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How To Make Sure Your Drip Marketing Campaigns Are Not Water Torture

by Jennifer Beever on October 1, 2009

A fellow consultant emailed me recently and asked, “What is a drip marketing campaign?” I explained that the phrase refers to marketing communications that are systematically dripped over time to a prospect to stay in touch and inform them about the product or service you are selling. But in today’s marketing world of “lead nurturing,” there are several factors you must have in place to ensure that your drip marketing campaign is effective and does not annoy (or torture!) your prospects.

1. Know your prospects.

Have you done not only a demographic (age, income, sex, title) but a psychographic (wants and needs, fears, personality) profile of your prospective customers? Do you know what tone your communications should have and what images and colors best appeal to your prospects? Using the wrong message and images will turn off your prospects very quickly. They won’t listen to you unless you speak their language and appeal to their psychographic profile.

2. Know how to best communicate with your prospects.

Do you plan to do a drip campaign by email? What if your prospects are (like me) overwhelmed by email and prefer to hear from you on Twitter, Facebook or via an RSS feed to your blog? What if they would rather get a phone call on occasion or a direct mail piece? Survey your existing prospects to find out what they want before you irritate them by sending what they don’t. When every new prospect signs up to stay in touch, ask them (use a form on a web page) what their communication preference is. Then, set up different campaigns to fit the different needs.

3. Understand the stages of your prospects’ buy cycle.

Do you know when your prospect is most likely to buy? After they download your eBook? When they attend your webinar and hear your special offer to attendees? Do you ask for their buying timeframe when they take action? Getting a hard-core sales call when you have no budget and no approval that would allow you to buy is irritating. Getting a call to find out where you are in your decision process may be less irritating. Getting a call when you said you’re ready to buy is timely.

4. Make sure what you drip has very high value.

I have un-followed people on various social media platforms and unsubscribed from email newsletters when I am being tortured – by a steady drip of boring, non-value-add, sales pitches. Ugh! Don’t do it! Instead, put out information in your drip or nurturing campaigns that will help prospects understand best practices in their industry, for people with their title, for people with their problems. Not all of the materials have to be authored by you or someone in your company. You can also forward non-branded, third-party articles or results of industry studies if the information adds value.

Drip irrigation is a great analogy to this process and lends itself well to the new game in town: lead nurturing. On a scheduled basis, water is dripped onto plants so that they are nurtured, grow and don’t die out. The gardener does not have to stand around with a hose and water the plants manually, so it can be efficient. If the gardener knows how much water each particular plant needs, the watering can be regulated so it’s very targeted: not too much and not too little.

What’s been your experience with delivering or receiving drip campaigns?

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