Mailchimp VS Converkit - What you need to know

Design better emails - then send them

A couple of months ago I enrolled in a marketing course to better understand my client's problems and challenges when it comes to email marketing, building crowds and converting sales.

By having to do all the things my clients do, but for myself has been a huge eye-opener for me, and that’s why I wanted to write this piece, to hopefully inform people about the difference between these two email platforms.

As well as enrolling on the course to have a better insight into the marketing side of SME’s, start-ups and entrepreneurs, I also wanted to learn how to market my own products more effectively.

For the past 3 or 4 years, I’ve been enjoying the hands-on craft of screen printing my own limited edition print series. This series looks at graphic design through its relationship with art and consumerism and I’ve been launching the series via the crowd funding platform Kickstarter.

Through this I had started to build a crowd of a couple of hundred people who I would serve emails to, informing them of print releases, blog posts and opinion pieces. It was all a bit haphazard, irregular and unstructured - as these things are when they’re a passionate side project running alongside your day to day job.

But what happens when you want to turn your passion project into a viable business?
You need a structure, a plan, a brand or at least a visual identity and tone of voice and an email platform that allows you to express yourself or your company in the way you want to come across.

But what happens when you want to turn your passion project into a viable business?

So this was my problem: initially I was using Mailchimp to create beautiful, visual emails that people engaged with. But my email marketing course said NO NO NO, visual emails are BAD, they are seen as spam, cold, corporate and they won’t convert.

NO NO NO, visual emails are BAD

Thinking I was doing it all wrong, I listened to the ‘experts’ and signed up instead to ConvertKit, an email platform that the pro’s use to… you guessed it! CONVERT!
Now ConvertKit has some great perks. And, if you’re reading this because you’re torn between the two, you’ve probably read elsewhere that Convertkit treats your crowd as ‘subscribers’ and Mailchimp treats them as ‘lists’ and all the ins and outs of the two platforms.

If you haven’t then you should definitely read this blog where it’s broken down for you:

THE ONE AND ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAILCHIMP AND CONVERTKIT

DISCLAIMER: if you’re here hoping I’m going to break each platform down into what it does, how to use it and so forth then I’m afraid this isn’t for you, I’m approaching this as a designer, someone who believes in the power of something visual.

So without further ado, I’m going to present THE ONE AND ONLY DIFFERENCE that I think you need to know before testing the platforms out, signing up to one of them and kick-starting a successful email based strategy, campaigns and converting that into sales.

One allows you to be creative, expressive, beautiful and engaging and one doesn’t.

Whilst ConvertKit may well serve a purpose to a certain audience and user, it doesn’t allow you to truly customise your emails. It doesn’t allow click through buttons and the alluring presentation of products and services. As standard, it allows you to send text based emails with a picture or two, pretty similar to what you get with Gmail our Outlook… unless you know HTML, or want to pay someone to create an email template, code it and then pay them again each time you want to change it.

Convertkit interface

Convertkit interface

To customise Convertkit emails, you seriously need to know HTML

Mailchimp is an email builder. It allows you to be creative, get expressive and produce eye-catching, image-led emails with all singing and dancing buttons, clickthroughs, products, social buttons and galleries.

It allows you to have a presence in someone’s inbox, to engage with the Instagram and Facebook flicking generation in a way Convertkits basic, message-led paragraphs of words doesn’t.

Mailchimp Interface

Mailchimp Interface

Mailchimp allows you to get creative

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SPAM I hear you cry!

Well, I’ve used both platforms and I’m seeing about the same percentage of emails drop into people’s spam - it’s not the platform you use that’s going to stop that.

If you are finding your emails dropping into people's Junk Boxes take a look at these useful tips:

So if one or the other isn’t actually going to help you improve your REACH, what do you want to improve? ENGAGEMENT! If a company or organisation sends YOU a 3-4 paragraph long email with a couple of links in it, are you going to bother reading it and clicking all the links?

NO! You’re going to assume it’s the estranged daughter of the Nigerian President and delete it!

But, if a company or organisation sends you a beautiful, image-led email informing you of promotions, their latest lines or blogs posts with click-through buttons and images, will you take notice?

OF COURSE, YOU ARE!

I get a bunch of emails in my inbox every single day from brands I like. I may not always click through or properly read their promotions but, at a glance, I always know what they’re doing and what they’re saying. If they happen to present me with a particular item or service that catches my eye, Hell Yeah I’m going to click it! because the email has done it's job, to visuallt lure me in, tempt and tease me to see more and read more.

An email can act like your shop window. Are you going to line the windows with newspaper or are you going to shout, stand-out and use it to disrupt your audience?

Mailchimp example Email by Handy

Mailchimp example Email by Handy

By now you’ve probably concluded that I’ve made the switch back to MailChimp and you’re right.

I'm not saying Mailchimp is perfect, Convertkit has some great features that I wish Mailchimp had.
But If I have to choose between the two, which I do, then I choose Mailchimp every time.

I value above all else the ability and the power to DESIGN better emails and then send them. I also believe that’s how I can engage my audience best, and I’m going to assume that it’s the same for a lot of you reading this too.

So before you make your decision on which platform will best suit your needs, firstly decide how you want to appear to your audience and how they want to be engaged.


Are you presenting your best side to your audience? Is it time to stand out, shout and disrupt? Do you want better-designed emails that work for you?
Contact me today to see how we could work together to make the change.

Tom Love
+44 0770 893 1834
hello@bytomlove.com
37 Elsinore Road, London SE23 2SH

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