Yes, you read that right. Just in time for our 7th birthday ConvertKit is making the switch from a premium price to being able to get started completely for free.
Right now so many creators start on MailChimp for free and then switch to ConvertKit once they get meaningful traction. That switch can be time consuming and they would be so much better off to just start on ConvertKit, which is tailor-made for creators to grow their audiences.
Our mission is to help creators earn a living and we believe that by adding a free entry-point we are removing a large roadblock for beginner creators towards earning a living online.
Here’s how it works:
1. Build your free landing page
In order to start growing your audience you need a place for people to subscribe—preferably on a platform you own. Normally that means buying hosting and designing a site. But we’ve found that you really just need a great single page site to start growing your audience.
With a free ConvertKit account you can build unlimited landing pages or opt-in forms to start growing your audience. Choose from 30 different templates, add your content, personalize the design, and hit publish!
Once your page is up you can get your first subscribers by:
- Sharing your page on social media. We often see that even creators with a small group of friends on social platforms are able to get to 10-15 subscribers to their email list with just a few shares. Your friends are eager to support you in a new venture!
- Reach out directly. In addition to asking your friends in general to sign up, you’ll get great results by emailing and texting specific people who may be interested.
- Ask friends for referrals. Do you have friends who are better connected than you are? If so ask them to share your landing page on social or reach out to their friends who may be interested.
Ready to take the first step to building your audience?
2. Invite a friend to unlock subscribers and broadcast sending
Once you have your first subscribers you’ll want to send them emails. You can either upgrade to a paid account for $29/month or if you invite a friend you’ll unlock subscriber management (tags, segments, and more!) and the ability to send broadcast emails for up to 100 subscribers.
The friend you invite will also automatically unlock the same functionality! Remember Dropbox’s referral program? It works just like that.
You can keep sending invites to unlock more 100 subscribers for free with each accepted invite.
The journey to build an audience can be a long road and we’ve found that creators who join a mastermind or have the encouragement of a friend are far more likely to be successful. By structuring our free plan like this we encourage every creator to find a buddy to reassure them on this journey.
3. Upgrade to paid to unlock automations for your business
Once your new site and audience has traction, you can upgrade to a paid account for $29/month to unlock an additional 1,000 subscribers (on top of however many you have from invites) and the powerful automations functionality in ConvertKit.
The same tool serves your entire creative journey from getting started gathering your first subscriber up to powering massive audiences for creators like Tim Ferriss, Gretchen Rubin, and Tim McGraw.
Why add a free plan now?
ConvertKit is growing well and has been bootstrapped and profitable since the beginning, so I’m sure founders will ask, “why add a free plan now?”
- It’s the logical next step to execute on our mission. If you’ve been around ConvertKit for a while or attended Craft + Commerce you know that our mission to help creators earn a living is not just a nice saying, but something we align our decisions around. With a free product we can help so many more creators get their start!
- Creators don’t have to pay us until they are ready. Our base plan at $29/month has very high churn (12% per month). The most common reasons for canceling are “not ready” and “too expensive.” The creator journey is hard and so many people burn out after their first attempt. Now it’s not a decision to cancel and try again later, but instead to work on it more slowly over time.
- We want to power the entire creator ecosystem. Creators are building followings on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram because those are free to start, but they don’t actually own the relationship with their subscribers. Now they can build their own site with ConvertKit (on a domain they own) to form relationships with email subscribers. No longer at the mercy of algorithm changes or massive corporations.
- We now have the infrastructure to support it. Launching a free plan in the early days would have been difficult for support, spam, fraud/compliance, deliverability, and infrastructure. Now we have dedicated teams on each of those areas, send nearly a billion emails each month, and have built a platform that scales really well. A couple years ago it would have been a risky move. Now we have the scale to deliberately execute on this aspect of our mission.
- Affiliates have been begging us for a free plan. So many of our affiliates have been requesting a free plan to promote so that they can help their community get started on the right platform from the beginning. Now affiliates can make a single recommendation to their readers and help coach them to success. Just like before, affiliates will get paid once the account starts paying.
- We think we’ll grow faster. The final answer is that we believe a free plan will lead to faster growth. Initially we expect MRR growth to slow down as those who would have started a trial are now happy on a free plan. But over time we expect to reach far more of the market as ConvertKit—which has always been seen as the premium tool for creators—is accessible for free. As those creators build successful audiences they will eventually convert to paid accounts.
This is just one of many steps we’re going to take in 2020 to remove roadblocks to help creators grow their audience. If you have any questions about our strategy or implementation of a free plan I’d love to answer them in the comments!
We’re on a mission. Want to join us?
If our mission to help creators earn a living resonates with you, here are a few ways you can help:
- Promote ConvertKit to your audience. If you have a large community of creators we’d love to partner with you to get ConvertKit in their hands for free. Either through podcast interviews, webinars, or guest posts!
- Create an account, invite a friend, and give us detailed feedback. We know that our first version is just the start and we’ll need to keep iterating in order to get a great experience for hundreds of thousands of creators. If you’d be up for walking through the experience, making notes, then sending them to me I’d appreciate it! Create your free account.
- Join the landing page challenge. We’re hosting a contest giving away $10,000 and a lot of other great prizes to those who take the leap and start building an audience in 2020. Join the challenge.
- Join the team. We’re hiring a designer, several engineers, a director of product, and a few more roles. If any of those match your skillset and you believe in our mission, apply on our careers page.
Thanks for joining me on this journey to make ConvertKit the easiest way to start your next creative project!