Growing your business depends in part on successful email marketing. ConvertKit and Mailchimp are two of the top contenders for the best email marketing services. They both offer excellent deliverability, intuitive campaign building capabilities, and integrations to make reaching your audience easy.
Ultimately, the one you choose will depend on which features you can and can’t live without. Each platform has its virtues, so keep reading to see which ones matter most to you.
ConvertKit Compared to Mailchimp
While both quality platforms, neither ConvertKit nor Mailchimp made it on our exclusive list of the absolute best email marketing services. That’s mainly because they deal exclusively in email marketing, rather than full marketing campaigns.
ConvertKit stands out as a great email marketing platform for creative businesses. Its automation capabilities take repetitive manual tasks off your plate, so you have time to focus on brainstorming and creating. It has less to offer when it comes to templates and reporting, but on deliverability it ranks above Mailchimp. Sign up for ConvertKit free.
Mailchimp offers extensive customization capability, with more than 100 templates to use. In-depth reports let you see how your audience interacts with your emails. It does limit automations and can take some time to learn, but Mailchimp’s affordability makes it work for many businesses. Add two-factor authentication for 10% off your Mailchimp subscription.
More Top Email Marketing Services
Through research and testing, we worked our way down from 17 email marketing services to the top six very best. We laid out our findings so you can look through our reviews to find the exact tool to suit you best. Head to our post to see all of our top picks for email marketing services.
Where ConvertKit Shines
Easy automation: ConvertKit goes beyond simply automating an email sequence after signup. It also lets you assign actions based on customer actions, such as signing up for special offers, making purchases, or filling out forms on your website. It also gives you visual automation builders to make creating your campaigns easier. ConvertKit makes it easier for you to expand your reach and send your audience the content most relevant to them.
Good for creators: ConvertKit has a lot of options that benefit creators and small businesses. It helps you sell digital products, as well as physical ones, so artists and other creators can get their goods in their customers’ hands fast. Plus, it integrates seamlessly with Easy Digital Downloads, DPD, and other ecommerce platforms that specialize in digital products.
Excellent deliverability: In 2021, ConvertKit’s delivery rate was 99.7%, which shows that your emails are likely to reach your audience. With a deliverability so near 100%, you’ll experience fewer bounced emails and more customers taking advantage of your offers on this platform. On some domains, including Gmail, ConvertKit’s success rate reaches over 99.9% when the average deliverability rate is only 80% for most email marketing services.
Grouping and user targeting: With its tagging system, ConvertKit makes it easy for you to recognize which subscribers belong to groups that you set up. As a result, you can tailor your campaigns to specific customers based on their preferences. By sending consumers the most relevant emails, they become more likely to purchase your products and engage with your campaigns.
Accessible customer support: ConvertKit makes its customer support channels available on every page, so you don’t have to search for them when you need them. While the free package gives you a community support forum, paid packages give you access to live chat and email support. Both will help you solve any issues, and the Creator Pro package upgrades you to priority support on both channels.
Where ConvertKit Falls Short
Difficult A/B test: ConvertKit does provide A/B testing, but only on email headers. That means you don’t have the ability to split test your email body and content. As a result, it takes a lot more trial and error to get the right approach to your email marketing early on.
Few email templates: ConvertKit only gives you nine email campaign templates to work with. The idea behind this is to give you more freedom to create your own from scratch. But if you don’t have the time (or desire) to brainstorm or create the design, it puts you at a disadvantage. This also increases the chance that your campaign emails will look the same as other businesses that use ConvertKit and send you to the slush pile. However, it does offer a generous 50 templates for landing pages.
Basic reporting: While many email marketing services give you a comprehensive view of how your campaign performs, ConvertKit’s reporting falls short. It shows you open and click rates, as well as unsubscribed emails, but not much else. Plus, you can’t view all your reports in the same place. Instead, you have to click on the individual email to see its report, which makes collecting and viewing data tedious.
Limited CRM integrations: ConvertKit has plenty of integrations overall, but in terms of CRMs, it only integrates with Flow.ly, Monday.com, and JetpackCRM. That severely constricts your ability to unify your customer data with your email marketing data. You can get more integrations via Zapier, but the reliability of Zapier integrations varies greatly.
Where Mailchimp Shines
Bountiful templates: Mailchimp has over 100 email templates to make your campaign’s emails stand out. Whether you’re sending a monthly newsletter, welcoming new subscribers, or sending special offers, you’re likely to find a handful of appealing designs to work with. With such a wide range, Mailchimp makes it easy to create a campaign that sends the right message without a cookie-cutter look.
Affordable pricing: Mailchimp has a free-forever package, but even its paid ones can work for businesses on a tighter budget. Its Essentials plan only costs $11 per month, and with it you get the essential features you’ll need to run a successful campaign, including A/B testing, templates, and reporting.
Customizable campaigns: Although it has plenty of templates that let you hit the ground running, Mailchimp also lets you change them as much as you need to. You can build your campaign from scratch, too, or upload your own template with your unique coding. Mailchimp’s drag-and-drop builder also makes it easy to put together a design you’re proud to send out.
Solid A/B testing: Mailchimp’s A/B testing tools provide great pre-campaign insights. See which email construction is more likely to end up in the spam folder before you even send them. Or, preview how designs look in your recipients’ inboxes. With this type of testing, you can improve your campaigns with less guessing and reach your audience more reliably.
Comprehensive reports: Mailchimp’s reporting features show you everything you need to know about what is and isn’t working in your campaign. Beyond the basics of open and click rates, unsubscribes, and other performance statistics, you can also see hourly and domain-based performance, heat maps, social statistics, and sales generated. This data allows you to make any necessary changes to your campaign and easily repackage performance metrics for managers and stakeholders.
Hundreds of integrations: Mailchimp comes with over 250 integrations, so you can combine it with any other tools you already use in your day-to-day, such as HubSpot and Zoho. And, with Mailchimp’s add-ons, you can find tools to increase sales, connect with customers, gather data, and design your campaigns.
Where Mailchimp Falls Short
Limited automation: Mailchimp does offer automation, in that you can set up automated emails based on customer actions. At the same time, the service makes it difficult to edit the automation flow. Unless the automations Mailchimp offers work out of the box for your needs, it may be harder to utilize them than it would be on other email marketing platforms.
Duplicate subscribers: While ConvertKit hides signup forms from returning visitors, Mailchimp doesn’t. If you’ve got a limited subscriber count and someone signs up twice by mistake, Mailchimp counts them toward your limit, which can mean getting charged for a higher subscriber count if you’re not careful. At the very least, it creates clutter in your subscriber list and also opens up the danger of someone unsubscribing because they’re getting multiple duplicate emails each campaign.
Awkward interface: Mailchimp’s platform can take some getting used to. While it has templates to help you out, its customization features aren’t intuitive and can be overwhelming for some new users. However, it is not too complex, so it becomes more manageable with a bit of time and experience.
Difficulty sending across lists: Mailchimp lets you compile any number of lists of subscribers, but it also keeps those lists completely separate. If you want to send an email to more than one list, you have to send it individually to each list. This gets tedious and inefficient fast if you’re juggling multiple campaigns or have strict segmentation of your subscribers.
The Final Verdict on ConvertKit Compared to Mailchimp
At first glance, Mailchimp seems like the better email marketing service between the two. For many businesses, it offers all the tools they need and more to create a successful email campaign at a very affordable price point.
Still, ConvertKit comes out ahead on automations and deliverability rate, plus scores a bonus for its organized contact tagging. If you’re not working on a shoestring budget, ConvertKit is better than Mailchimp in the most important factors. For some marketers, that deliverability rate of over 99% is worth the cost alone.
ConvertKit offers three plans to get started with your marketing campaign. The free package allows you up to 1,000 subscribers. It gives you unlimited landing pages, forms, and email sending.
While Mailchimp has a high monthly email sending limit, ConvertKit’s unlimited sending feature means you don’t have to worry if your subscriber list grows. The free plan also lets you tag your contact list for better organization, sell digital products, and receive community support.
Prices for ConvertKit’s paid plans work on a sliding scale. Its starting prices apply to accounts with up to 300 subscribers, but the prices go up the more subscribers you have. If you have over 500,000 subscribers, you’ll have to talk to their team to get custom pricing for the Creator and Creator Pro plans.
The first paid plan, Creator, starts at $9 per month. It upgrades you with more automation tools, integrations, and free migration from another service, if you’re moving to ConvertKit from another email marketing service. Its live chat and email support give you more resources to keep your campaign running smoothly, and you can even add another team member to your account.
The third plan is Creator Pro, which starts at $25 per month. With Creator Pro, you get a newsletter referral system to make it easier to keep your audience in the loop. Its subscriber scoring feature tells you who interacts most with your emails, while advanced reporting gives you the most comprehensive data that ConvertKit can offer.
Mailchimp is pretty similar, but also offers an advanced, enterprise-grade package. Like ConvertKit, each package has a subscriber limit, with starting prices reflecting the cost for up to 500 subscribers per month.
With Mailchimp’s free plan, you can send emails to up to 2,000 contacts with a limit of 10,000 emails per month. It gives you a marketing CRM to help you connect better with your audience and a creative assistant to hone your brand’s image and become more recognizable. You also get a website builder, domain, and the ability to create forms and landing pages.
The Essentials package, starting at $11 per month, lets you use templates for your emails and landing pages with an email sending limit of 10 times your subscriber list. With access to A/B testing, you can also see how your emails are likely to perform before you send them.
The customer journey builder allows you four automations so that when your customers take certain actions, you send them relevant emails related to your campaign. Custom branding lets you remove the Mailchimp label from your emails so that you only show off your own brand. This tier also gives you 24/7 email and chat support.
The Standard package is $17 per month and upgrades you to custom templates and a more advanced customer journey builder that lets you adapt your campaign to the customer. With send time optimization, you can figure out the best times to send your emails so that your audience interacts with them.
The dynamic content feature even lets you personalize your content for different audience segments. This plan’s email sending limit also gets boosted to 12 times your subscriber limit.
The Premium plan gives you the greatest boost when it comes to targeting your audience. But it comes at a price, starting at $299 per month.
Its advanced segmentation gives you unlimited conditions that you can set for the most relevant emails for your subscribers. Multivariate testing allows you to use up to eight campaign variations to test your campaign effectiveness and engagement.
With comparative reporting, you can see how each part of your campaign does with your audience and how you’ve improved it over time. To organize your campaign even further, Premium allows for role-based access and unlimited seats to include your entire team. Plus, when you have a problem, this tier offers priority support, including by phone, so you always have access to the help you need.
Comparing the Best Email Marketing Services
- MailerLite — Best email marketing service for most
- Omnisend — Best for boosting ecommerce with shoppable
- AWeber — Best for agencies with advanced marketing campaigns
- Brevo (formerly Sendinblue) — Best for getting unlimited contacts and emails without upgrading
- HubSpot — Best for merging your CRM with email marketing
- Constant Contact — Best for small businesses with simple marketing needs
ConvertKit and Mailchimp both have a lot to offer your email marketing campaign. Most businesses will find ConvertKit more comprehensive in its tools and capabilities, especially if deliverability is important to you. However, Mailchimp has an effective platform for cheap that also doesn’t skimp on reporting capability.