When I first started using ConvertKit for my email list, I was hella confused.
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ConvertKit is one of the most popular email list platforms for bloggers, and for good reason. It’s what I currently use to manage my list, and I love it!
Some of ConvertKit’s (many) amazing features include:
- Easy automation – totally "set-it-and-forget-it" (one of my fave business phrases)
- Easy to create "sequences" of emails (perfect for email courses!)
- The ability to "tag" your subscribers based on interests or which freebie they received
- Easy to send emails to different portions of your list – e.g., a certain tag, segment, etc.
- All features are available on ALL plans. You don’t have to pay extra to unlock more features
In my opinion, the only downside to ConvertKit is that they don’t offer a free plan for beginners. The starter plan – which is for accounts with less than 1,000 subscribers – is $29/month, and the plans increase from there based on how many subscribers you have. In my mind, this $29 is well worth it!
Right, let’s jump into our ConvertKit 101! I’ll start by breaking down the ConvertKit lingo, and explaining how each feature works…
ConvertKit 101: Understanding the Lingo
Forms are how people subscribe to your list (think: sign-up form). You can design the actual forms within ConvertKit itself – either as a separate landing page, or as a smaller box that you embed on your website. To completely customize these forms, you’ll need to know a bit of CSS code, or at least be able to pick up on it quickly!
Once you’ve chosen to create either a landing page or a form and chosen a style, you can click the little magic wand icon in the top right to change colors.
Next, click into the "Settings" tab to name your form, write an incentive email if you’d like a double opt-in process, customize the visuals, and grab the embed code (if necessary).
As an example, here’s a form I created with ConvertKit:
I added this form to my WordPress website by pasting the embed code from the form into a "text" widget in the header section of my site.
What I didn’t do – and should have done – was read blog posts that would walk me through the basics of ConvertKit and how to get set up. But because you’re 10x smarter than me, you’re HERE (!!!) for a beginner-friendly guide to ConvertKit. You rock!
A sequence is a series of emails that gets sent out automatically when someone subscribes to that sequence. A perfect example of this is a free email course. A reader signs up for your email course, and then receives a series of emails from you over the next few days – usually delivered 1 or more days apart.
The easiest way to set up email courses to be delivered automatically is to create an "automation rule" in ConvertKit.
The automation rule would look like this:
Trigger: Subscriber signs up for Form X —> Action: Subscribe that person to Sequence X
We’ll talk more about how automations work in just a second!
A broadcast is a one-time email.
You can send a broadcast to your entire list OR to a specific sub-section: for example, people subscribed to a specific sequence, subscribers that have been tagged with a certain tag, etc.
You can schedule a broadcast to be sent out at a specific time in the future, and you’re able to choose between 5-minute intervals (e.g., 8:00 am, 8:05 am, 8:10 am).
You can also EXCLUDE certain subscribers from receiving a broadcast, which is sooo handy. For example, if you’re sending an email promoting your new course, but several subscribers have already taken that course, you can exclude those subscribers from receiving that email.
Here’s how this would look when choosing recipients for your broadcast:
When creating an automation for your list, on the left-hand side of the page you’ll choose the "Trigger", and on the right-hand side you’ll choose the "Action".
In other words: When this happens (Trigger) … Do this (Action).
Here are all of the triggers and actions you can choose from:
You can delete an automation rule when you no longer need it, or you can temporarily disable it if you know you’ll need it again in the future (a great trick for saving time down the road!)
Using Automations to Send a Welcome Series
If you’d like to send a "welcome" series of emails to new subscribers, here’s how you would set that up in ConvertKit:
- Write your welcome emails as a sequence
- Create a form for new subscribers to sign-up for your list
- Set up an automation rule so new subscribers of that form are added to that sequence
At the same time, you can also "tag" these new subscribers with something relevant. Here’s one example from my own ConvertKit account:
Also in the Automations section, you’ll see options in the top-right corner to set up an RSS Feed and enable Integrations. ConvertKit integrates with lots of other tools, like LeadPages, Gumroad, Shopify, Woocommerce, Teachable, Zippy Courses, and Zapier.
HOW TO USE THESE FOUR CORE FEATURES
You’ll find these four sections in a menu at the top of your ConvertKit account, along with the headings "Subscribers" and "Account". Simply click into the section you want, and get to work!
Clicking into "Subscribers" will show you a full list of your subscribers. You can search on the top right for the name or email address of someone on your list, and you can also manually add subscribers or import a list of subscribers here.
On the bottom right of the Subscribers page, you have the option to create a "Segment" of subscribers. This is a group of subscribers you want to be able to message apart from everyone else. You can include various groups of subscribers in a segment – for example, subscribers with the same tag, those subscribed to the same sequence, etc.
In the bottom right of this page, you’ll see a full list of the tags you’ve created. You can click on a certain tag to view a list of subscribers with that tag. You can create new tags from in here, and manually add tags to specific subscribers as well.
Under the "Account" heading, you can update your account information – name, email address, and password – along with your billing information.
Once you’ve clicked into "Account", you’ll see a sub-menu in the top right corner with the heading "Email Template". In here, you’re provided with a few templates to get you started (which are relatively basic, and written in CSS code), and you can create as many new ones as you like!
A common criticism of ConvertKit is that their email templates are pretty plain-looking. However, I actually really like that! My emails have a very minimal look, which not only suits my style but also makes my emails less likely to be marked as "spam".
Ready to Get Started with ConvertKit?!
Now that you’ve worked through this ConvertKit 101 Guide, whatdya think — ready to create your account and get started with this amaaaazing platform?
I thought so!!
Here’s how to get your ConvertKit account up and running:
- 1. Click here to visit the ConvertKit homepage.
- Press the "Get Started" button on the left-hand side of the page.
- Choose your list size: Under 1K subscribers, or over.
- Enter in your details (name, domain) to finish setting up your account.
If you’re moving from a different email list platform – for example, MailChimp – you’ll want to:
- Export your list on MailChimp as a CSV file
- Head to the Subscribers tab in your ConvertKit account
- Press "Import Subscribers" on the right
- Decide where you want the subscribers to be imported to (a specific tag, form, etc.)
- Upload your CSV file and press "import subscribers" again.