In this Drip review we’ll question if the disruptive Ecommerce CRM and marketing automation tool is still up to the job.
Most Drip reviews are full of praise for this cult-like email marketing platform, but we think more analysis is needed to ensure those reviews aren’t merely seduced by Drip’s beautiful UX.
The right email marketing automation platform should offer ease of use and value of money so that you can optimize the ecommerce store and traffic you already have. Efficiency is the aim of the game, using your existing resources to generate more sales and revenue.
Many Drip reviews, or any other marketing automation reviews, promise explosive gains by spending time and money on an expensive marketing automation platform.
But none of those promises will be fulfilled if your marketing and advertising creates a distraction from your core focus – your product and your customers. Whether you’re a big enterprise, small business or solopreneur, time is paramount and as soon as your marketing stack fails to perform then the opportunity cost can be significant.
Unlike website downtime and customer service issues, your marketing software is something you control and if it goes wrong then it is normally your fault. This Drip review aims to help you make the right choice so you can have full confidence in Drip as the right email marketing choice for you.
With easy integration, ease of use and powerful automations, Drip promises to minimise the time you spend dealing with customer lists and setting up automations. Testing and analyzing are clear and insightful. Automations are seamless and email campaigns are assembled quickly and elegantly with a drag and drop builder. Use Drip and you will not be disappointed.
The Origin Of Drip
The story of Drip is quite fascinating as a genuine bootstrapped startup. It began in 2012 when founder Rob Walling was running an SEO keyword research tool called HitTail and was frustrated by the low signup rate of his website. All he wanted was a simple popup that would let him capture email addresses with a lead magnet so he could then continue to sell his product to those leads.
This was before the popup tools we take for granted today like OptinMonster and Sumo that have made lead generation so easy for small businesses without their own dev team. After that he just wanted those leads to be dropped into Mailchimp so he could then hit them with a follow up autoresponder sequence.
The results were very powerful with a 30% increase in visitors signing up to a free trial. Today though it is clear that Drip became a much greater success than Hittail which shut down in October 2020.
Just four years later in 2016, Drip was acquired by Leadpages for a lifechanging amount of money. As Walling puts it – not enough to invest in every startup he sees, but certainly enough that he never has to work again.
So how has Drip developed into the powerful Ecommerce CRM we know today and is it still relevant despite its founding principles seeming so outdated?
Drip Email Marketing Automation
Drip started simply – drop the leads into Mailchimp and start an automated sequence. They did also build an Aweber integration soon after.
But now Drip has outpaced both these competitors with a wide range of triggers and conditions that has grown it into an Ecommerce CRM or ECRM. Clearly this is a very different product to the original popup and autoresponder, but that is testament to Drip’s innovation since the email marketing market is so crowded.
Heck, even running a marketing automation software review site it is sometimes very difficult to call a winner in such similar products – GetResponse vs ActiveCampaign anyone? But Drip clearly stands out for its Ecommerce functions.
Whereas Mailchimp restricts you to contact lists and about 25 triggers for simple email campaigns, using Drip applies your conditions to its whole database with very advanced options. For instance, if someone creates an account on your site you can immediately add them to a Facebook custom audience for either retargeting or to then create a lookalike audience and expand your reach.
While most CRM systems have a simple logic of sending an email to someone who didn’t complete their purchase, Using Drip goes further. You could have a rule to email someone a discount code for a product once they have viewed it a certain number of times.
Rather like ActiveCampaign, Drip knows how such complex workflows can create a frustrating and confusing experience for you. They therefore offer a clean and modern workflow builder with clear colour coding so that setting up automations is seamless and satisfying.
Drip Ease of Use
Email marketing automation is meant to generate more sales and save you time and money. But plenty of email marketing gets out of hand and ends up doing the opposite. The right leads are left cold while you send too many emails to weak prospects who then unsubscribe, or worse complain to your customer service.
As with everything else in marketing and advertising, friction needs to be eliminated and this hinges on having a simple system. But with marketing automation simplicity is impossible. You can’t simply plug your Ecommerce store into Aweber or the free plan of Mailchimp and expect big results.
But Drip’s Ecommerce CRM has been built with ease of use in mind. The marketing automation builder is colour coded. Integrating with Facebook lead ads is easy with just a few fields rather than dealing with spreadsheet uploads or Zapier.
These days a visual email builder is essential and Drip’s easy to use offering does not disappoint.
If you have an existing Shopify store the Drip’s one click sync with Shopify means setting up email on your store takes no time at all.
Drip Split Testing
Most good email marketing software includes some degree of split testing. Usually though that’s just subject lines (GetResponse) while some let you test different email content (ActiveCampaign), but Drip lets you split test your actual workflows. That means if you are building a new automation, or just looking at a new section of an automation, you can split test it to find your most effective system.
The segmentation capabilities of Drip are huge as the marketing software applies lots of different tags automatically based on factors like source and behaviour.
Your organic Google traffic is going to have very different needs to your paid Facebook traffic, while new users are a harder sell than returning customers, so it is important to have a system for automatically classifying all these different audiences with tags and then giving them their own automations.
You can also revisit these automations and see what is working better for which audiences. If your paid Facebook visits are failing to engage you can work out why and tap into their full revenue potential.
Drip Lead Scoring
Lead scoring has a big impact on your contact list as no two subscribers are really the same. With segmentation and tagging you can see sources and behaviour. But with lead scoring you can see just how responsive each contact really is.
Not only does that mean you can focus sales efforts on those most likely to convert, but it is good for your list hygiene.
By filtering out disengaged contacts you improve your overall deliverability rate, reducing the chances of more inboxes marking you as spam.
Then you also have the significant cost benefit of taking out dead contacts as Drip is not the cheapest of email marketing platforms despite delivering great value for money. In the lower numbers of contacts the difference between pricing tiers is just 499 contacts and so it pays to make sure you are only keeping valuable leads that are likely to convert to ensure value for money.
With Drip’s lead scoring you can define goals that make a lead more valuable by creating rules that assign rules when certain actions are performed – like visiting a page or clicking a link.
You can also set thresholds so that once a subscriber reaches a certain number of points they become a lead. That means you have judged them as likely to convert and so can double down on your sales efforts with them without annoying other subscribers who aren’t so engaged.
Drip also has some great list cleaning features so you can be sure your deliverability rates remain high and you keep your billing down.
One of the big frustrations of modern Ecommerce is tying your marketing stack together. Sometimes you just have to resort to a paid Zapier subscription when the integration you need just doesn’t exist. But Drip has about 100 different integrations, the most important being Shopify. The Drip Shopify integration will sync all your historical contact data with just one click.
You can also integrate with course and webinar providers, so whether you are offering a free session as a lead-magnet or a paid course you know when someone is ready for more and they will automatically trigger new sequences.
When you’re dealing with webinars, physical fulfillment, Facebook ads, accountancy software and other bolt-ons to the tedium of simply selling a product, it is easy to feel lost in the jungle. However, Drip are proud of their customer success team who are able to help join your stack together.
They are also on-hand to help with migrating from another provider, from HTML email templates and tags to automations. Sometimes choosing a marketing automation platform can be scary because you feel trapped into a closed system. Once you’ve grown too big for the Mailchimp free plan, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to seamlessly move everything over to GetResponse.
Drip Email Builder
Drip focus on delivering great performance without compromising on user-friendliness. Their email builder is wonderfully simple while allowing you to create beautiful designs by simply selecting sections from the left-hand column.
Some users complain about Drip’s lack of templates. Users of popular tools like Aweber, GetResponse, Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor delight in receiving hundreds of readymade templates so you can switch out images, text and logos for your own.
These days readymade templates seem rather unnecessary since drag and drop email builders are so prevalent. You don’t need any graphic design skill with Drip’s visual builder. What’s more is that emails with lots of graphics are much more likely to trigger spam filters. The most effective emails I have ever seen are almost entirely text-based, like a friend writing to you.
Once you have created your templates saving and re-using or editing them is no problem.
Drip Customer Support
As I keep expressing throughout this piece – Drip is beautiful and easy to use. However, the sheer range of functions it offers does mean less technical users will appreciate a helping hand. It certainly isn’t as simple as Aweber or Mailchimp – and given the difference in price and features why would you want it to be?
Nevertheless Drip’s customer support offers a big knowledgebase with step by step instructions covering everything from email design to tagging and integrations.
It doesn’t feel like the huge searchable knowledgebase of ActiveCampaign, but rather feels like a more crafted set of webpages. No wonder they refer to it as a “Manual” as it does feel like a complete set of instructions for Drip to make the most of your email marketing automation.
The manual is beautifully easy to use. The table of contents holds such sections as tagging and workflows, each of which then opens up into its own little course, definitions, applications, create, delete.
I think this again comes down to the fact that Drip is a specialist Ecommerce CRM rather than a more generic piece of email marketing automation software that’s begging to be adapted and customized.
Software like GetResponse and ActiveCampaign are very powerful and suit all sorts of customers from big business to small business, Youtubers to bloggers.
While Drip undoubtedly can be used for simple autoresponders and sales funnels, it’s Ecommerce CRM focus means it is a lot more plug and play and easy to use for the right audience. GetResponse and ActiveCampaign need big knowledgebases to explain how their software can be adapted to so many different functions with different needs.
I have little doubt that if using Drip with an established Ecommerce platform like Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce or Woocommerce then the manual should give you everything you need. If you are not, then Drip also has extensive API documentation for your developer.
Drip has excellent customer support who are on hand to help with any problems you may encounter. Customer support is available for all customers because, as with the rest of Drip, it’s one comprehensive plan for everyone.
Drip is a lot more expensive than a lot of marketing automation tools, but then it is cheaper than others. Remember that it packs a lot of enterprise-level features into a tool that is just as appropriate for large companies as it is for small business shops. As such it does offer fantastic value for money if your small business is able to pay for it.
There is also no tiering – unlike ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, Sendlane, ConvertKit and others that break up their pricing into different levels. Every Drip plan is packed full of the same features and so the price is entirely driven by how many subscribers you have.
This is very granular, with each pricing level just 499 subscribers apart at the lower levels, although this broadens out in the higher thousands.
Here’s what the first 4000 subscriberscost in Drip.
- 0 – 500 – $19
- 500 – 2499 – $29
- 2500 – 2999 – $39
- 3000 – 3499 – $49
- 3500 – 3999 – $69
It is unfortunate that Drip only offers a monthly plan instead of annual plans to offer better value for money. Paying annually typically saves about 20% with software like ConvertKit and ActiveCampaign, while GetResponse offers a market-leading 2-year plan that saves 30%.
However, Drip does offer a 14-day free trial with no credit card required so at least you can fully explore using Drip without having to commit.
Drip Review: Drip Alternatives
Drip vs ActiveCampaign
The most obvious difference between ActiveCampaign and Drip software is the price. Obviously, Drip has many advanced features, but smaller companies will find it difficult to adjust it in the budget.
Although ActiveCampaign is simpler and more restricted in functionality, it is still worth the money.
The lack of pre-designed templates for emails and a slightly slower interface are two areas that ActiveCampaign needs to improve. In addition, Drip has a significant advantage over ActiveCampaign in e-commerce automation.
ActiveCampaign is suitable for Bloggers, e-commerce, different agencies, SaaS, and higher education institutions, while Drip is designed for e-commerce companies to communicate with customers. ActiveCampaign’s “lite” plan is very limited, where Drip has access to all features even under its most basic plan.
ActiveCampaign includes SMS messaging, but Drip requires you to integrate with third-party software to use SMS.
ConvertKit vs Drip
ConvertKit is pretty much exactly what Drip set out to be in 2012 – a very simple opt-in form and an autoresponder. Both Drip and ConvertKit prioritize a beautiful dashboard and simplicity, but it has to be said that ConvertKit is a lot cleaner and simpler. That’s precisely because Drip has ventured away from its original function and now as an Ecommerce CRM is packed full of features that ConvertKit struggles to compete with.
The result is yes, ConvertKit is a cleaner and simpler tool for bloggers and coaches with a single or small set of products to promote. But if you have a full Ecommerce store, or more than a handful of courses and modules then unleash the power of Drip with more powerful automations and a better drag and drop email builder.
In terms of pricing, ConvertKit and Drip are quite similarly-priced, although Drip has more features as a CRM. Convertkit has a free plan of up to 1000 contacts but this does not allow any automation, only single broadcasts.
The paid plan is $29 for up to 2999 contacts and then rises to $49 for 3000 – 4999 contacts.
Drip is $19 for up to 499 contacts, $29 for 500 – 2499 and $39 for 2500 – 2999.
Drip vs Mailchimp
Drip’s old nemesis in Mailchimp as one of the oldest and most popular email marketing services in existence. While originally made as a popup to send leads into Mailchimp, Drip did ultimately stop its integration with Mailchimp when it became a full fledged email marketing service in its own right so as not to help the competition.
Rather like its equally old, reliable and basic alternative Aweber, Mailchimp has made some big strides to modernise and compete with the latest wave of email marketing automation software.
However, it still pales in comparison with Drip when it comes to automations and Ecommerce. While Mailchimp is capable of integrating with a lot of Ecommerce platforms there are issues with Shopify.
Once integrated, the kind of automations tend to be your fairly standard basket abandonment and follow ups.
With Drip you can set extremely advanced conditions so that if a previous customer starts looking at an item on your site, you can immediately hit them with a discount code.
In terms of Mailchimp vs Drip, the latter has certainly left its rival for dust. Having said that, they are very different platforms. Mailchimp is clearly a cheaper option for a simple free autoresponder but for fully fledged ecommerce functionality you should go with Drip.