I’ve been a happy user of AWeber for over 6 years now and I can wholeheartedly say that Aweber has been responsible for over 90% of my revenues.
This year, my blog will make well over a million dollars primarily because of email so it’s extremely important for me to stay on top of my email provider choices.
Now normally, I have a “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” mentality so unless I have a specific pain point that is not being addressed, I tend not to change.
So why am I looking now? Recently, I started doing webinars and here’s what’s been frustrating me about Aweber
- You have to create a brand new list for each webinar you hold which is extremely tedious
- You get double charged for duplicate email subscribers that are on multiple lists in your account
- It’s a pain in the butt to de-duplicate your list. And Aweber also charges for your unsubscribes which must be eliminated on a regular basis
For example let’s say you want to hold a webinar every month. With AWeber, you would email your list and solicit interested parties onto a separate list for each one.
Now let’s also assume that you get 2000 people signed up for each webinar.
Over the course of the year, you will have 12 * 2000 = 24,000 duplicate subscribers on your various lists that you would have to pay extra for.
Not only that, but it’s extremely tedious to have to create a brand new list each time. Ideally, I should be able to tag each existing subscriber to indicate that they are interested in my webinars without going through all of this hassle right?
Note: I’m still in the evaluation phase and am currently paying for both AWeber and ConvertKit. This is definitely not going to be a ConvertKit rah-rah type of post as I’m going to thoroughly break down its advantages and disadvantages.
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The Main Advantages Of ConvertKit Over AWeber
Instead of operating under the notion of separate lists of subscribers like AWeber, ConvertKit works based on tags.
So using my same webinar example above, with ConvertKit…
- I don’t need to create a brand new list for each webinar I want to hold
- I can simply mark each subscriber with a “tag” to indicate that they are interested in attending
- There are no duplicate subscribers that I’m getting double charged for
- Adding tags to subscribers is as simple as having them click on a link.
Currently under AWeber, I have to make subscribers fill out a brand new form to get them on a separate list that I end up double paying for.
The entire email list/form setup plus integration on my site takes about 30 minutes of my time. Then I have to make people go to a special landing page where they enter their email address again!
But with ConvertKit, I simply have my subscribers click on a special link and they are instantly invited to my webinar. I don’t get charged anything extra.
This subtle distinction is extremely powerful.
Here’s another example of how I’m currently experimenting with ConvertKit.
As people traverse through my email autoresponder sequence, I’m tagging each individual user based on their interests and what they click on within an email.
- If someone clicks on my Periscope link, I mark them as interested in Periscope
- If someone clicks on a podcast episode, I mark them as a podcast listener
- If someone clicks on my ecommerce course, I know that they are interested in taking my class
With this information, I can instantly segment my email list on the fly and only send the right email to the right interested parties.
I can even trigger brand new autoresponder emails based on what a person clicks!
Pretty powerful right?
This is the #1 reason why I’m considering the switch to ConvertKit.
You get the best and most powerful features of InfusionSoft and Ontraport at a MUCH lower price point.
The Disadvantages Of ConvertKit
Now with everything I just told you, why haven’t I made the switch 100% over to ConvertKit yet? Why am I paying for 2 email providers?
With every tool or product, there are always hidden pros and cons that you will only discover after going in depth and actually using a service to its fullest.
Note: I will continually update this list of ConvertKit disadvantages as each feature is added or fixed so this post will be up to date. And Nathan, if you are reading this, I’m holding you accountable here.
ConvertKit Show Stoppers
To begin the list of disadvantages, I’m going to start with the show stoppers first followed by the nice to haves.
You Can’t Remove Inactives Easily
First off, ConvertKit does not let you clear out subscribers who have not opened an email in a long time. Right now, in order to cull your list (which I recommend doing every 6 months), you have to send an email to ConvertKit and have them do it for you which is a pain.
Since I currently use single optin on all of my email lists, I regularly remove inactives in order to keep my list fresh. Without this feature, over time you’ll end up with a less engaged list.
ConvertKit Has Fewer Out Of The Box Segmentation Options Than AWeber
In general, AWeber is much more mature than ConvertKit since it’s been around much longer. Right now, ConvertKit is missing some key segmentation options.
For example, Aweber allows me to target a subscriber based on a huge variety of options which include
- Which message they are on in my autoresponder – I use this quite often to target specific users based on what they just read.
- When they signed up to my list – I use this to make sure that only new users receive certain promotions
- When they last opened/clicked an email – I use this to cull my list
- Where they are geographically – I use this to only send offers to US subscribers
- Which webpages they have visited on your site – I occasionally use this to target emails based on what posts people have read on my site.
ConvertKit Doesn’t Have Signup Safeguards For Single Optin
If you are running single optin on your lists, one of the primary concerns is spam. For example, what if a malicious user starts signing everyone up for your list?
Currently Aweber has safeguards to prevent this from happening including CAPTCHAs and IP detection. ConvertKit has no such safeguards.
Update: ConvertKit has resolved this issue as of 2017
Nice To Have Features That ConvertKit Lacks
Note: Some of these complaints are super nitpicky as you’ll see:) It just depends on how particular you are. Since 90% of my revenue is from email, I’m pretty picky.
The Popup Cookie Is Inserted Too Soon
If any of you run a popup email form on your blog, this might be a concern. Currently, I have my popup show up only once per user after about 30 seconds.
And the way this is enforced is by putting a cookie on the user’s computer to indicate that they’ve already received the popup.
During my testing, I noticed that ConvertKit inserts the cookie as soon as the person lands on the page and NOT when the popup appears.
As a result, if a user navigates to a different page before the popup happens, they will never get the popup.
Can’t Send Test Emails On Courses
I’m sure this will get fixed soon(hopefully) but right now there’s no way to send test emails on your autoresponder emails. Instead, you have to rely on the email preview option.
This is problematic for me because I like to see how an email looks on mobile and tablets prior to sending and the best way to do that is to send a test email.
Update: ConvertKit has resolved this issue as of 2017
The Ability To Unsubscribe Only From Certain Lists
Right now with ConvertKit, when someone unsubscribes from any email that you send, they are completely gone from all of your autoresponders and lists.
Update: There’s a workaround for this now. You can have multiple unsubscribe links in your email
For example if I have a main autoresponder list and a webinar list, a user might ONLY want to unsubscribe from one list and not the other.
However if they unsubscribe from one email, they are automatically wiped out from all future emails. I would like the ability to only unsubscribe from certain lists and not others.
Convert Kit Needs More Personalization Options
Currently at the bottom of all my emails, I remind the user where they signed up, when they signed up and what post they were reading when they signed up.
By including this information, I have reduced the amount of spam complaints dramatically for my emails. Unfortunately, ConvertKit does not allow you to add this information to emails just yet.
If ConvertKit Goes Down…
As a result if the ConvertKit servers were to ever go down, it could potentially prevent your site from loading. I wrote about his happening to my site before (Click here to read the post).
The Ability To Reset Stats
Whenever I add a new autoresponder or a new form to my site, I like to test the performance of different positions on the site.
While ConvertKit provides great stats in this regard, they can not be reset. For example, if I make changes to my autoresponder emails, I can’t reset the stats.
Likewise with my email forms, I have to create a new form to get fresh stats.
Which Is The Better Provider?
This is a really tough question to answer and it really depends on your needs.
But the tagging features of ConvertKit are super compelling, so much so that I’m on the verge of going 100% in on ConvertKit.
The ability to tag users, easily move people around based on their interests and not getting double charged for subscribers is HUGE!
Also, ConvertKit ends up being cheaper than AWeber too once you exceed about 40000 subscribers. But AWeber is less expensive for new users.
Ultimately, you have to make your own decision but you can’t go wrong with either provider.
If you think you’ll end up selling a bunch of different products where segmentation is crucial, then go with ConvertKit for sure.
If all you want is a robust email service that’s been around for years and is slightly cheaper for beginners, then go with Aweber.
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Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at ProfitableOnlineStore.com.
His blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times, Entrepreneur and MSNBC.
He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.
In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts.
To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store, BumblebeeLinens.com, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.
Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses.