ConvertKit vs Mailchimp: Which is Better in 2021?

In this article we’re going to be comparing ConvertKit vs Mailchimp, to help you decide which of these popular email marketing automation tools is the right choice for your business.

Email marketing is now a core part of most business strategies. Getting the word out about your products and services, special offers and building relationships with your customer base is integral to building your brand.

Developing impactful messaging and managing the administration of following up leads can be time-consuming. Thankfully there is a range of email automation tools to support your business whatever the size.

The investment is well worth it too. According to research, email marketing has the highest conversion rate, at a whopping 66% for purchases.

Nice, huh?

Consumer surveys have repeatedly found that email is the preferred method to be contacted by brands. This is true across all age groups, including millennials who still prefer email to social media. A 2019 survey found 51% of respondents prefer email communication, the highest-ranking for any channel.

Email definitely needs to be front and center to marketing strategies, even for enterprises with an exclusively online focus. As the old business adage goes – give the people what they want.

Choosing the most appropriate marketing automation software to support your business goals is therefore vital to allow your company to effectively communicate and achieve its goals.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at two of the most popular email marketing software providers – Mailchimp and ConvertKit. We will be taking a look at how each of their features compares, and we will also be taking a look at their pricing plans, and customer reviews, to get a better overview of the service they provide.

The Main Differences Between Mailchimp and ConvertKit

Mailchimp and ConvertKit offer many similar services and tools. However, the main differences between these two email service providers are as follows:

  • Mailchimp provides dozens of templates for emails, while ConvertKit only has three main templates, which you can customize to suit your brand’s needs.
  • ConvertKit is better than Mailchimp when it comes to landing pages and forms by offering a significantly wider range of templates and a simpler creation process.
  • Mailchimp offers a “drag and drop” editing feature, alongside more advanced editing options than ConvertKit.
  • ConvertKit’s subscriber and list management functionality is easier to operate than Mailchimp.
  • Mailchimp customers can preview their emails on desktop or mobile formats to check for problems with design, a function that ConvertKit does not offer.

How to Choose the Best Email Marketing Software for Your Business

For companies looking for the best email marketing services, it is easy to be overwhelmed with choice. Along with Mailchimp and ConvertKit, there are so many companies to consider.

Some of the main things you need to consider before choosing email marketing software for your business are:

  • Cost – Most email marketing software comes with a monthly fee. This needs to be factored into the value for money you can generate with the tool. Most companies, like Mailchimp and ConvertKit offer free trials, so you can assess suitability before committing.
  • Availability – Not all industries are welcomed by email marketing companies. Make sure you check the fair usage and terms and conditions to ensure your business’ sector is not excluded for use with the product.
  • Email editors – what is the functionality like, is it easy to use, and does it suit your email requirements.
  • Templates – templates can be a fantastic resource and can save you a lot of time, particularly if you don’t have designers in-house.
  • Subscriber management – The ability to quickly organize your contacts is another significant time saver. Pay particular attention to ensure you don’t find yourself spending more time on admin than is necessary planning your email campaigns. It’s critical to know how many subscribers you will have to pick a service and plan that can cater to your needs.
  • Analytics and reporting features – One of the most valuable ways emails can support your marketing strategy is by providing feedback on the success of your email campaigns and promotions. Picking a company that provides high-quality data can add huge value to your marketing performance.
  • Customer service – Having support when things go wrong or if you envision needing ongoing technical support should be considered.

Editor’s note: I’m going to use some affiliate links when possible to try to earn some revenue from my content. These don’t change the opinions espoused in the content nor the style in which they are written. If I think a product sucks, I’m not going to say otherwise. This is just a bonus and a way to fund the whole operation. Anyway, enjoy the article!

ConvertKit vs Mailchimp – Which is Better?

Like with any other service that you purchase, the way to ensure you pick the right email marketing software is to be clear on what your business needs.

Mailchimp and ConvertKit do not offer identical services. However, each company has a different specialism. Mailchimp offers a greater choice if design is a priority for you, whereas ConvertKit’s company philosophy is skeptical about the impact of design-heavy email marketing. Instead, they encourage an email marketing approach that places greater emphasis on text-based simple email communication, ease of use, and options for organizing subscriber lists.

Given their relative strengths, the choice of the right software for your business will be dependent on your priorities and the functionality that matters the most to you.

The other element to consider is, of course, cost. Mailchimp’s cheapest plan is much more affordable than ConvertKit’s cheapest option and comes with more features.

Mailchimp Overview

Mailchimp is a well-known email marketing platform, popular with small and large businesses alike. Based in Atlanta and founded in 2011, Mailchimp was established to offer an alternative to expensive web design and technology solution providers which were often out of the reach of small and medium-sized businesses.

Mailchimp’s key features

Key features of Mailchimp include:

  • Drag and drop editor
  • Content studio for images and files
  • Automation options, including customer journey tool
  • Transactional email options for e-commerce store owners
  • Landing pages and opt-in forms
  • Lead magnet delivery
  • Extensive templates
  • 96 – 99% email delivery rates
  • Preview and spam-check tool
  • CRM functions
  • Customer surveys
  • Real-time analytics
  • Social media management
  • Over 250 application integrations
  • Custom email address domain name via Google Workspace
  • Mobile app
  • Creative assistant
  • Marketing calendar
  • Email and phone support

Now let’s take a look at one of Mailchimp’s primary competitors – ConvertKit.

ConvertKit Overview

ConvertKit is a popular email marketing tool that can be used to connect with your audience and grow your business by using their marketing automation features to offer your audience the right content at the right time. The company was founded by current CEO Nathan Barry in 2013. ConvertKit is aimed primarily at internet content creators such as bloggers and online course creators.

ConvertKit’s key features

ConvertKit has a wide range of features including:

  • Simple visual editor
  • Email scheduling
  • Autoresponder
  • Subscriber management and segmentation
  • ​Personalized emails
  • Lead magnet delivery
  • Pop-up forms
  • Limited template options
  • Form builder
  • Landing page development
  • Custom CSS
  • Automation functionality
  • Metrics and analytics performance
  • A/B testing
  • Subject line testing
  • Live chat and email support
  • ​One-click unsubscribe

It is worth noting that as far as email editing goes, ConvertKit has a pretty basic interface. That means that those that aren’t tech-savvy may struggle to create suitable email templates.

Convertkit vs Mailchimp: Email Marketing and Marketing Automation

Let’s take a closer look at Mailchimp and Convertkit and see how they compare when it comes to their primary business model – email marketing and automation.

One of the most important considerations when choosing an email marketing software provider is how easy it is to develop well-received and engaging email communication for customers. Mailchimp and Convertkit have different ideas when it comes to what makes email marketing successful, and this is clear when we compare the tools they offer.

First, we will look at Mailchimp.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is one of the best-established email content development providers. Like Convertkit, they offer a free plan that businesses can use to try out the service, but this doesn’t include the full functionality available with a paid plan.

Mailchimp provides over 100 templates which make designing professional-looking emails simple and quick, even if you’re a complete beginner. So whether you want to create an email newsletter, or send a transactional email, there will be a template for you. There are also blank layouts that allow you to upload your own designs.

All their emails can be previewed for both desktop and mobile audiences, and spam checked so you can be confident of the quality and readability before you press send.

Their mobile app allows you to design, edit and send emails on the go wherever you are.

Automation is a key feature of Mailchimp’s service. You can set campaigns, including drip campaigns as well as ‘journey’ sequences which allow you to set emails to send to customers once certain criteria have been fulfilled such as website visits, clicks, and opens.

Many businesses are interested in automation because it allows for much of the marketing and categorization of customers to happen without the need for staff to spend time developing and sending individually. You can constantly review the success of the emails and tweak them accordingly to optimize your conversion rates. Building on your successful emails allows you to tailor your messaging and quantity of emails to your customer’s preferences.

ConvertKit

ConvertKit has invested in extensive research to explore the effectiveness of email marketing which has informed the tools they offer. Their research has found that text-based emails are the most effective for customer engagement. For that reason, they do not offer the same degree of design functionality as Mailchimp and many of their competitors.

For example, ConvertKit in contrast to Mailchimp only provides three templates for emails – text, classic and modern – the latter two allow you to import images but the templates themselves have very limited visual designs. That being said, each of their templates can be customized to suit your style and branding, so you can still create a professional-looking email.

Some customers may be concerned that they do not offer a spam checker and only limited functionality for email previews.

Nevertheless, ConvertKit has put a lot of effort into developing automation features that can save your marketing team a significant amount of time and effort.

ConvertKit vs Mailchimp: Forms and Landing Pages

When it comes to capturing email leads, both ConvertKit and Mailchimp have got you covered.

Mailchimp has an easy-to-use setup for forms and landing pages which includes drag-and-drop functionality. The form builder, accessible via the main dashboard, can be used to edit emails as well as customize forms, including pop-up and embedded options.

You can easily add and edit field data, however, there are several different form editing pages which can be confusing for some users. Pop-up and embeddable forms each have a different form builder.

Landing pages are simpler. There are several templates to choose from and like with the forms you can use the drag-and-drop editor to customize as you want.

ConverKit offers a very similar forms page to Mailchimp but has one single editing interface.

The landing page editor is the same as the form editor with over fifty templates to choose from. Landing pages are fully customizable – you can edit the images, text, and fonts to match your brand requirements.

Convertkit vs Mailchimp: Ease of Use and Navigation

Both Mailchimp and ConvertKit have been designed to be used by small businesses and to be intuitive even for those who do not come from a web development background.

Perhaps one of the main elements behind Mailchimp’s reputation for simplicity is the drag-and-drop function. This is available in all of the editors and makes it very easy to customize emails, forms, and landing pages.

You can also choose the way you want to develop a new email – either by identifying recipients or by creating the email first.

However, navigating the dashboard can be a little confusing. This seems partly due to Mailchimp’s expansion of its core services beyond email marketing. As covered in the landing page and forms section above, the landing page editing functions do not appear in intuitive places. Equally, templates only include email templates rather than the full array of marketing tools.

Convertkit definitely has some intuitive elements. However, because they have developed their own jargon which is used throughout the dashboard and editing pages, it can take a while to get comfortable with the navigation.

For example, if you are looking to set up automated emails, you have to familiarise yourself with ConvertKit’s name for this function which is sequences, emails are known as broadcasts. This slows down the time it takes to set up your initial email systems and processes and seems unnecessary.

ConvertKit vs Mailchimp: Integrations

API integration is critical for small, web-based businesses. Connecting your website, e-commerce, and marketing systems not only gives your customer’s a seamless experience but also helps to ensure that your messaging stays consistent and integrated across platforms.

Mailchimp has over 200 integrations. You name them, it’s pretty likely that Mailchimp has a compatible API established. This helps you to save time on your marketing.

You can convert leads from LinkedIn and Facebook as well as connect to all the major payment, marketplace, and analytics platforms.

ConvertKit offers fewer integrations – but most of the major platforms including WordPress, most CRMs, and marketplaces are available including Shopify, Stripe, Wix, and Zapier. By connecting with Zapier, ConvertKit users can access 200 app integrations.

ConvertKit vs Mailchimp: Support

Most email marketing customers prefer to contact support via email or web chat and both Mailchimp and ConvertKit offer these services.

Mailchimp offers a comprehensive knowledge base that acts as a FAQ to support new users or those who need help understanding or navigating the different tools. The emphasis seems to be on providing information for customers to find the answers to the questions they need through these resources. Locating the support button can sometimes be difficult, it can seem hidden away at the bottom of the screen.

While Mailchimp offers both live chat and email support, the latter is only available on paid plans. Telephone support is also available on the most expensive plan.

ConvertKit also has a user-friendly guide and tutorial resource, including demo videos. One of the big pluses for ConvertKit is that the support feature is accessible whichever page you are on so you can chat to a support staff team member from your current screen.

Reporting and Analytics

Mailchimp makes it easy to create new reports. You can quickly create graphs and access data on a wide range of data including:

  • Average click rates
  • Open rates
  • Hourly performance
  • Social media referrals

With many of the reports, you can compare to industry average data to get a sense of how you measure up to other businesses in your sector.

ConvertKit is extremely focused on providing quality analytics. You can use the reporting feature to access information on the following:

  • Subscriber activities
  • New subscribers
  • Open rates
  • Click rates
  • Purchase history
  • Integration access

Plus much more.

Some users may be put off that there isn’t a single page for accessing reports and analytic information. However, as the data is available on the homepage or dashboard, it should be just as easy to find the information you are looking for.

Customer Reviews

Both Mailchimp and ConvertKit have good reputations and their customer reviews reflect this.

Mailchimp has 4.3 stars out of 5 based on over 11,000 reviews on g2.com. Less than 1% of customers have given Mailchimp a 1-star rating at the time of writing.

ConvertKit has 4.4 stars out of 5 based on over 100 reviews on g2.com. The rating reflects that less than 2% of customers have given Convertkit a 1-star rating at the time of writing.

Unfortunately, ConvertKit as a smaller company cannot compete when it comes to the numbers of reviews, which gives Mailchimp an edge on this comparison. However, both companies are responsive to customer feedback and have made efforts over recent years to improve their customer service and the broader services and tools that they provide.

ConvertKit vs Mailchimp: The Pros and Cons

Now we’ve covered both companies in some detail, let’s look at the specific pros and cons for each company for ease of comparison.

The Pros and Cons of Mailchimp

Pros:

  • Offers free account
  • Simple pricing structure
  • A/B testing
  • Excellent email deliverability rates (spam features)
  • Simple dashboard
  • Drag-and-drop design editor
  • Wide range of templates
  • Integration friendly
  • Mobile app
  • Regular improvements to user experience

Cons:

  • Editing can be complicated
  • Limited editing options on forms
  • No 24/7 customer service
  • Frequent updates

The Pros and Cons of ConvertKit

Pros:

  • Intuitive navigation
  • Automation is simple to use
  • Simple landing page creator
  • Subscription management tagging
  • Free duplicate subscribers
  • Limited A/B testing
  • Industry-leading metrics feature
  • Responsive customer service

Cons:

  • Free version available but with limited functionality
  • Limited design options
  • The reporting feature is limited in comparison to competitors
  • Lacking lead scoring
  • Overly reliant on their own vocabulary

ConvertKit vs Mailchimp: Pricing

Now it’s time for the all-important cost. Value for money is very important for businesses to consider. It is worth noting that Mailchimp and ConvertKit both offer free plans, with Mailchimp offering a free account for companies with less than 2,000 subscribers that includes much of the same functionality as the paid accounts.

Mailchimp Pricing

Mailchimp offers four accounts to choose from depending on your needs – Free, Essentials, Standard, and Premium.

The Free account is totally free for users with less than 2,000 subscribers. It includes email builder, marketing CRM, and landing page and forms functions.

The Essentials plan is targeted at companies looking for more customization and support. Prices start at $9.99 each month for up to 500 subscribers. Prices increase from here according to the number of subscribers you need. It includes email automation, audience features (including marketing CRM and sign-up forms), a marketing platform, and a calendar with extensive social media integration and access to the mobile app.

The Standard plan starts at $14.99 for users with up to 500 subscribers. This plan is for businesses that want more automation and data-powered tools. Alongside the standard tools and services, there are customer journey builder functions, custom-coded templates, and send time optimization.

Finally, the Premium account is for larger organizations with big subscriber lists. The main benefits are access to phone support and management of up to 10,000 subscribers with the lowest priced plan starting at $299 per month. Customers get access to advanced segmentation, multivariate testing as well as unlimited seats and role-based access.

Convertkit Pricing

Convertkit also offers a free plan for an email list of up to 1,000 subscribers alongside two paid accounts – Creator and Creator Pro. Creator and Creator Pro can also be accessed via a free trial.

The free plan offers unlimited landing pages and forms, email editing and management, the ability to sell digital products and subscriptions (for example paid newsletters), and email support.

Creator offers the same functions as the free plan, but starting for $29 each month users can migrate data from a different email marketing software provider and access automated funnels and email sequences.

Creator Pro is available starting from $59 each month. Alongside the services in the free and Creator accounts, users have access to tools to customize for Facebook audiences, a newsletter referral mechanism, subscriber scoring, and more advanced reporting functionality.

ConvertKit vs Mailchimp: The Verdict

Both Mailchimp and ConvertKit have powerful and useful email marketing features that are aimed at small businesses in particular.

It is difficult to do a fair comparison of Mailchimp and ConvertKit because they both have different strengths and weaknesses.

The stand-out feature for most Mailchimp users is the drag-and-drop editor. It is very easy to use and saves a lot of time on editing. Plus, the emphasis on standardized and customizable design options gives greater flexibility. Mailchimp also offers more integrations than its rival.

However, that is not to say that ConvertKit doesn’t offer positives in some areas. ConvertKit provides a more simplified subscription management system alongside a slightly superior support service. The landing pages and form tools are also easier to use and with many more templates than on the Mailchimp interface. If that is a priority for your business ConvertKit should definitely be considered.

Taking into account the differences in price for the mid-range price plans, Mailchimp is the winner here. For small businesses that don’t have a huge budget for email marketing, graphic design or serious web development it streamlines a lot of processes while remaining easy to use, even for those new to email marketing.

Want to find out more about Mailchimp, or try out their free plan? Head over to their website here.

If you think that ConvertKit might be a better fit for you, give their free plan a try here.

 

Emily Brookes

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