This blog post is part two in our three-part series on campaigns in action.

Give the people what they want. If you give it to them at the right time, based on triggers that you define, the result is an effective drip campaign.

What exactly is a drip campaign?

A drip campaign is a series of emails intended to nurture engagement and drive conversion. They’re often done as part of a marketing campaign launch.

In a drip campaign, automated emails are either scheduled or triggered by a previous user action and sent out over an extended period. If reader A opens email 1, they then receive email 2 several days later. If reader A did not open email 1, their email shifts to an alternate track (or nurture flow) of messages. Each email should nudge behavior that brings your user deeper into the sales funnel.

For example, if your organization is a department store that’s recently introduced a new line of handbags, a drip campaign can periodically engage your company with potential buyers to nurture a purchase.

As a marketer, reaching out to customers, prospects, or other pre-defined audiences through a drip campaign creates a closer relationship with the hope that they go from audience to lead to buyer. Drip email is a great campaign method for achieving that goal.

Let’s walk through a typical drip campaign.

Illustration of emails in yes or no tracks

Step 1. Define your business goal

The first action you should take is to identify your organizational goals for the campaign. In other words, why are you spending resources getting visitors to your site? Did your company release a new handbag line and forecast higher sales growth? In that case, your business goal may be to sell 20% more handbags than last year.

Step 2. Set your KPIs

Identify which key performance indicators (KPIs) will get you to that business goal. KPIs can be click-throughs, downloads of a PDF, a quote request, a demo request, or an actual purchase (just to name a few). Setting KPIs aligns your campaign results to business objectives.

A KPI is not the same as a business goal. Going back to our example, a business goal might be to grow your handbag business by 20%. The KPIs that measure your progress towards that goal would be getting 200 customers to click on a coupon code, getting 300 to sign up for your weekly newsletter, and getting 150 people to click ‘Buy now’.

Step 3. Name your campaign

Every campaign must have a name—and consistent naming conventions are your best friend. Consistent naming is far more important than you imagine. It will be used later as part of your UTM tracking for easy and correct evaluation of your campaign engagement.

Step 4. Choose your audience

Know who you’re talking to. When you know your audience, it’s easier to tailor your message. Segment them based on demographics, location, buying history, or location in the sales funnel.

Step 5. Decide the messages you want to convey

Note that the number of messages is not the same as the number of emails.

For example:

In message 1 you want to announce the offer
In message 2 you want to give a discount code
In message 3 you want to get signups for the newsletter
In message 4 you want to convert the reader into a buyer

Although there are four messages, there may be six or eight emails. That’s because in a drip campaign, you will probably have multiple email flows. Flow A is for users who complete every step in a direct line. Flow B is for users who complete part of the steps and then need a reminder email or an additional offer to continue. Flow C may be for users who didn’t open the email at all. You can have as many as you need.

Step 6. Plan your email logic and the number of flows or tracks you want

Once you’ve decided your messaging for each email, design a flow for the email automation. Determine how many flows or tracks you need to bring your leads to where you want.

Step 7. Write the call to action (CTA) for each email

What step do you want your readers to take next? That step should be your call to action. Make it clear, easy to execute, and visually bold in your email. It can be a button inviting users to a webinar, a discount coupon for their next purchase, or perhaps a buying guide or white paper. Whatever it is, make it obvious and easy. Don’t make users guess what they should do next.

Step 8. Write your emails

Get your best content writers to compose the messages. A sure way to fail your audience is to sound like a corporate robot. Write so your user knows there are real people behind that message.

Also, pay careful attention to the subject line and preview text. The subject line should make it clear what the email is about. Read up on preview text length and best practices when writing this part of your email.

Step 9. Set the UTM tracking for each mail

Tracking is the only method for accurately measuring your success. UTM tracking enables you to know precisely where your traffic comes from and allows you to see how users from specific UTMs engage on your website. For example, users from email 1 spent an average of two minutes on your site vs user from email 2 who averaged 90 seconds.

UTMs add additional information about where users are coming from and how they got to your site by tagging with source, medium, name, term, and content. Do not underestimate the power of the UTM.

Read part three in our blog series on mistakes to avoid in your UTMs. It will be published on March 7, 2019.

Step 10. Track, measure, and analyze

Setting up your email nurture flow, identifying contacts, and crafting the messages are only half the job. The other 50% is to track, analyze, and measure every interaction.

Evaluate and compare to get a true picture of your drip campaign’s success.

The way to know whether you met the business goals you identified at the beginning of the campaign is through the measurement of your KPIs. The best way to know your KPIs is through UTM tracking, analyzing, and getting an accurate overview for reporting. They are not the only way but are definitely the most used and often the easiest way!

A campaign’s true value lies in whether you’re achieving business goals. Don’t ask “did I get conversions?” Ask “did I meet my organizational goals? With a great campaign, effective tracking, and clear reporting, you can easily see that.

To take the next step in effective online campaigns, sign up for our webinar Campaigns in Action, Learn to Measure, Analyze, and Evaluate to hear expert advice on leveraging campaign metrics.

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