Drip campaign. Sounds fishy, but is actually anything but. If you're unfamiliar with the term, perhaps terms like “lifecycle emails” / “automated email campaign” / “behavioral emails” / “autoresponders” / “marketing automation” / “lead nurturers” may be more recognizable. They're all very similar, just wrapped in different words. And they all work just as effectively. Drip campaigns come in many forms like social media, telesales, direct mail etc. but in this post, I'll be talking specifically about email drip campaigns.
What are they?
An email drip campaign is a communication method that sends a set of prepared emails to customers or prospects over time. They are emails that go out automatically on a schedule and can even vary based on what actions the recipient has performed. Maybe you want all your users who have just signed up to receive an email, and then another one 2 days later. And for the users who've made a purchase through that first email to receive a different email 3 days later. And for the users who watched a video through that third email to receive another version of an email 5 days later.
Too much to ask for? Not at all now that drip campaigns are a reality.
Drip campaigns make sure that users are only receiving relevant information, and only emails that they would want to read. You are giving them the exact information they would want at a particular time in a process. This explains exactly why these emails get 119% higher click rates than globally-broadcasted emails. Furthermore, each time an email is sent out, a queue of pre-written emails will follow – ensuring that you're always catching up with your customers, without you needing to explicitly do so.
This above diagram illustrates a very simple drip campaign that varies in result depending on whether or not a customer has opened your emails. On the leftmost side, you see an actively engaged customer who is opening every email sent their way. By emailing them with an offer of a product demo at the end of this drip, you will give them even more information (since they’re interested!) and keep them happy! And if they haven’t been as keen, sending them a link to a short video might get their interest going again. On the flipside, if you have a customer who hasn’t opened a single email you’ve sent their way, maybe it’s time to call it quits and end the drip campaign right there. That way, you aren’t annoying anyone or wasting your energy!
Of course, drip campaigns will look different depending on the kind of business you are in. Perhaps you could offer an e-book filled with useful information instead of a product demo? Or maybe instead of using a video, you can send links to an interesting blog post? Either way, drip campaigns let you give your users the most relevant information at just the right time.
When should you use them?
To understand when these email campaigns should be used, we need to know what the goal of the campaign is. Generally, the goal of drip marketing is to keep your customers engaged with your product, but this will differ based on what you want to gain from implementing a campaign like this.
For example, if you are trying to bring your customers onboard you might want to create a drip campaign about how current consumers are using your product, how they can purchase a premium membership at a discounted price etc. But once you have converted these leads into users, perhaps you will want the emails they receive to instead be about tips and recommendations, so you can set up another drip campaign for that!
Here at Less Annoying CRM, we currently (at time of writing) have 5-8 emails in our drip campaign, and our users can unsubscribe whenever they like. The campaign is triggered once someone signs up for a trial, and they will receive an email from their CRM coach a few days after they start. Because we know that most users benefit the most from having a phone demo with us, that is exactly what we offer in that first email. And based on their actions taken upon starting their trial (i.e. whether or not they’ve added other users, customized their pipelines etc.) each user will receive an email tailored to where they currently are in the process. Our goal with the drip campaign is to not only help our users with onboarding, but to also see where we start to lose users. So on this front, drip campaigns help with our own personal research into how our users use our CRM, while also helping them use the CRM better!
The possibilities with drip campaigns are endless – if you are able to anticipate your customers needing a certain type of information at a certain point in time, why not just give it to them? Sending relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails, and automation is the easiest and most convenient way to do it!
How can you set them up?
So you've decided that drip campaigns are for you. You've been sending out emails to your customers, but have accidentally let a few of them slip through the cracks. You've sent out wonderfully worded broadcast emails, but only have a 10% open rate. You're done with that, and you want to see some results. So how do you do this?
First, read these tips on how to run an effective email marketing campaign. Drip campaigns are just automated email campaigns, and if you go in with big visions but no plan, you will come out more lost than ever. On top of those tips, here are a few things you should be thinking about:
- How will you break down your target audience? E.g. ‘Just made a purchase’, ‘have not used the product in some time’ etc.
- Is your message clear and attractive? Does it fit with the voice of your brand?
- How many emails are you going to send over the course of the campaign? (Letting your users know how many they should be expecting will also decrease the likelihood of them unsubscribing immediately!)
- Do the triggers that you want to set up line up with your message? E.g. Is your email about extending your subscription when your customer has just signed up (and really just wants to play around for a bit)?
Once you've got your target audience, relevant information, and a plan of attack in mind, you can finally start sending.
The easiest way to do this is to use already-established applications like MailChimp, Constant Contact or GetDrip (follow the links to get to their respective tutorials). Chances are, you've already encountered one or the other when you were crafting out mass emails for your customers, and guess what? They are great for drip campaigns too (GetDrip was created for drip campaigns -- so you know it works!)
If you use a CRM (or Google Contacts, or even your phone), you can always export your contacts, then re-import it into an email campaign application. Most CRMs even have an integration with some kind of email application, so it should be a piece of cake to get going!
To drip or not to drip?
So I've extolled the virtues of email drip campaigns in great detail already: it's fast, it's easy (especially since you can recycle content), and it works. But drip campaigns aren't for everyone. If your business depends on one-off customer interactions, and repeat customers are not a focal point of your business model, a drip campaign might just be more trouble than it's worth.
And if you'd rather have a more hands on, less automated way of maintaining customer relationships, why not give direct mail marketing (i.e. snail mail) a shot? You'll be surprised by how well it works!