Amidst a giant social media landscape, e-mail marketing still reigns supreme when it comes to closing prospects into paying customers.
But, how has email survived for so long? And why is it effective?
The answer is in the three value driving features of email: it is personal, cost effective, and drives high return on investment when done right.
According to a study by Mailigen, over 89% of marketers say email is their primary channel for lead generation. Surely, businesses have put faith in email. And the effectiveness of it is living up to it.
The future of email marketing may get debated from time to time, but the current statistics point to this: email marketing is not dead. Rather, businesses have increased their spend on the channel because of its high return.
So, how do you strategize an e-mail marketing that turns prospects into customers? There are two ways to do it:
- The traditional email blast to all your subscribers
- Drip marketing
But what’s the difference between these two ways?
Traditional Email Marketing
You have built a large email list through your strong lead generating social media efforts and content strategy. You have put in hello bars, implemented exit-pop up strategies, optimized your landing pages, and explored other marketing avenues for a lead. Overall, your marketing strategies have ensured a steady flow of emails into your database.
As a next step, you initiate an email marketing campaign. It includes product related news, general information, or updates.
Traditional Marketing — Case #1:
- Day 1: You visit an e-commerce website and check out the latest Nike shoes. However, you are not sure of the price at this moment so you abandon the cart and proceed with your day.
- Day 4: You receive an email from the e-commerce store about the latest company news and how they plan to expand their product categories.
- Day 17: You receive a product recommendation newsletter that highlights their latest spring collection.
While sharing product updates and general information to your customers via an email newsletter or one-off promotion can be an effective way to keep your customers engaged on a higher level, it’s important to develop an email strategy that is personalized and relevant to each customer.
Enter drip marketing.
What is Drip Marketing?
Drip marketing or automated email marketing is a way to put your email campaigns on autopilot. The team at autopilothq.com defines it perfectly:
“A drip campaign is a triggered sequence of emails sent on a pre-defined schedule to targeted recipients or email subscribers to achieve a specific result.”
At its core, drip marketing is time-bound, relevant, and tailored to the buyer stage. It also happens to be one of the top email marketing trends of 2017.
Why is it special?
The answer is in the sophisticated ways it lets you communicate with your leads and customers. You communicate with your leads based on their actions (signing up for a free trial, buying a pair of shoes, subscribing to a weekly newsletter) or in-actions (abandoning the shopping cart, no action on email #1, no click on email #4, product unused two months after trial ended). See the example of a drip marketing workflow from Pardot below.
From the first welcome message to the closing sales email — drip marketing covers all facets of email marketing on autopilot mode. It is more effective than bulk emails because drip campaigns are targeted and designed for individuals based on their behaviors and actions.
By tailoring your email marketing based on behaviors and actions, you can nurture leads. With the right nurturing, you can move these leads from prospects to customers — covering one buyer stage after another.
Businesses swear by the effectiveness of lead nurturing. We can understand this from the fact that without proper lead nurturing program, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales (Source: MarketingSherpa).
Why is Drip Marketing important?
According to Gleanster Research, 50% of leads are qualified but aren’t immediately ready to buy something from you. Keep in mind, not all of your leads are at the same buying stage. Each lead has unique motivations and needs.
- They might have just subscribed to your blog and are in the awareness stage.
- They just participated in one of your product webinars and showed interest in your latest case study — so they are currently evaluating your services.
- Or they have signed up for a free trial to understand more about your product before making a purchase.
No matter what buying stage a lead is in, your email communication should be targeted, personalized and relevant to each stage.
With a defined drip marketing workflow, you can move the leads further down the funnel; capitalizing on their behaviors, actions, and personas.
As an example, consider Case #1 from earlier in this post — but, from a drip marketing workflow:
Day 1: You visit an e-commerce website and check out the latest shoes by Puma. However, just like in the previous case, you abandon the cart and proceed with your day.
With drip marketing, here’s what gets changed:
- Same day: You receive an email that you left a product in your shopping cart along with a link to proceed with the payment. However, you choose not to open it.
- Day 7: You receive another email from the e-commerce store but this time, they are offering you a 10% discount on the shoes. You open the email, however, you still don’t proceed with buying the shoes.
- Day 14: You receive an email that the product is on 20% sale. It is in stock only for 24 hours and this is a limited period offer.
In this scenario, the email is relevant, personalized, and invites you to click. You have spread your buyers’ needs over multiple campaigns and a series of emails targeted to their specific needs.
In a nutshell, you tap into your customer’s confidence with every email (drip) until they become purchase ready.
Why does Drip Marketing work?
- They are trigger based: Since drips are triggered based, it makes the entire workflow seamless. You can define set periods, actions, and behaviors as a result of which an email is triggered to a user.
- They are relevant: From teaching a prospect about the benefits of your product, to informing them about an abandoned cart — drip campaigns bring in incredible relevancy.
- They nurture: According to Drip, brands that nurture leads generate 50% more sales- ready customers. Nurturing helps convert your prospects into paying customers — one drip email at a time. This can be an educational drip, an offer drip, a discount drip, or a free trial drip. Behavior defined actions help nurture leads to become paying customers.
Drip marketing works because it keeps your business top-of-mind with your audience. Through timely, relevant, and context-driven emails, a lead has a much better chance of moving through your marketing funnel.
Here are some great examples of drips by Drip.co:
- A prospect opens an email and clicks on a link about SEO. You tag her with “seo” and move her into an email sequence on how your tool can be used for SEO.
- A different prospect opens an email and clicks a link about social media marketing. You tag him with “social media marketing” and move him into the relevant email sequence.
- A trial user creates a new project in your software and you fire off an email about the best way to work with and organize projects.
- A customer views your upgrade page but doesn’t upgrade. You follow up via email four hours later with a special bonus (or slight discount) if they upgrade in the next 24 hours.
- A website visitor enters his email to download a sample chapter of your E-book about cats. You tag him with “Prospect” and “Cats” and follow-up with a cat-specific sequence of emails.
- You’re gearing up for your annual Black Friday sale, so you run a query to find all prospects tagged with “Cats” and schedule an email with a 50% off deal on your newest cat-related E-book.
6 Types Of Drip Campaigns
Highlighted below are the six most common drip emails. Each one of them either educates, engages, or closes prospects based on triggers and behaviors.
1. Re-engagement drips:
These drips are targeted to inactive prospects in order to build back the relationship and develop consideration for your services. Re-engagement drips can be a helpful guide, a latest (and relevant) blog post or a video tutorial to address certain pain points your buyer is having.
2. Top-of-mind Drips:
Your goal with top-of-mind drips is to occupy a consistent mindshare of your prospects over a period of time. Using top-of-mind drips, you ensure you are touching base with your prospects on a consistent basis.
3. Welcome Drips:
Welcome emails set the tone for future interactions with your customers. They are fairly simple to manage, and because of the intent being a soft welcome as opposed to a sales promotion, they receive high open and click through rates.
4. Follow up drips:
Send follow-up drips to touch base with users who haven’t tried your product after signing up, or have not been active on it.
5. Product focused drips:
Remember to keep your customers in the loop about new products and updates to your services. You can significantly improve your churn rate by doing so. Content that is useful to share with these updates include: case studies, industry reports, and white papers.
6. Promotional Drips
Based on customer behavior data, you have segmented your database based on buying stage. Recently, you sent them a list of latest movies to watch and book tickets for. They opened the email, but took no action. What do you do?
You set up a promotional drip. With this campaign, your audience gets a tailored offer to help them make a purchase decision.
According to Radicati Group, 257.7 billion emails are expected to be sent per day by the end of 2020. Looks like email marketing isn’t going anywhere! So, make sure you tailor your campaigns based on your audience’s needs to increase your overall revenue and retention rate.