Editor’s Note: This guest post comes from Growth Everywhere and Single Grain Digital Marketing founder Eric Siu. You might have heard Eric dishing out business-growth advice and entrepreneurial success stories with Neil Patel and others on his Marketing School and Growth Everywhere podcasts, but today he’ll be sharing an inside look at his own marketing operations. Read on to see why Eric changed email platforms twice in two years—and why that shift was worth the trouble.
No matter how much research you do beforehand, switching out a major component of your marketing tech stack always feels like a bit of a leap of faith.
And that’s scary. It can mean facing down thousands of dollars in startup costs, dozens of hours of labor, and a whole new learning curve.
I should know, because I’ve switched email automation platforms not once but twice in the past couple of years.
At some companies, even proposing that idea would sound crazy. But when you’re obsessed with growth, uprooting your operations to get a better ROI is a risk you sometimes have to take.
That’s why I moved from AWeber to Infusionsoft to Drip in the space of a couple of years. Here’s why I made each switch, and how I’m using Drip to ensure that the effort of changing platforms has ultimately boosted our revenue.
AWeber: Great for Beginners, But Then …
When I first started Growth Everywhere, I used AWeber. It was appealing in its relative simplicity, and I just needed a basic autoresponder tool.
Or so I thought. Eventually, I wanted to add some automation, so I got AW Pro Tools, which adds onto AWeber to incorporate simple automation. Without the investment required with platforms like HubSpot or Marketo, AWeber Pro Tools let us do things like setting up “smart links,” to tag subscribers or move them between lists.
That basically worked for the time being. But I didn’t love using two apps to make up for the shortcomings of my main email platform, jumping between them to set up even the simplest automation.
Plus, even though Growth Everywhere was a relatively new venture at the time, I was already thinking about the future—and I knew that as my audience grew, I’d want more advanced tagging and segmenting capabilities to target different groups of subscribers.
Really, I wanted a tool that we could grow into, without having to start from scratch at some point in the future. I didn’t think we would use all the tools a larger platform offered all at once, but I wanted to add in automation rules one by one as the company and the list grew. So I switched to Infusionsoft.
Moving to Infusionsoft
Infusionsoft seemed like the more powerful automation tool I was looking for—but accessing that power turned out to be tougher than I expected.
First, there was a $2,000 mandatory setup fee. But even after the setup, we found ourselves avoiding using it. In fact, we found it so clunky that we needed to hire a consultant to handle the tasks involved in sending an email.
It was definitely appealing to have a shopping cart and affiliate platform right in one place with my email automation. But that didn’t really matter when email automation itself had become so difficult.
Then I had a conversation with email marketing expert John McIntyre. He’d recently switched from AWeber to Drip, and I liked what he was telling me about the tagging system (no lists!), the extensive tracking and customer-history features, and the affordability ($49 per month for my number of contacts at the time, with no mandatory setup fees or 12-month contracts).
So, once again, I decided to make the switch. It wasn’t necessarily easy to cut my losses and lose the $2,000 Infusionsoft setup fee, but I took the leap.
Landing on (and Sticking with) Drip
Drip was a huge shift from Infusionsoft simply because of how incredibly easy it is to use. The visual workflow builder is simple to understand and integrations are easy to set up.
For instance, there’s a 2-click integration with Stripe that allows us to tag customers and trigger automations when someone makes a purchase. By default, Drip records just about everything that happens in Stripe:
We keep discovering more and more things we can do with Drip as time goes on. In addition to tagging purchasers, we can now also set up trigger links asking subscribers how big their business is, and segment our list by business size. There’s the RSS to email feature, which does the work of sending emails about blog post updates for you.
Then there are newer features, like Wistia’s ability to send information about video interaction to Drip (with a Turnstile integration in the works), and the brand new Facebook Lead Ads integration—saving $30/month that you would otherwise pay for SyncSumo to sync Facebook leads with your email provider.
My verdict: basically, everything about Drip is easy, but without sacrificing the powerful automation functionality that we need.
But I especially want to tell you about three Drip features that really help us accelerate growth.
1. Boost Revenue from Every Broadcast with Automatic Resends
Resending our broadcasts automatically to people who didn’t open the first time can result in 30% higher open rates (see OkDork’s study on this for one data point) on important emails like webinar announcements, new product launches, or other important announcements we want to be sure that our customers read.
This is easy to set up in Drip:
Because we can actually track the conversion value of emails—both individual emails and entire sequences—in Drip, we can see how those improved open rates affect our bottom line. (It’s a little like Google Analytics for your emails … but much more intuitive.)
2. Reach Out to High-Revenue Contacts with Email List Segmentation
One of the key features of email automation is the ability to segment subscribers based on what you know about them. For example, we use a one-click survey on our Thank You page after someone has opted in to segment our audience based on the size of their business.
Each option on this page is a trigger link. When someone clicks an option, we tag them in Drip based on their response.
Here’s how we set this up in Drip:
In this case, I want to be personally alerted whenever I get a new subscriber with either $5M in funding or $2M in business per year. So I set up an automation rule in Drip that:
- Applies a tag designating this subscriber as a high-revenue business owner
- Sends me a notification email with the subscriber’s details
Even if I don’t use this data right away, I’m building segments of my list so that I know which contacts are in the beginning, intermediate, and advanced stages of their business. Then I can communicate with them based on that information later on.
3. Deliver Lead Magnets and Route Leads Instantly with Visual Workflows
If you’ve used automation tools that don’t have visual workflow builders, you might know how easy it is to create a web of automation rules and lose track of exactly how subscribers are moving through the campaign. When you can’t see how rules relate to each other, things get messy quickly.
When you build Workflows, there are six basic kinds of actions you can take with a new contact, and each has a simple description. Once you’ve added each action, you can immediately see understand where your contacts came from and what they’ll be prompted to do next.
That means you don’t need to hire a consultant to create your email campaigns, because you can actually use this tool yourself.
We use Drip workflows to handle content upgrades on our most popular posts, a tactic that has helped us increase our opt-in rate by 226%.
For example, Single Grain currently ranks #2 on Google for the keyword “marketing funnel.” To capitalize on the traffic we get from this keyword, we added a content upgrade to this post that helps readers map their marketing funnel. Now, we not only get traffic, we get qualified, trackable leads.
We started by adding a simple Leadbox opt-in form to the post.
To deliver the content upgrade, we quickly built workflows to deliver this particular content upgrade from each place we offered it.
We could also tag subscribers as “Interested in Marketing Funnels” so we could follow up about our funnel-related marketing services down the line.
And, of course, Drip can handle all those follow-up emails as well.
With Drip, I think we’ve finally found the email automation tool that can truly grow alongside our business. While changing platforms is rarely fun, the upside is that Drip’s built-in features have highlighted new opportunities for getting that much more revenue from our campaigns.
In this case, arriving at the right platform doesn’t mean we stop moving as a business. It means we can move farther and faster than ever before.
Have any questions about the features Eric’s using? Ask them in the comments.