7 minute read
I know what I have to do after work today. It's the same thing I have to do tomorrow after work, and the day after that.
I have to do the dishes.
It's the most unsatisfying chore I have. As soon as I empty the dishwasher, its full again! I feel like I am running on a treadmill, going nowhere.
I used to be running on the same treadmill with my email marketing campaigns. No matter how great last week's blast was, this week I was starting from scratch.
I was constantly searching for something valuable to say to my list. Something that would resonate with subscribers that were receiving their very first email, and subscribers that were receiving their 12th.
Torrents of sweat ran down my brow every Wednesday. As my subscriber count grew, so did my anxiety. I was paralyzed with fear that I would include a typo or a spelling error.
It's not like that any more.
Now email is probably my favorite channel. And it can be yours too. I'd love to show you the light.
In this article I'll teach you 1 simple trick. When you get finished reading you will:
- No longer stress about typos
- No longer feel like you are wasting energy on email
- Rest assured that you are writing emails that resonate with new and old subscribers
Let's get started.
The old way: Weekly Newsletters.
Email predates the internet's explosive growth in 1996 by 3 years, and for almost as long as email has existed, it has been exploited by marketers for financial gain.
Until recently, email marketing tactics utilized a single methodology of sending mass email newsletters based on a specific cadence, such as once a week. At their best these emails would communicate relevant and timely information, such as a sale, or seasonal/holiday information like hours.
However, this system was easily corrupted. Marketers felt compelled to craft weekly emails, and would fill the gaps in time-sensitive communications with long form information.
At the surface, there is nothing wrong with this. Long-form content provides necessary information to educate potential and existing customers.
The trouble is, it's easy to fall into one of two traps:
- Sending redundant emails. The longer a user has been subscribed to your newsletter, the more likely she is to receiving the same information more than once. This can be helpful, since it is important to communicate the most important information multiple times, however it is easy to take this too far. Result? Unsubscribe.
- Assuming too much knowledge from your audience. If you are attempting to avoid sending too many redundant emails, the alternative can happen. You send your novices communications that are too advanced for their needs. You are enrolling them in college-level courses, when they are just starting out at first grade. Result? Unsubscribe.
Finding the delicate balance of sending unique and relevant emails to your long-time subscribers, without intimidating your new ones is a careful art. If you can do it well (and have the time to write fresh copy every week), you are likely earning a hefty salary as an email copywriter and we would love for you to share your advice in the comments below.
If you are like most of us, and you struggle with finding the right balance, then fear not. There is a simple fix.
Enter: The drip marketing campaign.
The new way: Drip Marketing Campaigns
Fortunately, this isn't a unique problem in the email marketing communities, and some enterprising entrepreneurs recognized the hurt and created drip marketing software.
Inspired by transactional email, drip campaigns break apart the campaign sequence, and start each subscriber at email number 1. Instead of subscribers receiving the same email every week, they receive the same email chain, starting from week 1.
Consider the following comparison between traditional email marketing and the new drip email marketing campaign:
In the old model, since Todd was the only subscriber during the first week (Week 1), he was the only subscriber that received the starting email.
The next week our list had grown to two users (Todd and Susan), but Susan had already missed the introduction email, and jumped in with the circle email.
This created a catch 22; why spend much time crafting the first email if Todd is going to be the only recipient? But if we don't spend much time crafting our emails, then our list growth will be slow.
In our new model, every user receives every email, only in a different sequence than all of our other subscribers.
By week 2, Todd is already onto his second "Circle" email, building off the knowledge he gained from the introduction email in week 1.
But Susan had just subscribed to the newsletter, so she is starting her sequence at the beginning instead of in the middle of the chain.
It doesn't matter that Heather didn't sign up until week 7, she will still start her sequence at the first email.
Meanwhile, the author doesn't feel like she wasted any effort crafting the first email in the sequence, since every new subscriber will be receiving it.
What's more: if she spots a typo between week 1 and week 2, or pushes an update to her software, or needs to make any sort of change at all, it's not a problem. She simply needs to go into her drip marketing software and make the edit.
Setting up your drip marketing campaigns.
With the right software setting up drip email marketing campaigns is really easy, and there are plenty of software options to choose from.
- Drip Price: $$
- SendWithUs Price: $
- Intercom Price: $$
- Customer.io Price: $
- Vero Price: $$
- Klaviyo Price: $$
Exploring each of these individually is beyond the scope of this article, so I'll let you make your own decision based on your specific budget and needs. For the remainder of this tutorial we'll be focused on integrating Drip since it is the software we have choosen at Ambassador.
Part I: Getting Started - Email Crash Course
The first step to achieving success with drip campaigns is the same as with traditional email marketing campaigns -- getting users' subscribed to your list.
Fortunately for us, the kind folks over at Drip provided a great feature for collecting email subscribers: The Email Crash-Course widget.
To create our email crash course, we turned one of our most popular ebooks and turned it into a drip marketing campaign. We created a specific email from each chapter of the ebook. Then we set the cadence to drip a chapter every weekday.
Part II: Moving Subscribers
You should already be off to the races, sending users their first set of dripped emails. But what do you do after they finish their email crash course? You don't want to let them simply fall off.
The next step is to nudge your users from the email crash course over to a longer newsletter campaign. Create your longer newsletter campaign. Navigate to the automation tab, and create a "New Automation Rule" and choose the most appropriate trigger and action.
Part III: Advanced Techniques
Pushing subscribers from one campaign to another is just the beginning of what's possible. Try creating specific newsletter campaigns for your users based on potential MRR or specific vertical.
A simple recipe is to determine if a subscribed user is using a common domain name like gmail.com for their email address, and segment them into a "lighter" drip campaign. Be more hands on with users' that enrolled using their company email address.
Conclusions & Other Ideas
Adjusting your strategy from traditional email marketing to drip campaigns will significantly make your email marketing life easier and free up hours of your time each week. That's just the beginning of what's possible though. Try segmenting your customers (create a drip campaign for all of your ambassadors to educate them about your product over time).
Here are a few other tips to help you succeed in the brave new world of drip marketing campaigns:
- Stay organized and plan your campaigns ahead of time.
- A/B test your emails. The beauty of sending every subscriber the same email is that you can continue to optimize.
- Segment your subscribers to deliver hyper-relevant campaigns.
- Don't be afraid to unsubscribe low-quality subscribers from irrelevant campaigns.
- Stagger HTML and plain-text emails.
- Have fun and experiment!
Let us know in the comments how switching from traditional to drip or transactional emails have helped you succeed.
Posted August 27, 2014 in Inbound Marketing