Email drip campaigns can achieve many things: building a relationship, increasing customer retention and increasing sales – all good things that any smart marketer wants and so should you.

In case you don’t know what email drip campaigns are, let me go over that for a moment. An email drip campaign is basically a series of messages that are sent or “dripped” in a predefined order at a predefined internal. So, for example, if someone joins your email list, they receive email #1 on signup, email #2 three days later, email #3 five days after they joined and so on. All of this can be automated via email autoresponder software (i.e. GetResponse,” and so on>

Each email in the campaign stands on its own but also builds on the emails that have come before it. All of the emails are strategically thought out and sequenced. The goal of such a campaign is to encourage a specific action (start using your product, warm up the lead etc).

So how do you go about creating an effective email drip campaign?

1. Figure out your goal

First things first. If you don’t know what you want to accomplish, how can you possibly achieve it? You need to decide whether you want to warm up the email leads, get them to buy your product, or something else that serves your overall goals. Be specific when talking about the end-goal so that you are able to measure it.

2. What they see in those emails is what matters most

Just having an email drip campaign won’t do much. The content of those emails needs to be really good. If you send lousy emails, the result will be lousy as well. If the emails don’t add any value, the effect may actually be the opposite – people will consider it spam and become hostile toward you.

Also don’t make the emails too long or people won’t read them. Be aware that most of your users are not “reading” your newsletter as much as they are scanning through the information, so make your information scan-able.

3. What is it that your leads need in order to make a decision?

When you start working on creating content for the drip campaign, ask yourself this: what do my prospects need to know in order to take the step I want? So for instance, if your goal is to get them to use your online software, you might want to create emails that explain its best functionality and show case studies of how other people  used it with great success.

If your goal is to sell them something, you should aim to increase people’s trust in you – build up credibility.  You can do this by teaching them something useful, addressing their hesitation (removing friction) and providing proof of how your stuff helps them achieve their goals.

4. Set timing and frequency

Once you know what you want to achieve and you have created the emails you want to send out, it is time to set the frequency and timing of the emails. There is no one-size-fits-all rule here. Generally you should start with higher frequency and slow down as time goes on (start with every day, then every few days, then once a week, then once a month and so on). As for the email sending times – check your newsletter statistics and see if any particular times of day produced more open rates.

Note that you can also send drip campaigns to people who’ve already been on your list for a long time. Campaigns can be sent daily, weekly, or monthly and can be used to keep your brand on the top of the mind when subscribers are ready to take action.

You can set up drip campaigns for white paper delivery, quarterly release updates, specialized holiday campaigns, monthly invoices, annual subscription notices, or anything else that keeps subscribers informed and interested in your stuff.

5. Segment your campaigns

A way to further increase the effectiveness of your campaigns is to segment them. Create several parallel campaigns – most of the content can remain the same – but tailor them as much as possible to the specific segments, addressing their concerns, needs and wants.

For instance you can create 2 different landing pages for 2 different segments and so that when they join your email list on a particular page, you send them particular drip emails.

6. Measure stuff!

Besides the obvious (open rates and clicks), measure the impact on your bottom line and the total clicks on your landing pages. If you want to drive traffic to your sign up page, measure the total traffic you got from the drip campaigns to the desired page and look at the conversions.

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