Everyone is told they should have an email list; it seems to be “common knowledge” in any industry that if you build your list, then you can build your audience, gain more leads, and get more business. But if you’ve never built a list before, then you might be wondering, where the heck do I start? There are so many online email marketing platforms to choose from, and it can become overwhelming!
Perhaps one of the best known email marketing platforms is MailChimp. Truth be told, if you are going to start a list and don’t want to pay for it, then sign up for MailChimp - it’s free until you hit 2,000 subscribers (or you want to send 12,000 emails per month). Let’s say you do have exactly 2,000 subscribers on MailChimp… that means you would get to send 6 emails a month. If you can manage that low of an email-sending threshold, then great! You can stick with their free plan.
BUT, once you have to pay, please (for the love of all things good) switch from MailChimp to ConvertKit, because you will get SO much more for your money and your time, not to mention the sheer power of the ConvertKit platform compared to MailChimp.
I first heard of ConvertKit years ago though, to be honest, I was nowhere near being financially sound enough in my business to pay $50 a month for an email software. I was more focused on making enough money to just pay for my Adobe Creative Suite (something I use on a daily basis in my biz).
Anyway, I started with MailChimp because it made sense to me at the time. All I needed was a simple email list and the ability to email people that were on it. MailChimp was the perfect solution… however, I slowly but surely started to develop some growing pains as I realized that the platform didn’t fully allow me to do what I WANTED with my emails.
Without any further ado, here’s the reason why I finally made the switch:
#1. ConvertKit is much better suited to emails that will include a lot of text!
As I started to turn my email marketing strategy towards automations & educational topics, I realized that MailChimp just doesn’t look great for a lot of text-heavy content. Sure, the drag & drop feature makes it easy to place photos into an email template, but I actually realized I preferred to have an HTML based email with plain text instead.
There’s also a little bit of sales strategy behind my reasoning for this change as well… people are more likely to delete an email immediately (without really looking at it) if they open it and see a TON of pictures formatted like an ad. Their brain immediately checks out and they delete that email. They’re actually more likely to engage if they start reading and get pulled into the story or whatever information you’re sharing.
ConverKit is HTML based, and I used Spruce Road’s Designing ConverKit Mini Class to teach myself how to customize an email using HTML. That mini class was a godsend and made me feel like a ConverKit pro right away. Jamie gave me a code for y’all to get 20% off the mini class if you want to take it - just use “elisaanne” at checkout.
#2. MailChimp can, quite honestly, be clunky AF. ConverKit’s interface is stunning and makes a lot more sense.
When I think about navigating around MailChimp to find everything I get slightly queasy… it was a treasure map of sorts. I was always poking around trying to see if I could find what I needed and where the HECK it was. I had to Google things constantly to try to achieve what I wanted.
ConvertKit is SO stinking easy and straightforward with how it’s laid out that I actually haven’t had many questions!
ConvertKit sends you a welcome email series after you sign up (and I bet they use ConvertKit to do it haha) that guides you through all the key things you need to know in the system. The email series lasted about a week or so and it taught me EVERYTHING. And that was a resource they put together for free for their customers! How cool is that?
I also love that it’s easy to get in touch with ConvertKit for technical difficulties & support via the chat button they have in the bottom right corner. MailChimp doesn’t have the best customer service (lol).
#3. MailChimp stores subscribers in multiple lists, causing your numbers to be duplicated. ConvertKit stores subscribers on ONE master list & then allows you to tag/segment them.
Let me start by saying that MailChimp does allow you to tag and segment your subscribers, but it almost seems pointless because of the way their current system is setup. Let me enlighten you.
Let’s say you want to create a free download as an incentive to get people to sign up for your email list & newsletter. YAY! In MailChimp you have to create an individual list for every single free incentive you have. If you’re like me (someone who has multiple download incentives and free email series) then you’re going to get really frustrated with MailChimp. This is due to the fact that you might end up having 1 subscriber on all of your incentive lists, and if you have 3 incentive lists then that subscriber is getting counted 3 times towards your limit of 2,000 on the free MailChimp plan.
In my opinion, MailChimp’s organization for this is nonsensical. Switching to ConvertKit allowed me to breathe a sign of relief, as tagging/segmenting your list is SO easy and I know exactly who is interested in receiving what. I can even allow them to remove themselves from a sales funnel email series but remain on my general mailing list, a feature that I’m not sure MailChimp even has (or if it did I wouldn’t have no idea how to find it).
#4. Automations, Automations, Automations! ConvertKit wins BIG with this!
MailChimp finally allowed users to access the automation feature for free back in 2017, but their system is a bit of a joke compared to ConvertKit. At the time, I was happy that I could use MailChimp’s automation feature for free without paying to upgrade my plan… BUT during Black Friday weekend of 2017 I was required to upgrade my plan anyway because I hit the “sending more than 12,000 emails in a month” threshold (ug).
MailChimp’s current policy now is that you can’t downgrade your plan back to free once you’ve upgraded…. so that STINKS. And it’s just one of the many reasons paying for ConvertKit made so much sense to me! I knew exactly what I would get & why I needed it, and their visual automations are simply stunnnning.
As someone that likes having things run at all times behind the scenes without me lifting a figure (aka it’s automated), ConvertKit was the perfect fit for me. Back at the end of 2018 I wrote a free email series called The Stationery Biz Crash Course (you can join it for FREE here) and it’s a 14-day email series that runs completely on its own without my touching a thing. When someone signs up, they receive an email from me every day that discusses a different topic about running a stationery business, and my emails include links to all sorts of cool things that generate revenue for me, like affiliate products, my amazing shopping list, and more!
Here’s the important thing to remember. I view MailChimp as the perfect newbie platform for people just getting started building an email list, and I view ConvertKit as the perfect step UP when you’ve grown out of everything MailChimp offers (or, in this case, doesn’t offer).
The point of having an email list is to continuously remind your audience of your presence. Emailing someone is a DIRECT point of contact that can be incredibly personal when leveraged correctly! You want to stay at the forefront of your audience’s mind, and email marketing is the perfect way to do that, even if you only manage to send out a couple emails a month.
Comments or questions about ConvertKit? Leave me a comment! :)
DISCLAIMER: I am a ConvertKit affiliate, so I will earn a commission if you decide to purchase & use ConvertKit through my link! Thank you so much for your support, I wouldn’t recommend a product unless I 100% loved it! I use ConvertKit for my own biz, as well as Biz Birthday Bash.