Drip campaigns are an unfortunately underused marketing strategy designed to keep your brand top-of-mind with potential new customers over an extended period of time. Usually using a blend of different communication media but relying heavily on email, drip campaigns use automated messaging, via email, at timed intervals to take your fleetingly interested potential leads within your email newsletter list and give them ample opportunities for meaningful brand interactions.
However, drip campaigns are about more than simply setting up a process and letting it run—to be effective, you should structure your drip campaign properly and oversee its management for as long as you keep it in your marketing wheelhouse.
How Drip Campaigns Can Generate New Customers
Drip campaigns are relatively unique in the marketing world. Most marketing strategies either focus on one stage of the buying process, or try to tie those stages closer together. For example, you could have a marketing strategy focused on:
- Generating new brand exposure to unfamiliar potential customers.
- Increasing brand influence and authority to influence purchases.
- Increasing traffic to a site or landing page.
- Increasing conversion rates onsite or on a specific platform.
- Following up with new customers to increase loyalty and future purchasing chances.
On the other hand, drip campaigns don't focus exclusively on any of these. Instead, they run in the background as a kind of safety net, catching potential leads who fell off the radar at some point throughout the process and rekindling their interest in the brand. Because they’re largely automated and don’t require much ongoing maintenance, they probably won't create much of a burden for your marketers. Because they generally rely on email and other forms of free communication, they’re relatively inexpensive. And because they focus on people who are already exposed to the brand, their success rate can be significant.
The end result is, if executed correctly, a cheap, easy background strategy that can help you capture leads that previously got away.
Setting Up an Effective Drip Campaign
Drip campaigns require a number of different ingredients for success. As a newcomer, it can be overwhelming, but if you break the process down into its individual components and focus on them one at a time, it can be far more manageable.
Increase Your Chances of Getting Email Addresses. Without a steady stream of incoming email addresses, your drip campaign won’t have anyone to communicate with. Start your campaign by determining the key areas throughout your online presence (and perhaps your physical location) where you’ll start collecting email addresses. Generally, this may be best done as compensation for a value offering—for example, you could offer a free whitepaper or e-book in exchange for someone’s email address.
Design a Triggered Email Path That Scales. Before you set anything up, sketch out a plan of successive emails that increase in scale and offerings. The exact number and timing of emails is up to you, but as a general rule, five to eight emails seem to work best, spaced out at least a few days from one another. Start out with a simple “thank you” or acknowledgement email when the person enters his or her email address, then segue into a few emails about who you are and what you do—if you can include free offerings here, do so. Only after a few introductory emails should you start pushing the hard calls-to-action.
Design a Killer Landing Page. All your emails should link to a landing page that you design. This landing page should be simple, to-the-point and aesthetically appealing with an obvious call-to-action. Since your landing page will be the last threshold between an interested user and a full conversion, make sure it adheres to best practices for conversion.
Keep It Simple. Even though you might design your path to branch based on user actions, you should do everything you can to keep your campaign simple. If you design too many branches or too many emails, or make your system too complex, you won’t be able to take corrective action or make meaningful updates as your campaign is rolled out.
Focus on the Brand. While it’s important to include calls-to-action, especially toward the end of your main drip campaign path, your main focus throughout the campaign should be your brand. Your goal is to get your users more familiar with the brand, and to make them trust your brand more over the course of a few emails. Offer value, demonstrate authority and always make sure your name is present.
Strategies for Ongoing Success
Once your drip campaign launches, there are a few ongoing practices you can implement to boost your chances of success.
Measure Everything. Most email software programs offer a suite of tracking capabilities, but you should also track traffic to your landing page and eventual conversions. You should be tracking every decision and every behavior at every stage of the process—without that data, you won't know whether or not your drip campaign is working.
Constantly Experiment. Until you find a perfect rhythm, everything in your campaign should be experimented with. Change the layout. Change the design. Change the user path. Change the subject line. Change the time of day you send it. Change the tempo of your blasts. Determine which of these changes are effective, one by one, and implement the ones that are successful. Piece by piece, you’ll maximize the effectiveness of your campaign.
With your evolving drip campaign in motion, you should start to see a consistent stream of conversions beginning to trickle in where you previously only had non-responsive leads. Planning and structuring can help you build a solid foundation, but the real key to drip campaign success is ongoing management. Keep close watch over your campaign, and don’t be afraid to try new things. In the end, your customer base will thank you.
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