How to Structure Drip Email Campaigns

Darren Gordon

Jun 25 2018

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As your online business grows and you start acquiring customers through different channels, your marketing campaigns also need to evolve. Underestimating your audience by exposing them to a blanket email campaign could be one of the biggest mistakes your business can make. For example, a person who is interested in your sock collection needs to be targeted differently than a person who is interested in your sweater collection. A drip email campaign can be structured by product, season or even by membership levels. There is no limit to how creative you can be with them as long as you believe that that your email campaign will solve a customer problem.

There are multiple email service platforms out there that you can use to schedule drip campaigns. Drip email campaigns can go hand in hand with your daily newsletter that you send out to subscribers. In simple words, drip email campaigns are a predetermined set of marketing emails that will be sent out on a desired schedule of your choice. These emails can take on a variety of roles. If someone signs up for your free account, you can drip them with emails about your premium features and try to convert that user. If someone abandoned your cart, you could drip them with emails and ask them to complete the purchase. Below we’ll look at how you can identify gaps in your conversion process and structure email marketing campaigns.


6 Question Checklist That Will Help You Identify How You Should Structure Your Drip Campaign

The Product Management Approach To Drip Email Campaigns

  1. What is the Problem You Are Trying to Solve? – You know your online business better than anyone else. Where are the gaps in your conversion funnel that you feel need to be filled up in order to achieve a better conversion rate? Answering the question is a bit tricky. Example – Let’s say you feel that people are abandoning your cart more than the industry average. Ask yourself why is the customer having second thoughts about converting? Is there a problem facing the user that prevents him or her from completing their purchase? Validate that problem and quantify how big it really is.
  2. What is the Idea? – Once you know what the user problem is that you are trying to solve, then come up with an idea. In this case, let’s assume your idea is to send them a drip email campaign. Jot down a low fidelity idea workflow. It could even be as simple as taking a piece of paper and drawing out your idea.
  3. Competitor Analysis – Analyze how your competitors currently structure drip email campaigns and work at   being better than them. Your differentiation points can range from having a better looking mobile-friendly email, a better drip workflow, or a better newsletter template. You can even compare your drip email campaign to your old blanket email campaign. Compete against yourself, along with your competitors.
  4. Define Your Outcome – Before you launch your campaign, identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you believe would improve once you roll it out.
    Some KPI examples are as follows:

    • Email open rates would improve
    • Cart abandonment rate would fall (Consider seasonality in your analysis if your business is seasonal)
    • Email click-through-rate (CTR) would improve
  5. Identify Scope – This comes back to the idea. Identify your workflow and define exactly how many emails and newsletter templates you need to create? Which email service providers would you go with and why? What would the content of the emails look like? What would the time gap be for your drip campaigns? Etc.
  6. Risk – Finally, consider if there are any risks to you rolling out the new drip campaign. Writing “no risks” here is always a bad idea. Even if the probability of the risk happening is next to nothing, writing that risk down would help you get a broad understanding of your project at hand.


Drip Workflow

In this example we’ll take a look at how Piano Wizard, a hypothetical online piano instructor business, can setup a drip email campaign. This business has a a $20 per month subscription plan where you get access to 1000+ piano lesson videos that help people learn the instrument from a basic to an advanced level.

This is what the marketing team at Piano Wizard has identified:

  • The problem – After taking a few lessons, people find it hard to continue learning the piano as the lessons start getting more advanced. Most users cancel their membership after 2 months of learning.
  • The idea – A drip email campaign that keeps them motivated to continue learning the lessons for as long as possible.
  • Competitor Analysis – Piano Wizard does not currently have a drip campaign setup. They are competing with their old blanket email campaign that fails to motivate people.
  • Outcome – Churn rate to improve. Users continue learning the piano for as long as possible. Their monthly renewal rate to improve from the current 2 month average to as long as possible.
  • Scope – Use email templates to create a 6 email-series that keeps the user motivated to continue learning the piano.
  • Risk – Users don’t feel motivated with the emails and start cancelling membership earlier than the current 2 month average.

Let’s see how the drip campaign would pan out:

Drip Campaign

Final Thoughts

Marketing your business is where the rubber meets the road. Users need to be aware of your tool, features and products. They need to know how these solve their problems. If they don’t them, then they will simply not pay for your service. A concerted effort from all your cross functional teams from engineering, data science, UX/UI, marketing and domain experts is required to ship out an excellent product. Be obsessed with your user and keep learning from the data that they give you and keep evolving your marketing campaigns.

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