When I first built my email list, I was ready to create some drip campaigns. Just one little problem: I didn't know what to say. I felt like a salesperson with this perfect prospect, but I couldn't find the words to convey how I could change this person's business.
What Is a Drip Campaign?
An email drip campaign is a form of automated sales outreach. It’s comprised of a series of emails automatically sent to a specific audience after they take a specific action. For example, if a lead downloads a whitepaper on recruiting best practices, they might be placed in a drip campaign sharing relevant recruiting content. The final email might include a CTA to request a demo for your recruiting software.
I started chatting with a few of my friends in sales to learn more about their best secrets and corresponding open rates, and David Sneider, Sendbloom's former head of growth and current CEO of Deco.Network, provided the following quote:
This made sense to me. If I'm more authentic, then the engagement and longevity of my relationships should strengthen. I prodded David further, and soon uncovered three of his best emails. Below is each one, their success metrics, and my own notes.
How to Create a Drip Campaign
Identify the goal for your drip campaign
Determine how someone ends up in this campaign
Decide how many touches your drip campaign will have
Create the content (and personalize it)
Know when to take someone out of the drip
1. Identify the goal for your drip campaign
Are you trying to reengage dormant customers? Nurture new leads? Cross-sell existing customers?
Decide what action you want your reader to take at the end of the drip and determine a road map to get there.
Once you've determined your goal for the campaign, think through who will be segmented into this drip. Which brings us to our next section ...
2. Determine how someone ends up in this campaign
You want to make sure that the right people are getting the right message at the right time. So, who will be opting in or being segmented into this drip campaign? Ask yourself the following questions to find out:
What action did the audience take to find themselves in this email drip campaign?
What are their pain points?
What are their goals?
What will get their attention in the middle of a work day?
Why would they delete an email from this campaign?
What do I hope the audience will do after reading one of these drip emails?
Once you've answered these questions, you should have a good idea of who you'll be targeting, how you'll segment this audience, and how you'll best reach and provide value to this audience.
3. Decide how many touches your drip campaign will have
CoSchedule finds over 60% of customers want to see email from brands as least once a week. B2C companies can get away with sending a little more, but B2B companies should resist sending more than five emails every month.
Most drip campaigns consist of between four and 11 emails spaced between four, seven, and 14 days apart. Decide how many touches you need to effectively nurture your audience and prime them for your offer.
4. Create the content (and personalize it)
A misconception about drip campaigns is that they're mindlessly sent mass email that's neither relevant nor tailored to their audience's needs. While there are certainly drip campaigns that deserve this classification, this shouldn't be the case with your drip emails.
It's possible to create relevant and lightly personalized content that you can send to certain segments in your drip campaign.
Let's say, for example, you have a drip for businesses that download your company's case study featuring a customer whose Midwest SMB benefited from your contract accountants. Set up your campaign so that anyone who downloads this case study is automatically entered into a drip you've customized for Midwest SMBs seeking seasonal accounting help.
Include a fresh piece of content for your prospects in each of the drip emails you send. For example, you might follow up their initial case study download with a friendly email like this:
Tax season knocking too soon?
I see that you recently downloaded our customer case study featuring [Customer name]. I hope you found it helpful.
I thought you might also like this blog post on "Six Simple Things SMBs Can Do Today to Make Tax Season Painless."
Let me know what you think.
5. Know when to take someone out of the drip
The worst experience for a prospect is to take your desired action without being unenrolled in your drip campaign. Let's say a prospect is enrolled in a drip campaign with the goal of getting them to schedule a demo.
If they schedule a demo on a Tuesday and get another email on Thursday asking them to schedule a demo -- that's a terrible customer experience.
What's worse is if you've customized your email drip campaign to come from you. This makes it appear that you either don't remember who your prospect is or have been a fake the whole time.
Know when to take someone out of your drip and set up a trigger that will unenroll a prospect the moment they complete the action you've goaled your drip campaign on.
Example Drip Campaign Templates
Drip Email One
My name is [name], and I'm the founder at Shipping Company. We work with organizations like Sears and Target to hold FedEx and UPS accountable.
We track all your shipments, identify late deliveries, and file claims on your behalf. You only pay when package tracking is credited to your account.
What would be the best way to get 15 minutes on your calendar to explore if this would be valuable to [company]?
Open Rate: 44.3%
Reply Rate: 33.3%
The introduction is quick and honest, taking up no more than one sentence.
The second sentence is also quick and to-the-point, explaining what the business does without a five paragraph pitch.
The concluding CTA is a simple yes or no question. That makes the effort required to respond much easier.
- Pro Tip: A/B Test Your Pitch -
The second paragraph of the first drip email is a good place to A/B test different features of your product or services of your business to see what prospects find most relevant. I test mine by simply sending each version and tracking the emails with HubSpot Sales to see which garner the highest open and click rates.
Drip Email Two
My company, Shipping Company, gives you real-time visibility into your shipments, lets you know when any have been delivered late, and tracks packages on your behalf.
You pay for performance, so if we don't save you money we don't get paid. Who would be the best person to speak with at [company]?
Open Rate: 61.8%
Reply Rate: 35.3%
The subject line is a reply to the first, making it familiar. I've found this helps increase open rates.
The second sentence refines your original pitch to try and use new messaging that resonates with what your recipient cares about.
The closure to this drip email is quite magical in my opinion. Asking for an introduction to the right person at the organization significantly helps improve response rates.
Drip Email Three
I wanted to make sure you saw my earlier message. I'd like to learn about the pains of package tracking at [company].
If you are the appropriate person to speak with, what does your calendar look like early next week? If not, who do you recommend I talk to?
- [Your name]
Open Rate: 42.4%
Reply Rate: 22.9%
The introduction of this email makes it clear you are just checking in on the status of their email.
Learning from David's examples, I've concluded that my drip emails should each follow a few key points.
3 paragraphs max
2 sentences per graph
End with yes/no CTA
Refine the pitch
Refine key feature
Make a bolder ask
Refine key feature
Make even bolder ask
Time wise, each drip can be sent anywhere from two days to week after the previous message.