Drip Campaigns: Converting Prospects into Customers

As I mentioned in my last newsletter, I’ve resolved to get back into the swing of things with my writing. I apologize again for the absence, but it has not been for lack of interest on my part. I’ve been head’s down on quite a few projects, a couple of which have inspired me to write about drip email marketing campaigns. This is a lead nurturing technique that can be very effective if done properly. Hopefully, your actions in 2011 yielded a database of prospects that can be converted into customers in 2012.

What is drip marketing?
The premise of a drip email marketing campaign is simple: Subscribers kick off the email series by way of a specific action, such as subscribing to your list, clicking a link in a message, making a purchase, viewing a particular product, or downloading a white paper. Once the campaign is triggered, emails are automatically delivered on a predetermined schedule — a steady “drip,” if you will — until the series ends or the subscriber opts out of the conversation. Drip campaigns allow you to communicate with your subscribers on a one-to-one basis, and because the emails are more relevant, targeted, and timely, they have much higher conversion rates than mass emails.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when developing your drip marketing campaign:

1. Educate your contacts with relevant information: don’t make them do the legwork to research your product or company. If your prospects have to search independently on the internet for more details, they’ll be susceptible to being lured away by a competitor. Since your prospect is interested in your company or product, but not yet ready to buy, your drip campaign messages should address their needs and pain points. What are their needs or pain points? That’ll depend on how they came to be on the list for this drip campaign. Use that basis to segment your campaign and send them relevant links to your site. By directing them to information on your site, you’re limiting their potential exposure to competitors.

2. Make them timely: The purpose of a drip campaign is to maintain regular, continual contact with subscribers in an effort to keep your brand top of mind, increase engagement and accelerate the sales process. Don’t set the campaigns and forget them. Think of when it would be of most use to your recipients to receive a particular piece of information and work backward when developing a message outline. Keep your deployment timing in synch with where the contact is in the sales pipeline and plan your messages accordingly.

3. Have a clear, actionable call to action: This is an opportunity to solicit involvement with your company or brand. Unlike your general promotional email campaigns, drip campaigns are intended to be one-to-one communications. Each message should have a request for a relevant response, such as an invitation to download more information, give feedback on a recent purchase or visit a relevant product page on your site. Don’t bury the CTA – make it a prominent part of the campaign. At the same time, create a sense of urgency to respond.

Prospects may not take action the first time they’re exposed to your service or brand. A drip campaign can keep your company name top of mind when they’re emotionally ready to pull the trigger on making a purchase. A single mass message may not be enough to move the contact from prospect to customer status.

Here are a couple of other articles about using drip campaigns:
Sample of a drip campaign for real estate agents
Tips from Marketing Sherpa to Drive Revenue

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