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Mailchimp is an email marketing giant well-used by businesses due to its generous free plan.
But lately, it has had to contend with ConvertKit, a newer email software which has been making waves with its mission to “help creators make a living online.”
So when it comes to Mailchimp vs ConvertKit, which software is right for you?
In this ConvertKit vs Mailchimp guide, I’ll be comparing how the main features of these email platforms stack up to help you make your choice.
Let’s get started!
READ THESE FIRST:
– Mailchimp Review & Guide
– ConvertKit Review & Guide
Table of Contents
- Ease of Use
- Email Templates
- Landing Pages
- Set Up
- Tech Support Options
- List Management
- ConvertKit vs Mailchimp: The Verdict
Ease of Use
ConvertKit is simple to navigate and use.
Its menus are clearly labelled, and you generally don’t need to click through many options to access various features.
In contrast, while Mailchimp’s dashboards have improved over the years, finding what you’re looking for can still be a pain if you’re a new user.
For example, if you’re looking for your email forms, you’ll find them under the Audiences section.
“Audiences” is what Mailchimp calls subscribers, so parking email forms under this section seems rather counterintuitive.
ConvertKit publishes a monthly deliverability report which shares information such as:
- The number of emails sent
- ConvertKit’s system-wide delivery rate
- Average open rate across all emails sent through ConvertKit
In August 2020 for example, according to ConvertKit’s deliverability report for that month:
- ConvertKit sent over 1.1 billion emails
- It achieved a system-wide delivery rate of 99%
- The average open rate across all emails was 30%
Similarly, Mailchimp also updates its deliverability statistics every month. However, Mailchimp’s report provides different information from ConvertKit’s. Its report states:
- The number of emails sent in the previous month
- Average sender score
- Weekly delivery rates for different internet service providers
- Weekly global send volumes
In September 2020, for example, Mailchimp reported sending 28.3 billion emails and achieving a respectable average sender score of 98.
If you need a wide range of email templates to choose from, ConvertKit is not for you.
That’s because it has only four templates, which might cramp your style:
On the other hand, Mailchimp stocks almost 90 email templates in categories such as events, holidays and newsletters.
Personally though, I don’t switch templates too often after I’ve decided on one of them.
So while it’s great that Mailchimp gives users many email templates to choose from, I’d say the number of templates that an email provider offers becomes a less important issue over time.
Using a hosted landing page is a great way of collecting email subscribers—even if you don’t have your own website.
ConvertKit has close to 50 landing page templates for different uses, such as for promoting a newsletter, sharing your profile or collecting webinar registrations.
RELATED: Read my full guide on ConvertKit landing pages.
When you see a template that you like, customize it using the landing page designer. Add an image, customize the copy on the landing page, or change the page’s colors.
Mailchimp’s selection of landing pages is more limited: it has only 10 landing pages to choose from.
However, its landing page designer allows for greater customization of your landing page compared to ConvertKit’s.
For example, you can drop in different blocks for additional images, buttons, videos and more.
If you sell products (whether these are physical or digital products), chances are you’ll want to be able to email your customers about matters such as:
- Special offers
- Abandoned carts
- Delivery of the digital products they’ve purchased
This makes it important to use an email marketing software that integrates with your ecommerce platform.
Mailchimp offers close to 40 ecommerce integrations, such as integrations for WooCommerce and Shopify (via the ShopSync integration).
There are also integrations with more niche platforms such as Lightspeed and osCommerce.
In contrast, ConvertKit’s range of ecommerce integrations is smaller, at currently only 11.
However, if you create and sell digital products, ConvertKit’s new feature, ConvertKit Commerce, might be right up your alley.
This feature allows you to sell digital products right from your ConvertKit account—no integrations to third-party ecommerce platforms needed!
Watch this video to learn how ConvertKit Commerce works:
ConvertKit Commerce is bundled in all pricing plans and costs 3.5% + $0.30 for every successful transaction. You aren’t charged until you actually make a sale.
READ: ConvertKit Commerce – a full review
An important part of investing in email marketing is being able to automate your email sending, and being able to customize what you email your subscribers, and when.
Otherwise, you might as well email your subscribers manually!
ConvertKit’s Visual Automations dashboard makes the setting up of sophisticated email automations a breeze.
First, choose at least one entry point for subscribers (such as if they sign up to a particular form).
Then, choose what is to happen to the subscriber at each step of the way.
For example, they could be tagged with a particular tag or sent a particular email sequence. You can also set up conditions for when a subscriber is to move to the next step of the automation.
On the other hand, Mailchimp offers two different types of automation features.
The first one is called Classic Automations, which allows you to trigger a sequence of emails when a certain condition is met.
For example, you could use a Classic Automation to send subscribers a birthday email one day after their birthday.
However, a drawback of Classic Automations is that they aren’t very flexible or personalized. To overcome these issues, use Mailchimp’s newer type of automation, called Customer Journeys.
Available only on Mailchimp’s Standard and Premium plans, Customer Journeys allows for the creation of more complex and personalized email workflows.
This video explains how Customer Journeys works:
Mailchimp’s Customer Journeys is rather similar to ConvertKit’s Visual Automations, but it seems somewhat more limited in functionality.
Unlike Visual Automations for example, you can’t move subscribers to different automations in Customer Journeys.
Both ConvertKit and Mailchimp make it relatively easy to set up your account from scratch.
When you first sign up for a ConvertKit account, you’ll be shown an overview video of how ConvertKit works.
You’ll also be be given a step-by-step onboarding checklist for key actions such as:
- Adding your first email form
- Adding and tagging subscribers
- Creating an email sequence
- Creating an automation
(Psst: if you complete all the tasks in the onboarding checklist, you’ll be able to have a ConvertKit T-shirt mailed to you for free!)
Mailchimp has a similar onboarding process that sees you through:
- Filling out your personal information
- Designing your first email
- Adding your contacts
- Starting to send emails
That said, Mailchimp doesn’t offer any freebies for successful onboarding. This shouldn’t be a deal-breaker though.
Tech Support Options
Submitting a support ticket is the only way of reaching ConvertKit’s support team at the moment.
You can do so by clicking the chat icon at the bottom of the ConvertKit interface. Alternatively, send an email to [email protected].
The speed of ConvertKit’s support depends on which pricing plan you’re on.
Support times are fastest for users on the Creator Pro plan, with ConvertKit promising a 15-minute response time for requests submitted between 8am and 8pm EST.
On the other hand, users on ConvertKit’s Creator and Free plans can expect “premium” and standard support respectively.
ConvertKit doesn’t seem to state how fast “premium” support is. But from my experience as a Creator plan user, support requests tend to be fulfilled within anywhere between 10 minutes and a few hours.
In contrast, Mailchimp offers more tech support options compared to ConvertKit.
24/7 email support is available to all users, but only paid users have access to Mailchimp’s 24-hour weekday chat support service.
In addition, phone support (available on weekdays from 9am to 5pm ET) is reserved for Premium plan users.
ConvertKit and Mailchimp both have free plans that offer:
- Unlimited emails
- Unlimited forms and landing pages
- Reporting features
However, Mailchimp’s free plan allows for the management of up to 2,000 contacts, versus ConvertKit’s 1,000.
Mailchimp’s free plan also includes single-step automations and Classic Automations—unlike ConvertKit’s free plan, which does not include automations.
Hence if you’re comparing the two platforms solely on the features in their free plans, Mailchimp probably wins out.
As for the platforms’ paid plans, ConvertKit has a Creator plan and a Creator Pro plan. These plans start from $29/month and $59/month respectively for the management of up to 1,000 subscribers.
The Creator plan unlocks access to automations, integrations and premium support. Or if you opt for the Creator Pro plan, you’ll get everything in the Creator plan plus more advanced features, such as deliverability reporting and subscriber engagement scoring.
- Deeper look at ConvertKit pricing
- Deeper look at Mailchimp pricing
As for Mailchimp, it has three paid plans called Essentials, Standard and Premium. These start from $9.99/month, $14.99/month and $299/month respectively.
Mailchimp’s Essentials plan has everything in its free plan, plus other features such as:
- All email templates
- Customer Journeys
- 24/7 email and chat support
On the other hand, the Standard plan has everything in the Essentials plan, and other more advanced features such as send time optimization and delivery by time zone.
At their cheapest pricing, Mailchimp’s Essentials and Premium plans are good for managing up to 500 contacts. This makes them more affordable than ConvertKit’s paid plans if you have a small email list.
Mailchimp integrates with a whopping 260+ platforms in a wide range of categories, such as analytics, e-commerce, social media and subscription management.
Being a newer email marketing platform, ConvertKit sports a smaller range of 90+ integrations. Many big-name platforms are on this list though, such as:
That said, the number of integrations that each email software offers technically isn’t that important.
What’s more important is whether it offers an integration with other platforms that you already use (or plan to use).
As Mailchimp offers more integrations, it’s more likely to be able to integrate with such other platforms than ConvertKit.
But if ConvertKit also offers an integration for the same platform, then you’ll have to make your decision on whether to choose Mailchimp or ConvertKit based on other factors.
In Mailchimp, your contacts are placed in multiple lists (or “Audiences”) based on how they signed up with you.
For example, if you have three separate email forms on your website, then the contacts that signed up with you through these forms will be placed in three separate Audiences.
This video explains how Audiences works:
However, having many Audiences can be troublesome to manage—especially if you have contacts who appear in multiple Audiences.
(This could happen where a contact signed up with you through more than one email list to get different lead magnets from you.)
ConvertKit’s list management works differently: your subscribers all sit in one giant list. You’d then use tags and segments to organize your subscribers into “sub-lists”.
You can tag and segment your subscribers based on a wide variety of characteristics, such as:
- Which email form they signed up through
- Their geographical location
- Their subscription date
This makes managing your subscribers and “lists” in ConvertKit so much more powerful and flexible compared to Mailchimp.
ConvertKit’s reporting features are rather basic—there isn’t a separate reporting area.
Instead, when you log into your account, you’ll see a chart of the number of sign-ups you’ve obtained on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
You’ll also see your lifetime totals for the following:
- Current subscriber count
- Average open rate
- Average click rate
- Number of emails sent
ConvertKit also displays the open rates, click rates and links clicked for individual broadcasts and email sequences. However, deliverability reports are available on only the Creator Pro plan.
Conversely, Mailchimp has a separate reports section with a more extensive range of reports.
There are dedicated reports for your email campaigns, automations and landing pages, and you can even view these reports while your campaigns are still ongoing.
Each report is also a lot more detailed.
In Mailchimp’s email campaign reports, for example, you’ll get access to data on not just your open rates, click rates and links clicked, but also data on the top locations, last opened dates and abuse reports.
For more information on Mailchimp’s email campaign reports, watch this video:
Mailchimp also offers Comparative Reporting, which allows you to compare data across different campaigns. However, you’ll need Mailchimp’s Premium plan for this feature.
ConvertKit vs Mailchimp: The Verdict
As you can see from this guide, ConvertKit and Mailchimp both have their own pros and cons.
In my opinion, ConvertKit is the better option if you’re looking for an easy-to-use yet powerful email marketing experience, where you can flexibly organize your subscribers in countless ways based on your needs.
However, Mailchimp might be your go-to if budget is a greater concern, and you’re a data junkie who needs extensive reports for data-driven email marketing.
That said, don’t just take my word for it. The best way to find out which platform is right for you is to take them both for a test drive.
ConvertKit and Mailchimp both have free plans and trials, so this won’t cost you a single cent! Just click one of the links below to get started.
- Sign up for ConvertKit’s free plan
- Sign up for a free 30-day trial of ConvertKit’s Creator plan
- Sign up for Mailchimp’s free plan