In the one in a row post of this series, we shall compare Convertkit vs Drip. In the blue corner, ladies and gentlemen, we have an email service provider, and in the red corner – an e-commerce marketing engine that promises to automate your marketing at the right scale.
Were we to compare to email marketing automations or two e-commerce platforms, things would’ve been much easier. In this case, however, the choice of platform depends exclusively on whether you need to be able to send out email marketing campaigns, or you’d rather focus on e-commerce.
So, instead of juxtaposing Drip and Convertkit in a head to head comparison, we shall highlight each automation platform’s best features so as to let you make an informed choice. But first, let’s share some background info about the two companies.
To begin with, it isn’t easy to convince Google almighty that you’re not looking for info about drip irrigation. Anyway, the next page is the right one, and we learned that Drip empowers the e-commerce rebellion.
They have a unique vision combining e-commerce email marketing automation and CRM into what they’ve called ECRM. Drip focuses on helping small independent businesses promote their brands in an environment that they describe as dominated by giant e-commerce marketplaces.
The company’s beginnings are humble. It started in 2012 as a project on Kickstarter.com and became operational on December 1, 2013. Today, Drip is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, and is headed by John Tedesco. Mr. Tedesco and his devoted team have based their platform on the following guiding principles:
- Customers always come first
- Drip works with deep conviction and perseverance
- Drip firmly believes in teamwork
- Drip knows that the road to success is paved with failure
- Drip has humanized and personalized the whole process of CRM
The guy behind ConvertKit is Nathan Barry. He founded the company in 2013 in Boise, Idaho. It has got a 49-strong team spread across the world. The guys who keep ConvertKit up and running every day are firmly convinced that the future belongs to creators. So, they try to help them bring their projects from the drawing board to the production facility.
I remember writing a blog post about the top ten online marketing platforms and Convertkit was somewhere in the first half of the table. So, in the present Drip vs ConvertKit bout, the former platform is the challenger, and the latter – the defending champion.
ConvertKit is an email service provider that is far more modern, flexible, and versatile than MailChimp. At the same time, it is easy to use. Compared to Keap, its user interface (UI) is much friendlier. Email campaigns represent only one aspect of ConvertKit’s portfolio of features. These are well complemented by customizable sign-up forms and beautiful landing page templates.
The platform’s layout is also pretty neat. All features are organized into five main tabs:
- Landing Pages and Forms
What ConvertKit calls sequences is also known as autoresponders. Now, let us have a closer look at Drip’s and ConvertKit’s most powerful tools.
Features and Tools
In the first round of our head-to-head email marketing automation review, we are going to test the two platforms’ databases. Both Drip and ConvertKit charge for extra contacts or subscribers on your email list. However, the guys at ConvertKit swear that they charge for the number of unique entries only, regardless of the number of sign-up channels and sales funnels they appear in.
All of your email contacts are clearly visible and manageable from ConvertKit’s Subscribers Tab. From there, you can see a neat summary of each contact’s data and also how the total number of contacts has been fluctuating over time.
Interestingly, Drip does not use terms like “subscribers” or “contacts”. Instead, they say they charge you for “people in your account”. This confirms their commitment to establishing a more personal approach to e-commerce. However hard we searched their website, we could not find any specific tools or features related to contact organization and management.
Presumably, the people in your account will follow you from your previous platform. On Drip’s official website, there’s an extensive knowledge base, where you can learn how to import data into your account. You can upload contacts from a spreadsheet, or use Google Sheets, Apple Numbers, and Microsoft Excel for that purpose.
Because it required extensive research to find info on how to build a contact database on Drip, we give ConvertKit the win in the first round. Their Subscribers Tab is easy to locate and instantly gives you all of the information you may need.
Segmentation and Tagging
In the second round of this ConvertKit vs Drip match, we shall examine the segmentation and tagging features of the two solutions.
Drip guys appear to be very proud of the innovations they’ve brought to this field. They use tag-based and event-based segmentation of the people in your account to help you better identify their shopping habits and preferences. Once segmented, Drip also lets you track your unique customers’ activities across your pages and sales funnels.
Drip offers you the option to segment and tag your contacts by location, or by specific actions that they perform. You can also employ custom tags and segments to narrow down the focus of your e-commerce strategy even further. Drip’s secret weapon in this round is called Shopper Activity API. It boosts the turnover of your online business by allowing you to segment customers based on specific items they purchase.
Unlike Drip, ConvertKit lets you tag people automatically based on their sign-up times and link clicks. Each different tag you apply to your contacts facilitates segmentation. Segmentation, in turn, allows you to send a specific marketing email message only to those of your subscribers who’ve opened a preceding newsletter. So, segmentation helps reduce unwanted emails that often end up in the spam folder.
The segmentation powers of Drip and Convertkit are equally comprehensive, so the second round ends in a draw.
In the third round of this bout, we are going to test the a/b testing capabilities of each platform.
Drip is also one of the few platforms out there to offer split testing in automation workflows. If you can test various strategies in the same workflow, you’ll be able to keep the high-paying automations and scrap the redundant ones. Being able to split test landing pages or sections of them is one thing, but having the power to split test entire marketing strategies is a different ball game.
As I said, KonvertKit is primarily an email marketing service that relies mostly on engaging emails and catchy sign-up forms. As such, its secret power in the field of carrying on a/b tests on email subject lines. An attention-gripping subject line prevents your message from ending in the Spam folder. So, In your ConvertKit account, you can split-test subject lines on one-third of your emails. The platform will send half of them with line A, and the other half – with line B.
Because Drip and ConvertKit both have cards up their sleeves when it comes to split testing, I’d call this third round a draw.
The next round is dedicated to the reporting capabilities of Drip and ConvertKit. With Drip, you’ll always know which leads are the most engaged with your online business. A single click on a customer’s profile opens a detailed report page that shows how many emails they have opened and how many of your ads they’ve followed. There also is a section showcasing the completed automation workflows.
ConvertKit’s analytics dashboard showcases the top-seven metrics of email marketing:
- Emails open rate
- Click Rate
- Conversion rate
- Bounce rate
- Emails unsubscribe rate
- Emails marketing ROI
ConvertKit automatically generates detailed reports on your broadcasts, sequences, or deliverability. These are, you would agree, the most important aspect of every email marketing business.
As you can see, both Drip and ConvertKit can generate reports that are easy to use and understand. At the same time, these reports cover different fields of one’s small business.
Drip’s reports are focused primarily on consumer behavior on your website, while ConvertKit’s reports mostly cover the effect your email campaigns have on your leads and customers. Therefore, this round is yet another draw.
This fifth round promises to be a true decider. In it, we are going to test Drip vs ConvetKit in terms of their marketing automation features. Marketing automation features are important because they show how much of your daily workload a software solution can take off your shoulders and how much time it can save you.
Platforms like Drip are great for setting up complex automations based on the if-then conditions. They will keep your business making money even while you are on vacation. Drip allows you to create single-step workflows that send customers action-triggered messages at the right time.
Your sales team can easily forget to congratulate each new customer on their first purchase. Luckily, Drip never forgets. It will automatically send a welcome note as soon as a customer completes their purchase. Of course, email marketing automation triggers can be altered as needed.
Drip is mostly praised for its workflow automations that guide your customers through unique sales journeys with engaging dynamic content. An automated workflow can easily warn you whenever a customer abandons their cart halfway through their journey. The platform can automatically send them a re-engagement message via email or social media.
ConvertKit’s team have lashed out at Drip saying that such complex email marketing automation platforms have a rather steep learning curve.
ConvertKit’s email marketing automation capabilties are rather simple and easy to set up. They are usually based on a small number of customer actions or inactions. Instead of an if-then conditions, ConvertKit has based its automations on the trigger-and-action sequence.
Most users automate their email campaigns dividing them into a warmup sequence and a launch sequence. If this triggers no response action, you can set a downsell email marketing automation. If they commit to buying a certain product, the system can automatically send them a friendly reminder.
On the whole, Drip’s automations are more complex and versatile than ConvertKit’s. So, the challenger wins the fifth round of automation by a small margin.
The next Drip vs ConvertKit mini-match is in the ring of pricing. In my previous head-to-head reviews, I put pricing towards the end, usually after the sections about third-party integrations. I feel, however, that the outcome of this mini-match is going to be decisive for the outcome of the current clash.
To begin with, the layout of Drip’s landing page dedicated to pricing is far from perfect. As soon as it opened, my first thought was: “Where are the pricing plans, for God’s sake?” Well, the 14-day free trial is there, along with a comprehensive demo, and they even offer a consultation with an in-house expert.
In a minute or two I figured what their price scheme is: you have to move a circle left and right on a horizontal rail across your screen to see how the number of contacts you have determines how much you pay per month.
I thus found out that:
- 0 to 100 subscribers cost $19 per month
- 501 to 2,500 contacts cost $29 per month
- 2,501 to 3,000 subscribers cost $49 per month
As you can see, the monthly fee increases by about $10 for every 100 subscribers or so.
Interestingly, from 0 to 17,500 contacts you can send unlimited emails, but if your contact list grows further, Drip puts a cap on the number of emails you can send.
Thus, for an account with up to 140,000 contacts, you’ll have to pay just under $1,600/mo and will be able to send over 1.6 million emails.
If you have between 161,000 and 10 million people on your email list, they are going to make you a specially-tailored offer.
ConvertKit’s pricing policy is far more straightforward and transparent. They offer a free plan with the following features, although note that automation is not included.
- As many landing pages & forms as you need
- Unlimited traffic to your website
- 1,000-strong list of subscribers
- Tools to send email broadcasts and tag subscribers
- Customizable domain
The Creator Plan starts from $29/mo if paid monthly. If paid for the whole year, it costs just $25 per month. The Creator plan comes with a 14-day free trial and two free months if paid yearly. It includes the following features:
- Free migration from your previous platform
- Premium customer support with live chat
- Third-party integrations
- Sales funnels automations
- Email sequences
- All features in the free plan
Here, too, we can see a progressive increase in the monthly fee should you need a longer list of subscribers. If you have over 15,000 subscribers, ConvertKit gives you the chance to request a free demo. If you can afford to pay about $40,000 per month, you can grow a list of 900,000 subscribers. For a list of one million contacts, you should contact ConvertKit and request a personal offer.
The Creator Pro Plan starts from $59/mo if paid monthly. If paid for 12 months, it costs just $50 per month. This plan includes all features from the previous two pricing options, plus the following extras:
- Facebook custom audiences
- Deliverability reports
- The option to invite your team to ConvertKit
- The ability to redirect links in email broadcasts
- Subscriber engagement scoring
- Newsletter referral system
- Live chat and phone support
The pricing options of Convertkit and Drip are closely linked to the number of subscribers in your account. However, the plans of ConvertKit are somehow easier to understand and each includes a list of specific features. Drip offers customer support only in the form of webinars, courses, guides, and free resources, but it certainly lacks ConvertKit’s premium support options. Therefore, the win in the Pricing mini-match between ConvertKit and Drip is for the defending champion.
When you choose a marketing platform, you don’t want to open an account on another one just to be able to handle some subsidiary business tasks. Therefore, integrations can be very helpful. ConvertKit’s top-three integrations are CrowdCast, Teachable, and Shopify.
CrowdCast is, essentially, a webinar and live-streaming platform, while Teachable will let you set up and sell various online courses. Shopify adds extra power to ConvertKit’s sales funnel building capabilities. It will also help you accept and manage payments in a wider range of currencies. The full list of third-party add-ons is available on KonvertKit’s Integrations page.
Drip’s integration capabilities are equally strong. Their A-team of third-party apps consists of Magento (a lead generation app), Shopify, and Facebook Social Audiences. This last app really caught my eye. It lets you move people in and out of the Custom Audiences section of your Facebook profile without leaving your Drip account.
Facebook Custom Audiences also enables you to show a particular ad to your followers, alter the ads they already see on your Facebook page. Intelligent social media ads keep your leads engaged and boost your sales. This integration also gives Drip a small advantage over ConvertKit in the field of social media marketing.
At the end of this Drip vs ConvertKit head-to-head automation comparison, it isn’t easy to say which of the two platforms is the winner. It’s like watching Donnie Yen fight Mike Tyson in Ip Man 3.
I mean that both Drip and ConvertKit are great performers in their respective automation fields. So, it will be fair to assume that this match should end in a draw.