Even in 2018, email marketing is still an effective marketing tactic to broadcast valuable information for your audience. Yet, traditional email newsletter has a major flaw: if there’s a new subscriber, they will only get the latest email you sent, and never the previous ones before the subscription.
The solution for this issue is what we call the drip campaign, which is also often known as drip marketing, lifecycle emails, email automation, automated email campaign, autoresponders, or other similar terms.
In this guide, we will discuss the ins and outs of the drip campaign, and how you can fully utilize it as one of your most powerful marketing arsenals.
Before we discuss the technicals, let us first discuss the definition of the drip campaign itself.
What is Drip Campaign?
Most of us know that ‘drip marketing’ is an automated form of email marketing. Yet, so many marketers misunderstood the concept behind drip marketing and so can’t utilize the full potential. With that being said, let us start this guide by discussing the basics.
In its principle, drip campaign is an automated emails (notice the plural) that will be sent based on specific time schedule and/or triggered by user actions. So, the first thing we will need to understand about drip campaign is that we will need to have at least several already-written drip emails prepared. When, say, a user signed up, we have an email sent (usually welcoming them, etc.), when they visited you for the third time, we have another email sent, let’s say this one is informing them about the benefits of your product, and so on.
Information, no matter how valuable, will only reach its full potential when it’s given at the right time, and drip marketing with its automation helps you give your audience the right content in exactly the right time.
Now that we understood the concept and the principles behind drip campaign, a second question may arise: do drip campaigns truly work? According to a study by WordStream, 49% of businesses use some form of email automation, while a study by Emma suggested that automated emails get 119% higher click rates and drive 18x more revenue than randomly broadcasted emails.
Another factor to consider is the fact that you can recycle your email contents to different users with different actions. With the fact that the whole drip campaign is fully automated, you won’t need to put much effort when the drip campaign is already running.
Step-By-Step Guide To Successful Drip Campaign
Now that we’ve understood the key principles of a drip campaign, how can we set up a successful, fully automated drip campaign? The good news is, it’s not that complicated, and for the rest of this guide, we will discuss the key steps of setting up a drip campaign.
Understanding Your Target Audience
Because the key to a successful drip campaign is delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time, the first thing you will need to do is to determine your target audience and understand their behavior.
Even further, drip campaign is all about breaking your audiences into sub-groups, and targeting specific contents to different niches of audiences. So, the first step here is about determining which actions and groups to apply a certain drip campaign strategy.
There are two main triggers to a drip campaign: a certain user action on your app or site,and a certain time related to your user demographic information. Here are some examples of this step:
- A user subscribed to your newsletter, and your drip campaign send an automated welcome message
- A user downloads a free-trial product, and you send them several instructional emails (usually 1 each day) over the course of the trial
- A user signed up for your free-trial service, but hasn’t logged in after a week, an automated email is sent to remind them
- A user purchased a product during holidays last year, so this year in holiday season, an automated email is sent to encourage them for another purchase
Understand your audience, divide them into sub-groups if necessary, and list all the possible triggers you can think of.
2. Prepare Your Emails
Now that you’ve understood your audience and certain triggers that must be addressed, it’s time to tailor the contents of your drip emails.This is probably the most effort you will need to put for the whole drip campaign. Yet, if you did the first step right and you truly understood your audiences, this step will be much easier.
There are three things you should aim for:
- Your content should be valuable for the user and can grab their attention
- What specific action do you want the user to do after reading the content?
- Is there any new knowledge you want to provide for the user?
Based on those three key principles and your knowledge of your audience, tailor your email messages as necessary. Also, make sure your messages are aligned with your brand at all times.
3. Planning Your Drip Campaign
A US Marine Corps general, Robert H. Barrow famously said back in 1980: “Amateurs talk about tactics, but professionals study logistics.”
In this step, our focus will be figuring out the logistics details of your drip campaign.To ensure a successful drip campaign, you will need to figure out the details from start to finish, and the very first thing you should do is setting up your goals:
- How many emails are you going to send, when, and according to what triggers, as discussed in the previous step
Here, you hone all the logistics for what we’ve planned on the previous step. The sequence of your messages will be a crucial part for the success of the campaign. So, you should really pay attention to WHAT information your audience needs, HOW MUCH, WHEN they might need it, and WHY.
- How will you measure the success of your drip campaign
You might have one or several different goals at once like lead generation, customer acquisition, product education to encourage conversion, engagement, or simple updates. Different goals will have different KPIs and will require different metrics to measure against.
- Have your messages truly align with the triggers as well as your brand in general
Each of your email should be directly related to a trigger, and always aligned with your brand values. The key here is to find the sweet spot between being informative of being simply annoying by bombarding them with your messages. Remember, drip campaign is about giving the right information at the right time, not giving information ALL the time. +-
This is also where you should choose an email marketing app or tool for your drip campaign. There are various options available with various costs, this guide by Zapier will be a good place to start choosing your email marketing tool.
4. Running Your Drip Campaign
You’ve decided on a strategy, you’ve planned all the necessary logistics, and you might have also chose an email marketing tool. Congratulations, it’s time to start running your drip campaign. Yet, you might notice that this step is not the final one, and there’s a good reason for that. So, stay tuned for the rest of this guide.
The key to this step is to execute all the aforementioned steps as perfectly as possible, so let’s do a quick review:
- Keep track of your audience segments or sub-groups, and always aim to understand them better, especially on addressing their problems
- Make sure all the triggers are addressed by the correct message
- For each message, determine the necessity to create a landing page that can further gather more data for that specific audience segment
5. Monitoring Your Drip Campaign
As with any other marketing strategy, a core part will be measuring the right metrics and adjust your strategy whenever necessary. Just because drip campaign is an automated campaign, doesn’t mean you can neglect supervision.
The main concern we have on all these five steps is your audience segmentations or sub-groups, and so it is also the key area to monitor. Your audience is not a static audience, and so you will always need to readjust the whole drip campaign based on results.
For example, if you are not getting too many click throughs, you might want to optimize your CTAs. If your customers are not returning, find out the issue based on their behaviors and adjust. If you need more conversion, you might need to consider more educations about your product before giving CTAs. Evaluate and adjust your strategy continuously.
While a drip campaign might seem like a daunting, technical task at first, it is actually a very simple marketing tactic with a relatively minimal effort.
The keys to a successful drip campaign is a careful planning, understanding your audience, and selecting the right tool(s) to do the job.
Remember, however, that although the drip campaign is automated, you shouldn’t leave it unsupervised. Monitor your progress regularly, and adjust your drip campaign strategy when necessary.