There's nothing really "new" about drip email campaigns, but dig into the marketing strategies of some of the most successful companies and there you will find them in all their engaging glory, leading prospective and existing users to the conversions (however they are defined) necessary to sustain a Web enterprise. And lest we forget, it also provides weary marketers a break from the rigid structure of the scheduled send.
A drip email campaign is a timed series of emails that are sent to opt-in recipients based on their date of registration. For example, sign up on Monday, get an email Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, or sign up on Tuesday and receive an email Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. This differs greatly from scheduled sends, which are quite common in the digital space today. In a scheduled send, every recipient on your list gets the same email, at the same time, on the same day. There are numerous benefits to scheduled sends as well, but if you're looking to ramp up the effectiveness of email and content marketing efforts, consider starting a drip campaign.
The value of a drip email campaign is threefold. Not only do they 1) provide information publishers with a new and exciting opportunity to lead prospects toward a conversion, 2) test a variety of elements in the process - from design to timing - but also, and likely the most appealing aspect of a drip campaign, 3) provide a cure for a common ailment in email marketing - recipient desensitization.
There is both an art and a science to drip campaigns that many seek but few obtain. To make it work, many important questions must first be answered.
Break out the Strategy
Quite a bit of strategy behind a drip campaign (i.e. the type of content and frequency - both discussed below) should be addressed, but it is also vital to consider the post-click activity; meaning, what happens after a user visits a link in the drip email?
Anyone considering a drip campaign should first have some control over their website (to manage a designated section for this drip-specific content). Whether it is a password protected category in your CMS, or an entirely separate website, the aim should be to control the path (and experience) of the user (what they see when they click). For information publishers in particular, a learning management system may provide a viable option. Website Magazine has covered the premiere learning management systems in the past (https://wsm.co/LearningMgmt) and is worth a look, but again, aligning content from an individual drip send to designated, identical content on the website will do the trick.
Dripping in Content Style
Web users arriving on websites are looking for one of three things - to purchase, to receive entertainment or to become educated/ informed. Marketers looking to tap into the power and opportunity presented with drip campaigns are likely dealing with the latter, so in appropriate form, it is information that should be provided. While drip campaigns could (and are) routinely set up for reasons ulterior to educating users, the most viable opportunity remains as a source of education. The type and style of content, however, is up to the marketer (the sender). From long-form articles, to punchy posts, video demos to infographics and audio, there's no shortage of content styles that can work.
The Science of the Scheduled Drip
Less science and more mechanics, drip email campaigns are ideal for testing campaign elements including the structure of the email (does HTML or text work better?) as well as the lag (the time between emails) and the volume and length (how many emails are sent?). For example, is it better to send a drip campaign once every day for three days or once every week for three weeks? Only testing the science behind the drip will provide the answer.
Closing the Drip; Let It Run
At this point much work has been put into the drip campaign, so don't let it go to waste. If you have been using an email service provider, you will be downright amazed at the amount of useful/ actionable data you now have at your command. For example, you will know which email in your drip series is most/least effective, providing an opportunity to add, remove or improve content. Senders will also know which individual users react to what type of content, providing an opportunity to segment the list in the future and send content that will likely generate the highest response.
Drip campaigns provide a viable opportunity to drive engagement and improve conversions. If you're looking to increase leads, generate more conversions and provide greater value to users, turn on the revenue faucet with a drip campaign.