The Beginner’s Guide to Drip Campaigns for Small Business

There’s no point in driving traffic to a website not ready for it. And there’s no point in getting a single email address if you don’t know how to convert its owner into a sale.

Your small business’ sales funnel has to be complete for it to be useful. You can’t just do all the stuff at the top and hope the people fall out the bottom of their own accord.

This article will give you a step-by-step guide to turning your contest, landing page and popup contacts and leads into sales with an email drip campaign.

Let’s get rolling!

Introduction to Email Automation

If you’re doing everything at the top of the funnel correctly (driving and converting traffic at an optimal rate) you’ll quickly run out of energy responding to everyone manually.

As much as you might like to avoid it, automation is necessary.

Luckily, automation is also a powerful tool.

You, personally, can’t respond to a customer or prospective customer when they leave a product in checkout without buying. Automation can.

You, personally, can’t manually sift through all your customers or prospective customers and determine (based on pageview) what products they’re interested in. Automation can.

You, personally, can’t (and here’s where this article gets rolling) see which of your prospective customers have clicked through on an educational email, expressed interest in a specific element of your business, and would respond to a promotional offer specific to that element. And you can’t, personally, send that offer exclusively to people who clicked on the educational email. Automation can, and this article will show you how.

If you follow this step-by-step guide, you’ll have completed your small business’ online sales funnel.

Introduction to Email Drip Campaigns

An email drip campaign is a series of automatically-sent emails designed to provide value to your leads and communicate the benefits of your service.

Also called a “lead nurturing” campaign, an email drip is designed to “nurture” a seedling lead: young, premature and naive, into a marketing-qualified lead: a knowledgeable tree in need of your service.

There are, as with every online marketing strategy, a few dozen ways to nurture a lead into a sale. This article will cover the one we’ve found most successful as well as best-suited to small business marketing.

Before we dive in, though, let’s break down a few email drip campaign best practices:

  • Have one call-to-action in your emails. Like a landing page, more will just distract and reduce click-through rates.
  • Ensure your subject line fits on a mobile screen. With more than half of all email opens occurring on mobile, try to keep your subject line to 38 characters or less.
  • Tap into the power of the “P.S.”: A P.S. stands out from the rest of your email copy. Ensure whatever you have in it is worth clicking.
  • Use a consistent design and layout for your emails: You want people to recognize and feel comfortable with your emails. Don’t throw a spanner in the works with a new template every few days.
  • Where possible, add exclusivity: Encourage people to act now with a countdown timer, limited edition, or “subscriber-exclusive” messaging.
  • According to GetResponse, the best times to send your emails are 8-10am and 3-4pm.

For more on this, check out our comprehensive guide 100 Email Marketing Best Practices, Ideas and Examples.

Creating your Drip Campaign

Take a look at this diagram (I’ll explain it in a second):

What are you seeing here?

You’re seeing four simple workflows:

  • One base workflow – which automatically delivers three educational and one sales email to recipients
  • And three optional workflows – which automatically send sales offers only if recipients have opened the corresponding educational email.

It’s the same offer, though. We’re simply framing that offer based on what resonates with our prospective customers.

I’ll walk you through it and give some examples of how it can be set up for a typical small business…

Step 1: Create your Content

Create or find three pieces of educational content about three different selling points of your product, service or platform.

For instance…

A chiropractor might write:

  • “Easing Back Pain: 5 Ways to Get Relief”
  • “20 Stretches to Keep you Pain-Free”
  • “Playing it Safe: Keeping Sport in your Life while Battling Pain”

A marketing consultant might write:

  • “10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting a Business”
  • “Proven Ways to Drive Thousands of Visitors to your Website”
  • “Online Advertising: How You Can Save Thousands per Month”

A fashion boutique might write:
* “5 Ways You Can Dress for Casual Friday and After-Work Drinks” * “How to Stay Warm Without Looking Like a Snowman” * “2-minute Makeup Necessities”

Someone who ran a contest giving away a blender might write:
* “10 Healthy Juicing Recipes” * “Quick and Easy Soups Made in a Blender” * “How to Juice Cleanse Smart”

These would be delivered in the blue emails in the diagram above (I’ll show you how to automate this in a second).

Step 2: Create your Corresponding Offers

Your “Corresponding Offers” are only sent if your email recipients click through on the first email – an action which action implies interest, allowing you to pitch something in a way you can be confident they’ll like.

This enables you to frame your offers (the same one, but different messaging) in the way that resonates most with recipients.

A chiropractor might offer:

  • “Easing Back Pain…” = “Get a Free, No-Obligation Back Pain Consultation”
  • “20 Stretches…” = “Get a Free Consultation with Personalized Exercises to Keep You Pain Free “
  • “Playing it Safe…” = “Get a Free, No-Obligation Consultation Before The Season Starts!”

A consultant might offer:

  • “10 Things I Wish I’d Known…” = “Get 50% Off a “Starting your Business” Consultation (Valued at $250!)!”
  • “Proven Ways to Drive…” = “Get 50% Off an Expert Consultation on Driving Traffic to your Website”
  • “Online Advertising…” = Get 50% Off an Expert Consultation to Maximize your Ad Budget

A fashion boutique might offer:

  • “5 Ways You Can Do Casual Friday…” = “Get 25%-Off Our Fall Fashion Line” (with warm, “going-out” images)
  • “How to Stay Warm…” = “Get 25%-Off Our Fall Fashion Line” (with jacket, scarves and hat images)
  • “2-minute Makeup Necessities” = “Get 25%-off Our Fall Makeup Line” (with makeup images)

Someone who ran a contest giving away a blender might offer:

  • “10 Healthy Juicing Recipes” = “Get 25% Off an AcmeTornado Blender Today!” (with smoothie/juice images)
  • “Quick and Easy Soups Made in a Blender” = “Get 25% Off an AcmeTornado Blender Today!” (with soup images)
  • “How to Juice Cleanse Smart” = ” = “Stay Healthy with 25% Off an AcmeTornado Blender Today!”

These would be delivered in the yellow emails above if the recipient clicked through on the corresponding blue email.

Step 3: Put it Together

  1. Create the simple conditions of your email drip workflow:

Recipient is a member of campaign lead list (in the example below, for the fashion boutique above).
Recipient does not have the “bought” lead property – meaning they’ve never bought anything from you previously.

Here’s what that would look like in Wishpond’s drip campaign builder:

  1. Check your condition settings:

Either create the workflow before publishing the campaign, or check “add leads who currently match these conditions.”
Check “Remove leads from workflow if they no longer match these conditions” to ensure that if someone converts on your sales emails or for an entirely unrelated reason, they stop receiving sales-oriented emails.
Check “Only add leads to the workflow the first time they match these conditions” if your campaign might be something a lead would convert on multiple times (like an ebook they lost track of). You don’t want to send the same email drip campaign to the same recipient more than once.

Here’s what that would look like in Wishpond’s drip campaign builder:

  1. Create your base drip campaign

That’s four automated emails: three educational (the titles I gave examples of above) and one sales.
Separate each by five days, to allow for recipients to see and click through on the educational email and then see and convert on the follow-up sales email (next workflow).

Here’s what that would look like in Wishpond’s drip campaign builder:

  1. Set up the conditions of your secondary, contextual sales email workflow:

Essentially, this will automatically send the offer (examples above) in an email to people who clicked through on the related educational email.
Send to “leads who have Clicked on [specific related email]”

Here’s what that would look like in Wishpond’s drip campaign builder:

Step 5: Set the triggered actions for your secondary, contextual sales email workflow:

Very simply, send the offer (again, examples above). If you want to set a delay of a couple hours, that would be best practice.

How it looks:

Step 6: Duplicate the secondary, contextual email workflows and replace the conditions with the two remaining educational emails, and the triggered emails with the two remaining offers.

Does that all make sense? Let me know if you have questions in the comment section below!

And if you’re wondering what your emails should look like, check out 19 Proven Email Marketing Templates We Use to Sell, Nurture, Onboard, and Reach Out.

Wrapping it Up

Hopefully this guide will help your small business turn the contacts you generate into sales.

I recognize that, out of this entire guide to online marketing for small business, this article is the most complex. But it’s also the most necessary! Without a strategy to turn leads and traffic into sales, there’s no point in ads, landing pages, popups, social media or contests.

So, really, if you have any questions or want a hand setting it up (on Wishpond or not), let me know in the comment section below.

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

To navigate back to any of this guide’s chapters, click below:

  • 9 Proven Email Marketing Templates We Use to Sell, Nurture, Onboard, and Reach Out.
  • 100 Email Marketing Best Practices, Ideas and Examples.
  • Email Drip Campaigns: 350 Strategies, Ideas & Examples

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