The Do’s and Dont’s of email Drip campaigns

Everyone who’s anyone is talking about automation these days!

Automation and autoresponders have proven effective for email marketers around the world due to their ease of use and performance in the inbox. There’s loads of information and statistics about autoresponders and automation, but this article is going to focus on a very specific type of email automation: Drip Email Marketing.

Drip email marketing

Drip marketing refers to a marketing communication strategy that feeds a customer or prospective client predetermined information over time. The messages are sent, or ‘dripped’, over a predetermined course and are formatted according to the actions, behavior or status of the recipient.

The most popular and effective medium for drip marketing just so happens to be email marketing. That’s because it’s able to automate the process and easily collect data from opt in lists – without you having to do a thing!

What’s great about drip marketing is that it comes in many flavours, each accomplishing something different, making it one of the most flexible and adaptable marketing strategies out there today!

Drip Email Marketing Programs

Here’s an extensive list of the types of drip email campaigns that’ve been used in the past.

Top of Mind Drips

These kind of drip email campaigns focus on not only getting your product or brand into the inbox, but into the mind of your recipients.

While it would be great to get conversions 😉 brand awareness and consumer knowledge of your product can result in the best marketing there is – word of mouth, which will lead to conversions in the future – like a snowball effect.

The Do’s

  • Repetitive coverage of your brand
  • Highlights what your brand is up to
  • Highlights accomplishments of your brand
  • Comes across as relatable and relevant

The Dont’s
• Educate on product use
• Include too many call to actions
• Highlight industry news / trends that don’t prominently feature your brand

Training Drips

Showing users how to use your product, training drips are most commonly seen during the onboarding process.

These are focused mainly on teaching readers on how to use your product or service. This generates user engagement and interest in your product.

Training drips are ideal for a product or service that offers upgrades or wants to convert users from a free trial account to a paid account.

The Do’s
• Simple, easy to read format
• Links to upgrades, tutorials and help files
• Review and preview future email
• Include contact details for more information

The Dont’s
• Include overly complex tutorials
• Have confusing / creative subject lines
• Include heavy use of call to actions

Education Drips

The goal of an education drip is to, you guessed it, educate!

Unlike a philosophy class, however, the aim here is to teach the reader something useful and beneficial about the product or service you offer. These can be anything from case studies and reports to statistics and facts – anything that can plant the idea that your product or service would be a great addition to the recipients’ lives.

The Do’s
• Use short, to the point content
• Use content that is heavily fact based with citations
• Include clear call to actions after presenting facts
• Include links back to your website to find out more information

The Dont’s
• Include irrelevant pictures – rather use infographics
• Include statistics and studies from the competition
• Compare your product to others

Re-Engagement Drips

These type of emails are designed to get a customer who originally showed interest before, but has since ‘gone cold’ such as visitors who have added a particular item to their online cart but then abandoned it, or clients who have inquired about certain products or advanced features.

Sometimes, consumers need that little nudge towards making that decision to purchase or perhaps just need some more information to make an informed judgement – these emails are the answer to that!

The Do’s
• Refer to the product the prospect was interested in
• Include similar products or services you offer
• Keep context in mind. Are you offering a service that the client would mind others knowing about?
• Include a call to action, links to the product they were interested in and your homepage

The Dont’s
• Be irrelevant. Use the product they were interested in
• Be overly aggressive with your sales content
• Send lots of mail in a short time to the client – they’re already about to leave

Promotional Drips

This is the kind of drip campaign most email marketers feel comfortable with.

Consider these drips to be a sequence of promotional emails usually dealing with one special or promotion that count down the days the deal runs for.

These are amazing for creating urgency and the impression of scarcity, which drives readers to take advantage of the deal in question before it’s too late.

The Do’s
• Send each email at a predictable time, evenly spaced out until the promotion ends
• Include links to the promotional landing page and ensure it works well
• Include links to your website and relevant subscription links to other mailing lists
• Count down the promotional offer email to email.

The Dont’s
• Keep emailing about a new promotion soon after the original one ends – this kills future urgency and creates irritability in your clients.
• Keep running the promotion after the specified end date.
• Send the campaign to unresponsive addresses – this will make them unsubscribe. Use a re-engagement drip for this (segmentation tools come in handy here).

Relationship Drips

A marketer’s dream, relationship drips are intended to build client trust and engagement through a course of emails that follow a continuing brand story / evolving identity.

Like any good relationship building exercise, the goal here is to get the recipient to simply like you, your brand and your product rather than trying to convince them that the product is a great addition to their lives.

Think of the fandom of Apple products. Even if the product is not the best or cheapest on the market, Apple fans would still buy. That’s the power of relationship marketing!

The Do’s
• Include a few links to your website, blog or other marketing material
• Include good case studies and references
• Use personalization, an informal tone, ask for opinions and be available to respond
• Showcase poll results, clients, news and competitions

The Dont’s
• Be overly salesy or pushy – you’re building a relationship, not trying to close a deal.
• Use an impersonal address – use names in the address or even the CEO’s address.
• Use predictable subject lines – you can get creative here!

Sales Drips

This is where your sales team can shine.

These emails are sent to a group of subscribers that have not bought anything, but are still interacting with your current sends – you can find this out through reporting tools most ESPs provide.

The goal here is plain and simple: get these subscribers to buy by highlighting your best and most popular products.

The Do’s
• Showcase your best and most successful products – think of the reason they subscribed in the first place
• Include multiple call to actions and links to landing pages designed to convert customers
• Start with your most popular and wind down to less successful products
• Highlight the benefits of your products – your sales team will know what to do here

The Dont’s
• Try to create a conversation or relationship – leave that for after the sale and to marketing
• Send this campaign to subscribers who are already converting – these customers already know what they want

After-Sale Drips

Great, so they finally bought a product. Does this mean that you move on? Of course not, you don’t stop squeezing a lemon just because you got a few drops out of it.

After-Sale Drips specialize in getting more business out of your current customers by suggesting related products, additional services or great features available on upgrade.

The Do’s
• Focus on similar products or services that compliment what they’ve already bought
• Include links to your product offerings landing page
• Give links and information relating to after-sale support
• Include case studies of customers who used your service for great results

The Dont’s
• Flood your client with emails – keep it scarce over a couple of days, (3 days after purchase minimum)
• Try to introduce a new product unless it relates to the one that they already bought – keep it relevant!
• Send late mail – this type of campaign should kick in a couple days after the sale, not weeks later.

Why drip email campaigns work

Drip email campaigns work because they’re persistent enough to be noticed, but not relentless to the point of annoyance. The key to a good drip campaign is to get your data and triggers correct so that you’re sending the right campaign to the right person.

Stop firing blind shots at success – drip your way up the ladder!

Mark Brown

After doing film making, freelance copy writing and marketing Mark has joined GraphicMail as copywriter. With a love of the strange, artistic and technological, Mark's interests are as varied and peculiar as he is. Mark loves to express his flavor on paper... or flickering screen to keep his readers informed and entertained."