Drip marketing, when done right, can be one seductive communications strategy.
Drip campaigns use automated content that is triggered at specific stages of the customer lifecycle and is usually specifically designed to convert uncommitted subscribers into paying customers. The beauty of drip campaigns lies in the ability to consistently “touch” leads and keep them warm and cultivated without hijacking valuable marketing and sales resources. In other words, you can continue to nurture relationships without any direct human interaction and build credibility and trust over time without jumping straight into the sales pitch.
Here are our 4 pro-tips gleaned from years of experience rolling out irresistible drip campaigns:
1. Offer tangible value and nurture the relationship
An email sequence, when not done correctly, can be boring and predictable. Sending a series of similar messages with the same offer time and again is going to be ineffective and may well result in abysmal CTRs or the marketing death blow: unsubscribing. Each touch needs to add new value in order to stay relevant, keep the momentum going and avoid giving off a spammy vibe to your audience.
Let's face it - if your customer doesn't see value in the first one or two e-mails of the campaign, they are pretty much guaranteed not to open future communications.
The value you offer is going to heavily depend on your industry, but some examples could include:
- Insider information on industry trends and surveys
- Helpful tools or tricks
- Time-sensitive offers
- Links to articles, blogs, and webinars relevant to the client's interests
- Exclusive invitations to upcoming events
Focus on relationship building and avoid being overly keen on the quick sell. Play the long game, nurture your client slowly and carefully, and prioritize their needs and interests over the big push for your products. Given that drip campaigns usually target cold or warm leads and not existing customers, the hard sell is simply not going to be what they signed up for and therefore is not going to be your converter. Anchoring your content to a learning or discovery process will be far more effective.
Personalization is key! As you plan your drip campaign calendar, incorporate ways you can honor recipients personally and individually based on the data you've already amassed. Holiday and birthday greetings are a great example of a simple and cost-effective way to delight your customers.
2. Leave them wanting more
An effective method to get a healthy CTR and to really grip your leads is to create suspense in preliminary e-mails and give them just a hint at something awesome to come. Adding a "P.S." at the bottom of your e-mail is a great way to pique interest, as recipients are more likely to remember the information at the end. Mention a topic that you know your recipients are interested in, then finish with a killer hook like: “And you can learn exactly how to do it in our next email.”
Let your leads know what content is heading their way and when, so they know what to look out for. Provide visibility into future communications and the value they will gain from them.
Getting the sense of suspense just right requires some planning on your part to organize your e-mails in a way that makes sense sequentially and carries momentum through a storyline.
Mixing up the sequencing of your campaign or not thinking through the logic behind the sequencing can be irreparably harmful to your credibility and image. Invest the time to ensuring your sequencing makes sense and is lined up to executed appropriately. A great way to do this is to visualize in detail how and when the series of e-mails will be triggered.
3. Shake up your creative
With the increase of competition across every industry, brands are constantly trying to outdo one another in providing the best, most personalized experience to users to drive conversions and increase loyalty. This means you have to get creative with your drip campaigns to grab and hold the attention of your customers. Remember – just because the e-mails are part of a series doesn't mean they have to have identical look and feel or bombard users time and again with the same message.
Mixing different types of media and touchpoints is an awesome way to stand out and keep the momentum going throughout the campaign. Unleash your imagination and experiment with different media – text, images and videos.
Yep, personalization here is key. We're going to say it until we're blue in the face: in an age where the customer is king, personalization can make or break a business. This is particularly true in drip campaigns, where one major objective is to engage your leads or customers and increase their sense of trust. Luckily, these days all content types can easily be personalized.
4. Pause and reflect
The breadth of possibilities for drip campaigns is endless, and there is no silver bullet approach for all audiences and industries. Therefore, it's hugely beneficial to regularly take a step back and audit the effectiveness of your campaigns. Take a deep dive into what's working – and what's not. Here are a few suggested questions to keep in mind as you think about your campaigns:
- Do the tone, style, and wording of your emails still make sense and are they in line with your objectives? Do they need to be adapted in a changing landscape?
- Do you have clear and measurable drip campaign objectives? Are they still the same as they were when you set up your campaigns?
- Is your persona mapping still the right one? Have you learned anything new about how to communicate with any of your audiences and if so, should you tweak the relevant campaigns?
- Are some of your campaigns performing better than others? If so, why? And can these lessons be applied to the under-performing campaigns?
The key here is not to consistently overhaul your strategy, but rather to make continuous tweaks so that your strategy is evolving alongside your customer base and the landscape of your industry. If this seems overwhelming, check out the range of software out there that helps you track and analyze your campaigns in real time.
In summary, drip campaigns are a great way to nurture relationships with leads while not overextending your resources. However, these campaigns can only be effective if the content is dynamic, compelling and creative, and it makes sense across a story arch. Investing time and thought into a well-planned strategy is key to making sure your content is relevant and timely, and that the sequencing of e-mails keeps momentum going and entices customers to keep coming back for more.
If you found this useful and you'd like to learn how to take advantage of the latest trends in a fast-paced and ever-evolving marketing landscape, we invite you to download a copy of our "How to stay ahead of the game in the marketing industry" guide for CMOs