Sometimes when a company gets close to a potential customer, there’s a temptation to turn on a metaphorical fire hose of content. You could offer white papers that address their particular pain points, for instance, or webinars that take them step-by-step best practices. You may want to offer them product and service collateral that suggests everything you could possibly offer them.
Don’t be surprised if many customers get gun-shy when they’re overwhelmed with content. In the same way that you wouldn’t take so long in a sales meeting that a prospect would chase you out the door, the better way to nurture demand is over a longer period of time with a more thought-out approach.
This is most often described as a “drip campaign” because unlike the fire hose, you’re offering drops of content here and there that keep your firm top of mind when a customer is ready to make a purchase. It’s often based on using outbound email more efficiency to maximize business results. These are just a few of the do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:
Do: Drip Based On Data
As with any tactic, drip campaigns need to be oriented around a particular goal. It can be as simple as driving more revenue around a particular product or service, growing your overall customer base or reducing the time it takes to get a purchase decision made. To do that, you need data.
Start with CRM, which will give you direct access to everything your sales team knows about its historical business results. For example, look for the number of times a particular account needed to be “touched” before a sale was made, and what of questions they needed answered or clarified along the way. Look for who on the account team was involved, and how they contributed to the final decision.
Even if every sale has seemed like an uphill battle to this point, your drip campaign should be aimed at accelerating that process, and it’s what you should measure a drip campaign against.
Don’t: Drip Randomly
Next, if you use marketing automation already, identify content that drove effective early-stage awareness or “top of the funnel” engagement among your customers and prospects. What kind of content flowed from that, up to the point a transaction was made? This is the journey you’ll want to replicate in the drip campaign.
Things to think about:
- Drip based on cyclical events: Look for major conferences or milestones that matter to your customers. Ensuring your drip campaign includes an e-mail at a particular time could increase open and click-through rates.
- Drip according to the calendar: If your organization uses content marketing, an editorial calendar may already be in place to show when blog posts, infographics and other resources. Drip campaign e-mails can naturally aligned with the cadence of these assets when they’re still fresh and not familiar to regular visitors to your web site.
- Drip when the CTA is clear: Your call to action in the drip campaign should go beyond opening and reading the e-mail. Urge your customers to visit product landing pages to learn more details, to take advantage of special offers or deals or to have a rep call them.
- Drip When Customers Get Closer To Renewal: Helpful or inspiring content will be a lot more convincing than a standard notice to sign on for another year.
Do: Drip Differently Based On Audience
The market for most businesses could be divided into existing, loyal customers, those who are new accounts or not quite established, and those who don’t know nearly enough about you. A drip campaign should not be uniform across these segments but as targeted as possible.
Your loyalists, for instance, might be best served by a drip campaign that highlights new features of products in which they’ve already invested, or additions to one of your services. Newer customers may not be apprised of the full range of what your products and services do, or how they integrate with one another. They may be more eager to understand how to make the business case internally to buy your products and services, to see how purchasing from you will contribute to their business objectives.
Don’t: Just Drip With Standard E-mail
While email is still the killer app in many organizations, it’s not the only way to reach your customers. Consider directed content to social media channels where your audience lives, Use video, rather than mere text, to make your drip campaign content more compelling and engaging. If you offer apps for your customers, a test message or push notification may be all the drip they need.
As you get more proficient with drip campaigns, you’ll develop variations such as promotional drips, educational drips or even training drips, all with specific objectives. No matter how you use them, drip campaigns should be treated as one of the friendliest, low-pressure approaches you take to keeping in touch with customers —until the point where they want you to turn on the tap and quench their thirst with even more information.
Learn how you can automate and manage your email campaigns with Salesforce, the 1:1 customer platform, and turn them into meaningful conversations with your customers and prospects: