Drip campaigns are an incredibly effective way for businesses to nurture leads through multiple touchpoints with targeted content. In preparation for this year’s holiday season, let’s talk about what it takes to launch a successful email drip campaign.
What Is a Drip Campaign?
If you’re a B2B or eCommerce company, you’ve probably been advised at one point or another to consider a drip campaign, a type of digital marketing campaign where content is sent to customers over a period of time. The idea behind a drip campaign is to generate sales through consistent, long-term exposure to your target customer. It stems from the sales theory that someone won’t buy something until they’ve seen it at least 29 times. For the sake of simplicity, this article will focus on drip email campaigns, like automated email marketing or “lifecycle” emails. Still, the principles we discuss can be applied to any marketing content dripped via other channels and mediums.
What Are the Benefits of an Email Drip Campaign?
In our experience, the more relevant your content is to the recipient, the more successful your campaign will be. When drafting targeted content, consider the recipient’s industry, service area, or region and any pages or products they’ve viewed in the past. Make sure they’re not in more than one drip campaign at a time: you don’t want them receiving more than one email per week.
A strong drip campaign will help you:
- Increase awareness of your brand and boost loyalty by sending relevant emails at a timely (but not overwhelming) pace.
- Capture abandoned carts and stay top of mind to your target audience, especially when shopping season rolls around.
- Improve open rates by as much as 80% and more effectively warm and engage leads.
A Note On Campaign Flow
A drip email marketing campaign consists of a set of emails that are scheduled to be sent out over time, usually at regular intervals like once a week. The emails are sent in a sequence informed by what the recipient has or has not done. For example, the flowchart below shows how specific recipient actions would trigger a particular email:
You want your email campaign to follow this kind of logic to prevent subscriber churn and ensure the recipient sees the most relevant information. You can control who sees your content by setting up filters or requirements that will only send emails to people in a user segment that you’ve pre-defined.
How to Launch an Email Drip Campaign
A drip email campaign follows the same general steps as any other marketing campaign:
1) Set an objective:
The first step in any campaign is to outline your goal and define an end date. Be concrete about the outcome and your success metrics. Here are a few example objectives:
- Increase sales for a new or underperforming product line
- Build brand awareness in advance of the holiday shopping season
2) Identify and define your target audience:
Your success is directly tied to how well you know your customer and curate your target list. (You can find more on this in our article, Target Audience Strategy for Cybersecurity and Infosecurity Saas Companies.)
3) Plan your campaign:
To achieve your objective, you need a plan! For a drip campaign, that means:
- Crafting a coherent message, so it’s consistent throughout the campaign
- Capitalizing on trends or upcoming events (e.g., a Christmas shopping drip campaign)
- Determining whether you’ll be using a dynamic or static list
- Mapping out the triggers that will inform your drip flow, as you see in the graphic above
Remember that drip campaigns can be sent to static lists (e.g., webinar attendees) or dynamic lists (e.g., new subscribers), so your content must be planned accordingly. In the case of a dynamic list, you want to be careful with the timeframe so that when someone is added to the list, the sent content makes sense and isn’t outdated.
4) Create the campaign collateral:
For an email drip campaign, this means a series of emails (copy & creative, landing pages, tracking, etc.). To improve the effectiveness of your campaign, we recommend:
- Implementing marketing automation to increase the personalization of your drip campaign
- Maintaining visual and tonal consistency across emails so that they feel like a coherent series
- Add UTMs to your links so you can track your campaign’s performance. (This is a helpful guide for setting up UTM tracking URLs)
5) Launch your campaign:
When it comes to launching a campaign, many solutions are available. Picking the right one for your campaign will depend on the size of your business, the complexity of the campaign, budget, and the number of contacts on your mailing list(s). We’re big fans of Zoho Campaigns because it integrates seamlessly with our tech stack.
Before you launch, run a deliverability test so you can test for Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Key Identified Mail (DKIM), and whether your email server is blacklisted. Once the campaign is running, you can perform A|B testing to optimize performance—more on that below.
How to Run an Email Drip Campaign
At RFDM, we believe that analytics are the backbone of any marketing campaign. When launching a campaign, you can never know with absolute certainty what will work and what won’t, so it’s essential to track performance and tweak your marketing efforts over time, often done through A|B testing, which will track:
- Open Rate: This is a measure of the rate the recipients open your email. (Note: iOS 15 makes it more challenging to track the open rate. Additionally, the new Apple update automatically opens emails by an Apply proxy, distorting the results and reporting false opens).
- Click Rate: This is a measure of the rate the recipients click links in your email. These clicks, which drive traffic to your site, can also be measured via the Source/Medium report in Google Analytics. (Aside from ROI, this is the most crucial metric).
- Bounce Rate: This is a measure of the number of emails sent that bounced. A bounce occurs when someone signs up for emails with a fake email or when you’ve misspelled their address.
- Unsubscribe Rate: This is a measure of the proportion of unsubscribers to recipients. A high unsubscribe rate can result from several issues, although some unsubscribes are natural and should be expected. You might see recipients unsubscribe if your content feels irrelevant, you’re sending too many emails, or you have issues with your landing page or email copy.
- ROI: This measures the difference between total revenue generated from the campaign and the campaign cost. To effectively measure this, make sure you have goals set up in Google Analytics so you can attribute conversions to traffic sources for your drip campaign.
Now that you know how to set up and manage a drip campaign, go forth and promote! If you find that you still need assistance with your email marketing efforts, fill out our contact form and set up a free 30-minute consultation with one of our marketing experts. We’re here to help!