You’re likely familiar with email newsletters as a marketing method to get the word out about your business.

Those newsletters are typically sent at a set frequency such as once a month. But what happens when you want to provide more information about a product, service, or event to your contact list?

That’s where an email drip campaign comes in handy.

Run your own email drip campagins: Give Constant Contact a try for FREE!

Email drip campaigns go beyond keeping you top-of-mind

Also known as an automated email series or automated email campaigns – email drip campaigns are a set of marketing emails which are sent out automatically based on a schedule.

One email goes out when someone signs up to receive your newsletters and is added to your email list, another the following week, and perhaps one more the next weekend.

Email drip campaigns can also be based on certain triggers – If someone signs up for a free trial on your website or makes a purchase. These emails can also be called ‘behavioral emails’.

Seems great, but does it really make a difference? According to research, pairing marketing automation with email drip campaigns can lead up to 20 percent more sales opportunities.

Let drip campaigns do your email marketing for you

Drip campaigns are ongoing and have the goal of driving the user down the buyer’s journey to a final conversion point. This could either mean making a purchase or repeat purchases, or something as simple as asking readers to register for an event or a webinar you’re organizing.

Think of drip emails as a way to share helpful information, products, or tips, over a period of time, related to your overall goal for the email campaign.

Have you ever signed up for an online course? The emails with course materials, videos, quizzes, and other information – that’s a form of drip email automation.

Setting up drip programs might seem slightly daunting, like when we spoke about setting up email marketing automation for your business, but it’s not as complicated as it seems. We’ve broken down what drip campaigns are, how you could set them up, why they’re extremely effective, and how Constant Contact can empower you in getting all this figured out.

Consistent communication builds connections

Drip campaigns allow you to reach out to your customers and/or prospects and provide contextual information that’s relevant to them on a consistent basis.

Some of the most noteworthy features of drip marketing are:

They are extremely relevant

Each recipient is unique – they have their own interests, preferences, likes, and dislikes. You cannot, and should not ignore that when you communicate with them. Imagine getting an email that’s selling you cat food when you don’t even have a cat. That is bad targeting – something that should be avoided at all costs.

Drip campaigns are a set of highly personalized emails which gives your readers the feeling that you care about them. Segmenting your email list according to what content is relevant to which customer is imperative.

Drip campaigns are pre-written

You don’t need to recreate the wheel every time some new joins your list. Drip campaigns allow you to create the content ahead of time and automation sends the messages out based on when your contact takes the action to receive it. For small businesses who already have a lot on their plate, drip campaigns are the perfect solution to saving time and effort.

Engagement levels are significantly higher

Emails triggered based on user actions have a significantly better chance of getting a response than broadly sent email campaigns. A report from Epsilon found that open rates for triggered emails (or drip campaigns) were 76 percent higher than other email marketing campaigns.

More scope for upselling and cross-selling

The smart use of email marketing automation allows you to expose additional products to the right people at the right time as well.

Increase brand recall

Since drip campaigns happen over the course of several messages, your business increases the chances of a contact remembering your brand and what your business offers. You could also combine drip marketing efforts with targeted remarketing campaigns across various channels.

So, now that you know what a drip campaign is, what its benefits are, and the impact that it can create for your business, let’s move on to how you can create an email drip campaign.

How to set up a drip campaign

It’s never too late to get started with figuring out a drip-based strategy for your business. You do need to make sure you’re not sending current users a bunch of emails they didn’t sign up for. More often than not, if readers don’t understand why they’re getting your email (especially if they don’t remember signing up), they could unsubscribe, or worse, mark your email as spam.

Here are five steps you can use as a base to begin planning out your drip marketing campaign:

1. Know your target audience

A major chunk of drip campaigns is based on figuring out who your audience is, what they want, filtering them into subsections based on their preferences and sending them content relevant to their needs.

The most important piece here is defining which triggers and segments you want to use for your drip campaign. Drips are usually based on two types of triggers – action based or user demographics based.

Action based triggers normally include actions, for example, when a user subscribes to your newsletter and you send them an email via your drip campaign. Or a user could make a purchase on your website, and you send them an email with the invoice.

Demographic-based triggers target potential leads who perhaps looked for certain services in their area, stumbled upon your website and signed up, but did not take an action. You then send them an email, reminding them of what they were looking for, thus driving them to take action.

You could also use demographic based triggers to send emails to customers who purchased from you during the holidays last year and prompt them to make another purchase.

2. Provide relevant and valuable content

Create a message that gets your readers’ attention right from the start. Content that is helpful and relevant will always go a long way in getting a reader to engage with your business. The content delivered through a drip campaign is triggered by how a user is interacting with your brand and where they are in the sales cycle. Someone who is ready to make a purchase has different needs than someone who is just learning about your organization.

Segmenting your email lists is equally important to ensure you send the right content to the right person. Make adjustments to your email content based on your segments so your drip emails feel timely and relevant to those receiving them. Ignore the impulse to push for a hard sell too early in the process. People do business with those they know, like, and trust. Drip email campaigns allow you to earn the right to ask for the sale by first focusing on providing relevant and valuable content.

3. Plan out your campaign

Planning your campaign begins with understanding your goal for your series of emails. Do you want people to buy a product? A service? Register for an event?

Once you know what you want people to do, you can start figuring out the number of emails you need to send and in what order to provide the information needed for someone to take the desired action. Consider how much information your target recipient needs, when they might need it, and why.

Then think about what will trigger your drip campaign. Is the email series sent when someone joins a specific list? Or, when they take a particular action in an email like clicking a specific link?

4. Always keep testing

You cannot just create your drip campaign and never look at it again. You need to keep analyzing and testing to see which of your emails perform the best.

We recommend carrying out multiple A/B tests to directly compare emails and how well they resonate with different recipients. You should also measure metrics like open rates, click-throughs, unsubscribes, delivery rates, soft or hard bounces, and conversion rates for every campaign. Testing elements like subject lines, calls to action, offers, images, and headlines will also help you fine-tune your drip emails better.

Plus, test the response rates to sending your messages on different days of the week and different times of the day to find what gets the best response for your specific target audience.

5. Email marketing automation is key

As a small business owner, you already have enough on your plate. And as your business grows and more leads start flooding in, it becomes even more challenging for your sales team to offer personalized experiences to everyone that interacts with your business.

Email automation helps you take care of your existing customers as well as new leads which are added to your contact list. If done correctly, email automation allows you to deliver more personalized experiences that feel timely and relevant to the people receiving them. The end result is more new and repeat business.

Check out our list on automated email ideas to get you started

Put these tips to work today!

Drip email campaigns are another valuable tool in the small business marketer’s toolbox. You provide the right information to the right people at the right time to increase your chances of making the sale. Best of all, once you set up your campaigns, it all happens automatically.

Still not using email to market your business? Give Constant Contact a try for FREE!