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Good to the Last Drip

A few months ago I wrote about the basic fundamentals of email marketing. I’d like to return to that topic today to discuss drip campaigns. What is a drip campaign, you ask? A drip campaign is a strategy for sending out automated email messages based on a timeline or specific actions.

A drip campaign can be used for many types of interactions. You might want to welcome new customers or subscribers. You could set up a series of messages to keep a lead engaged and hopefully turn that lead into an actual customer. You could also set up an automated campaign to gently remind potential customers who have abandoned a shopping cart to complete their purchases. Or you might want to say goodbye to unsubscribers and perhaps direct them to another way to stay connected with your business. Essentially, a drip campaign can be created for just about any type of interaction you might want to have with your customers, subscribers, or website visitors.

So, how you create a drip campaign? Just like any typical project, you should follow the five steps of a project: initiation, planning, execution, evaluation, and closure.

  1. Initiation. Determine the reason for the campaign and identify your target audience. This is where the contact segmentation that I mentioned in my previous post comes into play. You should only send messages to those who might find value in them.
  2. Planning. In this step you will develop the content of your message and determine when the message(s) will be sent. Will the messages be sent on a particular time schedule, or will they be triggered by certain events?
  3. Execution. If you have successfully planned your messages and your timing of them, then this step can actually be automated if you use one of the many email marketing services, such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, or HubSpot. You can segment your contacts so that messages are sent only to those for which they are intended. Then you can upload the content for your messages and create schedules or set triggers for sending them out to your segmented contacts.
  4. Evaluation. In this step you can use the metrics that your email marketing service provides to evaluate how successful (or unsuccessful) your campaign is. Based on those results, you might want to rewrite your message or modify your delivery schedule. Most of the email marketing services offer A/B testing, which allows you to send different versions of your message to different subsections of your audience, or send the same message at different times. You can then compare the results to see which version or time seems to be the most successful.
  5. Closure. At some point your targeted marketing campaign will come to an end. It may come to an end for certain members of your audience–whether it is because you have achieved your goal with that person (made the sale) or because the person unsubscribed from your list. Other times, you may find that the campaign just doesn’t seem to be working at all, and you might want to retire that campaign and develop a new one.

With the many choices of email marketing services out there to choose from (and some priced for those on a tight budget), there is really no reason for your business to not be taking advantage of targeted marketing and creating your own drip campaigns. Carve out some time to select a service, enter or collect contacts (and segment them), develop your content, set the automation, and see where it can take your business.

Meet the Author

Melinda brings several years of experience to ThirdSide to help navigate the challenges of growth.

When not working to keep project tasks flowing, Melinda finds time to nurture her creative side (yes, even project managers have a creative side) by trying out new recipes on her husband and three daughters.

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