What is Drip Marketing? The Complete Guide to Set up Drip Campaigns

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The traditional sales funnels no longer exist and the customer has become the focal point of all the business processes, irrespective of their reach and responsibilities. That means, as a marketer, you can no longer rely on standalone touchpoints to market your brand offerings and spread the word among your audiences.

Drip marketing offers a better approach. It exposes your audiences consistently and dynamically to your products and services to ensure that they are nudged regularly to respond to your CTAs as part of your proactive outreach.

What is drip marketing? How is it different from lead nurturing? Why should you care about it? Seasoned marketer or budding enthusiast, here’s everything you need to know about drip marketing.

Table of contents

What is drip marketing?

Drip marketing or drip email campaign is an excellent strategy where the customers are exposed to a constant flow of a brand’s marketing material over a period of time.

Essentially, instead of sending all the marketing material at once, small ‘drips’ are sent to the customers over a fixed period of time. Email marketing is one of the easiest means to create and send drip campaigns.

The emails are sent as pre-written automated sets based on specific timelines or user actions, such as signing up for your services, purchasing your brand offerings, or signing up for your newsletters.

They are also called ‘behavioral emails’ since they are sent in response to a customer's behavior in relation to your brand and brand offerings.

The following terms are also synonymous with drip campaigns:

  • Drip marketing

  • Automated email campaign

  • Autoresponders

  • Lifecycle emails

You might ask yourself why you should also consider drip campaigns when you already have an all-set email marketing system in place? For starters, you don’t want to lose the opportunity to engage with your audience and more importantly, because the context and use cases are different.

Benefits of drip email marketing

1. Boost customer engagement

This is precisely the aim of email drips. As the emails are sent based on the actions of the audience, they are more relevant to them, you can set the drip email triggers accordingly and better motivation levels.

Amazon, for instance, has an unbeatable record in drip campaigning and a notable example to follow in this regard. We’re no strangers to an email or two from Amazon when we browse their product category and leave without making a purchase. The email enlists the other products that might interest you and similar ones will pop up in your recommendations.

This way, we are constantly engaged in the offerings and eventually become loyal customers.

2. Nurture lead funnel

Often, the new or potential customers are not ready to make a purchase from you and are still seeking more information regarding your brand and its offerings. Having a robust and well-planned drip campaigning system in place for such situations can work wonders for your customer acquisition endeavors.

You can automate the drip emails enabling you to share more information about your products based on the browsing history of the potential customers and even answer potential questions.

Drip campaigns allow you to simulate a typical conversation between a buyer and a seller in a virtual environment and automate the movement of potential and new customers inside the marketing funnel.

Thus, your customer acquisition costs are reduced and customer attrition is also kept under check.

3. Promote relevant content

Customers get frustrated with random promotional emails they receive in tons every day. This constant email push also leads to marketing fatigue and many customers might also choose to put you on snooze or completely opt-out of your mailing list.

The drip campaigns can actually prove highly beneficial in this regard as they allow you to send relevant content. This content is also tailored as per the current position of your prospect in his or her journey with your brand.

4. Re-engage past and existing customers

Drip campaigns allow you many opportunities to reach out to your audience. You can create re-engagement drips for the customers that have become inactive over time and attempt to re-energize them yet again.

It can range from a simple "Hey, we miss you!" to “We’ve got an announcement!” product updates or reviews or milestones.

5. Address the brand needs

When properly planned, drip marketing allows you to keep your brand in the minds of your customers constantly. This level of brand awareness makes you the go-to brand of your customers when required.

Over time, they can also turn into loyal brand advocates and promote you word of mouth. You can gradually pave the way for potential and new customers as well, by exposing them to relevant and carefully crafted personalized content over time.

6. Capture abandoned cart

A lot of times, customers leave after populating the cart and applying the promo codes. This exit right before the payment must be addressed efficiently to avoid losing business. Drip marketing addresses cart abandonment effectively by allowing you to send nudges to complete the transaction.

You can also do an advanced analysis of the customer behavior on your website to figure out the reasons behind cart abandonment and use the insights to entice them again.

Some other important advantages drip campaigns offer are:

  • Cross-selling and up-selling opportunities

  • Delivering delightful customer experiences

  • Customer engagement after the sale

  • Automated drips save your time and effort and allow you to focus on more important tasks

Key elements of a drip marketing campaign

You get the gist of what email drips are and what they can achieve. You need to know the finer details of an email drip before you can set up your own drip campaign.

1. Triggers

Triggers are the special events or actions taken by your prospects and customers that call a specific drip marketing campaign routine in motion. It can be the entry of that customer in your pipeline or forwarding him or her to the next stage in the funnel.

Triggers vary across the businesses and their unique demands. Some of the most common triggers are:

  • New subscriber

  • Lead creation

  • Newly registered user

  • A customer leaving your website with a populated cart, right before payment

2. Conditions

A trigger can make a call to a specific drip campaign routine on the basis of the various conditions it satisfies. Both the trigger and the campaign conditions are to be decided during the planning phase of the campaign. They are determined by the marketers and are only limited to their imagination and creativity.

For instance, your customer has abandoned the cart. This trigger will make a call to the specific conditions, such as ‘wait for two days before sending a reminder’ or ‘send a drip only if the cart total surpasses a set limit’, etc.

3. Actions

Once the triggers and conditions are decided, the corresponding actions are to be taken, such as sending drips via different platforms or different types of drips. Drip marketing need not always be limited to emails, some other common platforms are SMS, push notifications and direct messages on social media, etc. For the scope of this article however, our primary focus is email drips.

Now that we’ve caught up with the working of email drips, let us explore the process of setting up a drip campaign.

Getting started with drip marketing: How to set up a drip campaign?

Creating an effective drip campaign is essential to achieve the best results, especially if you are using drips to boost customer retention, engagement, sales and improve your relationships with leads.

However, before we enter into the detailed dynamics of effective drip marketing campaigns, it is important to address the drivers of every successful email campaign - strategy and planning.

Strategy and planning

Without a robust and well-planned strategy, any campaign will be a failure as it cannot the most important parts of the equation - the right customers, at the right time, and the right email. Improper or poorly planned campaigns generate below-average results and fail to curate powerful customer experiences.

Begin with the core pain points or standalone touchpoints in the entire customer journey and then focus on what can be done to address them. Once you’ve identified this, you will be able to draw inferences about how to plan the flow of your drips so that the customer is engaged through their entire journey.

Take a look at the following optimized marketing funnel that ensures that the customers don’t drop out of the funnel.

Effective strategy and planning involve thinking around such optimized funnels to maximize the points of brand exposure for every customer. The funnels and different stages can, however, vary across businesses and industries.

Determine your goal

Every drip campaign should have a valid and reasonable goal. There can be different goals for different campaigns - warming up the leads, boosting sales, addressing cart abandonment, and much more. If you want to know more about the different email drips you can use, read about the types of drip email campaigns that can benefit your business.

Quick tips:

👉 Ensure that your content is specific and targets the main aim of your campaign

👉 Make use of UTM parameters for better analytics to track what happens when the email is clicked.

Identify your audience

Once you have finalized the types of emails you are going to send for different triggers, you have to segment your audience properly for best results and on-point reaches. Consider the following questions:

  • Who is going to get cart abandonment drips?

  • After how many days you are going to send the warm-up drips?

  • How many drips must you send to the new customers or prospects?

  • Which customers are going to be targeted for re-engagement drips?

Creating such segments makes the job of ‘trigger-condition-action’ mapping easier and more efficient.

Map your drip campaign

From email drip frequency to checking whether your triggers match your messaging, check and cross-check every step as you map your entire drip campaign.

Further, plan and consider how you are going to measure the success of your campaign.

Analyze your drip campaign performance

Drip campaigns are highly quantifiable as they allow you to track everything, right from the customers who opened your emails to which customer clicked on which links and where are your subscribers finding you.

While such data and detailed reports might be manageable in SMEs and start-ups when it comes to large enterprises, it can be overwhelming and its processing is nothing short of a daunting affair.

The following are the common metrics tracked to gauge the performance of your drip campaigns.

  • Open rate

    • Percentage of customers opening your emails

  • Bounce rate

    • Percentage of bounces (emails are not delivered to the audience), hard bounces occur when the email is rejected by the server (spam, etc) and soft bounces occur because of some errors you made (misspelled user ID, etc)

  • Click rate

    • Percentage of users that actually clicked your CTAs

  • Unsubscribe rate

    • Percentage of users that have opted out of your email list or unsubscribed from your emails

  • Reply rate

    • Percentage of users that have replied to your email and are ready for the next step in the onboarding process

There are many other metrics you can track, read more about email marketing metrics and how to utilize them. The availability of such metrics in your email marketing system might depend on the vendor you have chosen.

Keeping a track of these metrics allows you to make your email campaigns more successful and more reaching as you can:

  • Clean your email lists regularly

  • Work on your CTAs

  • Learn from previous results and CTA responses

  • Improve your lead gathering and lead nurturing and much more

Drip email marketing best practices

Email list segmentation

Email list segmentation or customer segmentation or customer clustering means that you classify your contacts into different categories based on different parameters, such as age, gender, location, purchasing power, and shopping preferences, etc. You can think of many other such parameters that distinguish some customers from others, creating as many segments as you need.

Customer segmentation is useful in various stages of drip campaigns, especially since the triggers and conditions are closely tied to the list segmentation filters.

Smart segmentation allows you many actionable insights and service touchpoints in a customer's journey, such as:

  • Small scale customers

  • Large scale customers

  • Customer interests

  • Preferred channels for communication

  • Location of your customers, and so on.

All these insights empower you to make your drip campaigns powerful and well-targeted.

Track and monitor the position or stage of your leads in their journey with your brand

Modern customer journeys are more complex and have many different stages.

You have to ensure that you precisely know the position of your customers in their journey with your brand. This understanding will enable you to design compelling and lucrative drips that are relevant to them right at that stage.

When it comes to offering targeted brand information to your existing customers ‘set preferences’ links are vital. Over time, your customers develop specific brand preferences and convey what interests them and how frequently they wish to get your emails.

Including the ‘set preferences’ option in every drip allows your prospects and customers to choose the offers and content, improves your targeting and personalization endeavors. This is also helpful in creating segments and sending relevant content in an automated manner.

Send milestone drips

Milestone emails are sent when a customer has reached a specific milestone in his journey with your brand. Some examples are - completing one year of shopping with you, completing 100 purchases, shared your brand promotions, or done word of mouth marketing on his own.

Focusing on such milestones makes marketing more personalized and your customers feel appreciated and valued.

Educate your leads

When you educate your leads all along their journeys and inform them how their products add more value to their lives and how they can get the best value out of them. Educating your leads over time should be one of the secondary goals of your drip marketing.

Lead education is crucial for the success of onboarding drips and warm-up drips. Some of the best lead education resources include how-to guides, product walkthroughs, checklists, demos, webinars, demos, and free trials, etc.

However, proceed with restraint, don’t bombard your audiences' inboxes with long how-to guides and case studies at every opportunity.

Get started with your first email drip with Mailmodo

As evident from our discussion so far, that unlocking success via drip campaigns requires precise control over many variables and an in-depth understanding of many customer and business verticals.

On the implementation side, you require advanced analytics for processing the huge chunks of data and employ metrics to make sense of it. For that, you need a reliable, efficient, and intuitive email marketing platform.

Not to be presumptuous, but Mailmodo is one of your best options.

You can use multiple in-built templates to send awesome drips that convert three times more and also employ smart features of email list segmentation and personalization for impeccable campaigning. Sign up for free today to send your first email drip!

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