This is a guest post by April Lewis.
As a freelancer there are going to be cornerstone programs you will have to master. One of those is the email service provider (ESP). Now, there are lots of ESP programs out there:
- Constant Contact
…etc. And honestly, that’s a pretty short list. Because there are many, many more of them.
The most common ones used today are MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, Aweber, InfusionSoft, and ConvertKit.
Most people start out with a free MailChimp account. It’s the most common free account used by anyone. But once an account hits a certain number of subscribers, they outgrow the free account and have to switch to a paid account. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this strategy. But at some point, they will need a better option. MailChimp is list-centric instead of subscriber-centric, meaning if people are on multiple lists, they get charged for these subscribers multiple times.
But the piece de resistance is … deliverability. MailChimp emails are full of html, links, images, etc. Because everyone LOVES those pretty emails, right? Gmail, Yahoo, and other email hosts have cracked down on spam, junk, and promotional emails. And that’s how they classify those ‘pretty’ emails everyone is in love with.
Making the Choice to Migrate
Take an hour to watch this overview video on ConvertKit so you can acquaint yourself with its features and how it works so the step-by-step migration plan below makes a little more sense to those of you who haven’t used ConvertKit before now.
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8 Steps to a ConvertKit Migration
Here are the order of steps for a successful migration to ConvertKit.
#1 Map out the client’s funnels and website on a spreadsheet
- Use a spreadsheet to create a funnel map for all the points of entry for your client’s optins.
- Be specific and include the URL where the optin is located. Because let’s face it, people have duplicates. You want to be very clear with this. AND, what you need to know is that even though the same freebie might be offered in different places on their site, they want a completely different funnel in ConvertKit for each optin.
- Why, you ask? Tracking. You want to know which optins are performing the best. Don’t worry about creating multiple funnels for the same freebie. It’s a breeze to duplicate forms and sequences in ConvertKit. So, you won’t be adding that much extra work to your to-do list. Promise ☺
#2 Replicate the existing subscriber forms by creating new ConvertKit forms and embedding them on the site
Head over to the client’s site. Use Chrome’s Color Picker extension to get the hex color codes for the optin form buttons and any other colors needed for copy or anything else (Pro tip-make this a column in the spreadsheet so everything you need is in one place).
On the ConvertKit home page toward the middle, click on the create form button. Create a form for every opt-in that is currently on the client’s site.
Some important things to take note of:
- On the settings tab make sure to name the form something specific.
- Decide if you’re going to redirect the user after hitting submit, or if the ConvertKit generic success message will show. If the client has a lot of elaborate funnels, a redirect will almost always be necessary. You’ll simply place the URL in the redirect box of the page they need to go to.
- The settings incentive email tab is super important. You’ll need to decide whether to use a single option or a double optin. Single optins are great for higher subscriber numbers but may lack in the quality of subscribers. Double optins are great for a higher-quality subscriber list, but possibly lower total list numbers.
- If you choose to do a double opt-in, choose if there will be a download triggered or redirect to a URL when the incentive button is clicked in the delivery email. Click the checkbox that says to auto confirm subscribers.
- If you want to change the form style, tweak the CSS, or change the returning visitors form options, you’ll make those changes on the style tab.
Embed the forms on the site
#3 Copy sequences from old provider and create new sequences in ConvertKit
Now the tedious part, copying and pasting sequence content. You literally have to copy every email automation sequence your client wants migrated over, then paste the content into ConvertKit, and then format it all over again. Follow the instructions and tips below to make this process as easy as possible.
- From the main ConvertKit home page click on the Sequences tab. Then click the Create Sequence button.
- Copy only the content blocks from your client’s previous email provider. The ConvertKit email interface is not able to handle heavily styled templates that include tables or sidebars. So, the sidebar content boxes below would either need to be included as inline copy with the rest of the content or it will have to be left off entirely.
- You’ll notice along the top of the sequence email area three tabs: content, settings, and reports.
- The content tab is where you set the schedule, make a sequence live, add or delete emails, and preview email messages.
- ConvertKit schedules sequences based on days or hours since the last email. So, when you are creating a sequence, mirror the same schedule to match the delivery timing for your client’s subscribers.
- You can also put emails in draft or publish mode, preview emails in your browser or email, or delete an email in a sequence.
- The filter funnel icon at the top of the sequence is helpful if you want to exclude certain emails in the sequence based on other tags or forms that the subscriber has opted-in to.
- The email menu bar is very similar to other menu bars you’ve probably used. You can insert images and links, and you can edit with html. You can also upload files.
- You’ll also notice down the left-hand margin the formula for an effective email sequence. If you click on one of those emails on the left, you can drag and drop them into a different order. You can also delete an email by clicking on it there. And you can add an email to the sequence from that left-hand menu as well.
- On the sequence settings tab, you can set the return email address. This allows you to run more than one business from the same ConvertKit account. You can also determine if you want this particular sequence to go out on only a particular day of the week, a certain time of day, which custom email template you want applied to the sequence, and if you want to exclude any subscriber group from getting this sequence. Lastly, this is the tab you use if you’d like to duplicate or delete a sequence.
- The reports tab will show your client helpful information and data to determine what steps to take to build a stronger sequence and to see how well your content is working for them. How, you ask? By seeing where people are unsubscribing in the sequence.
Repeat for each sequence.
#4 Attach the sequences to all the new CK forms
Go back into all your forms, and attach them to the corresponding sequences. You simply need to click on the form settings, and select the sequence that corresponds with the form. You can have it retro-active, so it fires off to all existing subscribers, and be sure to check the box that says, “Make Mandatory for All Subscribers”.
#5 Replicate any logic automations from the old provider to the new
In most cases, a client won’t have any advanced automations, as that’s the reason why they are moving in the first place! Automations can be a tricky business, but if you remember a few important tips, you’ll navigate this like a champ.
- ConvertKit automation rules work on if/then logic. Meaning, anything on the left side of the screen operates under IF.
- You can have multiple actions on either side of the logic statement. But all the actions on the left will behave with the IF action of the logic statement. Meaning, IF any of these actions are true, THEN the right-side action triggers.
- Conversely the logic actions on the right side of the screen behave with THEN & AND actions. Meaning ALL the actions on the right will happen IF any, not all, of the actions on the left side are true.
- Another rule of thumb with automations is to make sure anyone that subscribes to a form also gets a tag.
- Create automation rules for when a subscriber completes a sequence. You most likely want to unsubscribe them from a sequence, otherwise if you add to the sequence down the line, the email will fire for them. This will allow you to move subscribers through various funnels within your account as each different sequence is completed.
- Link triggers are a handy automation rule. You can see all the topics your client’s subscribers are most interested in by creating a tag for every link trigger. Yes, this will make the tags list long. But the information is so helpful when reading subscriber data. Plus, you can use this info to export lists for Facebook ad targeting on specific topics/products. Also, if you link to a URL over and over again in a sequence, and then that link changes, you’ll be able to change it ONCE in the automations area, and it will filter through the whole sequence.
#6 Replicate tags in CK to match lists/tags in old provider
This part is super simple. Probably the simplest part of the whole process. Use your client’s lists in their prior ESP to create list or tag names in ConvertKit. This will come in handy when you do the last step, which is to import subscribers using a spreadsheet. You’ll be assigning a tag to each list as it goes in so you know exactly where they’re from.
#7 Import all the old subscribers into ConvertKit
We’re on the home stretch now. Promise.
- Log into MailChimp, or whatever provider your client has been using previously, go to lists, click on the first list you want to export, and then click on the export list button as shown below. You’ll want to go through all lists and click on export and get them all started. This part of the process goes pretty quickly.
- After you request the last export list, go back to the main lists page. On the far right beside each list you requested to be exported there will be a drop down menu. Hover over this and click exports.
- Your requested export list should be on the next page that comes up. Click on that list and download the .csv file to your computer.
- Once the file is downloaded, open it up. Delete any unnecessary columns and save the file again as a .csv file. Make sure to confirm with your client the columns they wish to import into ConvertKit. Some providers have first and last name, address, phone, email address, etc. Currently ConvertKit only supports first name and email address fields.
- You can add more fields than that manually by going to your subscriber list, clicking on the + sign beside the import button, then add the first subscriber. After you do this, click on the subscriber tab again, then open the added subscribers record. Then click on add a new field. Repeat this step until all subscriber fields needed are added in ConvertKit.
- Once all the correct fields are added, we can start the import process. Click on the subscribers tab. Then click the import button. When the pop up screen shown below appears, you have three choices: import into a form, sequence, or tag.
- If you import into a form you should know that the incentive email will not fire. You must manually input subscribers into a form for your incentive to be delivered.
- Import lists into tags. This is probably the easiest of the three, and why we recommend you create tags in Step #6.
- Import lists into a sequence. This is good if you need to alert your subscribers of a new offer.
- Then click on the large CSV File button. Find the .csv file you saved previously, click on it to choose it to upload, and now it’s time to map the fields. Basically, just make sure the left header column matches the field info in the middle column.
- Once this is complete, click on import subscribers. And that’s that. Repeat this process for each list you requested an export .csv file for in the client’s previous email provider.
#8 Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to activate account
You made it! You’ve completed a ConvertKit migration. At this point you’ll want to email ConvertKit support to request that your client’s account be activated. Your client won’t be able to send any emails until this step is completed.
Don’t get intimidated. I know that looks like a long, difficult list. It’s not. Good luck and happy migrating!