You may never have heard the term before, but you probably have a drip marketing campaign email in your email inbox right now. And while it’s not a common phrase outside of internet marketing circles, it’s something most people have experience with, whether they know it or not. Have you ever signed up for something online, and then gotten a steady but unobtrusive string of emails that are connected to each other? That’s drip marketing. Named after drip irrigation, where plants are given exact amounts of water at specific intervals, drip marketing is an effective and inexpensive way to nurture leads and lead a prospect through the sales cycle.
Drip marketing is an automated series of pre-written, escalating emails triggered by the prospect. While an email newsletter goes out to an entire mailing list at once, drip marketing starts when an individual prospect opts in and enters his or her email address into your landing page. For example, if Frank opts-in in February, and Jessica opts-in in March, they both get the same series of emails, but on their own timeline. And you can fine-tune the automation to respond to individual prospect’s behavior. If Jessica opens her emails immediately, the next email can be set to send more quickly, whereas if Frank takes forever to open his emails, the emails can be sent at a slower pace.
But the order of the emails will always be the same, because the emails are leading the prospect to buy your product, or opt-in to another campaign you’re running (like a video seminar). The beauty of drip marketing is that a single campaign of 30 emails can be sent, over a year, to thousands of people, without any extra effort after setting up the automation. It’s cloning your best salesperson, and then having them follow up with prospects constantly.
You may be wondering how this is different from the spam that is automatically filtered out of most good email programs. It’s very different – unwanted spam emails are sent to illegally procured email addresses. The essence of drip marketing is that prospects sign up for them. And why would anyone sign up for more email? Because any good drip marketing campaign starts with emails that offer a free value proposition. The prospect signs up for free information from an industry expert. As the series of emails escalates, what you are selling is worked into the copy. Like a full season of a good cable television series, a good drip marketing campaign has a beginning, a middle, and an end. And since drip marketing campaigns are written in a friendly, confidential tone, the prospect will feel more like he or she is reading a friend’s blog and given an opportunity to buy into something that can help them or their business.
Drip marketing can work for many different businesses and products, but it’s a most natural fit for B2B sales, and high-priced products or long term business partnerships. Why? Because when a prospect has to spend a large amount of money, or spend his or her company’s money, you are going to spend a long amount of time considering your buying choices. A drip marketing campaign can put your product in front of their eyeballs in a persistent yet non-intrusive way. Since a good drip marketing campaign is designed to first give the prospect good industry advice, you will also become a trusted and reliable information source for your readers.
The bulk of the work in a drip marketing campaign comes during the planning stage. Once you’ve decided what drip marketing service or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, you must plan and compose the series of emails. This will involve a lot of copy: ideally, you’ll be sending out at least 30 or so emails, each building off the previous one. You’ll also have to come up with variable campaigns based on what kind of customer responds to your campaign. One campaign may be for people who open and read every email immediately. Another might be aimed at prospects who open their email less regularly. And while this part of the process is labor intensive, the upside is that once the campaigns are locked in, the rest is fully automated. All you have to do then is pay attention to the analytics reports and tweak the campaign as necessary.