ConvertKit vs. Drip

I’ve been using MailChimp for a long time, but I’m now wanting to get more serious with microsegmentation, personalization, and automated email sequences.

I’m comparing ConvertKit vs. Drip. Both have similar features. Drip is more expensive, but its RSS to Email (an essential feature) for me might be better since it allows direct links back to my webcomic site and it could be more full-featured. ConvertKit has direct Patreon integration though, which could save me even more money vs. using Zapier with Drip to do that.

I’m just curious what other creators’ experiences are. Is anyone using Drip or ConvertKit to engage with their fans? Has anyone tried both?

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I just started using ConvertKit after seeing their presentation at Patrecon. I like it so far, but it feels expensive and I have not been using it as thoroughly as I should yet. Kinda chiming in here to see what others say!

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I’ve just started using it myself (in the free trial.)

On the plus side: the integrations with other services (like Patreon, shopping cart services like Shopify and WooCommerce, Wordpress) are extensive and well-thought out. Their help files are informative and engaging (most are video)—not just about how to use their site, but also how to make money as a creative. And in terms of what I want to do (create automated email sequences for my patrons), it seems like it’s all doable on ConvertKit (and less expensive than Drip.)

Cons so far?

They promise stellar tech support, and so far (compared to similar services I’ve tried), their responses to me haven’t been super-timely, clear, or helpful. It hasn’t been bad bad, exactly. (It’s only been a few days.) But not awesome, either.

One of the main things that attracted me to them was their direct Patreon integration. But it’s listed as a “Beta” and ConvertKit’s default is to have First Name only in their subscriber profiles—and now, even though I created a Last Name field, my patrons that have been imported have both their first and last names in the First Name field, which means that will need to be cleaned up before I can use merge tags to greet folks personally in my emails (“Howdy Bob!”). I have a tech support request in to them around that—how they handle that request will be informative, I think.

Anyway, that’s my update so far. Will keep y’all posted. :slight_smile:

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Just a quick update on my experience with ConvertKit so far.

I still like the feature set. The amount of control over automated sequences and setting up intricate conditions to trigger those sequences offers the possibility of creating really custom experiences for my readers and Patrons while freeing me of a lot of busywork once it’s set up. And the interface itself is fairly intuitive and designed for content creators like me.

But… their support continues to be slow and underwhelming. Their chat window so far feels like little more than a front-end for email. (Unlike CrowdCast’s chat window which actually had me chatting live with the CEO after a few minutes.) And when I found a problem with their Patreon integration they wanted the password to my Patreon account (!) to have access to my logs to troubleshoot it. (I told them I’d be happy to supply them with whatever logs they needed myself. The password to my Patreon account? No.)

And as for the native Patreon integration they promise, the main feature is that it should automatically tag a subscriber as “Active” or “Cancelled” and that tag is what you’re supposed to use to send emails only to current Patrons (and also, as I’m going to do, send a short Thank You For Supporting Me email to those who cancel.)

The problem is that the integration is currently tagging all my new Patrons as “Cancelled” instead of "Active."

That’s a big deal. I don’t think they were aware of the problem before I pointed it out. And while they said they were going to work on it and find some other way to get the logs, I haven’t gotten any update since I declined to share my password with them last week.

I’m not giving up on them. They do seem like the better value vs. Drip (and perhaps Active Campaign, which I think might also have some similar features.) But as I said on the thread about CrowdCast—good support is worth its weight in gold. If this doesn’t get fixed soon, and if I don’t start having better support experiences, then maybe the extra expense of Drip will be worth it.

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Hey @alex, thanks for raising these issues and apologies for my slow reply. Just letting you know that I’ve shared these findings with the team who works with the ConvertKit team and they are going to look into it further.

Also, thanks so much for sharing such detailed comparison and guide to the different services! This is so helpful.

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OK. Here is the latest update.

It looks like they have now gotten the Active vs. Cancelled tag problem fixed. So that’s good. New Patrons are being appropriately tagged as Active Patrons.

While the chat support isn’t instant, I am having some more chat-like experiences. Responses within an hour. I’m trying to get some help with using their Patreon integration with automations, and this seems to be pretty new to them. I feel like I might be the first person to be taking advantage of it.

I’ve finally created the content I wanted for my new Patrons, so this is where the rubber will hit the road. Will I be able to do what I want to do (set up individual email sequences for new patrons based on their reward tiers that automatically go out when they join or upgrade their pledge)? And how painful will it be to set all this up?

I’ll keep y’all posted. :slight_smile:

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So I just wanted to give a quick update on my experiences with ConvertKit.

I’m still in the setting-up phase. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet on using this to onboard my patrons. And, with the issues ConvertKit is having, it’s just as well.

The good:

When it’s not about the Patreon integration, I’m finding their support to be much more solid. If I need to customize a subscribe form, or set up a subscriber segment, I often get a reply within minutes. And once I’m chatting with a support person, it’s a realtime chat, and the solution is often arrived upon quickly, and they’ll cheerfully stick with me no matter how many questions I have. I’m having a good experience there.

The not-so-good:

Some of their knowledge base pages are out-of-date and need to be updated. They reference work-arounds that are no longer necessary because of new features, and give instructions for features that have been changed completely. Eventually you figure it out, but it’s usually easier to just ask their support chat.

The ugly:

The Patreon integration. It was listed as “Beta” on their Integrations page (and now I can’t find it listed at all.) And it’s definitely not ready for prime time.

They have for the most part seemed to have fixed the issue where they were tagging Active patrons as Cancelled, but I’ve noticed that at least two new Active patrons have been tagged wrong since the fix.

And a bigger deal: none of my new patrons have been added through the integration since March 5th, so it now seems to be broken completely.

And when I’ve reached out to their support about both these issues, I’m told that they only have one developer who works on all the integrations and so he’s been “slammed.” Since I haven’t launched or announced this feature to my patrons, this is merely concerning. But if it was a live benefit I was offering my patrons, and it had been down since March 5th with no end in sight, I would be livid.

In addition, there are some things with how the integration is set up that could be better thought out. For example, patrons who cancel their pledge and patrons whose credit cards are declined are both tagged as “Patreon: Cancelled.” Obviously, the emails I would send out to these two groups would be radically different. It makes no sense to lump them together. Whether there is hope of getting this improved when the basic features aren’t working, and their one guy is “slammed,” is hard to say.

Where I Am With This Right Now

I am still enamored with the potential that ConvertKit offers to create a really useful onboarding sequence for my new patrons. The overall interface for creating those automations is excellent. They have a good reputation overall as an email service provider. (They are basically the new hotness.) And the price is much more competitive than Drip.

I’m going to give it a bit more time to see if they are able to get it together with the Patreon integration. The potential is so good, I’m hesitant to just walk away.

But if it’s not ready in a couple weeks, I’ll have to look into other alternatives. Perhaps the Patreon/Zapier integration would be more reliable, and would allow me to use the ConvertKit features I like (even though using Zapier would add additional expense, which offering a “native integration” is supposed to avoid.)

If the developers at Patreon could throw that slammed ConvertKit developer a bone, that would be much appreciated. :slight_smile:

I’ll keep y’all posted.

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Seriously, thank you SO MUCH for these continuing updates. These are extremely helpful and enlightening. I love that you’re still interested in the platform’s potential, and that gives me hope they’ll work their stuff out so I can give it a shot too.

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You’re welcome, @tamberlane. I’m glad you’re finding my updates helpful.

And the current update is that the Patreon integration remains broken. Since March 5th, nothing has updated with my Patreon subscribers in ConvertKit: no new Patrons added, no pledge changes recognized. It’s been silent.

Likewise, I haven’t heard much of anything from support on this issue since then. Earlier today, I pinged the Customer Success guy, Steven, who’s the point person on this, and he apologized for the radio silence and said he’d look into it. To Steven’s credit, when I requested that they use separate tags for Cancelled vs. Declined patrons a couple weeks ago, he was very receptive to that. But with just one tech guy there responsible for all the Integrations, I’m not getting the impression the Patreon Integration is a big priority right now.

Still not throwing up my hands with ConvertKit—all their other integrations (such as with Shopify) seem to be solid. For my public mailing list, they feel like the right choice for me.

But for Patreon, they are still not ready for prime time. And I get the feeling that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

Worse comes to worst, I’ll look into the Zapier integration.

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