About six months ago I made the switch from MadMimi to ConvertKit. Since I share the details and breakdown of my blogging income and expenses, I’ve had lots of people ask why I made the switch. After all, MadMimi is significantly cheaper, and I’m known for blogging on a budget. Hopefully this post will answer your burning questions about email marketing and help you decide what service is best for you.
Wait, did the term “email marketing” throw you off? Though I’m not a “marketer” in the traditional sense, I guess you could say I’m “marketing” my blog to my readers. Essentially, an email marketing service allows me to send emails to my subscribers. You can’t send emails to thousands of people through your regular gmail account, you know!
When I very first started my blog, I collected emails through the Jetpack wordpress plugin. Those subscribers automatically got my new posts via email, but I had no way to contact my readers aside from posting on my blog.
After ten months of blogging, I sought out an email service provider.
Mad Mimi was my first pick
As you might imagine, price was one of the main deciding factors in choosing my email provider in the beginning. When I started with Mad Mimi, they allowed you to have a large number of subscribers for free (it was at least a thousand, maybe two). Currently you get 100 free contacts with unlimited emails. Once you are to the point of paying their rates are cheaper than comparable services.
In addition to the inexpensive pricing, I liked how Mad Mimi’s emails looked. They were very newsletter-y and cutesy with very little effort. The user interface was very user-friendly and simple to use.
When I started with Mad Mimi, I just had them send our my RSS feed, so my subscribers just got my new posts (or an excerpt that cuts off after a set length). The RSS emails are completely automated, which is really convenient.
Another plus is that Mad Mimi is subscriber-centric. That means that each email subscriber only counts as one person even if they are on multiple lists or signed up for multiple freebies. For example, if you sign up for my free Smash Debt Course, my Guide to Getting a Month Ahead Financially, and you sign up for my blogging income reports, you still only count as one subscriber.
In MailChimp and Aweber, you have to pay for each list or opt-in offer that a person signs up for. So in my example above, you would count as three subscribers, not just one.
So Mad Mimi had some great things going for it. I should also add that the support was fabulous too. I’m not one to contact support normally, but I had a great experience with the help they gave me.
But there were things I didn’t love about Mad Mimi too
One of my main beefs with Mad Mimi was with their opt-in forms. One of the most effective placements of an opt-in box is at the end of your blog post, but there wasn’t a simple way to put an opt-in form at the end of my posts with Mad Mimi. You had to use a third party service or plugin (or do some coding) for that capability.
Plus, Mad Mimi’s opt-in boxes, called webforms, are not very customizable. They are not responsive. Your rectangle can either have a background color with text or be replaced with an image. Mine always looked very homemade.
Mad Mimi also had very unimpressive “landing pages” if you can even call them that. For example, if I wanted to mention my newsletter or opt-in freebie in the text of a post or an email, a reader would click and land on an entire page with my boring little opt-in form on a blank background.
Because the user interface is so friendly, there are some options that aren’t readily available. For example, there isn’t an option to re-send to people who didn’t open and there isn’t a way to easily access a list of people who haven’t opened your emails in a certain period of time (so you can send a re-engagement email or drop them from your list). I’ve heard that you can contact support and they will run those lists for you, but I am a DIY kinda girl who doesn’t like “bothering” others for help, I just want to do it myself.
One of the first wins for ConvertKit, at least for me, was that you can easily insert opt-in boxes at the bottom of blog posts. In fact, you can easily choose which of your opt-in offers you want to display at the bottom of your post with ConvertKit’s WordPress plugin. It’s simply a matter of selecting the form you want from a drop down menu in your post editor. When you set up the plugin you will chose the default form that will show at the bottom of all your posts. From there you can easily change the post bottom opt-in offer on individual posts.
With email programs like Gmail, posts get sorted into tabs. You don’t want to get stuck in the promotion tab. Emails that are more newsletter-y are more likely to get sent to the promotions tab and get lost, or worse, get sent to spam and never be seen. Since ConvertKit emails are text-based (no pretty email templates), they have a better chance at landing where you want them to. They look more like an email from a friend rather than marketing material. Additionally, ConvertKit gives you the option to change the subject and resend to people who didn’t open the initial email.
One of the cool features of ConvertKit that makes it more advanced than comparably-priced services, is the ease with which you can “tag” subscribers based on their interests and actions. The sky is the limit here! You can tag subscribers based on the links that they click from your emails, the offers they opt-in for, or the products they buy from you. You can even let readers tell you how they want to be tagged based on the different topics that you cover on your blog, so your emails are more targeted and therefore better received.
ConvertKit also integrates with other popular services like Gumroad, Shopify, and LeadPages (and many more). That means when people buy my book through Gumroad they are automatically added to ConvertKit and given a tag that I designate for purchasers. If I want to let purchasers know about a related product or a second edition, or maybe I just want to coach them through making the most of their purchase, I can easily contact them.
Or maybe in an affiliate campaign, I want to send an email only to the people who previously clicked on a certain link. I think ahead about that possibility and start tracking those link clicks with a tag (you do need to think ahead and do this beforehand with an automation so that ConvertKit knows you want to gather the data). Tracking what subscribers are interested in is really powerful.
In a product launch or sales funnel, it is really wonderful (and a great service to your subscribers) to be able to exclude subscribers from emails about a product they already purchased from you. With ConvertKit it is simple to include (and exclude) whoever you want to see (or not see) certain emails. This kind of segmentation is too complex for MadMimi or a similar service.
I should mention that, like Mad Mimi, ConvertKit is subscriber-centric, meaning you aren’t charged multiple times for individuals who are on multiple lists (you can get my newsletter, every post, and blogging emails and you’ll just count as one subscriber). This is not the case with MailChimp and some of the other list-centric services, which end up inflating your list size so you pay more. It’s a big reason to switch for people coming from MailChimp.
ConvertKit has powerful automated sequences and sales funnels. That’s one of the main reasons ConvertKit was created. Mad Mimi calls them “drip campaigns,” MailChimp calls them “auto responders,” and ConvertKit calls them “sequences.” They are really easy to work with and organize. There is so much you can do with these! I use a sequence for my free 7-day Smash Debt Course. When subscribers finish the course, they get added to my regular newsletter (I let them know this, of course).
Switching to ConvertKit
I did a lot of research before making the switch because the price increase was an expense I would be seeing on a monthly basis (as opposed to a one-time buy). I wanted to be sure that ConvertKit would be worth it.
In fact, I only moved one of my lists (my Behind-the-Scenes-Blogging list) over at first so I could try out ConvertKit and really get the hang of it for the first month. In addition I had new subscribers for my main list coming through ConvertKit (while maintaining MadMimi). After a month of overlap, I was ready to move my entire list. Most people probably move their entire list at once, I just wanted to be sure.
It was actually easier than I thought it would be. ConvertKit provides lots of helps, videos and tutorials for you to make the transition and learning a new system easier.
I knew I would be selling more products in the near future, both mine and ones that I would be an affiliate for, so I knew the targeting and segmenting would be valuable. And they have been!
Is ConvertKit a good fit for you?
While I obviously love ConvertKit, it’s not necessarily the right choice for everyone.
ConvertKit isn’t perfect. It is still a work in progress, as it’s still a fairly new product and company. The nice part about this is they are very open to hearing and implementing user ideas into what they’re doing. I even had a concern once that turned into a change.
One of the areas where ConvertKit is lacking is their reports and analytics. For example, I can’t see how many times each different link in my newsletter was clicked, just the number of subscribers who clicked on some link/links in the newsletter. I have heard that more detailed reporting is in the works. If you are super into analytics, then you might want to wait for those features or better yet, give your input.
If you are a brand new blogger, then you might not be ready (or have the funds) for all of the functionality of ConvertKit. I would go with a free or cheap option to start collecting emails in the beginning.
If you’re growing quickly and have money in your blogging budget, then getting a great email marketing service should be one of the first things you invest in since your list really has the power to grow your income more than other platform like social media.
Also, if you already have a product to sell, like an ebook, ecourse, or a physical product, then it’s probably time to get serious about growing and using your email list with ConvertKit.
How about you?
- What email marketing service do you use and why do you love it?
Do you really know your readers?
I was shocked by the results of my first reader survey! The surprises I encountered have changed my strategy to grow my blog!
Unfortunately, I waited 3 years to discover these secrets. That’s way too long! Don’t make my mistakes!
You’ll get all the details in the Reader Survey Surprises report.
Plus, you’ll get my Behind-the-Scenes Blogging emails where I share monthly blogging income and expense reports, blogging tips, and encouragement!