Let’s walk through the story of Busy Barry.
Barry, who owned a traditional brick and mortar offline business, recently took the giant leap and ventured into expanding his business online. He read somewhere that emails are one among the most effective marketing channels grossing the highest ROIs and so he decides to re-engage with people who had expressed some kind of interest in his brand via their inboxes.
But being the busy man he was, Barry couldn’t find the time to personally compose and send emails to each of these prospects; mainly because different people interacted differently with his business and each of these interactions demanded a different kind of email to be sent.
Busy Barry felt like too much mundane work was piling up on his plate. He thought, “I can’t sit here all day writing heart-to-heart emails for all these people. I have more pressing business matters to attend to. ” Also, he was a little tight on budget to hire a ‘personalized email-writer’.
It was at such a time that Busy Barry got to hear about email automation. Once he got his lead nurturing emails automated he was able to send pre-composed emails to specific segments in his audience list without much manual effort from his side.
Busy Barry became not so busy anymore!
Now you might have got an idea about what email automation really does.
It allows you to send highly targeted and personalized emails to your past, present and prospective customers as a response to specific triggers in order to facilitate better engagement and to keep the door to further interaction with your brand open.
Drip marketing is another name typically used to refer to email automation. This reference stems from the analogy of water repeatedly dripping from a leaky faucet. Drip drip drip- like a series of emails being sent out to your customers over a period of time.
Drip campaigns deviate slightly from your conventional email marketing approach like newsletters that sent to everyone in your mailing list irrespective of when they signed up for it. New subscribers do not get to see the content you have previously sent, thus rendering your communication discontinuous.
But email drip campaigns work differently. Here, timing is of the essence. The right email containing the right information sent at the right time is what a drip campaign is all about.
How email automation works
Email automation removes the manual work involved in email-marketing and replaces it with pre-defined workflows.
Any email automation software consists of the following three key elements:
Triggers: A user signing up for your newsletter or free-trial, leaving the website without making a purchase, customer inactivity over a period of time etc are examples of triggers that set drip campaigns in motion.
Conditions: Once the pre-defined workflow is initiated by the corresponding trigger, the software checks for conditions that are to be met before proceeding with the action. Conditions such as wait for 3 days once a user signs up or check whether a particular link on the previous emails in the drip was clicked etc determine the subsequent course of action.
Actions: The action, in this case, is the automated emails being sent out to a particular user segment. Examples include a welcome mail sent to new subscribers, a client testimonial email about a specific service that a lead had expressed interest in or cart abandonment emails.
When to use drip campaigns
Ok, so you got people to subscribe to your newsletter. Don’t you think it would be great to welcome them on board with a warm email message that says “ Hey, welcome to the family!“ and give them a synopsis of what your brand does and what value it can provide to the subscriber. It gives the user the much-needed validation that they did the right thing by giving you their email address.
Sending a welcome drip as soon a user subscribes lays the foundation of the relationship between your brand and that customer. On top of that, the automation feature ensures that you never neglect any of your new subscribers.
In addition to the welcome message, this type of drip mail can be used to promote your popular blogs or provide a welcome discount offer. Such welcome emails can surely make the subscriber warm up to your brand.
A lead is a person who has exhibited some kind of interest in your brand, product or service. They might or might not become your customer. It all depends on how you nurture the lead.
Drip campaigns can adeptly cater to your lead nurturing initiatives through a sequence of well thought out emails.
For instance, the first email in your drip can be with the objective of enlightening the prospect with informative content such as an e-book, whitepaper, blog post, demo video, etc. Following this, you can send a second email highlighting the unique features of your business and what makes it stand out among its competitors. You can also substantiate your claims by providing testimonials and reviews. And the next email in the drip can present the prospect with a special discount offer to gently nudge him/her into taking action.
With lead nurturing drip campaigns marketers can establish a good rapport with the prospective customers by providing them with valuable content before making any kind of sales pitch. Taking such an approach can streamline the customer journey down the sales funnel and convert them from leads to loyal customers.
Amazon has mastered the art of cart abandonment drip campaigns. Once the user adds an item to cart and leaves without checking out, Amazon makes it a point to reach out and remind the customer about the items waiting in their cart.
Through drip emails, you can let the prospective buyer know that you have saved their shopping carts or entice them with attractive offers on the items in their cart or maybe even create a sense of urgency and let them know that their favourite products are about to run out of stock.
People may abandon their carts due to various reasons. But reconnecting with them via email can turn the abandoned carts into conversion.
Contacts that no longer interact with your business, make purchases or open the emails that you send can be coerced into getting back in touch with your brand by means of re-engagement drip campaigns.
Re-engagement emails themed around “Come back, we still love you” or “Check out the new and improved us ” or “We’ve got something you might like” etc can open up the communication lines with contacts that have gone cold.
If they still don’t engage even after sending out re-engagement emails, it’s time to say goodbye to them because contacts that no longer engage are a dead weight on your email marketing performance.
Automated emails are sometimes called behavioural emails as they are triggered based on user interaction. Such emails are able to generate better engagement as they are highly relevant and personalized. Through automation, the smooth movement of prospects down the sales funnel can be accomplished without much effort from the marketer. All you have to do is carefully map out the journey you want your prospective customer to take in order to build a lasting relationship.