If you do email marketing, and you haven’t heard of Aweber and ConvertKit, you’re missing out on two of the best email responders in the business…
ConvertKit vs Aweber – Quick Verdict (What We Recommend…)
Both Aweber and ConvertKit are great, well-executed email marketing tools. Both are simple to use. And both cost about the same per subscriber. However, there are some key differences that, for me, make ConvertKit the superior choice for email marketing in 2019.
The first is HOW ConvertKit works at its core. Unlike Aweber, ConvertKit is all about getting the most from your subscribers. It doesn’t use lists, per se. Instead, it leverages tags – whereby your subscribers are organized by interests versus sign-up forms.
This is HUGE because it means you can make your email marketing more specific, which means higher open rates and more conversions. You cannot do this with Aweber; instead, like a more traditional email auto-responder, it runs on traditional lists.
Using tags in ConvertKit means you’ll only send emails about apples, for instance, to subscribers that are interested in apples. People that aren’t interested in apples will not get your mail. And this makes planning out marketing A LOT easier than simply working with generic lists of subscribers.
Example: you can have a generic sign-up form on your site for capturing email. Once a subscriber signs-up, you can send them a welcome email and ask them what they’re interested in – is it Apples, Oranges, Pears, or Pineapple?
You then make tags for each selection, these are easily assigned by adding clickable links inside the email, and when clicked ConvertKit will automatically filter the subscribers from your email into their designated tags folders which allows for more specific, targeted emails.
Make sense? This is how it works at a basic level. But the concept is truly innovative versus the standard list-based approach. Once you have a load of tags, you can then organize them into Segments. From here, you’re free to send emails to groups of your subscribers in Segments as well as targeting them using specific tags.
You can also have multiple subscribers in multiple Tags and Segments too. As noted earlier, ConvertKit is ALL about subscriber management. It isn’t list-orientated. It’s about getting the most from ALL your subscribers by giving you the tools to find out what they want to hear about and what they don’t…
For me, this is just a much simpler (and way more effective) way of organizing and communicating information to your email list. People ONLY hear from you when you’re sending stuff they’re interested in, and this means less unsubscribes, higher open rates, and more conversions.
You can also try ConvertKit for free too.
- 0-1K Subscribers – $29 per Month
- 1-3K Subscribers – $49 per Month
- 3-5K Subscribers – $79 per Month
- 7K+ Subscribers – Calculate By Clicking Here
ConvertKit vs Aweber – A Full Comparison…
ConvertKit vs Aweber – Lists-Centric or Subscriber-Focussed?
As noted in the Quick Verdict section, the way Aweber and ConvertKit work is dramatically different. Aweber is ALL about the list and ConvertKit is ALL about the subscribers – both companies have completely different views on how email marketing should work…
Neither is right or wrong, per se; it all depends on what YOU want from an email marketing tool. For me, I’m firmly of the belief that emails should be targeted, relevant, and 100% non-intrusive. And for this reason, I use ConvertKit on all my sites.
Mo’ Lists Mo’ Problems…
I don’t have a problem with list-centric email auto-responders. Far from it. Aweber is considered by many the gold-standard right now and has been for a good many years. However, the list-centric approach does create some pretty horrific problems that you simply do not get on ConvertKit.
Example: say a dude called Bob signs up to your blog email sign-up form. He’s now on a list – your Blog Email List. But then, a few months later, you release a new course or something, and Bob wants to get involved, so he signs up for the course. Now Bob is on two of your lists – the Blog Email List and The Course Email List.
And worse still, Bon will have to sign up all over again to EACH of these new lists. And that kind of sucks for Bob, right?
Aweber treats Bob like two subscribers when in actual fact he is only one. Things get worse if Bob starts signing up to more courses and/or offers because once he does this he could end up on several of your lists. And if you decide to send a bunch of emails from a bunch of lists on a single day, guess what? Bob gets spammed to death by emails…
How ConvertKit Solves This Issue
Once you have a subscriber, Bob, for instance, you can use an array of tools to move him around between lists. You do this using automation rules (AKA: Triggers) which moves your subscribers between forms, assigning them to multiple tags and segments without causing the issues you’d get with Aweber when trying to do the same thing.
Example: Say you have a new course you want to promote. You send an email to ALL your subscribers with a call to action inside the email’s body copy. Inside the CTA – it could be a button or a link – you’ll assign an automation rule that, if clicked, automatically subscribes the user to the new course.
You can use these Triggers for just about anything too, from moving subscribers to new forms, adding tags. And if that wasn’t enough you can use it to gauge interest in other lists. Like one for your e-commerce store for instance. The process is the same as above, only here you’d assign a rule that assigns the subscriber to an Interested In E-Comm Store tag.
From here, you’re free to completely automate ALL your subscribers, assigning actions to clicks and whatnot. It’s a really powerful tool that is brilliant for content marketing and also e-commerce. The sky’s really the limit here, as you’re only limited by your own creativity when it comes to creating automations and lists.
Another bonus? Say your course email sequence is only a few emails long. Once the subscriber completes it, you can then set-up an automation that automatically places them either inside a Tag (Completes Course), for instance, or assign them to a new or older sequence, say, your Blog Email List, for instance. You can even plan these automation out in a workflow.
Bottom line? ConvertKit makes your entire list completely organizable via tags and segments. Once you’ve set the ground-work you’ll know EXACTLY what each subscriber on your list is interested in and whether or not they’re engaging with your content.
For content marketing and e-commerce, this system of organization is vastly superior to a more list-centric approach. You have more control, your subscribers are better looked after, and you have less unsubscribes and more engagements with your content and offers.
OK, So What’s Good About Aweber Then?
I’ve been trumpeting ConvertKit’s benefits for the last thousand words or so and some of you might be thinking I don’t like Aweber. But this isn’t true. Aweber is a brilliant email marketing tool; I just prefer ConvertKit’s subscriber-centric approach for my businesses.
Aweber does have plenty going for it, though, and it is certainly worth a look if you’re after a simpler, list-focused email marketing tool for simply sending out blog post updates and affiliate offers. If you want to do any more than this (and you should), you’re 100% better off with ConvertKit. Still, Aweber does have some advantages that are worth noting…
- Aweber is Cheaper – ConvertKit has A LOT of features. And innovative features cost money to develop and support. For this reason, ConvertKit is slightly more expensive than Aweber – by about $10-$20 a month once you get over 2000 subscribers.
- Platform Maturity – Aweber has been around in one form or another for almost 20 years. For this reason, Aweber has a robust deliverability infrastructure, as well as 24/7 call and email support.
- Better Email Builder – Aweber’s email form builder is VASTLY better than ConvertKit’s. You can make truly awesome looking email forms with Aweber. It also gives you access to a ton of high-quality stock images for use in your marketing.
- More Integrations – ConvertKit and Aweber both support all the major platforms. Both integrate with Facebook, Shopify, WordPress and BigCommerce. But Aweber does have more (150) integrations available for it.
You can create tags based on clicks inside Aweber, which does allow for more personalized email campaigns inside your lists. For instance, say you send out an email about new iPhone apps, and there’s a link inside it to an iPhone App Development course. If someone clicks on this link, you can tag them as interested in your iPhone App Development course.
With this tag in place, you can then send them a separate email the next day or several days later with a discount code for your course. Make sense? It’s very simple to set-up and implement and it works great. But even with this feature in place, Aweber’s automation abilities still pale in comparison to ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, and even MailChimp.
As of right now, you have two options for automating things in Aweber:
- When a user subscribes to a list
- When you apply a tag to a user
Compared to ConvertKit, which offers TONS of automation rule options, this tends to feel like too little. It’s fine for a lot of businesses, especially e-commerce and single product ventures, but for anything else you’re going to want (and need) those automations, which is why I prefer ConvertKit over Aweber in this context.
However, Aweber does have certain benefits that will be very attractive to certain users. If you’re a small-time blogger, or you’re just getting started, Aweber is a great option because it is cheaper than ConvertKit and it has outstanding deliverability rates – meaning: your emails will actually make it to your subscribers’ inboxes.
For anyone just getting started in email marketing, Aweber is the perfect option. It is simple to use, it has excellent delivery technology, and you can build and communicate with your list simply and effectively. For newbies, this is all you need. As you grow and learn more about email marketing, you may want more. If that happens, you might look elsewhere. Nevertheless, plenty of users find that Aweber has everything they need, so, as always, it’s more about what YOU need than what a platform can actually offer.
However, despite all this, I STILL cannot recommend Aweber over ConvertKit for the simple reason that ConvertKit is a more evolved platform with respect to how it views email marketing. In this respect, it’s a bit like comparing BlackBerry to Apple. They both make phones, but one has a far better idea about what a modern phone should look like and work like…
It’s the same with web hosting, you can go with old-school, multi-stacked servers where speed is tricky to come by, or use a modern web hosting service like Kinsta and get incredible speeds and performance for around the same money.
ConvertKit vs Aweber – Forms and Landing Page Designer
Both ConvertKit and Aweber offer the ability to build forms and landing pages that you can integrate into your website to collect emails. As noted above, Aweber’s functionality in this regard is superior – you have more tools to build better-looking forms and landing pages.
ConvertKit’s is decent, but it’s not quite on a par. For me, however, this is not an issue, as I prefer to use OptinMonster for all my lead collection on my sites. It has one of the best pop-up/slide-in/full-screen mat/mobile opt-in form builders on the planet. It’s simple to use and you run an account on multiple sites.
And OptinMonster integrates perfectly with ConvertKit, so you can create perfect-looking opt-in forms for your site and then plug them directly into ConvertKit. Here’s an example of how it works, using a Generic Newsletter List form.
Sending OptinMonster Leads To ConvertKit Forms
- Create Optin Form Inside OptinMonster
- Once You’ve Set It All Up, Select Integrations
- Select Email Provider (Select ConvertKit)
- Select Email Form They Go Into
- Add A Tag Too, If You Like
Now, as soon as a subscriber signs-up using your OptinMonster form, they’ll be automatically added to one of your forms, tags, or sequences. The entire process might sound daunting, but once you’ve done it a couple of times it becomes like second nature. And there really is no better form builder than OptinMonster for converting your blog’s readers into email subscribers.
And if you’re running your site on WordPress, you’ll need it to run as fast as possible. Why? Because speed is now one of Google’s #1 ranking factors – check out our Guide To The Best WordPress Hosts for more details.
ConvertKit vs Aweber – Building An Auto-Responder Email Series
Here, ConvertKit and Aweber are pretty evenly matched. Both are great tools for building email autoresponder sequences. Not sure what these are? It’s pretty simple: you essentially create a number of emails – it can be anything from 10 to 1000 – that are sent out over a period of time, again, it can be over days and weeks.
Building these sequences in both ConvertKit and Aweber is simple. You first need your content. Once you have that, you build out your email series, assigning a day and time when each email will be sent. This creates a funnel through which all subscribers to that particular list will flow.
Example: say FORM A has 20 emails in it spread over a few months. When a subscriber signs up to FORM A, they will get the first email and then subsequent emails over the following weeks until they complete the series of emails. But, once again, this is where ConvertKit comes into its own.
Because inside your FORM A series, you can have multiple tags and triggers that you can use to bolster your existing tags and segments. So, if someone in FORM A is interested in Apples, and you mention Apples in one of the emails from the series, and they click the trigger link, they will automatically be assigned to the Apples tag, while still remaining in the email series.
Another bonus? Once a subscriber completes FORM A, you can set up an automation rule in ConvertKit that adds them to a new FORM, say, one for a new course or an offer you’re promoting.
Again, ConvertKit’s flexibility with subscribers is what makes it the superior option once again. You can just do WAY more with your subscribers with its tools versus Aweber’s simple list-based approach.
Using ConvertKit – It’s Super User-Friendly
I used Aweber for years. Then I switched to MailChimp but quickly grew tired of how that platform worked. Finally, I discovered ConvertKit and moved all my lists over to them. That was three years ago, and I haven’t looked since then…
One of the things I love most about ConvertKit, however, is how intuitive the layout of the application is – it’s super-simple to use, even if you’re new to email marketing. You can quickly see your subscriber numbers and growth from the home page, as well as all your tags and segments.
From the top bar, you can then view what FORMS are generating the most leads, create new automations, add sequences, or quickly go to broadcast – sending mass emails to your entire list or those within certain segments. And I want to go into a little more detail about this latter point, as it’s super cool…
ConvertKit Broadcasts – Why They ROCK!
Broadcast, in ConvertKit-speak, basically means sending an email blast out to either A) your entire list, B) certain tags or forms, or C) people within certain segments. The ability to switch between these recipient modes is a brilliant feature that, once again, allows you make even your biggest email blasts super-targeted.
You even have an option to resend the email to people that didn’t open it the first time; all you have to do is click RESEND TO UNOPENS, and the email will be sent. Best practice with this to wait a few days, just in case they didn’t open it for a reason.
You can also A/B test the headlines of your broadcast emails too. And this is 100% worth doing. Why? Because some headlines work better than others, and if you’re doing email marketing you NEED to know what type of subject lines convert and which don’t…
On one of my sites, I run multiple sequences – auto-responder sequences – but I actually tend to favor doing manual broadcasts for daily updates to my subscribers. Why? Simple: I have my subscribers super-organized, so all I have to do is pick a Segment or Tag and send the email.
Broadcasts can also be used to promote a new offer and/or sequence. If you have a new course you want subscribers in, simply send a broadcast to your entire list with triggers in it for the course. Check back the next day and, BOOM, you have a bunch of subscribers live inside your course!
- Do More With Your Subscribers
- Better Management of Subscribers
- Easily Move Subscribers Between Forms & Sequences
- Integrates With ALL Major Platforms – Shopify, WordPress, Big Commerce, Facebook, Big Commerce, etc.
- Super-Targeted Broadcasts
- Easy To Set Up Automations & Triggers
- Extremely Simple To Use
- Tags & Segments Increase Relevance & Improve Open Rates
- Resend To Unopened – Inside Broadcasts, you can choose to resend an email to recipients that didn’t open the email the first time. All you have to do is click a button and it’s done.
ConvertKit vs Aweber – Bottomline?
As you can probably tell: I’m a huge fan of ConvertKit. For me, it is the #1 email marketing tool on the planet right now. If you’re focussed on giving your subscribers the most relevant content and retaining them for longer periods of time, ConvertKit is the #1 tool of its kind simply because it is ALL about subscribers.
The layout of the application, the ease with which you can build automations and sequences is unparalleled in the space, and the things you can do with your subscribers once they’re inside your lists/forms/tags/sequences is fantastic. You essentially get way more milage from each and every one of your subscribers.
For content marketers, e-commerce store owners, and pretty much everybody else in between, ConvertKit is the best option for creating a thriving, active email marketing campaign that is ultra-targeted and completely non-spammy. The tools for ensuring your campaigns are targeted are hard-baked into the software, so implementing things like tags and triggers is nothing more than a click of a button.
ConvertKit’s approach to how email marketing should be done is a more evolved philosophy than Aweber’s. Both tools are excellent, but you simply cannot get around the myriad of benefits of working with ConvertKit’s subscriber-centric workflows. Nothing else comes even remotely close for engagement and open rates.
And the reason for this is simple: you’re ONLY sending information out that the recipient is ACTUALLY interested in. You simply cannot do this on Aweber. Not with the ease you can on ConvertKit. And if your business is geared towards customer retention and happiness, a tool like ConvertKit becomes invaluable…
I know this post is long, but really I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible with ConvertKit. There is so much you can do with this software. What I like most, however, is that it is fully customizable, so if you have an idea, for anything, it is simple to set up and implement.
As I’ve said throughout: Aweber is a great tool with plenty of features, but the bottom line is this – ConvertKit is the future. It knows EXACTLY how emails should work, and it has applied this logic to the core foundations of its software. Inside ConvertKit, subscribers are king. They are your #1 priority. You have to keep them happy and engaged. And for that, right now, there is no better tool than ConvertKit.
Get yourself a free trial of ConvertKit today and see for yourself!
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.