Drip marketing: the secret to lift email conversions


Find out how drip campaigns can be used with transactional emails to drive more results

Have you heard of drip marketing?The concept is not new and you may even know it by another name, but the truth is this strategy focus on "dripping" relevant information to the customers, usually via email, for a set period of time and based on a user action.

There are some benefits of working with drips campaigns and we will get to that in a minute, but first, keep in mind that the most important benefit for your marketing efforts is that drip marketing nurtures your leads from the early stage until they become sales ready.

In some levels, drip marketing resembles transactional emails, as it's sent after some sort of action from the customer, but in fact they can work together to make your emails strategy more effective and increase your revenue.

Drip open rates are about 80% higher than single sends (Business Week)

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Just like your regular transactional email campaigns, the drip campaigns should lead to a conclusion, so don't stop marketing until you reach your ultimate goal.

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Why use drip campaigns

At this point, you should already know the importance of lead nurturing: contacting your customers on a regular basis maximizes your marketing efforts as keeps your brand in your customer's mind. Although many experts like to point out the differences between lead nurturing and drip marketing, they can complement one another and improve your emails strategy.

Lead nurturing is about educating the customer and building up a relationship with them, while drip marketing will ultimately take your customer to the final buying stages. The key is to nurture first and then introduce drip campaigns.

Like we said before, there are a few benefits of using drip marketing campaigns. It does help you nurture your leads throughout every stage of the customer decision journey, has much more impact on your customers than single emails campaigns, as stated by multiple types of research, and it can be executed with minimal effort. Although it might take a while to plan and create the campaigns, after the setup is complete is going to run by itself.

Drip campaigns are absolutely valuable to your marketing efforts.

(Neil Patel)

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More emails means more sales opportunities. If you dedicate time to create a powerful drip campaign, your customer will develop an affinity for your brand as they will appreciate the helpful information that has been sent.

A research from McKinsey & Company stated that creating satisfying, consistent journeys for the customer can increase your revenue by 15%. So what better way to improve your customer experience than giving them relevant information at the right time, according to their behavior and guiding them through the purchase funnel?

How to effectively combine transactional emails and drip marketing

Drip email campaigns are sent after the customers perform some action, just like transactional emails, but instead of sending a single email for each action, the plan is to send a series of emails to encourage and nurture your customer. When combining transactional emails and drip campaigns you will have emails sent according to the customer's behavior and not dictated by a timetable.

The main point to tie the messages to actual goals is helping the customers experience and success. Instead of fixed sequences of emails, every customer gets customized messages set to fulfill their needs.

As a marketing professional, you should know that your customers don't act all in the same way neither in ways you expect, so sending everyone the same email makes no sense.

For example, let's think of a cart abandonment case: your customer is probably used to receive an email inviting him to go back and close the deal. But why not think of a short series of email with different approaches, sent according to their actions and interactions?

Studies show that 95% of customers take up to two weeks to actually close the deal. So why send only one email? Create your drip campaign to send different emails after 30 minutes (50% of customers who leaves the shopping cart full usually return before the first hour to finish the purchase), after 24 hours and after 1 week.

But don't focus just on a time schedule. Personalize the emails according to the customer's needs, try to find out why they didn't complete the purchase and offer some extra help.

The drip campaign may increase your chances to re-engaging your customer and lead them to the final stage of the purchase funnel. A report from Forrester Research found that leads that go through a drip marketing funnel will spend 47% more on purchases.

A clever email drip campaign could help you recover up to 29% of abandoned transactions.

Another good example of transactional emails that can become a drip marketing campaign is the order follow up email.

Usually, after a purchase, your customer receives that classic emails, thanking for the order and asking for some sort of feedback or review. You could create a simple series of emails based on how the customer ranks the shopping experience, for example.

Considering you aren't selling physical products you can even take more advantage of the transactional emails and drip campaigns duo. Let's say a prospect signs up for your product newsletter.

The first email would probably be a heartwarming welcome. A second email could be sent a few days later explaining a little bit about your blog or product, why it is so good and what benefits the user can get from that. A third email would be more personal, something to build trust, consider showing your vulnerabilities. The next email could be a case study; in the next email consider offering a free trial of the product.

Establish a reasonable time interval between the emails, so they aren't sent too frequently nor not frequently enough. Of course, every prospect is different, so once again take a time and test it over and over again to get better results.

Planning your drip campaign

As every marketing technique, planning is primordial, so create your plan, set your goals and begin your campaign. When talking about drip marketing, each email is part of a carefully choreographed effort to reach the proposed goal. So we have created a quick to-do list before you begin:

  • Set your goals: what do you want to achieve with your campaign? It's important to have your goals very clear before starting your campaign. Know where you are heading to and what you want to accomplish with your actions.
  • Segment your audience: the key to creating successful behavioral drip campaigns is segmenting your list based on the customer behavior, of course. This step is extremely important as wrong segmentation can increase your unsubscribe rate. Remember that this is an ongoing project: your prospects and customers change roles all the time, so keep an eye on your database at all times.
  • Personalize: the number one rule on email marketing also applies to drip campaigns. Personalize your email messages and make it personal. You are talking to real people, not robots. Find out the perfect tone and keep your text short and objective.
  • Offer value: provide your customers with useful content. With drip campaigns, the content needs to be captivating, smart and even a bit provocative, especially if you want to grab your customer's attention and retain it. Keep feeding your customer with different content and measure their reactions. Create the whole narrative before writing the campaign. Write all the emails at once, so that they are cohesive and you don't forget what have been said before and what are the next steps.
  • Control the frequency: it's easy to lose track of how much emails you are sending. Be careful to not over do it. You want to reach your customer an effective number of times at the appropriate interval. The frequency may vary according to the stage of the lead: for example, if it's a new lead you may want to send emails more often, let's say on a weekly or daily basis, and as they move on the sales funnel he could be receiving fewer emails. However, the other way around could also work. For example, if you want to motivate your customer for un upcoming action, promotion or event, foe example, you could start with less frequent emails and then improve the frequency.
  • Test, track and optimize: as we said before, behavioral drip campaigns are based on the customer's behavior so you will have to keep testing your audience, tracking the results and optimize your messages and content to achieve your goals. See what works better for your customers, analyze opens rates, clicks, conversions and revenue, and make the most of your drip campaign.

After you plan your drip campaign strategy, you're ready to begin writing your emails.

Remember these key items that will power your campaign: be persuasive; include a call to action, ask your customers perform some action; don't sell on the first email, leave to the end of the series; get your customers excited to receive you next emails.

Last but not least, consider using other channels in your strategy. Social networks, SMS and other marketing techniques can boost your results.

Types of drip campaigns

Most marketing experts divide the drip campaign into six types:

  • Top of mind drips: helps to keep you customer engaged to your company or brand;
  • Educational drips: as the name says, it gives educational content to your prospects to guide them through the sales funnel;
  • Re-engagement drips: the goal is earn your customer back with a series of emails that will ultimately re-engage the customer;
  • Competitive drips: is focused on building tactics to get the attention of your competitor's customer and later drive them to switch brands;
  • Promotional drips: focused on offering promotional content, discounts, limited sales, etc;
  • Training drips: usually used by new users or readers to move them through a training program.

Drip emails increased our revenues by several hundred thousands of dollars (Ruben Gamez, CEO of Bidsketch)

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Remember that the sky is the limit. Every drip campaign can be customized according to your needs and can be used in an infinite number of ways.

A successfull example of a drip campaign

There is a great example of a successful drip campaign used by Smiley Cookie, an online shop that was facing problems with cart abandonment.

The brand created then a drip campaign with 3 emails that were sent over a period of 5 days. The first one was sent within 30 minutes of the customer's abandonment of the shopping cart. It has a customer-service-oriented tone and tries to find out if there was a problem checking out:

Smileycookiedripemail1

If the customer doesn't close the deal after the first behavioral triggered email, the second email is sent after 23 hours. The email has a similar tone and is still offers to help the customer, but this time offers a 10% discount.

Smileycookiedripemail2

The third and final email was sent about 4 days after the second email. This time a bigger discount is offered: 20%.

Smileycookiedripemail3

As a result, the brand had a 29% drop in the cart abandonment rate. This is a perfect example of how messages triggered by a specific behavior can help you achieve your final goals to ultimately convert the lead.

A common mistake when working with drip campaigns is to stop the dripping after the conversion. Keep on building the relationship with your customer. Consider asking for feedback, testimonials, inviting your customer back to your website for new purchases with different and creative drip emails.

The combined forces of lead nurturing and drip marketing used on transactional emails can help you build your trust and relationship with the customer and improve your ROI at the same time.

When you use the appropriate email marketing automation platform you can get segmentation, analytics and CRM integration to make your campaigns easier and more efficient.

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