E-commerce integrations: How to make money using ConvertKit and our top third-party integrations

“Nothing happens until something moves.”

This quote, often attributed to Albert Einstein, is about physics. Particles, atoms, molecules—no matter what it is, there’s no reaction without the action first.

Even so, he might as well have been talking about generating income in your business as a creator. There are plenty of ecommerce platforms out there. Each of them offers a suite of features to help you turn your newsletter into sales. But they don’t do anything unless you tell them to.

Enter ConvertKit integrations. Rather than smashing atoms against each other, the physics of a creator-driven business is more like fusion. Fuse ConvertKit with platforms like Shopify and Gumroad and you can make more sales. You can set up automatic triggers to segment your customers. You can sell courses on Gumroad and let ConvertKit handle the distribution of lessons.

But there’s a catch: you need to know how and what to integrate. Here’s what you’ll need to know if you want to get things moving.

Setting up ecommerce integrations with ConvertKit

Before you try to sign up with an ecommerce platform, do yourself a favor. Check to see if there’s a ConvertKit integration first.

ecommerce integrations

Checking for an integration should be your first step because it saves a lot of headaches. For example, you don’t want to use ConvertKit and Teachable separately for years. That will only lead to you smacking your forehead and saying, “Oh, duh! I can use ConvertKit’s Teachable integration to send out an automatic email when someone subscribes to me on Teachable!”

According to our confidential surveys, these little eureka! moments are the leading cause of smacked foreheads around these parts.

We know creators often have ambitions beyond ConvertKit’s features. You often want to set up shop on Shopify, teach on Teachable, or hitch a ride on the Gumroad. But making money as a creator isn’t simply about setting up shop on these platforms. It’s learning how to integrate them with your growing ConvertKit list.

With the right integrations in place, you can:

  • View who enters your list from a ConvertKit form. Integrate with Shopify, for example, and you’ll know which customer came from where. You can even merge subscriptions between Shopify newsletters and ConvertKit. You can also avoid sending redundant emails to subscribers.
  • Check who’s read your newsletter multiple times. Want to know more about what your readers are doing? Sort by “List Tracking and Analytics” to check out analytics integrations, from Fathom to GrowSurf.
  • Create user-specific sales funnels. Let’s say you integrate with Shopify, but your Shopify users want to opt-out of marketing emails. You can use ConvertKit to automatically add those users to a “Shopify-No Marketing” list. The same logic applies to other link triggers. Topics of interest, the pages your customers landed on—you can create custom sales funnels for each user. And as we’ve noted before, 83% of marketers say personalization leads to higher opening rates.
  • Automate follow-up emails. If someone abandons a Shopify cart, do you know how to re-capture them on ConvertKit? Integrate your ecommerce platform with ConvertKit and let ConvertKit send out the follow-ups.

Say you’ve integrated Stripe with ConvertKit. How do you turn a one-time purchase into a repeat customer? One solution is automating subscriptions once someone buys from you in Stripe. Once integrated, you can create a ConvertKit automation which adds the subscription when a Stripe purchase triggers it:

Sold on the idea of integrating? Then the process of integrating most solutions into ConvertKit isn’t too intimidating. The one trick is each platform may have a different method of merging accounts. Visit the platform you want to integrate first, then follow the instructions on both ends to start setting up your automation.

Top ecommerce integrations used in ConvertKit

Depending on the platform, integrations can either give you small tweaks or open entire worlds of ecommerce features. The good news? The most popular ecommerce integrations with ConvertKit tend to be the latter.

Teachable

  • What it is: Teachable is a creator-centered platform for online courses and live coaching. Currently, over 100,000 creators have a presence on Teachable.
  • Why Teachable: Consider the example of Steve and Azul. To supplement their income while struggling with visas in China, they integrated Teachable and built an online course. It did more than supply a side income. By 2017, they were able to dive fully into their coaching business.
  • How to connect Teachable with ConvertKit

WooCommerce

  • What it is: One of the most popular ecommerce plugins on the planet, some statistics suggest WooCommerce gets nearly 30,000 downloads—per day.
  • Why WooCommerce: WooCommerce is a must-have for creators with a low initial budget. Integrate it with ConvertKit and you can automatically subscribe WooCommerce customers, merge customer segments, and create unique email lists for any customer with the “WooCommerce” tag.
  • How to connect WooCommerce with ConvertKit

Shopify

  • What it is: Oh, just your everyday ecommerce platform—which also happens to power brands as big as Pepsi and Unilever. It’s a hit with small businesses especially. In total, it generates some 23% of the total ecommerce platform market share in the U.S.
  • Why Shopify: It’s a plug-and-play ecommerce platform with all sorts of rich features and integrations. Once you’re set up on Shopify, you can set it up so every Shopify purchase triggers a ConvertKit follow-up email. Or you can create specific tags for users who have interacted with your Shopify store. This helps you create ConvertKit segments to avoid doubling emails for people who have already shopped with you.
  • How to connect Shopify with ConvertKit

Gumroad

  • What it is: Quick and easy ecommerce. Gumroad makes it easy to direct would-be customers to a landing page without setting up a whole web presence.
  • Why Gumroad: It’s so quick and easy, Gumroad and ConvertKit feature a “47-second” integration between the two. You have 47 seconds to spare, don’t you? From there, you can use all sorts of options, such as selling a training product on Gumroad and then delivering one lesson per day through ConvertKit. You can also email your customers through ConvertKit. This helps make Gumroad feel like a “stickier” platform for building customer loyalty. Or set up ConvertKit to upsell an email course to your Gumroad customers.
  • How to connect Shopify with Gumroad

Creators using third-party ecommerce with ConvertKit

The explanations above provide some guidance. But our ecommerce integrations are never cookie-cutter solutions. They exist for you and should bend to fit your needs.

What does that look like in practice? We asked creators how they use ConvertKit to sync their growing subscriber lists with new ecommerce ventures—and the answers ran the gamut.

Jan Koch

Jan Koch runs List Building School, so it’s safe to say he knows a little bit about list-driven growth in ecommerce. List Building School features free newsletter lessons, which helps ensure a large audience for Koch’s premium offerings.

To facilitate premium members for the List Building School, Koch integrated ConvertKit with ThriveCart. With the integration in place, ThriveCart’s embedded checkout cart tags new customers inside ConvertKit. From there, ConvertKit automatically fires emails to onboard customers into the List Building School premium membership area.

Corbin Buff

Image via Corbin Buff

Corbin Buff works as a freelance copywriter, using Gumroad to host his free guides. These guides serve as lead magnets to Buff’s services.

But that’s not the only connection between Buff’s Gumroad offerings and his business as a creator. Once someone downloads a free guide, a Zapier tag leaps into action, tagging the new subscriber and adding them to Buff’s ConvertKit audience.

The result for Buff is one united landing page for potential customers and clients. This simplifies his work as a creator: all he has to do is get people to click his link.

I love being able to send my audience to one page where they can choose different lead magnets and offers based on where they’re at. If you offer people just one thing, there’s a chance they will not be interested in it.

– Corbin Buff

To Buff’s point, some customers arrive at his Gumroad page and don’t even want to bother with the free materials.

Some zip straight to the paid product, his Ultimate Client Generation Bundle. Despite only being live for two months, the bundle is already generating purchases.

Scott Keller

From insurance agent to bird blogger. Ah, yes—something we’ve all done in our lives. But as common as the old insurance-to-bird-blogging tale might sound, Scott Keller initially had trouble building a community around his blog and live bird streams.

Despite high hopes (as it turned out, 50% of visitors wouldn’t sign up for his newsletter right away), he only attracted signups at a rate of 0.1% initially.

But Keller tapped into his experience as an insurance agent. Insurance is a product requiring customization and plenty of input from the customer.

As it turned out, that wasn’t too different from bird-watching after all.

Enter ConvertKit and an integration with Interact, a platform for creating online quizzes. Keller created a bird identification quiz, enticing people to sign up for his newsletter. Subscribers picked up immediately.

That quiz got me a couple hundred people a day, instead of three people a day. It started growing my list very fast. I still have the same quiz—and it works really, really well.

– Scott Keller

These days, Keller also sends subscribers to his Shopify store, where they can pick up bird feeders and Bird Watching HQ merchandise.

Image via Scott Keller

Claire Emerson

People Love Projects hosts Flourish!, the newsletter of its creator, Claire Emerson. Given that Flourish! is all about creators and the systems that sustain them, it only made sense that Emerson would take the time to optimize her own.

Emerson used ConvertKit Commerce to beta test her email-based course. Once it passed muster, she used ConvertKit to create a payment plan for her flagship course.

There was just one problem. Gumroad, which Emerson had used for previous products, started having some compatibility issues. Some customers wanted to make payment plans—a feature Gumroad didn’t offer.

Instead, Emerson connected ConvertKit with Stripe to make payment plans possible.

I’ve found [ConvertKit Commerce] so convenient. It connects to Stripe, which I already use for client invoices. And their payment setup and checkout pages are easy to customize.

– Claire Emerson

The Stripe integration has opened up all sorts of payment customization for Emerson’s flagship course. Is it a subscription? One-off payments? Payment plan? Emerson finds she has the option to price it however she likes—whichever fits her customers best.

Emerson also integrated the “tip jar,” which has been a nice boost for her existing newsletter. “Even though I don’t promote, I’ve had some donations, which I think is cool,” said Emerson. She also notes that it saves her from setting up a “Buy Me a Coffee” account, keeping her income flowing through one source.

Brennan Dunn

Given that Brennan Dunn of Create & Sell teaches people how to use solutions like these, it’s no wonder he’s mastered the science of ConvertKit integrations. Dunn uses integrations like WooCommerce and Stripe to power ecommerce on his sites and SparkLoop for accelerating newsletter growth.

How does he keep track of it all? With his own self-created company, of course. He’s a founder at RightMessage, which integrates with ConvertKit to segment customers to the right messaging every time.

At Dunn’s Create & Sell Newsletter, he used the SparkLoop integration to incentivize signups via referral programs and newsletter giveaways. Once the subscribers are in, Dunn says his secret sauce is personalization—using integrations like RightMessage to make his ConvertKit emails appeal to every subscriber.

The goal was to get myself front-and-center weekly and soft promote a product. Every week, the newsletter goes out like clockwork, and there’ll be an explicit personalized call to action in it that would link you to that product.

-Brennan Dunn

Selling products like email template packs compatible with ConvertKit, Dunn spins a complicated web of automation, personalization, and customer segmentation. Yet it’s a testament to the power of integrating that it all works like a well-oiled machine.

Image via Create & Sell

Before troubleshooting, try integrating

Expanding your creator business into ecommerce can be daunting. There are all sorts of events to track. How do you save customer emails after a purchase? How do you send out a ConvertKit email series from someone who purchased your course on Gumroad?

The answer: you can do it all. As long as you set up the integration first.

The creators we talked to, like Claire Emerson, sometimes tried different solutions before realizing a ConvertKit integration could solve their ecommerce challenges. The takeaway should be simple. If you’re struggling to expand your ecommerce offerings as a creator, ask yourself if someone using ConvertKit already thought of a solution.

Expanding your use of ConvertKit to play nice with the likes of Stripe, Shopify, and WooCommerce will give you the best of both worlds. Ideally, as the ecommerce sales start rolling in, you’ll only have one thing to say when you’re done. “Why didn’t I do this earlier?”

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