Mailchimp and ConvertKit are two of the most popular email marketing platforms right now, and both of these options have their own set of pros and cons to consider when choosing what's right for your business. Regardless of which option you choose, the most important piece of advice I can give you is to just pick one and start building your list and engaging with your audience through email marketing NOW!
If you’re even reading this article, you probably already understand some of the benefits of email marketing. Let’s talk about why building an engaged email list is so important, and what you can use it for to help you grow your business:
# 1 - Selling to your email list results in higher sales numbers
Your email subscribers already know you, and they gave you their email address because they WANT to hear from you! When the time comes for you to make a paid offer to them, these folks will be your most eager customers. This has been proven time and time again, and I have firsthand experience with the incredible conversion rates that email marketing provides. In my personal experience, sales conversion rates to your email list will be 10-15 times higher than with any other digital platform.
The time investment you make up-front in building an active, engaged email list will pay itself back many times over when you begin making paid offers to your email list!
# 2 - Building an email list provides you with a sounding board for your business.
If you want to test a new idea you’re thinking of implementing in your business, your email list subscribers are the perfect sounding board to get feedback before you invest your resources. You can bounce ideas off these folks, run pilot or beta programs, or offer things up for pre-sale to see if they are worth implementing. What a great way to litmus test your new ideas!
The best part is -- this sounding board is free! You don’t have to spend money paying a research firm or incentivizing folks with freebies to give you feedback. These are active, engaged past customers or fans of your business who will be happy to give you feedback!
# 3 - Engaging with your email list allows you to gather feedback to help you improve
Getting honest feedback from your customers and fans is the #1 way you can iterate and improve your business. You can use your email list to send periodic surveys and ask for feedback, then use this valuable info to get better.
This info is GOLD for you as a business owner!
Those are just three possible uses for an email list, but there are countless other benefits which I haven’t even mentioned. The point is -- if you run a business, you should make creating an email marketing plan one of your TOP priorities!
Now that you understand the benefits of building an email list for your business and adding email marketing to your small business marketing arsenal, your next step is to choose an email marketing tool...
There are three main considerations I think are important when selecting an email marketing tool:
- East of Use
- Flexibility & Growth Potential
Consideration #1 - Cost
Let’s have the “cost” conversation right away.
You may be tempted to automatically go with the least expensive option when it comes to email marketing tools. If that is your instinct, then you’ve probably already heard of Mailchimp!
Mailchimp’s basic plan is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. If you have 2K subscribers on your list, that would mean you can send all of them 6 emails per month before you hit 12K emails per month. Most small business owners or bloggers who are starting out with email marketing will not have 2K subscribers on their list for at least several months, so this is a free option that may work for you for quite a while before you exceed these limits.
ConvertKit, on the other hand, costs $29 per month ($24/month annually) for their basic plan … which includes up to 1K subscribers, and unlimited emails. Depending on where you are at in your business, this price difference could be a deal breaker for you.
If price is the only driver for your decision -- then start with Mailchimp!
With that being said…I would highly encourage you to look beyond just the cost of these tools when making your decision.
I have worked with plenty of clients in the past who chose Mailchimp as their email marketing platform, only to discover that they needed to hire a consultant (me!) to help them set it up and run it, as it is NOT a super straightforward platform to work with. Furthermore, if you are regularly emailing your list and are diligent about growing your subscriber numbers you may exceed the free limits faster than you realize, quickly outgrowing Mailchimp’s capabilities.
Keep those considerations in mind when making your decision.
Which brings me to the second consideration...ease of use.
Consideration #2 - Ease of Use
ConvertKit is by far the easier tool to set up and run email marketing campaigns from.
Seriously -- by far.
There is a steep learning curve with Mailchimp. If you are NOT a tech-savvy person, or you don’t want to spend the time setting up a complex tool such as Mailchimp, then this should weigh heavily into your decision about which email marketing platform to purchase.
While you can accomplish almost anything in Mailchimp that you can using a more advanced platform such as ConvertKit, it WILL take longer to figure out (especially if you’re a newbie or not tech savvy), and you will spend a lot of time fiddling around with its settings, and Googling or You Tube-ing for help.
Don’t let ease of use be a barrier to implementing an email marketing plan for your business.
If you are worried that technology will be a barrier to you actually implementing an email marketing plan, or that it will stop you from regularly emailing your list, then PLEASE invest in something that is easy-to-use!
From that standpoint, ConvertKit wins hands-down in the ease-of-use department.
#3 - Flexibility & Growth Potential
The third important consideration in the Mailchimp vs. ConvertKit debate is flexibility and growth potential.
As you implement your email marketing plan, you will quickly discover a need to segment or tag your email list subscribers. There are lots of things this allows you to do...everything from keeping track of where people are in a sales funnel, to tracking people who purchased from you (and what they bought), to segmenting your email lists by customer type...the options are endless.
The more you do with email marketing for your business, the more ideas you will get for different things you would like to track when it comes to email subscribers.
Here, ConvertKit wins again!
While grouping and segmenting IS possible in Mailchimp, it is definitely not as flexible or easy as the options available in ConvertKit.
Furthermore, as you get into more advanced email automation strategies, it becomes even more difficult to set up and manage in Mailchimp. If you anticipate doing much beyond sending basic emails to your entire list, then I would highly recommend using ConvertKit instead of Mailchimp.
If you’re looking for an email marketing tool that can grow with your business, then sign up for ConvertKit from the start so you don’t have to go through a painful and time-consuming transition later on when you grow out of Mailchimp.
In summary, Mailchimp is a great “starter” email marketing platform for new, tech-savvy business owners who are reluctant to invest in a paid email marketing platform yet.
As your business matures and you need to send more advanced email marketing campaigns, segment your email subscribers in more sophisticated ways, or if you are intimidated by the tech barrier of using something like Mailchimp -- then give ConvertKit a try!
I have been using ConvertKit for over two years for my own business as well as for my clients, and I could not be happier with it.
For the brick-and-mortar business I own, as well as for a non-profit I help manage, we use Mailchimp without issue -- and love it!
Both can be great options, depending on your use case. I recommend being thoughtful about your use case, and evaluating both tools before you make a final decision.
ConvertKit offers a free 14-day trial if you'd like to evaluate it before you make the investment...Click here to sign up for the trial!
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions! OR, if you use Mailchimp or ConvertKit -- let me know why! Are you happy with the platform? Why’d you choose Mailchimp or ConvertKit?