A lot of email marketing tools are extremely similar to each other.
Drip is not.
It’s uniquely built for marketers and certain small businesses.
A lot of tools like to highlight their automation features, but in all my experience, no other tool comes even close to the level of automation that Drip offers.
Up until now, if you wanted something remotely similar, you had to invest in enterprise software, with an enterprise price tag. Not realistic for the vast majority of small businesses.
Who is Drip For?
This review will look at both the strengths and weaknesses of Drip. My goal is to help you learn if your business will be best off with Drip, or if you should continue looking at other email marketing options.
At a high level,
- You have high levels of traffic
- You have many different segments (types of people) of traffic
- You’d like to use more advanced marketing techniques.
But if you only get a few hundred visitors per month, or just want a tool that sends out basic emails, you won’t be able to get the most out of Drip.
Let’s get more specific now and look at the most remarkable features.
Workflows Make Automation Simple
The workflows in Drip honestly blew me away when I first saw them.
Compared to the alternative methods that other tools have for automation, workflows are simpler, faster, and easier to understand.
A workflow in this context is a diagram full of “actions” within Drip.
You can add and drag around any actions you’d like at any time.
An action could be:
- A subscriber opens an email
- Someone navigates to a certain page
- A certain time elapses
- Someone adds a tag to a subscriber.
Just about any trigger that you can think of can be added to spark an action.
To take it even further, you can add the equivalent of “if statements” into your workflows. For example, if a subscriber is tagged as a customer, send them an email asking for feedback. If they’re not tagged, send them an email with a coupon for the product.
Each action is color-coded based on the type of action it is.
All this together makes it really simple to see which emails your subscribers should subscribe based on their actions.
By default, you already have access to a ton of actions to add to your workflows.
However, you can get even more.
Drip integrates with a ton of other marketing tools.
Once you connect to another tool, you can use those in your workflows as well.
For example, if you use Facebook Ads, you can connect to the platform. Then, if subscribers take a certain action, you can add or remove them from a custom audience on Facebook. You could add all customers to a “customer” custom audience automatically.
I wanted to quickly expand upon tagging, which I mentioned just above.
They work just like on other email marketing platforms for the most part. You can add tags to subscribers so that you can target them through actions in your workflow, or through standard broadcast emails.
You have two options for assigning tags:
- Handle them all through workflows
- Add them manually.
To manually create a segment, you go to the bulk operations section of your “subscribers” area. You then identify the segment you wish to tag (again based on actions) and assign a tag to it that can be used later.
What About Sending Emails?
At the core of all email marketing tools is the ability to send emails.
You can use pre-made templates or make your own if the design is important to you.
There are fewer options than some other competitors, so decide how important pre-designed templates are for your business.
But there is one aspect of email creation on Drip that is particularly useful.
You can change the email that you send based on the receiver. In other words, put an “if statement” in your email.
For example, if someone receiving this email has a “customer” tag, you can include a login link instead of a signup link.
You can create emails that are only triggered by actions, or you can create one-off broadcasts and send them manually.
For one-offs, you target a segment of your list, just like when you create a new tag.
Split Testing in Drip
Basic split testing is also available in Drip.
You can test:
- Subject lines
- Send times
- From names.
It’s not quite as thorough as some competitors who offer multivariate testing but is still sufficient for most uses.
See all Drip features
Reporting Options in Drip
There are a few analytics
First off, you can generate reports on a variety of metrics:
- Subscriber count
- Email engagement
- Return on investment
- Tag growth.
But the most important feature is that reports show you metrics based on all the actions associated with that type of report.
For example, conversion reports show you your total visitors, how many saw a sign-up form, how many filled it out, and more.
Most other platforms give you an overall conversion rate and expect you to figure out which steps played which part.
The other neat aspect of analytics is that Drip automatically generates lead scores for each of your subscribers.
This score is based on how much they interact with your content and are therefore likely to convert lower down in your sales funnel.
It can help you gain insights into the type of people that are most interest in your content and products, and help you target them directly.
Adding Subscribers to Your Account
Importing existing subscribers is straightforward, but be aware that all imports require a manual approval. This can take up to 48 hours, although will usually be quicker.
Drip just wants to make sure you’re not trying to do anything spam-related, but it is still inconvenient.
As far as adding new subscribers to your list, you have two options:
- You can do it programmatically using the Drip API. The documentation is very good, and it’s a straightforward task for any web developer. This is comparable to all the other leading email marketing tools.
- You can create a form manually in your Drip account.
If you go to the “forms” area of your account, you can create a new form with any fields you’d like.
Then, it will spit out the HTML that you need to paste on your website.
Be warned that no CSS is provided. You’re completely on your own to style your sign-up forms.
It’s not a huge deal, but you’ll still have to spend more time on your part.
That being said, remember integrations? You can integrate tools like LeadPages into your account, which allows you to create a design using a drag and drop editor:
Drip is not the cheapest if all you’re looking for is a basic email marketing tool. But it’s also not incredibly expensive.
However, to justify the extra expense you really need to be getting serious value out of the automation features.
There’s a free account level that you can start with, and also a three week free trial on every other plan.
Every plan gives you access to all features. The only difference is the number of subscribers that you’re allowed to have.
Of all the email marketing platforms I’ve used, Drip is the one that gets me the most excited talking about it.
If your small business has reached the point where you have thousands of subscribers and monthly visitors to your site, you can likely benefit from the advanced automation that Drip offers.
It can help you understand your customers better, and deliver more targeted emails to improve conversion rates.
But if you don’t have much traffic yet, or don’t have much time to spend on marketing, there’s likely a more affordable competitor that’s better suited for you.