Most email marketers are already familiar with a drip campaign - a series of marketing messages that are triggered to engage potential customers and make them convert. What you may have missed out are the crucial pointers that can make your drip campaign work.
Everyone is doing drip campaigns. But not everyone gets to taste success like a boss!! You've clearly come across multiple strategies and tips for your drip campaign, yet your campaigns seem to falter somewhere. Well, you are not the only one. It has happened with me time and again.
A drip campaign is designed to nurture subscribers throughout their buyer's journey with relevant email content and timely messaging. For me, the first pointer to create a successful drip is to build a genuine email list. I've heard so many marketers ask about platforms where they can get email lists to buy. Honestly, some of them are so hooked onto buying that they fail to grasp the adverse effects it can have on their email sending reputation.
Although this is not a strategy, yet I will urge all marketers to build email lists. You can use web popups on your website, or capture leads through Facebook Messenger nurturing. Simultaneously, make sure to clean your email lists time to time so that your email lists have those subscribers who will add value to your email campaign. This will bring down your bounce rate as well, which is exactly what you want!
Having said that, let's get started with the high-performing drip campaign strategies.
5 Drip Campaign Strategies you should try (and what NOT do)
P.S.: You may have read about these strategies or have already implemented a few of them. That doesn't mean this article is not for you. In this article, I will talk about my experience while implementing these strategies and what are the things that one shouldn't do (which I've learnt the hard way).
#01. Create a proper flow for your drip campaign
As I said, everyone does drip campaigns but we end up engaging with those drips that are timed properly, have relevant content, and are related to one another.
Whether you are using an on-page popup form or an exit intent or a landing page with a static form, you clearly mention the kind of emails you will be sending to your subscribers. After getting your subscribers onboard, if your email contents are different from what you promised, you are not only spoiling the chances of getting them converted but also jeopardising your brand name.
One way you can avoid this mishap from happening is to draw out a clear picture of the entire drip flow of your drip campaign. Last week, I created two drips - a welcome drip and a re-engagement drip. Since we club our drips with SMS marketing and social media marketing, I was supposed to create a multichannel drip. While a welcome drip was easy to design, the re-engagement drip was something that took me time.
As a result, I manually drew out the entire flow of my re-engagement campaign - specifying the behavioural actions, the various triggers, and what will be the following action. I had my content assets in place (two of which I had to get created from scratch). It was only then that I started creating my drip flow within my email marketing tool.
You see, re-engagement campaign was for those subscribers who had stopped engaging with us suddenly. Either they were using a different email address now or maybe they did not find our content interesting enough. So, to get them to engage with us again, I needed to get an attractive deal in hand. When I say "deal" it means each subscriber in my list can behave differently- some may love it, some may hate it, and some may still be inactive. Whatever it is, my drip campaign had to incorporate all these possibilities and accordingly have actions to follow up.
Key Takeaway: Always be clear of what kind of messages you want to send, when, and how. Before anything else, this is very important. When you start predicting the possible behaviour of your subscribers, you automatically start getting a clear picture of what kind of action triggers will work best for your campaign.
#02. Behaviour-based segmentation is the starting point
What follows after flow creation is to get your email lists sorted. Most email marketing automation tools enable you to automatically update your contact database once your new subscriber submits a form on your website or landing page or popup forms. To effectively nurture your subscribers, you need to segment them properly. Many advanced tools have dynamic segmentation where subscribers are automatically segmented based on behaviour, lead source, engagement activities, demographics, or events (and more). But the most basic requirement is to get your subscribers segmented based on their behaviour. Behaviour-based segmentation helps in bucketing your subscribers according to their buying stage. This makes it easier to target them with relevant contents, ads, messages, and offers.
P.S. Sometime, after your segmentation is done you may notice that you will need to modify your email drip campaign flow to match your subscribers' behavioural patterns. So, these two points are interlinked and can go to-and-fro.
#03. Your drip campaign content needs maximum attention
There is no alternative to a good email drip content. Your content will decide whether your subscribers will engage or not. If you are writing irrelevant or sales-kind-of content, then you are just pushing your subscribers back to point zero in a snap. Infact, you continue ignoring your content, and your subscribers will soon be outside your marketing funnel!
Content-guru and founder of CrazyEgg and KISSmetrics, Neil Patel says that a drip campaign is only as good as the emails you write. In his guide to writing irresistible drip campaign emails, Neil Patel has put together interesting and practical ways to write the perfect email content.
This guide is my go-to-guide every time I sit to write email content for my drip campaign. However, there are other things that I have learnt while doing drip campaigns regularly. Here's what shouldn't do:
Your subject line shouldn't be more than 39 characters. Since 50% of emails are mostly viewed on mobile devices, this is one place that I had messed up miserably. Long subject lines pulled down my email open rates drastically. I did A/B testing twice. Keeping my original long subject line as the constant, I tried reducing the characters to 30 in version 1 and around 20 in version 2. Surprisingly, the open rates for the former increased to 11% from a mere 3.89% and with the latter it was up to 8%. Clearly, version 1 was performing better.
From my experience, I can say a subject line between 29 to 38 characters works well for a drip campaign. One brand that does this amazingly is Trello. Their “Taco” sends amazing email drips clubbed with power-packed subject lines. Take a look at the subject line below -
Avoid SPAM words. There are a specific set of words that are tagged as spam triggers. For instance, while announcing an on-going offer, I included words like "Miracle" and "Earn $". Bamm!! My emails landed straight into the spam folders. 🙁 Oh! what a lesson it was. You can look up this list of spammy words that should be a complete no-no for your emails. For instance, look at the two emails below. These emails claim to give me huge amounts and that too in the pretext of me having asked/requested for the same.?????
#04. Create urgency to make your subscribers engage ASAP
Adding a sense of urgency in your email drips is one good way to get open rates up (and engagement too). Try explaining your offer and ask them to claim the offer asap before time runs out. Ofcourse, not something like the spam emails above. That kind of urgency is scary.
If you are doing your campaigns smartly, you'll definitely minus the fake factor. Faking your campaign content is the worst thing you can do to your subscribers. If you have created a deadline, make sure to stick to it. Once I had done a drip campaign offering a Black Friday discount, but the deadline that I offered somehow exceeded the original deadline. It was the nightmare I didn't wish to experience. Imagine customers asking you for a discount when the discount is not available!!
You can avoid my situation though!
Take a look at this drip campaign from Indian ticketing and travel platform, MakeMyTrip. I received two coupons which had an expiry date. So what followed was a reminder series at an interval of a few days.
Now, who doesn’t love vouchers? I missed the first email, but when I saw that it was only a matter of 24 hours, it urged a sense of “immediate reaction”. I swiftly logged into my account to check the vouchers, their terms and conditions, and how best can I redeem them.
Imagine if I received this email two days after my vouchers had expired, as a loyal customer, I would have reported against MMT for fooling me! In my years of email marketing, this is the only golden rule that has helped me survive: No Fake Promises!
#05. Your email design, layout, and CTA needs to be aligned correctly
There are some design thumb rules that most marketers tend to follow. For instance, you will seldom see an email with multiple CTAs. Using too many CTAs can create confusion and spoil your subscribers for choices. This automatically deviates your subscribers form the end-goal because clearly, they have too many decisions to make.
As much tempting as it seems, avoid using more than one CTA in your email. One bold CTA that clearly states the purpose is the best practice. I have tried using two CTA's once. I had two CTA's placed which redirected to two different landing pages. However, when I measured the engagement and conversion metrics, I saw the click-through rate was pretty low as compared to the email open rates. I had launched a feedback survey immediately after that to find out the impact of multiple images, multiple CTA's in an email campaign. Most of my subscribers had voted for: Want only 1 CTA in emails or Want fewer images. Many had opted for zero-images as well.
Yes, you heard it right. While images are great to capture attention, it is not a mandate. For instance, check this welcome email from Drift. It has a nice email content that is on-point and a list of important resources to help in activating subscribers to the next stage.
Similarly, this welcome email from ProdPad has straight content with a bold yet simple CTA button at the end.
If you look closely, this email has been formatted quite nicely. All the main points are in bold. Also, you must have noted there are two clickable call-to-actions. One is in the form of a bold CTA at the end, the other is written in blue (which is also a link). However, the design has been done smartly, avoiding confusions of giving away two CTAs in one email.
Next comes the addition of P.S. in an email layout. P.S. adds an extra edge to your email where you can highlight a new article or a new update or something that is worth your subscribers' time. For instance, Alex from Groove often uses P.S. to share his recent articles along with a pre-handy tweet. Take a look below.
Another fun fact to keep in mind while designing your email is to write your numerals as it is. For instance, if you’re talking about 20 tips then avoid writing it as Twenty Tips. 20 tips look more precise, attractive, and can be comprehended quickly.
An Important tip to designing your email (content and layout):
Use colours that coordinate directly with your brand. You can use cartoons or animations or GIFs, but that should align with your brand’s colour palette. Headspace is one platform that maintains this consistency. Their regular email drips look like this:
This email is not very different from their website layout. There is a straight consistency that will keep you connected with the brand, whether you are reading their email or surfing through their website or engaging with them over social media.
Key Takeaway: Maintain brand consistency.
There are several other practices like proper segmentation, setting up the DKIM and SPF, avoiding jargons, using subscribers’ name, and more such practices. But there are three most important stages of a successful drip campaign - writing a relevant content, urging subscribers to open the emails, and offering the content and offerings in the right way through your email designing.
Try dividing your drip campaign into these five stages and I’m sure it will boost your email campaign results. I will leave you here. Happy drip campaigning to you!