Regular newsletters are an excellent way for businesses to keep in touch with customers or anyone interested in the company. They tell them about everything new going on at the business, and work towards keeping up their interest level. While they are useful as far as they go, though, newsletters tend to only work well as general-purpose interest generators. When it comes to communicating with people for specific needs, generic newsletters can be less than effective.
What kind of specific needs?
Needs turn up on a regular basis. As an example, it could help new sign-ups to the mailing list at a music equipment store to know about a sale on the owner’s birthday each year; it could also help to tell them about how the store has a little studio that anyone can book free time in. Newsletters are the right format for such information, because it’s been a part of the company for years. Plenty of people know about it already, and it’s old news to anyone except new sign-ups. According to marketing software vendor NowBlitz.com, one alternative works very well at many companies: a drip marketing campaign.
What is a drip campaign?
Drip campaigns or lead nurturing programs are a marketing method to help businesses expose different audience groups to specific lifecycle email cycles and other messages. These emails don’t go out to every person on the company’s mailing lists — only to ones who are new, or ones who performs specific actions such as return a product, write in a complaint or make a review. Many businesses have as many as a dozen different marketing campaigns going on at any given time, one for every different kind of customer.
Here’s an example of how a drip campaign would work
When a person interested in a company lets them have his email address, a drip campaign would have him first receive a welcome letter, and a couple of days later, an informational package. Three or four days later, he might receive the third email in the series to help familiarize him with some of the services the company provides, and perhaps offer information about a specific salesperson to call with a technical question, whether or not a purchase is involved.
If the company has a library of e-books that technically minded customers can take advantage of, the drip campaign could set up a trigger email that could point anyone asking a technical question to them. These emails wouldn’t be of interest to every person on the mailing list. These marketing conditions require specific series of automated responses that only a drip campaign could provide.
Drip marketing is diverse
Drip marketing can be used in a number of scenarios, and each one could be a slightly different take on the basic idea.
Lead nurturing: Lead nurturing is the method used to carefully cultivate a relationship with a person making contact with the company. A series of lead nurturing emails can help get relationships started. Such a series could include a welcome letter, an introduction to the company through positive customer stories, and a couple of useful freebies that can help encourage a need to stay in touch with the company.
It’s important to offer freebies in a regular fashion. For instance, if you are a hardware store, you can look for small supplies that people doing home improvement projects often need — such as nuts and bolts or sandpaper — and offer them for free.
Onboarding: When a sign-up has been on a drip campaign mailing list for a while, they often need an extra push to purchase the company’s product. The best way to do this is through a gentle series of friendly, and even funny emails that help point to the advantage of buying at the company.
Abandoned shopping carts: When a person adds an item to his shopping cart and then neglects to go through with the purchase, a drip campaign could offer a discount, or point to how the current offer expires soon. It could also suggest products. It’s important to make sure that the suggestions actually make sense for the customer, though.
It’s important to analyze the customer in a drip campaign
Customers respond differently to information, and sophisticated drip campaigns are about personal customer analysis. Spotify, with its world-famous music recommendation engine, for instance, is an excellent way of analyzing customer preferences, and coming up with new information about new songs that the customer might like. Any business where personal recommendations are possible should use them; they tend to work very well. It doesn’t even need to be computer-generated recommendations — small businesses can start by hiring actual experts to come up with ideas.
Phillip Olden Has been in a marketing role for many years. He likes to offer his insights on how to engage with customers and other relevant topics. He provides his insights to an online on a regular basis and writes for several different marketing and B2B websites.