Product Name: ConvertKit
Content: ConvertKit Review and Tutorials
Product Type: Email Marketing Automation Tool
Price: Free trial, Starts at $29/month
What We Like About ConvertKit?
- ConvertKit is easy to use. Formerly called ConvertKit, the company claims ConvertKit now suits it more because it means “Selfless service.” Well, what better way to offer selfless service than to make email marketing easy to use? This is the main aim of ConvertKit as a platform and it achieved it. You can build an email automation the first time you use it. That’s how easy it is to use.
- Its tag-based system makes email automation easier. You can tag your subscribers based on the actions they take and how they interact with your content. And you can do it automatically.
- You pay once for a single subscriber. With its tag-based system, a subscriber can be tagged as many times as possible but still count for a single subscriber. For list based email software platforms, you can pay for a subscriber many times as you add them to different lists.
- checkConvertKit has built-in email courses and sequences. If you want to sell a course, product or info products as a blogger, you can build it easily on ConvertKit.
What We Don’t Like?
- It’s difficult to remove inactive subscribers from a list. You may need to do regular clean up of your email list to remove subscribers who are not reading your emails. It’s difficult to do this on ConvertKit.
- It has fewer templates. Most of the emails you can craft on ConvertKit are done in plain text. The company claims this is to increase deliverability rate but if you run an e-commerce website, this will not work for you.
- It’s expensive. When compared to other email marketing software platform, ConvertKit is more expensive.
Email is one of the most important tools of marketing. After all, over 2.8 billion people use email as of 2018 according to Radicati Group.
Email is a personal tool. And even with the high number of users, 88% of them check their emails regularly. I’m sure you have logged into your email account today. If you haven’t, you’ll do it before the close of work. I’m 100% sure.
When people are in their email inboxes, they are in a state of mind for engaging with useful content and valuable products. That’s why email marketing has the best returns you can get with an ROI of $40 for every $1 spent.
According to Convince and Convert, people who buy products as a result of email marketing spend 138% more than people who do not receive email offers.
Having highlighted the big benefits, you also have to know that email marketing is not as rosy as it sounds. Why? For starters, subscribers have different needs you aim to meet.
Blasting a single email, no matter how good it is, will not be relevant and useful to the majority of your subscribers. This is why potential customers believe that brands don’t understand their needs. Brightwave reveals that 78% of customers claim that brands don’t understand them.
Is it then a coincidence that the click-through rate for email has been dropping since 2010?
It had been a difficult task to send information to a specific customer about their needs when you knew so little about them. Not until recently.
Automated email marketing means you can get to know your customers’ needs through their online behavior. These are messages personalized to each subscriber.
Well, the results speak for itself as marketers have seen a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns according to Campaign Monitor.
So let’s say as a marketer, you have decided to hop on the automated email marketing train, another problem you’ll soon face is the choice of the right software to use.
There are literally tens of software packages that offer email marketing solutions, and it can be really confusing to pick one.
In this guide, I’ll be telling you about one of the most popular software that helps you to personalize your messages to your subscribers.
It’s called ConvertKit.
What is ConvertKit?
ConvertKit is an email marketing software for online creators. If you’re a blogger, an author, a photographer, a graphic designer, web developer and designer, an illustrator, a freelance writer, a consultant, a public speaker, and the like, ConvertKit was designed with you in mind.
ConvertKit prides itself as an email marketing software most-suited for professional bloggers.
This email marketing software company was founded in 2013 by Nathan Barry and David Wheeler. Today, the team has 35 members who work to make email marketing as hitch-free as possible.
Reasons Why Online Creators Switch To ConvertKit
Let’s discuss a few reasons why people choose ConvertKit instead of other email marketing tools:
1. Send the right offers to the right people
ConvertKit organizes your subscribers based on tags rather than lists on providers like AWeber. This makes it easier and cost effective when you want to add a number of your subscribers for an event or a product.
With providers like AWeber, you have to create new lists which can lead to extra costs. With ConvertKit, you can tag email subscribers based on their behaviors and interests.
2. Dramatically improve email deliverability rate
Deliverability rate is the ratio of the number of email addresses (i.e., subscribers) that receives your email compared to the number that you sent it to.
When an email fails to land at an address, it’s called a bounce. A soft bounce if it’s because of the recipient’s full inbox or a hard bounce if it’s due to an error. Improving email deliverability is the #1 concern that most online creators have.
There are many factors that affect the deliverability of your emails. These factors include:
- Engagement of subscribers with your emails.
- Sending a fake email address gives you a bad reputation in the sight of ISPs and may affect your deliverability.
To improve the deliverability of your emails, you have to:
- Clean your email lists regularly to remove inactive email addresses.
- Don’t buy email lists as most of the email addresses are unconfirmed.
- Make your design light to avoid your emails falling into the spam folder. ConvertKit advises that you use simple designs or no design at all to prevent your emails going to spam or the promotions tab.
- Use catchy headlines to engage your subscribers.
- Use double opt-in for subscribers.
There is no fixed deliverability rate for any email marketing software as deliverability also depends on factors like the content you’re sending to your subscribers.
However, in a deliverability test by EmailToolTester where they sent similar emails using different tools, ConvertKit came top with an average deliverability of 92.1%.
As Sarah von Bargen said on the reason she moved from MailChimp to ConvertKit, she said through some ‘witchery’, emails sent by ConvertKit manage to end up in Gmail’s primary inbox rather than promotions tab.
This doesn’t give you a 100% assurance on the deliverability of ConvertKit emails. But it does tell you that ConvertKit takes email deliverability seriously and are taking many steps to make sure your emails land in your subscriber’s inbox.
Deliverability is something you must take very seriously. Email sequences that fail to reach its intended recipients are bad for business.
It’s bad because you’re losing money on two fronts: the money you pay your email service provider (ESP) becomes a waste and you lose potential revenue from your subscribers.
When Pat Flynn migrated from Infusionsoft to ConvertKit, one of his main reasons was that most of his subscribers were not getting his emails. He was sending but they were not delivered.
3. Unrivaled customer service
ConvertKit offers customer support through live chat and email. They also provide support documentation and video tutorials.
The support documentation takes you through most of the actions you might want to perform on the email software.
It consists of frequently asked questions (FAQs) by users and answers to them.
In most cases, you won’t need the customer support agents with the documentation. But if there’s something you find confusing, you can always use the option of live chat.
Pros of ConvertKit over other email marketing software
A lot of professional bloggers and online creators who switched from other email marketing solutions to ConvertKit said something in this respect:
“The benefits of ConvertKit to our business is way beyond what other tools have to offer, that’s why we made the daring decision to move our business.”
So let’s explore in detail some of the core benefits of ConvertKit. Remember that this does not in any way demean other email marketing solutions or companies. We simply want to be as transparent in this review as we can.
1). The tag-based system makes your email marketing more automatic
You can tag your subscribers based on any action you define. This takes personalization to the level that makes you serve your subscribers better and make more profit as a business. You can also use tags to segment your email list based on interest, etc.
Many times, people say what they want but they actually do something else. The best way you can really know what your subscribers want is through their interactions with your content.
Which pages are they reading? Through which document did they opt into your subscribers’ list?
When you know the area of interest of your subscribers, you know the right offer to send to them. This is the level of personalization business is moving on to and you’ll be able to exploit it through this platform.
When Kimberly Ann Jimenez switched from Ontraport to ConvertKit, one of the things she enjoyed was the powerful segmentation and automation on ConvertKit.
2). ConvertKit is easy to use
One of the aims of the platform was to build a simple tool for email marketing so that professionals can have important features they need to attend to prospects and customers better, as well as sell their products. The analytics dashboard is clean and easy to use.
When Pat Flynn asked ConvertKit CEO, Nathan Barry, if they planned to build the software to have customer relationship management (CRM) features, he said no.
Why? To maintain simplicity.
“No, because a lot of others have told us those are the features within some of these all-in-one business solutions that make them extremely cumbersome and overwhelming. Our target customers are bloggers, podcasters, and other people who are building audiences who want to be able to have an easy-to-use, but powerful email marketing system, with automation and all of the features that you want, without all of the things that you don’t need right now.”Nathan continued:“We don’t want to build features just to check off the boxes and say, ‘Yes, we have ecommerce, or membership sites, or whatever you might need.’We want to be the best in the world at one thing (email) which means partnering with people who are the best at what they do. That’s why we built a seamless integration with Gumroad. No one does ecommerce better than they do. By focusing on what we’re best at and saying no to features (and building integrations instead), we’re able to build a better experience for our customers.”
3). It has built-in email courses and sequences
Nathan Barry has had experiences selling ebooks and courses online before creating this software platform. I think this could have been a factor in making ConvertKit an easy platform to deliver your email courses, and leverage the landing pages to grow your audience.
It is also easy to create email sequences. You can remove people who have bought your course from a sequence or send more messages to people who got to your sales page but failed to buy.
This is important if you aim to sell ebooks and other informational products to your email subscribers.
Cons of ConvertKit
Make no mistakes about it. ConvertKit is not 100% perfect. There are things we didn’t like about it. Although, there’s been a constant improvement, if we fail to point them out, then we didn’t do a good job.
Here are some of the cons of the software:
1). It is difficult to remove inactive subscribers from your list
It is important to always remove some subscribers from your list so that they don’t bring your engagement rate down. Especially if you use a single opt-in on your website.
However, to cleanse your list of subscribers who have not been engaging with your content for a long time, you’ll have to contact customer support as the platform does not allow you to do it. This can be a pain in itself.
2). Its popup cookie can be inserted when the visitor is yet to see it
In your automation, the popup of the email subscription form should be viewed once when they land on your website. So, a cookie registers on the website when the visitor has seen your popup.
The popup shows up after they have spent a period of time on your page, let’s say 20 or 30 seconds. The cookie is supposed to be inserted when the visitor has seen the popup. But the cookie is inserted when the visitor lands on the page.
Now, this makes no difference if the visitor ends up spending the time on your website as they see the popup.
But someone who lands on your page and leaves immediately has a cookie released that means they have seen the popup even when they have not.
This visitor, if they come back to your site, will not see the popup. This can be a lost opportunity and may lose you some potential subscribers.
3). A user who unsubscribes from a list is unsubscribed from all future emails
A user might only want to exclude themselves from a series of emails about a topic or an event. If they unsubscribe, they end up not getting emails from you in the future.
You can work around this by having 2 unsubscribe buttons which specify different actions.
4). Fewer templates compared to other providers
If you’re looking for beautiful templates for your emails, ConvertKit may not be the provider for you. This could be an issue of a vice coming out of a virtue. This software platform encourages you to make your email as simple as possible.
Heavily designed emails usually end up in Gmail’s promotions tab or worse, in the spam. Its basic email design has been one of the factors that increased its deliverability.
However, this can be a turnoff for people or industries that value great designs and lots of email templates for their campaigns.
Side note: ConvertKit tends to be more expensive than its competitors.
ConvertKit plans and prices
You can start for free and manage 500 subscribers. The complete plan starts at $29/month for up to 1,000 subscribers. 1,000 to 3,000 subscribers will attract a fee of $49/month while 3,000 to 5,000 goes for $79. 10,000 subscribers attract a fee of $119/month while you pay $379 for 50,000 subscribers.
You can see the detailed pricing on this page.
Price comparison to competitors
How does ConvertKit’s pricing compare to other email marketing software packages?
Although ConvertKit may be cheaper than software packages like Infusionsoft that also offer CRM as part of its features, it’s more expensive than most email service providers.
At least the popular ones I checked, including ActiveCampaign, for similar plans. Only Drip seems to be more expensive than ConvertKit.
If you’re making your decision strictly based on price, then ConvertKit may not be your preference. I know it’s a bad strategy to base your decision strictly on price but that needs to be said.
How to register for ConvertKit
You can register for a 30-day free trial on the ConvertKit website for up to 1000 subscribers. Are you moving from another email marketing tool or just starting your list, choose the right option. Then Enter your email address and your desired password.
After that, you get on the dashboard where you see the features and functions such as Templates, Automations, etc.
You can check all the features like tags, sequences, and broadcasts and start building funnels. But you can’t start sending emails to your subscribers until you approve your account.
Before you can approve your account, you need to send your blog link to ConvertKit. They want to check your blog to make sure you have a real platform.
There is a checklist at the right-side that gives a tutorial on how you can perform important actions on your account.
Common terms used in ConvertKit
Form: It refers to the form where a potential subscriber enters/inputs their details such as name, email address, location, etc.
Landing page: It’s usually a dedicated page that has your form but with content and you can design it to get the best results.
Broadcast: This is a single email sent to all your subscribers or a particular segment of your subscribers.
Sequence: It’s a series of emails that are sent to a subscriber once they subscribe to your list.
Tag: It’s added to each subscriber to track their interactions with your content. Tags can be used to detect the interest of each subscriber based on what they engage in.
Segment: It’s a selection of a combination of forms, sequence, or tags that you save for future use. In a segment, there’s no duplicate subscriber. They’re represented once even when they appear for a tag and a sequence.
Common actions on ConvertKit Dashboard
There are some common actions to take to enjoy the full benefits of your ConvertKit plan.
Create a new form
To create a new form, click on the + Create Form button.
Then you’re redirected to a new page where you can either choose a form or landing page.
When you click on ‘Form’, you have a choice to pick a style for your form to customize.
You can edit the words on the page and upload a picture to suit your taste.
When you’re through with that, you can go to the settings tab for even more customization. For instance, you can edit the success message when a subscriber subscribes to your list.
There are other features under the main settings tab which you can explore. The Incentive Email helps you customize the page where your new subscriber will confirm their subscription.
This is your first impression and it must be good. It is better to use a branded email to make it look more professional.
You can customize the form more under the style settings. You can also use your custom CSS code if you wish to.
Embed gives you the options to embed your form.
You also have the form integrations.
And you have the other options where you can duplicate the form, archive or delete it.
The subscriber tab gives you the statistics of the number of views and subscribers through this form. You can track this when your form goes live. Your form can also perform the function of tags.
For instance, you can name a form ‘introduction’ if it will be placed on your introduction page. This definitely tells you that any subscriber through that form came through the introduction page.
Simple Visual Builder | Click and Edit
If you don’t like messing around with codes like me, then the visual builder that ConvertKit offers will excite you. Because now you can build professionally-looking forms and landing pages through the intuitive interface.
ConvertKit’s navigation menu on the dashboard is quite intuitive as well, there’s no struggling to find what you need even if you’re a beginner.
With the visual builder, you can build your Forms, Sequences, Broadcast email templates, and set up your Automations.
We’ve discovered how to build forms and edit the landing pages to suit your needs, now let’s discuss the visual automation editor.
ConvertKit Visual Automation Editor
2017 made a huge difference for Nathan Barry and the ConvertKit team. It was the year the company grossed $1 MRR, which is awesome for a fairly new email marketing company.
In the same year, ConvertKit launched the Visual Automation Editor.
What does it do?
The Visual Automation Editor allows marketers and online creators to build automations and journeys based on the customer’s actions.
With this new feature users can visualize the customer journey and easily add or update the email sequences to align with the customer’s interest.
You can now send targeted content to your leads at the right time, every time.
It’s a powerful automation editor that visually maps out the stages that your target audience is in. Trust me, this feature makes it really easy to engage your audience with the right message and content.
Use the editor to create and edit a specific email sequence right in the dashboard. You don’t have to visit a separate window before making an update to your email sequences.
Updating customer flow exactly the way you want it is critical to your success. Don’t take it lightly — especially by utilizing the Event, Action, and Condition settings.
If you’re wondering how the Visual Automation Editor can be set up, here’s a quick step-by-step approach:
i). Add a tag or form you want to use
To get the most of this visual automation editor, you have to choose whether a subscriber should fill a form manually or you simply add a relevant tag to the subscribers. The choice is all yours.
If you choose to add tags to the subscriber, then you’ll be able to segment the subscribers you would like to receive specific emails based on the tag you assigned.
On the flip side, if you choose to use the form, a “form” window will popup in the sequence.
You can update this form by clicking on the window to open the Content Editor. You can make changes to the content; adding an image, changing the default text, and so forth.
ii). Build the customer journey through events, actions or conditions
This step is quite simple. You simply have to add an event as well as the condition that will enable you to map out the customer journey effectively.
That’s the best way to trigger the (batch of) email(s) sent to the customer.
iii). Create or Modify an email in the automation editor
Ideally, this can be implemented directly in the customer flow. Simply click on the window for any email you want to edit and update it accordingly.
With the rules well-defined and the subscribers are in the funnel, you can see the number of subscribers who have completed a specific step and their level of interaction.
How to create a landing page on ConvertKit
On your dashboard, navigate to forms and click on the ‘+ Create Form’ button. This brings you to the next page that gives you a choice whether to build a landing page or a form.
Select the landing page option. The next page shows you a selection of templates you can use for your landing page.
There is another option of using the Instapage integration to build your landing page.
Choose a landing page template you like. This should take you to a page where I can edit the elements on the page.
When you’re through editing the landing page, you’ll edit the form that will pop up when a visitor clicks on the subscribe button. Click the edit button under the ‘subscribe’ button and the form pops up.
When you’re through with the edits, save your landing page for later use.
Create a tag
Go to the Subscribers tab and click on create a tag. Name your tag.
Click on save and you’re done.
How to create a sequence
When you have a new subscriber, you should have a list of content you want to send to them as a set of welcoming messages. You can do this by creating a sequence. How do you achieve this?
Go to the sequences tab and click on the + Create Sequence button.
You’ll be taken to the page where you name your sequence. Click on ‘create sequence’ to continue.
This brings you to the page where you can plan the sequence of posts to be sent to new subscribers.
The posts will only be sent when you change ‘draft’ to ‘published’ in the drop down.
You can also choose when to send. The funnel symbol is the filter where you can exclude users based on tag, segment, date, or other factors. You can even use triggers to initiate your emails to subscribers.
You also have the option to personalize your email according to the options.
When you’re through with your first post, you can preview to see how your subscribers will view it.
Click on the ‘+ Add Email’ button to add more posts to the sequence.
That takes you to the next post.
You can continue until you have the number of posts for your welcome sequence or any other sequence you want to create.
Connect your form to a sequence
When a visitor subscribes to your emails, you want them to enter the welcome sequence automatically. To do this, follow these steps:
Go to the form you created earlier and click through to its settings. Scroll down on the main settings to where you have ‘Sequence Settings’ and select the sequence.
After selecting the sequence, two options appear under the drop down. You can choose whether it’s only for new subscribers or you can add existing ones to it.
After that, click on Save Form to save your changes.
How to create a segment
A segment helps you to send messages to your subscribers based on the forms they subscribed through and the tags related to the forms. This is important because you can have more than a category of products on your website.
For instance, if your website is about Fitness, a subscriber may be interested in your book about exercise while another subscriber is interested in your book about diet.
You have to send different messages to them. This makes a lot of sense, right?
But what if a subscriber belongs to both segments?
Then they can get both offers. In essence, a segment organizes your forms, sequences, and tags.
Here’s how you can create segments on ConvertKit?
Go to the Subscribers tab on your dashboard and click on ‘+ Create a Segment’. Or simple create a new segment from your subscriber list.
This brings up the page to create your segment.
There are many options there. You can add a form, tag, and/or a sequence to the segment. You can also choose the condition of matching any or all or none. After this step, save your tag.
How to create automations
Automation helps you to define a consequent action for an action taken by your subscribers. In technical terms, Automation helps you to define triggers and actions that will follow. Make sure you understand the rules and how to use them to get dramatic results from your campaigns.
For instance, when a subscriber fills a form to subscribe to your emails, you transfer them to a welcome sequence. But the welcome sequence is not an end in itself. What do you want them to do after your welcome sequence?
With automation, you can define the next steps automatically. Let’s say a subscriber finishes your sequence, this could be an indication of interest in your product or services.
This could serve as a trigger and the next action could be to introduce some of your products or send overly promotional content to them.
To create an automation, go to the Automations tab on your ConvertKit dashboard. On the dashboard, there are 4 tabs: Automations, Rules, RSS, and Integrations.
When you click on the ‘New Automation’ button, it leads you to a page to create your automation.
When you click on ‘create automation’, you’re led to pick 3 options of when to start the automation. Your automation will start when they join a form or are added to a tag, or have a custom field updated.
When you’re through with this, you can then add your event.
Your automation is paused and will only go into action when you turn it to ‘live’.
You can set your trigger and action when you go to the rules tab. On the tab, click the ‘+ Add Rule’ button.
This will take you to the page that shows you a selection of triggers and the actions that should follow. This is a ‘When this event happens… do this’ system.
You can pick more than a single trigger in the column for triggers and more than an action. But picking more than one works in different ways in triggers and actions.
Trigger uses the ‘OR’ rule. When you select more than one trigger, only one of them has to occur before the action will follow.
However, action uses the ‘AND’ rule. Which means that when you select more than one action, all the actions will be applied when the condition for the trigger has been met.
For instance, you can set a trigger of subscribers who subscribe to a form or a sequence. When this happens, you can choose the consequent action as adding a tag to these subscribers. After this, you save the rule.
There are many options you can set under the trigger column. You can set a sequence. When you use a sequence, you select the particular sequence.
You can set a trigger when your subscriber fills a form. You select a form out of the ones you’ve created.
Your trigger could be when a subscriber completes a sequence. You must select the sequence to be completed.
What if your subscriber clicks a link and you want that to trigger an action? You can set that too. It’s optional to provide the name of the link for easy identification but you have to enter the destination URL of the link.
A trigger could also be when a user is tagged…
Or when a tag is removed from a user.
Note that one of the triggers is ‘purchases a product’. It is absent in my dashboard because I’ve not connected direct integrations like Gumroad, Teachable, or Shopify to my account. When you do that, this option appears on your automations page.
There are similar events in triggers and actions. For instance, you have the ‘unsubscribe from a sequence’ action.
If a subscriber has performed an action like say, buy a product, then it would be meaningless to continue to send messages that encourage them to buy. So when they buy, you can unsubscribe them. Automatically.
You can also unsubscribe them from a form after they have taken an action.
On the RSS Feeds, you can add a new feed by entering the URL of your feed. Click on the ‘+ Add Feed’ button.
Remember to enter the URL of your feed.
The last tab on the Automations page is the ‘Integrations’ tab. When you click on this, it shows you the various apps that you can integrate with ConvertKit to enable you to carry out some functions.
For instance, an integration like Book Launch will make sure that subscribers on the Book Launch page are sent to your ConvertKit form.
How to create a broadcast
To make a broadcast, click on the ‘+ New Broadcast’ button.
There are 3 steps in creating your broadcast, you select your recipients, put your content, and preview. For the first step, you select everybody you want your message sent to.
On the next page, you insert the content you want to share. You can also select an email template on the right-hand side.
You can also perform an A/B test on your broadcast title. This tutorial video will guide you.
When you’re through with this, click on the next step to move on to the preview. You can duplicate Broadcast, resend one, etc.
How to import subscribers
You can import your Subscribers List in the form of a CSV file into a ConvertKit form, sequence, or tag, or all three. To do this, click on the ‘subscribers’ tab on your dashboard.
Here you have statistics about your subscribers. Click on the ‘Import Subscribers’ button. You can now select the form or sequence or tag you want to upload your list.
Click on the blue ‘Import Subscriber’ button and you’re done.
How to install ConvertKit plugin on on WordPress
Most bloggers use WordPress. As a platform that brands itself as bloggers-oriented, it offers a plugin for WordPress which allows you to use ConvertKit while in WordPress.
What are the potential benefits?
You can add a tag to any of your subscribers who visit a particular page on your website. This helps you to know the content your visitors are interested in and how you can send offers to them. You can do this in the WordPress editor.
Let’s say a subscriber has visited the sales page for the book Authority, they can be tagged as ‘Interested: Authority.’
You can also send a last chance email to a subscriber who visited the sales page but failed to buy the product.
You can also customize the content on your website based on the interests of the subscriber viewing your website.
How do you install this plugin?
The first step is to download the plugin. Then browse to the zip file and upload to your website or blog. After this, activate the plugin.
Log in to your ConvertKit account to generate your API key.
Go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the ConvertKit settings. Paste your API key and click ‘Save Changes’.
After this, you can set a default form to show in all your posts. You can also set a default form for each category of your posts.
The form chosen for a category will show up when your post is in that category.
If you put a post under two categories, the form for the newest category will show up.
You can also add forms to specific posts if you feel a form suits the post better. When you edit a post, there is a box below your content editor for the plugin. Here, you can choose a form for a specific post or none if you want no form on it.
For instance, when Nathan Barry writes about productivity, the form giving away his Productivity Manifesto ebook is always shown below the post.
To use the additional URL parameter, go to your account settings on ConvertKit to turn it on.
ConvertKit Tracking and Reporting
If you’re using an email marketing software, what is your reason? For some, it’s to gain more exposure, for some to show their expertise, and if you’re using ConvertKit, probably to sell more digital products.
What are the metrics to track if you’re using an email automation platform? There are vanity metrics and people differ on these based on their preferences. However, one metric we can all agree is vital to every business is return on investment (ROI).
How much are you making through your email marketing? Of course this helps you to know if your expense on the software is bringing profit or losses. ConvertKit allows you to measure how much sales you’re making through your email campaigns.
Learning how to track ROI on your email marketing efforts is critical to your success.
Otherwise, you might be living off of assumptions, which will definitely not play out well for your business.
The insights you gain from tracking and reporting your ROI effectively can also be applied to other channels that you’re involved in, such as social media, guest blogging, Instagram ads, Facebook ads, and other proven marketing channels you’re using for lead generation and brand creation.
ConvertKit makes it possible for businesses and marketers to measure the effectiveness of their email marketing campaigns in five simple steps:
- Offer your product or service to the right audience.
- Install Google Analytics on your website.
- Set up specific goals to track sales generated for your product or service.
- Use links with UTM parameters in your emails.
- Track revenue from your sent emails every month.
Set Up A Goal in Google Analytics to Track Your Email Marketing Efforts
ConvertKit enables you to work around Google Analytics and integrate both software together to help you track the performance of your email marketing.
The essence of this is to assign a value to your email marketing campaign directly on Google Analytics so that Google Analytics knows when someone has purchased a product or service that you offer via email and how much they paid for it.
Based on the new Google Analytics interface, here’s how to set up a specific goal that will help you track email marketing performance easily.
Step 1: Go to the admin panel in Google Analytics
Quickly log into your Google Analytics account and navigate to the admin panel, which should be in the bottom-left of your screen.
Step 2: Navigate to the Goals Panel in Google Analytics
You’ll see the Goals Panel under the View column on the far right. Click it.
Step 3: Set Your Goal
Click on “+ New Goal” to begin the process of setting a goal. You’ll be taken to a screen where you can tell Google Analytics what kind of goal you want to set.
Next, choose the “Place an Order” pre-filled configuration. With this goal, it’d be easy for Google to know that you’re tracking a person becoming a customer by buying a product or service from your website. Click Continue at the bottom of the screen to move on.
In this step, assign a name to your goal. Choose a name you can relate to in the future. For example, “[Product Name] Purchase” or “[service] client.”
After the name, select a Goal Slot ID which is yet to be taken in your account. If this is your first time doing this, then this should be “Goal Id 1 / Goal Set 1.” And then select a goal type of “Destination.”
Now we can input all the details that are necessary for tracking our goal. Begin by telling Google what page your customers will be redirected to when they buy your product or service.
Most shopping cart software makes it pretty easy to automatically redirect a successful order to a page of your choosing.
The link you fill in will likely not be a full URL. It’s usually the part of the URL that comes after your main website URL.
Typically, these links should NEVER be indexed in the search engines. That way you won’t accidentally double count revenue from one customer.
Endeavor to assign a default value to the “purchase.” This is usually the amount paid by your customer for the product purchased. You might want to assign this value as the amount paid by your customer minus your cost of products sold, if you’re selling a physical product (e.g., shoes).
Always use a consistent number that you can remember, especially the one that accurately reflects the value of that purchase to your business.
Step 4: Verify Your Goal
You’re almost done with the set up. It’s time to verify your goal so that Google will get started with the process of tracking your goal.
Right under the “Goal” tab that you just set, click the “Verify This Goal”. Now Google will tell you how many times or level of accomplishment for this goal in the last seven days if you had already set it in your account. If you’re sure you have no significant sales or no sales at all in the last week, you can skip this step.
Next, click “Save” on your goal. Congratulations!
This is your first Google Analytics goal and the beginning of bigger things to come. To see even better results, repeat the same process for all the products and services that you offer for sale, or better yet, do it for new email subscribers especially if you set redirect pages on your forms in ConvertKit.
Moving on, do you know how to use UTM parameters on the links in all of your emails? It’s essential that you do so.
Use UTM Parameters on All of Your Links in Your Outgoing Emails
First off, UTM parameters tell Google Analytics the exact channels where visitors to your website came from with absolute accuracy.
To ensure that your tracking is effective, it’s important that you set up the UTM parameters. This gives Google more information to work with regarding your campaign. The details you should focus on in your UTM parameters are:
Campaign Source: This is the source or medium sending visitors to your destination page. In this case, that is ConvertKit.
Campaign Medium: This is the marketing channel through which your source is sending visitors. In this case, that is Email. Other mediums include: blog, affiliate, search, social, video, podcast, etc.
Campaign Name: This is the name of your campaign. This name can be related to the product you’re selling.
An example of a UTM parameter link is shown below:
The link is broken into the categories I’ve listed above.
The normal URL:
The Campaign source: ?
The Campaign medium:
The Campaign name:
An easy way to create a UTM parameter is to use the Google URL Builder. You just have to fill in those details and it will create the link.
Now that you have set the goal, how do you track revenue for that product?
Click on ‘Conversions’ at the left sidebar in your Google Analytics account.
Click on ‘Goals’ drop down and click on ‘Overview’ among the options. This shows you the statistics for all goals. Click on the ‘All Goals’ drop down and select this particular goal.
Then check the goal flow:
Click on ‘Source/Medium’ and click on ‘view full report’ at the right side underneath the table.
To get the percentage ROI on your email marketing, you can use this formula:
ROI = (Total sales through email – total cost of email marketing)/(Total cost of email marketing)
You can also track the performance of campaigns through the referral URL. To track this, add ?
ref=campaignname to the end of a ConvertKit page or form URL. This helps you to track how each campaign source is performing.
When you send broadcasts with a link (or links) to your subscribers, you can track subscribers who clicked your link. This could help you to determine interest levels of those subscribers if you were talking about a product.
You can perform a bulk action on the subscribers who clicked your links. You can tag them or add them to a sequence, or even export the list.
You can also view the engagement metrics for your broadcasts. This includes the number of recipients, open rate, click rate, and unsubscribes. You can even resend to unopens to increase your chances of getting more conversions.
To get reports of subscriber statistics on your Sequences, click on the ‘Sequences’ tab in your ConvertKit dashboard. In Sequences, you see the content, settings, and reports tabs. Click on the ‘Report’ tab.
This gives you important information like number of subscribers, unconfirmed subscribers, unsubscribers, open rate, and click rate.
ConvertKit and Competitors
How does ConvertKit compare to the competition? There are many advantages that ConvertKit offers with respect to the competition.
Likewise, there are many parts where they’re playing catch up to similar email marketing platforms.
Let’s see how it compares to some of the popular email software packages in the marketplace.
ConvertKit vs MailChimp
What are the things ConvertKit does better than MailChimp? Andrew and Pete shared some insights on their YouTube video and even shared more lights on their reason for switching.
One of the major differences between the two platforms is that MailChimp uses a list-based system while ConvertKit uses a subscriber-based system.
What this means is that ConvertKit sees one subscriber as one no matter how many of your forms they sign up for.
In MailChimp, when a subscriber signs up to two lists, they read it as two subscribers.
Although MailChimp is cheaper than ConvertKit for their plans, you could end up paying more with MailChimp if you have a big list and many subscribers that are on up to 3 or 4 lists.
However, if you want to maintain two lists for different businesses, without issues, MailChimp will do this better. In ConvertKit, you’ll have to create another account to be able to do this.
How about ease of use?
ConvertKit was made with the user experience at the forefront, so it’s probably unlikely to find an email marketing software that is simpler to use than ConvertKit.
MailChimp is simple to use when you figure it out but you need more time to figure it out than ConvertKit. You can set up most things on ConvertKit by just navigating around.
Even without anybody’s help. That’s how easy it is.
What of email automation?
Automations you can carry out on MailChimp includes date-based automations, activity-based automations, abandoned cart emails, order notifications, product retargeting emails.
You can also send a birthday coupon once in a year to subscribers on their birthday or a series of solicitations every few days. Usually when a subscriber receives the first email in an automation series, they’ll receive all the emails in the sequence, unless they are removed from the automation.
However, a subscriber can only be removed manually. You’ll have to go through your subscribers list and see those who should no longer be in a sequence or those who should be there and are not there.
You’ll also have to add manually if you need to.
This can be a lot of stress and waste of time. Especially when you consider that these can be done on ConvertKit automatically without you touching a thing.
You just have to set the condition when a subscriber should be added to a sequence and when they should be removed in Automation Rules.
The software will take care of the rest itself.
MailChimp has inferior features when it comes to automation even though it has more tools.
Unlike ConvertKit where you can easily tag any subscriber based on their interactions with your content, define automations based on subscribers’ actions, MailChimp doesn’t offer most of these. The few it offers are more difficult to execute than on ConvertKit.
With regards to email design, MailChimp has more beautiful email templates than ConvertKit. If you’re an ecommerce platform, ConvertKit may be unsuitable for you as you can’t send plain text to your subscribers.
Although ConvertKit sees this as an advantage for deliverability, many will still like to send beautiful emails to their subscribers. ConvertKit does provide more stats for their forms. For instance, you can check the number of visitors, subscribers, conversion rate, top referral, and campaigns of your forms on ConvertKit.
MailChimp has no landing page builder and you can only design your landing page through an integrated service.
This means you’ll have to incur extra costs in using another service to design your landing pages.
However, MailChimp provides A/B testing for your emails that ConvertKit does not provide currently.
MailChimp allows you to test subject lines, from names, content, and send times to determine your best performing emails. This is important as you can experiment to always improve your emails for performance.
How much do you pay for using MailChimp? This platform offers a free program for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails. For the free plan, you’ll have no access to unlimited sending, predicted demographics, email and chat support, delivery by time zone, and more. Although it has limited functionality, you can hardly get this kind of deal anywhere else.
If you want more functionality though, you’ll have to pay $15 per month for up to 1,000 subscribers, $50 for up to 3,000 subscribers, $75 for up to 10,000 subscribers and $150 for up to 25,000 subscribers.
Looking at pricing, MailChimp is cheaper than ConvertKit. Now, it’s easy to say ‘look at the value and forget price’ but that would be unrealistic. Of course, most people look at price because at the end of the day, the money is coming out of your pocket.
If you’re just starting out your online business, you want an email list but have no money to pay, you just want to send only regular updates to your subscribers, then MailChimp may be the email service provider for you.
If you’re a small business that wants better designs for your emails and ability to integrate with ecommerce platforms, MailChimp is the better bet.
However, if you’re a content marketer who wants to sell digital products online, you may just have to pay the price for an email marketing software made specially for you.
ConvertKit vs Infusionsoft
If you want the power of email automation while being able to carry out other marketing activities, all on a single platform, then Infusionsoft is a better bet than ConvertKit. Watch this video for insights.
Infusionsoft offers a CRM platform as part of its software whereas with ConvertKit, you have to integrate with CRM software like Salesforce.
When you have 2 to 3 marketers on your team, you may find it easier to use Infusionsoft where you can have all your customer data in one place.
This allows adequate collaborations between your team and every member can use each section of the software that relates to their work. You can perform all the automations you can do on ConvertKit and more but it’s not as easy to execute.
However, with this robust system also comes complexity. Infusionsoft is more difficult to use. If you’re a new user, it’s difficult to use most of the basic features that you will need.
You may have to hire a professional to train you on how to use it, which is not needed in ConvertKit.
And even after training, some businesses have to consult people who help them perform some functions in their account. This leads to extra cost. When it comes to ease of use, ConvertKit is far easier to use.
Infusionsoft is also more expensive. You’ll have to pay for a mandatory kickstarter coaching package which now goes for $299, then other fees depending on how big your list is. Note that the kickstarter package used to cost $1,999.
That’s how expensive it can be to even begin to use this platform.
Having 1,500 subscribers will set you back for $104 per month. This plan includes 1 user account, contact management, marketing automation and unlimited emails.
This plan is without the ecommerce and sales pipeline. When you include those two options, the cost rises to $198 per month.
With 10,000 contacts, you pay $240 for the standard features and $334 per month with ecommerce and sales pipeline.
You’ll have to pay $304 per month for 50,000 contacts with the standard features and $398 with ecommerce and sales pipeline.
It’s difficult to put down an exact price for Infusionsoft as they claim that they customize your costs based on the type of business you’re doing.
This is expected as it provides more features. But if you only want email marketing, these features may be redundant after paying for them. And you can’t just register for Infusionsoft like you would for ConvertKit.
You’ll have to arrange a call or register for a demo. You’ll also have to interact with a sales rep who would help you choose the best plan for your business.
For your email marketing, Infusionsoft also provide simple form and landing page builders. Infusionsoft also has over 230 integrations which allow you to connect other services to it.
It also integrates with Zapier which allows you to further integrate with even more services. This is more than ConvertKit which integrates with over 80 services.
ConvertKit also integrates with Zapier which offers more integrations.
You can contact Infusionsoft’s customer support through phone, email, or live chat. In many cases, you may not need to contact customer support though.
The online help center provides guides, video tutorials and help articles to guide you through most of the questions you may have.
Infusionsoft also lacks the A/B testing capability which is not good enough for such an expensive service.
It also imposes caps on the number of emails you can send in a month depending on your plan. This may be an issue if you send many emails to your contacts.
Infusionsoft offers more robust reporting through its Goal Completion and Campaign Contacts reports. These reports give you access to insights like web form activity, landing page performance, reach, and overall campaign performance.
You also have email statistics and broadcast reports that tracks the number of emails sent for each campaign, number of subscribers who read them, click-through rates, etc.
There are other reports like sales team reports to track sales rep activities. You probably don’t need this for email marketing.
If you have a business and a team that rakes in hundreds of thousands of dollars, you may find Infusionsoft a worthwhile investment.
If you need to manage online payments, CRM, and email marketing for your business, it makes more sense to use a software that provides all these in one place rather than integrating different services together.
However, if you’re only interested in email marketing and selling of your digital products, ConvertKit makes more sense as you don’t need to pay the high price of Infusionsoft just to use its email marketing features alone.
ConvertKit vs Drip
Drip is probably the most similar to ConvertKit in terms of features and capabilities. There are still some differences though. Drip doesn’t have a landing page builder but integrations like Instapage, Unbounce, and LeadPages will help you do that.
Drip organizes its email sequences through Workflow. This shows you the steps of each customer through your sales funnel.
Drip is a bit more expensive than ConvertKit if you have a large subscriber base. For instance, having 500,000 subscribers on ConvertKit will cost $2,499 per month while it will cost $3,579 on Drip.
ConvertKit Vs. GetResponse
GetResponse supports automation. It has a drag and drop workflow builder and behavioral automation rules that you can use to re-engage customers after a successful purchase or an abandoned cart.
Both platforms allow you to send emails at the best time your subscribers will open your mail. Automation on GetResponse, however, comes at an extra cost. What do I mean? Subscribers are subscribed to new lists based on their interests.
But your current subscriber who gets on another list is counted as a new subscriber.
This means you’ll pay for 5 subscribers if you have a single subscriber who subscribes to 5 lists. This can lead to huge extra costs if you have many lists and many subscribers.
GetResponse has over 100 landing page templates compared to 4 on ConvertKit.
GetResponse has opt-in pages, video landing pages, webinar pages, etc. You can also integrate the landing page with a payment platform like PayPal.
GetResponse is a better choice for PPC marketers due to its many landing page options.
These options also make it easy to A/B test your pages.
Talking about A/B tests, GetResponse offers more robust A/B tests than ConvertKit.
On ConvertKit, you can only test the headline of your broadcast emails. Meanwhile, you can test Subject line, From field, content, and Delivery time on GetResponse. This helps you to easily detect poor performers in emails to your subscribers and eliminate them.
It has about 500 email templates you can choose for your messages. It also has features like audience segmentation, perfect timing delivery optimization and more in its email autoresponder organizer.
It has a webinar marketing tool. Although ConvertKit allows you to integrate with webinar services, it’s easier if you can organize your webinar and deliver it without additional costs of another service.
It also offers consulting services for those for those who want to improve their campaign performance.
Although it has to be noted that this service comes at a much more expensive price than what you’ll pay on ConvertKit.
Due to the many features on GetResponse, it may take more time before you can utilize most of its functions.
ConvertKit is easier to use.
Within minutes, you can build a landing page, opt-in form, or even a sequence. All these without much hassles as the dashboard is easy to navigate and is kind of self-explanatory.
GetResponse has a $15 per month plan for up to 1,000 subscribers. With this, you can use its autoresponders and the basic landing page builder.
For marketing automation, you have access to workflows and tags. This plan has provision for a single user.
Its Pro plan costs $49 per month for up to 5,000 subscribers. For this plan, you get the full range of GetResponse’s email marketing and automation features which include advanced landing pages, webinars with up to 100 attendees, scoring, abandoned cart, web event tracking, and automation segmentation.
This plan has a provision for 3 users.
The Max plan goes for $165 per month for up to 10,000 subscribers. It comes with all the features in the Pro plan and campaign consulting, Salesforce integration, and Webinars with up to 500 attendees. You can have up to 5 users on this plan.
The Enterprise plan is the biggest plan on GetResponse for over 100,000 subscribers. It comes with an account manager, dedicated infrastructure, dedicated IP address, deliverability consulting, etc. You can have 10 users here.
ConvertKit is more suitable to bloggers and content marketers while GetResponse is more suitable to power users and small marketing teams who need more features and flexibility.
ConvertKit vs AWeber
AWeber maintains a list based system which can lead to a huge cost if subscribers opt in for different products and events. It means you can be charged many times for a single subscriber.
If you have a large subscriber base, this can lead to a large bill from the provider. AWeber also charges you for unsubscribes till you eliminate them from your list.
ConvertKit also does email automation better than AWeber as you can tag your subscribers as they go through your content. You can do this through rules under automation.
However, it is more difficult to remove inactive subscribers on ConvertKit. This is important as you need to keep your list engaged. Even though segmentation is easier on ConvertKit, it has fewer options than AWeber.
ConvertKit vs ActiveCampaign
Both platforms offer automated email marketing. But ActiveCampaign has plans that also include a sales and CRM system.
ActiveCampaign also has more features in its automation system. For instance, you can segment contacts based on their location, demographics, behavior, and other factors.
If you have many points of interactions with your subscribers and want an automated sales funnel, ActiveCampaign will serve you better than ConvertKit.
ActiveCampaign offers SMS follow-ups and ‘Conditional Content,’ which is good for targeting specific subscribers based on their actions.
If you’re a blogger who sells many products through your blog and to your email subscribers and has little experience with the techy side of email marketing or even building your products, you would encounter fewer hiccups by using ConvertKit for your email marketing operations.
What if you wish to take a vacation but still want your product to continue selling, all on autopilot? Or you’ll like to make money while sleeping with your sales effort all automated?
Then ConvertKit could be the ideal solution for you.
However, if you require great email design or only need your email provider to broadcast news, then you’ll find cheaper options that can offer you these functionalities.
Essentially, if you’re looking for an email marketing automation tool for your website, you need to define the most important things you want from an email software.
Is it design, or ease of use, or automation, or price? The list is longer than that.
And if you get confused trying to make a choice? Then try two or three email software packages to see their performances in real time.
Most of these tools offer free trials which means you can try all of them without any extra cost to you.
When you find a platform that suits you, you can then pay and move your subscribers to it or start building a new list.
One thing I’ll tell you though, make ConvertKit one of the three you’ll try out. Especially if you’re a blogger or online creator. You may end up preferring it. You never can tell!
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