Drip Campaign: Definition and How It Works

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 30, 2021 | Published February 8, 2021

Updated March 30, 2021

Published February 8, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses use drip campaigns to market products and keep in touch with customers. Drip campaigns save time for employees by automating the marketing process while bringing in new business. You can learn more about drip campaigns to help improve your marketing efforts. In this article, we offer a guide to drip campaigns, including when to use them and how to conduct one.

What is a drip campaign?

A drip campaign is a component of marketing that involves automatically sending communications (drips) to current, past or potential clients. Emails, texts, phone calls and mailed advertisements are all examples of drip communications, but email is the most common and often the most effective method. Here are a few of the main audiences for drip campaigns:

  • New customers: You can let potential customers know about your products with a drip campaign.

  • Past clients: Drip campaigns can let past customers know about any new products or promotions.

  • Current clients: You can email current clients periodic updates about your company to keep them engaged.

The action that prompts the drip campaign to begin for the customer is the trigger. Triggers for campaigns can be time based, like a happy birthday email to a customer, or behavior based, such as a shipping notification.

Sales and marketing are two industries that most commonly use drip campaigns, but any industry can benefit from implementing a drip campaign to promote a service or product or engage clientele.

Related: Q&A: What Is Email Marketing?

When to use a drip campaign

Drip campaigns have a range of uses depending on your business's goals. They also can be a valuable source of revenue generation that increases sales through engagement. Below are some popular examples of drip campaigns:

Welcoming and onboarding

This campaign tactic automatically sends a welcome message to customers after they subscribe to hear more about your product or service. It can also serve as confirmation that someone has bought your service or product.

Engaging customers

Alerting subscribers to a new blog post on your site is an example of an engagement drip campaign. The idea is to draw people to your website regularly, which improves brand recognition and increases the likelihood of sales.

Offering deals

Once a potential client subscribes to your product or service, sometimes offering a coupon or deal helps encourage a purchase. These drip campaigns are best used to convert leads into sales. They can also be a way of encouraging existing customers to make another purchase.

Abandoned cart alerts

This tactic encourages customers to return to your site and finish their purchase. If a customer puts something in their cart on your retail site and then closes the page, this type of campaign would send a follow-up message. These emails remind the customer which items they had in their cart when they closed the page.

Recommending products

If a customer previously bought one product, this type of email would recommend something similar for them to buy next time. This drip campaign can target existing customers or help gain new customers. It can help with the launch of a new product or market an existing product to customers.

Unsubscribe alerts

If someone unsubscribes from receiving emails from your business, this type of drip campaign would offer a chance to provide feedback. This feedback may suggest specific ways to help improve your drip campaigns.

How to conduct a drip campaign

Below are the steps to follow to create a drip campaign:

1. Choose your software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software can make it easy to conduct a drip campaign. It can store contacts and track results, automating the campaign from start to finish. A variety of websites also provide drip campaign support. Your budget, the size of your business and your industry are a few things to consider when looking for a service to use for a drip campaign.

Read more: What Is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System?

2. Plan your drip campaign

Whether you want to keep current customers informed or attract new business, it's best to set a clear, attainable goal before creating a drip campaign. Setting a goal can help determine which tactics are best suited for your drip campaign. This initial planning step can also make monitoring the results of the campaign easier, as you'll know which metrics to watch.

Frequency is another factor to consider. Find a balance of communication frequency that keeps engagement high and unsubscribe rates low. As a general rule, it's best to contact customers as frequently as once a day during a drip campaign. Beyond that, the frequency depends on your product, industry and campaign goals.

3. Compose the messaging

With a precise goal defined, it's time to write your campaign messaging. The content of your message is the foundation of the drip campaign, so this step often takes the most time. Here are some tips for writing the content of your drip campaign emails:

  • Keep it short. Pare down your messaging to the most important components to ensure reader engagement.

  • Consistency is key. Rather than thinking about the tone and message of a single drip, consider the overall message of a campaign when writing the messages.

  • Include the hook. A 50% price reduction on a service is an example of a hook. Referring to the hook in the subject line can make sure it's the focal point of the message.

  • Incorporate your core values. How will your product or service benefit the customer? What words define your business's values? The answers to these questions are an excellent start for bringing your drip campaign plan to fruition.

4. Take action

Here are the steps to making your drip campaign plan a reality:

  • Determine the prompt. Are communications triggered when a customer subscribes to updates from your company, or do you want to promote a new product starting on a specific day? The web service or software you're using to conduct the campaign can arrange the behavior or time that prompts the drips.

  • Let the campaign begin. Allow the trigger you set to begin communications with customers and prospects.

  • Track and adjust. With your drip campaign up and running, the next step is observing the results and statistics. You can use this data to adjust the campaign for further success.

Ways to monitor results

Once you've implemented a drip campaign, the next step is testing its success. There are a few common drip campaign key performance indicators (KPIs) to watch:

  • Click-through rate: This measures how many times a drip recipient clicked on a link in an email or text message.

  • Email open rate: This is a measure of how often recipients open emails sent during the drip campaign.

  • Sales conversion rate: This measurement shows how many drip communications become sales.

  • Sales cycle speed: This measures how long it takes for a prospect to become a lead and a lead to become a sale.

  • Unsubscribe rate: The rate at which recipients are unsubscribing from the campaign is another metric to watch.

Another way to monitor drip campaign results is through A/B testing, which involves using two versions of an email component and seeing which leads to better results. An example of this is using two different email templates for a drip campaign and tracking the click-through rate on each one to test the effectiveness of each template. You could also take this approach with different email tones and frequencies to determine what practices lead to the greatest engagement for your business.

Read more: What Are KPIs and How To Create Them

How to improve drip campaigns

Part of monitoring this data is applying what you learn to future drip campaigns. A low email open rate, for example, may call for a catchier subject line. A low sales conversion rate may bring about a push for more powerful content. Determining areas to reform through data can strengthen drip campaigns in the future. Below are a few steps to improving drip campaigns:

1. Identify a metric you want to boost

While there may be several areas with room for improvement, focusing on a specific metric is the first step to advancing a campaign. For example, perhaps there is a high unsubscribe rate you would like to decrease.

2. Research the cause of the metric's value

Surveys can be an effective way of getting feedback from email recipients. You can also look to people on your team for suggestions on ways to improve drip campaigns. With the example of a high unsubscribe rate, you could set up a drip campaign for unsubscribe alerts and ask recipients to respond to a quick survey about why they're leaving.

3. Apply your findings to future campaigns

Use your research to further develop your drip campaign and promote its future success. For example, a majority of survey respondents said they were getting too many emails, which is good feedback. It tells you exactly what you can change about your drip campaign to lower the unsubscribe rate.

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