Starting a mailing list is really intimidating. As a small business owner who is already very busy, it is daunting to think about adding another aspect of your business to keep track of. If I’m being honest, I avoided starting one for months because it overwhelmed me. I was afraid that nobody would want to join it, and I feared that I would waste my time on it and it would never pay off. Mostly, I worried that I wouldn’t have the time to work on it. Small business owners already have to keep up with social media, blogging, etc., why add yet another thing to keep track of?
A few months ago, I felt the pressure to start a mailing list. It seemed to be the thing EVERYONE was talking about. “Your business is in trouble if you don’t have an email list! What if you woke up one morning and realized you lost ALL of your Instagram followers? You’d have to start over from scratch!” I understand: bad things happen, accounts are deleted and people are frequently hacked. Looking back, though, it really felt like everyone was making a big deal out of it just to sell courses. Needless to say, it worked. I was pushed to the point where I thought my business would fail if I didn’t get an email started right away.
The first step was figuring out which email provider to pick. Initially, I decided I would try MailChimp because it was free up to 2000 subscribers (and 12,000 emails a month, but WHO is sending that many emails?!). If I tried it and failed miserably, then there would be no harm done! So back in September, I decided I was going to take the plunge. I signed up, signed into my account, and I immediately had a million questions. Hours were spent Googling questions and trying to figure out how to streamline everything. I reached out to friends on Facebook, watched YouTube videos, and read article after article. It was incredibly complicated for someone who was completely new to email marketing!
Eight hours later, I FINALLY felt like I was getting the hang of it. I finally figured out how to send out a campaign, create a list, and sent my first email. After all of that, I found out that my emails were getting sent straight to the spam folder. I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, and nobody had an answer for me. Needless to say, I was not happy.
It was then I decided that I was going to make the switch to ConvertKit. I had only heard great things about it, and several people had told me that it was incredibly easy to set everything up. I signed up for the month-to-month payment plan in case it didn’t go well. That way, I could back out at any time.
Within 15 minutes of signing up, I had set up an entire campaign for people to immediately sign up and grab my freebies. ConvertKit made it SO easy to figure out how to create forms, set up a campaign, how to create a list, how to create new segments, and how to create groups with tags. Not only that, but creating an email was easier than ever! Not only can you pick from pre-designed templates, but adding texts, links, images, and downloadable items were easy, too! Resizing an image in your email only required a simple click and drag. In MailChimp, you had to select the image and enter in the dimensions in a different pop-up window. Considering the frustrating day I had with MailChimp, I was SOLD on ConvertKit!
Why I Changed so Fast
I know what you must be thinking, “Emily, you should have given MailChimp more time!” and maybe you’re right. However, I spent an entire workday trying to set up my MailChimp email list, whereas it only took me about 15 minutes to set up ConvertKit. Even though ConvertKit is $29.00 a month for someone with under 1000 subscribers, it’s still SAVING me money! Think about it this way: I spent 8 hours to figure out the free program. That’s a full workday for me! That’s time I could have spent retouching or editing a wedding. Ultimately, it cost me at least $280 to spend a day on it.
To be fair, now that I have an understanding of email lists (thanks to ConvertKit), going back to look at using the MailChimp software seems a lot easier now than it did before. If you have some experience with a mailing list and you are familiar with how it works, then MailChimp may be a great program for you. However, from the perspective of a beginner who had absolutely NO idea what the difference between campaigns, segments, automations, and sequences were, ConvertKit was definitely the way to go!
*This post contains affiliate links: don’t worry, I only recommend products I love and use myself!