| Aug 30, 2016 | | 8 min read

Building the Perfect Drip Campaign


Drip marketing tactics are pretty simple, try to get users interested in a product or service and keep them engaged through a series of touch points. A drip campaign is like striking conversation with someone on the street in hopes that you’ll end up in an engaging talk.

Drip marketing tactics are different for every business, and not all drip campaigns are similar. However, the idea behind a drip campaign is the same for everyone: connect and engage with numerous prospective customers. As much as we might complain about them, drip campaigns have proven to be very effective. The fact is that as consumers, we’ll buy only when we’re ready, and drip campaigns can serve to identify when we’re ready.

In reading this you’ll find:

  • How drip campaigns work
  • What to include in drip campaign email #1
  • How to segment prospects in a drip campaign
  • The best day to send out drip campaign emails
  • The best time to send out drip campaign emails
  • How frequently to send out drip campaign emails
  • The most popular email marketing and drip campaign tools

How Drip Campaigns Work

Usually sent in email form, a drip campaign is a series of emails that prospective customers receive. A prospect will receive emails based off of their activity or engagement in the drip campaign.

If a prospect engages with the first email in a drip campaign, then the next drip email must be more engaging than the first! Progressively enticing prospects with increasingly interesting content is a tactic most companies use, in the hope that your company can reel a prospect in at the end of the drip.

As a rule of thumb, when someone is simply not connecting with a drip campaign, it’s best to remove them from the campaign. Peoples’ inboxes deal with enough spam—if they aren’t engaged, make sure to spare them frustration and delete them from the campaign.

Email Monks have laid out their best impression of a drip campaign, and it does a really good job of showing how drip campaigns work.


The Importance of Drip Campaign Email 1

This is the most important email in the drip campaign! Here’s why: the first email is your business’s first impression. If you make a good one, then a prospect is more likely to click through on the next emails. If you make a bad first impression it can be really hard to win that prospect back. They will likely just ignore your emails or mark them as spam.

The first email in the drip campaign is where you want to start the conversation, so it has to be valuable enough that the prospect wants to engage. Usually if the content sent is not valuable, it won’t be clicked through, and the drip campaign is already off to a bad start.

The first drip campaign email is super important: it sets the table for what the rest of the drip campaign will look like. If you don’t engage a prospect with the first drip campaign email, you may have already lost the prospect.  

Length is also important. It is recommended that drip campaign email #1 is no longer than three short paragraphs.  This means get straight to the point—people don’t have time for more junk in their mailbox.

The call-to-action must be irresistible. Make sure they are clicking on to the content on the email. As you can see in the diagram above, that first click gets you closer to a demo or sale.

A strategy that Vendasta uses is sending email campaigns with a Snapshot Report. The report acting as incentive to “click-through” in the call-to-action. With the first email of a drip campaign, be absolutely sure that the content is something your prospects are dying to see. Emails should be timely, relevant and helpful.


The Goal of the Drip Campaign

The goal of the drip campaign is to get the prospect to continue saying yes, and by that we mean clicking through to the content you are sending. Eventually, it will become evident that the prospect is interested in what you may have to offer, so simply make an offer.

Offer a demo, a discount on a product or the opportunity to get on a call with a sales representative.


Tips to Set Up the Perfect Drip Campaign

Drip Campaign Tip 1: Tailor the Campaign for Specific Prospects

This all starts with segmenting your prospect lists, which can be difficult. If a prospect list is segmented into different parts, then your drip campaigns can be more specific and personal for each prospect. Acxiom suggests that prospect lists can be effectively segmented by:

  • Geographic: This involves segmenting your prospect list based on zip code, state, region or another geographic marker. This is especially applicable if you make location-based sales.
  • Demographic: This involves segmenting your prospect list based on age, gender, nationality or occupation.
  • Psychographic: This involves segmenting your prospect list based on personal values, hobbies, interests etc.
  • Buyer behavior: This involves segmenting your prospect list based on buying history. For example, customers who purchased higher-value items or customers who routinely purchase from a single inventory category.
  • Influence level: This involves segmenting your prospect list by their influence to your company, whether that influence is identified by potential for profit or social visibility.
  • Last interaction: This involves segmenting your prospect list based on their last interaction with your brand.

Read more segmenting tips and tricks for your next marketing campaign.

Once your prospect lists are divided into similar groups, make sure that the campaigns you send to each prospect list are tailored for that specific list. It is much more effective when drip campaigns are being sent to people who understand and enjoy the content.

Not every prospect is the same, so not every drip campaign should be the same. Businesses are most successful with their drip campaigns when they are segmented and targeted towards specific types of prospects.

Drip Campaign Tip 2: Timing and Frequency

Drip campaigns are customizable to how the sender wants to deliver the messages, meaning there is no set cadence to how the emails are sent out. You choose how frequent, and at what time of day. This can play a huge part in the success of an email campaign!

CoSchedule dug into many different studies across the web, and here’s what they came up with:

What is the best day to send out drip campaign emails?

“Tuesday: This is hands down the #1 best day to send emails according to the majority of the data from these studies” (CoSchedule).

What is the best time to send out drip campaign emails?

“10 a.m.: While late-morning send times were the most popular in general, several concluded that the best time to send emails is at 10 a.m. Another notable time is 11 a.m” (CoSchedule).

I suggest testing and iterating on what works for you when determining the best time to send emails. The best time to send B2B emails may be different than B2C, different demographics maintain different schedules and each audience is unique.

Analyze your emails with our email analytics calculator to figure out what day of the week and time of day is right for you.

In terms of frequency, it seems that everyone has a different cadence. If a business emails too frequently, it’s most likely just going to piss off the prospects, and isn’t so effective. If you don’t email fast enough you may lose the prospects interest.

Pardot suggests a minimum of six days between emails, so that you don’t run the risk of emailing a prospect twice in one week. The maximum time to put between emails is around forty-five days, which allows for a touchpoint every month and a half.


Drip Campaign Tip 3: Track Everything

How can you build out the perfect drip campaign without tracking a drip campaign’s results? You can’t. In order to build the perfect drip campaign, a business must continually track and re-evaluate current drip campaigns.

Not one business has built the perfect drip campaign on their first attempt. The perfect drip campaign takes time (and perfection is...elusive). Track the results of every single drip campaign that a business sends out! Review open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates or other metrics to find how a drip campaign is performing.

With most marketing automation tools or email marketing tools there is built in tracking in order to determine the success of drip campaigns.

Performing well? Great, note what steps you took in writing this drip campaign and save the content. If a drip campaign has a noticeably high open rate, click-through rate and/or noticeably low bounce rate, it’s best to model your other drip campaigns off of this one.

Performing poorly? Uh oh, let’s find out why. Note what steps you took in writing this drip campaign and save the content. This drip campaign will serve  businesses a reminder of what NOT to do when creating their next drip campaign. If a drip campaign doesn’t perform well, no sweat: learn from the mistakes and make the next campaign better!

Drip campaigns suck when nobody even opens the emails, here’s 11 Email Subject Line Tactics to Boost Open Rates. Trust us, they work!


Drip Campaign Tip 4: Listen to Prospect Feedback

Tracking emails can tell you how well a drip campaign is doing, but they are just numbers. You must truly understand what you are doing wrong (or right) in a drip campaign, and sometimes that takes human interaction. Let your prospects weigh in, and don’t just assume that your drip campaign tactics are the best way of doing things.

Yes of course open rates, click-through rates and bounce rates are great indicators of success or failure, it can be a great strategy to talk to email recipients or let them leave feedback. If a business has created some sort of feedback strategy, they can dig into the specifics of the campaign.

Maybe the reason your click through rate is so low is because your link is broken, or your subject line is landing in recipients’ spam mailbox. With a feedback form, people can share their own two cents, and those mistakes will be corrected much faster.

A feedback system allows businesses to continue sending content that people like to receive and stop sending the annoying content that is bothering drip campaign recipients. Listen to your prospects, make changes that they want to see!


Drip Campaign Tip 5: Use Tools!

Drip campaigns are best executed with the help of software, and there are plenty of different tools out there to help a business get the job done. Here’s the top drip marketing tools out there, take a look and see which will work best for you!

These applications are easy-to-use and very effective in terms of sending drip campaign emails to numerous prospects. With tools like these it’s easy for first-timers to set up campaigns with various templates or step by step guides. Some of the tools offer more than email marketing, or drip campaign building, but all of the tools have a focus on drip marketing.

Creating the perfect drip campaign can be hard, but using the tips and tools we’ve provided can make the process much easier.

About the Author

Zach is a former content strategist with Vendasta. He is fascinated by digital marketing, international studies, and exploring the relationship between technology and business.

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