Email marketing is still a very effective marketing tactic with a relatively low cost and high ROI.
Sure, it is not as sexy as Instagram, or as trendy as LinkedIn, but make no mistake on the power of email marketing – it’s ROI averaged at a staggering 4300% in the last year.
One of the most effective ways to use email is still to use a drip campaign, which is, essentially, an automated email marketing campaign allowing hyper-personalization. Yet, many marketers focus on using full logic in their email programs. No question – this can be an awesome tool to make your business grow, but it is difficult to deploy. Many businesses just need to get started. We believe it is better to move forward quickly then to sit still then to over plan. Often when nurture programs are designed they are overly focused on “if, then” logic that slows down execution. To be clear, we aren’t suggesting you shouldn’t work with complex nurture programs – we love them! But we are suggesting sometimes you just have to get started and a little drip campaign will probably do the trick!
In this article, we will have an in-depth discussion about drip campaigns, and how you can use it as one of your most powerful marketing tactics.
What Actually is a Drip Campaign?
As mentioned, drip campaigns are essentially an automated email marketing campaign. It is often known as ‘life-cycle emails’, ‘autoresponders’, or as an ‘automated email campaign’.
The main concept behind a drip campaign is how the automated emails will be sent based on a specific schedule, or by actions triggered by users. Information is more valuable when given exactly when the audience needs it, and this is the main idea behind the drip campaign.
Here is a look at some basic styles of drip campaign:
When a user just signed up for your free trial, the drip campaign tool will send a specific email welcoming them, and probably some sort of start-up guide. On the other hand, the drip campaign will send a different email to a different user who just visited your site for the third time, probably an email informing them about the benefits of a product, and encouraging them to sign up for a free trial.
Now that we’ve addressed the concept and definition of the drip campaign, another question may arise: does it truly work? According to Emma, a campaign monitor company, automated drip emails drive 18 times more revenue and get 119% higher click-through rate.
4 Tips on Setting Up an Effective Drip Campaign
1. Understanding Your Audience
The key to a successful drip campaign is sending an email to the right audience at exactly the right time. So, the first and arguably the most important step, is to find your target audience and truly understand their needs, problems, and behavior.
Depending on your industry and/or business model, you might need to further divide your audience into different sub-groups. There are two main triggers of a drip campaign: user actions and time-related based on your user demographic information.
- A user just signed up for your newsletter, and you send an automated welcome message (action-based)
- A user signed up for a free-trial but has not logged in after 2 weeks. An automated email is sent. (time-based)
- A user purchased a product during the summer of last year. So, this summer, you sent an automated email informing a new product. (a combination of action-trigger and time/schedule)
Determine the important action-triggers and time scheduling, and make a comprehensive list.
2. Develop Valuable Content
Now that you understand all the important trigger points, it’s time to develop the necessary email content according to those triggers.
This will be the most manual part of the drip campaign, and will most likely require the most effort. Yet, if you do this step right, the rest will be much easier. If you have truly understood your audience as discussed above, it will help tremendously here.
What to consider:
- Your content should provide value to the customer.
- It should be relevant, informative, and comprehensive.
- It should have a very specific call to action
Based on these three principles develop your emails carefully, while making sure your messages and the content are always aligned with your brand values.
3. Executing The Drip Campaign
Now that you’ve tailored your emails according to the triggers, it’s time to run the drip campaign. To do this, you will need a marketing automation or email automation tool to set it up. There are literally dozens of programs on the market. Keep in mind that you don’t need a Ferrari to get you to the grocery store, so you also don’t need one to put emails out. If you under 500K in revenue, consider some programs that are more like the VW Beetle, they keep chugging and get you where you want to go. We consider Active Campaigns, Mailchimp, Constant Contact all great tools. If your heading over the million dollar mark in revenue then you might want to consider Hubspot or Ontraport. And if you are making some serious revenue or in high growth mode you may want to head right over to Marketo. Of course, there are many more tools, but these are the tools I have witnessed incredible success with.
What to consider when preparing your campaign:
- Divide your audience by sub-groups or segments according to the goal of the campaign
- Determine the necessary action-triggers and time schedules according to your audience
- For each email, determine whether you will need to create a specific landing page.
Example of email marketing automation campaign on Ontraport
4. Monitoring Your Drip Campaign
As with any other strategies, it is very important to monitor your progress, track the right metrics according to your goals, and adjust your tactic whenever necessary.
First, your audience is not a static one. There will always be changes in behavior as well as changes in needs. You might need to re-adjust your sub-groups, triggers, and schedules accordingly, based on your monitoring results.
Also, measure your progress based on your goals. If your goal is, for example, increasing conversion, yet you still get unsatisfactory results, you might need to consider giving more product education before offering CTAs.
Iterating your Drip Campaign is the way to Success
The concept of drip campaign might seem complicated and confusing at first, but actually, it is a relatively simple tactic requiring relatively minimal effort. The key to a successful drip campaign is careful planning, especially about setting the right triggers and schedules for the campaign.
Remember, although the drip campaign is mostly automated, you should monitor your progress regularly. Your audience is anything but static, so you should always be adjusting your drip campaign based on the results. Iteration of your email campaign is the key to improving and ongoing success!
Michelene Maguire is a marketer focused in the technology industry. She is the Managing Director of Maguire Marketing Group, a Marketing Agency that takes companies where they want to grow. Her specialty is creating and producing content that engages your audience with you, your brand, or your product. She recently published a book “Get More Customers Using Google My Business” available on Amazon.