Updated October 25, 2019
There are a number of articles on the Internet that do a ConvertKit vs Mailchimp comparison. And, no, this is not just another review article. Here we are going to approach the matter from a different perspective.
Shall we begin?
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Whether you run an e-commerce business, or whether you are a professional blogger or a content creator, you need to have a nuanced understanding of your virtual audience and/or customers.
You cannot use the same formula while marketing to different kinds of customers. You need to mix and match your content for different customers to offer information and reference links that are actually useful for each individual subscriber of yours.
You cannot afford to be excessive or unnecessary, because once you enter the much-dreaded spam folder, there is no way out.
When it comes to email marketing, businesses find it extremely helpful to use a software or a tool for drip email marketing. Therefore, it would be a good use of your time to dig in and learn from this ConvertKit vs Mailchimp comparison post.
But just getting email marketing software is not enough. You have to know to use it so as to make the most of it. And most importantly, you have to figure out which software is the best for you, depending on your requirements.
Here we are going to talk about, and compare and contrast two of the most popular and relevant email marketing tools. Yes, this is the ConvertKit vs Mailchimp final battle. So, let’s see what we find out when we pit them against each other.
ConvertKit vs Mailchimp
Discussed below are different aspects of Email Marketing and how each of these tools approaches and responds to these aspects.
Both ConvertKit and Mailchimp do a great job with various types of email sign up forms that can be used as static embeds in a page’s body area or WordPress widget areas. They both also offer exit intent pop up forms that are great for subscriber conversion.
I like ConvertKit’s WordPress integration via their WordPress plugin. The plugin allows you to embed a form on any post/page via a dropdown menu (there’s an example of this at the bottom of this post).
For targeted Email Marketing, a lot of business owners prefer to use the Mailchimp tool due to their comprehensive Automation Features. For instance, if you want to reach out to potential customers who have added products to the cart but have not yet checked out, or if you want to hit the dormant users who haven’t added a single product on to their carts for the last couple of months, you can do it.
With Mailchimp, you can send automated emails to these different kinds of users/leads and successfully transform them into customers.
ConvertKit is a strong competitor in the email marketing space. It allows its users to build their own subscriber drip campaigns. ConvertKit closely monitors the movement of the subscribers through the marketing funnel, and you can see how many of them have moved from your mailing list to your workflow.
To facilitate this movement of the subscribers, you can customize your email cadence, tags, forms, etc., and identify them as particular events, actions, and conditions to send out automated emails when these are triggered.
With ConvertKit you can assign dates to when you want the software to send out a particular email. As you know, sometimes a well-timed email can make all the difference.
Mailchimp does not allow you to track the Conversion Rate through the Funnel Movement. This means that to do this, you will have to use other tools along with using the Mailchimp. The downside to this is, the more tools you use simultaneously, the more time it takes and the harder it becomes to follow through everything you had intended to do. So, you will be either be constantly switching tabs or even accounts/devices.
When it comes to A/B testing, you can use Mailchimp to test functions like subject lines, to and from names, time for sending out the mail, and the actual content. Mailchimp allows for 2-3 variants for each individual test.
ConvertKit does not offer this A/B testing feature yet. Which means that unlike Mailchimp, ConvertKit fails at providing the space for a hit and trial method, so you can arrive at the best arrangement for encouraging your subscribers to click on the links you provide them with.
Email Design and Layout
Mailchimp’s Drag and Drop feature makes for a great email layout. You can just pick up any template from their collection, and they have enough to make your head spin. It has a lot of template email designs and layouts that saves you the trouble of coding.
You can add text, images, or any other specific design elements that you might want in your email. If you cannot find anything that you like in their templates, and if you have a team of professionals trained to work with HTML and coding, Mailchimp gives you the option to design your own email template.
For businesses that are new, and do not have a team of experts for developing codes, the Mailchimp tools save the day. You can send customized emails that stand among a load of emails your subscribers get every day.
With the templates and mix and match feature that Mailchimp provides, you can bring in your brand’s personality, USP, and voice into the mail. Even non-designers can use the Mailchimp’s Drop and Drag Builder to make intriguing designs for their email campaigns.
With ConvertKit, the focus is on the text-based emails, instead of the image-heavy email templates. This distinction between different kinds of emails and the subsequent approaches to advertising or promoting the products/services becomes crucial depending on the type of business you are into.
Some businesses require more visuals than others. And if yours is the kind of business that doesn’t particularly needs images and other embellishments, ConvertKit can provide you the space to create simple emails with the bare minimum essentials like the fonts, hyperlinks, etc. And of course, as discussed you can track how your customers are interacting with your emails.
In terms of reporting, ConvertKit gives you an overview of the Form Graph and the Subscriber Graph on your dashboard. The Form Graph is a record of the opt-ins that you have managed to secure over a period of time. Each individual opt-in is shown separately on the graph.
The Subscriber Graph, on the other hand, shows how subscriptions have grown or decreased through the course of time. Additionally, it also offers a rather detailed account of your net growth, together with filters and date ranges to break down the data depending on the factors you want to pay attention to.
Mailchimp takes Reporting to a whole other level. It is not just about letting you know how you have performed in the past and how your email campaigns have come about, but it also motivates you to do better by providing the information that can help you devise better emails and campaigns in future.
Mailchimp’s extensive reporting includes interactive graphs and automatic lists. It provides details like how are subscribers responding to your emails.
Are they at least reading it, or is your unopened email going straight to the trash? This kind of information can be really helpful when designing follow-up campaigns. With their Click Map Reporting, you learn where exactly are your subscribers being hooked by your mail, by clicking on the links you have provided them with.
Mailchimp offers a mobile application for you to build and deploy campaigns from your mobile devices, which makes it easier for the team to operate. ConvertKit, however, offers no mobile application.
It can only be accessed through the website, which restricts the use to some extents. It is not that big a difference when it comes to something like email marketing, but in terms of being able to monitor the progress or keep an eye on how the designing for the emails are going, a mobile application sure makes things more accessible than the lack of it does.
Pricing…the big elephant in the room.
ConvertKit starts at $29 per month and that will cover you up to 1000 subscribers.
Mailchimp on the other hand is free for up to your first 2000 subscribers, but there are some feature limitations that come along with that.
Conclusion (+The Affiliate Marketing Issue)
Though we have discussed the different features of ConvertKit and Mailchimp and what they have to offer in comparison to each other, we cannot have any clear answers here. It is not like one of these tools will get you more customers than the other, or that the other might create a rather dull email for your brand. But there is one more thing of note to bring up today…
ConvertKit is the clear cut winner of the affiliate marketing revenue battle with their top-notch affiliate marketing program. For every customer you send to ConvertKit through your affiliate link you’ll receive a 30% monthly recurring commission. This is a big deal if you blog about digital marketing and/or write marketing service/product reviews.
Mailchimp doesn’t have a typical affiliate program that you’re used to seeing. They have a MonkeyRewards program that requires you to be paying customer in order to collect and use a one-time $30 account credit for every customer you send to Mailchimp through your affiliate badge link. All free accounts are required to show the MonkeyRewards badge at the bottom of each email that they send.
Making the Choice
The important thing to understand here is that though ConvertKit and Mailchimp are both good email marketing tools…which one of them is good for you depends on your requirements and the way you use them. The first step to selecting the right email marketing tool for your brand is to identify your requirements, your budget, your understanding of these tools and how they can benefit your business.
To give an example, ConvertKit’s dynamic signup forms are generally understood to be a great tool for bloggers to use to increase email signups and web traffic. On the other hand, startups and businesses might be more attracted to Mailchimp’s features. A company looking to get more email subscribers and visitors to its blog might want to use ConvertKit for that and use Mailchimp for other activities like a company newsletter.
The point is, there is no definitive answer to who wins the ConvertKit vs Mailchimp battle. It is all about what works for you and your brand, keeping in mind the expertise of your team, and the proposed use of the email marketing tool. Transparently, we use ConvertKit here at InspireFirst and it does a great job for us.