Water dripping into the water - email drip campaign concept
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Seasoned marketers are well acquainted with bulk email marketing blasts (as are most consumers). It’s a haphazard email marketing tactic that often lacks efficiency, personalization and authenticity. 

Trigger-based email marketing campaigns, on the other hand, can generate four times more revenue and 18 times more profits. That's why marketers are turning to email drip campaigns.

Some email marketing professionals share their definitions and thoughts on email drip campaigns, as well as how B2B marketers can get started with their own.

What Is an Email Drip Campaign?

"Email drip campaigns are a sequence of automated emails, which are sent based on a particular timeline or on user behavior," said Mark Pratt, marketing manager at ClickSend. Using automated tools, you can create campaigns with different content based on your various market segments using triggers.

Shane Phair, CMO of Campaign Monitor, said campaigns can be "triggered by factors like website actions, purchases, or time factors, with the primary goal being subscriber engagement." These campaigns can be anything from a welcome series or subscriber onboarding to re-engagement campaigns.

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Email Drip Campaigns for B2B Marketers

"Email drip campaigns should be an ongoing and consistent effort for nearly any B2B business," said Bill Fukui, VP of sales & marketing at Page 1 Solutions, LLC. Whether B2B or B2C, engagement is crucial to lead prospective customers along the sales funnel.

Phair suggested, "B2B marketers begin with a welcome series, which can be used to introduce a service or product to subscribers, while also building [brand] credibility and expertise." This is particularly useful if the product is complex and has longer sales cycles.

Later on, B2B marketers can "begin using data from their customers to develop triggered campaigns based on their behaviors, such as their interactions on the company's website or at a conference booth," Phair said. This keeps the conversation going and helps qualify leads in less time than individual outreach by the sales team.

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Getting Started With B2B Email Drip Campaigns

Our experts outlined the initial steps needed to get an email drip campaign up and running:

1. Determine Your Goals

"Before setting up a drip campaign it's imperative that you have a clear idea of the purpose," Pratt said. You should have goals like increasing conversions or reducing subscriber dropoffs in mind before you begin. Then you'll want to map out the customer journey for your drip campaigns; we'll focus on the two main types. 

First, Fukui recommends one that's a "direct follow-up and more action-focused." He says the goal for this type of campaign is to give new subscribers a clear call to action to increase conversions. Second, Fukui suggests having another campaign for subscribers that don't immediately convert. "These long-term drip campaigns should focus more on information rather than sales," he explained, so your brand remains in the back of your subscribers' minds while they go through the decision-making process.

2. Segment Your Audience

Next, Phair said "you need to segment your audience to ensure the campaign is delivering the correct information to the appropriate people." He said a common way to do this is based on how subscribers join the mailing list — whether from an event or downloading a whitepaper, for example.

3. Create the Content

You want to offer your subscribers unique and valuable content. "By providing more useful thought leadership content you will minimize your unsubscribes and elevate your credibility when they are ready to take the next step," Fukui said.

"The more personal you can make the message, the better," Pratt said. You want to keep the tone friendly and personal, and should take advantage of email platforms that support merge tags or custom fields to insert details specific to the subscriber. Informative and personalized content will build trust with your subscribers, and nurture your leads down the sales funnel.

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4. Set Up the Email Campaign

At this point, you can set up the campaign in an email marketing automation tool. "There are several platforms that support email automation, like Autopilot or Drip, in which you can design your email journey and email templates," Pratt said.

Fukui recommended uploading "your list of existing and past prospects, along with other high-quality lists that you have already conducted via email correspondence or opt-ins." You want to get your campaign in front of as many prospects as possible, but be sure you're only sending emails to those that have opted-in and give them the option to unsubscribe. You don't want to risk your brand's credibility with email spamming.

5. Evaluate the Results

"All of your campaigns should be tracked and measured," Phair said. You need to determine which emails performed well based on critical metrics, and adjust your campaigns from there. In the end, Pratt concluded, "Email automation is a brilliant tool for B2B businesses."