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Why I'm getting fancy with ConvertKit

I’m extremely hesitant about hitching my wagon to SaaS companies. Just about every entry on the list of platforms I use is grudgingly added, because the incentives of tech companies—at least venture-funded startups large enterprises—tend to work against users, sooner or later.

But after much dithering, I’ve decided to lean in to automation, segmentation, and personalization with ConvertKit. I’ve mapped out the details on this page, and I’m actively adding new fanciness into the mix. Why?

I’m kind of incoherent

Not in the sense of “garbled, meaningless sentences” but in the sense of “not laser focused on a single topic.”

If all you talk about is, say, LinkedIn strategy, you can just focus on that for years and years, and count on people finding you—via search engine, social media chatter, or word of mouth—when that’s what they’re looking for.

I’ve got a book about website conversion, a book about getting freelance clients, and a book about weathering criticism. I write about the history of pastries and corporate mythology. I am not going to find many people who actually care about all of this stuff.

I can certainly find people who care about some of it and grudgingly tolerate the rest. But better than that is to allow people to say “Yeah I’m really not into the freelancing tips” and then stop sending them freelancing tips.

Email’s all I do

I’m organizing workshops to help promote Your First Three Clients, and plan to do podcast appearances to promote One Star, but I’m not on social media at all, and the whole “incoherent” thing means I probably won’t find new readers, customers, clients and friends via SEO. I definitely don’t want to run ads.

So it makes sense to prioritize sending thoughtful, helpful emails to the people who invite me to do so. And my current hypothesis is that by building some fanciness into my setup, I can do that more effectively.

The dream is to do it so compellingly that word of mouth marketing actually stands in for those other ways to reach people. And doing that means creating lots of different freebies & email courses in hopes that something catches on.

I could do all this stuff without ConvertKit, and eventually will

No offense to the team at ConvertKit, who have made quite an effort to grow without becoming terrible, but I assume that sooner or later they’ll get a big enough offer that they’ll sell to some horrible corporate behemoth like Microsoft or Atlassian, and the product will start degrading. Or they’ll start making bad decisions all on their own, getting swept up in some crypto-metaverse-AI-like bubble, and the product will start degrading.

When that happens, I can export my email list, duplicate my fancy automations and segmentation in simple Python code, and continue sending emails via a service like Mailgun. It’ll take some work on my part, but it won’t be a loss on the order of “Twitter becomes unusable” or “shadow banned on LinkedIn.”

So rather than investing in a proprietary platform, I’m investing in writing stuff and controlling when, how, and to whom I send it. The kind of thing I can see myself doing for the rest of my life.

All that said, at the time of writing, if you’re not on my list and you decide to join (see below), you get a completely generic “confirm your subscription” message followed by … whatever random Friday update I happen to send out next. I’ve got some work to do! And after much overthinking, I’m convinced it’s worth doing.

    © 2024 Brian David Hall