Drip Marketing 101: Benefits and Best Practices

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Drip marketingAre your sales and marketing departments slogging through a day-to-day email grind? Do you dream of automating the tedious lead nurturing process for them? Drip marketing makes it possible to send relevant emails, seal the leaks in your sales pipeline, and free up time for other important tasks. Learn why many marketing and sales teams are already using this tactic by exploring different types of drip marketing campaigns, the benefits, and best practices.

What Is Drip Marketing?

Drip marketing campaigns are all about automating the sales cycle. The campaigns automatically send content (usually in the form of emails) to prospects at exactly the right moment in the sales cycle. This exposes your prospects to drips of relevant information right when they will appreciate it. Specific time intervals, actions your prospects take, and other customizable factors determine the momentum with which your drip marketing campaigns send out emails.

Types of Drip Campaigns

You can customize your drip program to meet any need. With an infinite number of applications, sales and marketing teams are limited only by their creativity. Some examples of different drip campaigns include the following:

  • Top-of-mind drips help you engage your prospects throughout the entire sales process.
  • Educational drips offer relevant information to your prospects and prepare them to make a purchase. This is also referred to as “lead nurturing,” as you are nurturing the prospect to build your relationship and engagement with them, and to help them learn what they need to know to prepare to make a decision.
  • Re-engagement drips win back the hearts of colder leads and reintroduce them to the sales cycle.
  • Competitive drips target customers who currently do business with your competitors in an effort to convert them to your product or service.
  • Promotional drips entice leads with limited-time promotions and special discounts.
  • Training drips include how-to information for new customers.

Benefits of Drip Marketing

If you already have manual email campaigns set up, you may be seeing some great results from your efforts. Why, then, is it worth exploring drip marketing? This type of campaign method helps you:

  • Be relevant: With drip campaigns, you deliver the right information at exactly the right moment. If a prospect watches a video on your website, the automated campaign triggers an email thanking the prospect for checking out that product or service and follows up with something of value.
  • Create leads: One purpose of drip marketing is to nurture early-stage leads until they become sales ready. The continuous supply of leads at various stages in the sales process helps maximize your marketing and sales efforts.
  • Work smarter: Drip marketing frees up valuable resources and saves time through its automated processes. It eliminates the need to remember where every lead is in the sales cycle by educating and nurturing your leads for you. With this type of marking campaign, you can spend less time making sales pitches and more time closing deals.

Sample Top-of-Mind Drip Campaign

It’s possible to set up a drip campaign and automatically lead a prospect to a sales-ready position without any action on your part. It all depends on whether the prospect opens the emails or not. Consider this example:

  • drip marketingSend four prospects an email message with a link to a white paper. Prospects 1 and 2 open the email and click to download the white paper; Prospects 3 and 4 do not. Next steps:
  • Send the two prospects who downloaded the white paper, Prospects 1 and 2, an email message with a link to an eBook. Prospect 1 opens the email containing the eBook. This exits Prospect 1 from the campaign and alerts sales to get in touch right away.Prospect 2 doesn’t open this email, so the campaign sends a light, engaging video.
  • Send the two prospects who did not open the first email, Prospects 3 and 4, a video.  Prospect 3 opens this email, so the campaign sends along the eBook that Prospects 1 and 2 received earlier in the cycle.Prospect 4 doesn’t open this second email, either, so the drip campaign ends here for that lead. The prospect may be added to a re-engagement campaign for further attention later.

Best Practices

To make the most of your drip campaign, implement these best practices:

  • Tailor your campaigns so each one targets a segment of your prospect list. The more segmented your list is, the more personal your messages can be.
  • Test the effectiveness of your campaigns and continually re-evaluate them. Review click-throughs, bounces, and other metrics to measure success.
  • Consider feedback when determining email frequency, content, and delivery method. Make sure you have an easy way for prospects to express their preferences.
  • Use automation tools to the fullest. Combine drip marketing with segmentation, social media tools, and CRM integration to make your campaigns even more effective.

Drip marketing has incredible potential for most businesses. Have you tried some of these techniques? What were your results?

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  • Carrie Scheetz

    What’s the best practice method for a company (like ours) that has a LOT of different products (probably over 100 products–we have 4 different divisions that all sell different products–window frames, thresholds, window spacer, etc.). Do you set a general one up? Set one up for each product? What’s the best practice for this?

    • http://www.r2integrated.com/ Adam Blake

      Carrie, my advise would be to first look at the content that you already have, and where the gaps are. Identify different pieces of content that you can re-purpose, or re-package based on various segmentation.

      With that many products, including your different divisions, it would be very easy to get in over your head. When I first started I used a white board to map out campaigns based on the services we offered. Then segmented by industry by re-packaging content that we already had. I continued to create segments based off of the behavior users took.

      Hope this helps,

  • Tim

    Janelle, very good post. I think the concept of drip campaigns are is much easier than the execution. I really appreciated the samples you gave. I think many companies new to automation need assistance with setting up good campaigns.

  • Todd Lebo

    Thanks for the post Janelle. Developing a lead generation and nurturing strategy and then leveraging automation is critical. Unfortunately many marketers have yet to automate their lead generation campaigns. From the just released (and free) Lead Generation Benchmark Survey, 44% of marketers say they have limited use of marketing automation for their lead generation. Yes, there is lots of work to be done to optimize those funnels! If you are interested, you can download the free report: http://ascend2.com/home/report-archive/