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Email Drip Campaigns: A Beginner’s Guide

A drip campaign is a series of automated emails sent to a specific audience based on demographics or user actions.

Have you ever been the recipient of a string of highly-personalized marketing emails? Odds are, you get at least a handful every day. 

It could be a message that says, “Dan, don’t forget this item in your cart!” Or, “Hey Sarah, we haven’t seen you in a while. Here’s a discount code since we miss you so much!”

In both cases, the point is to get you to return to the sender’s site and spend money. The messages are pre-written, automated, and sent in response to an action (or inaction) you took on the company’s website. Usually, they are part of a four-to-five email strategy. 

If you are the recipient of an email from a drip marketing campaign, it’s because you fit into the targeted audience the campaign aims for. Maybe you recently installed  a new AC unit and are receiving a series of tips to keep the new machine up and running. Or, perhaps your HVAC contractor hasn’t heard from you in a while and is reaching out to see how they might better serve you.

Whatever the case, as a savvy, modern consumer, you’ve seen this technique before. You know exactly what’s happening when you get an email like this. And still, you may be unable  to resist clicking on the link to get back to what you were doing. So the question is, why are these emails so darn effective?

In marketing, this type of scenario is referred to as an email drip campaign. They help businesses like yours stay in touch with clients in a highly personal, powerful, and productive way. In fact, open rates for drip emails are about 80% higher than for traditional, single-send messages.  

What Is Drip Marketing?

Today, we will  talk about drip marketing in terms of using it for email. But in reality, you can apply it to any marketing campaign you have—social media, snail mail, telemarketing, or some other method of communication you use to connect with your clients. The point is less about the medium and more about the continuous and personal nature of the engagement. 

The vast majority of consumers (around 90%) report they feel more inclined to buy from a company that recognizes and remembers them. Email drip campaigns capitalize on this idea by reaching out to customers with the right message at the right time. 

If you catch a consumer at the right time and with the right message, you are more likely to make a sale. And if you succeed in making one sale, you’re more likely to make another and another until you’ve built a solid relationship with that client. Think of drip marketing as the catalyst to that entire experience.

And the best part? These campaigns are fully automated. So, while you are actively reaping the benefits of being a concerned, engaged, and in-touch business owner, you can work  on a host of other tasks that keep your business up and running. Or you can hop on a cruise. Totally up to you!

Open rates for drip emails are about 80% higher than for traditional, single-send messages.

How Effective Is Drip Marketing, Really?

We could tell you that drip marketing is effective and ask you to trust us. Or, we could give you a straightforward list of the benefits of this type of campaign. We know you’re a bit of a go-getter, so we’ll go with that second option. Here it is:

1. Fostering Communication

Communication builds successful businesses. If you want to build relationships with your customers, you invest in good communication. This allows you to build trust, anticipate needs, and overcome challenges. One great way to boost your communication? An email drip campaign. Do it right, and you’ll find it easier than ever to stay in touch with your customer base.

2. Cultivating Leads

If a consumer signs up for your email list, he wants to hear from you. If you can give that customer relevant short, clean, and engaging content, he’s going to want even more. More importantly, he will  click on those links and move further along the conversion funnel.

3. Increasing Brand Awareness

Not every email will  make a sale, and that’s okay. But every email can help move the reader even closer to a sale. When you constantly contact a subscriber, you keep your brand at the forefront of her mind. And when she does happen to need your goods or services, which website is going to win her visit? That’s right. Yours. 

4. Re-engaging With Past Customers

One of the most effective uses of a drip email marketing campaign is to re-engage a dormant customer. If you have a lineup of clients you haven’t heard from in a while, you can create a campaign specifically designed to get back in touch. Use your emails to promote a social media account, notify the reader of an active sale, or simply remind them why they signed up for your email list in the first place. 

If we’re being honest, these are just a few of the benefits of email drip campaigns. We could go on for days, but our fingers are getting tired at the keyboard. Plus, we know you want to learn how to drip your way to increased sales before we go! So let’s get to it. 

How Can I Implement a Drip Marketing Campaign?

The easiest way to get started with a drip campaign is through a marketing automation service. Some of today’s highest-rated software programs include Marketo, Salesmate, and Mailchimp. But before you sign up, there are a few steps you need to take first.

Step One: Define the Audience for Your Drip Campaign

The whole point of a drip campaign is to narrow your audience down to a specific demographic of consumers. In other words, your target audience for a drip campaign should be a bit more specified than for the usual marketing campaign. Anyone can send a mass email, but a true drip campaign requires a more targeted approach. 

You can narrow your audience based on those from your list who have taken a specific action (like signing up for the email list or putting an item in their shopping cart.) Or, you can narrow the list based on a specific demographic (like people with March birthdays or clients in Ohio.) Either way, by narrowing your audience, you can better address the particular needs of your email recipients.

Step Two: Figure Out the Goal

Obviously, the end goal is increased sales. But what else, specifically, do you hope to achieve with your email campaign? Without a precisely defined goal, it will be harder to cultivate your content in a way that speaks to the reader. Whether re-engaging a dormant client or getting the reader to use a discount code, knowing your goal helps you stay focused.

Step Three: Make a Plan

You first need to ask yourself how many emails you want to send. We recommend you start small, with four or five emails total. But if you’re really ambitious, some successful campaigns have entailed as many as 10 or 11 messages from start to finish. If you know your audience and your goal, figuring out a basic outline should be fairly straightforward. 

Another piece of your strategy should be how you plan to monitor the success of your campaign. You won’t be able to tweak it or adapt it as you go without some basic analytics.

Step Four: Write Your Emails

Good copy is worth its weight in gold. (Yes, we know that analogy makes no sense—but you get the gist.) Write your lineup of emails and keep the content helpful, engaging, and to the point. And don’t forget your CTAs!

Step Five: Launch Your Campaign

Using the software we mentioned earlier, you can launch your campaign once you’re good and ready. Make sure to monitor the analytics you’ve decided to prioritize. That way, you’ll know what is and is not working. And since we like you, here’s a pro tip:

  • Tag your email links with UTM parameters (short code added to the end of a url in order to track) to ensure the info makes it to your Google Analytics tool.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way toward a campaign that rivals the success of Netflix or Amazon.

Getting Creative With Your Email Drip Campaign

Take one look at your Gmail promotions tab, and you’ll see that lots of companies are using drip marketing these days—to varying degrees of success. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you should invest your time in a campaign that is both effective and creative. As the business owner, no one is better equipped to intuit an effective strategy for your clients than you are. But here are a few ideas to get you started:

Educationally-Rich Campaigns

For many industries, the most valuable asset you can give to your email list subscribers is information. If you are a realtor, you could craft a drip campaign informing readers of the industry’s local and national trends. You could provide helpful information about mortgage rates, property sales, and home values. Accurate and useful information will help to establish you as an expert and build trust with your prospective clients. 

Feedback-Based Campaigns

Maybe your goal is to get feedback on a new product or service? In that case, you can craft a campaign designed to get input from recent purchasers of that particular good or service. Be sure to emphasize your appreciation in these emails and maybe offer a discount good or freebie for whoever responds to the survey. 

Welcome Campaigns

This one is an oldie but a goodie. And although it’s a tried and true practice, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get creative with your efforts! Once a person has signed up for your email list, you can get them started off right with a series of inspirational, engaging, and informational messages.

Want to see a drip campaign in action? Check out ToasterTubs email drip campaign!

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