Every email has a purpose. That purpose, if you’re a digital marketer, should be focused on a single goal, like:

  • Thanks for signing up, have a coupon!
  • Here’s a roundup of what we’ve been up to lately
  • Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy a free holiday marketing ebook!

Perhaps nowhere is this philosophy more apparent than in drip campaigns. 

What Are Email Drip Campaigns?

A drip campaign is a series of emails that you can schedule in advance to ‘drip’ into the customer’s inbox at just the right cadence — you can also target them to particular segments to ensure they’re personalized and therefore providing maximum value to your subscribers.

For example, let’s say someone fills out a form on your site to download an ebook of yours. Your first email might be a notification that their free ebook has arrived. Your second email might come five days later, asking how they enjoyed the ebook. The third might come a few days after that, asking them to pass on the love by telling their friends about your amazing ebook and urging them to sign up.

There are more complex drip campaigns, of course, and they don’t all involve a lead magnet like an ebook. Some use the sales funnel as a guide, with the intent of moving leads to the next stage of their buyer’s journey. 

Why Use Drip Campaigns?

Drip campaigns are essential to an effective inbound marketing strategy and sales approach. Not only do they automate the nurture of new prospects and maintain relationships with customers, but they also get great results: According to Zapier, drip emails can boost click-through rates by 119%.

What’s behind this effectiveness? Well, drip campaigns have the benefit of being sent out to people who’ve already shown some interest in your brand — they’ve signed up for your list or purchased something already — which means they’re set up for success. In addition, drip campaigns help keep your brand top-of-mind in an inbox that is already crowded. One email might get lost, but several emails can help create familiarity with your business.

Your job is to capitalize on that ripe opportunity by designing and implementing drip campaigns that keep those new subscribers’ attention and lead them toward conversion.

Drip Campaign Prep: Definition and Identification

Before you can create your drip campaigns, you need to cover two essential points.

Definition: What’s Your Campaign For?

The most fundamental question is one of purpose. This should be your company’s overarching goal with your entire email marketing agenda:

  • Are you trying to convert new leads?
  • Are you rewarding existing customers?
  • Are you boosting sales in a typically slow season?
  • Are you emailing a new subscriber?
  • Are you nurturing an existing subscriber?
  • Are you upselling an existing customer?

You can (and should) have multiple drip campaigns for multiple email groups, depending on who you’re talking to. All of the above scenarios can absolutely coexist, but you have to start with the groundwork of defining your goals upfront. The rest will become a whole lot easier.

Identification: Get to the Point 

Often, when people give you their email address, they expect something in return. A good practice is to give them that thing immediately.

If they’re customers at your clothing store, you might draw them in with a coupon code for 25% off their next purchase. That coupon should be the first email those customers receive. The second might be a reminder if they haven’t redeemed it yet, or a thank you note with related products if they have; the third could be a customer service survey with another coupon as a reward.

A successful drip campaign needs to only be a few emails long—three to five is the sweet spot. If you don’t have a lot of value, don’t stretch it. There’s nothing more annoying than receiving daily drip emails for a week straight.

How to Put Together a Successful Drip Campaign

Okay, now it’s time for the good stuff – how to actually put together a drip campaign. We’ll walk you through the entire process, but it’s important to note that a marketing automation tool is essential for pulling this off, preferably one that also comes with a built-in CRM and lead generation tools too. 

1. . Capture Leads 

The first thing you need to do is enroll subscribers into your email marketing, and the best way to do that is to create ways to capture leads on-site. Pop-up forms with sign-up incentives are a great way to do this, as well as landing pages that can be used in your paid ad campaigns. Make sure these landing pages include embedded forms so you can offer a guide, ebook, or demo in exchange for site visitors’ contact information. 

Make sure all your forms abide by marketing compliance practices and require permission from your subscribers to enroll them in your email marketing. 

2. Qualify Leads 

Once you have a solid list, note some of the important characteristics of each lead, such as their industry, knowledge level, on-site behavior, and anything else you can glean. You’ll want to separate your leads based on various qualifiers so you know which ones are further along in their journey and, therefore, more ready to buy. This will help you spend more time on leads that are more qualified and therefore likely to become customers. 

3. Segment Your List 

Based on these qualifiers, sort your leads into applicable lists so that you can better personalize your email content. The more focused your emails, the better your conversion rate will be. 

This step will also help you organize and focus your email campaigns. By understanding and labeling your lists, you can create campaigns catered to the specific needs of those within those lists. 

4. Create an Email Series for Each Segment

This may seem like a lot of work, but if you’ve been creating content regularly, it should be fairly simple. Pull your highest performing content or your most informative blog posts and organize them based on what pain points they help address. 

Add this content to your campaigns where it makes the most sense, and then take some time to write your emails. These don’t have to be terribly lengthy; they just need to provide value. 

5. Cater to Each Segment’s Needs

This is important, so we feel it’s crucial to fully address it: make sure that the educational content in your emails fits the needs of the people within each segment. So, if you’re sending a message to a fairly knowledgeable group of leads, don’t fill the email with “101s” or beginner guides. Remember, your CRM should provide you with tons of intel on your leads, so use it to connect the dots between who your subscribers are and the content they crave. 

6. Track Behavior

You can also set up drip campaigns based on the website activity and email behavior of your subscribers. Map out your campaigns based on different pathways your subscribers take and use a flowchart or mind map maker tool like Diagrams.net or XMind to plan.

Here’s an example of a nurture sequence you could create using BenchmarkONE. The industry we’re using here is travel.

We included our tag rules capabilities. This allows you to apply specific tags to customers based on actions they take so you can better qualify leads (placing a numeric value on more desired actions) and personalize future outreach. 

7. Establish a Frequency for Each Series

How far you space out each email within your drip campaign comes down to knowing your subscribers. However, it doesn’t hurt to pull from personal experience, either. How often do you like receiving emails from brands? You don’t want to email your prospects too much, as that could annoy them. But then again, you don’t want to email too infrequently that they forget as to why they’ve enrolled in your email marketing in the first place. You may want to start a sequence by emailing more frequently while you have initial interest, and then decrease frequency over time so you don’t burn out your subscribers.

8. Establish a CTA 

If you want your emails to convert (and we know you do!), you need to offer subscribers an opportunity to take the next step in the sales funnel. Include a CTA at the end of every email, personalized to each segment’s current position. This could be to download a guide, set up a call with a sales rep, receive a quote, or schedule a demo of your software. 

9. Track Results

As with any strategy, there may come a time when you need to pivot, and tracking stats like click-through rates and unsubscribe reasons (you can add a questionnaire to your unsubscribe page to get these) can help you figure out what needs to be changed to improve your results.

Make sure you’re not just setting and forgetting your email campaigns. Check-in on them regularly to see if they’re doing an adequate job of converting leads to customers or if there are things you need to adjust, like updating content, CTAs, or the number of emails within a series. 

Are you ready to take on email drip campaigns? We hope this guide has provided you with the information you need to get started off on the right foot. Remember, using a marketing automation tool is crucial, and BenchmarkONE offers plenty of tools to help you track new leads and set up automated campaigns to facilitate adequate nurture. Take a quick tour of our software today and sign up for a free plan to get started!