Lead Nurturing & Drip Campaign Strategies [Email Marketing Guide]

Email Marketing Blog

If you are trying to increase sales for your business and create customers for life, you need to start by developing a relationship with your buyers. This can be achieved through specific types of email strategies - lead nurturing and drip campaigns.

As you may already know, email marketing is an excellent return on investment for small businesses and franchises alike. Email newsletters allow you to become more connected with your customers, conduct more business, and create loyal users at the touch of a button. Lead nurturing and drip campaigns are essential tools during this process since they allow you to continue cultivating clients but in more targeted lead funnels.

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People often wrongly assume these two terms are synonymous with each other since they both use direct communication and marketing through emails as a means to increase sales and build relationships with clients. Alternatively, the process of nurturing leads is a much more personal and specific method of connecting with subscribers while drip marketing is generalized and time-based. While drip campaigns are convenient on your end, they are not as successful as nurturing leads in developing relationships and shortening sales. However, both types of campaigns are incredibly effective when used together.

Ready to start building your first drip email or lead nurturing campaign? Sign up for FireDrum Email Marketing, today. Our friendly email marketing specialists are here to help every step of the way, from helping you navigate our lead nurturing platform to sending your first campaign.

Lead vs. Drip - What's the Difference?

Before we dive into the intricacies of each campaign type, is essential that you know the basics of both lead nurturing and drip marketing. As you read through this next section, you may find that your customers would respond better to one type of campaign, or a unique combination of both.

What is Lead Nurturing?

Lead nurturing campaigns are a type of automated messaging that can help you communicate and connect with your subscribers on a more organized level. With lead nurturing, you’re creating a more personalized experience for your users through user-based actions (for example, if I were to click on a button that tells me to visit your store, the next email I’d receive would include directions and special in-store promotions.) By personalizing this experience, you can increase your sales and shorten the time between each purchase. 

Seasoned sales representatives recognize that lead nurturing campaigns are an easy way to manage leads and nurture their customers. Without the back-and-forth, missed phone calls, or follow-up emails, a customer can get the information they’re looking for by simply navigating through an email campaign.

What are Drip Campaigns?

Drip campaigns, or drip marketing, describes a structured and timed way that you can connect and communicate with your customers. Unlike lead nurturing, drip campaigns are more sequential and designed to lead users down a specific path (for example, if I'm a new subscriber, the first few emails I receive from you may be talking about your company and top-selling products.) By nurturing your subscribers down the sales funnel (represented in the graphic below), you can expect to see increased engagement, purchases, loyalty, and advocacy.

[Top] Awareness Consideration Purchase Loyalty Advocacy [Bottom]

As a business owner or sales representative, you may be thinking “I already nurture my leads.” Implementing a structured lead nurturing strategy into your email campaigns doesn't replace your personal touch, but rather, enhances it. With an effective drip marketing campaign in place, you can maintain authentic conversations with 30, 40, and even 100 hot-leads. Additionally, if one of your leads turns cold or expresses interest in another product or service, you can easily segment them into a new campaign. This automated process will save you time, the headache, and open new sales opportunities.

Types of Lead Nurturing and Drip Campaigns

When you’re headed to the drawing board with your team, it helps to have a few types of lead nurturing and drip campaigns in mind. After all, if you're taking the time and effort to nurture your leads, you want to ensure that you are doing so successfully. Here are five useful types of email marketing that you can implement for your business today:

1.   Welcome Campaign

A good way to educate a potential client and encourage them to purchase one of your products or services is to send them a well-written welcome email. It is essential to make sure that this email is more than just a simple email saying "hello." Make sure to give the client relevant information about your company to reaffirm why they chose your company in the first place. Not sure where to start with your welcome campaign? Reach out to our team of marketing experts for ideas and inspiration.

2.   Product or Service Campaign

Most customers, when shopping online, won’t make a purchase right away. Sometimes it will stay in their shopping cart for a few hours, and sometimes a few weeks. To help your customers complete their transaction, you can create a drip campaign that provides them with additional information, discounts, and other promotions that will nurture them to finish the sale. This method, although it can be time-consuming, will help establish loyalty and trust with your subscribers. Learn how to properly segment your lists to create and send product and service campaigns by contacting our team of email marketers and exploring our lead nurturing platform.

3.  Promotional Campaign

If your client is near the end of the sales funnel but needs an extra push to finish the deal, a promotional email detailing a special discount or sale may be precisely what they need to move forward. Nurture your leads by sending a promotional email or complete your drip sequence by designing an offer your subscribers can’t refuse.

Promotional emails can be used for both online stores and service-based businesses.

4. Competitive Campaign

With competitive emails, you want to make sure that your subscribers are choosing your brand over your competitors. To do this, you need to focus in on the details, differentiators, and benefits of your product and/or services rather than discussing what's wrong with your competitors. It may be challenging to avoid calling-out their flaws but to win your customers over you need to sell your brand name and story.

When designing these emails, we suggest sticking to this format. Learn more by contacting our email experts.

Email Subject Line: Product or service name + Insert eye-catching title that shouts out why your company is fantastic.

Title: Product or service name + Why We’re the Best

Intro: Create a personal message that mentions the subscriber by name (learn more about dynamic content and name tags in our blog - “_________.”) Talk about why you value them as a client and why you have the best product or service. Below this section, add a bold call-to-action.

Body: In separate sections with unique images, describe your product or service in detail. Overload your readers with content so they feel they’re getting the most information possible. Underneath each section, make sure to add a bold call-to-action.  If you’re talking about a product, make sure to include the following pieces of information:

  • Size & color
  • Top features
  • Functionality & use
  • Warranty information
  • Customer reviews

If you’re promoting a service, touch on the following subjects:

  • Service detail
  • Service features
  • Warranty or guarantees
  • Customer reviews or case studies

Closing: In a short summary, touch-base on why your customers are great, why they should buy from you, and why your product or service is fantastic. Include a bright and bold call-to-action that drives your users to a product page or your contact us page.

5. Re-engagement Campaign

Even if the client has already completed a sale with you, it doesn't mean you've officially made a loyal customer that will continue to work with you in the future. Re-engagement campaigns target individuals who have worked with you in the past but has become inactive for some time. An excellent way to do this is sending them a helpful resource and encouraging them to ask questions if they have any.

Automate Your Campaigns to Grow Your Business

There are numerous benefits to automating your email marketing strategy, but we’re positive you’ll see favorable results as you start to implement drip marketing and lead nurturing campaigns. Apart, these emails will drive more traffic to your website and overall sales, but together, you’ll find that they work to shorten the sales cycle and bring you more traffic.

Shorten the Sales Cycle

Several factors contribute to long sales cycles including a large variety of companies and products to choose from, needing more information to make a decision, and having limited funds to make a purchase. This is where lead nurturing makes a difference. Through targeted email marketing, you can identify subscribers struggling with these hang-ups and provide them what they need before they choose not to make a purchase or go with one of your competitors. By doing so, you will show customers exactly why they would benefit from the product and will help reveal how helpful your company is. They are likely to take note of your credibility and turn to your brand for future sales. 

Drip marketing, historically, is an effective method for shortening sales cycles which will eventually help you increase sales and revenue by conserving valuable time. This strategy involves sending out emails to prospective and current clients based on their behaviors. It does require some time investment to maximize these campaigns (data analyzing and tracking), but you’ll see that your customers appreciate a company that’s attentive to their individual needs. Additionally, your customers will start seeing you as a trustworthy brand. All of this leads into shorted purchase gaps and increased sales.

Cultivate Your Sales Team

Your customers are not the only group of people involved with your company that will benefit from lead nurturing. You also need to invest time in your employees if you want to retain them and help them perform their best. Enhance communication with your sales team by using the same methods you apply to your email marketing. Periodically send them resources they can utilize, prioritize contact with new team members, notify them of potential leads, and help them retain important training information. While connecting with clients may take up the majority of your time and effort, the effectiveness of your sales team is crucial for determining your business' success.

Creating the “Perfect” Drip Marketing Campaign

When done correctly, drip marketing is extremely beneficial, especially when used alongside lead nurturing. It is essential to consider the strategy, impact, reach, and relevancy of your drips.

Crafting The Formula

Email marketing requires a large amount of strategizing to ensure the effectiveness of your efforts. When sending out drip marketing emails, you will need to identify the goal in sending them, ensure each email in the series builds on the previous message, and set a clear timeline for when each message will be sent. For lead nurturing campaigns, you need to ensure each path has a “next step,” eventually leading users to the check-out line.

An excellent tool to use for strategizing and setting up your drip marketing campaigns is the 3-Step Marketing Ladder. This ladder starts with awareness, is followed by education, and finishes with action. When a potential client subscribes to your site, the first step is to send an introductory drip email within 24-hours of them subscribing to grow awareness of your brand and the products or services you offer. Three days after sending this email, they should receive a drip educating the lead on what your company is all about and what impact your products or services has had on people in the past.  Lastly, a drip calling the client to action is sent four days later. It's often beneficial to use some incentive to encourage your subscriber to make that initial purchase.

The 3-Step Marketing Ladder may be challenging to execute, but our email experts are here to guide you throughout your journey. Contact us directly for consulting assistance, or subscribe to our email marketing newsletter to see our drip marketing campaigns in action.

Design an Effective Lead Nurturing Campaign

Before you even start drafting the layout of your next email newsletter, make sure you know the five steps you should take for an effective lead nurturing campaign. These steps play a strategic role in nurturing and converting your customers.

1.   Identify Who You’re Nurturing

Remember that you need to make sure each email is relevant to the recipient. Break up your contact list into segments based on customer type. Common list segmentations:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location (zip code, cities, etc.)
  • Past Purchases
  • Birthdays or anniversaries
  • Sign-up incentive
  • Engagement
  • and more.

2.   Set a Goal for Each Email

Determine the best way to nurture a specific lead or exactly what your email campaign is trying to accomplish. Then, craft content and an incentive that will push them towards that particular goal. Blindly designing an email or creating content on-the-go won’t show users that you’re catering to what they need.

3.   Incentivize Using More Than Promotions or Offers

Don’t push your potential leads away by immediately trying to sell them something. Your first call-to-action should include a free resource or an offer they can’t turn down. If you’re advertising a specific service, try sending informational blog posts or white-papers that dive into what your subscribers are searching for. If you’re selling a product, overload them with details, information on related products, and pricing comparisons.

4.   Space Out Your Emails

Don’t overwhelm or annoy your users with a burst of emails. Send an email out every couple of days or when specific actions are completed. If you’re having trouble pinpointing that “perfect” number of emails, try reaching out to your subscribers with a unique feedback or survey campaign. Ask them how often they want to receive updates from you, then segment them into appropriate categories.

5.   Listen to Your Subscribers - Actions Can Speak Louder Than Words

Make sure to keep track of how successful your email marketing attempts are and change anything that isn’t working. If you watch your customer’s engagement metrics closely and reach out to them on a regular basis, you will theorize and hear possible fixes to issues that they may be experiencing mid-funnel.

Why is Planning Important for Automated Campaigns?

Planning, in general, is required to make an effective marketing campaign. By adding a layer of creativity, organization, and strategic thought into your email messages, you have a higher chance of converting your subscribers. When crafting your drip campaigns and lead nurturing emails, keep the following ideas in mind.

Reach

One great benefit of drip marketing campaigns is that they can reach a large number of people at once. If segmented and optimized correctly, you can reach a large number of subscribers that will engage with the product, service, or offer at hand.

If you’re working on growing your subscriber list, read our blog “5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Email Marketing Subscriber List.”

Relevance

When drafting your drip campaign, you need to know who your audience is. Your subscribers are much more likely to read your email and respond positively to it if they feel it is written specifically for them. If you are aware that there is more than one type of audience you cater to, it helps to separate your contact list into different groups.

Impact

To make sure your email marketing is working, you need to determine the effectiveness of your drip campaigns. Evaluate how many sales you made as a result of your drips, and invest in a lead nurturing platform like FireDrum Email Marketing that will help to keep track of your customers' activity.

Create Loyal Customers & Make More Sales

Start increasing your sales and building a loyal customer base by using lead nurturing and drip marketing to communicate with your clients. This method of communication is more personalized compared to standard forms of email and can help you manage a more significant book of business. Additionally, with the proper planning and execution, you can shorten your sales cycle, built more awareness, and engage your customers through action. Learn more about how your company can utilize these campaign types by connecting with our team of experts and designing your first lead nurturing campaign on FireDrum Email Marketing.

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