Sorry ‘Chimp, My Heart Belongs to Drip: An email marketing automation love story

I was a Mailchimp user for years. And, to be fair, I was a happy Mailchimp user for many of those years.

But as my business and product offerings grew, Mailchimp just didn’t grow along with it. I needed something different. Not necessarily more robust, but definitely something that would allow me to be more agile with how I was handling, organizing and taking advantage of my email list.

So I hunted around for other options.

I liked ConvertKit for their simple UI and UX but, at the time, they didn’t have any tagging capabilities (I believe they do now?).

I didn’t care for Aweber, Constant Contact or any of the old guard. Say what you will, but UI and UX matter to me. I wanted something that was simple, intuitive and, if I was going to be spending so much time in it, it’d be nice if it looked good, too.

Infusionsoft and Ontraport. Nowhere near my price range. Plus, I have a ton of friends who spend more time complaining about them than they do actually using them. Next, please.

Finally, I came across Drip (FYI: this, and all following links, is an affiliate link). And with Drip, I got everything I wanted (and a ton more since signing up nearly 2 years ago).

Here’s a quick rundown of what I love about Drip and why I’ll never consider another email marketing platform again.

One Subscriber Across All Products

This was the main thing that wasn’t working for me with Mailchimp. At the time, we were running three different products that all served the pro photography market.

With Mailchimp, each of these products had its own list. The implications of that are:

  1. I was paying for the same subscriber to be on multiple lists.
  2. There was no (simple) way to tell which subscribers owned which products and cross-market our products to relevant subscribers.
  3. I got a lot of “I already own that product, stop sending me emails about sales” replies because of point number two.
  4. I got a lot of “Oh hey, I bought that 39.2 months ago but just saw you’re running a sale because you sent me a sale email about it even though I already bought it…. so can I get the sale price now?” emails because of point number two.

Overall, it was just a giant headache trying to keep lists organized and setting up segments to try to tackle this issue. Zapier and I wrestled with it for as long as we could, but this was ultimately the reason I started looking for a new solution.

In case you’re wondering, I did try to combine all of my products into one list and just use Mailchimp’s segments feature to try to better organize them, but I wasn’t able to trigger any new onboarding emails because they subscriber already existed. Those emails were only sent to new subscribers. So… no dice.

There were probably ways to accomplish this via API, but I don’t write code, so that was a no-go for me.

Tagging. Beautiful, wonderful, powerful tagging.

Drip had me the moment I was able to tag a subscriber and trigger an action off of that tag.

Had me.

Want to send an email out immediately to someone who just purchased one product, offering them a discount on another?

Piece of cake.

Want to make sure that email only goes out to people who don’t already own the product you’re trying to upsell?

Okie dokie.

And that’s child’s play compared to what we can now do with…

Holy shit, workflows!

This is a real Drip workflow that we used before retiring one of our recent products.

This. is. absurd.

Here’s what it does:

When someone submits the form for the Preveal lead magnet…

  • Apply the tag “Preveal Prospect”
  • Check to see if they already own Preveal
  • If they do own Preveal already
  • Send a one-off email with a link to the lead magnet
  • Then wait 7 days
  • Then find out if they own Salesographer
  • If Yes…
  • Send a one-off “what did you think?” email
  • Wait 7 Days
  • Move them to the weekly email campaign
  • If they don’t own Salesographer…
  • Find out if they’ve already downloaded the lead magnet for Salesographer. If yes, carry on.
  • If no, send a custom “what did you think” email that includes a CTA to check out the Salesographer lead magnet.
  • If they don’t own Preveal…
  • Send the lead magnet
  • Wait 7 days, then resume on the next Thursday at 8am
  • Send the Preveal Engagement Campaign (a two-week drip campaign that teaches them awesome stuff while using the app to teach them that stuff)
  • If they open any of the engagement emails or they purchase the app, stop doing what you’re doing and move them down the the workflow (this is to purge the people from the list who aren’t interacting with any of the emails. If they make it through the entire engagement campaign without having opened a single email, then they clearly just wanted a freebie. Peace out, subscriber.)
  • Wait another 7 days and resume on the following Thursday.
  • Check to see if they own the app yet.
  • If yes..
  • Find out if they own Salesographer
  • If yes…
  • Move them to the weekly email campaign
  • If no…
  • Find out if they have already gotten the Salesographer lead magnet. If yes, carry on to switching them to the weekly campaign.
  • If they don’t have the Salesographer lead magnet, find out if they own Preveal (really just a sanity check at this point). If they do own Preveal, send them an email that says “you own this thing, you should definitely make life even better with this other thing.” If they don’t own Preveal, send them an email that pitches the Salesographer lead magnet.
  • If they didn’t purchase Preveal during the engagement campaign, time to kick it up a notch…
  • Remove the Prospect tag and add a Lead tag
  • Send a sales email offering a discount on Salesographer when they purchase Preveal
  • Wait 7 days
  • If at any point they purchase, move them on to find out if they already own Salesographer, then send them through that sequence.

I think it bears repeating… Holy shit, workflows.

Liquid Templating

Liquid is built right in to Drip and it makes it stupid-simple to drop subscriber data into emails and, even better, only show relevant info to subscribers based on their subscriber data. (Actually, if I knew what I was doing with Liquid when I set up that above workflow, I would have been able to clean a lot of those “find out if they own X, if yes, do this, if no, do this instead.)

Here’s a simple example of how we’re using Liquid tags to personalize emails sent after someone signs up for a course that hasn’t launched yet. This allows me to use the same email and the same form across all courses, so I don’t have a bunch of random forms. We just drop the course name into a hidden field in the form on the website, then I can grab that and use it in the email.

Same idea here for someone who downloaded one of our free web books on photography sales. In this email, I’m using those tags to show the correct download link and text, then using a liquid tag to show them a CTA to try out our sales tool if they don’t already own it. If they do already own it, they just won’t see anything down there.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to just how powerful all of this stuff is. It’s insane. And it makes it crazy-easy for me, even though I couldn’t code my way out of a wet paper bag.

So Long, Old Friend

So, in the end, making the switch from Mailchimp to Drip was a no-brainer for me. I hated the idea of moving (pain of switching and all), but the transition was pretty simple and I was immediately saving money because I wasn’t having to pay for duplicate subscribers (to give you an idea, our same list of emails went from roughly 16,000 emails to about 9,000. Just from duplicate subscribers. Ouch).

Between the organization structure of Drip (one list, segmented with tags), the power of those tags, combined with workflows and automations and liquid templating, I’m a Drip fanboy, through and through.

And now with their recent acquisition by LeadPages and they’re $1/month plan? You’d be crazy to not try it out.

I freaking love Drip. I think you will, too.