ConvertKit is a powerful email marketing platform known for its simple approach to automation and email templates.

In this post, we're going to go over everything ConvertKit's platform has to offer. We'll cover email forms, landing pages, templates, segmentation and automation.

This is part of our email marketing blog post series. So if you're interested in other email marketing tools too, check this post: 5 Powerful Email Marketing Tools Compared – Which One Is the Best?

But now – lets get started with our ConvertKit Review!

ConvertKit's Email Marketing Platform

ConvertKit was founded in 2013 when professional blogger and developer Nathan Barry grew more and more frustrated by the lack of features and non-intuitive user interface Mailchimp offered at the time. As he learned new email marketing strategies related to segmentation and automation, he quickly learned how incapable Mailchimp was at being used in this way, at least not easily. Thus, ConvertKit was born.

This origin story plays a huge role in who ConvertKit is today: a simple yet powerful email marketing platform that offers segments, tags and marketing automations at a price the average blogger can afford.

You'll notice this simplicity as soon as you sign in and are greeted by ConvertKit's clean UI for the first time.

ConvertKit DashboardSource: ConvertKit

Aside from a graph depicting the number of new subscribers you've earned day to day (this can be changed to display total subscribers, purchases or deliverability) , the dashboard also features a list of your segments, tags and products, how many subscribers are assigned to each, and a summary of your average open and click-through rates.

Let's take a look at the rest of ConvertKit's platform.

Email Forms

ConvertKit has four form styles to choose from as well as an unlimited number of forms you can create.

ConvertKit FormsSource: ConvertKit

The UI for the form editor and available templates are more or less the same for each regardless. In general, there are nine predesigned templates to choose from for the first three form types. The sticky bar only has one.

ConvertKit Form TemplatesSource: ConvertKit

ConvertKit's form builder doesn't have many premade fields to drag and drop into your form. The email field is there by default, and the only other field available at the start is the First Name field.

If you view one of your subscribers' profiles, you can add custom fields that you can include in your form. For example, you can have new subscribers input their last names, phone numbers, countries, blog names and whatever else you feel is relevant to know about them.

These fields can then be included in emails, such as “Hey {{ subscriber.firstname }}, I wanna know… What's the biggest issue you're facing with {{ subscriber.blog_name }} at the moment?”

You can also add tags to forms to have subscribers segment themselves with dropdown and checkbox-based fields.

ConvertKit Form BuilderSource: ConvertKit

Elements available for changes include the image your form uses along with a few colors, but that's about it.

Lastly, there are a few behavioral settings for you to configure, such as when a modal form should pop up.

Landing Pages

ConvertKit's landing pages use modern, well-designed styles. Unfortunately, they're more elaborate opt-in forms than full-on landing pages. There are over four dozen templates to choose from, but they all feature one opt-in form and very few elements to promote your lead magnet.

Each template creates a short page with hardly anything below the fold.

ConvertKit Landing Page EditorSource: ConvertKit

There are also no page building elements in the editor, so you can't add to the page to properly market your product or freebie. You can only switch out your chosen template's content for your own and change its styles.

When you open the settings panel for a landing page, you'll be able to add your freebie as a file for ConvertKit to store, add a custom domain for your landing page to use, add an SEO title and description, and set up a Thank You page.

Email Templates + the Email Builder

ConvertKit is known more for its automations and simplicity and less for its email templates and email builder. This is due to the company's insistence that plain-text emails are far more effective than the fully-fledged email templates used by other platforms.

As such, you'll find fewer email templates and a simplified block editor. You can add images, headings, text, buttons and countdown timers, but that's about it.

You also can't create your own templates for later use, unless you code them by hand. You can only use ConvertKit's templates and go from there.

You are able to start with a ConvertKit template, change its styles and save it as a “new” template, but this isn't the same as being able to design your own email with your platform's email builder and saving it as a template.

If these features are important to you, you're better off going with one of ConvertKit's competitors, such as Mailchimp, MailerLite or GetResponse.

With that said, when you want to create your first email, you'll find the only template available is the default plain-text option. You can use header images, but you'll need to create templates first in order to use them. You do this by editing ConvertKit's pre-existing templates.

ConvertKit Email TemplatesSource: ConvertKit

This is where ConvertKit's limitations start to show themselves.

You can edit the template's styles, but you can't really set up pre-existing content for it. For instance, while some templates allow you to change the text and images for their headers, they won't allow you to change these elements when you actually use the template to create a new email. You'll need to create a new template every time you want your header to be different.

ConvertKit - Edit Email TemplateSource: ConvertKit

Fortunately, the email builder uses an intuitive block editor, and you can even split test different subject lines.

ConvertKit Email BuilderSource: ConvertKit

Send a broadcast email to your entire list or specific subscribers using your own segments and tags. The choice is yours. You can send broadcast emails immediately or schedule them in advance.

Segmentation & Automation

ConvertKit offers one of the friendliest UIs when it comes to segmentation and automation. Let's note again that it was originally created with the goal of offering a simpler email marketing platform to bloggers and creators. As such, you won't find many of the advanced segmentation filters many other platforms provide, including Mailchimp and GetResponse.

ConvertKit SegmentsSource: ConvertKit

You can segment and tag subscribers based on specific products they've purchased, but that's about it. You may be able to find more advanced segmentation and tagging strategies through Zapier, but you won't find them directly in ConvertKit.

As for tagging, you can set these up through automations. The Automations panel is comprised of five sections:

  • Automations – Home of the automation workflow interface plus a grid-based list of all of your automations.
  • Sequences – Create multiple email series (“sequences” in ConvertKit) without needing to use automation workflows.
  • Rules – Set up rules based on if-this-then-do-that triggers and actions.
  • RSS – Send broadcast emails for your latest blog posts based on your site's RSS or Atom feed.
  • Integrations – Set up the third-party platforms you want to integrate your ConvertKit account with. ConvertKit only has over a dozen direct integrations, but you can always see if your third-party platform has its own integration with the service or if a connection can be made through Zapier.

The Automations, Sequences and Rules sections in particular are designed to work fluently with one another. You'll create sequences and apply them through rules, then use both in automation workflows.

ConvertKit RulesSource: ConvertKit

An example of the rules you can set up includes adding a subscriber to a sequence or tag when they subscribe to a particular form or a click a specific link in an email. You can also remove subscribers from sequences and tags, subscribe and unsubscribe them to a form, and use custom fields.

ConvertKit Email SequencesSource: ConvertKit

Email sequences are just as easy to set up. You simply add your subject lines and email content for however emails you wish to have in the sequence, then specify how long to wait between each email.

The only drawback of sequences is the fact that you can't use the split-testing feature for subject lines. You can use templates and exclude subscribers from specific emails, however.

There's also a setting that dictates whether or not subscribers restart sequences  they've completed them. This allows you to set up sequences promoting old blog posts, products and more.

ConvertKit Automation WorkflowSource: ConvertKit

Automation workflows help you complete certain actions when specific events are triggered. So far, you can trigger automation workflows when a subscriber joins a form, is added to a tag, makes a purchase or receives changes to a custom field.

You can then add that subscriber to an email sequence, add or remove a tag, move them to another automation, apply a custom field to their profile, or unsubscribe them from your list entirely.

Delays can be added at any point during the workflow, and you can also add new events and apply conditions.

Unfortunately, you can't set up emails in workflows. You'll need to set up sequences first, then use the sequence in your workflow, even if that sequence is only one email. This can make things quite messy as the number of workflows you create grows.

You also can't apply actions when subscribers join or leave sequences, which, again, means more of a mess as you'll need to create more tags instead.

Final Thoughts

ConvertKit was a game changer when it first launched as it helped push simpler email marketing practices to the forefront at a time when Mailchimp and it's complicated platform dominated the industry.

It's still a fantastic option for bloggers and other creators who want a simple UI to work with without foregoing multiple forms, segmentation and automation. The platform has evolved well enough to include simple templates for you to use, but you may want to look at other contenders if you prefer fancier email templates, landing pages and automations.

ConvertKit has a free forever plan you can use to collect up to 1,000 subscribers. This plan excludes automation workflows, sequences and a few additional features we didn't get to, such as the use of Facebook Custom Audiences.

Premium plans start at $29/month and $59/month for up to 1,000 subscribers. The latter plan has Facebook Custom Audiences, a newsletter referral system, subscriber scoring and advanced reporting.

Try ConvertKit

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