Are you a blogger looking for a simple, yet effective email marketing service? Now that I’ve been a user for awhile, I thought I’d offer a thorough ConvertKit review so you can see how I’m using this service to grow my online business.
ConvertKit Review: 7 Big Reasons I Made the Switch
ConvertKit is one of the seven blogging tools I use daily.
In this review, I’ll be sharing with you over 21 unique benefits of using ConvertKit to power your email marketing system. For simplicity’s sake, I’ve positioned all of the benefits to fit under seven key features.
1. Quickly design new email capture forms
Building your email list is one of the cornerstone habits you need to develop if you desire to blog full-time (See: How to Build Your Online Business with the Hourglass Funnel).
In order to begin the process of collecting new email subscribers, you must create an email capture form. ConvertKit makes this easy for us non-technical bloggers.
They give you a template form you can easily edit to meet your needs. There’s no need to learn HTML or CSS.
Automatic delivery of your lead magnet
Before ConvertKit, one of my biggest time wasters was setting up the automatic delivery of a lead magnet. A few years ago in the blogging world, the best practice was to have one main lead magnet you offered on your entire site.
But more recently, content upgrades have become all the craze. A content upgrade is when you make an attractive email opt-in incentive related to the topic on that page. Think of it as bonus content you give away in exchange for an email address.
For bloggers, this one simple discipline can yield higher conversions than one catch-all lead magnet.
What I love about ConvertKit is how easy they make this process. With every form you create in ConvertKit, you have the option to upload a file (think PDF). Once a visitor opts-in to that form, they will automatically receive your PDF or content upgrade.
You can even easily tailor the first email they receive. When I was with MailChimp, this process was much more complicated. First, I could never easily locate the welcome email. Second, there was no option to upload a document.
You can also get a quick snapshot of how well your content upgrade is performing (see image).
Create a pop-up modal for your content upgrades
Inside the forms feature, you can also choose to have your pop-up on the page to make sure the user sees it. Personally, I hate pop-ups when I first visit a page, but I know why people use them. They are effective.
But with ConvertKit you can set the pop-up overlay to display once a certain percentage of the page has been read. If you set the scroll percentage to 75%, then when the reader gets almost to the bottom of the page, the pop-up will display.
If the pop-up is a bonus content piece to what they are already interested in, then you will have a much higher conversion percentage.
Pro Tip: Find your top five most visited blog posts in Google Analytics and create content upgrades for those posts. This alone will skyrocket the number of daily email subscribers you’re getting.
Trigger the pop-up modal with a link click
Another effective strategy I’ve used with ConvertKit forms is to use the pop-up modal with a click. This one simple strategy will boost your conversions alone.
A pop-up modal from a link click is an effective strategy if you do not want pop-ups on your site, but you want to still take advantage of the idea.
Create a slide-in content upgrade offer
The slide-in feature of ConvertKit is another version of a pop-up. The overlay pop-up we spoke of earlier takes over the screen and grays out everything else on the page.
The slide-in feature will do just that: slide-in an opt-in box on the right side of the screen once a user scrolls down to a certain percentage. You can determine the percentage under options inside the form you are building.
Being able to effectively and easily capture email addresses is a skill every blogger needs to develop. ConvertKit makes this process easier, hands down.
2. Automation features for the non-technical blogger
Before I made the switch to ConvertKit, I needed to make sure it could meet my automation needs. As a blogger, the better you can get at sending timely and relevant email messages, the faster you will grow.
For example, if someone opts-in for my content upgrade “The 30-Day Kindle Book Writing Challenge,” I want the following things to happen automatically:
- Tag them in my system as being “interested” in writing Kindle books
- Send them a series of follow-up emails offering more tips and tools
- Include information in the emails about my course, Kindle Your Passion
Two of the bigger players in the email automation field a few years ago were Ontraport and Infusionsoft. While both are feature-rich email marketing services, they are not ideal for the non-technical blogger who is just getting started.
ConvertKit makes automation easy. Here are the top five automation rules I use with ConvertKit.
Rule 1. Subscribes to a form, then subscribe to a sequence
If a website visitor grabs a content upgrade on my site, I want to be able to send them few more emails on auto-pilot on that topic. By setting up a simple automation rule in ConvertKit, this can happen automatically (see image).
Rule 2. Subscribes to a form, then add a tag
Every time a new subscriber comes into your email marketing system, you should place a “tag” on their interest. This practice is what’s known as segmentation. It’s a powerful business practice that I’ll go into more detail about later.
Whenever I create a new form, I set a rule to add a new tag to that subscriber.
Rule 3. Clicks a link, then add a tag
This is another favorite automation rule I use all of the time, mainly to create an “interest segment.”
Let’s say I want to find out who on my email list wants to write and publish a Kindle book. I can send an email to my list and include a link to download my 30-day Kindle writing guide. With the magic of ConvertKit automation rules, I can add a tag in my system to anyone who clicks on that link.
Let’s say my tag is “Interest: Kindle Book Writing.” After a few days, I look in ConvertKit and notice that I have 579 people tagged! Since I know they have an interest in writing a Kindle book, I can send them more tips and resources and even offer my online course as a solution. Meanwhile, I’m not bombarding the rest of my list with something they are not interested in.
Rule 4. Tag is added, subscribe to a sequence
A sequence in ConvertKit is a series of emails that get sent automatically. This is when automation gets really fun. Using our earlier Kindle book writing example, let’s say I write a series of three emails that sell my Kindle Your Passion online course.
I can set up a rule that says when the “Interest: Kindle Book Writing” tag gets added, also add them to my sequence about Kindle Your Passion. Are you beginning to see the power if this?
Rule 5. Completes a sequence, then remove a tag
This is a more advanced automation rule, but it can be highly effective. If a new subscriber is automatically added to a 7-day email sequence, then you probably don’t want to be sending them more emails while they are in the sequence.
I like to set up a simple automation rule that both adds and removes a simple “in engagement” tag. That way if I’m sending out a brand new email I just created, I can choose to “exclude” anyone with the “In Engagement” tag.
However, once they are done going through the automatic email sequence, my system will remove the “In Engagement” tag, and I can now send them any new emails I create.
3. Simple and easy email sequences
Many experts say “the money is in the list,” but I think that’s incorrect. The relationship is in the list. You have to build a relationship with someone before they know, like, and trust you.
The best way to build a relationship is through frequent and valuable emails. When a visitor makes a decision to download something on your website, they are letting you know they have an interest in that topic. Doesn’t it make sense for us to nurture that relationship by sending a few more emails on that topic?
When it comes to email sequences, there are four features I use the most.
Create an email funnel quickly
Designing an email funnel does not have to be complex. This is why I love ConvertKit’s user-friendly interface. Each tab down the left-hand side represents a new email in your funnel. By clicking on the tab you can quickly move to the next email in the funnel. You can easily create a three-day email series in under 30 minutes.
Use the “delay sending by” feature in creative ways
This feature gives you full control of when to send the next email in the series. You can have the first email sent “immediately” and then the rest of the emails sent one day after the next.
You can also select your emails to be sent on a certain day as well. For example, if you have an automatic webinar that runs every Wednesday, you can set up ConvertKit to email the replay to the webinar registrants every Thursday.
Automatically opt-out subscribers who purchased your product
There is nothing more annoying than receiving emails about buying a product after you’ve already purchased it! The last thing you want is for one of your customers to buy your online course from the first email in your funnel and have them receive all of the rest of the emails even after they purchased!
The easiest way to avoid this is to apply a “buyer tag” on customers who purchase. Then, under settings in your email sequence, you can tell the ConvertKit system to stop sending emails to people who have a certain tag.
Review reports to see improvement opportunities
After you have a hundred people or so go through your email sequence, take a few moments to review the reports section. Here you can view:
- Which email subject lines get opened the most
- Which email subject lines get opened the least (change the subject line)
- How many clicks you are getting from each email
- What your average open rate is across all emails in the funnel
Once armed with this information, you can easily find areas of improvement. If one of your emails has a super low click rate compared to the rest, you may need to revisit that email and see what you can do to improve it.
4. The power of audience segmentation
One of the most powerful business practices you can do is called “segmentation.” A segment is a group of people from your main email list that has a high interest in a particular topic. If done correctly, you’ll end up with dozens of customer segments over time.
Later, you can email a select group of people on your list about a topic, product, or service that you know are already interested. This practice will lead to fewer unsubscribes and a more engaged email list.
How to create naming conventions & why you MUST do it
When you are first getting started with segmentation, it’s important that you use naming conventions. This will help you to keep your ConvertKit account clean and organized. The three main segments I use are “buyer” tags, “interest” tags, and “system” tags.
Here are a few snapshots of how this looks in my ConvertKit account:
The power of a segmented email
If you haven’t already noticed, I love segmented emails. Your subscribers will love you, too. Over time you’ll send them more and more relevant emails as you get to know more about their desired interests. This practice will lead to higher open rates, bigger click-throughs, and more conversions.
5. Simple, yet effective email broadcasts
Never overestimate the power of simplicity. A big mistake most new bloggers make relates to professionalism. Because we want our business to be taken seriously, we mistakenly think fancy newsletters and header logos win the day. That just isn’t the case.
Why simplicity wins in email marketing
Customers want to build relationships with people, not brands. As a blogger, you’ll win the day by sending emails that mirror emails they might receive from a friend. We tend to ignore fancy template emails (or even see them as spam). Meanwhile, a plain text email about a mutual passion we share gets read.
ConvertKit brings the beauty of simplicity back to email marketing. In the past when I tried to send an email with MailChimp or GetResponse, I often had to spend time deleting unnecessary elements just to create a simple text email. With ConvertKit’s simple email broadcast tool, I can type up and send a nice-looking text email in just minutes.
6. Editable email templates and footers
For those who want to have some say in your email template, ConvertKit does give you that option as well. While I don’t personally make drastic changes to the template, I do love the fact that I can make adjustments to the footer section of every email I send. I primarily use this feature in two ways:
Create a standard footer for your email broadcasts
I created a standard footer text that goes out with every broadcast email I send out. This was much harder to pull off with other email marketing services. A few things I like to include in my standard email footer include:
- Encourage email replies – I want my subscribers to know that I’m a real person with an active email address. I have a note at the bottom that encourages people to reply to the email if they feel stuck. While many marketers today choose to send out emails from “admin” or “support,” I send out emails from my active email address. Yes, I’m crazy because we get a high volume of replies. But I want my subscribers to know this is a real two-way relationship.
- Disclose affiliate relationships – I also want to include that when I recommend another resource, I will often get an affiliate commission. This allows me to adhere to the proper disclosure guidelines.
- Reduce unsubscribes – While you can never fully deter people from unsubscribing, you can help them decide if it’s the right choice for them. I let subscribers know that if they unsubscribe, I won’t be able to send future updates about courses they have purchased in the past.
Allow your subscribers to opt-out of a promotion without unsubscribing
This feature was a game-changer once I set this up. Many of your unsubscribes might be happening just because they don’t have an interest in the series you are currently emailing them about. Maybe they have no desire to write a Kindle book and this is the third email they have received this week about it. Instead of giving them the sole option of unsubscribing from your entire list, offer them a second better option.
You can give them the option to unsubscribe from this current promotion/series without unsubscribing from your entire list. If you have an interest in how to set this up using ConvertKit, then check out the step-by-step blog post we wrote called: How to Allow Your Subscribers to Opt-Out Without Unsubscribing.
7. The amazing people & support of ConvertKit
I may have saved the best for last. One of the things I love the most about ConvertKit is the people. I have had an opportunity to get to know some members of the team and have been impressed with each of them. ConvertKit was built with bloggers in mind and it shows.
Need help or feel stuck? Jump on a live chat with one of ConvertKit’s team members. This feature has saved me time by answering a question quickly so I can get that next email out. It’s also perfect for beginners when you are trying to figure out ConvertKit’s features.
Facebook community group
Want to learn the latest email marketing strategies? As a ConvertKit member, you can join their private Facebook group. There you can interact with other ConvertKit users and learn best practices in email marketing.
Commitment to improvement without feature bloating
Another thing I appreciate about ConvertKit is their commitment to simplicity. Many SaaS companies easily lose their way by trying to please their customer’s every demand. What often happens is “feature bloat.” What once started as a great idea, suddenly becomes an unrecognizable brand and mission.
ConvertKit has seen unfathomable growth over the last few years, and yet has stayed true to their simple mission.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this in-depth ConvertKit Review. As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of ConvertKit. I’ve finally found an email marketing service I can wholeheartedly recommend to both newbie and experts alike. I think you ought to give them a try, too.