Picture this – you’ve managed to collect a significant number of email addresses of possible clients. You get all hyped and think about possible conversion percentages, and that there’s a chance that at least one of them will become a regular customer. Because of that, you start sending cold emails blasts, keeping your fingers crossed, and hoping for the best.
But, is that a feasible plan for your digital agency? Is sending cold emails without proper audience segmentation and campaign planning worth the risk that you might get labeled as spam or a business that can’t personalize an email message, let alone a product?
The fact is that there is no point in collecting email contacts if you don’t know how to develop a campaign. You need to start a conversation and develop the relationship further.
Why Do You Need Drip Marketing?
To grow your agency business, you’ll need a steady flow of quality leads. You might send a whole bunch of emails hoping that consumers will enter your sales funnel, but do you think that cold emailing as a tactic is scalable enough to ensure business growth? Wouldn’t be better if those emails are part of a series of carefully personalized email messages that guide the user through the sales cycle?
In the age where consumers complete their own buying journey before talking with companies’ sales teams, cold emailing and aggressive social media posting can be too obtrusive for the prospects because people want to be convinced in the product/service themselves in their own time and schedule, not when you push them to do it.
Drip marketing is the cure for such campaigns because a well-plan drip campaign will help you organically turn your targeted web traffic into qualified leads for your agency. It’s a marketing tactic that allows prospects to choose whether they want to continue the conversation or not. You can personalize each of your email messages and improve your campaign conversion rate in the process.
We’re talking about a value-focused campaign that you can use to help your customers improve their lives or grow their businesses, not just trying to sell them your services. The best of all is that it can all be done automatically!
As a matter of fact, nearly two-thirds (63%) of the “Very successful” B2B companies use marketing automation systems extensively, while more than a third (37%) achieved best-in-class status with limited use! More so, automated email messages can receive up to 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than the usual cold emails.
How Drip Marketing Works
A drip email marketing campaign consists of a sequence of email messages that you send to your future customers. People will receive your messages if they trigger them with their activities or engagement.
For example, if they answer on the CTA of your first email message then the second email will be like a connected conversation of the first one. The email messages of your drip campaign are pre-written which means that you don’t have type new email message for each next segment of your campaign.
If someone subscribed to your email list, you can automate a ‘Thank you’ message to be sent instantly. Your next email to that person might be to inform him/her about your latest blog post. In essence, you nurture the prospect with every subsequent email.
Drip marketing works because clients might not be ready to collaborate with your agency immediately. Some campaigns even take months to produce results and for that period you need to ensure that you have your content ready and that you provide the prospects with what they expect and want.
Start by Developing a Funnel
If you want to use email as a tool to acquire new clients, you need to look past the ‘tool’ label. Drip marketing turns email into a complete system that is capable to capture, quality, and nurture leads all the way to the sale.
Your drip marketing funnel has three main stages: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion.
For your campaign to work, you need to know how to align your content with each stage of the buyer’s journey.
It all starts with the Awareness stage. This is where people learn more about your agency and the problem that you can solve for them. When people give you their email credentials, they transform themselves into leads that enter your sales funnel.
As prospects progress through your drip campaign, they enter in the Consideration phase where you need to send them more content and offers in order to acquire more of their data that will help you personalize your end offer.
When you have more data about your leads, you can qualify them and segment them in separate lists. For example, you can qualify leads based on market fit, email open rate, behavior, budget, etc.
If the data about a particular set of leads shows you that they are still not ready to become your agency clients, you need to schedule them for further nurturing in your campaign.
Collect Relevant Email Contacts
You can’t start your drip marketing campaign without its most vital component – an email address.
The Awareness stage of your marketing funnel is the place where you need to hunt for relevant email addresses of prospects. One way to collect emails from people that are interested in what your agency offers is to utilize the targeted traffic that your website gets.
To convince people to give you their email address is no longer an easy job. People today are more resilient than ever to spammy offers and want to keep their data as private as possible after the recent Facebook user data affairs. This means that in order to convince people, you need to be transparent and honest them.
The most effective marketing tactic to collect relevant leads are:
- Develop a Lead Magnet: Big piece of content that will provide a ton of value for your future clients.
- Create a Landing Page: This is where you’ll place the lead magnet along with the opt-in form.
- Direct Traffic to Your Landing Page: Promoting your landing page to get more relevant traffic.
The more targeted your lead magnet is, the easier is to convince your future clients to give you their email addresses. To develop such content, you need to deeply understand your target customers:
- Do they have specific interests?
- What is their level of education?
- Their income range, can they afford your services?
- Their buying motivation, what will make them buy?
- Can something turn them away from your services?
An excellent source of lead magnet ideas is your existing client base. You can conduct an interview with them to understand how they discovered you and how you helped them to solve their problems. Map out their entire journey and find the patterns at each stage.
Only after you understand your target market, you can start to develop the content that will get you to those valuable email addresses. You can look for patterns within your most successful content and develop a longer version of your articles. Head to Google Analytics -> Behaviour -> Site Content -> Content Drilldown.
If you want to know how your most successful competitors fared with a similar piece of magnet, you can use BuzzSumo to search the most successful piece of content online.
You can also use Quora to narrow down the interests of your target audiences by exploring more specific questions and answer them in your lead magnet.
To offer your lead magnet, you’ll need an attractive and optimized landing page. The page needs to be designed in a way that will convince your prospects to give you their email addresses immediately.
The main goal of your landing page is to showcase the value of your lead magnet to your target customers and to collect their email credentials. So it’s not all about the details, but it is more about presenting your lead magnet concisely and optimizing the page for better conversion rate.
Bring Targeted Traffic
If you get highly-targeted traffic, you’ll get highly-targeted leads. On the contrary, if prospects open your landing page by accident and even gives you their email addresses, you won’t convert them no matter how much content and emails you send.
Obviously, you need to go for the channels where your target clients are. As an owner of an agency that provides digital services, your clients are probably more present on LinkedIn than on Snapchat.
Think about your experiences with promoting content so far. Consider your budget too. If you want to advertise, paid traffic can be extremely beneficial for your business, but you have to be prepared to invest in LinkedIn ads, Facebook ads, and in Google AdWords as well.
If you want to use free traffic channels such as social media and SEO optimized content, it’s always a good tactic to let the users learn more about you via articles and social media posts and then send them to your landing page as a content upgrade.
Qualify Your Leads
By qualifying your leads you’ll understand which prospects are more eligible to become your clients. A qualified lead – MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) is someone that already showed you that is interested in your product/service.
If your target persona is someone that would spend $2,000 per month on your service, a qualified lead would be someone that at least has that budget to spend. A qualified lead should meet, at the very least, the following qualifications:
- Desired Buying Power
- Preferred Role in a Company – Decision Maker
- Fits in the Buying Journey
- His/Her Problem is Solvable With Your Product/Service
Tailor the Campaign for Specific Prospects
You need to have campaigns that are specific to each list of segmented prospects. If you’ve managed to gather enough data about the contacts from your email list, you’ll be able to segment your list into smaller lists according to the following factors:
- Psychographic: Target clients that have specific things that they value, their own hobbies and interests.
- Behavior: Target clients that purchased a similar service or product before, and they’re more likely to do it again.
- Decision-Making Level: Target clients that are THE decision maker or someone that just passes on messages and suggests solutions to the real decision maker.
Make sure that each of your drip campaign messages is specifically tailored to each list. It’s much better if you send personalized content to people that really understand it than sending general newsletters to everyone.
Create Your Messages
When it comes to drip marketing, the copy is one of the key elements that determines whether a campaign will thrive or not. The following copywriting tips will help you to craft the perfect messages for your drip campaigns.
- One CTA per Message: Including more than one CTA can be confusing for the readers. The decision-making process becomes complicated and that can result in a lower conversion rate for your campaign.
- Your Best Welcome: As soon as you include a contact in your drip campaign, send a welcome message which provides massive value at the start. This is a small win and an excellent way to kick-start the campaign.
- Design for Mobile: More than half of emails today are opened on mobile devices. CTA buttons and the copy should be clearly visible and readable on smartphone screens. Make sure that you keep the message headline under 33-38 characters because that is the maximum headline visibility for most mobile devices.
- Use Sense of Urgency: Have a deadline for your offer and explain why someone needs to buy immediately.
- Avoid Spam Phrases: Email service providers such as Yahoo or Gmail have the power to filter out emails that are too promotional or spam emails. To avoid the Spam folder, don’t use phrases such as “Get $”, “Work from The Beach and Earn”, “Want to Earn Easy Bucks” etc.
- Leverage the P.S.: People always read the P.S. It is the last element of your email message, and you can use it to reinforce your CTA.
- Be a Friend: People hate to be sold to, especially friends. Everyone skips ads, so don’t write your messages like a sales pitch. Instead, write as you would write to your friends. Develop the friendship with your copy and your tone.
- Uniformed Layout: Make it easy for your future clients by having a consistent layout of your messages. With that, you’ll make them feel like you just continue your conversation, instead of starting another topic.
- Clear Subject Line: The more confusing the subject line is, the more people are turned away by it. Have clarity, tell what the message is about, but don’t reveal everything from your subject line.
- Use Names Once: Personalization is excellent, but you shouldn’t overdo it by mentioning someone’s name several times in your email message. It’s pushy, and creepy too.
- Continuous Conversation: Make the campaign a personalized, almost real-like conversation. In every message, look back to the previous email and say what you’ll talk about next.
- The Zeigarnik Effect: This effect refers to unfinished business. And the right clients won’t want to leave something undone, even if that’s a series of email messages.
Start the Campaign
After you’re done with the list segmentation, and you know how your messages will look, it’s time to kick-start the drip campaign for your agency. For this purpose, you’re going to need the right tool. You need software that has all the features that you need to make your campaign work.
If you already have a CRM solution, you need to see what are its drip marketing options. If it doesn’t have what you need, you’ll need a proper program. It might take some trial and error before you find the right drip marketing software, but in the end, it will depend on your needs and your budget. The following are some of the best drip marketing tools that you can choose from:
You can choose when and how frequently you want to send your messages to your future clients. According to CoSchedule, Tuesday is the best day to send your emails, around 10 and 11 a.m. But this wouldn’t work if you’re a SaaS company and want to acquire clients overseas from different time zones. That’s why you need to adjust your timing according to your segmented target client’s time zone.
The frequency of your email messages matters too. You don’t want to annoy your prospects, that’s why it’s advisable to wait maximum 6-7 days before you send your next message.
Track and Measure the Campaign
You can’t develop the perfect drip marketing strategy for your digital agency if you don’t know how to measure the campaign results. To refine your drip campaign, it’s vital to keep track of the following metrics:
- Open Rate: How many people opened your drip message? Depending on your industry, the open rate varies from 15.22% to 28.46%. Perform more A/B test variations and see what works best for your open rate.
Open Rate = Emails Opened / Emails Sent – Emails Bounced
- Reply Rate: If someone replies with the desired answer it means that your email copy is on point and the person is ready to move on to the next stage of the drip sequence. Higher open rates combined with low reply rates can signal that you promise a lot in your subject line but under deliver in the copy.
Reply Rate = People Who Replied / Emails Sent – Emails Bounced
- Bounce Rate: How many users didn’t even receive your message? If you have a high bounce rate it is time to review your list and see which contacts are genuine and which not.
Bounce Rate = Bounced Emails / Total Recipients X 100
Most of the drip marketing tools already have built-in analytics that will determine the success of your campaigns. If your campaign performs well it means that you’ve taken all the right steps and need to take note of what works to enhance it even further.
If your campaigns perform badly, you need to discover why. Take note of the exact steps and review them one by one to spot your errors. You’ll learn from your mistakes and improve for your next campaign.
To know if you’re doing a good job in drip marketing, you don’t need just the numbers. You also need to know how your prospects feel when they receive your email messages.
Let prospects give you their feedback. That helps you to get to the details, the specifics of your campaign and not rely only on stats. Developing your digital agency business is much more than click and open rates. It’s about the human interaction above all.
To sum up, drip marketing is all about the customer’s journey and having a conversation with your future clients. There are no one-size fits all approach and the campaigns will differ depending on how you segment your leads and on your agency budget and goals.
Drip marketing has proven to be effective, and when you find the right formula for success, you can make your campaigns even better and skyrocket your agency business in the process.
Are you all set to start your email marketing campaign?
Email is still the leading source for building an online business with loyal customers. We have been working closely with different email marketing platforms and businesses providing email and customer intelligence for businesses using email marketing.