Seva Review [2018]: Simple Marketing Automation For Bloggers

Seva is the newest email marketing software on the market.

No, just kidding.

Seva is actually the newly rebranded name for ConvertKit, which has been one of my top recommended email services for a few years.

We’ve written about ConvertKit a lot on this site, but with the new name change and some updated features, I thought it would be a good time to take another look and write a freshly updated Seva review.

Seva Review

Last updated: July 6, 2018
First Published on: July 6, 2018

tl;dr Summary
Seva (aka ConvertKit) is a popular, easy to use email service aimed towards bloggers and content creators. While not the most powerful service out there, there’s a lot to like about it.
Visit the website

What is Seva?

Seva is an email marketing service that is focused on bloggers and other content creators.

It was started by Nathan Barry back in 2015 and has grown quickly since then to almost 20,000 customers and $1 million a month monthly recurring revenue.

That’s why the name change from ConvertKit to Seva came completely out of the blue.

Why would such a successful company do a major re-brand at this time? Especially when they’ve already become a well-known name in the email marketing space?

For some reason, Nathan felt that the ConvertKit name wasn’t doing enough to convey their core mission.

Which is to show how much they care about us and how much we care about serving our audience.

To me, it all sounds kind of silly. What I really care about as a customer, is that Seva remains a great email marketing software that will grow with my business.

The name doesn’t matter. How the service works does.

But whatever.

The reason why the name change is going to work is that the service is good, easy to use and there’s a lot to like about what Seva does.

So let’s take a look.

Part 1: What are some of my favorite features of Seva?

Cool Feature #1: Seamless Visual Automation Editor

I really like the Seva visual automation editor. It’s a joy to use, especially when you compare it to some of the other automation editors out there.

That’s because Seva makes editing each step in your automation workflow seamless.

Let’s say one of the steps in your automation is sending an email. With other services, editing the email will take you out of the automation editor and into a separate email editor page. This can cause you to lose context of what you were doing.

With Seva, everything is done inside the automation editor itself. So clicking on an email step will allow you to edit it inline. And you can also edit your forms in the same way.

Seva automations inline editing

It’s a great experience and it puts other automation editors to shame.

Cool Feature #2: Simple Segmentation within emails

Another useful feature is Seva’s ability to segment individual emails using conditional tags.

So let’s say you wanted to create a single email to your list, but add a bonus coupon to your VIP customers. You can do that in Seva like this:

Seva In-Email Segmentation

Pretty cool, right?

The syntax might look a little strange to non-techies and you might have a hard time remembering what to type when you go to use it.

To help with this, you can just click on the Personalize menu in the editor toolbar and click the Subscriber’s tags menu item, and Seva will insert a code snippet template directly into your email.

All you need to do is change the tag, and update the content for the two branches.

Cool Feature #3: Auto resend broadcasts to un-opens

Every time you send out a broadcast email, a certain percentage of people won’t open it.  Hubspot says marketing and advertising emails only get 25% email open rates.

Maybe you didn’t write a good headline, or they were too busy at the time to take a look.

Seva has a neat feature where you can resend your broadcast to the people who didn’t open it the first time.

This is available in stats page, where you’ll see a button named Resend to Unopens.

Pressing it will allow you to re-send your email again, where you can make changes to your Subject Line if you wish.

I love this because you can maximize the eyeballs you get for every broadcast you send out.

Cool Feature #4: Lead Magnet Double Opt-in

There are debates everywhere about whether you should use double opt-in vs single opt-in.

The main reason why you want double opt-in is that it will improve your email list quality. But the main argument against is that the extra step will hurt your conversions.

All this is true.

However, if you’re using lead magnets, then Seva can handle double opt-in for you automatically like this.

Seva Lead Magnet Auto Double Opt-in

When the user clicks the download button to get their lead magnet, they are automatically opted in. So you get the best of both worlds!

Part 2: What I don’t like about Seva

Bad Part #1: Limited set of triggers/actions for advanced automations

Here are the triggers available on Seva.

Compare that with ActiveCampaign.

ActiveCampaign automation triggers

This means you can’t really build the same type of complex automations that you can in ActiveCampaign or Drip.

You won’t get advanced features in Seva like page tracking and lead scoring. I also miss having list management actions like unsubscribing people so you can do regular list hygiene.

Bad Part #2: Limited A/B Testing

A/B testing is a really important feature to have for any email service. Doing this regularly will help you improve your open and conversion rates.

Seva allows you to split test your subject lines like this:

Which is useful, for sure.

But there’s no way to split test for things like delivery time, email body content, or automations.

Bad Part #3: Not a ton of customization options for forms and templates

I do like the forms that Seva provides. They are nice and clean.

But the form editor is very limited. Besides color, there’s not much you can change. For example, there’s no way to change the font for any of the text.

Unless you’re willing to add in your own CSS.

This is not a big deal for me, as I use Thrive Leads for my forms. But for people who don’t use a third party tool, the lack of customization could be an issue.

Bad Part #4: No email templates

I don’t personally send out email newsletter type emails, so this is not that big a deal to me.

But I know a lot of companies do need this, which is why MailChimp is still popular.

Seva has a couple of email templates, but the process of using them is very tedious.  You’ll need to muck around with HTML and CSS which not everyone wants to do.

So you’ll want to look elsewhere if this is what you need.

Part 3: A Look Inside Seva

Seva consists of 5 major building blocks. Let’s take a quick look at each.

Forms

Forms are how you get subscribers into your account. Seva allows you to create both forms and landing pages.

Forms can be embedded on any page of your website, or through a standard modal popup. Landing pages are its own dedicated page hosted on Seva’s servers or your own site via a WordPress plugin.

There are 3 main styles to choose from for regular forms. Full, Minimal, and Clean.

Seva form templates

As mentioned above, the form editor doesn’t give you many customization options, although the built-in styles do have a nice clean look to them.

Landing pages also only have 3 styles to pick from and the same limited customization options.

Subscribers

Unlike MailChimp or Aweber, Seva is tag and not list based. This means that you have a single database of subscribers in your Seva account.

To group subscribers together, you can use tags or create segments. With segments, you can do things like creating a group of contacts that subscribed before a certain date.

Seva segment options

Or group subscribers by location or any custom field you create.

Seva also lets you drill down into any specific subscriber you have. You can see things like what sequences they are on, what emails you have sent them, and if you are doing e-commerce, what products they have purchased from you.

Seva subscriber profile

Broadcasts

Sending one-off emails in Seva is simple.

Since there are no lists in Seva, whenever you send a broadcast email you’ll want to use their filter mechanism to target who you will be sending your broadcast to.

You’ll most often use the Subscribed to filter where you can segment your broadcast to specific forms, sequences, tags or products.

The email editor is just your standard HTML email editor, with a couple extra options. Click on the A/B button next to the subject line and you can start a split test between a couple different headlines.

The personalization button can be used to enter in merge tags into your email or to use the in-email tag segmentation I talked about above.

Sequences

Sequences are where you can create autoresponders, a series of emails that get sent to your subscribers at a predefined schedule of your choice.

Seva sequences

On the left, you’ll see all the emails in your series along with when they’ll be sent out.  You can drag emails around on the left to quickly change the order they are sent.

To the right, you’ll see the same email editor as you get for Broadcasts.  So all the same features apply, except you can’t split test subject lines here.

Automations

To tie everything together, let’s talk about Seva’s automations.

In Seva, subscribers can enter an automation in 4 different ways.

Through a form, getting tagged, having a custom field updated, or from a purchase.

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

Actions are the easiest to understand. The most common actions are adding a subscriber to one of your email sequences, add or remove a tag, setting a custom field, or introducing a delay.

Conditions let you branch your automation based on a tag or custom field.

So you could use branching to have your VIP customers go down one path and your non-VIPs go down a separate path like this:

Seva automation conditionals

Finally, you have Events, which pull your subscriber forward to the next step in the automation when an event occurs.

Let’s say one of your subscribers is on day 2 of your 5 part email sequence, which is trying to get them to buy your product.

You can add an event to your automation using the Add tag event. If on day 2, the subscriber buys your product (and you tag them as a customer), it will pull them out of the current email sequence they were in.

Seva automation events

Which is handy because you won’t annoy them with the last 3 emails in your sequence (by asking them to buy) since they are now a customer of yours.

Seva’s automation editor is very fast and easy to use. As mentioned above, I love the ability to seamlessly edit forms and emails directly within the editor itself.

It makes for a much better experience when creating new automations.

Part 4: Seva Pricing

Seva’s uses the same tiered pricing model as most other email services do. So the price goes up the more subscribers you have.

When compared to its competitors, Seva’s pricing comes out in the middle of the pack at lower subscriber levels.

But as you get past 10,000 subscribers and beyond, Seva actually doesn’t jump up as much in price as some of the rest.

Prices below are if you pay monthly, but if you pre-pay yearly, you get 2 months of service free.

Subscribers5001,0002,5005,00010,00015,000
Active Campaign (Lite) $15$29$49$89$139$225
AWeber$19$29$29$49$69$149
ConvertKit (Seva)$29$29$49$79$119$149
Drip$49$49$49$99$149$184
MailChimp$10$15$50$50$75$150

Seva doesn’t normally offer a free trial. But occasionally for different promotions, you will see them promoting a 30-day free trial.

I’ve never seen any Seva discounts either. They do offer a nice 30-day money back guarantee, however.

Part 5: Everything else you need to know about Seva

How is their support?

Seva’s support is good from my experience. While there’s no phone support like Aweber has, they offer email and live chat 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

Email response time ranges from 2-3 hours in my experience. But live chat is usually pretty responsive.

Do they have an active community?

They have a Facebook group called The ConvertKit Family. It currently has 6k members and averages around 6 posts a day.

It’s a good place to get your questions answered by other Seva users.

What integrations do they offer?

Seva has a ton of third-party integrations. I currently count 86 at the time of the review, including with tools like LeadPages, ClickFunnels, SamCart, and Shopify.

You can find the full list of Seva integrations here.

How good is Seva for lead magnets?

Seva is awesome for lead magnets. Not only will it host your lead magnets for you, the automatic double opt-in is a great feature.

How good is Seva for eCommerce?

Seva is getting quite a bit better when it comes to eCommerce. They just launched a new feature that’s going to allow you to track every purchase made by a subscriber.

What makes this cool is that you can then start automations based on a purchase.

It’s only working with Shopify and Teachable at the moment, but this has a lot of potential once they get things working with all e-commerce integrations.

Can it handle live events or webinars?

To handle live events and webinars, you have to be able to send emails out at a specific date and time.  It’s typical for webinars to send out multiple emails at specific times before it starts, like 24 hours before, 8 hours before, 10 minutes before, etc.

Seva can handle live events and webinars through broadcasts only.  Which is not very convenient because then you have to schedule all your emails manually.

It would be preferable if Seva gave you a way to send emails at a specific date and time.  But that’s currently not possible through sequences or automations.

Do they have an affiliate program?

Yes, Seva offers the standard 30% recurring commissions as part of its affiliate program. The affiliate program is hosted on Ambassador.

Alexis is their affiliate director, and she does a nice job of keeping you updated on the various promotions they are running.

Seva vs MailChimp

MailChimp has a couple of things going for it versus Seva. It’s cheaper, and it has better email templates.

But for everything else, Seva definitely wins out. Especially when you compare MailChimp’s crappy automation editor versus the beautiful Seva one.

Plus Seva has tags which gives you much better flexibility for segmenting your subscribers.  MailChimp is very lacking there.

Seva vs Aweber

The only reason I would recommend Aweber versus Seva is if you’re purely doing affiliate marketing/CPA offers. Then, it might be harder to get approval on Seva, and Aweber is your best bet.

Aweber is also slightly cheaper than Seva.

Otherwise, Seva is better than Aweber in pretty much everything else, including automations.

Seva vs ActiveCampaign

This is a harder one. ActiveCampaign is a great email marketing software, with tons of features for power users. You can do more with its automations, and it has better split testing capabilities.

Price wise, it’s cheaper than Seva at lower subscriber levels, but it gets more expensive as you add more and more contacts.

But Seva is easier to use, with a nicer and crisper interface.

Which one you should pick depends on your business needs. Do you want something that just works for everyday email marketing tasks, without a ton of effort?  Then Seva would make a great choice.

But if you need more advanced or complex automations, then ActiveCampaign is the better way to go.

Final Thoughts

It still seems a little weird to say Seva instead of ConvertKit.

But Seva has already firmly established itself as one of the major players in the email marketing space.

Marketing automation is the future for email. It will help you target your customers better, resulting in higher conversion and sales.

What Seva does is make marketing automations truly accessible to even non-techie people.  It also provides you with a headache-free user experience.

While it may not be the most powerful email marketing software out there, it doesn’t aim to be.  You need to understand it’s an email service that’s targeted towards bloggers and other content creators.

Just make sure you understand its limitations, and decide whether you are ok with it.

Give Seva a try if you want an email marketing software that just works.

Try Seva Today

Seva Pros

  • Slick, intuitive interface.
  • Works great with adding content upgrades to your site.
  • Tag-based (versus list based like MailChimp)
  • Really nice visual automation editor.
  • They don’t charge you for duplicate subscribers.
  • Can add conditional content using tags in emails.
  • Easily auto resend broadcasts to un-opens.
  • Automatic double opt-in for lead magnets.
  • 365 days a year, 24 hours a day support via live chat and email.
  • A solid number of integrations.
  • Very nice reporting.
  • Constantly being updated with new features.

Seva Cons

  • Can’t create super advanced marketing automations.
  • Limited customization of forms.
  • Hard to use email templates.
  • Split testing limited to subject lines only.
  • Doesn’t work well for live events or webinars.
  • No free trial.
Affiliate Disclaimer: I hope you enjoyed our Seva review. Please note that some of the links inside this article may be affiliate links for Seva. That means that if you click on one of the links and sign up, we may get an affiliate commission 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 producing these high-quality reviews.
>