Ask any marketer who has implemented it and they’ll definitely sing its praises.
And the reason for that is simple – email marketing works.
Not only is email a reliable platform for communicating with your customers, but it’s also one of the best as far as ROI is concerned – $44 for every $1 you spend.
So, what makes email so effective when it comes to driving your business goals forward?
One word – relationships.
Of all marketing channels, email is the only one that affords you the privilege of building meaningful (and profitable) relationships with your customers.
And that’s where email drip campaigns come in.
As I said, email is the only communication channel that allows businesses to build meaningful relationships with their customers. But as it is in life, our relationships are never on the same level. Someone you meet today can’t know you as well as someone you’ve known for 10 years.
You have to introduce yourself and, starting from as far back as possible, bring them up to speed on your life.
But with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people subscribing to your email list every month, how can you build a solid relationship with them?
A drip email campaign is simply an automated email marketing strategy designed to send out multiple emails to a subscriber over a certain period of time. The emails are triggered by an action performed by the customer and are set to go out at predetermined intervals.
The main purpose of drip email campaigns is to provide subscribers with exactly the information they need at the right time. And the best part is that no matter when a person joins your email list (or a particular segment) everyone receives the exact same sequence.
For example, in the education sector, drip marketing campaigns can be used to onboard new students as in the example below:Click to preview
And FYI, drip campaigns are also commonly referred to as:
For the purpose of reducing confusion, we’ll stick to drip email campaigns throughout this post.
If you’re wondering whether you need to run drip email campaigns for your business or not, let me tell you that you definitely need them. Every business needs a drip campaign in one form or another.
That will become evident as we look at the different types of drip email campaigns and their applications.
What’s so special about drip email campaigns?
Why do you need them as part of your marketing strategies?
Let’s quickly look at some common benefits of drip campaigns, shall we?
Drip campaigns are a great way of boosting engagement with your audience. One of the main reasons for this is that the emails are triggered by the customer. As a result, the contents of the emails are more likely to be relevant. A great example of this is when a subscriber signs up to your list. A drip email campaign in the form of a welcome email series will certainly drive engagement as the recipient is interested in your product or service.
Another great advantage of running drip email campaigns is that they promote brand loyalty. The more people engage with your email content, the more they value as an authority and trusted resource in your field. This is why it’s important to:
If your drip email campaigns can have the above 2 hallmarks, you’ll have yourself a tribe of loyal customers in no time.
A successful business is a result of strong customer relationships. With data proving that it costs 5x more to get a new customer than to retain an old one, building strong relationships becomes a foundational pillar of building a successful business.
And how do you build strong relationships with your customers?
Every business, whether online or brick-and-mortar, needs to implement drip email marketing campaigns to ensure successful growth.
Research shows that automated emails drive about 75% of revenue from email marketing campaigns. A major reason for this is that email automation ensures you send targeted and personalized messages. The result is higher open and transaction rates.
But the question still remains – how can you pull off a successful drip email campaign?
While drip email campaigns may seem daunting, they are quite easy to pull off because of email automation software. However, before you automate, here’s how to design an effective drip email campaign:
The first step in designing your drip campaign is to set your objectives. Set SMART goals – yes, they do apply to email marketing too. In other words, determine:
Speaking of measuring your success, you’ll need to determine your key performance indicators (KPIs). These are metrics you’ll use to measure the success of your goals. Typical KPIs include:
Knowing your goals and objectives and how you’ll measure them is critical to running an effective drip campaign.
Now that you have defined your objectives and determined your KPIs, we move on to phase 2 of designing an effective drip campaign. And that’s to clearly define the action you want your subscriber to take.Click to preview
The main purpose of drip email campaigns is to help your subscribers on their buyer journey. Each email should have a call to action that will encourage the reader to take the next step down your funnel.
What does your subscriber need to do to set off a drip campaign?
Those are the triggers you need to identify and set. These can be any action, with examples including:
Of course, your triggers will be dependent on your goals and the type of drip email campaign you intend to run.
One important question email marketers ask when designing a drip campaign is how many emails they should send. The second question is how to space out those emails. To help answer this question, let’s briefly look at the results of a test that was conducted to determine the answer:
The test conducted by GetResponse revealed a few interesting takeaways, the main one being that engagement rates decrease as the number of emails in a sequence increases.
Does that mean you should favor shorter campaigns?
Not at all.
Each business has its own drip email best practices that are determined by:
Another point to consider is that the longer your sequence is, the more difficult it becomes to manage it. So how do you determine how many emails you need to send? Here are a few pointers:
Once you have determined how many emails are needed to take a customer from one stage of the customer journey to the next. Send a campaign to a small part of your database and get feedback on whether they think the sequence is too long or not. Another way to gauge the sweet spot is to A/B test by using 2 sequences with a different number of emails in each.
The feedback you get from experimenting with your campaigns is important as it will help you plan your future campaigns.
I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that there are a lot of moving parts involved in executing a drip email campaign. Keeping tabs manually on all these moving parts is next to impossible. Besides, doing it manually will need you to hire more staff to enable you to successfully execute your drip email campaign. Obviously, what will send your expenses through the roof.
And that’s exactly where email automation software comes to the rescue.
Email automation software allows you to create workflows that allow you to set your triggers, load your email content, and set delivery intervals. This is where the name “autoresponders” comes from as these workflows automate the entire drip campaign from start to finish.
The final step in running a drip email campaign is monitoring and evaluating the performance of your campaign. This is where the KPIs you set come into play. Using your ESPs analytics dashboard or third-party tools (or a combination of both), you can track your KPIs and use them to gauge whether your drip marketing campaign was a success or not.
The data you gather during and after a campaign is literally a goldmine as it will help you fine-tune subsequent drip campaigns. For example, if your open rates are low, you can investigate why that is. Using your findings, you can implement email marketing best practices that can help increase the open rates in future campaigns.
One of the most popular email drip campaigns is the welcome email.Click to preview
Meant to establish a relationship with your customer and foster brand awareness, you just have to get it right. Here’s how you can successfully set up this type of drip marketing campaign:
Submitting a subscription form
First email must be sent immediately. Subsequent emails can be sent 2-3 days apart.
Number of emails varies by industry but 3-6 is recommended.
Executed well, a welcome series can help you gain your subscribers’ trust.
Lead nurture campaigns are so called because they are used to strategically convert a subscriber into a buyer. This is achieved by using value-packed emails to move them through each stage of the buyer journey. To pull off a successful one, consider:
Downloading a resource
Depends on how long it takes to move a prospect from top of the funnel to middle to bottom and your business model (B2B/B2C). If it takes a prospect 2 months, for example, to move from the top of the funnel to the middle of the funnel, your sequence will have to be longer than that of a business that takes a month.
So how many emails should be in your sequence?
First off, don’t email your prospects every day – give them time to digest your previous. Once a week is usually the best spacing for your campaigns.
Depends on how complex your industry is. However, the bare minimum should be 4 for an industry that is not complex.
The most important part of running a successful lead nurture campaign is to make sure you give your subscribers the exact information they need. It’s basically holding each lead’s hands and walking them through your funnel.
One industry that greatly benefits from this drip campaign example is the real estate industry. It’s one of the most challenging industries as far as closing sales goes.Click to preview
However, a well-orchestrated drip marketing campaign can help you generate, nurture, and convert more leads into buyers.
Onboarding emails are used to educate users on how to use or make the most of a product or service. Like lead nurture emails, these help you to personally hold a subscriber’s hand and help them feel comfortable and confident in using your product. How do you go about effectively pulling off this type of drip marketing campaign?
First email must be sent immediately and is usually a thank you email. Subsequent emails can be sent 2-3 days apart. Bonus points for including a feedback email at the end of the sequence.
Number of emails varies by industry/product but 3-6 is recommended.
Don’t drop the ball when a new subscriber or customer comes on board. With the finance industry being one of the most sensitive, you need to gain trust fast. And a well-planned onboarding sequence can help you do just that. Here’s a great drip campaign example from a major player in the finance industry:Click to preview
Quickly running a drip email campaign is an excellent way to help your customers get more value from their purchase/subscription.
Another great drip campaign example is the promotional email. You can use a drip campaign to promote your product or services. How do you do that?
The first email is sent on the day your promotion is scheduled to start. You can send an email a day or space them out depending on the promotion type. However, towards the end of the promotion, daily emails are strongly recommended.
Avoid email fatigue. However, remind subscribers as often as possible. The number of emails you can send per promotion varies by industry/product but 4-8 are recommended.
Carefully planned and automated promotional sequences are a critical component of successful revenue generation. This is particularly true for the health and fitness industry that relies heavily on email marketing to drive sales. Here’s one of the best drip marketing examples in this niche:Click to preview
An upselling campaign is simply an email marketing campaign that seeks to encourage subscribers to upgrade their account or buy a better product. Here are some pointers on optimizing this drip email campaign:
Depending on your business model, you have 2 ways to time your upsell sequence:
Other upselling opportunities include:
Because you don’t want to seem to be too, keep your cadence lower than most campaign types – say 3-6.
One reason this drip email type works is that it’s easier to sell to existing customers than to new prospects. Ecommerce stores and businesses are the biggest beneficiaries of the perks that come from this drip marketing example.Click to preview
If you don’t use this drip marketing campaign type, now is the time to start implementing it.
Another business activity you definitely need to automate is your order confirmation sequence. Besides being mundane, it’s also impossible to manually confirm every order – especially at the right time.Click to preview
You know the drill, let’s get to it:
This type of email should be sent immediately when it’s triggered.
By virtue of its nature, a confirmation email sequence is usually short – 1 or 2 emails should suffice.
While it may not generate revenue like other email types, an order confirmation email is critical to building trust. It’s also a great way to increase brand awareness.
Customers abandoning their carts at checkout?
Then one drip campaign type that you can leverage (and boost your revenue) is the cart abandonment sequence.Click to preview
Send the first reminder 1-3 hours after the cart has been abandoned. The second email can be sent after 24 hours, the subsequent emails after 3 day intervals.
Because you don’t want to be too pushy (or look desperate) 2-4 emails should do the trick for your cart abandonment sequence.
Re-engagement emails, also known as win back emails, are another great example of drip email campaigns.Click to preview
The first email is sent when a subscriber reaches the number of days you’ve deemed to signal inactivity. Subsequent emails can then be sent at 2/3 day intervals.
4-5 emails in a sequence are enough to
A re-engagement email campaign is the best way to help you
Failing to utilize this drip marketing campaign will result in you leaving a lot of money on the table.
Another great way to put drip marketing to use is by implementing it in running email courses. Email courses are a great way to give your audience uber-valuable content while showing your expertise.Click to preview
How do you set up an effective email course using drip email marketing?
Send a welcome email immediately after sign up. The first lesson can then be sent a few minutes after the welcome email. Subsequent emails can be sent daily or weekly depending on how you decide to roll out your lessons
Depends on the intensity of the course. However, to keep engagement rates high keep your course as short as possible. 7, 14, 21, and 30 days are the most popular. However, you can also run a 4, 6, 8 week course with a lesson sent each week.
One of the biggest advantages of email courses is that they help establish your authority. As a result, it becomes easier to sell premium products/services.
Wanna know the best way to sell more on launch day?
Build buzz and excitement leading to launch day. And the best way to do it?
You guessed it – a drip campaign.Click to preview
A predetermined time before the product launch (2 weeks is usually ideal
Send the first email a couple of weeks before launch, then in the week leading to the product launch, you can send
If a subscriber missed the product launch, all is not lost. You can give them a chance to be part of the festivities by sending them a couple of emails encouraging them to be among the first to get onboard.
Executed well, your new product sequence should generate enough buzz and excitement to drive your sales through the roof on launch day.
|Industry||Drip Email Application|
|Health and Fitness/ Wellness||Use promotional drip campaigns to promote products – especially those that need refills like supplements.|
|Real Estate||Use promotional drip campaigns to promote products – especially those that need refills like supplements.|
|Education||Onboarding new students through a drip email campaign will help them quickly adjust to the new environment (on-campus students) and unique system of the school|
|Ecommerce||Ecommerce stores can use drip campaigns to launch new products, promote existing products, or simply to keep customers up to speed on what’s happening behind the scenes.|
|Finance||Trust plays a big role in the finance sector. Use onboarding drip campaigns to gain customers’ trust by showing them your processes and what they can expect from their investment.|
What a journey. And I’m sure you’re now rearing to go and implement all the knowledge you’ve gained from this post. Especially after seeing so many inspiring drip marketing examples.
Well, not so fast.
Before you execute your next email drip campaign, here are a few best practices you need to follow:
No matter what industry you may be in, following these (and other best practices) will ensure that your drip email campaigns always hit their intended targets.
Do you really need to run email drip campaigns for your type of business?
Short answer – you can’t do without them.
And the long answer?
Drip campaigns are the lifeblood of your business. Without them you can’t:
You do need to run email drip campaigns.
Digital marketing and new tools have opened doors for new avenues to communicate with customers, but email marketing remains the popular channel for customer outreach and relationship building. And the best opportunity
Get in touch to start a conversation.