14 best practices for email drip campaigns

email-drip-campaigns

If your business is not currently employing any email drip campaigns, you’re definitely missing out on some conversion opportunities.

But never fear! It’s not too late to get your first campaign up and running.

Email drip campaigns are a type of time-release email marketing tactic. Think drip irrigation systems. Drip emails are intended to land with purposeful timing and targeting with minimal waste (and technically minimal effort once set up to run automatically).

Think about it like a conversation that you’re building upon along the way.

They can be daily reminders, weekly specials, monthly updates, yearly renewal notices or anything in between, depending on your intention and goals. The idea is that while each email in a drip campaign should stand alone, they also should build upon past messages and even set the stage for future messaging. You want to nurture the customer along your sales funnel while building trust along the way.

Find out more about sales funnels and how they can benefit your marketing.

The following are 14 best practices for email drip campaigns that can help you connect with your potential customers at the right time and in the right way.

Start with the basics

While it might be tempting to dive in with your first drip campaign right away, resist that urge. It’s incredibly important to take a step back and think about your goals, your audience and their natural interests. Consider:

  • What search terms are driving visitors to your website?
  • Which web pages are most visited on your site?
  • If you have downloadable items on your website, which are the most downloaded?
  • How would you describe your target audience and/or ideal customer? Detail out a persona profile as much as you can with who they are, what they are likely to respond to and so on.

Once you have a better sense of what you’re working with and who you want to engage with, you can begin to segment out your contact database by geography, interests or any other factors that make sense and you have data for.

Then, you can begin brainstorming different angles for various email drip campaigns that you can plan out.

Expand beyond just emails

Yes, we’re talking about email drip campaigns specifically, but it’s important to keep in mind that you can (and often should) incorporate additional assets into your drip campaigns when appropriate. 

For example, such assets include (but are not limited to):

  • SMS text messages
  • Direct mail (like letters, postcards, etc.)
  • Phone calls

This often can come down to the type of contact information you have for your customers and other leads. But exploring a mix of mediums can help you see what works and what doesn’t for your audience.

Create all drip messages at one time

It’s important to commit to creating all your email drip campaign messages in one sitting in order to promote consistency for your recipients.

This goes back to the goal of building up your messaging over time with each email you send. Think of each email like a chapter in a book. To be more effective with your “story arc,” focus on creating one campaign all at the same time.

Quality matters

Coherent sentences, grammar and spelling all matter in any brand messaging. When creating your email drip campaigns, be sure to double check for any of those issues. You can even have a colleague review before you have anything go out for real.

Poor quality breaks trust with your potential customers. Make it a priority to build (not break) trust to take the extra time for quality proofing.

The shorter the better

The beauty of a drip campaign is that you naturally don’t have to squeeze a ton of information into any one email. You have the built-in formatting to spread out information throughout the email series.

So, capitalize on that. Short paragraphs, an overall short email and a focused message all increase the likelihood of your audience engaging with your content. Long paragraphs and meandering narratives that don’t get to the point will lose the interest of your email recipients.

Nurturing over selling

You might be eager to sell your products or services, but remember that your leads may not be quite ready to buy.

Think of your drip campaign as a progressive series of messages that help warm up the lead with valuable information and insight as he or she moves through the sales funnel and becomes a bit more ready to purchase.

This is especially helpful when your business involves high-ticket products or complex services.

Guide through any free trials

Free trials are an effective way to get your products and/or services in the hands of your potential customers and show them that value first-hand.

However, you can’t assume that all users will know how to get the most out of that trial, which can alienate them and actually limit who might purchase at the end.

This is where you can step in and act as the guide, with a series of messages highlighting different features and other how-to tips that can help them along. This can include:

  • Clear, concise tips
  • General best practices
  • How-to webinars
  • Online support community invitations
  • Message board opportunities

Just be sure to notify users before their trial ends, and if they don’t convert, follow up with a discount offer soon afterward.

It’s not over after the purchase

Just because you may have made the initial conversion, where your potential customer becomes a customer, that does not mean that you no longer need to nurture him or her.

In fact, we recommend using this opportunity to continue providing helpful information on a regular basis. Think of it this way: A long-term relationship with your customer leads to even more trust, additional purchases and even the possibility of word-of-mouth referrals.

Your ongoing email drip campaigns with existing customers can include:

  • A request for a customer review
  • Upsell and/or cross-sell promotions
  • Various instructional videos to help customers get the most out of their purchase (similar to how you would approach free-trial guidance)

Keep buying cycles in mind

This can definitely depend on your business and what you sell. But the idea here is that there tends to be a natural buying cycle. Cars, appliances and many other products need to be replaced every so often, depending on the product itself.

Keeping your customers (and even the potential customers who “got away”) in the loop about your offers can generate further sales (and conversions), especially as natural buying cycles will regularly come up.

Re-engage with any inactive contacts

Be sure to segment out any leads that do not convert so that you can maintain a nurturing drip campaign to keep those leads warm.

Again, not everyone is ready to buy immediately, but this can help ensure that you’ll be top of mind as soon as they are. Including incentives along the way will help.

Personalization engages

Being able to use an email recipient’s first name in a subject line, for example, creates a personal connection with that person that makes it more likely he or she will open your email.

Personalization in general can level up your brand’s connection with your audience.

Whether it involves the contact information you already have (like a first name) or personalized messaging tailored to the specific audience segment you’re reaching, there’s power in personalization. That power can lead to higher engagement and more conversions.

DailyStory features personalization capabilities and more that can help on this front.

Get creative

The more creative you can get with your email drip campaigns, the more likely your target audience will engage with you.

We recommend looking through your own inbox for inspiration. What types of subject lines compel you to open them? Which emails drive you to click the link within? What stands out?

Additional suggestions include:

  • Jokes
  • Special deals (with a creative twist)
  • Word of the day
  • Series of relevant tips

Just be sure to stay true to your brand and the interests of your audience. If you’re not sure, test your more out-of-the-box ideas on a smaller segment of your audience.

Build up anticipation and excitement

There are plenty of opportunities to generate anticipation and excitement among your audience. Whether you’re launching a new product, relaunching your website, opening a new store location, promoting an upcoming event or something else, use email drip campaigns to hint, announce, educate and remind.

This will pull your customers and potential customers through this attention-generating email drip campaign.

Use automation

Manually managing email drip campaigns can be very time-intensive. Automating your campaigns will both save you time and promote overall consistency.

DailyStory can help with email marketing automations (as well as in other types of digital marketing). And our platform offers even more than automation capabilities.

Schedule your free demo with us today.

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