Email marketing works. It is a great way to nurture leads, grow your subscriber list, and increase conversions. According to a study by McKinsey and Company, email marketing is 40 times more effective for customer acquisition than social media. Email also delivers the highest ROI for marketers, at $44 for every $1 spent on average:
But it’s not enough to dash off an email and send it en masse. Your campaign must be tailored to your audience. Email drip campaigns allow you to start a conversation and build a relationship with your leads.
In this article, I’ll talk you through five drip campaigns you can set up for your email list this week. But first, let’s briefly define our terms.
What is an Email Drip Campaign?
An email drip campaign is a sequence of emails sent over a specified period. It often includes action-based tracking, meaning the emails you send depend on the recipient’s actions. One common example is the cart abandonment email, which is triggered when a person puts products in their virtual shopping cart but doesn’t complete the purchase. We’ll discuss this in more detail later.
Are you thinking that this all sounds like a lot of work? It certainly would be if you had to send each email manually, monitor the responses, choose the next message to send based on recipient actions, then monitor that and start all over again. Fortunately, there are great tools on hand with which you can automate your whole email campaign.
Automation allows you to “set and forget” so that you can get on with other things. If you’re not convinced yet, check out the other benefits of marketing automation.
Creating an Email Drip Campaign
When creating an email drip campaign, you have to decide the following:
- The number of emails you will send.
- The time intervals between each email.
- How long your email drip campaign will run.
- Email content.
All four factors will depend on your objective. If your goal is to convert new leads, you might schedule more sales-oriented emails at the beginning of your campaign. If you’re developing an online course, you might use several emails to give your audience a taste of the value they’ll get if they sign up.
The length of your drip campaign will depend on how many emails you plan to send and the intervals between each one. Based on existing data, average engagement metrics, like open rates and click-through rates, slowly decline as email sequences become longer. In most circumstances, 3 – 5 emails is about right.
When you create your email content, make sure you cover specific customer pain points. In other words, what problem does your prospective customer have, and how can you help them solve it?
I suggest running A/B tests with your content to determine what is most effective. Even a small change can make a big difference. In one notable example, changing the colour of the call-to-action button increased conversions threefold.
One final tip: Before you hit send, always validate your email list through an email verification solution. Doing this helps keep your bounce rate low and your deliverability score high, which prevents future emails getting caught in spam filters.
Five Email Drip Campaigns to Set Up This Week
Now that you understand the principle, let’s look at the practical application. In this section, we’ll look at five email drip campaigns you should be using and how to make them work.
Email Welcome Sequence
Sending welcome emails when people first visit your website and part with their email address cements brand recognition and starts to build a relationship. According to MailChimp, sending multiple emails in a sequence to welcome customers yields an average 51% more revenue than sending a single email.
I suggest sending around three emails over two to four days. Here’s an example of a simple three-email sequence from clothing company Basic Piece:
The first email is the most crucial because this is where you make your first impression. Introduce yourself and share an interesting fact about your brand. If you promised a freebie in exchange for their email address, this is also where you should deliver it. Finish by asking the reader to follow you on social media and to whitelist your email address.
In the second email, offer something of value. A link to a relevant blog post or video is ideal. At this point, you’re growing the relationship and demonstrating that you have something to give.
In the third and final email of the welcome sequence, deliver your takeaway message. Provide something of value again, and end with the main call-to-action. In the above example, the company uses customer testimonials in the third email.
This whole sequence should take place over a few days, while the memory of your business is still fresh in their minds.
Special Offer Promo Sequence
Running promotions and special offers should be part of your email marketing strategy. The reason for this is simple: many companies are selling the same or similar products and services, so you need to do something to stand out. A promo achieves this aim.
Your email sequence should not be excessively sales-focused. Hard selling does not work, and aggressive sales pitches will just make people unsubscribe.
Instead, consider what drives people to make a purchase. Salespeople believe there are three main factors: desire, logic, and fear of missing out. Your email sequence should address each of these:
- First email (desire): This email focuses on the emotions. Outline the benefits a person would get from purchasing your product or service. In other words, make them want it.
- Second email (logic): This email covers the logical reasons for making a purchase. What problems will it solve? You might include an FAQ section.
- Third email (FOMO): Create a sense of urgency. Encourage your audience to buy now, or they’ll miss out on the special offer.
Here’s an example of a promo campaign:
The first email creates desire by sharing a beautiful picture of the destination, the second appeals to logic by showing the value of the trip, and the third creates a sense of FOMO by reminding the reader that spaces are limited.
Birthday promotions are hugely popular with businesses and very much appreciated by customers. A birthday sequence gives the customer a special offer or freebie on their birthday, with limited time to claim it.
If you intend to run a birthday campaign, you need to plan ahead by capturing this information. There are two ways to do this — on your opt-in form, or as part of the welcome sequence after the customer has subscribed to your list.
Here’s an example from Lee, which does the latter:
Your birthday email sequence need not be complicated. Simply wish them a happy birthday and offer a discount coupon or freebie with a limited time to claim it. You can then send a follow-up the next day to remind them that time is running out to use their offer.
Cart Abandonment Sequence
In 2019, cart abandonment rates were at 77.13%. That’s more than three-quarters of prospective customers who put items in their cart, then leave without buying. The reasons for cart abandonment vary, but here’s an overview from Baymard’s survey in 2020:
Regardless of the reason, cart abandonment is the most significant leak in most companies’ sales funnels. The cart abandonment sequence is the best way to patch that leak.
According to Moosend, 45% of cart abandonment emails are opened. Of these, 21% receive click-throughs, and 50% of those who click end up making a purchase.
Here’s an example of a proven cart abandonment formula:
- The first email is sent six hours after the person abandons their cart. Give a friendly reminder that you have limited stock of the relevant product. Here’s an example from Bloomingdale’s:
- If the customer doesn’t complete the purchase, send the second email 24 hours later. Give a limited-time special offer, such as free shipping, if they buy within 48 hours.
- If they still don’t buy, send the final email 72 hours later. Offer a significant discount and increase FOMO by saying this offer will only be available for a short time.
Chances are, you’ll see a significant increase in conversions when you implement a cart abandonment sequence. If you don’t, look more closely at your checkout process. Is it slow, excessively complicated, or is shipping too expensive? Make sure your user experience is up to scratch, or you’ll keep missing out on sales.
Upsell Email Sequence
Congratulations, your customer has made a purchase! Don’t stop there. You have an opportunity to upsell by pitching additional relevant products or services.
One of the best ways to upsell is to include a special “thank you” offer, such as a discount on a future purchase if they buy again within a limited time.
Here’s how Shutterfly, a photography company, does it:
Notice that the company first thanks the customer for their purchase, then offers the discount if they buy again this week. This order is critical. If you try to sell again without acknowledging their previous order, you’ll alienate and annoy them.
If the customer doesn’t make use of the offer, send a second email a few days later to remind them that they have limited time to claim it.
Email Drip Campaigns to Boost Your Business
As you’ve seen, email drip campaigns are a great way to reach out to leads, prospects, and customers. But you need to have a plan and be strategic in your approach. Why not get started by learning how to automate your email marketing?
It’s essential to understand your intended audience, address their pain points, and take the time to build a relationship. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try things out — if you don’t see results, try something different. Email marketing is a mixture of art and science, and it takes time and practice to get it right.