First, the elephant in the room:
Mailchimp is the most common selection because it is free.
When I started this whole writing thing, I wanted to spend as few dollars as possible. The chimp was the choice.
As my subscriber count grew, though, I realized something: I had absolutely no idea WHO these people where, WHERE they were coming from, or WHAT they were interested in.
My email list – the people who are the MOST interested in what I’m doing – became a pile of names and addresses. I was literally throwing mud at the wall to see what stuck.
When my friend Kyle first turned me on to Convert Kit, I was skeptical — mostly because of the price tag.
“How can this be better?” I thought. “It COSTS more money. Isn’t the point here to EARN more money?”
Once I took the leap and made the purchase, though, I never looked back. Here are the top reasons why:
The Easiest Landing Pages
One of the biggest differences between a professional blogger and one who still treats his work like a hobby is the quality of the landing page.
For the longest time, my landing page looked like this:
What a mess.
Not surprisingly, most people saw this page, were overwhelmed by the amount of text, and bounced away.
After a lot of hard work (and money to a web designer), I recreated a page which looked like this:
This one was much cleaner, and I had no problem handing over the money to the designer. More people subscribed to the list, but I still had a problem:
What about my other landing pages? I had plenty of free offerings for people. Was I supposed to dip into my bank account every time I wanted a new one?
Enter Convert Kit:
Now, I can design as many pages as you like, and it’s as easy as 1–2–3.
You fill in your details, grab a stock photo, and the page is designed.
If you’re using WordPress, you don’t even have to worry about copy/pasting code. you can download a plugin and pick your landing page.
The Incredible Affiliate Program
A big reason I made the switch happened one day when I realized this:
I had reached a point where it cost me more money to write a post than it did to do nothing.
This was humbling to discover.
I had reached a tipping point with my writing. For each new post, there were a certain amount of people:
- Signing up for the email list (more people = more cost)
- Coming to the website (more traffic = more cost)
- Sending me emails asking for advice on their own situations (more time = more cost — even though I love when people reach out to me).
Convert Kit literally has the potential to pay for itself, even if you never sell a product. With every referral, I earn a 30% commission on that bill every single month.
That’s why, if you are considering purchasing Convert Kit, I ask that you buy it from me. If you’ve received any insight, inspiration, or empowerment from what I write here, buying through that affiliate link is a great way to say thank you.
You can do that any time at toddbrison.com/getconvertkit
If you aren’t at that place yet, I’m obviously not going to pressure you into it. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of reasons Mailchimp could be the best choice for you.
You should also know an affiliate link isn’t exclusive to me. You can get your own.
That means you have the potential to earn back at least as much as you spend (or more) on the service.
People actually see my emails
“Dude, did you just now start sending emails to your list again?”
“What? No. I’ve been sending them the whole year.”
This is a conversation I had with a friend the same day I sent my first email with Convert Kit.
He hadn’t seen a single email up until that point. Do you know where they’d been going?
Directly into the Promotions tab in his Gmail.
At no point did he flag my emails as spam, Gmail did it by default by something it was seeing in the message.
Apparently this issue was not exclusive to my friend. On that same day, I also received over 30 replies to the update I sent. I hadn’t received 30 replies combined after 2 years with Mailchimp.
I don’t know why this happens. My best guess is that Convert Kit removes some of the extraneous code which caused Gmail to be suspicious of my Mailchimp messages.
More of my updates actually reach my readers’ inbox? Works for me.
Okay, now we’re getting into the nitty gritty.
As my list grew in Mailchimp, it became harder and harder to keep up with why people were there. Unlike the niche sites who sell ant farm decorations or custom sweaters for Chihuahuas, I actually write about more than one thing.
My readers can be interested in my work for any of these reasons:
- My thoughts on the best books
- My perspective on college and learning
- How to handle life in a corporation
- Tips on writing
- Motivation to create the best art possible
- My lessons from the very early stages of building a side business
That’s a lot to keep up with.
Instead of dumbing down my message or narrowing my focus, I can tag people to give them my most relevant work.
The easiest example of this is right after people join. Instead of just getting plopped into the newsletter, I want people to go through an onboarding sequence so they know what I’m about and can unsubscribe if they need to.
When someone joins the list, they get the tag “Brand New.”
“Brand New” sends someone through a sequence of emails, which is nice.
What REALLY nice is I can exclude them from my newsletter broadcasts, so new subscribers aren’t getting too many emails in the first week they join.
Tags are unlimited. You can learn as much (or little) about the people on your list as you like.
Here’s my current setup. Notice I’m keeping a pretty good track of who is clicking on what in the onboarding sequence.
Time to take it to the HNL (‘hole ‘nother level).
Sending people targeted emails based on a tag is great, but do you know what’s better than that?
Changing the CONTENT of your emails based on a tag.
Check this out.
The first thing I ask people to do when they join my list is follow me on Twitter. It’s a simple action and allows people the most direct access to me.
When they click, they immediately receive the tag “Followed Me On Twitter.”
Now, a few emails later, I can add a secret message ONLY to people who have clicked the link to follow me on Twitter.
I know, I know. That looks like a bunch of gobbledy-gook. But that code was generated by a simple drop down menu when I was drafting the email
If you’re a real geek (like me), you can go absolutely bonkers with this, creating what is essentially a choose-your-adventure scenario for every person who joins.
You can read more on liquid emails right here.
Landing Pages + Tagging
The final breaking point for my Mailchimp exodus came when my email list started to see some rapid growth.
“Guys! I had over 200 people join the list today!” I told my mastermind group.
“Nice. Where are they coming from?”
It’s nice to get good results. It’s even better to know WHY you are getting those results.
Sure I had 200+ people sign up in one day, but where did those people come from? Maybe 190 of them came from my most recent post. Maybe 50 of them were trickling in from an old post which was getting some SEO juice. Maybe they were all from Twitter.
I had no way of knowing what worked.
Take a look at this Convert Kit dashboard, though:
Each of those arrows is pointing to the results of a different landing page or form.
Now I know exactly where everyone is coming from. Better still, I can tag all those people based on their point of entry and give them more of what they came for.
You can get as crazy as you want with this, making a form for every post, or just making a few for the different platforms. Here are the ones I have right now.
Act as my consultant. You tell me which form is working best…
A final thought
As the son of two teachers, I grew up believing the cheapest option was always the best option. My clothes came from Goodwill. My books were always second hand. Our dinners were often made from hot dogs and baked beans.
When I took that belief into my writing, guess what happened?
I invested $0 and made $0.
I am still incredibly frugal, and the reason I recommend Convert Kit is because I know I’ll make back every penny I spend on it.
I think it’s likely you will too.