I have been talking about this question quite a bit recently with small business owners. While they may seem very similar, the biggest difference (at least in my mind) is that drip marketing allows you to send information to customers and prospects based on actions they have taken. For instance, if you send out e-zine and someone clicks on a link for a particular offer, you can launch a drip marketing campaign to provide follow up information. You can also customize your responses based on the actions they take on your follow up messages.
Swiftpage is a great tool for implementing a drip marketing campaign. Swiftpage allows you to create multistep marketing plans, giving you tools to intelligently and automatically reach out to your leads, prospects and customers.
The other thing I really like about a tool like Swiftpage is it integrates with data you already have. For example, if you already use ACT!, Swiftpage will work with your existing ACT! data. Without this integration, you end up with several sets of data, each in a different location, and you end up spending inordinate amounts of time coordinating and reconciling data. I don't know about you, but the small business owners I meet don't a data management hat to wear along with everything else they have on their plate.
We have lots of great technology tools these days. The key is to make sure the ones we select actually help us be more effective and efficient, and don't just give us another job to do.
Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant