ConvertKit

A Guide To Growing Your Email List on ConvertKit

ConvertKit is the email tool created by Nathan Barry that I, and many other online business owners, use to communicate with their subscriber list (with free content, weekly newsletters, etc). I get inspired to write blog posts a multitude of ways, but this came to me after helping many clients get set up on ConvertKit. If you haven’t heard of ConvertKit yet, I wrote a whole post about why I swear by it and how it can help your business. Today is more a tutorial on actually using ConvertKit, but I am going to highlight how to get started capturing email addresses and sending out content.

When I got started on ConvertKit I had about 30 subscribers. I started using it in November of last year. Now, about 7 months later I have over 2,000 subscribers (with active sweeps removing inactive subscribers, too!). My free-mium course #1WkBrand (no longer offered) has had over 750 students enroll. I can attest some of that to my efforts, and myself, but I’d be mistaken if I didn’t give some of the credit to ConvertKit for making it so dang easy.

So, let’s get started. The first thing is to go in with a plan of WHAT we are creating. Are you creating an email sequence (sales funnel, course, etc.) or just a simple opt-in form for access to a resource library? What’s the end goal? I’m going to show you how the Forms, Sequences, and Automations tools work in ConvertKit today, which should set you up for any sort of opt-in you are trying to make.


FORMS/LANDING PAGES 

When you create your account and log in you will be taken to your forms (or landing pages). If you are just getting started you won’t see anything there besides the option to “+ Create Form”. Forms (or landing pages) are where you create the actual opt-in form that will appear on your website or as a stand alone landing page (hint: there's a form at the bottom of this post!). Once you click “+ Create Form” you will be given the option of creating a landing page or a form.

A landing page is hosted on ConvertKit and a completely separate-from-your-website entity. It captures email addresses and names and functions the same as a form, but it would be a free standing landing page. Remember the last webinar you signed up for? That was probably on some sort of landing page (either through ConvertKit, or maybe Leadpages). A form on the other hand is something you can embed into your website. I have a lot of forms throughout my website. There are some in the sidebar of this very blog post! Those were created through ConvertKit and them I embedded them into my website.

For this example, let’s create a form. So click on that and then you will be brought to three options of “types” of forms to start with. This is changeable later on; so don’t be afraid of choosing wrong. I usually go with the simplest one that just has a spot for name, email, and a subscribe button. There is an even simpler option that doesn’t require a name, but I like having my subscriber’s names! Anyway, click on whichever option you want to move forward with and you will then be brought to the default view of the form. You can use the wand-looking tool to customize the colors and make it more on-brand, but be sure to click save before moving into the settings.

Under settings you have a lot of different options to read through and adapt for your needs. You can change from a form to a landing page, if you have changed your mind on what you need. You can and should name the form something that will make sense to you. And finally you can decide what happens after someone clicks subscribe (or whatever you pay have changed the text to). So sometimes I just have a success message show and it says something like “great! Head over to your inbox for more information!” but other times I’ll redirect to a page – maybe a thank you page/social share page so that after someone subscribes they can share the information with their peers easily. The next tab down (on the left) brings you to the incentive email. This is that email you get when you “confirm your subscription.” Again you can customize what happens in this email (or if it happens at all). The next tab down is where you get the code to actually embed the form into your website. ConvertKit gives you the raw HTML if you are feeling like you want more customization, but if that’s not your cup of the tea, the simple JavaScript code will work great!

In Squarespace you can simply add a <code block> and insert that line of javaScript in and voila – easy as pie! 


SEQUENCES

“Sequences” is the next link over in the navigation. Again, if you are just starting out it will be blank with the option to “+ Create Sequence”.  Clicking that will ask you to give your new sequence a title and then bring you to a page with a laid-out suggestion of how you could set up a great sales funnel (Thanks Nathan!). These are all in draft mode now, but if you were creating a sales funnel this is a great outline to follow. 

Otherwise you can go through and create all your own emails in a sequence. Maybe it’s a seven-day course, or just an automatic welcome email. It can be as short or as long as you like. The important part is at the bottom to change the status to “published” and save your changes often! At the top of each email you can set how many days it takes to appear in your subscribers inbox in relation to the previous email. So “0” would make it appear automatically, but then if you want to wait a few days between emails you could have another one appear maybe “2” or “3” days later. 

Within the email itself you can use the normal formatting tools to create hierarchy, insert links and pictures, and “brand” your email. I personally recommend avoiding too many flashy effects and think with emails the simpler the better.


AUTOMATIONS

So you have a form and you have a sequence, but how do they actually work together? That’s where the automations come in. Automations are the set of rules that tell everything how to work together. So for most of your endeavors on ConvertKit you want a few things to happen: someone to subscribe to your list, be tagged as xyz subscriber (so you know where they came from), and to be added to an email sequence.

By clicking “+ Add Rule” to the right you can make that happen. It’s set up as triggers and actions. So a trigger might be signing up for a certain form (which will appear in a drop down menu), and the action would be adding a tag and subscribing to a sequence (you can have more than one actions!).  This means that once someone subscribes to your form that you’ve embedded on your site they will be tagged accordingly and dropped into the email sequence that you created (the sales funnel or course or whatever you made). 

Automations take a little bit to get the hang of, or at least they did for me. In the beginning I had to actually write out what I wanted to happen so I could remember – okay one form for my blog post resource vault, they sign up, they get tagged as “blog post resource vault sign up”, they get the email with the password to enter the vault… there’s a lot to remember! So I recommend, if you are like me, make that checklist the first few times so that you cover everything with your automations!

This post contains affiliate links for ConvertKit, but I would never recommend something I didn't *know* works wonderfully. 



I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


My Best Business Investments (Business Resources + Tools)

I don’t write product reviews, as a general rule, because I’d rather spend time writing about my services, my offerings, and myself. I mean, I am trying to run my business here, right? But – something keeps happening and I figured a blog post might be easier than typing out similar responses each time.

First, people ask me what tools/programs/apps I use. I answer a list of items, and as soon as I say “ ConvertKit ” their eyes light up and they say something like, “Oh I’ve heard of that! How do you like it?” And then, me being me, writes back a small novel of a response that is probably way too much information. But, y’know, that’s me.

My thought was, instead, I am going to write this blog post talking about why I love ConvertKit and, then, I will direct you to check out this awesome resource page I've created with all my favorite tools.

But, moving forward with ConvertKit ... here's why I love it and recommend you use it, too.


YOUR EMAILS GET SEEN

The biggest difference that I point out to anyone that is thinking of switching over to ConvertKit is that the whole approach to emails is different. Programs like Mailchimp put a heavy emphasis on design, which as a designer, is great. Except that I spend like an hour perfecting this email, and then I send it, and then it goes into everyone’s Junk or Spam folder. I’m not an expert, but whatever algorithms decide if things are spam seem to think all the flash and images and hoop-la means it’s spam. I like hoop-la, but I really like my emails actually being read a lot more.

The idea of a "back to basics" email program might sound strange to you, but when you think about what you actually want and intend your emails to do - suddenly it makes sense. I now prefer the simpler design of my emails and enjoy getting others' more simplistic emails. What's that saying... content is king? Queen? Whatever. Content is what matters, not blinking lights and flashy things that distract from what I really want people to do with my emails.


YOU AREN’T PAYING FOR DUPLICATES

Other email programs use the concept of lists to divide your subscribers. This is fine when you are starting out, because hey – it’s free! But what happens when you start having multiple opt-ins and the same people signing up through different ones? Well you get duplicates. And then you have to pay more for duplicates. And that’s not fair! It’s the same person, why should you have to pay twice for them?

ConvertKit alleviates that issue by instead using “tagging” and “segments” as a way of organizing your subscribers.

The thing is – say you sign up for every single one of my different offers… you’re on my list just once. But you are tagged as all the different things, through rules that I set up in ConvertKit's automations.

Let me explain further: You signed up for #1WkBrand a month ago, so you are in my list tagged as “#1WkBrand”. You also were automatically enrolled in the #1WkBrand course, so you started getting the emails right away (without me doing a single thing). Then, a few days ago, you saw me tweet about #BrandVixens, and you’re like “DANG I WANT IN!” So you signed up for that, too. Now whatever magical mystery science ConvertKit uses finds your email already in my list, and just adds the tag “#BrandVixen” to your already established subscriber-self versus adding a whole new subscriber. Then, you automatically got that welcome email, too!


YOU CAN GET SPECIFIC ABOUT WHO GETS WHAT

The real benefit to using things like tags is that when it comes time to send out an email. ConvertKit calls them Broadcasts, but it is basically just a one-off email you can schedule. When you are setting up that email, you can choose which tags receive it. When I launched BrandVixens I wanted to invite all of my subscribers – but not send an email to people who had already signed up for it. Why would I ask them to sign up, if they already had? That would be a completely pointless email to them. So, when I am setting up the broadcast there is this handy, and easy to use, window that I can say:

Send this to people tagged as “#1WkBrand” or “Resource Vault” but eliminate people that are already tagged as “BrandVixen”. Do you see what I did there? Anyone that was in my list and tagged as a BrandVixen wouldn’t get this email asking them to sign up (because they already did sign up).  Talk about detailed. Then, if I sent that broadcast out and 85% of the people opened it, I have the option to easily resend it to anyone who didn’t open it a few days later. With the click of a button. Easy.


YOUR CONVERSION RATES WILL IMPROVE

People actually getting their emails will definitely help your conversion rates, but another really great thing about ConvertKit is that they basically layout a fantastic way to organize an email sequence that will result in higher conversion rates.

Their template for a “course” (what they call an email sequence, though it might not necessarily be something you call a course) has a pre-built draft of what days you should include super valuable content or a soft sales pitch. They’ve done the research and are just like “hey, this might help you, here.” Like no big deal, handing you an easier way to make money. I like making money, and I like when people make it easier for me to do so.

If you don’t know what a sales funnel is or want to learn more, between the help that ConvertKit offers and Femtrepreneur course “F* Yeah Funnels” you will be set. Sales funnels means making money, and once you have them set up, it’s just working in the background for you.


IT DOES IT ALL

At this point, I am using ConvertKit as my email system, my subscriber management system, and my landing pages/opt-in system. It does it all. Which is perfect, because all of those things work together.

Every opt-in around my website, from the slide ins to the ones in this blog post are powered through ConvertKit. Whenever you’ve seen a landing page for a webinar or something I’ve hosted, it’s been through ConvertKit. I’ve eliminated the need for a program that does landing pages/opt ins because ConvertKit does that for me.

Setting up the tech or back-end things is probably the least fun for me. I like creating content and being on Twitter MUCH more. But, with ConvertKit it’s really easy to set up all the opt-ins and automatic tags really quickly, and I am doing it all through one program. Meaning more time for doing the things I actually want to do.


THE SUPPORT TEAM IS THE BEST

I’m kind of hesitant about making decisions, sometimes. Like, convinced I’m doing it wrong, scared to click “save/apply/send” kinda-gal. So, that results in me asking their support team a LOT of questions. But, either they are all really good actors, or they are all genuinely really nice – and I am feeling like it’s the latter. Because they always respond quickly and always are SO NICE, even though some of the questions definitely deserve an eye-roll.

There is even now a Facebook group devoted to helping people out, answering questions, and giving feedback. So I’ve asked, “Hey, does anyone know how I can do XYZ” and had other users offer suggestions for how they would go about it. In the same vein, I’ve answered other people’s questions about ways I’ve set up my tags, or course structure, etc. I like that we’ve become a little family of people all helping each other use ConvertKit to grow our business.


If you are interested in ConvertKit, I’ll tell you this – better to do it now than wait until your subscriber list is huge and have to move everyone over. Yes, it’s possible, but you are putting more work on yourself in the future. I don’t have the largest list, but my thought was to start with the tool I knew I would end up on eventually anyway. This post does contain affiliate links (for ConvertKit + F* Yeah Funnels, but that doesn’t affect my opinions in any way, shape, or form. If I wasn’t obsessed these products, I would never promote it to y’all.

What other questions do you have about ConvertKit? Did I miss something you are wondering about? Ask away in the comments and I will let you know if it is a service they offer, something I've used, or my honest opinion about it! If you want to know my other top tools, you can click here!



kaitlyn.jpeg

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!