ConvertKit Review [2018 Update]: Easy Email Automation For Bloggers


Email marketing is a hot topic these days.

And for good reason. Implemented properly, it will certainly become the most important tool in your business for creating relationships and making sales.

According to Capterra, the average return on $1 spent on email marketing is $44.25!

This is why you should take your time and invest in a good email service provider.

ConvertKit Review

Last updated: May 20, 2018
First Published on: Nov 3, 2015

tl;dr Summary
ConvertKit is a powerful new email service provider that provides Infusionsoft like automation capabilities without the Infusionsoft price.

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At the bare minimum, a good ESP will give you the ability to collect leads via forms, create an autoresponder series and send out email broadcasts. It should also help you track your conversions and provide you with reliable email deliverability.

If you are a blogger, the consensus autoresponder of choice used to be Aweber or MailChimp. Sign up to any email list, and there was a good chance they were using one of the two.

ConvertKit has now rebranded itself as Seva. Check out our more updated Seva review here

For a long time, the standard feature set of Aweber worked perfectly fine. All marketers needed it to do was reliably send out emails and integrate with their favorite tools like LeadPages and Click Funnels.

Recently though, email marketing automation has started to become more important.

For example, Infusionsoft used to be the go-to service for big-name bloggers and businesses wanting more advanced email automation.

The problem with Infusionsoft though is that it is a hugely complicated system to learn. Couple that with a hefty price tag and an initial setup cost put it out of reach for most bloggers.

Nowadays, we are starting to see automation capabilities being introduced into more affordable services like ActiveCampaign, Drip and the email service provider we are going to review today, ConvertKit.

What is ConvertKit?

ConvertKit is an email service provider that is specifically marketed towards bloggers, podcasters, and other businesses who are building audiences.

It was started by Nathan Barry who I was already a fan of, being a regular reader of his blog.

What’s interesting about ConvertKit is how transparent Nathan is about the entire process of taking ConvertKit from scratch to making $30k a month in 2015. Now in 2018, they have 19,500 active customers and doing over $1 million a month.

We are basically getting a front row seat on his journey to building a successful SaaS product. It’s pretty cool since we get to read about both the highs and the lows.

Even if you don’t end up using ConvertKit, his blog posts are always interesting and I recommend giving Nathan a follow.

A Look Inside ConvertKit

ConvertKit includes many of the same features that you are used to if you have ever used an email service provider before. So if you are making the switch over to ConvertKit, the learning curve should be very small.

The only terminology you might not be used to is that autoresponder series in ConvertKit are called Sequences.

When you first log in to your ConvertKit account, the first thing you will notice is how nice and polished everything looks.

Nathan’s background in UX design and it really shows in how he’s designed the entire ConvertKit workflow. Everything is very crisp, intuitive and easy to use.

Leads can be collected via web forms or through landing pages that you can create within the ConvertKit editor.

There are 3 form templates and 4 landing page templates to start from.

Everything inside the template is editable so you can put in your own headlines, images and change colors to your heart’s content. However, the templates are also quite rigid in the fact that you can’t move elements around.

While limited in number, the designs available are incredibly nice, and you don’t have to sift through hundreds of silly looking templates like you do with Aweber.

However, if you are looking for more customizability with your forms, I still would recommend using a product like Thrive Leads or LeadPages.

Sending Emails

While your subscribers are going through your automated sequences, there still may be times you want to send out one-off emails as well. Perhaps you want to do a product promotion. Or maybe you want to announce a webinar you are putting together.

For that, you can send out a broadcast email and ConvertKit has a couple of nice features that make this process work even better.

To start your broadcast, you first need to choose which subscribers you want to send it out to.

ConvertKit works a little different then say Aweber, where all your subscribers are grouped into separate lists. Instead, your subscribers are all grouped together in a single database.

But what’s nice about ConvertKit is the flexibility it gives you in segmenting (filtering) your subscribers.

You can segment leads subscribed to specific Sequences, Forms, or Tags. Or you can segment based on Date. There’s even a pre-made filter to solely target your cold subscribers.

The next step is to write your email. ConvertKit doesn’t have a sophisticated drag and drop editor like MailChimp. So creating fancy email newsletters is not its strong suit.

However, for simple text and HTML emails, it is still perfectly capable and dead simple to use.

Using tags to personalize your emails

ConvertKit recently introduced this feature to segment subscribers within emails! This is really neat, although some people might be intimidated by the syntax since it’s a little like programming.

Let’s say you wanted to offer your VIP customers a special discount, but have everyone else get the normal price.

You’d write your email like this.

Now all your subscribers that have the tag VIP will see one version of the email and the rest will see the other. Now that’s some powerful email segmentation!

Auto resend broadcasts to un-opens

Whenever you send out broadcast emails, a certain percentage of your subscribers will not open your emails. Perhaps your email headline wasn’t the best, or maybe they were too busy at the time to read.

ConvertKit has a really awesome feature that lets you re-target these people who didn’t open your email the first time.

To do this, just click on any of your previous broadcast emails. On this stats page, there is a button called Resend to Unopens. When pressed, it will take you through the broadcast email workflow again, but this time only targeting these unopened subscribers.

It’s such a useful feature and it really will maximize each email you send out.

Lead magnet double opt-in

If you use lead magnets to collect more leads, ConvertKit makes it even simpler for your subscribers to double opt-in.

Instead of the standard boring double opt-in email, your visitor will see this email when they subscribe.

When the subscriber clicks the button to download their lead magnet, ConvertKit will automatically confirm them! No doubt, this will lead to a better opt-in rate.

ConvertKit Automations

What makes ConvertKit stand out though are its automation features, which are really simple to create.

Automation is a game-changer with email marketing because you can use it to automatically segment your lists into subscribers with similar interests.

So instead of sending always sending email broadcasts to one huge list, you can send out more targeted broadcasts and/or courses that cater to a smaller subset of your subscribers.

ConvertKit now offers 2 ways to create automations. Through its visual automation editor and via rules.

Visual Automations

One of the biggest updates to ConvertKit was to their visual automation editor.  It’s similar to Drip’s editor which is more point and click versus drag and drop.

There are 3 triggers for visual automations: Subscribers signing up on a form, a subscriber getting tagged or a custom field being updated.

From there, you can trigger an Event, Action or Condition.

Actions are the most straightforward concept. You can Add a subscriber to an email sequence, add a tag or specify a delay.

With conditions, you can add branches to your automation based on a subscribers tag or a custom field value.

Events are similar to conditions but your subscriber gets pulled forward to the next step in the automation immediately when an event occurs. So let’s say your subscriber is in the 2nd email of your 5 part email sequence.

If an event occurs, they will get pulled out of the sequence and no longer receive the last 3 emails of the email sequence.


The 3 types of events are, a specific date occurring or a tag being added or removed.

Although, not as powerful as Drip or ActiveCampaign’s marketing automation, the way ConvertKit has implemented them is very slick.

One thing I really like is that instead of opening another dialog, you can seamlessly edit a form or email directly inside the automation editor itself. It’s very smooth and makes the whole process much easier.

ConvertKit Rules

You can also create simple one-step automations in ConvertKit using rules.

ConvertKit currently offers these 7 different triggers and 6 different actions.

Selecting a trigger on the left will allow you to perform your chosen action on the right.

Let’s say in one of your Sequences you were promoting your new book. You could create a simple automation rule that tags anyone who clicks on the specific link you included in your email.

The tag would be something descriptive like your book name to indicate an interest in your book.

Now as people go through your email sequence, you will start building up a segment of subscribers who are specifically interested in your book.

When you send follow-ups in the feature, you can then target this particular segment very precisely.

For example, you might offer them a special discount in one email, or maybe a bonus chapter in another.

Since your segment is so targeted, you will see more engagement and higher conversions from your subscribers.

Another popular way to segment subscribers is by buyers vs non-buyers. To enable that, ConvertKit has integrations with several popular shopping carts including Gumroad, Shopify, SamCart.

Or if your shopping cart is not included you can use ConvertKit’s Zapier support to help integrate it.

Once you integrate a shopping cart, an additional trigger called Purchases a product becomes available to you to select.

With this trigger, you can tag users by product name so you know which subscribers have purchased your products.


For people who have bought your products, you can send follow up emails informing them of product updates, ask for testimonials or offer upsells.

For people who haven’t bought yet, they would continue through your main course and you would continue to provide value to them, priming them to become a future buyer of your product.

Can you see why this is so powerful?

When you send an email to your list that only appeals to a small subset of your subscribers then you risk alienating people who aren’t interested.

This can lead to more unsubscribes, spam complaints or just general apathy towards your emails.

ConvertKit Pricing

Price-wise, ConvertKit comes out to be a little higher than its most direct competitors.

With a list of 1,000 subscribers, both Aweber and ConvertKit have the same price point at $29 a month. However, as your number of subscribers increases, ConvertKit does seem to get more and more expensive as you can see from this table:

Active Campaign (Lite) $15$29$49$89$139$225
ConvertKit (Seva)$29$29$49$79$119$149

One thing to point out though is that ConvertKit counts a subscriber who is on multiple courses as a single distinct subscriber. So you won’t get double or triple billed for the same subscriber on multiple lists like you would with Aweber or MailChimp.

ConvertKit also does not offer a free trial. However, they do give you a full 30-day money back guarantee so if it doesn’t work out for your business, you can always get a full refund.

ConvertKit vs the Competition

Matched against email service providers like Aweber or MailChimp, I don’t think there’s much doubt that ConvertKit is better.

For example, MailChimp has some serious restrictions like limiting you to one opt-in form per list. That means it’s a big pain if you want to add multiple content upgrades to your site. With ConvertKit, this is dead simple.

Aweber and Mailchimp also both lack the automation capabilities that ConvertKit offer and they aren’t innovating as quickly as ConvertKit is able to.

ConvertKit vs ActiveCampaign

But how does ConvertKit matchup against one of my favorites like ActiveCampaign? I have accounts with both so let’s take a quick look.

There’s a ton to like about ActiveCampaign. It is packed full of features at an affordable price. Plus its visual automation editor is one of the best.

The main trade-off between ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit is power vs ease of use.

ActiveCampaign is just packed full of features and there are so many things you can do inside your ActiveCampaign account. For some, that’s a good thing, while for others it can be overwhelming.

Contrast this with ConvertKit which has a distraction-free interface that makes it easy for you to get the hang of.

The main power of ActiveCampaign are its automations. It gives you almost unlimited flexibility with creating different workflows.

You can create simple two-step workflows or more complicated ones for cart abandonment or list pruning. It also has way more triggers and actions than ConvertKit supports.

ConvertKit’s automations don’t give you as much flexibility as it really only provides you with one step workflows. However, they are much easier to get a hang of and you can still implement many common automation use cases with them.

Price-wise, ConvertKit does not have a free trial and is relatively more expensive then ActiveCampaign.

Honestly, both products are very good, so select the one that best fits the way you and your business works.

ConvertKit Switchers and Case Studies

ConvertKit has been growing by leaps and bounds, and I’m reading about people switching over to ConvertKit every day.

I’m also seeing a lot of people using ConvertKit in amazing ways, both to grow their email list, and to make money from it.

To gives you some examples of who’s using ConvertKit today, here are some links to some interesting switcher stories and case studies I have found.

Final Thoughts

ConvertKit is definitely an interesting up and coming email service provider. You can see they are starting to get more traction as some big name bloggers like Pat Flynn and Kim Roach have started using them to manage their lists.

What makes it stand out is its extremely polished UI design and it’s easy to use automations.

Automation really is the future of email marketing and done right, can really give you precise control over the emails you send to your list, resulting in more conversions and sales for your business.

There’s a lot of potential with ConvertKit and I expect to see even bigger and better features being added as Nathan continues to work on the product.

Try ConvertKit Today

ConvertKit Pros

  • Clean, intuitive interface.
  • Perfect for implementing content upgrades.
  • Tag-based (as opposed to list-based like Mailchimp).
  • Easy to implement marketing automations.
  • Not charged for duplicate subscribers.
  • Automatic double opt-in when using lead magnets.
  • Use tags to personalize emails.
  • Zapier integration.
  • Dev team is constantly adding cool features.

ConvertKit Cons

  • No list cleaning actions in automations or rules.
  • No free trial.
Affiliate Disclaimer: I hope you liked this ConvertKit review. Please note that some of the links inside this article may be affiliate links to ConvertKit. That means that if you click on one of the links and sign up, I may be compensated for it. If you do happen to click, we really appreciate it! Any money we make keeps this site running smoothly and allows us to keep writing these high-quality reviews.
  • Lisa Kubo says:

    I’m glad you updated your ConvertKit review Kinley.

    I’m currently with Mailchimp, but I’ve actually been looking to switch as my business is starting to outgrow them. Their automations are just so limited in what you can do with them!

    I’m trying to decide between ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign and Drip. ActiveCampaign and Drip both look really nice, but I’m afraid they would be too technical for me to use effectively. So it seems like ConvertKit might hit the sweet spot for me.

    • Kinley McFadden says:

      Hi Lisa! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      ConvertKit is certainly perfect for less technical people so I think you will like it. I also forgot to mention this in the review, but the ConvertKit team will also migrate your list over from Mailchimp for free. I know that’s always a worry when switching ESPs, and it’s a great thing that ConvertKit offers.

  • Kulwant says:

    Hi Kinley,

    Even I have used multiple email marketing services in the past, but I found ConvertKit as a winner and pocket-friendly till now. 😀

    I recently switched from Aweber to ConvertKit, and I am loving the automation.

  • Lisa says:

    Hey Kinley!

    Thanks for this review. It was just the info I was looking for – straight and to the point. I am looking for switch from Aweber. Too many problems over there and lack of features that I prefer.
    You gave a good idea of what it might be like to use ConvertKit.
    The pricing seems reasonable for the feature that you get. I also like the double-optin feature you talked about.
    I think I’m sold!

  • I am totally loving Convertkit after using it, I was using few alternatives before but i personally felt that something was missing on each tool. But now i’m totally satisfied with using convertkit. Best tool for bloggers..

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