Why I Happily Chose beehiiv Over ConverKit for My Newsletter

The beehiiv or ConverKit argument isn’t really much of an argument as it is a preference.

There’s also a bit of fangirling going on with beehiiv.

I’ll be doing a much more in-depth post about beehiiv, but this question came up when I tweeted how much I loved the UI for writing with beehiiv. A friend who asked what I was using for my email service provide was curious about why I chose beehiiv.

beehiiv

*Fun side note*
One of the founders replied to the above thread with this ?:

Who doesn’t love a responsive company?

A little backstory…

I started writing my #FtheHUSTLE newsletter in late 2020.

I’m now at 107 issues published (Go me!) and haven’t missed a week since I started. I had been writing a newsletter for another brand I had at the time and was slowly falling in love with newsletters. I loved their resurgence without the ick factor that internet marketers had created (enough about me, what do you think about me?).

I came up with #FtheHUSTLE in 2015 because I was sick and tired of the hustle-and-grind mentality preached by a subset of marketers.

I had wanted to start a newsletter for this site & brand, but I wasn’t sure what to call it. I stumbled across the logo in a dropbox folder and instantly knew that it would be the name of the newsletter (and now has become a business and life framework, but more on that another time).

I’ve been with ConvertKit for quite a while now (7-8 years, maybe? I logged into my account and couldn’t find the start date, I’m sure it’s there somewhere). I’ve used or tried quite a few email marketing platforms:

  • Active Campaign
  • Aweber
  • ConvertKit
  • Mailerlite
  • Sendfox
  • 1ShoppingCart (anyone remembers them?
  • Keap (i.e., Infusionsoft)
  • MailChimp
  • Klaviyo (using for another e-commerce brand, very happy with them)
  • And a handful of older ones…

Here’s the thing…

I’m not ditching ConvertKit as my primary email service provider (until/unless beehiiv expands into that arena… wink, wink, nudge, nudge). beehiiv is a newsletter platform.

For quite a while now, I’ve wondered why someone would use a separate newsletter platform instead of their own email service provider.

Especially when you could integrate a tool like Sparkloop for additional features (ex: a referral program).

beehiiv hasn’t been around that long, but the improvements and growth have been phenomenal. beehiiv was co-founded by Tyler Denk, Benjamin Hargett, and Jake Hurd, all formerly part of Morning Brew (so they know a thing or two about newsletters).

I’ve had a free account for a while but hadn’t done anything with it.

I had played with importing my subscribers from ConvertKit but wasn’t convinced it was a better option for the newsletter. Not to mention I assumed I’d have to change all the opt-in forms on my site (we all know how fun that is).

However, after looking more into Integrately (precisely because of beehiiv), it looks like I don’t actually have to change the forms! I have to make sure they’re all set up with the correct tags! ?

ConvertKit beehiiv integration

Before I get into why I love beehiiv so much, for the record, ConvertKit has a very clean UI too, but there are some things I don’t like.

Do I wish they had created a visual builder for emails before creating ConvertCommerce? 100%.

I have Brennan Dunn’s product, Palladio, which makes it easier-ish to create email templates and better-looking emails (in this case, specifically newsletter templates), but this shouldn’t be needed.

ConvertKit uses Liquid, which is a little frustrating for those of us whose brains aren’t wired for code.

I don’t want to copy and paste code snippets to make my emails look a certain way. This has always felt contrarian to me since ConvertKit’s primary message is that they’re built for creators.

I’ll stick with ConvertKit because of the automations and things I’ve already set up, but now that I know I can send ConvertKit subscribers into beehiiv, I’m probably moving my #FtheHUSTLE newsletter over too!

I’m also using Klaviyo for my new e-commerce brand, Create It (we just launched our Content Planner!). So I’ve decided to put the newsletter for that brand, called Creator’s Weekly, on beehiiv as well (the first newsletter that I just started is called imperfect and was going to be my free test).

*Side note: I just realized that I could also use Integrately for Klaviyo to beehiiv – so I’ll be setting that up for Creator’s Weekly on the website.

After writing one issue, I fell in love with the writing experience. I knew it would be easier for my daughter (the genius behind Creator’s Weekly), to write on beehiiv (I have a few issues with Klaviyo’s UI for writing emails, but I’m super happy with the performance vs. ActiveCampaign).

Why beehiiv

It’s no secret to people who follow me or have been on my list for a while that I’m pretty picky about the UI of the tools I use.

I’m not a designer, developer, or UI/UX expert… I simply know what I like.

That doesn’t mean I choose design over functionality. Obviously, it has to function well, but if it doesn’t look good or isn’t intuitive, I’m going to bounce.

Design and functionality are not mutually exclusive.

And beehiiv looks goooooooood!

Homepage ?:

beehiiv

Dashboard ?:

beehiiv dashboard

Oh, and let’s not forget the website you get with your account (this is the NEW newsletter I just launched) ?:

imperfect newsletter

But I’m not singing the praises of beehiiv just because it looks good.

It’s certainly a part of what attracted me to the platform, but what they’re doing and where they’re going excites me.

Take Substack as another example, or even Revue. Both are newsletter platforms, but neither seemed like a better alternative to sticking with ConvertKit.

Let’s start with my Newsletter Goals:

  • Increase subscribers: I’ve got a new content & distribution plan I’m rolling out to create a consistent flow. For #FtheHUSTLE, I’ve also created a unique follow-up sequence to ensure that people know exactly what they’re getting when they sign up.
    *I know this is obvious, and I have specific numbers, but I’m focusing specifically on organic growth with a new plan.*
  • Brand awareness: Specifically for FTH & Creator’s Weekly – I want to drive brand awareness for KimDoyal.com and CreateItCompany.com.
  • Sponsorships: Add sponsorships to both newsletters (possibly classifieds)
  • Imperfect: Have fun and follow the inspiration ?

Here’s where beehiiv makes it easy to reach those goals:

Built-in referral program:

I have Sparkloop that integrates with ConvertKit, but to put it in the newsletter in a way that I like, I have to go back and use Palladio and create the content snippet. Not a big deal as it’s one and done (and Sparkloop has a good-looking widget I can use as well), but all the data will be in Sparkloop.

Recommendation network:

Sparkloop has something similar (and you can get paid for every referral), but you can also recommend other people’s newsletters and have yours recommended, thus driving more subscribers. beehiiv has also removed a lot of friction by allowing one-click subscribe via email links. In other words, no opt-in form is required.

Ad Network:

Having a built-in ad network with your newsletter platform is such a bonus. There are a handful of third-party ad networks, and you can also start and manage your own advertising (plenty of people do this successfully). If this is one piece of monetizing your newsletter, it’s much easier to have it in to the platform you’re using.

You need 1000 subscribers and must be sending regularly.

Paid newsletters:

If you want a paid version of your newsletter, that’s built-in too! With zero charges from beehiiv (they use Stripe, you still have the standard Stripe fee). You need to be on a paid plan to activate a paid subscription (monthly paid plans start at $49).

Analyze & Advanced Segmentation:

Simply look at your subscriber report, and you can see where your new subscriber opt-ed in from (subscriber attribution):

I’ve only been on the platform (officially writing on it) for a week, so it’s going to take a while to get more data and start segmenting, but I absolutely plan on utilizing that feature.

Native One-Click Polls:

Their words, not mine (but I love this), “If Instagram Story Polls and newsletters had a baby- collect feedback and insights from your readers directly in your newsletter.”


And there you have it!

Whew!

The last thing to mention is the pricing. They have a great free plan (up to 2500 subscribers, ConvertKit limits you to 300) if you’re just getting started or want to try the platform out.

As soon as I launched imperfect, I knew I wanted to move Creator’s Weekly into beehiiv and sign up for the paid account.

I went for the Scale plan, which is $99 a month and gives you all the features. We will implement the referral program and recommended newsletters and apply to the ad network after a few more issues.

After doing my homework and discovering I can link beehiiv & ConvertKit, I’ll be moving #FtheHUSTLE over as well (which makes me super excited!).


Hopefully, this answers the question as to why I chose beehiiv.

As I said above, I don’t have plans to move off of ConvertKit for regular email marketing. I think beehiiv is a better newsletter solution, and it’s worth the investment since newsletters are a core part of my content strategy.

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10 Comments

  1. Hi.
    I have just taken a look at the Beehiiv website and just not clear on 1 thing.
    Does it have all the email automation features of CK or similar? That is can it be used as your email marketing system not just your newsletter?
    I want to be able to send welcome email sequences, sales marketing emails, download followup etc etc
    This is easily possible with MailerLite/CK/Bento etc but can Beehiiv do this as well or you end up needing 2 systems?

    Thanks,
    Dale.

    1. Hi Dale,
      They just released automations in December:
      https://product.beehiiv.com/p/automated-email-journeys-are-here

      You can do a basic welcome sequence, broadcast, or follow-up sequence, but it’s still pretty limited. I’m really hoping they continue to develop that side of the platform – I would happily go all in with beehiiv.

      I’m keeping both beehiiv & ConvertKit – but I’m using beehiiv for 2 other newsletters, one is for an e-commerce brand and we use Klaviyo and the other is just a personal newsletter.

      I’ve been super impressed with everything they do, their support, and how quickly they release product updates.
      Hope that helps.
      Thanks
      Kim

  2. Hi Kim
    Very intriguing post! I am facing this very thing. Convertkit has the automations I want, but Beehiiv has the writing enviornment I want.

    My question is about unsubscribes. Can someone unsubscribe from one or the other mailings (email from Ck or newsletter from Beehiiv) and have it remove them from both platforms (or do I have to match everything up manually?)

    Examples:
    1. if someone unsubscribes from email (sent through Ck, let’s say) have you found a way to unsubscribe them automatically from Beehiiv?

    2. if someone unsubscribes from a Beehiiv mailing, have you found a way to also unsubscribe them from Convertkit?

    Would love to see the deeper dive post on Beehiiv you mentioned in this post. Thanks so much for your writing!

    1. Hi Jeffrey,
      Thanks so much for your comment.

      Unfortunately, I could only find an integration that would send the subscriber to beehiiv if they signed up via CK. I haven’t found a solution for the unsubscribes πŸ™ – at least not yet.

      I checked with beehiiv, and they showed me where I could export the unsubscribes, but I’d have to do it in CK (sigh) manually.
      However, as I’m writing this, I’m wondering if there are a couple of options I hadn’t thought about:
      1) export the unsubs into a Google sheet and create a Zap that manually removes them from CK
      2) I came across an AI tool that might do this, I’m going to get in touch with them and see if it works (it’s called “Cheatlayer” if you want to give it a go. But I’ll let you know what they say.

      I wish I could pinpoint exactly what it is I love about beehiiv so much…besides what I listed in this post. I’m keeping my newsletter for my e-commerce brand on beehiiv and am launching an AI one (about my new experiment to revamp my personal brand with ChatGPT- going to do it as a build in public experiment) that I think I’ll do solely on beehiiv (I haven’t completely made up my mind – but I really love it).

      I’ll let you know what I find!
      Thanks again,
      Kim

  3. Kim,
    Nice post.
    I’m also a dual user and looking to possibly 100% move over to Beehiiv (loving their speed of development!)

    Question: why would you need both? So, if Beehiiv is for the newsletter, what are you using Convertkit in order to do?
    Maybe I’m confused about how you use Convertkit?

    And on Beehiiv’s scale plan, are the automated journeys similar to Convertkit’s? (tag a user and let them follow an automated email sequence?)

    Thanks for the post!

    1. Hi Brooks,
      Right now beehiiv doesn’t have as much flexibility as ConvertKit with automations. You can create code snippets in ConvertKit and have a lot of dynamic things happening in the backend.
      As an example:
      You can show a specific product offer to your subscribers based on what they’ve purchased in the past. So for me, if I have someone that has purchased a product on email marketing from me I can use liquid to recommend another email marketing product they haven’t purchased. In the same email I can do the same thing for customers who have purchased a ChatGPT Product and make them an offer for a private session. I don’t have to send two emails, I can simply select which offer goes to which subscriber based on custom fields.

      That being said, if you’re not doing more advanced segmenting on the backend you can absolutely used beehiiv for everything. I haven’t dug too deep into beehiiv’s automations yet but plan on it. I absolutely love the platform, the UI, and the team is deploys updates so quickly. I think I’d have FOMO if I let beehiiv go 🀣.

      Thanks so much for reading. Hope that helps!

  4. Hi Kim,

    It looks like you’re using ConvertBox on your website. How are you integrating Beehiiv with it? Thanks and great write-up! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Darren,

      What I’ve done is create a zap so that anytime someone subscribes to ConvertKit via a ConvertBox they’re automatically sent into beehiiv. The challenge is the unsubs. Right now it has to be done manually (and why I haven’t moved my newsletter the SPARK into beehiiv yet). That being said, beehiiv said they’re working on a webhook that will do this. You can use Zapier or Integrately to make that happen. However, I just double-checked and it looks like you can simply use an HTML form in ConvertKit (go to integrations, it’s on the bottom row next to Google Analytics).

      The zap seemed like a quicker option for me (as opposed to updating every ConvertBox I have on my site).
      Hope that helps!
      Thanks,
      Kim

    1. My pleasure, Mike. Thank YOU!
      I really wish beehiiv would become a full-blown ESP, as well as add some ‘discoverability’ to the platform. But at the rate they deploy updates (quickly), you never know. πŸ˜‰

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