How do you ensure that your message gets in front of your audience online?
Artists often rely very heavily on social media. And while sharing your latest painting or musical release on TikTok might get you hundreds or even thousands of views…
Your posts aren’t guaranteed to reach all your followers. With Instagram’s latest algorithm update, for example, only 10% of your followers will see your post. The social media landscape, in fact, is constantly changing, and from an artist’s perspective, it’s rarely changing for the better.
What if there was a way to ensure that you get 20, 30, or even 40% of your followers to see your time-sensitive messages? And what if they were predisposed toward buying your offers? The answer is ConvertKit (affiliate link), and we’ll talk about why in just a moment…
But one of the most important things you can do as an artist is to build a list you own. There are no shortcuts or tricks to winning the digital marketing game as an artist, but all things being equal, you will squeeze more juicy goodness out of your email list than your social media following.
ConvertKit – Email List Builder for Artists
There are many email marketing services out there. And there’s only one that was created specifically for independent creators – it’s called ConvertKit.
ConvertKit was founded by Nathan Barry, an independent creator. He wrote three books, created two courses, and built an email list of 37,000. For all intents and purposes, he probably could have kept going down that path.
He obviously recognized the power of communicating with his email subscribers or his impressive list of 37,000 subscribers would mean nothing. But he also noticed there was a gap to be filled. He saw that there were no email marketing services specifically for creators.
Setting aside his independent pursuits, he set up ConvertKit, an email marketing service tailored to indie artists, creatives, creators, entrepreneurs, and more.
What can ConvertKit do for you? Read on to find out…
It’s crazy to think, but I can name more than a couple of email marketing services that haven’t figured out their navigation bar, let alone their labeling – at least not in a way that makes it easy for any user to understand.
ConvertKit has somehow managed to boil everything down to four categories – Grow, Send, Automate, and Earn. I don’t know about you, but I think this is brilliant.
So, let’s look at what ConvertKit has to offer in each of these four areas.
Grow – Tools for Building Your Email List
You could have amazing content, but if you have no one to send it to, you’re like every other creator struggling in obscurity.
ConvertKit comes with the key tools you need to grow your list – forms and landing pages.
Creating a new form or landing page is easy. Navigate to the Landing Pages & Forms page and click on the “Create new” button.
Click on “Form” if you want to install a form for collecting email addresses on your website. Click on “Landing Page” if you want to set up a landing page you can send traffic to (from your website, social media, etc.).
If you choose the “Form” option, you’ll be presented with four options – Inline, Modal, Slide in, and Sticky Bar. I could go on about how amazing this is, and how it’s like having three apps in one, but we’ll get to that.
For this tutorial, I selected “Sticky Bar,” because I’d like all the visitors coming to Music Entrepreneur HQ to know about my new book.
Either way, at this point, you’ll be asked to choose a template. Depending on the form or landing page you’re creating, there may only be one template to choose from (don’t worry – it’s still customizable).
From here, you can customize labels, colors, border radius, font-weight, and more. You can even add custom CSS code.
Now it’s time to check out the landing page feature. As you’ll see, there are many templates to choose from.
As with forms, you can customize the look and feel of landing pages to your taste.
ConvertKit is frequently adding new features to help you grow your audience. As of this writing, the Creator Network is still in Beta.
Send – Email Broadcasts Made Simple
The main idea behind email marketing services is the ability to send email broadcasts to your subscribers. Naturally, most creators want to be able to jump right in and send broadcasts to their audience. It’s funny how many services can’t seem to get this direct A-to-B pathway right.
But ConvertKit doesn’t have that problem. Let me show you.
Navigate to the Broadcasts page and click on “New broadcasts.”
From here, you can type up a brand-new plain text campaign / broadcast to send to your subscribers. But if you want to choose a template first, click on the “Browse templates” button in the sidebar on the right.
While there isn’t a huge library of templates to choose from, you can further customize the template to suit your needs using ConvertKit’s built-in editor.
You can add content to the template and change the fonts, colors, etc. if you wish. Click on “Continue” when the email is ready to send.
From here, you can choose who you want to send the email to. ConvertKit’s tag-based system makes it easy to manage and segment your audiences as needed.
Of course, you can set up email sequences using ConvertKit too. This is a very useful feature as you can create welcome sequences for new subscribers, visitors who’ve downloaded a lead magnet, people who’ve bought a specific product of yours, and so on.
Automate – Straightforward Autoresponder/Automation Workflow
If your email marketing service can’t automatically send email campaigns on your behalf (such as when a customer purchases a specific product), you would have to do it all manually. Imagine having to sit by your computer, waiting for when a customer buys something from you, typing up an email, and sending it to them individually. Now imagine having to do that 100 times per day.
That’s what autoresponders and automation features are for. You can type up the message once and let automation handle the rest.
So, let’s look at what ConvertKit has to offer in this regard.
A few years ago, everyone made a big stink about visual automations (and understandably so). Well, guess what? ConvertKit has this feature built-in.
Navigate to the Visual Automations page and click on the “New automation” button.
You can either create from scratch or choose a template. ConvertKit has handy templates like:
- Release a new album
- Welcome subscribers to a podcast
- Share your social media content
- Release a new book
- Pitch your album with a free song
- Raise money to record an album
- Promote a digital product
And many other templates artists are likely to find useful.
Once you’ve chosen a template, you can customize it to suit your needs.
Next, let’s navigate to the Rules page and click on the “New rule” button.
With this feature, you can create all types of automation rules. For example, you could add a tag to anyone who subscribes using a specific form.
You will probably end up using this easy-to-understand tool often.
Now let’s look at one of my favorites – RSS.
With this tool, you can connect your blog feed and have emails automatically sent out to your subscribers whenever you’ve added new content to your site.
You can customize the look and feel of emails that go out, and if you prefer to send a digest of new content rather than sending emails every time you’ve published something new, you can choose the Digest option instead of the Single option.
ConvertKit can also integrate with other apps you might already be using, like Gumroad, Leadpages, Patreon, Shopify, Stripe, WordPress, and others.
Earn – ConvertKit Monetization Tools
Everything we’ve looked at so far has been plenty juicy already… and I think you’ll agree – easy to understand, too!
But who doesn’t like earning money from their creativity? I know I do.
And I get it, that’s not why you do what you do, but trust me when I say it’s easy to get addicted to that feeling you get when that sales notification hits your inbox…
Anyway, ConvertKit has two key features to help you earn your keep.
The first is Products (for selling digital products and paid subscriptions). From the Products page, you can click on the “New product” button to set up your paid offer.
Creating a product with ConvertKit is easy. Simply enter product details, set the price, choose product type, and if you like, set up a custom domain where you’ll be selling the product.
ConvertKit also makes it possible for you to set up Tip Jars.
Simply give the tip jar a name, choose the currency, and if desired, set up a custom domain for your tip jar.
What I Like Most About ConvertKit
- It’s easy to use. As with anything, learning the interface can take some time, but it didn’t take me anywhere near as long as I thought it would after I switched over from Mailchimp.
- The automation features are easy to set up and they make sense. That’s more than I can say for some email marketing services…
- In the grand scheme of things, ConvertKit is a more cost-effective solution than other providers that charge for every add-on…
- The tag-based contact management system is intuitive and convenient.
- Since switching to ConvertKit, I’ve noticed that my emails get opened by a larger segment of my list.
- While I have yet to take advantage of all the automation or monetization features, I love to know that they are there and that I can take advantage of them at any time.
- ConvertKit has a friendly, human brand. That’s more than I can say for some services.
What I Like Least About ConvertKit
- I’m not a fan of ConvertKit’s color scheme. I know it’s a nitpick, and honestly, I don’t have anything other than nitpicks to offer for this stellar service. While I feel like I know what they were probably going for design wise, the salmon on navy scheme just isn’t doing it for me.
- I feel like the Visual Automations section is the most creative part of ConvertKit, and I would love to see more of that design style across the platform. Especially given that it’s an email marketing service for creators, and sometimes it feels like anything but.
What Others Are Saying About ConvertKit
I’ve compiled several videos for your perusal. If you’d like to learn more about ConvertKit, these should prove an excellent resource.
Who is ConvertKit for?
ConvertKit is for musicians, podcasters, writers, and more – creatives and creators of any persuasion.
Does that mean it’s for every creator? Not necessarily.
Creators with a growing team might find ActiveCampaign and its many powerful automation features a more suitable option for managing their many email tasks.
Creators with eCommerce stores might want to look at tailored solutions like Klaviyo.
Additionally, creators with a huge pipeline of contacts and contracts might want to investigate more advanced solutions like Ontraport to stay on top of opportunities.
But from entry-level creators to professionals alike, ConvertKit is powerful enough to scale with independents and smaller businesses.
It should also be said that ConvertKit’s automation features aren’t anything to sneeze at, and it is a viable solution for eCommerce too (with abandoned cart sequences and the like). The only thing it can’t do is act as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform like Ontraport.
If you don’t want to get caught up in the “monkey business” of other services, then you may as well skip right over to one of the best (if not the best) solutions for creators.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it true that email marketing is better than social media marketing?
On a good day, you might reach 10% of your social media audience. But the average open rate of email campaigns, across any niche or industry, is 20%. Email is a better way to get your message seen than social media. But the two can play very complimentary roles in your digital marketing efforts. Plus, your email list is for yours to keep, but you’re not guaranteed to be able to hold onto your social media following.
Why should I build an email list?
There are many ways to communicate with your audience. But there is no way to guarantee you’ll be able to continue to communicate with them unless you have their contact details – at the very least, their email address. Building your email list ensures you can keep in touch with your fans, send them updates, and let them know when there’s something they can buy to support you.
Why do I need an email marketing service to manage my lists and send campaigns?
Sending emails to large lists manually, in some cases, can be a breach of privacy or even applicable laws. With email marketing services, you can customize the look and feel of your campaigns to reflect your brand. Plus, you can automate many functions. Using an email marketing service is far more practical and efficient overall.
Final Thoughts, ConvertKit Review
In my humble opinion, ConvertKit strikes the perfect balance between functionality, ease of use, and price. It comes with just enough of the goods to be incredibly powerful, but it’s not overwhelming. It’s also simple enough for artists to use.
Sign up for a 14-day free trial (affiliate link) with ConvertKit now.