Convertkit was released in 2013 as a result of Nathan Barry (the founder) 's commitment to a “web app challenge” – creating a $ 5k recurring MRR (Monthly Run Rate) SAAS operation within 6 months.
Having some experience with creating online courses, Barry was in a good position to get “ConvertKit” sorted out. His focus on making it * profitable * was essential in cultivating its growth.
If you're unfamiliar, ConvertKit is an “email marketing” platform, designed for “creators” (bloggers, article writers, freelancers, artists and other creative individuals) to cultivate an audience, build a relationship and earn more money.
The whole point of the system was to help bloggers create a “funnel” through which people would be introduced to the likes of courses or other material created by the blogger.
The big problem the system looked to resolve was that even though some people had managed to accrue an audience, they lacked an affordable way through which to turn it into a customer base. Whilst the market definitely was being catered to (with the likes of Aweber and Mailchimp), Barry's blend of charm and commitment to creators certainly started to win many over.
At its heart, the system allows you to store “email addresses” of people who have “signed up” to receive your updates via a website or app. The emails are obviously vetted through the “Double Opt-In” process (meaning that users are sent a confirmation email before receiving * any * further messages from the blogger), which addresses several stipulations in the “can-SPAM” laws.
Once users are registered on an email list, they will receive new updates from the blogger / list operator. These are determined either by “broadcasts” sent by the blogger, or by an automation system (the main “killer” feature) which provides a granular way to manage the “subscription” process that new users / subscribers may go through.
The automation system is actually quite interesting. It's the first “consumer” level marketing system to provide if / or logic gates for a number of different processes. For example, if the user doesn't click a particular link, they are sent a different set of emails than if they do.
This type of system has been developed before; most specifically with “HubSpot” 's “Buyer's Journey” feature – allowing marketers to map the exact “path” a buyer may take towards the ultimate result delivered by the company. To date, no other email marketing system has this.
Whilst the functionality is good, what matters more are results.
The results of ConvertKit are obviously dependent on the quality of the content their users are publishing. We don't have much insight into this, but * do * have the metrics that ConvertKit is currently running at. They're impressive.
The business of ConvertKit is running at $ 12m per year. This is gross; obviously, they have expenses but that figure suggests they are maintaining a massive array of amazing results for their clients (otherwise they wouldn't keep paying). This points us to the underlying idea that the system itself is able to continue maintaining the service in the most appropriate and effective way possible.
Having used ConvertKit for several clients, the underlying consensus we can give is that it's very effective at providing people with a “base” from which to publish their content. If you run a blog, have any sort of influence online, and are looking at creating a “funnel” to help people interested in buying your products / services, it's one of the few solutions which will actually provide a strong set of information & ideas for anyone looking to get the most out of their marketing.
The service is generally recommended if you're a blogger / “creator”. Anyone else (store owners / e-commerce experts) will likely benefit from the plethora of other systems on the market.