If you are operating an online business then you probably know that building an email list is one of the best things you can do for your business & success.
Since I first started building emails lists I was a huge MailChimp fanboy however, I recently moved away from MailChimp in search of a similar experience but with more sophisticated automations…
Since my primary online business is still a side project I’m doing my best to automate as many things as possible and I started looking for a tool with more powerful automation abilities.
So as I went in search for a better solution I did some research into Active Campaign and saw all the possibilities I had with automations and was sold pretty quickly… A couple months later I had everything transferred over to Active Campaign and up and running.
While Active Campaign was great for creating fairly complicated automations, I was never happy with their visual editor and creating even basic HTML emails (styled to look like a plain text email) was a pain in the ass. It was also bloated with a bunch of CRM features I just don’t need and didn’t care about.
So, about two months after getting all set up with AC I was listening to Pay Flynn interview Nathan Berry about his company ConvertKit which was basically created for the exact reason I was leaving MailChimp.
Super easy to use (Like MailChimp) but more powerful tools for people like me (Selling digital products & services online).
When I heard him mention that they would even do the migration of all of my tags, lists, and automations I was sold and signed up.
While concierge migration was a big selling point I’ve come to love ConvertKit for a few other reasons I listed below.
Reason #1 – Easy to Use
Ok, so one of the big reasons I’ve always recommended MailChimp to people is because it is super easy to use. Building forms, creating email campaigns, and designing emails with their drag and drop interface works extremely well.
But I think ConvertKit has taken this to a new level, especially when you start to get more sophisticated with your workflows, automations, and courses (More on that later).
Creating forms (to actually capture your audiences email address) is super easy (Probably easier than MailChimp honestly) and the best part is you can pick from 3 common styles and have the form display in a number of popular ways such as inline, as a modal pop up, or have it slide in.
These styles and displays are pretty cool because it removes your need for other third party plugins or code snippets. After building a few dozen WordPress websites for others, I can attest that the fewer plugins and random stuff you have to manage the better your life is going to be…
Additionally, creating forms, single email broadcasts, getting a snapshot of your list size and growth should all be super simple and ConvertKit does this extremely well. As a small business owner, especially operating in the online space, it is super easy to get distracted by the million different states and metrics they tell you to measure but ultimately you probably only need to concern yourself with daily list growth and the conversion rate of each of your forms, especially if you are a one man (or woman) show.
ConvertKit puts this right on the dashboard when you log in. Simple.
Reason #2 – Courses
Building courses, which are basically autoresponder sequences are DEAD simple in ConvertKit and doesn’t require a bunch of clicking around from page to page like it does in MailChimp.
In MailChimp, each email is basically treated like a separate campaign and you have to go through 4 different screens to create one email in your autoresponder sequence. This will significantly slow you down when creating these types of sequences and it will also make updating each email in the sequence a pin too.
ConvertKit on the other hand, has put the entire course right at your fingertips (mouse pointer?) with a dead simple, easy to navigate, course creation page.
This will not only speed up the time it takes you to create a new email autoresponder/course but will make you WAY more likely to set up a great engagement series in the first place, since I know you’re probably already short on time.
If you haven’t dug into autoresponders yet (I know a ton of small businesses that haven’t) then you can DRAMATICALLY increase your customer engagement with a simple ‘Welcome!’ email sent immediately after someone subscribes to your list.
Here is a script that has worked really well for me:
Subject: Welcome! Can I ask you a quick question?
Body: Hi, [Subscriber’s Name]!
I’m [Your Name] and I’m the founder of [Your Company]. I just wanted to take a second and say thanks for joining the community.
Here is what you can expect from us:
[Tell them what they’ll get by being on your list]
With that said, what is one thing you are currently struggling with right now?
Thanks so much for joining us!
A simple email like this will not only set expectations but prompt your new subscribers to actually hit reply and answer your question – Giving you super valuable data and insight into their current problems/struggles (The key is you actually have to read and respond – Which people love.).
Reason #3 – Automations
Finally, I get to the reason I went looking for a new service in the first place…
Automations give you the power to really curate content based on your subscribers actions and only send them stuff the really care about, improving engagement & usually improving sales as well. Talk about win-win!
Setting up automation rules in ConvertKit is super simple and gives you the power to subscribe people to a specific email course or sales sequence with a click of a link right inside their email.
For example, at the end on my Welcome Series, I send a quick survey that only asks people to click on a link that best describes their specific goal.
When they do so it tags them as interested in that specific topic and starts a course giving them more information on that topic while also eventually pitching a product that solves that problem for them. Pretty cool.
There are a ton of automations you can set up such as sending upsell and downhill emails, segmenting your main list into specific interest groups, and performing a number of other actions based off of your subscribers engagement.
While some of this can get fairly advanced, especially for someone just getting started, I’d recommend you set up a method to help you automatically tag or segment your subscribers into specific interest groups right from the get go. This will make things easier down the road and increase your overall engagement.
Bonus: Reason #4 – List Management & Tags
Since I recommended automating some of your segmentation where appropriate I figured I’d have to touch on another great feature of ConvertKit which is the way you can manage your lists (and the way they view your subscribers).
So most email marketing software out there will charge you on a per subscriber basis. This is great if you are just getting started since if you have a tiny list, you probably aren’t making much money with it, so you don’t want to shell out a bunch of cash in the beginning.
However, one of my biggest pet peeves with MailChimp was how they treated subscribers on each list.
For example, if I have a main newsletter list with 1000 subscribers on it and create a new list (to segment those 500 subscribers into specific interest groups) that ends up with 500 subscribers MailChimp was charging me for 1500 subscribers Even if that 500-person sub-list were all already on my original list of 1000.
— ConvertKit (@ConvertKit) December 29, 2015
With ConvertKit, a subscriber is a subscriber no matter how many lists, segments, of tags are applied to them.
Additionally, ConvertKit removes the need for multiple duplicate lists by allowing you the ability to tag and segment members based on how they got on your list in the first place. Which makes it dead simple to send single email broadcasts so only specific groups of people.
Wrapping this up
Hopefully, you already know how important building and nurturing an email list can be to your business, if not email me and I’ll help you out.
While there are a ton of options out there I can’t recommend ConvertKit enough if you are just getting started or already have a few thousand subscribers. I only listed a few of the great features above (didn’t even touch on their blazing fast support) so if you are looking for an email marketing service, or frustrated with your current solution then I highly recommend you check out ConvertKit or shoot me an email and let’s chat about what you’re currently struggling with and see if there is a better solution out there for you.