A few months ago I decided to give Convertkit a try. I saw so many people raving about it and I was tired of being charged twice for subscribers on Mailchimp which pushed me towards finally signing up. I thought it was going to be a perfect fit based on the reviews and the fact that it’s made for bloggers by bloggers.
I knew immediately that it wasn’t for me but I had spent a lot of time setting up forms on this website, I already paid for it, and I didn’t want to give up too soon.
Convertkit is touted as something simple, elegant, and built for bloggers. It’s supposed to help us set up automation tools and make our newsletters more personal which makes it standout from it’s competitors. Although I only saw positive reviews of Convertkit (I’m wondering if the affiliate program has anything to do with that) it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Let’s discuss the pros and cons.
The features everyone talks about the most are their automation tools. Convertkit uses forms and tags instead of lists. This means that you segment your subscribers a little differently and you aren’t charged twice for one subscriber. Someone can be subscribed to multiple Brown Girl Bloggers newsletters, my personal newsletter, and a newsletter for any of the other blogs I run and I’m only charged once for that person as opposed to my Mailchimp account where several people are on more than one list and I’m charged for them as if they are a new subscriber on each list.
It’s also easy to separate everything by forms and tags. The email subscribers from my blog come from a certain form so it’s easy to send them a specific newsletter. Within this blog I have a few different forms that I use to segment subscribers as well. I liked that part a lot.
You can also set up different automation rules.
I can segment people who click certain links within my newsletters and target other things towards them. For example, if someone clicks a link about me in the BGB newsletter they might be interested in hearing about my speaking engagements because they care about what I have going on. I might tag them ‘Interested in CV’ and then target a newsletter that focuses more on what I’m doing with BGB as opposed to a more general email that doesn’t include info about me. That’s also something I liked doing within Convertkit.
The first thing that killed Convertkit for me was the actually newsletters. Convertkit simplifies the way your newsletter looks. There are very basic newsletter templates and you have to use HTML to customize it in any way. Customizing your newsletters is kind of annoying because of the way they use variables so most people’s emails look similar to the templates.
Although all the reviews I read said Convertkit is easy I’d actually say there is a learning curve. If you’ve never used automation tools you might find it hard to adjust and if you want to create an email that is unique in any way you need to know how to do that yourself of pay someone. In my opinion, Convertkit is annoying and clunky. Almost every review I read said it’s easier to use than Mailchimp and I have to disagree. I think Mailchimp is very easy to use and you can create a newsletter that has different elements in it. I get the premise of Convertkit but I like adding recent blog posts, things that I love, and blogger spotlights to my newsletter. It’s kind of hard to do that if I’m only adding links and no pictures. We live in a visual society people!
Adding Convertkit To Your Website
Like emails, creating a form, pop up, or landing page for your blog in Convertkit isn’t going to give you the best looking results. They’re ok and I use one at the end of my blog posts but I had to use Contact Form 7 to add most of my Convertkit forms to this blog. I couldn’t deal with their ugly forms. The one I use at the end of blog posts (which will be removed a little bit before my plan is cancelled because again, lazy) is one of the three options you get.
If you want something that perfectly matches your theme you’re going to have to create your own sign up form or use a plugin to get something decent looking for your site which is another cost.
As for the landing pages, I just accepted the way they look because they’re ok and I have other things to concentrate on.
If you sell a lot of stuff on your blog and you use your newsletter primarily to sell things Convertkit might be for you. Automation makes it very easy to set up emails that sell people stuff based on what they do so it’s really great for segmenting your subscribers which is the feature I’m going to miss the most. I just can’t deal with the ugly newsletters. My soul won’t let me be that basic.
The Bloggers Who Use Convertkit
When I decided to use Convertkit I made a point of signing up for the newsletters of everyone who I saw promoting it. I also started paying more attention to their blogging friends. I noticed that almost ALL (and I’m adding almost to be politically correct) of their emails sound alike. I swear these people all use three copywriters and the choices are: badass woman who doesn’t take bullshit and will change your life, super sweet and charmed small town girl who will change your life, and blogger who will help you find your intention, or sweet spot, or soul tune, or whatever…
I also noticed that most of them are selling something in every. single. email.
I get blogging as a business, hello, look at where you’re reading this, but blogging is supposed to be personal. I like talking about the things I love in my newsletters, I like sharing posts you might have missed and answering questions. I LOVE getting replies to my newsletter and if no one has emailed me back after 30 minutes I get pretty sad. Lol
But seriously, it felt like a cult of people who’s courses, classes, or books will change your life. You’ve GOT to be there for the next live training, they are going to teach you the ONE thing you need to be a six figure blogger, and they send you these emails multiple times a week sometimes.
The Affiliate Program
The final nail in the coffin had to do with the affiliate program. I signed up so that I could use an affiliate link to promote Convertkit if I liked it. I always sign up for affiliate programs fairly early on because sometimes you have to be approved and it might take a while. They have a really good affiliate program and I’m never mad at making a few coins off of something I use anyway.
A few weeks after being a part of the program I got an email from someone who is my affiliate manager basically telling me to promote their new course. I’ve never taken this course, this course wasn’t offered to me, and I didn’t even get a discount code to check it out so that I could tell people about it. I just got talking points and was expected to shill this course to y’all. I’m sorry but that’s gross. It’s gross and it’s what’s wrong with the blogging community in my opinion.
It’s the reason I put off doing The Membership Area (which will have a paid option) for so long, it’s the reason I shied away from courses despite so many of you asking for them, and it’s the reason I’ve stayed away from conferences. If I’m going to take people’s money or ask them to spend their money I’m going to make damn sure that it’s worth their time. I’m not going to sell a course for a couple hundred bucks based off the fact that a person I don’t know told me I’m going to make commission off of it.
Sorry, not doing it.
It did make me wonder if everyone who’s saying it’s easy to use is only promoting it because of their bomb ass affiliate plan. That’s great marketing on Convertkit’s part but it makes me wary to trust just any and everybody.
Anyway, If you can’t tell that whole thing isn’t my cup of tea so I’m back to good ol Mailchimp and I’ve noticed that since I’ve spiced up the newsletters again my open rates are better. Go figure.
PS: This doesn’t mean I’m not willing to try anything other than Mailchimp but I’m sticking to what I know at the moment.
What email marketing tool do you use?