What is Drip Marketing?

Drip marketing is an incredibly cost-effective strategy that involves automatically sending out previously prepared messages to all of your current customers or potential leads based on their individual behavior. This occurs at either specific time intervals or in response to a certain action taken on their part. While drip marketing may also be conducted via direct mail or social media, the most commonly used technique is sending them out via email to carefully segmented groups based on pre-selected triggers.

Just as a leaking faucet in a person’s house will continue to drip water repeatedly drawing the homeowner’s attention to the issue, your drip marketing emails can become essential droplets of contact designed to capture and/or hold the attention of your sales leads and existing customers. In order to be successful with a drip marketing strategy, you need to have a carefully crafted campaign that offers just the right messages to these people at just the right times – without any additional effort on your part or on the part of your employees. The true power of drip marketing is in both its automation and precision planning, which provides you with ease of use and no need for a dedicated, hands-on marketing supervisor to run those campaigns. By creating and executing an effective drip marketing campaign, you can easily reap incredible rewards from all of your email marketing campaigns.

Benefits of Drip Marketing 

The reason that drip marketing campaigns are so popular and so successful is that they offer so many benefits to businesses as part of their overall sales strategy. First of all, drip marketing enables you to continuously nurture your customers and/or potential customers as well as new leads. This happens by providing them with the best content you have available for their particular place in the marketing funnel and/or buying process – and at the most appropriate time to generate the specific reaction you want. With drip marketing, you can also craft smarter, more effective campaigns that are far more customized than you could imagine using a manual email generation process. This makes the experience that each of your customers has with your company much better during all steps of the sales experience. It also allows you to target each individual with the most relevant message you can at all points of their relationship with you by using their own variable actions as the independent trigger.

Related: How to Use Content to Build Your Email List 

Key Types of Drip Marketing Campaigns 

Most of the different kinds of drip marketing campaigns fall loosely into one of three main, overarching categories. One of the many things that are so great about drip marketing is that the emails for all types of campaigns can be set up to go out automatically based on the specific triggers and/or user segments that you have defined in advance. This means that there is no need for you to do anything more than set up your initial campaigns, and then let the automated programs do the work for you.

Welcome Campaigns 

Welcome campaigns are one of the most effective types of drip marketing campaigns out there. When someone first subscribes to your newsletter or blog, or when they make their first purchase, this type of campaign sets the tone for your relationship with that customer or lead. You simply need to have a drip campaign already prepared with an appropriate welcome email that will be sent out immediately to greet them at the first opportunity.

It can also make a major impact if you are prepared to automatically follow up with these new customers two to three days later with another email that establishes in their minds that you actually have valuable and useful content. You may even want to send out an additional email containing useful tips or how-tos to help them get the most out of your website, newsletter, or blog.  Another great tactic is to ask for more information in order to help you appropriately segment these customers or leads for your next drip marketing campaign(s). All of these actions let your customers know that they – and their potential or ongoing business – are truly valued and appreciated. Remember, first impressions really do matter – and they tend to last.

Sending out a series of three to five messages provides you with the chance to build familiarity with someone new. It also offers you the chance to properly educate them about your brand at the point when they are most open and receptive. If you take too long to contact a new prospect, customer, or subscriber, then you are likely to end up with higher spam scores because your targets may forget that they did indeed sign up with you or initiate an online interaction. Welcome emails that are sent in a timely manner receive the highest open rates and the greatest number click-throughs.

Nurturing Campaigns 

Like welcome campaigns, nurturing campaigns focus on a range of specific user behaviors that are likely to affect your plans for specific marketing campaigns. Most often, this type of campaign is a lead nurturing drip, intended to reach out to all of your existing leads in order to first demonstrate a problem they may or do have and then a solution you have to offer. They share the benefits of your brand and your brand’s personality while reminding potential customers of their individual pain points.

Additional kinds of nurturing campaigns include top-of-mind drips designed to touch base with leads regularly to keep your company in their thoughts. They’re campaigns designed to address a customer who unsubscribed from your newsletter, product, or service, and campaigns focused on those who simply failed to renew their accounts or place reorders. Re-engagement campaigns are targeted toward getting these lost leads reengaged with your brand and your offerings. For example, someone who signed up for information on your website but never went back to visit your site again may receive a targeted message attempting to get them to come back, perhaps with a free trial or special discount offer. Nurturing campaigns can also address infrequent website visitors who seem to visit your site randomly with a follow-up email that is focused on giving them a reason to check back with you sooner, while your regular website visitors may get a quick email to thank them for their time or ask them a relevant question. All of these marketing efforts serve to further cultivate your relationship with each of these prospective, existing, and/or future customers.

Related: Email Marketing 101: What Is a Nurture Campaign 

Sales Campaign 

There are a number of reasons why you might want to use drip marketing for a sales campaign. If a potential customer has been hovering around for a while, visiting your website or blog, or perhaps reading your newsletters without actually making a purchase, a drip campaign could provide them with specific reasons to make a purchase. If they opted in for a free trial but did not actually subscribe or make a buying decision, a follow-up email just may be able to nudge them toward an actual purchase.

The same approach can be used to get a potential customer back to an abandoned shopping cart or get them to renew or upgrade their subscription, product, or service with your company. Urgent reminders counting down the time they have to renew or make a new purchase at a special rate can be especially helpful for this type of campaign. Another kind of less direct but often successful sales campaign involves showcasing your position as an industry expert. And, of course, promotional email drip campaigns can always be used to boost your sales and increase your bottom line.

With the properly segmented leads, customers, and triggers, your business can appropriately address virtually any situation in which you may have an opportunity to make a sale, either immediately or in the future, so that your company never again misses an opportunity to increase your bottom line.

There may be many countless behaviors that you want your drip marketing campaign to address, depending upon your specific industry or niche. Your first task is to determine all of the possible user actions that you want to respond to. What will ultimately determine how effective your drip marketing campaigns are is the specific segmentation and behavioral triggers you choose for each particular email you send. Luckily, this isn’t nearly as complicated as it may seem.

A careful examination of your analytics data and logical assumptions based on the behaviors of your previous customers, mixed with some safe predictions relying on sales and marketing expertise, will enable you to find specific patterns and track behaviors in order to appropriately focus and design your drip marketing campaigns. If you don’t have someone already in your company who feels up to the task of identifying all of the segmentations and triggers that you need to address, there are always online marketing companies that provide exactly the experience you need to create successful drip marketing campaigns for welcoming, nurturing, and selling your offerings to your customer base.

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Britney Schroeder is the Director of Content at Power Digital Marketing. She is passionate about getting stellar results for clients through highly integrated cross-channel campaigns.