Automated email messaging, or email drip campaigns, are an ingenious way to drive sales and nurture client relationships. You have likely been the recipient of these emails (maybe without even noticing!), whether you signed up for a store’s promotions, a business’ newsletter, or put in your email for gated content like eBooks and whitepapers.

Drip emails are growing in popularity and are no longer only for large companies with a huge marketing team and budget. Let’s break down the basics of email drip campaigns and how you can get started.

What is a Drip Email?

Just like its name states, email drip campaigns involve “dripping” in relevant information based on a client or prospect’s engagement, with the hopes of getting them through the sales funnel. These drip campaigns start with a call to action, such as making a purchase or signing up for emails. The individual is now pushed further into the sales funnel and their future behavior dictates what drip campaign they fall into.

Most drip campaigns involve three steps: welcoming your new lead, sending them educational or promotional material, and offering them a deal if they buy your product. Research shows that 73 percent of people prefer this method of getting information about a company compared to traditional advertising.

How Do They Work?

Essentially, email drip campaigns are a long-term approach to marketing automation, which we have talked about before. Automation saves you time, money, and generates leads that you might not otherwise have had.

The graphic above does a nice job of showing that email drip campaigns change depending on an individual’s behavior, and this is the beauty of automation — you can nurture hot leads and filter out cold ones.

As you can see, there are different end goals, such as providing a product demonstration, sending engaging content to keep prospects interested, providing in-depth content about your product, or ending your drip campaign for uninterested prospects.

How Do I Create a Drip Campaign?

Thanks to the advance of Client Relationship Management systems (CRMs), it is easier than ever for a small business owner to set up their own email drip campaign. Here are the steps you need to get started:

  1. Sign up for an automation platform, like Pardot or MailChimp. Here, you will be able to create and schedule emails and track their performance.
  2. Set a goal for your email drip campaign. Do you want to educate clients on your products, provide them with informative material, or have them schedule an appointment with your office? Your goal will determine the type of drip campaign you create.
  3. Create the content. This is the meat of your campaign. You should draft up at least enough emails to follow a client through the sales funnel, and ideally enough content to keep them educated and engaged. Check out our blog post on some ways to get started with content.
  4. Segment your audience. List segmentation is key! Targeting your messages to the appropriate audience will make your outreach much more effective and efficient. CRM systems like Redtail make it easy to create email list and manage contacts.
  5. Track and measure. Just like any inbound strategy, it is important to track your email’s performance and make changes accordingly. For example, f you notice that your welcome email gets opened a lot less than you would like, you may need to adjust the content. Look at relevant metrics, such as click-through rate, contact requests or conversions. Google Analytics is an excellent tool for identifying behaviors and characteristics of people who open and read your email.

Drip campaigns are no longer reserved for the biggest businesses and the heftiest marketing budgets. Today, you can create a basic drip campaign to nurture your leads and follow them through your sales funnel. Less time, more results — what could be better?