Challenge: Drip email campaigns often are not customer responsive
It is common for marketers today to identify customers with common characteristics and drop them into a drip email program because it’s easy and can automate outreach to thousands of customers. The drip campaign creative can be tightly tied to a product or specific value proposition. However, all too often the process is something like this: ‘Prospects with this criteria/engagement are ideal for this product so let’s drop them into the ABC drip series.’ On the surface, it sounds like good marketing: targeted list, customized messaging and marketing automation.
However, this process neglects the fact that these prospects are not uniform in any way. No matter how tightly we segment our lists, each prospect is truly unique. In common practice, drip email campaigns are static, having a fixed number of messages at somewhat fixed intervals with fixed messaging. Those that operate at a higher level have some activity-driven content to alter the messaging throughout the drip to more tightly align to the prospect, but this is as far as most drip programs have progressed. However, with effort, we can aspire to much more targeted marketing. Take Amazon, for example, where recommendations are made based on recent purchases and web visits. I love Amazon because it is timely, relevant and easy to use.
What we need to strive for is something much more responsive. We need to integrate a broader set of inputs to drive a more relevant set of messages for each prospect. These other areas of input may include: last website visit date, website pages visited, other contacts at the same company visiting the website, organic/paid search terms, previous products purchased, industry, and more. Unfortunately this creates more complexity for the marketer, but it creates a more relevant and timely set of messages for the prospect, which is far more important. Additionally, marketers should consider alternate outreach vehicles like a call or mailing.
While the typical drip program is better than ‘spray and pray’ email marketing, the goal should reach higher. Think of prospects who look forward to receiving email messages. Imagine doubling open and click-through rates. This can only happen with significant changes that make your messages much more relevant to your audience. What this takes is monitoring key data elements available in your marketing automation system and leveraging these to send the right message with the right offer at the right time. This is certainly a tough task – and one that will increase complexity over a static drip program. However the result will be dramatically higher engagement levels.
So drip nurturing can make the sending company look like a real ‘drip’!
Lesson: Let’s strive to optimize our outbound programs by including a variety of inputs driven by the actions of the prospect to ensure timely and relevant contacts that move the relationship forward.