Drip Email Marketing: The Best Automation Technique You’re Not Using

Lilach Bullock on Email marketing,


Drip marketing is one of those phrases you’ve probably heard of. In fact, if pressed on the matter you could probably have a stab at defining it. Something to do with sending your contacts a steady drip of marketing messages to keep their interest, right?

Sort of. The truth is, you’re likelier to have heard drip marketing described using one of its alternate names such as automated email, lifecycle emails, autoresponders or marketing automation. Nomenclature aside, we’ve all been recipients of drip email marketing, be it after signing up for a webinar or purchasing a pair of shoes.

The idea with drip marketing is to bridge the knowledge gap between new subscribers and existing subscribers. Via a series of automated messages, you can bring new subscribers up to speed on what you’re all about. They might be late to the party but they still deserve to dance.

But drip marketing is about more than giving new prospects a “too long; didn’t read” of everything they’ve missed over the past 12 months. It’s smarter than that. Or rather you’re smarter than that. You recognise that different people are at different stages in the customer journey, and that new arrivals are likely just starting out.

You’re looking to forge a lasting relationship with new prospects, but like a personal relationship it’s important not to move too fast. Imagine meeting a stranger on a first date before promptly proposing marriage, children and a joint bank account together.

Too soon. Way too soon.

As that well known proponent of marketing automation and occasional dabbler in fables, Aesop, once wrote, “Slow but steady wins the race”. What is drip marketing if not a steady trickle of messages designed to advance your relationship to the next level? The goal is to give prospects the right messages at the right time. You’re not trying to force, trick or bombard them into purchasing your products: rather you’re seeking to address a need that they have at that particular moment in time. That need could be for further information, for an incentive to take the next step or for a specific product that they’ve been searching for. You can’t peer into the minds of every prospect and respond to their innermost desires (that would just be weird), but using analytics, segmentation and trigger-based automation, you can come pretty close.

How to succeed at drip email marketing

Drip Email Marketing

When you’re setting up marketing automation, there are a few fundamentals to bear in mind:

1. Stay in the Goldilocks zone

Have you ever signed up for something only to be bombarded with autoresponders at the rate of two a day? Go for a swim and you come back to find another one. Pop out for a spot of lunch, whip out your phone and there’s another. Go to bed and wake up to another two. You can’t rush a new relationship, so don’t bombard your new prospects. Conversely, don’t leave it too long or they’ll have forgotten all about you. For prospects to blossom into full-blown relationships you need to get out of the friendzone and into the Goldilocks zone, where the delivery of drip emails is just right.

2. Give them the very best

The beauty of email marketing is that you have an entire bank of previous content that’s gone out to your subscriber list. At a glance, you can tell which of your campaigns has performed the best, generating the most opens, clicks and sales. Repackage this content and deliver it to your new subscribers. The first ten emails a prospect receives from you can be likened to the first ten dates. This is your chance to show off your best side – you, but on a good day. Keep an eye on your analytics and consider highly successful campaigns for inclusion in your drip marketing.

When to use drip marketing

Drip Email Marketing

New signups aren’t the only opportunity to use drip marketing. In addition to setting up a welcome sequence, you can create automation based around recommendations, engagement with your content, renewals, confirmations and abandoned shopping carts. (Though launching into a 10-part drip campaign for a dropped cart may be overkill.) In fact, one of the best ways in which drip marketing can be used is for nurturing leads. If an individual passes a certain milestone while using your app or e-learning course, give them some praise. And while you’re at it, give them some additional resources that will help them get even more out of your products and services. It could be a selection of your most popular blog posts, or a guide to using more advanced features in the service they’ve signed up for.

Onboarding is a great example of drip marketing in action, guiding a prospect through the gradual steps that lead them towards becoming a paying customer. They’ve already completed the first step in signing up for your newsletter. The next step could be encouraging them to download your free app or to trial your software or service for free for 30 days. The next step from there – convincing them to subscribe – should prove to be a much smaller one thanks to the gentle curve of the onboarding process.

Drip Email Marketing for Onboarding

Another instance where drip marketing can prove invaluable is right after a new customer has purchased one of your services. You’re catching them at a moment when their engagement is high, for they’ve literally just engaged with your brand to the fullest extent possible. Now is the time to strike while the iron’s hot and interest is at an all-time high. Onboarding can be an effective way to upsell, but you need to show some finesse here. Cut straight to the chase and you risk alienating your newest customers, ensuring that their first purchase is their last.

Should I use drip marketing?

Should your business be using drip emails as a marketing technique? That’s for you to decide, but I’m just going to leave this here: according to Jupiter Research, relevant emails generate 18x more revenue than broadcast emails. That’s right, eighteen times. They also get a 119% higher click rate than broadcast emails.

So, what do you think?

If you’re not using drip email marketing to its full potential, you’re missing out on a wealth of opportunities. Automated email; lifecycle emails; call it what you will, just make sure you do call upon it regularly. The smarter your automation, the better the response rate. Broadcast emails still have a role to play, but it’s through the steady drip, drip of personalisation that you advance from first date material to life-long partners.

Drip marketing is one of those phrases you’ve probably heard of. In fact, if pressed on the matter you could probably have a stab at defining it. Something to do with sending your contacts a steady drip of marketing messages to keep their interest, right?

Sort of. The truth is, you’re likelier to have heard drip marketing described using one of its alternate names such as automated email, lifecycle emails, autoresponders or marketing automation. Nomenclature aside, we’ve all been recipients of drip email marketing, be it after signing up for a webinar or purchasing a pair of shoes.

The idea with drip marketing is to bridge the knowledge gap between new subscribers and existing subscribers. Via a series of automated messages, you can bring new subscribers up to speed on what you’re all about. They might be late to the party but they still deserve to dance.

But drip marketing is about more than giving new prospects a “too long; didn’t read” of everything they’ve missed over the past 12 months. It’s smarter than that. Or rather you’re smarter than that. You recognise that different people are at different stages in the customer journey, and that new arrivals are likely just starting out.

You’re looking to forge a lasting relationship with new prospects, but like a personal relationship it’s important not to move too fast. Imagine meeting a stranger on a first date before promptly proposing marriage, children and a joint bank account together.

Too soon. Way too soon.

As that well known proponent of marketing automation and occasional dabbler in fables, Aesop, once wrote, “Slow but steady wins the race”. What is drip marketing if not a steady trickle of messages designed to advance your relationship to the next level? The goal is to give prospects the right messages at the right time. You’re not trying to force, trick or bombard them into purchasing your products: rather you’re seeking to address a need that they have at that particular moment in time. That need could be for further information, for an incentive to take the next step or for a specific product that they’ve been searching for. You can’t peer into the minds of every prospect and respond to their innermost desires (that would just be weird), but using analytics, segmentation and trigger-based automation, you can come pretty close.

How to succeed at drip email marketing

Drip Email Marketing

When you’re setting up marketing automation, there are a few fundamentals to bear in mind:

1. Stay in the Goldilocks zone

Have you ever signed up for something only to be bombarded with autoresponders at the rate of two a day? Go for a swim and you come back to find another one. Pop out for a spot of lunch, whip out your phone and there’s another. Go to bed and wake up to another two. You can’t rush a new relationship, so don’t bombard your new prospects. Conversely, don’t leave it too long or they’ll have forgotten all about you. For prospects to blossom into full-blown relationships you need to get out of the friendzone and into the Goldilocks zone, where the delivery of drip emails is just right.

2. Give them the very best

The beauty of email marketing is that you have an entire bank of previous content that’s gone out to your subscriber list. At a glance, you can tell which of your campaigns has performed the best, generating the most opens, clicks and sales. Repackage this content and deliver it to your new subscribers. The first ten emails a prospect receives from you can be likened to the first ten dates. This is your chance to show off your best side – you, but on a good day. Keep an eye on your analytics and consider highly successful campaigns for inclusion in your drip marketing.

When to use drip marketing

Drip Email Marketing

New signups aren’t the only opportunity to use drip marketing. In addition to setting up a welcome sequence, you can create automation based around recommendations, engagement with your content, renewals, confirmations and abandoned shopping carts. (Though launching into a 10-part drip campaign for a dropped cart may be overkill.) In fact, one of the best ways in which drip marketing can be used is for nurturing leads. If an individual passes a certain milestone while using your app or e-learning course, give them some praise. And while you’re at it, give them some additional resources that will help them get even more out of your products and services. It could be a selection of your most popular blog posts, or a guide to using more advanced features in the service they’ve signed up for.

Onboarding is a great example of drip marketing in action, guiding a prospect through the gradual steps that lead them towards becoming a paying customer. They’ve already completed the first step in signing up for your newsletter. The next step could be encouraging them to download your free app or to trial your software or service for free for 30 days. The next step from there – convincing them to subscribe – should prove to be a much smaller one thanks to the gentle curve of the onboarding process.

Drip Email Marketing for Onboarding

Another instance where drip marketing can prove invaluable is right after a new customer has purchased one of your services. You’re catching them at a moment when their engagement is high, for they’ve literally just engaged with your brand to the fullest extent possible. Now is the time to strike while the iron’s hot and interest is at an all-time high. Onboarding can be an effective way to upsell, but you need to show some finesse here. Cut straight to the chase and you risk alienating your newest customers, ensuring that their first purchase is their last.

Should I use drip marketing?

Should your business be using drip emails as a marketing technique? That’s for you to decide, but I’m just going to leave this here: according to Jupiter Research, relevant emails generate 18x more revenue than broadcast emails. That’s right, eighteen times. They also get a 119% higher click rate than broadcast emails.

So, what do you think?

If you’re not using drip email marketing to its full potential, you’re missing out on a wealth of opportunities. Automated email; lifecycle emails; call it what you will, just make sure you do call upon it regularly. The smarter your automation, the better the response rate. Broadcast emails still have a role to play, but it’s through the steady drip, drip of personalisation that you advance from first date material to life-long partners.

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Lilach Bullock
Professional Speaker, Lead Conversion Expert, Social Media Specialist & Occasional Diva. Proud mum
UK https://www.lilachbullock.com/