This isn’t a post to explain why you should be building an email list. If you’re still not sure of that, head over to the article on growing a mailing list and start with that. But you do need a mailing list, and getting people on to it should be the primary focus of your marketing activities.
Once we accept that we need a mailing list, working out how to manage it can be daunting. You need one that supports drip/funnel marketing campaigns, so just using your email account isn’t going to do.
For bloggers, the options boil down to:
If you’re going to be building an eCommerce business in the future, you may also want to consider Drip.
Let’s look at each of the options.
MailChimp for bloggers
Cost: From $0 per month
MailChimp is probably the most famous of the mailing list providers out there. They’ve been around forever, are reliable and have excellent support.
If you were running an old-fashioned weekly email newsletter, I’d probably recommend that you use them. I have, and for simple campaigns have never had any problems.
When it comes to running marketing funnels though, I find they are less easy to use than other options. Drip and funnel campaigns have been added later rather than as the default campaign type, and it shows. Editing emails in a funnel can be a time-consuming business, and the overview of all of your campaigns is less easy to understand at a glance.
They do offer a free plan for people with fewer than 2000 subscribers, but after that, they are not cheap. If your blog works out you should be past 2000 subscribers pretty fast.
Some people recommend that you start with MailChimp then move to a more advanced service when you get to 2000 users.
I do not.
Changing services is time-consuming, and making sure all of your subscribers, their status, and any existing funnels come over without breaking anything is not a quick and easy job.
If you really can’t afford to pay for mailing list software yet then do start with MailChimp, but otherwise, you should be using:
ConvertKit for bloggers
Cost: From $29 per month
ConvertKit is the bloggers mailing list software of choice, and for good reason. It’s easy to use, it integrates with everything, and the support is excellent.
While most mailing list providers will do a good enough job for you, ConvertKit was explicitly built for bloggers, and as a result, the whole product is designed to make you money. Their competitors try to be a jack of all trades, ConvertKit is focussed just on you.
With powerful WordPress integration allowing you to tag your subscribers based on many actions (right down to which of your pages they have visited) and simple one-click editing of all your email campaigns, ConvertKit will make it easy to setup and take advantage of your list.
I strongly suggest that if you can afford it, you choose ConvertKit. It’ll make life easier.
Cost: From $41 per month (technically from $0, but only for 100 users, so I’m not counting that!)
I include Drip even though I do not recommend it if you only plan to build a blog and sell virtual products.
Because for an eCommerce business it can be incredibly powerful. If you plan to end up selling physical things, perhaps via Shopify, then Drip is very good. I use it for Hamtun Watches, and it provides considerable value.
Drip has good integrations and is focussed on being what they call an eCRM. With Amazon and their powerful algorithms sweeping up so much of the online shopping revenue, Drip is trying to help the little guys fight back via powerful tools to help put the right products in front of the right people.
So which mailing list software should I use?