While most marketers are scrambling around trying to master the latest social media platforms, I have quietly built something much more valuable: an engaged email list. My secret weapon: ConvertKit.
So, why am I so invested in email marketing and why is ConvertKit worth paying for each month?
- You don't control your social media audiences. You are at the mercy of the platform. If you have 100,000 YouTube subscribers for example and YouTube gives you the boot, you have nothing.
- Email marketing makes up more than half of all my yearly sales. Half! Let that settle in because there is a prominent belief that email marketing doesn't work anymore. It doesn't work like it used to, yes, it is a little bit more difficult, but it still works for those that stick with it.
If you're wondering, I have tried the following and still prefer ConvertKit.
- Mailchimp – ConvertKit is “leaner” to me and more straightforward.
- Aweber – Aweber is not terrible, but it is too complex and is much more for people who send “corporate” looking emails with templates and graphics.
- Infusionsoft – Infusionsoft = Awesome BUT it is more powerful than a smaller, one man show like myself needs. If you run a large business, Infusionsoft has some awesome features, but it is like bringing a gun to a knife fight, and an expensive one at that! Bloggers and personal brand marketers like myself don't need it.
I like ConvertKit because:
- I write simple, text heavy emails, with few images and elements. I don't use banners or anything to brand myself, I use my words and put value behind them. Branded emails come off as “salesy” and corporate looking to me. That isn't the brand image I want. Yes, I promote things, but as Nate McCallister, not as a corporation. If you're a corporation, I have no issue with your highly branded emails. That makes sense.
- I can segment my lists very thoroughly. We will touch on why this is important, but for me, I work in a couple of different niches so segmentation is critical.
- The price is reasonable (for newbies and at scale). I would gladly pay more if I needed to because email marketing has such a tremendous ROI for me, but ConvertKit doesn't make me. This is another reason why I like promoting them because I think they are high quality enough for large companies and affordable enough for smaller solo entrepreneurs or startups.
- It integrates well with other tools. I don't use ConvertKit’s built in tools for forms and opt-in boxes very often. I make my own with SumoMe and Optin-Monster and integrate them with ConvertKit. I get the same result, but better looking opt-ins. I don't know CSS, but if you do, you can customize your opt-ins however you'd like. Mine just looked bland and unoriginal (many other ConvertKit users had/have the same because they don't know CSS either).
So, here is how to get the most out of your ConvertKit subscription…
#1 Double Opt-In and/or Incentive Downloads to Filter Quality Subscribers
You may be thinking to yourself, “Why would the first tip be something that is going to bring me fewer subscribers?”
I know it doesn't increase your email list growth, but it helps what matters most→ quality of sign ups.
People who double opt-in won't have your emails sent to SPAM like those that don't. Email marketing isn't about the size of the list, but the engagement. That isn't a cop-out for people who have small lists to feel better about themselves. Seriously, the engagement of a list is what you need to monitor FIRST before size.
#2 Create an Email Sequence for New Subscribers to Improve Open and Click Rates and Reduce the Number of Unsubscribes
One of the biggest mistakes I made was not creating my on-boarding email sequence early enough.
I am fortunate that I had the awareness to start my email list from the beginning. Many other entrepreneurs talk about how they are kicking themselves for not building their lists soon enough. I owe Pat Flynn for this.
An email sequence will:
- Have higher open and click rates.
- Help you drive subscribers to your most important content first.
- Save you time.
- Introduce yourself to your new followers.
- Help future open rates because those who aren't interested in your content will unsubscribe sooner.
So, set up an email sequence ASAP. It can be as few as 2-3 emails at first and you can add to it later.
TIP: Don’t scare off your new subscribers by sending them too many emails right out of the gate. Typically, one email per day is the most I'd want to send. So, when you have a sequence going on, it is important to exclude these subscribers from your non-sequenced emails. Do this by setting a filter to “do not send if → after date → length of sequence from today” . If you have a 10 day sequence, set this to be 11 days ago. That way no subscribers will get double emails in one day.
#3 Retarget Readers Who Click Links to Increase Conversions and Not Bug Non-Interested Subscribers
I am obsessed with tracking what my readers do with my content.
I use snip.ly for this a lot, but with ConvertKit, I can see who is clicking my links and strategize what I do with that information.
- If someone clicks on a link to learn more about a product, I can add them to a sequence to sell that product.
- If someone clicks on a link related to a certain topic, I can add them to a new tag.
This brings us to my next point…
#4 Segment and Tag Like Crazy to Send the Right Content to the Right People
“Segment” – Collection of Tags.
“Tags” – Group of subscribers labeled.
Segments and tags are used when you send emails. You need to manage your email broadcasts in a way that maximizes opens and clicks while limiting unsubscribes and SPAM.
The better your tags and segments, the more relevant your emails and the better your results will be.
#5 Set up Rules (Lots of Them) to Automate Processes and Save Time
If you utilize the tags, segments, and sequences, you will need rules.
Don't skimp over this aspect of your email marketing. Having the proper rules set up from the very beginning is going to save you time and make you more money in the long run.
If you want to do something that isn't available in ConvertKit directly, you can check into 3rd party integrations… let's continue to point #6…
#6 Take Advantage of Available 3rd Party Integrations
By the time you are using ConvertKit, there will likely be many more more integrations, but being one of the earlier adopters, I had to get creative with some of the things I wanted ConvertKit to handle for me.
My solution: Zapier logic to make things happen automatically.
Zapier is a 3rd party tool that allows you to connect other 3rd party apps/services to work with one another.
The main tools/services that I like to ConvertKit at the time of this blog post are:
- Typeforms: This allows me to send anyone who completes a form/survey to a certain Tag in ConvertKit.
- PayPal: It is important to keep an active list of your buyers. I don't email these people unless they opt-in elsewhere, but I find it highly valuable to be able to tag them as “buyers,” in the event I do email them if they crossover one of my other tags.
- Mailchimp: Yes, I do still have a Mailchimp account. I don't need it, but I like some of the features it has for Facebook and use pay as you send option as a “safety-net” in case I lost all of my ConvertKit emails. You can never be too safe with your emails!
- GumRoad: I sell a lot of my digital products through Gumroad. Although Gumroad has their own integrated email/update system, I still like to have my buyers tagged in ConvertKit for retargeting purposes.
7. Use the Broadcast Subscriber Selection Logic to Target Your Readers Properly
This is when you'll be glad you used proper tags and segments. When you create a broadcast, you will want to send it to the people that are likely to:
- Open your email
- Respond to your call to action
- Not unsubscribe/report SPAM
I am 100% ok with unsubscribes but I am not ok with driving good members of my list to unsubscribe because I couldn't target them properly. I have several areas of my business (Amazon FBA, Marketing, and Software Development) so I can't blast the same email to each of my subscribers. This would cause a huge amount of unsubscribes and not the inevitable kind (that are just part of the process and actually make your list better over time).
Here is the logic available.
- Select matching:
- “All,” or
- Select filter:
- “All subscribers”
- “Cold subscriber”
- “Subscribed to”
- “Within segment”
- “Before” or “After”
- Select additional filter group matching
- “All,” or
Note: Additional (optional) filter groups will create secondary requirements or criteria that subscribers will need to meet to receive the broadcast. You can add a large number of these to hyper target your subscribers.
ConvertKit is a powerful tool that:
- Has features rich enough to drive big results.
- Is simple enough to let you drive them fast (even if you aren't experienced in email marketing)
- Is affordable enough that anyone collecting emails (and sending them) should be able to pay for their subscription many times over each month.
Just like any tool, it all depends how you choose to use it that matters, but ConvertKit sets you up with what you need.
If you'd like, you can start a free trial.
Always continue improving your email marketing and basic copywriting skills.
- Click here to download a free ebook on Email Marketing (from ConvertKit)
- Click here to request a demo and start using ConvertKit today