Email drip campaigns can be incredibly effective tools for reaching out to your targets, engaging them, and encouraging them to buy your products and services…or they can fall completely flat and end up wasting everyone’s time. The difference comes in how you go about creating your campaigns, so here are some key factors that will affect your success.
Decide on the Purpose for Each Campaign
Many marketers use drip campaigns to introduce new subscribers to their companies. But you don’t have to limit yourself to these, and you can also use drip campaigns to reach out to existing subscribers. For example, you could set up a campaign training your existing subscribers how to use your new tool or service. Or you could re-engage cold subscribers who have been on your list for a while but have become unresponsive. So always start by deciding exactly what you want to achieve with your campaign.
Keep Them Short
Long emails can work—but only when they are done really well. Typically, the people you are writing to will not be ready to invest a lot of time reading thousand-word emails. They may be interested in what you have to say, but they are time-poor and they have congested inboxes. So keep your emails short. Try to provide subscribers with all the essentials up front. Don’t make them hang about for the good stuff, and get to the meat of it using as few words as possible.
Once you’ve written each email, go back over it and see where you can cut it down without getting rid of any value. Don’t just make the email short—make all the elements short as well, so short subject lines, short sentences, short paragraphs. Write much shorter paragraphs that you would normally write, even shorter than your blog content. Use one-word paragraphs, and lots of them—it draws the reader down through the email, speeding up the reading process. Novelists use short sentences and paragraphs during exciting moments in the novel like action scenes. So use the same technique to make your emails seem less daunting. Your emails are competing with all of those other emails in the inbox. People simply don’t invest time in reading emails in the same way as they might a really good blog post. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to experiment. If you think you can provide more value in a longer email, try it out—but just keep a tab on your open and click rates. One good rule of thumb is that people who have been subscribing for longer may be more willing to read a long email. So for those people who know you, and who know how much value you provide, you might want to increase the length of your emails.
I talked about this in a recent blog post about storytelling techniques. Email drip campaigns are an especially effective place to use cliffhangers. The very idea of the drip campaign involves creating a sequence, and the aim is to get subscribers to read the next one when it arrives. A cliffhanger is an effective way to achieve that through building suspense. You can use a P.S. for this (P.S. info gets read more often, and subscribers are more likely to remember the information at the end), and make it really juicy. Bring up an issue that you know your targets want more information on, then finish with: “And that’s exactly what I’ll be talking about in the next email.”
The most effective email marketing campaigns are always personal. The level that you decide to take this to clearly depends on the audience, your brand, your product, etc. But in general, you want to write as though you’re talking to the subscriber personally. That doesn’t mean you have to use slang or swear or be inappropriate in any way. But even if you are writing to CEOs, you can still make it sound more personal. People hate corporate speak. They hate companies writing to them in a way that makes them feel like just another customer who they don’t care about in the slightest (“Dear Subscriber…” etc.) You can use name tags—used sparingly, they can be effective, especially in the subject line. But go easy on them—too many can have the opposite effect, and they won’t make up for a lack of personal tone.
Encourage Action Early On
You might not want to start selling in the first email in the sequence—in fact, that’s often a bad idea, especially in a sign-up autoresponder. But you can get your subscribers into the habit of taking action. In its simplest form, this can include clicking on a link to a blog post. It doesn’t even have to be your own blog post, and instead, it could be a really valuable resource on another site. Then do it again in the next email. This gets your subscribers into the habit of taking action. It forges the connection that they click on a link and something good happens. So when you do send them a link to your product page in the future, they are more inclined to click on it.
What questions are you constantly being asked by new people who are interested in your products? What are their doubts? What answers do you keep on providing? These are the sorts of things you need to address in your drip campaigns. The world has changed for marketers in nearly every industry. People now have access to so much more information, and the buying cycle has changed as a result. Consumers can research information online, they can share information with their networks, they can ask opinions and read reviews and get access to what they need to know before they decide to buy. You are connecting with people who may well not be ready to buy—but they will probably be keen to learn. So help them out. Teach them about what you do and how you can help them. And use you drip campaigns to do it.
Plan Your Next Drip Campaign
Use these tips to get more from your email drip campaigns. While drip campaigns can become an essential tool for marketers, you need to use them effectively to take full advantage of them. Finally, always think of a drip campaign as a whole, rather than as individual emails. As a result, it’s often a good idea to plan and write them all together, and that way you ensure there is a feeling of consistency in the series.