Email marketing provides businesses everywhere with a viable outreach method for both current and potential customers. There are many different email marketing tactics, designed to bring back current customers and to keep those on mailing lists up to date with the latest insights into the business. One method, known as a drip email campaign, continually “drips” helpful information into a recipient’s inbox. These messages generally are short, sweet and to the point. However, as is the case with any other form of marketing, certain practices deliver heightened rates, improved click-through numbers and deliver additional sales. Regardless of the business, its location or the products it sells, here are several practices every drip email campaign needs to incorporate in order to improve visitor engagement.
Always Segment Email Lists
An email list needs segmenting, regardless of the campaign. This helps improve not only the results of a drip marketing campaign but every other email-based advertisement as well. Email users representing every possible demographic for a business, so what interests one prospective buyer may not connect with another. Email list segmentation can occur in a variety of ways, ranging from basic demographics, regional locations, income, previous purchases and nearly anything else. The more finely tuned and elaborate email segmentation becomes, the easier it becomes for the marketer to directly target and connect with a specific client base.
According to MailChimp and reported by The Atlas (2017), segmented email lists experience a 14.3 percent increase in open rate over non-segmented email campaigns. This includes a 10.64 percent increase in unique opens and a drop in bounce rates, abuse reports and un-subscription requests from the email recipient. The most noticeable improvement in email marketing thanks to segmentation is the 100.95 percent increase in clicks. So before any specific drip email campaign practices are implemented by a business, it needs to take the time to properly segment its list in order to better target both current and prospective clients.
Different Kinds of Drip Campaigns to Consider
Providing a steady flow of information to email recipients stands as the main crutch of drip campaigns. However, there are different kinds of drip campaigns a marketing department needs to consider. By specifically targeting certain segmented email lists, it is possible to deliver desired results based on the needs of the business. According to Click Back (2017), there are six different drip campaigns to consider.
The first is known as a top-of-mind drip campaign. This is designed to simply keep current leads engaged with the business. Essentially, emails are continually sent to current leads, usually on a regularly scheduled time frame, with the simple goal of reminding the current leader of the company and the products or services it provides. The emails may contain a wide range of information, ranging from how-to content all the way to updates on the latest products and special discounts for the lead. It’s all about maintaining lead engagement, so providing a variety of content will keep most leads engaged.
The second drip campaign to consider is an educational drip. This provides insights into how a product works. The main goal here is to educate a potential customer and to help them make their next purchase. For example, a technology company such as Samsung will email individuals on a mailing list about the latest smartphone and how the updates on the newest edition can improve the recipient’s life. A car company might educate a previous customer on why a new vehicle is safer and how it will save them more money when filling up at the gas station. This campaign is all about promoting a product through educational means.
The third drip campaign, as mentioned by Click Back, is a re-engagement drip. These messages are designed for customers or leads who have stopped visiting the website. Perhaps the customer hasn’t made a purchase in a while, or user engagement has dropped off. These messages may include special discounts or offers to help bring them back into the fold.
The fourth campaign is a promotional drip. The main purpose of these emails is to excite a customer. It notifies a lead of limited edition products or special services that might not last long. It’s all about building interest and making it seem as though if the customer doesn’t act quickly, they might miss out on something.
The fifth drip campaign is known as a training drip and it works in a similar manner to the educational drip. These emails are designed to provide a customer with training. It might show the customer how to use a product they recently purchased. This way, the customer can take more satisfaction and joy out of their purchase. There are different levels of this campaign, as a new user might know very little of how to use a product, so the training content will remain basic. On the other hand, someone who has made multiple purchases will be more familiar with the product, and so training needs to alter to meet their particular experience. Again, this is where email segmentation is crucial (if a long time customer receives training emails for new users, they may feel as if the business doesn’t understand his or her needs, which can increase the chance of unsubscribing from the email list).
Timing Matters (Even With Emails)
In the world of eCommerce, storefronts remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (outside of maintenance downtime). Due to this, the general assumption of all times are created equal is more myth than anything else. This remains true in nearly every form of Internet marketing, including email marketing. In order for a drip campaign to reach its peak effectiveness, timing really does matter. According to HubSpot and reported by Optin Monster (2016), when an email goes out plays an important role in whether a recipient not only sees the email but opens and clicks through it.
As the HubSpot information indicates, the highest percentage of emails go out on Tuesday, with around 17.93 percent of emails sent. This number remains the same for most of the workweek, with it dipping to 14.9 percent on Friday, and under nine percent on both Saturday and Sunday. The largest number of emails go out on Tuesday because Tuesday also represents the highest open rate percentage as well, with 19.9 percent of emails opened. However, unlike the percentage of emails going out, Friday stands as an excellent day to send emails, because 19.6 percent of emails are opened (the second highest of the week), and Friday has the highest click-through percentage of 4.9.
Drip email campaigns often want a recipient to click on the email and navigate back to the original site. Due to this, Friday is the very best day to send such an email, because click-through rates dramatically drop off during the middle of the week, as most workers simply do not have the time to scroll through product emails. As the Optin Monster (2016) information indicates, the average clicks an email receives by day sit around five percent Monday through Thursday, with this number pushing up to nearly 10 percent by Friday, going into Saturday. For a successful drip email campaign, it is important to focus on sending emails out with the goal of an elevated click-through rate.
The time of day an email goes out also plays a big role in overall opening and click through success. According to Buffer App (2014, updated 2016), the very best time to send out an email is at 6 AM in the morning. The open rate for 6 AM emails pushes to 53 percent. The next highest time is 11 PM, which is at just over 30 percent. The rest of the day drops below 30 and hovers closer to 20 percent. By sending out a drip email at the 6 AM hour, it ensures those who check their emails first thing in the morning see the message front and center in their inbox.
Understand a Customer’s Place in the Buying Lifecycle
In order to best execute drip email marketing, understanding a customer’s place within the buying lifecycle is a must. This will play a major role in the kind of content and information sent to them. Failure to send information based on the individual’s location within the buying lifecycle may prove detrimental and push a prospective customer away from making a purchase.
According to Email Monks (2018), there are six different stages of the buying lifecycle, each of which should come with a different focus in the drip email campaign.
These stages are awareness, interest, consideration, purchase, and repurchase.
During the awareness stage, a customer discovers they have an issue or a problem needing solving. As Email Monks (2018) points out, the business needs to point out these particular problems and why a produced offered by the company can assist.
In the interest stage of the buying lifecycle, a customer begins their research and shows some interest in identifying ways to address their problem. The most effective drip marketing offers insights into how the product assists in correcting the problem. It helps educate the buyer with educational material within the email.
A prospective buyer enters the consideration phase of the buying lifecycle after they have visited the website, opened a received email or demonstrate at least a marginal amount of effort in looking at the product or services offered by a company. They may begin to assess and compare what different companies have to offer. To best connect with a buyer in this stage, a company needs to provide demo information, specifications to the product and offer direct vendor comparisons in order to show a prospective customer why the business in question is better than the competition.
A customer enters this stage when they make a purchase. The drip email campaigns associated with this stage are dedicated to informing the customer they made the right decision and to offer training assistance in order to improve the buyer’s user experience.
– Post Purchase
This stage occurs after a customer has had time with their product or service. The best drip email campaign to go along with this stage is to provide heightened customer service and to offer insights into similar products while ensuring the customer is continually satisfied with his or her purchase.
Eventually, a customer of an original purchase may begin looking for replacement products, or additional items sold by the original company. It is up to the business to remain connected with the customer and to offer regular updates and insights into the latest products from the company. By providing these regular drip email updates, a customer will receive a routine reminder of exactly how the business can continue to assist with addressing problems the customer might have or run into.
The Stages of Drip Email Marketing
Regardless of where a prospective customer is within the buying lifecycle or the contents of the messages, every drip email marketing campaign follows several very specific stages.
According to Email Monks (2018), the drip campaign should begin with an informative whitepaper. If the recipient of the email does not open the original email, the business should then send an interactive video with additional information. If the account still does not open the email, they should be removed from the email drip list, or at the very least, moved to a different email segmentation as they are not responding to the current drip email campaign. However, if they did open the interactive video, the business should send an eBook in order to keep them engaged with the offered information.
If, however, the email recipient did open the original email, the business should send the eBook in the follow-up email. If the individual does not open this email, the company should email an email with videos and other visual information. On the other side, if the customer did open the eBook email, the business can then send a final email that showcases a particular product or service in order to nudge the prospective customer into the direction of buying.
An effective drip email marketing campaign helps keep a business connected with both current and prospective customers. The very best drip campaigns do take advantage of segmented email lists, understanding where a recipient is within the buying lifecycle while also sending out the campaign material at specific times during the day and week. By following these effective drip campaign tips and tricks, a company will experience an increase in click-through rates while boosting sales from both current and new customers. It all just takes proper execution.