Robby Fowler Articles

5 Reasons I May Leave ConvertKit for Buttondown

I’ve used email marketing providers for decades. That’s right, decades.

My Past Email Marketing Providers and Partners of Choice

I started way-back-when by helping a client get started on Constant Contact. Things looked and worked WAY differently back then.

circa 2004, from

Next, I put several clients and myself on Mailchimp in their EARLY days. I talked to support so much that they sent me a free t-shirt.
circa 2006, from

Mix in a couple of stops on Campaign Monitor and AWeber and it’s fair to say I’ve been around the block. (I won’t count my trial of Drip.)

Landing on ConvertKit

Eventually, I landed on ConvertKit. It’s been fantastic as I’ve grown my personal brand consulting business.

They’ve helped me send 157K emails. Not too shabby.

So why consider moving on from ConvertKit?

It’s Not You ConvertKit, It’s Me…and Buttondown

To be fair, ConvertKit has not done anything wrong, per se. But it may be time to move on.

5 Reasons I May Buttondown and Breakup with ConvertKit

#1 Bling: ConvertKit isn’t cheap.

ConvertKit is great. But no one ever accused them of being cheap. Like a date with expensive taste, ConvertKit can ware on your wallet.

As a personal brand, your email list should be your number 1 selling machine. But you also need to factor in ROI and cost. If you can accomplish the same or similar ROI and save over the long haul, it’s worth considering.

Buttondown would leave me with more money each month. 

#2 Bloat: ConvertKit can do more than email, but…

I don’t envy ConvertKit’s crowded market. There are more email marketing providers than corn dogs at the state fair. One way to keep up with the Joneses is by adding features. Trying to decide the right features for all their various customers isn’t easy.

I’ve appreciated many of the new features ConvertKit has added since I moved to them. But I can feel the desire to compete with the likes of Gumroad and other e-commerce solutions aimed at ConvertKit’s audience of creatives.

To be fair, I’m likely overly sensitive. Mailchimp gave me PSTD when they started adding a website builder, postcards, and free pony rides to their product. (Okay, maybe the pony ride was a beta.)

#3 Business: My business model has transformed.

My background is in design. But my current business is now strategic consulting around personal brand business, brand strategy, marketing, and leadership (aka building a life-giving brand).

Part of the transformation has included the launch of my 4 Wins weekly email. The Friday email has been a huge hit and functions more like a “newsletter” than a one-off marketing email or blog-post-turned-email like I used to create.

My current business rhythms related to email are now in 3 simple buckets:
  1. Weekly 4 Wins email (52 wks a year)
  2. Free Training emails when I conduct Free Training for those on my list (about every other month)
  3. Special offers when I launch a mastermind, sprint, workshop, or new course/product (occasionally)

#4 BYF Buddy: Move over ConvertKit, I’m doing my lead gen, automation & selling somewhere else—namely, Brand You Funnels.

ConvertKit’s automation was a game-changer when I first discovered it. (I never really used ConvertKit’s landing pages or signup forms. I was already hosting my own.)

Then they added a Gumroad-like option to sell your digital products all in ConvertKit.

But ConvertKit was never really meant to function as a CRM for leads. And their landing pages don’t function like funnels. Plus, there’s no appointment or ‘book a meeting’ functionality.

Trying to integrate a bunch of separate tools like Gumroad and Calendly through Zapier became more of a chore than a joy.

I do all of that (and more) in Brand You Funnels. So I don’t need to sell through ConvertKit. I don’t need automation. I don’t need landing pages. I don’t need email subscribers and tags to be a poor man’s CRM.

I just need to reliably send the emails from #3 above. (I could send email solely through Brand You Funnels, but for other reasons, I’ve kept that separate for now.)

#5 Blast: Sharing my newsletter should be a blast…and blazing fast.

The whole point of my 4 Wins newsletter is to give you 4 wins in under 2 minutes. Firing it off should be fun and fast.

Buttondown gets rid of lots of bells and whistles I don’t need—primarily because I have them somewhere else already (cf #4 above).

Converting from ConvertKit: To Be Continued…

As of this writing, I’m toying with Buttondown and testing it out.

Moving providers is always a bit of a hassle. Plus, email deliverability can be precarious when switching. Nobody needs more spam.

ConvertKit does a good job of getting my email into my subscriber’s inbox. Why topple the inbox cart, right?

So the jury is still out.

Make sure you’re on my 4 Wins email list to stay tuned. I promise I won’t be button-lipped about my Buttondown experience.