Starting an email list is one of the most important things when running a business. Why? Because an email list allows you to stay in contact with the people who already have engaged with you, a.k.a. your warm (or hot) audience.
You know that, though, because it’s been in the back of your mind for a while now, hasn’t it? Everyone says to start your list. The money is in the list. If you’ve already started, are you using the right provider? Who should you use? MailChimp? ConvertKit? Which is the most cost-effective? Which will give the best results?
Over the last few years, I’ve used a few different providers to grow my list every day with warm leads who want to hear from me. Below I’ve compared my experiences with the two most popular services – ConvertKit and MailChimp. Then I’ll show you HOW to start your email list NOW with the provider that will give you the most value.
MailChimp vs. ConvertKit
MailChimp is a list-centric provider, whereas ConvertKit is subscriber-centric. What I mean by that is that MailChimp acts like a large, single list where you put your subscribers. If you create a second list, you are essentially creating two mailing accounts under one login. That means that if someone signs up for list 1 and list 2 (i.e. downloads an activity for biology – list 1, and wants to receive your weekly update – list 2), they’ll be counted as two subscribers and you’ll need to pay for both. In ConvertKit, each subscriber can be tagged and added to as many lists as you like and still only be counted as a single subscriber.
As an FYI, ConvertKit does offer a free, 14-day trial so you can test the waters and see if it’s right for you.
ConvertKit = $29/month, MailChimp = $0
ConvertKit = $49/month, MailChimp = $0
ConvertKit = $49/month, MailChimp = $30-$50
At 3000 subscribers, ConvertKit and MailChimp start to move up hand-in-hand.
For example: For up to 25,000 subscribers:
ConvertKit is $199/month
MailChimp is $150/month
However, let’s say you want to create multiple lists so that Jane Smith is on your Chemistry and New Teacher lists and receives each sequence.
Here’s how MailChimp charges you for duplicate subscribers.
Let’s say out of 25,000 subscribers, you have a few lists:
Product Interest List (8,000)
Even though there are only 25,000 unique subscribers, your billed subscriber count will look like this:
So the prices would be:
If you’re just starting out and ALL you want to do is send out a weekly newsletter and avoid tagging, sequencing, etc., MailChimp offers a free program, but it comes with a catch. It DOESN’T permit any kind of automation. You can’t set up email sequences that send email 1 two days after they subscribe, email 2 two days later, etc. MailChimp charges you for this.
In general, ConvertKit will cost a little more than MailChimp, and it should. It does way more. In practical terms, many will find that their email bill will go down when switching to ConvertKit. Remember that frustrating little duplicate subscriber issue with MailChimp? That thorn in your side vanishes instantly with ConvertKit.
Conclusion – $30/month can be a lot of money, but if you’re serious about growing your list and utilizing it to generate income, it more than pays for itself.
If you’re someone who’s ‘techy’ enough to easily understand the steps and logic behind this email automation system, MailChimp will turn out to be just like a subject during your primary school days. Its layout is straightforward and easy to navigate and MailChimp offers a lot of simple, drag-and-drop email templates. MailChimp also has an excellent app that lets you keep tabs on your list(s) from your phone.
ConvertKit is slightly more complex but more like middle school. Its complexity stems from its ability to accomplish so much, and as a result, better serve your audience. ConvertKit believes in keeping their emails simple in an attempt to come across less salesy and more conversational. You can still insert pictures, etc., it just doesn’t have the drag-and-drop features of MailChimp. Although ConvertKit doesn’t have an app, it does have a very good mobile website that can be used to send emails, check status, etc.
We all want to collect more leads for our business. More leads = more subscribers = more customers. MailChimp allows you to utilize one lead-magnet (something you give to someone in exchange for their email address). This lead-magnet is typically a freebie, a video, etc. If you want to create more lead-magnets, you need to add additional lists and if someone is on two lists, they count as two subscribers. These opt-in boxes are typically rectangles you place on your site that provide space for someone to enter their name and email address.
ConvertKit allows you to add these same opt-in boxes anywhere on your site, but also allows you to create landing pages (pages a person comes to after clicking your list somewhere else), slide-ins, and popups. These additional features enter after a certain amount of time: after you’ve scrolled down far enough on a page, or as you try to exit (exit-intent). You can have as many lead-magnets as you like as ConvertKit is subscriber-centered and doesn’t limit you to lists. No matter how many times someone opts in, they’re still only counted as a single subscriber. Once they opt-in, you can then choose to have ConvertKit automatically deliver your lead-magnet to your new customer.
Both services provide excellent support and 24/7 chat help. I’ve requested help with both providers and been extremely satisfied on all occasions.
My top reasons why ConvertKit is the only choice
1) Full visual automation. A new feature that lets you visualize your workflow and see how your forms and sequences are connected. See it in action below.
2) You can tag subscribers who opt-in for certain freebies or other products. Tagging subscribers allows you to segment your list appropriately. A segmented list is a more engaged list because you’re only sending messages to people who are interested in what you’re talking about. For me, this means that if I come out with a new chemistry product, I only send it out to those who have “told me” that they teach chemistry. This might not seem like a big deal but by only sending messages that your audience wants to see, you’ll keep your customers engaged and opening your emails in the future.
3) Easy to set up email automation sequences. Automated sequences allow you to engage your audience with the right message at the right time. For instance, you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first day. First, you build a relationship the person. That’s what automated sequences do. When someone first signs up, you’ll send them a welcome email, then follow that up with an automated sequence of emails that are meant to build trust over time. I use my sequences to not only build trust but to drip out content over time to provide value to my subscribers. This allows me to send my subscribers resources over time that they can use in their classroom. This provides them value but also gets eyes on certain products that I want my customers to know about.
4) Set up rules seamlessly so that when someone signs up using a form to get a freebie, they are appropriately tagged, and added to a sequence where you’ll be able to provide more value over time.
5) Considering how powerful this tool is, it’s extremely cheap and easy to use in comparison to others like Infusionsoft. $30 per month may seem like a lot but your ROI will be through the roof both in profits and goodwill from your customers as you’ll be able to provide so much more value than they’ll ever expect and you’ll do it automatically.
6) Subscribers aren’t duplicated across lists. That means you only pay once for each subscriber. MailChimp requires a subscriber to be re-added every time they join a new list. That means that on MailChimp, John Smith who receives your weekly video series and your chemistry sequence will be counted twice in your total subscriber count.
7) Their support is unparalleled in the online space. They have online chat support, free courses on setting your profitable email sequence, as well as 24/7 assistance inside their Facebook Group. Those are in addition to their extensive documentation where you can find an answer to any question.
8) With a single click, you can resend your broadcasts to those who didn’t open it originally. This is an email lifesaver. With the average open rate in each industry at around 21%-27%, the majority of your email subscribers simply aren’t reading your emails. Resending will increase your open rates significantly.
9) Remove “Cold Subscribers”. No one wants to pay for people who aren’t opening their emails; what’s the point of having them? ConvertKit will automatically generate a list of subscribers who haven’t opened one of your emails in the last two months. At that point, I tag them as “cold subscribers” and add them to my “cold subscriber” sequence which sends 4 emails over 2 weeks. If they still don’t respond during that time, I remove them and stop paying for them.
10) Dynamic Subscriber Segments. I love how ConvertKit allows you to create Segments that update in real-time. Segments are groups of people that meet certain criteria – i.e. location, subscription date, tag, sequence, etc. I can easily create a segment of people who have subscribed in the last 2 weeks, who live within 100 km of my house, and who are biology teachers (using the biology tag) as an example.
11) A/B Test your subject line. ConvertKit lets you create send out your broadcasts using two different subject lines. It sends the first subject line to 15% of your list and the second to 15% more. Whichever has the higher open rate after 4 hours is declared the winner. The remainder of your subscribers receives the winning subject line.
One word. Flawless.
ConvertKit can do this for you or you can do it yourself. I did it myself (switching from MailChimp) with zero complications.
I’m a proponent of ConvertKit and that’s why I’m an affiliate for them. I would never recommend anything that I don’t a) use or b) love. To get started with your 30-day free trial, please click the link below.
ConvertKit 30-Day Free Trial