Drip Content Snippets: The Best New Way to Keep Your Automated Emails Fresh

Beware any automation tool that tells you to “set it and forget it.”

Yes, email marketing automation can keep delivering new business to your door for a long, long time after a bit of initial effort.

But in every business, things change eventually—or maybe pretty quickly, if you’re in high-growth mode.

Things like:

  • New products
  • New partnerships
  • New marketing channels
  • New promo offers
  • Major events, like launches or conferences
  • New cornerstone content you’ve created

… and more.

And if you just “forget” your automated emails, you’re losing the chance to incorporate these crucial new elements of your business. Before long, you’re inviting subscribers to engage with the business you were running six months ago—not the one you’re running today.

Until now, there have been two ways to deal with this problem:

  1. Rely heavily on broadcasts to convey new information, and decide it’s OK for your automated emails to get a little stale.
  2. Update your automated emails regularly, and decide you’ll deal with the work of hunting down every place you’ve ever mentioned the thing you need to update, clicking into the email, and making the edits.

Don’t love those options?

Us either. Which is why we’re so excited about one of our newest features: Content Snippets. Here’s a quick look at how they work:

 

Click Here to Start Creating Dynamic Emails for Free

Transcript: Content Snippets are like shortcodes for frequently used content in your emails. Take a block of content, turn it into a content snippet, and then paste the snippet tag into any email where you’d like it to appear. This can save you time and reduce errors—but more importantly, it can save you a ton of work down the road.

For instance, let’s say you want to promote your latest webinar in all your email campaigns. Normally, it’d be a hassle to go in and update every email every time you make a change to your webinar schedule. But with Content Snippets, you can just create a webinar snippet, add it to those emails, and update the snippet from one spot.

Now every email will go out with your most current webinar details.

How Content Snippets Work

A Content Snippet tag looks like this:

Simple, right?

This one little tag can pull in just about anything you like, including:

  • Text
  • Images
  • HTML
  • Liquid

If you can put it in an email, you can put it in a Content Snippet. And if you’re putting it in an automated email—and you think you might want to change it someday—you probably should put it in a Content Snippet.

To create one, click into Email Setup > Content Snippets. That’s also where you’ll find all your existing snippets when you need to make updates later on:

Now, it’s time to add your Content Snippet to an email. Open up the email you want to edit, click View Shortcodes, and go to the Content Snippets tab. Just click the one you want to add, and it’ll automatically populate your snippet content (which you can check in Preview mode).

Need more guidance? Check out our Knowledge Base article here.

8 Ways to Use Content Snippets to Keep Your Emails Current

We’re sure Drip users will find ways to use Content Snippets in clever ways we never even considered; in fact, from what we’ve heard so far, they’re already doing so. Here are 8 use cases to try.

1. Get people to your next webinar or other event (whenever it may be). This is the use case you saw in the video above. Webinar times, dates, and even topics are often subject to change, and packaging the details inside a Content Snippet makes it easy to get the right people on the right webinar, session after session.

2. Always share your latest promotion. Perhaps you offer a few different email courses, and you’d like to introduce an offer into a few of the lessons. Add a promo snippet, and you can easily swap in a new promotional message whenever you need to.

3. Change your “P.S.” message. A postscript is a great place to add a secondary call to action, whether it’s to make a purchase or to check out a recently released feature. But you don’t necessarily want to use the same P.S. month after month. Content Snippets are a great option to switch out the content across many different emails.

Drip superuser Christoph Engelhardt (author of the SaaS Email Marketing Handbook) takes this idea to the next level by adding an element of chance.

“The coolest Content Snippet I have is one that displays a random P.S. in some of the emails I send,” he told me. “I use it to mix things up a bit and to promote different content I created.”

How does the randomness work? It’s a surprisingly simple bit of Liquid, using the modulo operator. Here’s how the code is structured:

{% assign randomness = “now” | date: “%S” | modulo: 3 %}
{% if randomness == 0 %}
P.S. Check out my Youtube channel for video tutorials on email marketing automation
{% elsif randomness == 1 %}
P.S. Looking for even more ways to grow your MRR? Here’s a fantastic article I just found
{% elsif randomness == 2 %}
P.S. Do you love inspiring and motivational quotes as much as I do? I’ve collected the 42 best email marketing quotes for you
{% endif %}

Once Christoph drops this inside a “P.S.” snippet and adds it to an email, some subscribers will see this:

… while others see this:

Granted, you don’t need to get this elaborate to make this use case work for you. But if you want to feel like an email automation wizard, you certainly can.

4. Add signature blocks to your emails. If the personal touch is important in your business, you may want to have a person-to-person style email signoff. Putting your signature block in a Content Snippet lets you keep your details up to date.

5. Add quick links to resources your contacts need. Tabish Bhimani works in real estate marketing at Toronto agency Mastrat Digital. He reported:

“When someone signs up for floor plans and prices, they get it in the first email, but also get put into a campaign that nurtures them and provides value. People may not decide to buy on the first email, so we use a Content Snippet to always give them the option to quickly access floor plans and pricing any time at the campaign level in the footer.”

Those email footers end up looking like this:

If your prospects enter your marketing funnel with very specific goals, consider using this technique to make it as easy as possible for them to convert, no matter where they are in your campaign.

6. Switch up banners and other kinds of CTAs in your newsletters. Drip’s RSS-to-email feature makes creating blog newsletters a breeze by automatically generating a broadcast with teasers for your most recent posts. But what if you want to intersperse your posts with other kinds of content? Such as:

  • Banners for your latest sale or promotion
  • Reminders about upcoming events
  • Ads for a featured partner or sponsor’s business

Try creating a “newsletter banner” Content Snippet to house this kind of changing content, and then drop it into your newsletter template. Now you have one less edit to make before sending your newsletter out the door.

7. Streamline your email creation process. Content Snippets are also a good tool for making the repetitive parts of email marketing quicker and less error-prone. Marketing consultant and Bootstrapping.io newsletter curator Kai Davis told me about a couple of ways he’s using Content Snippets to cut down on everyday email hassles.

First, he uses them to simplify his product delivery emails:

“I have a product delivery email that sends the customer the product they’ve ordered. Because I sell variations, there are three different versions of the email they can receive. I made it a single email by using if/else conditionals—but it still left a BUNCH of duplicate text to change if an element that was included in every package needed to be updated.

“I switched to using snippets to contain the description of what’s included, so the product delivery email is GREATLY simplified—and if I want to include any of the bonuses, etc., in another email, all I need to do is grab the snippet.”

Another use case is simply eliminating copy/paste slipups:

“In my daily emails I have a pitch for one of my products or services. I previously would copy and paste the HTML for this and, uh, it did not always go well.

I switched to using snippets for each of my products and services, so I have a central place to edit the snippet and know it will be reflected as the ‘current’ version in my month-long onboarding campaign and in every daily email I send.”

Here’s how one of Kai’s product pitches looks inside the email editor:

… and here’s how it renders in a live email:

If multiple people touch your email marketing, using tricks like these can also make your emails easier to parse—and harder to mess up—across your team.

8. Make your automated emails feel extra human. You don’t necessarily have to choose between automated and time-sensitive content in your emails. Content Snippets can help you deliver both.

For instance, you might want to change your header imagery with the seasons. Or take a moment in your automated course emails to share what’s going on inside your company. Or switch up the blog posts in a “recommended reading” section of your emails.

In short, Content Snippets give you an easy way to inject fresh material into anything you automate, at any time, right from your dashboard. This feature comes with every Drip plan, so if you’d like to try it out, just log in or sign up for an account.

Click Here to Start Creating Dynamic Emails for Free

Have any questions about Content Snippets—or more ideas for using them in your emails? Tell us in the comments.

  • Christoph Engelhardt

    Drip superuser? *blush*
    Thanks, Daphne! That is too kind.

    I definitely love fooling around with workflows, but I’d say this title belongs to Brennan Dunn – the stuff he does is craaaaaaazy

    • Daphne Sidor

      Haha, there’s room for more than one Drip superuser! 😀 (And our community is lucky enough to have a number of them—month after month I’m wowed.) Thanks again for showing off your neat modulo P.S. trick!

  • New Life Goal: Become a Drip SuperUser…

    Love the new feature, excited to start using it for mundane things like our SaaS apps current monthly and yearly subscription fee, free trial length, monthly signup bonuses, etc.

    Always impressed with the shiny new toys you guys make for us over there!

    • Daphne Sidor

      Ha! Thanks for the kind words, Chris. Love your list of use case ideas—those are the kinds of details that can really make your SaaS-marketing life miserable when you need to make a change, so that’s a brilliant move to drop them into snippets.

  • Psyco Race

    is it possible to update programmatically those snippets? so finally we have gloval variables!

    • Daphne Sidor

      You’d update the snippets manually through your snippets dashboard, but you can combine them with Liquid logic to display different snippets based on any conditions you set. If you want to say a little more about the use case you’re envisioning, we might be able to give some ideas. 🙂

      • Psyco Race

        basically a way to store “global variables”. Example: when I do a launch, I’d like to store the amount of money I earn (every single sale I can update this global var, and then send me a notification email with {{ snippet.current_launch_earnings }}

        • Daphne Sidor

          Ah, I see—yeah, this wouldn’t be a way to automatically pull performance data from your account into an email. That’s a cool idea, though.

  • Jason Brubaker

    This is a really good feature. Thank you so much!

    • Daphne Sidor

      Glad you like it, Jason! 😀

  • Christoph Engelhardt

    One thing that is missing and that I’d like to see is “nested content snippets”.
    You can’t use {{snippets.snip_b}} inside of another snippet “snip_a”.
    That would be cool

  • Omg, ‘random’ logic in an email template. Had no idea this was possible in Drip. So close to converting…

    • Daphne Sidor

      Yeah, isn’t that neat? 🙂

    • Speaking of the devil … love the *idea* of the feature. However, I’ve been testing it for the past half-hour and I can’t get it to work. I’m no expert in Liquid: can anybody validate the code please? Thanks! 🙂

      • Daphne Sidor

        Hm, I haven’t actually used the modulo filter myself, but here’s the Pastebin link Christoph provided in case it’s a copy-paste issue: https://pastebin.com/2gtN5GfL

        • Thanks for the link – still not working (no copy-paste issues). Just in case other Drip users want to use this code, might be a good idea to run it by Christoph one more time 😉

          • Daphne Sidor

            Any ideas for Marc-Andre, @christophengelhardt:disqus ? 🙂

          • Christoph Engelhardt

            @marcandreseguin:disqus and I fixed it via Skype.

      • Christoph Engelhardt

        Hi Marc-Andre,

        Sounds strange as it works for me.
        Do you want to screen-share and troubleshoot? Drop me an email at [first_name]@christophengelhardt.com

  • Google has not allowed me to access your site for a week+.

    Your connection is not private

    Attackers might be trying to steal your information from blog.drip-home.appspot.com (for example, passwords, messages, or credit cards). NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID

    • Daphne Sidor

      Hey there—looks like you might have a bad link bookmarked. Try accessing drip.co/blog directly.

      • Thank you, Daphne. This occurs when I click the headline link above, and also when I click the link in the notification emails I receive from Disqus. The link you provided works fine. (I’m accessing this discussion on the Disqus site, FYI)

  • Christine On

    I was so excited to use snippets, but when I started implementing them they didn’t seem to work for plain text emails. Instead of displaying the snippet content, they displayed the {{snippet.____}} code. Am I doing something wrong, or does this feature not work with plain text emails? Thank you for the write-up, by the way!

    • Daphne Sidor

      Hm, that shouldn’t be a problem if I’m understanding correctly. I’d recommend reaching out to our support team on that from inside your account. Sorry for the trouble!

  • Do you hate “Hello FIRST NAME”???

    Use this:

    {% assign words = subscriber.First_Name | split: ‘ ‘ %}{% capture first_name %}{% for word in words %}{{ word | capitalize }} {% endfor %}{% endcapture %}{{ first_name }} {% assign words = subscriber.Last_Name | split: ‘ ‘ %}{% capture last_name %}{% for word in words %}{{ word | capitalize }} {% endfor %}{% endcapture %}{{ last_name}}

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/54025550702a8a899aff16fefbe16086e30a052d296078b1e4c0a9a2e8ae3693.png

    • Daphne Sidor

      Fun! You can also set up rules to adjust how names are styled in the subscriber fields, but this is a super neat alternative. Thanks for sharing!