Drip Marketing

What is Drip Marketing? A Layman’s Guide to Drip Marketing

Picture of Written by Luka, Sender.net
Written by Luka, Sender.net

Guest Author

Did the concept of drip marketing ever passed by your ears?

Marketers know that it’s harder to cut a deal when no incentive is sweetening the offer. That’s why you find most ecommerce stores offering regular discounts and promotions.

But guess what?! Discounts and promotions only work when they provide the right incentive and meet consumers at the right place and at the right time. So much to take in, huh!

Well, if you’re looking for a swift strategy to gently nudge prospects into taking action, then you are in the right place. Today you will learn how to set up a drip marketing campaign that will help you turn leads into loyal paying customers.

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What Is Drip Marketing?

Drip marketing is an email marketing strategy whereby you automate your email sending process to send a set of emails to contacts based on specific timelines or user actions.

And, as you already know, email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools your company can use.

Keep in mind that Drip campaigns work with triggers. Consumers activate these triggers when they cross a tenure threshold.

For instance, if you automate a set of emails to persuade buyers who abandoned their cart halfway to come back and finish their purchase, you’d need to set triggers to remind them about their pending cart within 24 hours, 3 days, or a week of cart abandonment—depending on your drip campaign strategy.

The Benefits of Drip Marketing

Whether you want to make existing customers return to their cart or create room for exciting conversations with prospects, drip marketing can help you scale. Below are a few benefits of email drip marketing:

  • Helps you connect with contact in a timely and efficient manner
  • Supports relevant messaging that boosts engagement and loyalty
  • Allows you to send personalized content at the right time
  • Helps you automate the sales process and moves consumers down the marketing funnel faster
  • Nurtures leads and keeps existing customers interested in your brand
  • Reengages uninterested contacts and help cart abandoners finish their purchase

How to Set Up a Drip Marketing Campaign

A successful drip campaign is like a friendly conversation. You get to be persuasive without acting pushy or salesy. Let’s look at a tried and tested step-by-step strategy that can help you run a drip campaign.

And here are the steps:

  1. Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List
  2. Identify Your Target Audience
  3. Choose Your Trigger
  4. Set S.M.A.R.T Goals
  5. Craft Your Emails
  6. Measure and Adjust Your Strategy

1. Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List 

Social media is a terrific way to build a community, but unless you add those connections to your email list, you risk losing all of your followers if your account is suspended or removed. And for you to be able to develop further drip campaigns, you will need some contacts.

This is why you should always use lead magnets in the content you are sharing on social media. A lead magnet is a marketing phrase for a free item or service offered in exchange for contact information; examples include trial subscriptions, samples, white papers, e-newsletters, and free consultations.

And worry not, we are here to help you schedule your content!

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2. Identify Your Target Audience

From the very beginning, you’d need to identify your target audience—the folks at the receiving end of your drip email.

Everyone talks about how important it is to identify your target audience. But very few marketers tell you how to go about finding the prospective customer.

Well, if you want to open new avenues of discussion with your automated email campaign, you must learn to identify your audience.

To identify your audience, take a step back from the exciting product or services you offer and take a stroll wearing your ideal customers’ shoes.

Your audience is the people who need your services to get through their day-to-day—you will find them anywhere and everywhere. Join Facebook groups, Reddit communities, Instagram pages, and LinkedIn conversations using targeted keywords. Joining these communities will help you know their pain points and desires while giving you hints to address them.

3. Choose Your Trigger

As you already know, email drip marketing works with triggers.

For instance, let’s say you created a series of abandoned cart emails—you wouldn’t want that series to have anything to do with consumers that just signed up for your newsletter; for that to happen, you need to set triggers.

Choosing your trigger for the drip email means being specific about who your drip campaign is meant to serve.

A drip campaign of abandoned cart emails is intended for cart abandoners, the same way a drip campaign of new features and exciting offers is intended for existing customers.

drip triggers

Start by researching your market to identify the customers you want to reach through your drip campaign. Then set the triggers that will help you send the right emails at the right time.

You can set triggers based on actions or behavior. So, if you’re addressing cart abandoners—persuading them to come back and make a purchase—endeavor to design your drip campaign around behavioral triggers that only go out after consumers that have abandoned their cart for a specific period.

The same goes for nurturing prospects or catering to the needs of existing customers.

4. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

With an audience in mind and with the trigger set, it’s time to set marketing objectives for success. If you took time to study your audience, you’d know what drives them—this information is crucial to setting SMART goals.

SMART objectives

S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Now, back to the notion that you want to use when you create a drip campaign for cart abandoners:

  • Specific—State exactly what you want to achieve through your drip marketing campaign and how you plan to do it. Your messaging needs to align with cart abandoners’ pain points and desires. For example, most consumers abandoned their carts because they forgot or didn’t have enough cash to complete the purchase. Specific messaging could be a subtle reminder or a discount offer.
  • Measurable—It represents how well you can measure your automated email campaign’s progress—including the tools and strategies needed to know that your drip marketing strategy is performing.
  • Attainable—You need to focus on the efficiency of your goal. Do you have the tools and funding needed to run a drip campaign? Your drip campaign won’t yield a good result without consistent efforts. You can’t afford to have your drip campaign up and running today and tomorrow shut it out because you lack the bandwidth to keep it going—don’t do that; you wouldn’t get a successful campaign.
  • Relevant—A SMART goal needs to be relevant, which means it has to be aligned with your business needs. Therefore, when you set your goals, think about how they will actually help you satisfy any specific need.
  • Time-bound—It’s highly important to know how fast you can get your automated drip campaigns running, and the time expected ROI would take. Building a strategy around time-bound goals allows you to weigh the efficiency of your automated drip campaign.

5. Craft Your Emails

Crafting your emails is an essential part of every drip marketing strategy. Creating the text of your emails should reflect the information you gathered while researching your audience.

Also, your content should help you achieve your marketing objectives, so keep them in mind while creating your emails.

If you don’t have experience creating automated emails, you should work with a copywriter. The DIY approach isn’t something we’d recommend when designing a drip campaign.

Make sure to craft your emails around the customer pain points and desires you learned about while studying your audience— position your products as key solutions to their problems.

6. Measure and Adjust Your Strategy

At this stage in the process, your audience would have been familiar with your drip marketing campaigns. So, it’s time to answer some questions.

What’s their response like? Is your email marketing converting into more sales? Or do consumers view your campaign as a ‘thorn in the flesh’ and can’t wait to unsubscribe?

Regardless of your outcome, now is not the time to make hasty decisions. After sending out your first set of emails, watch and observe your subscriber’s response. Look for areas where you can make adjustments and act accordingly.

Don’t get disheartened if you’re not getting the response you anticipated; instead, take a step back, observe from the sidelines, then measure and adjust your strategy.

Note that you’d have to continually measure and adjust your approach—there is no foolproof strategy to drip marketing, just plain old trial-and-error with lots of iteration.

8 Examples of Drip Marketing Campaigns

You can create a drip campaign around all stages of the sales process, whether you want to boost sales or just re-engage with your existing customers.

Just make sure you set the right triggers and have an efficient marketing strategy backing your efforts. Below are some drip campaign examples to draw inspiration from.

1. Action Completion Drip

We’ve talked about cart abandonment multiple times in this article. Well, here is an example of a drip marketing campaign you can run to get cart abandoners back on track.

Action completion drips also act as retargeting emails. The goal is to set a trigger with clear and precise CTAs enticing customers to come back and finalize their purchase. One of the drip campaign examples we are presenting to you comes from Ruby’s barbershop.

Drip Email Example

Wouldn’t this email convince you buy some Clay Spray? Do you really want to miss that free shipping offer?

2. Customer Retention Drip

There comes a point when customers lose interest in your brand, and it’s your responsibility to get them to stay.

You will often find such customers at the point where you can either pull them back with incentives or lose them forever.

For such drip campaigns, set an inactivity trigger. This way, when a high-value customer stops making purchases, you can use nice offers to win them back without lifting a finger. Our next example will show you how we are offering discounts for future purchases.

SB drip email

Let’s say that you haven’t used our Concierge Services in a while: wouldn’t 20% off make you consider coming back to SocialBee?

3. Onboarding Drips

Welcoming new customers or subscribers is common courtesy and an opportunity to strengthen customer relationships. 

Onboarding drips could be about anything and everything – maybe a product tour, a series of welcome offers, or exclusive information to keep new customers excited about industry trends. 

This Slack email might inspire your onboarding drip efforts.  

Slack Drip Email

With a simple welcome email, you are walked through all you need to know about their platform. A simple onboarding email can turn a newbie into a loyal customer!

4. Up-Selling Drips

If you’re in the SaaS space, we don’t need to explain the importance of an up-selling drip. Yet, if you offer free trials for your products, up-gradation drips can help you make consumers opt for the premium service after their trial expires. 

Upgradation drip campaigns can make nonchalant customers excited about your product or services and convince them to opt for a premium subscription plan.

Take a look at one of Grammarly‘s up-selling drip emails. Isn’t this the type of direct mail you’d like to see in your inbox? 

Grammarly Drip Email 

Let’s say you have been using the free option of Grammarly for a while and you are quite satisfied with their service. Would 45% off convince you go for an upgrade?

5. Reactivation Drips

Don’t get all worked up if recurring buyers stop purchasing at some point or if members don’t want to renew their plan—it’s not your fault. Buyers might become missing-in-action for unknown reasons. Not every potential customer will become a loyal one.

With a reactivation drip and relevant content, you can get inactive or cold leads to reconsider their buying decisions and purchase from you again. 

For instance, YouTube did a great job here. And you can do to, especially if you want to turn trial users into a paying customer. 

YouTube Drip Email

Such a drip campaign is highly useful, especially if some of your customers haven’t paid their subscription in a while. Remember them what they’ll be losing!

6. Cross-Sell Drip

We’ve all had that occasion where we were doing online shopping and complementary products weren’t recommended to us, making the whole buying process a bit longer. Who knows, this might be your customers’ everyday hassle. 

Cross-sell drip campaigns make it easy for you to offer suggestions—incentivize your customers to buy more by offering sets of products at a discounted rate. 

Wondering how it’s done? Take a sneak peek at Dollar Shave Club’s cross-selling playbook and think about how you can integrate such content into your drip email campaigns!

Dollar Shave Club Drip Email

Does the Dr. Carver’s Shave Butter go hand in hand with the Post Shave? They surely do!

7. Limited Sales Drip

If you want to create drip marketing campaigns that your consumers won’t be able to resist, then you ought to jump on the limited sales bandwagon. 

Place a set of items or an exclusive product with irresistible price tags—free shipping incentive or discounts—and wrap it with a powerful sales trigger in the subject line; you will have a conversion bomb. 

Pay attention to how Bellroy does it.

Bellroy Drip Email

Do you really need a wallet right now? Maybe not. But will you make the most out of this limited offer? You surely will!

8. Unsubscribe Drip

Goodbyes are never fun. 

Don’t give up on your customers just yet, you still have a chance left to change their minds—the unsubscribe drip.

The unsubscribe drip can act as one last opportunity to make a fleeing customer return to buying ways. And trust us, goodbyes are as useful as onboarding emails when it comes to subscription renewal.

Check out this effective drip campaign from the Beta List!

Beta List Drip Email

You don’t want to send too many drip emails, especially if they have no impact. You might as well follow Beta’s example in this scenario!

It’s Time to Use Drip Campaigns for Your Business!

The truth is, consumers love to purchase from businesses they already know and trust. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you’re losing out on potential clients because you don’t have a stand-out reputation. It means that you have to focus on marketing practices that will allow you to generate new leads and build meaningful relationships that will gain their trust and loyalty, such as drip marketing. 

So, don’t waste any more time and invest in strategic drip marketing campaigns today to watch your email marketing efforts yield wonderful returns!

About the author: Words and their magic drive Luka. It’s her biggest passion and natural habitat. So she lives by the motto – the mind is clearer when you write down what’s inside it. Oh! And Luka also manages the content for Sender.net, ensuring that everything is on point.

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