Up your Small Business Email Marketing Game with “Drip Campaigns”

email marketing

Email marketing has been among the most effective small business marketing strategies for years, and it continues to grow in use and sophistication. Now, the most popular kid on the email marketing block — drip campaigns — may be your best bet for increasing customer engagement and purchases.

Let’s start with the basics. A drip campaign is a set of automatic emails that are sent to customers on a specific schedule. Each set of emails is triggered to start when a customer takes some kind of action, whether it be downloading your free e-book, signing up for a contest at a trade show, making a purchase or subscribing to your e-newsletter.

The emails are pre-written and pre-scheduled but are written specifically  for different audiences — the personalization can go even further with individual names, recent purchases and other information you have about the contact. In other words, they drip information out to clients or prospective customers in a slow, meaningful and more personalized way.

Here are Five Tips For Using Drip Campaigns for your small business:

1. Send an immediate “Welcome.”

Open rates are better when a subscriber receives a welcome message in real time, rather than later or (gulp) never. Back in the old days of e-newsletters, new subscribers were somewhat “plopped” into the email list. They would get your next message, but would have missed everything that came before it, including a proper “hello.”

Now, you can welcome your new or prospective customers right away and then follow up a couple of days later with an email that directs them to your most relevant or popular content. It gives them breathing space to get to know you and your brand.

2. Each campaign should start with a goal.

We always want to begin with the end in mind. Before you start setting up dozens of drip campaign messages, consider your goals. Do you want to sell a product or service? Boost website traffic? Increase social media engagement? You can create compelling email content that helps guide your customers toward those goals, providing them with the most relevant and timely information possible. 

3. Customize your messages.

Prospective customers come to us in different ways and for different reasons. We want to communicate to them the information they’re most likely to be interested in. The more customized the list, the better the results.

For example, a personal trainer might have one drip campaign for potential clients they meet at a local Strongman Competition and another campaign for web users who expressed an interest in a 12-week weight-loss program. Similarly, an accountant should send an annual drip campaign of reminders and announcements about personal income tax preparation to one list of clients and information about business tax preparation to another list.

4. Everything in moderation.

Like all good things in life, it’s best to use drip campaigns in moderation. We’ve all been on the receiving end of one-too-many (or ten-too-many) emails. Aim for thoughtful and timely, rather than overly persistent and annoying.

A good rule of thumb is to start with a higher frequency of emails at the beginning of a campaign and slow down over time. Maybe once a day, then once every couple of days, then once a week, and so on. Watch your newsletter statistics to track any trends in day of the week or time of day that yields a higher open rate.

5. Measure, evaluate, adjust.

Spending all that time setting up your drip campaigns to run automatically is great, but you’ll still need to check in and make sure they’re accomplishing the goals you set for them. You can — and should — adjust the details if click-through and conversion rates aren’t up to par. Try working in some additional educational components, adding quality quick links or even rethinking your calls to action to improve those results. Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit to get those numbers where you want them.

Ready to give it a try? GetResponse, MailChimp and Constant Contact are a few of the top email marketing platforms that we use for our clients. If you want to hear the pros and cons of each, give me a call!  

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