While social media is undoubtedly a powerful tool for building your brand, email marketing still reigns supreme when looking to drive conversations and build long-term relationships with your customers. It is essential to any successful online business, and choosing the right email marketing software is crucial.
In today's digital world, ConvertKit and Mailchimp are two of the most popular options for email marketing, and for a good reason. The myriad of features obtainable in both platforms and the potential they give businesses shame competitors. But which one is the best fit for your business?
We have tested these tools and will, without bias, walk you through every little nuance of ConvertKit and Mailchimp, compare their distinct advantages, and help you decide which is ideal for your business.
Mailchimp is a terrific tool for marketing novices since it's simple to use, has a very user-friendly interface, and has a low learning curve. However, the functionality is somewhat constrained.
At the same time, ConvertKit is a user-friendly tool made for creators. Despite having a lower feature set than Mailchimp, ConvertKit sports more sophisticated automatic sequences that may be started in response to specific events.
In terms of tagging and segmentation, deliverability, and overall performance, ConvertKit exceeds Mailchimp. In contrast to Mailchimp, ConvertKit does not require you to pay for duplicate users.
Below is a tabular comparison of their features:
It's important to make things easy for users. When you can quickly figure out how to do what you need to do, that's a great feeling. So, when picking an email marketing software, it's important to choose one that's easy to use. Email marketing service can be complicated, so user-friendliness is a big factor to consider.
To this end, both ConvertKit and Mailchimp have different approaches.
ConvertKit has a way to send a welcome email series to new subscribers automatically. This helps guide them through starting their email campaigns.
But, ConvertKit doesn't have a main dashboard or a way to drag and drop elements into your emails easily. This makes it harder to see everything you're doing in one place and to keep track of what still needs to be done.
So, using ConvertKit can be a bit more difficult because you have to go to different menus to see everything.
The omission of a drag-and-drop editor by ConvertKit means that you get strictly text-based templates, further restricting your editing options to formatting text, changing font color and sizes, and adding images.
With all these being said, I found ConverKit very thoughtful to offer videos of various features upon first usage to guide users on how to use the program best.
Mailchimp, unlike ConvertKit, features a drag-and-drop email editor, giving you more excellent options (like editing plain text, images, and fonts). I found the engaging graphics simple to grasp, a technique MailChimp has perfected to make its product appear more user-friendly.
The user interface of MailChimp is simple to use not only because of the drag-and-drop email editor but also how it builds emails in several adjustable steps.
For example, you may decide if you want to pick recipients and enter sender information first - which is how I prefer to create emails, or you can create the email immediately. Mailchimp even offers tailored tips for users at various stages in the app – a feature not so ubiquitous – to help with software navigation and business strategy.
Although the few options on ConvertKit email builder work to its advantage, it is not enough to surpass the sheer ease of Mailchimp’s navigation. It is not surprising why many newbies opt for Mailchimp. It takes the cake on this one.
What distinctive email marketing features set these two apart?
ConvertKit uses a WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get") to incorporate all formatting and text during email creation. This editing software enables users to see and modify information in a format that resembles how it would be shown on an interface, website, slide presentation, or printed document.
ConvertKit use of this limits customization options – I could only change the font size, color, alignments, and include images.
Moreover, the email's HTML requirement and code altering for in-depth formatting made me uneasy. Thankfully, ConvertKit offers three simple templates to help you with the layout if you don't know much about HTML.
Still on customization, ConvertKit only permits A/B testing for subject lines, further limiting its personalization capabilities. On the plus side, the operation proved to be simple and straightforward – a trademark of ConvertKit.
You may send two emails with the same content but different subject lines to a portion of your audience, and the version that received the most opens will be forwarded to the remaining recipients.
Basically, ConvertKit distributes the winning subject line to the remaining 70% of email list subscribers after testing each subject line on 15% of the subscribers. Once the email has been delivered, you may click on it to view the report and keep track of metrics and A/B test outcomes.
On the other hand, composing emails on Mailchimp provides greater creative control and aesthetic options. You may choose from 14 layout styles that have headline blocks, pre-positioned text, and pictures. Additionally, you may add information and alter the colors, fonts, and pictures.
Regarding A/B testing, Mailchimp outperforms Convertkit as it allows for the testing of subject lines and email content and the name under which it will be sent.
I liked how Mailchimp allowed me to use my own criteria to determine the winning email.
Furthermore, I noticed that Mailchimp gathered feedback on my emails while I was developing them. Finally, I could send a test to multiple folks whose responses appeared in the email editor's remarks area.
Mailchimp is flexible, but ConvertKit is more straightforward, and that's what really matters. It's not helpful to have lots of options if you can't use them easily.
ConvertKit is easy to use when it comes to creating emails, using templates, and doing email marketing overall. That's why ConvertKit is better than Mailchimp in this regard.
Email marketing platforms are all about automating marketing tasks. The one that does this the best is usually the one people prefer to use.
ConvertKit is really good at automating emails. They have a feature called 'Sequences' that is at the heart of their automation. I tried it out and was able to make a lot of welcome emails easily.
What I found most interesting was that it allowed me to simultaneously write and edit the emails as I built the sequence. I didn’t have to switch to another portion of the tool which was honestly a lifesaver.
ConverKit felt like upping the ante by releasing the "Visual Automations" feature. As its choice of workflow-based editor, Visual Automations also works in line with its sequence-based system, allowing you to draft up sign-up forms, add steps, and even incorporate several; sequences within the automation.
Beyond setting up a typical email sequence, ConvertKit's automation feature enables users to automate activities brought on by subscriber purchases, form fills, and other triggers.
Mailchimp has some visual editors and automation features, but they're not as advanced as ConvertKit's. However, Mailchimp has more options for automating emails, like sending campaigns when people visit your website.
Despite the ease of use of Mailchimp’s automation, it pales compared to the workflow options offered by ConvertKit. The automation provided by ConvertKit is also easy to use, clear, and effective, which is what really matters. And although technical, the automation process never for once felt frustrating.
Virtually everything done in ConvertKit is tag-driven – which is a huge difference - and after you've selected a template, you can use the visual sequence builder to create a sequence.
ConvertKit wins this round. Easily.
ConvertKit has three templates for your email designs: text, classic, and modern. They say that using these templates makes your emails more likely to be delivered and read by people. Even though they're all text-based, the classic and modern templates let you add pictures.
Mailchimp being the more design-centric of the two, offers 100 different templates perfect for creating newsletters, holiday emails, e-commerce promotions, and event invites. Additionally, there are 14 layouts available for you to customize with your own design.
Both platforms have templates you can use to make nice-looking emails, but Mailchimp's templates are more visually appealing. ConvertKit doesn't have many visual templates, which might disappoint people who care a lot about graphics.
Why are these important, you say?
Well, list management and segmentation help you manage your email address lists in a more organized manner. Doing this manually can be tasking, which is why it is essential for email marketing tools to offer top-of-the-line list management and segmentation features so that Mr. Ben Summer subscriber doesn’t get the same email thrice.
Given that both platforms employ different approaches to get the same results, the distinction between Mailchimp's and ConvertKit's list systems is one of HOW rather than WHAT.
While Mailchimp permits the creation of lists, ConvertKit takes the unconventional route by not supporting lists in favor of centralizing all data and giving you a choice to tag, sequence, or otherwise arrange contacts by assigning them to a form. Regardless of whether they are part of the same form/sequence/tag, you can separate segments of contacts with comparable attributes.
ConvertKit's master list spared me the headache of duplicated contacts by allowing me to add segments to subscribers inside a master list instead of having to manage email lists separately, like with Mailchimp.
I really like how ConvertKit works. They keep things simple by letting you manage just one list with some segmentation. This might not matter if you only have a few hundred subscribers, but it's really helpful if you have thousands.
Mailchimp lets you do more with lists, but that just makes things more complicated. So, ConvertKit wins this round with its simple list management.
Registration forms are the most critical tool in any email marketing platform by helping businesses grow their lists.
The archaic way of adding forms was via code. ConvertKit abandoned this style and instead opted for the more efficient visual editor.
Its 4 form templates - Modal, Slide-in, Inline, and Sticky Bar - make adding dropdown field values a piece of cake. Aside from these templates, you can modify other design aspects like the colors, graphics, and custom CSS. Even better, you may conceal forms from returning users to prevent double subscriptions.
Mailchimp has similar options for creating sign-up forms. When people sign up, their information goes into the list you choose. It's very easy to make and update forms using Mailchimp's form builder.
I found Mailchimp's form builder confusing. Depending on what kind of form you want to make and where you start making it (from "Campaigns" or "Lists"), it seems like a different editor will pop up. The editor for creating forms inside your content differs from the one for making pop-up forms. I needed help understanding how to use it.
And once again, we are where we are. Mailchimp makes it feel like you get to gain more, but ConvertKit bulldozes its way with a much easier process and editor to snatch the win from Mailchimp.
Both platforms come fully equipped with inbuilt landing page builders, although there are slight differences.
There are 50+ landing page templates available on ConvertKit, many of which are rather attractive. Moreover, the fact that these templates are identical to the form templates makes it easy to use.
I didn't like that ConvertKit didn't have many design choices. Just changing colors and using CSS isn't enough for most people.
On the other hand, Mailchimp has ten templates you can use. Some of them are blank and ready for you to customize however you want. You can also easily drag and drop elements to make your own designs. This gives you a lot more options for how your emails look.
Unlike ConvertKit, Mailchimp’s landing page editors and templates differ from its other editors.
The good news is that the landing page editor is easier to understand than the form builder. You can also see data about how your landing page is doing, like how many people are visiting it. You can even host your landing page on Mailchimp's website, but you need a Websites & Commerce plan to publish it on your custom domain.
Both tools offer excellent landing page editors with the requisite templates and analytical data. But the flexibility of Mailchimp gives it a slight edge here.
An email marketing campaign's success or failure often depends on email deliverability. To increase email deliverability rates, several things need to be at play, like creating and maintaining clean lists, keeping subscribers interested, and having a solid sender reputation.
Generally, anything from 83-90% deliverability rate is considered acceptable. Also, it is important to note that these rates fluctuate over time, and the real test is in consistency.
With an average deliverability rate of 88% and 87%, respectively, you can be sure that your emails sent on ConvertKit or Mailchimp will reach their target and be read. It is easy to see why it's a tie here.
It is essential to monitor and assess how your campaigns are being used, how effective they are in terms of return on investment, and other performance metrics.
In this regard, it is with a heavy heart: ConvertKit lowered my expectations with its weak reporting. I had to go to the specific email or sequence to read the reports because there was no dedicated section for them.
When I finally found the reports, they were rather short, leaving out essential metrics like open rate, bounce rate, geography information, click heat maps, etc. The omission of these would prove detrimental to any email marketer.
On the other hand, Mailchimp didn’t spare users with its near-unlimited variety of reports. I struggled to find a report that was unavailable. Social metrics, click maps, e-commerce sales, hourly performance, opens by location, performance by domain, and standard performance reports were all glaringly displayed.
Furthermore, you can obtain some other information that is quite helpful, like how your campaigns compare to industry averages for open and click rates, bounce rates, and other metrics.
The wealth of information offered by Mailchimp dwarfs the mediocrity of ConvertKit’s reporting. Easy win for Mailchimp here.
As an email marketer, integrating your email marketing tool with third-party apps is crucial. This is because they help improve the functionality of your email campaign program. If you want to employ email marketing on your website or online store, using them will make it simple to link the two platforms and start your campaign.
Both ConvertKit and Mailchimp allow you to build up APIs and offer a wide variety of integrations. However, one’s offer is too tempting to be true.
ConvertKit boasts a whole range of app integrations from WordPress to Wix, Shopify, Stripe, and Zapier (with which you can get even more integrations). You can find virtually every marketing tool to connect with, although I found it a little absurd that CRM integrations were absent.
Integrations-wise, Mailchimp goes above and beyond to provide a wide range (and I mean really wide) of third-party apps.
There are so many – at least 190 – that it's easy to lose track.
Be that as it may, Mailchimp takes the lead through sheer numbers alone.
Support services are no joke. They are invaluable when encountering a problem or two or even needing a briefing.
Thankfully, both ConvertKit and Mailchimp boast decent customer support services.
Mailchimp provides email, chat, and phone support during weekdays, and their support team is available 24/7 for paid plans. They also have an extensive knowledge base, tutorial videos, and user guides to help customers with self-service options. Mailchimp's customer support team is generally responsive and helpful, with many users reporting positive experiences.
ConvertKit offers support via email, chat, and phone during weekdays, and their support team is available 24/7 for their paid plans. They also have a knowledge base, tutorial videos, and a community forum. ConvertKit's support team is known for being friendly, responsive, and helpful, with many users reporting positive experiences.
In terms of customer support, both Mailchimp and ConvertKit offer similar options and quality of support. Both have dedicated support teams available during weekdays and provide self-service options for users.
Both Mailchimp and ConvertKit offer free plans with basic features for users who want to try out their platforms before committing to a paid plan.
Mailchimp's Free plan allows users to send up to 1,000 emails per month to 500 subscribers. It includes basic email templates, landing pages, and basic email automation features. The free plan also includes access to Mailchimp's customer support and basic analytics.
Mailchimp's pricing plans (Essentials, Standard, and Premium) offer advanced email marketing features such as automation, A/B testing, and reporting, with prices ranging from $13 to $350 per month.
ConvertKit's Free plan allows users to have up to 300 subscribers and includes basic email marketing features such as email broadcasts and customizable opt-in forms. The free plan also includes access to ConvertKit's customer support and basic analytics.
ConvertKit offers two paid plans: Creator and Creator Pro. The Creator plan starts at $15 per month and includes advanced email marketing features such as automated emails, integrations with third-party tools, and customizable landing pages.
The Creator Pro plan starts at $29 per month and includes even more advanced features such as priority chat support, advanced reporting, and integrations with e-commerce platforms. The pricing of the plans varies based on the number of subscribers.
The winner, as far as pricing goes, is unclear. Mailchimp is slightly cheaper and offers pay-as-you-go alternatives – which is excellent for beginners and small businesses – but ConvertKit pricing plan is better, because it doesn’t charge for duplicate contacts.
Choosing between ConvertKit and Mailchimp ultimately depends on your specific needs and the features you require for your email marketing campaigns. Both platforms offer unique advantages and cater to different types of users.
If you're a blogger, content creator, or small business owner looking for an intuitive and user-friendly platform with advanced email automation features, ConvertKit as an email service provider might be the best choice for you. Its Creator plan offers powerful automation tools, customizable landing pages, and a user-friendly interface that's designed for creators.
On the other hand, if you're looking for a platform with more advanced features and a wider range of integrations, Mailchimp might be a better option for you. Its Standard and Premium plans offer advanced features such as retargeting ads, comparative reporting, and multivariate testing. Mailchimp also offers a broader range of integrations with third-party tools and e-commerce platforms, making it a good choice for larger businesses with more complex needs.
Ultimately, both ConvertKit and Mailchimp offer competitive pricing plans, responsive email support for all customers, and a range of advanced features. The best choice depends on your specific needs and the features you require for your email marketing campaigns. It's best to try out both platforms to determine which one works best for you.
Irina is a Founder at ONSAAS, Growth Lead at Aura, and a SaaS marketing consultant. She helps companies to grow their revenue with SEO and inbound marketing. In her spare time, Irina entertains her cat Persie and collects airline miles.
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