Let’s start with the answer, yes, Mailchimp has drip campaigns (and they’re fabulous).
And, do you know what the best part is about Mailchimp drips? As of mid-2017, they’re available to use on Mailchimp’s free plan!
There is, however, a whole whack of false information out there about Mailchimp drip campaigns, mostly from people who’ve never used their software or used it many years ago when drip campaigns in Mailchimp didn’t have many features.
Other bloggers complain that you can’t create drips for lead magnets, opt-in bonuses, or freebies—but that’s simply not true—and I can show you exactly how to create them below.
Over the last few years Mailchimp has done a fabulous job of creating super powerful functionality for their drips, and then opening that functionality to free accounts as well. If you have under 2,000 subscribers, you can use their drip campaigns for free!
Wait, what are drip campaigns and why should I use them?
Drip campaigns are a type of automation in Mailchimp that, unlike a normal campaign that you schedule and send out, runs in the background at all times, automagically (ok, I just made that word up).
They take repetitive tasks off your plate, like welcoming new subscribers to your list, or pitching a product you have for sale over a series of emails, or telling existing customers about a complimentary product you’ve got (that they don’t own yet).
According to research from another email-marketing company, Emma, drip sequences produce 18-times more revenue on average than campaign-blast style emails. So not only can it result in a lot more sales, you only have to write the drip campaign once, and it automatically sends out whenever a subscriber triggers something on your list. For my own courses, like Chimp Essentials, Mailchimp drip campaigns account for most of the revenue generated for each product—that’s because they’re delivering the right information, to the right person, at the right time.
Drip campaigns are like having a second brain for your business, so you can focus on other important things (like making money or binge-watching Netflix shows). Mailchimp comes with a variety of pre-built drip campaigns you can use as well, you just have to select the one you want, and create or use an existing HTML template for the design.
Mailchimp drips are focused on warming up a potential customer with valuable and relevant information and then trying to make a sale. They’re a subset of automations, so they aren’t the same as onboarding potential leads (if you’re a freelancer) or post-project automations.
How to create a drip campaign in Mailchimp
What if your blog posts were converting at 60% instead of 6% (for turning readers into Mailchimp subscribers)? Bryan Harris, from VideoFruit, did just that by using content upgrades on his top articles. Brian Dean from Backlinko similarly skyrocketed his subscriptions by 785% by using content upgrades on his blog posts.
Creating a drip campaign in Mailchimp is a simple strategy:
- Write a creative/helpful/informative blog post.
- Create a piece of content that goes along with it (a spreadsheet, a checklist, a giveaway or contest, an ebook).
- Have an opt-in on that blog post for the content.
- Deliver the content via a drip campaign in Mailchimp.
- Drip out more related content, then pitch your product/service.
Let’s look at how you’d create that in WordPress using Mailchimp.
- Create your blog post in WordPress, like you normally would. For this example, let’s say the blog post is about vegan burritos.
- In Mailchimp, create a merge field for your list called “ContentUpgrade” and uncheck the “Visible” box.
- Create a new form in MC4WP (read this post on setting up the plugin) for the specific content upgrade, making sure you select the correct Mailchimp list you want subscribers to be added to.
- Click on “ContentUpgrade” in the Form Fields section and give the “Initial value” a value of “veganburrito” and add it to the form.
- Now, in the code area, change the word “text” in the Content Upgrade field to “hidden”.
- In settings for the form, select YES for “Update existing subscribers”. This is important because it means people already on your list can get the content upgrade and you don’t pay for them twice!
- You should also turn off double opt-in, so the content upgrade gets delivered immediately, by selecting NO for “Use double opt-in”.
- Save the changes and add the form to your blog post about vegan burritos, using the shortcode MC4WP generates.
Now the content upgrade has been created on your blog post in WordPress and is adding or updating subscribers to your Mailchimp list with the hidden merge field value of “veganburrito” for the field called “ContentUpgrade”. The final step is creating a simple drip sequence in Mailchimp, which only sends if “ContentUpgrade” has the value of “veganburrito”—because we don’t want to give the content upgrade to people who sign up for the mailing list from a different page or from a different content upgrade.
Let’s setup a drip sequence for the content upgrade in Mailchimp:
- In Mailchimp, click Campaigns, then Create Campaign.
- Click Create an Email, then Automated, and Custom.
- Give it a name, something like “Vegan Burrito Content Upgrade” and make sure you select the same list as you selected in MC4WP.
- Where it says Trigger, click Edit Trigger.
- Change Delay to Immediately (because you want it to send the person your content upgrade right away).
- Click Change Trigger, click List management, then “Changed list field to value” and select ContentUpgrade and type in the value exactly as it appears in MC4WP, in this case “veganburrito”.
- Now click Update Trigger in the top right and you’re ready to create your drip campaign!
You can style that email however you’d like, add in content, and link to deliver your file. You can even add more emails after the first one, that send over the next couple days warming people up to a paid product your offer!
This is only the beginning of drip sequences in Mailchimp
The above tutorial just scratches the surface of what you can do with drip sequences in Mailchimp. Beyond that you can filter out people who’ve just purchased, since you don’t need to pitch them products they already own—I teach this and much more in Chimp Essentials.
If you’re just starting out, the best place to begin is my tutorial on setting up your Mailchimp account.