8 Ways to Make Your Drip Campaigns Shine

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I have a marketing weakness that I think I may share with many other professional marketers: my lens of what “works” and what doesn’t work tends to be clouded by my own preferences.

This is especially true as it relates to digital marketing tactics, specifically automated emails. Because I spend a large percentage of my day ignoring messages that seem to be impersonal or automated, I assume others do the same.

Because of this, I spent a long time resisting email marketing campaigns altogether. In reality, I now know I was doing myself a great disservice.

On a personal level, I started to “see the light” when one of my long-time clients decided that we needed to start a serious email marketing campaign. Part of a marketing supergroup, he had been hearing wide stories of success in the product marketing realm all stemming from relevant drip campaigns.

We jumped in and were amazed: as it turns out, with a little bit of testing, an emphasis on learning, and a lot of patience, automated campaigns — especially drip campaigns — can be game-changers.

I decided to bring that knowledge to my full-time career, where what we have to offer is more service-based than product-based. While it’s taken a little more time to get off the ground, the initial results are positive. New conversations are happening. Engagement numbers are rising. A ripple of excitement has started to spread throughout the team. Once again, the automated campaigns that I spent years resisting might actually be a key to future growth and success.

The Statistics Back This Up

Don’t take my personal experience as proof of concept. Check out the stats that back up my claims:

  • People open drip emails. In fact, their open rates are up to 80% higher than single-send messages.
  • This stat is a little older and perhaps biased due to the source, however, some groups claim lead numbers as much as 50% higher than through traditional campaigns.
  • The purchases derived from nurtured leads tend to be around 47% greater than those who come in cold.
  • Companies that focus on nurturing leads — i.e. drip campaigns, etc — experience more growth than companies that do not.

To be perfectly clear: as marketers, we have no excuse to not nurture our leads, and drip campaigns make this easier than ever.

Hold On a Minute: What’s a Drip Campaign?

Just in case you’ve gotten to this point and aren’t clear on what exactly a drip campaign is, let me give a brief description.

In simple terms, drip campaigns are simply email series sent on a particular schedule. They can be triggered by certain recipient actions — i.e. joining an email list, interacting with a web-page, or so forth — or, sent on particular dates to coincide with specific holidays, store events and so on.

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While each campaign may have a different purpose — informing someone about a company or product, nurturing leads that aren’t ready to make a purchase, or something else altogether — they’re meant to be as hands-off as possible. After an email is created, it’s added to a queue and sent using the campaign management tool of your choice — Mail Chimp, ConstantContact, SendX, HubSpot, Drip.io or another. No one is physically sending individual emails; they’re automated.

On board? Great.

Now, how can you make your drip campaigns as effective as possible, especially if you’re just getting started?

1 Know Your Purpose

What are you hoping to accomplish through your campaign (or campaigns)?

Would you like to start conversations? Provide information that encourages readers to learn more about your business or product? Encourage the recipient to reengage your company by responding, visiting your site or starting a conversation?

Before any marketing initiative, but especially before a blanket drip campaign, you need to know what you’re hoping to accomplish. This will allow you to track success and make modifications as necessary. It will also serve as a framework when it comes to actually creating content.

2 Pay Attention to ALL Fields

Remember my original disdain for automated emails? If something sounds gimmicky, or not worth my time, I’m not opening it.

Your email list is no different. Don’t blow off a preview field — you want your reader to be intrigued. Don’t brush off your subject lines, while too much excitement might scare someone away, making it generic might fail to elicit any interest.

Look at what your email tool allows you to modify and use all fields to your advantage.

This brings us to:

3 Remain Willing to Test

Just because you filled in a field or created a subject line doesn’t mean you’re done or an expert.

Each target market is different. After your campaign has started (bonus points if you’re able to create A/B tests), pay attention to the messages that seem to work, and those that fall flat. Do you notice any trends? Keywords in the subject or preview line? Message length trends? Make modifications to messages that aren’t working and think about incorporating what seems to work in future messages.

Nothing has to be set in stone!

4 Keep Images Small

Load times and message sizes matter. Remember: your purpose is to send a simple message, not to blow the readers away with your design expertise. A general rule of thumb for drip campaigns is to keep images smaller than 72 dpi.

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5 Keep. It. Short.

Can I say that again?

We check emails on the go. Your potential customers or readers aren’t opening messages expecting to read full blog posts or to deep dive into difficult-to-digest subjects.

Present your topic along with the action you want the individual opening the email to take. 250 words or less. It might go against everything inside you, especially if content creation is your passion, but, this rule stands hard, fast, and important.

6 Avoid Gimmicks

Your subject line — as we discussed earlier — could be your only shot to encourage an open.

Don’t capitalize letters. Avoid exclamation points (even if what you have to share really is exciting to you). Stick to 75 characters or less (preferably less). Don’t share something that sounds too good to be true; as a society, we’ve become immune to these games.

The jury is out on emojis. While some organizations swear by them, others see less success. If you decide to try an emoji in a subject line, tread carefully and be open to removing it and burying the practice in the past. This is new territory.

7 Segment, Segment, Segment.

Not all email list subscribers want the same information. This is especially true if you serve various industries or market dramatically different products.

Create different segments and write messages to them separately. It might take some extra time, but, your subscribers want information that relates to them. If they receive too many messages that provide little value or meaning to their specific needs, they’re more likely to unsubscribe.

8 Start Simple, But, Start!

If you’ve stood on the fence, or have wondered where exactly to start, the time to move forward is now.

As with many other initiatives, you’ll only be able to improve if you jump in, track results and make adjustments over time. Waiting for the “perfect” opportunity or until you’ve learned “enough,” will never help you accomplish the goals you’re hoping to reach.

Start small with a simple 3–5 message campaign and stick to the basics: a welcome email and a few informative pieces with calls to action that will help you reach your goal (see number 1). Watch what happens and build over time.

Drip campaigns matter: make this the year you focus more and try something new. The results might just surprise you!

Original article published here

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