There are many components to having a successful blog and email marketing is a huge part of that. Building and maintaining a successful email list of loyal subscribers that love your content is critical to your blog’s success.
But how exactly do you do that? And what’s the best tool to do this?
In this post, I’m going to discuss 3 of the most popular email marketing campaigns for new bloggers – Mailchimp, MailMunch, and Convertkit.
I’m going to discuss each platform in the order that I tried them out (Mailchimp, then Convertkit, then MailMunch). Then give my final verdict on the best option for bloggers.
*Affiliate links are used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.
P.S. If you haven’t already started a blog, be sure to join my free e-course.
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Here’s a preview of what you’ll learn:
Day 1 – How to create your blog
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Day 4 – How to get tons of traffic to your blog
Day 5 – The BEST resources for blogging
Day 6 – How to have a successful blog
Now back to email marketing 🙂
Please note that this review is on the free version of Mailchimp.
I naturally drifted toward Mailchimp because it was so popular and offered a free plan which is great for new bloggers. I’ve been using Mailchimp since July when I started my blog. I’d say my favorite thing about the platform is that it’s free so if you’re interested in starting a blog on a budget, this could be a great first start.
However, after months of use, I can honestly say that I am over Mailchimp. Honestly, and truly.
Again, it’s a great platform if you’re just starting out and you’re on a budget, but I definitely think it’s more time consuming and not that user-friendly. But before I get into the cons, let’s talk about the pros.
Great Free plan for New Bloggers
The free plan includes 2000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails/month. That’s a great deal for users on a budget! You can get a good use out of this plan while growing your email list as a beginner.
Visually appealing email templates
One thing I do like about Mailchimp is the visual component of the emails. You have a lot of flexibility on the free plan with the templates you can use. It will be a great option if you like using images in your emails.
I really don’t like the Mailchimp interface. I don’t think its too complicated, but it’s definitely not simple. A simple task would take me longer than it needed to because there are so many pages and what not. For example, it took a minute for me to figure out how to create a subscriber popup form and then I had tech issues editing it! (see below) To put it simply, it’s like this: you know when you see something all the time and then just when you actually need it you can’t find it?! Yeah, that’s what it’s like. It can be so difficult to find things and then you’ll land on pages of no use sometimes.
CONSTANT tech problems
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve had SEVERAL instances where I wanted to through my laptop against the wall because Mailchimp refused to make changes to my forms and landing pages.
For example, when I tried to add the “First Name” field to my form, it refused to add it! I refreshed the page a bunch of times and even used incognito, and it didn’t budge! I had to wait a couple of days and then try again before it finally worked.
Another live example is on my old landing page I created a long time ago that I don’t use anymore. Mailchimp refuses to change the color of the subscribe button to my current blog colors. I had to create a new landing page to get it done!
Doesn’t allow affiliate links
Mailchimp doesn’t really allow the use of affiliate links in your email campaigns. You would have to indirectly link to the product or service you’re trying to promote by linking to a blog post or external page. They aren’t really clear on their policy with affiliate links but you can read more about this here.
This is the real reason I started venturing off to different email marketing campaigns. When I decided to grow my list via opt-in forms and freebies, I had to use forms. I’ve seen people use great opt-in forms that were embedded in their content that allowed their readers to sign up easily. I tried to do this with Mailchimp, but I was horrified at my options! If anything, their form says “please scroll pass me asap!” versus tempting your reader to sign up.
Exhibit A – this is how it appears in posts
Exhibit B – this is how it appears in the sidebar
Mailchimp is a great email marketing platform, but I don’t think it’s the best option for bloggers.
Please note that this review is for my trial of Convertkit and subsequent subscription.
I absolutely LOVED Convertkit when I first tried it out. I created my first set of freebies and used Convertkit to collect emails to grow my list. The verdict? It was a success! People didn’t really start signing up for my email list until I offered them an incentive with an easy and attractive way of subscribing. The ugly Mailchimp form was practically chasing people away. Convertkit also made it so easy to do this with their simple user-interface! Let me break this down into the pros and cons.
Better delivery rate
Because of the simplicity of Converkit’s email template, it has a higher delivery rate. Its simple layout mimics that of a personal email you’d send to a family/friend so it doesn’t run into any problems with spam filters like Mailchimp. Therefore, it gets delivered (and read) by more people on your email list.
It was made for bloggers
Convertkit was actually created as an email marketing platform specifically for bloggers! Because of this, its features are centered around the needs of bloggers, so you get the best services out of most email marketing platforms.
Simple and user-friendly interface
Convertkit has the simplest interface out of all three email marketing platforms I’ve tried. It’s simple but powerful! It does all the necessary tasks you need as a blogger without complicating the process too much. I didn’t even have to watch the tutorials to get started.
AMAZING automation features
The automation process on Convertkit is super simple. It displays in a flowchart form that helps you if you’re a visual person like me. You can easily add in one or multiple forms and landing pages and link them to a sequence when a user subscribes. Here’s a screenshot so you understand what I mean.
Stats and Reporting
One of the things I love about Convertkit is that it shows you your daily stats on your views and sign-ups per form and how many subscribers you’ve been getting. It also tells you your conversion rate, form impressions, and so on.
Automatically add forms to all posts
While I don’t use this feature because of the nature of my blog, I really liked the idea of this! With the Convertkit plugin for WordPress, you can choose to add a specific form at the end of all your existing blog posts with the touch of a button! So say you want to add a form to subscribe for access to your free resource library/subscribe for updates, you can easily add it to all posts automatically!
There’s no free plan
Unlike Mailchimp and MailMunch, Convertkit does not have a free version that offers you some features with limited use. The only way to try it before you purchase is through a free trial.
Please note that this review is on the free version of MailMunch.
So if convertkit is so awesome, why did I try MailMunch after my trial?
I’ll be very honest with you. As a new blogger and a college student, I did not want to pay $29/month for it. So I set my sights on MailMunch after receiving an email from someone who uses it. I hadn’t really heard about it before, but I did my research, and I liked what I read. It had better forms and was pretty similar to Convertkit, and it had a free version! I was sold! So I tried it out and here’s what I found:
It has a free version
I was so excited to see this! A free plan on an email marketing platform with attractive forms and similar capabilities to Convertkit! I used it for about two months simultaneously with Mailchimp (I’ll explain why in the cons).
Simple Reporting Homepage
I really liked the simple report on the homepage with your total and recent subscribers for the week, and other stats. That way you see your stats as soon as you log in and you get a progress update without having to click around too much like on Mailchimp.
*Lots of form layouts
Please note that only 2 layouts are offered in the free version. You have to pay for the rest, but I thought it would be a good thing to let you know if you’re big on form layouts.
You can’t send regular emails (or broadcasts) in the free version!
This is why I used it alongside Mailchimp. (Sidenote: I know what you’re thinking; what a mess right? Sounds like a lot of work! Well, it was!) I was doing a lot of unnecessary work because I was trying to save some money and I was devasted when I realized I couldn’t send regular emails (in the free version) so I had to export my new subscribers to Mailchimp to send regular emails. (I didn’t pay for an upgrade because I didn’t like it more than Convertkit, so I didn’t want to waste my money)
The user interface could use some improvements
While setting up automation is relatively easier than Mailchimp, it does require more work than Convertkit. You can create separate lists for your subscribers, but then you have to link it to the corresponding form or landing page manually. While with Convertkit, you just create your forms/landing pages and add them to the sequence in the interactive flowchart I showed above.
The Verdict – Best Email Marketing Tool
If you haven’t already guessed by now, Convertkit comes out on top in this battle! But let me break it down for you depending on where you are in your blogging journey. Afterward, it’ll make sense why I use MailMunch. While Convertkit is the best, I think you should go with whichever suits your needs.
If you blog as a hobby
If blogging is just a hobby for you and you don’t really care about growing your email list then I would stick to a free service. I recommend MailMunch if you want to create forms for freebies but don’t care about sending general broadcasts. On the other hand, if you do just want to send regular emails to your subscribers then Mailchimp would work for you.
If you blog professionally
If you want to have a successful blogging business that generates income and has a massive audience, I would recommend Convertkit. Its simple interface and amazing features are best for a professional blogger that wants to interact with their readers and provide quality content through email.
If you want to make money from your blog
Like I said before, Mailchimp doesn’t really allow the use of affiliate links in your emails so it would be hard to link to products you recommend. You would have to link to a blog post or other external page with that affiliate link. MailMunch does not allow you to send regular emails (in the free version!) to your readers so it would also be hard to do this as well. Therefore, I strongly recommend Convertkit for this purpose as they do allow affiliate links.
If you want to create opt-in forms but don’t really send out emails
This is pretty much what I’m doing right now, which is why I currently use MailMunch. I love the feature for the opt-ins but I don’t really send emails out to my list. I made the switch from Convertkit because I didn’t want to continue paying $30/month for the same service I could get in the free version of MailMunch.
Do you have any more insights that could help someone decide? Leave a comment below!
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