The software is called Drip.
From serial entrepreneur, Rob Walling, the fittingly-named Drip started its life as a simple way to send time-based drip emails designed to encourage potential customers to sign up. After Rob bootstrapped Drip to $7,000 in monthly-recurring revenue, he made a discovery: Sending drip emails to people entering the top of the funnel is nice, but it is far from the whole picture. His early users needed more.
This whole picture, Rob found, involves the entire customer lifecycle: everything from pre-signup nurturing to post-signup on-boarding to post-purchase training and beyond. In its early incarnation, Drip wasn’t cut out for all that. Rob knew that Drip had to evolve. After months of work, his team was set to release Drip 2.0, a lightweight marketing automation tool that, Rob believed, didn’t suck. The product had come a long way. Now it was time to update the story, and with it, the homepage.
Going Long (Form)
Rob’s very first homepage for Drip had been in that conventional style, the kind that near-everyone in Startupland has for their SaaS. You know the type. It is played out. While his team worked on Drip 2.0, Rob tested his first long-form homepage. This one, which he wrote for Drip 1.0, focused on the benefits of drip email marketing (“A double-digit increase in conversions”), and positioned Drip as a good way to achieve that goal. The first long-form homepage knocked the short-form version right off the stage. Boosted conversions something like 80%.
But after the next iteration of the long-form style—the one I’m about to dissect, line-by-line—Rob dropped the mic, beating the original long-form homepage by FIVE HUNDRED PERCENT. Let’s have a look at what makes the long-form homepage for Drip 2.0 so damn good.
It all starts with a deceptively effective title
Let’s start with the title of the page: a big, clearly readable description of Drip in a nutshell. To the untrained eye, this title might look like another generic, product-centered headline. However, something much more subtle is going on. Yes, the title talks about Drip in terms of what it is (“marketing automation”) but rest of the words in the title are the magic. The words are: “Lightweight” and “that doesn’t suck.”
If you’re in Drip’s target market (small SaaS startups, consultants, and people selling info-products), you probably know that nearly every enterprise marketing automation tool out there is a mind-destroying vortex of grave expense and terrible usability. Either that, or it’s too limited to solve the actual problem you’re out to solve. Thus, the idea of an actual marketing automation tool that is both lightweight AND won’t suck you into a whirlpool of pricey, ugly software instantly strikes a chord.
A great headline for a long-form homepage will grab its audience’s attention and persuade them that they NEED to read more. This comes pretty close. Let’s move on.
Kill them with empathy: “We feel your pain”
Ah, the good-ol’ empathy section. Any long-form homepage worth its salt has got one, and it’s smart to place it right up front. When you do the empathy section right, your readers know the message is directed straight at them, and that you, the purveyor of the solution you’re about to offer, FEELS THEIR PAIN. Let’s look at how Rob deftly navigated this:
Marketing automation. So much promise, so many overpriced tools.
If you’re the savvy, scrappy type that Rob is going after, you know that marketing automation has the potential to automate your entire early sales process. You also know that your budget is highly constrained, so anything that costs thousands of dollars is out of the question. Score 1 on the empathy board. Next line:
You’ve scoured the internet for someting designed for you…a tool that allows you to send customized emails to the right person at exactly the right time.”
“Why yes”, says Rob’s ideal reader to himself. “I have scoured the internet looking for precisely that!”
The question is: why are the tools in this space so ridiculously expensive and, adding insult to injury, so hard to use?
“Why yes!” exclaims the reader silently, now nodding to himself, that is the question!” Next, Rob deftly captures two distinct customer profiles without disqualifying either:
Maybe you’ve tried out one of the big players in marketing automation and you’re exhausted with their clunky UI or lack of new features.
If you’ve already come face-to-face with mainstream enterprise marketing automation tools and know how much they suck to use, that line’s for you. On the other hand, if you’re small but have run headfirst into the limitations of your Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or AWeber account, Rob’s got empathy for you, too:
Maybe you’ve outgrown your entry-level email marketing tool and find yourself adding hack after hack to try to keep up with your marketing needs.
Two different stories. Both addressed. And all it took was three sentences. Not bad. Next line:
You’ve heard for years that marketing automation is the place to make your biggest leaps in conversion rates; from lead nurturing to trial emails to post-purchase education and retention. But it’s all been too complicated and time consuming to set up!
While it’s a bit risky to use superlatives like “biggest leaps”, savvy, scrappy entrepreneurs do know they need to nurture leads, send trail emails, and educate their customers after the sale has been made. They also probably haven’t done it yet because it’s normally such a pain. I’ll allow it. The last piece of the empathy section is the product teaser.
If that’s the case, you’re going to love Drip.
What makes Rob’s empathy section effective?
In the empathy section, notice three things that Rob does quite well.
- Qualifies his target buyer. If you’re already entrenched with Eloqua, Marketo, or Hubspot, you now know that Drip isn’t for you. But if you’ve tried those products and they’re too big for you, then you know you’re in the right place. Same if you are running into walls with Mailchimp.
- Speaks to his buyers’ needs before mentioning his own product. The entire intro is about his customer, not his solution. He doesn’t use the word “Drip” until the last sentence of the section.
- Positions hard against the weaknesses of his competition. Rob frames the “big players” as “clunky”, slow to improve, and exhausting to use. As for the smaller players, they are “entry-level email marketing tools” that send “static newsletters.” Nothing like the lightweight marketing automation you know you need. Ouch.
A perfect testimonial
In two simple sentences, this testimonial does what the most effective testimonials do:
- Gives credibility to Rob’s claims by offering the voice of a happy customer.
- Highlights specific, numeric results: 956 leads in 3 months!
- Preempts reader objections: It only takes 10 minutes to add the widget, and I don’t have to annoy users with overlay pop-ups? Sounds great!
Notice how Rob uses a bold font for the results, so your eye jumps to the most important part first, enticing you to read the rest. Love this testimonial. It’s nearly perfect.
The precision-targeted product pitch.
Drip is lightweight marketing automation that doesn’t suck
Remember how you read that title all those words ago and thought to yourself: “Lightweight marketing automation that doesn’t suck? Yeah, I need that!” Here, Rob is reinforcing that message and telling you that Drip is the solution you you seek.
Have you heard of Eloqua, Marketo, Ontraport, or Infusionsoft? If so, think of Drip as a lightweight alternative that gives you the bulk of the value at 10% of the sticker price.
This deft piece of positioning copy does two things really well.
- Positions Drip among a set of recognizable marketing automation tools his readers have heard about.
- Offers the “bulk of [their] value” at a “10% of the sticker price.” Notice it’s not just “lower cost,” it’s “10%”. Specifics are good.
Remember: Rob’s target readers are sensitive to cost, but they still want the power that those big expensive tools can provide. Bingo. Next is the first heading.
Drip allows you to craft every interaction with your leads, trial users and customers like an artisan.”
The point of a heading in a long-form homepage is two-fold:
- To get deeper into the heads of your close readers and keep them moving along.
- To capture the attention of skimmers and turn them into close readers.
On point #1, Rob crushes it: If you’re a scrappy entrepreneur or consultant, you like to think of yourself as an artisan. An artisan who crafts. This heading tickles your ego-driven desire. For skimmers, it’s pretty good, too: instead of spending your attention telling you what Drip is, Rob goes straight to what it does FOR YOU. Use Drip, he says, and you can be a marketing artisan. On skimming into this heading, there’s a good chance I’d pause and want more. The next few lines are the weakest part of the page:
Sequences that are written once and magically customized for each person based on their behavior.
This is a sentence fragment, and those trip me up.
We do this by enabling you to create email automation rules. These rules tie into every action a user takes, be it expressing interest in web design, candle marking, or SEO.
Compared to the rest of the copy on the page, this is stylistically sloppy.
Downloading a sample chapter of your book, starting a trial of your software, creating a new project in your app, or viewing your upgrade page but not upgrading.
Another sloppy sentence fragment. If the rest of the page above hadn’t been so compelling, I might have been mad by now. Thankfully, Rob quickly regains his footing:
Curious how Drip applies to your business? Click on one of the buttons below to get an idea of how customers are using email automation to capture more leads and close more sales.
If I’ve read this far down this far on the page, I am indeed curious how Drip might apply to my needs. Helpfully, Rob has told me exactly what I can do to satisfy my curiosity: I can click one of the buttons below!
Notice that this small call-to-action doesn’t just tell me to “learn more.” It nails home the specific benefits I’ll learn about if I click: “how customers are using email automation to capture more leads and close more sales.”
Great stuff. As for the buttons themselves, they’re good, but not great. There are four options: SaaS, Digital Products, WP Plugins, and Consulting. Segmenting the potential use cases scores another point for Rob. If I sell SaaS, or ebooks, or WP Plugins, or consulting, I now know for certain that this page is talking to me.
My main critique of the buttons is this: So far, Rob’s done a stellar job speaking straight to his readers, and readers don’t identify themselves “SaaS,” “Digital Product,” or “Consulting”. Those are just what they sell. They are, however, SaaS entrepreneurs, ebook writers, plugin creators, or consultants. It’s a subtle distinction, but I suspect that speaking to people’s identities rather than their use cases would resonate more.
The videos, by the way, are great: simple, scrappy, to the point, and clear.
Telling the story to enrich the pitch
If any of this sounds familiar, it should. This is well-executed marketing automation, except with one key difference.”
If you haven’t watched a video, this line might encourage you to scroll back up and click. After all, don’t you want to see what “well-executed marketing automation” sounds like? I do. The next sentence is another positioning masterstroke:
The difference between Drip and other marketing automation platforms is that our sole purpose, nay our mission, is to make it ridiculously easy (and cost effective) to get started, and we provide you with the best email tools, guidance, content blueprints, and metrics that you’ve ever seen in this kind of tool. Hands down.
Drip’s defining differentiators are its speed-to-execution and low cost. Compared to all the other marketing automation tools, Rob is saying, Drip demands almost no time to be up and running and won’t break the bank. Indeed, as he says in the next line:
You’ll be gathering new subscribers in less than five minutes after starting your free trial.
If you know anything about Marketo or Eloqua or Hubspot, getting tangible results five minutes after starting a trial sounds like manna from the marketing gods. Next, another heading that slams the differentiation home:
You don’t have to talk to a salesperson. There are no annual contracts. No learning curve. And no training required.
Wait, so you’re telling me that when I sign up for a trial, I won’t get a barrage of emails asking for my time on the phone? To many of the people in Drip’s market, this sounds fantastic. That being said, I’m sure there are potential customers for Drip who feel intimidated by marketing automation but still want to harness its magic. For them, Rob would do well to make it clear that he offers on-boarding support.
If you want to automatically send a user a series of emails, without writing any code, based on a purchase through Gumroad or PayPal, a recurring charge in Stripe or Chargify, or a new email into Unbounce or LeadPages, you should try Drip.
So you’re saying that Drip works with many of the tools I already use and won’t require me to write code? Sweet. Maybe I should try Drip!
Breaking up the page with recognizable logos.
Next, Rob throws in some logos: I have mixed feelings about these. While they do offer the scanner a quick way to see all of the key integrations, they also represent false social proof. As a reader of SaaS marketing websites, when I see logos, I usually think “these are customers.” When you put logos on your site that aren’t actual customers or press outlets that have written about you, you lose a little bit of credibility with me.
The fact of the matter is that Rob is a consumer of these companies’ APIs, not that they are among his customers. 1 point for including recognizable logos. –2 points for the obvious sleight-of-hand.
This is how you craft a customer-centric page. Next line:
And if you want to use email to move people from visitor to prospect to trial user to customer to advocate…you should try Drip.
This language is a bit jargon-y: “prospect,” “trial user” “advocate.” While speaking in utterly clear terms that can inspire emotion is THE challenge for any copywriter, jargon makes your job harder.If you can’t say what you mean without using jargon, work on it.
Here’s how I would have re-written this: “If you want to use email to inspire your target customers and earn their trust, you should try Drip. If you want to use email to transform skeptical new users into successful customers, you should try Drip. And if you want to turn your successful customers into raving fans who bring new business straight to your door, you should try Drip.”
Play it again, Sam. Next line:
We’ve painstakingly studied successful SaaS applications, software companies, online course and info product authors and adapted their approaches into proprietary email blueprints that show you the steps that will make this work for you.”
This line could have used the touch of an editor. Some of the phrasing (“online course and info product authors”) is awkward, and “proprietary” is an empty word. Those nitpicks aside, Rob is doing a good job here reinforcing the message that Drip makes it easy to get started. The screenshot that shows the interface and the sample blueprints makes the point stronger. A testimonial to reinforce his claims here would have been good. The next line is one of my favorites on the page:
In essence, Drip’s #1 goal is to pull you from the dark ages into email marketing enlightenment.
The transition from the Dark Ages into the age of Enlightenment and science was one of the most important recoveries in human history. The Dark Ages were full of endless war and pestilence and chaos, and the Enlightenment was the beginning of a long respite from those things. I love the idea that until Drip came along, we were living in the dark ages of email marketing, and now that Drip is here, our light can shine once again.
So clever. So wry. And way to take a strong position against the competition! Love it.
The next line drives the stake in:
Don’t continue to fumble with a clumsy interface and dated software, or stick with an email newsletter tool you outgrew a year ago.
Yep, folks, the dark ages of email. Next, a header that could use some work:
Experience marketing automation that will re-shape the way you think about sending email.
This copy is vague and uninspiring. I’m not here to have my thinking re-shaped. I’m here to escape from the bubonic plagues and feudal warlords of the dark ages, remember? Show me the way! Don’t make a lofty but meaningless promise.
The homestretch: Making the sale
We pride ourselves in building hand-crafted, organic software that not only doesn’t suck, but provides you with an experience unlike any other email marketing software you’ve used.
I love the tongue-in-cheek concept of “organic software,” but the wording of the whole sentence is a bit awkward. I would just take out “that not only doesn’t suck” and let the rest of it stand.
Don’t take our word for it, have a look inside and decide for yourself.
Another hard strike at the throat of the competition. How many marketing automation tools let you just take a peak without talking to a salesperson or watching a demo? “Don’t take our word for it…” is also a mainstay of long-form pages, and for good reason. It works. The testimonial that follows is another, near-perfect touch:
- Clear articulation of before and after? Check.
- Major benefits delivered succinctly? Yep.
- Bold text to highlight the most important point? Uh huh.
- Putting a face to the name to make things more human? You got it.
The final line that leads into the call-to-action button is great:
Let Drip work its magic (for free) for 3 weeks. After that, it’s only $49/month. Cancel anytime with 1 click.
Does Marketo or Eloqua offer a 3-week free trial? Hell no. Are they $49/month? Not even close. Can you cancel your yearlong contract with a single click? Don’t bet on it. Finally, the burnt-orange call-to-action button: “Have A Look Inside.” Good color selection, but I might have made the button bigger.
The wrap up: Gripes and final thoughts.
I do have a few larger gripes with the page:
- The shortage of testimonials. I’d love to see more testimonials from a wider variety of customers. If I’m a consultant, I want to hear about Drip’s power from another consultant. If I’m an ebook author, I want to see one of those.
- There’s no actual video demo of the product in action. Screenshots and explainer videos are nice, but if I’m going to give you my credit card upfront (which Rob requires you to do), I want more. I want to see how the product feels and how it works. Don’t just tell me it’s elegant and lightweight. SHOW ME NAO!
- The headings don’t tell a coherent story on their own. Sure, if your copy is captivating from the title on down, some percentage of visitors will read the whole thing at first glance. But most won’t. They will skim. The goal with headings, then, is to deliver a complete story down the length of the page. You want a beginning, a middle, and an end that unfolds through the headings alone. The rest is gravy.
But despite these few flaws, I love this page. It’s authentic, well-written, and gets right to the heart of its target readers’ needs. If you’re in Drip’s market of bootstrapped SaaS entrepreneurs, consultants, and ebook authors, you absolutely want marketing automation, but you also know that the landscape is both expensive and bleak. Along comes Drip, offering to bring you out of the email “dark ages,” giving you the “bulk of the value” of the high-priced tools “at 10% of the sticker price.”
If cost-effectiveness wasn’t enough, Drip promises to be usable and lightweight—just what you need to get up and running fast. And if you still have doubts, Rob offers you a free look inside and an easy way to cancel if the tool’s not for you. It really does sound like “Marketing Automation That Doesn’t Suck.”
It’s no surprise to me that this page scored a massive win.