By the name alone, a drip email campaign may sound like a marketing effort that would make only a tiny splash in your goals. But names can be deceiving.
Drip email campaigns are predetermined sequences of emails designed to nurture your leads or strengthen existing client relationships. Each email in the sequence is a small drip of content, but when taken together, they send a wave of action through your audience. You’ve probabbly heard the Forrester stat by now: companies that excel at lead nurturing (i.e. drip campaigns) report 50 percent more sales at 33 percent lower cost.
But how do you get there? Drip campaigns don’t build themselves; it takes research, ingenuity, and of course, marketing automation software, to get started. Check out these five tips for success in building your first drip campaign.
1. Set Goals
The power of marketing automation is the power to connect with your customers and leads anytime you want, to say whatever you want. But that power must be used wisely, which means starting with a goal. The first step to a successful drip campaign is to identify what action you want your audience to take — make a purchase, schedule a phone call, refer a friend, learn more about your brand, etc. Setting campaign goals will help you reverse-engineer email content and sequence. It’s also essential for tracking KPIs, which we’ll talk about shortly.
2. Map It Out
The purpose of a drip campaign is to tell your audience a story through multiple touch points. It’s a content journey, and like any successful trip, you need a map. Drip campaigns can get complicated as each recipient may trigger an individual pathway. For example, let’s say you’re trying to convince leads to schedule a product demo with your team. Each email in your campaign will be one step toward convincing them to take that action. Leads who do a schedule a call need to be put on a new pathway afterward, with content serving your next goal.
Start the drip planning process by mapping out potential pathways. Think through all of the potential audience actions and how the content journey would change after each. With your map in place, you’ll be set up to plan content that serves your goals and follows a logical order.
3. Offer (and Test) Variety
Your campaign shouldn’t feel like it’s coming from a grab bag of completely different organizations, but it also doesn’t have to be perfectly templated. Test out different formats (plain text, video, HTML); authors (from your whole team, from an individual sales rep, from your CEO); and elements (CTA placement, color scheme, subject line style) to find out what captures your audience’s attention. You can even use email engagement data to segment your lists based on what individuals respond well to.
If you’re not sure where to begin with your email creative, remember that imitation is a form of flattery. Start a folder or Pinterest board of marketing emails you’ve received that have made you want to act. What makes them unique? What elements caught your eye? Getting inspiration from marketers in a variety of industries will help get your creative juices flowing.
4. Most Of All, Offer Value
Using marketing automation software, it’s possible to do just about anything you can imagine with your emails. But just because you can send a weird GIF of Nicolas Cage doesn’t mean you should. The most important aspect of every email you send should be value. Remember, your audience members have full email inboxes. You not only need to cut through the piles of spam, you need to make the time they spend engaging with your email worthwhile. The overall goal of your drip campaign should be to ask your audience members for something—a call, a click, a purchase—and the best way to get something is to give. Providing unique content, an exclusive discount, event access, or even answers to burning questions will help you build a valued relationship.
5. Measure & Innovate
Marketing automation software takes a lot of the manual work out of starting and running an email campaign. However, to be successful in your email marketing efforts, you have to think beyond “set and forget.” Tracking, measuring, and analyzing your campaign results will help you understand how audience members are responding to your emails and what elements are helping (or hurting) engagement and conversion. Marketing automation software also makes it simple to gather this data, which can be used to consistently innovate and optimize.
Taylor Burke is a contributor for TechnologyAdvice.com. She’s a marketer, storyteller, and accidental techie who loves to learn about and cover industry topics. When she’s not in front of her screen, you can find Taylor reading, cooking, running, or hanging with her dog—but rarely all four at once. Connect with her on LinkedIn.