If you’ve ever made a large purchase like a house or a car, you know that you think about that purchase before making the decision. Even if you buy the first car you test drive on a lot, much has gone into the decision: your current financial status, job stability, trade-in value, and more. What happened while you were waiting to be fully ready? Likely, you did some cursory research and checked out some cars, of course. Then you received ads (in Gmail or on Facebook) all about those cars. Bada-bing, bada-boom. We know Google is everywhere, but the strategy of retargeting ads based on your searches is one of many components of drip marketing when applied to digital strategies.
What Is Drip Marketing?
Drip marketing came of age with the internet and became a powerful form of marketing, thanks to the adaptation of email, which is a crucial component for drip marketing. Drip marketing is a system that allows you to develop pre-constructed messages and deliver them over time to your audience. Here’s even more on drip marketing.
It all might sound kinda form-letter-ish, and honestly, it was like that at first. When done wrong, drip marketing is spammy as hell. Done right, it’s miraculous.
When you do it correctly, drip marketing resonates with your audience and allows them to reach out to you at the right time. That’s because researching your buyer persona is a key aspect of drip marketing properly. You should know the following. Settle in.
Who signs up for your email list?
What’s your typical customer like? If your usual customer doesn’t have kids and you spam them with stuff about children, your messages won’t resonate with them, they’ll be annoyed, they won’t think of you as helpful, and they’ll probably unsubscribe. You’ve wasted your own time at this point. If they tend to like pets, though, you’re onto something, especially if you’re a pet food company or something related. Strike a balance between relevance and interest without alienating your audience.
Why and how did they find your signup form? Google Analytics can reveal how people found you and signed up for your email form or researched your product. This reveals something about their needs. Use this to your advantage.
What do they need or expect from you in the short term (besides a sale)?
Again, with the needs, right? Yep: our customers and prospects are needy, and we want to help them. Before they buy a car, for example, they probably want to know about stuff like safety, features, or maybe the best time of year to buy a car.
What are their affinities?
As much as we want our audience to be completely obsessed with our products and services, they have lives. What else do they like? There’s a reason you see Iron Man drive Audis: his fans, and people who might want to be like him, are car shoppers who might want to take a look at Audis. In other words, potential Audi drivers watch Iron Man movies.
What Are the Advantages of Drip Marketing?
Drip marketing offers several advantages to other forms of marketing on the internet.
Top of mind: As much as we hate to admit it as consumers, advertising works. When you think about coffee after just seeing a coworker with Starbucks, you might want that type of coffee. Or you might desire coffee because you saw the Starbucks in the first place. If your desire comes with a coupon in your email, even better (that’s the drip marketing component in this scenario). Starbucks has remained top-of-mind, and you can’t resist the siren call.
Cost-effective: It costs little or nothing to send an email, and you can reuse your drip marketing campaigns or alter them for the future. Companies often do this with holiday greetings, sale announcements, or other annual occurrences. You don’t have to pay postage (though drip marketing technically works via direct mail, too), and once you hire someone to write email content, you can re-use it and send it to your new prospects.
How Does It Work?
Imagine a series of fifteen communications, meant to walk a prospect through the buying cycle. Let’s go back to the car example.
A prospective customer sees an Audi in an Iron Man movie in October and does some cursory research to see if an Audi is in their budget. While they’re on your site, they opt-in to receive Audi’s emails.
The prospect isn’t ready to buy right now. The end-of-year bonus this year is still unknown, and they want to get past some holiday expenses, but they’re thinking about buying in January or February.
While they’re focusing on other things, the customer receives helpful emails about car maintenance tips. Over time, they feel like Audi wants to help them out, and they have a favorable impression of this auto brand. They still aren’t ready to buy, though.
Still, the emails keep coming. And since so few of them are focused on actively convincing the prospect to buy the car, the prospect keeps reading. They don’t think it’s pushy.
By November, the prospect has reorganized their garage, actively using some garage storage tips from Audi’s emails. They’re ready to test drive cars, and when they go out, Audi is first on their list. They have a positive experience with Audi and sign up to the dealership’s email list as well. The dealership emails on Tuesdays while Audi corporate sends customer emails every Thursday. This coordination ensures that the future customer is not inundated with too many Audi emails—or duplicate content.
Once January rolls around, the prospect is ready to buy. They haven’t forgotten about those emails, and ultimately, Audi had a lot of wins during this buying cycle: brand recognition in a superhero movie, a helpful and informative (not pushy) process, and a positive experience at the dealership. They also didn’t blast the customer too often or force communication through multiple channels.
Drip Marketing and Email
Email is expertly suited to drip marketing tactics:
- It’s free
- You can automate it
- Multiple people can access one account if necessary
- There are several tools to manage marketing campaigns via email
- It’s visible: customers spend time in front of their screens
- It’s helpful: people only check their email when they’re ready to see certain content; you’re not interrupting their favorite TV show like a commercial would
- Customers can forward it
Drip Marketing and Social Media
Drip marketing is also a pretty effective social media tactic.
While we’ve finally come to accept that social media is often a form of microblogging, we need to consider the fact that many prospects access their social media feed more than their emails. They get news from there, as well as sales, ads, and more. It may as well be their email: so it’s time to treat it that way.
You can use drip marketing principles in social media in a few ways:
- Ad retargeting: Send the same advertised content to customers with ad retargeting. You know they’re interested in the keyword: time to do something about it.
- Create social media content and alter it: Change up the messages you send out, but recycle the same content (over the course of a year or more). Great example: corporate holiday greetings.
- Capture email addresses: Encourage email list sign up via social media (offer a coupon or discount code) and use drip marketing in the email marketing process.
What Makes Digital Marketing Ideal for Drip Marketing?
The main thrust of it: digital marketing is great for drip marketing because of the low cost. Instead of paying for postage and printing, or airspace on TV or radio, you can invest in actual content to draw your readers (prospects) in.
Inbound Content Cycle Integration: The Future of Drip Marketing
That’s where inbound content enters. Marketers often miss it, but inbound content creation is an essential part of the drip marketing process. Your emails, video content, and blog posts need to be on point and seriously engaging. They also need to follow the rules of the road, such as the CAN-SPAM act and white hat SEO methods (Google-approved).
Think about it: you’ve got your email campaigns going, but what kind of original content are you going to send prospects? It’s got to be gripping. Send them links to your blog posts and track those conversions with your favorite software.
Your blog posts, for example, are a double threat. Not only can you research keywords and create a complete content plan to rank higher on Google, but you’ve also got content to send out in your newsletters. And that’s the best drip marketing tactic we can imagine. No more slimy sales.
Need Help with Drip Marketing Content? We Dominate the Competition
That’s where we come in. At Dominate With SEO, we create creative, engaging content for your brand. We can also help you complete an analysis to determine what kind of material your users want to read and what keywords you should aim for. Contact us today via our Discovery Form and let’s start dominating your competition!