Email marketing has long been a go-to strategy for marketers trying to directly reach their audience – and, contrary to some reports from the ad industry, it remains a very effective way of showcasing your products to your customers.
The rise of suites like MailChimp, HubSpot, and Maropost have brought new levels of efficiency and nuance to the email marketing campaigns of today. It’s been years since anyone’s pressed “send” and hoped for the best; instead, sophisticated analytical tools have enabled marketers to determine the precise moment when their emails should be sent, as well as allowing for split-testing subject lines and content.
Consequently, the capabilities of these platforms has lead to the rise of drip marketing. Drip marketing goes by many different names – drip email, automated email, autoresponders – but the inherent objective is always the same: utilizing automated emails to build and maintain an ongoing outreach to customers.
The Structure of a Drip Marketing Campaign
Generally speaking, drip campaigns are structured around 4-5 separate emails, although they can also vary in size depending on the ultimate objective of the campaign. Additionally, drip marketing campaign objectives will differ depending on what the marketing department is trying to achieve – some may be reaching for direct sales, while others may be trying to build an email list or generate web traffic.
Every drip marketing campaign will start with an introductory email of some sort. This email can be sent to your list of past and current customers, or to a list of prospective customers you’ve gleaned from webinars and gated content. From this introduction, you can then begin to split-test your subject lines and content in order to see what generates the results you want. Since the sending of the emails is automated, all you have to do is sit back and watch as the results flow in.
Like subject lines, best practices for the timing of your emails will vary by company and industry; however, it’s typically best to space out your emails over the course of several days or weeks. Few people enjoy receiving daily emails from the same companies over and over.
Drip campaigns are often automated based on time, but they can also operate on the basis of actions. These actions can include opens, clicks, and conversions. Action-based automation can be especially effective in that it allows you to only send messages to customers that are actively engaged and interested in the content of your emails.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Drip Marketing
Clearly, drip marketing is a fantastic way to streamline your customer outreach, as well as helping your marketing team save time, money, and effort. This tactic also enables you to send your content to people who are clearly interested in it, helping you to build brand trust and familiarity.
The primary disadvantage of drip marketing is the inherent danger that comes with any kind of automated outreach; namely, that it can be very difficult to stop a message being sent once you have it scheduled. Thus, the quality control and editing process for your email content needs to be extra-rigorous if you’re going to use automation.
It’s worth noting that drip marketing isn’t necessarily the best solution for every email campaign, or even every company. As with all marketing tactics, it’s important to evaluate what you hope to achieve from using drip marketing, as well as ensuring that you are prepared to invest the requisite time and resources into making it work for your company should you choose to use it. That being said, drip marketing can be an extremely powerful and efficient way to generate more sales and leads for your business.