Next, you’ve got to use that list to convert your leads into sales.
Many companies assume that their customers don’t want emails from them. You may expect people are frustrated with their overflowing inboxes, and any emails from your business will result in an immediate unsubscribe. This isn’t entirely off-base. That “unsubscribe” button is easy to click, and “too many emails” is one of the most common reasons customers give for leaving a list.
But we’ve got a little secret for you. If someone unsubscribed, that person wasn’t your real target audience anyway. And here’s another not-so-secret fact: your email list can’t do anything for you if you don’t use it.
So how can you put that email list to work for you? The answer lies in drip marketing.
What is Drip Marketing?
If you run a business, you probably know that a good email list is essential to increasing sales and widening your customer base. But then what? Getting people to hand over their email address is only step one.
Drip marketing refers to an email communication strategy that sends (or “drips”) a pre-written series of messages to subscribers. Often, customers or prospects are assigned to different email groups based on various factors, such as the “call to action” they responded to, the pages that they’ve visited on your website, or demographics like age and gender.
Categorizing your customers and prospects helps in several ways.
First, you can use the information you’ve collected to personalize emails, so they are addressed to a contact’s first name. But more importantly, it allows you to make data-driven decisions in your communications. You can test various email campaigns on your different audiences to see which messages or subject lines appeal to each demographic.
For example, if you run a clothing store, you might ensure that photos of your women’s clothing products appear in emails to women. Women who have previously visited your site and clicked on products in your “Chic” clothing line might respond better to a subject line that reads “We chose these chic styles just for you!”
You can separate your female “chic” clothing shoppers into two groups, and test two different subject lines on them. Perhaps group A gets the “chic styles” subject line, but group B gets “Check out our summer sale! Up to 40% off your favorite items!” Then look at your stats to see which emails led to more opens, clicks, and sales.
Some companies use a free service, such as MailChimp, SendinBlue, or Constant Contact. If you have a bigger list, you may need to use a paid service, but it is well worth it.
I’m a big fan of AWeber because of its simplicity and straightforward interface.
With drip marketing, businesses can set up automated email campaigns to effectively communicate with their customers and prospects, nurture leads, offer incentives, and close sales.
In short, drip marketing keeps your company in the forefront of your customers’ minds. And that’s precisely what you want.
How Does it Benefit Marketers?
What’s in it for marketers? Quite a lot. Let’s start with saving time. Think about writing individual emails for hundreds of prospects. With drip marketing, you can write one set of emails and schedule them for everyone in just a few clicks.
And even though there are some newer, exciting looking channels of communication like social media tools, email still offers the best ROI. Email has been around for a long time, and this means that marketers have tested it every which way. We know what works and what doesn’t so that we can put the best, data-driven messages out there.
Not to mention, when a customer is reading your email, her attention is just on you and your company. In a social media newsfeed, she might be looking at many things at once. Notifications, sidebars, and friends’ posts are all competing for the same set of eyes. But a customer who opens your email? She’s made a conscious decision to give you a minute of her time. She’s already invested, and that works in your favor in a big way.
Additionally, a drip email campaign can give a considerable boost to your sales team. It isn’t uncommon at all to be able to provide them with a long list of warm leads. And that list is entirely made up of your ideal customers!
Prospects come to your business already interested in your products and information. And that makes the sales job a lot easier.
So how are you supposed to know what to write in these emails? Let’s take a look at six of the most effective drip marketing messages.
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Lead Nurturing Emails
These are the emails you send to potential customers who have visited your website but haven’t purchased a product yet. These messages act as one of the earliest steps in your sales funnel. They aim to communicate with leads in a friendly, low-pressure way by providing them free and interesting content related to your product or niche.
Let’s go back to our clothing store example again. A potential female customer has visited your site, but she hasn’t made a purchase yet. You might send her newsletter-style emails with articles like, “Why We Love Colorful Accessories,” or “5 Reasons Why Dresses Are the Unofficial Uniform of Summer.” Every email can contain a link to your site. For example, “Click here to see our collection of summer dresses!” But the overall tone of the email is informative, not salesy.
When you send customers emails that pique their interests, they are more likely to open them and read. Your business stays on their mind. They begin to think of you as a desired company. So when our potential clothing customer starts thinking of buying a new outfit, you’ve got a good chance that she’ll think of you first.
Free Products, Services, or Content
Who doesn’t like free stuff? Many companies send offers for free products, services, or content to people who have recently joined their list. This is another step in the sales funnel, intended to inch your prospect a little closer to making a purchase.
What does your business sell that you can give away for free?
Online entrepreneurs are great at this. Let’s say your business hosts webinars on a niche topic, like personal finance. You could create a few short, free webinars to offer prospects. For example, “Tax Tips for Families with Children,” or “Retirement Planning for People in Their Thirties.”
You’ll have to offer the product completely free, no strings attached. But at the end of your webinar, you can make a pitch for your other services. Maybe you have an advanced 3-month webinar on building a financial planning business. Or maybe you’re a financial adviser who wants to sell your investment planning services. Whatever your revenue-generating goal is, offering a smaller product for free is a good way to push prospects down the path toward closing a sale.
Another option to consider here is the free trial. If you offer a paid subscription service of some kind, you can give customers a temporary free trial to test you out. At the end of the trial period, you’ll check back in to see if they’re interested in a paid subscription. If they loved your product and your prices are reasonable, you’ve got a pretty good chance that they will.
Finally, don’t forget that your emails themselves are free content. Whatever your area of expertise, share little nuggets of knowledge with your email list. Let’s take another look at our personal finance example. A good financial planner could send weekly tips on budgeting, cutting expenses, and saving money to their mailing list. He could even attach a free budgeting worksheet or retirement checklist.
When people get free, useful information from you, they’re likely to continue reading your emails. And when they click “open,” they are that much closer to purchasing.
Follow Up Emails
When a user visits your website for any reason, send a follow-up email. The message could be something as simple as “Thank you for visiting our site. Here are a few more articles you might find interesting.”
You can, of course, tailor these messages to people based on the action they took on your site.
If a site visitor downloaded a document, send them information related to that same topic. Did they view a particular product, then email them a list of similar products. If they loaded up an online cart but abandoned it, remind them.
The important thing is that you keep your business fresh in their minds, and you do it in a way that is appealing to them.
Offer Sales Incentives
We made “lead nurturing emails” the first type of drip email in our list. But the truth is, all of these emails are lead nurturing. Your goal is to cultivate a prospect until you close a sale.
This process works with your current customers too!
Existing customers have already proven that they love your product, so give them an opportunity to buy more at a special rate.
Of course, you want to notify everyone on your list anytime you’re having a sale. A personal finance business might offer a 15% discount to their 3-month webinar for everyone who registers by a specific date. A clothing retailer would probably provide discounts on products reasonably often.
But you might also want to throw in a few “loyalty discounts”now and then. The emails would say something like, “We value our loyal customers! As a subscriber who has been with us for over a year now, we’d like to offer you 25% off your next purchase!”
Or perhaps, “Thank you for your business! And remember, we love referrals from our happy customers. Refer a new customer and earn 10% off your next purchase!”
Just be sure that you’re offering some sort of discount now and then. It will keep your customers happy, and it may bring in new customers too.
Re-engage Inactive Customers
Do you have customers who have purchased from you in the past but haven’t visited your website in a while?
Send inactive former customers a re-engagement email to keep those leads warm. Be sure to offer some value to them that will give them an incentive to return. That value could include great content, free products, or a discount of some kind.
Launch Something New
If you are launching a new product or a variation of your product, be sure to tell everyone on your list. New products and lines are exciting! So share your enthusiasm!
Some information to include in these emails:
- When is your launch?
- What is new and exciting about this product?
- What can your audience expect to see from you in the interim?
- A little teaser to generate buzz.
Be sure to continually update your list as you get closer to product launch as well.
Improving Your Strategy
Still confused about drip marketing? Unsure if you have the writing skills or wordsmithing talent to make this a reality for your company? Have a conversation with us today about how we can help you get started.