MailChimp vs Drip: An In-Depth Email Marketing Showdown

MailChimp and Drip are some of the popular email marketing softwares. In this blog post, I’m gonna compare Drip and MailChimp.

Before diving into the post, you should first understand whether you need an email marketing software to send newsletters and autoresponders or automation-centric email software.

Let me explain further in this post.

MailChimp vs Drip – An In-depth Look

Overview

MailChimp is meant to be an email marketing software, where you can compose and send simple newsletters and marketing emails.

MailChimp was founded in 2001. It’s an old tool built for enabling small business owners to conveniently send email newsletters and campaigns to their audience or subscribers. 

In 2009, MailChimp released its popular free plan, and it suddenly attracted great attention from startup owners and bloggers.

Although MailChimp has basic automation features, it lacks visual workflow builder and other advanced functionalities.

Drip, on the other hand, is meant to be a marketing automation software. It comes with a visual automation builder, advanced features and some features especially meant for eCommerce businesses.

It was founded by Rob Walling in Dec 2013. They marketed it as a CRM SalesForce didn’t build.

Drip has been lately acquired by Leadpages.

MailChimp and Drip target two different audiences:

  1. MailChimp: Casual bloggers and startups
  2. Drip: Advanced marketers, bloggers, eCommerce owners, and marketing automation lovers

The popularity of MailChimp is largely due to the fact that they have a free plan of up to 2000 subscribers. MailChimp is quite an old player in the email marketing game, and Drip is comparatively a new one and making lots of noise.

Pros and cons

MailChimp

Pros:

  • Free plan with upto 2000 subscribers
  • Powerful drag and drop builder when creating campaigns
  • A/B testing is powerful with traffic distribution and winner selection
  • 200+ native integrations

Cons:

  • Does not come with powerful visual automation builder
  • Affiliate marketing is not allowed
  • Not suitable for advanced marketing automation
  • Features like multivariate testing and advanced segmentation are only available in their premium plans starting at a whopping $299/month.
  • Limited grouping and segmentation options compared to Drip and ActiveCampaign

Drip

Pros:

  • Great UI/UX with ease of use
  • Tagging and segmentation features are very powerful
  • Inbuilt subscriber pruning features
  • Highly advanced marketing automation workflow builder and rules
  • Best for eCommerce owners and advanced digital marketers
  • Support for Liquid Email Templating for sending hyper-targeted email campaigns and broadcasts
  • Expiring URLs feature to boost conversions

Cons:

  • The beginning plan comes at $49/month which is quite high
  • Not able to A/B test email’s content
  • Does not come with landing page feature

Interface

MailChimp interface

The above is the interface of MailChimp. Although the interface is refined a lot compared to its previous version, still UI/UX at times feels quite a old school. Nevertheless, all the features are easily accessible.

On the other hand, Drip feels modern due to its fluid UI and UX.

Drip interface

I absolutely love creating campaigns with Drip as the UI is animation-rich and is quite a visual-treat with eye-candy elements.

Almost all the features that Drip offers can be accessed using the top bar.

Winner: Drip, due to it’s refined and sleek UI.

List management

MailChimp comes with audiences (can be called as lists), tags, and segments for managing your subscribers and send targeted campaigns.

You can apply multiple tags to your subscribers one-by-one or multiple at once.

Mailchimp list management

Once you head over to the “audience” section, you can create a segment for your subscribers. Here you need to enter in the conditions, and the audience matching the conditions you specify will be displayed.

Creating a segment

You can save the segment and use them to target your campaigns.

When it comes to Email Pruning, MailChimp doesn’t have any ready-made features for accomplishing this.

Email pruning

You need to head over to your audience section, add a segment to display only the inactive subscribers and delete them manually.

Now let’s take about Drip subscriber management.

In Drip you have people, tags and segments. Unlike MailChimp, Drip doesn’t allow you to create multiple lists.

Drip subscriber management

You can apply tags to people manually or by making use of their Automation or Rules feature.

Similar to MailChimp, you can also add various conditions in the People section to segment them.

Adding conditions to segment the people

Along with this, Drip has great List Cleanup features.

Drip list cleanup feature

You can remove the people who are not opening/clicking on your emails in the last specific days and also specify additional conditions. You can have multiple pruning conditions set under “Pruning Operations” of Drip.

Cleaning up the list for unengaged subscribers is becoming more and more important nowadays to improve deliverability. Drip enables you to do it automatically by setting rules.

Winner: Drip, due to its superior list of pruning features.

Email campaigns and broadcasts

With MailChimp, you have the “Campaigns” option. Here you can send any emails, newsletters, or announcements to your subscribers.

MailChimp email campaigns

There are mainly three types of emails for you to send – regular, automated or plain text.

Automated emails enable you to send the emails, whenever any trigger happens.

Let’s now look at regular campaigns.

Once you select a regular campaign, it’ll ask for the campaign name and asks for to set recipients, subject line and design the email.

Creating a new email

When you are designing your email, you have dozens of templates to choose from.

Selecting templates

In case if you are like me, who won’t love fancy templates for boosting deliverability, you can select a “Simple Text” template.

Simple text email

Here, you can get started with designing your email. You need to note that the free version of MailChimp inserts footer branding in the email campaigns you send to your recipients.

Once you compose your ideal email, you can save it as a template to speed up the subsequent email creation and maintain brand consistency.

When you click next, it’ll show you a preview of the email and all the settings. There you can either schedule or send the email right away.

Now let’s discuss Drip.

In Drip, you’ve mainly two options:

  1. Campaigns: Contains a set of emails that will be dripped over a period of a trigger is fired as per the rules set for automation.
  2. Broadcasts: One-off emails you send to your people in the form of newsletters, announcements or time-sensitive discounts.

I really liked the way by which they provided us with two options.

Below you can see I have Black Friday campaign set, which sends a set of emails over a period of preset time.

eCommerce Black Friday

A campaign can be triggered when a person takes any action on your site like checkout, return, browsed a product, added a product to cart, etc.

Now let’s discuss, broadcasts.

This is similar to the campaign feature by MailChimp. You can send one-off emails to your people.

Drip broadcast emails

Unlike MailChimp, Drip doesn’t come with dozens of fancy templates. It comes with some basic layouts, and some pre-designed emails to speed up your workflow.

The Drip emails are made plain simple with no fancy templates, etc. This makes sure that the emails get delivered to the primary or updates tab in Gmail.

The email builder is very fluid and built with ease/speed of creation in mind.

In order to maintain consistent branding every time, unlike the templates feature of MailChimp, Drip comes with “Global styles”.

Editing global styles

Once you set these styles, you don’t need to edit and customize the branding of the emails.

Liquid templating

Drip also supports Liquid Templating, wherein you can send highly targeted emails to your subscribers based on various conditions.

If you know a little bit of coding or willing to refer it using some cheat sheets, you can easily send ultra-targeted campaigns.

MailChimp doesn’t support anything like this.

Also, Drip comes with “Expiring URLs”.

Expiring links

With this, the regular URLs will be replaced with the “URL after expiration” once the time has elapsed.

Using this feature you can easily send scarcity emails to your people without the need to use any other external tools.

This is one of the few features that no other tools like MailChimp or ActiveCampaign come with except Drip.

Winner: Drip as it comes with campaigns and broadcast features. The email builder offered by Drip is more fluid and easy to use. It also supports Liquid to send ultra-targeted email campaigns and broadcasts with dynamic content that adjusts to the nature of the subscribers.

Automation

MailChimp comes with a basic autoresponder feature. It can be accessed under the “campaign” section when creating a new campaign.

MailChimp autoresponder feature

You can send emails to subscribers when they’re tagged, welcome new subscribers, share blog updates and so on.

eCommerce automation rules

When it comes to eCommerce these are the automation rules available. For these automation to be functional you need to integrate your online store with an eCommerce store.

Let’s look at the Drip.

It has got the most refined automation builder in the space.

Drip automation

When it comes to Automation, it has got two features – workflows and rules.

Workflows is their most advanced automation builder.

 Advanced visual email marketing automation builder

Here is the advanced visual email marketing automation builder. Unlike MailChimp, the automation builder is visual and extremely advanced.

You can have multiple triggers for a specific automation workflow. You can also add triggers from various other apps you connect with Drip.

Editing triggers

Coming to the Steps, there are 7 categories of Steps you can choose from.

Seven categories of steps

Here “Action” is the most versatile step, you’ll be using. Whenever any trigger fires, you can perform any default actions or any app-specific actions.

The next feature is “Rules”.

Rules feature

Here you can set simple rules or “If this then that” rules. You can set these rules across multiple apps and there can be multiple triggers and actions in a single rule as you can see in the above screenshot.

Winner: Drip due to its highly versatile workflow builder and rules. MailChimp has automation features that are plain basic and not visual.

A/B split testing

MailChimp comes with a feature to A/B split test the campaigns.

MailChimp A/B testing

You can split test the subject line, from name, content and the send time.

Split testing

You can test up to 3 variations, and also set the percentage of people to receive your test combinations.

Determine the winning variation

You can also determine the winning variation as per the settings.

You can also choose the winner manually by heading over to the reports section of the campaigns after 2 days of sending it.

Let’s look at the Drip.

Drip split testing

Drip allows you to do split testing based on Subject, “From” name, and Delivery Time. You can’t test the variations of your email content.

Along with this, you can also include A/B split testing step right inside your automation workflow.

A/B split testing of automation workflow
Editing split test

Having an A/B testing feature right inside the workflow is such several features that very few of the leading email automation tools offer.

But here MailChimp doesn’t come with this workflows feature.

Winner: Tie. MailChimp doesn’t have automation split testing, on the other hand, Drip doesn’t have email content split testing and automatic winner selection.

Forms and landing pages

MailChimp comes with options for you to create forms and as well as landing pages.

With MailChimp, you can build, design and translate your forms.

MailChimp landing pages

You can add multiple fields to the form, modify the field settings, etc.

And when it comes to landing pages, you need to first select for which audience you need to create a landing page and there are dozens of templates for you to choose for lead generation.

Landing page templates
customizing the landing page

In your landing page, you can customize or add content blocks as needed. Each and every aspect of the landing page can be customized.

The people who opt-in will be added to the list you selected even before creating your landing page.

On the other hand, with Drip you only get access to the creation of opt-in forms

Drip opt-in forms

When you create a form, you can alter the text, add or delete fields, set confirmation and post-signup settings, etc.

You can make this form as a widget, embedded widget, or as a popup.

Form widgets

You can play with the above settings to display the form as a popup as per the behavior and trigger settings.

Drip does not have the feature to design complete landing pages, unlike MailChimp.

For that, you may need to use software similar to ClickFunnels or any WordPress WYSIWYG page builders.

You can apply a tag or send a campaign or perform any action to every form of submission.

Winner: MailChimp as it has a landing page building feature along with forms

Deliverability

Both MailChimp and Drip have great deliverability rates. We conducted an email deliverability test of top email marketing softwares.

In the first round of the test, we didn’t have SPF / DKIM auth records setup.

 

Inbox

Tabs (others)

Spam

Missing

ActiveCampaign

63.46%

12.50%

8.65%

15.38%

Aweber

69.23%

8.46%

22.31%

0.00%

ConstantContact

84.62%

0.00%

15.38%

0.00%

Drip

93.85%

0.00%

6.15%

0.00%

GetResponse

59.23%

0.00%

40.77%

0.00%

Mailchimp

82.31%

1.54%

13.08%

3.08%

Mailerlite

56.92%

10.00%

32.31%

0.77%

MailJet

52.31%

10.00%

20.77%

16.92%

SendInBlue

56.92%

10.00%

32.31%

0.77%

In the second round, we installed SPF and DKIM records on all the services.

Name

Inbox

Tabs (promotion)

Spam

Missing

ActiveCampaign

92.31%

0.00%

3.85%

3.85%

Aweber

95.45%

0.00%

4.55%

0.00%

ConstantContact

75.00%

0.00%

25.00%

0.00%

Drip

100.00%

0.00%

0.00%

0.00%

GetResponse

75.00%

0.00%

25.00%

0.00%

Mailchimp

95.45%

0.00%

4.55%

0.00%

Mailerlite

75.55%

0.00%

24.46%

0.00%

MailJet

77.28%

0.00%

11.37%

11.37%

SendInBlue

77.28%

0.00%

22.73%

0.00%

You can see that the MailChimp and Drip performed consistently well in both rounds.

Especially with auth records in place, Drip’s deliverability shot up to 100% compared to MailChimp’s 95.45%.

The test was conducted taking into account all the variables.

Winner: Drip

Integrations

MailChimp has the largest number of integrations. This is largely due to the popularity and age of this email marketing software.

As of writing this post, MailChimp had around 200+ native integrations.

MailChimp integrations
Mailchimp triggers

They even have Zapier integration with good number of triggers, actions and searches.

They also have API and webhook functionality, and is a bit on the geeky side of things.

If you look at Drip, they have limited native integration (provided the app is fairly new).

Drip native integrations

As of writing this post, they had around 50+ integrations including integrations with 10+ eCommerce apps.

Drip triggers

They also have Zapier integration.

Added to this, they have separate webhooks management in their app.

Trigger events

There are dozens of trigger events that enable you to pass any kind of event to your external apps. However, the incoming webhook is not supported.

Winner: MailChimp due to the number of native integrations

Pricing

MailChimp comes with 3 different plans apart from the free plan.

MailChimp pricing

Number of subscribers

Essentials plan

Standard plan

Premium plan

500

$9.99/mo

$14.99/mo

$299/mo for 10K contacts

1500

$19.99/mo

$14.99/mo

$399/mo for 20K contacts

2500

$29.99/mo

$49.99/mo

$499/mo for 30K contacts

5000

$49.99/mo

$74.99/mo

$549/mo for 40K contacts

On the other hand, Drip comes with three plans based on the number of subscribers you have.

Drip pricing

Number of contacts

Price

0-2500

$49/mo (Basic)

2500 – 5000

$122/mo (Pro)

10000

$184/mo

25000

$370/mo

50000

$680/mo

All of their plans come with all the features that Drip has got to offer you. They don’t hold you any features for a premium price.

If you consider 5,000 subscribers, the MailChimp plan costs you $74.99 per month and Drip costs you $122/month. Whereas, both of them costs $49/month upto 2,500 subscribers.

I would say Drip is costlier than MailChimp but comes with dozens of extra features. Is the premium price, worth the features? You are the one to decide.

Winner: MailChimp, as it has a free plan and also beginner-friendly pricing.

MailChimp vs Drip – FAQs

  1. Which one has better automation features MailChimp or Drip? MailChimp has the most basic automation builder, whereas Drip has more advanced visual automation builder.
  2. Which email software is better for eCommerce? Drip is most suitable for eCommerce with its features like Liquid templating, visual automation builder and deep integrations.
  3. Which app comes with landing page features? MailChimp comes with a decent landing page builder
  4. Which app has better integrations? MailChimp has better integration than Drip.
  5. Which app comes with Zapier integration? Both MailChimp and Drip come with Zapier integration

Verdict

There’s no clear winner when you compare MailChimp vs Drip. Both of these tools have their own pros and cons.

MailChimp is enough for you if you are looking for only basic newsletters and sending emails to your subscribers. However, Drip is for you if you are an advanced marketer or having an eCommerce business.

The major downside of MailChimp is the lack of automation builder and robust features.

Drip is really consistent and aggressive in rolling out new features compared to good old MailChimp.

MailChimp or Drip doesn’t make any difference when it comes to value for money. This comparison would be a classic example of you get what you pay for.

Hope you found the comparison helpful. Let me know what you think in the comments section.

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Akshay Hallur

About me

Hi, I’m Akshay Hallur. The founder of this blog BloggingX and many other online ventures. 

I’m a professional full-time blogger, a digital marketer, and a trainer. I’m here to help bloggers like you to create an outstanding blog and earn money from it.

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1 thought on “MailChimp vs Drip: An In-Depth Email Marketing Showdown”

  1. Thanks for sharing this article with us, I don’t find these important things in any other Blogs. I like the way you wrote these Articles that’s really so Impressive one.

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