What happens when you migrate 14,000 subscribers from Mailchimp to ConvertKit? Better results with less work. Here’s why.

Case study Email Marketing
8 min read
In this Article

Chris Ferdinandi teaches JavaScript to early-career web developers and designers who want to transition into code.

He does this through free emails five times a week, as well as paid resources like ebooks, courses, and workshops under the Go Make Things umbrella.

Chris’ daily emails go out to more than 14,000 subscribers. The kicker? After a decade of running his email list on Mailchimp, he moved his subscribers to ConvertKit in early 2022.

Go Make Things’ subscriber growth, including 2,000+ people who have purchased products but aren’t subscribed to daily emails.

With Mailchimp, Chris had to put together patches and workarounds for features and integrations he needed but didn’t have. Tasks that used to take hours of customization and coding only take minutes with ConvertKit.

“By the time I left, every little thing I wanted to do with Mailchimp was a difficult, confusing task. And almost everything I go to do in ConvertKit is a simple, straightforward, easy-to-do kind of thing,” says Chris.

Here’s how he uses ConvertKit to grow his list with daily emails, build personalized funnels, and nurture thousands of subscribers and customers—and what made him move to ConvertKit in the first place.

1. Seamlessly personalized emails through automations

Chris sells evergreen courses and ebooks, and also runs paid workshops once per quarter. His priority is to make sure subscribers only receive relevant emails about these promotions and not offers for products they’ve already purchased.

This is where timely subscriber tagging and segmenting is crucial. With Mailchimp, Chris had two overarching issues:

  1. For live workshop promotion, Chris had to manually recreate sequences from past promotions, specifically add subscribers to each sequence, and make sure he didn’t accidentally overlap them (i.e. send two sets of emails to the same person). This took many hours every time he would run a workshop.
  2. For regular product promotion, like mentioning a product in the email footer, Mailchimp would delay tagging people who purchased specific products because of the double opt-in, or it would add a tag but not add people to the right segment. As a result, subscribers would get offers for products they already owned.

With ConvertKit, these issues disappeared. Chris now uses automations in ConvertKit to tag subscribers based on the product they purchased and to kick off a sales sequence without doing any extra work. It’s how his subscribers only receive promotions relevant to their journey so far.

My funnel is all set up, so when I tag my subscribers with the automation-specific tag, it kicks off the sales sequence, and then I forget about it, and that's it. I don't have to do anything else. I add this tag once per quarter and the automation just runs itself. That alone has saved me hours every three or four months.

Some of the automations running in the back end of Go Make Things’ email list.

If a subscriber isn’t interested in what Chris is promoting in a current email sequence, they can click a link in the footer that opts them out of that sales cycle. This was much harder to do in Mailchimp because the only option was to let subscribers select their preferences in a form which was often unclear and confusing.

For people who have completed a workshop, Chris has an alumni tag that sets off another set of automations. That’s how his customers receive further tips on how to get the most out of what they’ve learned.

Product-specific automations for existing customers of Go Make Things’ guides and workshops.

All of this happens in the back end while Chris can focus on serving his subscribers and customers. That’s the power of tags, rules, sequences, and automations in ConvertKit.

I've invested a lot of time in automating a lot of things because I’m a one-person business.

2. Smooth subscriber experience out of the box

Mailchimp made it difficult for Chris to use multiple lead magnets and opt-in forms. If someone was already on his email list for his daily newsletter but then signed up to hear about the next workshop or to download a lead magnet, Mailchimp’s native form would show an error: “You’re already signed up for this list.”

This created lots of friction and confusion for subscribers.

To bypass this, Chris had to implement a few custom solutions. He wrote his own HTML opt-in forms and used Mailchimp’s API to add subscribers to different tags and get around the error.

ConvertKit is the complete opposite. You create different forms and landing pages for different offers and lead magnets, and ConvertKit manages that subscriber’s information behind the scenes—even if they’re already on your list. The subscriber sees a success message or a thank you page you’ve set up, and can jump into your email or download right away.

One of my big concerns with ConvertKit was having to redo all that custom work from Mailchimp in a different API. I eventually realized it didn't matter because ConvertKit’s out-of-the-box solution did all the stuff I had to use the API for in the first place.

Choose from dozens of landing page templates for your lead magnets, waiting lists, promotions, and more.

3. Knowing he’s set up for long-term success

Chris has enjoyed his experience with ConvertKit from day one:

This spans across every feature and facet of ConvertKit’s creator marketing platform—here are the five threads of Chris’ positive experience with it.

1. The migration experience

Chris qualified for ConvertKit’s free concierge migration service, but he chose to do it himself as he likes to see and understand how everything is mapped over and how it works under the hood.

Even though Mailchimp maps its groups and tags differently to ConvertKit, the move was smooth and quick.

It was just a ‘one click, wait 15 minutes’ type of thing. All of my subscribers were there right after—it was incredibly painless.

2. Up-to-date knowledge base

ConvertKit’s library of resources and guides for users was another thing that stood out to Chris. He didn’t like that Mailchimp had lots of old articles that referenced deprecated parts of the software—they were outdated and made every task longer and messier.

With ConvertKit, when I need to do something but didn’t know how, I search for it and almost always find the exact article that talks very specifically about what it is and how to do it.

3. Efficient customer support

For those times Chris can’t figure something out himself, or there isn’t an article in the knowledge base, he uses the chat feature inside ConvertKit’s dashboard. “Having that situation when I have a question, type it into the chat window, and a minute later I’ve got a live person helping me use the software is just incredible,” Chris adds.

The first time this happened is what prompted him to tweet this:

4. Daily emails through RSS

Chris’ substantial email list growth started when moved his emails from a weekly digest to a daily, educational newsletter in March of 2017. He reached 1,000 subscribers in under a year and 3,000 in the following year. He was stuck at less than 40 subscribers for months before that switch.

This is because he publishes his daily articles on his website and uses RSS to email them to his subscribers. Daily emails are almost his exclusive marketing channel that generate momentum, engagement, and social media shares.

When ConvertKit released the RSS to email feature, Chris knew it’s the right choice for his email marketing efforts.

5. An intuitive user interface made for creators

Chris used Mailchimp for about a decade, but the software became more and more clunky and difficult to use the longer he used it. “When they started to compete with Constant Contact and added social media features, the user interface got progressively worse. For example, Mailchimp’s equivalent of a sequence would break at a simple attempt to rearrange the order in which events happen,” he explains.

ConvertKit’s goal is to help creators build an engaged list of fans and earn an income from it. The dashboard and all features, menus, and options are designed to make that as easy as possible.

I haven’t seen ConvertKit try to veer into a million directions. Everything is focused on this lens of creators and for me, that makes the whole product a lot easier to use. It’s really easy to find things in ConvertKit. I’m not jumping all over the place trying to remember where to go to do certain things. I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s just a better experience, period.

Achieve more by doing less with ConvertKit

Your email marketing platform shouldn’t create more work. It should help you get more mileage out of every piece of content you create.

With ConvertKit, you can use intuitive features like tags, sequences, and automations to deliver the right emails to the right person, including new subscribers, long-term fans, and existing customers.

Feeling ready to give your marketing a fresh start this summer?

Tired of your email marketing setup?

Stop with the work arounds and feeling stuck with your setup? Try ConvertKit and see how an email marketing system is supposed to work.

Get a fresh start

Marijana Kay

Marijana Kay is a freelance writer for leading B2B SaaS companies. She uses data-backed, actionable content to help them hit and exceed their growth goals. In her spare time, she collects books and logs running miles.

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