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Convertkit vs Mailchimp: Which Is Better for a Small Business?

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Phil Grossman

18 May, 2020

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In the words of Kevin Malone from The Office, “Are you on email?”

Or maybe a better question is: Is your business on email? And if not, why not?

It’s no secret that email marketing has one of the best ROI’s in the biz. Some studies indicate that the ROI from email can be as high as 4,400% or $44 back for every dollar you spend. 

But successful email marketing isn’t as simple as getting some emails and sending them an avalanche of marketing materials. At best, that’ll get you some wasted dollars. At worst, doing that can get you locked up in the spam jail.

If you want to reap the benefits of email marketing, you’ll need two things: knowledge and tools. We’ve got you covered on the knowledge front, and we’ve got some great tools for you as well, but here, we’re going to give you information on one giant and one newcomer to the email marketing space: Mailchimp and Convertkit. 

In this guide, we’re going to tell you the ins and outs of each platform and how they stack up: how it’s priced, how you can sign up, the quality of its user experience, its functionality and features, and its customer service. 

Finally, we’ll unveil the winner of our head-to-head competition at the end of the guide, so stay tuned!

Convertkit vs Mailchimp pricing

Convertkit 

Let’s start out with the youngblood to the email marketing space. Convertkit’s plans are pretty straightforward: there’s the Free plan, and there’s the Complete plan. As you can imagine, the Free plan is, well, free, and the Complete plan isn’t.

The copy that Convertkit uses to describe each of these plans is pretty telling about what audience they’re geared towards. In Convertkit’s own words, the Free plan is for you if you’re looking to “start your creative project,” and the Complete plan is a good choice if you’re looking to “run your growing business.”

Both plans have a lot in common. They both offer unlimited customizable CTAs, mobile responsive designs, subscriber tagging, and a boatload of other features. But on top of everything that the free plan offers, the Complete plan also gives users access to an API, visual automation funnels, and a few other cool features. 

The Complete plan is priced based on the number of subscribers you have on your list. The monthly price starts at $29/month for lists up to 2,999 subscribers and climbs up to $3,999 per month for lists with up to 900,000 subscribers. If your list is bigger than that, you’ll need to contact them directly for pricing. If you subscribe on an annual basis, you can get a discount, lowering those same prices to $24/month and $3,333/month. 

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is one of the biggest companies in the biz. Compared to Convertkit, Mailchimp has a more complex pricing model. It offers four plans, the price of which varies based on the number of subscribers in your list, just like Convertkit. 

Here are the four plans:

Free

Mailchimp’s Free plan is completely free, but it’s pretty restrictive. It offers Mailchimp’s basic email creation and marketing tools, but its features list pretty much stops there. There’s no support, and you can only have a list of up to 2,000 subscribers. It’s a great option for businesses that are just starting out, but more established businesses will likely need to upgrade to a paid plan. 

Essentials

The Mailchimp Essentials plan starts at $9.99/month for lists with up to 1,499 and climbs to $259/month for lists with up to 50,000 contacts. Along with all the features of the Free plan, it also offers A/B testing capabilities, email and chat support, and better branding capabilities. 

Standard

Mailchimp’s Standard plan pricing ranges from $14.99/month for up to 2,499 subscribers to $499/month for up to 100,000 subscribers. When you subscribe to standard, you get access to retargeting ads, event-based automation, more comprehensive analytics tools, and custom email templates. 

Premium

Mailchimp’s top-of-the-line plan sees a major bump in price. The lowest possible option is $299/month for up to 14,999 subscribers and that goes up to $1,099/month for up to 200,000 subscribers. Beyond that number of subscribers, you’ll need to get into contact with Mailchimp for pricing. This plan is built for enterprise use, and although it also offers features like multivariate testing, it’s most useful for its unlimited seating and role-based access. 

Winner: Convertkit

Convertkit wins this one by a hair. The highest listed subscription option (200,000 subscribers) for Mailchimp is $1,099, but it’s a bit cheaper for the same number of subscribers at $1,066 for Convertkit. That $33 isn’t particularly significant, but it’s enough to quantifiably say that Convertkit’s pricing is just a little cheaper than Mailchimp’s. 

Convertkit vs Mailchimp signup

Convertkit

We’ve got to hand it to Convertkit on one feature of their signup: they let you import settings and data from other email marketing tools right away. All you need to do is select the option saying “Yes! I’m moving from another tool” on the first signup screen, and you’re off and away. If you don’t have another email tool already, it can also import data from your website if it’s built through a platform like Shopify, WordPress, Wix, etc. 

Outside of that, the signup is pretty standard. You’ll input your information and payment info, and you’re good to go. However, if you exceed 900,000 subscribers on your list, you’ll need to contact Convertkit to signup. 

Mailchimp

Mailchimp’s signup is a bit more standard than Convertkit’s. You’ll go through a few pages and fill out your information, then enter your payment info, and boom, you’ve signed up. Again, like Convertkit, if you have more than 200,000 subscribers on your list, you’ll need to contact Mailchimp to signup.

Winner: Convertkit

Convertkit makes it extremely easy to import your settings and data from your websites or other email marketing tools you’ve been using, and that makes it a winner in our books. Convertkit wows right out of the gates with their signup, creating a user experience that’s reminiscent of the ease of use of setting up an Apple product. 

Convertkit vs Mailchimp design and user experience

Convertkit

Convertkit’s design language is minimalist and modern. It’s nice, but to be quite frank, it’s nothing to write home about. It doesn’t have a design that oozes personality or makes it clear when you log on that you’re using Converkit and not some other email platform. 

That said, this isn’t a negative per se. The platform still looks visually appealing, and it’s easy to navigate. It just doesn’t wow us here. 

As far as email designs, Convertkit’s choices are pretty limited. 

Mailchimp

Mailchimp’s design language is unique. There’s no doubt about that. Instead of opting for the toned-down bluish grays that are so common in many similar tools, Mailchimp brings minimalism to its extremes. Everything is black and white except for a few action buttons in a greenish-blue.

Although unique, some users may not take a liking to this type of color scheme. On the one hand, it does exude a certain degree of class, like you’re reading a classic ad in a magazine or a newspaper. That sense of tangibility and tactility, like you’re holding the tool in your hands, can really add a lot to the experience. However, some may find it a bit monotonous and may find themselves wondering whether the CSS loaded properly instead of enjoying Mailchimp’s bold design approach. 

When it comes to design templates for the emails themselves, Mailchimp has a great selection of professionally-designed templates to choose from. 

Winner: Mailchimp

This was a close call, but we have to hand it to Mailchimp for being brave and unique. Design is largely subjective, so some users will prefer Convertkit’s brighter color scheme, but Mailchimp did something we haven’t really seen before, and that deserves some recognition at the very least. 

Plus, Mailchimp offers a significantly larger selection of templates for your emails, which is a big advantage in our opinion.

Convertkit vs Mailchimp functionality, features, and integrations

Convertkit

When you look through Converkit’s feature page, you’ll notice one thing straight away: email isn’t actually the first thing that they market. Nope. It’s landing pages and signup forms. That’s a signal that Converkit and Mailchimp are playing a slightly different game.

Sure, Convertkit does email, but its focus is a bit broader. One of the features that it clearly thinks very highly of is its automation capabilities, which are surprisingly streamlined and easy to use. 

As far as integrations are concerned, Convertkit integrates with loads of platforms and tools, so you likely won’t find yourself missing an important integration. Plus, it integrates natively with Shopify, unlike Mailchimp. That’s an important integration to have for many business owners. 

Mailchimp

Mailchimp sticks to what it’s good at — designing and sending emails. Unlike Convertkit, the vibe of the tool feels a bit more dated. Its automation tools don’t feel as fresh and streamlined, and even its lists feature has a bit of a dusty old computer vibe, perhaps another instance of the did-the-CSS-load effect we mentioned in the last section. 

Overall, Mailchimp’s feature set is more design-oriented. Whether you’re designing landing pages or emails, Mailchimp seems to have more features and designs to choose from. 

Unfortunately, Mailchimp also did a swing and a miss on integrations. Shopify is an important integration for many small businesses, and Mailchimp doesn’t natively integrate with it. It does have a slew of other options, but this is a big one to leave out. 

Winner: Tie

Mailchimp and Convertkit both excel in different areas. If you want a tried-and-true email designer, Mailchimp will likely fit the bill, but its automation features feel a bit dusty. Convertkit, on the other hand, doesn’t provide as many features for design, but it does have a fresh take on automation, that feels natural and intuitive. 

Convertkit vs Mailchimp customer service

Convertkit

Unlike Mailchimp, Converkit is a relatively small team and company, and that generally means they have more interest in each individual customer. Converkit gives access to email and chat support to every user, but phone support is unfortunately not available. 

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is a very large company, so it’s not going to provide the same level of personalized support that a small company like Convertkit values. However, Mailchimp does offer phone support at the higher subscription tiers, and that’s a level of customer service that Convertkit doesn’t provide. So, there’s a bit of a trade-off here: Convertkit offers more personalized service at all subscription levels, but Mailchimp offers a more premium customer service experience once you become a customer that’s particularly valuable to them.

Winner: Mailchimp

Mailchimp doesn’t win by a lot here, but it does squeak past Convertkit. Overall, the option of speaking with a real human being on the phone is important to some people, so we had to hand it to Mailchimp for this one. That said, Convertkit is a smaller company, so if you don’t care about phone support, you’ll likely get a more personalized customer service experience. 

By the way, we here at Ampjar are also part of a small team that values personalized customer service, and we offer phone support. Want to test it out? Click here to schedule a free, no-obligation phone consultation and learn how we can help your business grow. 

Winner: Tie

As anticlimactic as it may be, there’s no clear winner here. Each of these platforms caters to different audiences. Mailchimp is more geared towards enterprise usage and email design, while Convertkit focuses on providing a great experience and powerful automation tools to smaller businesses and creatives trying to make a living online. 

If you haven’t already, we’d also like to invite you to take a look at the features we here at Ampjar provide. We offer a way to make passive income from your email list, we provide personalized chat and phone service from the get-go, and we have a great community of small business owners just like you. If you’d like to learn more, click here to schedule a free, no-obligation phone consultation and learn how we can help your business grow.

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