ConvertKit vs MailChimp: My Review
Every marketing guru will tell you to build your email list. You need to include an opt-in on your website, in your blog posts, and so on. The bigger your list, the more people you have on hand to promote any upcoming products or courses.
When I first started my business, I decided to go with MailChimp. MailChimp is the granddaddy of email marketing programs, and has been around since 2001 and I believe will continue to be around for a long time.
MailChimp is extremely popular among small businesses, and it offers a forever free plan that is great for those who are starting out and don’t yet have many email contacts.
On the other hand, ConvertKit is a newer kid on the block that is specifically marketed towards bloggers, podcasters, and other businesses who are building audiences. A entrepreneur friend of mine was raving about ConvertKit on Facebook, which got me all curious about testing it out. Turns out, the hype is real and I’m gonna share more in a bit.
When it comes to getting set up, it is super easy and quick to get up and running with both MailChimp and ConvertKit. The setup process for both programs are a no-brainer and there aren’t multiple steps to get started. Honestly, anyone should be able to get up and running with MailChimp or ConvertKit in minutes.
Creating & Editing
Both MailChimp and ConvertKit make it easy for anyone to create their email newsletters.
While MailChimp has a drag-and-drop builder which makes it easy to design beautiful email newsletters, sending out beautiful email newsletters might not actually be a smart choice. The reason I say that is because fancy email templates sometimes causes those emails to get flagged by gmail as spam, so no one is gonna read it.
Plus, many people focus too much on the design configuration of their emails versus the actual content itself. Hence, don’t get caught up with creating beautiful emails.
ConvertKit preaches the no fancy email templates message, which works great for me because I believe in sending plain text emails anyway.
Automated Email Sequence
When it comes to creating an automated email sequence, ConvertKit does it better. You can switch through to any of your emails in the sequence, make any changes you want, and save all of the changes in one screen.
Imagine if you have 7 emails in a sequence or sales funnel that you need to edit or view, and every time you want to make an edit you have to go through several screens. That amounts to time being wasted.
MailChimp does offer email sequences, but I’ve found it more of a drag to navigate. With ConvertKit, the sequence function makes it so much easier. You’re able to see all the emails in your flow and the ability to drag them around makes it a quick and easy process.
ConvertKit also allows you to auto-send broadcasts to un-open emails. Sometimes people are too busy to read your email then, or maybe your email subject title wasn’t interesting enough. Fact is, whenever you send out broadcast emails, a certain percentage of your subscribers will not open your emails. With ConvertKit, you’re able to allow auto-send so that you can re-target these people who didn’t open your email the first time.
Landing Pages & Forms
When it comes to creating landing pages and forms, both ConvertKit and MailChimp allows you to create forms and landing pages. So what are landing pages? Landing pages are basically standalone web pages that people “land” on when they click through from an email or from an ad or another web page. Now, I use landing pages to achieve short term or temporary goals such as selling a limited-time offer or a specific product.
This is a feature that I love because it takes away all that extra time needed to get my developer to create a landing page every time I need a standalone page.
However, when it comes to creating forms, ConvertKit does this better. MailChimp has a limited form functionality and they don’t look very good either. With ConvertKit, you’re also able to create multiple forms per list which allows you to split test different forms.
ConvertKit also has a better segmenting and tagging system, which is an awesome feature. For example, if someone opts-in to my Validate Your Business Idea 4 day free email course, I can tag them as ‘interested in business’, for instance. If the same person subscribes to another incentive, I can tag them again. One subscriber can have a few interests and this is how ConvertKit works. More importantly, ConvertKit does not double or triple charge you per subscriber for different lists. Unfortunately, MailChimp charges for duplicate subscribers if say a subscriber was interested in 2 or more of your incentives.
When it comes to integration with other softwares, Mailchimp offers more integrations than ConvertKit. Since ConvertKit is newer, this is normal but I’m seeing new integrations being made every month.
When you are first starting out, maybe you don’t want to pay $10 to $30 monthly for email newsletters.
Mailchimp offers a great forever free plan. You are allowed to have up to 2,000 email contacts and you can send out 12,000 emails monthly. So if you have a thousand subscribers, you can send out 12 emails monthly, which works out to 3 times a week, which is good enough when you are starting out. However, if you plan on creating any kind of automated email funnel, you’ll quickly use up those email credits.
If you want unlimited emails, MailChimp charges based on the number of emails that you have. If you have 0 to 500 emails, MailChimp charges $10 monthly for that. If you have 501 to 1,000 emails, it will cost $15.
Now in comparison, ConvertKit costs $29 monthly for unlimited emails up to 1,000 email subscribers. One thing to point out though is that as mentioned, ConvertKit counts a subscriber who is on multiple lists as a single distinct subscriber. So you won’t get double or triple billed for the same subscriber on multiple lists like you would with MailChimp.
One Big Pain…
Now, I want to talk about something that I really don’t like about MailChimp. One of the biggest problems I have with MailChimp is that it does not allow affiliate marketing in their emails! That is a big problem for my business because a portion of our income comes from affiliate marketing.
Now, MailChimp does make a distinction when it comes to affiliate LINKS versus affiliate MARKETING. They allow affiliate links but not affiliate marketing.
What exactly does that mean? This means that you should be able to link affiliate products in your emails unless they are blacklisted, but you cannot actively push or promote an affiliate product, which is also known as affiliate marketing.
This is a HUGE problem for online entrepreneurs like myself, bloggers, basically anyone who makes an income from affiliate marketing. What’s the point of me growing my email list if I can only promote my own stuff and not the affiliate products that I represent?
The worst part of it all is that the rules about this is pretty vague, which means that MailChimp can deactivate your account if they think that you aren’t following the rules.
Because of this rule, it is also one of the main reasons why bloggers and affiliate marketers have moved on from MailChimp to another alternative like ConvertKit.
My personal view is that MailChimp is a great choice for those who are starting out with their email marketing. You can get a forever free account if you have under 2,000 subscribers and the basic functionality is there. However, if you want to take your email marketing more seriously or your list starts to grow, you might want to seriously consider using ConvertKit instead.
Want to test out ConvertKit? Here’s the link here to start a 14-day trial.
Chrys was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug at an early age. By age 27, Chrys has started and ran two online businesses. Chrys now runs Chrys Media, a company that runs online conferences for online entrepreneurs.