Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing. However, you cannot just randomly send emails and expect good results!
When using email, you should be setting up campaigns that help connect with buyers in all phases of the purchase decision cycle to effectively move them on to the next step.
This is where drip and nurture campaigns come in. These are both long-term email marketing techniques that allow you to effectively connect with prospects and customers at each stage of the sales funnel.
The two types of campaigns are very similar but there are differences to understand. They should not be used interchangeably but at specific times for specific consumers.
To learn more about nurture vs. drip email campaigns and when to use each, keep reading!
Drip Email Campaigns
Drip emails are a series of time-based emails sent to all of your email list or broad segments of your email list. They help in keeping you top of mind, making it more likely that the recipient will choose you when the time to purchase arrives.
Drip campaigns use time alone to determine when each email is sent. They are then sent to segments based on demographics or psychographics.
They are not sent to lists that have been segmented based on sales journey characteristics. Depending on the goal of the campaign, they may be sent to your whole list.
Use drip email campaigns to:
- Build brand awareness and keep your brand top of mind.
- Educate your email list to get them to enter the sales funnel.
- Promote products and offers. For example, to promote your best products or a seasonal sale.
Types of Drip Email Campaigns
There are a few types of drip campaigns. The one you choose to use depends on your goals and which segments you are targeting.
Types of drip campaign include:
Top-of-Mind Drip Campaigns
As the name suggests, these are a series of emails designed to keep your brand top of mind.
This means that while the emails may not encourage recipients to purchase from you right away, you will be top of mind when they are in the market for your products or services. This makes it more likely that they will choose your brand to purchase from.
Of course, these emails may also encourage recipients to purchase automatically as they can additionally generate want or need recognition.
These should primarily be sent to cold and warm leads over a longer period.
Welcome Drip Campaigns
Welcome drip campaigns include a series of emails sent to welcome new prospects (such as those who just signed up to your email list.)
They are used to educate recipients on your offerings and to recommend products or services they may wish to purchase.
These emails are used to try to convert new prospects or to get additional sales from new customers.
Re-Engagement Drip Campaigns
This is a series of emails aimed at getting past customers to purchase again.
A standard re-engagement campaign would go to all customers. That includes those that would have purchased again anyway and those that would only purchase if marketed to.
Onboarding Drip Campaigns
These are intended to offer resources for customers after a sale. They are intended to make using your product or service easy and to provide extra information. These help with customer satisfaction and retention.
For example, if you sell social media scheduling software, you may send emails explaining how to get started with an account, how to optimize using the service, and how to get help if needed.
Creating a Drip Email Campaign
Once you have determined that a drip campaign is a good fit for your marketing objectives, follow these points to set up your campaign.
1. Set Drip Campaign Goals
There’s no point sending out these email campaigns if you don’t know what you want to get from them. Think about why you are sending the emails and set goals and tracking parameters.
Some common goals include:
- Getting conversions
- Increasing brand awareness
- Retaining customers and getting repeat sales
It is best to set specific goals too. Instead of setting the goal of “converting customers”, say that you want “to convert 15% of email recipients across the course of the campaign”, for example.
2. Segment Your Email List
You’ll next want to generate the lists you’ll be sending the emails to. You can either create a list for each campaign or automate it. with automation, individuals that meet certain criteria are automatically added to the list and sent the campaign.
For example, every new email address that is added can automatically be added to your Welcome Drip campaign list and sent the email series.
You could additionally segment these based on demographics and psychographics.
For example, if you sell clothing for men and women, you would segment your Welcome Drip campaign list into two, one for new male customers/prospects and one for new female customers/prospects. This ensures recipients are getting the most relevant content making conversions more likely.
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3. Create Your Email Drip Series
You can now create the actual emails that will be sent to your lists. These emails should be relevant and valuable to the recipient. Think about your audience and what content will help get your goals achieved.
Keep good content and design practices in mind, such as breaking up large blocks of text and removing any irrelevant text or images. Be sure to always use clear calls to action as well to increase the chance of your desired actions being completed.
4. Test and Optimize
Now that you have a draft of each email in the campaign, you’ll need to A/B test and optimize them.
When A/B testing, try out different subject lines, CTAs, content, and designs to see which works best at getting conversions.
Use the information from this process to improve on your emails and ultimately choose the best series to send.
Once the campaign is sent to your full list, analyze the results. If you did not reach your goals, use analytics to improve on your next send. Even if you did reach your goals, look for ways to improve and get even better results next time.
Nurture Email Campaigns
Nurture email campaigns, also known as lead nurturing campaigns, are a series of emails sent based on actions taken by the recipient.
You can use data on recipient behavior to initiate the target email sequence. These emails are intended to reach a prospect at a certain place in the sales funnel to make a conversion more likely.
Some actions that can initiate a certain nurture series to be sent include:
- Website visits
- Signing up for a lead magnet (such as signing up to get a free ebook)
- Shopping cart abandonment
- Making a purchase
- Dropping off in purchasing
Types of Nurture Campaign
Nurture emails are based on the recipient’s current place in the purchasing pipeline. They are intended to move them on to the next step in this pipeline.
Types of nurture campaign include:
New Customer Campaigns
These are sent to brand new customers as a way to introduce your brand and start building a relationship to encourage continued interaction and purchasing.
These are sent to customers who recently made a purchase or used your service. They can be used to ask for feedback and generate reviews.
You can also use them to encourage customers to interact with you elsewhere, for example, on social media, and to suggest other products they may like based on what they purchased.
Repeat Customer Campaigns
These campaigns are sent to customers that have purchased from you more than once. You can use these to help increase loyalty even more and to ensure you continue to get sales from them.
These emails should make them feel special and show that you value their continued business. You can also use these campaigns to encourage referrals.
Re-engagement campaigns are sent to customers that are at risk of not buying from you again. You should send these to customers that have not repurchased within your standard repurchasing period.
For example, if most customers purchase from you every three to four months, send these to any customers that do not do so after this period.
Creating a Nurture Email Campaign
Creating nurture campaigns is a similar process to creating drip campaigns, but the segmentation of your lists and the goals of your emails will differ. You’ll need to segment your email list based on where individuals are in the customer journey.
As mentioned, nurture campaigns are intended to retain customers and move them towards making another purchase.
Follow these steps to set up nurture campaigns.
1. Set Nurture Campaign Goals
As with all email campaigns, you’ll need to set goals for your nurture campaigns. These will focus on retaining clients and getting them to make repeat purchases. These goals can range from convincing new email subscribers to make a first purchase or take another action relating to your brand to getting a client at risk of not shopping with you again to repurchase.
2. Segment Your Email List
As with drip campaigns, the second step of creating nurture campaigns is to segment your email list. Segments you may use for this type of campaign include:
- New email subscribers who haven’t made a purchase yet.
- New customers who just made their first purchase.
- Customers who frequently make repeat purchases.
- Customers who have not purchased from you in a while.
You may also segment lists based on website actions, such as setting up nurture emails for those who abandoned their cart no matter where they are in the customer journey (brand new customers, repeat customers, etc.)
3. Create Your Email Nurture Series
When creating emails for nurture campaigns, keep your goals and audience in mind. A message intending to get frequent repeat customers to buy from you again will be quite different from that sent to someone that hasn’t repurchased in many months, for example.
Clear and effective calls to action are also very important in these emails. You must make it easy for the recipient to act on what you want them to do.
4. Test and Optimize
This step is identical to drip campaigns. Always A/B test nurture emails before sending them to your entire list. Once the full campaigns are sent, analyze results and make improvements on future campaigns as needed.
When To Use Nurture vs. Drip Emails
Drip campaigns can be used as needed at any time. Welcome drip campaigns and onboarding drip campaigns should be consistently sent to new prospects and customers. Top-of-mind and re-engagement drip campaigns can be sent whenever you feel like interacting with your customer base and reminding them of your brand.
Nurture emails are more time-based. You cannot just send these at any point to anyone. They are intended only for those who take a specific action.
You don’t, however, need to choose between drip and nurture campaigns. You can, and should, use both types of email campaigns for different goals and consumers.
In general, drip campaigns will help get cold leads further along in the buying journey, therefore moving them into your nurture campaign segments.
Both drip and nurture campaigns are valuable resources when trying to convert and retain consumers. Although very similar, they have different uses, and understanding the difference between nurture vs. drip campaigns is crucial if you want your campaigns and email marketing strategy to be a success.
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