Building Attention-Retaining Drip Campaigns
Part VIII Of This 10-Part Blog Series on Enterprise IT Content Marketing Fundamentals
In the previous article we discussed: The Emergence and Importance of Thought Leadership.
In This Article:
- Overview of ‘Drip Marketing’
- Properly Nurturing Your Leads
- Building a Step-By-Step Drip Campaign
🤫 PS: Looking for pricing on custom content? Get a price list here
Lead nurturing is a slow process that requires a lot of patience, and of course, good content that brings your leads further down the funnel. Marketers have to be extra-careful with how frequently they interact with their leads and with what messages.
A promising (and steady) way of accomplishing that is through a technique known as “drip marketing.”
A Brief Introduction to Drip Marketing
Also known as a “drip campaign” and “lifecycle email marketing,” drip marketing refers to strategically sending out snackable content assets to your leads—usually through emails—with each meant to build interest and motivate them to take the next step in the buying cycle.
As shown in Figure 22, these small snippets of information are most commonly sent out either over a fixed period of time (as “scheduled emails”) or based on how the leads interact with certain landing pages on your website. This can also be a combination of both—it’s completely up to you to decide.
The question is: What makes drip marketing so special that it deserves an entire article?
For one, it enables you to freely reach out to your prospects who consented to receiving your marketing messages and updates.
Furthermore, it allows you to create and control the flow of how you want your leads to proceed from one step to another with hyper-targeted content, resulting in more conversions. According to a survey, businesses with good drip marketing campaigns experience 80% higher sales than those without one.
However, how do you create the perfect drip marketing campaign in a world of short attention spans? More importantly, how can you best utilize your custom I.T. marketing content (such as Gorilla Guides) to make building the campaign easy?
The Secret Sauce to Successful Drip Campaigns
Let’s get one thing straight: Lead nurturing isn’t the only goal of drip marketing. There’s a lot that you can accomplish using this tactic, including, but not limited to:
- User onboarding
- Customer engagement
- Shopping cart abandonment and retargeting (for IT vendors, this could refer to abandoning demo request forms)
However, we’ll keep the rest of our discussion limited to nurturing.
“Nurturing” refers to building lasting relationships with your leads/prospects, by sending out relevant messages/content at different stages until they convert into paying customers, as illustrated in Figure 23. You might recognize this as essentially the standard marketing funnel. Lead nurturing slowly coaxes leads further down funnel by giving them exactly the content they need at the stage they’re at.
For any drip campaign, you’re going to need the following essential ingredients:
- A Landing Page: First and foremost, you need a place where users can provide their email addresses, turn into leads, and willingly enter your drip marketing campaign. Of course, you’ll need to offer something in return to get them to sign up, which brings us to ...
- Your Drip Offer: This is usually a gated e-book or a report that you give to users as an incentive for signing up. However, it could also be the promise of an educational/informative journey (or a course) that you intend on offering through your drip emails.
- Map Out the Nurture Flow: The next step is to map out all of the possible journeys a lead could experience in your drip campaign. This involves looking at the different “triggers” or “steps” that a lead could take, all leading to an end-destination that nurtures them. For instance, the drip could start with you sharing a whitepaper. Depending on whether or not they opened it, you could either send them an e-book, or an engaging video that summarizes everything. From there, you can branch out even further. See Figure 24 to for more clarity.
- The Actual Emails: Prepare the actual content and the design of the emails that you’ll be sending out to your prospects.
Once you have all these essential ingredients, it’s time to get to work and bring your drip marketing campaign to life.
To do so, follow these steps:
Craft the Emails
You might expect that it would make the most sense to create the landing page first, and then work on developing your messages.
However, the bottom-to-top approach works well for drip campaigns.
This is where things might get tricky: You’ll have to decide how to utilize your content resources. For example, if you have a comprehensive asset like a Gorilla Guide, it makes sense to use it as the drip offer.
Alternatively, you could use that Gorilla Guide to extract out the actual content for your drip emails, and use something else as the incentive. Think carefully about how you want to proceed.
Also, each email should be crafted with a clear end goal in mind. Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish with the particular message you’re creating.
- What stage of the buying cycle is it meant to target?
- Is it meant to educate your leads about a problem they might not be aware of?
- Do you want to introduce them to a solution and invite them to visit a certain landing page?
- Is there a particular action you’d like readers to take?
Craft the right messages, strategically place your CTAs, and decide on the frequency and/or triggers for your emails.
Build a Landing Page
With your drip emails locked and loaded, it’s time to build the landing page.
This is where your future leads will begin their journey with your brand—so it’s important to make a good first impression. Make sure that the CTAs are visible and the offers are clear.
If you’re giving a single content piece as the drip offer (a video, Gorilla Guide, and so on), give users the choice to opt for receiving updates (i.e. your drip emails).
In case you’re offering an educational experience through daily emails, give them a compelling and concise reason to sign up. Perhaps something along the lines of:
“By the end of this X-day journey, you’ll understand …”
You can use any platform, such as MailChimp, to create a custom landing page for this purpose.
Measure the Effectiveness of Your Campaign
Finally, you should have a system in place that helps you measure the effectiveness of your drip campaign.
While there are many metrics that you could use for this purpose, you should mainly focus on the click-through rate (CTR).
“But, how do you … well, measure it?”
It’s simple—by using UTM codes in the URLs that you plan on sharing in your drip emails.
These codes will help you track the source of the traffic coming to certain landing pages, allowing you to see how much of it came through your drip campaign. See Figure 25.
Some Quick Tips
Setting up your drip campaign isn’t the problem. The real problem is kick-starting it (and gaining traction). See Figure 26 to see how an automated drip campaign works.
Here are some quick tips from our marketers to help you hit the ground running:
- Opt for daily drips if you’re serious about establishing that top-of-mind awareness. Now, don’t get us wrong—this is easier said than done, and then some. It takes a LOT of great content to pull off a daily drip. But if you manage to pull this off, the long-term benefits will be worth it.
- Leverage LinkedIn lead generation forms to instantly collect information and build a database. These are customizable forms that you can use in your sponsored posts or message ads and can be pre-filled with the information of your users. Target your audience with appropriate parameters and link these forms with your drip marketing platform (at ActualTech Media, we use Zapier for the heavy lifting).
- Include CTAs in every message/email, leading users to a certain landing page.
Finally, if you’re offering a mini-resource (such as a PDF handout from a tech webinar, a report, or a smaller guide) in one of your emails, consider copying and pasting the actual content in the body of the email (if possible), along with attaching the resource as a separate PDF file. Some folks find that people don’t want to leave their inbox to read your content, so putting it right in the body of the message ensures that it gets read.
In our next article in this series, we'll discuss: Gorilla Guides as Content Marketing Vehicles