There are plenty of articles out there about why email marketing is good for your business but this article offers the complimentary “how to” instead. A drip email campaign is one where you develop a single concept, message, or goal and continue to pepper your network with brief messages to persuade or influence. The idea behind a drip campaign is that it takes between 3 and 30 impressions of a brand to make it sink in.
When creating a drip email campaign its important to have a consistent brand with varying messages to help develop the reputation of your company. You will set up the campaign ahead of time to be automated with a number of “drips,” where each drip in the campaign is a single message.
How to plan your drips
The first time you organize a drip email campaign, the task can be daunting. To keep things simple and manageable, click here for a step-by-step spreadsheet to plan out your strategy and drip dates. Feel free to modify this to suit your needs, but try to keep it simple so it will actually happen.
What to do:
- Develop your campaigns around the audience. Since you don’t have just one type of client, you want a custom drip email campaign for each type of client: lead, prospect, and current.
- Give people a reason to respond. If your email doesn’t ask a question or give the reader a good reason to reply, why would they?
- Be informative. Send a series of “how-to” articles. Make it fun, like a “Top 10” list. See below on how to set up an autoresponder for your expert ideas.
- Promote an event. Send a series of emails about an event you plan to attend or host. The emails can slowly build up anticipation to the big event. Schedule a couple of autoresponders to go out after the event (thank you, what you missed, etc.).
- Integrate social media. While email is key for developing a personal connection, extend your reach using social media. Most email services offer this as an easy option within email campaigns.
What NOT to do:
- Long emails suck. You don’t read long emails from anyone, not even people you like. I’ve found that the most effective emails are about 3-4 sentences. If your client can read it in 15 seconds, she might actually take 5 more seconds to reply.
- Irrelevant emails suck. If you don’t have content for an email, don’t send one. Also, don’t try to be hilarious or edgy; email tone is often misinterpreted and your goal is to promote yourself as a professional expert, not a comedian.
Drip’s cousin: the autoresponder
The autoresponder is nearly the same idea, but can be more unique to the individuals within your database. The main difference is the idea of a trigger. In a drip email campaign the trigger is you: you set up your campaign and hit start, whereas in an autoresponder the emails are sent based on a trigger. Most of the time the trigger is a date (anniversary of completing their case, their birthday, etc.) or behavior (new client, sign-up for newsletter, etc.).
What to do:
- Automated welcome email. When a new prospective client signs up to engage with you through email, they are the most likely to open and respond to emails you send them. Set up an automated email to be sent to them to welcome them, emphasize your key marketing messages, and encourage them to return to your site.
- Automated birthday email. Send a discount coupon that is valid during the client’s birthday month or anniversary of their case completion. Using an important date to your customers will engage them when they may be more willing to treat themselves. Always use this as an excuse to engage and suggest new services.
- Automated client management. Set up a series of emails to be sent to clients throughout their project/case to check in, offer resources and ensure satisfaction. I have never had a client become upset with too much communication.
- Automated expertise. Turn your expertise into an ongoing lesson where you share your knowledge with prospective clients. Write an article, turn it into a PDF, and put it on your website. Purchase a Google Adwords keyword campaign (not an email list!) to drive traffic to that article landing page. Put an email sign-up form on that page where visitors can get more free tips from you (they get subscribed to your autoresponder’s list). Schedule a series of autoresponder emails that are extremely helpful, show your personality, and build up to your call-to-action.
A drip email campaign requires no maintenance once it is underway, which is one reason why the idea is so attractive. When expectations are set, and when the content is actually useful, drip campaigns are really powerful and cool. But if you don’t set expectations, it can be like water drip torture.