5 steps to creating a drip marketing program
Seth Godin wrote about the two ways to win in the marketplace: breakthroughs and drips. A breakthrough is a powerful, attention-grabbing idea. Sometimes it’s risky due to unintended consequences. It may require a big investment, not to mention a lot of guts.
On the other hand, drips are small, frequent and low-risk engagements with prospects over a long period of time. This approach, also known as lead nurturing, is a commitment which builds stable relationships slowly. If done well, such nurturing eventually transforms cold leads to hot ones.
Here are the 5 steps to creating an effective drip marketing program.
Step 1: Segment the Target Audience
An effective drip marketing program requires that you segment the prospect base. Use the distinct characteristics of each segment to customize messages for each group. You’ll also have much better visibility and control of your marketing spend.
Here are some examples of segmentation variables.
- Demography: type (B2B, B2C), size by sales volume, company age, market share
- Geography: location (local, national, international)
- Buying Cycle Stage: ready to purchase, gathering information, testing
- Ownership: public, private
- Financial condition of the company: credit rating, stock price trend, cash flow, revenue growth
Step 2: Develop the Plan
A calendar is an effective way of organizing plans for prospect communications. It documents
- the segment that will receive the messages;
- which messages will be sent; and
- when those messages will be sent.
The visibility of a calendar helps to remind everyone to support an ongoing flow of regular communications. To maintain focus, use a separate calendar for each segment.
There are no hard rules for an optimal communication frequency during a nurturing campaign. A majority of companies aim to reach prospects every two to four weeks. The first few months of such a campaign ought to be viewed as a testing period during which campaign parameters will be fine-tuned.
Step 3: Create Relevant Content
Content templates should be developed specifically for each target segment. These templates will encompass press releases, articles, book reviews, case studies and so forth. Keep these design guidelines in mind:
- Check for readability and relevance.
- Use graphics to reinforce key points.
- Include just enough detail to compel readers to access your product or landing page.
For B2B nurturing, some content formats are more effective than others:
- Webinars. Their interactive nature is particularly well-suited for drip marketing.
- Whitepapers or eBooks. Prospects often need to educate themselves generally or steep themselves in the details.
- Demos. These may be recordings of webinars, Flash presentations or non-interactive live presentations.
- Social Media. This is about word-of-mouth referrals and building relationships. Key platforms could be blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Many others deserve consideration as well.
There are two goals for each piece of content in a drip marketing campaign:
- Highlight the benefit(s) of your solution for meeting the needs of that segment.
- Explain how your product or service will meet customer expectations relative to competitors.
Step 4: Measure and Evaluate
To understand whether or not your campaign strategy is working properly requires that you measure its effectiveness. You do this by building response mechanisms into communications and gathering data they generate. When you have enough information based on that data, determine whether or not your campaign is working as intended.
Step 5: Adjust Strategy if Required
Drip marketing activities generate insights about prospects and their purchasing propensities. You must use these insights to adjust strategies – if required – for better results.