. ConvertKit automatically formats your landing pages for various devices, such as desktop computers and mobile phones.
- Sell products. Set up a landing page and collect payment for one-time or subscriptions products right inside ConvertKit
- Visual automations. ConvertKit allows you to create rule-based paths using if-then logic, so that when a subscriber takes a particular action, you can send them pre-defined emails or add them to a segment.
Learning about Your Subscribers
- A/B testing. ConvertKit lets you test different subject lines for your emails, and automatically determines the winner based on their respective open rates.
- Reporting/analytics/ROI tracking. Learn how often your subscribers open your emails, click on links, and complete various actions.
- Segmentation/tagging. Segmenting your subscribers into different categories (similar to but more powerful than other programs’ “lists”) allows you to send them emails that are better tailored to their needs and interests.
Next, let’s talk about pricing.
For a long time, ConvertKit only offered paid plans. But in December 2019, the company announced a new free tier if you have fewer than 1,000 subscribers.
Here are ConvertKit’s pricing options as of March 2023:
ConvertKit Free Plan
- $0 /month for up to 1,000 subscribers
The Free plan includes:
- Unlimited landing pages & forms
- Send email broadcasts
- Sell digital products & subscriptions
- Email support
ConvertKit Creator Plan
- $29/month for up to 1,000 subscribers (paid monthly)
- $25/month for up to 1,000 subscribers (paid annually)
- Tiered pricing up to $2,299/month paid monthly (or $1,916/month paid annually) for up to 400,000 subscribers
The Creator plan includes:
- All the features of the Free plan
- Free migration from another tool
- Automated funnels & sequences
Convertkit Creator Pro Plan
- $59/month for up to 1,000 subscribers
- Tiered pricing up to $2,599/month paid monthly (or $2,166/month paid annually) for up to 400,000 subscribers
The Creator Pro plan includes:
- All the features of the Creator plan
- Facebook custom audiences
- Newsletter referral system
- Subscriber scoring
- Advanced reporting
We’ll keep this post updated with the latest ConvertKit pricing, but you can also visit the pricing page on the ConvertKit website.
With that out of the way, let’s get into the reasons we like ConvertKit!
Benefits of ConvertKit
We’ve used ConvertKit to power AffiliateMaster Media’s email marketing for several years. In that time, we’ve found it to be the ideal ESP for our needs. From where we sit, the power of ConvertKit falls into two main categories: user benefits, and audience benefits.
ConvertKit Benefits from the User’s Standpoint
First, ConvertKit has everything a business owner needs to get up and running quickly:
- You can collect emails.
- You can set up a simple landing page to collect emails.
- You can sell products (one-time purchase or subscription).
These features allow someone to start selling even while they are in the process of setting up a website somewhere else. It also makes it easy to execute on one of the main lessons in our Smart From Scratch course: using selling as a key step in the idea-validation process.
Second, the ConvertKit team designed their platform to grow with the sophistication of the user. When you start, you probably just want to collect email addresses and send emails. But as you grow, you’ll want to start tailoring your message and segmenting your audience. At that point you can take advantage of things like automations and dynamic content. As you become more sophisticated, ConvertKit grows with you—you won’t have to switch to a different email service provider five years down the road. This sets ConvertKit apart from some other ESPs, particularly Mailchimp.
Some people find ConvertKit a bit daunting (see Drawbacks below), but if you’re somewhat tech-savvy we think it’s pretty approachable. In particular, we like the accessibility of ConvertKit’s automation builder, which lets you create automations in a straightforward, linear way.
We tried Infusionsoft for a year and found its automation builder sophisticated but overwhelming. You had to already understand how automations work, as well as the various symbols common in automation builders. We find ConvertKit’s automation builder, on the other hand, makes it easy to string automations together in an advanced way.
We also like ConvertKit’s approach to subscriber management. With ConvertKit, all your subscribers go into one big pool; there are no lists. Instead, subscribers can be put into segments by assigning them attributes using tags and custom fields. These let you treat your subscribers as unique humans with different needs; not all subscribers are created equal.
ConvertKit Benefits for Your Audience
ConvertKit gives you the opportunity to tailor your messaging to your audience. You can have as many forms and landing pages as you want. You can have as many tags, custom fields, and segments as you want. You can be as specific in talking to your audience as you want to be.
As you collect information about your audience, you can start to segment subscribers so you don’t bother people with things they aren’t interested in. ConvertKit makes it easy to collect details about your audience along the way, and you aren’t penalized for that through higher costs, as you would be with a list-based email platform.
Drawbacks of ConvertKit
No solution is perfect, of course. Here are some of the drawbacks we and other ConvertKit users have noticed.
- Moderately steep learning curve. The interface can be a little overwhelming for a beginner. Taking full advantage of all of ConvertKit’s features—like segmentation, tagging, and automations—requires some learning (and potentially coding). You can shorten this learning curve by following their Getting Started video series.
- No list-based organization. Although we like the way ConvertKit lets you organize subscribers using tags (and doesn’t charge you for duplicate subscribers like some ESPs do), the lack of a list-based organization system can be confusing if you’re coming from other platforms. Over time, though, we think you’ll find this system more flexible than managing lists.
- Barebones email and landing page templates. Requires CSS coding to create custom advanced email templates and landing pages beyond the included options. Some users report that the email design tool can be buggy.
- Analytics could be more robust. The free version of ConvertKit doesn’t offer the same advanced reporting options as the Creator and Creator Pro options, which makes sense but can be a bother to some users.
Thankfully, one of the previous drawbacks of ConvertKit, that there was no free option, is no longer valid! In fact, this was probably the biggest reported downside of ConvertKit by contributors to the ConvertKit review page at Capterra.com. This free tier makes ConvertKit comparable at the entry level to other popular ESP options like Mailchimp.
ConvertKit & Email Marketing: More Resources to Read, Listen & Learn
So there you have it—our review of ConvertKit’s email marketing platform! We’ll leave you with a few more resources if you’re curious about ConvertKit, or want to dig further into email marketing.
ConvertKit [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, we receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
Pat’s ConvertKit Demo & Tutorial
I hope this post has been helpful in deciding whether ConvertKit is the right ESP for your business. Whatever email marketing platform you choose, nothing is more important than having the right email marketing strategy, so be sure to check out our essential guide to email marketing and consider the Email Marketing Magic course if you want more hands-on support with your email marketing. Good luck!