14 best practices for 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.

What is social proof? And 9 ways to use it in your digital marketing

When digging deeper into the idea of “social proof,” just remember that humans are definitely pack animals.

Psychologically speaking, humans want to fit in with the rest of the crowd, and this can affect us in many ways, particularly our consumer behavior.

Social proof refers to potential customers assuming that what others are doing is correct based on how often they see those actions. In other words, social proof is about looking to others to figure out the right way to interact in any given situation.

Businesses can leverage positive social proof to influence consumer behavior and generate more sales.

About 91 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online social proof reviews as much as recommendations from someone close to them, while 63 percent of consumers indicated they are more likely to purchase from a website with product ratings and reviews.

Of course, social proof is even more powerful when it comes from someone the potential customer knows. About 82 percent of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family before making a purchase.

The following are nine ways you can use social proof across your digital marketing channels to persuade potential customers and grow your sales.

Highlighting positive reviews

Online reviews might be the first thing you think of when it comes to social proof. You’re definitely not wrong.

Consider Yelp. Are you more likely to try the restaurant with a lot of five-star reviews or the one with none? About 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and consumers often check at least two or three review sites before making a decision about a business.

Be the business they want to try, not the one they want to avoid.

You can do this by paying attention to more than just one review site. In other words, if you’re only focused on Yelp, you’re missing key opportunities. Google, FourSquare, even Facebook are all platforms where reviews can be made and viewed publicly about your business.

Then, highlight any relevant five-star reviews on your website, landing page or even some social media posts, depending. The more you share, the better! Don’t be shy.

To help boost your share of positive reviews, don’t be afraid to ask your customers for a review on their favorite site. This can be done with follow-up emails, signs posted in your business or even links shared on your social media. Keep your ask simple: “Support our small business by sharing your experience with us on Yelp” or whatever review site, for example.

Engaging with negative reviews

Granted, we can’t assume that all reviews will be positive. When encountering a negative review, read it thoroughly and respond. Yes, respond. Do not ignore. Acknowledge the issues or problem your reviewer encountered with your business (no matter how relevant or not). And offer a solution to his or her problem. This can be a gift card, discount or other incentive to come back and give you another shot. And this offer does not have to be worked out in a public back-and-forth. At the right time, you can say that you’ll message them directly to further resolve the problem. But it’s the initial engagement publicly that can help save a negative review from completely preventing a potential customer from considering your business. 

The better you engage with the negative review, the better you will look in the eyes of others. In fact, about 89 percent of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews in general.

Make sure you know about these eight types of negative SEO while you’re at it.

Sharing customer testimonials

It’s one thing for you to say that your brand is the best. It’s something entirely different when people outside of your brand say that you’re the best.

About 92 percent of consumers are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations than any other type of advertising.

Testimonials are positive experiences and/or anecdotes from customers who have used your product or service. They help establish credibility for your brand.

Be sure to regularly solicit happy customers for testimonials that you can update your website with and/or share in social media posts. Encourage them to be specific about the product or service they used, the problem it helped them solve and even how they felt before they came to you and after.

You can make the process even easier by including a Google Form (or another embedded form on your website). 

Partnering with celebrities, influencers

Influencer marketing has only been growing in recent years, and it’s easy to see why, especially when considering social proof. Consumers clearly trust public opinion more than brands themselves, so the word of people with influence falls into that category as well.

In fact, content from influencers generates more than 8 times the engagement rate of content shared directly by brands.

The key is that you identify an influencer who is relevant to your industry and jives with your brand.

Dig into these seven tips you should know before starting your first influencer marketing campaign.

Onboarding brand ambassadors

Similar to influencers, you can recruit brand ambassadors, which are essentially brand evangelists and loyalists who will promote your brand to their networks. Brand ambassadors can range between average people who love your company to micro-influencers with some clout online.

This type of program can be managed in a range of ways, where you can offer anything from commission to discounts to branded swag.

The appeal here is that brand ambassadors can humanize your brand even further. Just remember that brand ambassadors can be an easy avenue of getting more user-generated content (UGC) that features or includes your product out on various online channels. UGC can definitely play into social proof by piquing the interest of the potential customers it reaches.

Growing your social media following

First things first, we don’t want you to fall into a rabbit hole of obsession with growing your followers on social media. It’s just not the ultimate measure of success that some brands think it is. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the size of your following can be a type of social proof. It’s that herd mentality again. When a consumer sees a large number of people doing (or following) something, they’re more likely to try it, too.

Resist the temptation to buy a ton of fake followers. This practice will never serve you in the long run. Social media success thrives on authenticity, and creating the illusion of social proof is exactly the opposite. Focus, instead, on sharing engaging content and building a genuine social media following.

Leveraging your customer count

If you have an established customer base, it’s worth considering leveraging those numbers as social proof. Whether it’s customers, subscribers or any other type of consumer who is using your product or service, sharing that will help show that your brand is valuable and trusted.

Think about how McDonald’s says “Over 9 billion served” on its signs. But this can be done on your website and/or social media profiles as well.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to simply boast about your numbers. Make it an invitation: “Join our 500,000 satisfied customers,” for example. It gives a feeling of belonging to consumers.

A slightly different angle on this front is leveraging any of the big-name customers you might have. You can do this by highlighting their logos on your website. Just make sure that you’re highlighting the brands that your audience will recognize.

Showcasing any awards, recognition

Awards and recognition aren’t just great types of social proof, they also act as evidence that your brand is, in fact, trustworthy. There’s a validation there because they come from a third party. 

Beyond just listing awards your brand has won, you can use award logos embedded on your website and even feature the logos of websites your brand has been mentioned on.

Again, it lends to your credibility.

Creating a blog

Before you think, “Not another blog,” remember that blogs are a great way to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.

The idea is to offer potential customers with insightful, problem-solving and actionable content. Tying this content into your products or services is great, but keep that approach in balance.

Showcasing your value to your audience is more important than getting yet another sales plug in. In the end, you’re ultimately creating and sharing content to build up your trustworthiness in the eyes of potential customers. It’s less about the hard sale.

Check out these seven tips to level up your content marketing.

Be aware of social shares

Adding social media share buttons next to various content on your website can sound like a great type of social proof. And it can be.

But if your social shares are typically low, this can actually backfire on you.

Website visitors seeing only a handful of shares can give them the impression that your content isn’t very valuable.

So, before using this approach, do an audit on your average amount of social shares. If it’s typically a high number, then the social share buttons are worth including to boost your social proof.

While you’re boosting your social proof, consider improving your digital marketing process with DailyStory. Features include automation and dynamic audience segmentation. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 tips to write an effective push notification

In the noisy landscape of social media, internet browsing and text messages, writing an effective push notification that engages your audience is critical.

While DailyStory is one of several platforms that offer the ability to send push notifications, the point of using them is to engage your app audience in ways that bring them into your app more often. Depending on the goal of your app, increased usage can lead to increased revenue.

But about 78 percent of app users say that the push notifications they receive are not relevant to them, and this can lead to an increase in opt-outs. Don’t be one of those apps that get ignored.

On the flip side, sending engaging push notifications can increase your 90-day app retention by 190 percent.

Below are seven tips on how to write effective push notifications that won’t turn your customers away.

Tip #1: Keep your push notification short and to the point

You hear this a lot across many marketing channels: The shorter the better. But it’s fairly common sense when talking about push notifications. When was the last time you read (and engaged with) a long push notification?

In fact, for the highest conversion rates, you’ll want to craft a push notification that’s 24 characters or fewer.

Read through what you’ve written at least two times and tighten, tighten, tighten.

Tip #2: Don’t be scared … get creative!

Before you rush a push notification message, take a moment to jot down a few different approaches or angles to your message. Make sure the title is catchy, and that the body is crisp.

Think about active power words and clear call-to-actions that a user can grasp from possibly just a glimpse of your message popping up on his or her phone.

In fact, reviewing our 19 tips to write better headlines can help you branch out while also being concise.

Tip #3: Be clear about the value

You’re going to be tempted to share information for the sake of awareness, but resist as much as you can.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What’s the value of your notification to them? Would they be turned off by a more generalized message?

There should be a reason, an urgency, to your notification. Think about what you would like your users to do as well. What’s your call to action for them? Should they click on the notification? Why?

Get to the point of why you’re popping up on their phones, and take the opportunity to show them that they’re special. Maybe there’s an exclusive offer you can give them or special information (like behind-the-scenes photos of a relevant event).

Tip #4: Pump it up with more than just text

If you have access to rich push notifications, you can stand out from the crowd of push notifications popping up on the phones of your audience. Consider the possibility of including photos, GIFs, videos, etc. as part of your message. You also can play off of the attachment in the text itself, letting the image tell part of the story. Including an attention-grabbing image can improve a push notification click-through rate by 56 percent.

Emojis are another option to play with, which can help you reduce your character count and also help convey mood, emotion or theme.

However, be aware of the different devices and operating systems your users could be using. There’s always a chance that an image of any kind won’t work for some.

Tip #5: Emotions matter in your push notification

You’re not a robot, and neither are your app users. So, don’t be afraid to get a little emotional … whether it’s excitement, humor (just triple check that you’re actually funny), curiosity, any positive emotion will improve your user engagement.

Timing, wording and potentially your use of emojis can help convey the emotion you desire.

Tip #6: Ask questions

Questions. They’re a longtime go-to for any engagement-seeking writing, whether it’s on Facebook, email, you name it. But they have their place in the land of push notifications as well.

It’s because questions are a great way to start a conversation. They target our natural instinct to answer and hopefully are well-crafted enough to make a user pause to consider an answer and (even better) click on the notification to open your app to find out more.

Tip #7: Be a problem solver

The more useful your message can be, the better. You want to make the lives of your audience easier in some way. Think of how a calendar app reminds users of an upcoming appointment. What problem can you solve? What function can you serve for your users?

That’s the higher level. When digging into writing a message, you may actually want to get into the weeds of what problem your alert can solve. Think along the lines of: If this (problem), then that (solution).

No matter what approach you take, make sure to have someone take a second look before your push notification goes out. This may be more challenging in a small-scale operation (where everyone is likely wearing many hats), but can save you a lot of trouble down the road, where issues of spelling, readability and even whether something is funny (or offensive) can hurt your app’s credibility and spur the opposite response from your audience than you want.

You also should consider developing an overall push notification strategy for better consistency in both messaging, frequency and timing. Check out our push notification strategy guide.

While you’re improving your push notifications, consider leveling up all of your digital marketing with DailyStory, which features the ability to automate numerous actions, integrate with your existing applications, segment your audience dynamically and more. Find out more about how we can help your business. Schedule a free demo with us today.