Drip campaigns are essential to keep audience engaged

Thanks to your marketing efforts, a lot of would-be customers visit your website and poke around. Some might even subscribe to your email list to get a coupon, download gated content or sign up for a free trial of your service. But when it comes to the numbers, only a tiny fraction of your leads actually make a purchase on their first visit.

This is why many companies use drip campaigns to cultivate and maintain customers. Drip campaigns have the potential to nurture leads from mere prospects to long-time buyers. A properly set up and well-maintained drip campaign can maximize your customer acquisition and retention.

What is a drip campaign?

A drip campaign is a form of direct marketing in which companies send information to leads over an extended period of time. This helps nurture leads and pull potential customers through the marketing funnel.

Email marketing is the most common type of drip campaign—it’s cost effective and simple to automate. This allows companies to create content in advance and email it to leads at predetermined times or after a lead performs a specific action. Because these emails are carefully planned, the content they provide can be much more targeted than global email blasts would be.

The key to drip campaigns is to give leads the right information at the right time to push them further through the sales funnel. A few common aspects of drip campaigns include welcome, onboarding or activation, recommendation and abandoned shopping cart emails. Each of these “drips” serve a specific purpose and move customers that much closer to the goal of the campaign.

Drip emails not only help influence leads to take action, but they familiarize customers with your brand, so they stay customers for longer. Building an informed relationship throughout the marketing funnel can help you retain customers for the long term.

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How to set up an effective drip campaign

Creating and implementing an effective drip campaign requires a solid understanding of your company’s goals and the customers you’re trying to convert. Once you have those two aspects ironed out, you should be able to generate a drip campaign that leads to high customer acquisition and retention rates. Here’s how to do it.

1. Build customer segments

Not all potential customers think or behave the same, so your email drips shouldn’t, either. To deliver the right messages to the right customers at the right time, design drip campaigns for a particular segment of your consumer base.

The first thing you’ll need to do when formulating a campaign is build specific customer segments to target drip campaigns to. Typically, you’ll split leads into groups based on two things: demographics or actions.

  • Demographic customer segments will group leads based on user information, such as their location, their interests and their behaviors on your website. Tracking this data can help you send highly targeted messages that are right for them.
  • Action-related segments are drips that result from a particular customer action, such as a first-time subscription to your email list or a download of your free trial.

Examine your potential customers and determine the most effective way to group them, so you deliver the best targeted content possible.

2. Determine your drip’s “flow”

Determine how the drip campaign for each customer segment will flow. How many touches will each campaign include? How often will you send a message? What types of messages will they be?

An abandoned shopping cart campaign might include two touches—one within 24 hours of the abandoned cart and another within 48 hours. A campaign for leads who downloaded a free trial might include many more messages that deliver useful information about the product and culminate in the final sales push.

The number and timing of touches will ultimately depend on where each customer segment is in the marketing funnel. New subscribers may require more messages to familiarize themselves with your brand, while existing customers might only need one or two emails to get them to return.

3. Write the content

With a clear plan for the flow of your drip campaigns, you’ll need to begin writing the pre-planned content for each message. Every part of the email—from the headline to the call to action—should be clear and actionable. Make sure your customer knows what you want them to do.

Tailor the content in each message to the customer segment and end goal of the campaign. This is where you’re able to customize each touch so that it’s targeted for the right leads and hitting them at the right time.

4. Automate it

You can execute drip campaigns manually, but it’s time consuming and overwhelming, depending on your subscriber list and number of campaigns. Instead, using marketing automation software can help you set up your campaigns so they run on their own, while also tracking data you can use later.

5. Test and improve campaigns

Your job isn’t over once you get a drip campaign up and running. As consumer markets change, so should your campaigns and their content.

Consider running A/B tests on one or more campaigns to determine which has a better open and conversion rate. Consistently monitor the data provided by your marketing automation software and use it to improve for better results.

Drip campaigns make lead nurturing smarter

Customers led through a well-planned, highly targeted drip campaign are more likely to convert and return than customers who receive generic email blasts. By putting the time and effort into your drip campaigns, you’ll set up a system that acquires and retains customers with ease.

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