How to Run a Successful Email Drip Campaign

What is an email drip campaign, and why do you need as part of your sales process?

Email marketing is one of the primary forms of digital marketing available to online businesses. Yet many businesses aren’t certain how to do it effectively. Are marketing emails a digital equivalent of a mass mailer? Are they newsletters? And what’s a “drip” campaign?

For starters, while email marketing bears some similarities to various print campaigns, it’s a lot more than that. You can’t track what someone does with your print mailer like you can with your email campaign, nor can you easily shift strategy based on how they engage with your materials. And while some emails are sent out in “blasts” that hit up an entire mailing list at once, many other drip campaigns use a different trigger, such as a page visit or a download.

Incorporating your email strategy into your other marketing efforts is essential for online businesses to succeed. Here’s how to make email marketing work for you.

1. Start with a qualified list.

Purchasing an email list is not going to lead to a successful campaign. Not only that, but it could lead to problems with your email client, and if any of those addresses belong to European clients, it could get you in trouble with EU regulatory bodies. But these concerns aside, when you start with a purchased list, you’re more likely to waste your money chasing after leads who don’t want to hear from you.

So start off with an email capturing strategy that helps you generate leads who know something of your company and services and have indicated that they’re interested in learning more.

2. Set a trigger.

Some email drip campaigns begin with a marketing push. You have a new product coming out or a sale to announce, and you plan your drip campaign to target a specific list. In these cases, you’ll probably be sending everyone emails at the same time, and can review at set periods how well your campaign went.

But your drip campaign can be set as a workflow triggered by an action someone takes on your website. For instance, they may visit a certain web page, and that initiates an email sequence. Or maybe they download one of your ebooks, and that becomes the new trigger. Either way, knowing the trigger will help you tailor the email content for that visitor’s interests.

3. Know your goal.

What do you want to accomplish with your list? Do you want your visitors to watch a video, complete a purchase, or fill out a contact form? The goals of your drip campaigns will vary based on the trigger. But if you know what your visitors were doing on your page, it will help you plan a campaign that, step by step (drip by drip) guides them closer to your goal.

4. Segment your lists.

You probably work with a diverse set of customers. If you base your marketing on your user personas, then you will know that some of them have differing needs. You can segment your email lists to target users based on their personas, rather than sending a generic message to your entire list.

5. Add value.

Why are you emailing your contact? If you’re just hoping to boost your own sales, your contact may not be pleased. However, if you have something to share with them that you think they would genuinely appreciate, then you provide a value that they will be more interested in retaining.

For instance, maybe you have a special consulting slot that just opened, and you want to offer it to some of your long-term clients. Or maybe you’re about to release your newest line of clothing, and you want to email dedicated customers a first look at the fashion book. These are both more interesting and valuable emails to the user than something that reads as self-serving.

6. Set timing.

Generally, you want to send more emails at the beginning of a drip campaign, and fewer as you go on. Maybe you have an initial welcoming email (“thanks for downloading our ebook!”), and then a few hours later a follow-up suggesting another possible piece of content they’ll be interested in. Depending on how your contact responds to that email, you may wait a few days or a week to send the next. There’s no golden rule for pacing your emails, but you want to find a balance between inundating them with a flood, and starving their interest with a draught.

7. Respond to user behavior.

Is someone not opening your emails? Stop emailing them. Did they click on one of your links? Change your workflow to reflect their behavior. One of the chief benefits of an email marketing campaign is the data it provides you for understanding how users interact with your content: what they show interest in, or if they’re interested at all. By responding to that behavior, you get to know your customers better, and can deliver service better matched to their needs and interests.

8. Track your metric.

If you know what you’re trying to accomplish with your campaign, then you should have a way to measure its success. Are you trying to build sales? Grow leads for one of your other mailing lists? Encourage downloads of a piece of content or views of a video?

Whatever metric you choose, pay attention to the end goal. Open rates on emails are one thing to look at, but if they don’t lead to your desired outcome it could mean your emails are only being opened to that someone can delete them.

A successful email drip campaign is about more than open rates and lead conversion.

If all you’re thinking about is open rates and conversions, you may end up with a campaign that backfires. After all, your contacts don’t like to feel abused. They want to feel valued—and part of valuing your customers means you know what to offer and when to back off.

A bad drip campaign can damage your brand and make your customers hesitant to visit you in the future. So, measure the ultimate success of your drip campaign by the effect it has on your customer relationships.

Published 04/05/18 by Laura Lynch