Finding the newsletter system that works for you can be pretty easy. There's a lot to choose from, but the most common is Mailchimp. However, I recently started to use a new platform, called ConvertKit. So far I really love it but I wanted to showcase the differences between the two because most people seem to think they are very comparable, however, I think there are some massive differences.
This is going to be a full review of both Mailchimp and Convertkit as well as a side-by-side comparison to help you decide which one to use. I have only been using Convertkit for the last few weeks so there's a lot that I still don't know about the system. It's also a fairly new business so there are features being added every week. Please take all of this with a grain of salt remember that you know what will work best for your business. Trust your gut.
One of the biggest differences I've noticed from switching to Convertkit is that it is a program for web designers and established businesses. If you don't know any HTML or CSS coding the biggest problem you're going to have is the inability to customize your email templates in the way you want them to be customized. Unlike Mailchimp, ConvertKit relies on HTML and CSS coding to create your email design.
Mailchimp has a great editor for this because it is drag-and-drop. Whether you know coding or not, you'll be able to create a beautifully designed email in MailChimp. ConvertKit is not the same. Because of this major difference, I really think that comparing Mailchimp and ConvertKit side by side is not as easy as many people think it will be. There are some major differences between the two systems I want to talk about those today in this post.
Let me start off by saying if you are a new business owner or new blogger and you don't yet have an email list, start h Mailchimp. I just saved you from having to read this entire article. However if you have pretty well-established email list with at least 1000 people on it, I would advise that you read on.
It's free to start but it's also very easy. This program that I used for almost 2 years and I loved it every day that I used. However as my list grew to almost 2000 people I decided to upgrade and try some futures. I didn't like these additional features is much as I hoped I would. But we'll get to that clear for now want to focus on the positives.
If you're just starting your business, you are just starting a newsletter, there are a kind of tutorials about MailChimp. Is one most widely used email systems in the world and once search on Pinterest will quickly give you really good idea of how to get started. Not only that the MailChimp itself has a ton of tutorials there setup guide walks you through the entire setup process, and they have helped throughout the entire system. This makes Mailchimp a perfect system to start for newbies.
With the ability to create multiple lists, multiple email campaigns, and quickly edit templates and designs, Mailchimp and is very easy to use. Keep in mind that there is a learning curve with Mailchimp and if you've never used it before I highly recommend checking out their help pages or some YouTube videos to get started.
Mailchimp is a fairly easy system to use and. With all of that in mind, let's move on to ConvertKit. As I through this, keep back of your mind that ConvertKit is a fairly new business. There's a lot of features yet to come, and they are adding new help pages, features, and add-ons every single day.
If you are hoping for a feature that's not yet available, keep an eye on their company, more than likely it will be something that is added in the future.
The first thing I want to go over is some of the features Convertkit doesn't have that Mailchimp does.
- There's no way for subscribers to update their profiles. If their name or email address needed to be updated, they'll have to let you know so you can manually change it.
- There's no options to see which subscribers are more inactive than others. With MailChimp, I could filter out subscribers that hadn't opened any of my last (5,10,15,20) emails. Then I could remove those inactive subscribers. With Convertkit, this is limited, all I can see now is "cold subscribers" which is someone who has been subscribed for at least 30 days and hasn't opened or clicked an email in the last 90 days. This is VERY limiting and something that keeps me from keeping my bill low because it's harder to remove inactive people.
- Email templates are not drag and drop designs. Custom templates must use HTML and CSS code to be customized. Same with sign up forms, pages, and pop-ups. However, the sign-up forms on CovertKit are actually MORE customizable if you do know coding than the very limited forms used by Mailchimp
- Most websites don't connect to Convertkit. It's a fairly new and small tool, and because of that, there's a limited amount of plugins and apps that use Convertkit. You'll have to find ways around adding your sign up form to certain sites. For example, you can't connect the Squarespace newsletter block to Convertkit, however,you can post the Convertkit form HTML in a markdown block.
Now for some of the features ConvertKit has that Mailchimp is lacking or not easy to use.
- I can see which subscribers marked my email as spam, allowing me to delete them from my list. This saves my emails from auto-marking as spam in other subscriber accounts and allows me to remove people who obviously aren't interested in my emails.
- Everything (pages, forms, emails) is fully customizable using HTML and CSS. You can quickly edit colors, images and text as well with no HTML needed.
- You can re-send your broadcast (email) to everyone who didn't open it the first time around. And before resending it, you can edit the subject line, email body and the layout used. This makes it easy to get higher open and click rates and helps you get more unsubscribers (which is good since you're paying for every one of them).
- You can see full reports on any email sent including the recipients that opened the email, who clicked on your email and who unsubscribed. You can also see the list of who the email was sent to.
- You can archive old forms and landing pages until you need them again (this would be great for annual courses).
- Sequences (email ecourses) are extremely easy to set up and create. You can easily link forms to sequences so your new subscribers are automatically started on a welcome sequence, a free course or a sales funnel. You can also see and download all the stats (open rate, click rate, unsubscribes) on each sequence. You can choose which days to send emails, what time and which templates to use as well.
- Subscriber information is saved and stored. So if someone subscribes twice by mistake, it only counts as one person. You won't pay for one person to get 3 emails, it's all counted as 1. This helps you keep costs down and get a more accurate subscriber count.
- Automation. Mailchimp allows you to make automated email campaigns, but ConvertKit takes it a step further, allowing you to automate your sequence, add tags to subscribers, create drafts, remove tags, unsubscribe and subscribe to sequences and more. There are a ton of more options than Mailchimp allows with their Pro version.
You can read about all of ConvertKit's features in their knowledge base. If you want to use ConvertKit but need some more guidance first, they have a complete "Getting Started Guide" on their blog. It's really simple and helpful if you're new to the site.
As much as I loved Mailchimp, I don't think I'll ever go back. For me, Convertkit offers everything I need in a simple, well-designed fashion. Mailchimp is fantastic for new bloggers or business owners, but once you can afford the investment, I highly recommend switching over.