Email marketing is used by businesses all over the world when it comes to keeping their customers engaged and informed. In fact, email marketing is not only used by big businesses but also small e-commerce stores, entrepreneurs, content creators, and almost anyone with an online presence.
The reason why email marketing is still huge in 2020 is very simple – it is one of the best ways to reach your customers in a direct, personal way and the ROI it provides is simply unbeatable.
In this review, I’m going to compare two different email marketing tools. Both of them are pretty popular and have a huge number of users so it can be a bit hard choosing one of them over the other.
One of the tools is ConvertKit, which prides itself on being the best email marketing tool for content creators while the other is MailChimp, the most widely used email marketing tool in the world!
So, which one is better for you? Keep reading this in-depth review to find out!
ConvertKit vs MailChimp
Before we start getting deeper into the differences between ConvertKit and MailChimp, let’s take a quick overview of the main differences between the two.
The first major difference between the two is that ConvertKit is a laser-focused email marketing tool while MailChimp has features that technically allow you to do more than just email marketing.
If you’re looking for a simple email marketing solution that just works, ConvertKit is the right choice for you. If you’re looking for a tool that offers more than email marketing features, MailChimp might be the right choice for you but there are better “all-in-one” marketing solutions out there.
Lastly, both of the tools come with a free plan that you can use to explore the features but once you upgrade to the paid plans, both of them charge premium prices.
ConvertKit is an extremely easy-to-use email marketing tool that is targeted towards content creators such as bloggers and small businesses. Every single feature in ConvertKit is created with the philosophy of keeping things simple which is great if you just want an email marketing tool that just gets things done.
However, behind the simplicity, ConvertKit is also a powerful tool that comes with tons of features that make it really easy to create effective email marketing campaigns for your business or brand really quickly.
MailChimp is considered the industry standard for email marketing. Operating since 2001, there are few email marketing tools out there that can match up to its legacy. One of the major selling points for MailChimp is the free plan which is extremely generous and has helped them capture the market over the years.
However, being around for so long, some features of MailChimp are not as strong as the competition out there today. Even though it is still a solid email marketing tool and more, there are a lot of tools that perform just as good as MailChimp if not better.
ConvertKit vs MailChimp: Ease of Use
Both ConvertKit and MailChimp are pretty easy to use but there are some subtle differences between the two tools.
MailChimp comes with an interface that is really easy to navigate. With MailChimp, you can either start creating and designing an email right away or go through the extra step of selecting the recipients before getting started.
The MailChimp editor is a drag-and-drop editor and you can quickly add or remove different elements from your email. However, for some people, the editor can seem a bit cluttered and overwhelming. I’ve covered the editor more in detail below in this review.
As for ConvertKit, the interface is also extremely easy to use. In order to get started with creating an email, you’ll have to go to the “Broadcasts” tab and click on the “New Broadcast” button. Once you’ve entered the recipients for the email, you can start designing your email right away!
ConvertKit’s editor, following its core philosophy of simplicity, is not a drag-and-drop but a text editor. It allows you to do basic things like managing the formatting, adding images, and so on. ConvertKit’s editor is designed so you focus on the content of the email rather than getting lost in the trivialities of the design.
Overall, both the tools rank well when it comes to ease-of-use and it would be unfair to say one of them is better than the other when it comes to that aspect. However, MailChimp can definitely work a bit on simplifying its interface.
ConvertKit vs MailChimp: Core Features
Now that we’ve covered the basic overview of the differences between ConvertKit and MailChimp, let’s take a deeper look at the features provided in both the tools.
ConvertKit comes with a lot of strong features, especially when it comes to list management and segmentation. However, some features like the email builder might leave a few people asking for more.
MailChimp also comes with a lot of features but there are definitely some features that are a bit outdated such as its list management and segmentation.
With that being said, let’s look at the different aspects of the two email marketing tools.
1. Sign-up forms
Sign up forms are one of the most important aspects of any email marketing tool and both ConvertKit and MailChimp allow you to build custom forms and landing pages for your email marketing campaigns.
To be honest, creating forms in ConvertKit used to be very annoying initially. For example, adding new fields was only possible by inserting custom code. However, with the new updates, ConvertKit now allows you to create forms using a visual editor that is super easy and convenient.
You can create three different types of forms on ConvertKit – embedded, slide-in, and pop-up. You can customize all the different aspects of the forms easily with the visual drag-and-drop editor. Some other cool things include the fact that you can decide how the form would appear to a user who has already signed-up using that form.
As for MailChimp, you also have the option of creating different kinds of forms such as pop-in and embedded. However, there is a slight issue when it comes to the form editor. The editor for embedded forms is actually different from the editor for pop-in forms.
The pop-in form editor is based on the drag-and-drop approach and is pretty easy to use but the editor for embedded forms is really confusing and very hard to use and it isn’t a drag-and-drop editor.
So, essentially, when it comes to creating sign-up forms, ConvertKit is much more simple to use and the experience is slightly better, easier, and quicker than building a sign-up form with MailChimp.
2. Landing pages
Landing pages are somewhat of a niche feature when it comes to email marketing tools but both ConvertKit and MailChimp allow you to create custom landing pages.
With ConvertKit, you get 4 ready-to-go templates that you can edit. The landing page editor is the same visual and drag-and-drop editor that you use for the forms.
When it comes to the customizing options available, ConvertKit is pretty limited but does allow you to use custom CSS which is a plus. The landing pages can then be hosted on your ConvertKit domain or your custom domains.
As for MailChimp, you have the option of choosing from 8 different templates. MailChimp also offers a lot more flexibility when it comes to customizing the landing page. The landing page editor in MailChimp is a lot better than the editor you’ll have to use for forms.
Both MailChimp and ConvertKit allow you to view statistics on the landing pages such as visits, clicks, and conversion rates. However, if you want to host the landing page on a custom domain using MailChimp, you’ll have to pay extra.
3. Email design and editor
When it comes to email design and editor, ConvertKit and MailChimp follow two completely different philosophies. Both of them make sense but it largely depends on the user and their intended goal.
ConvertKit’s philosophy is more suitable for content creators while MailChimp is much better if you’re either a large e-commerce company or business. Let’s take a look at why this is the case.
MailChimp offers a lot of templates that you can use to create emails. There are around 100 different templates offered for different purposes such as newsletters, promotions, holiday emails, etc. While some of these designs can seem to be a bit outdated, the sheer number of templates available is definitely something that comes in handy.
On the other hand, ConvertKit only offers three templates. All of them are very minimal and highly focused on the text. The three templates that are offered are pretty modern and responsive though.
As you can see, MailChimp’s philosophy for design is to go big and visual while ConvertKit’s philosophy is based around using the power of good content as their philosophy is based around the idea that the most important part of the email is the text itself.
As for the email editors, MailChimp comes with a full-fledged visual drag-and-drop editor that allows you to quickly create emails that are very impressive visually. ConvertKit, on the other hand, has a very basic email editor that is text-focused. You can change the font, colors, font-size, etc but it is still pretty basic.
By the way, ConvertKit is currently working on building a new editor that is visual and allows you to add custom HTML too so things might change in the future.
If you want to create loud design-intensive emails, MailChimp would be a far better option for you but if you’re a content creator and want your emails to be super focused on the text, ConvertKit would be a better option for your needs.
4. Managing contacts
One of the major differences between ConvertKit and MailChimp is how both the tools handle list management and segmentation.
Let’s start with ConvertKit. On ConvertKit, all your subscribers are stored in the same “list”. To organize them, you can assign different subscribers to different forms, sequences, or tags. You can also segment subscribers based on common characteristics regardless of which form, sequence, or tag they belong to. It is a pretty simple way to manage contacts and it works seamlessly.
As for MailChimp, you have the option of creating different lists to keep contacts segregated. However, if you want to add the same contact to different lists, you’ll be charged for every duplicated contact too. While you can also create segments within lists using fields or the “groups” features, MailChimp does not allow you to send broadcasts to two different groups at the same time.
Overall, ConvertKit comes with an easier and more straightforward approach to contact management while MailChimp’s contact management feature is pretty messy and complicated.
Also, since duplicate contacts in different lists are counted as separate contacts, it means that you end up paying for more contacts with MailChimp than the actual number of contacts you have which, in my opinion, is not fair.
Almost every major email marketing tool in 2020 offers some kind of marketing automation and both ConvertKit and MailChimp come with decent automation features. However, ConvertKit’s automation features are much better and modern when compared to MailChimp.
The automations in ConvertKit are handled by the “sequences” feature that allows you to build a series of emails that are sent automatically. One of the best things about ConvertKit’s automations is the visual editor which helps you plan and define your automations using a visual drag-and-drop editor!
ConvertKit’s visual automation editor allows you to create automation based on user actions, conditions, and events. It is also possible to add more than one sequence into a single automation. Other than that, you can also set up universal automation rules that allow you to do cool things like automatically change tags based on user behavior.
As for MailChimp, the automation system seems to still be stuck in the past. In the first place, finding the automation feature is not easy to find as it’s hidden in the “campaigns” menu. Additionally, there is no visual automation editor like you would find in ConvertKit. However, there are some things that MailChimp does well when it comes to automations like dealing with abandoned carts or webpage visits.
Overall, ConvertKit’s automation system is much easier to use and better than MailChimp’s automation system for most uses. MailChimp’s automation is pretty old-school and a major revamp is needed in my opinion.
Integrations are very important for email marketing tools as they’re often used with different tools. Both ConvertKit and MailChimp allow you to integrate with a number of third party apps natively but MailChimp easily wins when it comes to integrations.
ConvertKit has around 90 different integrations that allow you to connect it to different applications and tools such as Wix, WordPress, Stripe, Shopify, and more. Additionally, it is also possible to integrate ConvertKit with Zapier that allows you to connect with more apps, even though it can be a bit more annoying than having native integrations.
As for MailChimp, the number of integrations provided is really large and it covers almost every major third-party tool that you’ll need to integrate with.
In terms of integrations, MailChimp definitely ranks better but it can be argued that it ranks better than any other email marketing tool in this aspect.
7. Reporting and Analytics
ConvertKit again takes a very simplistic approach to reporting and analytics. However, it can be argued that the approach is a bit too simple. With ConvertKit, you can access basic status such as click rates, open rates, unsubscribes, etc. However, that’s pretty much the full extent of it. It is not possible to get more detailed insights or data about your broadcasts and the reporting aspects of ConvertKit leave much to be desired.
MailChimp, on the other hand, almost goes overboard with the number of reports available. You can find all kinds of insights and data about your email marketing campaigns such as social stats, location-based data, click maps, sales, etc.
It also comes with some niche analytics features such as allowing you to compare the performance of your campaign against the industry average which can be pretty helpful.
Overall, when it comes to reporting and analytics, MailChimp is definitely a clear winner in terms of the features it provides. However, it can be a bit overwhelming if you’re just getting started with email marketing.
ConvertKit vs MailChimp: Customer Support
To be completely honest, you probably wouldn’t need a lot of customer support when it comes to using both ConvertKit or MailChimp but it is still good to know what both of them offer in terms of support.
You can get support via live chat and email on ConvertKit, regardless of the plan you’re on, from 8 AM to 8 PM EST every weekday. It is very easy to access customer support as you can find a sticky help button placed conveniently on the dashboard. With ConvertKit, you can get basic customer support even during the weekends via live chat or email.
ConvertKit also offers a pretty decent knowledge base that has tons of articles and guides to help you through basic issues.
MailChimp, on the other hand, offers a decent knowledge base too but the customer support provided on the tool is pretty bad in general. If you’re using the free plan, you have access to only the knowledge base. If you want email support, you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan. If you want customer support over the phone, you’ll only get that with the most expensive plan on MailChimp.
Overall, in terms of customer support, ConvertKit performs much better than MailChimp as it offers decent customer support on all plans. Customer support is also easily accessible on ConvertKit while the same cannot be said about MailChimp.
ConvertKit vs MailChimp: Pricing
Let’s get this clear from the start – both ConvertKit and MailChimp are not exactly cheap tools to use. In fact, when it comes to email marketing tools, both of them fall within the premium range. However, both of them also offer a free plan. Let’s take a look into the free plan offered by ConvertKit and MailChimp first:
|ConvertKit Free Plan||MailChimp Free Plan|
Overall, while both of the plans are pretty decent, MailChimp’s free plan has been its main draw for a long while. In fact, ConvertKit actually didn’t even offer a free plan until just recently in order to match up to MailChimp. Do note that MailChimp does block a lot of important features such as split testing, access to analytics, custom branding, etc with its free plan.
Now that we’ve covered the free plans, let’s take a look at the different paid plans available. On MailChimp, you can sign up for three different paid plans which are the following:
- Essentials ($9.99 per month to $259 per month for 500 to 50,000 contacts)
The Essentials plan has everything that’s included in the Free plan. Additionally, you get to use your own custom branding, split testing, access to all the email templates, and better support features.
- Standard ($14.99 per month to $499 per month for 500 to 100,000 contacts)
The Standard plan comes with everything in the Essentials plan. Additionally, you also get access to advanced reporting and statistics, retargeting ads, custom templates, and advanced automation based on behavior.
- Premium ($299 per month to $1,099 per month for 10,000 to 200,000 contacts)
Lastly, the Premium plan offers everything in the Standard plan. Additional features you unlock include advanced segmentation, customer support over the phone, advanced list management and segmentation, and multivariate testing.
Whereas MailChimp offers three different paid plans, ConvertKit only offers one single paid plan. Here’s a quick overview of the ConvertKit paid plan:
Complete ($29 per month to $3,999 per month for 1,000 to 900,000 subscribers)
The Complete plan offers all the features of the email marketing tool with nothing locked. You can manage up to 900,000 subscribers on this plan and have access to all the important features like visual automation, sequences, reporting, integrations, and API, etc.
Additionally, you also get access to premium customer support and free migration from any other email marketing tool that you might be using. Additionally, you can also get a 14-day free trial of the complete to get used to how it works.
As mentioned previously, both the services charge premium prices but in my opinion, ConvertKit’s approach to pricing is much better as there is only one paid plan and you don’t have to miss out on important features like split testing by using a lower-priced plan.
ConvertKit vs MailChimp: Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve gone through all the major aspects of ConvertKit and MailChimp, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of ConvertKit and MailChimp.
ConvertKit Pros and Cons
|It comes with a simple but powerful visual automation editor.||The split testing feature could be a bit better.|
|Strong features when it comes to list management and segmentation.||The templates are fairly limited.|
|You can easily make your broadcasts dynamic with features like merge tags.||Analytics and reporting can be much better.|
|It has pretty good customer support.|
MailChimp Pros and Cons
|It comes with a huge number of integrations and covers all the major third-party tools that you might use.||The interface can feel a bit cluttered and awkward.|
|The analytics and reporting are top-notch.||Its automation is fairly limited.|
|It comes with a really useful free plan.||A lot of useful features are only available in the higher-tier plans.|
ConvertKit vs MailChimp: Which one should you go for?
Now that we’ve covered everything that is relevant when it comes to ConvertKit vs MailChimp, here are my final thoughts on both the platforms.
While MailChimp has been in the limelight as the most widely-used email marketing tool for quite a while, tools like ConvertKit have challenged it over the years and proven to be excellent competitors.
There’s a lot that ConvertKit does better than MailChimp like automations, list management, and pricing. To be honest, if you fall within the target niche for ConvertKit i.e content creators, there’s probably no other better email marketing tool out there.
While MailChimp tries to do a lot of things at once and does some of them particularly good, it is not exactly the most user-friendly tool out there. This is especially important if you’re just starting out with email marketing and just want a simple tool that works.
Lastly, when it comes to pricing, it is true that both of them are premium options but in the long run, ConvertKit definitely delivers more value for money than MailChimp does. In general, if you’re not looking specifically for an e-commerce email marketing tool, I would suggest using ConvertKit over MailChimp any day!