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ConvertKit ✉️

Head West Team
Updated February 22, 2024
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Our Take:

If you’re building an email newsletter, we think ConvertKit is a great option. The decision usually comes down to ConvertKit vs Beehiiv which we’ve done a full breakdown on. The TLDR, we think for most newsletters Beehiiv is the best option. It will be cheaper (especially at higher numbers of subscribers), it has a better email designer, and the rate of new features rolling out is unmatched. However, we still think ConvertKit makes sense for some newsletters. ConvertKit will be better for those with smaller lists who plan to do lots of automations and want to monetize by selling digital products to their list. Additionally, ConvertKit has more integrations and a better co-registration monetization option with SparkLoop (although Beehiiv newsletters can also use it).

ConvertKit

ConvertKit is an email service provider (ESP) that gives you all the tools you need to build and grow a newsletter.

ConvertKit Founding Story:

ConvertKit was founded in January 2013 by Nathan Barry after he became frustrated with the limitations of MailChimp while using it to sell his self-published ebooks. Barry had a background in design and user experience, and wanted to create an email marketing platform optimized for bloggers and digital creators. The initial growth was slow, only reaching $2,100 in MRR in the first 6 months. After considering giving up, Barry eventually committed fully, invested $50k of his own savings, and hired a developer to work full-time. He also started doing direct sales outreach which helped ConvertKit gain traction. In mid-2015, ConvertKit had breakthrough growth after signing on some influential bloggers as customers. Through strategic partnerships and focusing on creators, ConvertKit grew to $500k+ in MRR by the end of 2016. Today, it’s one of the largest platforms for building newsletters used by creators like Tim Ferriss and Sahil Bloom.

ConvertKit has been bootstrapped to this point. Its founder is super transparent about their metrics. You can check out an up to date dashboard of ConvertKit’s latest metrics. As startup founders, we love the transparency of this.

What is ConvertKit?

ConvertKit is an ESP (Email Service Provider) designed to help creators build a newsletter. It gives you the tools to build an email list (collect emails), send emails to the list, and monetize your list. It is similar to Substack, but we think it is a better option for most newsletter builders.

ConvertKit Overview:

ConvertKit Landing pages 🛬

ConvertKit gives you all the tools to build and customize a newsletter landing page.

ConvertKit doesn’t give you a ton of customization options, but we think that’s okay. When you’re designing a newsletter landing page, simple is often better. You want to convey your key value prop and give the user one action to take - sign up for your newsletter. Simpler newsletter landing pages will convert better than complex landing pages. Many newsletters have used ConvertKit’s stock landing pages to grow to over 50,000 subscribers. 

For those looking for more customization options, we recommend Carrd. It only costs $19 per year and integrates with ConvertKit.

ConvertKit landing pages

👉 Learn more about ConvertKit's landing pages

ConvertKit email editor 📧

ConvertKit emails are typically very straightforward without a lot of imagery or design elements. This will be fine for most text based newsletters, but some people will want more control over their newsletter design. For them, we recommend Beehiiv. The one advantage of ConvertKit is that they provide pre-designed email templates that will give you a little bit of a head start when designing an email from scratch. ConvertKit doesn’t have a bad email editor, but it trails Beehiiv’s.

ConvertKit's Visual Email Editor

ConvertKit's Email Templates

👉 Check out ConvertKit's email designer here

ConvertKit segmentation & automations ⚙️

Segmentations and automations are an area where ConvertKit really accels (and beats Beehiiv). Automations are triggered email sequences when certain actions are taken. With automations you can create IF THEN logic to trigger email sequences based on certain criteria being met (e.g., send welcome flow when a new subscriber signs up). With ConvertKit you will be able to create complex logic flows and automations that can be super helpful for smaller, higher value lists that you are looking to personalize messaging for.

ConvertKit's Visual Automation Builder

👉 Learn more about ConvertKit automations

ConvertKit monetization 💸

When it comes to monetizing your newsletter, there are multiple paths to take. We'll break down each for ConvertKit below.

Co-registration

One of the easiest ways to monetize your newsletter is to recommend other newsletters and get paid per active subscriber you recommend. ConvertKit purchased Sparkloop in 2023, and we think it’s the best co-registration product on the market. With it you can show a popup that promotes other newsletters after someone has subscribed to your newsletter. It's a great way to offset the costs of paid promotion for your newsletter. With Sparkloop you will earn more per recommended subscriber than with Beehiiv’s competitor product called Boosts.

Sponsored posts

Adding sponsors to your newsletter is another great way to monetize your newsletter. ConvertKit has a marketplace for this called the ConvertKit Sponsor Network, but we think the best way to monetize through sponsorships is by finding and reaching out to sponsors yourself. It's more work, but the earnings per send will be higher. In order to qualify for ConvertKit’s Sponsor Network you will need to have at least 10k subscribers and publish at least weekly.

Digital products

Selling digital products (courses, info products etc.) to your subscribers is one of the best ways to monetize your email list. This is where ConvertKit really has an edge. ConvertKit has the integrated tools to facilitate digital product sales. With competitors like Beehiiv you will need to use other third-party tools like Gumroad to sell your digital products.

Paid newsletter option

Having a paid tier of your newsletter is another great way to monetize. You can have a free email that goes out to everyone and additional emails that only go to your paid subscribers. ConvertKit has the tools that let you quickly and easily add a paid subscription option.

👉 Learn more about ConvertKit's monetization options

‍ConvertKit integrations 🔌

You can find the list of ConvertKit integrations here

Having been around for longer (ConvertKit was founded in 2013 and Beehiiv was founded in 2021) the integrations are more robust for ConvertKit.

👉 Check out ConvertKit's integrations

‍ConvertKit analytics 📊

ConvertKit has a solid analytics offering, but it trails Beehiv’s. With Beehiiv you will be able to track the Source and Medium of subscribers via UTM parameters in order to analyze subscribers by acquisition source. For example, you can compare the open rates for subscribers you acquire via Meta (Facebook) and compare them to subscribers you acquire via X (Twitter). You are not currently able to do the same in ConvertKit.

ConvertKit's Analytics Dashboard

ConvertKit Pricing 💰:

ConvertKit offers three pricing plans that scale up based on the number of subscribers: Free, Creator, and Creator Pro.

The Free plan is free for up to 1,000 subscribers and includes everything you need to get your newsletter off the ground (unlimited landing page, email editor, etc.)

The Creator plan includes everything in the Free plan in addition to live chat & email support, paid recommendations, email automations (with the visual automation builder), and third-party integrations.

The Creator Pro plan includes everything in the Creator plan in addition to access for unlimited team members, the newsletter referral system, subscriber scoring, and advanced reporting.

ConvertKit offers a 14-day free trial that we recommend everyone sign up for before committing to the platform. It’s a great way to kick the tires and see if the platform is right for you. 

👉 Learn more about ConvertKit's pricing

ConvertKit alternatives:

Direct Competitors

Ghost

Substack

Medium

Beehiiv

Ecommerce focused ESPs

Mailchimp

Klaviyo

Omnisend

Digital product focused

Gumroad

Lemon Squeezy

ConvertKit Newsletter Examples:

Ali Abdaal

Matt Bertulli

Mark Manson

ConvertKit FAQs

What is ConvertKit used for?

ConvertKit is an Email Service Provider (ESP) that’s primarily focused on newsletters. It helps folks build an email list with landing pages and send customized emails to their list with their visual email builder and automation creator.

Which is easier to use Mailchimp or ConvertKit?

Mailchimp is slightly easier to use than ConvertKit, but both platforms are straightforward. ConvertKit will be slightly more expensive but will give you access to more advanced automation features and unlock the ability to sell digital products more easily (courses, E-books, etc.).

Can I use ConvertKit for free?

Yes, ConvertKit offers a free plan that is free for up to 1,000 email subscribers. Additionally, they offer a 14-day free trial.

Is ConvertKit a CRM tool?

No ConvertKit is not technically a CRM tool. It is an Email Service Provider (ESP) and integrates with CRM tools like 

Is ConvertKit any good?

Yes, we think its a great option for newsletter operators especially those with smaller, higher value lists and those looking to monetize through digital products. It’s not our recommended tool for most newsletters because it will be more expensive than Beehiiv and its email editor and analytics offerings trail Beehiiv.

Do I need a website with ConvertKit?

No it’s not necessary to have your own website with ConvertKit. They will automatically host all of your landing pages by default. 

Does ConvertKit give you a website?

Yes, ConvertKit will give you a landing page and a website that shows all of your past posts. By default it will be hosted on a ConvertKit page, but you can add a custom domain. You will be somewhat limited in terms of design and control over the landing page and website, so we recommend other options to host your website for those looking for more control over those aspects. With this setup, you would just be using ConvertKit to manage your email list and send emails to your list.

Is ConvertKit good for SEO?

We think ConvertKit is okay for SEO. With ConvertKit you have the ability to customize your email broadcasts’ slugs, meta descriptions, and H tags, but you won't benefit from the strong domain authority of a platform like Medium. You also can’t add canonical URLs which will potentially hurt your SEO if you are publishing your content on both ConvertKit and your own website. We think that those who are serious about SEO should post their content on their own website and just use ConvertKit to send emails to their newsletter list.

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