When you subscribe to a service or create an account on a website, you expect to receive a notification that your account has been created or your submission received. You also would expect to receive a word or two about what your next steps are or when you can expect to hear back. When automated those messages are called autoresponders. Along with these, mass email marketing in the form of company newsletters or promotional pieces, have been on the rise for years as well, and for good reason.
Email marketing has proven itself to be a highly effective marketing media based on its ability to get your message in front of your audience nearly instantaneously and provide unmatched tracking and analytics. This allows you to know when your messages are received and how your audience is acting on them. One problem, however, is that it can be rare to find two customers who are at the same stage in the buying process, in learning the ins and outs of your product, or in getting to know your company.
That’s where the idea of email drip campaigns come into play.
The term “drip marketing” is actually said to have come from the term “drip irrigation,” which is an agricultural technique in which small amounts of water are fed to plants over an extended period of time. Similarly, email drip marketing involves sending out a set of highly targeted, pre-written email messages over an extended period of time and typically based on some type of trigger. Generally these emails would have a longer term goal attached to them, such as encouraging the user to create an account or upgrade their plan.
Here is an example that will probably sound a bit familiar. You fill out a form on a social media management software website to download an eBook on an introduction to social media for business. The website takes your email address and adds you to a drip email campaign that sends you an email to ask if you had any questions about the book, and that is followed by another email a week or two later highlighting how the company’s software can help you implement some tasks mentioned in the book. You might also receive an email in between those with some tips on how to get more followers or when is the best time of day to share your posts. The long term goal of this email drip campaign would be to keep the company’s brand on your mind and to get you to come back to the site and create an account to try out their software.
What makes this marketing strategy different from traditional email marketing is that the emails you receive are contingent upon when you downloaded the ebook, as they are for everyone else who does so. While everyone receives the same content, the timing of the email is tailored to each individual, which is what makes email drip campaigns such a powerful marketing tool.
Examples of Triggers for Email Drips
Email drip campaigns are often triggered when a user signs up for a service or subscribes to an email list, but the trigger could be set by any number of things. I outlined a few examples of triggers for email drips below, but if you think of one I left out, be sure to mention it the comments.
- When someone is added to your email list – this could be after creating an account, subscribing to your blog or newsletter, downloading an ebook or product, making a purchase, etc.
- When a subscriber opens a specific email, you could use that as a trigger to send a drip of emails related to that topic
- When a link in an email is clicked, you could add the subscriber to a drip of emails related to the specific topic or product that was clicked
Building up an email list and deciding what to base your drip campaigns on is only half of it. A successful drip campaign has to provide value to your subscribers and be something they want to read. It’s also very important to start out as strong as possible. The last thing you want to do is put all this effort into setting up a drip campaign that everyone unsubscribes from after the first email. So how do you ensure the success of your email drip content? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Successful Blog Content
When it comes to launching an email drip campaign, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Don’t be afraid to reuse content that has been successful in the past. Pick a few of your most popular blog posts and send them out one at a time as part of your drip. Knowing people have read and enjoyed the posts in the past will help to ensure your content will provide value to your readers.
Tutorials and Training
Sometimes the most valuable content you can provide your subscribers is actionable information that they can put to use. Especially for software as a service industry, drip emails that focus on tutorials of how to use your product can be a great way to encourage use and get people logged in. But your tutorials don’t have to be for your product. Courses of any kind have a huge potential for success, and well written email courses often have the ability to get your subscribers anticipating your next email.
Whitepapers and Downloads
Another approach to content for providing value to your subscribers is through downloadables. Ebooks, whitepapers and in-depth guides can be a great addition to a drip email campaign. When you include downloadable content in your emails, you not only have the attention of your subscriber within the email, but you also have the opportunity to capture their attention throughout an extended amount of content, giving you more time to share your message with your subscribers. Keep in mind, however, that you don’t have to pick one type of content and stick with it for all of your drips. Try mixing things up to keep your customers interested.
Now that you are familiar with what email drip marketing is and have some ideas for implementing it, you probably need some tools to get you started. Email drip marketing is not something you should try to do manually. Fortunately, just about all the major email marketing platforms today offer some functionality for implementing drip campaigns. Below is a list of a few email marketing tools that simplify the process of setting up, sending out and reporting on drip email campaigns.