How to plan your Drip Email Marketing Sequence

Setting Up A Drip Email Marketing Sequence

We’re big fans of automation here at Websand. We love the kind of email marketing where customers only receive emails when they need to. They trigger the emails by interacting – or not interacting – with your website.

But we realise that sometimes that isn’t enough. Or it may not suit your business. And sometimes a drip-feed email sequence is the right option. They’re still automated because the drip feed only starts when a subscriber opts-in. You write the content and let it drip.

Let’s look at what you can use drip-feed email sequences for, why they’re great, and how to set them up.

What is a drip email sequence?

It’s a series of emails sent on auto-pilot to a subscriber. They have a beginning, middle, and an end. They’re called ‘drip marketing’ since that’s the method you use to deliver information. An automated email sequence can also earn 20% more sales opportunities.

Breaking the information into chunks makes it more likely they’ll take action. They’re ideal for short courses, where you deliver each step in a process. Give them a homework task at the end of each email. Make it something valuable but make sure it builds into something better when they do the next one too.

Not into course creation? You might need to guide subscribers through the value of your product. Think onboarding sequences here. Send a series of tutorials to guide new users around your website or software. Each email in the sequence could include a different tip or handy tool.

Drip-feed email sequences work well in the events and hospitality niches. Work backwards from a date your customer booked and pinpoint what they need to do and when. Use a checklist format for ease of use. Send email reminders, with tips to help the event go well.

Why are drip email marketing campaigns so great?

They split up dense packets of information into bite-size nuggets. The subscriber gets enough to put into action before the next one arrives. Sending the information in one go can be overwhelming. That prompts the subscriber to take fright and give up.

The regular arrival of the emails also trains the subscriber to expect emails from you. It keeps you ‘top of mind’ since your name keeps appearing in their inbox. And because you send such great content, they’re happy to hear from you. Open rates for these drip-feed email sequences are around 80% higher than single emails.

Email marketing performance

Drip-feed email sequences are also tailor-made for formulas. Think of the AIDA copywriting formula here. You need to get attention, generate interest, create desire, and prompt action. That’s too complicated for a single email. But for a sequence of eight emails? It’s just right.

Or the NES formula. Nurture their interest, get them Excited, and make a Sale. Taking your time to get to know subscribers and provide what they need (when they need it) works best in a sequence. Not a single email.

Be aware that you can only achieve any of this by sending valuable, useful content. No one wants a series of ‘buy my stuff!’ emails.

Let’s look at how to set up a drip email marketing sequence.

Step 1. Work out the goal of the drip email marketing sequence.

Don’t create a sequence for the sake of it. Work out what you want subscribers to do. You’ve got two goals here: the whole sequence, and each email.

Define the over-arching goal for the whole sequence first. Is it a course? Then what will they be able to do at the end of it? Is it a series of checklists? What do you need them to do by the end?

Now you can determine what you need them to do in each email. That gives you the call-to-action. Stick to a single task or CTA per email so you don’t dilute your message.

Step 2. Divide up your content.

Draft a plan of what they need to know to meet the sequence goal. Work out how many steps it takes to achieve the goal. That’s how many emails you need.

You can use a mixture of content across the emails. Some might be plain text. Others might be full of images. Videos or audio might enrich other emails. Provide information in a range of formats to suit different preferences.

That’s important if you want to run a drip-feed course by email. Different media formats will match different learning styles. For onboarding sequences, be as interactive as you can. Get your subscribers to use your product as they learn what it does.

Step 3. Plan cliffhangers!

Humans can’t stand cliffhangers. We’re wired to always want to know what happens next. That’s why serials end each episode on a cliffhanger so you tune in next week.

It all comes down to the ‘open loop’. That’s why waiters can remember an entire table’s order until the customers pay the bill. The transaction hasn’t ended, so the brain retains the information. Paying the bill ‘closes’ the loop and they don’t need to remember the order any more.

By giving a pay-off and a ‘tune in next time to learn X’, you close the open loop you created in the previous email. But you also open a new loop they can only close by opening your next email.

Step 4. Make your promise.

Now you’ve drafted the content for each email in your drip email marketing sequence. Make sure that you include a promise at the end of every message. Promise what you’ll send next time and when you’ll send it.

This helps prime the subscriber to look for your next email. They know what is in the email, so they’re more likely to open it. And they’ll also be able to spot it if it doesn’t arrive.

That helps you identify holes in your drip email marketing sequence, but you can also overcome any technical bugs. The subscriber also knows how long they have to perfect this content before the next one arrives.

Step 5. Work out your timing for your drip email marketing sequence.

Speaking of ‘when’, work out how often you’ll send the emails. For courses and onboarding, give subscribers time to ‘do the homework’. But you don’t want to give so much time they lose momentum.

For bookings, space content out depending on the period between booking and the date of the event. This customises the experience for each subscriber.

Step 6. Write and automate!

Now you can write the emails you drafted! You know how they fit together so you can work out what needs to go in each email. Once they’re written, you can automate them because you also have your send schedule in place.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

When you create your sequence, figure out where it goes in your email marketing strategy. Will you have sign-up forms on your blog? Create blog content directing potential subscribers to your offering.

Is it based on an action, like opening a new account or booking a trip? Connect the sequence to these triggers. And to stay GDPR-compliant, let subscribers know what they’re signing up for.

Our email marketing platform makes it easy to create and manage drip-feed sequences. And if you haven’t started with email marketing yet, they’re a great way to get going. You don’t have to think of weekly content or a newsletter. Just plug in and play!

Why not partner with Websand to add email sequences to your marketing arsenal? Get in touch and we’ll get you set up with our GDPR-compliant platform.

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Also published on Medium.