In agriculture, there’s this farming technique called drip irrigation. Also known as trickle irrigation, it’s a micro-irrigation system that delivers just enough water and nutrients to a plant’s roots at exactly the right time. This way, each plant receives what it needs, when it needs it, for optimum growth.
Drip marketing works in a similar fashion. It “drips” helpful content and information in the right amounts to the people who need them, when they need them.
When done properly, it’s one of the most powerful ways to create awareness for your brand, as well as increase engagement and maximize conversions.
Overview: What is a drip campaign?
Drip marketing is a permission-based marketing strategy in which companies deliver a series of targeted messages over a period of time. Messages are sent at certain intervals or in response to a specific trigger.
Marketers use a drip campaign, also known as an autoresponder, email drip, or email marketing drip campaign to move leads and customers further down the sales funnel.
Drip campaigns are usually delivered via email, but SMS, short message service, and social media are used as delivery channels, too, although rarely.
When does it make sense to use a drip campaign?
Drip campaigns can be run for a variety of reasons, and you can create as many as you want. The goal is to lead subscribers to take a specific action.
Below are a few cases where automated drip campaigns can make the most sense for your business.
Welcoming new subscribers
When you move into a new neighborhood or start working for a new company, you want a welcoming, friendly atmosphere. The same is true when signing up for newsletters, as evidenced by the following statistics compiled by Campaign Monitor:
- Welcome emails have read rates that are 42% higher than regular emails
- Approximately 75% of new subscribers expect to receive welcome emails
Welcome emails are the first emails that subscribers receive from a company. Therefore, it’s essential that you get the tone right at the get-go. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that recipients will unsubscribe or simply ignore your succeeding emails.
The potential email combinations for drip campaigns are numerous, but for welcome emails specifically, including the following elements can work in your favor:
- Welcome your subscribers. Give them relevant information about your product, company, or brand. Remember that you’re setting the tone with your very first email, so keep the language consistent with your overall branding strategy.
- Invite them to connect with you. Ask them to follow you on social media or bookmark your website for easy reference.
- Provide subscription preferences. Let your subscribers control the amount of information they receive, giving them the option to select from a menu of topics.
- Get to know them a little bit more. You already have their name and email address. Now’s the time to ask for additional information, such as their birthdays, for exclusive discounts or freebies during their birthday month or location for location-specific updates or coupons).
- Ask how you can help them. You only want to send helpful messages to your subscribers, so ask them how they want to be helped.
Onboarding new customers
If you’re a SaaS provider offering free services for a limited time, such as a trial period, or “free for life” access to a basic plan with limited features, onboarding drip campaigns can help you turn free signups into paid subscriptions.
Getting people to buy is the ultimate goal. To get them to upgrade, it’s essential that you effectively communicate the value of your solution or how your company intends to help them.
Here are a few tips that can help you do just that:
- Show subscribers how to best use your solution. Send explainer videos or links to your site’s help section so they can better understand what your product is about and how it stands out from the competition.
- Focus on one call to action (CTA). It can be tempting to introduce your subscribers to all the wonderful features of your product all at once. But temper your enthusiasm. The paradox of choice argues that having too many choices is stressful and can hamper decision making. This means including multiple CTAs in a single email can result in your readers not taking any action.
- Show them social proof. Show them who’s using your product and how these people or organizations are reaping the benefits.
- Educate your users. Don’t just present your product’s features. Help your customers be great in what they do by continuously educating them. For example, provide your subscribers with digital marketing tips they can implement on their own.
Abandoned shopping carts
Customers abandon their shopping carts for a number of reasons, including:
- Tedious registration process
- No option for guest checkouts
- Confusing checkout process
- Limited payment options
- High shipping costs
- Just looking around
- No deals being offered
- Technical issues with your website
Abandoned shopping cart drip campaigns aspire to resolve any hesitations your potential customers may have about your product or service. According to recent statistics from email software provider Moosend, 50% of subscribers who click abandonment emails actually go on to complete their purchases.
To squeeze the most value out of your abandoned shopping cart drips, keep the following pointers in mind:
- Make your subject line engaging
- Use text that’s persuasive
- Research the right times to send abandonment emails
- Don’t forget to include the abandoned product/s in your emails
- Make your CTA button stand out
- Include ways to contact customer support for any questions
- Offer discounts for a limited time to push them closer to a sale
What if readers no longer want to hear from you? What if they’d rather unsubscribe from your list and be done with you forever?
Here’s the thing: A sizable subscriber count doesn’t matter if many of those recipients don’t engage with your emails anyway. While having a lot of subscribers can undoubtedly open doors for your business, compromising quality for quantity isn’t the way to go.
Ultimately, engaged subscribers are more likely to take action, so you want subscribers who open your emails.
Having said that, it’s worth attempting to re-engage a subscriber who’s about to slip away:
- Losing a subscriber is not a good feeling. Still, make sure you’re parting ways with them on a happy note.
- Inform them of the benefits they will miss if they unsubscribe, such as weekly discounts offered to subscribers only.
- Provide information on how to resubscribe, in case they change their mind.
- Send them links to your social media accounts, in case they prefer a different method of contacting you or getting updates from you.
- Ask if you’re sending too many emails and then allow them to choose their preferred frequency.
Things to consider when creating your first drip campaign
Ready to create your first drip campaign? Great, but first things first. Let’s identify the things you must consider before plunging in.
Email marketing software
It would be impossible to send automatic email drips without a robust email marketing software.
For example, GetResponse has a drag-and-drop workflow builder that allows you to set up even the most complicated drip campaigns. Constant Contact, on the other hand, supports integration with third-party tools such as Shopify and Facebook.
If you need help finding the best software for your business, check out The Blueprint’s reviews for insights.
Pro tip: The market has many great email software options to choose from, and it can sometimes be overwhelming to pick the right one. To find the best fit, create a list of the software you’d like to try, then take each one for a test drive. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the provider. One you find one you like, be sure to create a software implementation plan to seamlessly transition your team.
Even when your drip campaigns are automated, the last thing you want your subscribers to feel is that they’re actually automated. Readers want content tailored to their needs. They want content that discusses the pain points they want resolved.
You can do this through email list segmentation. Segments can include:
- Blog subscribers
- Users who downloaded gated content on your website
- People who signed up for free trials
- Course enrollees
- People on a waiting list
Mailchimp is a popular email segmentation solution for businesses of any size. It has a free version, and onboarding is fast and uncomplicated. The segmenting options it offers are extensive and include subscriber data, activity, contact rating, conversations, date subscribed, email marketing status, language, location, and many more. These features allow for a very personalized Mailchimp drip campaign.
Pro tip: Email personalization can do wonders for your business. But be careful not to come on too strong too soon, such as sending the first email in your abandoned shopping cart drip mere seconds after the potential buyer navigated away from your website.
Your campaign’s goal
Here’s a quick marketing 101 reminder: Every email campaign you create should have a goal. Without one, you’re directionless. You won’t know if you’ve already achieved success.
It’s crucial that you understand where you’re going and what you intend to achieve when launching drip campaigns.
Here are examples of drip campaign goals:
- Grow your subscriber list
- Generate sales
- Spend less on ads
- Engage subscribers and increase conversion rates
- Automate the renewal process
Pro tip: Take advantage of the analytics of your chosen email program to monitor essential KPIs (key performance indicators) that will help you fine-tune your campaigns and better meet your goals.
Frequency and schedule
How long should your drip campaigns go? When is the best time to send them? There is no right or wrong answer.
You can send a welcome email right after someone signs up, then every Wednesday for the next six weeks. Or send an email once they sign up, then a discount coupon 10 days later. The best advice is to experiment using different approaches and rigorously record results.
Bottom line, the best schedule will be different for every business, so you’ll have to do some legwork to figure out what works for you.
The good news is that once you have all the necessary information ready, Mailchimp alternatives like ActiveCampaign can automatically send campaigns to your subscribers on a schedule. All you need are the future date and time.
Pro tip: Figure out the best interval to send your emails through testing. Also, give your readers enough time to thoroughly absorb information before sending them more. The last thing you want is to overwhelm them with too much email.
Nurture leads more effectively with drip marketing
Drip campaigns allow organizations to reach out to leads and customers and provide the information they need at just the right time. With automated drip marketing, you don’t have to spend all your time making them remember that your brand exists. And if you help them enough, they’ll remember you favorably, too.
The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends HubSpot and Twilio. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.