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Stop the lead leak: An intro to drip marketing

Drip marketing campaign types and benefits
Drip marketing campaign types and benefits
Original image © Antonioguillem - / Edited by Christal Guziec

Has this happened to you before? You're at a trade show; a lead comes to the booth and says he's just learning about the industry. You scan his badge, and the next day you send your standard "trade show follow-up" email. You pass the lead on to the sales team, and ... that's it. No further action is taken.

Your sales rep had the best of intentions. She meant to send the lead another quick email, maybe give him a phone call, but he was a cold lead anyway and she got too busy. So the lead slipped off of the sales rep's radar.

If you're heaving a defeated sigh right now at the thought of this all-too-familiar scenario, dear marketer, know that you can do something about this. You can stop the lead leak, using email marketing.

Email marketing is a great way to keep customers apprised of company news, but if that's all you use it for, you're doing it wrong. Email marketing is a powerful way to build relationships, and push leads through the conversion funnel. This is called "lead nurturing," and you need to take advantage of this strategy.

Automated email

Automated email is exactly what it sounds like: an email that is auto-sent by your ESP or CRM, based on a "trigger". The trigger is typically some behavior on the customer's part. For example, a customer signs up for your newsletter, registers a product on your site, or abandons his shopping cart. A trigger can also be based on information that the customer has previously given you, such as his birthday - you can automate the process of sending "happy birthday" emails to your customers.

A drip campaign is a series of automated emails. Continuing the shopping-cart abandonment email example, you could send a "reminder" email first, then maybe the next day a "come back and get five percent off" email, then maybe a "time is running out, your discount expires tomorrow" email, etc.

Another popular use of drip marketing is as a welcome series for new subscribers or new customers, to familiarize them with your brand and product offerings. Additionally, SaaS companies frequently use drip marketing to send out training emails, so that customers get an in-depth, high-quality understanding of the product.

Drip campaigns for lead nurturing

Drip campaigns can be used to nurture leads through the conversion funnel. Similar to a welcome series, lead nurturing involves "warming up" prospects, guiding and educating them so that they become leads, then opportunities, then finally paying customers.

Lead nurturing works well in a scenario where the customer will be interacting with your brand in various ways - downloading material, attending webinars, viewing demos, or even attending live events. You can set up an automation process to provide the lead with a "next step" based on his previous steps.

So that trade show lead, the one that went cold? You can nurture that lead from cold to warm to hot, and then pass the lead to your sales rep. It's better for everyone if the lead is purchase-ready before the sales rep gets involved.

Marketing automation tools like HubSpot and Pardot make it easy to create sophisticated automation campaigns. But even if you use a simpler Email Service Provider like MailChimp, you can still create drip campaigns, though they may be limited in complexity.

Stop the lead leak today. Stop sighing and shaking your head because the sales rep failed to nurture a lead. Drip marketing puts the power in your hands. Drip marketing is a fantastic way to forge meaningful customer relationships, provide targeted, relevant messages to your audience, and turn leads into customers.

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