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How to get started in email marketing with ConvertKit.

How to get started with ConvertKit.

If you’re new to email marketing then you might not know that at the base of every successful deployment lies an email marketing platform (EMP – also sometimes referred to as an Email Service Provider or ESP). 

 

The EMP that I’m going to focus on in this article is “ConvertKit“.

It’s a platform that I believe to be one of the most appropriate options available right now for solopreneurs. There are a few businesses where I believe email marketing isn’t a good fit, but these are really few and far between (e.g. a business that provides a very niche product or service to a very small potential audience).

I’m going to walk you through 8 simple actions that’ll allow you to get you up and running with ConvertKit.

 

These 8 actions of course only scratch the surface of what can be done with ConvertKit and indeed, email marketing, but nonetheless it’ll give you a good base from which to grow your knowledge and start your first email marketing campaign. 

 

What I cover in this article:

 

Action #1: Get your ConvertKit account set up.

ConvertKit email marketing platform

The 8 simple actions that'll get you started with ConvertKit.

There are many great features in ConvertKit, mostly all intuitive and suitable for any business owner to pick up and run with, and then, as you’d expect, there’re a few more advanced features that you could implement if you like, but not necessarily required in order to have an effective email marketing system.

It’s a simple app to work with so don’t be intimidated if you feel that you’re not particularly techy, just follow along and you’ll be surprised at how easy it all is to set up and use!

Action #1.

Get your free ConvertKit account

The first thing you need to do is get yourself set up with a free ConvertKit account, so click here to check out the pricing and to get your free account set up. 

Like pretty much every other email marketing platform, ConvertKit offers a free version, which is good, but if you want to really transform how you run your business, then you really want two features that only come as part of a premium subscription, automated funnels & sequences.

When you create your free account, you’ll also get a 14-day free trial of the premium features, which if you wish to keep beyond the trial period, you’ll need to add a payment card to your account. Premium prices start at just $9/m.

ConvertKit website being shown on a tablet.

Action #2.

Import your existing subscribers (if you have any)

If you’re just getting started with email marketing for the first time, then you can skip this one, as you obviously won’t have any subscribers on any other email marketing platform.

On the other hand, if you’re making the switch to ConvertKit from another platform, then there is help at hand to bring in your existing subscriber base.

There are three ways in which to add subscribers; 

  1. Add a single subscriber manually.
  2. Import a list of subscribers using a .CSV file.
  3. Use ConvertKit’s transfer tool to import from your existing platform.
Import email subscribers into ConvertKit

All three of these features result in the same thing, i.e. subscribers get added to your list. If you’re using a .CSV file to import, just know that there could be a short delay in the list being updated as ConvertKit may run some checks against your list.

Please remember, only add subscribers who have given you their permission to be on your list – a failure to do so will only result in future problems for you.

When you import subscribers in to ConvertKit, you must associate each subscriber one of the following;

  1. Form – it collects a subscriber’s email address for you to add to your list in ConvertKit.
  2. Sequence – a series of emails that you have already created in ConvertKit.
  3. Tag – a tag that you have created in ConvertKit to associate an attribute with a subscriber, e.g. ‘Imported from Mailchimp’.

If you’re just getting started, my recommendation is that you simply create a tag called ‘Manually Imported Subscriber” – this way, you can easily detect all subscribers that you add using this method. 

To see how to create a tag, see video below 👇

Once you’ve created the new tag, you can add subscribers. Below you can see the new tag being selected during the ‘Add a Single Subscriber‘ option. 👇

 

The second option for importing your existing subscribers is to use a .CSV (comma separated value) file. Your existing email marketing platform will have an export feature, which is what you can use to create your .CSV file.

 

Import subscribers using CSV file

 

The third option is to import directly from your current email marketing platform using ConvertKit’s transfer tool. Just bear in mind that not all platforms are covered, in which case you’ll need to revert back to option 2, using the .CSV file.

Below you can see the platforms that ConvertKit currently caters for in its import tool;

 

ConvertKit's subscriber import tool

*Just remember that once you have completed a bulk import of subscribers, it can take a few minutes for ConvertKit to process them and to appear on your subscriber list.

Action #3.

Learn about capture forms and landing pages

With every email marketing platform, the objective is to collect email addresses from your subscribers. Other snippets of information can also be collected (e.g. first name, last name etc.), but email address is mandatory and therefore cannot be excluded.

In order to collect the subscribers’ details, we need to have somewhere for them to visit – this is normally via a lead capture form or a landing page (containing a lead capture form).

I’ll explain the main distinctions between them.

Lead Capture Form

In its simplest format, it’s a form that collects an email address and gives the subscriber a button to submit their details. It’s normal for a lead capture form to be embedded in one of your website pages, and so would be an obvious choice if you wanted to go down that path.

Below is an example of such a form;

Example of a simple lead capture form.

Once you’ve created your lead capture form, ConvertKit gives you a small snippet of code. that you can simply copy and paste into your web page (or send it to your IT support person so that they can install it for you). 

Below is an example of the code snippet;

Code snippet example for a lead capture form.
Landing Page

A landing page, for all intents and purposes, is just a simple web page. But the main difference is that it has a single purpose and offers fewer distractions for a visitor than a typical web page.

It also means that you don’t need to worry about having a website as ConvertKit will host your page for you. You can also design it so that it has your look and feel.

Once published, your landing page will be allocated its own unique URL (web address) that you can then share with your audiences across social platforms.

Below is an example of a landing page, created in ConvertKit;

Example of a landing page in ConvertKit

Action #4.

Discover email templates and how to use them

ConvertKit provides a number of email templates to get you started with your email campaigns. The beauty of using a template for your email is that it gives you a quick start for each new email, plust it helps build in consistency to keep you on brand with your readers.

I’ll be honest, ConvertKit does not have the best variety of email templates that I’ve ever seen, but there are certainly enough to get you going for now.

There are other ways to introduce email templates into your ConvertKit platform, however these are more advanced techniques using some external resources in conjunction with a bit of code to make it all work.

My advice is to start off very simple. Just select one template that appeals to your taste and then edit accordingly to get it on brand for your business.

When you start using ConvertKit in your business, you’ll begin by building your first email sequence (a series of emails) that subscribers will automatically be sent, as per your predefined schedule.

Once you’re up and running, you’ll want to introduce ‘broadcast’ emails; these are one-off emails that are sent to either your entire email list, or a subset of it.

(See Action #5 in this article for more details around broadcasts and sequences.)

Below you can see a selection of the available email templates in ConvertKit, all of which can be edited to make it more on brand for your business.

A range of email templates in ConvertKit

Once you’ve chosen your preferred email template (if you want to, that is… you can always just start from scratch if you wish), then you can select it to use in all your email sequences that you create.

If you like, you can then have a different template for broadcasts, perhaps a slightly different appeal to distinguish them from your sequence emails. 

As an example, I send out a weekly newsletter that gives tips to solopreneurs in 3 categories, technology, business, and marketing (I also add in a few fun facts at the end of the email) – the format of this email, and the look and feel of it, is different from my other emails, so it has its own template. It means that each week I already have the layout and design created, and I just need to start typing (see image below). 👇

Newsletter template for Grow Solo

Action #5.

Use email broadcasts and sequences

Broadcast Emails

These are one-off emails that are sent to your list (or a subset of your list) at a predetermined date and time.

They should be focused on a single message (or theme) and be looked upon as short-lived content, normally used only once.

Examples of when you’d want to send broadcasts include;

  • Newsletters (regular content, e.g. weekly, bi-weekly, monthly etc.)
  • Announcements (e.g. new product or service coming soon)
  • Updates (e.g. let your subscribers know about a change you’re introducing)
  • Appeals (e.g. asking your subscribers for something – feedback, thoughts etc.)

These types of emails are of-the-moment and could never be used as evergreen, reusable emails that could be sent to new subscribers.

Email Sequences

They’re a series of emails that are pre-written, put into a drip-feed sequence, and delivered to recipients based on when they joined your list (or triggered by another event as an existing subscriber, e.g. they click a link, express an interest in a particular topic, or pass a milestone etc.).

A typical email sequence is where someone signs up to your list, maybe they downloaded one of your lead magnet PDF documents, and you then drip-feed them a series of emails that complement the original lead magnet. 

One example that I use in my business is a sequence where I drip-feed a series of emails to explain to solopreneurs the process of creating an income using email marketing; they download the beginner’s guide and then I support this with more emails to give them even more value.

If you want to see a working example of this, you can download my guide by clicking on the image below; once you’ve downloaded it, you’ll then start to receive the sequence of emails arrive in your inbox, every few days.

 

Action #6.

Discover the power of visual automations

Using automations in ConvertKit will be a game-changer for you. Once configured properly, your lead generation and email marketing system can pretty much run on autopilot.

The essence of visual automations, as the name suggests, is the ability to configure certain events to happen when particular triggers are fired. Think on it like “…if this thing happens, then go and do this thing…”.

Let’s look at a couple of examples of what you can do with ConvertKit’s visual automations, then you can use your imagination to think up other uses;

You can set it up so that;

  •  If someone downloads your ‘5 Top Tips‘ document then you can have ConvertKit add them to your 2-week, 7-emails ‘Welcome‘ email sequence, and then add a tag to their profile called ‘5 top tips‘.
  • If someone clicks on a link inside one of your emails, you can have ConvertKit add a tag called ‘Interested in <topic>(whatever the topic may be), add them to the sequence for <topic>, and then change their status to ‘In a Sequence‘, so that they don’t get added to another sequence whilst already in one.
You get the gist, you can get creative in what you do for your subscribers and then configure ConvertKit to take care of it all for you. There’s no need to worry about forgetting to do a task, or be manually sending documents at unsociable hours of the day – just let the system do it for you.
 
Below, you can see a screenshot of what a typical visual automation might look like in ConvertKit.
ConvertKit visual automation example.

When you create your first automation, it’ll probably a simple 2-step process that adds a subscriber to an email sequence whenever they complete a form. Once you get confidence around this simple process, you’ll be ready to get more adventurous in what you do.

Action #7.

Learn how to sell your products using ConvertKit

One of the great features you get with ConvertKit, that’s not available with all similar platforms, is the ability to sell your products and services directly from the platform itself.

This is done by setting up, what ConvertKit refers to as, ‘Products‘. It doesn’t have the notion of ‘Services’ (just in case you’re a service-based owner), however it does cater for services – the ‘Products’ term is more of a catch-all.

ConvertKit uses Stripe as its preferred integrated payment merchant, so you’ll need to have a Stripe account if you want to sell using this method.

Below you see the screen that walks you through the Stripe integration process; it’s a simple task that should only take a few minutes to complete.

 

Stripe integration screen in ConvertKit

Creating your first Product to sell

Below you can see the options you have when setting up a Product to sell;

ConvertKit Sell Products

Below is an example of what a Product could look like in ConvertKit – this one is for a monthly membership for the “Elite Email Marketing Club(a fictitious club, as far as I know!)👇

Example monthly membership product

You can get creative with what you can sell, but here are some examples;

  • A downloadable digital document (e.g. ebook).
  • An email course, drip-fed to clients.
  • A monthly recurring membership or group access.
  • A seat at a group coaching program.
Create a simple sales funnel for your products
You can easily set up an automated sales and follow-up funnel to pitch your products to your networks.
 
Organise your audience
You can use tags and segments to organise your audience based on their interests and then promote relevant products that match their preferences.
 
Embed a “Buy Now” button
You can add a “Buy Now” button to your website, landing page, or emails to allow visitors and subscribers to purchase your digital products.
 
Exclude previous buyers from a product pitch
You can use filters on your emails to ensure you don’t send a sales pitch to someone who already bought that product from you.
 

Tip Jars

In addition to Products, ConvertKit allows you to create ‘Tip Jars’ so that people who appreciate what you do for them, can say thanks by putting a tip in your digital jar.
 
Just like Products, any income generated from Tip Jars are processed via Stripe and transferred into your bank account.
Example of a tip jar in ConvertKit

Action #8.

Use social platforms as your collection centres

Your email list will become the one valuable asset that you own (and not any social platform), but you need to grow it with your ideal prospects from wherever they hang out.

Typically, this tends to be on social platforms, and so you need to be adding value to the platforms on which your prospects spend most of their ‘social’ time.

A simple process that you can adopt is as follows;

  1. Choose the platform where you will be active (e.g. LinkedIn)
  2. Devise a plan for how you’ll consistently add value every day (e.g. post, comment).
  3. As you establish and grow relationships, begin to move people on to your email list (i.e. in ConvertKit) by offering value in exchange for their email address.
  4. Nurture your email list so that people want to buy from you.
There’s no hard and fast rule for how many people you can move from a social platform on to your email list, but there is a direct correlation between what you do in steps 1-3 above and how many subscribers you get on your email list.

I hope you found value in this article. If you did, please share it with your community so that more people may benefit from learning about email marketing.

If you want to get started with your email marketing, check out this course.