If you’re considering switching to ConvertKit (you should!) and you’re overwhelmed with the setup process, or if you’ve been using ConvertKit for a while now and feel your account it getting out of hand, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be messy. With a little preplanning, you can simplify your ConvertKit account and have an organized account that helps you to accomplish your email marketing goals.
My Strategies to Simplify your ConvertKit Account
Before I give you my strategies to simplify your ConvertKit account, I must mention that ConvertKit offers many different ways to accomplish the same thing. This is great as it allows you to set up your account in a way you understand. However, it can easily become messy if you don’t pick a strategy and stick with it from the start. The recommendations I list below are what I’ve found works best for both myself and my clients. As a ConvertKit Expert, I’ve helped numerous clients migrate to ConvertKit or clean up their ConvertKit account, but every person has unique needs, so there can definitely be exceptions to my “rules”.
If you already have your ConvertKit account set up and feel your current strategy is working for you, that’s great! I do hope you can find one piece of helpful advice, but don’t change what’s working for you. If you feel your current setup is messy, then no worries, you can easily go back and clean up and start using a strategy that works best for you.
Forms are “global” entry points
Subscribers should be added to your account via a form unless a specific integration doesn’t allow for it.
Why I recommend this:
It can be really easy to start adding customers via forms, tags or sequences. But knowing that the first point of entry is always (98% of the time) a form, it’s never a question as to how a subscriber was added. Additionally, you can easily see if a subscriber was previously on a form and unsubscribed or had to be removed.
If you’re worried about having too many forms, they can be “reused”. For example, you can launch your course twice a year but use the same form. You’ll differentiate those launches with tags, which I explain below.
Exception: The exception to this would be what I call detailed entry points. I explain this below but the best example is customer purchases when you have multiple products. They’ll (most likely) be entering via a tag describing what they’ve purchased.
Attach sequences to the form
If you want a subscriber to be added to a sequence after they join, that sequence should be connected via the form settings.
This method is debatable. I know other experts recommend using rules to add subscribers to sequences and ConvertKit is currently recommending using the new visual automation builder to do so. But I still stick with my original recommendation of keeping it all together.
Why I recommend this:
You can easily see on the main dashboard which forms are connected to which sequences and personally I feel using rules or the visual automation builder is just adding clutter to your account. Why have both a form and a rule when you can just have the form?
I do want to address the other options though. One positive about using rules instead is you can have multiple forms connected to the same sequence and if you ever need to change that sequence, it’d be really easy to do so. And while I do agree with this, I don’t think the time-saving measure is worth the additional clutter when it’s not needed.
And to address ConvertKit’s recommendation of using the visual automation builder, as of writing this post (October 2017), it’s still in beta. Some of the features are not completely built out and can be somewhat buggy. Once it’s been fully tested and more functionality is added, this might be the better way to go. I’ll keep you updated! In addition, you can only add up to 5 actions in one automation (ie. only 5 forms can be connected to a sequence in one automation). So, you’d still be adding multiple automations long term and you need to take the additional steps of clicking into the automations to “see” what’s connected.
Tags are for the details
Tags are what you’ll use for preferences, purchase details, course launch timeframes, etc. These are the details about your subscriber. You shouldn’t need a tag for every form or every sequence. That’s cumbersome and just adding more clutter to your account (noticing a theme?). I’ve found clients are easily confused when a subscriber is on Form A and tagged with Form A. If you have multiple forms that lead to one tag (i.e. a “verified” tag or “newsletter” tag), that would make more sense (but not always the best way to go about doing it. Usually I recommend segments, see below).
Bonus tip: Always prefix your tags so it’s easy to understand and they’ll group together better on the subscriber’s page.
Here are few ways I recommend using tags:
For launches or webinars that you offer multiple times (whether it’s monthly, twice a year or yearly), you’d want to tag the subscriber with the course or webinar and the date, for example: “Course Name: 2017” or “Webinar: ConvertKit Basics Fall 2017”.
For purchases, you often want to group everyone together who has purchased a particular product. You’d have a tag for each product, like “Customer: Product A”.
When you want to include custom unsubscribe links, that’s a subscriber’s preference. So, in this case, the tag would be “Unsubscribed: Evergreen Sequence”
Note: For the course and webinar example, the subscribers will still be entering through a form and an automation rule would be set up to assign the correct tag based on the timeframe. Then, for future webinars or launches, you’d only need to create a new dated tag and update the rule to use the new tag.
Segments are for saving filters, data, and groupings
Segments are probably the most underutilized feature in ConvertKit and I think that’s because most people don’t understand them or know how to utilize them.
If you were to play with the segment feature, you’d notice it looks exactly like how you choose subscribers when sending a broadcast. And that’s because – it is the same! I like to think of segments as saved filters at its core. But you can do more advanced segmenting with it too.
Here are 5 examples of how I use segments:
If you want all of your subscribers to receive your weekly newsletter, but you’ve set up a custom unsubscribe link and want to make sure they are properly excluded. You’d save a “Newsletter” segment and choose None of the “Unsubscribe: Newsletter” tag.
If you’re currently in a launch and you want to exclude anyone who has already purchased from you, you’d save a “Fall 2017 Course Launch” segment with All subscribers except those tagged “Course: Fall 2017”. You’d also want to include those who unsubscribed from the course launch emails too, like in the Newsletter example above.
If you want to get an idea of how many people have joined your monthly webinar in 2017, you’d save a “Monthly Webinar – 2017” segment and choose all the associated webinar tags (ie. “Webinar: Monthly January”, “Webinar: Monthly February”, etc.). You could also select “ALL” from the drop down to find out who has joined every single webinar this year. Depending on how long you’ve used your Webinar form, you may be able to look at this stat via the form instead.
If you’re wondering what percentage of your list has purchased from you, you could save a “Customers” segment and choose all the tags with the “Customer:” prefix (also include any paid programs you may have as well). You’ll then have a total number of subscribers who have purchased (without overlap) and you can do the simple math to find the percentage of your list that purchased.
If you blog about multiple topics and you’re wanting to send an email to only those interested in “Topic A”, you could save a “Interest: Topic A” segment that includes all the opt-in freebie forms related to that topic or any of your products that are related to that topic.
There are many times I create a segment, but don’t save it just to see some of these numbers. Data can be a powerful thing!
Automation rules connect the necessary elements
I try to keep my rules to a minimum. If you couldn’t already tell, I do not like extra clutter in my (or my client’s) accounts. Mainly I use rules for link triggers (no other option currently) and to assign the detailed tags (ie. “Course Name: Fall 2017”).
The main recommendation for any rules is to combine as many as you can (see image below). The triggers (first column) are an “OR”, while the actions are “AND”. So you can include multiple link triggers (or multiple form entries) in the same rule to tag a subscriber. This will help keep the rule clutter to a minimum.
Bonus tip: ConvertKit rolled out a feature where you can create a link trigger within your email while editing. This is awesome and very useful, but be sure to check that you haven’t already created the same link trigger combination. Otherwise, it can be really easy to clutter up the rules (as seen below).
If you’re interested in setting up your own ConvertKit account, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial. If you want some help to simplify your ConvertKit account, you can view my services here or contact me. I’d be happy to help you!