“Out of sight is out of mind” and you don’t want your customers to forget you. Being in constant touch with your customers both old and new is therefore imperative. But that is perhaps the biggest challenge a majority of brands face, being in constant touch with their customers. However, employing an effective strategy like an email drip campaign can help. While a few marketers may have written off emails as an effective customer engagement strategy, the numbers tell a different story.
Email drip campaigns are an effective customer engagement strategy and not using them may lead to losing out on a large potential customer base and a business/brand may be at risk of being forgotten by its target audience.
In this article, we will discuss:
- What is an email drip campaign
- A step-by-step process of creating an email drip campaign
- Types of email drip campaigns for ecommerce business
- Email drip campaign – best practices
Decoding Email Drip Campaign
Email drip: The term drip email essentially refers to the process of sending sequenced series of emails where each mail is a step ahead of the previous one, an automated series of emails sent to current and potential customers.
Some unique characteristics of an email drip campaign are:
- Pre-written, automated, and often contains a compelling CTA (call to action).
- Sent on a pre-decided schedule or triggered in response to audience action or another strategic automation plan.
- Designed taking into account key customer engagement points.
The objective of email drip campaigns is mainly to keep in touch with the target audience in a personalized way.
Creating Effective Email Drip Campaigns
Email drip campaigns when designed correctly are effective in acquiring new customers or engaging and retaining existing customers over other channels of communication such as social media. E-mails can be personalized and are one-on-one communication with your target customer. A customer can go back to an email to check any information he/she may have forgotten. The intent of a drip email campaign is to nudge the target audience at specific points of their customer journey. The mailer should “drip” only relevant information and generate enough curiosity making it impossible for the recipient to ignore.
1. Identify the goal for your drip campaign: There are many reasons for creating an email drip campaign, identify the cause of running the campaign. An email campaign promoting a new product and getting people registered for an event cannot be the same.
2. Segmentation: Customer segmentation is key. You may be promoting both an air-conditioner and a heater. But a heater is of no use to a customer based in Dubai. Identifying the right target audience and sending them emails that are relevant to their interest is the key.
3. Mapping your drip campaign to customer journey: Mapping refers to breaking down customers’ experiences step-by-step. Mapping helps identify any gaps in your email marketing campaign. Ask yourself these questions.
- What action did the audience take to qualify for this email drip campaign?
- What are their pain points?
- What are their goals?
- When does a customer drop out of the drip campaign?
Answering these questions will help you design a campaign that’s impactful and yields the desired results.
4. Number of emails to send in your drip email sequence: The purpose of drip campaigns is to not over-inform, be pushy, or intimidate the customer. Just do enough to generate curiosity. The standard practice is to have a campaign of 4 to 11 emails sent a few days apart. However, the number of emails in a campaign will vary from one industry to another and also on the type of campaign.
5. Spend time on writing quality and personalized emails: Writing good emails is an art. Take the time to craft a good quality e-mail that packs in punch, delivers the intended message, and nudges the reader to take the desired action.
6. Monitor the outcomes and modify if necessary: There is no such thing as a perfect strategy, but trial and error helps a lot in tweaking your campaigns. Monitoring the campaign to see if they are yielding desired results and tweaking them if need be is important.
Email Drip campaigns E-commerce Companies can’t miss
Welcome Email Campaign
Welcome emails make a customer feel valued and cared for and are the perfect way to express your gratitude, say thank you, and lay a strong foundation for a lasting relationship. It is a great way to showcase your product/service and brand ideology to your newly onboarded customers.
Beardbrand wants its new subscribers to feel like they've been accepted into a select group, so the company includes a special package in its welcome email. The email's primary purpose is to sell the user on purchasing the introductory bundle, however, it does provide some inconsequential links to the site's homepage, blog, and product pages.
It is common for customers to lose interest and stop engaging with your brand. A retargeting drip email campaign is designed to re-engage and re-target these disengaged and inactive users. Tracking these users' behavior, response, past purchases, choices, and activity across your website will help you design an email that will nudge them to engage with you again.
This is a great way to re-target your old customers who have not made any purchases from you in a while. By studying their past product preferences the brand has sent a tailor-made suggestion of a product bundle suited to a particular customer need. By doing this the brand has made the customer feel important and cared for. This is also a good strategy to win customer loyalty.
Abandoned Cart Campaign
Research by Baymard Institute estimates ecommerce's average cart abandonment rate at 69.8%. The reason for not completing the purchase or abandoning the cart could be high shipping costs, hidden taxes at the time of check-out, compulsory sign-up, a complicated payment flow, late delivery, or simply a customer losing interest in the product. However, not all hope is lost. A well-designed abandoned cart email drip campaign can save the day.
For example, Levi's offered an upfront discount on the abandoned cart and created an urgency for the customer to complete the purchase by making it time-bound.
The sale is done. The customer has made the purchase, what next? How do you engage with the customer and make sure he comes back again? Running a post-purchase email drip campaign in the form of specific surveys and feedback emails, a discount for the next purchase, or a reminder to place an order again are a few ways to keep the conversation going.
Rockin’ Wellness is a health and nutrition brand. This is a great post-purchase campaign where they have sent a reminder to the customer to replenish their previous order, making sure they do not end up buying from a competitor brand.
Cross-sell and up-sell campaign
Cross-selling is a sales strategy that recommends complementary products to existing customers based on their past purchases and preferences.
Dollar Shave Club nailed it with this well-executed cross-sell drip campaign. Why? First, it's important that the email accurately reflects the customer's order by providing specifics about each item. After that, there's a great chance for customers to add complementary things the next time an order is placed.
An event's email drip campaign can be used for both pre-and post-event communication.
It's possible that the initial email sent will only be a "Save the Date" message. If you send out three emails, the second may be a reminder, the third could be an announcement that the sale has begun.
When planning their email marketing for the Black Friday Cyber Monday sales, the American mattress and bedding brand Tuft & Needle employs an event series drip campaign.
Re-engage Hibernating Customers
These campaigns are simply to stay in touch with the customer, a subtle reminder that you exist. It is a way to ensure your customers don’t forget you.
This email by Moe Grill is a true representation of the brand as a fun and casual eatery. It does the perfect job of reminding the customer what it stands for and how they are always more than happy to serve them their favorite chips and salsa both through fun and not-so-fun times.
Educational email campaigns
You got a new customer who subscribed to your products and started using them quite recently. As a brand, it is your duty to help them understand the best possible use of your products for them to make the most out of it.
This email by the Dollar-shave club conveys in a clear and crisp manner the sequence in which their products should be used for a good shave experience and to achieve the desired outcome. It further suggests a bundle of the same products at an attractive price nudging the reader to go ahead and make the purchase. This email in our opinion ticks all the right boxes of a good educational email campaign.
Lead nurturing campaigns
Lead nurturing email campaigns are designed with the intent to influence potential customer buying behavior. The emails are personalized and automated using email automation software.
Sephora’s email here for example has a video link by one of their employees on how to use a certain look using their products. It also has an offer of a free product with a purchase value of $25. The video educates the viewer on how to create a certain look and somewhere creates a desire in their mind to look a certain way and the need for certain products. The email has enough CTAs to nudge the buyer to make a purchase. In our view, lead nurturing emails can’t get better than this.
These campaigns are designed for people who have unsubscribed from your subscription list and you want to win back these customers.
Birchbox has nailed it when it comes to designing an effective unsubscribe e-mail. They have created a sense of how important the customer is without mincing words and have offered an upfront discount on the next order to tempt the customer to make a purchase and subscribe to their mailers again. They have also given a CTA for customers to easily browse through their best-selling products (customer convenience) and generated a curiosity around what their new products are.
Email Drip Campaign - Best practices
Here are a few best practices that can help you design a campaign that gets you results. A few tips on writing emails that make an impact:
- Compelling subject line
- Links to the right sources
- Content that delivers the intended message in a crystal clear manner
- Attractive presentation and easy to read
- CTA nudges the reader to take action
A/B Testing: To see what works better.
Track key performance indicators like click-rate, open-rate, etc.
Drip Campaign Software for Ecommerce
Some of the best email drip campaign software to take your customer engagement to the next level:
- Mailchimp for free drip email campaign software
- Flodesk for large lists and simple drip campaigns
- ConvertKit for solopreneurs
- Moda for advanced drip automation
Any e-commerce business can supercharge its growth, customer engagement, and sales by employing the right mix of marketing campaigns. Email drip marketing campaigns can be a great boost to a brand's overall marketing efforts. Email drip campaigns when done right can increase conversions, welcome prospective customers, and strengthen customer loyalty by engaging old ones.
However, do not consider an e-mail drip email campaign as a one-time activity. Rather, implement it as a multi-stage approach to nurturing and converting leads. The various drip campaign types we discussed here are tailored to achieve different marketing goals.