Overview of ConvertKit's main functions and features

ConvertKit is intentionally uncluttered. Despite what some might think, that piling a ton of features to make your service more attractive, with ConvertKit the general approach is that less is more.

At first sight, the menu may seem simplistic, but each item hides a clearly defined and efficient functionality.

The ConvertKit main menu bar

The terminology might also be slightly different from other platforms (for example ‘Broadcasts’ may be called ‘Newsletters’ or ‘Campaigns’ in other platforms), so I think it’s fitting that we explore them one by one and see what’s waiting behind each one:


You can create unlimited forms in ConvertKit - each form can be embedded somewhere on your website and it serves to allow your visitors to opt-in or subscribe to your ‘list’. And I say ‘list’ in quotes because on other platforms (such as MailChimp), you have the notion of ‘list’ as the main way to organise your subscribers.

In ConvertKit you can have a form on your main page, another form on your ‘newsletter sign-up’ page, another form as a content upgrade sign up on a single blog post, etc. If your business has a few shop locations, for example, you might want to put a different subscription form on each shop’s page. ConvertKit will then remember where each subscriber opted in.

Having multiple forms doesn’t mean that you maintain multiple ‘lists’ of subscribers, each for a different form. Unlike Mailchimp and other platforms, if a subscriber opts into two or more different lists, they are not duplicated and the same email doesn’t count as a duplicate subscriber. 

In a case like this, if someone were to opt in on two or more of your forms, they would still be added to the database once. However, ConvertKit will keep a record to show that the person opted into each form. 

This allows you to better organise your subscribers (as a unique record with all of their interactions) instead of eating into your subscriber allowance twice or more. As you add, remove, enhance, tag and organise your subscribers, you always work with a single record for each email address, not multiple entries.

Another downside of other platforms is that each list can have only ONE opt-in form. This severely limits the flexibility of opting subscribers in on different locations, with different fields, options, incentives and content upgrades. It’s practically impossible to achieve multiple content upgrades because you cannot opt someone into the same list twice (as you would if they wanted to get more than one content upgrade from your blog). MailChimp, for example, would just throw an error saying “this email is already subscribed” and it would stop the whole ‘funnel’.

Likewise, if you want to offer different subscription forms on different pages, with different fields or options, but subscribers added in the same account, you’d again be stuck.

With ConvertKit, you can create as many forms as you need, with different fields, incentives, auto-responders and design options.

Forms can also be attached to automations, as you will see in the next section, to achieve even more cool acrobatics with your list!


This could be easily called the ‘core’ functionality of ConvertKit. Automations are what makes things work and bind everything together - sequences, subscribers, forms, broadcasts, events and link clicks. Without automations you cannot create marketing funnels, you cannot automatically tag subscribers based on their actions or link clicks.

ConvertKit actually has three ‘automation’ sub-sections. Here is a quick overview for each of them:

  1. The main ‘Automations’ (also called ‘Visual automations’) - we will discuss this in a future section, but for now I’d just like to mention that the visual automation editor with its drag-and-drop interface makes it really easy to build automations, change them and really see what’s going to happen in an automation you set up.
  2. The ‘Rules’ - they are still ‘automations’ but simpler. If you’ve heard of IFTTT (If This Then That), this is basically like that. You can create simple rules that react to events you specify and perform one or more actions as a consequence of those events. End of story. Simple and easy and very handy when you want to create link triggers, as you will see in another section down the line.
  3. RSS - This stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’. RSS feeds have been around for ages! They are basically an XML file that can store entries that can be read by machines - computers, in our case. In a blogging context, your blog may create an RSS feed that contains the latest posts you’ve created. This feed can be connected to ConvertKit and automatically extract the latest posts and send them by email to your subscribers. We will cover this in a future section in detail along with a tutorial. It is just a great way to keep your subscribers up to date automatically when you post new content on your blog.

As mentioned above, automations are very powerful and they make all the pieces of your ConvertKit account ‘talk’ to each other.

You can create unlimited automations to be triggered when your subscribers join a specific form, when a subscriber is added to a tag or when you update a custom field. 

You can also create events within automations that will advance a subscriber to the next step when something occurs (such as when a deadline is reached or a tag is removed) and jump to another point, circumventing the whole cycle if you want.


Sequences are a series of emails you can group together in specific order, to create a progressive funnel or offer for your subscribers. These distinct messages are sent in the order you specify, once the subscriber ‘enters’ a sequence following an event you designate - such as when they subscribe to a form. This connection is enabled by automations (see the previous point). You can even add subscribers to a sequence manually or in bulk.

Let’s say you want to send new subscribers a set of 5 ‘welcome’ emails, one per week, highlighting your main offerings or services, one in each email. You would create a sequence, add 5 distinct emails to it and add your offer in each one.

Then, using an automation, you can add the subscribers to this sequence as soon as they join a specific form. You can add a delay before the first message (or between messages) if you want. You can also specify which days of the week to send (or NOT to send) emails in the sequence and more options. 

The beauty is that since everything is automated and event-based when you have subscribers signing up to your form every day, each subscriber is added to this sequence and they start receiving the emails in the sequence at different times or days. You can have hundreds of subscribers, each at different stages or steps in the sequence at the same time! You don’t have to worry about sending each email to them - they will go out automatically. You also don’t just blast your entire list with the same message, whether they’re interested in it or not!

Further, each email can contain trigger links that perform other actions. For example, if a person decides they no longer want to hear about your ‘intro’ messages, they can unsubscribe only form the sequence, using a link you create that stops the sequence for that person.

Another use case that really shows the power of sequences and automations is this: if in your intro emails you offer your subscribers a choice - let’s say in the first email you ask: “What are you interested in most - Fiction or Nonfiction?” If you add a link trigger to each one of these options, then, depending on the link the subscriber clicks on, you could, for instance, stop the sequence they are on at the moment and move them to a ‘fiction’ sequence that shows your latest fiction titles… or you can tag them with an ‘Interest: Fiction’ - and then email them later fiction-specific broadcasts or offers.

This is a great start to personalisation and sending your subscribers emails they are actually interested in (and that turn into sales)!


Broadcasts’ in ConvertKit is just a fancy name for ‘email messages’ that go out to your subscribers. 

You can create unlimited broadcasts in your account and send them to your entire list or to subsets based on multiple logical conditions or criteria. You can send to users subscribing to a specific form AND/OR subscribe to a particular tag AND/OR within a predefined segment AND/OR with a specific value in a custom field you define. You can specify this before you create your broadcast and the options are limitless! We will discuss segmentation in a future section.

As you would expect, a broadcast also has a ‘sender’ (who sends the message). This must be a pre-verified email address in your account.

You can specify a subject (or you can use A/B testing, covered in a later section).

Then you can specify which template you want to use for your broadcast (creating templates is covered in a later section), and finally, edit your message in the editor.

You can send your broadcast as soon as you’re finished or schedule it at a later time. This is very helpful if you create a weekly schedule to send emails out so as not to clash with your sequence emails (which you can also configure to ‘avoid’ certain days of the week). You don’t want to flood your subscribers with too many emails, too often, or they might be overwhelmed and unsubscribe (or worse, mark them as spam)!

Broadcasts can be previewed, sent as a test for an inbox preview to your email address, they can be duplicated and, after you’ve sent it, you can resend it to those who haven’t opened it, for maximum exposure.


Finally, the reason you have an ESP account in the first place - subscribers! These are the addresses of people who have opted in. They are your ‘mailing list’. 

In ConvertKit, subscribers are uniquely stored by their email address. Unlike other platforms, you cannot have a duplicate subscriber in your account, even if they belong to multiple forms or not. 

A consequence of this is that if a subscriber decides to unsubscribe, they will unsubscribe from everything - regardless of what forms, tags or segments they may belong in. 

This is not necessarily a downside, and in a future section, I show you how to create unsubscribe links that do not unsubscribe the email from your entire account if they only wish to opt out of a specific sequence or other groupings.

Subscribers are added to your database as they sign up using one of your forms or when you import them. We will discuss importing and migrating from a different ESP in a future section.

Subscribers are organised primarily depending on the ‘form’ they subscribed through. If you have a form on your blog called ‘Blog footer form’, then subscribers who opt in through this form are registered as ‘Subscribed in the Blog footer form’. That doesn’t mean they cannot be also registered in other forms if they opt-in multiple times - they are not duplicated. This is the closest you can get to the functionality found in other ESPs called ‘lists’. 

ConvertKit includes a nice feature whereby you can hide a specific form to a subscriber if they have already subscribed to it. You can change this option in the configuration options of each form.

Subscribers can also be organised by ‘tags’. You can create as many tags as you want in your account and ‘tag’ your subscribers with them. Tags can be added to a subscriber manually or during automations or via rules. You can create the tag structure that makes sense to you best. For example, if a customer clicks and purchases a specific product ‘X’, you can tag them: ‘Purchased: X’. Then, you can use this tag to offer upsells or similar items that the subscriber might be interested in. Because you can create unlimited tags, and you can assign unlimited tags to any subscriber, the sky's the limit!

Finally, you can organise subscribers in ‘segments’. Segments are combinations of conditions and options that work similarly to the segmentation when sending a broadcast. You can use data that is attached to subscribers to create any combination of segments: all subscribers, within another segment, country or region, subscription dates, custom fields, tags, forms or sequences. Very powerful functionality. See segmentation in a later section.

You can create your own custom fields to populate and enhance the information you have about your subscribers. You can do this in bulk during the import phase to quickly apply it to multiple subscribers. Importing subscribers will again, not duplicate them if they exist, it will simply modify or enrich the information you already have.

You can search subscribers by email or first name (but not by custom fields, sadly!) and you can perform certain operations in bulk (such as adding a bunch of subscribers to a tag or sequence, export or delete them.