Not so with my email marketing platform.
After my research phase, I chose one and committed for a year. And wasn’t happy.
So I did more research and chose another. And still wasn’t happy.
I’ve even used several email marketing platforms to help my clients get setup. And I didn’t like them.
Finally, I landed on ConvertKit. And I love it! I don’t want you to have to go through years of trial and error like I did. So in this article, I walk you through the email platforms I used, ActiveCampaign and MailChimp. I also briefly touch on Keap (formerly InfusionSoft), then tell you why I love ConvertKit over them all.
I started using MailChimp years ago for one primary reason: they have a free tier. That means if you have less than a certain number of email subscribers (currently that number is 2,000) you can use their platform for free. Quite the draw!
Back in college, when I was first getting my feet wet in email marketing, this is all it took to hook me.
Even back then, MailChimp offered some additional services that seemed fun. Integration with Facebook ads, custom landing pages, and more. Since then, they’ve added even more features. Now, they tout a full “Marketing Platform.” The list of features includes:
- CRM (Customer Relationship Manager)
- Audience dashboard to track your engagement
- Brand library to store all your assets
- Social media ads (Facebook and Instagram)
- Social media posts (Facebook and Instagram)
- Analytics for everything
What a platform! They combine many tools business leaders need to grow their audience and automate their marketing.
Above and beyond everything else, the postcards really excited me. I used to use Bond.co to send letters to my clients. But, sadly, they are no more.
Even with all this going for them, I still couldn’t get on board. Why?
Email marketing platforms need to get one thing right above all else. Email. This is where MailChimp falls short. Specifically, in their email sequence function.
When I create an email sequence, I often move emails around and adjust the flow. I want to be able to easily add an email towards the beginning. Or switch the order of two emails.
In MailChimp, this is unnecessarily difficult. Creating an email sequence is simple, but reorganizing or adding additional emails is a nightmare. You have to drag individual emails up or down one position at a time. You can’t just move it to the spot you want. Analytics don’t transfer with the email swap either.
This one issue caused enough wasted time and unnecessary frustration that I left MailChimp.
Next, I tried…
I started the next leg of my search by checking reviews. This is where ActiveCampaign caught my eye.
In most email platform comparisons, ActiveCampaign scores very well, if not best.
Similar to MailChimp, ActiveCampaign is more than just email marketing. But ActiveCampaign focuses its efforts on combining email with a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager).
My experience with ActiveCampaign was pleasant. They have all the features I wanted, including email automation, integration with other tools I use, and simple email creation.
There was one dealbreaker. You have to sign up for their Plus plan to remove ActiveCampaign branding. The lowest price is $49 and steadily increases with the number of email contacts you have. I found this to be ridiculous.
The Lite plan, which includes all the features I needed, costs $9+ per month. But it wouldn’t let me get rid of ActiveCampaign logos in my emails.
To me, if I’m paying a company for their services, I don’t need to advertise for them.
Next, I went to ConvertKit. I tell you all the reasons I love them below. But first, I want to talk about another popular option.
3. Keap (formerly InfusionSoft)
Keap is growing in popularity, especially among larger companies. It’s the most feature-rich option I’ve come across. Companies like StoryBrand swear by it.
The downside? Its learning curve is ridiculous. In fact, if you want to use Keap, I’d plan on taking days or weeks to learn it. Or hire someone to set it up for you.
Which leads me to the winner:
There’s a theme with the other options listed here:
The more features an email platform has, the harder it is to use.
All three possibilities listed before this one have at least a CRM built-in. MailChimp and Keap have even more than that.
This is what makes ConvertKit stand out. Rather than diluting its focus across multiple features and functionalities, ConvertKit focused on making the best email marketing platform imaginable.
ConvertKit is by far the simplest of these platforms. And the email capabilities are just as well developed as the rest.
Want to send a quick email? It’s almost as easy as using Gmail.
Want to create an email sequence? Simply click a button, then write as many or as few emails as you wish.
Want to re-order your email sequence? Just drag and drop.
I understand the desire to minimize and combine tools when possible. But in this instance, there isn’t an option that’s worth it. What ConvertKit loses in features, it more than makes up for in ease of use and time saved.
If you want the functionality of a CRM, I’d recommend paying for a great one like Pipedrive. It integrates with your email platform, so you can still get all the functionality the combined platforms offer.
Plus, ConvertKit is reasonably priced. And you know you’re not paying for things you don’t need.