I first tried out ConvertKit when Nathan Barry started the company not that long ago. At the time, I thought the software itself was okay but competing in a very competitive space. Before getting into this, he was a blogger that I’d been following and he was very transparent about how he was making money, exactly where he was earning his income and the amount. Even now with ConvertKit, he’s still maintaining the same kind of transparency with the financials. I also loved his designs.
ConvertKit initially started out focusing on bloggers which was a great idea since he knew that market well and he also has a lot of friends that are well known bloggers. This makes much more sense than trying to be the email marketing software for everyone, and this has evidently paid off with annual recurring revenue now at $15+ million.
At the time, I was much bigger on Infusionsoft because of the power and customizations you could do with email marketing. These things were considered quite advanced and exciting. However, Infusionsoft’s deliverability started to decline and they would throttle emails at the worst times to try and improve their deliverability. Since then, some of their customers (and some of my email marketing clients) starting migrating to other email service providers including ConvertKit. Some of them had pretty substantial lists of over a million subscribers.
I’ve since decided to try out ConvertKit again by trialing it on one of my digital products, the Learn Mandarin Online Course.
Let’s start with the pricing.
This is more or less in line with competitors including Mailchimp:
One thing I noticed that’s different about ConvertKit compared to Mailchimp or Aweber is that each account is manually vetted. They ask questions about the business, how you’ll be using their email marketing services and they manually approve each account. It’s only then that you can actually start sending emails.
I didn’t know this and assumed that forms would at least store the subscribers somewhere. The subscribers that signed up during the approval stage on the ConvertKit forms never appeared and I guess just disappeared. So make sure you wait until you’re approved before you go live with their forms.
Opt in Form
This is great and something way better than Infusionsoft. They make it super easy to design and integrate, and having the slide up form with detailed analytics is very useful.
I’d say that tag management is not great. There’s no central management system to manage the tags (edit, delete, label, notes) or to click on the tags to list all of the subscribers that have a certain tag.
You can trigger a flow when someone fills in a form, has a tag added (which can be triggered if someone clicks a link), a custom field is changed or changed to a specific value, or a Stripe purchase is made (doesn’t currently work though).
Lack of Documentation
Generally, I’m a bit disappointed with the lack of documentation. For example, to integrate Stripe, it tells you to just add this to your “Stripe Dashboard”.
There’s nowhere in the Stripe Dashboard to add it. So after a Google Search of “ConvertKit Stripe Integration”, I find this page:
Here it says to:
- Login to your Stripe dashboard.
- From the menu on the left, click API.
- Select the Webhooks tab.
- Click on + Add endpoint.
- Paste your webhook url.
- Click Add endpoint.
Except that’s not the steps anymore since Stripe has evidently changed the dashboard and the steps involved in adding webhooks. This ConvertKit documentation was also updated a week ago from today apparently. It might be that they’re still working on finalizing the plugin and trying to rush it?
Ideally everything would be intuitive and straight forward so that I don’t need to use documentation. The part that says “Add this webhook url in your Stripe Dashboard” should either link to an updated documentation or have a hover over pop up so that it’s more clear how to integrate it to Stripe.
It feels like there’s a general lack of attention to detail like this throughout and it needs a closer look over.
In a bid to make the platform simple and minimalist, it seems like some essential features are difficult to find or not easily accessible.