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2 Things I Learned From Brennan Dunn’s Email Automation

Since a few weeks now, we’re slowly porting over to Drip. Saying goodbye to Active Campaign, which has served us well, and into this marketing automation tool that was acquired by Leadpages in 2016.

I’ll get into why we’re making this move, what’s Drip got on Active Campaign, and all that good stuff in another post. But for this post, let’s talk about setting up an email automation for a sales funnel in Drip.

We want to set up an email automation for the PPC Mastery Course. In brief, a visitor can sign up for our Free PPC Mini Course (FPMC) on the website. We’ll drip the free lessons, and then move into the sales sequence. The end goal for this funnel is to get them to buy the full PPC Mastery Course.

We got a lot of the ideas from Brennan Dunn’s Double Your Freelancing funnel. Brennan uses Drip as well for his funnel. Here and here are the resources that I poured over.

What we liked about his funnel are the at-your-own-pace element and the bridge.


The usual way of setting up drip email marketing is to have a pre-determined wait time in between emails. So an example would be to wait 2 days in between emails.

But that user experience will probably pale in comparison to allowing subscribers to progress through the emails as fast as they want. We want to keep subscribers at a high level of engagement if we can. And we want to strike while it’s hot.

At your own pace

The above shows part of the automation I’ve set up.

It starts with sending the email entitled “Free Lesson 1: What I Learned Managing $25 Million in Paid Search Spend”.

After sending the email, the system will check if one of the goals (in orange) is fulfilled. The goals are “Visited FPMC 1” and “Forced Completed FPMC 1”.

Visited FPMC 1: We introduce Lesson 1 in the email, and there is a link to watch the Lesson 1 video on our website. I’ve set up a rule in Drip as followed.

visited FPMC1

Visiting the lesson page will trigger the system to perform the action of recording a custom event “Visited FPMC 1”.

Forced Completed FPMC 1: The custom event “Forced Completed FPMC 1” is recorded after 2 days of sending the email.

What this means is that the system will wait 2 days for the subscriber to visit the lesson page, and at the end of wait time, the system will move the subscriber through (by “forced completing” the lesson) and send the Lesson 2 email. If the subscriber did visit the lesson page within the 2 days wait time, s/he will immediately move through as a goal is fulfilled. The subscriber will receive Lesson 2 email at the end of wait time, regardless of whether the lesson page was visited or not.

So in theory, a subscriber can power through all the free lessons as fast as they can click and visit the lesson pages.

The Bridge

We’ve been doing the bridge in one form or another for our email automations. But seeing it laid out (and verbalized) by Brennan has prompted me to do so as well. That’s why I named the email automation: FPMC-Bridge-Pitch

The usual sequence goes: give, give, give, …, ask.

In our case here, we give free lessons, and then we ask if they want to pay for the full course at the end. Leading up to the ask email, we’ll always drop hints of what the ask will be about. That’s to build anticipation but also to make a smoother transition.

For this email automation, I’ve explicitly added a bridge. The bridge emails do not give free lessons, but mention what’s coming and prepare the subscriber for it.

I think that adding a bridge will make the emails feel less awkward when we get more salesy. We’re easing the subscriber into it.

These are the 2 main elements I’ve adapted from Brennan Dunn’s work. Let’s see how they perform when we push this automation live.

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