What is a Drip Campaign?
Drip campaigns are a series of pre-written marketing messages that slowly take a lead from the top of the funnel to a conversion point by using measured, valuable information over time.
Drip campaigns are not necessarily interested in the quick sale, but rather in ensuring that consumers become repeat customers. Today, the most popular way to carry out drip campaigns is via email.
What Are the Benefits of Drip Campaigns?
Although it’s always risky to invest in new marketing channels, email drip campaigns offer several important advantages that make them worth your time and money:
- Lead Nurturing: You should never view leads as wasteful just because they don’t purchase the first time you speak. Drip campaigns let you slowly and gently encourage leads to become shoppers without overwhelming them.
- Brand Awareness: In today’s marketplace, being relevant means being visible. Drip campaigns help build your brand awareness by reminding customers over time of your value and your offerings.
- Automation: It’s difficult to maintain correspondence with hundreds of customers manually. Drip campaigns rely heavily on automation to ensure that messages are sent exactly the moment they’ll make the most impact.
6 Ways to Help Your Strategy with Drip Campaigns
Building leads that will do more than shop once and abandon your brand is crucial for sustained success.
Similarly, nurturing early-stage leads and potential leads with valuable information, promotions, and other enticements can help more easily convert potential customers into loyal followers. Instead of a scattershot approach that is wasteful, drip campaigns let you focus each dollar where it will deliver the greatest impact—transforming leads into customers.
A constant but small stream of content can do wonders for customers to remember your brand.
Mixing it up and combining promotions, event updates, news, and product offers can help keep your content fresh and put you squarely in consumers’ minds. Your drip campaign is an ongoing conversation funnel that lets you slowly reinforce your brand’s positives.
Email marketing today involves sending correspondence to hundreds, and potentially thousands of consumers at a time.
Drip campaigns are simply impossible without automation, and most services today help you out with this feat. The ability to automate email marketing means you can be hyper-specific with your campaigns and create better flows that generate a greater impact among consumers.
One underrated benefit of a drip campaign is that by using conditions to trigger the next email, your strategies will slowly become more precise, giving customers information that is more immediately relevant to them.
Instead of offers they may not care for, they’ll only see that information you already know they’re receptive to.
Drip emails, because they’re seen as less intrusive than constant barrages, tend to lead to more engagement.
Moreover, the relevant content results in higher click rates and more favorable perceptions. According to some studies, drip campaigns can both shorten the sales cycle and lead to almost a fifth more sales opportunities.
Finally, understanding what your leads are and aren’t clicking on, as well as which emails they’re opening can give you a much better way to deliver timely information.
Instead of having to send out mass emails whenever an event happens, you can provide information that is not just relevant, but immediately so. More important, an open communication channel means easier ways to reach leads.
When You Should Start a Drip Campaign
There are multiple reasons why a drip campaign would be a worthwhile solution, including these common needs:
- Welcome emails
- Abandoned shopping cards
Let's have a look at them a little deeper...
Nurturing Leads – Not every visitor to your website, and not even every visitor who opens a shopping cart, is ready to make a purchase the first time.
Nurturing campaigns are focused not on the immediate sale, but on the eventual payoff. These campaigns can help you improve your conversion rates by slowly encouraging leads to learn about your brand and products’ value.
Welcome Emails – It’s a mistake to believe that registration or a single purchase is the end goal of marketing.
Welcome emails are the first step in following up with your consumers, making sure that they feel at home and receptive to your brand messaging. These emails will introduce users to your product, show relevant values, and even provide timely promotions and events.
Onboarding – Even with the soft sell, you’ll still want to have people signing up for your services or interacting with your company in a meaningful way.
Onboarding emails aim to get users to join your app, website, or service by offering small “sells” (downloading an app, signing up for a webinar, upgrading your subscription) that are easy enough to complete in a few seconds, but create deeper ties.
Abandoned Shopping Carts – Shopping carts are not the end of the shopping experience, and indeed is one of the steps in the sales journey where most consumers drop off (nearly 68% of online sales, according to Shopify).
These types of drip campaigns encourage users to visit their shopping cart and complete the purchase by offering added benefits, promotions, and similar products. The goal is to rekindle these lapsed sales and boost your revenues.
Recommendations – Today’s consumers are heavily reliant on online reviews and recommendations.
According to brightlocals research
Indeed, 91% of consumers aged 18 to 34 years old trust online reviews, and 78% of all customers do as well. Recommendation drips are great ways to build awareness of your products, as well as excellent opportunities for you to upsell products and even cross-sell to create repeat business.
Renewals – Even after your customers have been with you for some time, it’s important to keep lines of communication active.
Renewal drips will start long before your users’ subscriptions expire and will gently remind users why they should renew—including deals, discounts, and more benefits. This ensures that when the time comes, they’ll be much more receptive to renewing.
Confirmations – Confirming a user’s email, details, or even purchase is a great opportunity to add in some information about your company and its value to customers.
This includes introducing your new visitors to the many benefits your website or app provides, highlighting new promotions for users, and presenting your loyalty plans.
Engagement – Sometimes, the goal of your drip campaigns is simply to connect and rekindle your leads.
Engagement campaigns are not looking for immediate sales, but rather for brand awareness and higher levels of interactions. Engagement emails include links to blogs, newsletters, product updates, and simple information about goings-on at your company.
Educational – Sometimes, customers are seeking to learn more about your product or service, and a drip campaign can be a great way to leverage that.
Educational campaigns are great when you want to generate more buzz and awareness around your product, as well as create more receptive consumers.
Unsubscribes – Unfortunately, not every user will stay with you forever, and unsubscribers are not uncommon.
However, an unsubscribe is still an opportunity to hook users back in. Before they leave, ensure that your drip campaign focuses on understanding why they’re leaving, and providing relevant reasons to stay.
Events – Planned events are an important way to engage with customers, but they require audiences.
Event drip campaigns help you drum up interest for upcoming planned meetings and are a great way to hype products, services, or special occasions.
>>Check out examples for each email drip campaign options.
5 Steps to Plan an Email Drip Campaign
With such a versatile range of uses, it can be hard to know how or where to start planning. However, you can follow these easy steps and get your campaign on the way in no time:
- Determine Your Drip Campaign’s Goals – Before writing a single email, you need to understand exactly what you want from your campaign. Knowing your goal will also tell you exactly what to write, and how.
- Identify Your Target Audience – Although “everyone” is technically a target audience, going too broad can limit your campaign’s effectiveness. Instead, focus on specific qualifiers to segment your audience, including things such as visit frequency, specific clicks, number of registrations, time as paid subscribers, and more. These will let you know what type of messaging to choose.
- Craft Your Message – Here is where you must choose your words carefully. Each type of campaign requires different tones, styles, and even vocabulary. Make sure that the message you’re crafting supports your campaign’s goals.
- Plan Your Campaign’s Specifics – The next step is scheduling. You’ll have to decide how frequently, how many emails, when, and in what order they’re being sent. Your message should fit the timeline of an offer or campaign (i.e. it should not go on indefinitely).
- Deploy Your Campaign – With the details out of the way, the last step is to click send, and start seeing the results of your hard workflow in. At this stage, you’ll want to measure your success, using analytics to track conversions, clickthroughs, ROI, and other key metrics.
Best Practices for your Email Drip Campaign
Even with the perfect plan in place, there are some things you should keep in mind as you launch a drip marketing campaign. Accordingly, here are some best practices to follow:
Focus on Segmentation – Aiming for everyone is a surefire way to not get anyone to bite. Focus your efforts on specific groups and tailor your messages so that each segment of your audience will receive a personal message that will make consumers more receptive.
Prioritize User Experience – Give your users the ability to call the shots about how often they hear from you. Even at a drip, not everyone enjoys being bombarded by messages. By giving them the choice, you can ensure those who are listening are already willing to hear you out.
Test Constantly – No campaign is fully perfect at launch, and you shouldn’t expect yours to be the first. See what works and monitor your results with analytics, and make smart decisions based on facts to improve your campaigns’ reach and each dollar’s ROI.
Take Advantage of Your Toolkit – Don’t feel compelled to do everything yourself. Take advantage of automation and AI tools that reduce your workload by streamlining large portions of the project. Use your CRM integrations to feed better data into your campaigns and get better results.
Drip Campaign Template Examples
If you’re ready to start planning your next drip marketing campaign, look at some examples for inspiration and ideas:
I want to be the first to welcome you to [Company Name] and I’m happy to say that we’re thrilled to have you with us.
Our company is designed to help you make the most out of [problem], and I think we could do great things together. Check out our services page and download our app here to get started. We’ll even give you a [trial period] on us!
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Top Trends for Email Drip Marketing in 2020
A bigger emphasis on data privacy – As consumers become more security conscious, it’s important to consider data privacy and safety when you’re planning out campaigns to avoid violating regulations such as GDPR.
Automation, but better – As AI and automation tools improve, you’ll likely get more out of your tools than ever before. This includes deeper insights, faster response times, and much greater customizability for your campaigns.
Design Goes social – Social media is designed to keep users hooked, and email is following suit. There will be a greater emphasis on visual, flashy designs that are both relevant and personalized to each user.