Research shows that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you get back $4, with drip email campaigns playing a huge role.
But to get such mouthwatering ROIs, you must understand the types of email campaigns that help move your marketing needle up. One such campaign is called a drip email campaign.
What is a drip email campaign?
Also known as a drip sequence, a drip email campaign is an automated email marketing strategy designed to deliver several emails to a subscriber over a specific period. The emails are triggered by an event or action performed by the customer and are set to go out at predetermined intervals.
For example, if a person subscribes to your blog, your drip campaign will include sending them a welcome email almost immediately. A day or two later, that subscriber will be sent another email highlighting some of your most popular blog posts. And if you have a course, your third email could be an introduction to that course.
The beauty of email drip campaigns is that they enable you to provide your subscribers with the exact information they need at the right time. And no matter when a person joins your email list (or a particular segment), everyone receives the exact same sequence.
Why use drip email campaigns?
So why should you bother with drip email campaigns?
Simple. Drip campaigns can help you achieve your marketing and revenue goals. A few advantages of drip campaigns are:
One of the biggest advantages you get from drip email campaigns is that they help boost engagement. Especially if a prospect has just subscribed to your email list, this aspect is very important.
That’s because research shows that it takes about eight touchpoints to convert a prospect into a customer. And a drip campaign gives you a lot of opportunities to engage with your prospects.
Another advantage of drip campaigns is that they are the perfect tool for nurturing your leads. Business is all about managing customer relationships. Sadly, however, you can’t handhold each customer as you take them down your sales funnel.
But with a drip email campaign, you can come close.
That’s because a drip campaign allows you to communicate with each lead in a personalized way, giving the impression that you’re with your lead at each step of the customer journey.
This results in higher chances of your leads converting into customers.
And thanks to technology, the whole buyer's journey can be completed online, especially since you and your clients can sign your documents electronically.
Your main business goal is to generate revenue. And drip emails are one of the best tools to do this, thanks to their being automated.
Yes, that’s important as research shows that automated emails drive about 75% of the revenue of all email marketing campaigns. Automated emails are so effective because they enable you to send targeted and personalized messages to each of your subscribers.
The result, of course, is that you enjoy higher open and transaction rates.
Build strong customer relationships
Data shows that it costs 5x more to get a new customer than to retain an old one. This means building strong relationships with your customers should be one of your priorities if you’re to grow a successful business. You must increase your customer retention rates.
And drip email campaigns help you build meaningful relationships with your customers.
The more your customers engage with your email content, the more they’ll value you as an authority and trusted resource in your field. For this to happen, you must:
- Create valuable content
- Interact with your readers regularly
Well executed, your drip marketing will help you grow a tribe of loyal customers in no time. Customers who will not just be repeat buyers but will also be brand ambassadors.
How to design email drip sequences that work
Despite newer forms of marketing (like SMS marketing), drip email marketing still gives one of the best ROIs.
And while implementing a drip email campaign may seem to be a daunting task, it isn’t. But thanks to automation software like email marketing software or CRMs, they are quite easy to pull off.
So, let’s get our hands dirty and design a drip email campaign that works.
Identify your target audience
For your drip email campaign to be successful, you must identify who you’re sending it to.
Knowing your target audience is crucial as it will help you craft personalized emails that move them to take action. It also helps you know what triggers will work.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, create a segment for them. Segmentation will ensure that only the right subscribers on your email list get the message for the objectives you have for the drip campaign.
And this brings us to the next stage of designing an effective campaign—defining your objectives.
Define your objectives
When designing your drip campaign, you must define your objectives right from the start. You must determine:
- What you want to achieve. Why are you sending out the drip campaign? Is it for lead generation, upselling, or re-activating inactive users?
- Who (which segment) will receive the emails. You can use drip emails on any segment in your database. From new subscribers to your most faithful subscribers, drip campaigns can help you achieve any business goal with any segment.
- How you are going to measure performance. The good thing about email marketing is that tracking progress and performance is easy.
Once you’ve defined your objectives, the next important step in designing an effective drip marketing campaign is to set your KPIs.
Determine the specific action you want subscribers to take
The purpose of a drip email campaign is to help your prospects move along the customer journey. For that to happen, they have to take specific actions.
Each email in your series must nudge your subscribers along their journey by having a call-to-action (CTA) that asks them to take an action that moves them down your funnel.
Examples of actions your subscribers can take can include:
- Downloading a report
- Redeeming a coupon
- Watching a video
- Making a purchase
The actions you want your subscribers to take must be tied to your business goals. But for your subscriber to make a move, you must tie a benefit to the action you want them to take.
Also, the actions your subscribers take (or don’t take) are used as the trigger for the next email in the campaign.
Decide how many emails to use
How many emails should be in your drip campaign?
How should you space them out?
These are important questions whose answers will while the answers are dependent on:
- Your business model
- The type of campaign and its objectives
- The complexity of the information you need to convey
- The length of your buyer journey
The team at GetResponse conducted a study to help guide marketers to determine how many emails they should include in their campaigns. Interestingly, the research revealed that an increase in the number of emails in an autoresponder sequence resulted in a reduction in engagement.
Does this mean shorter campaigns work best?
Not at all.
It all depends on your business type. However, there are a few guidelines to help you hit the sweet spot regarding the number of emails in your sequence and the intervals. Here are a few to get you started:
- How much content do you need to move a subscriber from one end of the funnel to the other?
- Break up your content into small easy-to-digest-chunks
- Assign relevant content to each stage of your customer journey
To find the sweet spot, you’ll have to experiment with a few drip sequences. A/B test by sending a few sequences with a different number of emails to small portions of your email list. While the results may not be completely accurate empirically, the sequence with the best engagement is the one you should send to the rest of your list.
Set your KPIs
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the metrics you’ll use to measure your campaigns’ success. They are determined by your objectives and can include:
- Open rate
- Clickthrough rate
- Unsubscribes over time
- Conversion rate over time
- Time to customer conversion
- Revenue generated
The key to running an effective drip campaign is to know what you want to achieve and how you’re going to measure success.
Automate your drip sequences
There are a lot of moving parts in a drip campaign. Manually keeping tabs on all of them is next to impossible.
That’s why you must automate your email campaigns.
Email automation software enables you to create drip campaign workflows that allow you to easily:
- Set your triggers
- Load your email content
- Set delivery intervals
Automating your campaigns increases your efficiency, saves you time, and even increases your campaign’s profitability.
Monitor and evaluate your performance
Once your campaign is running, you must monitor how your subscribers respond to your emails. More importantly, you must evaluate whether your campaign is performing well or not.
This is where your KPIs come into play.
Using your automation software’s analytics dashboard (or third-party analytics tools), you can track your KPIs and use them to gauge whether or not your drip marketing campaign is performing well.
Keeping track of your KPIs will also help you give you the agility to make changes in the parts of your campaign that seem to be underperforming.
For example, if the bounce rates are high in a particular email, you can fine-tune that email’s content to increase its effectiveness.
At the end of it all, the data you gather will also help you create more effective iterations of your drip campaign.