What Is An Email Drip Campaign And Why You Should Have One For Your B2B Business Today
If you are running a business and have been thinking about marketing, you would have come across the idea of email marketing. Most email marketing involved sending out product and promotional information in an email blast.
That works great for product-based businesses. But if you are running a service-based business, like consulting, coaching, repair services and financial advising, your clients will want to feel assured that they have made the best choice when they pick you over your competitors.
Only one factor can make them feel confident—enough background knowledge of your niche.
Here's the truth. Your clients are too busy running their businesses to go seek out information about what you do, how you do it and why they should buy into your services. So the easiest thing for them to do is not do anything, delay decision making or they use pricing as an easy comparison factor. That is not fair to you. Email Drip Campaign is your solution to this problem.
What is an Email Drip Campaign?
You set up a series of emails that contain highly relevant and concise information that educates your clients about your services or industry. You use an email marketing platform to arrange them into a logical series and configure them to go out based at a specific duration. Sometimes, you can even set it up based on a particular user action that will trigger off the emails.
For example, when someone subscribes to your newsletter, he will get a welcome message immediately. In seven days, he will get the next automated email and ten days after that the second email from the series, and so on. You set the time intervals of each email.
Benefits of Drip Campaign
1. Top of mind awareness
When you meet someone at an industry or business networking session, you can put them into the campaign subscriber list. In this way, you get to keep your brand on top of their mind even though you only met once at the event.
Maybe you have met with a prospective customer, and they have decided to delay their purchase. You want to send them email drips so they have more information that can speed up their decision making.
In essence, you are educating target prospects and clients in small doses, just like at the hospital where an IV drip sends nutrients or medication directly into a patient's arm. Knowledge goes directly to them.
Over time, they get educated on
why your products/services have certain features or procedures,
how your fees are structured,
why certain jobs need that timeline and cannot be done any faster
what factors need to be considered before launching projects and more.
Once again, it's worth remembering that the contents are mostly educational rather than promotional. So readers don't feel like they are constantly bugged into buying your services.
2. Drip Campaign builds connection, trust and makes your business referable.
It is consistent communication that builds a connection with your clients, prospects and related stakeholders, especially when you craft highly customised emails.
Readers will come to believe that you are knowledgeable and an expert in what you do. You build trust with your readers. Even if they don't require your services, they are more likely to refer the right prospective clients to you.
What information to include in a Drip Campaign?
Drip Campaigns planned and pre-written.
One of the biggest challenges for business owners is to come up with content for drip campaign. We always ask our clients a simple question, Do you have 12 things to say to your clients that will help them make better decisions when requesting a quote? They always say yes. And most times, they will say they got more than 12 things to share with their clients. The more, the better!
All you have to do is write short educational and informative articles that will be highly relevant to your audience. That way, they are more likely to open your email.
Think about the information you share during the initial conversation with your prospective clients. I bet that it is always the same set of information with every client across any period.
Think about all the questions prospective clients tend to ask you before engaging your services. These are precisely the information you need to include in your email campaign.
Keep it concise.
Each email should be no more than a 2-minute read. Everyone is too busy and distracted to read long emails. If they want more extensive information, you can encourage them to contact you or lead them to your blog page. You can engage a writer to flesh out all the emails.
Keep it non-time-sensitive.
These emails are going to go out automatically over a long period. Suppose you raise an issue that is very focussed to a specific event, as we move away from that event in time, that issue because less and less important. You don't want to be known to send outdated information.
Include Call-To-Action (CTA)
Even though your objective is to educate and inform, you can include a call to buy/subscribe/download in later emails. When they trust you, they are more likely to buy into your offerings.
Some experts propose a 6:1 ratio of CTA. After six educational emails, send a promotional email. There are other ratios. The best way is to test it for yourself.
Is Email Drip Campaign really effective?
A study done by Epsilon showed that email open rates for drip campaigns were 76 per cent more than other forms of email marketing campaigns.
Martech Zone also reported that drip emails have an 80 per cent higher open rate than single-send emails.
The email marketing platform Emma found that targeted emails can produce 18 times more revenue than a general email promo blast when links to products are included. This makes sense. Your readers are more likely to click through on links because they have come to trust your brand.
You probably also know this. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 per cent compared to 5 to 20 per cent for a new customer. Why? Because 90 per cent of consumers prefer to buy from companies they recognise and remember them.
When should you use email drip campaigns?
Drip campaigns have been used in many different ways (i.e. tactics), but the intentions are always the same—to maintain engagement with your audience and remind them that you are there to help without being pushy for sales. In marketing terms, it's called lead nurturing. Leads are prospective clients who have yet to buy your services.
Some other ways you can use drip campaigns include;
At the point of subscription renewals – give them good reasons to keep the subscription going or upgrade to a higher grade.
Welcoming and onboarding a new client – helping them use features on your platform.
Online courses or service platforms – giving a tour of the lessons and overview of what to expect in future lessons.
Product demo — instead of giving them a long PDF manual and overwhelming your customers, you release such information in small packages so that it's easier for them to consume.
You are automating the hand holding of your customers. You cannot possibly deal with customers one-on-one every time. So it is worth the time, effort and money to set up a drip campaign.
It was found that when you make an effort to nurture your leads, your prospects will be 50 per cent more ready to buy from you and when they do take action to buy, they end up spending more.
What makes email drip campaign successful?
Your audience read what interest them. So making your content highly relevant will make them want to read your email drips.
If they open your email only to find a long essay, they are probably going to hit the delete button. Make it a 2-min or less read.
How you make your content interesting will decide to what extent they will read your article. Just because you are in the B2B sector, it doesn't mean you need to get all serious and formal. A reader is a person who enjoys humour just like you.
How to Create a Drip Email Campaign in 5 steps
Here are the five steps, simplified so that you have a top-level understanding of what it takes.
1. Describe your target audience.
This point is critical, but the majority of business owners don't do this enough. You may want to share all the good things about your services, but the truth is your clients wants to know what is essential for them, and not for you.
So you need to think about your offerings and solutions from their point of view. Start to understand what are their concerns, challenges, misconceptions and desires.
Group customers with same profiles into an email list. Be sure to make every list targetted. Collating random contacts into one list will only create a bad impression on those who find your information useless.
Many businesses claim that email campaigns are ineffective, but they don't realise that it's because their lists are not focussed nor targetted.
2. Package your information.
Think about all the questions that your clients have ever asked you, especially those that are repeated across many clients. It means your prospective clients will probably be thinking about the same questions too.
Group them into different topics and write out an article that can be read within two minutes.
3. Map out your campaign.
Decide on the frequency of email distribution that is appropriate for your list. Some B2C brands do it on a daily basis. This may not be very appropriate for a B2B setup.
Research shows that a fortnightly send is most ideal for open rates. But in marketing, there is no one secret formula. What works for one industry may not work for yours. So you may want to test out, which is more effective. In marketing, we call it A/B testing. And here is how you do it.
If you have a big enough list, you can break it up into two groups. You only test one variable at any one time. For group A, send out the emails on a daily basis. For group B, send out on a fortnightly basis. Over a specified time, check on the open rates. You will know which one works better for your audience. Try the A/B tests on other factors too to fine-tune your campaign.
4. Start your campaign
You cannot possibly do a drip campaign manually. You have more important things to do. Choose one of the many email marketing tools that are available online.
Mailchimp and Active Campaign are two of the more popular ones today. No matter which app you choose, always make sure that the subscription fees make sense for the features you actually use. Too often we pick the one with the best features, pay a lot for the subscription and end up using only a fraction of the tools.
All email marketing platforms come with numerous beautiful templates. Choose one that works for you. Sometimes, simple and clean design works best for B2B business. It would be good to have at least one picture for every email.
5. Evaluate and refine
Like in any ongoing marketing efforts, you want to review the analytics and refine your tactics. You can always carry out different A/B tests and figure out what works. Continuously testing your campaign is critical.
Some metrics commonly used are:
email open rates: how many people open to read your emails
click-through rates: if you have hyperlinks that lead readers to another page.
conversion rates: how many leads converts into clients over time.
reply rate: how many responded to your emails if you included a call to action.
bounce rate: how many emails inactive emails
unsubscribe rate: how many receivers choose not to receive your emails anymore (a sign that your content are not relevant to them)
There are more metrics, but this list is a good start.
How many emails am I going to send, when and in what order?
Business owners ask me this questions all the time. There is no hard and fast rule about the number of emails. Decide how long you want to nurture your leads. If you're going to drip them over six months on a fortnightly basis, then you need six topics. If you can write more articles, all the better.
How long does it take to nurture a lead into a client effectively? You can only know by testing it out.
The order of email depends on your topics. If they are meant to be read in a specific sequence, then follow that. If you are writing standalone topics, then it doesn't matter in what order they are sent.
Need help with your drip campaign?
Dean Shams is the Principal Consultant at KinetiqBuzz. He helps businesses and subject matter experts build their brands and grow their influence.
Unsplash, Jim Kalligas