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4 Tips for Building a Better Drip Campaign

Automated and near effortless, a drip or lead-nurturing campaign is your secret weapon for ushering prospects through the sales funnel and re-engaging current customers. To understand the nature and purpose of a drip campaign think of your products or services as fulfilling a hunger in your customers to achieve or do something. Now, imagine your drip campaign as a way of continually whetting customers’ appetites with tantalizing snacks of information that keep them wanting more as you prepare them for the main course — the closed deal. When done well, a good drip campaign will empower you to:

  • Expand your database with worthwhile prospects
  • Enhance the targeting of your segmented marketing lists
  • Boost sales and brand loyalty by keeping interested parties in your loop
  • Reduce churn of prospects, subscribers and longtime customers

Drips Deliver Big Results

The research team over at Martech Zone recently shared these exciting statistics regarding the results a good drip campaign has the potential to produce:

  • Show Me the Money —Drip campaigns generate 80% more sales at 33% lower costs
  • Open Sesame — Drip campaign open rates are 80% higher than single sends
  • Click-Bait — The click-through rate of a drip campaign is 3X higher than a single send

Now that we’ve whetted your appetite to build bigger and better drip campaigns, let’s dive into the four tips that will help you do it.

Tip #1: Pick Your Purpose

In the movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Steve Martin’s character finally reaches his limit with John Candy’s verbal diarrhea and says, “Here’s a good idea: have a point! It makes it so much more interesting for the listener!” If you don’t want to push your prospects and customers over their limit, you need to make sure that each piece in your drip campaigns has a point and a purpose. Think about your customer’s journey and what information they need at each point in that journey and then supply it. When you tie the message of each piece to the milestone your customer has reached in their journey you let them know that they are not alone – you are with them and you are paying attention to the road signs.

Examples of Drip Campaign Purposes

  1. Welcome – A welcome campaigncan be as short and simple as a three-email or SMS series, or if you have an expansive product and service line, it can include several communications sprinkled over the course of a month. In addition to introducing customers to what you’re selling, you are also introducing them to your brand’s look, voice and style of doing business. In short, you are setting their expectations for what the relationship is going to be like. Examples of content readers may find helpful at this stage include customer quotes, testimonials, brief videos, invitations to webinars and simple product demos, etc.
  2. Thought-Leader – Like the song that never ends, a thought-leader drip campaign shouldn’t either. As the name implies, the point of this campaign is to establish your brand as a forward-thinking leader capable of guiding your customers with ongoing valuable content. Oftentimes, the content you will provide will be a blog, ebook, white paper, webinar recap, infographic, etc. A good thought-leader drip campaign gives something to your customers that helps them in some tangible way without overtly selling to them.
  3. Re-Engage – Like Peaches & Herb this campaign’s point is to be reunited with old customers who have gone dormant, broken up with you, or (gasp) gone to a competitor. At this stage, your campaigns need to cut to the chase and offer something truly enticing. If you know why a customer has gone silent, own it. If you don’t, then use each piece of your campaign to talk about some new and amazing thing now happening with your products and services that wasn’t happening last quarter when the customer left. Examples of the kind of content you want to produce for these include: new feature/benefit announcements, offers for free trials, special access to a VIP event, special pricing, etc.

Tip #2 — Time the Relationship Right

Like the name says, a drip campaign is just a little droplet of goodness you are sending out to your list to pique their interest. You don’t want to come on too strong and scare potential customers off. As my old marketing director used to say, “Let’s not ask prospects to get married on the first date.”

Map That Journey

This brings us back to your buyer’s journey. If you haven’t already mapped it, make that your next priority. Essentially, you want to pinpoint the timing of each turning point in the journey and what information is most helpful when. After you complete this exercise, call up one of your best customers, take them out to lunch, and ask them for some candid feedback via questions such as:

  • What information did we provide during your journey did you find to be helpful?
  • Was there content that you wish we would have given you, but didn’t?
  • How was our timing – just right, not enough or too much?

As you build your relationship with prospects and customers over time and align your emails with their buying journey and decision process, you will find that they will reward your commitment to not junking up their email inbox or blowing up their messaging app, by remaining engaged.

Tip #3 — Let’s Get Personal

Assuming you are keeping a perpetually clean, complete and standardized database — and you should be. It’s time you put all of that hard-earned data to good use by sending campaigns so charming and personally relevant your customers will feel you can see inside their aching souls.

Try a Few New Data Attributes

Neil Patel recommends using a variety of data points throughout your campaigns to personalize the message and ensure you reach the right people. His list of data points to use in your segmenting and personalization efforts include many of the usual suspects such as: job titles, company name, industry and location. But it also includes other less obvious data such as: pageviews, social media bios, followers and following, last actions, lifecycle status and customer persona. We recommend trying out all kinds of data attributes as you personalize your campaigns to see which ones produce the results you desire.

Adopt a CAT

If the thought of achieving an exceptional level of personalization in a drip campaign makes you feel overwhelmed, take comfort that a good content automation tool is the secret sauce of every accomplished account-based marketing (ABM) miracle-worker. These plug-n-play tools can be easily integrated with databases across your enterprise (CRMs, MAPs, data warehouses, etc.) and set-up to dynamically pull relevant data, populate the appropriate fields and send campaigns, on-demand across multiple channels. YAY!

Tip #4 – Pay Attention to Your List

As you set up purpose-filled, perfectly timed, personalized campaigns, make sure you set up a trigger to remove prospects and customers from that campaign when they complete the desired action, i.e. download a white paper, sign up for a webinar, etc. Otherwise they will continue to get tone-deaf communications from you that ask them to do something they’ve already done. This will cause them to go from feeling great about your company, to feeling like your company is not paying attention. So before you press send on your next campaign, make sure it’s prepared to remove action-completing customers as if it were you responding to every email and not auto-magic.