ONTRAPORT VS CONVERTKIT: EMAIL MARKETING PLATFORM COMPARISON
Switching email marketing platforms down the line can be expensive and disruptive for your business.
Use this guide to make the best decision for your business.
This Ontraport vs ConvertKit comparison guide was last updated January 2020.
Is it time to upgrade to Ontraport or Converkit?
If you’ve been in business online for awhile, you might have reached a point where your current online marketing systems aren’t serving you as well as they used to.
Maybe you have more products and need to be able to segment your email lists better, or you’d like to automate different campaigns and track affiliate sales more effectively. Or, you’ve just got too many different systems cobbled together and things are falling through the cracks.
That's where marketing automation platforms like ConvertKit and Ontraport come in. Both of these systems require an investment of time and money to get set up so I want to give you my honest take on each one so you can make the right decision for you and your needs.
I’m an affiliate for these companies, which means I might earn a commission if you sign up through my link, at no additional cost to you.
Both platforms provide some sweet automation, which can definitely streamline your email marketing and site management. However, advanced functionality comes at a slightly higher price point than some of the free email marketing systems that are embraced by those who might not have a huge budget.
Who is behind this Ontraport vs ConvertKit comparison?
We've used our fair share of email marketing solutions, and we help our clients make the best decision for their businesses every day.
You'll find links to both Ontraport and ConvertKit that use our referral tracking links, which means we may earn a commission if you sign up through us. Rest assured that our recommendations aren't influenced by the affiliate commissions, and it won't cost you more to sign up through our links.
Tag contacts for organization and automation
Both Ontraport and ConvertKit utilize "tags" to categorize and assign properties to the members within your CRM. In each platform, these tags are automatically applied and function according to the parameters that you set. Within both platforms, these tags can be used for a variety of purposes.
For example, you might choose to segment your email list, or grant a user specific permissions based on a purchase or opt-in. Tagging is invaluable when you're ready to really start targeting specific client groups and provide a more personal experience for them.
ONTRAPORT EXCELS IN COMPLEX TAG SCENARIOS
Ontraport's tag manager allows you to categorize your tags by "groups." When you're working with dozens - or hundreds - of tags, the ability to filter and group is definitely pretty handy. Likewise, when working with several complex email marketing campaigns (all of which are guided by unique tags) and a membership site (whose access is also made possible by tags), a lack of filtering could definitely make tag management a bit of a hassle.
In ConvertKit, creating a tag happens under the automations category.
Here, there are two sides: the trigger ("when this happens") and the action ("do this").
First, each tag can be associated with a trigger ("user subscribes to a form > tag is added"), like in the example screenshot. From there, you can keep adding action events to build up a full automation sequence.
On the flip side, you can also use a tag as a trigger, which comes in handy when you're using an external integration that can apply ConvertKit tags.
Ontraport and ConvertKit both automate the email marketing process by allowing you to use a drag-and-drop sequence builder.
The need for an automated sequence is what brings many users to ConvertKit or Ontraport. Typically, an email sequence is the most commonly used.However, as your online business grows, a more robust, tag-based automation system is preferred.
CONVERTKIT: SEQUENCES + AUTOMATIONS
On the one hand, you have "Sequences" which are your automated emails. Inside this area, you can create a series of emails with a timed delay between sending.
On the other hand, you have "Automations", which are your trigger action sets. This is where you can specify what happens when, choosing from the trigger/action steps.
There are a couple limitations here.
First, since sequences and automations are totally separate, you have to create single-email sequences if you want to alternate email - add tag - email - add tag. And, since "completes sequence" is its own trigger, you might have to create a series of different automations for more complex operations.
The second limitation is around creating webhooks to send information back to other websites. You'll need to use our free ConvertKit webhook creator to make these, because there's no built-in way in ConvertKit.
ONTRAPORT: COMPLEX AUTOMATIONS WITH A VISUAL BUILDER
Ontraport's automations are a bit more robust than ConvertKit's, both in terms of complexity (like create multiple paths within a single automation) and capabilities (like the ability to include webhooks, a common use case when you're working with multiple integrated systems).
If you're looking at automated sequences alone, Ontraport definitely stands out as the system that really lets you create anything your mind can dream up.
E-Commerce & Sales Tracking
If you are planning to sell products on your website, the e-commerce side of the Ontraport vs ConvertKit debate is going to be big.
In this area, Ontraport does come out ahead at first glance, with a really nice built-in e-commerce system.
ConvertKit does not include a built-in e-commerce solution. However, it does integrate with apps that will give you this capability.
ONTRAPORT: BUILT-IN E-COMMERCE
Ontraport offers a built-in e-commerce management area, which will allow you to create product listings and easily integrate them into your sequences.
Although Ontraport does use a payment gateway for the actual transfer of funds (they offer detailed information about that in their knowledge base here), the rest of the e-commerce happens inside of the Ontraport platform.
Not only can you set up your products, but Ontraport also includes a super handy one-click upsell form that you can use in your sales strategy.
When you add in the sweet selection of sales reports (kind of a "must" for your business, especially when it's time to call in your accountant or tax person!), the Ontraport e-commerce platform is really one of the best around.
Note: the e-commerce feature is only available at certain subscription levels.
CONVERTKIT: A STRONG INTEGRATION SUITE
ConvertKit only advertises a little over 30 integrated apps, but the ones that it does provide are your typical, trusted big-names.
Granted, they also connect with Zapier, which may give you an additional link to other systems that you currently use for your business.
As always, not all integrations are created equal!
So if e-commerce, for example, is a big part of your business, take the time to check through their documentation here to make sure the integration you need is going to fit the bill.
Ease of Use
But the relative simplicity of ConvertKit (when compared with Ontraport's capabilities) means that frustration is often introduced further down the line, when your automation needs become more complex and nuanced. In this case, you might find yourself hunting for "workaround" options to accomplish your business automation needs.
Granted, because of its advanced capabilities, Ontraport does require you to take some time to learn how to navigate and take advantage of its functionality, whether you're working on something basic or more complex.
After you've become familiar with the interface, you'll probably find that the more complex things (think coupons, limited trials, and a couple hundred tags to manage) will probably perform better for you in Ontraport ... Keeping in mind that these more complex functions might also require a bit of tech savviness on your part to make it happen.
Fortunately, if you're leaning towards Ontraport and can't (or don't have the time to) do all the setup yourself, there are actually quite a few Ontraport certified consultants (some of whom are also trained and approved AccessAlly Certified Partners) who are ready and willing to help make your Ontraport dreams a reality.
Overall, if you're not going to get down and dirty with the more intricate features of Ontraport, you'll probably enjoy using ConvertKit much more. But if you're maxing out on CRM capabilities and are longing for more advanced potential, Ontraport is the stronger contender.
Affiliate Tracking & Payments
Setting up an affiliate program can be a great way to boost your sales and business reach. Of course it also includes an entirely different set of responsibilities for you to manage, including unique affiliate links, sales, and refunds.
Not surprisingly (since it doesn't include e-commerce), ConvertKit does not offer its own affiliate tracking system. However, it definitely does integrate with various 3rd party platforms (like AccessAlly) to make this feature a possibility.
Ontraport does include a Partner (Affiliate) program that will allow you to manage a unique set of permissions that can be applied to your affiliates.
ONTRAPORT VS CONVERTKIT: Pros and Cons
- Great email deliverability, and segmentation of people.
- Free membership site plugin for WordPress sites to create a members only area for your customers - if you're looking for a PilotPress alternative you can also use AccessAlly.
- Handles email marketing, e-commerce, and affiliates all in one place
- Customer relationship management for 1-1 sales processes
- OntraPages landing page builder for opt-in pages and sales page
Affiliate tracking links don’t always work as expected and might not reflect clicks properly
If you find yourself in the category of a more experienced entrepreneur - or have simply outgrown your current CRM - Ontraport is going to be a great option.
- Extremely easy to learn and use, with limited options that give you all the fundamentals
- Added a visual campaign builder that that makes it easier to create and visualize automations
- Offers email automation and tagging
- Creating webhooks isn't a straightforward thing to do
- Relies on a 3rd party integration if you want additional features like e-commerce, affiliates, etc.
If you only need the basics of automation and aren't interested in a bunch of features you might never use, ConvertKit is a great option.
How Will These Systems Integrate with Your Tech Stack?
Chances are, you won't be using your CRM in isolation and you'll want to integrate with other tools. If you plan to take payment, run online courses, or put together a membership site then you'll love knowing that AccessAlly is the ideal companion to both ConvertKit and Ontraport.
Ontraport vs ConvertKit:
It's Your Turn
While I can’t make the decision for you, I hope that now you have a better understanding of what each system is best used for, and which one you’ll want to investigate further.
In terms of when the right time to make the move is... I say before you’re ready. Because it takes awhile to make a big move to a new platform like this. I’ll also say that it’s best to be running from a profitable place, because these monthly fees are in the triple digits.