We love MailChimp. It’s an Atlanta company like Sunstone, after all…and we spent many years leveraging their platform with success. But as our needs expanded (and the needs of our clients) we had to break off our love-affair with MailChimp and look elsewhere.

Let me tell you, look elsewhere we did. I spent thousands of dollars, hours and headaches reviewing email marketing tools…MailMunch, Ontraport, Marketo, ConstantContact, InfusionSoft, ConvertKit…and that’s just the ones I spent more than a month with. Whew.

In the end, we opted to move to Drip.com for its feature set and price – and that is the tool that we recommend to our clients, and that we teach in Sunstone University.

You may choose a different route….that’s ok. The point of this article isn’t to convince you that Drip.com is best; it’s simply to get you thinking about your current solution. Almost every business we come across is using MailChimp. We want you to know that when you are ready to take your destination, tour, business or blog to the next level….there is another world out there!

Without remarketing, you are leaving sales on the table

People are coming to your website, and not all of them are making a purchase. Sometimes there are simply at the beginning of the buying cycle, and sometimes they need an extra nudge.

We know that, in travel, there is a 45-day buying cycle on average. If your site is the one they visit early in that cycle, you might be forgotten by the time they pull out their credit card.

Do you offer a boat tour? Maybe locally-made jellies and jams? A magazine or online class? Don’t lose the sale just because they left your website.

Re-marketing is a tool that allows you to speak to your prospect on a personal level, after they leave your site without making a purchase. In order to do this accurately, you must know who has visited what pages on your site. You must be able to track their path across your site. You must know if they’ve made a purchase in the past.

Possible with MailChimp? Nope! Remarketing based on your website activity is not possible.

Without smart Facebook advertising, you’re wasting money

You’re using a Custom Audience in Facebook for advertising, right? You know, so that you can re-market via social media based on who has been to your website.

But just how “smart” is that Custom Audience? Is it automatically filtering out people who have already made a purchase? Because that could be annoying.

Are you spending those dollars on upsell and cross sell options with your current customers?

Are you touting the right ad to each prospect, based on the type of things they were perusing on your site?? Because if I’m looking at Family Travel articles on your blog, I don’t want to see your “Bleisure” ad…or if I’m searching through your Nashville Music Tours, I don’t want to be presented with your Miami Bar Hop Tour ad.

You need a tool that seamlessly adds and removes customers/prospects from your Custom Audiences automatically.

Possible with MailChimp? Nope! Seamless Custom Audience updates are not possible.

Without deep automation opportunities, you could be frustrating your staff and your customers.

Yes, MailChimp has automation. If you simply want to build an onboarding campaign or an email reminder about an abandoned cart…you’re set.

But let’s work smarter – not harder.

More sophisticated tools like Drip.com allow you to create workflows and rules with a deeper variety of triggers and actions. And when you have a visual editor to assist you in the process, there is much less of a chance of getting it wrong.

“What the heck does “deeper variety of triggers and actions” mean, Lesli; and why do I care?”

Glad you asked – let’s talk about some examples.

Imagine applying a “Lifetime Value” to a visitor with lead scoring…they are scored based on how many times they visit a page in a certain amount of time, or a different score based on how much they’ve spent in the past 6 months.

What happens when you have a new hotel? A new tour? A new affiliate opportunity? Broadcast emails to everyone on your list can be annoying, and they typically garner a 20% open rate and 1-2% click rate. By targeting the right audience with your new opportunity, at a time that the customer indicates is best for them, we’ve seen open rates go up over 60% and click rates as high as 55%.

You can also allow customers to give you feedback, without losing them as an email subscriber altogether. Let them opt out of only the campaigns that they don’t want but stay IN the campaigns that are meaningful to them. It’s not an “all-or-nothing” proposition – because life is never black and white.

You can also create email marketing goals within your workflow. These goals allow you to quickly and easily measure the success of your campaign, so you know when to pivot and when to maintain a steady course. But I also love that these goals are indicated on each subscribers’ profile and they ensure that you don’t resend unwanted emails to them.

As an example, there is a software we use regularly for our social media management. We’ve been a customer about 3 years now…a premium customer. They should know us…but after I visited one of their marketing videos the other day (to show a client) I have been inundated with “Buy Our Software” email ads. Ugh.

Possible with MailChimp? Nope! Deep automation and rules-based workflows are not possible.

I could go on and on, but these are the three primary reasons we moved away from MailChimp. Do you see applicability for these features in your business? Remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Your growing up….it’s time for your email marketing solution to grow up, too.