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Flodesk is the new kid on the block when it comes to email marketing platforms and it is proving to be very popular. But should you use it? Is it better than the alternatives?
In this Flodesk vs Convertkit comparison guide, I will be comparing it side-by-side with another super popular email marketing platform and the one I use personally.
For the sake of comparing Convertkit with Flodesk, I registered for an account with Flodesk to check it out for my self. There were some features I liked a lot and others which really concerned me.
Overall, I would describe Flodesk as that glitzy little dress you can’t wait to wear but it’s actually not all that practical and can only be worn for special occasions so sits in your wardrobe looking pretty without being particularly helpful. Convertkit on the other hand is your little black dress – you will get so much use from it that will make it much more cost-effective over time. You will never regret investing money in the perfect little black dress!
The beautiful email designs and sleek Flodesk website are more than a little tempting but when all is said and done, Convertkit is a more robust, powerful and useful email marketing tool.
Whilst it may be a little less sexy, Convertkit is the email provider that has the most power to grow your business.
That said, everyone’s blog or business has different needs and so there are likely a few exceptions to the rule and I will be discussing them inside this Convertkit vs Flodesk guide.
So stay tuned because we are going to compare them side by side so that I can help you to decide which email marketing platform is better for you.
Overview of Flodesk vs Convertkit
|Free trial||30 days||14 days|
|Price||$38/month fixed||Starts at $29 for paid plans|
|Able to sell digital products directly without 3rd party tool?||No||Yes|
|Segmentation||Limited – segments only||Excellent – tags and segments|
|Ease of use||Very beginner-friendly||I personally found it very easy to use, others find it a learning curve|
|Customer support||Emails and Facebook group||Chatbox, email, forum, Facebook group|
|Email designs||Beautiful (but comes at a price.)||Simple (though I personally think this is best for deliverability)|
|Form and page templates||Beautiful, fewer options||More options|
|Integrations||Very limited||Over 70 integrations|
|Able to repurpose content||Some repurposing||Excels with repurposing|
|Best for…||Brands where design is super important eg photographers, interior designers, Etsy store owners||Anyone serious about growing and monetising an email list with either their own products or affiliate products|
In general, Flodesk offers really beautiful design features and keeps things very simplistic which will please complete beginners.
However, I feel that once you get beyond the design aspects, there are a lot of frustration limitations with Flodesk both in terms of functionality and deliverability. Convertkit is slightly more boring to look at perhaps but infinitely more functional than Flodesk.
Convertkits easy and advanced tagging system allows you to track your audience’s behaviours better helping you to deliver content they are more likely to consume and take action on.
I’m also low-key obsessed with the repurposing facilities in Convertkit which saves me a lot of time. In fact, there are several ways I save time using Convertkit which I will delve into later in this article.
In general, I would say choose Flodesk if you are in a niche where design is more important than deliverability. For example; interior designers, photographers and Etsy store owners.
For everyone else, I would recommend choosing Convertkit.
Are there any alternatives worth considering?
Mailerlite might be worth a look. It’s free until you have 1000 subscribers however it can be glitchy, overly complicated and doesn’t offer many of the advanced features that Convertkit does. It will also work out more expensive than Flodesk when you surpass 2500 subscribers.
But whilst it is by no means perfect, Mailerlite remains one of the best free options on the market (for those with under 1000 subscribers.)
Read next: Mailerlite vs Convertkit Comaprison.
I would recommend avoiding Mailchimp though for many reasons. Partly because they can be difficult about you using affiliate links inside your emails and their terms and conditions are very vague.
They allow affiliate links but not affiliate marketing (I think they mean ONLY promoting affiliate links) but they have a blacklist which they don’t allow but don’t publish which affiliate programmes are on that list!
Their deliverability and automation features are also not great so I’d advise giving Mailchimp a wide berth!
I used Mailchimp when I first started blogging and I swiftly moved on!
Pros and cons of Flodesk
Okay, let’s look at Flodesk first…
- There’s no denying it, Flodesk emails are just jaw-droppingly beautiful.
- Flodesk is very simplistic which will be appealing to beginners.
- There is a fixed fee for unlimited subscribers so you know exactly what you will be paying from month to month. And it’s pretty affordable as email platforms go!
- The stylized emails potential come at a cost – lower deliverability meaning fewer of your emails will get read than if you opted for plain text emails.
- There is currently no free option aside from a 30-day trial.
- There is no option to tag subscribers based on behaviour. Only having segmentations is very limiting.
- Some workflows are more time consuming
Pros and Cons of Convertkit
- It is a more robust, powerful platform
- Better customer service with a chatbox
- Advanced tagging and segmentation saves time and leads to better monetisation opportunities.
- There is a free plan
- You can utilise email sequences without worrying about a person receiving them more than once
- Offers A/B testing
- Has very high deliverability scores – outperforming all other platforms. (As of September 2020.) This means more of your emails will get read.
- The price can be a little steep once you have a lot of subscribers.
- The free version doesn’t currently offer automations.
Detailed Side-by-Side Comparison Convertkit vs Flodesk
Okay, let’s delve into this in a little more detail. I’m going to compare both email marketing platforms side by side for 10 different important aspects. I’m hoping this will help you choose which is best for you and your business.
Is Flodesk or Convertkit easier to use?
Personally, I found transitioning to Convertkit from Mailerlite so so easy and the way Convertkit is set out just makes sense to me. So I would say Convertkit is extremely easy to use. That said, I have heard others say they found it a learning curve.
What is really helpful is that they have both a blog and a forum so if you do have a question, it’s very easy to get it answered quickly. The chatbox feature is also super helpful when you are learning your way around.
Flodesk on the other hand, is extremely simplistic and beginner-friendly. It guides you around the site with prompts which I think for beginners would be helpful but once you’ve got the hang of it, I could definitely see these prompts becoming annoying.
Winner: Flodesk – just!
Which has the best deliverability and gets better open rates: Converkit or Flodesk?
Deliverability refers to how many of the emails you send that land in the primary inbox vs promo tab vs spam folder vs go missing entirely.
Convertkit has incredible deliverability scores – coming out on top when compared to 11 of the most popular platforms in this deliverability report in 2020. It scored an impressive 96% with other popular platforms like Aweber scoring just 83% and Active Campaign scoring a low 73%. That means that more than 1 in 4 emails sent from Active Campaign will never get to the inbox! Crazy!
Unfortunately, Flodesk was one of the few platforms not included in that report, probably as it is fairly new. So it’ll be interesting to see how it fares this year.
I read around 5 or 6 articles written by bloggers who moved to Flodesk and all reported a drop in open rates.
This doesn’t really surprise me though. You see Flodesks priority is aesthetic whereas Convertkits is deliverability. The beautiful email designs Flodesk is known for may actually be the main reason people are experiencing lower open rates.
The additional styling elements inside Flodesks emails means that they look more like brand promotional emails. Therefore, they are more likely to get sent to Gmail’s promo tab. Many people ignore their promo tab leading to reduced open rates which further reduces deliverability.
Compare that to the plainer emails which Convertkit offers; they look a little more like the sort of email a friend would send, right? That’s why plain text emails have such high deliverability rates when compared to emails with all the bells and whistles.
So yes, the emails are beautiful, but there is a trade-off for this and it’s very likely that you will experience reduced deliverability with Flodesk when compared to Convertkit.
Which has the best segmentation features: Flodesk or Convertkit?
Convertkit wins hands down here.
Flodesk has tried to simplify everything and in my mind, they have gone too far. They only offer segments without tags whereas Convertkit offers both.
Why do you need both? Well, because they serve different purposes.
The tags I apply are very specific whereas segments are much broader. This means I can collect a LOT of information about my audience without having to select every single tag to include in an email. I can send emails out to broader segments unless I want to get very targeted, in which case I would select one or two tags.
Let me explain with an example.
When someone joins my email list for my 5 day free affiliate marketing course, I know they are interested in affiliates so I add them to my affiliate marketing segment. Then when I go to write an email about the topic I send it to that whole segment. Easy.
But what if I want to send a sales email promoting my affiliate course, Affiliate Marketing Superstars? I probably only want to send it to a portion of that segment. For example, I might want to exclude people who have already purchased or who have told me they are not interested (so I don’t annoy them.)
So I have tags for
- AMS students
- Opted-out of AMS promotional emails
I can now send that email to that segment whilst excluding people with both of those tags.
And it’s not just for those who sell products, this is useful for anyone with an email list.
Say, for example, someone clicks on a link in a newsletter to my article about Canva hacks. I can tag them as interested in Canva. I am an affiliate for Canva Pro and so now next time Canva has a promotion on, I can let those interested people know without annoying the rest.
This means higher open rates, higher affiliate earnings and fewer unsubscribes.
Convertkit actually goes one step further to make their tagging system seriously amazing!
You can add a tag whenever you add a link to your email. It takes 2 seconds. To add someone to a segment in Flodesk, you have to set up a whole workflow for it. It’s still fairly simple, but realistically it’s going to add an extra 5 minutes and so you may find yourself not bothering and regretting it down the track.
Also, if I set up a workflow every time I wanted to add a tag to someone who clicked a link, I would have hundreds of workflows! That sounds like an organisational nightmare! So the reality is, you’re going to segment your list less often in Flodesk compared to Convertkit.
And I cannot stress the importance of segmentation enough. It really can be the difference between make or break when it comes to running a successful newsletter!
Which email service provider has the best visual automation builder?
Both platforms have very similar drag and drop visual automation builder. Each automated workflow is made up of triggers, delays, conditions and actions, all colour coded.
What I did like with Flodesk was that one of the condition was if someone opened an email. This could be handy.
However, in general, Flodesk lacked a lot of the features I would say are essential. Like being able to exclude certain tags from receiving emails. I use this feature in Convertkit a lot.
Like for example, if I am sending a sales email, it’s vital that I exclude the people who have already purchased the product. No one wants to hear about a sale when they purchased at full price 3 weeks ago right? As a shopping addict, I can attest that it is the worst feeling when I see that dress I bought full price end up on the sale rack!
Convertkit also offers a lot more advanced conditions using a combination of tags such as has tag a+b but not c. Most people will never require this but it’s nice to know it’s there just in case!
Which email marketing software has the best customer support team?
Currently, Flodesk offers email support and also has a Facebook group where you may be able to get assistance from other users whilst awaiting for the admin team to respond to your query.
Convertkit offers both of these options too but also has;
- a forum where you can see previous questions and answers
- a blog with more in-depth articles about both how-tos and best practice information.
- a chat box so that you can chat directly with someone from the team. You don’t always get a response immediately (if the chatbot can’t help) but it’s pretty fast and very convenient as you don’t have to navigate away to ask questions.
Email design – which platform has better design features?
If design aesthetics are your thing then you will love Flodesk. It does design REALLY well and the emails and templates are all seriously gorgeous. Even the more simple text-based templates somehow ooze class.
As mentioned above, having beautiful emails often also means they don’t get seen as more land in the promotions or spam folders.
But sometimes, a beautiful email design is essential to land more work. For example, this might be the case for photographers, calligraphers, graphic designers, interior designers or those promoting an Etsy store.
If you are in one of these niches then I think you should consider Flodesk. Yes, your reach will be lower but in your case, it might still pay off as you are relying heavily on visuals and your branding.
For everyone else (most bloggers, coaches, digital product owners or information-based companies,) your priority should be reaching as many inboxes as possible. So step away from the pretty templates, you know it’s not good for you…
Convertkit emails might not be as gorgeous to look at but plain text emails are more effective. And keep in mind when choosing your email marketing tool that getting your emails read should be your primary objective.
Sign up forms and landing pages – dose Convertkit or Flodesk have more options?
Convertkit offers a lot more options here.
For example, Flodesk only offers inline or pop-up signup forms whereas Convertkit offers Inline, modal, slide-in and sticky bar options.
There is also less choice for each form type. So for example, Flodesk has four inline options whilst Convertkit offers nine.
Flodesk also only has one option for a landing page which is really just a glorified form with a landing page URL. Sometimes you want to include a little more information on these pages such as the problem your lead magnet solves and the benefits it offers. Convertkit offers many options for page designs for this purpose.
One way around this is to create landing pages on your website using a page builder like Elementor.
Which has the best email campaigns?
The email campaign/broadcast editor is very simple for both.
In Convertkit you just select your chosen template and start typing inside the email editor. If you want to add personalisation of HTML code or an image, you just click the plus sign on the side.
In Flodesk, you can select different boxes eg text, image, video or dividers etc. It’s got more of a drag and drop feel.
Convertkit allows you to put your own descriptive names to the email to remind you what it was for so you don’t have to rely on the email title. So for example, if I was promoting my course AMS, I might add AMS promo 1, AMS promo 2, AMS reminder deal ending etc. Only I can see those descriptions.
Also, Convertkit allows you to add HTML to emails which is useful for example if a deal is ending (my own or affiliate) I can insert a countdown timer using a free tool Motion Mail.
Winner: It’s another win for Convertkit.
Is Flodesk or Convertkit better at reporting email statistics?
I do like the visual graphs that you get with Flodesk – again excelling with aesthetics! Also, the additional information about the choice of device could be useful.
However, Convertkit does offer more statistics which are super useful.
For example, I can click on any person and see not only which tags and segments they are assigned to but also which emails they have opened and which emails they have clicked on.
I often get subscribers who email me saying they haven’t received it so I check here and it shows it’s been delivered but not opened. I let them know and funny enough, they do a search and there it is! So I do use this feature quite a bit!
Which has better features: Flodesk vs Convertkit?
Flodesk tries to keep things simple but in doing so, it offers fewer features. Some of these features I use a lot in Convertkit.
You cannot A/B test email titles in Flodesk. A/B testing can be really useful.
How A/B testing works in Convertkit is that you put in two options for email heading. 15% of your list will receive the email with heading 1 and 15% will receive the email with heading 2. Whichever performs best (both opens and click-throughs are analysed) after 4 hours, gets sent to the remaining 70%
Not only does this help you get better open rates with the original email but it can also be useful for making improvements going forward. It can help compare two variables side-by-side so that you can see what is working and can analyse why and then do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.
Also, if you decide to reuse an email campaign in an automated sequence, you can choose to use the more successful email heading from the original email.
Selling Digital products
Selling digital products, courses and services can be a lucrative way to add a new income stream to your blog or business. Until recently, you needed to have a 3rd party payment processor but Convertkit recently bought in an option to be able to sell products or services from within the platform. This is even available for those on the free Convertkit plan!
You will pay a small transaction fee + small percentage commission to Convertkit so it may or may not work out cost-effective to host your products on Convertkit. But for those just starting who are not sure if they will sell any at all, this can be a zero-risk way to start selling products without any upfront investment.
This could be a real game-changer for some bloggers and product/service owners just starting out!
Re-purposing email sequences.
Instead of adding single emails to an automation. Convertkit splits things up into a chain of email sequences. Each email sequence can have any number of emails. It might contain just 1 or have 20 emails. The best thing about these sequences is that they can be re-used in more than one automation.
If someone happens to join more than one automation (e.g. they sign up for more than one freebie,) Convertkit is clever and identifies this and the person will skip straight past the sequence of emails they have already received.
Let’s use Canva as an example again.
Say someone signs up for your PDF guide to create a lead magnet because they want to grow their email list. Another person signs up to get your free Pinterest templates because they want to grow their blog traffic. Both of these people are likely to be interested in Canva.
Therefore you could reuse your sequence about Canva hacks and then perhaps another sequence promoting your affiliate link for Canva Pro. This is the perfect time to re-use sequences which will save you a lot of time!
There are so many ways to use this feature. Imagine if you are a photography blogger but some of your audience are interested in family photography tips and others are interested in food photography. I’m sure some of your emails will be relevant to both segments of your email list such as the kit that you use or the basics of photography. So you can quickly create funnels for each segment with a mixture of common interest and unique email sequences.
How much time could you save by repurposing not just one email but whole strings of emails?!
The other way I like to use sequences is to sandwich sales emails with value emails to make sure I am not being too salesy! I have a mixture of welcome, warm-up, inspirational, educational and promotional sequences all labelled as such.
Usually, when someone joins my email list they will go through a funnel that looks like this:
Welcome email/series → Warm-up emails to gain their trust → Inspiration sequences to get them thinking about the possibilities → Promotional email series (affiliate or own product) → Educational series (to provide more value) → Promotional sequence for an alternative product → Educational series 2 → General Newsletter pool.
Each series contains between 1 and 7 emails. Some of my funnels contain over 30 email in total!
Your funnels don’t have to be as long as this but I just want you to see the potential for how you can grow with Convertkit. I don’t create these funnels overnight. I am always adding to them when I have a newsletter that does well, I look at my sequences to see which I can add it to. Always repurposing content to save time!
So for example, if I write an email about email marketing tips that goes down well, I will add it to an email marketing education sequence. That way my automations are always growing and providing more value for my subscribers. By the time they reach my newsletter pool, they have received a ton of value and tips and have also been exposed to several of my own products or affiliate products.
Cold subscriber segmenting
Convertkit automatically identifies your cold subscribers so you can send a warm-up sequence and if they don’t engage, delete them from your list.
This is important because there is zero point in paying for subscribers who never open your emails! Also, if they don’t engage, it brings down your overall engagement which has an impact on your open rates and deliverability!
You can identify your cold subscribers on Flodesk too but it’s not quite as easy.
You will need to create your own segment by filtering by the date your subscribers were last active. It’s not the end of the world but again, it’s just one more little Convertkit time saver – and all the time-savers really do add up!
Convertkit allows you to store images for easy access for emails. It’s useful to store images like product mockups which you are likely to use more than once. It’s not a deal-breaker but it’s certainly a perk for Convertkit users.
Connvertkit allows you to use their address.
The CAN-SPAM act states that it is a legal requirement that you use an address in your emails. Many bloggers worry about giving out their home address. Convertkit addresses this by allowing you to use their address which makes it much safer!
Winner: Convertkit hands down!
Flodesk vs Convertkit pricing structure
Flodesk offers fixed pricing whereas Convertkit has different tiers which are determined by your number of subscribers.
This helps to make it more affordable for newbies who don’t have many people on their email lists.
Flodesk usually charges $38 per month but you can get a 50% lifelong discount using my affiliate link. This will make it $19 for life!
Convertkit’s creator plans start at $29/month and increase according to the number of subscribers you have.
They do, however, also now offer a free plan.
The free Convertkit plan is free forever up to 1000 subscribers. However, there are a few limitations such as only basic support and no automations.
But if you just want to start building your email list and don’t have a lot of time to spend on it, the free version is a great entry point. Then when you are ready to start building some funnels, you can just upgrade.
I do feel that Convertkit’s features make it much easier to monetise your email list effectively so whilst it does work out a little more pricey in the long run, I think you will make more than enough money to make up the difference!
Sometimes you do have to spend money to make money and I personally believe that Convertkit is a smart investment if you have the time and inclination to do so.
Convertkit also have an enhanced membership alongside their regular pro plan which is best suited to entrepreneurs with a larger budget. It is called Creator Pro and comes with the following additional features
- Facebook custom audiences (for a more effective ad strategy)
- Newsletter referral system (give your audience incentives to refer others to your list.)
- Edit links in retrospect (when you accidentally click send on an article with a wrong link…)
- Deliverability reporting
- Subscriber engagement scoring ( so you can re-engage them quickly)
In general, most business owners won’t need this fancy upgrade. But if you run a lot of Facebook ads and have a sizeable email list, it may be worth considering as a nice (but not essential) extra.
Here’s a look at the pricing structure for all Flodesk and Convertkit options.
|Convertkit free||Convertkit Creator||Convertkit Creator Pro (usually not required)||Flodesk|
Winner: Flodesk – just!
Which platform has more 3rd party integrations? (Without needing Zapier!)
Convertkit wins hands down again here. With over 70 direct integrations compared to just 3 integrations with Flodesk – Instagram, Shopify and Zapier.
You can use Zapier to link 3rd party apps and tools to Flodesk but this could end up costing a fair bit of money. And if you have money to spend I would always recommend you spend it on Convertkit!
You’ll be surprised how many times you will find yourself wanting to link different tools to your Convertkit account. For example, every time a new student joins my course, they get added to my students tag in Convertkit.
I have just set up an integration with Airtable so that when someone submits a testimonial for one of my products, they get set a thank you email.
I even have a tool called Group Leads which synchronises my Facebook group entry questions to my email platform so I can automatically sign new Facebook members to my email list when they give me consent to do so.
So as you can see, integrations are super useful and yet another reason why I love Convertkit!
Overall comparison of Convertkit and Flodesk
|Ease of use||Wins|
|Sign up forms and landing pages||Wins|
|Campaign and subscriber stats||Wins|
Convertkit wins – 9
Flodesk Wins – 3
Overall winner: Convertkit
Convertkit and Flodesk FAQs
Conclusion: Convertkit or Flodesk – which is better for bloggers and entrepreneurs?
Flodesk is an interesting new email marketing platform that offers beautiful email designs at a reasonable price.
However, I will not be switching email marketing services any time soon! At present, Flodesk is not as useful as Convertkit for email marketing. It does not have the same advanced tagging and segmentation capabilities, it does not have as good deliverability and it is far more time consuming to set up simple automation which can be achieved in seconds in Convertkit.
Convertkit has far too many features which help me to save time, keep email engagement high and make more money with my affiliate and own products for me to have any inclination to move!
Yes, Convertkit is a little more pricey but the additional functionality will help you to monetise your email list more effectively and so the costs will often be outweighed in the long run.
In general, I would urge MOST bloggers or entrepreneurs to choose Convertkit as their email service provider.
The exception to the rule is business owners who rely primarily on their branding such as those in the photography, graphic design, interior design niches or those who are using their email list to promote their Etsy or Shopify store.
For everyone else, plain text emails will be more successful at getting read and after all, that’s our main goal as email marketers right?!
Do yo have any other questions about the differences between Convertkit and Flodesk? If so ask away in the comments below and I will do my best to get back to you!
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