In 2013, ConvertKit was born. The company’s founder, Nathan Barry, challenged himself publicly to build a web application in six months that would generate $5,000 in recurring monthly revenue. Kudos to Barry for fulfilling his goal as his business is now making millions.
ConvertKit is “email marketing software the way it should be.” It’s also a platform that is “made by creators, for creators.” It “exists to help creators earn a living online.” Also, “A creator might be a blogger, author, maker, YouTuber, poet, painter, musician, podcaster, chef, designer, or teacher. What binds the creators we serve together is that they make a living doing work that matters, and they earn that living online.” Alongside email marketing services, it provides marketing automation, opt-in forms, landing pages, migration support, and a WordPress plugin. Tradecraft by ConvertKit has guides, articles, and podcasts about working and making money online.
- Founded by Nathan Barry in 2013
- Headquarters: Idaho, United States of America
- 20,000+ customers globally
- ConvertKit publishes its sales data publicly via Baremetrics
Pricing & Plans
ConvertKit has a 14-day free trial. It has four plans, and prices reflect subscriber totals. Users get discounts on annual plans.
- Zero to 1,000 subscribers: $29/mo
- 1,000 to 3,000: $49/mo
- 3,000 to 5,000: $79/mo
- 5,000+: $99+/mo
ConvertKit Affiliate Program
ConvertKit’s affiliate program is hosted on a private network. Let’s review the pros and cons of the program.
ConvertKit is a well-known company that has quickly established itself. Its growth is due in part to forming marketing partnerships with top bloggers, vloggers, influencers, and marketers. Given its mass adoption and supporters, ConvertKit is a legit company to promote, which helps to increase conversion rates.
Joining the affiliate program is simple. There’s a link on its affiliate landing page—a not so obvious call-to-action—that directs you to a signup page. Once you sign up, it won’t be long before you can start marketing. Secondly, most affiliate programs are open to anyone joining, but a small percentage only allow existing customers to participate, for example, ActiveCampaign. Affiliate marketing is a game of addition and inclusion, not subtraction and exclusion. ConvertKit understands that.
Affiliates can earn excellent commissions. Many email marketing companies have affiliate programs and typically pay recurring commissions of 20 to 30 percent. ConvertKit pays a 30 percent recurring commission, which makes promoting it worthwhile.
The program has a 60-day cookie. As of this writing, details about the referral period are missing on the landing page. However, if I recall correctly, an affiliate has a 60-day window to convert traffic (I used to be an affiliate). Sixty days are above the 30-day industry standard. Separately, ConvertKit uses first click attribution, which means the commission will go to the affiliate whose link was clicked first, not last.
There’s no payout threshold. Once your sales/commissions are approved, ConvertKit will pay you on the 2nd of the following month. Commissions are sent to your PayPal account.
They give you promotional ideas. You don’t typically see affiliate marketing ideas on a landing page, but ConvertKit provides five, for example, “Write a ConvertKit vs. _________ (whatever tool you are most familiar with or personally switched from) post and publish that on your blog and send it out to your email list.”
The program has an affiliate marketing manager. I like to see that a merchant/advertiser has assigned someone to support publishers. In some programs I participate in, it’s near impossible to reach the affiliate manager or get a response promptly. Additionally, there’s an official ConvertKit affiliate Facebook group to ask questions, share tips, and celebrate successes.
The program is hard to find. You wouldn’t know ConvertKit has an affiliate program because it doesn’t list or mention it on its homepage. A common practice is to call out and link to a program from a primary or secondary menu.
Deep linking isn’t available. Deep linking is the practice by which an affiliate creates a link to a specific page on the merchant’s site. For example, instead of using a generic homepage affiliate link, I deep link to an article that relates to my post. Affiliates cannot create unique links but are given several premade options.
Creative assets and banners are missing. Affiliates are limited to using a few ConvertKit logos. A selection of banners and sizes would be advantageous.
ConvertKit uses a dreadful affiliate tracking application. Ambassador is arguably one of the worst affiliate tracking applications on the market (and it always have been). Its software is dated, inconsistent, and features an awful dashboard/UI. Furthermore, customer support and follow up are nonexistent. I no longer join programs that use Ambassador because I have zero confidence in the company’s leadership, software tracking, and platform.
Your payout can take up to 60 days. As ConvertKit’s states, “Affiliate commissions are approved on the 1st of each month. There is a minimum delay of 30 days before approving pending commissions (to account for any refunds since we have a 30-day no-questions-asked refund policy). Depending on when a commission is earned in a month, it can be pending for up to 60 days. For example, if you earned a commission on August 5th, it along w/ all August commissions would be approved on Oct 1 (creating a 55-day delay) and paid on Oct 2nd. If you earned a commission on Aug 30, it would also get approved on Oct 1 (creating a 30-day delay) and paid on Oct 2nd.” Waiting up to sixty days sucks! Also, why give a free trial of 14 days and a 30-day refund policy? That doesn’t make sense.
ConvertKit is a subpar email marketing application. ConvertKit is popular, but its software is clunky, user-unfriendly, and overpriced. Also, there are better and more affordable email marketing apps, for instance, MailerLite, SendinBlue, and Mailchimp (read my comparison between ConvertKit and MailerLite). If you think I’m alone in my assessment, the folks at EmailToolTester agree. The independent review site gives ConvertKit a disappointing score of 3.5/5 with an article title that reads, ConvertKit Review 2019: Do their Features Justify its High Price?
Its affiliate program details are disorganized and scattered, for example:
- There’s no mention of the cookie length, which is one of two critical details (the other is the commission).
- To the right of the affiliate signup page are two banners; one is about a five-day email course, and the other is to request a demo. An optimized landing page focuses on promoting the program and not much else.
- Grammar, punctuation, and title capitalization are inconsistent and full of errors.
- Although their promotional ideas are beneficial, they could be added to an automated welcome email or sequence (it’s bizarre that an email company wouldn’t choose that approach).
- In addition to the signup page, more information is available in a help/knowledge base. Headings/topics include Affiliate Community, Affiliate FAQ, ConvertKit Swag, Webinars, Become an Affiliate, and Promoting ConvertKit. All those details could be consolidated and placed on the landing page. Instead, it appears separately as a jumbled mess with terrible breadcrumb trails. Also, swag and webinar articles don’t relate to the affiliate program.
- There’s more, but let’s move on.
ConvertKit’s affiliate program gets a failing grade. The program is disorganized, missing details, and the affiliate tracking software and portal are insufficient. While they say, “affiliates are a very important part of our growth strategy,” it’s a wonder they don’t mention their program on the homepage. All of that is shocking since their goals are to help creators earn money (ironically, ConvertKit has a how-to guide on affiliate marketing via Tradecraft). If you decide to join its program, make it a low priority and don’t expect much.
Why would anyone promote ConvertKit given its antiquated software, high prices, and substandard affiliate program? Since ConvertKit doesn’t offer a free plan, all its paid plans can yield commissions. Alternatively, affiliates who promote companies with free plans aren’t guaranteed commissions. They’ll only get paid if their leads pay immediately or turn into paying customers, which may never happen. Therefore, promoting a company such as ConvertKit is potentially more profitable and appealing to publishers. Next, you could argue that a smart way to make passive income and money in affiliate marketing is to prioritize profits over products and people (your audience). In doing so, you, the affiliate, would selfishly partner with high paying merchants regardless of how their products perform. Lastly, some people use, like, and want to promote ConvertKit. In those cases, ignorance regarding email and affiliate marketing are bliss.