While this is a MailChimp Vs Drip tug of war blog post, I use both. I want you to think and decide which one works for you best.
MailChimp, you very well know, is an absolute gem of an email marketing software. Recently, they had let out their automation tools for everyone to use, and that makes the good old chimp even more adorable.
MailChimp is available for free for up to 2000 subscribers or 12,000 emails. You’d primarily work with “lists” in MailChimp.
Have three brands? You’d primarily have three lists then. If you’d like to do advanced marketing automation, you’d need to use other features within Mailchimp such as segmenting and grouping your customers (say, those who purchased more than $150 in lifetime value or those who never purchased at all)
Of those automation features within MailChimp, the absolute beast of a feature is eCommerce 360. It essentially connects with your website’s payment processor (WooCommerce in my case) and shows you a display of total orders that originate from your emails (including direct store orders and more).
MailChimp’s eCommerce feature along with its popularity (and hence your ability to integrate it with absolutely anything you’d end up using) is a phenomenal value (especially, given that you’d start for free and you’d not even have to pay for automation now).
Simple will do for many businesses, and I’d never suggested anything beyond Mailchimp for these kinds of businesses.
Sometimes, especially for businesses with an intent to use content upgrades, use lead scoring, and get into the depths of complex marketing automation, Mailchimp will begin to disappoint if you are looking for “straightforward”.
Don’t write off Mailchimp just yet. It can possibly do everything that every other competing piece of software can, except that it’s not going to be straightforward.
Paul Jarvis explains that you could use advanced marketing strategies to help properly segment your customers and it’s not necessarily true that Mailchimp can’t deliver just because it’s still based on lists and not on “tags” – where tags are the preferred way to do automation today.
Savvas Zortikis, VP product and Growth at GrowthRocks, helpfully listed out a bunch of MailChimp Hacks.
Kirsten Of Sweat Tea goes on to a great length to help you make use of Mailchimp’s segmenting, Grouping, and other features.
Over time, depending on your business, you might find yourself with the need to implement some advanced automation. Here are a few examples where Mailchimp might not work for you:
Using Content Upgrades
If you are confident that content marketing and blogging is the way to go and you also understand the power of content upgrades, then you’ll also understand that you’d have to be relevant.
This means that you’d be offering a WordPress Security Checklist for people who are reading blog posts on WordPress or you’d offer Facebook Ads Guide to people reading blog posts on Facebook Advertising.
You’d want to offer a checklist or guide on funnels and email marketing automation for people reading blog posts on email marketing.
A customer base with changing needs
My business is into end-to-end digital marketing.
By nature, I’d be touching many aspects of digital marketing as a service. For blogging too, I tend to be all over the place. Visitors to this blog are interested in everything from blogging to content strategy; from PPC to retargeting; from funnels to WordPress setup.
For businesses like mine, I’d have one client who only needs blog posts. Others need end-t0-end marketing.
How would I serve them all with a single (or even multiple) lists?
Then, what if I have two or three completely different businesses in addition to my main business here?
When you just can’t hack things together
Paul Jarvis and many others are pros at MailChimp. Then, there are some smart, tech-savvy marketers who can make Mailchimp do everything they want it to do.
Regular guys like me are already strapped with limited resources (and a gargantuan list of things to do) – work for clients, blog regularly here, and then for Groovy Web Tools. Plus, I have a few courses all primed up to sell.
I can barely put together a form on CSS. Asking me to hack MailChimp the way I want it to work is a big ask.
Just don’t have the time. You could be just like me.
Do you see why Mailchimp falls out of favor – if you are not Mailchimp Savvy enough — when you start piling up more than it’s built to take?
Say hello to Drip
That’s where the appeal of the new-age email marketing automation systems becomes evident. Try to explain the growth of all-in-one email marketing power systems like Drip
If you want to see through to the end of the MailChimp Vs Drip war, it’s how these email marketing automation features click together.
Drip has long been a favorite for some savvy marketers and they’ve used the “one list and multiple tags per subscriber” approach to email marketing.
Together with that powerful tag system, visual automation builder, the ability to run as many websites or businesses you want (and paying only once per subscriber, Unlike Mailchimp), Drip makes for a compelling case.
In fact, there’s a lot more to Drip than what you’d come to expect. Here are some powerful features, apart from the obvious ones such as tags and multiple workflows:
Get Out of Gmail’s “Promotions” tab into the “Personal Tab”
Email deliverability is a huge issue today. Every email you send out risks not getting delivered at all. Or maybe it’ll get into the spam folder right away. It can also get into your subscribers’ “Gmail” promotional tab.
Even if your email reaches your subscribers but ends up in the “promotional tab”, you are losing out big time here. The open rates are going to be negligible or late, or both.
No fancy HTML email templates. No images that won’t get rendered by default. Nothing to filter automated triggers for spam on the user end.
For some reason, however, if you still want to fancy HTML emails. You can still do it with Drip’s Email Editor, those you get at Zurb Foundation, or dropping an email template of your choice. (Not recommended. Just stick with plain text emails).
This alone is a winner.
Self-paced, Advanced, Segmented Automation With Drip
Your Offer – relevant automation workflow – nurture leads in that sequence – make sales
With Drip, you can have as many offers. Then, every workflow that’s triggered because of the type or the nature of offer stands on its own. The entire sequence you’d set up for your customers stays relevant.
But then, people chance. Their interests change. They wanted something before and they want something else now.
How will you adapt?
With Drip, you use tags and automation workflows. If my website reader comes in one day and downloads a WordPress checklist. The sequence of emails that are triggered is all based on WordPress (because that’s what my subscriber expressed interest in).
But then, my subscriber? She is smart and since she already figured out WordPress security. She wants to move on and figure out how to launch Facebook ads. So, she signs up for that guide this time around.
Now, when this happens, I’ve set up automation in such a way that the Drip System just applies a tag to the same subscriber.
When a tag called “Facebook Advertising” is triggered, a separate campaign that’s built for “Facebook advertising” audience is now triggered for her.
Subscribers enter and exit workflows – a collection of campaigns if you will – depending on their own actions.
Then, it goes on and on. This doesn’t end. But then, subscribers are automatically tossed in and out of relevant campaigns (or even out of the list itself) based on their activity (or the lack of it).
Lead Scoring in Drip
Drip comes with Lead Scoring built-in. That’s powerful stuff.
With lead scoring, Drip starts allocating points based on actions your subscribers take. Points are also reduced due to actions subscribers don’t take.
Do subscribers click on links within emails? Points go up.
Subscribers go and signup for another free download? Points go up.
Subscribers don’t click on links? Points go down.
This itsy bitsy gamification is on until lead scores reach a particular point. At that stage, Drip applies a tag called “Potential lead” and then another sequence of emails specially built to have these leads convert into sales is switched on.
So, as people signup, engage with your email, and stay active, some of those can be identified as potential leads.
You know what happens when your pipeline automatically builds like this over time, don’t you?
Now, how powerful is that?
Maintaining Healthy lists with only “Engaged subscribers”
A healthy, engaged, and active email list is what you need. Even if it has only 100 subscribers.
Growing your email list is not a contest. You aren’t competing with anyone here.
There’s no use having 100,000 people subscribing to your list and then having open rates that are worse than banner ad click-through rates.
While we are on the topic of “healthy lists” – always ensure you have “double opt-in” enabled. You don’t want the eager beaver subscribers who dropped their email addresses but never bothered to verify.
Most likely, they’ll never bother to engage. They won’t buy anything. They won’t click on anything. They won’t read what you work so hard to create.
But then, even those who double opt-in can sometimes fall out of favor with your list. Using Lead Scoring (see above), email activity, and many other ways such as “Bulk operations, List Pruning actions” available inside Drip, you can periodically work on re-engagement campaigns or complete deletion of subscribers.
This way, you’ll always maintain a healthy email list. The only kind of email list worth having.
Forms In Drip
Ask me about forms, and I’ll bore you to death with a lifelong struggle to get the typical forms that ESPs like MailChimp and Aweber provide.
Without the help of expensive experts, I could never make these forms look and work the way I wanted them.
First off, forms in Drip can at least be styled and made to show up how you want them on your website.
One most important form (depending on what I want to offer) shows up on the bottom right corner of the website (branded and styled straight from where you create forms in Drip). All other forms are hidden and won’t show at all.
Right off the bat, they can have styling that matches your branding and these forms can be set up to show on the bottom left, bottom right, on the left and right of the website, or show up as a lightbox (typical lightbox).
These forms open up politely (after a certain amount of time or after users scroll to X% of the page. You also have the option of having them show on exit intent).
However, choose where you’d want the forms to show up. You also have the option of embedding the forms or use a link as a “hosted version”.
You can also style your forms beyond what’s available from the Form creation process by using CSS. These are shown as completely styled forms under relevant blog posts.
A few forms are for other kinds of offers (like the one I use for my consulting offers), and you’d not see them here on the website. I use them in cold email outreach, etc.
My forms, as you can guess, can’t always be hiding under blog posts. So, I use either Gutenberg blocks or Unbounce to create forms, lead generation elements, pop-ups, and sticky bars. All of which do connect with Drip.
Integrations with Drip
Now, Drip is one of the fastest-growing email marketing automation platforms (alongside Convertkit) and it’s only understandable that a lot of other systems and tools you might use for your business play well with Drip. For me, Drip integrates with almost everything I use.
• Drip Integrates with Unbounce and Leadpages (the landing pages tools I use) directly or with webhooks. It obviously also integrates with Leadpages (which now also owns Drip)
• Drip integrates with WooCommerce (which I use for my store. However, I still use Mailchimp’s e-commerce integration and Mailchimp’s e-commerce plugin for the store since I didn’t want to make changes to it yet).
• Drip Integrates with Optinmonster (the tool I use for multiple sites to grow my subscribers).
• Using Zapier, I connect MailChimp to Drip. This way, even my customers (who actually purchase any of my services or products) also get into Drip (tagged as customers, obviously).
MailChimp Vs Drip: What’s your Pick?
Since I now have slightly advanced needs and also a strong need for complete automation while I have no ability to hack around with tools too much, I only use Mailchimp for its e-commerce features.
Note that Drip also integrates with WooCommerce, Paypal, Stripe, GumRoad, and many other tools that you are likely to use for payment processing. Or there’s Zapier that can help connect Drip to anything you want.
MailChimp is awesome for you if you are just starting out and need a robust, easy, email marketing solution.
You’ll need Drip if you are already convinced that marketing automation is a must-have for your business (which you do).
Drip is everything Mailchimp is, except that it gets easier to do marketing automation at scale with complete flexibility, the awesome automation workflow builder, lead scoring, and more.