December 26, 2017

4 Easy Steps to Creating a Successful Drip Campaign

Reading time about 6 min

Drip campaigns can be an effective and efficient way for any small business looking to send perfectly timed emails with information sent to your customers. Setting this process up will make it easier to follow up with your customers and create more personable interactions with them.

Cat gifs aside, here are a few examples of common drip campaigns:

  • Onboarding series
  • Prospecting
  • Top of mind campaign
  • Pre-event communications or post-event follow-up

What is a drip campaign?

But wait, what is a drip campaign? Drip campaigns are a series of automated messages that are triggered by an event or action.

The key idea behind drip campaigns is to send consistent, relevant emails to your subscribers to either provide information or encourage email engagement.

In this article, we will help you get started by covering the 4 steps to creating a successful drip campaign:

  • Set your goals
  • Choose relevant KPIs
  • Create content that achieves those goals
  • Make iterative changes

4 Steps to a Successful Drip Campaign

1. Set your goals

When setting goals, it’s important that goals are realistic and reflective of what’s achievable with your drip campaign. That includes making sure your goals are on a reasonable timeline.

It’s important to get every ounce of value from your drip campaign, so you have to clarify which goals can be achieved in the short-term and long-term. Putting your goals on time tables can be important when you want to report on how successful your drip campaign was in achieving each of these goals.

Goal creep — the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals — can be a real issue with goal setting if you don’t set and define your goals clearly from the beginning. To avoid goal creep, match your drip campaign goals with the core marketing objective you want to accomplish with your campaign. Neglecting this objective will result in message content that isn’t relevant to your overall marketing strategy and will not resonate with your subscribers.

For example, imagine you’re a SaaS business that just released a new update on one of your popular software applications. Using a free trial offer, the marketing team was able to attract a bigger user base. Your goal is to leverage this influx of new users by converting 20% of free trial users to paid plans in the next 4 months to increase usage of your software’s recent update.

The example above states the goal, and sets a realistic timeframe to achieve this goal. Remember that your marketing objectives need to be intrinsic to your drip campaign.

2. Choose relevant KPIs

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”
– Michael Bloomberg

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) are measures of value on which you can evaluate the performance of your marketing automation strategy.

Imagine your KPIs as different parts of a funnel.

At the mouth of the funnel, your KPI should measure how many website visitors you get in a certain period of time.

Moving further down the funnel, the next KPI should quantify how many anonymous leads then convert into qualified leads or potential buyers.

Lasty, you should look at KPIs that measure the rate of conversions from qualified leads to actual customers. You can also look at the number of interactions your paying customers have with your business or the average size of their order — whatever is most relevant to your business model.

To start, here are 3 KPIs that will help you better understand where you can improve with marketing automation:

  • Rate of Qualified Lead Generation – This measures the rate at which anonymous leads become qualified leads as a result of your drip campaign. It is a very powerful first step in measuring the success of your workflow.
  • Total Conversion Rate of Leads to Customers – This measures the number of qualified leads that you generated vs. the number of those leads that went on to make a purchase and become a true customer.
  • Value of Qualified Leads – This measures the value that each new qualified lead provides to your business. It’s calculated by taking the average monthly revenue per customer multiplied by the average lifetime of a customer in months, and finally multiplied by the qualified lead to customer conversion rate. This is an awesome metric to see how much revenue your drip campaign is bringing in.

If you’re interested in reading more about these KPIs, check out the full article.

3. Create content that achieves those goals

Setting goals can be a formidable task, but creating content to hit those goals shouldn’t be. Before working on your content, ask yourself these questions pertaining to your drip campaign content:

  • How many emails am I going to send in this drip campaign?
  • Does each email have a clear objective that takes customers one step closer to achieving the overall goal of the campaign?

Answering these questions is an important step towards creating content that hits your goals. As a business, you need to align the content in your drip campaign with your goals to create a more cohesive subscriber experience.

Let your marketing objectives guide the creation of your drip campaign content. Your campaign shouldn’t exist without an objective to drive your content. This will help minimize any irrelevant emails being sent to your subscribers. To make it easier to achieve your email objective, include links in your messages to landing pages that contain more relevant content and additional offers. This will increase the chance a contact will complete the desired action and keep moving down the pipeline.

You should also focus on creating your content in a personal tone There’s a lot of value in personalizing your drip campaign content. In fact, a 2016 study found that personalized emails had significantly higher open rates than non-personalized emails.

By making an effort to personalize the content in your drip campaign, your message will be more likely to resonate with your subscribers. This deeper connection with your customer will help move them through the buying process (or towards the bottom of the “sales funnel” if you prefer the business jargon terminology) more quickly. It also helps build awareness and trust with your brand.

4. Make iterative changes

After you’ve created the content and published your drip campaign, it’s time to monitor and iterate on your campaign based on the performance of your established KPIs.

Your drip campaign shouldn’t be static, it should be continuously updated throughout its campaign. When you begin to receive feedback on your campaign, make note, review, evaluate and adjust your campaign based on user behavior data.

Address weakness in your campaign proactively and thank your subscribers for their feedback. Don’t forget to document your changes and benchmark your drip campaigns with previous campaigns to see the progress of your changes.

By following these 4 steps, you’ll be able to create effective drip campaigns that will increase customer engagement with your business and improve your overall sales and retention.

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