Drip Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide to Lifecycle Email Marketing
Whether you’re a startup or an established business, email marketing will always remain a crucial cog in your marketing machinery. Effective email marketing plays an important role in helping you move prospects further down the conversion funnel, i.e., converting them into leads, marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, and finally into paying customers.
Email continues to be the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences next to peer recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders. Almost 59% of B2B marketers suggest email as their most effective channel for revenue generation.
It is no secret that emails are the most effective marketing channel when directing your focus towards customer acquisition. In fact, according to WordStream, for every $1 spent on email marketing, you will receive an average of $44 in return.
According to WebpageFx, over 89% of marketers say email is their primary channel for fueling their lead generation pipeline. Most businesses have put their faith in email and why not?
Setting up drip email campaigns can be quite daunting for a beginner, so in this blog we've broken down what drip marketing is, when they are effective, and how you can use them to target both engaged and disengaged users.
So Let's get started!
Did you know that drip marketing campaigns aren’t just limited to emails? The term also applies to direct mail and app-based marketing, too. While drip marketing can be used in various forms, email is the primary method. Hence, we're focusing on email, since it's the most efficient and cost-effective channel.
What is Drip Marketing?
Drip marketing is usually referred to as a marketing strategy that involves sending “drips” - a set of pre-written messages to prospects and customers over a defined period of time. The most common form of drip marketing is email marketing but it has now spread to SMS, push notifications, and other forms of mobile marketing too.
Here’s a diagrammatic representation of how a drip campaign for a SaaS business would look like:
Unlike most database marketing, drip marketing is different in two primary aspects:
- The messages are sent in the form of a drip series, based on a specific behavior of the user
- The timing of these messages follow a pre-defined course which is completely automated
Drip marketing campaigns enable you to stay in touch with diverse segments of recipients based on specific events like when a user signs up or how often the user visits your website. Each time a drip email is sent out, it comes from a series of pre-created emails. This eliminates the need to manually write and send each one. These drip emails can even be personalised with your users' name, company information, and more.
The goal of a drip marketing strategy is to capture leads, nurture these leads through a series of specific events, and eventually convert them into paying customers. The beauty of drip emails is that these are all automated based on specific triggers and user segments that you get to define.
Why Does Drip Marketing Produce More Success?
Drip marketing works because it constantly keeps the users engaged with your product or service. Since drip campaigns are timely, relevant, and contextually-driven emails, a user has a much better chance of moving through your marketing funnel.
Here’s also why drip marketing produces better results:
- Trigger-based: Since drip campaigns are trigger-based. It makes the entire workflow automated and seamless. You can clearly define the set of recipient actions and behaviors, as a result of which a drip campaign is triggered to a user.
- Contextually Relevant: From walking through a prospect about the benefits of your product, to subtly informing them about their abandoned carts - drip campaigns are highly relevant.
- Personalised: Since these drip emails are automated, they are triggered according to an individual user action and behaviour. This adds a touch of personalisation by addressing them by their name and including behaviour-driven content.
- Constant Nurturing: Nurturing your users at regular intervals helps convert them into paying customers - one drip email at a time. User behaviour-defined actions help you nurture your leads into paying customers at every stage of your conversion funnel.
When Should You Use Drip Marketing?
Drip marketing is an amalgamation of various marketing strategies and tactics. However, what you should remember is the end goal is to keep your users engaged with your product. You can’t use drip marketing at any given point.
First, you should figure out who exactly your users are and why exactly are they on your website.
In order to plan your drip marketing campaigns, you need to determine what are the specific actions and behaviors to trigger these drips. You can use a user-behavioral analytics tool like Smartech to get you started on this journey, effortlessly!
Here are some common user behaviors that will influence your drip campaign planning:
How Do You Set Up Drip Campaigns?
Planning your drip campaigns isn’t as difficult as it seems. In order to plan your successful automated drip campaigns, you need to follow the following steps carefully.
Here are the 5 effective steps that you need to follow for building your automated drip emails, including examples of how to target your audience, write your emails, best results, and more:
1. Identify Your Target Audience
Drip campaigns are all about engaging your users with your website, product, and/or services. It all depends on the segment of your audience and the information you deliver to them based on specific actions they perform on your website or with your product. So the key to drip campaigns is to identify your target audience and their specific actions
Few examples of user behaviours and drip campaigns:
- A user subscribes to your product blog, and you send them a welcome email via your drip campaign
- A user downloads your app, and you send them a series of 6 onboarding and instructional emails over the period, which offer helpful tips to help them make the most of your app
- A user starts using your product, but stops halfway through the process, so you now send them a drip that gives them a detailed walkthrough of the product and some useful tips or a subtle nudge to remind them of their learning curve and to encourage them continue using your product
Tracking user behaviour is a great way to personalise your drip campaigns and target the right customers with the right information at just the right time.
Smart Tip: By tracking the such actions and behaviours, you can continue to build and refine your unified view of individual customers, allowing you to serve them better. Determine your target audience and the problem that you're solving for them. Your drip campaign needs to be targeted to a specific behaviour for it to maximise conversions and effectiveness.
2. Build Your Drip Content
Now that you’ve identified your target audience, you need to craft a message that is helpful and grabs their attention. What action do you intend for the user to take? What problem are you trying to solve for the user? Or, what do you want your users to do with your product?
Depending on your answer, write copy that is attractive and actionable. Maintain the voice that you've built for you brand, but make sure that your message is crisp, concise, and clear. Over at Vero, Content Editor, Jimmy Daly, broke down a promotional email campaign from Evernote, highlighting the importance of explaining benefits, using action verbs, and making the next steps unmissable.
Smart Tip: To start off with, don’t concentrate on the design of the email. Instead, focus on sending purely text-based emails. Once you’ve improved your response rates on your drip emails you can consider optimising your email layout, in terms of content, messaging, creatives, and CTAs, for higher conversions.
3. Plan Your Drip Campaigns
In order to plan your drip campaigns, you need to focus on your users’ behaviour. Visualise what the workflow of your drip campaign looks like form a sales point of view. Figure out how you’ll send your drip campaigns and how you’ll define your drip campaign success.
Before you send your drip marketing campaigns you need to ask yourself these crucial questions:
(a.) How many emails should I send to achieve my end campaign objective and when should I send them?
This depends on what lifecycle stage your lead is currently in. How much information do they need before they convert and why? This will help you determine how many emails you should be sending.
Typical schedule of drip emails to follow:
- Ongoing Drips: Every 5 days
- Regular Drips: Every 15 days
- On-Demand Drips: Triggered as per event
(b.)Are my trigger emails in sync with my messaging?
Make sure your drip campaigns are triggered based on the segments you’ve created. You don’t want to send a drip that is not in context to that particular segment.
(c.) What metrics should I track to measure success?
Use a smart analytics tool, usually accompanied with a marketing automation software. Depending upon the analytical capabilities you can track key metrics such as open rates, bounce rates, click-through rates (CTRs), average time spent on each page, eventual conversions, etc.
Just make sure that all your metrics tie back to your drip campaign goals.
Smart Tip: If you’re looking to improve your drip email open rates, check out these best practices for email subject lines.
4. A/B Test Your Subject Lines and Content
So now you’ve started sending your drip marketing campaigns and are doing it at scale using an email marketing automation software but that doesn’t mean you can leave your campaigns unsupervised!
It is imperative that you constantly monitor your drip marketing campaigns and work on your strategy to keep your end goals aligned. If your campaigns aren't getting as many CTRs as expected, you might want to experiment with a few things, such as change the subject lines and CTAs.
You need to A/B test your subject lines and CTAs to identify a winning version that works well for specific target segments. Your winning version is what eventually gets delivered to the remaining target audience.
Another instance could be your sale-closing emails are not converting then you should try sending more educational communications before asking the users to pull the trigger on conversions.
Smart Tip: If you are planning to A/B test your subject lines you can begin by analysing the effectiveness of your subject lines with free tools such as the Campaign Title Performance Predictor. You can further leverage the power of AI, keyword sentiment analysis, and historical behavioural interactions to further optimise your subject lines to drive higher conversions.
Drip marketing is usually used in the context of email marketing. However, you can also use it in other forms of marketing that extends to mobile push notifications, SMS, etc.
Drip marketing is considered to be one of the most challenging techniques in digital marketing. Your leads may prefer a different frequencies of emails. They might convert with a sales call at the end of the funnel or a free trial or an immediate purchase. You never know what exactly will trigger a user to convert but we recommend you to keep testing.
A powerful drip campaign can give your higher ROI, and it will certainly push your marketing further than you ever thought possible.
Have your enjoyed success with drip marketing campaigns? What’s your experience been with creating a drip campaign been? We’d love to hear from you!
Vijay Mandeep is a data-driven B2B Saas marketer with a vested interest in startups. He’s passionate about growth hacking, content marketing, and everything social media for B2B SaaS. He works as Senior Growth Marketer at Smartech.
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