Email marketing is essential to grow your health and wellness business online. Whether you’re a health coach, yoga teacher, personal trainer, nutritionist or other wellness entrepreneur, whether you want to work with clients in person or online, wherever you live in the world – you need an email marketing tool.
I’ve personally used three of the most popular email marketing systems: MailChimp, Aweber and ConvertKit. ConvertKit is the best by far, in my experience, and it’s the tool I recommend for most (but not all!) of my clients.
In this review I’ll explain how ConvertKit works, the pros and cons of ConvertKit for wellness businesses, and the specific cases where you might try another tool first. If you’d like to learn more, I’ve also interviewed the founder of ConvertKit, Nathan Barry, on my podcast, you can listen to our interview here.
I’ve also got a special ConvertKit offer for Wellpreneur community members, read to the end of the post to get it!
Why Does Your Wellness Business Need an Email Marketing Tool?
If you ever read an article that says “email is dead! Use X instead”, don’t believe it. Those articles appear from time to time, and so far, have never resulted in a good alternative to email.
If you are growing a wellness business in 2018, you need to build an email list of potential customers.
Yes, you can contact customers through social media – but it’s not as reliable as email. Social media platforms are constantly changing. As see regularly with Facebook, they’ll change the rules, which means your posts are seen by fewer and fewer visitors – unless you pay to promote your posts.
Email puts you in control of your marketing.
When a potential customer gives her permission for you to email her, she’s say that she wants to hear from you. Your email is available to her when she wants to read it, on her laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You don’t need to rely on paying to boost a post or hoping she checks a social media platform.
Sure, email has drawbacks too. She might not read your emails (in which case, it’s time to work on your copywriting skills – and make sure you’re offering real value in every email, not just selling!), or she might unsubscribe (which is perfectly fine – you only want people on your email list who WANT to be there.) But still, today, email is the best way we have to keep in touch with customers, build a relationship, and make offers for our products online.
What Email Marketing Features are Essential for Wellness Businesses?
You’re going to use email marketing in your wellness business for a few reasons:
- Build a list of interested prospects
- Nurture your relationship with current and future customers
- Making offers of your products, services, events etc.
- and possibly … deliver online programs or products through email.
Let’s look at what features you need in each case.
Email Marketing Features to Build a List of Interested Prospects
Building a list of interested prospects is essential to growing your wellness business. Not everyone is ready to buy when they first learn about your company. You’ll want to add potential customers to an email list, so you can keep in touch with them and build your relationship, until they’re ready to buy.
Here are the key features you need in an email marketing tool to build your email list:
- Create multiple lists of potential customers, that you can sort and segment in multiple ways (this is important so you could track who signed up during one of your workshops vs. who was a referral vs. who is interested in one product specifically)
- Automatically deliver an email or a document to new subscribers (an “opt-in freebie”)
- Easy to use signup forms that you can put on your website or social media
- Ability to capture first name, last name and email address
- One-click unsubscribe for customers, so they can remove themselves from your email list quickly.
Email Marketing Features to Nurture your Relationship with Current and Future Customers
You’ll want to regularly email your subscribers, to share useful information and give them updates about your products and services. You can do this through an email newsletter, or an auto-responder which is an automated series of emails. The goal of sending emails is to build your relationship (by letting customers know you, like you and trust you through your regular, high-quality email content.)
Here are the key features to nurture your email list:
- Send automated sequences of emails to different groups of subscribers (also called ‘auto-responders’). Some tools only allow one autoresponder to go to your entire list. You want to be able to send different groups/segments of subscribers different email sequences. For example, you might have one follow-up sequence for workshop attendees, but a different sequence for customers who purchased a certain product.
- Send one-off “broadcast” emails to your subscribers (some or all of them). This is an email newsletter.
- Get metrics about who opened / clicked your emails
- Ability to ‘split test’ subject lines, so you can find the best subject lines for your subscribers to increase your open rate
- Ability to ‘tag’ subscribers who show interest in a product by clicking links in your email
- Ability to filter and remove ‘cold subscribers’ who are not engaging with your emails
Email Marketing Features to Make Offers of Your Products, Services, Events etc.
Of course once you have built a relationship with your email subscribers, you want to make offers for your products and services. Here are the features you’ll want to look for:
- Ability to send one-off (“broadcast”) or automated sequences (“autoresponders”)
- Ability to tag subscribers who show interest in a product/service by clicking a link in your email
- Ability to follow-up with just those interested subscribers
- Automation capability to send different subscribers different offers, based on their behavior
- Ability to tag subscribers who have purchased from you, so you can send them different communications (for example, a ‘new customer’ welcome sequence, or even just exclude them from promotions of the product they’ve already purchased!)
Email Marketing Features Deliver Online Programs or Products Through Email.
Whether you run an online or offline business, you might like to create an online program or product. This could include an email course, eBook, video series or many other digital product options (I talk about these options in-depth in my book Wellpreneur.)
If you’re going to deliver online products or programs, you’ll want these features in your email marketing tool:
- Ability to tag who has purchased that product or program.
- Ability to send automated sequences of emails to purchasers.
- Ability to exclude customers of that product/program from future promotions of it.
- Integration with your purchasing platform or website.
- Metrics about deliver, open and click rates, so you can see how your content is being consumed.
ConvertKit for Wellness Entrepreneurs – Pros
ConvertKit is a robust, easy to use email marketing platform that was designed for professional bloggers. However, if your business uses any sort of content marketing (where you nurture potential customers through blogs, email newsletters, autoresponders etc), ConvertKit is worth exploring further to compare it against your current tool.
The big positives about using ConvertKit for your wellness business are:
- Extremely flexible tagging + segmenting of subscribers. This is HUGELY important! Mailchimp makes it very difficult to offer multiple opt-in freebies. You have to either create separate lists (a headache when you want to send an email newsletter to all your subscribers), or you need to work with their clunky “groups” feature. ConvertKit simply has subscribers, who are tagged based on a number of criteria. You can easily sort, segment and filter your subscribers based on – what freebie/form they signed up for, what products they’ve bought, when they subscribed, what links they clicked etc. I can’t stress enough how many options and flexibility for the future ConvertKit gives you to manage your subscribers!
- Easy to understand, useful metrics about your emails – it’s easy to see your open + click rates, and also to contact only those subscribers who opened or clicked (or who didn’t!)
- Simple delivery of opt-in gifts/freebies. This ability is built right into the signup form.
- Easy to have Multiple opt-in gifts/freebies – this is a huge differentiator with Mailchimp. If you think you will one more than one opt-in gift, then do not waste your time on Mailchimp.
- Easy Email Sequences (auto-responders). You can create multiple email sequences, and decide who receives them and when. You can use these sequences to welcome new subscribers, sell a product or program, or even deliver a digital product.
- Easy to re-send your same emails to non-opens. Since typical email open rates are around 20-30%, you can easily resend the most important emails to people who did not open (possibly even changing the subject line to make it more interesting)
- Advanced Email Automation – this feature is for more advanced email marketers. You can setup an entire automation sequence, to create a ‘customer journey’ based on behavior. Send subscribers different emails depending on what they opened or clicked. This is done through a combination of tags and rules, and the brand new graphical ‘automation engine’ so you can see a flowchart of what your subscribers will receive. This Is Awesome!
ConvertKit for Wellness Entrepreneurs – Cons
In 3 years of using ConvertKit for myself and with clients, here are the objections and negatives I’ve uncovered. Whether these are negatives for you, depends on how you’re planning to use email marketing in your business.
- Not as easy as Mailchimp to make pretty HTML emails. I send plain text emails, because I think they feel more personal. However, I know many wellpreneurs like to make pretty graphical emails with images and a fancy ‘newsletter’ style layout. It IS possible to do this in ConvertKit, but you need to ‘bring your own template’. You would need an HTML template that you can upload into ConvertKit. This is the only feature Mailchimp has going for it, in my opinion, that it makes it so easy to choose from pre-designed HTML email layouts. If you want to have an HTML email layout in ConvertKit, you could create one yourself, or buy one from a designer through a site like fiverr.com or upwork.com. It IS really easy to simply upload a header image for your email. But if you want something more designed than that, you’re going to need to get a template.
- Basic sign up forms. There are 3 types of signup forms and one landing page included with ConvertKit. You can customize them however you want if you know CSS. For most of us who don’t, that means you’ll have limited ability to customize your signup form on your website. You can change the wording and the colors, but that’s about it. You can make your signup forms fit with your branding by:
- Simply changing the text + the colors on the standard form.
- Using the “Naked” form, and putting any images and text directly on your website (I normally do this)
- Use a website plugin which integrates with ConvertKit and lets you design a form (I’ve previously used a WordPress plugin called “Magic Action Box”)
- Customize the CSS for the form, then you can make it anything you want! (You might need to hire someone to do this unless you know CSS)
- ConvertKit is a paid service. This is another objection I get from new wellness entrepreneurs – that they don’t want to pay for an email marketing service. Unlike Mailchimp, ConvertKit does not have a free plan. Here’s my opinion on it: if you want online to be a big part of your business, then don’t waste time starting with a free tool that’s less flexible, and then having to migrate to ConvertKit in the future – just start with ConvertKit! Your email list is one of your most important assets for your wellness business, because it’s your potential customers! If you’re primarily wanting to build an in-person business, or just have a side hobby, or aren’t planning to do much online, then starting with a free tool like Mailchimp is fine. But if you’re serious about building your business online, save yourself the headache and just start with ConvertKit.
For me, these three negatives so minimal compared to the power and flexibility of ConvertKit.
ConvertKit for Wellness Entrepreneurs – The Verdict
I believe ConvertKit is the best email marketing tool for building a health and wellness business online. I’ve personally used it for 3 years, with an email list of over 10,000 subscribers. It’s powerful, professional and flexible. For most wellness entrepreneurs who want to build a business online, ConvertKit is the best choice.
However, if you’re planning to work primarily in person, don’t want to create online products/programs or do much online marketing, or if your wellness business is a side-project or hobby, then you can go with a free solution like MailChimp.
Especially if you plan to do content marketing in your business, and have more than one email opt-in freebie, you are going to love the flexibility you get with ConvertKit.
Free Month of ConvertKit for the Wellpreneur Community
I’m an affiliate partner of ConvertKit, so they’ve created a special offer for the wellpreneur community.
If you join ConvertKit through my link below, you’ll get one month of ConvertKit free and you’ll get access to my exclusive 30-minute ConvertKit training video for wellpreneurs!
Here’s what you need to do:
Here’s how to claim your 1 free month of ConvertKit AND my exclusive ConvertKit training:
- Join ConvertKit by clicking through this link and signing up for a new account.
- Forward a copy of your email receipt from purchasing ConvertKit to:
info AT wellpreneur.com
- Check your email within 24 hours, you’ll receive an email from us with a link to access the exclusive training!
I hope you enjoy using ConvertKit for your email marketing as much as I do!