First up I want to say that I’m a big fan of MailChimp. I’ve been using it since 2011 and it got me to my first 1000 subscribers and I used to love it when Jason Calacanis impersonated the plush Chimp when he read out an advert on This Week In Startups. The UI is top notch and the new automation features are a real welcome addition such as to trigger a workflow when a subscriber clicks a specific link:
However Mailchimp marketing automation falls down due to the fact it is based on static campaigns and separate lists, rather than dynamic campaigns and overall subscribers (who can belong to multiple campaigns). The former just isn’t an effective way of communicating and monetising your audience; the latter way enables you to send personalised communications based on where the contact is at in their journey and the actions they take on your site.
Mailchimp Drip Campaign Fail
Exactly one year on from publishing my book Coffee Shop Entrepreneurs I sent out an email to all my subscribers in Mailchimp stating that I was now giving the book away for free. I was sick of giving amazon all of my customers and I wanted to use the book as a lead magnet to get people into my sales funnel now that I’m offering higher value products such as funnel upgrade and my high ticket sales funnel consulting. I wanted to track which of my existing subscribers had downloaded the book so that I could create a marketing sequence for this more engaged section of my list. In MailChimp you can partially do this my uploading the file to their File Manager and then creating a new segment based on who clicked links in the email campaign:
However this only works when you have just one link (to the download) in the email – if I were to point them to a blog post as well I would have no idea who had actually downloaded the book – and you cannot then send a new drip campaign or autoresponder sequence to that cohort as their customer service staff confirmed:
Thanks for getting back to us in support with that information. I understand wanting to make sure those automations go out to the right subscribers at the right times.
Unfortunately you are right, there is not a way to create a segment for unique clicks in a campaign. The best workaround to get your hands on that specific data– subscribers who downloaded the book– would be to view the report of that campaign, click on the number next to clicks per unique open. From here you can click on unique clicks for the link to the ebook which would show you a list of people who clicked that link. You could export that list and have a CSV file of those people who clicked the book which you could upload as a list. This may not be ideal as it will be a static list, but it is probably the only way to get that specific data set you are after. A lose way to approximate that data set is to set up your campaign the way you did with only one link aside from the required footer information, in this case you can guess that most people clicking links in that campaign are clicking the one you want to take note of.
Hopefully this will get you going in the right direction, and as always, don’t hesitate to reach back out to support if any questions arise in the future!
So whilst you can create automation workflows that trigger based on whether someone clicks a specific link (or not after a set time) in a specific campaign, there is no way in Mailchimp that you can tag and add new subscribers to a ‘downloaded’ segment or campaign. Again this is based on the way Mailchimp has static campaigns, i.e. once a campaign is sent you cannot send the same campaign email to anyone else, rather than drip campaigns. And having to manually export and import a list every time someone takes a desired action is not what email marketing automation is about!
Here’s an in-depth take on Mailchimp pricing with all available plans and offers. Fortunately there are now several mailchimp alternatives.
Drip Marketing Campaigns
Enter Drip the mailchimp alternative created by serial software entrepreneur Rob Walling, co-host of the awesome podcast Startups For The Rest Of Us. Drip was branded as ‘Lightweight Marketing Automation That Doesn’t Suck’ as it’s not bloated like Infusionsoft (known as Confusionsoft) with CRM, leadscoring and payment features; rather Drip just focusses on marketing automation, being the best email marketing software and integrating with other services that excel at their craft such as landing pages with Leadpages (who acquired Drip in 2016) and payment gateways such as Gumroad.
With Drip I was able to achieve what I wanted with just 3 email drip campaigns : Newsletter, Downloaded Book and Productizing Services. First up I used the Drip pop up opt-in form in the bottom right of my site which puts people into the main ‘Newsletter’ campaign and for which I’ve asked for the double opt-in confirmation process to be turned off:
Likewise, contacts who subscribe on landing pages (using the ‘submitted a landing page trigger) such as the book sales page (built in Leadpages) went through to the main Newsletter campaign via a single opt-in process. When someone subscribed they instantly got sent a welcome email with a link to download the book which was set up as a Goal conversion in Drip.
When they downloaded they got subscribed to an additional campaign ‘Downloaded Book’ where they got sent an email at the next set time of day asking them how they are finding the book and how they are getting on picking up clients. 28 days later they got sent an email with the subject line ‘What happens next?’ which sets out how the next step, after completing the advice in the book, is to productize their services and turn their clients into pre-paid customers. The blog post they are sent has a call to action to download a productized services funnel template and if they sign up to show interest they are subscribed to the Productising Services drip campaign sequence. This is in addition to the broadcast emails I send out to all Subscribers.
This is what it looked like if someone went through all three:
Mailchimp vs Drip Automations
I had multiple automation rules set up in Drip. As can be seen above, I tag anyone who signs up through one of my Leadpages landing pages as “Subscribed”. I had an automation which subscribes people to the “Downloaded Book” campaign after they click to download which looks like this:
I then have landing page specific automations such as the one for productize which applies a tag and subscribes to the correct campaign:
This way someone who was interested in productizing their services does not receive a book on how to pick up clients.
Mailchimp Vs Drip Review Conclusion – Use Gist
There was been a fair bit of onboarding required for me to configure Drip but put simply I couldn’t do any of the above in Mailchimp and was forced to switch.
Drip now has a totally free plan for the first 100 contacts so you can try it out for yourself, however the real winner, and the software that now powers my email, automations and the chat widget is beehiiv – sign up for free.
And there you have it, this concludes my journey from MailChimp to Drip and Gist. If you’re looking for reviews on other popular email marketing software such as GetResponse, check out Bengu’s review.
Richard, this is a great write up. Thanks for sharing and for all the detail. Current trying out Drip (and also exploring Mailchimps automation) and after a little immersion am now taking a step back to think about our content and marketing strategy that will shape what we do with MA and such moving forward. This post will be helpful.
Hi Seth missed your comment, really glad you got value out of the post. Did you setup marketing automation in the end?
We keep missing each other by about six months :-). Ya, we setup with Drip for a while, then moved to Mailchiimp for the sole reason that so many of our clients are on it, we wanted to build our knowledge and skills of what’s possible there. Miss Drip and recommend it. May be back one day.
Great post. I’m currently trying to decide if it’s worth the aggravation of switching to Drip. I love the visual setup of being able to see each campaign/automation and not trying to just remember it all with Mailchimp.
Many thanks Sonja, what type of business do you have? There’s a bit of a learning curve but it’s well worth it and there are providers who can help you setup including my own biz funnelengine ha! (https://funnelengine.com/drip1)
Hi Sonja! I think you did sign up for Drip sometime back. We are connected on Facebook. PM me and I can help you out
Amazing post Richard. I actually started using Drip a few days ago and I was thinking about making the switch to Mailchimp for another project I’m working on. You just reassured me that staying with Drip will benefit me a lot more in the long term.
Thank you so much brother, have a nice day!
Hey Christian thanks so much buddy – also you can add additional sites / accounts inside your Drip subscription as price is dependent on total contacts rather than per site. Cheers!
Hi Richard, thanks for the great post.
I came across your post after trying to research MailChimp Automation since it’s now free across all accounts (subscriber numbers depending). Now that both platforms offer a free Automation/Campaign to a certain degree, would you still favour Drip or do you think MailChimp is on the up?
Hi Jessica, glad you found it valuable 🙂
I’ve actually always had the automation features in mailchimp for free (was grandfathered in) – the issue is with their static list approach.
And what about “GetResponse” ?
Used a client’s getresponse a year or so ago for funnels and found the UI poor and believe it’s still list based but you’d have to check on that.