In this article I compare MailChimp vs Drip, focusing on their free account features. They are both great services, so my goal here is to share when I’d recommend MailChimp or Drip to a client.
Please note, MailChimp and Drip do not pay me to write about them or their services. I write these articles as a way to share and help and as a way to increase my expertise. Also, I am a solopreneur business; this means my business is just me. The majority of my clients are also solopreneurs. In this email marketing software comparison, I’ll be looking at MailChimp vs Drip from the solopreneur perspective since that is what I know best.
MailChimp vs Drip: Free Account Features at a Glance
- Drip’s Starter and MailChimp’s Forever Free accounts are permanently free
- MailChimp allows you to have 2,000 subscribers for free. Drip allows 100.
- Drip’s free account allows you to send unlimited free emails; MailChimp’s free account allows 12,000 free emails per month.
- Drip allows you to send automated emails for free; MailChimp does not.
Why a Free Email Marketing Account is a Good Thing
From my perspective, it took a long time to even understand why growing a list of email contacts mattered. Originally, I just wanted to occasionally reach out to my clients through an email system. If this is you, MailChimp or Drip’s fee account will be totally fine as long as you aren’t working to really grow your list. However, if you just add your friends, family, people you meet through networking, and your customers to your email list, you’ll get to 100 very quickly. On a cost basis alone, this is where things are significantly different for MailChimp vs Drip.
MailChimp vs Drip Cost Comparison
In my case, I have had over 100 subscribers for 14 months. I don’t make money off of my list as of yet. Once I reached 100 subscribers, I would’ve had to pay Drip for their Basic account. Drip charges $41/month if you pay for 12 months at a time. So by now I would’ve paid for two years; this would’ve cost me $984. In the same amount of time (14 months), I could’ve stayed with the free account for MailChimp.
If you are new to email marketing and aren’t sure what your plan is for your email list, I’d say that MailChimp makes more financial sense for the present moment so you are free to grow your list and not sweat an added expense.
What if You Want to Send a Lot of Emails?
If you’re like most small businesses, “a lot of emails” might equate to once a week. Keep in mind that, for most business just starting out, sending a weekly email consistently is quite rare. For the sake of comparing systems, let’s say you are a business that has new posts to your site on a fairly regular basis that you want your audience to know about, so you send them a weekly update in the form of an email. Let’s say you are also a rare small business and are getting close to having a list of 2,000 subscribers, the limit for MailChimp’s free account. Even if you sent your 2,000 subscribers 1 email a week, you’d be at 8,000 – 10,000 emails a month; you’d still be in the free category for MailChimp. Most of my clients don’t even come close to sending 2,000 emails a month. So for most people, the 12,000 email limit of MailChimp’s free account is more than enough. In my case, it took me years to get over 100 email subscribers and when I finally reached that milestone I still never got close to 12,000 emails going out a month. Even now, when I have a bigger list and I have automated emails being sent in addition to the one-time emails I create, I am nowhere near 12,000 emails a month.
MailChimp vs Drip: Free Email Marketing Automation
Email marketing automation means that your email marketing software is sending emails on your behalf automatically. The emails might automatically be sent when someone signs up for a free offer or when someone does some other action in your website and your shopping cart. Because automated emails are normally sent based on the behavior of an individual in response to something they have expressed interest in, email marketing automation can be a very powerful tool for growing your business.
Drip offers free email marketing automation; MailChimp does not. Here’s the thing: I was using MailChimp for a long time before I started to see how marketing automation could be a fit to help me grow my business. When I started to experiment with automated emails within MailChimp, I needed to upgrade to a paid MailChimp account in order to use MailChimp’s marketing automation tools. I now pay $9.00 a month for their paid account. From a cost perspective, MailChimp is much less per month (around a $30 per month savings) than Drip, so that’s an easy decision.
From a features standpoint, I haven’t yet needed the things Drip can do, so for now, I will stay with MailChimp.
If you are just starting out and you already are sure that you want to deep dive into marketing automation, I think it makes a lot of sense to compare the two products for your specific needs. By compare, I mean dig in and use each one. You can try out Drip for free to see exactly what it does. To try MailChimp’s marketing automation features, you just need to pay MailChimp $10. MailChimp doesn’t require a commitment, so you can cancel the account at any time easily. If I were you, I’d take an afternoon and try both platforms out, attempting to do the same thing in both interfaces. See which one makes sense for you and then cancel the other account. For instance, if you love the idea of a visual workflow builder, Drip has that and I don’t think MailChimp does (at least I haven’t found it in my account). Also, and this is an excellent shortcut to comparing MailChimp vs Drip, ask those you know how they use Drip and how they use MailChimp. Ask them what they like and don’t like specifically in relation to how they use the email marketing software of their choice for their business. If you happen to have friends that are willing to show you inside their account, do that. And then still dig in on your own for an afternoon and try to do what you want for your business to compare the automation features of MailChimp vs Drip.