In my last AAEPA post, I talked about drip marketing and offered examples of different kinds of effective email drip campaigns. To continue on topic, here are a few tips that you can implement right away to maximize your drip marketing success.
Email drip campaigns can be effective in achieving many things: building relationships with prospects and clients, increasing client retention, and even increasing new business opportunities (including cross-sales and up-sales). But sometimes it can be a challenge to identify the ideal balance of frequency-message-audience to avoid drowning your prospects.
Drip marketing can actually be a delicate process. You have to understand your target markets, know what each segment wants and needs, and give it to them without coming across as pushy, salesy, aggressive, or über-bothersome. Keep these recommendations in mind to nurture your prospects, rather than annoying them.
1) Identify your target audience and segments clearly
The first step in developing a drip marketing campaign is to identify your ideal audience, and then break that target market up into specific segments. The more specific your list, the more effective your campaign will be. You may have more than one segment within your audience, indicating the need for more than one drip campaign. Go with the flow: create one drip campaign per segment within your target audience.
2) Plan your campaign thoughtfully
Repeatedly sending the same (or similar) message to a contact does not a drip campaign make. Strategy should be involved in the planning process. All of your drip emails should be strategically thought out, sequenced and timed. Each message should be able to stand on its own, while simultaneously building upon the emails that precede it (kind of like a television show – you should be able to watch an episode and be able to enjoy and understand it without having watched the entire season, but if you are an avid fan, the preceding episodes will make the new episode that much better). Design your emails so that each successive message builds upon the prior message and the final message reaches a crescendo effect. Make sure the information you send is meaningful and relevant to the group you are targeting.
3) Hone your messages sharply
Not every drip campaign is appropriate for every segment of your target audience. However, regardless of which type of drip campaign you send out, the messages in your drip campaign should tell a story. Each email should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Each email should build up to a climax, at which point the prospect (ideally) makes the decision to move forward and contacts you. Even if your campaign’s objective is to promote thought leadership, there is always the underlying objective to get a sale, so apply the story theme to your messaging.
4) Time your messages appropriately
You don’t want to inundate your recipients with too much information too quickly. If your drip campaign supplements another email campaign (for example, your monthly email newsletter), be sure to take the newsletter delivery into account when scheduling your drip messages so that they complement one another rather than compete with each other for attention in the inbox (or worse, make you look like a spammer). The most effective drip campaigns take place over a long period of time, consistently providing value, regardless of where your prospects are in the sales cycle.
5) Prompt action deliberately
The goal of a drip campaign is to encourage a specific action. Remember your key objective when strategizing your campaign… Is your goal to remain top of mind? To raise brand awareness? To sell supplementary services? To educate contacts on what you can do for them? To warm up your leads? Each of your segments may have a different objective – you may want to sell additional services to your current estate planning clients, while the goal may be to establish credibility and trust with the segment of prospects who attended your last webinar.
6) Solve your prospects’ problems generously
The very best way to ensure that your messages evoke the response that you want is if those messages actually do something for the prospect. If you truly understand your prospects and the problems they face, you’ll be able to connect with them on a deeper, more emotional level than your competitors can. Don’t fall into the trap of merely hawking your services message after message. Make sure that you offer answers to your prospects’ questions, address their fears, and show them that you are not only knowledgeable, but that you care. That’s what will help you earn their trust, and their business. You might include articles, whitepapers or other core content that help them protect their assets and prepare better for the future. You want your prospects to look forward to your communications, and dripping them with relevant, helpful and informative content that provides them some kind of immediate benefit will do just that.
7) Automate your messages carefully
One of the keys to a successful email drip campaign is to make it appear as if it is NOT an automated campaign. If your drip campaign sounds robotic, you skipped too many of the above tips, starting with the very first one. It is essential that the content you distribute to your contacts is targeted specifically to each of their needs and interests – segmentation is critical. If the content isn’t relevant or beneficial, you are likely to lose the relationship. Possibly forever. Make sure that what you send out in your messages will nurture and engage your prospects, not make them hit the delete button.
Your prospects may, over the course of your relationship, receive numerous drip campaigns as you will constantly woo and nurture them as their status and relationship to you changes over time. They will only receive one campaign at a time, of course, but over the span of five years, they may receive five or more different drip campaigns based on their interests, behavior, and progression through the buyer’s cycle.
Make every single one of those campaigns count.
Becca Fieler is an Online Marketing Specialist for the BizActions | PDI Global brands from Thomson Reuters. She provides strategic planning and oversight for our online and email marketing initiatives. Becca also helps clients develop comprehensive marketing and lead generation programs. She is a prolific writer when she has time.
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