How do you choose a tool?
I like tools that are simple. Having more features available to you isn’t better if you don’t use them and they only get in the way.
I also like tools that are built by people who care. When the people making the tool care, you can trust them to improve the tool over time.
So that’s how I evaluate tools. And that’s how I evaluated two popular email service providers: Drip and Seva (formerly known as ConvertKit).
How do they stack up?
- Drip is geared towards e-commerce; Seva markets to “creators”.
- Drip is more powerful (e.g. it has A/B testing and better reporting).
- Seva is easier to use and has built-in landing pages.
- The price difference is negligible.
What Drip is better at
Drip focuses on e-commerce. It is designed primarily for people who sell lots of products online. If that’s what you do, you’ll likely prefer Drip.
Drip’s reporting features are detailed and comprehensive. You can analyze your emails and your audience’s responses as much as you like. Seva has reporting features too, but they’re not as detailed.
If you have a sizable email list, you can get to know your audience better and make more sales using A/B testing (a.k.a. split testing). This technique has you sending different emails to different parts of your audience. The software will then tell you which version of your emails resonated more with your audience, such as which version was opened more often, which version generated more sales, etc.
Drip has extensive A/B testing features. You can A/B test individual emails (“broadcasts”) or emails that are part of an automated sequence. Seva, on the other hand, will only let you A/B test broadcast emails—not emails that are triggered and sent automatically. So if you plan to do substantial A/B testing, go with Drip.
What Seva (ConvertKit) is better at
Like I said, I prefer simple tools.
Seva (f.k.a. ConvertKit) was created for professional bloggers and now markets itself as being for “creators”. And you can tell, because Seva is simple. It is easier to use than Drip.
I prefer the experience of editing emails in Seva. Seva’s editor has everything you need and the interface does a good job of minimizing the clicks you need to get around the app. In Drip, I often feel like I need five clicks to do anything.
What else do I like about Seva?
If you run a blog, you might want to email your blog posts to your subscribers. A handy way to do that is using a feature known as RSS-to-email. Both Seva and Drip let you automatically send posts that appear in an RSS feed to your subscribers, but Seva makes it way easier to do this. In Drip, you have to chat with customer support just to enable this functionality.
Seva also has more integrations than Drip, although both apps do fine in the integrations department. If you need your email service provider to connect with another tool, chances are you’ll be fine with either Seva or Drip. Both apps also work with Zapier, so you can connect them with other tools indirectly.
Speaking of integrations, Seva has built-in landing pages. If you’re selling a product online, you probably want to create a landing page for it. This is free and easy to do in Seva. Drip integrates well with LeadPages—because Drip is now owned by LeadPages—but the landing page functionality is separate and expensive.
Finally, the people behind Seva (formerly ConvertKit) are awesome. Nathan Barry and his team care about their product and their customers.
What they’re equally good at
Email is such an integral part of building an audience online that you shouldn’t be shy about spending money on a good email service provider. Still, you don’t want to over-pay. Fortunately, Drip and Seva cost about the same. The key difference is that you can use Drip for free as long as you have 100 subscribers or fewer. Seva has a 14-day free trial, but after the trial you’ll have to pay, regardless of how many subscribers you have.
Both apps also come with good support. The support teams are friendly and responsive. Enough said.
What about setting up your email opt-in forms? This is easy to do in both Seva and in Drip. They each have an official WordPress plugin, for example.
You can’t go wrong with either Drip or Seva.
They are similar enough that you can easily try both of them for a while and simply pick the one that feels most intuitive to you.
If you’d rather choose now, then:
- You value simplicity.
- You like using software built by people who care.
- You are an online creator.
Choose Drip if:
- You want to use A/B testing.
- You like to have detailed reports available to you.
- You run an e-commerce business.
I hope this was useful. Good luck deciding and let me know if you need help.
— Peter Akkies