4 creatives dish on their favorite ConvertKit tricks

Four creatives dish on their favorite ConvertKit tricks – by Paper + Oats – www.paperandoats.com


They say your email list is your most valuable asset as an online business owner. (Who’s they? Ya know, the internet people.) And well, it’s true. It doesn’t matter if you have a million Instagram followers or Facebook fans or Xanga readers… who remembers Xanga?! These platforms are all rented space, making your email list is the only list of interested customers that you actually own. These are your people. And these people need to be organized.

That’s where ConvertKit comes in. What is ConvertKit? ConvertKit is an email management tool* – think MailChimp on steroids. Many online business owners are switching to ConvertKit for their powerful features like tagging subscribers based on their interests + actions, sending automated email sequences that run while you sleep, and being able to track where your customers are coming from via different forms + landing pages. ConvertKit has a lot of pieces to it, and honestly it took me a long time to get used to it. But I seem to learn new things every time I get in there, so I thought it would be fun to share some quick tricks to help you work a little smarter.

And since I get other nicely designed CK emails from some fellow creatives, I thought you might be fun to invite a few of them to join in and share a hack or two that they have up their sleeves! So I’ve got Lauren from Elle & Company, Jamie from Spruce Rd., Nesha from Nesha Designs, and yours truly… and we’re all going to dive into our favorite ConvertKit tips, tricks, workarounds, and hacks.

Work faster by duplicating existing forms.

While it's never difficult to set up new forms in ConvertKit, it does take time to change colors, edit your success message and incentive email, etc. So instead of creating new forms from scratch, I open a new form, click Other Options under the form settings, and click the Duplicate This Form button. Then all I have to do is change the form name and incentive download and I'm done! It saves me a few steps and a little bit of time, but it also makes all of my forms look consistent.

Four creatives dish on their favorite ConvertKit tricks – by Paper + Oats – www.paperandoats.com

contributed by:

Lauren Hooker from Elle & Company

Using custom CSS to create colored buttons.

While I love ConvertKit's stance on prioritizing content over e-mail design, I also admit as a designer I crave basic design features that ConvertKit lacks. For instance, when I send out a promotion or webinar signup, I would like to include a button for my subscribers to easily take notice of and click. Before customizing my CSS template, I resorted to creating button images in Illustrator, and uploading them to my broadcast... eek! Since images don't always show up in our subscriber's inbox, it's a no-no to include them for important information such as a sign-up or purchase button!

Rather than feeling frustrated with ConvertKit's limitations, I discovered a workaround that allows me to include buttons in my templates. You ready?

Customize the CSS for each of your header tags. Mind. Blown. Simply adjust the CSS in your ConvertKit template for one of your header tags (h3 for example) to include a background color and some padding, and voila! You've got a button built into your templates. Here's an example:

Four creatives dish on their favorite ConvertKit tricks – by Paper + Oats – www.paperandoats.com

To include your new button, select your call to action text and apply the h3 style. Hit "preview" and you'll see your new button!

If you aren't as savvy with CSS, or just want to save time by swiping my CSS file, I've got the ConvertKit template (button styles included) in my Designing ConvertKit class. I'll even teach you how to customize your template for your brand!




Jamie Starcevich from Spruce Rd.


Hey guys, Kelsey jumping back in here again – I’ve taken Jamie’s ConvertKit class and it is so so so so good. Like, a lot of so’s. If you miss the pretty emails of your MailChimp days, this class will teach you how to do that in CK – the fully-coded template is included, so you don’t need to know any code stuff to do it.

Hey Paper & Oats readers! I'm Nesha, and I teach freelance designers how to grow profitable, sustainable businesses. Part of that includes teaching my students how to use tools (like Convertkit) to streamline their businesses so they can spend more time actually doing the stuff they love.

Convertkit is one of my favourite business tools. Not only does it allow you to create simple, beautiful newsletters, but it also allows you to automate most of the process.

Here are my two favourite Convertkit hacks:

1. Use link triggers to tag subscribers with the product or service they would be most interested in

There's no point in trying to sell one product or service to your entire email list because not everyone on your list is interested in the same topic or at the same stage.

If you promote a product to a subscriber who has no interest in what you're selling, they will most likely unsubscribe. That's a bummer — especially if you have another product that would have been perfect for them!

To make sure you're promoting the right products to the right people, follow these steps:

  1. Open Convertkit.

  2. Go to ‘Automations’ and click ‘Add Rule’

  3. Under ‘Trigger’, select ‘Clicks A Link’

  4. Give your link a name

  5. Paste the link to your product's sales page

  6. Then click the '+' sign in the Trigger column and repeat those steps for all the links that are related to your service/product. For example, the product I'm creating this example trigger for is a marketing plan workbook. So I would add links to worksheets, workshops and any other materials I have created that are related to marketing.

  7. Under ‘Action’, select ‘Add Tag’, then ‘Create New Tag’

  8. Name your tag 'Interested In ______' then click ‘Save’

Four creatives dish on their favorite ConvertKit tricks – by Paper + Oats – www.paperandoats.com

Every time your subscribers click those links from within your emails, they will be tagged and you'll know exactly which product/service to promote to them!


2. Create an 'Unsubscribe from this course' link.

My second favourite Convertkit hack is adding an 'unsubscribe from this course' link to the bottom of my email courses.

Why would you want to do this?

Because your subscribers may opt in for an email course they no longer need, and decide to unsubscribe halfway through. They don't necessarily want to leave your list entirely- they just don't want to get the course emails anymore.

By adding this extra unsubscribe link to your emails, you're ensuring your subscribers don't leave your list completely.

To do this, follow these steps:

1. Login to your website platform and create a page called 'Unsubscribed from ______ course'. This is what my page looks like:

Four creatives dish on their favorite ConvertKit tricks – by Paper + Oats – www.paperandoats.com

2. Now, open Convertkit, go to ‘Automations’ and click ‘Add Rule’

3. Under ‘Trigger’, select ‘Clicks A Link’

4. Paste the link to the page you created

5. Under action, click ‘Unsubscribe from a sequence’

6. Choose the course from the dropdown menu

Four creatives dish on their favorite ConvertKit tricks – by Paper + Oats – www.paperandoats.com

7. Click Save

8. Create a new Broadcast and just name it ‘Test’

9. In the email, create a link and select the link trigger you just made

Four creatives dish on their favorite ConvertKit tricks – by Paper + Oats – www.paperandoats.com

10. Switch to HTML view with the little icon that looks like this: <> 

11. Copy the code for the link trigger. From this example, I would copy this: <a href="http://neshawoolery.com/unsubscribed-from-asana-course" trigger-id="98697">Unsubscribe from this course</a>

12. Click Account, then Email Template and find the template you use for your course. (If you don't use a different template, now's the time to create one! Just click New Email Template.)

13. Paste the line of code next to your regular Unsubscribe button. In my example, it looks like this:

Four creatives dish on their favorite ConvertKit tricks – by Paper + Oats – www.paperandoats.com

14. Hit save, and you're done!




Nesha Woolery from Nesha Designs

I deleted over 2,000 subscribers, and here’s why.

Ok, my turn! I’ll be honest, when I first started using ConvertKit, I sort of just dumped all my subscribers into one tag called my “Main List”. But the more my business grew, the more I saw the value in creating lots of tags to categorize what topics people are interested and what products they’ve purchased. In simpler terms: what they did want to hear about and what they didn’t want to hear about. So in the last few months, I've been working a lot on organizing my subscribers so I can provide better content for them.

A big thing I did recently might come as a shock. I deleted about a quarter of my list. Yep – it was 2,381 subscribers to be exact. CK called them cold subscribers, meaning they hadn’t opened any of my emails in the last 90 days. Brrrrr, right?! Get it? Cold? Ok, so why + how. Why did I delete them? Because they obviously weren’t interested in my emails, so why keep bugging them (and why keep paying for them?). And how did I do it? I used this article from ConvertKit’s blog – sending them a “breakup” email with an opportunity to stick around, then pulling the plug on them a couple weeks later.

I’ll admit, I put off clicking that delete button for about week longer than I planned. I worked hard for those 2k subscribers, how could I just throw them away?! It was a tough call, but it was definitely the right thing to do. I kept a close eye on the stats for that breakup email, and as the opens + clicks dwindled (they were pretty low to begin with, confirming my decision to breakup!), I finally felt comfortable pulling the plug on the rest of the subscribers. And 33 people unsubscribed from the unsubscribe email, which I thought was kinda funny.

Since The Great Email Breakup of 2017, I haven’t felt that weird, guilty feeling when I send out an email (you know the one, the sorry-to-bug-you-again feeling). My open rates have been way higher (they went from around 20-30% on average, to 40-50% now). Plus, it was good timing as my total subscribers was nearing the 8k mark, which would have put me into the next pricing bracket for ConvertKit (your monthly subscription is based on the number of subscribers you have).

To confirm this decision even more, I’ve added nearly 1,000 new subscribers since the breakup about 9 weeks ago – and with new automations + forms in place, I know these new subscribers are way better organized than before, and they're only getting content they actually want to see. Here’s to hoping they don’t go cold on me 😉


Here’s three other tricks I’ve done recently to help me work smarter in ConvertKit:


1. Create a new tag named “Test” with a handful of emails you have access to for testing sequences + archiving emails in your own inbox. I wouldn’t include the email your CK account is created with, BTW, that could get confusing for your poor inbox. It’s also helpful to save all emails from a sequence in your own inbox so you can send to subscribers if they didn’t get one of the emails because of a glitch or they accidentally deleted one. I’ve had this happen a few times, and having each email in the sequence on-hand in my inbox makes for quick + easy forwarding to correct the mistake.


2. Edit your sequences to exclude pitch emails from customers who already bought your product/service. This is a newer feature of CK, so no worries if this is news to you! You can do this on each individual email in a sequence by clicking the filter icon at the top, then select the tags you have setup that showcustomers who have purchased your product/service. This way these people won’t get this email in your sequence, and you’re not trying to sell them something they already have. They will thank you for it 😃

Four creatives dish on their favorite ConvertKit tricks – by Paper + Oats – www.paperandoats.com


3. Take a screenshot of all the heading styles for each of your email templates as a reference. I create a broadcast, type out all my heading styles + apply them accordingly. Then click Preview Broadcast, which opens it in a new window. Screenshot that baby, and then you can delete the broadcast. Use the screenshot as a reference so you quickly know what styles you have available to use in your email design. Here are examples of heading style references I have for a couple of my email templates:

Four creatives dish on their favorite ConvertKit tricks – by Paper + Oats – www.paperandoats.com

So there ya have it. A whole bunch of ConvertKit tricks you can play around with this week. Which one was your favorite? Which one were you already trying out before you finished reading this post? 😉

Got any other favorites? Drop them in the comments below, so we can all give them a whirl!

Free Email Course – The Digital Product Roadmap

Building your email list is only one piece of the puzzle, especially for businesses who are looking to add digital products as a new stream of revenue. If you’re curious about all the other pieces of that puzzle, check out my free email course (delivered via ConvertKit, hello!), The Digital Product Roadmap. This free course walks you through the 8 checkpoints for driving your digital product from idea to launch. Signup below, and we’ll get started this week!

Free email course The Digital Product Roadmap – by Paper + Oats – www.paperandoats.com


Kelsey Baldwin

Graphic designer + blogger providing design resources to help creative entrepreneurs navigate the world of design + branding for digital products so they can share what they know.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin